Phil Jones is the author of seven Best-Selling Business Books, and he is the creator of the Exactly series, including “Exactly What to Say: The Magic Words for Influence and Impact.” Phil is an entrepreneurial success story who has founded five multi-million-dollar companies. Phil is a dual citizen of the United States and England, which comes with a lot of great perspectives. Phil is one of less than 200 living members of the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame and the youngest winner of the British Excellence of Sales and Marketing Award.
In this interview on the School for Good Living podcast, Phil joins Brilliant to discuss becoming a decision catalyst — someone who can effectively change “maybe” to “yes” by using effectively choosing their words. Phil has a variety of “magic words” with a certain purpose that can have an incredible impact. Along with sharing some of his magic words and their meaning, he also explains how they can help people make up their minds. He also shares several ways to serve others through your work and through your writing. Phil is passionate about words, and he shares a lot of ways choosing the right ones can be a key to good living.
Connect With The Guest:
Brilliant Miller [00:00:12] Hi, I’m brilliant. Your host for this show. I know that I’m incredibly blessed. As the son of self-made billionaires, I’ve seen the high price some people pay for success. And I’ve learned that money really can’t buy happiness. But I’ve also had the good fortune to learn directly from many of the world’s leading teachers. If you are ready to be, do, have, and give more. This podcast is for you.
Brilliant Miller [01:20:47] My guest today is Phil Jones, author of seven Best-Selling Business Books, creator of the Exactly series. The book I read in preparation for this interview was “Exactly What to Say: The Magic Words for Influence and Impact.” I love the book so much. I made myself some flashcards of these various phrases used at certain times in certain ways with a certain purpose can have an incredible impact. I’m already seeing that in my own life and dreaming of ways I can use them in a variety of situations going forward. Phil has founded five multi-million dollar companies. He is an entrepreneurial success story. One of his essential messages, one I believe in so strongly that I just ordered the T-shirt. “Change your words. Change your world.” In this interview, we talk about what it means to be a decision catalyst, how the enemy of yes isn’t no, it’s maybe. How to get through that help other people make up their minds doing all of this in service to something more than just your own checkbook, your own ego, how to actually enjoy what you do to be good at it, to serve others. This conversation is at the heart of so much that matters to me and so much that I teach. I’m really grateful to Phil for being a guest on the show and what he shares about writing. I think is awesome. I think you will, too. So you can find Phil on the web at PhilMJones.com and on pretty much all the socials. With that, I hope you enjoy this conversation with my new friend Phil Jones.
Brilliant Miller [00:15:27] Phil, welcome to the School for Good Living.
Phil Jones [00:15:30] A pleasure to be here. Thank you for having me on the show.
Brilliant Miller [00:15:33] Yeah. Will, you tell me, please, what is life about?
Phil Jones [00:15:37] I wish I knew the answer to that question. What is life about? I’m still trying to figure it out. To me, life is about making a contribution that matters, challenging yourself to do better for others on repeat and being on the relentless quest for better. Whatever you’ve decided “better” means. That’s kind of for me what life is about and also trying to leave your corner of the world slightly better than you found it. And I think that’s a little cliche. Sure. But still equally true, which is perhaps why it’s become cliche.
Brilliant Miller [00:16:12] Yeah, no doubt. Well, tell me. So we’ve got the whole thing about what life is about. We’ll just make it something easy, like, who are you?
Phil Jones [00:16:23] Who am I? Oh geez. Again, I love trying to figure that out. I’m a relentlessly curious individual, which I think is led through the bulk of my body of work, and I’m very comfortable in knowing what I am, what I’m good at, what I have strengths in, what I don’t have strengths and I’m also very comfortable in knowing that I’m not fully formed at this period of time. And hopefully, I’m a work in progress forever, and I’ve lived a life that’s gone through perpetual change and a variety of reinvention from, you know, early professional career to now. So I’m comfortable in the fact that who I am is. In some ways, somebody who’s open to organically evolving in a fairly rapid period of time and can change who I am through conditioning and through purposeful growth and decisions. So I’d say that, you know that that kind of cryptic answer probably leads to the fact that I, you know, I’m an entrepreneur through and through. I’m a people pleaser. I love my my currency or metric of success is other people’s success. So I love hearing other people have been more successful, and I had a part to play in that, and I’m quite happy to be a tiny line item in the credits. I don’t need to be the, you know, the seller celebratory victory if I could only do this because of you, and I like being in the background of other people’s success stories.
Brilliant Miller [00:18:00] Yeah, I know that you have been in the background and continue to be of many other people’s success stories. Now, having started five multimillion dollar businesses, being an entrepreneur yourself, having sold more than a million books in this exactly what to say series, which I read your book exactly what to say the magic words for influence and impact. I love this book. I was telling you before we recorded started recording, I actually made flashcards for this. Yeah, which I just hope that whoever reads this book has a high ethical standard because some of these things, I can see how they can be very influential. And so I’d love it if you would. Maybe the place to start is you introduce me to this idea of magic words, right? When you talk about magic words. What do you mean by that?
