What humans have in common is they are all tested at least one point in their life. However, where everyone differs is how they rise above every challenge and come out stronger. Bestselling author of The Successful Thinker, Corey Jahnke uncovers leadership strategies and the easy-to-follow blueprint for creating the most excellent relationships. As he shares the brilliant reading list and inspirations behind his book, find out the value system of successful thinkers for every given trial. A distinguished podcast host, Corey releases knowledge bombs on how to respond to difficult times and achieve the mindset of a successful thinker.
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Corey Jahnke on Unlocking The Mindset Of The Successful Thinker
I have a special guest, Corey Jahnke. Corey is the author and publisher of The Successful Thinker book, podcast and magazine. The Successful Thinker gives readers an easy-to-follow blueprint for creating the strongest relationship and leadership strategies available. In addition to his work on The Successful Thinker, Corey is a full-time hospital pharmacist, dog lover and health advocate. Welcome to the show, Corey. How are you doing?
I’m good. I’m honored to be on your show. I love the name of it. I love what you’re doing. I love the energy that I can feel flowing all the way from the East Coast.
I’m glad to have you as well. I love the title of your book, your podcast and your magazine. It seems like you’re branding everything with The Successful Thinker. I want to get into that because I want the audience to understand what you mean by the successful thinker. What is that all about?
In 2008, I thought I was on top of the world because I had won the Walmart Pharmacist of the Year. I thought I was killing it. I ended up changing district managers. This guy was not impressed by people skills and relationship building. He was a numbers guy. There was this particularly hard day where I had been working about twelve-hour days in a row. I worked for a ginormous company and the line was there all the time. I was looking out at this line and I got this phone call. The phone call was my new district manager saying, “You’re going to fire two full-time employees because you are way over budget.” It was like my head exploded because we were so far behind at the time and I loved the people that I worked with.
I was devastated that I set the keys on the counter and took about four steps towards the door. The image of my wife and the image of my son, their faces popped into my head. I sheepishly wandered back over and put those keys in my pocket knowing I’ve got to finish out my shift. I’m stressed and anxious by this conversation because it was brutal. It was, “You are going to fire these people or I’m going to fire these people and you with them.” I had never been in a position where I’ve had to have that conversation. Plus, it’s 2008, so I had lost about $250,000 in real estate value between the house I own and the house that my parents owned. I felt like the entire world had fallen in upon me. I went home that night and my wife wanted me to watch the movie Marley & Me.
I sat there and started bawling uncontrollably. It wasn’t the scene where Marley dies. I’m a huge dog person. That scene killed me. I didn’t even make it to that scene. The scene that got me was when Owen Wilson is sitting out in his driveway and he doesn’t want to go into the house because the home life is stressful, all the pressures of the home life and everything. My wife came over and said, “I love you.” I said, “Don’t ever say that to me again.” This is the lowest unproud thing I’ve ever said to another human being. The next sentence went, “It’s because of you that I have to keep doing this.” I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a position where you’ve heard yourself say something, and you can’t even grab your head around that it came out of your own mouth. Long story short, I was anxious and stressed because I couldn’t sleep over firing these two people. I couldn’t sleep over the job pressures and what I had said to my wife. I was at a point where I didn’t even want to live anymore. It wasn’t that I wanted to kill myself. It’s that I was in my early 40s, perfect midlife crisis time for a guy. I wanted to fall off the face of the planet.If you're focusing on problems, you're not creating solutions. Click To Tweet
I was walking around my house and it was 2:00 in the morning. I happened to walk into my son’s room. I was looking at him. For whatever reason, the thought popped into my head, “Do you want this sweet little boy to grow up without a father over some stupid job?” I went downstairs and I thought about that. I thought, “We’ve got to make this work.” I had no idea how we’re going to make it work, but we’ve got to make this work. I went back to work the next morning. I looked at my boss’ latest email, “How are you progressing on firing these two people? How are you going to put things into place to make that work and reschedule?” At the very end of it, it said, “You’re going to have to learn how to do more with less.” That’s the big corporate phrase these days. Learn how to do more with less. I had what I’ll call divine inspiration. I thought to myself, “I can never do more with less. I can only learn how to do more by becoming more.”
Fortunately, I had a few days off. I sat on my couch in my office. I sat with my eyes closed, breathing because I was anxious. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I realized that there were twelve books that I had read that had gotten me the Walmart Pharmacist of the Year the first time. Those twelve books are in the back of The Successful Thinker. What we did is I said, “What if we create a practical application for those twelve books and put them into place in this system that I’m trying to work within the Walmart system? How do I put together something in place to where I can somehow become okay with everything that’s going on in my life, still serve my customers and do right by these two people?” That’s how The Successful Thinker was born. I wanted it to be something that would work for all the pharmacists that I knew in my district because they were all getting the same speech and me.
