What’s really holding you back from taking your business to the next level? Is it the right funnel? The perfect team member? Having “enough” followers on Instagram? Today Megan Hyatt Miller and I are exploring what’s REALLY holding you back as the missing piece to success in your business and how to overcome it. And no, it’s not a new marketing funnel or social media trick!
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Megan Hyatt Miller is the President and CEO of Full Focus (formerly Michael Hyatt & Co). But she’s also a mom to five, a wife, a Christian, and she even lives in Franklin, Tennessee like me! For those of you that don’t know, Full Focus is a goal-achievement company. What that means is: they close the gap between where you are and where you want to be. Right now, you can work with them through their business coaching programs or their Full Focus Planner (which if you’ve listened to the podcast for a while, you know I am a HUGE fan of!).
At Full Focus, their team wants to achieve (and wants YOU to achieve!) success that is “full-orbed” which means you get a double win by winning at work and succeeding in life. Making sure your business gives you the margin to have the time you need for a rich personal life is just as important as a business that gives you the financial freedom you desire. As a mom and business owner myself, I couldn’t appreciate this message more. I think you’ll love this interview as much as I did so keep reading if you are looking for that missing piece to success in your business that gives you your LIFE back.
You’re a CEO of an amazing company, an author, and a mom of five. What does a “day in the life” look like right now?
Generally, I will go to work at nine and finish work at about three. I usually head into the office (which truly functions more like a coworking space), but I do have an office at home I work out of about once a week on a “no meetings” day. Needing to have a “hard stop” at three was really important to me especially when my children were younger. After all, one of the great things about being an entrepreneur is that you can actively make some of those choices for yourself so that your business can work for you.
It’s important to me to be fully present from three o clock on with my family. Evenings look like helping with homework around the kitchen island, dinner at the table together, and chatting about everyone’s day. I should also mention - I start my day with quiet time as a committed Christian, exercise, and of course my Full Focus Planner.
I love that you are off every day at three. Did you feel like you had to fight hard for that schedule as the CEO?
No, I didn’t, and that might be partly because I started it many years ago before I was the CEO. When my dad, Michael Hyatt, felt I was ready to step into the role of CEO, I knew I couldn’t sacrifice the needs of the business over my family time. Of course, he said that if I could produce the results needed in the time I had, there was no problem!
We’ve also made that an option for our team as well. Full-time is about 30-40 hours/week. We are a really family-friendly company, and I think that’s one of the reasons why almost 65% of our employees are women.
I actually have a friend who works at Full Focus and just absolutely loves it and can completely attest to the priority placed on work-life balance. This actually, leads me to the topic of the day which is the missing piece to success in your business: mindset. Which I know can make some people feel a little like *womp womp* heard that before…
But the truth is, I am obsessed with the NEW way you talk about mindset in your new book, Mind Your Mindset. Basically, you talk about how we can buy all the business courses, listen to helpful podcasts, and use amazing tools like Full Focus Planner, but if we have something like what you call “the narrator,” we can’t really win in our businesses or life. I’m so excited to talk to you about this!!
First, let’s talk about the subheadline of your new book: The Science That Shows Success Starts With Your Thinking. Tell me more about that!
This book was so much fun to write and research because you are right, there are a lot of people talking about mindset. But we ultimately decided that YES, there does need to be another book about mindset because most of the books out there were more psychological in nature OR very densely scientific where you needed a Ph.D. to understand what they are talking about. We absolutely did want it to be evidence-based because as pretty serious business people, things that sounded kind of “woo-woo” did not resonate for us or for our clients. So, we headed to the science!
The truth is: our brains are experts at interpreting the events of our life. There is “what happens to us” (the facts!), and then our brain takes those facts and gives meaning to them. Our brain loves safety and certainty, so it gives us a “story” to explain the facts.
For example, maybe you are a business owner who made $25,000 one month and then $0 the next. Your brain is going to take those two independent facts, and say “Are we in a recession? Do your clients not like you anymore? Did your marketing stop working?”. Whatever it is, your brain is going to try and come up with a (usually negative) story, and then that story drives the actions you take next.
While that works sometimes, it doesn’t always deliver the actions we want. What we need to do, is go further upstream and recalibrate this “story”, so that we can have access to solutions and ideas that will ultimately help you get somewhere different.
I love all of that and have been guilty of creating stories around data myself! In your book, you talk about a “narrator” and how identifying the narrator, is the first step to all of this. Can you talk a little bit more about that?
If you’ve ever felt like there was someone talking to you inside your head, there is - your brain! Inside Mind Your Mindset, we’ve decided to call that voice the narrator. It can often really feel like this voice is it’s own character, as your brain works hard to keep you safe and out of danger. For most of us growing up, we never learned that there is a difference between what happened to us, and how we interpreted them (our stories). This is actually a REALLY powerful idea.
There is truly so much of our life that is subjective but feels objectively true. Once we realize that the narrator is always going to serve up a story as to why these things happen, we can learn to separate the facts from the story and ask ourselves if the story is helping us or holding us back.
