THE YEAR OF EXTRAORDINARY

THE YEAR OF EXTRAORDINARY

or how my commitment to building a world-class team led to me hiring a millionaire as my personal assistant

Henry Ford once said:

“I am not the smartest, but I surround myself with competent people.”

BACKGROUND

My imagination was sparked when I read the words of Daniel Levitin, a neuroscientist, in The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload…

You see, he wrote that

“highly successful persons [from rock stars to Fortune 500 CEOs] tend to have remarkable organizational systems… They have many of the daily distractions of life handled for them [so they can] devote all of their attention to whatever is immediately before them. They seem to live completely in the moment.”

And that sounded simply incredible.

But I’m not a rock star or even a Fortune 500 CEO and although I’ve been practicing surrounding myself by extraordinary people for a while now, what I wanted to create next seemed truly outrageous.

You see, I want an Epic Personal Assistant.   Someone who allows me to live like a ‘Rock Star’. And I speak as a husband and a dad in the thick of parenting a one year old and a three year old!

Intuitively I got that it won’t be by waiting until—hopefully, one far off day—when I eventually arrive at the highest levels of success that I’ll finally hire an epic PA. It is by hiring one now that I’ll take my life and my business to epic levels.

So I want to share with you some insights from my journey.

Click here for the full article and to continue reading Rich’s 7 insights.

FAQ: I WANT TO BE A COACH

FAQ Resized

 

“I want to be a coach … I feel like its my calling. What do you recommend I do?”

Here are several things that you can do to assist yourself:

  1. Read The Prosperous Coach and take notes. Apply one single insight.
  2. Learn the power of deep coaching and the importance of not being more needy than your clients. Be prepared to quit coaching until you are ready.

    Watch this video twice and take notes. Apply one single insight.

  3. Read every article on this blog and take notes. Apply one single insight.

—–

True wisdom is not about taking in more information. 

You already have access to all the information you’ll ever need to become a World-Class coach. What counts is APPLYING what you’ve learned.

It’s not a coincidence that Christina Berkley​ is one of the most successful coaches in my online program, Evercoach. She immersed herself in The 90 Day Money Game last year. Twice. And she generated an additional $120,000 in coaching income as a direct result.

It’s not a coincidence that Christina Berkley is one of the most successful coaches in Evercoach. She is willing to collect NOs, fail, and screw up and then share this all with us, with such vulnerability.

It’s not a coincidence that Christina Berkley is one of the most successful coaches in Evercoach. Even though last year I invited her to be the first member of Evercoach to become an Ambassador, she STILL shares her INSIGHTS to almost every article I write or video I create. But, more importantly, she then APPLIES those insights.

—–

If you will do what I’ve shared above, you will also generate what you are asking for.

Do not let anything get in your way.

Love. Rich

MASTERY. Or How To Become An Overnight Success As A Coach—in Just 46 Years

“The only way to get good at something

is to completely immerse yourself in it.

To the outside world, immersion is the

same as magic.”

— James Altucher

 

When I left university I had a deep inner knowing that a joint degree in Biology and Economics had prepared me for absolutely nothing when it came to the world of work.

All I knew is that I wanted a job that involved working with people.

I said yes to an opportunity to work as a Personnel Officer at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in London. I had no idea what Personnel Officer meant but it was something to do with people, right?

Well, kinda.

It turned out that the National Health Service in the UK was incredibly bureaucratic and whilst I was nominally involved in hiring and supporting employees, I was rather more involved in photocopying resumes and application forms.

One day—eight months into my first job—I went to a career’s fair to recruit employees for our hospital. I was so bored that I sat down at the back of the main hall to take a break. And I began to listen to a presentation about teaching.

I was fascinated. I’d be able to work with people—students—and make a real difference to their lives. I was in.

I QUIT

I applied on the spot and resigned my job the next morning.

Two weeks later I drove my first car—a little mini metro with red go faster strips that I’d carefully stencilled down the side—to the town of Oxford and I entered Oxford University’s Department of Education for the first time.

This was it. I was now a high school teacher.

And I was terrified.

I went on a visit to a primary school. And it was crazy. A room full of noisy, little people. One of these tiny people came up to me and said, You’ve got a spot on your head.

Nobody does that. It’s a social convention that you don’t comment on people’s appearance—to their face. But these little five year olds didn’t care. They spoke their truth.

