By Ivan Misner, Stewart Emery, and Rick Sapio
The underground playbook for creating a mass movement of people who will pay for your advice
Imagine your life is a room – and anyone who enters will affect your world forever.
Those you choose to let in will leave erasable imprints on your experiences and memories and have the power to infiltrate your state of mind for good.
The authors of this book offer their expert advice on discerning who you should let into your room and who is no longer welcome. They help you design your life around a clear value system, making it easier to gauge what, and who is important.
One of the first notions introduced in the opening chapter is:
How are you going to select people you wish to have in your room now that you know they can never leave?
Now that you know they can never leave – what if from this moment on, you were to live as though that were true?
Would you still associate with the people who even look like undermining your self-worth, or would you heed the alarm bells and move on?
Make an unwise choice, and you will be left with the aftermath of anguish and regret.
But choose well, and you will love your life.
Because those people who cherish you, who treat you well or praise you in some way – also leave a lasting impression.
Trust your instincts – you will know when something feels right or not. You owe it to yourself to build a room that makes you come alive.
To do this – you need to be consciously …
Guarding your door
Your room houses all the people who come and go in your life – from your closest family and friends to those who are less important or you’d rather forget. It has an unlocked door allowing free entry to all.
When you’re a child, you don’t get to choose who comes into your room. But over the years you begin to realise that some people are not the ones you want to have in there. If only there were a way to control who crosses the threshold.
Apparently, there is – the authors suggest using a ‘Doorman’.
The ‘Doorman’ is essentially your gut instinct. It’s the process of thoughts and feelings you learn to observe that determine whether the door should swing open or remain closed.
In trying to establish which ideas and values will meet your entrance criteria, you can end up feeling in over your head – but you need to get clear in order to feel aligned with where you ultimately want to be.
This book can help you figure it all out.
When you can firmly identify your values and absolute deal-breakers, clarity will ensue.
Once you have a handle on your value system, your next step is:
Assessing who’s in your room
It’s time to take stock. Who’s already in your room? And what are you going to do about those who shouldn’t be there?
Your room can get rather crowded and noisy, so it’s evident that some people have to move. The authors ask you to consider those who fall into the following categories of your life:
1. Family members
2. Friends and acquaintances
3. Neighbours/community members
4. Business associates and colleagues
5. Organisational group members
6. Social media
7. People you encounter through routine procedures
8. Even people you watch you on the TV
It’s easy to see how the list of ‘occupants’ can get out of control.
Your task is to itemise all the people on your list into those who provide a positive experience, and those who cause you grief or pain. The more specific you can be in acknowledging who aligns with your value system and who doesn’t, the simpler the process of elimination will be.
Handling people already in your room
It can be disconcerting when you realise how many people you’ve already let into your room, and how on earth you will handle the filtration process – especially if you have to deal with family or friends.
To assist with the exercise, you are advised to use the following strategies:
Make use of your room’s storage space
As much as you’d like to throw some people out on their ear, you know they can never leave. But you can ‘box’ them up, along with the memories, and put them on a high storage shelf in the dark recesses of your brain. Reflect and learn from the past, then commit to not thinking about these people again.
By transferring them to an inaccessible storage compartment, they no longer have control over aspects of your life. It’s immediately empowering and frees up your mental space for better things.
Your ‘Doorman’ has new instructions never to grant repeat entry to these types.
Use the Benign Neglect Approach
Where you focus your attention has a direct impact on your life experiences. If you only focus on problems – you get more problems. If you focus on the solutions – more positive things come your way.
By making a habit of focusing your thoughts and actions on people and experiences that align with your values, the less desirable and unimportant elements automatically fade into the background.
And the top-level encounters move to the front.
The cure for dealing with difficult loved ones
You don’t want to eliminate the people you love entirely, but sometimes you need to keep them at a distance when they don’t align with your values or are difficult to be around.
The trick is to make small changes that have significant effects.
You can still maintain contact with these people, but put a limit on how often or how long you communicate with them or only catch up when there’s a larger gathering – where you can take them in minor doses.
When you assess your values and deal-breakers, you gain better insight into the behaviours and actions you will no longer tolerate.
Using a strategy called behavioural disruption, you speak your mind and communicate in a clear and honest fashion, meeting a deal-breaker head on. You give the person a chance to honour and adhere to your boundaries, but should that mark be overstepped, you will immediately remove yourself.
To assist the Doorman, you need to determine whether the people in your life are:
Engines or Anchors
There are two types of people who will try to enter your room:
The Engines – As the name suggests, these are the people who will power you up and drive you forward. They are the ones who support you and help you to be the best version of yourself. Along with loved ones, mentors are a prime example.
The Anchors – It makes sense that these are the people who weigh you down with negativity, and who spread their dark cloud in the form of constant complaining and arguing. They leave you feeling heavy and depleted.
Your Doorman is looking for Engines – Those who are going to drive you forward and lift you high. Its job is then to evict anyone who is going to hold you back and bring you down.
Learning to say no to the anchors
Having to tell someone ‘no’ is a situation most of us would rather avoid, but a deciding factor in whether you are living an authentic life. You want to be true to your values, but you don’t want to step on any toes or get people off-side.
However, there are seven ways you and your Doorman can say no without sounding rude or feeling guilty.
1. If I say yes, I’m afraid I’ll let you down
This approach lets the person know up front that you care about your failure to support them.
2. Know the difference between opportunity and distraction
When you know your ultimate goal, you will not allow yourself to be side-tracked by anything that does not align with this goal. It’s easier to say no when combined with the following technique –
3. Refer them to someone more qualified
It’s not as difficult to turn someone down when you’ve got an exit strategy. The best way to solve the situation amicably is to offer a better option.
4. I don’t do that
Be honest and tell the person exactly why their request does not align with your values and goals.
5. Don’t Seinfeld it
Again, this comes down to complete honesty. Tell the truth from the start, or your white lies may get you into even more trouble.
6. Propose something else
This method is similar to the above referral approach. When you can offer an alternative, you can say ‘no’ without hindering the relationship.
7. When you say it, mean it!
Sometimes people don’t take no for an answer. They will keep pestering you until you’re likely to give in. But stick to your guns. Repeat the answer until they get it.
These polite refusals allow you to honour your value system without burning any bridges. You can leave the door closed but not locked in case there are future opportunities that do align with your principles.
There may be requests that completely compromise your values – but a straight out ‘no’ is not being discourteous, you are merely guarding entry to your room.
Sometimes the opportunity cost of saying yes is too great.
Living in the room you design
You’ve done all the preliminary hard work, and it’s time to enjoy your new space. But how should your room now look?
Many people think that living well means having balance. But dedicating equal portions of time and energy to everything is almost impossible to achieve.
It is harmony you should be seeking. This means designing a room that’s full of people and experiences that align with your values and vision. It’s vital to keep monitoring and reassessing these aspects on a regular basis.
The way you design your room will determine how well you live your life and the control you have when things don’t go according to plan.
Frequent self-reflection and evaluation are the keys to a well-planned room, and any new insight should instantly be put into action.
When you intentionally design your room, you transform your life.