We boiled those twelve books plus a lot of personal interviews, plus a lot of experience from my customers. I started pulling customers. Rodney, you’re a successful businessman. What do you do? We boiled it down to seven simple things that anyone could do that work in the real world. We were able to do right by the two people that he was talking about. We were able to grow our employee approval rating to 98%. We were able to increase our sales by $3 million. It all came by changing our thinking. That’s what we decided it had to be. The successful thinker is someone who rises above their circumstances and says, “What’s going on here? Who do I have to become to make my world right?”
I have to peel the onion back on this because I want to understand what changed in the thinking. What thoughts did you have to get rid of? What challenge? What new thoughts came about? What were the actions that came up?
The first and most important thing that I realized was I took the first book on my list of twelve books. The list is in the back of The Successful Thinker. For your readers, I’ll be happy to email them a copy to their inbox. These are the twelve Successful Thinker books. The first one was The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. What Stephen Covey said in that book was you are not responsible for what happens to you, but that there is a space between what happens to you and how you respond to it. Your job as a human being is to lengthen that space before you respond. Right away, I realized that I had to take my district manager out of the equation. I had to get him out of my mind. If I focused on him, then I’m focusing on the problem. If you’re focusing on problems, you’re not creating solutions.
I sat down with my notepad and I wrote down, “What is the solution?” I wrote down the top six or seven things that I could think of. I remembered Brian Tracy’s book Goals!. Brian Tracy says, “You want to write down at least twenty things that you can do to solve any problem that you’re having,” because the first five, the first ten, those are things you’re already doing. It’s that the level of thinking that’s got us where we are now is never going to take us any further. It’s that last ten to twenty solutions that the gold is found in. It’s that idea that, “If I keep working this, what else could be the solution? What else could I do? What else is possible?” I realized that the first and foremost thing that I needed to do was to figure out how to do right by these two people.
I went to the store manager. I’m at a pharmacy within a store. I said, “I need you to help me with this.” See up into that point, my thinking was always, “I’m a bulldozer. I’m a snowplow. If something gets in my way, I’m running it over.” For the first time in my life, I was hit with a problem I couldn’t solve on my own. One of the things that I learned through this thought process is that successful thinkers ask for help. They go to other successful thinkers. They ask mentors. They ask the coaches. They look at people who are winning in the leadership space and say, “What are you doing that I’m not doing?” I went to him and he said, “I have two positions that I need to fill elsewhere in the store. I know that this person would be great for that job. I know that this person would be great for this job.” The first thing was I didn’t have to fire two people. I was able to relocate them because I had grown out of this to the point where I could ask for help. That’s the big shift. It’s, “I can’t do this on my own.” When I said that, I looked at the people that are still left in my department. A pharmacist is an interesting job because a pharmacist is in charge of all the stuff and they’re responsible for all the stuff. Most of us feel like we have to have our fingers in everything.
What Darren Hardy said in his book was on my list. It was called The Compound Effect. He said, “What you want to do is you don’t want to try and do everything. You want to become world class at one, two or three things maximum. You want to focus on that. Otherwise, you’re in the way of the people who are good at the rest of it. Whatever you hate to do, there’s somebody who loves to do it.” I said to myself, “What one, two or three things could I be world class at?” The first was working with people, working with the customers. That’s the only thing I cared about. That’s the only thing I was good at. I’m going to work out with the customers. The other thing was working with the doctors and the nurses. I’m going to be somebody who’s a conduit between my pharmacy and the professional organization around.
Number three, this was the game changer, working on developing my people into somebody who could do things better than I could. That was it right there. Once I realized that I didn’t have to do everything, I didn’t have to know everything, I had to get people the space to do what they do best. It was like someone lifted the world off of my shoulders and I was able to breathe again. For instance, one of the girls that worked for me was bored because she was good at what we originally tasked her with. She had already done that. I hate scheduling. I don’t hate anything, but I hate scheduling. She said, “I’ll help you with that.” I said, “Okay.” She wrote a schedule and I checked it. I’ve got ten, twelve people that work for us. She wrote the schedule and I checked. It looked better than a schedule I could ever write. We said, “Fine.”