Phil Jones [00:18:51] What I mean in my magic words is words that talk straight towards the subconscious brain. And the subconscious brain is powerful in the decision making process because it’s a little like a computer as a yes output and a no output, it doesn’t procrastinate on its decision making subconscious is on reflex. It’s impulsive, so you can talk to the part of somebody’s brain that makes decision on reflex. And what you can do is you can increase the rate of decision. And if you can increase the rate of decision, you can often increase the rate of action or transaction that comes behind it. And all we’re doing is is utilizing existing pathways that we’ve trained ourselves on as human beings, not just through our life, but through generations of life. Prior to that, that says, well, if there’s a hard way in an easy way of communicating a message, why are we picking the hard way when the easy ways option? So magic words are words that talk straight towards that. And if people are unsure what the subconscious brain is, see it as nothing more than the little voice inside your head. And if for any reason you’re thinking you haven’t got a little voice inside your head, I’m telling you now that’s the little voice that’s telling you you haven’t got a voice, like we all have one and the ability to talk to other people. This is something that can really make an impact on getting stuff done. Magic words are a way of me simplifying complex. Yeah. And if you talking about the book, exactly what to say is twenty three sequences of words that can be utilized in a variety of different life scenarios to be able to help you get a fair advantage in critical conversations. Now that book could have been 30 books. No, could have been, you know, pages and pages and pages of methodology of neuroscience and psychology ET. But what I decided to do with that book was instead of teaching you the principles so you can create examples. I teach you examples so you understand principles. And I think what it’s done and certainly, you know, nearly five years into the launch of that book being real, what I’ve learned through feedback of others is it’s people get it and then they get it more over time as they start to unpack that principle in other areas. So it’s giving a very narrow example. Of how reciprocity can actually deliver us the increased return or how curiosity can be used as a fuel to have a more meaningful conversation. This deep rooted principles in there but tiny micro examples so you can get instant application.
Brilliant Miller [00:21:15] Yeah. And something I really appreciate is at the end of the book, you write that you know, everything you’ve learned in this book is simple. It’s easy to do. And better still, it works. But what it does not do is work with all of the people all the time. Right? Much as we might call these magic words and we know they are effective, it’s not like they’re actually going to hypnotize people or, you know, force them to go against their deep-seated values and so forth. But if we’re intelligent, we can recognize absolutely that life really is a series of patterns. Right? But we recognize those patterns and we use that to our advantage. And I love the term you use. You say it gives you a fair advantage. You’re not talking about exploiting people or manipulating people. You’re just talking about being smart, being careful, having a goal, working to serve others, I understand, is a huge current of this work.
Phil Jones [00:22:03] And people think that the enemy of yes is no. That’s what too many people think. They think I’m urging somebody towards saying yes is because they really wanted to say no. Hmm. That’s manipulation. The true enemy of progress in most scenarios is maybe – indecision is the enemy. And what the work and exactly what to say does is it helps people steer conversations towards moments of decision for free. And I think when you take your role in conversation as a leader to say, Well, actually, I’m a decision catalyst. I’m here to help people make their mind up and you abstain from what their mind is. You just take the role of saying, I’m going to help you work through a decision-making process. Then you can end up with more yeses. If yes, this is what you’re chasing purely by default of the fact that you can have more meaningful conversations. But you shouldn’t chase the yes, if you chase a decision
Brilliant Miller [00:22:59] that is a huge insight. And I actually, I really nerd out on this because I know as a coach that ultimately success, happiness, health like this kinds of things don’t come about because we try harder, right? They come and nobody’s come about because we want it more or even because we’ve learned some single techniques. They ultimately come about because we have a change in identity. Yep, right. And one of the things that you introduced me to, I love this term decision catalyst. But the other one, the phrase you used in the book that I really love was a professional mind maker right there. Yeah, right. So people reading this, whether you’re in sales, whether you’re in leadership, seeing yourself differently, your role differently. That’s huge.
Phil Jones [00:23:41] It changes the framework, right? It changes the lens. It changes the perspective and many of the word examples and exactly what to say help you do that. They help the other person approach the same problem from a different perspective. Or they move the finish line on what we are calling success and what it does. It presents new solutions because you’re now viewing the thing from an entirely different angle and that is something I think more people should do it. It’s kind of fun. I’ve rewritten exactly what to say recently, and in May of 2022, we release a special edition and it’s expanded. We work into other areas of life. The first book was really written through a business and a sales lens. We’ve blown up this example to be in life and family scenarios. Having conversations around some of the things that really matter, that can create friction through political agenda through, you know, the, you know, decisions about what’s right and wrong about medical things, et cetera is I wanted to create a tool that says, can we enjoy the great space of conversation more freely? Can I help people understand there are tools where you don’t have to agree to have a meaningful conversation that allows you to be able to change your mind? You don’t have to change your mind all the way to their mind, but you could still change your mind to a new perspective from engaging differently with others. And my belief at this moment in time is the world would be better if more of those conversations happened and happened in a safe environment where you could enter into a conversation for something you didn’t agree with. Leave that conversation not agreeing with the other person. But having a different point of view.
