SPS 204: High Performance Author: Lessons Learned From Kobe, Durant & Steph with Alan Stein Jr.

Posted on Apr 5, 2023

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Chandler Bolt [00:00:02] Hey Chandler Bolt here and joining me today is Alan Stein jr. Alan is a keynote speaker and the author of multiple books including Raise your Game and Sustain your game. He’s a performance coach with a passion for helping others change behaviors. He spent over 15 years working with the high highest performing basketball players on the planet. Maybe you’ve heard of some of them, including Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Kobe, you know, just just the goats. And he’s I mean, just prolific keynote speaker speaks at a bunch of organizations you’ve probably heard of, like an American Express, Pepsi, Starbucks, Charles Schwab, and on and on and on. So really excited to have Alan here. We’re going to talk about using a book to grow your speaking business. We’re going to talk about, hey, what can authors and entrepreneurs learn from high performers and a whole lot more? So let’s get into it. Alan, great to have you here.

Alan Stein Jr. [00:00:59] Oh man, it’s so awesome to be with you. I’m looking forward to a fun conversation.

Chandler Bolt [00:01:03] So I guess first things first, why books and why are they, you know, why are they such a big part of your brand and your speaking business and business as a whole?

Alan Stein Jr. [00:01:13] What I find interesting and almost comical was I loathed reading when I was actually a student in middle school and in high school and even in college. And I think that’s because someone was always telling me what I needed to read and in essence telling me what I should have an interest in. And I never found alignment in what they wanted me to read and what I was interested in. But as soon as I graduated from college, I became a voracious reader and started really devouring everything and what I guess we would call the self-help or personal growth and development space, and fell in love immediately. And and I had a run where I was easily reading 50 to 60 bucks a year and just had so much respect and reverence for authors and what it takes to write a book. And, you know, that was one of the main reasons I decided to write Raise Your Game, which was my first book, which came out in 2019, was, you know, I’ve read these works where these authors said something in such a poignant way that that I was literally a different person after reading some of these books. You know, they’re they completely reshaped my perspective on on life, on leadership, on performance. And I thought if there’s something that I could leave behind, if I could write something that others would find helpful, would find valuable, find practical. That’d be a pretty cool thing to add, you know, to the to the resume, if you will. But the other reason that I decided to write a book was it helped give me tremendous clarity and required me to get super organized and focus on my message. So when I decided to become a full time keynote speaker, I realized that writing a book would serve two purposes. One, it would allow me to get hyper clear on the message that I would share from stage because I want to make sure what I share on stage and what I share on page are congruent and in harmony. But too, I also knew that it would serve as a piece of marketing collateral. You know, one of the number one ways that I drive business at present are folks that read the book and then they reach out and say, Hey, can you deliver this as a keynote or a workshop to my team? My team needs this message. So I know that was a lot to throw at you. We can pull on any of those threads that you like, but that was the main reason for for getting into the book game. And and the reason I’ll stay in it because I really love the process.

Chandler Bolt [00:03:29] That’s awesome. And I love that the congruency between what you say on the page and what you say on stage is good. So your first book, Raise Your Game High Performance Secrets from the Best of the Best. I want to talk about what are some of those high performance secrets and how can they apply to authors helping them write better books?

