Wayne Kurtz is a finisher of the Triple Deca Ironman. His system for goal setting is powerful and effective. This is the transcript of the Wrestling with Success interview with Wayne Kurtz, Chief Goals Officer.
Jim: Welcome to another episode of ‘Wresting with Success.’ Today’s guest is absolutely unbelievable. I never realized until I met him that certain things could be accomplished by human beings. I thought the Ironman and ultramarathons and becoming a NAVY Seal, I thought those things were just the maximum limit of human endurance. And you know, this guest puts human endurance at a whole different level. So I think you’re going to enjoy this. But more importantly, he shares specific details on how he accomplishes huge, huge goals. He’s got some huge goals and he’s accomplished a lot of these massive goals in his life. And he’s got some other really, really big ones that he’s got in the works right now. So I think you’re going to love this guest and love some of the details that he shares and I think one of the things you’re going to ask yourself when you’re listening to him talk about how he documents his goals and the tips and tactics that he uses for actually achieving and following through on these goals, I think you’re going to ask yourself, “Who does this? Who does these things that are so extreme?” And then you’re going to have to answer by saying “Well, really, really successful people do.” So it’s really, really powerful. I know you’re going to love this. I feel like I could probably charge about a hundred or probably a thousand dollars for this episode because it’s just so, so powerful. I think you’re going to get that much value out of it. Real quick before we bring on the guest. Reveal Your Path; launched it last week. Thank you for all those who endured all those launch emails. I put out a bunch of emails last week, promoting the program. Bunch of people signed up. I’ve now got an NBA in the program. We got a neurosurgeon in the program. We’ve got an NCAA finalist in the program and that’s in addition to the folks who had been in it before; professional athletes, head college coaches etc. So another amazing group. I would love to hear from you; if you haven’t signed up for Reveal Your Path, what would be the ideal solution for you? If you were one of the people who are on my email list and you got a bunch of those emails, if you have thoughts of feedback of what exactly would be the ideal solution for you, would love to hear it. I’ve got a great program, got great testimonials, want to continue to make it even better and make it available to more people. So shoot me an email at email@example.com. That’s firstname.lastname@example.org. Now for today’s show; welcome to episode 47 of Wrestling with Success. Today, I bring you Wayne Kurtz. Wayne is a speaker, author, coach and an athlete. He’s a man of tremendous passion who spent a lifetime devoted to pursuing and achieving every goal that he has set out to accomplish. Growing up, he learned from his parents to set big goals and work hard to achieve them, and he followed that advice. He’s completed some of the most difficult races ever endured by a human being and he’s going to share some of that with us and some of the mental game it takes to achieve not just big goals but the biggest of goals that you could possibly set for yourself.
Wayne: Thanks, Jim. Appreciate it. Looking forward to it.
Jim: Yeah, well you’re in my hometown of Pittsburgh. So go Steelers, go Pens, go Pirates.
Wayne: You got it, exactly. Live and die.
Jim: That’s right. It’s in the blood, it’s in the blood. So Wayne, you and I got introduced by another one of my guests, Ken Lubin. Just a few episodes back, Ken told me about you and some of the crazy things that you’ve done. And before we get into your coaching and speaking and through some of the things that you do now – you’re still doing some of these races now – tell me about the story and tell the listener about what you told me; about how you kind of got into doing triathlons and how that progressed into some of the insane things that you’ve done.
Wayne: Sure, sure. I guess everyone who has ever competed in sports through college, there’s a hole that comes up and you know as a wrestler, when it ends, right? And you’re done, and it’s over. I swam competitively, I played baseball from a little kid all the way up into college. And long story short, the year that I graduated – I guess it was my sophomore year – in college, I came back to Pittsburgh, was working over the summer to earn money for the fraternity and everything else when I saw a little entry form – this is back in the mid ‘80s – for a triathlon. Now back at the time, Jim, there really weren’t many triathlons, especially in Western Pennsylvania. Would have been one thing on the West Coast in California where it was founded. So I saw this little thing for a triathlon in the county park that I used to train a little bit for swimming and kind of threw this out, thought “I wonder how hard this could be to give this a try?” And you know, the swimming, you kind of get burned out of it. And that kind of started with “OK, I got to get a bike.” Which means I need to go do some work, make some money to buy a $300 bike back at that time which was a lot of money. And at that time, I remembered telling mother specifically these words, “Once you get the bike, there really isn’t a whole lot more expense. Just running shoes and some things,” and there were no products. We didn’t have Aero and all the high-tech. It was old school. Looking back on that, how much money I’ve spent over the last 31 years, it’s a lot but I would do it 10 times over because the journey of doing triathlons started in Pittsburgh and I’ve raced around the world. And it was the passion of trying something new that combined one sport that I did know which is swimming, and then this craziness of following it up with a bike or a run. Back then as I said, there were two races in Pittsburgh. That was it. There was very, very few. So finished the first one and it became a lifetime journey and passion that’s kind of grown. And it’s helped more than just sports, it’s been a great crossover in all my businesses that I own from that side as well. So that’s what started it.