Brilliant Miller [00:25:21] Mm, yeah, absolutely. I think the world could really benefit from that, especially in this day and age where technology like social media in particular makes it so easy just to step into an echo chamber and find other people who disagree, who agree with you and avoid the people who disagree with you. Right?
Phil Jones [00:25:37] And you just get positive reinforcement around any one given belief without consideration to an alternative reality.
Brilliant Miller [00:25:43] Yeah, no doubt. Well, and I’m super grateful for this book, too, and I’ll definitely look forward to this. This new version because my eight-year-old is so savvy. She is so smart. She will say, like, even when she was six, she would ask a yes or no question, and then she would follow it with yes or no, yes or no. So this is great. OK, a question. And we’ve talked about this. Maybe I’ll pull one from my back and just what kind of scenario we might use it in.
Phil Jones [00:26:16] All right.
Brilliant Miller [00:26:17] All right. Seven, two, three, four, five, six, and seven is “just out of curiosity”, OK?
Phil Jones [00:26:27] Often we find ourselves needing to or wanting to ask rude or obnoxious questions, and we want to get straight to the point. But we can’t ask rude, obnoxious questions because they’re rude and obnoxious, and we don’t want to be seen as rude. Not much. You can actually ask just about anything you choose if you create the right kind of framework and purpose for why you are making that ask. I’ll give you a classic scenario in a business world is is a common objection that we get is I just need some time to think about it. Yeah, yeah. That objection a lot. And what you know in your heart of hearts is they probably don’t mean they’re going to go home, sit around the dining room table, do a SWOT analysis of whether we will or won’t. More often than not, they’re pushing this away for another day. Yeah. What you might want to say back to somebody in that scenario, if you’ve got some conviction and confidence, you might want to say things like, What do you want to think about? Just tell me I can probably help. But we can’t say that, it’s rude, right? What you can do, though, is you can soften, root and direct questions with the phrase “just out of curiosity”. By inserting a curious purpose to your ask, which now gives you the ability to ask just about anything you like. So in that scenario, you could ask just out of curiosity, what is it specifically you need some time to think about? You’re now more likely to get the truth. Think about, though, how this can be used in other areas of life. Think about the fact that your child has behaved in a way that is out of line with your value system and that you want to call them out on this. You could go like, What were you thinking doing that? And what do we end up with? We end up with? He said. She said they said, Oh yeah, if we say, Listen, Amelia, just out of curiosity, what is it that made you think that that was the right choice of action in that scenario? It’s a lot harder to not give a mature, honest response, because what you’re saying with the just out of curiosity preface is I’m confused. That’s what you’re saying is you’re owning the fact that I don’t understand. I’m confused. Something doesn’t add up in my world. Help me. That’s what you say with that preface. And that’s why it softens. And you know, I show you business example. Is it the life example? But even, you know, even a leadership example that you want somebody in your team to to change their behavior or to take on new areas of responsibility or do something that is above and beyond their existing job description is is look at the preface helps. It’s like now just out of curiosity. What would it take for you to consider maybe moving geographically for you to get an elevated promotion? The preface gives the other person permission to give a more full, complete, honest answer.
Brilliant Miller [00:29:17] Yeah, that’s so good. And so many of these they are again, they’re simple, they’re so simple, and another one I specifically wanted to ask about You say I love this. You say two words. Just ten letters have been responsible. They’re possibly responsible for more of your negotiating success than any other single strategy you applied in your business.
Phil Jones [00:29:40] I’ll tell you the words right, just to prove how much I know my work. We’re talking about the words “most people”, yes, and their application is so plentiful to a point that it shows up in my vocabulary tracts. I would say multiple times every day. And the reason it’s such a powerful sequence of words is when it comes to decision making as human beings. We’re nervous to make a decision, particularly an isolated decision. We like safety in numbers. This is why we will believe 37 strangers on a Yelp review, then we will over any recommendation from my mother-in-law. We’re like this, right? Other people have done this before me. Therefore, I’m making a smart choice. I’m not at risk. I’m not going to appear to be stupid. Yeah, that is a psychological truth. Well, what we then also have, though, is that we often find ourselves needing to advise people or tell people what to do. Yet the trouble is people don’t want to feel like they’re being told what to do, but they do want to know what to do, and you need to tell them what to do without them feeling like they’re being told what to do. And we create this giant riddle. How do you deal with that riddle? Well, what you do is you suggest something slightly to the left or to the right of somebody new. Add weight to it. You do it by utilizing the words Most people. So instead of me saying, brilliant, what I think you should do is I say brilliant. What most people would do in your circumstances is and you go, Wow, I guess I’m most people and I know there are people listening in right now that would be like that would never work for me because I’m not most people. And you know what I’d say to those people that that I’d be like most people do. What you can do is, is, is as long as you’ve got the emotional intelligence to say, Am I speaking to the 90 or the ten? Yeah, I can use the words most people to help lead a next step, lead the next action. I need that emotional intelligence. Because without it, what you can do is you can shoot with the 90 to the 10 and you can miss bigger. You with me is is is you can miss bigger, but it it just becomes a very natural way of you being able to be remarkably suggestive. Without being directly suggestive and utilize the power of many in any recommendation.
