Episode 86: Discipline Creates Freedom, With Ed Rush


What You Will Learn:

  • Ed discusses being a cocky F-18 pilot in the Marine Corps who learned he wasn’t as good as he thought, and the key self-improvement lesson the experience taught him
  • Why business comes down to a few fundamental concepts, and why Ed feels most business owners have a disconnect between “being busy” and “productivity”
  • Why growth, whether in nature or in business, relies on a “sprint and rest” cycle and requires both to be most effective
  • How Ed structures his week, and why he sets Fridays aside as time away from work for “incubative days” to come up with new ideas
  • Why the discipline Ed learned during his time in the Marines has been vital for his career success outside of military service
  • Why too much freedom and too little discipline can be detrimental for your team, and why discipline creates freedom to innovate and create
  • Why the way you communicate makes a huge difference in how the people around you take action and how successful they are in their outcome
  • Why telling yourself “I’m such a failure” actually rewires your brain and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy
  • Ed shares his three-question technique he teaches people from all spiritual walks of life about asking God for business answers
  • Why forgiveness for others and forgiveness for yourself can be a powerful resource to help you improve your mindset and grow your business

About Ed Rush

950 miles an hour. Now that’s fast. But it’s not nearly as fast as Ed Rush flew in his combat career as a decorated F-18 pilot which included over 50 combat missions and 2 tours to Iraq. While in the Marines, Ed served as one of the country’s leading instructors on aerial dogfighting and recently worked as a key player in the development of the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

After 2 combat tours to Iraq, Ed left full-time active duty to speak, write, and share a message that will change the world. Ed’s clients range from small startups to multi-million dollar – multi-national organizations and include CEOs, founders, political leaders, sports teams, national universities, Hollywood stars, and one of the contestants on Season #1 of Donald Trump’s The Apprentice.

He has achieved all of this despite possessing a below-average intelligence (case in point: Ed failed Kindergarten).

Ed’s books and expertise have been featured on CBS, FOX, ABC, and NBC. To follow or connect with Ed, head over to: www.EdRush.com.


Additional Resources:

Listen to the podcast here


In this episode, I’m here with a special guest. His name is Ed Rush. He is a five-time number-one bestselling author. He’s a former fighter pilot, a speaker, and a coach to business owners. He’s an amazing human being all around. I’m grateful to have him here on the show with me. Welcome, Ed.

For those of you who don’t know, Brett was on my show and now, we’re doing it the other way. I’ve been getting psyched up.

People are bound to be interested anytime we say the term fighter pilot next to somebody that we have on as a guest. They’re like, “Tell me about that.” We might as well do that. Why don’t you tell us about that experience and how long you served? Thank you for serving. We didn’t talk about this on your show but I could sit here and praise you the whole time for being a patriot. I love people who serve in the military. That was one of those things I wish I had done and did not do. Tell me all about it. Tell us about your time as a fighter pilot.

I was in the Marine Corps. I was an F-18 pilot right here out of Miramar in the Marines. I joined the Marine Corps. I admit it here but I never admitted it before but it was a whim. I ended up doing well in flight school and at a squadron here on the West Coast called The Bats. That was our squadron, VMFA-242. We were a night attack squadron. Do you ever have one of those moments in your life where you’re good at something and then all of a sudden, you find out you’re not as good as you thought you were? That was my experience when I showed up here in San Diego.

Going back, I finished first in my infantry school class and then I finished first in my ground school class. I finished first in primary flight school. That’s T-34s, these little propeller-driven airplanes. I finished first in intermediate flight school. That was in the T-2, which is a small jet. I finished first in advanced flight school and then I finished first as an F-18 student learning to fly the F-18.

I showed up at my squadron here in Miramar thinking I was the second coming of Maverick if you’ve seen the movie Top Gun. You know how life has a way of readjusting and recalibrating your view of yourself? I showed up here pretty confident and cocky, to be honest, and then life gave me a dose of reality. In the Marine Corps, there’s a rank structure. Most people even from the outside looking at the military are familiar with the rank structure. You have second lieutenant, first lieutenant, captain, major, lieutenant colonel, or colonel.

Life has a way of readjusting and recalibrating your view of yourself. Click To Tweet

In a fighter squadron, there is a second-rank structure that nobody talks about except for the pilots. That rank structure is who the best pilot is. The way that we determined who the best was was that we would go out and fight against each other in these one-on-one dogfighting engagements. It is similar to what you saw in Top Gun. However, in Top Gun, those engagements took a lot longer. The normal dogfighting engagement would be maybe 30 to 45 seconds before there was a winner.

