As a business leader or entrepreneur, you are undeniably a risk taker. This may cause you to reasonably believe that you have a very high tolerance for being uncomfortable. You've been willing to do things which would make most people feel very uncomfortable.
But what if, instead, you are subconsciously tolerating or even running away from discomfort in a way that could be hindering you from achieving your absolute best?
Today’s guest knows all about being overtaken by the subconscious – and he had a once highly successful business go up in flames because he wasn’t paying close enough attention.
On this episode of Evolved Sales LIVE, host Jonathan Fischer sits down with Sterling Hawkins, who has successfully invested and helped grow over 50 companies, to chat about the lessons he’s personally learned in business that have allowed him to help others seek out discomfort and use it as an ally to achieve amazing new results.
Don't forget to follow us on LinkedIn for more engaging sales insights and discussions! Happy watching!
From a multi-billion dollar startup to collapse and coming back to the launch, invest in, and grow over 50 companies, Sterling Hawkins uses his own experiences to work with C-level teams from some of the largest organizations on the planet and speaks on stages around the world.
Today, Sterling serves as CEO and founder of the Sterling Hawkins Group, a research, training, and development company focused on human and organizational growth. He has been seen in publications like Inc. Magazine, Fast Company, The New York Times, and Forbes.
Based in Colorado, Sterling is a passionate adventurer that can often be found skydiving, climbing mountains, shark diving or even trekking the Sahara.
He is also the author of a new book: Hunting Discomfort: How to Get Breakthrough Results in Life and Business No Matter What
Check out the transcription of this webinar episode below!
Jonathan Fischer 0:04
Welcome back. Thanks for joining us. I'm Jonathan Fisher. As a business leader or entrepreneur, you may reasonably believe that you have a very high tolerance for being uncomfortable. But I mean, after all, you're a risk taker, and you've been willing to do things which would make most people feel very uncomfortable indeed. But what if you are subconsciously tolerating or even running away from discomfort in a way that could be hindering you from achieving your absolute best? Well, I guess today as some insights to share on that front, Sterling Hawkins first made his name as the founder of a highly successful tech startup, which achieved billion dollar levels of funding only to crash in flames. The lessons certainly learned propelled him to bounce back, launch, invest in and grow over 50 new companies. And he's taken it as a personal mission to help others seek out discomfort and use it as an ally to achieve amazing new results. Sterling Hawkins, welcome to the program. Catherine.
Sterling Hawkins 1:03
Thank you. Good to see you. Thanks for having me on. Yeah, it's
Jonathan Fischer 1:06
a fantastic honor, you've got a really unique story to share with the listener. And I'd like to start here, if I could give us sort of the the, the high and low and high again, story that kind of is the basis for today's insights.
Sterling Hawkins 1:20
It's been a roller coaster, I'll tell you that. So I actually grew up in upstate New York, as a fifth generation retailer and worked all the different departments as a kid, and really started to understand retail at a very deep, very visceral level. But right out of college, I'm like, You know what, time to spread my wings a little bit. So I started a retail software company with my dad, which Long story short, we sell to a group in Silicon Valley, where it becomes part of this Apple Pay before Apple Pie wasn't found the founder of the whole thing, but they acquired us. And we went on to raise hundreds of millions of dollars, multi billion dollar valuation. And I'm sure you've probably seen, and maybe people have seen the Wolf of Wall Street. It was like living a scene out of that movie. And I thought, hey, this is easy. Not only Easy, easy, it's comfortable. And it's only a matter of time till I'm gonna crown myself the next Steve Jobs and buy an island and a private jet. And all those things that I thought billionaires did, until the housing market collapsed, our investment dried up, we had overextended ourselves, really funding a lot of the growth, not growing organically, at least to the levels that we needed to. And the entire thing went bankrupt. $550 million, gone, half a billion dollars gone. And when the company collapsed, so did I. My whole identity was tied up in what we were doing what I thought success was how I thought business operated, what my life was about. And so when the company crashed, I ended up playing this kind of sad country song of a story out where I go from big, beautiful penthouse in downtown San Francisco. To my parents house, six figures, a personal debt girlfriend breaks up with me, like I hit every single beat. And what I realized in those dark moments, Jonathan, is that I had been avoiding denying and surviving discomfort personally and professionally, in profound ways. That certainly contributed to the downfall and made that downfall much, much worse. And it's only once I started to discover that reorient my relationship to the unknown, and the discomfort that lives there that I started to build myself back, as that as a place to start.
