If you listened to my episode with Chris Voss, you know that everything is a negotiation. In this episode of The School of Greatness, I wanted to go to the Shark himself, Daymond John, and see what he had to say about business, negotiation, and achieving the best outcome in your business and your personal life. Even those small things in day-to-day life — like crossing the street, ordering a Starbucks drink, or meeting a new coworker — are negotiations.
Especially when it comes to business, you have to know how to negotiate in order to get what you want. People aren’t going to step out of your way — you are responsible for making things happen. You have to be prepared to know what you need, what your vision is, and what is the best way to achieve that outcome. But, you also need to be equally aware of what the other person wants.
Sometimes, negotiations end up with only one party winning, or worse, no one wins. But ideally, both parties gain something, and everyone is benefited by the solution.
If we want our businesses and relationships to thrive we need to know how to make negotiations. We even have to make negotiations with ourselves. We have to negotiate with our minds to achieve the things we’ve never achieved.
You may want to be a millionaire, but why? What do you want to do with that million dollars? What are your motives for success? Sometimes we chase the outcome without knowing why we’re chasing it. Sometimes we go through this life without knowing what our “why” is.
Daymond John has come a long way from turning a $40 budget into FUBU, a $6 billion fashion game-changer. Throughout his career, Daymond has continued to be an entrepreneur in every sense of the word. He is not only a pioneer in the fashion industry but a Shark on the 4-time Emmy Award winning Shark Tank, a New York Times best-selling author, branding guru, and highly sought-after motivational speaker. He’s been a Shark on the show for 11 years now and reigns as the “King Kamehameha of the Tank.”
In April 2017, Daymond was diagnosed with stage II thyroid cancer. Thankfully, thyroid cancer is one of the slowest growing cancers, but if you don’t treat it, it can go to your lymph nodes and then move to your brain. In the weeks that Daymond waited for his diagnosis, he began to rethink his life and underwent what he would call “a powershift.”
“I said to myself, ‘am I prepared to die?” … ‘let me think about unraveling the businesses that I have [to spend] more time with my kids … But then the other negotiation was, ‘No mother should bury her son. My two oldest girls — I want to sort of be around to protect them, and maybe I want to have grandkids one day … And so, one week out of the two weeks waiting for the diagnosis to come back had passed, but after I decided and I negotiated with myself [about] what’s my ‘why’ … I had forgotten I had [cancer].” – Daymond John
Daymond was so focused on resetting his goals and loving his family that he was no longer concerned about “cancer.” For him, it was a mental powershift — where he evaluated what was most important in his life. This powershift mindset is something that Daymond lives by — it affects his family relationships, his work, and the businesses he chooses to invest in.
This is the third time I’ve had the pleasure of having Daymond John on The School of Greatness and each time he continues to blow me away with his character, his business advice, and of course, his legendary dad jokes. Be sure to check out our past interviews together! (Episode 598 and Episode 279)
On March 10, 2020, Daymond released his new book titled Powershift: Transform Any Situation, Close Any Deal, and Achieve Any Outcome. Daymond has written several other books in the past, so I asked him, why do another one?
“I don’t write books to write books, and this is my third one in five years, and me being dyslexic, it’s not easy … so the reason I wrote this book is because a lot of people had came up to me and started saying, ‘I can’t take control of my life’ … And I realized that people always thought negotiations purely are transactional … And [they’re] not. It’s about building influence… it’s [about] developing that relationship and letting it grow over the course of time of doing 10, 20, 30, 40 other deals, or having 10, 20, 30, 40 other people telling other people how great you are to do other deals.” – Daymond John
Powershift is all about how to rewire your mindset and negotiate better in terms of your business. Usually, you’re not going to begin your career and immediately be successful. You have to build influence first. You’ll need to negotiate with yourself — learn what you want and why you want it — and then after building influence, the deals start to happen.
If you’ve watched Shark Tank in the past decade, you’ve most likely seen Daymond John in action. He’s been the show for such a long time and met so many different entrepreneurs. I wanted to know which investment of his was the best and which investment was the one he learned the most from.
His answer was the same for both: Bombas Socks — the number one investment in Shark Tank history. They’ve made around 280 dollars worth of revenuing by selling high quality socks — but there’s a special catch. Everytime you buy a pair of socks, Bombas donates a pair to a homeless person in need. Daymond already has a lot of investments in the fashion industry, and wasn’t looking for another, until he heard about the company’s mission.