Jim: And you started and you founded an Ironman, and then you told me you found a double Ironman. Tell me about that progression, up to the Triple DECA. And explain what a Triple DECA is once you go through that. So start out with the double Ironman and on up.
Wayne: All right. So the first race was not an Ironman. Back then, there’s only one. The only one they had back in the ‘80s was the Hawaii Ironman. So Sprint Distance was the first one and I had done I think a 5k. I wasn’t a runner. So I had done a 5k. And I just kind of progressed. It’s kind of this typical curve back at that time is you do some running; do the 5k. There were no half-marathons. You jumped to a marathon. You build up for that. You do some triathlons. And then this world of Ultra Racing came into existence in like the early 1990s. And I remember vividly, I was doing a race in Somerset, Pennsylvania. It was a little sprint triathlon and I saw a guy come up. We were chatting, he was an older fellow and he said to me, “You know, I’m here from out of state,” on and on, we were chatting. He had a shirt on that listed this Huntsville, Alabama Double Ironman. And of course, I’d heard of the Ironman and I thought, “What is this?” So that kind of triggered my thought of “OK, I got to attempt an Ironman,” and I tried my first Ironman which was in New Hampshire. Back at that time, there were a handful of Ironmans, not just Hawaii. I got through that hurdle and I always at the back of my mind, I remember seeing that shirt and I thought “God, this Double Ironman thing is faster.” The typical Ironman is your 2.4-mile swim, 120-mile then a marathon; 26.2-mile run. That’s your typical Ironman. But then there’s this whole world of Ultra Distance triathlons beyond that. And the Double Ironman which was founded here in U.S. in Huntsville – now has moved and we got multiple ones in the U.S. – consist of just doubling the distance. So it’s a 4.8-mile swim, 224-mile bike and then a 52.4-mile run. So this takes roughly anywhere from 24 to 36 hours is the maximum amount of time that you can take in the Double Ironman. So you’re going through the night in these circuit little courses. You’re doing loop after loop. So the swim is using a lake or a pool. And the bike, unlike a typical triathlon race is a short circuit. So it’s like a 6-mile loop. You keep going around in circles. And then the run is usually one mile out, one mile back and it’s mainly to alleviate loads of aid stations, just you know, shutting down roads and traffic and everything else. So they’re in a closed venue. And the first one I had done where the original was now has been moved to Virginia. And then that just started a whole launch of everything imaginable. So did the World Championships up in Canada, and then just started racing these ultra-triathlons mainly in Europe because we only had one for a long period of time. Now we have three. We’ve got one in Oregon, one in Florida and one in Virginia. And then they just keep progressing. You got the Double Ironman. And then you got the Triple Ironman. And I think it is 60 hours to do the triple. So you just added another Ironman on the distance. And then you get to the Quintuple. And that was a big move for me, when I move to the Quintuple in Mexico. And a lot of the big, big, long races have all been housed in Mexico, in Monterrey and in León for almost since 1992, I think, was the first one. And that was my first experience of really going way over the edge. The Quintuple Ironman was like a 12-mile swim in a pool, 500 and some miles on bike and then you had to run 131 miles. So this is a long . . .
Jim: That’s absurd.
Wayne: Yeah, and very similar to the Ironman space and they don’t call these Ironman because it’s a trademark name and the whole conglomerate around Ironman. They’re just called Ultra Distance Triathlons or different versions of the word ‘ultra’. The signature race like the Hawaii Ironman World Championship, in the Ultra Triathlon space, is the DECA Ironman. They’re the DECA Ironman. And that’s doing 10 of these and there’s 2 different options. And not to get into so much detail but in Mexico, every other year for years . . . and I remember seeing these in magazines, and it was kind of that dream, you saw it in Triathlete magazine, this absolutely insane race where people are doing 10 Ironmans in a row. And the numbers are kind of staggering when you first think of it. I was like “My God, I can never do something like this.” It was 24 mile-swim in a pool [crosstalk 00:11:57] 262 miles. So you’re swimming for 12 – 15 hours in a pool.
