Developing a high degree of intimacy with the customers and clients is key to the success of your business. You need to be able to see into, feel into, listen to and deeply understand your customer and client base in order to do what is right for them and what is right for business.
Teal Swan was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico and was raised in the rural wilderness of Northern Utah. After enduring a harrowing childhood, she became a professional competitive winter sports athlete before stepping into her true calling as a revolutionary in the field of self-development and personal transformation.
A renowned author, Teal Swan has written six books, which are now translated into six languages and is a bestselling author. She has created hundreds of original frequency paintings, which have now been converted into a popular product line. Her acclaimed YouTube channel has over 74 million views.
As well, Teal Swan owns Philia retreat center in Costa Rica where she regularly holds retreats and she speaks on stages across the world. As of this year, she is ranked the 19th most spiritually influential person in the world.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
I have always been deeply impacted by suffering. Having suffered so deeply myself and having seen so much suffering, there was no other alternative than to try to figure out how to eliminate suffering. You know that something is a calling when even if someone offered to pay you millions of dollars to stop doing something, you could never do it. This is how I feel about helping people to transform their unconsciousness into consciousness, their illusions into truth and their pain into pleasure. To begin with, I simply wanted to get the information that I had and the things that I knew out to people. I knew that it could completely transform people’s lives. I wanted it to be accessible and so I wrote my first book and following that, I started my YouTube series called Ask Teal. The rest of my career simply evolved from there.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
What sets me apart from most people in my position is that my day is not structured. Even though I naturally wake up early, I don’t follow a set routine. It is different almost every day. It is an intuitive, felt based and organic interaction with the day as that day occurs. I get the best results if I organize my day according to inspiration. When there is inspiration, you can ride the wave of that inspiration and take inspired action steps. If I do whatever inspires me, even if a task is difficult to do, it takes no forced effort to do it and takes much less time to do as well. I have the intention to cook and eat healthy food, exercise in some enjoyable way and connect to the people in my life. Other than that, the typical day of any business owner mostly boils down to responding to whatever need arises or issues comes up. This is what naturally changes the order of priorities day to day.
As far as productivity is concerned, productivity is not something that I have to think about. If you have a real passion for something (enough to really focus on that thing) you are naturally productive. One thing that has made me successful is that if I have a to-do list, I pay special attention to ranking those tasks in terms of priority. Once I am focused on something that is the priority, will not go on to any other task before the task at hand is entirely completed.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I have lots of ideas, some which contain the seed of inspiration and some that don’t. When they don’t, I don’t act on them and instead let them rest. When I have an idea that also contains the seed of inspiration I realize that bringing it to fruition is like surfing. You have a very limited amount of time to ride a wave to shore. In the same way, you have a very limited amount of time to jump on the wave of inspiration. This means, I act immediately. I’ve been known to stop everything I’m doing or clear the schedule or turn the car around in order to take my first action step that is in alignment with the fruition of the idea. I don’t plot out the entire process either because I know that many of the steps, I can’t see yet. Instead, I focus on finishing the first step and seeing what the second step is then taking that second step and seeing what the third step is. I just keep putting one foot in front of the other until the idea is brought to life.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Green living. I believe that this way of living must become much more of a personal conviction to someone than something that they are doing simply because it is ‘in’ right now. But I see more and more people who are ending their zero sum game with the world. More people are using re-usable grocery store bags and going vegan and making conscious purchasing choices and it really gives me hope for the world. The problem with global climate change and all other types of environmental destruction is that for many people, it exists as a simple warning. A warning we think applies to other people, not us. Most people see it as something that might or could happen in the future. But what we are not seeing is that when we choose our personal best interests over the best interests of the environment, we become like a parasite that kills our host organism; and by doing so, kills ourselves. Sustainable living is no longer a luxury for the human race. It is a necessity.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I never, ever think about hours. Most people think like an employee and have an approach to working that is based on extrinsic motivation rather than intrinsic motivation. As an entrepreneur, you must be fueled by intrinsic motivation and you can’t be thinking in terms of hours worked. Instead you need to be focused on outcomes and performance. If I have a task, I never focus on how many hours I am willing to dedicate to that task. I focus entirely on the result. I am accountable for whether the completion of that task takes one hour or thirteen hours and the result is ultimately my responsibility. If I commit to a task, I am responsible for the end result and the end result reflects on me as a person. Because of this, I am much more concerned with the excellence and quality of the result I produce than I am with the time it takes to do it.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Life will never go the way you think it will. Your life is like a puzzle whose pieces are all over the place and as you go through your life, you collect them and fit them together one by one. The full picture that the puzzle pieces add up to will be revealed in time, even if you can’t immediately see it. And that picture once it comes into view will be more beautiful and convince you more of divine orchestration than anything you can currently imagine. Follow your inspiration and those puzzle pieces will fall into place… Follow your joy.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
That compatibility is an infinitely more important part of a successful and good relationship than being in love. Our culture is obsessed with fairy tale romance. The problem is that our attraction to other people is largely based on our life trauma. You can fall in love with someone who you are horribly incompatible with and end up miserable because you make each other feel horrible for who you are and what you want, but clinging to the relationship anyway.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Every single day, assess what needs to be done according to what the actual priority is and why. Then focus on the first thing to completion until moving on to the next. The only exception to this rule should be if something that is truly higher priority comes up. Many entrepreneurs become distracted and scattered because they don’t do this. Your energy should pour into whatever the highest priority is at any given time. And be open to the idea that it may seem counterintuitive. For example, if getting a massage is what it will take to get you to be able to have enough energy to pour yourself into a high priority project, then getting a massage may be the highest priority.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Developing a high degree of intimacy with the customers and clients. You need to be able to see into, feel into, listen to and deeply understand your customer and client base in order to do what is right for them and what is right for business. Though feedback can be difficult to take sometimes, you have to understand what is and isn’t working and why. Adapting your business according to this deep comprehension of the customer’s true needs and desires and feelings and thoughts is ultimately what determines long-term success.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
When I started the business, I didn’t have a thorough enough understanding of how important it is to make people clearly communicate expectations and have them put those expectations in writing. Though I was always good at this, not everyone is good at this. Most people have subconscious or unexpressed and assumed expectations and when they are not clearly communicated, you have no way to either agree to them or disagree with them. This sets you up for disappointments and antagonism with co-workers and employees.