Brilliant Miller [00:31:57] Yeah, absolutely. I remember when I studied in Japan many years ago that seeing how the culture is different, but we’re all similar and that we do want to know what other people are doing. We do want to know what works. We do want to know what to do. Just like you said and I remember going into this ice cream parlor and the people in front of me were just asking, Well, what did the people in front of me order?
Phil Jones [00:32:20] What do they have?
Brilliant Miller [00:32:20] This is so funny, but you
Phil Jones [00:32:22] go into a restaurant you don’t understand. You know, he was good.
Brilliant Miller [00:32:25] Like, what did most people? What’s most popular? Yeah. Or even people will say, Well, what do you like to the server?
Phil Jones [00:32:32] But the emotional intelligence side of things you need to understand because my wife, every time we go into stores, you pick up something she likes. And the second that somebody says, Oh, that one’s been really popular or most people love that I go straight back on the rack. Hmm.
Brilliant Miller [00:32:45] Yeah. Right.
Phil Jones [00:32:46] So is there are people who who are happy to be part of the pack and there are people who definitely don’t want to be part of the pack. And that’s why you need to understand who you are talking to. And just because everybody loves something doesn’t mean the person that you’re speaking to is equally going to love it. You’ve just got a tool to be able to say which side of the line am I going to talk to?
Brilliant Miller [00:33:07] Yeah, no doubt. Well, then biologically, this makes sense because the image is coming up for me as the water bottle at the drinking hole, right? Is it safe? Is the crocodile going to get me or are we drinking?
Phil Jones [00:33:20] And I think I wrote in the very first edition of the book is I remember a period of time where I was like 12 or 13 years old on holiday vacation with my parents and and I think we were in Greece somewhere and we’re up on a cliff edge. And I remember it like it was 80 foot high. It was probably like nine feet high in truth. But I remember it like it was 80 foot high end and nobody wanted to jump off. You know, the edge of the rocks into the into the kind of ocean lagoon thing that was beneath it and everybody wanted somebody else to go first, but once somebody jumped off, landed in the water came up, didn’t die. Everybody was happy with it being a good idea. Yeah, it is. That same psychological principle is nobody wants to be first.
Brilliant Miller [00:33:59] Yep. Well, then two other words that you talk about being super powerful are “Don’t worry”. Mm-Hmm. Right? Again, two words that are so simple, why? Why is that so effective and how do you keep that?
Phil Jones [00:34:13] Well, the first thing it does is it recognizing the fact that the other person is experiencing a worry. So instantly, the second that you empathetically utilize the words, don’t worry, you get the tonality on this wrong or you say in a patronizing way. What you have the opposite effect. But if you can recognize that somebody is dealing with a series of worries that this bear at a time and you insert, don’t worry what you’re doing is you’re sharing the burden, you’re recognizing that somebody is struggling with something and you’re giving a version of like, I’m in this with you. What you have to do, though, if you’re going to utilize the words, don’t worry, is you’ve got to follow it fairly quickly. Like, it’s not a complete sense. You can’t say, don’t worry.
Brilliant Miller [00:35:00] Yeah, like it just ameliorates concern. Yeah, it’s not it’s not that
Phil Jones [00:35:04] I can say, look, you know, like, don’t worry, you know, we’ve been in situations like this a number of times in the past. What’s hard and difficult is what we’re experiencing at this very moment in time. I have every belief that three, four or five weeks on from now, we’re going to be out the other side. There is some relief. Hey, don’t worry, you’re bound to be feeling nervous right now. But remember, the fact that you’ve been trained, you’re prepared, you’re ready. But you got to follow it with the truth. But if you didn’t put the words, don’t worry first. Then what you’re doing is if I just come and said to somebody look like you’re prepared, you’re ready. You’ve done the work ahead of this, you’re good. It doesn’t stop the worry. Yeah, it’s don’t worry. And then reason why not to worry. And the result that you’re looking for is not that they’re not going to worry is that they’re going to worry less well. They’re going to have now a system to organize their worry.
Brilliant Miller [00:35:57] Yeah, that makes sense. Let me ask you a question that’s maybe at least I see a bit of a meta, a meta question. A teacher who suggested to me his words were the essence of communication is intention. And it was like, What is the essence of communication? Is intention. What does that mean and what would I do with that knowledge and so forth? But what I’m aware is motive matters, the energy or the intent behind what we say is going to affect and all the other things what’s going on in the space, what’s going on in someone’s life. But how do you see the light, the energy or the intention that we put behind any of these magic words making a difference in the result they produce or how they’re experienced by another person or by us?