I WAS TERRIFIED

And then I began teaching in a high school. I remember being ‘chased’ down a hallway by two 17 year old girls. They could sense my fear. Remember, I was only 22 at the time. They were making suggestive comments and laughing and I remember crashing into the teacher’s office with a sigh of relief as I slammed the door behind me. I was safe. For a moment.

I taught in inner city London for 8 years. And I taught in rural Botswana. I helped set up an International school in Brunei, where I lived for 4 years.

And I made mistake after mistake after mistake. I paid too much attention to the behavior of the naughty kids—instead of helping them to learn. I walked out of classes more exhausted than my students—hint: it should be the other way around. I raised my voice when I felt frustrated. I spent hours and hours planning lessons that didn’t inspire the students. I was so concerned about moving up the career ladder that in my first 360 profile, my colleagues said they thought I didn’t care about the kids. That one hurt. As a leader, I challenged my bosses without trying to see where they were coming from first. I read too much about leadership instead of practicing being a leader.

 

“Magic is just someone spending more

time on something than anyone else

might reasonably expect.”

— Teller (of Penn & Teller)

 

A GROWTH MINDSET

But I had one thing working for me. I loved teaching and learning.

I had what’s called a Growth Mindset towards being a teacher and being a leader:

 

“In a growth mindset, people believe that

their most basic abilities can be developed

through dedication and hard work—brains

and talent are just the starting point. This

view creates a love of learning and a

resilience that is essential for great

accomplishment.”

—Carol Dweck

 

So I kept making mistakes.

And I kept learning.

And I got incrementally better over time.

Inspired by Sigmund Freud, I created The Wednesday Night Club in 1998. Freud’s Wednesday Night Club was group of fellow psychoanalysts that gathered together every week. At the end of his life, the members credited this with the best professional development they’d ever received. Our Wednesday Night Club—a group of teachers who were leaders—met to discuss teaching and learning and leadership. We read books together, challenged each other and inspired each other.

 

SPEND MONEY ON TWO THINGS

At a young age, I got the message to only spend money on two things—learning and experiences. And I’ve invested heavily in both, ever since.

I’ve never stopped spending money on my own Professional Development. I’ve traveled around the world to meet amazing teachers and coaches and I’ve studied online—everything from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits to Non-Violent Communication to a Masters degree in Educational Effectiveness and Improvement to the Harvard Negotiation Project.

Eventually I took on the role of Vice Principal and I had a vision to shake up the world of education in my next role as a Headteacher. I’d been trained in coaching skills as part of my training for Headship—when one day my world came to a screeching halt, on the day I was fired.

YOU’RE FIRED

“I don’t see a place for you in this organization,” said the new Headteacher coldly.

She had to repeat it four times before it sunk in that I couldn’t turn this one around. The inspiring boss, I’d gone to work for had left only a few weeks after I’d arrived. And the consultant who’d been brought in to advise him was given his role. I can smile now because I see clearly why she fired me. I didn’t like her as a consultant and let her know it. So when she took on her new role, it was pretty clear that I had to go.

I cried my heart out as I drove home that morning—too humbled to even say goodbye to my students.

And I make it sound like a cool story that I headed off to live on a beach in Thailand for the next six months but the truth is I was humiliated and hurt and the last thing I wanted to do was to step foot back inside a school.

I gave every book and cd I owned to charity, packed a backpack and the last thing I did before heading to the airport was to grab a pack of playing cards. They weren’t your standard set of cards. They’d been designed for coaches by a man who was later to become one of my very best friends—Jamie Smart. And they simply had a great coaching question on the back of each card.

 

IT’S CALLED COACHING

New to Thailand, I’d sit in cafes and on beaches playing with these cards.

What are you doing? people would ask.

It’s called coaching, I’d reply.

Can I play?

Sure.

And that was it.

I began coaching on a beach.

And it wasn’t hard. The questions were there for me. On the cards.

People had time. We were on a beach, after all.

So we could dive deep.

And then deeper still.

And then one day someone said to me, Thank you. That conversation was life changing.

And she blew my mind. Really? We just talked. I just asked you some questions.

Life changing, she replied.

And I was hooked.

My next surprise was on the day when someone said, Let me pay you. That was amazing.

I’d never been paid cash money for a service in my life. I’d only ever had my salary wired into my account at the end of each month.

OK! I said.

And she handed me about 300 Thai baht. It was about $7 at the time. But it could have been $7,000. I was amazed.