Alan Stein Jr. [00:03:54] We’re a little additional context because I’m assuming the vast majority of your audience has no clue who I am, and that’s totally okay. I’m glad we’re changing that with this episode. But basketball was my first love and I fell in love with the game at five years old. And, you know, here at 47, you know, four decades later, I’m so thankful that basketball is still a major pillar of my life, having grown up around the game. You know, I. I knew that there were so many lessons and strategies and principles that were so ubiquitous that they would apply to any area of life. So, you know, I spent the first part of my life as a dedicated basketball player, was able to play collegiately up through Elon University down in North Carolina in the mid-nineties, and then became a basketball performance coach and had the opportunity to work with some high level players that you mentioned in the intro and some high level teams and coaches. And and I realized how fortunate I was to have an opportunity to learn from the best in the game. And I believe in paying it forward. I’m a huge believer that a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle. And the reason that I made the leap to the the corporate keynote speaking game into the writing game was to take all of these lessons that I had learned and show people how to apply those to their lives in their businesses. And and ultimately, that’s still what I do to this day. But to answer your question, there are three that stick out immediately. I think if we were going to have an exhaustive conversation, we could easily have a list of a dozen traits that that usually unify high performers. But let’s focus on three. The first is a lesson I learned directly from Kobe Bryant in 2007, and that is the best. Never get bored with the basics, that the best embraced the fundamentals and work towards mastery of the fundamentals in their chosen craft and chosen pursuit. They work relentlessly towards mastery of them during the unseen hours. So if you want to be an excellent author, you need to decide what are the fundamentals of being a prolific writer and how can I work towards mastery of those skill sets every single day? So the first is never get bored with the basics. The second is learning how to blend humility with confidence. Confidence is important in any area of life. It’s important to be confident as a speaker, as a writer, as a basketball player. I mean, really fill in the blank and your confidence is earned through repetition. It’s earned the experience it’s earned through doing. But no matter how accomplished you become, no matter how many books you’ve sold, you know, whether you’re on a John Gordon or a James Clare level and you sell millions and millions of books, you have to blend that with humility, which both of those guys do a brilliant job of, because humility is what will allow you to continue to stay open to being coached, what will allow you to stay open to feedback, and most importantly, it will allow you to stay open to knowing that no matter how good you get, you can still get better. That even if you sell 10 million books, that doesn’t mean that you’ve done your best writing yet, that you have to have the belief and the humility that you can still improve. So the best of the best earn their confidence through repetition, but they brush it with humility, which keeps them open to continuing to grow, which I know is something your listeners are doing, which is why they’re listening to this in the first place. And then third, and this is so true in basketball, but this is really, really true in writing and in the the publishing game, if you will, is having a respect and appreciation for the process. It’s great to have an outcome. It’s great to have a North Star, it’s great to have goals. But once you’ve established those, you can take your eyes off of them and you can put them on the process, the habits, the decisions, the behaviors, the micro skills, all of the things that are needed to increase the chance that you’ll reach your goals. And we can look at this from two perspectives. I mean, one, if your goal is to write a book, that’s a fantastic goal. But now you need to break that down and say, okay, you know, what are the steps or the process points that go into writing a book? What are all of the things that I need to do monthly, weekly, daily and hourly to put together the framework and ultimately that the copy for this book. But the other reason this is important, and I’ve learned this through personal experience, and it’s so true in book with books. As you have to learn how to untether your self-worth and your self-belief and your self-confidence strictly to outcomes. You know, if my entire happiness and fulfillment was 100% dependent on how many books I sold. That’s a very slippery slope. You know, I guess if you’re selling the number of books that John Gordon and James Clear sells, then you probably feel pretty good about yourself all of the time. If you’re a somewhat normal author like myself, who has to hustle hard for every single book sale, then you’ll recognize that it kind of ebbs and flows. And, you know, for me, I like to focus on the things I have control over. And with both books that I’ve written, I can say with a huge smile and a tremendous amount of humility, I worked as hard as I could to write the best book I was capable of. And then I’ve worked equally hard to market and promote that to the audience that I think will find the book helpful. That’s the only part I have control over. I don’t control how many people buy it. I don’t control how many people leave reviews. I don’t control any of those external metrics. And while it would be my preference for those metrics to do really, really well, I can’t put I can’t give my control away and put my own happiness and fulfillment in the hands of things outside of what I have control over. So I know once again, that was a whole lot to throw at you. So let me know if you want me to expand on any of that.