Wayne: You’re biking for days, and then you’re running for days. So they have a continuous version. You got to sleep in between but it is a race and something you probably know as being a wrestler, there is a competitive spirit in this. And people come from all over the world; lots of Europeans and Americans. A lot of Asians as well.
Jim: A lot of comradery, I imagine.
Wayne: Big time. Prior to the race, everyone will have such a good time and it’s a family atmosphere but come race time, it becomes kind of that mental war of just being able to press on, playing the sleep game, how far you can go sleep deprived, watching the competitors, the leader board. So they have the continuous version. Then every other year, they have one per day. So you do one Ironman per day for 10 straight days. And it’s interesting, people always say “What is harder, Wayne?” and I’ve done a lot of these. I’ve done four of them. And the one per day Ironman seems like that would be easier, right? I get to sleep. But when you add in all the time and preparation to get ready every morning to do all three events, it is significantly harder. And the dropout rates are higher. Usually, it’s less than 50% or around 50% finishing the one per day DECA, and probably about 60% to 70% of the starters finish in the continuous DECA.
Jim: OK, interesting.
Wayne: So that’s a lot of numbers for you there. That’s kind of the progression and as I said, it’s been a great journey and hopefully, I can do it for another 30 years. We’ll see.
Jim: Yeah. And then the triple DECA.
Wayne: Oh this one, I’ll give you the little story around this one.
Jim: And this is the one, since you and I have spoken in the past about this, I’ve told a handful of people. I don’t think they believe me when I tell them that somebody actually did this. So share that with the listener.
Wayne: All right. So we were doing the DECA Race. So the one per day, 10-day Ironman race called the DECA Ultratriathlon in Sicily back in 2011, I think. They didn’t have it in Mexico that year so we were doing it over in Sicily in Italy. And after the race, we were having the post-race party and the drink and the vino and everything else. And one of the gentleman who was the race director stood up and cheered his glass to everyone and he said “To the group of us that finished, what’s the limit?” And everyone was like just like “What do you mean what’s the limit?” “Is it possible to do 30 Ironmans in 30 days in a raced format sanctioned-time, not just a personal journey but an all-out race?” And everyone just laughed. I mean you can imagine when you hear it, no, it was just crazy. Well of course, in three months we get an email from the race director, “Hey, if any of you are interested in something like this, this is something we might consider. We have a venue we think it might work in Italy.” So long story short, of course I’ve got to try and think how I’m going to sell my wife on this. It’s for a month, can you imagine? Let alone work, clients and everything else. It came together in the next year of planning. And then September of 2013, the race started in Lake Garda, Italy. So different location. It was a world record race; first time anything ever been held like that. And we did an Ironman a day for 30 straight days in Lake Garda. Of course, I wrote the book about what happened in the event but I was one of the eight that finished it. It was one of those lifetime things. It was an amazing journey, to say the least. It was beyond, but one thing, I think it’s like the Tour de France and even maybe in different sports, it’s amazing when you do the same thing over and over again for 15 hours a day. How physically fit you get even though the body’s breaking down. We actually got faster as we went through the race, those who lasted. I think it was 22 started and 8 finished. So yeah, that was 2013.
Jim: And for the listener, I want you to understand, I prompted Wayne with the first question I asked. And he’s not trying to brag about this, he’s not trying to tell world. I asked him about the first question and he kind of talked. Then I said “Well, tell us about the Ironman DECA.” Then he kind of pulled that out of him. I had to pull out of him that he actually competed this thing. I mean this is beyond what I thought was humanly possible. And Wayne, it’s just insane. When you told me this, I was floored. And then you sent me some videos and I checked some of those out and it was just unbelievable that a human being can actually endure what you’ve endured. I was a wrestler, I’m biased. I think it’s a pretty tough sport. Some people ask me why, “Why do you go through everything it takes to be successful at wrestling?” At the National Championships, you get 15,000 to 20,000 people. There’s 19,000 people at Madison Square Garden for the National Championships. But outside of that, it’s not football or basketball. You’re not getting the crazy media attention and the glory. And people ask me why. “Why did you put yourself through some of the unbelievable things you have to go through just to compete? Just to be on the team let alone make the starting line-up, let alone be an All American?” And I have my own answer, I have my own whys. I’m sure you hear that question, right? How do you answer that question, Wayne?
