Ric helps organizations and individuals reach their potential by harnessing the power of advanced analytics, attention and self-leadership. He cares genuinely for people combined with deep technical nerdiness. He loves results and progress – that’s why he always puts people first. That’s why he also has a podcast called “Relationship Power at work” where any manager can get more accomplished in their professional life.
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Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [01:01] – Ric believes the Peter Drucker quote, “Accept the fact that we have to treat almost anybody as a volunteer”
- [01:11] – Ric helps managers find their potential
- [01:45] – He lives in Stockholm, Sweden with his family
- [02:05] – He was on Episode 1309 of Entrepreneurs On Fire!
- [02:47] – One BIG and Unique Value Bomb: Ric’s area of expertise is giving peace of mind to his clients and good sleep at night
- [04:04] – That which you are unaware of controls your options
- [04:26] – Companies are not replaced by their competitors, startups are what displaces them
- [04:44] – Pay attention to your surroundings
- [06:29] – “My weird honors your weird”
- [06:39] – The ‘normal’ has changed
- [08:04] – Show your vulnerability to make it easier for other people to do the same
- [08:24] – Ric uses Seth Godin as his example
- [09:40] – “We should guard our attention above anything else”
- [10:12] – The way to guard your attention is being mindful of it
- [11:13] – People have the option to be inspired or to be envious
- [11:53] – Focus on the percentage of your time you’re consuming content and producing content
- [12:37] – JLD will never stop consuming content
- [13:06] – “Your awareness about yourself is what makes you get or lose energy”
- [14:08] – “Freedom can best be created before you need it”
- [14:16] – Do the work now and reap the benefit later
- [14:40] – Build an asset so people know what they’re investing in
- [15:08] – “Take action right now”
- [16:20] – Be aware that some tools might not be available tomorrow – spread out
- [16:44] – If you want something, follow up
- [17:53] – Your attention is a muscle that you have to train
- [18:30] – “I’m on the path to more”
- [19:25] – Go beyond the muscle failure to force it to grow
- [20:11] – Allow yourself to regenerate, rest and reflect
- [20:32] – Most building happens during the rest period
- [20:42] – If you don’t sleep well, you’re not going to make the best decisions for your business
- [22:11] – Don’t wait – START!
- [22:38] – Do something today
- [22:59] – “You become the company you keep”
- [23:16] – Connect with Ric on his website
- [23:26] – Ric has 2 Gifts for Fire Nation! An ebook guide and 1 hour of FREE coaching! Go to RicLindberg.com/fire
- [24:21] – Relationship Power
Interviewer: Ric helps organizations and individuals reach their potential by harnessing the power of advanced analytics, attention, and self-leadership. He cares genuinely for the people combined with a deep technical nerdiness, and he loves results and progress. That’s why he always puts people first. Ric, take a minute, fill in the gaps from that intro and give us a little glimpse of your personal life.
Ric: I deeply believe in the quote from Peter Drucker that “Accept the fact that we have to treat almost anyone as a volunteer.” Thus, I coach managers in finding theirs and others’ potential. And in the process of doing that, help them and others achieve more work and more satisfaction in doing that work.
I also consult on harnessing the power of analytics forecasting, internet of things, big data, and a lot of the stuff that’s hype right now. But I was doing that as a nerd 22 years ago when everyone was questioning us, why do we love doing this so much?
On a personal note, I’m living in Stockholm, Sweden, where I am the grateful father of a wonderful daughter at one and a half years old now, but growing fast, together with a gorgeous lady. Sometimes I can’t believe how I got so lucky on these two.
Interviewer: Well, one thing that I can’t believe is that you are Episode 1,309 of EOFire, which seems like yesterday that we talked last, but it has actually been over 400 episodes since you’ve chatted with the Great Fire Nation and myself. So, we’re gonna have some fun today. We’re gonna kind of mix things up, but of course, as always Fire Nation, if you want to hear Ric’s journey, that’s episode 1,309. We get into the worst moment, the aha moment, we bust the lightning round, we light it on fire.
