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ACHIEVE anything you want in Life | Jeff Lerner | The 2%

Eric Partaker

Do you often feel that there aren’t enough hours in the day? Are your goals being delayed because there simply isn’t enough time? Join Jeff Lerner (Founder and CEO of Entre Institute) and Eric Partaker in sharing useful tips to reach your full potential, change your life forever and lead you on the path to achieving your goals.

KEY POINTS

10 Minutes to Success – Maximise your time, make a game out of it. If you have 15 minutes before a meeting, 60 minute lunch break or a 20 minute drive, get as much meaningful stuff done as reasonably possible.

Make Work Matter – A lot of people have a false dichotomy in their mind that they are going to work in order to support the things that matter. For those people work will always be a constant sacrifice to fulfil what matters. Create a life where the work you do can be a part of what matters.

Accomplish the Unaccomplishable – If you push the drill long enough against the wall, eventually it will burst out the other side. Work like a maniac, and don’t give up. The only real failure is a mistake that you don’t learn from.

Gun to the Head – If you are half a million dollars in debt, and you have two years to pay it off or the federal government will seize everything you own, you will find a way. Create a target. If you have an uncomfortable consequence for not achieving your goals, motivation will no longer be an issue.

The Three P’s to Success – Professional excellence is only possible through first accomplishing physical and personal excellence. Take care of yourself, your battery and machinery that allows you to go out into the world and do anything. Then nurture your relationships. Work on your relationship with people who have direct impact on your life.

Structure is my Best Friend – Plan your life, have a solid structure. Keep momentum, increase your energy by being scripted and methodical. You can remove decision fatigue by reducing every decision you make on a daily basis.

Choose your hard – Nothing comes for free, it requires payment of some form. You can either pay now with the pain of discipline, or pay later with the pain of regret. The pain of discipline is always cheaper than the pain of regret.

Own it! – Lean into your weirdness, Lean into your differences. Whatever makes you less palatable and less conforming to the rest of the world. These are your strengths; they create a paradigm for your life.

 

