76 Scott Martineau 77
78 Les Hewitt 79
With more than 30 years experience, Les understands the real world of business and the strug-
gle to stay focused. He is founder of The Power of Focus Coaching Program, a unique focusing
system for business people who want greater profits, less stress and more time off!
Let’s start with some facts:
97 out of 100 Americans and Canadians,
and probably other people around the
world -- adults -- do not have a better fu
Entrepreneurs, particularly small business
entrepreneurs, rarely get the 50 per
cent focus on their top priorities every
Most small-business entrepreneurs don't
even know who their core clients are, nev
er mind service them and nourish them
and expand those relationships.
One of the greatest reasons for failure in
the world of small business is that entre
preneurs, particularly, have bad habits.
Staggering statistics. Hands up -- how many of you have bad habits? My hand is up as well.
So what is this thing called the power of focus? Let me give it to you very quickly. The power
of focus is the ability, first of all, to set exciting new goals for the future. That means this year
and beyond. It means the ability to hone in on those targets, whatever they happen to be; to
avoid all the distractions and interruptions that are going to come your way -- because they
will, until you finally hit the target, whatever that happens to be. That's the power of focus.
Let me guarantee you one thing, based on 30 years of experience with many, many clients
around world. If you will learn how to implement the power of focus consistently, I guarantee
you your confidence will go up; your stress levels will go down; and your income will dramati-
cally go up. You'll have a lot more fun in your life; and you will have a lot more freedom.
Every business needs, in my opinion, two things. They need fundamental values, strong values
they commit to in order to run their business ethically, honestly -- those types of values. The
second thing they need is fundamental focus. I call this the four fundamentals.
80 Les Hewitt 81
What are the four fundamentals? These are
what we've discovered over the years that really
make the difference between a business being
a start-up and struggling along to what actually
makes them into a superstar business. It doesn't
matter whether it's an Internet business or any
other type of industry; it applies equally.
The other advantage you're going to get from
these four fundamentals is that you can use
them in your personal life as well as your busi-
ness life. I hope you realize that you've also
got a personal and family life as well as want-
ing to be a superstar entrepreneur!
So the four fundamentals: Focus on your most
important goals, focus on your most impor-
tant priorities, focus on your most important
relationships, and finally, focus on creating
I like to keep business in life as simple as pos-
sible, and as we've heard before, the world is
getting so complicated, so complex. One of the
decisions I made awhile ago was not to carry a
cell phone. I don't own a cell phone and I do that
by choice. I've learned that I make plenty of
phone calls through the week; plenty of time to get my business done. I don't need to be bom-
barded with other people trying to rob me of my time. Let me put a caveat to that. I also know that
probably everybody in this room requires a cell phone, or you think you do, and it depends on the
nature of your business, obviously. But sometime those cell phones just really get in the way. They
absolutely take control.
So let’s talk a little bit about some of the chal-
lenges. Let me tell you quickly how this oc-
curred. We like to do surveys and keep up-to-
date with what’s happening out there in the
real world, not just theoretically. We asked
5,000 small business owners over the last few
years, “What is the single biggest challenge
you have at the moment, the single biggest
challenge?” We're not into complicated surveys
-- just one question. And the answers that
you're looking at -- time, money, balance,
change, people -- finding good ones, confi-
dence in times of turbulence, and really hav-
ing a clear direction or purpose -- those were
the most common answers that we got.
So what I'd like you to do is take a pen or pencil, take a look at those seven challenges, and put
a checkmark by the three areas you think relate to you the most at this particular time.
82 Les Hewitt 83
Time pressure? Who checked off time pressure?
What else showed up for you? Financial pressure?
What else showed up? Balance?
Keeping up with change?
The top three answers we got from 5,000 people:
95 percent had one or more of the top three. Time pressure is huge, by far No. 1. We
are in the interruption age, and so many people out there, particularly entrepreneurs, have
ADD -- Attention Deficit Disorder. I read a survey recently that 59 percent of successful
entrepreneurs have some form of ADD -- that's medically.
When you're connecting with new prospects and new clients, if you understand that 95 percent
of the people you bump into in the course of putting your business together are going to have
time pressure, financial challenges, and balancing work and family and personal time. So keep
that in mind. There's the top three, time pressure, balance and financial pressure.
If you've been down in Acapulco at all, you'll
know what this slide is all about: the Acapulco
cliff divers. Probably the biggest obstacle that
holds people back in growing their business and
becoming more successful -- whatever way you
determine success -- is fear. Fear holds people
back; it keeps you stuck.
When I drifted out of school, I didn't have a
clue what I wanted to do with my life. My dad
worked in a big hospital in Belfast, Belfast City
Hospital -- in the administration department. He
said, “There's a job in the lab coming up; maybe
you'd like to apply for it.” At one time, I thought I
would like to be a sports journalist but I didn't get a whole lot of encouragement about that, so
I drifted into the medical field. I specialized in hematology for 14 years. I looked down micro-
scopes and figured out who had anemia, leukemia and blood disorders and came to Calgary to
run the Calgary General Hospital Hematology Department and did that for six years.
Then I discovered I was in the wrong career. Slow learner -- 14 years to figure that out! Anyone
else have one of those big transitions in their lives? I remember the day I walked in with to my
boss with my resignation letter, because I decided this career was definitely not for me. I’m
not a technical person, and here I am working in a lab for 14 years. It took me about two years
to get the courage to walk in with my resignation letter. I handed it to him. He ripped it open
and read it, and then he said, “Les, this is the single worst decision you will ever make in your
life. Have a nice day.”