Jonathan Fischer 3:43
Yeah, I love that. Well, and we have a lot of focus on our show here of really gleaning very practical on the ground, you know, from the trenches, insights that are actionable to the listener, I bet there's two or three additional books out of the experience you just shared on that front. However, however, it sounds like the most valuable lessons in your mind are the personal ones, you know, how do you bounce back as a professional as an entrepreneur and a founder, because there's a real toll there. And that's just as pragmatic, maybe even more so, at the end of the day. And so you talked about this issue with discomfort? I mean, how, yeah, out of all the different things you could be thinking about yourself that are maybe not so positive. How did you land on discomfort as the key area for focus?
Sterling Hawkins 4:29
Well, a couple of things. First, businesses are only going to grow as much as their leaders are willing to. So if you've plateaued in your career, your entire business, I would offer I invite you to consider that it's not just more money that you need or time better span, or different relationships or more cold calling. Fundamentally, we had all those things going for us at the business, right. tons of money, tons of IP, tons of connections, tons of clients, some of the smartest people I've ever worked with. And it still collapsed, there was something missing from that growth formula. And what's missing in not only my experience, but also research is our unwillingness to deal with some of those uncomfortable things. And I arrived there, Jonathan, not on purpose, like I don't wish this wish discomfort on myself or anybody else, I arrived there, because that's just what growth happens to look like. It's uncomfortable. It's scary. You have to redefine your views of yourself, others, your industry, maybe even the world in ways that maybe drastically different from how you see them today. But when you're willing to go to some of those darker places, ask some of those tougher questions. That's what's going to kind of take the blinders off on how you're looking at reality, how you're looking at whatever situation there is, that gives you dramatic and sometimes surprisingly, new results.
Jonathan Fischer 5:59
Well, I love that. And I think that, you know, turning those negatives to positives, it can sound like a truism. But when you get deep into it and really find a, there's some really actual actual actionable insights in terms of how I can literally make a move, make some intentional decisions that leverage it, that's very powerful, indeed, a quick reminder to our listening audience as well. It is a live event for good reason. We love to have live q&a At the end of the show, don't wait for the end, start putting your questions in the chat. We're gonna bank those. And when we get to the bottom of the half hour, we're gonna circle back and have sterling answer your questions right here live on the show. Great. So Sterling. Tell us a little bit more about that that journey. You said it was like a, a country song. I love the humor in that. And I don't know if you've been a country music fan. But I think we all know what you meant by that. Yeah. Tell us a bit more about that. Were some of those relationship issues a big part of your journey as well.
Sterling Hawkins 6:56
Certainly, you know, what happened is I pulled back from a lot of relationships, because I felt I felt embarrassed about the failure that I was a part of, I felt uncomfortable with, like how well I was doing and how far I had fell. And so I really pulled back from a lot of the relationships that could have supported me. But one that I had close to me was my mom, and my mom has always had like these sayings. When I was a kid, she still has them. And it came back to me when when I moved into their house, and the one that came back to me as the wound is through, it's actually Robert Frost, but to me, it's always my mom. And it means you've got to go through the uncomfortable the hard things, the things that maybe you'd rather avoid. And what you're looking for is on the other side. So I think in terms of actual insights from that, it's, we'll first pause for a little bit and reflect on what are the things that are uncomfortable to me? Is it an action like cold calling, for example, or asking for money from a particular client? Or is it maybe a conversation that you've been avoiding or a particular person, once you identify it, which is the first step, then you can take the second which is committed to doing something about it, commit to having that conversation, making those cold calls, whatever it is. And as you do that, it will transform your view of yourself. And as an extension, the results you're able to create?
Jonathan Fischer 8:31
You mentioned there's some specific areas of discomfort that you're able to kind of silo these out and identify them by name. I was wondering if we could share with the listener what those specific areas of discomfort are, and maybe unpack that just a little bit?