TRANSCRIPT

Jeff Lerner:If you can’t first take care of yourself and then take care of the people close to you, what right do you even have to go out into the market and say, “Here, here market, here, here, audience, here, here customers and prospects, I’m going to take great care of all of you, and in exchange for that, I want your money.” You’re not even taking care of the people that live under your roof. You have got to advocate for yourself. You have got to get loud and noisy and bold and unapologetic and almost confrontational with the market to go, “Listen up, this is who I am, this is what I do, pay attention, and I’m going to win you over with value.” 
Eric Partaker:Hi, everyone. Welcome to another episode of the 2% where we’re interviewing peak performers in all walks of life, to help decode excellence so that you can reach the top of your game in whatever it is that you’re doing without sacrificing the things that matter most. And I’m super thrilled to introduce to you today my guest, Jeff Lerner, now Jeff has so many fascinating things to share with us. He’s the founder and the CEO of ENTRE Institute, which to date has already skilled up, trained up over 120,000 people, helping them build online businesses to create awesome lives, and also doing that, as I said earlier, without sacrificing the things that matter most without sacrificing, for example, their health and relationship. 
 And on that note, Jeff is also married, the father of four, and before he was doing all of this, his big passion was a piano, which I’m sure he’ll share a little bit about today as well. So welcome to the show, Jeff. Absolutely thrilled to have you here. 
Jeff Lerner:I’m so grateful to be here, Eric. I’m grateful for the invitation and the time. 
Eric Partaker:Yeah. Thank you. So we were just having a really interesting chat right before we hit record. And you were talking about how the day didn’t go to plan and you miss doing some of the things that you normally would like to do in a day. And then you had 48 minutes before this interview is going to start and you had a choice, tell us about the choice you made. 
Jeff Lerner:Yeah, I’m happy to, because honestly, it sums up a lot of how I try to live my life, and I think a lot of the concepts that you talk about on the show. So I did, I had 48 minutes, anybody that’s watching visually can see I’m in what looks like a hotel room. I am, I’m on vacation, I’m in Las Vegas. I’m here with my wife, it’s actually the first getaway we’ve had in a long time with no kids. So last night, we hung out, we stayed up a little late, and this morning… Plus when I’m here, the time zone is an hour earlier. So my meetings start an hour earlier. Plus the gym here at the hotel doesn’t open until 5:30, which doesn’t really give me enough time to do my normal morning routine. 
 Normally I start the day at 3:30, but I can do that because the gym’s 24 hours. So it’s like these little hiccups in your life where the circumstances disrupt the plan. So I was sitting here, I just got off a long morning of meetings and I had 48 minutes until this show was going to start. And I was thinking, “Okay, what do I do?” I can either, have a cup of coffee, kick my feet up, mentally regroup or refresh or recharge or the things that we tell ourselves that our code for Slack, and instead I said, “Okay, I’m going to see how much I can cram in the next 48 minutes.” 
 And in those 48 minutes I ran, I got… I put on my workout clothes. I literally ran down to the gym. I did as many sets as I could squeeze in of bike sprints with pull-ups, back and forth. I got in six in about 20, 24, or 25 minutes roughly. While I was doing that, there was another thing on my to-do list today, which was to proofread my book, that I just got back from the editor with some edits. So obviously I can’t do that while I’m running back and forth in the gym, so I used the speak function on the Apple, on the iPhone to highlight the text, and I had Siri reading my book to me the whole time I was doing it. Then I got done, and I sprinted back up here, took a shower, changed clothes. 
 Also, my wife had just gotten back from shopping, so I even had a minute for her to show me what she got. And I got some vlog footage because I was behind on vlog footage for the day. Showered, changed, back here, boom, and as you can attest, I was on to the minute when I was supposed to be. And the reason I share that story is I think those little windows of time that exists in the life of everyone, every single one of us, including those of us who don’t have enough time, we all have these pockets of time, whether it’s 15 minutes between a meeting, a 20-minute drive from point A to point B, a 60-minute lunch break, that if we had planned ahead and had our meal prepared, we could probably handle in 15 or 20. 
 I’m really obsessed with maximizing those little windows of time, and what I find is you make a game of it and it’s fun. And it truly in that 48 minutes, I got as much meaningful stuff done as reasonably some people do in a half a day, and it’s like, I didn’t even miss the time. It’s like I created time out of thin air just by using a gap that normally would have gone to waste. And anyway, you get the point, but that’s… And then what’s funny is I get so excited about it. I want to talk about it for the next hour to people like you that understand high-performance, it’s like, I’m such a performance nerd that this is like the high point of my day, is just that I had a really efficient 48-minute packet of time. 
Eric Partaker:Yeah. But that’s awesome. As you’re talking, I literally looking up above my screen here and it says 10 minutes to success. And the reason it says that is because I have a quote from the founder of IKEA and he said, you could do so much 10 minutes time. 10 minutes, one’s gone or gone for good divide your life into 10-minute units and sacrifices few then it’s possible and meaningless activity. And that was from a man who built IKEA up from scratch and turned it into the multi-billion dollar company it was. Very similar to what you’re saying there. They’re all about protecting his time his most valuable asset and making the most of it. Wasted a few of those increments as possible. 
 Now a couple of things that I love with what you said there, so you use the word plan and a lot of time… And I used to do this with myself, I used to… If my day didn’t go to plan, I’d feel really bad about it. And the rest of my day could kind of like go to crap. And then I had the insight and it sounds like you’re actively practicing this, that a great day isn’t a day that goes to plan per se, but a day in which you operate at your best despite whatever you have planned. 
Jeff Lerner:Oh yeah. 
Eric Partaker:Right. 
Jeff Lerner:Yeah, yeah. 
Eric Partaker:And so, I really got that vibe from you when you said that, because it’s like, “Okay, I have a recovery opportunity here, how am I going to make the best of it?” 
Jeff Lerner:Right. 
Eric Partaker:But stepping back and if we talk about the plan from like a more macro level, so can you tell us a bit about your life? Because the life you’re living right now, wasn’t planned, how’d you get here? What’s the backstory? 
