Of the many clients I work with, few individuals embody the Operator persona more than my friend Joe Arko.

With more than 20 years of experience consulting and coaching personal trainers, Joe and his wife/business partner Sara have built an incredible life for themselves and their children.

Which made me even more excited to hear how someone at such a high level benefitted from my coaching at the Perfect Life Workshop.

I was first introduced to Joe back in January of 2018 and he attended my workshop that March.

Since then, his business has more than doubled and he’s well on track to break 7-figures in early 2019.

I recently had my Editor sit down with Joe to pick his brain and discover exactly what he’d learned and how he was able to grow his business so quickly after the retreat.

Here’s what he shared with us…

1. Understand ‘The Zebra Effect’


Have you ever watched Planet Earth (or something similar) where a lion or cheetah chases after and kills a Zebra?

While it’s a pretty spectacular display of mother nature in action, these documentaries are actually quite misleading.

Despite what the filmmakers and David “Honey Voice” Attenborough would have you believe, the success rate of a lion or cheetah hunting a zebra is less than 20%.

Think about that for a second…

The fastest and most powerful creatures in all of nature are only able to successfully catch a Zebra twice for every 10 hunts on which they embark.

So why is it that a seemingly unintelligent striped pony is able to outwit and outmaneuver the “King of the Jungle” and the fastest land animal on the planet?

One word… Distraction.

You see, by itself, a Zebra has a life expectancy of only a few minutes. However, when herded together, the Zebra’s stripes blend so seamlessly with one another that the predators are unable to distinguish their targets from one another and proceed to chase dozens of different Zebra without catching any of them.

Your goals are like the Zebra.

When you have too many targets, too many projects, and too many goals, you aren’t able to hit any of them successfully because you’ve fallen victim to what Joe has dubbed, “The Zebra Effect”.

Your goals and targets blend together so quickly that you find yourself chasing after dozens of things all at once without ever ‘catching’ any of them.

If you want to create sustainable results in your life and business then you must ruthlessly eliminate any goal or target that is not your #1 highest priority and focus ALL of your time, attention, and energy on one thing at a time.

As simple as this might sound, Joe attributes 80% of his recent success to this simple strategy.

Funnily enough, my mentor Mark Ford shared a similar strategy with me a few years ago when I shared my laundry list of goals at the time.

“Craig”, he said, “You can’t focus on that many things at once. Limit yourself to one goal in your business, one goal in your health, one goal in your relationships, and one goal in your personal development.”

Since implementing this strategy, my life has changed forever and I promise, yours will too.

2. Schedule Personal and Family Time First


One of the most common struggles facing entrepreneurs and high achievers is that business responsibilities tend to have a way of interfering with… Well, everything!

Your family time, personal time, and social time are all relegated to “sometime soon” while your business or career slowly starts to steal the very freedom it was designed to provide.  

For Joe, it was no different.

When we first connected and he and his wife came to the Perfect Life Workshop, Joe was balancing his work and family life better than most, but there was still more to be desired.

He wanted to be able to accomplish more during the work day while still making time for his wife (and business partner) and their children.

To help him accomplish this, I taught him a simple but effective planning method I’ve developed called “The Perfect Week Formula”.

The premise is simple…

When you plan your weeks, start by planning self-care and family time first.

Don’t schedule a single meeting, sales pitch, or deep work slot until you know exactly…

  • When you and your spouse are going on your weekly date night (this is non-negotiable if you’re married). If you’re single, schedule time to go out with new people as you attempt to find your perfect partner.
  • When you will go to the gym
  • When you will engage in self care activities such as your morning routine, weekly massages, or a day in the mountains
  • When you will spend time with your children
  • When you will connect with your friends.

By flipping the script and making time for the things that are truly important first, you will force yourself to ruthlessly strip away all tasks and activities that aren’t serving you at the highest level.

These activities will either be delegated to someone else or eliminated from your schedule entirely.

Life is short, and you don’t want to arrive at the end of it wishing that you’d spent more time with the people you love (because that’s what really matters at the end of the day).

You can prevent this grim reality by ensuring that you plan your family and self care time first and only then go to work mode.

3. Have a Sense of Entitlement Towards Your Time


It’s funny to me how often entrepreneurs and other high performers feel a glaring lack of ownership regarding their own time.

They feel like everyone is entitled to their time: their boss, their clients, their marketing team, their spouse, their mentees… Everyone except for themselves.

They’re quick to prioritize the needs of others and move their schedules around so that they can accommodate another person’s agenda, but they’re rarely willing to prioritize their own needs and desires.

After attending the Perfect Life Workshop, Joe told me, “I’ve learned to feel like I have a right to my own time. If I get a call from a number I don’t know, I don’t answer it. If I get an invitation or request – even an urgent one – that isn’t aligned with my highest priorities, then I say ‘no’ every single time.”

To succeed in life and business you must develop this same attitude.

YOU and only you have a right to your time.

You have the right to tell people “no”, to set firmer boundaries, to ignore requests that aren’t aligned with your vision, and to prioritize yourself before anyone else.