Sterling Hawkins 8:47
Certainly. So when we step back, and we say like discomfort is the only thing that's in your way, I'm not saying it doesn't take hard work. And there might be budgets at play, and time better spent, like all that stuff is necessary. But this fundamental level of changing your perspective, changing your comfort zone is at the core of everything. And I started to see well, it's not just discomfort, generally as broad as you want to define it. By the way, I put fear, anger, grief, embarrassment, shame, like all of those uncomfortable emotions fit under that discomfort bucket for me, but it falls into five main categories. Now we all deal with all five of these things. But there's one of them that probably rises to the top to the top and is the thing that is most important for us to deal with, at least if we want any meaningful growth ahead. The first one is the discomfort of facing reality. You know, we all see ourselves and each other and then emails and text messages in the industries that you're in, and you've probably been quite successful in it. But you have a view of yourself in the end History in the world, not the truth about it. And as you're willing to step back and say, Hey, this has been my personality for the last 4050 years, but it doesn't have to be my personality. What's next? Hey, everybody has viewed this industry in particular way. But we don't have to view it only that way, it starts to shift your view of reality and again, give you a different pathway forward, you might see some new openings for action. So facing reality is the first one. The second discomfort is the discomfort of self doubt, something we've all dealt with, right? It's that little voice in your head that says you can't, you shouldn't, that's dangerous, don't go there. That voice in our head, oftentimes is not helping us. And when we listen to that voice, it's going to hold us back and limit what it is that we're able to achieve. The third discomfort is the fear of exposure, which from an evolutionary standpoint, makes sense if you're rejected by your community, your social structure. In caveman days, that meant death, not like ego death, but actual death. So it's really built into our bones, to not like the discomfort of exposure, to share what is actually true and authentic for you, and maybe share it with another shared about another. And again, as we can come to terms with that discomfort, we start to set it aside to be able to achieve something behind it. The fourth discomfort is challenge is something that I know we've all dealt with, especially the last couple of years. Because there are hard limits to the world, you only have so much money, you only have so much time. But as we can look at those challenges as the way forward it's very stoic philosophy, right, the obstacle is the way as we can reframe how we're looking at some of those things. You don't have to look at best practices for like, here's how everybody else has done it, you can look for new ways that maybe nobody's done it yet, which tend to be more transformative, and certainly more innovative, but it's going to be a little more uncomfortable. And the last discomfort we all deal with, I think about this one is the discomfort that rules them all, is the discomfort of the unknown. Now, we usually attribute this to the unknown of a new industry or new tactic or a new career, and that is the unknown. But at a deeper level, tomorrow's not promised to any of us. At any level, we cannot know what's coming next. And oftentimes what we do is we take what happened yesterday, how we've known ourselves how we know others, and we put it into that void of tomorrow, because it makes us feel a little bit better. But all it does is serve as an anchor over time. So as we address those five major discomforts, regardless of how much money you have, regardless of where you're working, how you're working, who your clients are, I guarantee you, it will be transformative, I've seen it for me, and I've seen it for countless leaders and businesses all over the world.
Jonathan Fischer 13:01
Well, I could see the listener, many, many of whom are going to be very highly successful professional of some kind, kind of like in my intro, you know, they may not be very self aware that they're not facing reality. I mean, maybe speak to that, you know, that numbers guy or that, you know, bootstrap kind of, hey, I built something I'm looking at reality every single day person, could they still not be facing reality? Could that be a hidden fear for them? Like, what are the indicators?
Sterling Hawkins 13:30
Certainly not. A good indicator is, I know this, and this is the only way those people that tend to get frustrated or maybe a little bit angry when somebody presents a question or a different perspective. If you're feeling some of those uncomfortable emotions arise in a conversation with a client, if you tend to be very frustrated, like maybe people aren't listening to me, or clients aren't doing as much as you'd like them to do, or you're not able to sell as much as you'd like. That's usually a pretty good indicator, that there's something about reality, that would be an opportunity for you to go after a view of reality that could provide a new opening for action. Now, when I talk about reality, I think it's helpful to think about it in like three big buckets. One is the reality of yourself, who you are how you see yourself, what you see yourself as capable of. Second is how you see others could be your family, your community, your industry, how you see others individually, or as a whole, and how you think the world works. And if you step back and reflect on those three major categories and say, Hey, obviously I've got some beliefs here, but what are they and what are those beliefs that I'm hyper attached to? That might be the place to look to be able to maybe soften your grip on those things a little bit.