Jeff Lerner:Yeah. Well, one of my favorite sayings is, well, there’s two related to plans and by the way, it’s not planning or failing to plan is planning to fail, that’s not one of my favorite things about planning. It’s no plan survives contact with the enemy, so common battlefield statement. And then Mike Tyson’s famous line, that everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face. So yeah, I mean the life I live, I wouldn’t say it’s a happy accident, I would say it’s a convergence of happenstance and intention, which is life. 
 And yeah, so I’m this founder. And actually, when we submitted that bio to you, I was the CEO of ENTRE Institute, but I actually take it as a further evolution and a sign of progress that I’m not anymore. I’m actually the CVO or chief vision officer. 
Eric Partaker:Oh, wow. 
Jeff Lerner:I was able to… I mean, I have a business partner and frankly, he’s better at details than me. And so, he’s in his lane of genius running the day to day and I get to essentially be the figurehead and the evangelist and the content creator for what we’re trying to do in the world, which is my sweet spot. And yeah, we’re a big company. We have a staff of 150 people. Our goal is a nine-figure run rate this year. Our goal is to enroll 250,000 students this year. It’s a big business and it takes a lot to manage, but I am really, really committed to… Like you talk about the things that matter. And by the way, I think work is one of those things that matter. 
 I think a lot of people have this false dichotomy in their mind that I’m going to do my work in order to support the things that matter. And I think that’s a really sad state of affairs because, for most people, you’re going to spend the majority of your life doing your work. And most adults are going to spend more time with their work than they do with their families. That’s just how it goes. And so, if work is this constant sacrifice to fulfill the things that matter, I think that’s the biggest time opportunity squandered imaginable in life. 
 And one of the things I’m committed to doing is with the work of ENTRE is proving to people, and empowering, and teaching and equipping with the tools to create a life where the work you do can be part of what matters in your life and be well compensated for it to be clear. 
 So, how that all came about, and like you mentioned, I was a broke musician or I was music… You mentioned I was a musician, I guess I’m adding the part that I was broke. In my late 20s, I ended up almost $500,000 in debt. I had gotten this entrepreneurial bug as a piano player working with and playing in the homes of really successful people. I played private parties, I got booked into these homes. And I ended up playing piano for several billionaires, lots of CEOs, founders, and lead operators of Fortune 500, and Fortune 100 companies. 
 Anyway, I got this entrepreneurial bug because I was like, “Man, all these…” I’m sitting here, I’m 24 years old in the early… No, I guess, yeah, early 2000s, 2002, 2003, and I’m playing piano in like 10, 15, $20 million houses, which would be like $50 million houses today. And I’m like, “Who are these people?” They were all entrepreneurs. They were all people that started businesses, they weren’t people that had gone to Wharton, and gotten an MBA, and gotten a job, and climbed the ladder. I mean those people were at the parties too, because usually, they worked for the guy that was hosting the party. 
 But I just got this bug planted of, “I love my life because I’m creative and I get to make music for a living, but I don’t love the struggle, and so I’m going to try to keep that element of creativity and improvisation.” I was a jazz musician, so I literally improvise for a living, but I’m going to try to learn some different skills. If I can play these 88 keys the way I do, I can probably pull some different strings. And I became obsessed and a student of business and it took 10 different business attempts in my 20s, and that everything from MLM to starting a marketing company, I was a party promoter for a while. I tried to starting a booking agency to book other bands. 
 I tried flipping houses on credit cards, I tried originating mortgages. I tried phone sales, creating my own little gig to do, you know, sell over the phone. I tried doing door-to-door marketing and college towns with a different product I created. It was a long litany of quote failures, but I had the wisdom from these billionaires that I had played for ringing in my years, when I used to go to the gigs, I would take a notebook and I would try to corner whoever’s party it was and get some mentorship from them. 
 I’m like, “How many 24-year old’s have access to billionaires, right?” 
Eric Partaker:Yeah. 
Jeff Lerner:And so, I would go into their house and I would ask them questions. Usually, I’d only get like 30 or 60 seconds of their time, but 30 or 60 seconds of time from a guy that… Like Bob McNair the owner of the Houston Texans football team who passed away in 2017. 60 seconds of his time, although actually him, I got a few more than 60 seconds, but this is the guy that failed at 17 businesses, didn’t have a success until his mid-forties. And at the time I was playing for him, in his 60s, he was worth two and a half-billion dollars. And when he died, he was worth almost $5 billion. 
 Like you get a couple minutes of that guy’s time, you want to be prepared, right? And he told me, he said, “They tell kids all the time the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” He said, “Fortunately, I wasn’t in school that day, I missed the memo because I just started 17 businesses before I got it right.” And so, I was fueled by that, and some other great advice I’ve gotten from people that the only real failure is a mistake that you don’t learn from. 
 And so, every one of these failures I was getting better and just iterating again, and again, and again until finally in 2008, admittedly coming off from my biggest failure, which was opening a couple of franchise, restaurants and taking on a bunch of debt. And sometimes we got to learn the lesson, the hard way about being under-capitalized and over-leveraged. And I did, but under that pressure of having to pay off half a million dollars in debt I, I went online and I discovered a much more scalable, lower friction, lower overhead way of doing business in the digital economy. And I was able to pay off a half a million dollars in debt in 18 months. 
Eric Partaker:And what was your experience in digital and online before finding it? 
Jeff Lerner:It was about the same as my experience of flying shuttles to Mars. 
Eric Partaker:So what did you… How did you set yourself up, focus in the right way? How did you understand what to do to reach the top of that game so quickly? 
Jeff Lerner:Two things, one, and I’ll give you the easy thing first, which is I bought some training from a credible source. I joined a community and it wasn’t just training, it was community. I think that’s a huge… In fact, the way ENTRE teaches education, we teach that community is just as important as knowledge. And I believe that very strongly. And I think one of the reasons I was successful is because I didn’t just buy a good course on affiliate marketing which was what it was. I joined a community of about 40,000 affiliate marketers and got a lot of support and guidance from that community, especially about 20 people in that community that were the highly visible leaders and top producers in that community. 