A month or two later, I signed my first paying client. He paid me $10 a month. And it was wired to my account. And once again I was amazed. Looking back, I’d have been paid more working at McDonalds. But I was doing what I loved. People loved it. And they wanted to pay me. This was amazing.

I left my beautiful beach in 2006 to fly to San Francisco to get a coaching certificate. You need one to be a coach, right? Well, the course was so bad, I quit after 2 days. I never did get a coaching certificate.

But I did immerse myself in learning and training.

That growth mindset I had about teaching and leadership—turns out I had it for coaching, too.

 

NEVER STOP LEARNING

I trained and I studied and I studied and I trained. I learned from and with world-class coaches—like Guy Sengstock, Kevin O’Malley, Alexis Shepperd, Jerry Candelaria. One day my friend, Kevin said, it was like you just kept showing up again and again and again.

He was right. I was relentless.

I met Nicole Daedone. What a gift. Nicole rocked my world. She challenged me. She bought into none of my stories. She pushed me to my limits and then she had me experience there were no limits.

But I knew I wanted more. I wanted to really dive deep. And I decided to invest almost all of my savings on a $50,000 Apprenticeship with Michael Neill. It was a lot easier after that when I stated my fee at the time of $20,000, when I heard the reply, That’s expensive. I’d smile and say, Well, that depends…

 

F**K UP. AGAIN. AND AGAIN. AND AGAIN.

I kept making mistakes along the way. I pissed off many of my friends by trying to coach them without permission. I was so needy for the money that clients could sense it and I’d get no after no after no. I was fired by a client for trying to coach her over email for missing a session—when I’d never created a clear agreement with her. I coached a client around his relationship whilst I was struggling in my own. I was fired by a CEO client when she didn’t create the results she wanted but I’d been too in awe of her to challenge her and I’d tried to please her instead of really serving her. I made mistake after mistake after mistake.

I immersed myself in a year long Transformational Coach/Leader Training and I joined the Faculty of Michael Neill’s Supercoach Academy. Best job in the world. I got to learn. And coach. And learn. And coach. And I met amazing people and traveled the world doing so. Now that’s what I call a gig.

I was coached by Bill Cumming. Bill changed my world when he helped handle my money fears. For ever. One day, hearing yet again my concerns about all the money running out, he smiled and said, Rich, one thing I get about you is that if you really did become homeless and you had to go and live in a homeless shelter—I’d give you about two weeks before you’d be running the shelter.

I laughed. He was right. He was so right.

And then I began to train with Steve Chandler and everything changed. I learned how CREATE clients. Not ‘attract’ them. Not ‘get’ them. I literally created clients. I made bold proposals and I learned to love the NOs more than the YESes. I attended four of Steve’s six month trainings in a row and he eventually asked me to join the Faculty of his Coaching Prosperity School.

 

I QUIT. AGAIN.

Soon after, I become CEO of the personal coaching wing of an International Coaching company with a multi-million dollar revenue. I was thrilled to be called a CEO for the first time ever. But working for an organization didn’t sit right with me. Truthfully, I was mainly there because I was afraid to go out on my own as a coach.

A few months later my own coach, Michael Neill said to me, “Rich, I get why they want you. I just don’t get why you want them.” I knew what to do. I quit the next day.

A while later, I began a year of coaching with Steve Hardison. Steve’s url is theultimatecoach. And this is not an understatement. I had to fly from LA to Phoenix every 2 weeks for my coaching. And Steve helped me get how I ‘create’ my life. Life isn’t done to me—from the outside in. Life is created from the inside out. And I began to show up in a new way.

At this time, I’d become a father and I was learning more than I’d ever learned about psychology, enrollment, motivation and manipulation—and what’s TRULY important about life—from my little baby boy.

“Ordinary people believe only in the

possible. Extraordinary people visualize

not what is possible or probable, but

rather what is impossible.

And by visualizing the impossible,

they begin to see it as possible.”

—Cherie Carter-Scott

 

WE SEE YOU

A backdrop to the past 6 years has been my Men’s Group. I knew I wanted the support of a Men’s Group when I moved to LA. I coach a lot of very powerful women and my wife’s a very powerful woman—so I need to stay very grounded. But I was clear. I didn’t want to be leading a Men’s Group. I wanted a group of my peers. Powerful men who could see through my bullshit and not be impressed by my accomplishments.

I’ve been privileged to be part of a small group of world leaders that includes—7-figure business owners, a world-class photographer, a man who trains millionaire and billionaire philanthropists, a best-selling author, a surgeon turned high-end headhunter, a rocket scientist, and a man who’s been a soldier, an athlete and now runs a wolf sanctuary that rescue and trains wolves to help coach at-risk teenagers.