But what I want to do first, Ric is kind of bring us up to date on what you consider your greatest area of expertise right now today. Kind of break that down for us and share with us one value bomb from that area.
Ric: I don’t think it’s really up to me to say, so I’m gonna quote my clients. Most of them say the best value they get out of me is I help them sleep soundly at night knowing their big data internet of things, worldwide big system, whatever is in well-guarded hands with clear responsibility and committed people to know what to do if things aren’t a full performance.
Interviewer: Well, I’ll tell you what – being somebody who has focused on fitness and nutrition for a couple years now, nothing’s more important than sleep, Fire Nation. So, if something is keeping you up at night, make sure that you’re finding people that can come in and take away that stress, take away that pain, and allow you to get that deep REM sleep so you can wake up refreshed and ready to tackle what you’re best at. So, Ric does what he’s best at for his clients so that he allows them to do what’s best for them. So, that’s critical.
Now, Ric, we’re just gonna go through a few things here that you and I kind of had a little bit of a chat about before we started this interview and I’m kind of just interested for you to kind of go off on a couple of these topics so that Fire Nation understands exactly where we can apply these different things to our lives, the first one being, what you’re unaware of controls your options. So, let’s kind of dive into that a little bit.
Ric Forbes predicts that the number of companies remaining on the Forbes 500 list will keep getting lower and lower or being there for a shorter and shorter period of time. And the interesting thing is they’re not really replaced by their competitor in the niche, if you so say, it’s startups totally changing user behavior so they go obsolete or extinct.
And you have to pay attention to your surroundings like this because you have to understand your customer and why they’re doing things. You can’t say I’ve been doing this; I know this best. You have to really listen to the customers and also to the techniques that are the mechanics of things because we do live in very fast-moving times. You’re really good, John, with trying out new things like Periscope and Instagram, and a lot of tools. And you’re also really good at evaluating what’s working and dropping them when they aren’t.
And the big companies need to learn that because it’s really, really hard to combat something you’re unaware of. You’re gonna lose every time.
Interviewer: I mean one thing that I’m really good at would be to try something new and be willing to be bad at it. And I think that that’s people’s biggest problem is that they never try those new things because they’re afraid that they are going to be bad. Well, of course you’re going to be bad. It’s a new thing. Do you think the first Periscope or Instagram story or Facebook Live I did was good? It was absolutely not good, but I was willing to be bad to learn to get better.
And so it’s really just getting out there and having that confidence, Fire Nation. And just being free – freeing yourself to actually take these steps and moving forward in these directions are going to help your business because you want to be controlling the direction that you’re going in and by having that confidence, that courage to step up and to try new things and to experiment, and to bring people into your world like a Ric, who has experienced in other areas that you don’t, I mean that’s gonna be what moves your business forward.
And on that note, Ric, this is kind of a sentence that I found pretty interesting, so I would love for you to expound upon it. And that is, “My weird honors your weird.” What does that mean?
Ric: Sure, it’s sort of the same, but from a different angle. The bell curve of what is normal has changed thanks to the Internet, to the connection economy, and this near instant access that we have right now.
When you and I grew up – I’m older than you – but we grew up when it was more norm and conformity, and marketing was to the masses. Marketing was basically loud and anonymous. And right now, I have heard you say over and over, riches is in the niches. And that’s because the edge of the bell curve is now interesting because these edges can connect.
These edges where people are a bit weird you could say in their local neighborhood. They can find people who really connect on those topics. So, you could say, and I also think that when you honor that – if, for example, I’m a computer nerd. I am loving computer games, and I’m loving board games, and a lot of things. When I was younger, I hid that because I felt like if you’re a manager you’re supposed to be grown up and you’re supposed to be this and this.