 But the other thing I did was, and this is probably the truth that everybody needs to but may not want to hear, is I worked like a maniac. I taught myself to play the piano, I dropped out of high school when I was 17 years old, I started playing piano when I was 16. And within a few months, I was like, “This is what I want to do, I don’t want to get a job.” I had had a summer job the previous summer when I was 16 and I got fired and I hated it, and I was psychologically unemployable and I resented authority. And I frankly had a lot of personal issues that went beyond just not wanting a job. And I’ve thankfully done enough therapy. I can claim that I feel like I’ve resolved a lot of those, but fundamentally it meant at a young age, I did not see myself ever getting a good job. 
 And so, I dropped out of high school and I had a conversation with my parents. It wasn’t like some act of rebellion. It was like, “Listen, mom and dad I just I don’t… I think this is a better path for me, let me pursue my music, let me build a life doing this. I know it’s going to be hard, and I know I’m not going to be that well paid, but honestly, getting fired from a job every two weeks doesn’t pay very well either. And that’s the life I see for myself if I go enter the traditional path, and I need time. So let me drop out of school because I just started I’m 17 years old, and I have a lot of making up to do if I’m ever going to be good enough to play professionally.” 
 So they were okay. They actually withdrew me from school in my junior year, and I just started practicing like a maniac. I was self-taught, nobody would take me on, I was almost a college-aged piano student who’d never played before. So, all the really serious teachers, they were interested in working with five- and six-year old’s that they could groom on a path to play in the Van Cliburn competition or whatever. 
 And so, I was self-taught for three years, I taught myself to play piano out of a book called the jazz piano book by Mark Levine. And I made flashcards, teaching myself harmony and chords and just… Man, I just… I practiced 10, 12 hours a day. I practiced so much, I developed arthritis in my wrist, but that came years later. But ultimately after three years, I was able to get into a conservatory level college music program at the University of Houston, and I graduated. It took me 10 years to graduate with a degree in music composition and an emphasis in jazz piano performance. 
 And I had this great career in my 20s. And the reason I’m saying all that is, this thing right here, a keyboard, right? 
Eric Partaker:Yeah. 
Jeff Lerner:I knew from a deep base of experience that you give me enough time sitting at a keyboard and I can accomplish the un-accomplishable. Because when I had… It had taken me three years to get accepted into the University of Houston. And that was an audition every semester. So twice a year, I’d auditioned six auditions, it took me to get in. The first five auditions, every single person on the piano performance panel told me I was crazy and that I needed to find something else to study because nobody can start piano as late as I did and actually enroll and become a professional. 
 And I just… I don’t know why I believed they were wrong and they were, and so fast forward, whatever it was 12 years when I’m sitting at another type of keyboard going, “Okay, now I’m a half a million dollars in debt.” And I have a $400 course that I bought, and the equivalent of a Facebook group that I belong to, these are my tools, what can I do with this? I just knew that if I pushed the drill long enough against the wall, eventually it’ll bust out the other side, and that’s what I did. And it took 18 months probably 12 to 14 hours a day of affiliate marketing to pay off that debt. 
 And now as a teacher, like you said, I’ve enrolled over 120,000 students. And the number of people that I see with a willingness to work like I did, is I could count on maybe my fingers and toes. 
Eric Partaker:And how long for the person who’s listening, who wants to make that entrepreneurial leap, do they, in your mind, need to have the stamina to work 12 to 14 hour days for a decade? Or is it for a period of time? Where’s the balance coming into the equation and what’s your view on that? 
Jeff Lerner:I mean, if you’re a half a million dollars in debt and you have basically two years to pay off the debt or else the federal government is going to come seize everything you own because they were SBA loans, which means now you owe the US Treasury the money. 
Eric Partaker:Hasn’t gone to that. 
Jeff Lerner:Then yeah. You might need to, right? I mean, I’m not… My desperation and my dire circumstances was my fuel in many ways. But no, I mean, the reality is there’s a lot of different tools now that didn’t exist back then. Back then, if you wanted to build a sales funnel on the internet. I mean, I went to… One of the first things I did was I went down to a used bookstore and I found, HTML for Dummies, CSS for Dummies, JavaScript for Dummies, and PHP for Dummies, and MySQL for Dummies. Five different books on coding and databases, server-side coding, front-end coding, UX, like user experience. 
 I mean, I had to teach myself to become a competent technologist before I could even get to the starting line of building an online business. That was in 2008. Now, I mean… People tell me how hard it is now, and I don’t want to sound unkind, but I just sort of smirk like [inaudible]. And it’s kind of like when you see how old-school bodybuilders had to train with like… They were filling up paint cans with cement to do lateral raises and stuff. 
 And it was just a totally different world. Now you go sign up for an ENTRE soft account, which is a shameless plug that’s our funnel builder software. And you have 25 beautifully designed high converting sales funnel templates that you can activate with a click of a mouse, that would have taken me six months to create one of those when I started. So yeah, I don’t think it’s required now, I think to do what I did, it was required then. 
Eric Partaker:Got it, got it. And talk to us a little bit about ENTRE Institute, because one of the things that you really pride yourself on with the whole Institute is you talk about these three Ps of excellence. Can you take us through those? 
Jeff Lerner:First of all, I’m grateful that you asked because this is actually the thing about what we’ve done at ENTRE that I’m the most proud of. Digital marketing education and digital business education is… I don’t want to say it’s a dime a dozen, but it’s fairly widespread on the internet. Now, I think that we curate it better than most. So we bring together the best people and the best information. And we screen out a lot of the fluff that a lot of… You’ll waste a lot of time-consuming if you try to do it on your own. But beyond that, I think the thing that I’m most proud of, and certainly, I know for a fact, the reason that we have the most stickiness and success in the market is, we teach a model called the three Ps. As you mentioned, the three P’s of excellence, and it’s… I draw them as concentric circles. 
 So, the inner circle, the core, if you will, is physical excellence, doesn’t have a damn thing to do with making any money. It’s just about taking care of the battery and the machinery that you need to go out into the world and do anything. Even if it’s just to love your children, you can’t love your children well, if you’re a tired broken down piece of flesh, right? So we start with physical, then we… And by the way, that includes psychological and even a portion of spiritual, which I can dissect if you want. 
