How to succed and handle stress ? – Dan Schaefer
David Laroche: Hello Achievers! Today we are with a new guest. We are still in New York for the project “Unleash that Potential”. Today we are with Dan Schaefer. He is a peak performance expert and today he will answer my questions about success and how to become a winner. Thank you very much.
Dan Schaefer: Very nice to meet you.
David Laroche: How are you?
Dan Schaefer: Great.
David Laroche: I’d like for you to introduce yourself more.
Dan Schaefer: My business is sports psychology. My focus is winning. I only work with people who want to win, who have a desire to win and will do what’s necessary to win. That’s both in sports and business.
So my clients today are professional athletes in football, soccer, boxing, mixed martial arts, ultrarunning, sharpshooting—that whole area—based on focus and concentration. The business people are in businesses all around in the world. I have clients in 16 countries and also we work on business strategies. So it’s not the actual function operation of the business, but I work on the strategy that’s behind making something happen.
Every client that I have today is in 2018 and working backwards. I really only work backwards. Where do you want to be? You let your subconscious mind identify where you want to be and then you just have to get out of its way and not do anything to disrupt that process.
So in many cases when people ask me what I do is I tell them that I sell mistakes. It is easier to buy mistakes from me than to make them yourself. When you’re making them yourself it cost a lot more money.
David Laroche: We’re talking about success and how to win. Do you have advice to succeed without stress?
Dan Schaefer: No. Not necessarily. There’s good stress and bad stress. I think that sometimes people need a certain level of stress to win. Success to me is momentum plus imagination because you can't move towards something if you can't imagine. I can give you a bunch of arrows here and a bow and say, “Shoot it at the target,” and you say, “Fine, where’s the target? There’s no target.”
Many, many people are shooting arrows at no targets. So the subconscious mind, which is engaged by imagination, is very interesting. Subconscious mind must act out every thought, image or idea you put into it.
David Laroche: How can we use every day and how long our subconscious mind? Do you have tools, some rituals, some habits we can develop every day alone to use our subconscious?
Dan Schaefer: Yes. I have given you a small card that has a statement at the back of the card. The statement says, “Every day in every way I get better and better and better.” Now, you can certainly use this and other affirmations that people use. I find it very, very helpful. But this is in particular interesting if it’s done at night before you go to sleep. Ten times a night, 60 days straight just before you got to sleep. The last thing you think about just before you go to sleep is repeat it over and over and over again by your subconscious mind. So if people go to bed with worry and concern or feeling badly about themselves and their performance that’s what’s got to be repeated over and over again.
This works exceptionally well with children. Kids down to five. I have clients who take me to their kids who are 5-years old. And they give them a two-month calendar and they check them off as it comes out and whatever the kid wants to get better at—sports, academics, dance, gymnastics—is going to make a difference.
David Laroche: My first question I would like to ask you is what are peak performance strategies?
Dan Schaefer: It’s all of the things that you need to put together to get an edge and excel over someone else. Because there is only one winner and if you want to be that winner, you have to figure what you need to put together to do that.
So to give you an example, we look at student athletes. Some of the people looking at this may have children in school who are athletes who want to play professionally. One of the biggest issues in college, for example—and there are three of them. On field performance, can a person perform well on a field when they step over the white line and the game starts? What do they need to do to do that?
Second piece really is academic excellence. They have to be really good at academic so that the school will allow them to play. Then the third item what is your behavior. You only need to read the papers here, anywhere in the world to find out how athletes can discover ways to destroy their career and their reputation.
So I focus on everything that I do—for everyone, you, myself, anybody who is watching us—everybody is in business for themselves. Everybody has their own company. Every person is a CEO of their own company. And when somebody accepts the fact that they’re the CEO of their own company, then every decision they make is a business decision, not a social decision.
So what somebody eats, what they drink, what they smoke, what they see, what they put on Facebook, how they talk to people, what they do are all business decisions if they see themselves as the CEO of their own company.
And that seems to help some people look at their performance is being really important.
David Laroche: What advice would you give to reach this kind of performance?
Dan Schaefer: Let me let an athlete talk to you. I would say to a professional football player, “What do you need to do?” and they say, “I need…”—
David Laroche: When you mean football you mean American football?
Dan Schaefer: American football.
“What do you need to do?”
“I need to increase my concentration.”
David Laroche: The ability to focus?
Dan Schaefer: “Increase my concentration.” The ability to focus.
I would say, “What is in the way of you increasing your concentration?”
He said, “I get distracted.”
And what I would suggest people do who are watching this—and I can describe it to them very simply. Just sit up straight in your chair, start to move your right foot clockwise round and round.
David Laroche: I can do it.
Dan Schaefer: You can do it. So you start to do this. Now with your right hand draw a big number six in the air. See how your foot go backwards? So the fact is what that little exercise shows you is that if you want to perform well, you can't afford a second of distraction.
So the most important thing is knowing that distraction contaminates performance. Then the question is how quickly do you want to notice when you’re distracted? You have to know right away! So the point is can you identify a distraction very quickly? Know when you’re off. Know when you’re not on the aim. I talk about and American ice hockey goaltender, who I said to him, “What’s it like when you perform at your best? What’s your peak performance that people talk about?”
He said, “When I’m at my best,” he said, “I don’t hear any crowd. So even though the crowd could be roaring I don’t hear it.”
The puck, which is usually this big, it has the size of a dinner plate and the game move very slowly. Anytime one of those three things change he says, “I know I’m losing my focus, so I need a way to get back in the game. How do I get back in the game?” And they want to control him.