Jonathan Fischer 14:55
What about substance I was down for the amount of abuse is the right Were but you know, is it possible that overindulgence and maybe some of the ways we have relationships with things like alcohol? Are there indicators there that we might not be dealing with reality? In some cases, maybe even when times are high as it are, we may be actually seeing a little too much on the high. That could that be a possible danger sign?
Sterling Hawkins 15:19
Yeah, I offer that we are all addicted to comfort. Why? Well, because it feels good. We know what's here. And why would you want to go anywhere else when you're somewhere that feels good. And so like the classic addictions, of course, I would look to as a way that you're distracting yourself from maybe a reality, a tough reality that you don't really want to face. But then there's, maybe we could classify them as like soft addictions, or smaller addictions, things that people, at least in general culture don't really have much of an issue with. And sometimes they're celebrated, like an addiction to work, which is one that I've dealt a lot with, right? If you're feeling like you have to work all the time, every day, maybe you're at family events, or community events and something and he was like, I gotta get back, I gotta work, I got to, you know, send these emails, and then maybe you're not overly productive when you're actually working. That, to me sounds a little bit like an addiction to something that's avoiding a deeper view or a discomfort that maybe lies somewhere within you.
Jonathan Fischer 16:30
I think, I think that's a real wisdom. What about the self doubt, aspect? On Off? We're talking about a very confident group of people with a lot of professionals and business founders. Yeah, how do you even detect that?
Sterling Hawkins 16:48
Usually, it's in the language, like, if you find yourself or others saying, want, wish, hope could try my cat, that's most often an indicator that I've got some level of self doubt, right, I'm doubting my ability to deliver on whatever that thing might be. And the more that you're using very committed language like I will, better yet I will, no matter what, that's going to not only give you a higher likelihood of being able to achieve that thing. But that's where you start to kind of serve as the antidote to that self doubt. You make big commitments, maybe small commitments, really, in my mind, any commitments, and every time you're able to fulfill on one of those things, you're building your confidence in your self to be able to do those things. And I think critical in that is having some level of accountability. Right, I found some research a while back. I love self accountability. And usually with high performers, they're like, Oh, I'm gonna hold myself accountable. Here's the thing. I think self accountability is fantastic for things that you're already relatively reliably doing. Like if you're already going to the gym five or six days a week, you don't really need to be accountable to somebody else to do that. But when we're talking about growth, committing to things that are bigger than maybe you already know how you're going to achieve, you need some external accountability, to keep you true, and to save you from some of those self doubts. When you are accountable to a specific person at a specific time, with a specific deliverable. You're not 70, not 80, not even 90% more likely to achieve your goal, you're 95% more likely to achieve your goal. It's almost like if you really want to achieve that thing, find somebody to hold you accountable, you're much more likely to
Jonathan Fischer 18:52
make the commitment get accountable, and you're more likely to grow and overcome self doubt. I think it's very powerful. On the positive side, do you find that people that are maybe healthier in this area, have other areas where they have achieved some level of mastery outside of just business? A lot of the most successful people I know, that's the case. They're like really fantastic musicians or they build their own hot rods or things like this on the side.
Sterling Hawkins 19:16
Yeah, no doubt. And there's a reason that happens. You know, we've all felt physical discomfort before, like you stubbed your toe, or maybe emotional discomfort like you lost a big sales deal. Turns out physical, mental, emotional, the brain and body processes that discomfort almost identically. The research is at a University of Michigan, so much so you can take acetaminophen like Tylenol, and it will help you with emotional pain. Now, I'm not a doctor, that's not a bio hack. I don't suggest you do that. But what I do suggest is what many of these high performers have already found. If where you meet discomfort is the same anywhere. You can grow your capacity to deal with it everywhere. If you want to build your muscles, you go to the gym, if you want to build your breakthrough results, your resiliency, your capacity to grow personally professionally, you have discomfort no matter what form it's in. So that that's actually Jonathan, what got me into skydiving, shark diving, endurance runs and bike rides. It's not because I'm some adrenaline junkie. It's because I found that secret of Oh, the more I meet these challenges, these discomforts, these limited views of reality, anywhere that's translating everywhere. They're holistic in nature.