“I’mma give you an example [of a] negotiation. They come into the Tank … The last thing I want is socks … How do I get advertising out of it? But they managed to make me understand that today’s generation wants to give every time they purchase, instead of at the end of the year … I was the last Shark to be interested, because I’m too jaded by the fashion industry. Lo and behold, I do the deal, and that’s where the powershift is — being able to know your target, know what’s beneficial for that person, [and] know where you’re willing to draw the line.” – Daymond John
Negotiation isn’t just about getting what you want. It’s about understanding the other party and what’s in it for them. Bombas Socks understands their consumers, knows what they’re looking for, and that’s what makes them a successful business. Daymond said he learned so much from them, and they helped him powershift his own idea of what a good business should be like.
“When I invest in brands and companies … they’re allowing me to be part of their dream, but I’m also learning from them, which is in return allowing me to go back to my special skill set and improve it.” – Daymond John
Daymond didn’t want to get “too warm and fuzzy,” but he said that he’s really learned from everyone on Shark Tank —from the people who’ve been successful and from the people who haven’t.
Nearing the end of the interview, we transitioned from talking about business to Daymond’s personal life and relationships. I asked him my usual 3 Truths Question, and one of his truths was about the importance of forgiveness.
“Just really learn as much as you can to forgive and to love … How can you have love if you can’t forgive, right? And so, you know, whether it’s with your family or whether it’s with your friend ,or something else like that, the habouring of hate and things of that nature will just eat you alive.” – Daymond John
I had a feeling there was a story behind his answer, so I asked Daymond what has been the hardest thing for him to forgive in his life so far.
“My father left when I was 10 years old. I never would see or speak to him again. And he came back in my life … about 3 years ago.” – Daymond John
3 years ago, Daymond learned that he had 2 sisters which led him to reconnecting with his father. His sisters found out he was alive and connected with him, and now Daymond has a new form of love in his life. It was a beautiful thing, and it also made him come to terms with his father’s absence.
“Yeah, I forgave my father a long time ago by going, ‘I wouldn’t be the man that I would be if he [had been present] … It was [forgiveness] in a sense, I mean, even now I don’t speak to him … I said, there was really nothing for us to really talk about, you know where I was all that time, but I’m also happy that you raised these 2 women to be great women, and maybe when you got divorced from my mother, it was just a different time in the world where you were growing up.” – Daymond John
I think Daymond’s attitude towards his father is really admirable. He’s not saying that he’s okay with him leaving or that he wants to become best friends with his dad now, but he understands that his circumstances may have affected his decisions to leave. Sometimes, people can hurt us intentionally — betray us, ridicule us, etc. — but other times we get caught in the collateral damage of a bad situation.
“I was born black and dyslexic. Neither one of those are gonna change, right? So let me get over it and do what I gotta do. So when you’re making excuses that dad left, or I got left back in school, or I didn’t have any money … it is what it is, right? So now you gotta move forward, and now you have to first of all negotiate with yourself and understand why you are worth something and why you are special, ‘cause every one of us are.” – Daymond John
Daymond decided to choose forgiveness over hate, “I can” over “I can’t,” and empowerment over failure. This is a powershift we all need to make in our lives — your circumstances do not define your worth. This was a story that Daymond’s never shared publicly before, and I’m so honored that he decided to share it on The School of Greatness.
Daymond John constantly shows up to be his best self, makes the decision to choose love even when situations are rough, and really cares about the businesses he invests in. I’ve interviewed him twice before, and each time, it just gets better and better.
If you’re looking to invest your money, I’d encourage you to listen to this episode. Daymond’s wisdom on business negotiation is gold. The best businesses are ones that care about their consumers, know what they want, and who aren’t just trying to get rich fast. You want to invest your money in a business you believe in — a business that you know has good intentions.
If you’re not looking to invest, this episode is still great for anyone who wants to improve their life by having daily negotiations with yourself. How can I love someone better today? How can I forgive people who’ve hurt me? How do I not let my circumstances stunt me from achieving greatness? These are all questions that Daymond has asked himself and continues to work on every day.
I love Daymond’s definition of greatness:
“[My] definition of greatness is knowing that [you’ve] challenged yourself, and you’ve gotten to wherever you are in life, and you’ve left nothing on the field, and you’ve accepted who you are … You’re the only one that has a blueprint for yourself, and you’re the only one that’s gonna have to look yourself in the face when your time comes.” – Daymond John
Daymond’s story of acceptance, success, and forgiveness is truly inspiring. You’re not going to want to miss this one. Tune into Episode 928 to hear from the legendary Shark himself, Daymond John.