A couple of times of that, she came to me. I was feeling particularly snarky that day. I said, “No, I’m not going to check it.” She was like, “What do you mean?” I said, “I hate it. I don’t even want to look at it. I trust you. You know what you’re doing. What’s the worst to happen, that we run short one day or maybe run-heavy one day? We’re already running around like monkeys in a barrel. Put it out there.” She was petrified about this. She got into the scheduling. It’s her deal. What was weird was not only was she great at it, Walmart opened up a position less than a year later to where they needed someone who scheduled pharmacists for the Northern half of Wisconsin. Even though it was against company policy to have a subordinate write my schedule and they knew she was doing it, they gave her that job. She went from making $14 an hour to make you $25 an hour, doing a job that didn’t even exist because we gave her that opportunity. Totally unknowing that job was coming.We fall in love with a future that hasn't happened yet. Click To Tweet
That taught me that the universe is a whole lot smarter than I am. That taught me that if you go ahead and you put your trust into someone else, what you’re doing is you’re also saying to that person, “I believe in you. I think you can do this.” You’re saying to yourself, “I believe in you because at some level, when I gave you a task and I trust you fully to take care of it, then I must be saying that ‘If you screw this up, I can fix it.’ Whatever happens, I can fix it.” By trusting others, you trust yourself. Isn’t that ironic?
Have you changed as a result of this? Who was the person that you’ve become? I hear that there are some things that happen on the outside with other people but, internally, with you, what are some of the outcomes or changes as a result of the situation?
The biggest one is that you are not your current condition and circumstances. My favorite thought of all is, “Everything that you are right now, at this moment in time is the sum total of who you were.” If you are in a situation where you’re not happy with the way things are, even if it feels like there’s no hope, there’s always hope. You can always change your situation and circumstances because, this is why we call it the successful thinker, you can change the way you think about them.
I believe that what happened with this particular situation that you’re sharing with us is there are possibilities that were discovered. Perhaps those weren’t readily available or you weren’t conscious of them at the time that this situation occurred in your life. That’s what happens in our lives as people. We find ourselves in certain situations and circumstances, facing challenges and obstacles and the possibilities of how to overcome them or not. They’re not present at the time. You said something powerful in the beginning. You said it’s how you respond to those challenges, that’s what makes the difference and also who you become. That’s the most important one is who you become. We all have a decision. We all have choices that we have to make when we are in those situations and looking around to see what’s possible.
When I got hurt, my accident was devastating. It felt like my life was going to come to an end. I would be alive, but I wouldn’t be living. I would be a vegetable for the rest of my life. That’s what was present. That’s what the doctors thought. That’s what everyone thought. I had to awaken to my positive potentials. What were some possibilities for me? I couldn’t see them at first. It sounds like there were some possibilities with you relative to placing these two employees and maybe even expanding your level of delegation, decreasing your scope of work to make the company more efficient. Those were all possibilities that, at one time, you weren’t aware of. You were scratching your head like, “I don’t know how to handle this situation.”
What we can gain and learn from your story is that we have to take the time and look and see. Answers are always there. We’re not always present to them. That’s the game changer. That’s what a successful thinker is. A successful thinker is someone who says, “I’m not going to settle for what’s readily present right now at the moment. I’m going to seek and look for possibilities that I could take to change the situation.” As a result of all that, we become different people. It causes us to change and become someone that we weren’t at that point in time. That’s what defines success. That’s the difference between someone who’s successful and someone who’s not successful. Someone who’s successful has taken the time to look and see what’s possible and can walk into those possibilities. A lot of times we can see what’s possible, but we’re not willing to walk into them. We’re not willing to take that chance or capitalize on that opportunity. Give our readers’ context, a real sense of what your values are. I would like to know what the word success means to you.
Brian Tracy talked about the difference between successful people and unsuccessful people. It has to do with the way you explain things to yourself. If you are going to the mall and you can’t find a parking spot close to the mall and you end up parking out in Timbuktu. The unsuccessful thinker complains and criticizes them all for not having strategic parking and criticizes other people because, “I had to park so far away.” The successful thinker says, “Isn’t this great? I get a chance to walk a lot farther and get a good breath of fresh air or get in an extra 200 to 400 steps now.” Every single situation works like that. The successful thinker says, “What is it in this situation that I can gain from it? What can I learn from it?”
When I was younger, I thought success had to do with how big your bank account is and what car you drive. Even though I wasn’t concerned about that so much, that’s what I thought it was. The older I get, and I’m going to be 53, the more I understand that success has to do with your heart. Are you the person that can help someone else out even if that person can do nothing for you or will ever know that you helped them out? Are you the person that can look at a situation and say, “I don’t know enough about this situation to comment?”