84 Les Hewitt 85
I’ll tell you, fear is something that blocks us. The Acapulco cliff divers are the guys, as you can
see, up about 100 to 150 feet, who stand on the top of the cliff and just dive into the water.
A friend of mine in Toronto, Dan Sullivan, was telling me about one of his clients whose broth-
er was on TV and they were filming this event. His brother comes up to dive and his brother in
Toronto was watching this on TV. When he came back from his vacation, he went to his brother
and said, “You were on TV. I had no idea you did stuff like this. You jumped off that cliff, 100-
150 feet down there. Tell me, what is it like when you’re standing on top of that cliff looking
down ready to go?”
He said, “Well it’s pretty scary, but there’s a trick to it.” His brother asked, “Well, what’s the
trick?” He said, “Well, what you’ve got to do is, the water’s coming in and out, so you look down
and when you see rocks, that’s when you dive. And on the way down you have all the faith in
the world by the time you get down there, there will be water!”
If you dive when you see water, guess what you get what you get when you get down there...
rocks! True story.
Some of you are sitting on the edge, wondering, “Do I make the next jump? Do I take the next
leap? Do I invest even more into my business because it’s not where I want it to be? You will
never get it perfect. At some point, you’ve got to take a leap of faith and go for it! It will never
be perfect -- never perfect timing, never perfect market, never perfect technology. So, if you’re
sitting on the edge, you’ve got to jump.
Step into your fear is one of the strongest mes-
sages I ever received from one of my mentors.
Step into your fear, because 99 percent of the
time, the fear you have is in your head. You’re
making it up, you’re imagining it. It’s all mental.
The first one of the four fundamentals: Focus on
your most important goals.
Let me give you a key word. The key word for
goals is clarity. I know a lot of you are goal set-
ters, so I want to take this to a different level, a
different approach. I want to give you some real solid, practical things that have worked for
years and years with our clients and that have worked for me personally. This isn’t theoreti-
cal; it’s been tested and proven for many, many, many years in our coaching programs and it
works. So, focus on your most important goals.
What is the definition of a goal? Very simply, it
means knowing what you want and why you want
it. You don’t need a big complicated definition;
just knowing what you want and why you want it.
But your goals have got to be crystal clear; not
fuzzy, not vague.
Probably all of you have seen this stat before;
it’s been well researched. Only three percent of
people have actually taken the time to write down
their goals and design a future. We call that the
Three Percent Club. Imagine! All you’ve got to do
is take some real time and design a future you
really want for your reasons -- nobody else’s -- you and your family, and you’re way ahead of
the game already.
Now, I know there’s a lot of stuff being talked about like The Secret and it’s a big phenomenon.
But one thing that’s being missed with all the hoopla, particularly with the media, is after you
start visualizing and doing all the things that you want to see as the end result of your goals,
you still have to do some things. That’s being missed by a lot of people.
There’s an even bigger deal: Three percent of people with actual written goals earn 10 times
more than anybody else. If that doesn’t motivate you, I don’t know what will.
We call these the essential goals. How do I get balance?
How do I avoid being a workaholic? You know, 18 hours
We have a two-year coaching program for entrepreneurs
and I had a client come in. We do a big reality check on the
very first day, the first morning. One of the questions is
“How many hours do you work in a typical week?” He said
90 -- and he looked it. Ninety hours a week? Divorced, six-
year-old son, running three businesses, going crazy, no
86 Les Hewitt 87
personal life whatsoever, health debatable. In six months, we had him back down to 45 hours.
He sold off two of his companies, and he was voted the best father in his son’s school that year
because he sat in the classroom every other week for a couple of hours. The interesting thing
was he made more money that year than any other year he had in his business.
Let’s look at these essential goals. There are seven areas. You’ve got your work goals, your
business goals, you’ve got financial, fun time, health and fitness, relationships, your personal
goals, and the last one is contribution.
Look at the “Name the Essential Goals” grid. You’ll see a series of little boxes down the left-
hand side for yes and no. I’m going to pose a question about each of these seven areas. The
time frame you’re looking at is 12 months, a one-year window. Be brutally honest with your
answers. You’re not doing this for me or anybody else.
The first one would be work, your business. Here’s the question. In the next 12 months,
where’s your business going to be? What specific targets have you set for revenue in your
business; new products in your business; clients in your business? Do you have that figured
out crystal clearly, in black and white, in writing? The answer is yes or no. You don’t need a
seminar on that. It’s just a yes or no. It’s that simple. Check the yes or no box.
The second one is financial. Here I’m thinking more about your personal financial. We could
talk all day about business financial and leverage and all that sort of stuff. I just want to know
what your net worth is going to be a year from today. What do you want it to be? What’s it go-
ing to look like? It’s a number. Have you got that figured out? If you have a debt situation -- I’m
talking personal debt -- a year from today, where would you like that debt to be? If you’ve got a
big mortgage you want to pay down or a big line of credit you want to pay off, what is it? What
do you want to do with the debt if you have personal debt?
By the way, I see personal debt as one of the biggest stressors. Second reason that marriages
are falling apart is money problems. No. 1 reason these days is a very interesting stat. The No.
1 reason marriages are falling apart is the empty-nest syndrome. Kids grow up, leave the nest.
Sometimes the husband is out there building a business, sometimes it’s the woman that’s
building the business. Kids disappear, and suddenly we don’t have a whole lot to talk about
or communicate. We don’t have any interests anymore. People who are married 25years, 30
years, and 40 years are splitting. It’s not the seven-year itch, it’s the 27-year itch.
Money: What about investments in the next
year? What are you going to do with some of
the money? Where are you going to invest it?