But now when I honor that, I allow other people to step up on their nerd test – to be they’re extremely into another hobby. And when I show my vulnerability, and I say, here I am, and this is what I am passionate about, I make it easier for other people to do the same.
Interviewer: Now can you give a quick real life example about that? Like what’s something that you’ve seen maybe you do or one of your clients do or somebody that you follow do that kind of fits this example?
Ric: Seth Godin is doing a great example of this where he says people like us do things like this. So, basically if you want to market to someone – and you yourself, John – you talk about the avatar, that it’s your avatar – that sort of thing. If you picture your avatar you understand what are their challenges, what are their feelings, what are their dreams and their wishes. So, what do they do, and what do they talk to? You could say that’s – I don’t want to call your avatar weird, but if you niche down eventually you will have some people calling them weird.
Interviewer: There are definitely weird traits about my avatar and about every avatar. And that’s the key, Fire Nation, because then you know how to distinguish between someone who actually is your avatar and isn’t because of those weird traits because of t hose things that crop up.
And, Ric, kind of moving forward towards attention and intent – one thing that I do say a lot is all we have is time. Time is one of our most precious assets. So, attention and intent, these are two words that I really want Fire Nation to get – to understand. So, can you share a little bit about these?
Ric: Yeah, gladly, and I’m on par with you there. I think we should guard our attention above everything else. And I also think that’s what’s been a bit strange in the last years with the top minds really harnessing their brain power to figure out how can we control other people’s attention with ads and marketing, stuff like that. But that trend is really changing. A lot of people are using that for good right now, which is really, really making me happy and excited.
They’re going back to how you can guard your attention is to be mindful of it. Don’t let yourself be on too many mail lists. Don’t let yourself wander off. You have a Freedom Journal and Mastery Journal, which is really helping us focus our energy and awareness on the things that we can change, and, for example, on our feelings on when we see things.
I remember when we spoke last time, John, when you interviewed me, you talked about your red Corvette that you wanted, and if you’ve gotten one yet. But have you?
Interviewer: No, not in Puerto Rico, too many pot holes.
Ric: Oh, okay. But, for example, when you see that, and that’s just – we’ve all had things like this. And when we see it, we can either choose to be envious and happy for you, or we can choose to feel – I don’t want to use bad words here – but feel we compare ourselves and we put ourselves down – say, I’ll never be like you.
And so either we choose to be inspired and take action towards it and learn from it, or we lower our self esteem. And that’s where we focus our attention that really makes a matter. Do we have the mindset to grow from seeing things that we really adore and love, or do we use them to put ourselves down? That’s your attention. That’s the only difference.
Interviewer: One thing that you said about the number of email lists you’re on, maybe how many minutes you’re spending scrolling Facebook feeds, etc. I mean Fire Nation, one thing that I really want you to be thinking about is you have to focus on what percentage of your time you’re consuming content and what percentage of the time you’re actually producing content because that should be adding up to 100 percent.
So, for instance, when I launched EOFire I was like 90 percent consuming content and 10 percent producing because I was in the learning mode. I was trying to find out my voice, find out what I believed in, find out information and knowledge from others. So, I was consuming books and podcasts and websites, etc. So, it was very valuable for me to be 90 percent consuming content. But then as I launched EOFire and the years have gone on, that pendulum has swung. So, now I’m more like 90 percent producing content and 10 percent consuming content.
Now, by the way, I’ll never stop consuming content on some percentage, because that’s how I stay cutting edge. That’s how I continue to learn and to make mistakes and to have small wins and small losses that move me forward is that actual consuming of that knowledge. But now I’m in that production mode, so it’s kind of like a season. Look at your life and say hey, how am I evening out on that consuming and producing, and does this need to swing one way or the other depending on where my goals are at right now.
And I do love that phrase that you used, Ric, is that your awareness about yourself – it’s what makes you get or lose energy when you see that quote/unquote red Corvette swish on by you because you might be like, oh, my God, that’s where I want to be. And you let that kind of bring you up and energize you to motivate you forward or on the negative side, some people let that beat them down into submission.