We’re talking about massive changes happening in a short period. I was getting beaten. The problem with the F-18 is when you’re losing, you’re looking behind you. Flying an airplane that fast and hard is difficult when you’re facing forward. When you’re looking at an airplane behind you, it’s almost impossible. What I realized quickly was I wasn’t as good of a pilot as I thought I was.

The lesson that I learned over the next period was one that I brought right into my business. First of all, that humility was important for me. The second thing was I knew that I needed an advantage. The F-18 itself turns at 60 degrees per second. A traditional dogfight means that you’ve gone 180 degrees more than your opponent. If you think about it, if you come in facing each other and then you end up behind someone, you’re shooting and they can’t shoot you. 180 degrees is a win.

Mathematically speaking, that means if I made 1 decision 3 seconds faster than my opponent, I would win, or if I made 3 decisions 1 second faster than my opponent, I could win. I was making every decision slower and I was losing every single time. What I did was I started spending time in our simulator building. We’ve got these electronic flight simulators.

Getting into the simulator was hard because it was based on the rank structure that I was also at the bottom of, the regular rank structure. The simulator building was open from 9:00 in the morning until 9:00 at night. I realized it was always full except for this little window on Friday night from 5:00 to 9:00. Marine fighter pilots on Friday night drink. At least at the time, that was the deal. Everybody was over at the club hanging out or enjoying sparkling water with their drinking friends and I was over at the simulator building.

What I would do is blindfold myself and feel all the connections to the airplane and where all the switches were. I would go and get the airplane into the air in the simulator and then fly a perfect turn. A perfect turn in an F-18 is at 307 knots. It was not 305 or 310. A perfect turn is right there, right on the edge. If you do it faster or slower, you can gain or lose angles. I was doing it perfectly so that I could do it without thinking. In other words, I didn’t have to look at my instruments or look down. I could do all these things without thinking. I drilled and practiced.

Within three years, not only was I one of the best in my squadron but I was the number one instructor in the entire Marine Corps for one-against-one dogfighting. I went from being the worst to one of the best in a short period based on the principle of focusing on doing the right thing over and over again until I had trained myself in my subconscious competence. I ended up in business eight years later, roughly. I took the principles I learned out of the airplane and brought it right into business. It was speed, discipline, and focusing on the things that work. I’ve been helping businesses grow ever since then.

Let’s talk more about the parallels between what you did to go from worst to one of the best and what we as business owners have to do. It’s not that there’s a ranking. Nobody reading this needs to be in the worst category. How do we go from the place where we are to where we want to go? You got a lot of great lessons around that.

The bottom line is when we start in business, it’s safe to say that we’re not very good at it. Fundamentally, business comes down to a few things. 1) You have to make more money than you spend. That’s a good idea. 2) You have to create a product or a service that exceeds what someone paid you for it. That’s a good idea. You have to build great teams. That’s one of the things that you’re focused on in your core areas with the folks that you do in your Elite programs. You have to communicate effectively and clearly. You have to cast a vision and have a lot of fun doing it. Simply put, those are the roles of a great business.

I had graduated from Top Gun by the time I got out of the Marine Corps. Coming out as an elite fighter pilot, what I realized moving into the business world is most business owners had a fundamental disconnect between busyness and productivity. If I looked at a business owner’s life that I was working with as a client, I would find a very busy person. I’d find someone who is going from idea to idea to meeting to meeting to thought pattern to thought pattern to activity at their desk. At the end of the day, sometimes, entrepreneurs would look up and realize they didn’t get much done.

Fundamentally, business comes down to the things that I talked about. When it comes down to it, the lifeblood of a business is getting new leads and customers. That’s where it begins for a business owner. I would start with my clients. I would start focusing on them on that one thing. I’m like, “How much time a week are you spending getting leads and customers?”

EEP 86 | Discipline

Discipline: When it comes down to it, the lifeblood of a business is getting new leads and new customers.


What I found, to my shock and dismay, was that the average business owner that would come to me as a client was spending, if they were honest, and I averaged it all out, about 7% of their daily and weekly activity focusing on generating the lifeblood of their business. That’s a simple thing to be able to fix. What I did was I would start getting commitments from the people I was working with. I’d be like, “Could you give me one hour a day?”