I know this might sound a bit selfish or even heartless, but at the end of the day, owning your time is the ultimate form of selflessness.

Whenever you own and feel entitled to your time, other people will learn to respect you and only make requests when absolutely necessary.

You have more time to focus on your vision, your goals, and your mission allowing you to impact more people and elicit greater change in the world.

In the same way that you’re told to “Put the oxygen mask on yourself before helping those around you” in the event of a plane crash, you must prioritize your own time before anyone else’s to ensure that you’re operating at peak capacity and able to serve the world at the highest level.

4. Embrace ‘Productive Busyness’


One of the things that surprised me most about Joe was how he responded whenever my Editor asked him what his work weeks looked like post-workshop.

Unlike most of my clients who reduce their workloads by 20, 30, or even 50%, Joe told me that since the workshop he’s been working even more!

…. A lot more.

But when he explained further, it all started to make sense.

“Since the workshop, I have almost no free time during my workdays. But the thing is, I’m not overwhelmed. I always have something to do and I have so many amazing projects that I’m working on that most of the time, it doesn’t even feel like work. We’re able to get so much done that it feels like we can run marathons in the same amount of time it used to take us to run 5 kilometers.”

Joe discovered what I like to call, “Productive Busyness”.

The vast majority of entrepreneurs and executives out there have become single-focused on efficiency and comfort.

They attempt to “Four Hour” their lives, successfully reducing their workload and accomplishing more in less time.

At this point, many of them choose to pursue ease instead of growth, using their newfound time for leisure activities and rest.

And there’s nothing wrong with this.

However, if you’re serious about experiencing exponential growth, the type of growth that will take you from 6 to 7-figures and from 7 to 8-figures in under 18 months, this simply won’t get the job done.

Instead, you should identify other tasks and opportunities that you can pursue with the time that you’ve saved by reducing the unnecessary and mastering your weekly work flow.

For example, if you manage to shave 15 hours of work off your week by implementing my Perfect Week Formula, improving your energy levels, and delegating low level tasks, don’t use that time to sit back and rest on your laurels.

Instead find new opportunities with which you can fill this free time that will drive growth even faster.

You could…

  • Start a podcast
  • Double down on your Instagram growth
  • Begin guest blogging to drive new traffic
  • Take on a new client
  • Start a side hustle to drive a second stream of income
  • Educate yourself on your craft and invest time in mastery

The bottom line is that you shouldn’t waste the time you’re saving.

Instead, reinvest it so that you can enjoy the benefits of the compound effect even sooner and reach your goals that much faster.

5. Get Impatient With Yourself and Refuse to Accept Failure


A few weeks ago, Joe was attempting to put “butts in chairs” at a new event he was hosting.

But registration was going slow and the odds of Joe selling out the event were slim to none… and that really pissed him off (something you never want to do).

So he turned up the heat, tapped into his operator’s mindset, and within 48 hours… He sold out the entire event.

Shocked and more than a little impressed, I reached out to him and asked how he did it.

“It was simple” he laughed, “ Here’s how I did it…

“1. I launched and sent out our promo video (you can see it at www.anatomyofaworkout.com)

2. Emailed ALL contacts I had from various gyms and pre wrote an email to send to their staff

3. Contacted ALL past attendees and pre wrote an email for them to send out on my behalf

4. We emailed our contact list twice with a promo code that only lasted 48 hours.

5. We pushed hard that our early bird registration ended on Wednesday AND that this was the last one for the year AND that we were raising the prices in the new year.

We created tons of awareness, urgency, and the chance to save money. That allowed me to sell out the event in 48 hours.”

Joe is the quintessential operator.

He doesn’t accept failure and he is incredibly impatient with himself.

If you want to take your life and business to the next level… Be like Joe.

Failure is only final if you allow it to be so. If something in your life or business isn’t working, then take massive action and MAKE IT WORK. No excuses, no explanations, just hustle.

Most people are far too patient with themselves and far too impatient with the process of success.

They’ll whine and complain about how they don’t have the money, the body, or the relationship that they want… Yet they’ll allow themselves to waste time on social media, in front of the television, or other forms of procrastination.

Success takes time. Yes.

But it takes a lot more time if you allow yourself to continue staying stuck in the same patterns and routines that have brought you to this point.

So get impatient with yourself.

Demand excellence and success.

Refuse to allow setbacks to hold you back.

And always remember the Operator Code:

I am an operator.
I get it done.
No excuses.

Conclusion


So there you have it, the 6 key lessons that I learned from my friend, client, and mentor Joe Arko that you can use to accelerate your success TODAY.

Let me know what you thought about the article in the comments below and the #1 action you’re going to take in the next 24 hours based on what you’ve learned.

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Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Craig has been a contributor to Men's Health magazine for over 17 years. Today he teaches his gift to high-performing entrepreneurs how to squeeze more out of their days, increase their income, and make more quality time for their families in his Perfect Life Workshop and Work-Life Mastery programs. Craig used his own advice to overcome crippling anxiety attacks in 2006, and he'll teach you his 5 Pillars of Success so you can increase your income, decrease your work time, and live the life of your dreams. Learn more about Craig at craigballantyne.com

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