Of course, reinvest it back into the business --
anything else you want to invest in? It could be
real estate, could be something else. Have you
got the plan? Have you got it figured out? What
income would you like to see happen just in
the next 12 months? So what’s your answer to
that question? Have you got it figured out in
writing, crystal clear? The answer is a yes or
no. Check your answer. It’s that nest egg.
88 Les Hewitt 89
Here’s an interesting stat. Eighty-six percent of
employees -- that’s people working in regular
jobs -- actually work late, and 80 percent take
work home with them. That’s the world we live
in today. Working harder, working longer hours,
and many people saying, “I’m not any further
ahead. What’s happening? I thought we were all
supposed to be on the golf course three days a
week because computers are doing all the
work.” It doesn’t seem to be happening.
Somebody looks a little excited about life! This
area of goals is called fun time. There’s a lot of
confusion about fun time in our world today.
Fun time simply means how many weeks are
you going to have totally off in the next year
when it comes to your business? Off -- vacation,
family time, personal time, completely away
from business. How many weeks are you going
to have off? Have you got that figured out?
My wife, Fran, and I usually sit down beginning
in January and take a big year calendar out and figure out the best time we can get vacations.
One of the things we do in our office -- we don’t have a big team by choice, we outsource a
lot of things -- but with the team we have, we use the European model. We close our office for
three weeks in the summer. Everybody’s off at the same time. We close our office for 10 days
over Christmas and New Years. We give our staff six weeks minimum vacation every year -- paid
vacation. That’s a starting point. As entrepreneurs, you have the flexibility to be able to do this,
compared to people who are working in big corporations. My suggestion and my experience is,
if you’re not getting six weeks off, minimum, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
Some people are very confused about what a day off is, never mind a week off. When someone
who works in business, an entrepreneur, says to you, “I’m taking a day off,” how many hours
do you think that is? Five? Seven? Ten? We’ve done the research, and six to eight hours is typi-
cal when somebody in business says they’re taking a day off. Of course, they’ve got their cell
phone going all day, and checking the e-mails.
You know there’s a new phenomenon in the world now. There’s millions and millions of people
with B.O. It’s a new type of B.O. -- Blackberry Overload. I know some people who take their
Blackberries and put it on their pillow as they go to sleep. Now there is an addiction to certain
technology, and I’m not knocking technology. Technology is wonderful. But there now are
people who are addicted to their Blackberries -- now known as Crackberries -- and the cell
phone, and the e-mail-itis, and on and on.
Let me give you a suggestion. When you say you are taking a day off, take 24 hours off. That’s
what we teach in our system. A day off means 24 hours nothing with nothing whatsoever to do
with work. Make one phone call on our system, and you have just sabotaged the whole day. The
importance of this, especially when you take a week off with your family -- you finally get them
to the beach in Florida or Hawaii or Europe – is that you’re really there to rejuvenate, refresh
yourself, and re-energize. You will not be able to do that when you’re checking in every day.
What we find is that people who are in the habit of taking regular breaks make far more money
than the people who work like zombies seven days a week. Don’t you deserve fun time? Do you
know that one of the biggest hang-ups entrepreneurs have is guilt? They promise their little son,
seven years old, “We’re going to the ball game on the weekend, and on the weekend, they’re sit-
ting in their office, doing paperwork. And they say, “Next time.” Next time never happens.
Health and fitness -- somebody looks like he
could use a little bit of exercise. You know
what that’s all about, though? It’s getting
maximum energy rejuvenation. You only have
so much energy every day, and we burn it up
pretty fast, particularly in our business. And
I’m seeing a number of people these days who
have total burnout. I’ve heard of more people
in the last years, particularly men, keeling over
in their mid-40s with massive heart attacks,
leaving their families behind. It’s stress. You
don’t have to be a marathon runner to have
some health and fitness goals. Something as
simple as a good brisk walk, 45 minutes a day,
four times a week -- you would be amazed
what that does for you.
Les: Let me ask. Does anybody here have an exercise goal that they’re con-
templating? Who’s got an exercise goal? OK, the gentlemen just in the back with
the white beard there in the white shirt, would you mind popping up here for a
moment? I won’t embarrass you, I promise. What’s your name? William or Bill?
Les: Will. Will. OK, and you’re from --?
Will: Sioux City, Iowa
Les: Sioux City, Iowa. So you’re telling me you’re going to have an exercise
goal. Tell me what the exercise goal is all about. What is it? Define it.
90 Les Hewitt 91
Will: I have three bulging discs pinching a sciatic nerve. I’ve been putting up
with if for two years. I’m about to get an inverter table and I’m going to buy a
Trikke -- it’s an exercise thing, t – r – i – k – k – e, the best thing going.
Les: So tell me, in a typical week what is that going to look like? What will you
Will: I’m going to get rid of this (pointing to his stomach). I’ll be using this Trikke
and losing this.
Les: So, be more specific, Will.
Will: More specific. Well, I’m going to get a couple of them so that my son and
I can really get into shape and move up and down the Missouri River while I’m
thinking about business and having fun with him and trying to teach it to him.
Les: Bring it back to the exercise portion. On a typical week, be more specific.
Will: I’d like to do it at least three times a day on the inverter table and one
time a day, get out on the river with the bike.
Les: Great. Be more specific. Three times a day, once on the bike. What time
of the day?
Will: I’ll change times.
Les: OK what would be typical?
Will: In the morning.
Les: What time?
Will: Probably around7 or 8 o’clock.
Les: For how long?
Will: I’d like to do it for a long time, but..
Les: What’s reasonable?
Will: An hour and a half.
Les: OK, so 7 to 8:30 would be a reasonable time?
Will: Yes, that would be a good time.
Les: OK. And then maybe in the evening.