Chandler Bolt [00:09:34] That’s great. I love I love those principles and they’re so applicable to success as an author’s is as an entrepreneur. And the thing that you hit on at the very end is we talk about this all the time. Just like internally, the culture on our team and self-publishing dot com is control the controllables. Yeah and like we have these outcome goals that we want to go for and there are very important there are outcomes that are and is how do you daily. You know you can’t control the outcome you can influence the outcome. What what are the controllables that will lead to that outcome? And then how do you control the those day in and day out? So I think that’s just such a poignant message. This is kind of an off the wall question. What what’s like the funniest or most unique story or experience from coaching one of these high performance athletes or whether it’s Kobe, whether it’s Duran, Steph, someone else? I’m just like, I don’t know. Does this could be a just for fun. It does have to have like a punch line or anything, but just a fun story from in the trenches.

Alan Stein Jr. [00:10:39] Well, I’ll use Kevin Duran as an example because I had the privilege of meeting Kevin when he was 15 years old. As I mentioned before, we hit record, I live in a suburb of Washington, D.C., which we call this area, the DMV, which stands for D.C., Maryland and Virginia. And the DMV has produced some pretty remarkable basketball players over the last 30 years. But certainly KD is at the top of that list, and I had a chance to meet him when he was 15 and I watched him play for just a few minutes and a few things became blatantly obvious to me. One, this kid loves to play the game. He was playing his tail off, but he was smiling the entire time. He loves to play. Two Even for a 15 year old, his fundamentals were were pristine. I mean, his his level of mastery and the shooting mechanics and footwork were just off the charts for someone as young as he was. He also had a very high basketball IQ. Kevin understood the game at a cerebral level that would probably rival most coaches. But the other thing that was obvious to me and I say this with a big smile is Kevin was very slight of frame. He used to get irritated with me when I would call him skinny. But you know, you have to picture Kevin at 15 years old was six, ten, around £180. So if you think the current version of KD is rather, you know, thin, you should have seen him at that age. So as a performance coach, it was obvious to me that the only thing that was going to prevent this young man from playing the game at a very high level would be lack of strength and power. And since that was the area that I was, you know, had an area of expertise and experience and he was the perfect client for me. I mean, I had a chance the way I saw it, to unlock unbelievable potential by getting this young man stronger and more explosive and putting on some body weight. And it wasn’t quite that easy because it took some convincing, especially of his wonderful mom, Wanda, who understandably was very protective of him at that age. And Kevin had never lifted a weight or done any type of strength and conditioning at that time. So it took a few months of convincing. But finally I convinced her to let him come in for a workout. And why this would benefit him, why this would help bulletproof his body against injury. You know why this would allow him to play the game at the highest level. So she let him come in and I think I got a little bit too amped up and excited during this build up, because when he came in, man, I absolutely hammered him. You know, within the first 20 minutes of the workout, he was just laying in a pile on the gym floor and he was he was sweating profusely and his muscles were twitching. And, you know, as a young coach, probably a. A very young and brash coach. You know, I was very confident in my abilities to work players out. So I remember, you know, looking down at Kevin, and he didn’t really say much during the workout. Kevin was always a very shy young man of very few words, but I guess I kind of needed some reinforcement and some approval. So I looked out at him with a smile and said, Hey, man, did you like that workout? And as clear as can be, he looked up and he said, No, I didn’t. But I know that this is what I need to do if I ever want to play in the NBA. So when can I see you again, coach? And I remember in that moment, first of all, a huge piece of humble pie that this young man didn’t even really like the workouts. But but the the real thing that that he impressed upon me was here. This kid is 15 years old and he clearly had the maturity to know he was going to have to make a sacrifice. He was going to have to make a change. He was going to have to do some things that were incredibly physically, mentally and emotionally uncomfortable. But he was willing to do all of that because he knew it was the prerequisite to getting where he wanted to go. And he knew that sacrifice and change and discomfort were not a nice to have. They were a necessity. And that really, really spoke to me and is the reason that I’m not even remotely surprised to this day that, you know, he’s one of the best players to ever play the game. I couldn’t have foreshadowed that back then. I had no idea he would be this good. But when you take that type of talent and you mix it with that type of coach ability and humility and that type of determination to make sacrifices and change and be uncomfortable, the end result is a Kevin Durant, you know, once in a generation type player. So yeah, that was something that I’ll never, ever forget.