Someone that I hired in the beginning of starting the company assumed that because he came onto the business so early, he would have a percentage of ownership in the company without ever expressing his interest in being a partner instead of an employee and without raising any concern when the articles of incorporation were entirely in my name. When he wanted to leave the company to start something of his own, he simply expected me to buy him out of the company, which was never his to begin with. It also took me a long time to realize that volunteers aren’t free. In fact, they usually cost more energy than an employee on salary. They come with all kinds of expectations of what they will be getting in return (such as personal time with me or free handouts) most of which are impossible to grant them. But it didn’t matter, any unfulfilled expectations made them turn sour. Now, I take great care flushing those subconscious and unexpressed expectations to the surface so we can assess whether they are conducive to the business or a recipe for disaster. Now the mutual exchange is clearly put on the table before anyone ever works for me.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Personal care robots. I cannot tell you how many times I wished someone had invented a robot that did all of the things that enabled me to simply focus on my tasks… Consider this robot the ultimate enabler. As an entrepreneur, it is the daily tasks, especially the self-care tasks that make it so hard to focus on your work. Like a robot that massaged you or did the laundry or made you drink water or drew you a bath. A long time ago, CEOs used to hire someone called a Girl Friday. This robot would be like a Girl Friday except you wouldn’t have to pay it a salary or get entangled in any of the potentially messy emotional elements that could potentially be a part of a person filling this role. Someone could make so much money with an invention like this.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
This is going to sound funny but the answer is a stainless steel peeler. I am obsessed with cooking and several years ago at a state fair, I bought a peeler that was being sold in a promotional products tent. It is the best peeler I have ever used in my life. In one of my moves, it vanished. Just last week, I went back to the same fair and as luck would have it, the peeler was being sold there again. This time, I bought three of them and hoarded them in my kitchen.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Google Docs. My employees are living all over the world. This platform enables you to share documents and information. Everyone can come together and see and edit a single document. Also, you can write task lists that everyone can see so everyone can keep tabs on everyone else and see what has been completed and when and what hasn’t. It supports our organization, efficiency and communication as a team immensely. It quite literally keeps us all ‘on the same page’.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I’d have to say that the book I most recommend to this community is Drive by Daniel Pink. This book is all about motivation. Before I even got into this line of work, way back as an athlete, I understood the importance of motivation. Motivation determines performance. But it wasn’t until I started a business that I understood how critical motivation is in terms of management and employees. This book is good for anyone to read. But it is a must read for anyone who is even considering starting a business.
What is your favorite quote?
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” by Anais Nin
• Motivation determines performance and to achieve maximum performance, motivation must be intrinsic.
• Most people have subconscious or unexpressed and assumed expectations and when they are not clearly communicated, it can mean disaster for your business
• Developing a high degree of intimacy with the customers and clients is key to the success of your business. You need to be able to see into, feel into, listen to and deeply understand your customer and client base in order to do what is right for them and what is right for business.
• To Achieve productivity as an entrepreneur, each day you must assess what needs to be done according to what the actual priority is and why. Then focus on the first thing until completion until moving on to the next.
• If you have a task, never focus on how many hours you are willing to dedicate to that task. Instead, focus entirely on the end result. To be successful as an entrepreneur, adopt the perspective that you are accountable for whether the completion of that task takes one hour or thirteen hours and the quality of that result is ultimately your responsibility.
• When you have an inspired idea, bringing it to fruition is like surfing. You have a very limited amount of time to ride a wave to shore. In the same way, you have a very limited amount of time to jump on the wave of inspiration. This means, act on it immediately.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.