Published DateAuthorDan Sullivan and Shannon Waller
If you have a goal you’ve decided to accomplish in the next 25 years, that can be exciting but also overwhelming. In this episode, Dan Sullivan and Shannon Waller explain the major differences between an entrepreneur having a 25-year goal, and an entrepreneur working inside of a 25-Year Framework.
Here's some of what you'll learn in this episode:
Why using a 25-Year Framework means you’re not worried about the future.
How most entrepreneurs put themselves under enormous pressure.
Why the best entrepreneurs will accomplish any goal they set out to achieve.
How Dan is using his current 25-Year Framework.
Why using a 25-Year Framework results in exponential growth.
How each individual entrepreneur handles time is unique to them.
A 25-Year Framework means living the next 25 years within a time framework that consists of 100 quarters.
The thought that you have 25 years to achieve incredible growth and success has a tremendously relaxing and focusing impact.
You never have to worry about any quarter except the quarter you’re in.
Some people resist goal setting because it makes them feel immediately pressured.
Entrepreneurs don't get freaked out by their goals, but by the deadlines they give themselves to achieve them.
The greatest skill in our lives is coming to grips with time and how we use it.
It’s up to each person how they want to structure the future.
Shannon Waller: Have you ever wondered about the difference between a 25-Year Framework and 25-year goals? Hi, Shannon Waller here and welcome to the Inside Strategic Coach Podcast with Dan Sullivan. Dan, this is a question that came up for you recently in a workshop, and people were wanting to know the difference between your 25-year goals and 25-Year Framework, and how you focus. So can you talk about that a little bit 'cause it apparently engendered quite a fabulous discussion?
Dan Sullivan: What I've realized since we introduced what's called the 25-year transformation, that those who really buy into this, this has made a tremendous difference in how they see their entrepreneurial future, but more importantly, how they see just the near future. There's a trick here, and the trick is that it's not a 25-year goal in the sense that "I will accomplish this in 25 years" except in this sense that what I'm going to do, I'm going to live the next 25 years as if it's a 25-Year Framework consisting of 100 quarters, 100 90-day periods.
So that's my goal, to live the next 25 years within a time framework that consists of 100 quarters. And since I get a lot of quarters in the next 25 years, it frees me up not to worry about the future, but just to focus on the quarter that I'm in. Because when I'm finished my first quarter of a 25-Year Framework, I've got 99 more quarters that's still available to me. And what I notice is that it has a tremendously relaxing and focusing impact, just the thought that I have 25 years to actually achieve incredible growth, incredible success in my life, but I really don't have to worry about any one of the quarters except the quarter that I'm in.
Shannon Waller: And that is such a calming perspective, and we've had a lot of clients just go, "All of a sudden, I feel like I can take a breath, I can breathe." 'Cause a lot of them have some very, very big goals, 10x goals, sometimes even 100x goals. And in most entrepreneurs' minds, it's like, "Okay, that needs to happen in 90 days or in the next year," and they put themselves under enormous pressure. So you and our clients are really discovering that, "Oh, you actually can give yourself a lot more time." And then those goals look like, "Well, I can probably do that in 10 years," which point means like you've beat it, you've succeeded even faster in less time than you allocated, and that's a great feeling.
Dan Sullivan: Yeah. I don't know if you've ever, Shannon, ever discovered this that people have a resistance to goal setting because they feel immediately pressured, makes them feel very uneasy, it makes them feel that they've got to spend all their time on the goal. And I've been coaching, this is my 45th year of coaching entrepreneurs, and what I realize is that entrepreneurs actually don't get freaked out by their goals. They freak out by the deadlines that they give themselves for achieving the goal.
So it's never the goal itself that is causing the pressure, that's causing their anxiousness, that's causing their sense of urgency. It's actually the deadline they put on it. And if you're a growing entrepreneur, and you're talented, and you're successful and that you're really, really good at creating new strategies and attracting new capabilities around you, you're going to get to any goal you want to get to, but not if it has to happen a year from now, not if it has to happen six months from now.
So in the 10x Program, and this really put the spotlight on this unease with goals, I said to people, "Okay, the best revenue year you've ever had previously to coming into this workshop, I want you to write down the number just in revenue." I mean, we could do it with profits, we could do it with personal income, but I just want everybody in the workshop to have the same measurement so they can talk to each other about this using the common term, which is "revenues."
Our UK clients will use the word "turnover." Turnover is the phrase for what we call revenues, gross revenues in North America. So I said, "Okay, you've got that number, now multiply by 10," and all of a sudden, you can see the freakout factor in the room and people go, "Ah jeez, I mean 10x. Do you know how much work it took me just to get to the stage I am now, and you're asking me to go 10x with it?" And I said, "Well, I'm not asking you to do anything here. I'm simply asking you to entertain two numbers, the number that represents your best year and multiply by 10. So you tell me what just happened inside your brain." And they say, "Well, I just don't have the time now in my career to actually do this."