Wayne: I guess it’s probably a couple of points to it. I think it’s personality and very similar to you and individuals that are drivers. When you have kind of that Type A personality, there’s that mindset of “I wonder how far I can actually go?” And it’s not physical. It is physical but we did surveys of the athletes that finished the race in Italy. And what I kind of guesstimated was true; it was about 65% we thought was mental and 35% physical. And I think that’s the attraction of why I do it. Forget about me but other athletes and when I ask them, it’s the same thing. It’s, “How far can I get into the brain of being able to keep continuously moving for period of times in a sport that we love.” And I do, I’m absolutely passionate about triathlons. It was life-changing when I first started it because the why is yeah, “Can I push through it?” And the crossover is I’ve got a client situation in one of my businesses that’s blowing up,” or we’re trying to do something new with the business. If I can get through this, I can usually say “Somehow, someway we can figure out a way to outwork or out-think a way to make it happen.” And it crosses right over into business. It crosses over into family. I mentor our godchildren. I do a lot with my non-profit. So there’s spin-offs. So the idea of doing it, yeah, there is that personal challenge of racing. I love to race, I love to compete just like you love to wrestle. I mean, no different, right? It is on-the-line, go-for-broke over a long period of time and really see how much you can personally suffer in your brain. Because it is mental, I think that’s the big why. And then those crossovers. Every time I’ve done one and you come out on the other side of these things . . . and I’ve gone in like most of the individuals that do them. Not finishing is not an option. It’s a thing I’ve used over and over again. It’s in business, it’s in life, it’s family, it’s whatever else. Somehow, we got to make it happen. So that was probably the long-winded answer to it. But I think a big drive of it is I love doing the sport. It’s just something that I love to do.
Jim: Yeah. Through the pain and suffering that you go through sports and through training in sports, for every listener that’s an athlete – I think just about every listener is an athlete or has been an athlete – we’ve all done the suicides and the sprints and the throwing up over a barrel. And you feel like you have nothing left and you discover yourself. You really discover yourself in those moments. You are more real and you the real, true, primal you in those moments. You really find out who you are more in those moments than any other time, I think, in that pain and suffering. What are you thinking and what’s going through your mind at that point and are you able to control your thoughts and the words that you’re saying to yourself, and out loud in those moments of severe pain and suffering. Can you set massive goals, I mean massive, just to attempt a triple DECA let alone complete it. Forget about completing it even. You set huge goals. HUGE goals. Not mediocre. Not pretty big. I mean, you have this OI Challenge that you’re working on which for the listener, I can include a link to the O1 challenge in the show notes. But this is a race that Wayne is setting up that is $250,000 entry fee. It’s a worldwide race. This thing is huge. Wayne, you’ve talked about in your bio that I read earlier, you said you’ve set huge goals. You’ve achieved every goal that you’ve set. Tell us about the goal-setting process. Tell us about how one goes about achieving massive, massive goals because everybody here, everybody listening to the show including myself, we’ve set goals, we’ve achieved some, we’ve failed other times. How do we break through and achieve massive goals?
Wayne: Yeah, it’s a great question Jim. I guess I could probably break it down a little bit, the way I do it. I don’t suggest everyone has to do it the same way. And it’s been driven off from how I grew up. My mom used to tell me “When you’re swimming, write down your goals. You need to do the 50 . . .” it wasn’t even meters back then, it was yards. “What’s your time for the 50-yard backstroke, what’s the time you want to achieve for this?” And it was those kinds of things. And also, we broke it down a little bit. My mother and dad, big drivers of making sure you’re well-read. “Read a lot of stuff. Research, overwork, overwork.” So goal-setting always kind of started from them and I kind of incorporated the original learning lessons on how I do it. And what I do is I still physically write down my goals and I write them down with deadline dates. Nothing is rocket science but I do few things that make me not forget them. One is I don’t put it on a sheet of paper. I’ve kept a journal for the last 10 years religiously. And it’s not just goals, it’s my ideas as well. And I break down timelines that are aggressive but that are realistic. That’s important. There’s a big difference there. “I’m not going to win the Pittsburgh marathon ever,” that’s unrealistic. But I’m going to put some in there that are way out there and maybe I’ve got to push the timeline. So I drive off of timelines. I use my accounting background and that mentality. I’m fairly anal about it but I physically write these down. And then I kind of break in to a couple of things. I try to visualize the who, what, when, where, why and also, I take into account my senses. If you take your five senses into account when you’re goal-setting, it does make it more crystallized and it gets into your subconscious. Add your timeline to it, and then two tips; take the top five goals, whatever they are, put them on an index card, laminate them and carry them with you all the time. And what I also do is I write my goals down every morning at 4.15. People think I’m insane but it is no different than the old theories of Aristotle. I think he was the one who said it, or whoever, all these various people who kind of repeated it. It’s the same thing. If you write and think about something all day long, you kind of become what that is if you keep thinking about it. So I do that every single day. I manage it through an accountability system which I do online. Got a couple of them I use. You can use Basecamp, Trello is a good one which is a free accountability project management. And when you’re doing it every day, it focuses you not on wasting time. And we all waste time. I waste time. And it keeps a little bit more vision. And I think at the end of the day, the most important thing on any of the goal settings that I’ve done and even helping other clients when we wrote the book on goal setting, it was to keep it simple, concise, 10 minutes a day, making yourself accountable, making it public – some of those things – but making it really short and easy to do. And I think that’s the thing sometimes we hear, goal-setting, it just gets into so much depth. I have my own acronyms, what works to keep it simple and kind of go from there. But it is a process that is learned but it is always about the end which is not just checking it off but it’s what happened during that time period to get to the goal. So I’m just checking the box off, I did this. It usually comes down to two things or one thing; it’s the people we meet along that journey to get the goal. Always, right? You always remember the people, and being married to a Greek woman, we always remember something else; food.