Chandler Bolt [00:14:50] That’s a cool story. That’s really cool. What what are some of the I mean, obviously you coach a lot of high performance athletes over the years. What do you see as some of the great differentiators between the people who go on to succeed at a high level, like a Kobe, like a Kevin Durant, like a Steph Curry, like, what do you see as the key difference between those folks and between the people who just, you know, probably still are successful but is nowhere near as successful? So I guess good to elite. What’s the difference as you’ve seen it?

Alan Stein Jr. [00:15:19] There’s three that jump out. As you can see. I love to teach and coach in threes. From an individual performance standpoint, the three that come up immediately are habits, mindset and the ability to focus, you know, habits, the things we do unconsciously and the things we do consistently. You know, high performers tend to have better habits in most areas of their life. Now, high performers aren’t perfect. None of us are perfect, and they’ve thrown perfection out the window, but they’ve learned how to to have the discipline to create and really, you know, really sound habits, especially their area of vocation or interest. And they do that to a really high level there. There’s something I talk about in Ray’s Your Game called a performance gap. And a performance gap is the gap between what we know we should do and what we actually do. And high performers have done a great job of narrowing that gap to a razor thin edge. And most of that has to do with our habits. The second is mindset. You know, I actually think that’s probably the number one separator between average performers and good performers. Good performers and great and great two elite is each time they’re able to level up their mindset, elite high performers just do the best they can with what they have wherever they are. They don’t blame, they don’t complain, they don’t make excuses. They, as Jocko Willink has said, they have an attitude of extreme ownership. You know, they they don’t worry about events and circumstances. They focus on what they have control over, which is their own effort and their own attitude. And they do everything in their power to consistently maximize those two areas every single day. And when they do mess up or fall short, they just quickly move to the next play. They don’t self-loathing, they don’t edge, you know, shame and guilt. On top of that, they do the best they can with what they have wherever they are, and they eliminate the temptation to blame, complain and make excuses. So, you know, even if you can do that a decent percentage of the time, it will help you level up. And then the third component is focus. You know, we have so many things vying for our attention these days. A good portion of those things are on the the devices that most people choose to be tethered to 24 seven. So so many things are vying for our attention. But elite high performers learn how to, as we say, be where your feet are, which is, you know, make sure your head and your heart and all of your faculties earn an alignment. So whatever you’re choosing to do, be all in you know, if you’re choosing, if you’re writing a book and you’re going to have a writing session and you’re sitting down to write, you know, turn off the notifications on your phone or leave it in the other room, you know, turn the TV off, turn your ear. Now, if you’re typing, that’s one thing. But turn off, you know, email or anything that could potentially distract you and then choose to place your attention on what you believe is most important in that moment. And and elite high performers don’t try to multitask. They don’t try to to serve two masters and do several things at the same time. They get hyperfocus. So when a guy like Stefan Curry steps on the court for a basketball workout, he is 100% dialed in and focused at the task at hand of that workout. Now you got to figure a guy of his stature and his level of fame, who is a father, who is a husband, he’s a business owner. He’s a brand. He has so many things that that are coming at him, but he knows how to turn all of that stuff off and leave it in the locker room when he steps on the court so that he can be incredibly focused on the task at hand. And then when the workout or the practice of the game is over, then he can pay attention to those areas of his life because they’re still important. So this is not about being one dimensional, but it is about having the focus to only do one thing at a time.

Chandler Bolt [00:18:56] Come on, now. Yeah. I love it. It’s so good. So let’s switch gears a little bit, and I want to ask a few specific questions about your books, your business. Obviously do a lot of speaking. For starters, it looks like you worked with a professional writer or editor. I don’t know what you would call it on both of your books with John Stern Field any. What was the why behind that? Any lessons learned from that and any tips for people who are looking to work with writers on their books?