Most athletes I find if they feel themselves losing their focus, they don’t have a way to get back in. That’s what the book is about. It’s ways that people need to know when they’re competitive at. The forward to this book was written by Chad Pennington, who is an American football quarterback for the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins. We worked on those issues: focus and concentration.
David Laroche: Do you think that concentration is one of the biggest things you have to develop to be performant?
Dan Schaefer: Yes.
David Laroche: For example, for a CEO. I know you mean everybody here is a CEO, but for example I have my own company and sometimes I do one thing and at the same time I do other things. Do you think the ability to do only one thing is something we have to develop?
Dan Schaefer: I work with global companies. What is interesting is that I found CEOs of companies—very successful people—finding very difficult to tell me what they do well. They can tell me what they accomplished, but how they do it is in their unconscious competence. Are you familiar with unconscious competence?
When people their levels of learning are unconscious incompetence, which means, “I don’t know anything and I don’t know that I don’t know anything.” We run into those people all the time, don’t you? Then you get to conscious incompetence. You know what you know, you know what you don’t know. Then you get to unconscious competence where you do stuff automatically. If you do stuff automatically, if you own a company and you do what you do automatically you don’t know that you do it and you can't teach me if you’re trying to help me duplicate or be as effective as you are in your company. So you need to identify what you do well.
So a lot of this comes back to help a person identify what they do well. They have to compliment themselves, let them know what they do well and they have to perform well. And then they know when they’re on. One of the things that I have is I have a system where a person rather than take everything they have to do in a day within a company and put it into a big stew with the vegetables and with the meat and everything, they need to be able to separate it. So they put it in different side levels so you can go from one item to the other item to the other item to the other item and make decisions on those things, but know when you’re not in one.
So I’m thinking about this light that’s here, but I’m not going to think about the book that’s in your hand because I want to focus on the light. I want to come over and think about the book and whether the light is there, I’m not going to think about the light.
How much does that cost an executive not to think that way? I don’t know. He has to look at it himself, but what I always ask business people—they’re a lot of successful business people in this world—when something works well and it’s working—okay, fine—but if something is not working, if you have all the skill and talent and motivation and drive to success and something’s not working, then something is in the way. And the question is how quickly can you identify something that’s in the way and move it out of the way.
I use hypnosis a lot to make that happen because people can discover very quickly what’s in the way. I’ll give you an example. There’s a real estate developer here in the city who develops commercial real estate. He’s one of the biggest, very wealthy men. We were working on some negotiation strategies and he had with him a couple of deals that he was working on. In the course of the conversation he said to me, “I play golf and I’m a 12 handicap golfer.” Dan Schaefer: handicap is good golf. He said, “But I can't play well 50 yards in. So 50 yards away from the whole I have trouble playing well, but not all the time, just sometimes.” And he said, “It bothers me.”
We looked at the whole situation, spent about 4 weeks and what we discovered is the only time that he has difficulty 50 yards in is when he’s playing against somebody who makes more money than he does. He makes high 7 figures. So he’s a very wealthy man who’s intimidated by somebody who’s wealthier than he is.
So now I come back to your quote for clients, people you try to motivate and work with, what’s it like for somebody who’s trying to sell, for example, to somebody wealthier than they are? It’s not easy. It’s an obstacle. But most of these obstacles are invisible, people don’t see them.
David Laroche: So what you can do to switch and to have a good feeling when he is with the people who are richer than him?
Dan Schaefer: Well, the biggest distraction that athletes have said to me that they have—and people in general—is the way they talk to themselves. Self-talk is very, very contaminating if it’s negative, if somebody is constantly beating themselves up for their performance.
David Laroche: “I’m bad. I will lose. It’s the end.”
Dan Schaefer: “I’m terrible. I’m not good.” All of those things… If somebody likes to listen to that tape over and over and over again be my guest, I don’t. I don’t want to listen to it. So most people don’t have a way to turn it off. I use an example. If you were driving from here—I know you’re going to Chicago from here—if you’re driving from here to Chicago in a car and you went down and pick the car up downstairs that had on a radio station that you didn’t like and you got music that you didn’t like, what would you do? You turn it right off.
People can't turn off the tape in their head because they don’t have another station. So they need to create another station.
David Laroche: For example you are angry, do you think it can work to say positive things without feeling the sensation? For example you have a bad feeling and you say, “I’m good. I will succeed.” You think you can work without feeling what you’re saying?
Dan Schaefer: That’s a great question.
David Laroche: For example, this morning I had an interview with a wealthy American man and my Skype didn’t work. It was hard for me because I prepared that like, “I know I have a commitment with him,” and the fact that I’m not able to be connected. I failed and I felt bad emotions. It could work, according to you, to say, “It’s funny.” What can I do, for example, just before? What could I have done?
Dan Schaefer: I understand what you’re saying. That’s also a great question because you have people who angers a big issue that are dealing with, anger in business, anger in sports. One of my top clients is one of these countries top ultramarathon runners. She runs 135 miles through Death Valley in the summer, but she’s also a mixed martial arts cage fighter. She came to me probably 14 years ago because she says she was running 135 miles through the desert. She was 30 miles into the run and one of her support crew had done something that she wasn’t happy with. She’s a US Marine and so she got very angry. And she said to me, “What I found was that I tried to carry anger for 100 miles.” She said, “It drained me. I didn’t perform as well as I should have.” Emotion gets in the way of performance.
The point is that I have no trouble with a hockey player or somebody getting angry. I think angry is appropriate. It’s how you express it, the way to express it and how long you carry it. I said to her, “I have no trouble with you getting angry on this run, but fear to deal with the anger. I need you to take the anger, put it in a box, put it in the trunk of your car and deal with it when you come off from the run.” You can't deal with it now. It gets in the way.