They go and they binge watch Netflix instead of actually doing the work because they let that energy take them in the wrong direction. So, we have some more cool things like this we’ll be talking about in just a couple minutes here, Fire Nation. We’re gonna take a quick minute first to thank our sponsors.
Now, Ric, we’re back. And you had mentioned The Freedom Journal. You’ve mentioned The Mastery Journal. These are two tools that I have created to help others, specifically Fire Nation, really improve their productivity, their discipline, their focus, and accomplish really meaningful goals in a set timeframe because freedom is something that we as entrepreneurs, and really as humans, we really strive for this. So, I do love this phrase that you use, which is “Freedom can best be created before you need it.” So, what does that mean?
Ric: To me it means do the work now and reap the benefit later as Pat Flynn would say, but it also means that when you get an offer, if you for example, want to negotiate your salary or whatever, it’s a bit too late.
You can’t raise what you’re offered so much once you’re there, but if you start early, if you build, for example, an asset that they can learn to trust you like you have with your podcast, we get to know you before we meet you, so we already know what we’re investing in and thus, we can charge more. Or if you’re using up all your salary every month, you really have little negotiation for when you do get offered a job, you really need to take it.
So, take action right now. That’s really what this is about because we all think we can quick fix something, five minutes to twelve when we’re out on the last end of the rope. But then the span that we can change is so much lesser than what you can do right now.
And it also goes back to the previous topic about what you’re unaware of controls you. When you want to create freedom, you also want to do things in assets that you control. For example, you have a podcast, you have a network of the podcasts and web pages, and you’re going to products in a lot of different assets, John, which is really, really making you so much more safe and so much more free.
If you’re only investing your so-to-say effort into building something on LinkedIn or building something on Facebook, you don’t control these two. If they change their algorithm, you could be gone tomorrow. So, be aware. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t use other tools because they also have power you can harness, but be aware that those might be gone tomorrow and spread out. And with going back to intent, follow up like Kate said in your month income report yesterday, follow up or am I getting what I want?
Interviewer: Following up is such a key phrase, Fire Nation, because if you really want something, you’re going to follow up, you’re going to put in the extra effort. You’re gonna create the systems and automations to make sure that you are getting after what you want to get. And, Ric, there’s a bunch of other things that we could be talking about, but right now like I’m kind of looking over some of our topic points. And something that’s really personal to me is fitness and nutrition. And I’m really looking to now make my body as finely attuned as I have been able to tune my business over the past five years to where it’s at right now.
So, what I really like is the idea of building your business and your character like a personal trainer would because I see how my personal trainer – he’s very focused. Jeff knows exactly what I need to work on each day, what muscle group, what stretching, what I need to do as far as food, micronutrients, etc. He knows all of these things because he’s my personal trainer. He’s building me to be the best fitness person that I can possibly be. How can you kind of take that same mentality to build your business and character like that personal trainer would?
Ric: Sure, first of all just become aware that your attention is a muscle. Train it by reminding yourself not to switch on the different taps of the computer, but stay focused. Remind yourself to keep multiple ideas in your head at the same time, where you are right now and where you want to go because you won’t be able to right out of the gate be able to maintain the difference in your current state or success, or whatever you want to call it without also reminding yourself that I’m on a path to more – because you’re gonna get tired and fatigued just like a normal muscle in your brain or in you needs your attention.
But it also – with muscle failure – like my personal trainer talks a lot about, that’s when the growth happens, and if you invest money and time in power reading, you push the reading skills way more than you can. And then when you go back to normal, suddenly you realize you can read 20 percent faster. If you go outside your comfort zone, it’s gonna be awkward, just like you’re gonna have sore muscles. You’re not gonna feel okay being outside the comfort zone. But after a while, that will be the new normal.
