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The 3-Step Method for Mastering Any Business

Posted by & filed under Entrepreneurship.

Ninety-nine percent of people I ask the following question answer it incorrectly:

“What business are you in?”

Authors think they’re in the publishing business. Speakers think they’re in the speaking business. Doctors think they’re in the medical business.

And they’re all completely wrong.


Because it’s about people, stupid.

It doesn’t matter what type of job you are doing—white collar, blue collar, or no collar. Degree or no degree. Whatever you are doing—you are in the people business.

The 3-Step Method for Mastering Any Business

If you don’t see that, if you don’t get that, if you don’t agree with that, if your spirit doesn’t jump upon hearing this answer—you will soon be out of business.

The Backwards Method for Mastering the People Business

How does one study and become an expert in people?

This will sound backwards, but you start by studying yourself as a person.

You need to know why you get up, what time you get up, what you do all day, why you do what you do all day, what time you go to bed, what makes you angry, what makes you happy—all these things must be analyzed and mastered and directed. By you!

Here is the 3-step method for accomplishing this:

1. Schedule time to be alone.

Getting in tune with yourself requires total solitude—you must be alone with nothing but your thoughts. The only way to find this time is to schedule it.

Don’t overthink this. It sounds outrageous because it is outside “normal,” but it is actually simple.

Try taking a different route on the way home. Stop somewhere for an hour. Cancel a meeting. Head to the public library. Stay in your office after hours. Go to the local synagogue or church if it’s open—where you can sit in a pew and think and pray. Do something by yourself today.

2. Turn off your phone.

We are so surrounded by so much technology that it’s almost impossible to ever be truly alone. There’s a beep, something updating, a bell going off, an alert of some kind constantly informing you that something is about to happen, or just did happen.

All of these things are breaks in the cycle of your solitude.

Stop it. Turn it off.

3. Do something great for someone else.

In steps one and two, you did something great for yourself. Now you are in the proper mindset to do something great for others. To step out into the world of the people business—your business.

Do something totally unexpected. Do something that is wowing for somebody. This could be anything from sending flowers to writing a thank-you note you haven’t written to your parents yet.

These are little things that are within your power of greatness right now. Until you master that—your territory will not expand.

You may think this sounds silly. You are wrong.

There is nothing more awesome on this planet than you. I would kill to meet you for a few minutes. To talk to you. To hear your story. Your pains and your possibilities. I would love to hear about your parents—the good, the bad, and the not so good. I would love to hear about your siblings. I would love to hear about your dreams—the ones that you’ve never told a soul.

But first, YOU must love to hear those things about yourself. This is not about ego. It is about awareness. It is about creating a starting point of where you are right now. You cannot maximize your ability to help other people until you know where you are.

Would you believe there are dreams you have that you do not even know about? There are dreams so deep inside of you that it’s as if you’ve hidden them under a bushel. For fear that others might laugh, that others may point and wonder, What are you thinking?

You have so much within you that you do not even know about. They are seeds that need to be watered and sprouted. They are talents, they are gifts, they are words of encouragement.

I know your heart just jumped in the wrong way. There’s this fear factor present. But you have to understand this and stop making excuses. Step up to who you are now.

Every single day life is testing us on who we are and who we are becoming. It is critical to look backward and see the accumulation of all the thoughts and actions that have taken you where you are right now.

When you can see these paths in patterns in your own life, you will learn to see them in others’ lives.

And that is how you master the people business. YOUR business.

Question: What do you think is the key to connecting with people? How do you apply it to your business and/or life? Leave a comment and let everyone know!

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  • The key to connecting with people is to show a real interest in their story. This is so abnormal that it may knock people off guard. Once they see you are for real, they will become interested in you. You must then be INTERESTING! Great post Robert

    • You are sooooo right, Kevin!!! And if we all take note that we really do have two ears and one mouth – and if we listen twice as much as we talk, it is amazing what we will learn and experience from others.