Will: Yeah, I’d like to get the wife out there and ...
Les: OK, what days of the week would suit best if it’s three times a week?
Will: I intend to do it at least a little bit every day.
Les: So it’s not three times a week. It’s three times a day every day?
Will: Three times a day with the inverter table. I’d shrink 1 ½ inches be-
cause of my bones and discs.
Les: OK, so three time a day for that.
Will: For that, and at least once a day on the bike.
Les: OK, how long are you going to be on the bike?
Will: About an hour.
Les: About an hour on the bike. OK. Do we have a little more information
now versus the first statement of, “I’d like to get this off?” So just in a couple of
minutes we know that Will’s got a disc situation, wants to loose some weight.
How much weight would you like to lose?
Will: About 30 pounds.
Les: OK. So we know it’s every day, three times a day. One of those times is
on the bike for about an hour or so from 7 to about 8:30 in the morning and
another time at night. And if I went further in to this -- what are you going to do
on the bike, where are you going to go, what’s the circuit -- we could really get
this crystal clear.
What doesn’t work are fuzzy goals. Generalizations don’t work. When I ask
people about goals, they say, “I want to be happier.” What does that mean?
Or get this one, “I want to be financially independent” -- whatever that means.
If I asked 200 people what their target for financial independence is, we would
get 200 different answers. For some people financial independence is $50,000
a year. For some people, its $10 million a year.
Give Will a big round of applause. Thank you, Will.
You see, just in a couple of minutes we can go from uncertainty to really, really clear. That’s
why your goals need to be crystal clear. Let me give you a strategy how to do this.
92 Les Hewitt 93
Take a whole day off. Find somewhere quiet, inspirational. Go to the mountains, sit by a lake,
go to your favorite place. Leave everything that could interrupt you behind. The only thing you
take is a notepad, or if you prefer, a laptop, as long as you’re not checking e-mails. A big note-
pad and a couple of pens is a good way to go and spend a day designing your future. Hardly
anybody does this. Do you want to get a competitive edge? Do you want to have a much better
balance in your life, a lot more fun? It’s as simple as that. One of the best pieces of advice I ever
had was to take a complete day off. Some of you may need two days off to figure this out. Why
do most people not do this? Because it takes real effort to sit down and figure out your future.
So answer that question about health and fitness. Do you have a health and fitness program?
Again, you don’t need to be a marathon runner; it could be something really simple, three
times a week. Yes or no is the answer.
I like this slide.
It says a lot. Who
are your most
to be in the next
year, the next 12 months? Could you name the
top five people who will have the greatest influ-
ence on you, or the people with whom you need
to spend more time? That could be in your fam-
ily, for some of you. But who are those most im-
portant clients and relationships going to be?
Have you got that figured out? Could you put the
top five down right away? That means names.
Answer yes or no.
One of my favorites is personal goals. My wife,
Fran, does some great three-day workshops
just for women. She co-authored The Power of
Focus for Women book. It has been hugely suc-
cessful. One of the things she comments on
after the three-day workshops is the fact that
a lot of women come up to her and say, “You
know, I feel exhausted. I’m overwhelmed. I al-
ways feel I’m right at the end of the line when
it comes to time for me.”
See, a lot of you are giving, giving, giving, giv-
ing, giving, giving in your business, giving in
your family, giving in your community, some-
times in the church, charitable, giving, giving, giving and there’s never any time just for you. I
strongly encourage you, in the next 12 months, to set some just-for-you goals, special things.
Take a golf trip just for you -- nobody else. It could be something as simple as taking a day off
to read a great book. I love doing that. I find a great book; I take a whole day off just to read
the book. You can’t read a book and get stimulated reading two pages here and there; it just
doesn’t have the same impact. Get away for a retreat on the beach, whatever it is for you.
I’m a big soccer fan. Well, since I was about nine, I supported Manchester United Big Club in
England, one of the biggest in the world. I hadn’t seen them play at their ground in Manches-
ter, Old Trafford. I had seen them play in other games, but I’d never been there. So last fall, I
decided I’m going to see if I can get a ticket for one of the big games. I got the ticket and then
I thought, how could I plus this? I’m going to one big game, 76,000 screaming fanatics in the
stadium -- fantastic!
Then I thought, “They’re also playing another game up in Glasgow in Scotland against Celtic.”
Four days later, I got a ticket for that, and then I find two more games. I attended four fantas-
tic premiere soccer matches inside six days. It was a soccer feast and it was just for me. No-
body went but me. I met some really interesting people over there -- had a great time touring
around, and that was just for me. Checkmark; got that one out of the way. It’s great, when you
have a goal, to plus it. How can you make it even better than you thought?
So ask yourself the question. In the next 12 months, do you have some just-for-you goals? And
get over the guilt with this one. You deserve just-for-you goals.
The last one is contribution. That could be, as you
see, coaching a little soccer team or Little League
team. It could be helping a high-school kid who is
struggling for a couple of hours. Just giving your
time is contribution. It can be financial, it can be
charitable. There are lots of ways to contribute.
So check the boxes off. Have you got some just-for
you goals yet? Yes or no. And do you have some very
specific contribution you are going to make in the
next 12 months? Yes or no?
You all know this guy, Lance Armstrong, and you
probably know his story. Professional cyclist. Got
cancer. Spread to his liver. Spread to his brain.
They said, “You’re going to die, you’ll never ride
a bike again. You’ll certainly never compete
again,” and he proved them all wrong. He came
back and won the most grueling race in cycling,
the Tour de France, and he won it seven times in
a row. It’s never been done before, seven times
Could you name the
top five people who
will have the greatest
influence on you
94 Les Hewitt 95
in a row. Unbelievable! An interviewer asked, “Lance, I know you’re a cancer survivor and I
know you’re obviously big in competing and wanting to be the best. However, if you only had
one choice to make between acknowledging yourself as a cancer survivor or a top professional
athlete cyclist who won the Tour de France seven times, which one would you pick?”