Alan Stein Jr. [00:19:29] Sure. A friend of mine at the time introduced me to who ended up becoming my literary agent named Wendy Sherman, based out of New York City. And, you know, with a literary agent, they’re only going to take on your project if they think it’s something they can sell because they work on 100% commission. So I had a lovely meeting with with Wendy, told her about my past and my experiences and the framework and the pitch and proposal for Raise Your Game. And she fell in love with it immediately and said, Absolutely, this is something I can sell. But her very first question was, do you want to write this book by yourself or do you need some help? And without even taking a breath, I said, I absolutely need some help and I welcome help. You know, I’m I’m a believer in teamwork. I’m a believer in knowing what things I do well and what areas I am deficient in and could use some help. And, you know, for a lifetime basketball strength and conditioning coach. I’m fairly educated and articulate. You know, I’m capable of writing blog posts that are somewhat coherent, but I don’t identify as a as a writer. I don’t identify even to this day as an author, even though I have two books, I consider myself a coach who has enough stuff worthy of putting on page. But I knew to take it from what was in my head and what was in my experiences and to put it on page so that someone would actually get something out of reading it. I knew that I needed some help and she immediately introduced me to John. John is a veteran writer and someone who has a strong appreciation and respect, an affinity for sports. And she said, I think you two will hit it off. So I had a wonderful meeting with John and yeah, we we hit it off and very similar visions and, and we worked really well together. He’s the consummate teammate. So John was just an incredibly influential wingman, if you will, in writing the books. You know that the content of both books was always generated for me. But John helped me kind of find my voice. John really helped me organize the content. And then John’s great. It’s something that I cannot stand doing, which is research. John was, you know, brilliant at filling in some of the gaps of the things that I was sharing with some bona fide research that would actually tie it all together. So John and I worked great in tandem. And, you know, I can respect and appreciate someone that chooses to go the ghostwriter route. But but I and that was an option for me. But I said, no, I’m proud of the fact that I hired a teammate, a wingman, a coauthor, a co-writer. And I want his name on the cover of the book because he was a huge part of it. And for me, you know, and again, this is not to disparage people that make other choices, but for me, I would not have felt comfortable putting something out in the world without giving him the credit that he deserved. So, yeah, it’s been great on both books. And as I work on a third book, John will be a very influential and impactful part of that too.

Chandler Bolt [00:22:21] Awesome. That’s good to hear your experience. You talked a little bit at the top of this. You said, Hey, the number one way that you book keynote speeches is through your book is people saying, Hey, I read this book. I need this in my organization. Can we double click on that a little bit more? And especially for the person who’s saying, Hey, I want to launch or grow my keynote speaking business using a book. What are some of the ways that that you’ve been intentional about using your books to grow the keynote speaking side of the business? And what are your tips for people who want to go down that path?

Alan Stein Jr. [00:22:54] Well, if anyone listening is currently a speaker or aspires to be one, keep in mind that that word of mouth and direct referrals are probably going to be the lifeblood of your business. I know they are for me, and referrals primarily from a spoken word standpoint come from to restart two sources. One, someone hears me speak on stage or sees a video of me speaking and says, We need that message at our company or at our event. The second, which is why I was so excited to chat with you actually is from podcasts. I’ve been a guest on over 300 shows since 2017 because there may be someone listening to this right now who, you know, works for a company or helps host an event and says this guy’s message is perfect with what we’re trying to do. So that’s one of the reasons that I love having these conversations. But then the other pillar of that that you set up so brilliantly is the book. I treat my book as if it’s a $30 business card. You know, if anyone even remotely, you know, shows that they might need a speaker in the. The future, or they might be a decision maker at an event. You know, I sign and send them a book, no questions ask. And that can get fairly costly on my end because I’m paying for the book and I’m paying for the shipping. But in my mind, if someone does take the time to read the book, which first and foremost as an author is, the biggest compliment someone can give you is that they invested their time into what you know, you put your blood, sweat and tears into. But if someone makes the time to read my book, it’ll probably be crystal clear whether or not I would be the right fit for them as a speaker. If they read the book and say, you know, we’re not really looking for a sports theme or, you know, you know, this guy’s messages are great, but this is not what we’re looking to do. That’s fine. But it’s a it’s a great way to get somebody to be all in and have the buy in and believe in. So I try to give my book out or recommend my book as often as possible to decision makers in this world, which is, you know, meeting planners and event planners, executives at companies, agents and speaker bureaus. So, yeah, I love putting my hand my book in the hands of people that could potentially hire a speaker.