Phil Jones [00:36:40] I think your intention should always be for the benefit of the other person first. And in which is often you need to have an internal vision that says, I see past this moment. We’re going to use this with real wisdom is you have to be able to be like a masterful chess player can see three five seven nine moves ahead. You have to be utilizing this for a change in direction, but you already know the next three four five moves where this is going as well. So your intention needs to be to redirect and move towards a greater outcome for all parties involved. I wouldn’t say the essence of all great communication is intention because I’ve seen some very well-intended communications that resulted in disaster. I think there’s a framework I spend a lot of time teaching, and I think there are three critical ingredients that are essential for any meaningful conversation. And the first is curiosity. Mm-Hmm. If you communicate first from a position of curiosity, you stay in the safest space in helping support other people. And, you know, I can intend to help you be more successful with your podcast, but if I start writing advice on you, then I live in that world of prescription before diagnosis as malpractise right, which we see happen all the time? Yeah. So regardless of intention, your starting place should be curious because you should accept that you do not know enough. Mm-Hmm. That should be the starting point of every conversation is you do not yet know enough. So start from a position of curiosity. Curiosity should then dance you towards empathy. And empathy is like a buzz word, people think it’s fun. Still, very few people understand what it means. The best definition for the word empathy I’m borrowing from an author friend of mine called John Acuff and John Acuff describes empathy as to care about what the people you care about care about. You can’t get to that without being curious for long enough. And I think the mistake that many people make in communication is they’re looking to be right as opposed to get the right result. Very different things. Now, if we’re going to focus on that empathetic viewpoint is too often a conversation is you vs. them, whereas what your goal is is that you and them vs. it. That’s what we should be focusing on is getting to a position where it’s you and them versus it. Now if the air is improving our marriage fine you and them vs. it’s not you vs. them. If the it is well, we need to be able to make more money. We need to be able to save time. We need to be able to actually improve the culture community of our people, et cetera. That’s the it. But if you don’t get to the IT friction, friction, friction, curiosity unlocks friction because it brings you towards empathy, which puts you on the same side. Only then do you need the third ingredient, which is one of courage. And when I talk about courage, I’m not talking about like, climb a mountain courage, jump out of an airplane, courage, go to war courage. I’m talking about the courage to just ask the things. My personal belief is that your success is in direct correlation to the quantity of quality. Asks you making your life, period. Yeah, that is the ultimate factor towards achieving any version of success. It’s the quality of quantity ask that you make. The trouble is is people know that they’re supposed to ask for things, but because they ask for things without being curious or empathetic. First, they’re rude. That pushy. They’re obnoxious, too self-centered. They’re manipulating. They’re all the things you don’t want to be. Whereas if you’re brave enough to be curious for longer to reach empathy. Your ability to ask is the natural next step? So the essence to quality communication in my mind is do that three step down, some report repeat curiosity, empathy, courage, curiosity, empathy, courage and watch how they all feed each other. If you understand it’s a dance routine and it’s not linear. That’s what other people think about is that successful communication drives towards the finish line. Now we want a never ending story. Yep, not a finish line with little checkpoints of victories on the way.
Brilliant Miller [00:41:10] Yeah, that’s right. This is maybe some referred to, and I know Simon Sinek’s one of his recent books, is Infinite Game, so that this is as much as we want life to be neat and tidy and checkbox and reach a goal. And so that it’s not, it’s just all the way back to the beginning. You talked about we don’t necessarily know exactly what we are, but whatever we are, we’re work in progress. Right, right. So that’s that’s really beautiful. Well, thank you for that. OK, well, I know we’ve covered so much already and I would love to move us to the enlightening lightning round. But before we do, what is what haven’t we talked about that you think would be of value to the listener if anything, and we can come back to that. I know we have more time.
Phil Jones [00:41:53] I mean, it’s a loaded open question that takes anywhere I choose. Yes, I think if we’re going to stick on this area of word choices is probably the most prolific thing that I’d ask everybody to remember is this key point, and it’s a point I want nobody to forget and is probably the most important thing that I could share in this entire discussion. And it’s. Hang on. Oh, yeah, that’s it. When is the worst time to think about the thing you’re going to say?
Brilliant Miller [00:42:27] The moment you’re saying it.
Phil Jones [00:42:29] Yep. And the number of conversations that people step away from thinking should have, would have could have. When, if they just took a beat or a second prior to that critical conversation and saw what needs to come out, what are the potential consequences of me getting wrong? How high stakes are this and actually gave themselves a little bit of pre-brief as opposed to a horrible debrief? Chances are they will have a better exchange that achieves better outcomes if they’re prepared to do the work before the work. And I think far too few people stop and realize how many critical conversations they had in the day, a week a month that if they just prepared a little better for their impact in the world could be insanely different. And I give context for that is I speak professionally, have done a number of times. If I’m speaking for an hour and I’ve got 800 people in the audience, I’m not responsible for my hour. I’m responsible for their 800 hours. And I think more and more leaders should give consideration to just how responsible they are for moments of other people’s time and get ready for those exchanges so that what they can do is bring value towards those hours, those minutes, et cetera, in a different way to which everybody could.