Jim: People and food. That’s great, yeah.
Wayne: I process it. But I change goals, that’s the other thing too. Goals will change. Things go awry and you refocus, and you look back in time. And I always try to a self-analysis every quarter and say “OK, how are things going?” And it’s not just career, finance, family and business. No. I break it down into about 12 different categories. I pick one per category and fit the right timelines. It sounds complex but I make it simple. That’s the only way I can do it in a busy schedule.
Jim: All right, I’m taking notes furiously. I’m going to relisten to this before I publish it. But for the listener, I’m going to have all these notes at jimharshawjr.com/47 because Wayne just rolled off a lot of tips there, a lot of really powerful things. So Wayne, I want to go through a bunch of things here that you just said.
Jim: “Aggressive and realistic timeline.” Do you say you write in your journal every day?
Wayne: Every single morning, yeap.
Jim: And you handwrite, not type.
Wayne: Handwrite. I physically write, yes.
Jim: OK. Do you think that makes a difference over typing it?
Wayne: It does and it’s interesting. And when I did some of the research on the second book, the book ‘Never Said I Wish I Had,’ which is the goals [inaudible 00:27:22] process, one of the things that’s interesting is if you look at every Harvard study and even studies out of Cambridge in England, the retention amount and how much you learn goes up about 25% to 28% by physically writing versus typing. And it’s like when the kids learn. You retain it and you remember it more and you’d be more focused when you physically do that action. So I’m a big fan of the writing.
Jim: I do a little bit of both. I do mostly typing and the reason that I do mostly typing because – I know it’s better, I’ve read that it’s better to write, to physically handwrite them – I like to sort my thoughts out and I just dump them down into this online journal that I got. But it’s searchable. I can go back and search and find. I can find things, what I was talking about because I’ll just sort out action plans in my head. Any thoughts on that? You’re doing the same thing but you’re just flipping back through the pages and finding it right?
Wayne: Yes, and what I do is I go back to the journal. There is a section that’s related to ideas. I break my journal up to books that I’ve read, people that I’ve met that were very influential over the years . . .
Jim: So every day you write the same thing on one page you might have these, or in different sections?
Wayne: Yeah, I have them at the back of the book. And then I always have my course to goals. And then I have my idea section. So what I do for the ideas, Jim – here’s a thought – is then I go and I take my iPhone. I’m a big Evernote fan. So meetings notes and things of that nature, if I read a book, I always follow up with notes, anything I get from it. It could be a fiction book. So it doesn’t have to be just non-fiction. I type up what I get from it; some interesting things, context, and then I save that in Evernote. Then it’s easy to search. But when I do my ideas section in the journal, I take a picture of it with my iPhone, upload it to Evernote and have it in Evernote. Now, it’s not searchable as much but I’ll have it . . .
Jim: But it’s in your ideas section.
Wayne: Yeah, I’ll put a topic so I know “Hey, these are the ideas related to business, fitness,” whatever it might be. So I do a little bit of both on that side but pure journal writing, I do every single day related to just goals.
Jim: Then you must have stacks of journals.
Wayne: In the library now, I’ve got a whole row. This is year 12 of being very consistent so I’ve got 12 years of journals. And what’s interesting – and it’s kind of fun – is I go back. I usually do this at the end of the year, I go back and read the journals. And you see what the heck happened and “My goodness, I don’t even remember doing this. This is amazing.” So I think going back in time and seeing what’s happened, especially you got kids and those points where you remember “What happened?” So I do that fairly regularly at the end of the year.
Jim: OK. Next one, you mentioned 4.15am every day you write your goals. So you’re writing down your goals every day.
Wayne: Every single day.