An American football player who was a bad play, if he focuses on the bad play he is dividing his attention between the play that just happened and he can't do anything about and the next one is coming up. Stuff happens way too fast. That’s why I use sports as an analogy, as a sample because whatever happens in business happens in sports only faster.
So if you can take what an athlete does and bring it into business, it’s a homerun—American baseball homerun.
David Laroche: If you develop the ability to switch very quickly and you transform what you did before in doing something very well just after, that’s right?
Dan Schaefer: Yes. But the key is you have to know when you’re off. You have to know when you’re getting dragged down. So this morning you recognized the anger, you got a choice. You can get really angry, which is going to complex it. It’s an appropriate feeling for what happened, but letting it get in the way of that interview or this interview sets you back.
David Laroche: I read something, but I didn’t check if it’s true. I read about Tiger Woods that he has 3 os 10 seconds when he leaves fully his anger and then he switches. It can be a good advice to have one, two, three seconds to live fully the emotion and switch?
Dan Schaefer: Yes. Whatever works for you. If that works for him, fine. My question is where do you express the anger? I had a hockey player, a goalie, who got angry. He would express the anger on the ice, in front of the cameras, in front of the fans, in front of family—it’s useless. It destroys his reputation. People believe he’s nuts. Express the anger some place else. So it’s can you identify the emotion, agree with the fact that, “Okay, it’s appropriate that I’m angry but I’m not going to deal with that now. I’ll go deal it some place else.”
I deal with people who are in financial services, who are brokers and traders and trade currencies and it becomes very interesting because they’ve said to me, “If I feel emotion in a trade, I know I’m in trouble. I want to have a clear mind that’s coming right at you with this trade. Not an emotion that’s going to drag me off.”
David Laroche: Excellent.
Dan Schaefer: I believe at high performing people. I mean, clearly you must have ways to deal with yourself when you get up and you present that other people would find astounding. What do you do to get yourself into the zone? What do you do to get yourself prepared? If you miss a word or something happens, something happens in the audience, you already have a way to deal with that. Most of other people don’t. That’s what makes you different than the other people. That’s where the edge is. See, people think in the competitive edge so to speak.
That’s what I did with the book. It helps you find what people did to get the edge.
David Laroche: On your website I saw something about top sports performers and you were talking about four secrets for top performer. What are the fours secrets for top sports performers?
Dan Schaefer: Sports and business.
You have to control your self-talk. Listen to the way you talk to yourself.
You have to prepare to compete. Many, many people don’t prepare to compete.
You need to recover well when things don’t go well.
Those are really the three top ones. Your self talk, identify and control distraction. You have to know what’s distracting you, control and move it.
Recover well so when something happens. When a football player or a soccer player is knocked down he doesn’t stay on the ground. He gets right back up again.
The business person sometimes it’s a sales person, if they get knocked down sometimes they stay down. You can't accomplish anything from the ground. So it’s to know what works for you.
But those really are the keys that people have. Why do I take it from sports and bring it back into business? Because that’s what people make their living. That’s what’s really important. But for the athlete everything happens very quickly and they’ve got strategies to get themselves back in and to focus quickly.
David Laroche: What is the fourth key?
Dan Schaefer: Control self-talk. People need to—
David Laroche: There is self-talk, so it’s the ability to talk with yourself differently. It’s the ability to identify your lack of concentration, the ability to switch—
Dan Schaefer: Prepare to compete and then to get yourself back in when you’ve been knocked down, when you have a failure, when somebody doesn’t work well.
David Laroche: To recover very quickly.
Dan Schaefer: Quick recovery.
David Laroche: If you learn from sports and you do the same in CEO or with your family, with your children, you can have a better performance in every domain if you do these four secrets.
Dan Schaefer: Chances are better. The chances are better. There are no guarantees in that with any of the things that I do or that you do because in reality you can give somebody some instruction and they may not do anything. They might not do it.
One of the biggest issues with performance strategies and workshops and clinics and things that I do with athletes is some people will take the advice and use it, others won't. And there are many who take it and use it and will never ever talk about it.
I have many athletes who don’t talk about what we do together because it’s their edge. They work very, very hard to get in their edge they will not give it away. They won't give it away!
David Laroche: I understand.
Dan Schaefer: It’s like corporate secrets. People don’t reveal their corporate secrets.
David Laroche: What do you think about that?
Dan Schaefer: I think if I work very hard to get some secrets to help my clients and I’m in business, I’m not likely to give my secrets to my competition. That’s just the reality. If there’s expectation that somebody else will do that, it’s probably not likely that that’s what it will happen, but you never know. Except that it comes back to what the results are.
It’s interesting. I don’t know if you play golf, but golf is very—
David Laroche: I will do in July, maybe.
Dan Schaefer: Well, I have a program where I guarantee golfers three to six strokes of their golf game without touching their club. And once you start to play, if you know how to play, you can dramatically improve your golf game without touching a club with some mental strategies.
Here’s what my philosophy is: if the golf swing takes three seconds, if you shoot 100 you have five minutes on a whole round of golf to concentrate. You only have to concentrate for five minutes. You have to concentrate just when you’re up over the ball before you hit it. That’s all, five minutes. If you shoot 80 is 4 minutes, if you shoot far it’s probably 3.5 minutes.
The point is that people try to concentrate all over the place and they waste their time. So some of the people I work with will come in and just shut their mind down just before they hit the ball.
David Laroche: I’m very interested about golf. What could be the keys for a golfer to improve performance?
Dan Schaefer: First of all I have a whole program around this and I have an analysis that I will send you, since you play. What I tell people to do is to put their golf clubs in the middle of a room, turn the lights down, get out a piece of paper and pick each club out of the bag one at a time and write down on the paper what the club says to you when you touch it. The minute you touch it, what does that particular club say to you.