You would set the clock on your phone or computer. All you’re going to do for an hour is focus on, “How do I get new leads in my business and new customers?” That’s it. I would find some of my students at first would sit there and go, “I’m not even sure what I’m supposed to do.” That’s an important question to ask because that’s the way a business begins to grow. You come in behind and help people as they’re growing but as you’re getting going, that’s important.

What I realized was much like flying an airplane, fundamentally, the principles behind successful business are very simple. The most successful people I know, much like fighter pilots, do things in what I call strategic sprints. I’ll call it a lie. It’s this whole belief system like the tortoise and the hare. You’ve heard it a million times. The tortoise wins. It’s not true.

We have rabbits in our garden out in front of my house. If you put an actual rabbit next to a turtle and they race, in the real world, the rabbit will win 5 straight times before the turtle’s even taken 3 steps. The world we live in, honors and rewards speed but speed in the right direction. A lot of the work that I do with business owners is helping them build their business around these strategic sprints but sprints in the right direction that do have productivity behind them instead of busyness.

EEP 86 | Discipline

Discipline: The world we live in honors and rewards speed, but speed in the right direction.


That’s the key. It’s a focused effort. It’s not any effort. I love how you described the chaos of many business owners’ days or weeks in life. I’m busy from sun up to sun down but that doesn’t mean productivity or progress toward a desired outcome or something strategic. It means I know how to fill my calendar with stuff. Sometimes, we feel good about the amount of stuff we can get done but that doesn’t mean progress.

The interesting corollary to the sprint is the rest. Brett’s got eight kids. I have four. I’m on the Brett starter system. I’m halfway. If you look at the way teens grow, they grow fast and then pause for a little while. I mentioned a garden. Right in front of me, I’m looking at our garden. There are tomatoes in that garden that haven’t grown and they’re starting to grow. They’ve been sitting there for about three months, rejuvenating and re-invigorating themselves. They’re growing fast and then we’ll have tomatoes. Everything in nature operates on the sprint and rest principle.

I mentioned the importance of the sprint in the right direction. You’ve experienced this. Most business owners are sprinting all the time. Five years later, they don’t want any piece of it at all. No matter how successful their business is, they’re done. Part of a great business flow is this sprint and rest. Some of the best ideas I’ve come up with have come out of a week of thinking time or morning away up in the mountains with my journal, thinking through some things. A great rhythm in the balance of your life is that sprint but then that rest. I love to bring into companies both of those things together. When you do both of those well, you create amazing things in the marketplace.

You talk about this sprint and rest concept but let’s give a practical view of this. We talked previously. I was on your Ed Talks show. You do that on Tuesdays and Thursdays. People should check it out. It was awesome not because I got to be there but because I could tell that this is awesome. I wanted to listen in all the time. We did that. You told me you’re taking a break from that show. There’s a season pause so that you can do what?

I’ll be writing. I love writing books. I am working on my sixth book. I’m working on the outline and putting things together. I’m brainstorming the way that I do. I’m going to take at least 1 week or probably more than 2 weeks off to focus on that writing process. I love the idea of creating content in a sterile environment. The way I’ve trained my team members and clients is that I tell them, “I’ll disappear off the face of the earth for weeks at a time and you need to be okay with that.” That’s one of the inboarding things that I tell my team members and my clients.

I love the idea of being able to create in this sterile and peaceful place. For this particular book, I’m going to go up to the islands Northwest of Seattle. I’ll go sit on the water in a cabin and write up there. I haven’t written my other books that way. I did them out of my office here. That’s a good example of how you can create that sprint and rest cycle in your life. You can do it on a daily basis. You can even do it on a weekly basis.

This is the quick version of the way that I do my weekly schedule. First of all, weekends are almost always off for me. Friday is almost always an off day. I’m going to explain what an off day looks like in a moment. What I do is put all my meetings and calls on Mondays. That’s my get-started day. I found that’s a good way to get your blood churning on Mondays. Sometimes, Monday is a drag so I put everything on Monday to get my system going. Tuesday is typically a content creation day. We’re here on a Tuesday recording the show.

Wednesday is oftentimes a big promotional day so I’ll write a lot of copy on Wednesdays. I might do a webinar or Zoom training. I might do a lot of my work that is designed around leads and customers. Thursday is usually a half day. I have a show in the morning on Thursdays. Normally, I drop off at about noon on that day. For the most part, Friday is a day that I never schedule anything at all except for maybe the occasional chiropractic visit or something like that. Fridays are designed for me to get away and think.