Jim: How long does that take you, to actually write your goals? 30 seconds? Is it 5 minutes?
Wayne: Good question. It takes me about maybe 10 minutes and it’s not just the goals. It’s goals, and then it’s some things that I’ve got to accomplish for the day. I do a little bit on gratitude, things that I got to remember with my brain. But the overall thing is; 4.15am, by 4.35am or so, 4.40am, I’m done. 25 minutes max.
Jim: And if you didn’t do that, you think you would not be as productive.
Wayne: I do because I circled in that journal, I know my big Three for the day. So they’re not just goals but my big Three. Not tasks, things I’ve got to get done by the end of the day and I always have one circled no matter what. I got to get through one. So I kind of do that as well in the journal. Yeah, I don’t think I’d be as productive if I didn’t do it daily. And I guess it’s just been such a process now ingrained in my brain that [inaudible 00:31:20] never came out of nothing. I mean, this was just an idea that I threw out 10 years ago to my wife and she looked at me on New Year’s Day. I talked about the book and she imagined “We’re going to write our goals down every day of the year?” I said “Yeah, let’s see what happens.” And the results were magnifying.
Jim: Does she do it as well?
Wayne: She did. And this is for a woman who lives for food and family. It’s the Greek world. And for me to throw out this idea that we’re going to write some goals down every day of the year, you can imagine the looks. And the first year we achieved, it was incredible and it was just because we were more focused. We achieved about 70% of the target goals and some of them were five-year goals, just because we kept rolling along. And not that we just focused only on it but we just kept our mind on it.
Jim: All right. You talked about accountability. You talked about Basecamp and Trello. I know what Basecamp is. Trello, is that also like a project management tool?
Wayne: Yeah, it is Jim. If you haven’t checked it out, take a look at it, and I would say for the audience as well. Trello is free.
Jim: I’ll add a link to that for the audience as well.
Wayne: Yeah. There’s no fee for it, so it’s a free one and it’s very – I’ll say – creative. There’s colors and you just pick and move things. And it’s very, very simple to use. To me, it’s a great starting project management system compared to Basecamp and some of the other ones that you can use. It’s not CRM, it’s just project management but it’s simple to use and you can just move things along with your cursor. And you drop them into different buckets and you put it on your iPhone or your smartphone as well.
Jim: And you use this for goals?
Wayne: I do for goals, I also do it for details of breaking down the goals. So if I got a big target one, for instance, the big race that I’m doing this year, the amount of analysis and planning has been remarkable for this event. And I put everything in Trello with trigger dates that that email comes, “OK Wayne, it’s time. You got to get this thing done,” or I got to get help from someone to help me get through these next three things to make sure we’re moving along. So I do use it for goals, and then break down those goals.
Jim: You mentioned your goals would change. I’m kind of going down through these different ball points. So you mentioned your goals change, and of course, I emphasize that to people as well. Goals change. Just because you have it written down, things change in your life. I think that holds a lot of people back. They’re afraid to write their goals down because they’re like, “Oh man, if I write this down, what if something changes in my life and I can’t do it?” It’s like write it down, your life evolves, things change, situation change. How do you go about changing your goals? You evaluate them, I think you said quarterly?
Wayne: Yeah, I do. I go through and kind of see where I am with the goal, depending on what time period it’s in, if it’s a one-year goal or . . . I do them short. I go three, six, nine and twelve. And then I go up to five years. And then people say “Why do you do that?” And I say “Well, there’s planning in the future as well. I don’t base everything quarter by quarter.” We can’t get everything done in one year but many times I look at the quarter and say “Oh my goodness. All right, something came up. I got a new opportunity,” or something else and its point-in-time. I got to prioritize. I use my own system on prioritizing. Then I will shift and I will shift that goal out way into the future or I’ll eliminate it. So it’s not relevant anymore. I’m not going to do it anymore. So I do that usually every quarter. But not that often do I go and have to change that many of them. But there will be ones that’ll come up for sure.
Jim: You talked about 12 goals. A lot of what I’ve read is that 6 to 8 goals is the right number. Some say more, some say less. You mentioned 12. What are some of those areas where you set goals and what’s your philosophy on them?