I had dinner with my son. He’s going to be seventeen. He was asking me some tough questions about what’s going on in the news. I said, “You have to understand that a lot of people want to decide one way or the other.” The Democrat’s this or the Republican’s that because the human condition is we want to have certainty in our lives. I want to be certain that I know what this situation means. The successful thinker says, “What is going on in this situation that what you said isn’t obvious to me at this moment? What do I know or don’t know? What could I find out that’s factually related and not opinion-related? How can I add value to the people around me? What can I do to make the world a better place?” Those are the questions that successful thinkers ask. That’s the value system that creates your ability to have people around you that make your world better. You’re successful to the degree that you add value to other people. You’re successful to the degree that you create options for yourself. You’re successful to the degree that you explain things to yourself in a positive way.
You said something about how you look at things. The successful thinker looks at things a certain way. I’m glad that you think this way because I feel that this is the difference between a successful person and the not successful person. It’s when a challenge comes up, when a situation comes up, when there’s an issue that comes up, I always look at it as an opportunity. Especially if it’s something that is challenging me or preventing me from accomplishing what I want to accomplish, it’s stopping me and it’s in the way. It’s what I call resistance.When you start that hard work process that you're talking about, you like yourself a whole lot better. Click To Tweet
I was a football player. I love scoring touchdowns. Whenever there was something that was preventing me or in the way of me scoring that touchdown, that’s my resistance. In life, it’s the same way. If you want to get success, success by definition would be scoring. It’s how you deal with that resistance. A lot of people would get upset because, “I’ve got to park way out here,” or “I have a financial situation,” or “In 2008, the financial market’s crashing.” Those are bad situations. I get it. It doesn’t feel good. What we have here is an opportunity to overcome it. When you have that mindset towards it that gives you an edge, it gives you an advantage. Your attitude is everything. There’s a difference between the attitude of someone successful and someone who’s not successful. When you have the attitude of, “Here’s an opportunity to win, to overcome, to grow, to tackle this,” that gives you an advantage and a head start on being successful altogether.
We tend to believe that we know what our lifeline looks like. I always talk about how the timeline of our life is not linear. We think about it as like if you look at an EKG scan. There’s this line and it flips. It goes down and it flips, and it flips. That’s how people think their life is, but it’s not. Our life is spherical. It can go in any direction at any time. Your life took a straight left. We think when we’re looking at this linear timeline, that we can predict where we are and what’s supposed to happen. We fall in love with a future that hasn’t happened yet. Let’s go back to the unfortunate event that occurred in your life. Imagine the Rodney Flowers of now if we’d stayed on that path versus the Rodney Flowers of now. I can’t help but wonder if, somehow, some way, you would like yourself a lot better now than you might’ve liked that other person.
I don’t know because I don’t know who that person is several years ago now. That person would be a certain type of person. What I do know is I’m in love with the impact, values and the changes that I’m able to have on the world. I’m happy with the person that I’ve become. I’m able to do, be and have more than I would have been able to do, have and be as a football player. I love the game. I would give anything to get out there and go four quarters, but I’m scoring touchdowns in this arena as well. I’m winning championships if you will. I’m just doing it in a different way. I’m still a game changer. It’s all about how you look at the situation. The game changer mentality, that’s what we are exemplifying.
That’s exactly where I was going with that. It’s important to understand that it isn’t your challenges that define you. It’s your challenges that create you. It’s a bad idea to consider the person you are if your circumstances were different. It’s like when they have those movies where somebody goes back in time and changes one thing and everything changes. You don’t know where you would have ended up if you stayed on that path. If this whole thing with that man hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have been able to help all of the people who were like me in that situation who have taken their own lives because it never occurred to them not to. I’m in a profession where there’s a high suicide rate. I work with physicians who have a tremendously high suicide rate because no one gave them the tools, the tactics and the strategies that you and I are talking about to help them change the game.
The thing that you can take away from it is life is a series of pivots. The harmony of life isn’t in a straight line. There are turns. There are dips. There are curves. There are all kinds of things. The person that is able to navigate those curves, those turns and those dips successfully and effectively, that is my definition of success. A lot of people get stuck because they get hit with the challenge. They get hit, but they don’t pivot. They try to keep going in the same direction. That problem, situation or this change that’s necessary that pops up are like a tree, but you don’t want to navigate the tree. You keep running into the tree and you want the tree to move. It’s not going to move, so you keep bumping into the tree.