These men have challenged me to my edge over the years. They’ve believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. They’ve said to me the things that no one else would dare to say. They know secrets about me that no one else knows. John Wineland, Mark Thornton, Keith Kegley, Stephen Bochner, John Baker, Teo Alfero, and Nicolas Sage, Rod Wunsch, James Price.

I have a buddy named Sean Stephenson who has a commitment to call out my greatness—and see nothing less in me. I have the same commitment to him. We hold nothing back from one another.

And behind all that I’ve had three men in my life from London who’ve learned and grown with me for close to 30 years. These guys know everything about my world. I’ve loved them and been mad with them and loved them again. Chrys Perera, Michael Odeku and David Lazare.

Oh and I have an amazing wife—Monique DeBose—who was crazy to say yes when I proposed to her 10 days after we met.

Eight years later we’re still here, riding the ups and downs of relationship. And we’re still living our vows, which include the words: “We agree to stay connected no matter what… We agree to play at 100%… You owe me nothing. And I have everything I need… We create and have fun and meaningful and passionate experiences, for ourselves and for each other… We make a difference in the world by being our powerful, creative, authentic selves. We have a willingness to know the truth of each other’s hearts. And we love each other. Even when it’s hard.”

I have had amazing clients over the years and I’ve helped build an incredible community of coaches—The Prosperous Coach community. They now include many leaders in the world of coaching. You know who you are.

 

THE JOURNEY OF MASTERY

To step into your power, requires you to travel on a journey of mastery. You have to practice diligently and hone your skills to attain new levels of competence. And you have to be willing to keep practicing even when you seem to be getting nowhere.

I’ve been on this journey as coach and as a leader and as a man.

My biggest challenge has always been the moments I’ve reached a plateau and got stuck there, failing to make progress towards my goals. I have an inbuilt resistance to change—and a desire for ‘safety’. And I used to get frustrated and abandon my goals.

But I’ve learned that to become a master at a skill I must stay on the path of mastery.

And Mastery is a journey, a process—not a goal or destination.

I have to regularly push back on the messages from society that sway me into believing in the idea of instant gratification. Most of the marketing I see online promises quick fixes and instant gratification. And it doesn’t work that way.

In George Leonard’s book, Mastery, he writes:

“The problem is that most time spent at your skill level is spent on a plateau where you do not improve and you are often frustrated. If you are willing to keep practicing, often you will improve a lot, then get a little worse and then hit another plateau.

Mastery is recognizing that this plateau is an improvement to your previous plateau and in order to be a master you must practice for the sake of practicing itself. Mastery is about loving the plateau.”

 

COACHING MASTERY

I’m almost ten years into my journey as a coach and one thing I’ve learned is that the magic of powerful coaching isn’t in me, the coach. It’s over there in the person being coached.

The magic of powerful coaching isn’t about a style or a system. The magic is not in any one technique. And there’s definitely no magic system for enrolling high-performing, high-end clients. Don’t believe anyone who tells you there is.

You see, powerful coaching is not magic. But it is magical in its impact.

Steve Chandler and I wrote a book about fearless coaching. We wrote about the power of making bold requests, that Yes lives in the Land of No, that Needy is Creepy, that your job is to seek HELL YESes or HELL NOs—but nothing in between, and your mission is to see the things your client cannot see and say the things no one else would dare to say.

Learn and practice these principles and your clients will thank you. Do not wait. Be fearless in your very first conversation with a potential client. Don’t wait until after someone has hired you. Let a potential client experience your power right away, right there in that very first, long and extraordinary intake conversation.

Make mistakes, fail. Fail again. And collect Hell Nos.

It’s the path to Mastery.

“Find something you’re passionate

about and keep tremendously

interested in it.”

—Julia Child

 

A GOOD PLAYER IS ALWAYS LUCKY

Almost 30 years ago, all I knew is that I wanted a job that involved working with people. I’m so privileged to have made that my path throughout this time. I’m a very lucky guy.

Although, as José Capablanca, one of the greatest chess players of all time, once said, “A good player is always lucky.” And… “You will have to lose hundreds of games before becoming a good player.”