Then you come to a round of golf and you see a golf hole. What does this hole say to you? If you’ve played and you stood up and there is a big lake in front of you, what does the lake say to you? “I don’t want to hit the ball into the lake.”
One of the interesting things about the subconscious and command and the self-talk is that the subconscious mind from where your performance comes never hears a negative command. It doesn’t know what “no” means. So when you say to your subconscious, “I don’t want to hit the ball into the water,” the subconscious mind hears, “Hit the ball into the water.”
So does it help someone to tell themselves what they don’t want to have to happen? It doesn’t. So it’s important if you’re, when you hear your self-talk to yourself. It’s like you want to eavesdrop on yourself, you want to listen to what you say to yourself as you talk. That’s tremendously helpful to people who want to improve their performance.
David Laroche: So the first key is exercise with the golf. What could be the second?
Dan Schaefer: Find out what you’re taking on to the golf course that doesn’t belong there. Are you taking on problems that you’ve had in your office? Are you taking on problems that you’ve had with your family or relationships? Are you taking on the last time you played golf that was terrible? What do you take on to the golf course with you that doesn’t belong there?
So I have a card that’s called a “trunk card”, like the trunk of a car. And people write on the card everything that’s bothering themselves, bothering in that day at that time, they put it in the trunk of their car and they slam the trunk. And if they start to think about that when they’re out playing golf they think, “Trunk, trunk,” so you can move things that you don’t want to distract you right now. It’s the same thing like worry. Do you worry about anything?
David Laroche: Yes.
Dan Schaefer: Okay. Is worry a huge distracter? Worry can distract you? Do you agree?
David Laroche: Yes.
Dan Schaefer: What if you decide that you want to control worry, rather than worry control you. Because right now—if you’re like most other people—it’s not the worry whenever worry comes in, there’s something you’ll have to worry about.
What if you decide you want to control worry and you said, “I’m going to pick a time today between 4 o’clock an 4:15. I’m going to do nothing but worry from 4 o’clock to 4:15.” And then you start to worry at 9 o’clock in the morning. You go, “4:15, 4 o’clock, 4 o’clock. Worry at 4 o’clock. Worry at 4 o’clock.” You notice that the worry is there because the worry is distracting from what you’re doing right now just like your foot going around, so you move it out of the way.
Does it work for everybody? No, but it’s interesting people have said to me, “You’ve told me that. I’ve done that and I’m able to control worry. It doesn’t bother me.” I’m going to worry at 4 o’clock and then you get at 4 o’clock you have to sit down on 4 o’clock and worry about something because the subconscious mind won't play the game. If you say, “I’m going to take it from here at 9 o’clock in the morning and I’m going to put it in 4:30 in the afternoon.” And then at 4:30 in the afternoon you don’t show up with it, it’s not going to play the game with you.
David Laroche: So you have to play the game.
David Laroche: Play the game! Yes. Go worry for it. You’ll probably get and you’ll be able to think of anything to worry about.
David Laroche: When do you know you have to stop doing this exercise?
Dan Schaefer: When do you have to do what?
David Laroche: Today do you do this exercise or did you stop it?
Dan Schaefer: Well, I’ll tell you what happens. It’s very interesting. I have some strategies to show people how to knock their stress down just by blinking their eyes. They have to shut their mind down and how to focus and concentrate instantly.
If I would say to you I could show you now how to knock your stress down by blinking your eyes, you’d have to say, “Okay, I like the idea of controlling my stress. I feel stressed now.” I teach you the strategy, your stress drops, and you say, “That worked really well. I’d like to do more of that. I’d like to learn how to do that.”
For a professional athlete whose livelihood depends on being able to control these things, it takes four months for him to get from, “I want to try it now,” to the time in four months when it’s happening automatically by itself. Much less stress doesn’t even know why, not even aware of it.
It’s with the reinforcement over periods of times, it’s reinforced with hypnosis. We do a lot of that. A person will go out and they’re skeptical. See, one of the biggest obstacles to everything in I do and you do is the audiences being skeptical about what you’re telling them to do. Skepticism is a great thing if you control it, but if you don’t control it and you get skepticism control you, then you’re in a different planet.
So if someone comes to one of your workshops or one of your talks and they are skeptical all the time you’re talking they’re getting nothing out of what you’re giving them. Nothing. But if you say, “You know what? I am aware I’m skeptical but I’m going to be skeptical three months from now.” So they put a date down. “I’m going to be skeptical in August 15th.” Then they have three or four months or five months to try what you’re suggesting or what I suggest and see if it works. Then become skeptical.
Why, if they come to your workshops and they paid to come here, they paid to hear you and they value what you say, would they let skepticism shut them off? So control skepticism. It’s great. You can turn it around any time you want, just don’t let it turn itself on.
David Laroche: So you try and you see after.
Dan Schaefer: Right, but you need to know it’s happening—and that’s the issue. Most people don’t know what’s happening or don’t pay attention that it’s happening.
David Laroche: They are in an automatic mode.
Dan Schaefer: Exactly. It’s not important enough to them to be able to focus on it.
David Laroche: I have another question about visualization. What is visualization and how do you use it? How we can use it?
Dan Schaefer: It goes back to subconscious mind. I don’t know what you were taught coming from France as a young man about paying attention, daydreaming. Do you know what daydreaming is? Okay. It’s when you start to visualize and dream about something and you kind of get distracted so they’ll tell children, “Don’t daydream.” We were told, “Don’t daydream. Pay attention.” When what we discovered is that the way you create your future, the way you create your company, the way somebody who’s watching us either creates an athletic performance, they visualize the outcome they want.