It’s the same thing with the process. If you want to challenge it and push and get more done, then it really – it’s exactly like a muscle. You have to go beyond the muscle failure limit to force it to grow. And of course, do that with respect to your team, do that with respect to your clients. Choose clients that force you to level up. Be 100 percent transparent if you’ve done a thing a thousand times and you can promise the results. Or be up front with, I have a lot of theory right now, but I’ve never done it in real life, but let me help you level up and we’ll learn together.
So, you always go beyond the muscle failure of whatever process you’re working on or comfort zone or whatever skill you’re training, because that’s where you grow. And then allow yourself some Netflix binge watching or whatever to regenerate and rest and reflect – does this work towards where I want? Just like with the physical trainer would say, you can’t work extremely hard all days of the week. You also have to find regeneration – a lot of the muscle building happens during the rest period. And as you said earlier, sleeping is so important for business.
If you don’t sleep well, you’re not gonna make the best decision, and you’re not gonna be crisp at the late afternoon meeting. Sorry for going on a tender nerve.
Interviewer: You’re passionate, Ric. That’s just how it goes, my friend. And one thing that I kind of want to add to that is sometimes I like to combine the two. Like you said, why not just kind of binge on a Netflix or something like that? Well, I’ve actually kind of found ways where I can do a combination of them both where I have a walking treadmill, or it’s just a regular treadmill underneath my desk. And now I only allow myself to watch my favorite shows when I’m actually walking on that treadmill.
And nothing crazy, like I’m not running at a 9 speed – I’m walking at like a 2.5, so I’m just kind of taking a step, walking slowly. But a 45-minute show, those 10,000 steps I’m gonna take, that really adds up over the course of time. It’s that small cumulative effect. So, give your brain that rest. Like, I do love just watching those shows as well, and I take breaks for those things all the time.
But when I can combine it with something that’s still giving me some productivity and some benefit, like walking on my treadmill, then that combination can really help in that long run – that compound effect that goes forward.
So, Ric, let’s end this conversation with you giving us just one parting piece of guidance that you think will be meaningful from what we’ve talked about today. And then give us the best way that we can connect with you. And then we’ll say goodbye.
Ric: Start – don’t wait, start. It doesn’t really matter where you start. If you’re talking about doing this muscle exercising on the treadmill or becoming aware of your attention, guarding your attention as you said, measuring where you’re spending your attention. Do something today. When you listen to this, make a note – if you have something in your hand to do something. And hopefully dare to be a bit more unique – use your personal self.
And change is coming even if you’re aware of it or not. So, also listen for it. Don’t think you know everything that’s coming. And to make one sentence that guidance is – you become the company you keep. So, also be very aware of the people you hang around, and perhaps make a tweak there as well, if they’re not supporting you fully.
Interviewer: And how can we connect with you?
Ric: You’ll find me at riclindberg.com. If you go to riclindberg.com/fire I also have two gifts for you, Fire Nation. One is an e-book where I’ve tried to put my random ramblings that I use in my management and coaching goals for how to become a better consultant. It’s a free guide. Just sign up and you’ll get it automatically. And then you can, like I said, guard your attention and unsubscribe immediately. No hard feelings. I want you to focus on your job, not to mailing lists. But hang around if you want.
And I’m also offering – because I do believe in paying it forward and I’m extremely grateful for all the help I’m getting over the years, especially my young years when I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. So, I will also put a waiting list there for one hour of free coaching. For who wants to talk about relationship power, I also have a podcast called relationshippower.com on how to do more, how to become more aware of your attention and how to get there.
Interviewer: Fire Nation, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. And you have been hanging out with RL and JLD today. So, keep up the heat, and head over to EOFire.com and just type Ric, that’s R-I-C, in the search bar, and his [inaudible] [00:23:34] page is gonna pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today, including his previous episode in the early 1300s. So, you can listen to his journey as well. And, of course, that one hour of consultation – get on that waiting list, Fire Nation. That is an incredibly valuable – when somebody offers their time at such a high level.
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