Chandler Bolt [00:25:02] That’s great. I love that. And we’re we’re 100% online on that. I do that all the time. And we recommend that authors do that all the time. Because, you know, you said, hey, books, the new business card, and a lot of people say that. But I think it’s better than the business card because if you ship them a business card, where is it going to end up in the trash? Maybe you ship them a book. And I mean, you know, if they’re anything like my my parents raised me, it’s like, oh, you don’t throw that away. Like, that’s wasteful. So then they keep the book. It’s on their desk, it’s on their bookshelf, it’s in their office. And when they see that, they say, Oh. Remember this Allen guy? Maybe we should book him. And so I think that’s just such a zig when other people are zagging, when it’s so easy to send an email going analog and sending a book instead. I love that strategy. Can you talk to me about because you’ve done a bunch of, like, high profile speaking gigs, which even just, I mean, looking at your website, which is awesome, by the way, I share that with my team earlier today. I’m like, Hey, this is a big website. Like, we need to take a look at this. And and because I just it was just so clean and so simple. But I mean, you see all of the big organizations, the Pepsis, the orange theories, the Starbucks, the Amex, the Spotify. How did you crack into that market for speaking at bigger corporations? And any tips for people who want to do more corporate speaking?

Alan Stein Jr. [00:26:26] I really appreciate your compliments. I’m glad you like the site. We want it to be clean and highly functional and be a representation of what it is that I share. But you know, what’s really cool is, you know, I’ve really had two different careers. I’ve had the basketball training career where I was. I ran my own training business and now I’ve got the speaking career and I really mimicked the exact same thing that I did in basketball. It’s not like the first day that I started training people. I had an opportunity to work with Kevin Durant or work the skills academy for Kobe Bryant. You know, those were things that took time and you earned the right to be able to have those opportunities. And it’s the same thing from a speaking standpoint. You know, I’m a big believer in a concept of, you know, just bloom where you’re planted, you know, whoever you’re speaking to at present, you know, if you’re only speaking of the Chamber of Commerce and to some local high schools, do the best you can to add immeasurable value to those groups, be of full service, do your due diligence and learn the audience, you know, rehearse, you know, create customized messages that will just knock them out of the park. Don’t worry about what your fee is. Don’t worry about how recognizable the brand or logo is. Don’t worry about how many people are in the audience. You know, just focus on over delivering and blooming wherever you’re planted. And I know firsthand because I’ve done it in two different vocations. Now, if you do that, it will start to open doors to bigger audiences, bigger fees, bigger brands. So same thing. You know, I didn’t I didn’t get in the speaking game and expect to have that list of logos, you know, within the first couple of weeks. I wanted to focus on the groups that were interested in having me and do such a good job that they would tell someone else. And, you know, this is very much a relationship game, both the bookselling and the keynote speaking our relationship games and you’ll earn opportunities by over delivering and developing quality, you know, relationships. And then yes, it’s not lost on me that, you know, once I did have a chance to work with a Stephen Curry Kevin Durant, and then you can promote that, then that attracts a whole bunch of other people because of their notoriety. And it’s the same thing with speaking when I had an opportunity to speak for American Express and Pepsi and and some of those other groups that that you mentioned, then that gets a whole bunch of other people to come out of the woodwork and say, well, I mean, if he’s good enough for them, he’s definitely good enough for us. So I understand that that’s part of the game. But you have to earn those opportunities and I’ll plan on earning those opportunities for the rest of my career. You know, I don’t feel like I’ve arrived. I’m certainly not anywhere close to reaching the summit of the mountain. I’m thankful that I’ve had a chance to work with some of those groups. But yeah, I’m just getting started the way I look at it.