    • Ed Oyama

      Ain’t that the truth. :D Michael Hyatt commented on a recent podcast about being a better conversationalist that a key is “to be interested, not interesting.” Rob – I’ve heard the two ears, one mouth line many times – can you do it though? (curious.)

  • It’s the darndest thing. Doing something for someone else with no strings attached or no expectations, brings far more blessings than most tasks we intentionally set out to accomplish. Robert shows us that all the time.

    • These “secrets” should not be secrets at all. They are really so simple that everybody should know them. What happened to teaching this in kindergarten? :-)

      • Ed Oyama

        Fantastic post. Loved the giant kick in the butt delivered by the opening. Ha – did your kindergarten teach you this?!

  • Michael

    This was an inspiring post. Thanks! I think the best way to connect with people is to actually listen. If you can master that, the rest flows more easily.

  • I love this. I’ve just recently realized that even with my music, success looks like making someone’s day better with a song, not getting a record deal or other commonly regarded metric of success. One two year old saying, “That was beautiful” is more valuable than a gold record. (not that I’d say no to that though…)

  • Tony Wright

    Another great RobertD post thanks! My key for connecting with people is Listening – Listening – Listening. I often want to solve things to fast. Better to let people tell me what they need.

    • Thanks, Tony!! Now—what did you say? :-)

      • Ed Oyama

        hahahaha nice one. :D

  • TByrd

    Thanks RobertD. I was just finishing reading the paragraph on solitude and the phone rang. I had to laugh

  • Dear Mr. The Robert D.,

    This one just rocketed to the top of my favorite blog posts list.

    It’s personal, applicable, easily understood and provocative.

    Yup – loved it and recommended it. :)

    Thx much for putting it together!

  • I had to read this post 3x; thanks for the insights….time to step away and then come back to this again……so as to let it seep in…..Good stuff!

  • Shelley Hess

    Great Post!!

    And great comments from your readers.

    Both are the norm! My time is thus well spent “listening”

    Investing in others gets as simple as taking a moment’s break in our conversation as we were leaving Costco, not having purchased, to look the door checker in the eye and say to her “Have a great day!” Aren’ t THEY ALWAYS SOOO PLEASANT?!!!

    Blew her away. Why so uncommon? I don’t know all the answers, but sure do know that being ‘uncommon’ makes it all the more AWESOME!!

    Thanks SOOO much for sharing these great insights. It’s an absolute JOY to tweet your material, Robert! I’m investing in others’ lives BIG time by doing so!

  • Kathleen Thompson

    Robert – Truer words were never spoken. We ARE all in the people business. Thank you for reminding us all of that truth.
    Blessings, Kathleen

  • Denise Groover

    As a full time homeschooling mom, I really am in the people business. I love my “alone” time so much that I forget that it is not the goal. It is simply God’s provision so that I can refuel and get back to what He has called me to do.

  • Raquel Castillo

    Haha, “because it’s about people, stupid.” I’m reading this article again!

    • That’s become one of my new mottoes, Raquel. :-) Thanks for reading!

  • This was the first time I saw this blog. Even though I’ve been in business for 5 years but the memory on following what my passion is still comes through my mind. It’s an overwhelmed feeling to overcome those tough moments while under the crisis of choosing your parents want for your or your want for your self. Thanks Robert

  • Melinda Todd

    I need to read this every day! I love what you said. It’s like you can read my mind. I want to see people heal and it’s such a joy to get a note from someone who has read my book or something on my site that resonated with them and made them see things differently or given them hope and forgiveness. I don’t want it to be about ME but it is so hard to find that balance when having to promote… Still learning.

  • It’s true. If we really could meet and understand every person on the planet, we’d be so much richer for it. But we can’t … what we CAN do is meet and understand ourselves, an astonishingly tall order sometimes. But that only helps in the long run. I also think that putting in that kind of time for introspection can seem selfish, but it isn’t. If we don’t love, appreciate and understand US, we can’t do it for anyone else: employees, clients, spouses, children. But I forget that fact way too often. Thanks, Robert!