Love. Rich

 

PS. Below is a taste of some of my favorite books on this journey to Mastery:

1. Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment by George Leonard

2. Mastery by Robert Greene

3. The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life – Master Any Skill or Challenge by Learning to Love the Process by Thomas M. Sterner

4. Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else by Geoff Colvin

5. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

6. So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love by Cal Newport

7. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck

8. Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam M. Grant

9. Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon

10. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon

11. It’s Not How Good You Are, Its How Good You Want to Be: The World’s Best Selling Book by Paul Arden

12. The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal by Tony Schwartz & Jim Loehr

13. The Click Moment: Seizing Opportunity in an Unpredictable World by Frans Johansson

14. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath

15. Improv Wisdom: Don’t Prepare, Just Show Up by Patricia Ryan Madson

16. How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton M. Christensen

17. Get Off Your “But”: How to End Self-Sabotage and Stand Up for Yourself by Sean Stephenson

18. First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham

19. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey

20. Finite and Infinite Games: A Vision of Life as Play and Possibility by James P. Carse

21. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

22. The Prosperous Coach by Steve Chandler and some shy guy who still gets nervous every time he goes to a party, named Rich Litvin

Needy is Creepy

“Needy is Creepy” – Steve Chandler taught me this phrase and it changed my life as a Professional Coach.

Steve shared the following in our book, The Prosperous Coach:

“You will have a hard time really hearing your client if your own mind is occupied by your own needs, as in, “I need this client, I need this money so badly, I really can’t afford to lose this client, I’ll discount, I’ll do anything, I’ll become desperate—I really need it.”

If you’ve got this sense of extreme need in your mind, your behavior and your communication is going to push the person away. That’s because neediness is creepy.

We don’t want to be needy. We want to have it be the opposite. We want to talk and think deeply about the client’s world, not ours. The sale always occurs inside the client’s world.

If my client says, “Well, I’m going to think about this, I’ll get back to you,” I don’t want to keep calling and emailing this person like I’m needing this work. Anything needy is creepy to the other person. Human need in the world of business is really off‑putting. It causes people to not want to work with you. So it must be stopped.

Many times I have my clients who are coaches put on their computer the phrase “needy is creepy” just to remind them. Because look what people do. They check in, they touch base, they annoy people: “I’m just checking in. I’m just touching base. I’m just trying to find out if you are going to work with me. I’m just trying to find out if you are going to be my client,” and that’s really uncomfortable to another person.

We want to practice different ways to stay connected. We want to explore ways to deliver value in each communication. We practice these different approaches when we communicate because we’ll get clients so much faster that way.

If you haven’t heard back, send a gift and a note. Don’t even refer to working together. Contribute and serve. You don’t need them; they need you. Behave accordingly.”

Want to see what ‘needy’ looks like?

Watch Mikey:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0PUrNwvvBk

DON’T BE LIKE MIKEY!

Love. Rich

Cultivate deep foundations

Standing at the front of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica is a magnificent fig tree that has welcomed visitors from around the world for more than a century.

fig-tree

The tree is stunning, at over 80 feet in height and with a breathtaking 167‑foot spread of branches.

I love to take clients to the hotel at the beginning of a coaching program. We sit on a bench that looks directly out at the tree, and the view is awe‑inspiring.

I take time to point out the remarkably thick roots that in many places protrude well above ground. You cannot see the majority of the extensive and deep root system supporting the tree from beneath the ground. This is a wonderful metaphor for how a strong and deep foundation is needed for us to achieve great things in life.

To become highly successful as a coach,you need to master three disciplines:

1. You need to master the business of Creating Clients (in fact, to be highly successful, you need to love creating clients as much as you love coaching clients).

2. You need to become adept at Fearless Coaching (a willingness to courageously lead your clients in the most powerful way possible).

3. And beyond these, you need to be willing to work your own process—and do the Deep Inner Work necessary—so you can see your own blind spots. You can’t take your clients any deeper than you have been able to go in your own life.

Love. Rich

Five frogs are sitting on a log

There’s an old riddle that says five frogs are sitting on a log. Four decide to jump off. How many are left?

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What’s your answer?
Take your time.
No rush.
Take a moment to consider your answer.
How many are left?

The answer is five.

Why? Because four “decided” to jump off. That’s all they did. And there’s a big difference between deciding and doing.

Just decide what tiny action you will take today to create your next client.

And then take it.

Don’t wait for one-hundred percent readiness. It will never come.When you are eighty percent ready, go for it. Run straight at it. Get exposed. Risk messing up.

Failing is not a problem you will face.

Failing is how you get there.