It seems a little silly that someone would sit down and imagine a performance and watch imagine themselves doing a performance. However, the subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between whether you actually did a performance or whether you visualize the performance. So the way I use visualization and also recall of situations is… I’ll use an example with my hockey players.
If a hockey player, a goaltender, says, “I have these images of me playing and not playing well.”
I said, “Well, do you like that image?”
He said, “No.”
I said, “Why don’t you create a best saves video in your mind of a perfect play.”
So you take the best save, the best play you ever made, you close your eyes, imagine it and when you see it happening you burn it to a DVD in your brain, so that whenever you need to recall it, you recall it, you turn it on. You do it like we’re doing it now, face to face. You do it with a camera imagining if you see yourself above looking down and you can watch yourself from a different perspective. So, if you’re a slalom skier you can watch yourself skiing a slalom run.
David Laroche: So you imagine something or you visualize past moments?
Dan Schaefer: You can do either. See, the subconscious mind remembers everything you did, so if you have that perfect or the perfect save as a hockey player, or the perfect goal as a football player, then you can recall it. So you recall it, you play it over and over and over again.
I’ll tell you just recently how I used visualization with a woman triathlete. She was having some difficulty with her swim portion of her triathlon because she had been run over with the crowds of people swimming. Somebody just run right over her once since she became frightened and phobic about swimming.
So I said, “You can do a couple of things. You can either worry about swim or you can practice the swim over and over and over again before you ever get into the water.” “How should I do that?”
I said, “Well, you can imagine yourself swimming behind yourself, watching yourself swim going forward.”
David Laroche: About the image, because we don’t have the same ability to visualize images or pictures and some people have difficulties to build a picture in their mind, is it important to have precise picture when you…?
Dan Schaefer: I don’t think so. You’re right, I don’t think everybody… Some people say they can't visualize. You might even have some people watching this saying, “Well, I can't visualize.”
So I’ll give you a little exercise that somebody can do. You just close your eyes for a minute and imagine thinking about a picture of an apple. With your eyes closed, what color is the apple? Is it red or is it green? So you’ll say it’s red. Okay. Does it have a stem on top or no stem? It has a stem. So now they’ve pictured an apple with a stem on top.
Now I’d like you to take that apple, I’d like you to put it on your dining room table. Can you put it in the middle of your dining room table? Yes. Can you take that apple and put it on the stand next to your bed? Yes I can do that. Then if you can do that you can visualize because you saw the apple. And if you didn’t, imagine one.
David Laroche: They saw it because you are telling a story like that. One strategy to make a picture can be to tell ourselves something.
Dan Schaefer: I think for somebody to do that you have to work on it. There’s a period of time with all of this—the self-talk, the self-hypnosis, the focus of concentration, all of these things—where everybody, most people, some people will feel like an idiot. “Oh my God! What am I doing? It’s so stupid for me to sit and have my eyes closed thinking about this stuff. It’s never going to work.” Okay, those people will go away. The people that stick with it find that it actually really works.
I have a client who I spoke about before who runs the Badwater. It is a 135-mile race through Death Valley. You can either run that race, but I’ve been with her when she’s run that race under hypnosis probably in about 40 minutes. You should’ve seen the whole race. Step by step by step by step.
I work with a mixed martial arts fighter and a professional heavy weight prize fighter who could see his combinations in a fight and know I had seen them done. I’ve seen skiers who can ski run at night. I’ve had golfers who play a whole round of golf in 8 minutes by just closing their eyes getting very relaxed and take them through one hole after the other and hitting the ball exactly the way they want to hit. Every shot perfect.
Now, it’s a nasty day out, you’re in the middle of New York City, it will be a challenge for you to go and get some golf clubs and go out and play a round in golf, well, it’s possible. You can play a round of golf tonight perfectly every time by watching yourself play.
David Laroche: For example – I’m not an athlete – do I have to do visualization every day?
Dan Schaefer: No. it depends what you want to accomplish. I think these tools are like the tools in your toolbox. I believe that and that’s one of the things I’ve pointed out in the book. Everybody has a toolbox. You came to the United States with a toolbox. You’re very familiar with some of the tools that are in the toolbox. There are other tools in the toolbox that you don’t even know they’re there because you use them so well you don’t even think you’re using them but you are using them.
The objective is to leave the United States throwing more tools and new tools into the toolbox. But they’re all there. You only can use what you know is there. Most people don’t know what they don’t know.
David Laroche: We don’t know what we don’t know.
Dan Schaefer: Very interesting comment I heard some years ago and they said, “Every time you hear your own voice, you’re learning nothing because you can only talk about what you know.” So if I were to learn a lot about what you did—if this wasn’t an interview for me—I would be asking you what you did, why you did what you did, what’s your why, what accomplishments you haven’t seen yet, how does it feel to work with your client base, how does it feel to work with your audience, why your audience contacts you, what challenges you have with the business, what challenges you have with other people. That way I can learn about you. So you’re going to send me a whole article about yourself and you’re going to tell me all about yourself.
David Laroche: How often do you use visualization for you?
Dan Schaefer: Me? It’s a great question that I don’t know. I don’t consciously use it. I think that the stuff that I do, that I teach people, I teach my clients, I do it automatically. I think it’s cranking all the time with me and I’m not even aware of it.
David Laroche: But currently you don’t take a conscious time to…?
Dan Schaefer: Not to do visualization.
David Laroche: Do you think it could improve your success to do it consciously?
Dan Schaefer: If the visualization that I had was around a presentation for example, if I wanted to visualize myself getting up and doing an introduction or anything, I would use it for that. It will definitely improve it.
David Laroche: You use it for special events?