I usually use Fridays to do a few things. I bring aside my journal. Sometimes, I’ll bring my Bible. I’ll meditate, read, and pray. I’ll think if I’m going through a book. I’ve got a book I’m reading from Malcolm Gladwell that I’m interested in and I might take that with me. Fridays are normally off the grid. No email or text message. Those are designed as incubative days to allow the thinking process to reach its fruition.

Sometimes, I’ll have great ideas on Fridays but a lot of times, what happens is I’ll plant the subconscious seeds in my thinking on Friday that will grow in the next week these ideas that have come out of that time. You need to be able to give yourself the time to be able to do that. That gives you an idea of the ebb and flow of my week. I also have full weeks where I’ll disappear.

The great thing about what you guys do with the Elite programs is you build the team around an entrepreneur that facilitates that. If you have a team that is 100% dependent on you to be there every moment of every day, that’s why you talk to Brett. He’s the kind of person who’s helping you build a team that can accomplish the mission, vision, and purpose. Hopefully, those things sound familiar to you if you’ve been following Brett before. They can accomplish the mission, vision, and purpose without you being there all the time.

My definition of a great business is a business that has a consistent, repeatable revenue stream that doesn’t require you to be there all the time. It’s four things. It’s consistent, repeatable revenue, and not you there all the time. Most business owners of great businesses have consistent, repeatable revenue streams that require them there all the time. That’s what great systems do for you. It frees you up to be able to think, breathe, write your book, share your message, create a new promotion, or have some fun with your family.

EEP 86 | Discipline

Discipline: One definition of a great business is a business that has a consistent repeatable Revenue stream that doesn’t require you to be there all the time.


Creation requires time and space. I love what you’re saying. Whether it’s the weekly thing that you do on Fridays or a more extreme example where you’re like, “I’m going to go hole up in a cabin for 1 or 2 weeks and write whatever it is,” that’s the place where you’re preparing the soil and planting seeds. Without that, all we do is churn and burn on ourselves. We get no regenerative anything. We don’t have time and space to create. There’s nothing new coming out of it. We’re continuing the same. I love that advice. That’s a great practice.

This is no surprise from an ex-Marine but I wish we’d talked about this a little bit on your show. You asked me about some of the characteristics of leaders who figured this stuff out. One thing that I wish I had said that I didn’t was about discipline. It’s not so much the way that you’ve set it up but that you have set up your week and life in a way and stick to it. That’s half the battle, being open to learning and growth, creating discipline around things that work for you, and sticking to it.

First of all, as a military person, discipline means victory. You can’t have a group of Marines who all decide to do whatever they feel like doing at any given moment and still win battles. One of the reasons why the Marine Corps has been so good for so long since 1775 back in Tun Tavern is discipline. The other thing that a lot of times business owners don’t understand is discipline will bring you victories but discipline also brings you freedom.

This is why a lot of times business owners chafe at the idea of bringing a little bit of discipline into their work. It sounds like it’s going to be hard but at first, anything you learn how to do is hard. Bringing a little bit of discipline into your daily routine and life doesn’t mean doing it the same way every time. My routine is very different. I’ve matured into the freedom of that kind of routine but I can guarantee you that the leads and customers thing still gets done. I can guarantee my content still gets done and my team still gets led properly.

If you can bring a little discipline into your life, what it creates is these massive opportunities for freedom. The week I described to you is a three-and-a-half-day week, which is fundamentally what I do. The actual work in my week is about three-and-a-half days and sometimes less. For example, you and I are doing this in the afternoon. I’m going to be done about 2:00 and take my youngest child to the park. It’s all the afternoon.

A disciplined leadership of yourself but also your team creates freedom. That’s the glory of it. It gives you space. When you have space, it multiplies the value of which you can create. Fundamentally, your business came out of your brain and the ideas that you initially had to put into the marketplace. You have a team around you that’s facilitating that. If you want to grow, getting your brain away in some freedom is huge. That’s why discipline is so wonderful.

If you really want to grow, getting your brain away in some freedom is huge. And that's why discipline is so wonderful. Click To Tweet

When I first started speaking publicly, I did a lot of speeches for businesses where I’d go do it for 1 hour or 1 day. One of my mentors back in 2006 when I started said, “What are you going to talk about?” I said, “Leadership, discipline, productivity, and persuasion,” which were the things that I knew at the time. He said, “Take discipline off the list. No one wants to learn discipline.” I said, “I respectfully disagree. When I teach them how to do this right, it’s going to give them freedom. Everybody wants freedom.”