 Then we go to personal excellence, which is the next ring. And that involves relationships. First of all, relationship with self and relationships with direct impact, and the way we define it, is anybody that you have, what I would call an energetic exchange with or limbic resonance in psychology, but it’s what you and I are doing. It’s somebody that you talk to and you create a shared energy and your space bubble bumps into their space bubble physically, or virtually, right? That’s direct impact, that’s personal excellence. 
 And then, and only then does the third ring of professional excellence even… Is it even a worthwhile conversation? And I see so many people, so many entrepreneurs, especially on the internet where there’s this culture of… It’s so ironic because there’s this dual culture that’s all about the hustle and the grind, but yet it’s all about the sexy, unrealistic marketing claims. Like, “Yeah, I’m on my hustle, I’m on my grind. And I made a million dollars in 60 days, and I can show you how to do it too.” Right? They coexist, and neither or one is the truth. The truth is actually neither and both of those things, which is you can get extraordinary results and compress a lot of time if you commit to excellence, but you have to commit to it in that order because I only sleep five hours a night. And a lot of people… And I used to be an 8 to 10 hour a night guy when I was a musician and people are like, “How do you do that?” 
 Because the first thing I do every day and the number one box I check every day is great physical self-care. It’s why I did what I did in those 48 minutes. I have to work out every day. I haven’t missed… I work out seven days a week, and unless it’s an extremely impossible day of travel, I haven’t missed a day in five years. By the way, I haven’t been sick in five years either. And so, I have to check that box and I also have to eat… I have a very specific nutritional regimen. I prepare all my meals twice a week, so it doesn’t take a lot of time. 
 So that takes less time than driving to McDonald’s via Happy Meal. And I have a very specific supplementation regimen, and I’m like, “I’m extremely diligent about that part of my life.” Because it allows me to do, A, you need less sleep than most people and do more work in an hour or two, or certainly, by 8:00 AM every day when my morning routine concludes, which is from 3:30 AM to 8:00 AM, it’s a four and a half-hour morning routine. I’ve usually done more than I think most people do all day. 
 And so, that’s physical than personal. How you take care of your family, how you connect with people, are you empathetic? Do you know how to listen in a way that builds connection to people? Are you unnecessarily power imbalanced in the way you communicate because of insecurities or ego issues like getting all that stuff worked out. And then you can go out to the market and deliver a ton of value and produce with great energy and produce great energy in such a way that the market’s going to resonate and align and feedback to you a fair exchange for the value you’re putting out, which for most people is what they want, which is money, but it has to go in that order. And so, many people in this hustle and grind culture are like, “I’m going to work, I’m going to grind until I get the results so that then I can fix my personal issues, and then I can fix my physical issues, and then I can fix my psychological issues.” 
 And I asked the question, it’s like, “If you can’t first take care of yourself and then take care of the people close to you, what right do you even have to go out into the market and say, “Here, here market, here, here audience, here, here customers and prospects.” I’m going to take great care of all of you, and in exchange for that, I want your money. You’re not even taking care of the people that live under your roof. And so, that’s the thing I’m most proud of. 
Eric Partaker:A hundred percent agree with that whole structure, everything that you set up. I mean, I had an incident where I nearly died almost a decade ago and that was because I wasn’t focused on my health. And then interestingly enough, when I was in the ambulance and they’re administering nitrates and the paramedics looking down at me, the first words out of my mouth was, “Please don’t let me die I have a five-year-old son.” So it’s my health which was compromised and the first thing I was worried about was my relationship or a relationship. 
 There was no mention of, “Please don’t let me die, I have to clear out my inbox.” So I really love how you structured things with that, and I can see a lot of similarity in our thinking. I was really curious when you talked about the morning routine because that sounds pretty darn epic from 3:30 to 8:00. Borderline, I think some people can listen to that and go, “Oh my gosh, it doesn’t sound epic, it sounds exhausting.” But what’s your response to that? Two questions really? What do you do during that routine and how do you keep it so that it isn’t exhausting so that it’s energizing? 
Jeff Lerner:Yeah. It’s not exhausting at all. In physics, there’s two things that decrease. Well, there’s really one thing that decreases resistance to motion and that’s inertia, just continuing in a straight line. And inertia is a complex calculation of momentum, velocity, and direction. So when I look at my life, I say, “Okay, how do I keep momentum?” It’s doing the same thing every day. I wake up, I don’t have to think about what I’m going to do day-to-day. It’s always the same. I wake up at 3:30, I count to five. I have to have my feet on the ground by five seconds or else I need to go back and watch Mel Robbins, TED talk on the 5 Second Rule because I know that if I give myself five seconds to talk myself out of getting out of, or out of getting out of bed, I won’t. 
 So I wake up at 3:30, feet on the ground by 3:30, and five seconds. I have an audio… I usually put on an audiobook while I’m prepping for the day. I get my supplements organized. I get my… And I have my supplements prebagged in one week at a time. So all the vitamins are in the bag. I just grabbed the bag. There’s a few I’ve to take before I eat. I mean, we could spend eight hours and I could explain to you the minute-by-minute breakdown of my morning routine, but at a high level, by 3:40, I’m already listening to an audiobook. I’m already prepping for the day, I’m setting intention around nutrition, physical work, personal work, professional work. 
 I review, I make my plan for the day. Any variables that I need to account for, I always try to account for the night before, so I can wake up and just go into it based on the previous night’s plan. And then, I’m on my way to the gym. I’m at the gym by 4:30. I work out for one hour, and it’s literally crafted. I spend 15 minutes rolling out. One day I roll out upper body, the next day I roll out hips and lower body, and then I have 45 minutes of pretty aggressive, I think of it as like weightlifting, where I’m weightlifting, but I’m doing it quickly in high reps to keep my heart rate up the whole time. 