Dan Schaefer: I use it for special events. I only take a tool out of the toolbox, my toolbox, when I need it. Other than that I leave it in the toolbox and know it’s there.
David Laroche: For example, one of my goals in six or eight months is to do conferences and speeches in America, in the States in English. Do you think it could be a good thing to visualize every day until I will do it?
Dan Schaefer: Yes. But I think you got to create the picture of yourself giving presentations. Describe the scene. You’re going to describe for me. What would you watch? What would you be doing? What do you see? Close your eyes. What do you see?
David Laroche: I am seeing me entering on stage.
Dan Schaefer: So you walk up the steps and you walk out in front of a podium, if you use one. You don’t use a podium?
David Laroche: Yes. I am on a podium.
Dan Schaefer: Okay.
David Laroche: I’m looking at a theatre.
Dan Schaefer: So when you look at it into the audience, you see the audience.
David Laroche: Yes. It’s beautiful.
Dan Schaefer: You know they’re there because when you’re on a big stage with lights you really don’t see the audience anyway. So there you’re standing on stage and you’re looking at now. Let’s say you left you standing the way you are and you backed up 15 to 20 feet and you stood behind yourself and you watch yourself on the stage giving a presentation. Let’s say you watch yourself walk to the left, walk to the right and talk to people. Let’s say you watch the interaction you had with people. That’s two visions.
Let’s say you decided that you had the ability to be on top of a camera that would hang over the stage and you could be on top of the stage looking down on yourself giving your presentation. And so now you can see the top of your head, you can see the top of the audience’s head. You’re way up and you’re looking down and you can see everybody.
And then you can hear you talking about what and you can see people nodding that they understand what you’re saying. With all of that, what you need to do is take all those images and burn them into a DVD that’s in your brain and any time you want to think about it, you’re going to be surprised to notice you’re thinking about this picture more and more the closer you get to the event. You’ll hear yourself talking and you’ll be able to do it.
David Laroche: Okay.
Dan Schaefer: You could either come here and give one presentation after another, after another, after another or you can practice the presentation—which I’m sure you’ll do—but you can go over and watch this presentation over and over and over again when you’re on a plane and do it when you fly to Chicago. You can see yourself doing a presentation.
David Laroche: Yes. I will try it. I will do it.
Dan Schaefer: You know the thing about trying, right? Have you ever seen that example about trying? Try to pick what you caught up there.
David Laroche: I know.
Dan Schaefer: You know that one. Okay.
David Laroche: I will do it. That’s why just after that I said I will do it.
Dan Schaefer: I think you have it down what you can do, but the question is does it work? Yes, it works. Definitely works.
David Laroche: I’m sure.
David Laroche: What is your favorite quote?
Dan Schaefer: Stay out of trouble.
David Laroche: What is your favorite book?
Dan Schaefer: My favorite book is a book by Dorothy Leeds called “Smart Questions”. It helps people to prepare to compete.
David Laroche: What was the decision you took in the past that made a change in your life?
Dan Schaefer: A decision? To constantly redefine myself because I’ve had people who were in their 20s saying to me, “Dan, I don’t know what I want to do when I grow up.” And I said, “I feel the same way,” and I’m 72. “I don’t know what I want to do when I grow up.”
David Laroche: What is your favorite success that you are proud of?
Dan Schaefer: A lot of them. I’m very proud of the people who I’ve helped to win and to get what they want. I’m very, very fortunate. People only come to me when they want to win. They have the desire to do something different. They want to be different to other people, they want to think differently, act differently, behave differently, whether it’s a company or an individual who runs a company, and they want to win.
So I get the opportunity to work with people who are driven, I don’t have to convince them to win. They just want to win and they have the tools to do it. They know what they have right now, has worked well up to now but the bar gets raised. That’s the big issue today. These people are really good at what they do, a lot of people. And they hit a plateau and nothing happens, they don’t change. And the bar got raised and they didn’t know that it got raised.
So it’s always important to understand where the bar is. You’re planning on a leveled playing field. Are things what you think they are? Is everything the way you think it looks? Sometimes not. So it’s how do you take control of that. That’s the kind of stuff I do.
If somebody asks me when I’m going to retire, I say, “From what? I’m having fun doing this.” I’ve gotten to travel throughout the world. I’ve met people in 16 countries. I’ve worked with people in France, England, Singapore, Southeast Asia and it’s just been a thrill. I’ll go and I’ll speak to an executive in leadership development and while I’m there he says, “Come here. Can you help me with my golf game?” Both things at the same time.
I was in Geneva with a woman who is a client and we were at the airport and she said, “I’m uncomfortable flying home. I’m not comfortable flying.”
So I said, “What if I could make the flight faster and easier and you’ll be much more comfortable?”
So we sat at the bar and I did some hypnosis and she got on the plane and she wrote me back and said it was fantastic.
David Laroche: It’s a good reward for you.
Dan Schaefer: It is. I love it.
David Laroche: I read something about children, you wrote a book about children. Can you talk me about this book?
Dan Schaefer: Yes. I have a copy of that book with me.
I discovered back in the 80s that parents had a tremendous amount of difficulty explaining death to their children. When somebody in the family died, parents didn’t know what to say to their kids. They didn’t want to hurt their kids, they didn’t want to impact their children negatively, but they needed a way to communicate with their children. So I devised a way, I was teaching it at college physicians and surgeons here in New York, to doctors and nurses and that. It was just a way to help parents to do something that was extraordinarily difficult. That book was called “How do we tell the children?” It’s a guide to helping parents to explain death to kids. That was the first edition.
