Looking at what happened to Malcolm Turnbull on the weekend and thinking about the disengaged and frustrated people who voted the way they did (that is, what looks like a pretty politically dysfunctional Senate, in particular), I thought I’d go looking for some inspiration for us (and the PM!).
And as last weekend’s poll has the F-word for failure written all over it, I thought I’d ask one of the most successful motivators and business builders in the world for some guidance. That man, of course, is US legend Tony Robbins.
We Aussies, historically, haven’t felt comfortable with fast-talking Yanks but Tony has grown on us and it’s shown by the thousands of us who have flocked to his conferences he has held here for decades.
As a much younger cynical member of the media, I went to one of his get-togethers at the Hordern Pavillion in Sydney along with a thousand plus others and that night, I walked across hot coals! Really, I actually walked across hot coals and even if the threat of it is more in our head than it is in reality, I beat my fear. And so did a thousand others and that’s Tony’s gift. He helps us beat the fears that hold us back.
Another great US communicator, Jim Rohn, once said that just about everything we want in life is just outside our comfort zone. And the PM needs to take that on board as he rebuilds his standing in the eyes of the people who didn’t vote for him. Paul Keating once advised Kevin Rudd about Malcolm telling him that the member for Wentworth was “brilliant” and he was “fearless” but “he lacked judgment.” I’ve know Malcolm since we were 21 at North Bondi Surf Club and though I always liked him, he didn’t seem comfortable with average Aussies.
Of course, he’s not alone with that fear. Paul Keating was miles less comfortable with the people he was brought up with in Bankstown compared to Bob Hawke and even John Howard. Peter Costello always looked like the member for Toorak, rather than a man of the people as Treasurer. However, nowadays, he’s lightened up (maybe it’s losing the 24/7 media watch on him that’s helped) and it’s why a lot of people have lamented about him not staying in politics. Given what we've seen with Messrs. Turnbull and Abbott, it looks like it was a huge loss!
As I say, to help Malcolm and the rest of us, I went in search of some answers from Tony about success and failure. He’s coming to Australia for an event in Sydney on August 8 but I couldn’t wait so I emailed him this week and what follows is what he told me.
To kick off I asked, what is your prime perception of what holds people back from success?
“In one word – fear,” he insisted. “All human beings have two primary fears, I don’t care if you’re the most successful actor or actress, the leader of a country, a pro athlete, or a billionaire – everyone is afraid that at some level, they’re not enough in some context.
“Not smart enough, not pretty enough, not strong enough, not rich enough, not funny enough. You may not be feeling that right now at this moment, but we all feel these things at some point in our life and it brings up a deeper fear – that if I’m not enough, I won’t be loved.
“And love is the oxygen of the soul. If someone doesn’t have that sense of aliveness, they feel dead inside.”
He says people will come up with all these excuses and things to not even get started because they don’t want to face their fear of not being enough.
“I can’t do this because I’m too busy,” he says we often tell ourselves. “Is it really true that you’re too busy? Of course not! If you’re really committed to something, you’ll find a way. The issue is that most people cover it up on the surface to avoid the deeper issue, which is the fear that they might fail, and that because they fail, they won’t be enough and won’t be loved.”
Okay that’s a definition of what’s wrong with us — we’re all afraid of failure, from Malcolm Turnbull down to someone who thought voting for Pauline Hanson was their solution to the fears out there. But how do you KO the fear?
“The only way to overcome fear is to face it and move through it. There’s no way to move around it. It’s like the Winston Churchill quote, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” This is what separates successful people – they’re willing to do whatever it takes in spite of their fears,” Tony said emphatically.
Not wanting to make the issue to Malcolm specific, I asked Tony why the world has so few great business leaders? Ultimately, Malcolm is the CEO of Australia Inc., so I expected to see some relevance.
“Unfortunately, most “leaders” today do what’s popular, not what’s right,” he said and I have to say I reckon Tony was reading my mind and knew how I wanted to use his answers in relation to Malcolm and his election challenges! That said, I made no reference to our recent political issues.
“Leadership is the ability to create immediate impact and compel lasting, positive change in others – both in life and in business,” he explained. “It’s understanding what motivates people and how to harness the power of influence in yourself and others to achieve a common vision.”
But it’s not, according to Tony, all about getting the talk right, you have to be in the right headspace as well.
“Ultimately, what makes a leader, is someone who is a master of their own psychology,” he advised. “Leaders master the art of influence within themselves first, and with others so that they can act as a force for good and serve something that’s larger than themselves – creating permanent and lasting change around them.”
Tony says we can come up with a variety of reasons why we don’t follow through on what we say we want to do, but inevitably it boils down to the psychology of the leader, whether he or she is heading up a country, a business, a sporting team or a family.
“After all, 80% of success in business is psychology, and 20% is mechanics,” Tony argued. “Most people know enough to get the job done, but they’re not doing it well because their psychology is not in sync with their goals.”
I believe Malcolm has a good goal to be a leader who can achieve big things for this country but he has to learn to bring us along on his journey.
He’s got to change his psychology to start beating his fear of dealing with the average Aussie.
Watch him when he comes out of his house to a pack of reporters and see how he smiles and maybe gives a quick quip but note how he’s desperate to get into the comfort zone of his car.
The irony is that Tony Abbott could do the average Aussie connection bit but on the national stage, he couldn’t inspire a nation.
As Keating pointed out to Rudd, our PM is brilliant and he lacks judgment but he was wrong on one thing — Malcolm isn’t fearless.
He can take on adversaries at an intellectual level but he’s not good at the average level. Want proof?
Well, until the election campaign, he didn’t go on radio station 2GB once. Why? Well, he didn’t fear Alan Jones as he has taken him on before but he was afraid of how he’d handle Alan without being exposed to the average, right-wing Aussies who listens to the leading radio station in Australia’s biggest capital city.
That was fear, plain and simple, and that’s what he has to beat to grow in stature in the job as PM and be the leader this country so desperately needs.
(In an industry first, Tony Robbins appears at the Business Mastery Sydney event as a HumaGram™, via world leading holographic technology on 8-11 August 2016. For more information on Tony’s premier business event go to www.business-mastery.com.au)
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