 5:30 I’m done, I’m in the car by 5:00, or I’m at my office by 5:35, because it’s right by the gym. I practice piano, that’s still a deep passion. And I consider it an essential part of my personal development that I have to play piano every day. Because if you think about it… So then I do that for an hour and I’m done at 6:35. So now by 6:35, in the first three hours and five minutes of every day, I’ve done the two hardest things I’m going to do every day. Physically, I’ve done the hardest thing, and mentally, I’ve done the hardest thing. Right now I’m working on La Campanella Etude by Franz Liszt. Most people probably don’t know what that piece is, go look it up on YouTube. There is nothing I could work on the rest of the day, that would be any harder than trying to work on that piece. 
Eric Partaker:Wow, wow. 
Jeff Lerner:And so, I’ve done the hardest work, by 6:35 AM, it’s like all downhill. I’m home by 6:45. I take my daughter to school, she’s got to be at school by about 7:15. Sometimes we grab coffee on the way, if we have a few extra minutes and then I’m home by 7:20, my other kids are up. I spend time with my other kids, especially my four-year old’s from 7:20 to 8:00, usually, I’m showering, but she comes and hangs out in there with me, and we talk, and sometimes she wants to wash my hair and we have a whole routine, it’s really cute. And eventually, she’ll get older and it won’t be appropriate, but she’s four right now, it’s a lot of fun. 
 And then by eight o’clock, I’m on calls and my day starts, and it’s all organized in 20-minute intervals until at least 6:00 PM usually, and occasionally I have longer meetings and then I go home and then from six o’clock till bedtime, which isn’t until 10:30, so I still have over four hours, I get to be relaxed and kind of decompress and not have to feel so rigidly scheduled, because I do know that eventually, you’ll go insane if you never have flex time. But here’s the other thing, the other thing about momentum and inertia and decreasing friction and decreasing exhaustion is the concept of decision fatigue. 
 The other thing that changes that loop in physics costs momentum is having to change directions. Every time an object in motion changes direction, the force that it has to use to change direction gets subtracted from the force that it had propelling it forward, right? So every time you have to stop and make a decision in this world, you’re an object changing directions. So by being so scripted and so methodical, I’ve basically reduced virtually every decision that I have to make on a daily basis, except in a case like today when I’m traveling and something’s a little different, but even then I already know what my priorities are, so I don’t have to think about what matters to me. I just think about, “Okay, the schedule is different, how do I squeeze it in?” But that’s it, it’s not. 
 You mentioned exhaustion. My life is productive of energy. I feel better, my immune system is stronger. I get more done than virtually anyone I know. So clearly I’m not tired all the time, even though I get up at 3:30 on five hours of sleep. When I first started cognitive behavioral therapy, 10 years ago, one of the first things my therapist told me is he says, “Jeff, I don’t know if you’re into tattoos, but if you are, I want you to get one on your arm that says structure is my best friend.” 
Eric Partaker:Nice. 
Jeff Lerner:He said, “That’s the same advice I give to addicts, to highly dysfunctional people.” He’s like, “There’s no one for whom that’s not the best advice.” 
Eric Partaker:And as you were talking to, you reminded me of a quote from Jack Canfield, and he says, “99% is a Bitch, 100% is a Breeze.” And what he talks… Yeah. And it’s about decision fatigue, really? Because when… It is just this is the way I do things and there are no alternatives. Like, I don’t eat McDonald’s, what about when it’s a birthday party or when it’s… Now that’s the 99%, and then do I deserve it or not? And it creates a slippery slope, whereas if it’s 100%, life is a breeze. I only do things this way. 
 And I was getting a lot of energy as you were talking from basically the structure you’re sharing, because I could see how it creates that simplicity and focus in life that can also then relate that back to how you made that incredible career shift, right? Going from the musician to the fail of restaurant franchises, and now you’re going into digital marketing, and in a space of 18 months, you went from nobody to top of the class. And that must have been related to that intense focus and ability to structure. 
Jeff Lerner:Yeah. At the time I would say it was just as intense, but it wasn’t nearly as balanced. And I don’t really love that word balance because of the way it typically gets used as a justification of a series of compromises, like, “Oh, I’m just balanced.” That’s why nothing is that good like that. But at the time it was like, “Oh, 14 hours a day, one thing to solve one problem.” Now it’s 19 hours a day to touch on numerous things to create an overall puzzle that’s the complete picture I want for my life, but the intensity and the energy, and the drive is non-negotiable in all cases. 
Eric Partaker:And the discipline, the discipline is key. And- 
Jeff Lerner:Yeah. Can I say something about that word discipline? 
Eric Partaker:Yeah. Go for it. 
Jeff Lerner:A lot of people think of discipline is like… The connotation of discipline a lot of times is like punitive enforcement from parents. It’s like, “Oh, I messed up and I was disciplined.” First of all, if you’re a parent, there’s a great book called Positive Discipline and a series of books called Positive Discipline by Jane Nelson that can help reframe the definition of the word discipline. But the root of discipline is disciple. And disciple is about service to a set of beliefs, or a being if you want, but it’s about service to a set of beliefs that are bigger and more meaningful than our small insignificant life. 
 It’s a way to get significance in our small insignificant life, by being a part of, and in service to something greater than ourselves. And when you reframe discipline as that, it doesn’t become this, “Oh my gosh, I need to do this thing, but I really don’t feel like it.” It’s more like, “Oh my gosh, I get to do this thing that I should do, because what it makes my life mean…” You’re talking about the 2% that’s Maslow, the fifth hierarchy of, or the fifth tier of self-actualization, that all happens inside of discipline, right? Because you get to be a part of something bigger than yourself. 
Eric Partaker:Completely. Another angle I like with it is, it’s just to embrace and accept pain. And so, I think of, “Nothing comes for free in life,” I always say to myself, yeah. It requires a payment of some form. And then I can either pay now with the pain of discipline or I can pay later with the pain of regret. And the pain of discipline is always cheaper than the pain of regret later, right? So… 
Jeff Lerner:Amen. Like I say, what’s that thing that’s real common now on the internet, they say choose your heart? 
Eric Partaker:Yes. Yeah, exactly. So on that note maybe we wind a little bit back in time and I know you had growing up and you suffered various obstacles and bullying and that was a difficult time for you. So can you share a little bit more about that? I think that would really resonate with people and then also, how did you overcome that? 