Without hesitation he said, “Cancer survivor. That’s more important to me than anything else.
My mission in life is to show other people it can be beaten.” He has been known, in the middle
of a cycling event, to fly out somewhere thousands of miles away just to speak for an hour at
an event where they’re doing a fundraiser for cancer research and then fly back to carry on
with the event.
Somebody asked, “What is desire and drive? Is there a difference?”
The question is, what’s your big reason? You must have a big rea-
son to get yourself out of bed in the morning, especially those days
when you don’t feel like it, especially those days when nothing
works. The latest big idea you had on the Internet flopped. That’s
life, that’s business, that’s what happens. If you have a big enough reason, you’ll pick yourself
up and go at it again until you figure it out. If you don’t have a big reason, you’ll give up.
Lance Armstrong didn’t quit. What’s your big reason? Have you got one? Have you got it fig-
ured out? Is it crystal clear? That’s important, really important.
We’re talking about clarity, unusual clarity. I got a survey a little while ago. They were doing
a survey with kids. Kids have this all figured out, by the way. Adults screw this up, this stuff
Let me read you some of the survey results. Here was the question: “How do you decide who
to marry?” The question was going to 10-year-olds and younger. Big question. Allen, age 10,
says, “You’ve got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. If you like sports, she should like
it that you like sports and she should keep the chips and dip coming.” Isn’t that brilliant? Ten
years old and he has it all figured out.
Kirsten, a little girl, age 10: “No person really decides before they grow up who they’re going
to marry. God decides it all in advance and you get to find out later who you’re stuck with.”
Kids have it figured out.
Here’s a big question: “When is it OK to kiss someone?” Little Pam, age seven: “When they’re
rich.” Little budding entrepreneur!
Here’s my favorite: “How would you make a marriage work?” What a question for a 10-year-old.
Ricky got that question. He pondered for a couple of minutes, then said, “Tell your wife that
she looks pretty, even if she looks like a truck.”
Kids have it figured out. Clarity, crystal clear.
Winners focus and follow through. So I want
you to stand up for a moment, quickly stand
up. When I say, “Focus and” I want to hear
“follow through” because this is a key com-
ponent of your future success. OK? Winners
Second fundamental: Focus on your priorities. It
would seem obvious to focus on your priorities in
business, but it doesn’t happen that often. So I’m
going to put you to work right away. The key word
here is focus. The key word for the first fundamen-
tal goals was clarity. Focus on your priorities; the key word is focus.
“What is desire and
drive? Is there a
96 Les Hewitt 97
Here’s a five-minute activity. You’ll see two columns. I want you to make a list of every single
activity that consumes your time in your business in a typical week -- every single activity.
What that means is, if you spend 10 minutes shuffling mail, the regular mail that comes in the
door, that’s an activity. Don’t put down generalities. A lot of you are in meetings. What types
of meetings? Detail it. A lot of you, obviously, are on the phone. What types of phone calls?
Every single activity that consumes your time in an average week in your business, make a list.
Just take five minutes.
By the way, the biggest number I ever had in this activity (we usually spend a little more time
on it), was a CEO in California. He had 69 activities he was attempting to focus on every week.
You can imagine what that was like...impossible!
98 Les Hewitt 99
Now, I want you to define the three top priorities you have in your business at the moment.
These are the three things that, when you focus on these three things, you get the greatest
productivity and results week after week.
Let me give you a quick example. My personal example at the moment, my big three, are
speaking and coaching. I do a lot of this. I’m also coaching my clients in a two-year coaching
program. The second big area -- I call the speaking and coaching one area -- the second area
is creating new products, writing books, recording audio programs, that type of thing. And
the third one, currently, is creating strategic alliances. I am able to work with people who have
huge networks who are interested in the Power of Focus products and programs. I need to
spend 80 percent of my time every week in those three things. What are your big three?
I interview a lot of successful people and one of the
questions I always ask is, “What are your top three
things?” What amazes me is how fast they answer
that question. One, two three -- right at the tip of
their tongue. That’s where you need to be if you want
to go to another level called focus.
Here’s one of the biggest questions. Really pay atten-
tion to this and answer it absolutely honestly, 100 percent. What percentage of your week do you
honestly spend on your three top priorities? My experience is, whatever number pops into your
head is probably a lot more accurate than you think, so go with it. Write that percentage.
This is a huge wake-up call for many people. It staggered me when I first did it. I was all over
the map, juggling about nine balls in the air all the time. Anybody been there, done those
things? There’s another opportunity, let’s check that out. Oh, here’s another one over here,
let’s check that out. It’s so easy to get interrupted, distracted.
How many of you had greater than 50 percent focus? If it’s any comfort to you, I’ve been doing
this for a lot of years and it’s about 10 percent right across the board. It doesn’t matter what
level people are at, what industry they happen to be in. It’s the same, and it’s getting worse
because of all the bombardment of technology and online and everything else.
There’s a little exercise I suggest you do later. How many hours do you think you could free
up a year if you could get your level of focus to 80 percent? Saying 100 percent is ridiculous; it
will never happen. When I first did that calculation, it turned out I would have available 1,174
hours a year to focus more on my top three priorities – 1,174! Staggering!
What if you just increased whatever your percentage is by 10 percent over the next couple
of months -- just 10 percent? Then, push for another 10 percent. By the end of the year, you
wouldn’t believe how focused you could be.