Jonathan Fischer 20:39
Yeah, I love that. So when it comes to exposure, we're talking about something that maybe goes pretty deep with a lot of folks. I mean, yeah, we could, you could go into some pretty deep psychology on that topic. It is part of the of the public conversation, this hurt referred to as imposter syndrome. I'm not really what I seem to be. I feel like probably the majority, maybe even all of us have experienced some degree of that. Could you? Could you speak to that? I mean, on the other hand, I can think of times in my life where I've felt more holistic, I'm just speaking autobiographically hear? Yeah. And you know, what, what's the difference there? And what are some of the factors that can let somebody know, kind of back to my earlier question, what will be a danger sign to somebody that thinks they're okay, on this front?
Sterling Hawkins 21:24
Yeah. Well, usually, if you're not sharing much of what's important to you, on a personal level, or professional level, if you're trying to keep everything just so maybe a recovering perfectionist like myself, those are all great indicators that, hey, maybe I'm dealing with the discomfort of exposure here. And I think when people find themselves in periods of really high growth, high performance, or want to, they're always surrounded by a couple of key roles. First of all, accountability, which we already spoke to, right, that is critical, don't just rely on self accountability, if you're determined to grow, to take it to the next level, you need it. You also need some level of mentorship, somebody that has gone, where you want to go, and it can help you tactically, it can help you with introductions can kind of show you some of the paces that they move through like that mentorship is really helpful. With some specific, actionable information. You also need somebody or something that's going to provide some level of inspiration that's going to light or probably better said, reconnect you with that light, that fire that's inside of you. And forth. Something that I think is oftentimes lost, especially in professional settings, is love. Not romantic love, but love in terms of total acceptance of who you are, where you are, and what you're doing. And the reason that's important is because when you're going into that unknown, you're exploring new areas, you're doing new things, it's very easy to lose sight of yourself who you are, and accepting some of the discomfort that you're moving through that person and it could be a co worker, it could be a friend could be a significant other. But that person outside of you, you can kind of outsource that love and acceptance that we all need for a little while. Well, you remind yourself that that actually comes from yourself. So those four roles, I think are critical for anybody that's committed to growth or has grown.
Jonathan Fischer 23:31
Love that. So then the issue of challenges. Yeah, similar conundrum. I mean, we're talking in our set, at least with a bunch of risk takers, right? Entrepreneurs, these are folks that have gone out into the deep. How do you know this is something that's holding you back?
Sterling Hawkins 23:47
If you look at problems as a place to stop, then challenges are holding you back? If you look at things like the inflation, looming depression, supply chain issues, staffing issues, whatever you're dealing with, and you say up, well, I guess that's the end of that we can't do that. Maybe we can't hit the numbers this year. I can't hit my numbers this month, this quarter, whatever it is, problems, challenges are stopping you. And there's an invitation, I think, for everybody here to look at those challenges not as an excuse, but as a door or even a window to achieving the goals that you have for yourselves just in a totally different way. And it does take some effort. Oftentimes, I find many of us many businesses are just on autopilot. I'm going to go through the motions. I'm going to make this many calls, I'm going to sell this many things. I'm going to have this many lunches and this many emails, right. All of that has to get done. But when you run into a real challenge, it actually requires some real thinking, some determination, some innovation, some perspective change. So you can say hey, how can I still achieve that goal, that sales goal, that life goal, that health goal, whatever goal, it is, just in a way that maybe nobody's done it before at least you haven't done it before.
Jonathan Fischer 25:12
Love that and, you know, is an opportunity. Now what about the unknown? This is this is one that can sound a little esoteric. Yeah, we're afraid of the unknown. But how can this? How can we frame that as something that's appointed? And that we can practically get our hands around and address?
Sterling Hawkins 25:31
Yeah. So if you find most of your confidence and direction is based on things that you already know, that's probably an indication that you've got some fear of the unknown. And that looks like, Hey, I'm going to check the weather, I'm going to look at the traffic reports, I'm going to look at the stock Mark, I'm going to look at all these predictive things. And if one of those things is predicted wrong, that causes an issue for me, that causes discomfort inside of me, that means that you're using this knowledge, these predictions as a, you're almost trading them out for the preparation necessary for the unknown, right. Like I was saying earlier, we can never know exactly what comes next Tomorrow is not promised to anybody. And if we're only relying on prediction, we're going to be wrong. At least sometimes, if not, oftentimes, when we build the capacity for preparation, we understand that, hey, anything can happen here. But I've cultivated I built a belief in myself to handle those situations, no matter what. That's where, you know, you've started to conquer that. That unknown.