Love. Rich

I DON’T WANT TO BE A LEADER!

I DON’T WANT TO BE A LEADER!

That was my battle cry from the age of ten years old.

Although, underneath it was a secret heartfelt desire for nothing else than to be a powerful leader.

Let me take you on my painful life journey around leadership.

1. LEARN FROM THE PAIN

I was just 10 years old when I learned my first uncomfortable lesson about leadership.

It was a bright sunny day in June when the Headteacher of my Primary school—a wizened old nun named Sister Francesca—called me in to her office.

Frankly, I was a little scared as I entered her room. I’d never been inside it in my life. As I stood there—a shy little boy, quietly looking up at her—her face crinkled into a smile and she said, We’re making you School Captain.

I was silent.

I had no idea what to do with this information.

I was ten.

I knew nothing about leadership.

I had no clue why they’d decided to foist this role upon me.

In fact, I didn’t have the faintest idea what a School Captain even was.

And what strikes me as strange—even to this day—is that she never chose to tell me.

She just pinned a shiny badge to my lapel.

And that was it. I was now, without further ado, a leader for the very first time in my life.

And—for the first of what would be many more times—I had absolutely no idea what to do with this new leadership role. I was just a naive and rather overprotected little ten year old.

So, a few days later, when I spotted a couple of the kids being naughty, I told a teacher.

That’s what a leader does, right?

A leader protects the moral and ethical values of the organization and prevents the breaking of behavioral boundaries and calls people to a higher standard.

Who am I kidding? I didn’t know about any of that. I didn’t know much of anything.

I just saw two kids fighting and I told a teacher because I thought I was supposed to.

And then came my rude awakening.

Those kids mocked me and picked on me for weeks after.

And I learned the hard way to ask clearly about the nature of a role before saying yes to it, from then on.

2. YOU’LL NEVER BE ‘READY’

What I learned most about leadership, over the following twenty years, came from two main sources:

Firstly, from my time in the Boy Scouts—where I had mainly positive role models. And I experienced the challenge of being pushed outside my comfort zone on a regular basis, in order to lead.

I discovered that I was rarely ‘ready’ to lead.

But I didn’t need to be.

I just accepted a new responsibility and did what I thought was right—mistakes, struggles, failures and all—and eventually people would acknowledge me for my successes.

3. HOW ‘NOT’ TO LEAD

My second source of learning was from observing so much of the poor leadership I experienced at every level of every organization I worked for.

Sadly, the poor leaders outweighed the good leaders by a huge percentage.

But this wasn’t all bad. I really did learn so much about what NOT to do.

In a fast-paced, quick-changing world, it’s really good for me to be clear on my non-negotiables as a leader.

4. BE A PASSIONATE STUDENT OF LEADERSHIP

I continued to seek out leadership roles and responsibilities over the years and it was in 1997 that I was appointed to my first senior leadership role.

And once again, I learned more from my mistakes than from any other source.

And I also learned by being a passionate student of leadership. I devoured every leadership book I could find. Particularly biographies of powerful and unusual leaders.

I learned simple tools that made a huge difference:

I’d write hand-written notes to acknowledge my team members on a regular basis.

And I found out years later that I became known for these letters and cards—and that most people never forgot them.

I learned to ask my team members about their favorite leader and why they inspired them.

I recall one young woman telling me that her best ever boss would meet her on a Monday morning to discuss her mission for the week. He’d trust her completely and leave her alone for the rest of the week. Then, on a Friday, he’d come into her office, put his feet up on a chair and ask her to share her successes and her challenges.

After that, I would meet her every Monday. I’d trust her completely and leave her alone for the rest of the week. Every Friday, I’d come into her office, put my feet up on a chair and ask her to share her successes and her challenges. When I left she told me I was the best boss she’d ever had.

Leadership was challenging. But it wasn’t difficult.

5. THE ONE THING THEY NEVER TEACH YOU AS A LEADER

In 2005, recently appointed as Vice Principal of one of the most challenging schools in London, I was bursting with ideas to change the ways that students were taught and to support teachers in their classrooms.

I filled a bookshelf in my bright shiny new office with ALL the books on leadership that I’d gathered over the years.

I was so proud of that bookshelf.

Everyone who saw it was impressed with my collection of books on Leadership.

And then, just a few weeks after I started I was fired from that job.

I can still feel the burning shame of packing those books into my car.

And I drove slowly home, too humiliated to even say a proper goodbye to my students.

