Tom Bilyeu’s 7 Keys to Unlock Your Potential, Achieve Your Dreams, and Be Legendary

lessons from tom bilyeu

It’s been said before that “Success leaves clues”.

And few individuals have left more specific and prescriptive clues than Tom Bilyeu.

When Tom began his journey, he was a shy, socially awkward, and overweight young man with debilitatingly low self-esteem.

Today, he’s become a highly renowned entrepreneur, speaker, and high performer extraordinaire.

After Co-Founding Quest Nutrition in 2010 with his partners, Tom grew the fledgling company more than 57,000% in three years, earning it a #2 slot on the Inc. 500 Fastest Growing list.

He and his partners later sold the company for a 10-figure sum and Tom went on to found Impact Theory: A personal development and peak performance company dedicated to helping people maximize their potential and achieve their dreams.

Tom’s personal transformation was nothing short of staggering. But what I find most interesting about his philosophy and company is that he believes anyone can replicate the successes he has achieved…

… IF they follow the right systems and possess the right mindsets.

After listening to over 100 hours of Tom’s best content, are the top 7 lessons that I learned from him that will help you unlock your potential, achieve your dreams, and be legendary.  

1. Identity is the Key to Achievement

“It’s about identity. Be the kind of person that gets things done. Even when it’s hard.”

Tom Bilyeu

Success is a game played in years and decades, not weeks or months.

As such, you cannot expect that one instance of waking up early, going to the gym, and working hard will change your life.

It’s not about the actions you take occasionally but the actions that you take daily.

To achieve success, you must become the type of person who simply does what is required for success.

You must create a fundamental shift in the way you view yourself and the habits and activities in which you allow yourself to engage.

Realize that every decision you make is a vote for or against the identity you are attempting to cultivate.

You aren’t “just”…

  • Hitting snooze
  • Skipping a workout
  • Allowing yourself to get distracted at work
  • Engaging in one unethical deal

You are subconsciously telling yourself, “This is the type of person I am.”

If you do not intentionally identify the person you want to become–and the types of outcomes that person will get to experience–you may wake up one day to find that you don’t like the identity you’ve ended up with.

So take the time to figure out who you need to be to live the life you want and then commit to taking actions congruent with your new identity on a daily basis.

Like Tom said, commit to being the type of person who “Gets it done, even when it’s hard”.

Become an operator and you will become unstoppable.

2. Forget Efficiency, Build Grit

“Don’t ask what’s the least you can do. Ask what’s the most you can bear.”

Tom Bilyeu

In our efficiency focused world, it’s easy to get so obsessed with finding the fastest and easiest way to accomplish tasks that we allow our work ethic to become corrupted by efficiency.

Instead of asking ourselves, “How much can I handle?” we ask, “What’s the least that I can do?”.

And this is a very dangerous way to think.

For those of you familiar with Tom’s work, you know that he is characterized by his insane work ethic.

The man will regularly put in 16 hour days and 120+ hour work weeks. Not because he lacks structure or because he is focused on money. But because his mission is so compelling and important to him that he will do whatever it takes to accomplish it.

If you want to do great things, to be remembered, and to create radical change in your life and business, STOP focusing on “lifestyle efficiency”.

Don’t ask what’s the least you can do. Ask, “What is the most I can bear?”

You can build a 7-figure business in 90 days or less… If you can bear the workload required to do it.

You can COMPLETELY transform your body in 90 days… If you can bear the discipline required it requires.

You can do anything and everything that you set your mind to. But it will require pain and sacrifice.

As you look at your goals moving into 2019, I challenge you to be like Tom and think bigger.

Efficiency will help you create a comfortable life. Grit and a willingness to out work everyone will allow you to change the planet.

3. Skills Trump Everything  

“The key to becoming successful is to work so ridiculously hard at acquiring skills that when people see how good you are they just assume you’re naturally talented.”

Tom Bilyeu

The key to success in 2019 and beyond is simple.

Become a master of highly marketable skills.

That’s it.

If you can become one of the top 1% in the world at your respective craft, you will never have to look for work or beg for referrals again.

You will have people literally begging to work with you. You will be turning down clients you’d have once killed for.

And of Tom’s many skills, it is his ability to acquire and master new skills in record time that truly sets him apart from his competition.

Not only is he a world class thinker, strategist, leader, and speaker. But he’s a world class learner.

He has the uncanny ability to identify a skill he needs to develop and then systematically and strategically break that skill down until he has mastered it.

If you want to achieve success at levels that are uncommon in our modern world, you must become obsessed with developing your skills.

What are the 2-3 things that have the power to take your life and business to the next level?

Is it…

  • Productivity
  • Marketing
  • Copywriting
  • Facebook advertising
  • Leadership
  • Sales
  • Public speaking

Whatever it is, write it down and create a strategy to master it.

Hire a coach to identify your weak spots. Practice harder and longer than any of your competitors.

Tony Robbins became a world class speaker in under a year because he booked more engagements in a week than his colleagues would in a month.