The second edition it included helping parents explain, talk to children when somebody in the family was dying. Then the third and fourth editions had to do with traumatic loss, when somebody was killed in a plane crash or something that’s unexpected. Fortunately that was 4 stars in Amazon since 1996. It’s called “How do we tell the children”.
It’s the same concept with that book that I have with the current book. I knew it was very difficult for people to read that kind of a book. I put a crisis section on the book, some small gray pages, that people could get almost everything they needed in a crisis by just reading four or five pages.
The same thing I tell people about this book is not to read the book, to go down the table of contents and to read what’s in the table of contents and your subconscious mind will tell you what you should read next.
The back of this book has a section called—it’s the beginning of our next book—which is called “Money and mistakes”. I believe it’s important today for people realize that people who do what we do really includes helping people avoid very, very costly mistakes and errors. That’s the focus of why I do all this. I do this because I love to see people win and because I get to take a ride. It’s very diverse. It’s all over the place.
David Laroche: I have a last question. It is a weird question. So my goal is to inverse the way I can teach people. My question is how to become a loser. The goal is to build a video with the best keys to become a loser with each expert. It is a funny video to touch people differently in what they don’t have to do. Do you understand what I mean?
Dan Schaefer: That’s my next book.
David Laroche: It’s funny.
Dan Schaefer: Tell me why you think that would work? Why do you think that would be so successful? I know why. Why do you think that’ll be so successful?
David Laroche: When I had the idea in my home, I had my eyes very open and I’m sure it is a great idea.
Dan Schaefer: I know it’s a great idea.
David Laroche: Why? Because it’s saying what they don’t have to do. They will listen more because it’s them. I’m describing what they do, but I’m not saying what they don’t have to do. I have some difficulties to explain.
Dan Schaefer: I know what you’re doing. There’s an invisible dynamic that works with everybody who retains me to work with them. And the invisible dynamic is called “short term discomfort versus long term regret”.
David Laroche: I love this principle.
Dan Schaefer: I may not want to deal with you now, but what I really, really don’t want is being in 2018 looking back saying, “Boy, I wish I dealt with it then.” And that’s the objective that you have when you go up and talk to groups of people. We may not want to hire them now. We don’t want to wish we did and there are ways to create that in conversations of people when you talk to them. It’s the foundation of every sales pitch. Have you heard the word “30 second elevator speech”? Have you ever heard that “30 second elevator speech”? People in this country practice describing their business in 30 seconds.
David Laroche: I know what is an elevator speech.
Dan Schaefer: Everybody has about 30 seconds. You don’t have 30 seconds. You only have 6 seconds. In those 6 seconds the person you’re talking to their mind glazes over, just glazes over and they’re gone.
So how quickly can you get your message across? You have to get your message across in 6 seconds. When somebody says to me what do I do to—depending to who I am talking to somebody like you because we're in the same field here—but I would say to somebody—you know? I’d go out in the elevator here at the 22nd floor—so I’ll get in the elevator and I’ll say to somebody, ‘Hi. What do you do?’” The guy will tell me what he does.
And he says, “What do you do?” and I say, “It’s funny. I sell mistakes.”
You tell somebody you sell mistakes, nobody will ever walk away from you. “What do you mean you sell mistakes?”
I say, “Well…”
David Laroche: The fact that you tell me, “Don’t read this book,” it increase their want.
Dan Schaefer: The truth is the desire to read it.
David Laroche: That desire to read it really works.
Dan Schaefer: Right. That’s the sales, that could be a sales pitch for somebody, but that’s not with me with this. I’m very serious. Trust me, that you just put down the table of contents and what you want to deal with will leap right off that page. What you have to deal with tomorrow or maybe even the next interview, there you are, it’s right there.
I only do what works. I don’t have the time to play around. I’ve done all my experimenting with everything and I know this stuff works. I just left a meeting right across the street with 25 business people. We meet every 2 weeks to help refer people to somebody else and connect people up to other people—it’s a whole business networking concept. I don’t know whether they have that in France, but it is an amazing thing to develop a business doing that.
I have probably 8 people out of the 22 who have been my clients, and currently all my clients, and the people around the table will never thank me for me helping them. People like this deal with some very sensitive things within their company and with other people they’re dealing with and they don’t want to give that away. Since most of the people in the room know what I do they don’t want to make a connection between me and them and that’s okay.
If you look at my card, there is a confidential sounding board on the card. That’s a cover practice for people who are at the very top of their game. I have people in Australia, in Kuala Lumpur, one guy in Paris, another guy in Canada. He’s in a very difficult thing running his company. People are at the top of their game. They want somebody at their back to help them with something because when you’re at the very top you don’t have anybody you can trust to talk to. Nobody. Who do you talk to? If you talk to your vice-president or your CFO, they may be after your job.
I have a woman who is a client of mine who is in Washington. Very hard position. She’ll only talk to me. She won't talk to anybody else because you have to be careful who you talk to. And so I have a speed dial system where somebody will call—first of all I’m not a therapist, I don’t do psychotherapy. I say to people, “Put me on speed dial and when something comes into your mind what’s going on, pick the phone up and call me. I want to hear you say, ‘This has got to happen. What should we do?’ rather than, ‘I just did this, was it okay?’” because I don’t want people making mistakes. It costs too much money. It does!
I have a whole system to change the culture of a company, from management coach to a coaching coach. Cool stuff. Did it 10 years ago with Hewlett Packard, certain people at Hewlett Packard/ They’re never going to talk about it because they’re able to manage so many more people, take the hands off, all kinds of stuff.
David Laroche: I would like to know your keys about how to become a loser. According to you, how to become a loser? What would we have to do to become a loser?
Dan Schaefer: Well, here’s what I like you to do.
David Laroche: Your best advices. It’s very important for me to help people to lose.