I love that you said that because it’s counterintuitive to us, especially as entrepreneurs. We’re like, “That’s like putting handcuffs on me.” Structure, process, and discipline, all those are nasty words to many entrepreneurs. One of my favorite colleagues to work with at Infusionsoft, and we talked about this a little bit on your show, was the Chief Technology Officer. His name is Marc Chesley.

He would always remind us that what allows a high-performance car to go so fast is the fact that it has brakes. It gives us freedom. We can go fast because there are brakes. Without brakes, at some point, it’s a disaster. We need to slow down and be able to stop. We need discipline and that gives us a lot of freedom.

When we tell our team members, “You’re free. We empower you. Go,” and they’re going in every direction without any parameters, that’s not winning. Discipline helps us know what the boundaries are, allows us to slow down when we need to, and does a lot of things for us that create power and freedom that most entrepreneurs don’t understand. They think they’re going to be imprisoned by it when it will get them what they want.

Isn’t that unbelievable? They did a study back in the ‘70s when they were trying to bring more freedom into the education environment. The study was they went to a school that had a fence around the school. The kids went out in recess and they would go play. The researcher said, “Let’s take the fence down. We want to give the kids freedom to move, roam, and be kids.” They took the fence down.

Every day, they would plot the location of these little kids in kindergarten and first grade. When they started plotting them, as the days and weeks went on, those dots got closer until all the kids were playing right next to the school. They put the fence back up again and the plot started moving out to the edge to where the fence was.

They realized that when they gave these beautiful constraints to these kids, they were giving them so much more freedom because they had a sense of security inside of the boundaries. That’s true for your team, your kids, and everybody. Great leadership says, “This is the way we’re going. Generally speaking, this is the way we’re doing it. I want you to be creative and think of new ideas but inside the confines of what we’re creating right here.” That brings a sense of creativity to your team. It also brings security. They feel better about themselves and the place they are in.

EEP 86 | Discipline

Discipline: Great leadership says, hey, this is the way we’re going and generally speaking, this is the way we’re doing it. Now I want you to be creative. I want you to think of new ideas but inside the confines of what we’re creating right here.


If you tell people, “Show up whenever you want to,” everyone gets nervous about that. They’re like, “Is 8:00 or 9:00 too late?” If they don’t know, that makes them uneasy. You think it’s going to make them happy. It doesn’t. It makes them uneasy. Little things like the way that you communicate are huge. Creating freedom inside the confines of that takes a lot of wisdom as an owner to be able to do that well but when you do, you create a great corporate culture.

Whether you’re talking about the playing field in a sports analogy or the canvas for an artist, and I love the playground with the fence, there’s something about knowing what those borders are. It is like, “Team, here’s where you can operate. Go operate. You know what we’re doing together. Let’s get after it.” It’s amazing. Some of the things you listed are discipline. You talked about communication. What are some of the other topics that you’re often speaking about?

I talk a lot about communication. It’s more persuasion, frankly. I usually say effective communication more than persuasion because sometimes, people push back a little bit. When I say persuasion sometimes, people think of that used car salesman person.

It’s like you’re manipulating or something.

In one of my courses, I have out-negotiated a used car salesman twice in my life. I have a technique for doing it. I can even show you how to do that well. Fundamentally, I’m fascinated with the idea of how to communicate to get people to take action. If you want to have a great team, sell a lot of your services or products, have a great marriage, frankly, or have great kids, it’s how you communicate.

Fundamentally, what you say is not nearly as important as what someone hears. Your job as a communicator is to communicate in such a way that someone hears what you’re trying to get them to hear. I’ll give you an example on the parenting side because this will help you understand how powerful words are and how you can take this into the business side. My one kid was having one of those teen days. Do you know one of those days where everyone around them is an idiot including dad, mom, their brother, and their sister? He was having an attitude that day.

I pulled him aside. His name is Jack. I said, “Jack, this is not who you are. You are a great kid with a great heart. You love your family. You love your brother and sister. You’re good and very helpful around the house. The way you’re behaving now is not in line with who you are. Let me encourage you to be who you are.” That’s what I told him. To be fair, I have not always said it that way. A lot of times in the past, you do the dad thing.

What I realized was a lot of times what parents do is reinforce the exact negative image of a person’s self that is being exhibited in that behavior. If you’re like, “What are you, some kind of an idiot,” all of a sudden, your kid hears, “Idiot,” from their dad and they’re going to start acting like an idiot. What I said is, “This isn’t who you are. This is not the person that you are.”