Any thoughts of being a leader had left me completely as I sobbed my heart out on the journey home, preoccupied with the one thing they NEVER teach you as a leader—how do you tell your mum and dad that you’ve just been fired?

The very next day I took ALL my Leadership books to a charity shop.

I made a very clear decision that the principles I’d learned were either IN me or they weren’t. And I let ALL my books go.

6. RUN AWAY FROM LEADERSHIP

I spent the next few years secretly running away from being a leader.

What actually made me most powerful as a coach was the pain I’d experienced of FAILURE in a leadership role.

Afraid of leading, I began to turn my attention to diving in DEEPER than ever before with just ONE person at a time.

That was an easy choice for me. No more team building. No more managing upwards. No more written reports.

One client at a time. One conversation at a time. One challenge at a time.

It was such a relief.

7. HELL YES. OR HELL NO.

Leadership opportunities kept arising.

In fact, they seemed to seek me out.

But I kept turning them down.

I was invited to run a center for coaching and wellness at a tropical resort. It sounded like a dream project. But something in my gut said no. And I walked away.

I was invited to lead a group of amazing coaches. But I felt a lot of fear and I said no. Once again, I walked away.

I accepted the role of CEO of the personal coaching wing of a hugely successful business coaching company.

But one day my own coach said to me, I understand why they want you, Rich. I just don’t understand why you want them.

And I felt his words deep in my body. I knew immediately that I had only accepted the role of CEO because I assumed that a cool title would bring me ‘dream’ clients. And, truthfully, I was afraid of running a coaching business as ‘just’ me.

My coach’s words resonated deeply.

I was scared. After all, who was I without a great title and a organization behind me?

But I trusted my heart and I quit my first new leadership role in years, the very next day.

8. BEING A LEADER IS LIKE BEING A ‘LADY’

My favorite quote on leadership is by Margaret Thatcher:

“Being a leader is like

being a lady.

If you have to tell people

you’re one…

You’re probably not.”

I learned this one the hard way because for much of my life I’ve been preoccupied with trying to ‘look good’, ‘prove myself’, and getting the ‘right’ credentials or the ‘right’ titles.

As I stepped into coaching I discovered the complete reverse was true for me.

The LESS I tried to ‘look good’ or ‘prove myself’ the more clients wanted to hire me.

The LESS I thought about credentials or titles—and the more I focused completely on the one person in front of me—the more ‘my people’ sought out a powerful conversation with me.

Authenticity and vulnerability—were no longer to be feared—they were the ONLY path to follow.

9. THE TRUE TEST OF A LEADER

My favorite leadership test has always been simple:

If you want to know if you’re a leader, turn around and see who’s following.

Occam’s Razor applies.

Leaders have followers. That’s all that counts.

And one day I turned around and I began to see I’d been quietly creating an incredible community of coaches.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably one of them.

10. TRUE LEADERS CREATE MORE LEADERS

But there’s an even more powerful test of leadership:

A true leader creates more leaders, not more followers.

I’m so honored to watch what is occurring for the members of each of my communities: The alumni of my Prosperous Coach Intensives, the graduates of my Confident Woman’s Salons, the past members of my ‘secret’ group, The Three Musketeers.

And now Team Litvin from our Liberia mission.

Again and again, I see leaders being created.

This used to scare me because I wanted to be seen as the leader. I didn’t want any one to eclipse me.

Ok. If I’m honest, those feelings STILL come up.

But I’ve learned to accept them. Because they are the path to something so much more inspiring.

I’ve been so honored to watch members of my communities who joined me on an incredible trip to Liberia—David Taylor, Rafael Bejarano, Wendy Sue Costa, Shelley Lynn, Richard Morgan, Mirian Dias, Simon Crowe, Anni Silverdale and Joelle Macklin—show up as powerful leaders. Leaders who I am PROUD to serve alongside.

Rich and group.JPG

I’ve spent years studying and immersing myself in the Art of Leadership.

But I learned more in the past ten days in the heat and amidst the challenges of our trip to Liberia than I’ve learned in years.

I’ll share more of that in future articles.

Love. Rich

PS. If you enjoy these articles, please follow me on facebook, where you’ll be able to read things and watch videos that I don’t post anywhere else: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10152416943050498

 

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Sex and Cash Theory

When I meet a coach who wants to pay the rent, pay their bills—or even pay for a vacation—it’s usually the time I introduce them to Hugh McLeod’s ‘Sex and Cash Theory’ of Creative Work.