Jeff Lerner:Yeah. So I appreciate the question and I do like sharing this part of my story, even though it’s still, to this day, it’s the hardest thing to talk about because… And certainly, this has been my experience, usually, the hardest things are the best things. And I know this reaches a lot of people. So yeah, I was bullied pretty bad when I was a kid. I think it was… At least it was… I mean, everybody’s bullying experience is unique to them, but I think mine had a unique quality that everybody can understand where… I grew up with it. I still have a genetic disorder, a genetic condition called Waardenburg syndrome that especially when I was younger, it really resulted and I kind of looked different. 
 As I went through puberty and I matured, it’s not as visible, but I looked… to be honest, I looked like I might have been handicapped when I was a kid, but I wasn’t. I was like a pretty smart kid. So it was that much more frustrating that people treated me like there was something wrong with me. But the fact that it was something that was literally coded into my DNA, it wasn’t something I could ever really convince myself was only other people. Like, “Oh, that’s just them, they’re just being jerks, they don’t feel…” People say, “Oh, bullies are just kids they feel bad about themselves and they’re just putting it onto you.” But I was like, “No, there really is something wrong with me.” Like that’s how I processed it as a kid. And so, now I feel like there’s something great about me, it’s like everybody in this world wants to be unique and I have a leg up, right? But yeah, that was hard. 
 And what I can really only sort of articulate it as in terms of how it played out and how I think it played into who I am now is… And it’s like you know, if I want to be judged just on the surface of who I am, I’m never going to win that… People are how they are, I’m never going to win being judged on the basis of how I look or just who I am. What I wear, how I dress, how I call my… Aesthetics are never going to win for me. And so, I need to reshape the conversation so that I’m being judged based on what I do. And so, let me do a lot, let me do well, let me perform, and there’s some liabilities to that view where you can get burned out or you can be overly competitive, or… But fundamentally the decision that my success in life was going to be based upon performance and production at a very early age. 
 I mean, how many four and five-year-olds, or have the self-awareness to go, “I’m only going to succeed in this world in relation to other people if I’m performing at a high level”? 
Eric Partaker:Oh, that would be next level for them to have that, right? 
Jeff Lerner:And it was thrust upon me admittedly in an unpleasant way. But I think it serves me to this day, especially because I’ve done the personal work to temperate and reframe it in a healthier way. But I would share that with everyone. Lean into your weirdness. Lean into your differences and whatever makes you less palatable and less conforming, and to the rest of the world, lean into those things, because, A, they’re probably your strengths and, B, they create a paradigm for your life where if you operate and execute on those things well. 
 If you’re weird and you have a quirky passion or you’re like me, and you don’t know how to dress, I don’t know, start a brand online, that’s like nerd attire and sell clothes for people that don’t know how to dress and intentionally sell outfits that don’t match, or like… I mean, that’s a silly, dumb example. I just came up with on the spur of the moment, but find a way to lean into your weirdness and understand if you do your weird better than anybody else in the world you’ll have any life you want. 
Eric Partaker:Awesome. Awesome. I was looking through the ENTRE Institute website and there was a particular thing that interested me around. So when an entrepreneur who’s keen to build an online business joins your incredible community, one of the things that they have access to is coaching. And you talk about how they get a quite unique blend of business, life coaching, and digital marketing coaching. So on that note could you just share just one top tip in each of those areas on the business life and digital marketing side? 
Jeff Lerner:Yeah. I think on business, business life, and digital marketing. Actually, my first tip is going to really be kind of business and life. 
Eric Partaker:Okay. 
Jeff Lerner:It’s that, historically we’ve lived in a world, we’ve evolved in a world where there were a number of fairly consistent variables. And your ability to stand out was based on how well you could operate in and leverage those variables. So people… Most of human history, we all live… Whatever town we were born in, is the town we were going to die in. Whatever our name was when we were born was going to be our name when we died. Whatever our father did typically professionally was what we were going to do professionally. Or if you were a woman, it was going to be about marrying into X. 
 And so, in a world like that, you can understand why we evolved this deep desire to be like everyone else and to be kind of conforming and to be excellent within a very specific box. But that’s not the world we live in anymore. There are now seven and a half billion people that are all free radicals floating around in the world with very little constancy or set foundations to their life where you can be anyone you want, you can go anywhere you want, you can create any business you want, you can work any job you want. You can get access to training on just about anything on YouTube and you can… 
 Relationships, it’s not like, “Oh, well, you’re not in my club, so I can’t talk to you.” You can meet anyone you want, like all the structure, I guess, all the enforced structure is gone. And so within that, that’s why it’s so important to create structure because we were never evolved, we were never adapted to operate with this many variables. 
 So one, you have to create structure in the absence of structure that’s being forced upon you because the world has changed. But the other thing is you got to understand that there’s no assumptions anymore. It’s not just assumed that because of the color of your skin or the city you live in, or the school you went to, or the trade that you studied or anything that you have any value, or that the market is valuing what you do in any way, or frankly, that people are valuing you in any way, because everybody has this infinite set of possibilities. 
 And the reason I’m saying all this is, is you have got to advocate for yourself. You have got to get loud, and noisy, and bold, and unapologetic, and almost confrontational with the market to go listen up, this is who I am, this is what I do, pay attention and I’m going to win you over with value, but once I do, I’m going to expect fair compensation. And most people are still caught in this “Well, my grandparents told me to keep quiet in church or don’t make a scene” or… And people are so scared to make a scene that they never get seen. Right? And you have to be pretty boisterous now by a thousand times more than you probably did two generations ago, just to even be able to afford a meal at a good restaurant in this world. Otherwise, you’re going to live the average bottom of the basement, mundane humdrum life, that’s essentially saying I played small, and I took what was given to me, then we wonder why 86% of people self-report as not being very happy in this world.
  