Chandler Bolt [00:29:09] Yeah, that’s yet to come. Card it with humility. Try to absolutely raise the game. All right. So come on. Final questions here, Alan. It’s great. On the speaking. Do you ever bundle in book sales with with your speaking gigs and anything that you do to sell books using? I feel like it’s almost like this flywheel. It’s like the book helps you book more speaking gigs, speaking games, sell more books, and then it kind of keeps the thing going. But anything specific you do there?

Alan Stein Jr. [00:29:39] You nailed it and you’re 100% right. And so I’m very fortunate to be represented by Michelle Joyce, a speaker manager. She’s got nine other speakers on the roster in addition to myself. So a boutique firm. And Michelle is absolutely phenomenal. I would not be anywhere close to where I am at present without her mentorship and her guidance and her help. And so when I say we, I just want for context, that is Michelle and I, we pitch and promote and try to sell the book on the front end, the back end. You know, when someone comes in with an inquiry to speak, she solidifies that deal first. But then as soon as she does, she says, you know, I noticed your event is not until October of 2023. That’s, you know, eight months away from now. If you’d like, you know, we can give you a great discount on buying Allan’s book in bulk and you can have every attendee read it in advance of his keynote for some context. And that way, you know, he can do kind of a a level up of what he’ll share because he’ll know that many of the seeds had already been planted and many groups do opt to do that. The second layer is groups that say we’ve got a budget for our event and instead of buying, you know, keychains and windbreakers and coffee mugs with our logo on it, which there’s nothing wrong with that, we’d actually rather give our attendees or our team something tangible. So instead of a keychain with our logo on it, we’re going to invest in a copy of Alan’s book and we’re going to hand it to them on the day of the event. So, you know, hopefully I go in and do my job and, you know, get people excited and plants and seeds and spreads the messages to the point where they say, okay, I have to read this book now. You know, I got to hear this guy for an hour and enjoyed it. Now I need to read the full length book and really soaking in and those two things either prior to the event or handing out at the event. And then occasionally we have groups that politely declined both of those options. And then at the end of my keynote go, Wow, that was better than we expected. We’d like to buy books now and we’ll give them to all our team will send it out. So whether it’s before, during or after, we always try to lump the books in, you know, it’s nice because it increases a little bit on the the profit side, but that’s not the main reason to do it. The main reason to do it is as a speaker, my number one goal is to provide practical, actionable, tangible takeaways that people can implement to improve their lives. And in doing that, I need to make my message sticky. You know, I don’t want to be one of those guys where where you say, you know, how is that speaker this morning you said, Oh man, it was great. He got me so fired up. And they said, well, you know, what did you learned? And you’re like, I don’t really know. Or your folks, of course, stories, you know, I want to make sure that they have something tangible when I’m speaking. And the book is simply a powerful reinforcement tool to to leave behind so that they will actually implement the stuff I shared on stage. And I don’t know of any better, you know, reinforcement tool than a book that is aligned with what you, you know, one shares on stage.

Chandler Bolt [00:32:34] It’s great. You know this Zig Ziglar quote of, hey, I can change someone’s life in a 45 minute talk, but if they come to my talk, they can get back. Then I think he said it was like my CDs and tapes and stuff and my books and and with those things, they can take me home with them. And then I have the chance to change your life, which I think is, you know, very in line with what you’re saying here. Alison Awesome. What would you say is kind of your your your parting piece of advice for the Alan from years ago before you wrote your first book and the other Alan’s out there who are thinking about writing their first book.