Do you ever feel like this guy? Bombarded, over-
whelmed, stuff coming at you 100 miles an hour.
It never stops. E-mail-itis. We know what it’s like.
Here’s another big breakthrough moment for me.
Many years ago I had a mentor named George
Adair. I want to focus on this fundamental a little
more than the other ones, so I’m going to give
you a couple of strategies here. Here’s a ques-
tion George asked me: “Les, are you a starter or
Nobody asked me that question before. I
thought about it and I said, “I think I’m both.
I think I start things; I’m pretty creative, and
I think, I can get things done.” He said, “No
you’re not. You’re a starter. I’ve been watch-
ing you.” Just like the Kolbe system Quick-Start
-- I’m off the chart Quick-Start.
Big question: Are you a starter or a finisher?
Do you want to get some guilt out of your life?
Accept that you’re either mainly a starter or a
finisher. I used to feel so guilty about handing
details over to somebody else. You know the
CEO who had 69 things on his list? He was a total controller. He wouldn’t let anything go. No
wonder he was going nuts. You’ve got to let stuff go. How do we do that?
My son Andrew was about 10 years old when he came in on a Friday night and said, “Dad, can
I go to my friend Josh’s house? We’re having a sleepover.” I said, “Sure go ahead, have fun.” So
he did, and the next morning, Saturday morning, he came roaring back into the house.
“Dad! Dad! Dad! Dad, guess what Josh has in his
house?” I said, “What?” He said, “A hamster!” I
thought, yeah, right. He said, “But Dad, you don’t
understand! It’s a cute little ball of fur and it’s
white and I want one.” Guess when he wanted it?
That day, I said, “Andrew, here’s the story. First of
all, I’m going to be out all afternoon and your mom
told me she’s going nowhere because she had a
really busy week. She’s just going to rest all day.
I think the best thing we should do is talk about
this situation tomorrow evening, Sunday dinner at
family council.” We had a little family council every
What amazes me is how fast
they answer that question. One,
two three -- right at the tip of
their tongue. That’s where you
need to be if you want to go to
another level called focus.
100 Les Hewitt 101
week. Do you know what he said? “Dad, the pet store closes at five.” Do you have kids like that,
who don’t hear a word you say?
Saturday morning, the phone’s ringing off the hook. Andrew, got a hockey game, get your
gear, come on over and let’s play. Andrew, got a new video game, come on over, it’s gonna be
fun. Know what he said? “Can’t play today, I’m getting a hamster.”
Focused. Kids are laser beams. Even more, they’re persistent. And if there’s one word to attach
to focus, it’s persistence. Kids don’t quit. Lunchtime comes around. I’m sitting there at lunch,
and he sitting there, not saying a word. The wheels are going around in his head. Suddenly he
looks up and says, “Dad, how much would it be for me to pay for a taxi so I can get down to
that pet store before it closes?” I said, “I’m out of here.”
At 5:30, I come home. Guess what we have in our house? A hamster! I say to my wife, Fran, “I
thought we talked about this.” She said, “You weren’t here -- getting news bulletins on ham-
sters every 10 minutes. Andrew’s doing the research, phoning pet stores all over the place.
The fourth store he calls, the guy says, ‘Oh, hamsters. We’ve got hamsters -- white ones. We
have them here today, son -- and by the way, if you buy the cage, the hamster’s free.’ What do
you think that did to his motivation? Whooooo!”
By 3:30 in the afternoon, my wife breaks down and says, “OK, OK, OK! We’ll go take a look.”
Game over -- the sentence he’s been waiting for all day. When he heard that sentence, the smile
on his face was so big he could have swallowed a banana sideways!
Kids don’t quit; they’re persistent! My daughter Jennifer, three years older, comes home later that
Saturday night, sees the hamster flying around the wheel in the cage. She says, “What’s that?”
“It’s a hamster.”
“Whose is it?”
“I want one.”
Three days later, we had two hamsters.
Three months later, we had 22 hamsters – nobody told us to check! Kids don’t quit! They persist!
Imagine in the corporate world, big management meeting, Monday morning. Somebody brings
up a new resolution, a new thought: “ I think we should get a hamster for the office.” Some
bright spark in the management team would say, “Well, John, I think we will need about 15
committee meetings before we could handle that big decision.” Is that why some of you got
out of the corporate world? Me, too.
Kids don’t quit! You’re going to get bumps in the road. You’re going to get challenges. Things
don’t work out all the time. You just keep going and you figure it out. The more experience
you get, suddenly you have wisdom after all those years. And boy, they’re paying big money
On one of the last books we wrote in the series, Andrew was the key author, and it’s The Power
of Focus for College Students. We do some work with Trump University, Donald Trump’s big
game. Before the book came out -- it was not even half-finished -- we were talking about who
could write the foreword. Andrew came to me and said, “Any ideas on who would write the
foreword?” I said, “Well, maybe you can go to the dean of your university. You know, he’s the
big guy in business and so on.” He said, “Get real. We want somebody big.”
A day later he came back and he said, “We got
it! Donald Trump, he’s going to write the fore-
word.” Now, put this in perspective. You know,
here’s Andrew sitting up in Calgary, Alberta. I
don’t know Donald from anybody and he cer-
tainly doesn’t know Donald. And Luke, his co-
author, he doesn’t know Donald. And yet,
they’re getting Donald to write the foreword.
So they make a screen saver. They do a mock
up of the cover well before the book was ever
published. Mock up of the cover, and right
across the top it said, “Foreword by Donald
Trump.” Every time he opens his laptop, boom!
It hits you right between the eyes. Front and
center, your goals have got to be front and
center. To make a long story short, it only took three relationships to get him to Donald. He
met Donald in New York and he wrote the foreword.