In Mind Your Mindset, identifying the narrator/your story is the first step. What is the second?
Interrogate the story. I always think of those black and white movies of an interrogation happening in a dark room of a windowless basement but in a way, we really DO want to do that to our own stories. With that in mind, we also want to have a lot of self-compassion. We don’t want to interrogate with judgement. Before you jump down a rabbit hole of “why am I so negative? Why don’t I have a growth mindset?” just know - we are not WIRED to have a growth mindset. It’s absolutely a choice, and our brains are not programmed to get out of our comfort zone. It’s an unnatural thing for us and so we don’t want to get negative here, we want to stay curious.
You want to start with something along the lines of “Just because something seems true, doesn’t mean that it is. Are there other possible interpretations for this?”
If you were to ask your best friend: how would you interpret these two facts? Their answer might be completely different looking at the same two facts based on their own past experiences. Their answer might also be way more helpful.
Another way to look at this further is, if I believed this, what would the actions be? When you get clear on the consequences of the story that drives your actions, you become more motivated to work on the third step which is to imagine a better story.
How should we work through these steps? Is something we would talk to a friend about? Journal about?
There are so many ways you can do this and as you start to make it a practice or habit, you’ll find there are certain ways that will work better for you than others. Personally, I like to lay it out on a whiteboard. I do think it can be helpful to get other people involved. For example, part of my story is overcoming a debilitating public speaking fear, and that problem would have been too big for me to face head on alone. It was helpful to bring people in to help me work through that story.
On the flip side, as a bonus when you buy the book, we give you a printable “mad-lib” style business coaching worksheet to help you walk through the steps as well. Using that or something like a journal is the easiest and simplest way to get started because you truly need to work through it outside of your head (whether that means talking to a friend or putting it on paper).
I can totally relate to getting it out there because otherwise you can kind of turn step two into “okay I thought about that for five minutes and I’m ready to move on”.
Yes! And what you really don’t want to do (and this can be tempting as you start to work on this skillset), is jump straight to step three to the imagining part. For example, we have all heard of using tools like affirmations but when you skip straight to affirmations it’s going to be hard to truly convince your brain to stop holding onto the story it’s chosen already. I almost picture your brain like someone white-knuckling the steering wheel and you have to convince your brain to loosen up a little bit (using step two!) for it to truly be open to other possibilities).
Can you walk us through your journey of overcoming your fear of public speaking?
Yes, I love sharing this because I think it’s so common. Jerry Seinfeld even has this joke where at a funeral people would rather be in the casket then delivering the eulogy. That was me!
When I was about 16 or 17, I had a friend who had to give a presentation for something and got extremely nervous and had a panic attack and ran out of the room crying. Unconsciously, I developed a story that speaking was dangerous and could lead to public humilation and losing control of my body. This story stayed with me for so long that in my 30s, I couldn’t even read bible verses aloud in a small group setting. This story was also TOP secret. I was actively avoiding professional and personal opportunities that might require me to speak.
Being Asked To Be The Keynote Speaker
Finally, one day when I was COO at Full Focus, someone floated the idea of a live event with 800 people, and suggested I keynote. I was freaking out inside, but I felt like I couldn’t say no without walking away from my career at this point. I remember texting my friend who was a speech coach with tears streaming down my face saying “I have to face this once and for all, I am not willing to let my life be small because of this.
I started working with a speech coach, a life coach, an anxiety coach, and I went right into the eye of the storm for the next 6 weeks. On a bright yellow legal pad, I rewrote the story of what I wanted my experience of public speaking to be. Despite all of that, the night before I spoke in front of 800 people and we did a sound check, I had a panic attack on the way home. I was sobbing, hyper-ventilating, everything else. But the next morning, I woke up, headed to the stage and gave the keynote speech in front of 800 people. And it was AMAZING. It went off exactly as I had envisioned in my new story. I fully believe that’s because I had changed my identity first, and took very different actions to rewrite that story than I ever had in my life.
While your story doesn’t have to be as dramatic as mine (and I hope it’s not) it could be showing up in thoughts when you go to raise your prices and you’re thinking “what if everyone thinks I’m arrogant?”. Those are the stories that can keep us held back.
While you were going through this, did you feel like it might be the moment you write a book about one day?
Absolutely not! At the time, I was just trying to get through it. It really felt like a risk honestly. I was like, I’m going to do this or die trying. I would have never imagined it would have been such a profound moment in my life.
Sometimes there are stories that are so entrenched in us that we truly can’t imagine something better. That’s why I believe involving other people is so important to. It helps your brain borrow someone else’s more empowering story that can often help get you where you want to go.
As we talk about the missing piece to success in your business, let’s talk about that legal pad because I really want to envision you re-writing your story. Was it really “I am standing on stage and xyz” or what was that like?
I was writing it in the present tense like it was happening. I’m talking about the preparation I’ve done, how I’m feeling, and what it feels like to connect with the audience. I’m reminding myself that I have a story and that I have a message worth sharing and what’s at stake with the audience.