Brilliant Miller [00:43:49] I wish that, too. Yeah. Thank you for that. That’s a keen insight. OK, let’s move to the Enlightening lightning round. So again, this series of questions on a variety of topics. For the most part, they’re pretty short. My aim is to ask the question and stand aside. I might tug on a few of your responses here and there. But other than that, I’ll keep us moving. OK, question number one, please complete the following sentence with something other than a box of chocolates. Life is like a.
Phil Jones [00:44:32] Life is like every movie you’ve ever watched all mixed into one where you get the ability to play any role that you choose.
Brilliant Miller [00:44:45] Awesome. OK, question number two here I’m borrowing the technologists and investor Peter Thiel’s famous question. What important truth do very few people agree with you on?
Phil Jones [00:44:57] What a great question… Just hit me the question again, precisely so I make sure I answer it.
Brilliant Miller [00:45:03] Yeah. What important truth do very few people agree with you on?
Phil Jones [00:45:10] Which one is I believe that very strongly that you can, that most people massively overestimate what they can achieve in a decade and underestimate what they can achieve in a day, which is the opposite to how most people teach that lesson. Most people say the people will overestimate what they can achieve in a day, but underestimate what they can achieve with it. I believe the opposite is true, and I see it show up in all areas of life. Like the number of people that say 10 years on from not now, their life is going to look demonstrably different, and the reality of it is about the same and the number of people that think they can’t get stuff done on the day that I see proven time and time again that they can change the world. So that is one that I come into conflict with focus on a on a regular basis. Another one I’m working on is there was a study done many moons ago that the that the interpretation of the many is that only seven percent of all communication is verbal, with the remaining 93 percent being on the. It’s a very popular study and it’s a study that’s been misquoted on numerous occasions. Obviously, as somebody who is passionate about the impact, the words vocabulary conversation have on outcomes is I run into that. On repeat, where people like we all know it’s all about body language, and I’m like, did you read the study? And obviously they didn’t. So I find myself in conflict trying to explain to people just how impactful a subtle change of words can make towards any form a given outcome. So much so that the we’re just about to greenlight a quantitative and qualitative study about just how impactful, because I know that really impactful. I’d just like to be able to actually produce a new modern study that takes into consideration social media that takes into conversation the fact of how many communications happen without all those nonverbal cues and and gives consideration to to how important is our choice? I believe it’s essential, but I’d like to be able to put some real metrics around that so that we have new data that we can understand from as a society.
Brilliant Miller [00:47:36] Yeah, I would like to I would like that too. I did a little Googling. I won’t call it research, but I did endeavor to search down that research. They get so quoted about body language and tone of voice and so forth, and the little bit that I read made me believe that it’s not accurate. The way most people cite it and so forth is mis-cited.
Phil Jones [00:47:56] It’s a valuable study. And what it actually does is it showcases how important those non-verbal pieces are, which was what its purpose is now. But it never said. Only seven percent of communication is verbal. Yeah, it said that 93 percent of outcomes are influenced by nonverbal cues.
Brilliant Miller [00:48:21] Yeah, which makes sense
Phil Jones [00:48:23] in a small sample in a very specific period of time. Hmm. So, yeah, good good data. But like like the interpretation of that is is. Interesting. So I find myself in those kind of. Complex.
Brilliant Miller [00:48:38] All right. Question number three, this one. Excuse me. This one’s kind of a gimme, maybe for anybody watching the video of this anyway. And this is the question is is sorted if you are required every day for the rest of your life to wear a T-shirt with a slogan on it or phrase or a saying or quote or a quip? What would the shirt say?
Phil Jones [00:48:58] And we go. I’ll read it. I can see it back in my mirror right now is, it says, change your words, change your world. And you know, we produced these T-shirts because I believe that strongly in this message. And I work with a local independent artist in St. Petersburg, in Florida to be able to produce the graphics around this and reproduce some street art around the same piece, and it’s been a little fun ride of of being able to actually take what inside my world and my organization is a is a strong mantra and carry it through way outside the book in a in a ridiculous way. So, yeah, I wear these T-shirts often.
Brilliant Miller [00:49:39] I love that. Awesome. Thanks.
Phil Jones [00:49:41] So the same sequence of words that I use when I’m signing books. And also, I don’t know if you’ve seen this yet. Brilliant as well, but we produced a children’s book.
Brilliant Miller [00:49:51] Oh, I did. I did see that.
Phil Jones [00:49:53] And the same mantra, you know, exists in the in the first page of of the children’s book here as well. And I believe profusely, the changing your words can change your world. And I’ve got countless case studies to prove it with thousands and thousands of people that it has been all the difference to them living the life that they want to be able to go on and live.
Brilliant Miller [00:50:17] Yeah, that is so beautiful. And part of what I really love about this is, I mean, there’s there’s so much as a coach that I love about awareness, about choice, about responsibility, about empowerment, about that I can right change the words I use now. If only people will believe that changing your words will change your world.
Phil Jones [00:50:37] The tiniest of simple examples on this is is your answer to the how was your day, dear question? Well, phenomenally change or even, yeah.