The thing that I’ve learned about resistance, about challenges, is they require change. It’s not an outside change. A lot of times, we want to change the people that are around us. We try to change the environment. The environment does have some effect, but the main thing that needs to change when we are in those situations is our self. Be grateful for when these situations come up because it’s an opportunity to make you aware, to look in within yourself and understand, “What is it about me that needs to change?” It wasn’t the doctor. It wasn’t the medicine. It was my understanding that if I wanted something to change, I had to change it.
It was your understanding that if you wanted things to change, to be beneficial to you and your organization, even though your leadership was telling you to do one thing. You were looking at something that you could do that would satisfy the entire part, everyone involved. That required something out of you. As a result of you discovering what that is, you reach success. That’s what success is. We go from one dip to the next, one challenge to the next, one area of resistance to the next. That’s how successful people navigate life. You got to learn how to pivot. Pivot is not something that you do one time. There’s a series of pivots in your life. The way you respond to those challenges, the way you pivot that is what determines how successful you are and the person that you’ve become.
There’s a story that plays in your head. One of the things we talked about in The Successful Thinker was what we call The Law of the Story. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People gave me a blueprint to write The 7 Laws of 21st Century Leadership. One of them was The Law of the Story, which essentially says if you want a better life, you have to tell yourself a better story. You have to tell yourself a better story about who Rodney Flowers is, what he’s capable of, what he can overcome and who he can be. It’s super important because nothing that is in your life is there because you didn’t manifest it already. In order to manifest new things, you have to think new thoughts. You have to tell yourself new stories because most of the stories that you’re telling yourself now, although you believe in them strongly, they’re based on lies.
They’re based on what other people told you. You could have bought into that and you could be in this third direction that we haven’t even talked about. A lot of people do that. It makes me sad. The doctor, their friends, their family says, “Rodney, this is all that’s possible for you.” They buy into that story. That’s where they start repeating that story. Their life goes down this path that isn’t worthy of them. If you tell yourself a better story, which was what you did, you change the story. “This accident, this injury, is not who I am.” I’d love to hear who you told yourself you were once you came to that realization.
I’m going to get into that, but I want to stay here because this is a successful thinker. This is where the work happens. You’re touching on something that is truly a game changer and can truly change the trajectory of the people reading here. I am going to share that story. When we are in these situations, our backgrounds, perhaps the way you were raised, everything that we’ve learned up to this point dictates how we think about certain situations. That’s what you’re describing. The problem with that is we believe whatever we’re thinking. Whatever story, we believe that. The successful thinker thinks of something else to believe, that’s more favorable to them, overcoming the challenge, the obstacle or the situation ahead of them.Our life is spherical. It can go in any direction at any time. Click To Tweet
One of the reasons why I got into this business is because you would see superstars, whether it’s football players or any type of athlete or singers, they’re at the top of their game, they’re MVPs. They’re highly successful, making amounts of money wildly. You have a guy like me or a guy like you that says, “I would love to do that.” I’m sure you’ve heard this before, “I can’t do that. I don’t have the body. I don’t have the background. I don’t have the connections. I would love to do it, but I can’t do that.” We make it okay for that person to be, do and have everything that they are. When it comes to ourselves, we don’t see that for ourselves. The story is, “I can’t do that,” because of whatever the story is. I felt like, “This can’t be right.” They have to go to the bathroom as I do. They have to put one leg in their pants at a time as I do. What makes them different? Perhaps they may have a gift at whatever field they’re in, but I’m gifted at something too. If they have a gift and I don’t, then let me define what my gift is.
I wanted to tackle that. I wanted to challenge that mindset. You could be a star. You could make amounts of money wildly. You could be and have anything that you want to do in this world. The fact that there are people doing it, that’s my indication that I can do it too. I wanted to study those people and find out what they are doing, what their habits are and how do they think. If I can identify those things, I can have that too. I found that it’s the story. It’s how we think about ourselves relative to whatever it is that we want to accomplish. That’s the game changer. When you’re thinking about things that you want to accomplish, then you have to listen to what your thoughts are towards that. Like $1 million, it’s simple stuff.
If you ask the average person, “What do you think about making $1 million?” Most of them would tell you, “I can’t do that.” They can’t do that. It doesn’t even have to be $1 million. It could be $100,000 a year. It could be $200,000. It could be an amount that they’d never made or maybe someone in their family has never made. You can name it. They’ll say, “I don’t think I can do that.” Consciously, they can’t see themselves doing that. That’s the game changer. When can you change your mindset around what it is that you want, instead of thinking, “I can’t,” start asking yourself, “How? What do I need to do? Who do I need to be in order to do that, to make this available to me, to make this present in my life? What do I need to do?” That’s the game changer.