In 90 days, he had more than a year’s worth of experience. And by the end of the year, he’d spoken more times than the average speaker would in nearly half a decade.

Remember, it’s up to you how long mastery takes.

With the right mindset and work ethic, you can become world-class at 2-3 new skills every single year.

Imagine what that would do for your life and business?

4. Be Ruthless with Your Time

“Dissect how you spend your time. It reveals your priorities.”

Tom Bilyeu

What separates good performers from great performers is not raw talent or genetics, but the way in which they spend their time.

So many of us unwittingly waste hours each day on social media, in front of the TV, or on useless, low-level tasks that don’t push us forward or drive growth.

If you want to achieve your big goals and ambitions, you must ruthlessly asses the way you are spending your time, identify low-yield activities, and eliminate them.

Are those 3 hours you spend in front of the TV every night serving you at the highest level?

Are those 10-minutes you waste on Instagram every hour of your workday pushing you towards excellence?

What does your calendar say about you and your priorities?

Until you sit down and audit the way you spend your time each day, you’ll waste countless hours without even realizing it.

Like Peter Drucker says, “What gets measured gets managed.”

I challenge you to take a few days this week to write down everything you do hour by hour.

If you will take this exercise seriously, you will have a roadmap revealing exactly how you can get more done and create a schedule that reflects your ambitions.

5. Where Focus Goes, Energy Flows

“If you look for the negative, it will be there. If you look for the positive, it will OVERWHELM you.”

Tom Bilyeu

Stoic philosophers have posited (for more than 2,000 years) that events are neither good or bad, but that thinking makes them so.

And I’m inclined to agree.

In every situation, you can choose to view the circumstances and conditions of your life as positive or negative. You can see obstacles or opportunities.

One of Tom’s superpowers is his ability to view every challenge as something that is happening for him instead of to him.

He has the ability to find the silver lining and see challenges and setbacks as opportunities for growth and personal expansion.

At the end of the day, the quality of your life will be determined not by the events that happen to you, but by how you choose to view them.

In every failure, there are lessons. In every loss, there are opportunities for growth. In every setback, there is a chance to rest, recharge, and attack again.

But you must train yourself to see them or you’ll never be able to use them.

6. Greatness Is Never Achieved in Isolation

“The way to build a big business is to take care of people.”

Tom Bilyeu

No matter how amazing you are at your respective craft. No matter how skilled or talented you might be. No matter how hard you work, how smart you are, or how many skills you acquire, true greatness cannot be achieved in isolation.

It’s impossible for you to leave a true dent in the universe and create a lasting legacy by yourself.

You need a team of A-players around you to support you and help take you to the next level.

Tom had his co-founders, his superstar wife Lisa, and his thousands of employees to help him build Quest Nutrition.

Today, he has a team of top performers helping him manifest his vision for Impact Theory. And his secret for growing such impressive teams is simple.

Take care of your people.

Go above and beyond for your team. Pay them what they’re worth and tend to their needs. Make them feel important and essential to your business and you will earn their loyalty for life.

In my own career, I’ve witnessed the power of “Taking care of your people” first hand.

Craig, as hard charging as he is and as high as his expectations are, understands the power of putting his people first.

He is constantly checking in and asking how he can better support us. He is constantly challenging us and encouraging us to strive for excellence even in endeavors outside of his businesses. He is constantly putting his team members before himself and looking for ways to show us that he cares (heck, he even remembered my birthday!).

And as such, he’s earned our loyalty.

I could receive a 6-figure job offer from another company or grow one of my side hustles to the 7-figure level and I would continue working for Craig, no matter what.

That is the power of building and nurturing the right team.

7. Become Obsessed with Maximizing Your Potential

“Make it your daily obsession to make the most of your potential.”

Tom Bilyeu

As far as we know, we only have one shot at the experience of life.

We only have one opportunity to make it count. To leave a legacy. To change the world in our own unique way.

But we can only maximize the experience of life if we first maximize our own potential.

As Tom says before every show he records, “Human potential is nearly limitless. But having potential is not the same thing as actually doing something with it.”

Your goal on this planet should be to “die empty”. To maximize your potential. To do anything and everything that you can to become the absolute best version of yourself.

You owe it to yourself and the world to max out your potential. To go above and beyond the common call of duty and do exceptional and uncommon things.

This is your opportunity to make it count. To learn, love, laugh, and play on this magnificent planet we call home. To make a difference, to change lives, to leave our world better than you found it, and, in your own unique way, to be legendary.


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Austin Gillis

After dropping out of college at 18, Austin set out to travel the world and turn his passion for sharing big ideas through writing into a full time income. Today, he's succeeded at his goal and is the Editor for Early to Rise, Director of Content for Knowledge for Men, and a highly sought after freelance writer whose ghost-written work has been featured on Forbes, The Huffington Post, among other major outlets. When he isn't exploring new cities, writing game-changing content, or devouring his latest stack of books, you'll find him kicked back in a hammock on the beaches of Mexico with his girlfriend and two-year old Pomeranian, Zelda