And I said, "Well, how much time are you giving yourself to achieve 10x?" And they said, "Well, I just got to be at it all the time. I'm going to have to work harder, I'm going to have to work longer." And I said, "Well, let me just extend and expand your thinking a little bit here. You've got the number, you've multiply it by 10, you've got a 10x number. Now, I'm going to give you a framework of 25 years to achieve the 10x goal." And they said, "Twenty-five years? I wouldn't need 25 years to go 10x."
And I said, "Really? Well, how soon could you do it?" And they said, "Hmm ... I don't know. I could probably do it in 15 years." And I said, "Isn't that great? You go 10x in 15 years and you still have 10 years' change. What would you do with the extra 10 years?" And they said, "Well, if I could go 10x in the next 15 years and my capabilities were at that level, I could probably go 10x again."
"So you're telling me that 10x when I first brought up the subject freaked you out, but now you're talking about 100x." Yeah, so the greatest skill in our lives is really coming to grips with time, and how we use time. All of our success as an entrepreneur really actually isn't a function of our particular capabilities, our specialized capabilities. It's basically our mastery of time, especially in this instance, mastery of a time period called the future. And my feeling is, it's completely up to you to decide how you want to structure the future.
I find personally that giving myself 25 years is really great. So, for example, I started a new 25-year period when I was 70. And I said, "I'm just going to take advantage of the 75-year mark to actually rearrange the 25 years. And I'm going to start, and I'm going to have, this will be the fourth quarter of my first century, so I'm going to go from 75 to 100. And what I achieve between 75 and 100 will be extraordinarily greater, certainly 100x greater than what I've achieved in the first 75 years." And I said, "Yeah, that's really neat. That's really neat. I'll start over at 75 and then I'll give myself another 25 years." So what do you think about that?
Shannon Waller: I'm going to be here for the next 25 years, so I'm really glad that you have another 25-year plan. And it was so significant when you turned 70 to lay out your 25-Year Framework for the team, and to actually just say, "Okay, yes, here's the plan, and here's how many clients you want to have. Don't know how we're going to do that yet," but you were like, "I'm in the game, I'm playing." That has not changed, which I absolutely love, and it's an inspiration not only to our team, but so many of our clients.
So I love The 25-Year Framework and there's just a peacefulness and a calmness, and I think it gets rid of some of that anxiety that can really curtail creativity, which is why I think it's so powerful. But the other part of it I want to talk about a little bit more is how it allows you to just focus on this quarter of which you have 100. I see you energized, so energized at the beginning of every single quarter, and actually middle and end as well because you know what you're working towards, but all of your attention and focus is on right now.
Dan Sullivan: Yeah. So here's the thing, I have no way of proving what I'm going to say, but I believe that how each individual entrepreneur handles time is unique to them, and it has a lot to do with how they look back and how they've handled a time period in the past. For example, most entrepreneurs, if I say, "Well, let's just leave the next 25 years the way they are right now, and let's just hold that thought that we have a 25-Year Framework ahead of you, but let's go backwards 25 years. So subtract 25 years from your present age, and first of all, were you even an entrepreneur then?" Because some of the clients I'm working with are 35 and they were 10 years old.
So I said, "If you were to measure the progress that you've made since age 10 to age 35, would you say it's way greater than you thought was possible when you were 10 years old? And is there any way at 10 you could have known how things have turned out when you're 35?" And they say, "No." And I said, "So you already have a 25-Year Framework experience." And if I'm going deeper with this, I'll ask them to say, "Well, identify the five biggest breakthroughs that have actually taken you from 10 years old to 35. And there's been a lot of breakthroughs, but if you had to name five of them." And they can name them, and it's all a combination of them suddenly having a greater capability of their own, but also they're using the capabilities of other people that got them where they are.
And I said, "So you've got about 25 years' experience of doing a 25-year transformation. You've already got 25 years in. You already have 100 quarters' experience backwards that got you where you are, but you weren't even conscious of it then. Now you're conscious of it, and you're operating at 35 at a much, much higher level of knowledge. You have a tremendous amount more practical experience. But not only that, if you're a really growing entrepreneur, you've created teamwork around you, and you begin to realize, 'Yeah, there are certain things I should do, my Unique Ability, but I got to keep surrounding myself with other people's Unique Ability. And I can see now much bigger opportunities than I ever could previously.'"
So I said, "Let's just turn that 25-year transformation experience that you have and say, okay, this time, you get to do it at a much higher skill level. You're much simpler in your thinking about what lies ahead than you were when you were 10 years old. So what if a equally exponential growth is going to happen, even greater exponential growth is going to happen during the next 25 years, but the only thing you really have to concern yourself is just the quarter that you're in? And the other quarters will kind of be the result of the growth that you make over the next 90 days.
"So quarter number two will be probably easier, and you'll get bigger results if you do the right things in just the next quarter. So what's the best possible use of the next quarter such that when you're finished this quarter, it actually allows you to have an even better quarter with number two? Number three is better than number two, number four is better, number three, and so on. And it's actually the growth becomes exponential, but you don't have to worry about what's going to happen in 25 years because all you have to think about is the next quarter."
Shannon Waller: Because you're compounding all the breakthroughs, you're compounding all the learning and the capabilities. And if anyone has not read Who Not How, please get it because it will definitely facilitate the partnering up with other capabilities. And it's also kind of, I don't even know with a rapidly changing technological world, how could I plan?
