Dr. Benjamin Hardy was about to launch his first book, Willpower Doesn’t Work.
“I did everything by myself. I scheduled all my media and podcasts. I worked directly with the publisher,” he recalls in Who Not How. “And after lining everything up, which involved a lot of decision-making and mental labor, not to mention time, I then had to muster the energy to show up to the interviews to market the book.”
Looking back, Ben just shakes his head.
“By forcing all of that complexity and decision-making on myself, I was not only strapped for time, but my willpower was depleted. Despite having written the book about how willpower doesn’t work, I was relying on willpower to launch that very book. It didn’t work. I was exhausted before the book even came out, and thus, I didn’t have the energy (or time) to continue marketing it after it launched.”
“I didn’t reach my goal of hitting bestseller lists and selling a specific amount of copies,” he recalls. “I got caught up in the complexity and challenge of my goal, lost my focus, and as a result, lost my confidence.”
There is a better way. When Ben joined Dan Sullivan’s Strategic Coach program, he learned the power of “Who not How.” For the launch of his second book, Personality Isn’t Permanent, Ben took a very different approach.
“Rather than dealing with all of the emails and confusion involved in scheduling and media, I hired someone solely for that task,” Ben writes in the book Who Not How, the book he co-wrote with Dan.
Ben was crystal clear on what he was looking for. He needed “someone who was organized and who was good at handling email, setting appointments, managing multiple relationships, and making everything easy for me. The job was objective based and results focused: Get me on 200 podcasts in 2020. Make the process incredibly easy for me, so that the only thing I have to think about is showing up,” Dan and Ben write.
Enter Connie. She took responsibility for “handling the key relationships, such as with the publicist at the publisher, and then doing all the pitching, scheduling, and back-and-forth with the various parties.”
Ben’s job? Check his calendar and be on time. “From February 2020 on, I’d regularly wake up and have five podcasts scheduled that day. I’d have an email in my inbox with all the links to where the podcasts would be recorded. I didn’t have to think about anything. No decision fatigue at all. Connie had already made the hundreds of actions and decisions. The stage was set. By not having to deal with everything involved in setting the stage, I could just show up and perform.”
Did it cost money to hire Connie? Of course. But Ben chose to see this financial outlay as an investment, not a cost.
“It would have been easy to justify not spending the money to hire her,” he observes. “But had I not done so, I would have greatly limited my vision and what I was able to do. My goal would have shrunk, because without having a Who, I wouldn’t have had the time to focus on simply performing the work I wanted to perform.”
By partnering with Connie, Ben’s goal increased to 600 podcasts in a year. Working solo, he would not have been able to approach this level of achievement. With Connie, it was “doable and stress-free. For her, it was a big challenge, but an exciting one. She loved the work and she loved watching me expand my vision and goal because of her contribution.”
Many people get tripped up about the money they will have to pay a Who “rather than thinking about how that Who could elevate their vision and free up their time,” Dan and Ben write.
In Ben’s case, the Return on Investment has been immense. “The time I spend writing books and recording podcasts is worth at least 10X or even 100X the time I spent scheduling podcasts. . . By having Connie support my vision, I have more time and more money. As a result, both Connie and I are more successful than either of us would have been without the relationship. Because I’m achieving more with her help, I’m making more. Because I’m making more, she’s making more.”
What’s the question we must learn to ask ourselves? “Who can help me achieve this goal?”
Reflection: What area of my life would benefit by identifying a Who to solve a problem or take on a new opportunity?
Action: Do it.