“The creative person has two kinds of jobs. The first is the fun, sexy kind, and the second one is paying the bills.

Sometimes the task at hand covers both bases, but not often. And there’s always going to be a tense duality between the need to make a living and the need to maintain one’s creative sovereignty.

Now that’s easier to understand when you’re young, and you’re just starting out, and you’re waiting tables even though you want to be a famous writer or whatever, and you have to wait tables. The sexy bit is being the novelist and the cash bit is being the waitress or waiter, we all understand that.

When you get a bit older and a bit more successful and you make it, that tension doesn’t go away. Just because you’re successful, there is stuff you have to do for money, and there is stuff you do because it’s fun.

A good example is John Travolta. One year he’ll be in a movie like Pulp Fiction, just to get his street cred back as an actor, and then next year he’ll decide he wants to buy a new airplane so he’ll appear as this character in a very forgettable big budget spy thriller.”

If things are tight at this moment, it’s time for a Cash Project.

You can’t run a business if you have no money and your only thought is “I NEED money”. That needy energy will send every potential client running for the hills. They can literally FEEL your needy energy.

Instead go out and create some cash. Get creative: sell something, take on a paid project, or even go back to your old day job—even for a short time.

I remember in my early coaching days, when I was struggling to create clients, being paid to write someone’s blog and even being paid to help enroll clients for a friend.

They weren’t my dream projects but they brought in much needed cash.

And that allowed me to breathe and to relax. So when I met my next potential client, I really did know deep down, that they needed me more than I needed them.

If you need a client more than they need you, they are almost never going to be a “Hell Yes!” to your Proposal.

It’s lovely to live a life where you only focus on Sexy Projects and you get paid well for them—and that’s possible for all of us.

At the same time… when you want to create some money: GET CREATIVE and start by Creating some Cash…

Sometimes, the Sex comes second.

It’s usually worth waiting for!

I don’t offer free sessions

I don’t offer ‘free’ sessions. I do waive my fee for powerful coaching for a few people who inspire me—because I build my business by invitation and referral.

I rarely spend less than two hours with someone because coaching is deep and has a long-lasting impact. It deserves quality time.

Some of the people I coach I never see again. Some make referrals. And a few choose to become part of a select group of my extraordinary clients.

Sometimes people tell me they are grateful that “I give them my time for free”.

I tell them that I’m NOT giving them my time for free. I tell them that I set a high bar for who I spend time with. And I tell them that they inspired me which is why I chose to spend my time with them.

And then I tell them something that usually astounds them.

I tell them that this wasn’t just a coaching session.

This was an INTERVIEW.

I’ve been testing out if they meet the criteria I have for those rare people I want to invest my time in by working with them for six months to a year.

And—if they have met my criteria—I’ll tell them so.

And I’ll set up a time for us to speak again.

It was the most Extraordinary Intensive yet – Gift for you!

I’ve had some amazing and life changing things happening which is why you have not heard much from me via email in a while.

First of all, I welcomed a new baby boy into this world at the beginning of this year. Monique, Kaleo and I are so excited for this new addition to our family—Ellington Madiba Litvin.

Look how awkward I look in this photo—I’d forgotten how terrifying it is to hold a tiny, tiny newborn babe in my arms!
Rich and family.jpg

Then, last month I hosted my most Extraordinary intensive yet – “The Extraordinary Woman Intensive.”  50 truly inspirational people (men and women!) joined me for 3 days together.  What we created was truly amazing. Here is feedback from just one of the attendees:elaine.jpg

It was such an inspirational event, that I’d like to share a special gift with you.

I put together a Resource Pack for our attendees to provide valuable inspiration—I curated over sixty pages of some of the best writings on topics that include:

  • Women and Leadership

  • The Heroine’s Journey

  • Learning to Love No

  • Client Astonishment

  • The Power of Great Questions, including The CIA’s Checklist of Innovative Questions

If you would like a copy of this Resource Pack, please email hello@richlitvin.com and my Client Astonishment team will support you.

Also, as a gift I wanted to share some of the amazing artwork that one of our team members, Danielle Baird created at the Intensive:Extraordinary-Woman-Day-1.jpg

Extraordinary-Woman-Day-2.jpg

I so love the community that is being generated by attendees at our Intensives. Our Alumni network of coaches now spans three continents. And we have another Intensive coming up soon in London. So block out the dates now—July 19-20. More to follow, soon.

If there is any other way we can support you, please let us know.

Love. Rich