Wayne: Yes, and I do it in category. There could be a category that doesn’t even have a goal in there. So I pick 12 categories and I have them all off my head. It’s family, business, finance, children/godchildren, give back to the community, books I want to read in a year, how many people I want to meet in the year, what new things am I going to learn in a year. So I break those down into categories and I usually pick maybe one goal or none from each of those categories. But I try to cross each one, at least have something in there. But one of the goals might be tagged out, you know, a little bit longer time period. But right number, I think everyone’s different. I hear every example possible. My average is usually about 10. I probably 10 goals. They’re not all one-year goals, but in the one-year goal frame, there are probably 5 to 7. Out of those 5 to 7, there are 2 that are off the chart. And we’ll just go crazy when we get them done. And then the other one’s a little bit longer out. So I think it depends on what the priorities are, what their key objectives are, most importantly. It’s not so much the number but it’s what’s going to make life most well-rounded and how they evaluate success because everyone has a [inaudible 00:36:41] of success.
Jim: Yeah. I think that’s really important for listener to understand. Everybody defines success differently in different areas of life. Wayne, you write down your goals every day. Are you writing down all, say 10 goals every day?
Jim: OK. And some of them are just going to be a phrase, I imagine? Or a sentence?
Wayne: I write them in the fashion of “I will” or “I have achieved them already.” And I put a deadline date on there.
Jim: And you will say “I have” even if you haven’t done it yet, right? You’re saying it to change the mentality, your mindset of it.
Wayne: Yeah. It kind of drills into the subconscious a little bit. And I’m not a psychologist. I’m a finance guy. So it does work though. It’s kind of shocking.
Jim: Oh yeah, absolutely. You read the research and you talk to really, really successful people. Which I only have uber successful people on this show, you being one of them. And it’s just uncanny how many people tell me that they write down their goals and how they write down their goals. Taking about “I have,” they’ve done things like that. And then finesses and other one. It’s just so many of these habits in common, which I have the ‘8 Habits of Success for Former Athletes’ as one of my downloads. For the listener, you can actually get that if you go to jimharshawjr.com/47. Just 47. You’ll have access to that as well, in addition to all these things that Wayne’s talking about. Wayne, this is unbelievable. So anything else? So for listener again, I’m going to go through this, I’m going to break this all down because this is gold right here. I should charge about $100 just to listen to this episode. Wayne, this is fantastic stuff. Anything else there on goals?
Wayne: Two things; one is make sure you celebrate on the back-end. Enjoy the journey. I think it’s always important. And then, I think it’s always kind of nice at the end of the day to not forget what you’ve done. Not that you want to promote it but just internally in your brain and have a capture of goals you’ve achieved over your lifetime. And go in all the way back, “What was that first hurdle that I got through?” and as you go into the next time period of whatever it might be, keep a section in your journal – or even write it in your computer, however – goals achieved. And it’s kind of a nice reflection thing, and you just look at it. So I do do that as well and then key points that you actually celebrated.
Jim: Wayne, I ask all my guests to share a time that they failed. You’re obviously extremely successful in business, in athletics. You’re an author. You’re a speaker. You’re a coach. Tell us about a time that you failed, that you faced self-doubt and maybe even feel a sense of hopelessness that you weren’t going to achieve a big goal that you set for yourself. And how you handle that, because we, the listener and myself, we’ve all failed. And when we fail, it creates this sea of self-doubt. And then when we struggle in the future, it just waters that seed of self-doubt. How do we, and how do you handle a situation like that? You got a specific situation you can share with us?
Wayne: I do. I’ll give you a good one. And trust me, I have failed plenty of times. I’ve had plenty of them that didn’t go according to plan as anyone else. I’m not a huge fan of the term though Jim, ‘failing forward’ all the time. It’s one thing to fail, but it’s not a fun thing. It’s great to get learning lessons but the whole mindset of this new term of failing forward, I’m not into that one as much. But I have failed and this is a good example of one. My first job out of college was probably my best job and it’s one of those ones where there was that breaking point of not making it. And my first job out of college was I took a job that was sold to me, I think, from the group a lot better than it was. Again, it was the best job I ever had in my life and it was door-to-door life insurance sales in lower to very low income areas in Western Pennsylvania. And what I was doing is actually knocking on doors and asking to individuals if they’re interested in buying accidental death and dismemberment insurance policies. So the only way there’s a benefit is they got to die in an accident. So you got a $50,000 benefit for $3 a month. And the requirement was volume, as you can imagine. It is volume-driven. So after about the first 3 weeks of this, I remember, I was a young guy and it was like a breaking point. I’m sitting in my car going home and it’s like 10 o’ clock at night. And this is all day and then you would try to go at night, try to get people when the other spouse would come in. And this is a different time period, back in the ‘80s, where you did this. There were points there with not just fear of failure but just the sheer amount of rejection day-in and day-out, mentally, it was beyond tasking to say the least. And I think what I did . . . I remember this specifically, I got through the breaking point which was you had to stay three months and hit your quota. And one of things was I had a good friend of my father’s recommended a book for me to read. I always give back the books. And it was the first time I had read Dale Carnegie’s book, ‘How to Win Friends.’
