Do you wonder if you have what it takes to become an entrepreneur? Creating a thriving business is complex and has more to do with character traits than skills.
Today’s guest has walked his journey with entrepreneurship and became obsessed with studying others to understand their “success secrets.”
Today, my guest is Gino Wickman, and I’m super excited to bring you our conversation! Gino has created the EOS system, the Entrepreneurial Operating System®, a complete set of simple concepts and practical tools that he has used to help thousands of entrepreneurs worldwide get what they want from their businesses. In today’s episode, we talk about the reality of being an entrepreneur, the five principles to live your best life, Gino’s life-changing breakthrough, how to prepare for abundance, and so much more!
An entrepreneur since the age of 21, Gino has had an obsession for learning what makes businesses and entrepreneurs thrive. At 25, he took over the family business, which was deeply in debt and in need of help. After turning the company around and running it for seven years, he and his partners successfully sold it. Gino then set out to help entrepreneurs and leaders get what they want from their businesses.
Gino is the founder of EOS Worldwide, an organization that helps tens of thousands of businesses implement the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), a practical method for assisting companies in achieving greatness. He has personally delivered more than 1,900 full-day sessions for more than 135 companies, helping them implement EOS. With an international team of over 450 professionals, he has supported over 130,000 companies using the EOS tools worldwide.
He is also the author of the award-winning, best-selling book, Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business, which has sold over 1 million copies, and five other books in the Traction Library that have sold almost 2 million copies. These include Entrepreneurial Leap, Rocket Fuel, and The EOS Life: 10 Disciplines For Managing and Maximizing Your Energy.
In recent years, the entrepreneurial lifestyle has been glorified online and marketed as being as simple as launching a product and building a nine-figure business overnight. The reality is that it’s demanding, challenging, stressful, and can be overwhelming. Running a company is complex and requires skills ranging from people management to product promotion.
Gino believes there’s another reality that most people don’t explore before starting a business despite all these pitfalls.
“For 30 years, I have been obsessed with entrepreneurs; what makes [or] helps them become successful? After all that experience, I wrote a book, Entrepreneurial Leap. [The book] does everything to talk most people on the planet out of becoming an entrepreneur because most are not cut out to be an entrepreneur. My math says about 4% of the population has what it takes to be a true entrepreneur.” – Gino Wickman
If you were born with the following six essential traits, you might be a true entrepreneur:
If you don’t have all six of these traits, it doesn’t mean you can’t be a lifestyle entrepreneur or a one-person show, and it doesn’t mean you can’t have a side hustle, but to build a successful business, these six traits are essential.
“I’m trying to help anyone out there that does not have the six essential traits [and] save them ten years of hell because that’s what’s going to happen.” – Gino Wickman
Gino does this assessment with people who hire him first before he begins thinking about showing them the path to success and how he can help them eliminate half the mistakes they would’ve made.
Failure is not “one thing,” like not having a business plan — it’s about what traits the person has to enable them to overcome the challenges that come with building successful companies.
Whether you want to become an entrepreneur or not, Gino has excellent advice on how to live your best life.
Gino is a teacher at heart, and working with so many companies and individuals, he is constantly asked, “How do you become an entrepreneur?” Gino believes there’s a more pertinent question that precedes it: “Should I become an entrepreneur?”
“It’s five points to living your ideal life: doing what you love, with people you love, making a difference, [and] getting compensated appropriately with time for other passions. It is that simple. [Instead of] reading a thousand different books, I need to flip [one simple mechanism] in their brains. They don’t feel they deserve it.” – Gino Wickman
Wow! That is so powerful. No matter what has happened to us in our lives, as soon as you recognize that you are worthy and deserve to live your best life, the EOS method uses those five points to help you make that a reality — whether by becoming an entrepreneur or not.
“I get you to literally say, ‘Where are you on a scale of one to ten with this one, with this one, with this one.’ It’s about moving the needle. If you’re sitting [at one out] of ten and doing what you love, all you need to do is move the needle to six a year from now; that is a quantum leap toward living your ideal life. Some people get there in a year; for some people, it’ll take them 20 years. As long as you’re moving in that direction — it’s heaven.” – Gino Wickman
Gino constantly reminds audiences that they deserve success to live their greatest lives, whether by becoming an entrepreneur or not. He doesn’t discard or downplay that things can be “screwed up” in your life — but he reminds everyone that it’s all a little screwed up, he’s screwed up, and we’re all a little screwed up! Everyone has a different reason why they don’t feel they deserve success or feel worthy, and that’s for each of us to figure out.
“It’s different for all of us, but you deserve it. It’s time to put it in the past and move forward. It’s simple, not easy, but it is that simple.” – Gino Wickman
Wise words from a man living his best life for 20 years, and a reminder about how we can sometimes overcomplicate things in our heads. I enjoy his truth in making the distinction between “simple” and “easy.”
It certainly hasn’t been easy for Gino. After his third time losing all his money, he finally had a breakthrough.