Brilliant Miller [00:50:51] What can for sure, right
Phil Jones [00:50:53] right, is how you choose to answer that question can have an impact on the 60 90 minutes, two hours that come following that my. And even if people just think about, you know, how are they going to answer the how are you questions a question, you know, you’re going to be asked a gazillion times, how are you going to choose to answer that tonight? These are choices.
Brilliant Miller [00:51:16] Yeah, yeah, absolutely, right. And part of what I love about this, too, is that it’s not just the words you use, but the words you don’t use. Right, right. And I introduced a few books, a few words into my life after reading a book Tiny Habits by a Guest, B.J. Fogg. And he introduced me to these words every morning, saying “It’s going to be a great day”. Yeah, right. And this morning, that same eight year old that I told you about who’s so savvy, she comes into the bathroom where I’m getting ready and she says it’s going to be a great day. And then she says, I stole your catch phrase, dad.
Phil Jones [00:51:54] That’s incredible.
Brilliant Miller [00:51:55] It’s like, it’s so great. So yes, thank you. I totally believe in what you’re saying, and I’m going to order one of those those shirts today. So very cool, man. OK? Question number four, What book other than one of your own, have you gifted or recommended most often?
Phil Jones [00:52:14] Michael Boone Stanley’s The Coaching Habit
Brilliant Miller [00:52:17] why that book?
Phil Jones [00:52:20] I think it is a simple and impactful read that just about any human being on the planet can get value from because we are all coaches in some areas of our life, whether we choose to admit it or not. And my strong belief in people being more curious leads to a better quality of conversation is is amplified and exemplified in Michael’s book The Coaching Habit. And I think what it does is it demystify coaching in a very productive way. The We live in a world right now where there are more coaches than I think there are just about anything else in the planet, according to my Instagram feed. And most of those coaches are coaching. They’re advising or preaching or or training or no. We could put a whole list of other adjectives towards it, but what they’re not doing is coaching. Yeah. And Michael’s book the coaching habit, I think, just very simply reminds people that being an effective coach is helping other people figure things out for themselves through asking a series of well-articulated questions and then leaving space for them to answer and then being brave enough to peel back layers and the coaching habit in a two, two and a half hour read, I think reminds people of that or introduces that idea to people for the very first time in a very practical way. And I’m a fan of the coaching habit because it’s produced in a very similar way to exactly what to say. You know, we’re born out of the same brain trust. So I’m equally biased, but I probably give 100 copies of that book a year.
Brilliant Miller [00:53:59] Yeah, it’s a great book, for sure. What are you currently reading or what’s in your Kindle or on your nightstand now?
Phil Jones [00:54:06] One of my currently reading at this moment in time is I’ve literally just put it in my bag. Today is Michael’s new book that he’s just released. The is very prevalent for me right now, and I can’t even remember its title at this very moment in time, but it’s a new book focused on on achieving goals and getting stuff done. And what I like about Michael’s work is there are many of us that have achieved a number of great things in our life that have perhaps surpassed childhood ambition, and we still have a long life ahead of us. Yeah, and we know a lot about goal setting, and we know a lot about how to get stuff done, et cetera. And what I’m excited about with this read is, is this going to allow me to step back into rookie mode and help redefine what my next success criteria are? So I’m I’m I’m not looking for or reading this book. I’m looking forward to being a student of this book, and I trust Michael’s work implicitly. So I’m intrigued to let it be a guide for me to help you actually deliver on its promise.
Brilliant Miller [00:55:08] Awesome. And how to begin said something that matters. Yes. So good. OK. Question number five So this is about travel. What’s one travel hack meaning something you do or something you take with you when you travel to make your travel less painful or more enjoyable?
Phil Jones [00:55:26] Travel hacks. Travel hacks, I have lots of them, really, but the main things are – always travel well and by which I mean, pay the upgrade, collect the points, get the status if they offer you more leg room. Take it, if they offer you to be able to get on the plane earlier, take it, enjoy the drink, enjoy the flight, enjoy the food beforehand. If you know the food is not going to be good on the plane is is it is lean into all the good parts of travel and and don’t shortchange. You don’t try and – what I purposely try to not do is to make money out of travel. Or to save money during travel. My travel hack is to travel, as well as reasonably possible to ensure that that time doesn’t destroy, sabotage, bring hatred into other areas of my life. So that’s probably the biggest sort of mindset hack that I have to. And you know, me spending a thousand dollars on an upgrade on a seat for an airline I don’t typically travel on will allow me to fill a feel a lot more than a thousand dollars better. I get a lot more than a thousand dollars of productivity experience, even if that’s just self love.
Brilliant Miller [00:56:43] That’s great. That kind of reminds me of that. Robert Louis Stevenson “to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, travel well is a better thing than to arrive. That’s cool. I like that. OK, question number six, what’s one thing you’ve started or stopped doing in order to live or age well?