Jim: Yeah, great book. I recommend that all the time.
Wayne: And it’s such a great book, and I read it every quarter. I read it all the time, I know it’s common sense but there’s ideas captured in there that we forget about. And I read it, you know, and it’s basic but it was so true. And I would read it and at that time, we had the cassettes. We put the cassettes in the car, and there was a component of this is ‘Listening, Don’t ever give up for sure and make sure you’re just generally interested in the other person,” which was the whole point of that book. And it changed the way I was presenting, honestly. And I didn’t have sales training or anything. I was just thrown out to the wolves. And I turned it around. But it was brutal though, I didn’t have any money, came right out of the college and I’m still living at home at that time. And I remembered the turning point when I got on the leader board. And the leader board back there was a chalkboard and it had lines on it. They had 50 people in the office.
Jim: But it was on an iPad, right?
Wayne: No, no, no. There’s nothing. Our office was over near Fox Chapel, which you would know. And they would write down every Friday [inaudible 00:43:20] and we were required to sell 50 a week. So it was a lot of volume and you got to realize that rejection factor. You’re closing so low. It turned and I got to the top of the leader board, and that was kind of the breaking point that I actually can do this. And it was better ways of listening and engagement for someone. But I was at the bottom. Trust me, it was lots of stress. Even at a young age, I didn’t have a whole lot of things in terms of responsibilities but I’ll just never forget it. And that was one that was at failure, below failure, ready to get fired, turn it around and then make it happen. So that was probably the one I remember the most.
Jim: Yeah, great story. I had a sales job at one point. Well, I was inside sales mostly and it was a lot of cold-calling or very lukewarm calls. And I’m so glad that I had that job because like you said, the sheer amount of rejection that you have to face and then get yourself back up for the next call, it’s such a valuable lesson. I want all my kids – I got four kids – all of them to have a sales job early in their career, where they’re facing that rejection and they have to plough through it. It’s such a valuable thing because it allows you to become a little more emotionally tough, I think. Some people have that weakness and it’s one of my weakness, I want to please everybody. And when you get over that . . . because you’re ticking people off man, they’re hanging up the phone on you and you’re being persistent and that’s what a good salesperson does eventually, and doing it the right way, of course. But what a great lesson, what a great experience for me and I’m glad you shared that, Wayne.
Wayne: Yeah, nothing like sales, right?
Jim: So you’ve shared with us a lot of the things I asked my guest. You gave us the book. You told us the one habit that you do every day and I think we can extrapolate from that, what we should be doing, what the listener should be doing on a regular basis. And what action we can take in the very near future, in the next 24 to 48 hours. Wayne, this was absolutely unbelievable. I’m blown away that you shared all this awesome stuff with us. I’m not even kidding. I want you to promote the heck out of your book, your website, how people can find you, how people can hire you and get more of what Wayne offers.
Wayne: Excellent. You want the info now?
Jim: Yeah, lay it on me. Lay it on us now, and then I’ll include all this in the action plan as well.
Wayne: So just a quick update, my new website we’ve been working on here for a little while that has everything housed under it is wayne-kurtz.com and it should be launched by the end of this week. So that’s hopefully by the end of April.
Jim: Cool, by the time this publishes, this should be good.
Wayne: Yeah. So end of April, that’ll be launched. That has chiefgoalsofficer.com, which is the book, the platform, everything is on Amazon. But if you Google Wayne Kurtz, you’ll get most of the information for sure.
Jim: Fantastic stuff. So you have any other parting thoughts before we let you go, Wayne?
Wayne: No, I think if anything else, one of the things I think is always a great learning lesson is those famous words for anyone when you’re facing some struggles and there’s challenges that Diane and I had quote – and I don’t know if she was the one who said it but when she did the swim was the day we started the triple DECA. And her words when she got out of the water, when she swam to Cuba was, “Don’t give up. Don’t ever, ever give up.” And those words I think resonate for anyone in any aspect; job, work, family. And I think if anything, that’s a good parting way for your audience, because it does turn around.
Jim: Yeah, persistence wins. Thanks Wayne, appreciate your time. Appreciate you coming on the show. For the listener, jimharshawjr.com/47 to get the action plan. And all the other resources that I posted up on my resource page, you get access to as well. But this is going to be a really, really popular one, Wayne. So I appreciate you coming on. For the listener, until next time, just like when you were an athlete, take the time to get clear on your goals and embrace failure as a stepping stone on your path to success.