We’ll take it into the business side. A lot of business owners are, first of all, talking to themselves that way. In the middle of a dog fight, I made a big mistake. I remember vividly screaming into the oxygen mask to no one but myself. I remember screaming, “You idiot.” It’s still burned into my brain. I’m like, “Why would you talk to yourself that way?” A lot of business owners show up at work and they’re like, “I’m never going to be successful. This is never going to work.” In the interview you and I did, I was telling you about a client I had who used to call all of his team members idiots.

First of all, it comes to the way you communicate to yourself. That’s important. How do you communicate to your team and then to your customers and prospects? The way in which you say something can make a huge difference as to whether or not they’re going to take action. Let me give an example. Business owners do this all the time. They will look at a prospect and go, “If you’re interested or you decide to do this, then.” I usually have them shifted to one word. I have them say when.

For example, if I’m talking to a prospect who’s interested in working with me one-on-one in some coaching or consulting, I’ll say, “When you and I work together, one of the first things we’re going to do is,” and then I create the picture in their mind of what we’re going to do. If I say when, automatically in the subconscious mind, that person has to create a picture in their mind of the thing that I’m hoping that they’re going to create a picture of, which is them thinking together. That’s one example of hundreds that I use when I teach persuasion.

Fundamentally, the way you communicate is everything. When it comes to teams, prospects, keeping customers, keeping customers happy, dealing with unhappy customers, dealing with your kids, dealing with your spouse, or dealing with the one-star review person on Yelp, all those things come down to how effectively you can communicate. Frankly, there is 1 right way and 1,000 wrong ways to do it. If you do it right, you’re going to have more money, time, freedom, income, and impact.

The way you communicate is everything when it comes to teams, when it comes to prospects, when it comes to keeping customers, when it comes to keeping customers happy, dealing with unhappy customers, how you communicate dealing with your kids, and so… Click To Tweet

Its simplest form is leading others. Even if you don’t see yourself as a leader, all of you business owners reading this, we are leaders. Leadership is about coordinating efforts. That’s what it is. We want a desired outcome but it’s about getting people to do things to get an outcome. That all happens through language.

I don’t know why it isn’t a bigger thing. I’m glad there are people like you who are out there helping us understand how to use this language more powerfully. It doesn’t matter what language you speak. In any language, it is how to use language to communicate clearly so that effort is coordinated in the way that you’re trying to in the first place.

We’re trying to get outcomes that require a coordinated effort and language is the tool. That’s the only thing we have to coordinate effort. We could try hand signals but we’re speaking it into reality. We’re trying to help people move. The better we can get at that, the more effective we’re going to be achieving what we say we want to do.

We finally have scientific research to back this up. People were talking about positive words and affirmations many years ago with no science, frankly. You can watch the brain on brain scans. You can see the brain recalibrating and rewiring itself based on the words. Language is the structure that the brain builds itself on. When you say, “I’m always going to fail. I’m always a failure. This never works out,” those things start to become self-producing realities. It’s not because of the universe but it’s because your brain is wiring itself that way.

It’s one of the things I talk about in my book. If you want to get in shape, have better relationships, or have better customers and team members, it starts with the communication you’re doing with yourself all the time. It then goes into its next step, which is how you communicate outside. That’s the reason why I look at my kid and go, “This isn’t you. Let me tell you who you are. You are this amazing kid with a great heart.” As I say that to my son, there’s rewiring happening in the brain to correspond to the thing that I’m saying.

I believe that. You mentioned the book The 21 Day Miracle. What I hear you saying is so fundamental to any sort of behavior change. It all starts with thought work. It is thoughts, words, beliefs, actions, habits, and outcomes. None of this is new. We have to figure out, “What negative self-talk am I doing as a leader? What negative beliefs towards others am I projecting?” Without using what we think is explicit language to that degree, we’re communicating through our words and actions towards that person that reflects this belief system that we have. It’s hard because it’s not like we can work on it right here with our hands. It’s all up here in the gray matter.

EEP 86 | Discipline

The 21 Day Miracle: How To Change Anything in 3 Short Weeks

It’s so exciting when you think about what is possible. A lot of times, when I learn things like this, I always think of the things I did wrong. I’m like, “I wish I could go back in time.” At least you’re hearing and catching onto it. It’s crazy. I mentioned when I go on my walk stuff. I love reading the old religious scriptures. There’s a story in the Old Testament of the Bible about this guy named Gideon. This angel shows up to Gideon and says, “How are you doing, you brave warrior?” The moment he asked him that question, he was hiding from the enemy. I thought, “That’s so cool.” The guy’s hiding and he is like, “Look at you, brave warrior.”