Jonathan Fischer 26:49
Will you just said something no matter what seems to be a really real central phrase. Yeah. For those watching, you've got the hashtag behind your head, talk to us about no matter what, why is that so important to your methodology and approach?
Sterling Hawkins 27:03
So I told you, my mom said that thing, the way out is through and when that came to me, I was like, Okay, let's put this thing to the test. Funny enough, given my profession today, the thing that scared me the most in the world, was speaking in public, I think I was always a little bit shy. But when I had this big business failure, I couldn't even look somebody in the eye, not to mention stand on a stage somewhere. And so I kind of taken that first step, right, I had hunted this comfort looked at reality in a new way. And I said, Okay, let's, let's go after this thing. And long story short, I ended up responding to an email about speaking at a conference in Singapore. And it was terrifying to me. But they sent me the legal agreement, I sent it back. And I took the second step, which is I made a commitment, I call it get a tattoo, right, I committed in a way where there was no going back. It was my sister who helped me she was my accountability. That speech actually was about some of my biggest fears and breakdowns and some of the mistakes that we had made. And I had to get up on that stage with all the fear about feeling like I was a failure and embarrassment of feeling like I didn't fit in. So I had to address I had to surrender to that unknown. And I get off the stage. And I think I totally bombed and the conference director catches up with me. And he's like Sterling, the best talk I've seen in 17 years, or whatever it was. And I still don't think he was in the talk that I gave, I think he wanted to just say something nice to me. But he went on to put me in touch with all this conference director, friends, and I was like, hey, there's a career here. My mom was right, The way out is through the way out is always through, we just have to go through no matter what. So it really started as that personal mantra. And it's become something that not only has worked for me, but it's worked for countless folks and businesses all over the place. And it's been just super inspiring.
Jonathan Fischer 29:08
That is inspiring, very powerful words. I love it Sterling Well, I know that the listeners gonna want to take this further in the most logical way. I'll just go ahead and put it out there myself is the book, hunting discomfort how to get breakthrough results in life and business, no matter what, no surprise, the phrase is right there on the cover. And you can pick it up at Amazon, wherever you'd like to pick up books. But Sterling, you've also got a really neat way where folks can maybe take some immediate action on applying today's lessons to their own life. What what is that?
Sterling Hawkins 29:37
Totally, like we talked about? It's not just money or time better spent. It's not anything that's in your way other than discomfort. The trick is identifying which one of those five major discomforts is rising to the top for you. And what we did is we put together a 15 question quiz. It doesn't cost anything, Jonathan, maybe you can put that in the chat or somewhere for folks out there. That's awesome. You can do take that quiz. And it will do two things. One, it will tell you which one of the five major discomforts that we've talked through here today is most likely in your way. And second, it's going to tell you what to do about it. So I'd invite you all to check that out.
Jonathan Fischer 30:17
Well, you've helped us keep our promise to give actionable insights to our listeners today, grateful for that Sterling. Well, it is now time audience, we're gonna get to your questions and get them answered. Right, while we're together this evening. And I'm gonna jump over here and see what we've got. Let's lead off with a Andrea Martinez contino, she's got a really cool question. I'll put it up on the screen. How do we measure how realistic our goals have to be in order to not set ourselves up for failure?
Sterling Hawkins 30:46
That's a good question. I think first, we have to realize that our goals are often defined by the limiting beliefs that we already have, right? Your view of reality, it's just naturally by extension, telling you what's possible for you What's quote, unquote, realistic for you. So what I'd invite you to do before thinking about what goals are realistic or not, is do something that really breaks your comfort zone first. It could be something big, like skydiving could be something small, like, I'm gonna go to a yoga class. And I've never done that before, go to a dance class, or I'm going to have a conversation with somebody that I've been avoiding. Right, like do something that breaks your comfort zone and a little bit. And that's going to break your view of reality just a little bit enough to maybe cause you to question what might be realistic, versus what's only a limited belief. A good litmus test beyond that? Is, is it possible in physics? Does physics say it's impossible? Or do you say it's impossible? And that that can be a great measure to say, hey, is this realistic? or something, some view that I've had that's only holding me back?