To get back to your question about what my mindset was, here it is. The main thing I wanted to do when I was playing football is the best. I had goals of being an MVP in NFL, winning a Super Bowl, the average goal that any football player would have. They’re serious about this. I didn’t just want to go to the NFL, I wanted to be a star, top five, top ten draft picks, all of that. In high school, you need to perform like you’re in college. Once you get to college, you need to perform similar to the pros. You don’t want just to be a draft pick. You want to be at the top. That was my mindset.
After I got hurt, I still wanted a high level of success. I still wanted to score touchdowns. I still wanted to make a difference. I still wanted to make a game changer. I would ask myself, “How can I do those same things?” Even though I have this challenge and this physical challenge ahead of me or with me that I have to deal with and perhaps I’ve got to deal with some form of it for the rest of my life. Even still, how can I be successful? What do I need to do to be successful? Who do I need to be successful, to experience a high level of success? I’ll ask myself, “Who do I need to be to walk again, to regain my strength?” Regardless if most people with this injury haven’t ever recovered from it, regardless of the doctor telling me, “You’re 1%. You shouldn’t have the level of recovery that you have right now,” I didn’t settle for any of that. I focused on what I wanted.
I would ask myself, “Who do I need to be and what do I need to do in order to experience those things?” That’s how I see myself. I’ve seen myself like that. I operated with the same level of aggression and techniques that I possessed when I was playing football. I’m talking about the eating regimen. I’m talking about the workout regimen. I discipline my body. I discipline my mind. I made sure that I thought about certain types of thoughts. I made sure that I was doing the visualization exercises and that I would see myself as successful. I will take advantage of the opportunities that will come to me, even though they were scary. I will still step out and do those things. Sometimes I hurt myself. I brush myself off. I would learn from those things. I would get back up and I would try it again and again. That’s how I got here. If you wanted a blueprint for my success since my accident, there it is right there.
One of the things that are evident though is that is not a blueprint for Rodney Flowers getting past an injury and becoming something else. That is a blueprint for overcoming an obstacle. Regardless of what the media makes it look like, that’s exactly what every single human being that’s ever walked the planet that’s been successful at something has done. It’s the difference between getting stuck and getting yourself unstuck. No one is coming to help you. You have to figure out, “How am I going to get around it? How am I going to get over it? How am I going to get through it?” The story and the other thing that you got involved with was what we call visualization, seeing yourself walking again in your mind’s eye first. This interview was done after the 2019 Masters. There was this huge comeback for Tiger Woods. What was obvious to me? Did you watch the tournament?
I didn’t watch it, but I’ve read some articles about it. I’ve thought just like you. It’s amazing for this guy to come back from the challenges he’s had to face.
There were maybe six or eight guys that could have won the tournament walking into the 12th hole. Tiger Woods was the only one who was telling himself the story, “Today is my day. Today is the day that I’m going to walk away with the trophy.” You can see that in the way he’s approaching his shots and in confidence that he’s doing. He doesn’t think that he could do that because he’s Tiger Woods and he’s won 70 something tournaments before. What he thinks is, “I see this shot in my mind’s eye of the shot I need to take, the person I need to become these next six or eight holes to walk away with the trophy.” You could make arguments about his experience and all of that, but that wasn’t it. He was probably the most scared person on the planet because he had the most to lose.
What happens in sports all the time is you see teams that are winning. They’re killing the team in the first half. In the second half, they start playing not to lose. It all goes down the pipe. Why are some people successful like Michael Jordan and Julius Erving? They want the ball. Julius Erving said this and it’s my favorite quote of all time. He said, “I demand more from myself that most people think is even possible.” Why can’t you do that? Whoever you are reading this, why can’t you decide, “I’m going to find one thing that I’m going to be world class at and I’m going to put everything into it. I’m not going to ask for permission to put everything into it. I’m going to leave it all on the table. I’m going for it?” That’s the difference. It becomes an obsession with people who want to win.
I can see your description of Tiger Woods going into the 12th hole. I believe that he was in the zone. You can’t get in the zone. The Michael Jordans and the LeBron James’, the list goes on of all these star players that want to get to the zone, they’re unstoppable. In that zone is when you have absolute faith in your ability to produce the results that you want. You’ve experienced it. I experience it all the time. It’s getting into that zone. When you’re in that zone, you believe so much in yourself and so much in your ability that you can’t be stopped. You know that when you shoot the ball, it’s going in.