This is why I love this stuff. God sees this guy as who he’s becoming, not who he is. You can see yourself as you’re becoming and not as you are. If you see like, “I’m going to be a better communicator and leader. I’m going to be more effective and disciplined,” then start talking to yourself like that. You are more disciplined. You are a better leader.

Think about it. You made it through 25 minutes of this episode already. That’s a great thing. Most people got through the first five minutes and bail. That’s what most people do but you’re not like most people. You made it this far. That’s who you are. Start speaking to yourself about the person that you are and that you’re becoming instead of the person that you were when you were in college. This is where it all starts.

Start where you are. Let’s keep moving forward. Live into your best self, not into your worst self. Why do we dwell on the negative things that we may not have liked? Before I met Ed, I worked with a powerful coach who taught me about I Am statements. That’s what he calls them, these affirmations. We did a cool exercise. Maybe you do something similar that you can speak to our audience about. The idea is that he calls it a presidential pardon.

Whether you are for red or blue, whatever your political persuasions are, there’s a power that the president of the United States has to pardon people like anybody. They can say, “Prisoner, you’re pardoned,” and that’s gone. This coach taught me to look at labels that I might have subconsciously about myself and presidential pardon those things. I’m like, “I forgive myself for judging myself as, fill in the blank, for the new truth is.” We get to rewrite those scripts anytime we want but most of us don’t spend any time thinking about it or doing it. What do you tell people to help them?

This is such a great question and we could go deep on this. I’ll give you a couple of ideas. The first thing is I have a technique that I use. I used to only do it at my live events. I do it over my YouTube show because it’s so effective when it works this way. This is going to sound crazy when I tell you this but I have a three-question technique that I teach people to do to ask God questions about their business and get answers. I’ve done this with thousands of people from every walk of spirituality. You don’t need a certain religious background to be able to do this effectively.

To show you how effective this is, I have had atheists, and I’m not even kidding you, walk up to me with yellow legal pads full of downloadable notes that they got from God. They go, “I have two pages of notes from God. I’m an atheist. How does that work?” I’m like, “You’re the atheist. You tell me. I don’t know. You explain it.” I’m telling you it works. It usually starts with the lies that you’re believing and ends with what’s true. It’s amazing how quickly this particular exercise works. The first thing I usually do is have people reject whatever lie it is that they’re believing and then choose instead to believe the truth.

For example, I’m a failure. I’ll always be a failure. Nothing ever works out. That’s a lie. I was created and bred for success is true. That’s true. I reject the lie that I’m a failure and that I’ll always fail. Instead, I choose to believe that I am bred for success. That’s a rejection of something that’s not true and an acceptance of something that is true. When that happens, you are recoding the software in your brain. It’s like giving yourself an iPhone update. You’re getting rid of some bugs and putting something new inside. All of a sudden, you’re like, “The music works differently.”

That’s how it operates inside your brain. That’s a short version. What you said goes along as a corollary to that. You mentioned the word forgiveness. Forgiveness is one of the most powerful things you can do because forgiveness resets the scales. Most people in our culture want justice. Justice is a wonderful thing to desire. If you look at the scales of justice, the justice scales are the ones that are always balancing. There’s that Greek mythological thing that the scales are balancing.

Forgiveness is one of the most powerful things you can do because forgive us reset the scales. Click To Tweet

Most people can’t get balanced scales. Their elbow is on top of one of the scales because of forgiveness. Sometimes, it’s because of dad, mom, a friend, or a kid from school but a lot of times, it’s because of you. You did something you wish you didn’t do. If that’s true for you, welcome to the club. We’ve all been there and done it about a million times. You’re just afraid to talk about it.

We could do fifteen straight hours on the dumbest business decisions I’ve ever made. I have businesses that don’t exist that did exist that were complete failures. They were embarrassing failures that I don’t even want to talk about. If I dwelled on those dumb, stupid decisions, all I would do is perpetuate those dumb, stupid decisions.