Sometimes you don’t need to be so detailed, and sometimes, it can be a simple statement. But for my story, it had taken up so much of my life I truly felt it was necessary.
It’s important to remember that our brains really can’t tell the difference between what we have actually done, and what we imagined we have done.
All of those years where I imagined something terrible happening on stage had been reinforced so many times that of course my brain felt it was very dangerous. This is why when we catastrophize it can be so traumatic and damaging for us. With that said, our narrator also does NOT have to be our enemy, it just needs to be trained.
This is SUCH a good reminder that the story we tell ourselves matters and affects each of us in big ways. Even if we are high achievers and are working toward big goals, it can be so easy to have these stories subconsciously affect how we show up in our business and ultimately might be the missing piece to success in your business.
A hard reality is that the quality of our lives will likely be determined by the quality of our stories. If you think of someone you admire professionally, the real difference between you and them is often your mindset. The way they think about their business and their success is different than you. So often, the missing piece to success in your business isn’t talent, it’s actually having the ability to master your own thinking in spectacular ways. Sports is a great example of this! Often, it’s not the “best player” that ends up scoring the most goals.
This is a little bit of a pivot but I would love to talk to you more about your team at Full Focus. What was the rebrand like when you switched from “Michael Hyatt and Co” to “Full Focus”?
First, it was a lot of fun! Michael Hyatt is obviously the founder and personality behind the company. He doesn’t have an operating role anymore, but he is still heavily involved in the business creating content, taking on speaking engagements, and co-authoring books together.
As we started thinking about our succession plan, we knew for the sake of longevity we would need to take the business away from being so personality-focused and focus more on our intellectual property and what we have built in that regard instead. We had been moving in that direction for a while internally, but it wasn’t until our now CRO (Chief Revenue Officer) pitched the idea to become “Full Focus” that we really considered the idea! Not only was it compelling from a longevity standpoint, but it also felt a lot clearer about what we do here.
How many months was the rebrand from conceptualization to launch?
Only about 3-4 months because a lot of the design work had been done from the Full Focus Planner. We went through a process we like to call “Cascading Communication”, which means that anytime the business goes through a major change, you go through it thoughtfully and in hierarchical stages so that nobody feels like they were told too late and feels surprised. That was honestly the hardest part, rolling out the change to each group of “stakeholders” very intentionally and thoughtfully. That was at least a month-long process.
Full Focus was named one “One of the Happiest Places to Work” by Inc Magazine for two years in a row. You are the leader of that as the CEO: what are your biggest tips for creating an outstanding work culture?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately as I am re-reading one of my favorite business books, The Culture Code, and one of the things the author talks about is the need for “felt safety”.
It seems like a weird thing to talk about when thinking about team culture, but when you think about what it takes for a team to perform at a high level, you are likely looking for things like ownership, self-motivation, creativity, risk-taking, and innovation. All of those things require some degree of “felt safety” because if your team feels worried or uncertain, you aren’t going to get them to access the part of themselves that have these qualities.
Now we have just gone through this period where we have all felt physically unsafe with the pandemic, we’ve felt uncertainty with moving to remote work or have known people who have lost their jobs, and so many other things outside of just ourselves and our company’s that have made people feel unsettled. As business owners and leaders, there is a real place for empathy and speaking to our teams as they belong.
The second thing I would mention is that now more than ever, we also need to be clear on our vision and how we can connect the day-to-day work of your individual contributions to a mission and purpose bigger than themselves. Part of what we know drives engagement is feeling like you are a part of something bigger than yourself.
I love all of that and I will definitely be picking up a copy of The Culture Code. Now, let’s get back to YOUR book! What is the end goal of Mind Your Mindset? In other words, where will readers be when they finished reading the book?
Access to a totally novel lever of success. I would say that Mind Your Mindset unlocks a new tool in your toolbox that, for most of us, is literally the most powerful tool we have. We don’t have to work harder, we just have to work smarter, and the best way to work smarter is to tap into your brain and what your brain can help you do when it’s working for you.
Where can our audience go to connect with you and purchase a copy of the new book, Mind Your Mindset?
When you buy the book at a retailer like Amazon, take your receipt at head to MindYourMindsetBook.com to get a lot of amazing bonuses! You’ll gain access to a brand new course Michael Hyatt and I created with bonus exercises that were NOT in the book to help you work through it, a free copy of the audiobook, and the self-coacher tool I mentioned earlier that is a “mad-lib” worksheet to help you work through the steps more quickly.
A huge thank you to Megan Hyatt Miller for this incredible interview, and now I want to give the Full Focus Planner a quick shout out!
Even as a digital calendar person, I find the Full Focus Planner to be SUCH an incredible compliment to really nail down what I am doing each day. When you use this affiliate link, you’ll get 10% off your first purchase.
Want to win a copy of Megan and Michael’s new book to unlock the missing piece to success in your business?!
Head over to @Elizabeth McCravy on Instagram to enter to win. Entering is easy, and we’ll be giving away a copy of Mind Your Mindset to one lucky person. Just look for a recent post featuring myself and Megan!
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March 21, 2023