I mean, three years looks like a long time, much less 25 years. So the whole idea of having that 25-Year Framework, but just focusing on what I can affect this 90 days is very... both calming and energizing all at the same time. I really like that. But I want to point out, your plan is not to stop at 100. You have a much longer life plan than that.
Dan Sullivan: Well, my game plan, and there's a book by this title, My Plan For Living To 156. Quick story on that. I was born in 1944 and I couldn't live 100 years within the 20th century, so I said I'll live 100 years within the 21st century. Fifty-six from the 20th, 100 from the 21st, that gives me 156.
Shannon Waller: You just wanted to live a whole century.
Dan Sullivan: I wanted to live a whole century. I thought, "That'd be a real treat," from the very start of a century to the end of the century. I said, "I think that'd be a pretty neat experience." And I use that, and I've been at this since 1987 with this framework, and it's the only framework regarding my lifetime that I have.
The moment I think about something, so massive amounts of time I can do the one to 100, I can do a 25-year to 125, I can do another 25 years to 150. And here's a sneaking suspicion I have, Shannon, that if I get to 150, I bet I can renegotiate the 156.
Shannon Waller: Yeah, I definitely think you can at that point.
Dan Sullivan: I said, "I think I will have solved some very fundamental problems about staying alive," because nobody's done it that we know about. And people say, "Well, do you really think that you're going to get there?" And I said, "It doesn't have to do with whether I'm going to get there or not. It's what having that goal does to my ability just live for today."
So where the 25-Year Framework as an entrepreneur allows me to actually just focus on this quarter, the 156 years actually just allows me to focus on today. And I've got 90 todays in the next quarter. So what do I do today? And what I do is focus on three things each day, workday, that will actually contribute to me having a great quarter.
Shannon Waller: I love it, Dan. I was going to ask you, how can people take action on it? And you've actually given a lot of prescriptions already, which I love. So really focus on the three crucial results per day. You also burn a thousand exercise calories before breakfast.
Dan Sullivan: I get a full top to bottom physical with a lot of different testing, every kind of test that's immediately available right now. And for the last two years, my test scores are just going off the chart in almost every area of health and fitness. And they said, "Do you think you could do that for 25 years?" I said, "I know I can do it tomorrow."
Shannon Waller: Which is perfect.
Dan Sullivan: Yeah. If I always know I can do it tomorrow, I don't worry about the 25 years or the 156 years. I said, "If I'm doing this every day already, is there any logical reason except for injury or some debilitating sickness, or is there any reason why I can't continually do it tomorrow? On any day over the next 25 years, is there any reason why I could not burn a thousand calories?"
And we arrange where we are that they have good gyms. So it's actually made Babs and me very, very strategic about where we stay when we're traveling someplace else. And all the gyms we have totally support my early morning habit.
Shannon Waller: I also really like the thinking process of looking back over your last 25 years. So I'm thinking back, and I was already a coach then, and how much I've changed, and learned, and grown. It's kind of amazing and what that means for the next 25 years. I think that's a really great thinking exercise.
And just to kind of go through that process of what would your next 25-Year Framework, what would you want to be true? Not in a goal sense so much, but you've set some goals for Coach in terms of how many clients we might have. Again, don't quite know how we're going to get there, or what it looks like, or what the fee structure will be, but there's some nice, exciting numbers out there.
Dan Sullivan: Yeah. And I'm not freaked out about the numbers. You got to have a number, you got to have some sort of measurement to your goals. So we always create the future for the notion of ourselves having much greater capabilities and opportunities at some point that you can put a date to it and you can put measurements to it, but it gives you this flexibility.
And entrepreneurs, of all people on the planet, should really take ownership of their future and their future results because, first of all, nobody forced you to be an entrepreneur. I mean, this is strictly elective, and you're not required to be an entrepreneur. And the other thing is that you've more or less made yourself incapable of being anything else if you're an entrepreneur.
Shannon Waller: You mean you're no longer employable?
Dan Sullivan: Yeah, yeah. I mean, I wouldn't hire me. And all the entrepreneurs that I coach, I wouldn't hire any of them. But I would collaborate with them, and I do collaborate with them. But I wouldn't hire them because they're too self-directed. They wouldn't work for somebody else.
Shannon Waller: No, and no one else is going to do it for you, so you need to be in charge of your future.
Dan Sullivan: Yeah, and nobody else owns your future time. Nobody else owns your future. You're the one who owns this, so take ownership.
Shannon Waller: I find this 25-Year Framework very useful, both from just the long- It's like, "Oh yeah, I've got a lot of time to accomplish my big goals." And then the absolute clarity and focus it gives you for this quarter. So thank you, Dan, for clarifying the question, and I know that other people are going to find this incredibly useful. Thank you.
Dan Sullivan: Thank you, Shannon, great questions.
Shannon Waller: Thank you so much for listening. If you like this, please feel free to share, and definitely subscribe, and we'll talk to you next time on the next Inside Strategic Coach Podcast.