“I have to close a client.” You’re going to close the client. You know if you have to get the deal done, you’re going to get the deal done. If you have to get the book written, you’re going to get the book written. When you know you’ve got to start the business, you know you’re going to start the business because you can feel it on yourself. You’re in it. That’s when you have so much belief in yourself. The reason why these guys have so much belief in themselves is that they trust the process, number one. Number two is they put the work in. The difference between someone who says, “I’m going to take that stuff. I’m going to pursue that goal that I want, that dream that I want. I’m going to overcome this challenge,” but then they don’t do any work. It’s like showing up on game day looking for greatness but you haven’t put any work in. You can’t cash out great because you haven’t put the work in. You’ve got a great idea, but you haven’t put the work in. You can’t get into that zone when you have not put that work in.
The second part to this is not only believing in the saying, “I’m going to make that decision. This is what I’m going to do with my life.” Believe in yourself enough to put the work in every single day to the point where you can drop into the zone and you know your work is going to pay off. You’ve studied this. You put in the work. You have such a deep understanding of what it is that you’re trying to accomplish that you can do it in your sleep. That’s what you call the zone. Once you get to that point, you can’t be stopped.
When you’re in the zone, you’re not asking permission to be great. When I was struggling with my situation that I told you about, we drew up a plan. We put that plan into place. We didn’t wait for the company to tell us it was going to be okay. We didn’t wait for someone to give us permission. We put a plan into place and we worked it. We tweaked it. We improvised it. Before we knew what was happening, the company couldn’t argue with the plan because they had $3 million extra that they didn’t have before. The profit was up 20%. They had an employee satisfaction rating of 98%. These are things that they never even thought was possible. Asking for permission is not what you want to do. You want to give yourself permission to be great. A lot of people don’t want to do that because it’s the other guy. The other guy can be great, but I can’t. Give yourself permission to be the best possible version of yourself at all times. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t.
It’s because then, at that point, it becomes personal. You have to hold yourself accountable. When you say you’re going to go off, you’re going to do something, you’re going to overcome this challenge, you’re going to start the business. You’re going to do whatever it is that you say you’re going to do. After you make that decision, what comes next? It’s work. That’s when people get stumped. When they say, “I’m not going to keep bumping into that tree. I’m ready to make a pivot in my life,” and when they make that pivot, they see, “In order to do this, what has to happen is I have to climb this mountain. I don’t know if I want to do that. Do I want it that bad? Do I want to put myself through that process? Do I want to become this person?”
How much does it mean to you? When it means enough to you, you can make that decision. You’d say, “I’m going to climb this mountain. I don’t care how hard it is. I don’t care what I’ve got to do to climb it. I don’t care what I’ve got to do to pivot. I want it so much I’m willing to do whatever it takes in order to make this change.” When you get to that point, that’s when things will change for you. That’s when your life will begin to change. You will experience transformation. You’ll experience success. You’ll experience any and everything that you want to experience in your life. Will it be hard? Yes. Would you go through some challenges? Yes. If you can keep going and be resilient and relentless in your pursuit, you will become a game changer. You will have what it is that you want.
You’ve got to get to a point in your life where you’re not willing to be reasonable about it anymore. I have my goals, I have an audience I want to reach, I have people I want to help and I’m not willing to be reasonable about it. People say, “Don’t work on this on the weekends. Don’t work on this in the evenings.” I’m sorry. I don’t even hear that anymore. I’m unreasonable about my goals. If no one likes it, that’s fine because I’m not in it for them. I’m in it for that person who’s stuck in that same situation that I was in and they need help. You’re in it for that person that you see him. I know that you go to bed at night. You see that person that you’re talking to.
I see them being, having and doing what it is that they want to be, do and have. However, it comes with work. It comes with a level of commitment. It comes with a level of dedication. I see a lot of people out here. They’re always having these, “Is it the easy way to do this?” or “The five things to experience this quickly,” and all these quick or get-rich schemes. If you want success, you’ve got to work for it. If you want success, you’ve got to put away some of the things that you’re doing that’s not allowing you to be successful. If you want success, you’re going to have to learn new things, new ways of thinking and new ways of being. You’re going to have to discipline yourself. You’re going to have to put schedules in place, put structures in place that’s going to support you changing. You have to get rid of some of your friends. You’ve got to develop some new friends. You’re going to create a different network for yourself. All of this stuff is woo-woo.