There’s another big part to this. You have to believe whatever it is that you want to see happen.
These boys believed it .With a passion they believed they were going to get Donald Trump to
write the foreword. Didn’t have a clue how they were going to get there -- and suddenly the
doors opened and the introductions happened as if by magic. Maybe it’s some of that secret
stuff, right? But they did a lot of work to make it happen. Yet they absolutely believed this was
going to happen, and of course, it happened.
No. 3: Focus on your most important relation-
ships. The key word is leverage. No. 3 is focus
on relationships. Let me just check if you’ve got
it yet. What’s the big key word? Winners focus
and…. Did you say, “Follow through!”
102 Les Hewitt 103
A couple of things on relationships: Practice
win-win. A lot of people talk about win-win,
but they don’t live win-win. This is a different
mindset. You know, Rich has talked a lot about
giving value and constantly adding value. Win-
win is a mindset. It’s a philosophy of how you
live your life. Win-win simply means both peo-
ple win in a deal. The other person must walk
away happy in the deal. And obviously, you’re
happy in the deal. Ever been in a deal where
you felt like you’ve been arm wrestled to the
ground and nickel-and-dimed to death? How
do you feel after a deal like that? Not very
good, right? Win-lose, not win-win. And then
some people play lose-win. My wife tells me a
lot of women play lose-win. They get trampled on. They have low self-esteem; they feel like
victims. They’re always in lose-win. Not a happy place to be.
So what do you do for win-win? Do you consciously think about your prospects, about your
clients, how you can nourish, enrich, expand those relationships? The wow factor? What’s your
next big creative idea to wow people? And again the question is; who will give you the greatest
leverage in the next 12 months?
Who are the top five business relationships who
will take your business to a completely different
level, where it’s never been before? Can you
write the five people down? If the answer is no,
go spend some time on that.
There are only two types of clients, really. There
are what we call core clients and peripheral cli-
ents. Core clients are the people that love doing
business with you. They’re like sponges. They
keep responding to everything you put out on
the Internet. They keep buying things. They
keep coming back
for more. They
keep telling other people to go to your site. And yet we don’t
track them very well. We don’t hang on to them very well.
And then there are those peripheral clients. The definition of a peripheral client: Somebody
who takes an incredible amount of your time and energy. They nit-pick through every little de-
tail imaginable. They call you on the phone and they end up giving you a little skinny piece of
business or no business at all. Some of them even have the audacity to cancel the order three
Jim Rohn, my old mentor, said, “Les, I think there’s only about five negative people in the entire
world, but boy, they sure do get around a lot.”
Let me give you one little strategy. I know you are all into technology, but I think one of the
backlashes with technology -- and we’re seeing it more and more and more -- is that because
of e-mail-itis, we’ve lost the art of communicating the way we used to. How often do you get a
heartfelt letter these days?
Rarely. One simple little strategy with your best
clients, with your family is to send a sincere hand-
written thank-you note. Here’s a strategy: Send
three a week -- sincere, heartfelt, handwritten,
not e-mails, and watch what happens. You do
that for a month, two months, you won’t believe
the response you’re going to get.
And turning this back into your personal life,
your family life, all of you who are married.
How are those relationships going?
Fran and I celebrated our 31st
year married last
month, to each other. I’ll tell you, that takes a
bit of work. You still send the cards, you know,
those special occasions? February 14, I get my Valentine’s card. Thirty years married, still get-
ting Valentine’s cards. On the front, there’s a little picture of a woman and her little dog. On
the front, it says, “I thought you should know if you lost your job and we were flat broke, I’d
still love you.” Pretty neat? Open up the card, and it says, “I’d miss you, but I’d still love you!
Happy Valentine’s Day.” Now, I know she’s joking…I think!
You’ve no idea about the power of thank-you notes.
I was co-authoring The Power of Focus for College Students with Andrew and
Luke. I remember one day, we had a bit of an argument about one section of the
book -- what should go in it, what shouldn’t go in it. He was digging his heels in
and I was digging my heels in and we weren’t getting anywhere. It turned into
a bit of an argument. This was my fourth book and it’s their first book. So what
do they know, right?
We had this discussion that was not resolved and I went to bed not feeling
great. I’m up early in the morning, 5:30, and getting ready to go out. I come
down to breakfast and on the breakfast plate there’s this little note:
There are only two
types of clients
104 Les Hewitt 105
May 13, 2005
“I haven’t been appreciative enough towards you lately. In these times of pres-
sure and deadlines, know that, regardless of my tone or argumentative style,
that I love you dearly and am honored to be your son. You have provided me
with so much which I am incredibly grateful for.
Do you think I throw notes like that away? Not a chance!
Got one recently, before a big presentation.
“You’re going to light up the stage, Dad! I’m proud of you. Go change some lives.”
See, what happens when you start traditions, when you start habits, people
observe that, particularly kids. It’s so simple and yet we’re so busy. We’ve got
so much pressure, we’re getting bombarded, and we’re getting interrupted. It
really is the interruption age. And yet, don’t you think you could write three
heartfelt, sincere, handwritten thank-you notes a week? Do you want to go to
There’s somebody you don’t want to
hang around. Avoid toxic people.
You’ve only got so much energy dur-
ing the day; you don’t want people
like this to drain your energy. There
are a lot of people who are whiners
and complainers and groaners and
gripers out there, and that’s all they
do, seemingly all the time! Be careful!
Sometimes they’re close to home,
unfortunately. Avoid toxic people.
You can’t risk losing all that energy
and having all that negativity poured
on you every week.