 It’s because they’re not doing a very good job of advocating for themselves. If you read T Harv Eker, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, one of the big differences he talks about, one of his 17 wealth files, the difference between rich and poor people, he says, “Rich people are very, very willing to get up and proclaim their value and insist on being compensated for it, poor people…” And I don’t remember the exact word he used. But basically in his lexicon, “Poor people are too busy being humble to ever get noticed.” 
Eric Partaker:Right. 
Jeff Lerner:So anyway, that’s business and life. Digital marketing, honestly, it’s an extension of the same only leverage these platforms, produce content, learn the game. I say half-jokingly, but not jokingly all the time that every realtor, every chiropractor, every attorney, every auto mechanic, every whatever in the town that I live in, of St. George, Utah is lucky that I’m not their competition because I learned these tools and I’m not afraid to go out and advocate for myself and leverage these tools, I’d be the number one, whatever category I chose to be in, in those fields if I was just competing in a local market. 
 I mean, I compete in a global market against Tony Robbins and Russell Brunson and Grant Cardone and Tai Lopez. And I’m built one of the largest private education companies in the world, and I did that in less than three years. Imagine if all I was competing with was realtors in a town of 250,000 people, but it’s not because I’m superior, it’s because I’m more willing to, and I’ve spent more time understanding the tools. And I just think people are spending so much time worrying about and learning all this other stuff that doesn’t matter, at the end of the day, learn to write copy, and learn to promote yourself online. You can create any life you want from anywhere in the world, I don’t understand why anybody’s interested in anything else until they have those things mastered. 
Eric Partaker:Amazing. And Jeff, if somebody wanted to learn more about you and your programs and all of that, where do they go to, where do they head to? 
Jeff Lerner:So we actually put… I mean, if you Google me, you’ll find a thousand pages, but we actually put a landing page together just for this episode because we were so grateful to be coming on, to talk about the 2%. So, if somebody just goes to millionairesecrets.com/ericp, E-R-I-C-P, obviously, the eponymous, named after you. millionairesecrets.com/ericp, you’ll get a total entryway to my world. You can access my YouTube channel, which has over 500 free training videos on it. You can access my podcast, which is, I think over 150 episodes now, and you can get my free book called the Millionaire Shortcut and download it and we’ll teach you the fastest way to become a millionaire in the new digital economy. 
Eric Partaker:Amazing. Thank you, Jeff. That’s awesome. Really, really appreciate that. And last question, just to wrap it up, what would be… If you think back into your own life and you think of breaking free from the 98%, entering that realm of people operating at their full potential, that 2%, what was the number one thing for you, or the tipping point? What gave you that activation energy to break free? 
Jeff Lerner:So if you read one of my favorite books called The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, he talks about keystone habits. These are habits and they’re different. Even though I’m sure many people share the same keystone habit, there’s no script, it’s different for every person, they have to find their own. But for me, it was figuring out in high school, late, late… I guess, around eighth, ninth grade that my keystone habit was working out. And realizing if I make myself work out every day, the concept of a keystone habit is it’s a habit that predicts how you’ll create and perform on all other habits. 
 If I just I’m in a groove of my life, where I work out every day, I start to feel unstoppable. 
Eric Partaker:Nice. 
Jeff Lerner:And if I stop, I feel very stoppable. It is almost like Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde. There’s like two different versions of Jeff. And the version of Jeff that is not on his game physically is just a lazy degenerate. Even my morals get compromised. Like it’s just not the guy that certainly would want in charge of a big company, or even as the breadwinner for a family. 
 And so, for me, it was realizing, first of all, the concept, and then secondly, what it was for me, that there’s certain things you can key into for your life that’ll drive execution in all other areas of your life. And that was a big breakthrough for me because life has to be simple. Like we’re men, we’re not that smart. 
 It’s got to be so simple that we can remember to do it even when we’re stressed and we’re under a deadline and our wife is mad at us and whenever our kids spilled coffee in the backseat, or… Well, that’s a weird one, kids probably shouldn’t be drinking coffee, but life is chaotic, and in the moment if there’s not super simple things I can retain and access when my adrenaline is surging, I’m not going to be a top performer because it’s easy to remember how to be a peak performer when there’s no pressure, but you got to be able to do it when there’s pressure. 
 And so for me, the simple idea that, okay, I have 16, 18 hours in a day, I better squeeze a workout in, and everything else will work out, no pun intended, that’s so simple, I can actually remember it. 
Eric Partaker:Love it, love it. And I love this quote I came across that 90% of our psychology is driven by our physiology. And it’s certainly kind of seems to be that you’re a disciple of that quote as well. So thank you so much, Jeff, for coming on today, especially given the fact that you’re doing this away for some time with your wife. So we really appreciate that. And yeah, looking forward to connecting again soon in the future, and thank you very much. 
Jeff Lerner:Yeah. This has been great. I appreciate your great questions and I appreciate that your podcast is really focused on what I think is the most important thing. It’s not about how to make average work, it’s about how to work your way out of being average because honestly, average doesn’t work. It just doesn’t. 
Eric Partaker:Exactly. That’s the spirit of the 2% decoding excellent. Thank you so much, Jeff Lerner, everyone, please do check out the link that he mentioned, which you’ll also find in the show notes. So thanks very much, Jeff. Speak to you soon.

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Eric has been named "CEO of the Year" at the 2019 Business Excellence Awards, one of the "Top 30 Entrepreneurs in the UK" by Startups Magazine, and among "Britain's 27 Most Disruptive Entrepreneurs" by The Telegraph.
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