If you want to know the common threads of those things that I named off, those are the common threads of being successful. Forget all the get-rich schemes. Forget all that other stuff. Find out what it is that you want to be, identify with who you want to be and look at, “What are the things that I need to do in order to be and have this type of person?” You put that into play. You put it in play until you reach the level of success as that person that you are satisfied with it. Once you’ve done that, you can go to bed at night, rest fully and comfortably knowing that you gave it everything that you’ve got and you are that person. That’s it. I would tell people I can put all that work in and I still may not be a number one draft pick. I may not get drafted or I may not make $1 million. You have to put all the work in and I may not ever run again. That’s what I want. I want to be able to run. I want to get out on the field and go full course.
Where I am now is a whole lot better than being in that wheelchair, having someone feed me every single day and sitting up in the hospital. I have to go outside on a schedule and all the other things that come with being in a wheelchair. Now, I’m able to walk. I’m able to be independent. What are you able to do based on the work that you’re going to be able to put in towards your goal or dream? You reach for the moon. If you don’t make the moon, at least you’ll be among the stars. Get started and put in some work and I guarantee you. Don’t even think about what you may not be able to do. You will be in a better place than you are as a result of making those decisions. That is something in my mind to work for. That is something to make that decision for. That is something to look forward to in my mind.
When you start that hard work process that you’re talking about, you like yourself a whole lot better. You work harder because you like liking yourself. You start liking yourself more. That’s where people with high self-esteem separate themselves. The more you are in motion, the more those other feelings go away and those negative stories that drag you down. Do that hard work and it gets good to you. Before you know it, you’re so much further than you were last week, last month, last year.
When you start putting in the work towards something that you enjoy, it doesn’t seem hard anymore. It’s something that you do. You understand that it’s part of the process. When you start falling in love with the process, you get into momentum. It’s like practice. If you’re a star basketball player, you realize you’re complaining about practice because we’re a championship team. We have to practice. It’s what we do. You don’t want to be complaining about it. It’s part of who you are. It becomes a part of your DNA. It’s like eating. You’ve got to eat to survive. Why are you complaining when it’s time to eat? This is what you’ve got to do. I want to survive. We either have to change our mindset and our thinking. That’s a game changer mentality towards what it is that’s required in order for us to be successful.
That quote that says that best is that, “Successful people make a habit of doing the things that unsuccessful people don’t like to do.” Successful people don’t like to do them either, but they do them anyway.
Corey, it’s been great having you on the show. How can people connect with you? If they wanted to get a copy of The Successful Thinker book, learn about your podcast, maybe subscribe to your magazine, how can they do it?
Everything that I am is at TheSuccessfulThinker.com. You’re able to sign up for Coffee With Corey, which is a short video training series. You’re able to get the copies of the book. You’re able to listen to the podcast. You’re able to see great blogs because we turn in all of our podcasts into blogs so that if you’re a person who is a reader and not a listener, we’ve got you covered there as well. Rodney and I want the best for you, so you’re always welcome to reach out to me at Corey@CoreyJahnke.com for any email advice. Tell me about your challenge and we’ll get you started on the way to get past it.
Thank you for being on the show. This has been a lovely conversation. I’m looking forward to learning more about you, supporting you in any way that I can. I believe that the audience got a lot out of this conversation. Do you have any last words for them?
The number one thing that I want the audience to take away is that this is your one and only chance. You’re not here on rehearsal. If there’s something that’s been eating at your heart, something that you want to do, be or have in life, the resources are there. You’ve got to be the one that drives it though. You’ve got to be the one doing the work and being willing to do the work and, quite frankly, taking the punishment. Whatever it takes to be that person you want to be, I guarantee you it will be worth it. I always say that even if I don’t get everywhere I want to go, I’m going to die trying. When you’re in hot pursuit, there’s some way that you feel about yourself that makes you unstoppable.
Thank you, Corey. Thank you for reading. We talked a lot about hard work and realizing that hard work is part of being successful. I want to end with this hard work, putting in the work and understanding what it is we have to do to be successful. That’s what game changers do. That’s what we do. As you go about your day, I want you to remember that. Think about what you’re doing, what you’re not doing, what you need to be doing. Think about, “Is this what I’m doing? Is this what a game changer would do? We’re game changers. We have a game changer mentality. Get out there. Change the game of your life and your business and make the world a better place. Talk to you soon. Thank you.
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About Corey Jahnke
Corey Jahnke is The Author and Publisher of “The Successful Thinker” book, podcast, and magazine. The Successful Thinker gives readers an easy to follow blueprint for creating the strongest relationship and leadership strategies available today. In addition to his work on The Successful Thinker Corey is a Full Time Hospital Pharmacist, dog lover, and health advocate.
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