Jonathan Fischer 32:02
I liked that course. And pretty, pretty amazing. Any wild and crazy things are possible in physics that this that should be totally should expand one's horizons not lose. Exactly. Joshua Bailey has a fantastic question for us as well. A lot of this really is around mindset, I would agree with his comment. His question is, what tips would you give somebody who's looking to better their mindset and really grow positively on the inside.
Sterling Hawkins 32:26
So my favorite thing to do about this that I do myself, I practice myself, and I suggest to folks that are close to me, is commit to one thing a day. And do it doesn't have to be the same thing can be like, I'm gonna take a 15 minute coffee break today, no matter what, I'm going to make five phone calls today, no matter what I'm going to send this many emails no matter what I'm going to call my mom today, no matter what. Right? If you commit to one thing a day, and you do it, regardless of the circumstances, that's going to build your belief in yourself that the things you say you're going to do, you can actually fulfill on and I find that that has dramatic and surprising effects on how your mindset will start to grow in a really positive direction. Cultivated not from from all the circumstances, the world and all the reasons and all this excuses, but by what you're actually capable of on the inside.
Jonathan Fischer 33:23
Love that. So Michael Nozick mentions a phrase that you'll sometimes hear that you have to kind of embrace the suck. Yeah. Is that is that saying a military term? I think, what's that?
Sterling Hawkins 33:35
I think that's a that's from the Marines or something, if I'm not mistaken. But yeah, totally.
Jonathan Fischer 33:39
Is it saying something pretty similar? How would you expand on that?
Sterling Hawkins 33:44
Let me think for a minute embrace the suck. I think it's similar. But it's a little bit generic. I think it's important to get into the specifics of what does that actually mean? Right, because oftentimes, I find that many people are avoiding denying or surviving the quote unquote, SOC, and they don't even know it. You know, some of the feedback I get around my book, at least before people go very deep on it is Sterling, look at my business, my relationships, my bank account, my blah, blah, blah, I don't need to hunt discomfort, I'm surrounded by it. And this saying, at least at a high level, you can take as well, we'll just embrace those things. But I would take it a step further and say if you're really hunting discomfort, you're free of that discomfort. Usually, people are just placating all those things in their life. They're creating excuses for why I have the life the business results, anything that I don't really want. And I think that's a trap. Just living with the discomfort living with the suck. As you can open yourself to get to the root of that discomfort. It is going to change everything about your perspective and the results that you're able to produce. I found that discomfort works a little bit like governor does on a car, right? Like a governor, if you've got a governor on your car, no matter how hard you hit the gas, you can't go any faster. Well, similarly, if you're avoiding denying or surviving discomfort, maybe in ways that you're not really conscious of or operating at a subconscious level, you're not going to be able to achieve any new results. There's some Norwegian research that I found it was targeted around the health space, but I think we can interpret it more broadly, which was effectively dealing with discomfort, which I would say is avoiding denying or surviving less people not unwilling, but unable to act in accordance with the knowledge that they already had. So that means you know what to do. But discomfort stops you. So yeah, hopefully, there's a little bit of perspective there.
Jonathan Fischer 35:53
Yeah, I love that. Lady papac has a great question here as well. He says, you actually say we should hunt discomfort? Why would I just deal with discomfort, what does hunting it mean?
Sterling Hawkins 36:04
It means you're purging yourself of it, that you're no longer triggered or uncomfortable with whatever the situation might be. And I think we do that in two steps, you know, more broadly, we can use kind of the five steps that I walked through. But specifically, what you need to free yourself of discomfort is two things. One is you need exposure, you need to expose yourself to that thing that's uncomfortable over and over again, to help you get acquainted with it to realize that, hey, it's not that dangerous. And it actually comes out of psychology, it's called exposure therapy, right? If you've got arachnophobia, you're afraid of spiders. If you're working with somebody that deploys this particular technique, they're gonna first maybe show you pictures of spiders and then put a spider across the room, and then you're gonna get closer to it. And then maybe you hold it, right, like exposing you to higher and higher levels of that discomfort. So you realize, hey, there's actually nothing here to be uncomfortable about at all. The second piece that I think is really helpful, is get to the root of that discomfort. Right? There are things that make us uncomfortable, everywhere, could be asking for money making a cold call, having conversations, right? Like we've covered a lot of those things today. But you didn't come out of the womb that way. Right? Never was there a baby born, a baby born when they're like, Oh, here's a beautiful baby boy, Sterling hawk and seven pounds, 11 ounces, and he's going to be uncomfortable to speak in public, right? Like it started somewhere. And as you can reflect on where that discomfort came from, originally, you're going to be able to kind of uproot it from the source.