Get around people who are uplifting,
chall-enging, supporting, cheering
you on, saying, “Yes you can! Go for it! I’m supporting you -- you can do it!”
Last one: Focus on your most important habits. The
key word here is results. Habits are a big deal. In
fact, my old mentor friend, Jim Rohn and I were hav-
ing a little chat. He was sharing a little bit of his
philosophy. Jim’s a very wealthy man, a great busi-
ness guy. He travels all over the world. And he made
that statement to me. He said, “Les, your habits will
determine your future.” I’ll never forget that.
Then he said, “Have you ever been in a
conversation where somebody drops a
gem on you and it starts, “by the way,”
like an afterthought? He said, “Les, by
the way, the results of your bad habits
probably won’t show up in you life un-
til much, much later. It could be years
before you get the impact. Never forget
that. Brand that into your brain. The re-
sults of your bad or unproductive habits
probably won’t show up for years later,
and then, watch out.”
106 Les Hewitt 107
Make a list of your bad habits.
You know what they are; you don’t need anybody to tell you. Work-related, personal, family,
things that aren’t working. It could be something as simple as:
“I'm always 20 minutes late for meetings.” That's an issue for some people.
“I hit the snooze alarm six times every morning before I finally roll out of bed, and it's
45 minutes behind and my day is on a downhill motion already and we haven't even started.”
“I don't follow through the way it would make sense to follow through when I start a
108 Les Hewitt 109
Forty-five percent of your behavior is habitual.
When your eyes fluttered open for the very
first time this morning, was the very first
thought that came into your head, “I wonder
what my habits are going to be like today?”
No; I didn't either. And yet, 45 percent of ev-
erything we do is habitual. We do it uncon-
sciously. A habit is something you do often;
then it become easy unconsciously. There are
only two types of habits; bad and unproduc-
tive or successful and rewarding. Big question
you might want to ask: Where are my current
By the way, have you ever seen someone going the absolutely wrong direction? You've been
there, you've made all the mistakes, and they blindly walk on toward disaster. Sometimes it's in
your family. Maybe it's a health situation. Maybe it's a relationship situation. Maybe it's a finan-
cial looming disaster. You can see it; they can't see it. They keep doing the same old stuff.
You know what? I think those people need a big whack on the side
of the head like, Whack! Wake up!. Call it an awareness stick...a
2 x 4; you need it across the side of the head. Wake up! It's like
Rich says: The world is changing, wake up! Old tennis rackets
don't do it anymore. We've got the new graphite years ago and if
you don't change those habits, you know what you get? Conse-
quences. And you may not like the consequences. Life will give you consequences whether you
like it or not. It doesn't really matter -- life's going to give you them anyway.
They did a big survey recently. They asked a lot of people all over North America in their 50s,
particularly the 50-year-old North Americans, how much money have you saved toward your
retirement now that you've turned 50? You know what the average answer was? $30,000. Age
50. Do you know what that's called? Panic!
How long do you think it would take to find out if somebody had bad financial habits? About
two minutes. And when did you start the bad financial habits?
Were you 45, 35, 25, 19 when you first decided to consistently spend more than you actually
earn? Or did you think credit cards were the way to go at 22 percent?
Do you know why there's panic? We're living longer. It used to be that you could safely check
out at 70, 75. You’re done. It's over. Now we're over 80, and this guy here? Over 100.
More than 100,000 people in North America current-
ly are over 100 years of age. You know this health
and fitness stuff? It's working! What if your financial
plan was stopped at 75, and you lived to 90? Oops!
What does this have to do with habits? Everything! The
key is to build better habits; no exceptions policy.
and you do it every day. If you want to exercise
three times a week, it's three times a week.
When you decide to focus on the top priorities
that you need to focus on, then you set bound-
aries, and that's what you do 100 percent.
I do a lot of recording, so on Thursdays, I
block three hours for recording, 1:30 to 4:30
in the afternoon, no exceptions. One hun-
dred percent of my time is focused on recording for three hours. My assistant isn't shoveling
e-mail under my door while I'm recording.
You need to set boundaries to keep people away from you so you've got 100 percent focus on
the most important activities. That's a habit and the key is, make it a no exceptions policy. Say
“no” a lot more often.
Let me close with a very simple statement: “Yes, you
can.” A lot of you are maybe thinking, “Gee, you
know, I don't know. I'm overwhelmed; this seems
impossible.” If somebody had told me 20-odd years
ago, “One day you'll be an international best-selling
author,” I would have said, “You're nuts!”
If somebody had
said, “You'll be stand-
ing in front of an elite
group of business
entrepreneurs in Del-
ray Beach, Florida, I
would have said, “Now I know you're crazy! I was brought up in
the back streets of Belfast. I made bad career choices. How could
I ever overcome something like that?”
I think those people
need a big whack on
the side of the head
like, Whack! Wake up!.
If somebody had
told me 20-odd years
ago, “One day you'll
be an international
I would have said,
130 Les Hewitt 131
THE 4 FUNDAMENTALS
THE POWER OF FOCUS WORKSHOP
with international bestselling author,
Write down your single most important goal for
2007. Be specific, make it measurable and include
a completion date.
Start your sentence with the words, I am or I will...
Name the 3 activities that you do best at work,
the ones that create consistent results.
Name the three most important relationships
that will provide the greatest leverage for your
business this year.
Name the one successful new habit you will
commit to, starting immediately.
The 4 Fundamentals will transform any area of your life you want to improve −financial, business,
relationships, health and fitness, more time off... you name it!
For more information about the full range of Power of Focus Coaching programs, products and
services, please contact us.
phone: 403-295-0500 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org website: www.thepoweroffocus.ca
132 Les Hewitt 133