Dan Schaefer: Well, my best advice is you tell me where you want to be in 2018. Give me top ten mistakes that you see your clients make before they became your client. You don’t have to tell me. I’m going to send you my list. What I would like you to do is I would like to write these up, send them to me and I’ll include it in my next book.
David Laroche: Yes, maybe the mistake they did was to not take a decision, wait for the best moment.
Dan Schaefer: “I’ll just wait a minute. I’m not going to decide today. I’m going to decide tomorrow. It feels right but I’m not sure. I’m going to go ask my friend.” When I send you the list, you’ll see the whole list. Mine is a big list. People love this. They absolutely love it. You go back to your audiences and you ask them to do this. They’ll send you all the stuff you want or interview you, interview them. Even you’ll put it on video. But it’s not the mistakes they make because they won't tell you, it’s the mistakes their clients made before they became their client.
I have a law firm that I consult with here in the city and I said to them, “You need to change from management culture into a coaching culture,” which means if you come to work for me and I say to you, “Okay, we have this project,” rather than tell you what to do I say to you, “Take a look at the project at home. Come in tomorrow and tell me how you’re going to handle this.” Then I have to shut up. I have to let you explain it to me. That’s the first part.
The second part I’ll say, “What do you need to do? Is there anything you can think that will get in their way of getting this done when it’s supposed to be done?”
“Yes, no.” You tell me what it is, “I have to go to a wedding. I can't do it, I have other appointments.”
And the third thing is, “What do you need from me?” instead of trying to manage you and coming up and say, “Are you doing this?” or, “Are you doing what you’re supposedly doing? I didn’t see anything for me today.”
I went to a law firm. Have you dealt with many lawyers in France?
David Laroche: No.
Dan Schaefer: In your audience there’s lawyers? If you’re not a lawyer they won't listen to you. So my client, who is paying me, I said to him, “You want to…?”
He says, “No, you’ve never run a law firm.”
So he called me up about a year after I stopped working with him. He said, “I have good news and bad news for you.”
I said, “What’s the bad news first? Give me the bad news first.”
He said, “The bad news is you’re not going to get a percentage of what just happened because I’m paying you.”
I said, “Okay. So what’s the good news?”
He said, “I just saved $ 20 million in 20 minutes.”
I said, “How did you do that?”
He said, “I had a lawyer, a young woman who is going to try a case in court and it was a $ 750,000 judgment. So instead of what I normally do of telling her what to do, I said to her, ‘Tell me how you’re going to handle this?’”
He said, “I knew in two minutes we were going to lose the case.”
He said, “So, if I’ve taken the time to ask her what she was going to do, I discovered that we were going to lose, if had I done it the normal way of telling her what to do, she would’ve done that, she would do it anyway and we would’ve lost the case, plus we would’ve lost the client who is a major client of ours.”
Boggles my mind how people don’t prepare to compete. I’ll use a couple of names. In American football, the New York Jets played the Baltimore Colts in the third Super Bowl. Have you heard the name John Namath?
David Laroche: No.
Dan Schaefer: John Namath was a very popular, a very successful quarterback and he made a prediction that they were going to win when they were severe underdogs and they won the game.
In American football there is a line and there’s one guy that protects the defense that’s coming in to attack at the quarterback. One of the defense was a guy named Dave Herman. He was 6’2”, 250 lbs. Have you ever heard the name Bubba Smith? Bubba Smith was an actor, he was a football player but he was 6’7”, 360 pounds, really huge guy. And I said to Dave Herman,” How do you protect John Namath from this guy coming to attack on?”
He said, “I watch game films.”
I said, “What do you watch it for?”
He said, “I figured what a guy that big has got to move forward. He’s got to be standing at one foot just a little bit longer than everybody else.”
He says, “I never watched the play, I just waited until a foot came off. So the minute that foot came off the ground I knew this huge man was standing in only one foot. I decided that’s when I was going to hit him.”
He’s a guy that has a whole football game to prepare to win the game. And he prepares that way. You run into people all the time in front of you. Then show up and you present.
So my feeling is that whether is your company going forward or what you’re going to do with all this, is preparing to compete. I might rather have a conversation with you about how you’re going to make all of this happen that you want it to have happened, rather to meet two years from now and seat at dinner and say, “Let’s figure out why it didn’t work.” Let’s find out before why it doesn’t work. To me it’s a psychology, it’s not the product. What’s the mindset of the people? That’s where we start. What’s the mindset of the people we’re talking to? How do we make them work? How do we make it work?
I just left a meeting with a guy who is telling me, “Why he can't get through to a contract?” He’s a contractor, he wants to go and talk to an architect. He wants to get the architect’s business. He gave me two or three scenarios and I said to him, “The problem is not what you’re talking about. He’s already got an architect that he doesn’t have to fire.” He can't fire a contractor that he has to hire you. You got to help him to fire the other contractor. Strategy.
David Laroche: So if you change your strategies you will have more success in every field?
Dan Schaefer: First of all you have to say, “Do I have a strategy? What is the strategy? What is the strategy based on?” And this is why you got to really enjoy the “Smart Questions” book by Dorothy Leeds. I’m not kidding here.
I’ve referred that book to everybody I’ve worked with in Europe and Asia as a business book. It has to ask questions for yourself but I’ll send you some stuff. I’ll send you some questions that I have of people running companies. But you have to be, to get you what’s most important to you going forward in your business and what you’re doing is the answers that you get from this trip here in the United States. The quality of the answers are directly proportional to the quality of the questions.
David Laroche: If you ask yourself bad questions you will have bad answers.
Dan Schaefer: Right. So many people just focus on their product, “Here’s the product. Here’s what I do,” rather than the overall picture.