Alan Stein Jr. [00:33:08] Well, I’m going to give you a piece of advice, one specifically when it comes to writing. Writing the book is. Don’t continue to push it off or procrastinate or delay in thinking, you know, that I don’t I’m not capable of it now or I don’t have everything I need now or it’s not a perfect situation now or I need more experience. Just just go ahead and jump in and do it. You know, we talked earlier about my my coauthor, John Sternfeld, one of the most valuable parts of our partnership was he would hold me accountable to agreed upon deadlines that we set. And he would say, you know, by this date, we are going to be able to submit the first section. And, you know, I’m not a procrastinator by nature, but I know that that book would have taken three times as long if I would have just left it up to myself. So that was one of the reasons I know myself well enough to know that deadlines and accountability partner is how I thrive. So keep that in mind when you’ve made the decision to write the book, do the best you can to put all of your excuses to the side, know how you operate best, and then figure out which framework or path or if you need some help, whatever it is that you need that will allow you to start putting it into fruition. And the only thing you have to focus on is doing the best work you’re capable of at that time. You know, Raise Your Game came out in 2019. I’m still very, very proud of that book, but I’m a better author and writer today than I was when that book came out. Now, at the time, it was the best I was capable of doing, and I still recommend that folks check it out. It’s still a really good work, but I actually think my second book is better and that’s the way it should be. And I can say this with a huge smile. My third book will be better than my previous two. That’s the direction that I want to be going. And it’s the same with keynote speaking. You know, I’ve given several hundred keynotes all over the world, and the most recent one I just gave was heads and shoulders better than the first one that I ever did. But that’s the way it’s supposed to be. So don’t delay because you don’t think what you’re going to do at present is going to be very good. The messiness is part of that process. You know, the insecurity of not thinking you’re ready is also part of the process, you know, because we can easily allow our insecurities and fears, too, to never write the book because they’ll always be a reason not to do it. So find a way to just go ahead and get it done and make that commitment and you’ll be very happy that you did. So that’s kind of the the overarching advice on the book side. The overarching advice on kind of the life side is get crystal clear on the person that you want to become and then make sure that the decisions and choices you make every day of your life are in alignment with becoming that person. And I know that sounds very basic and it is very basic, but it’s not easy to do. You know, I’m 47. I’m crystal clear. I have a perfect vision of the man I want to be 20 years from now, the 67 year old Alan. Now, I understand that time is not promised, Tomorrow is not guaranteed. There’s nothing that that guarantees that I’ll live to 67. But I take very good care of myself. And barring something unforeseen, I don’t see why I won’t be able to live to 67. And I want the 67 year old Alan to be physically, mentally and emotionally fit. I want the 67 year old Alan to have a really strong, deep connection with his children, his loved ones, his family and his friends. And I want the 67 year old Alan to be doing work he considers meaningful and in service of others. So that’s the vision I have for myself in the future. Now, in present time, every single decision I make in my life from from what I’m going to eat for lunch to to who I follow on Instagram, to what I watch on Netflix, I make sure that those decisions are in alignment with becoming that person. And if most of the decisions that I make on a daily basis are in alignment with becoming that person, I’m in essence designing my own future, not anyone that meets me when I’m 67 years old. Don’t be surprised if those things have come true because I’m making those decisions in present day. But the best part of that is because I don’t want this. I want to be crystal clear. I’m not delaying gratification or fulfillment or becoming that person. I’m that person in present day because I’m making my decisions in the present. So at present, at 47 years old, I am physically, mentally and emotionally fit. I have an amazing connection with my children, my family, friends and loved ones, and I am currently doing work that I consider meaningful and in service of others. So if you can live by that framework, make decisions today that are in alignment with the person you’re trying to be. Tomorrow, you’ll be golden.

Chandler Bolt [00:37:44] Love it. Alan. Well, hey, Alan. Where can people go to buy your books? To find out more about you. The book you two speak, whatever would be most helpful.

Alan Stein Jr. [00:37:53] So the website is https://alansteinjr.com. I’m also at Alan Stein Jr. On Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. And I take a lot of pride in being both accessible and responsive. So if any part of this conversation, which was so much fun, by the way, if any part of this struck a chord, if somebody has got a question or story they want to share, just shoot me a DM on Instagram. I’m really good about getting back with folks. And then if you’re interested in either book, raise your game or sustain your game. You can go to Amazon or Audible or wherever you choose to get your books and audio books, and it’s pretty easily found.

Chandler Bolt [00:38:25] Awesome. Alan, you’re the man. Thank you so much.

Alan Stein Jr. [00:38:28] This was so much fun. Thank you, Chandler. I appreciate you.

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