This is what I say, “I fully and freely forgive myself for that decision that I made. I accept the lesson that I learned from them and I leave everything else behind.” You then move on. If you put your elbow on top of the scale, you can’t balance it. I have a friend of mine who once said, “The way you treat your heart is the way you treat everyone else’s.” If you’re going to be all difficult and non-forgiving with yourself for crying out loud, no wonder your team doesn’t want to hang out with you anymore. They don’t want to go out to get a beer with you or a Coke on Friday night.

Give yourself a little grace. Understand that for every 1 great decision you’ve made, you probably made 100 mistakes. Welcome to the club. That’s about what Brett and I have done too. We don’t talk about all those mistakes on the show. We usually talk about the good stuff. That’s a little hint for you. Fundamentally, it is the way the world is. Boldly move forward and be like, “So what?” Move forward and have a great time. Have a big smile on your face and have a milkshake. It will be fine.

There are only seven billion other people on the planet having a similar frail, broken, messed up experience. We can create something great out of what we’ve been given, whatever the circumstance. I know you all believe that because you’re entrepreneurs. You are creating things but for some reason, with ourselves, we don’t want to extend any kind of grace sometimes. Ed’s right. It spills out into how we deal with everything.

I worked with two people who couldn’t get it going again because of a decision they made in 2008. Do you remember when the market imploded in 2008? They were still blaming themselves. It took me about four minutes to go, “That’s here in the past. That’s not who you are. This is who you are. Let’s move on.” That’s how quickly you can fix it. A lot of the time, those pain points came in 30 seconds. It didn’t take a year. It took 30 seconds.

Your wife told you that she was leaving you. Your business imploded. You got hurt by a partner or a team member. You got a business sabotaged or someone took money from you. If that took 10 seconds to hurt you, it should take 10 seconds to unhurt you and move on but we get stuck in this all the time. With these two guys I was working with, I was like, “We’re done with that. Are you good? Are we good?” That’s all it took. It took me saying that for them to move on but you could say that to yourself. You could say, “I’m good. We’re moving on.”

It’s the presidential pardon. We’re done. 

I love that. I’m going to start using that presidential pardon thing.

This has been great. I can geek out with you all day. You’re a fantastic human being who happens to have a ton of great insights for these people whom we aim to serve. You serve a similar crowd. How can people learn more about you? I said EdRush.com. They know you’ve written books. You speak, consult, and coach. How do they connect with you on social or your website? What is best?

I’ll give you a couple of good resources. The first one you mentioned is EdRush.com. I do a weekly email called The Weekly Flight Briefing. It is packed full of information. You’ll love it. It’s on topics that we were talking about like marketing, positioning, branding, promotions, communication, persuasion, and the way you view yourself. If what we’ve been talking about is interesting to you, go to EdRush.com, put your email in the middle box and I’ll send you my Weekly Flight Briefing. I promise to be kind to your email. I don’t send a lot of stuff out. I send good stuff to you.

The second thing is if you’re interested in the book that Brett mentioned, which is The 21 Day Miracle, you can always get it on Amazon but if you want to, the website where you can get it from me is EdRushBook.com. When you get there, what I did for your audience, Brett, is I have a membership site that I would normally charge money for but you can get it free when you go to that website. It’s my gift to you. You get some training and downloads around this idea of sprint and rest.

You’re going to get a link to the book. It will take you to Amazon. The book on Kindle is $0.99 and $12 on paperback. It’s the cheapest way to get access to me, frankly. I would love to hear your thoughts on what I said on the show. If you’re okay, I’ll give them my email address too. Here’s the deal. I have only done this one other time. My actual email, and this goes to me and not to an assistant or a team member which is what I’m telling you I don’t normally do, is Coaching@EdRush.com. That goes right to me. Give me a week or so to respond to you.

What I will do is if you tell me that you are on this show with Brett and me, I’ll give you a complimentary ticket for you and a team member to come to one of my next events. Normally, these are live events but they’ve been on Zoom. Either way, I’ll let you in as my guest because I want to be able to connect with you and help you along the road to success. Frankly, you accomplishing your mission is going to make it easier for me to accomplish my mission. We’ve got a big world to change so we should do it together.

This has been a great time together. Thank you for sharing the wisdom that you did. We packed in a bunch of stuff. I hope that people reading will go to EdRushBook.com and sign up for your Weekly Flight Briefing. Let’s keep learning and growing together. Thanks so much for being here, Ed.


Make sure you download, share, or like however we talk about these episodes. Other people need to know what Ed had to say. We’re going to keep bringing great guests and content every week to help you with your seven-figure growth journey. Thanks again for reading. We’ll see you next time.


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