We all have struggles to overcome, but sometimes, it can be easy to see someone successful and believe they’ve always had things figured out. Interestingly for Gino, it wasn’t until his thirties that he had one of his most significant internal breakthroughs when he realized he deserved more.
“I was 32. I always felt like I was going to be successful. There was no question in my mind, and I’ve always been good at making money, [but] I’ve always been good at losing it. I’ve been broke three times, and it was about vulnerability. I saw the three-foot concrete wall that I surrounded myself within. I saw it and said, ‘Holy crap, I am so afraid to be myself. I am so afraid.’ When I saw it started to come down; it didn’t come down quickly. I sit here today and don’t [care] what you think about me, but that took work. That didn’t happen instantly at 32. As you get older, you start to feel more that way. … Just in the last five years, I’ve gotten to that place, but it started at 32.” – Gino Wickman
Gino is now 54, which shows you how long it can take to process what’s holding us back, even with an awareness of what’s wrong. Gino may have chipped away at his walls bit by bit, but he credits that awareness to being a game-changer and becoming conscious of a powerful tool: vulnerability.
“When I learned this vulnerability thing, I started to apply it to business. I was teaching vulnerability to leadership teams, and what I’ve done all these years at EOS worldwide is work with leadership teams. Picture you and whatever team reports to you that heads up the major functions. These are the three to seven people at the helm of a 10 to 250 person company. In working with them, we describe our target market as somebody who is open-minded, respectful, growth-oriented, and willing to be vulnerable. … We get these leadership teams to be vulnerable, lower their guards, and it’s the same thing. You can watch that Teflon shell reducing and coming down. As it does, there are tears in our session rooms.” – Gino Wickman
Gino’s work with teams of executives becomes group therapy with a business focus. While these are all hard-charging leaders and entrepreneurs, to build great companies, they need to realize we’re all a little screwed up and no one’s perfect. Gino’s method is a powerful tool for members to admit all their strengths and weaknesses and go forward as a team to build something incredible.
In Gino’s experience, the benefit of practicing vulnerability as an organization is moving ten times faster. Instead of holding onto baggage and dragging ten anvils behind you, you cut those anvils loose, and you fly.
Once you start gaining momentum, you’re on track to building success. Gino has some tips on how to get ready for the abundance coming your way.
Suppose you’re used to earning at a certain level; you might find yourself dreaming about how to double or triple your business using services from people like Gino. Before attaining more money than you ever knew — Gino shares how to prepare for abundance.
“I have been broke three times — 21, 25, and 31. I wanted to be a millionaire by the time I was 30; I achieved that goal by 31, but what I left out of the goal [was] I forgot to say, ‘and keep the money.’ I went from being a millionaire to $200,000 in debt. We transform companies [by helping them] make a lot of money, and what I do for them is a special full-day session called a ‘freedom forum.’ I do it because [I’ve seen too many] givers, teachers, and the helpers of the world die broke. In that [forum,] I’m teaching them how to keep the money.” – Gino Wickman
Gino teaches a mental shift that starts with the end game: Do you want to retire someday? Most people say “yes,” which means living off your money and not having to work.
The next question is, “What kind of a lifestyle do you want to have?” If your current lifestyle is a hundred thousand dollars, you need $2 million to retire.
“Most people don’t get that, and they think the money machine continues forever, and it doesn’t. It’s a day of reprogramming their brains and teaching them so once they understand the math, then they realize this extra $400,000 in their account [shouldn’t go to] the urge to buy a bigger house, buy a boat, or buy a car. They realize, ‘I can put that toward the two million.’ Most people are conditioned to spend that money for whatever reason and think that the money’s going to keep coming in, and it doesn’t.” – Gino Wickman
Gino recommends reading The Millionaire Next Door to understand more psychology behind wealth. You’ll realize that the people you don’t think are millionaires are millionaires, and the people you do think are millionaires are not millionaires.
After all, wealth is more about cultivating the right state of mind than what we own.
Guys, today’s episode was jam-packed with so much valuable information for us about entrepreneurship that I just couldn’t fit it all in this post. I recommend heading over to Episode 1,225 to listen to the full episode — make sure you have a pen handy to take down even more notes!
Gino’s passion lies primarily in helping entrepreneurs succeed by turning their ideas into thriving businesses. He isn’t active on social media, but to learn more about his EOS method and connect, please head over to his website, where you can find their free tools to start your journey and even schedule a free 90-minute call with a specialist.
After hearing Gino share such wisdom, I had to find out his definition of greatness:
“Earl Nightingale had a recording in the fifties called, The Strangest Secret and described success as the progression of a worthy goal or ideal. The point is, you are successful when you are working towards something. The journey never ends — and so somebody great to me is somebody who is always growing” – Gino Wickman
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Whether you want to learn if you’re genuinely an entrepreneur or discover what it takes to build a successful business, this episode is for you. So join me for Episode 1,225 of The School of Greatness, and lay the foundation for your future success!