Jonathan Fischer 37:46
Love that. Josh was coming back with a good question. Here's what it says, can you share before or after story of a person or an organization that has applied your insights?
Sterling Hawkins 37:55
Yeah, it's one of my favorite stories is about somebody from the no matter what community named Emanuel, and he's a long standing community member, become a good friend of mine. And he started out with a corporate job in the pandemic. And I think it was late in 2020, he lost his job at the same time as he was getting married, not the best time to lose your job, obviously. And what he did is he started to deploy this system. He said, Okay, well, what I really want is, I want to start my own business. I don't really see reality that way. Like, it seems impossible, it seems like a bad time to do it. Maybe my wife is going to be angry at me or worried about me, or it's not going to set the relationship up very well. But he said, Okay, I'm going to make a commitment. I'm going to commit to starting my business no matter what. And one day he's out strolling through the Bronx or something. And he just happens to walk by a tattoo shop, walks in and gets a tattoo of the business. He wanted to start, I think, was on his right bicep. It's called left spider if you want to check it out. And so he had committed that was his way of committing in a way where there was no going back. And so every time he wanted to get a job, he looked to his commitment. Every time he was having a difficult conversation with his wife, he looked to his commitment when he was watching his bank account Windell. And he was worried about making those calls to clients. He looked to his commitment. And by surrounding himself with the right people addressing challenges like we've talked about, and really surrendering to that unknown. He's built a marketing agency just texted me a couple of months ago. That is now an eight figure business. So we went from losing his job dwindling bank account, to creating a company that has been massively successful in just a couple of years.
Jonathan Fischer 40:00
That's an amazing story. I love that. super inspiring to me. Yeah, that really brings it home love that most of us have had different in this space have had moments of I think we can relate to that. Michael Novak is asking another great question here, too, says I get arachnids for breakfast. Appetizing with chocolate or without Microsoft, but we can tell me offline, if I'm understanding you correctly, Michael says you're saying that you know, learn new things, act on life, not react to life and always be setting the bar higher until you're comfortable with growth and Thrive. You'd like that statement? What would you do? How would you riff off of that?
Sterling Hawkins 40:36
I do, I would even take it enough. An additional step, which is you're never done growing. Right. So if you're comfortable with whatever level of growth you have, find that next level of discomfort. It's out there somewhere a mentor of mine used to say, it's like a mountain without a top. Right, you're never going to reach the top, you're never going to free yourself of all that discomfort. But you just continue to climb. And if you deploy what you say, you're learning new things, you're acting, not reacting, you're always setting the bar higher, you're always going to be stepping into more discomfort, which is the opportunity for growth. I
Jonathan Fischer 41:17
love that. Well, I mean, Sterling has been a fantastic conversation. We've blown through the time spent together. Thanks so much for adding amazing value for the listener today.
Sterling Hawkins 41:28
My pleasure, thank you so much for having me on and great to see all of you.
Jonathan Fischer 41:32
Well, and if you've enjoyed the content that you enjoy every week here on evolve sales, you can go back and listen to our fantastic guests, anytime that you like by checking out our podcast, which is called the evolved sales leader wherever you like to go and consume your audio content. Go check it out the evolved sales leader. And with that, we also want to thank our fantastic sponsor overpass.com There is no better solution on the planet for quickly hiring high quality phone based talent to grow your company fast and an amazing affordable costs. Check him email@example.com It's free to create your account as a hiring manager. There are friendly staff is ready to help. The software is very powerful. The talent is top shelf overpass calm. We're proudly sponsored by them. Well, with that I'm going to sign off for this week. Thank you our listening audience for making this show such a success without you. It would not be possible. We'll see you next time right here at the same time. Same station right on LinkedIn. You guys make it a great weekend. We'll see you then.