Phil Jones [00:57:10] Started to purposefully completely change my nighttime routine, and it involves going to bed significantly earlier. It involves 30 to 60 minutes of meditation or stretching or like downtime, no gadgets, no screens, etc.. Currently, that looks like my legs up the wall following a shower, just trying to stretch out my hamstrings so that I don’t become a decrepit hunchback. Through all of the travel and the bad posture decisions I make when sat at a desk. So, so creating a ritual of a routine that doesn’t feel like a chore that I enjoy. There is also now fjord thanks to my brilliant trainer couch that I work with in this space. I have a camomile tea and a magnesium tablet, and I sleep better.
Brilliant Miller [00:58:04] What was the first thing you said? Did you say a mug of tea, chamomile tea, and then a magnesium tablet?
Brilliant Miller [00:58:12] What does the magnesium tablet do for you?
Phil Jones [00:58:15] Muscle relaxant. So it’s designed to be able to help muscle repair, et cetera, from from working out. But equally, it. For somebody who, I’m always on the go, I’m very anxious as a result of which as well as always something to do, so I kind of live with the tension in my body most of the time. It helps release that
Brilliant Miller [00:58:43] right on. Now I’m going to look more into that. Thank you for that. OK, question number seven, recognizing that you are British. If I have that right right, I know it’s you. Not everyone in the UK is British, but I British are all UK. Not physically all in anyway. But you spent some time in the United States quite a bit. I understand.
Phil Jones [00:59:01] Well, I’m a British American now as well, so I’m a dual national at this time.
Brilliant Miller [00:59:05] Oh, right on. OK. So with that, as the backdrop for this question, what is one thing you wish every American knew?
Phil Jones [00:59:16] Oh, I wish every American knew that London and England are two different things, and I wish more Americans had a greater understanding for global events and global diversity, as opposed to just diversity within the United States of America, and I say that as an American. In this interview here is that I I wish there was a greater empathy and understanding for more corners of our world. And I use England as an example is the, you know, every time I travel back to the UK, to my home that people are like, You’re traveling back to London, I’m like, Well, you know what? Yeah, okay. When you know it’s a giant small country, which I think is different for many Americans to better understand that the diversity and culture in quite a small nation is really quite profound, and many of the assumptions that people make about the UK to the US are are rude in the same way that many of the assumptions that people make in the UK towards Americans are equally rude because they come from a position of naivety or ignorance. Oh, I wish more people will just shed that ignorance. I mean, it just comes back to my passion, and I wish people would ask more questions, be more curious and try and realize that we know very little. Yet we want to think that we know so much. And so, so adding more curiosity, I think, will just become such a fun game as well, right?
Brilliant Miller [01:00:50] For sure. For sure. All right. Question number eight. What’s the most important or useful thing you’ve ever learned about making relationships work?
Phil Jones [01:01:02] How quickly you can ruin them.
Brilliant Miller [01:01:05] Say more about that.
Phil Jones [01:01:07] Is this a lot talked about? As to how you could get people to know, like and trust you. There’s a lot written about as to what you can do to accelerate the quality of a relationship, how you can enhance relationships, how what you can do is to be able to maximize the leverage relationships. What really gets talked about is how quickly you can destroy one. And I think through my life is is that’s always been the the strongest set of lessons is how you can destroy a brilliant reputation through one simple move or through trading past the line. And I’ll give an example, even within my professional life that I’ll I’ll own up to is now I do a lot of work inside large organizations, and historically I’ve had great relationships with many people in many large organizations. What’s then happened over a period of time as those relationships have blossomed? And I’ve learned this and now to a point that I will never make the same mistake again is you can have too good of a relationship. To a point, though, what happens is if you are a side dish inside that organization and hold relationships like you’re an entree, then what you do is you challenge ego, you challenge the status quo. And what happens is if you are liked more than the person that should be liked most or you are respected more than the person who should be respected most, you wash that relationship crumble. So I think sometimes the biggest lesson to have is in building and maintaining relationships is to remember your role within that relationship. And don’t go past the job description of that role without permission.
Brilliant Miller [01:02:59] You know, they have thank you for that. I suspect there are some people listening that that is exactly what they needed to hear right now. That’s interesting. Thank you. OK. We talked about just about all the big things. Last one here is money. Aside from compound interest. What’s the most important or useful thing you’ve learned about money?
Phil Jones [01:03:21] The best thing you can do it is give it away. And that you don’t ever have money, you are responsible for money, money moves through you, money is water and you can always get more of it. Is that it? I know again, cliche, but it is. All the money in the world. And all the money that’s going to exist in your world is currently in the hands of somebody else. Yeah, you just need to be able to find ways to be of enough value that people are prepared to share with you. And then once you’ve been given it, you’ve got to find responsible ways of giving it away.
Brilliant Miller [01:04:03] And there’s a lot, a lot of insight in that, too. And a friend of mine, she points out exactly what you’re saying. This is why we call it currency, right? Mm-Hmm. That’s cool. OK, so speaking of money, one thing I have done as an attempt to express my gratitude to you for the work you’re doing at the time you spent here with me sharing your wisdom and experience with me and everyone listening as I’ve gone on a micro-lending site, Kiva.org, who facilitates microloans to entrepreneurs around the world. And I’ve made $100 micro loan to a 34 year old woman named Mercy in Liberia, who will use this money to buy rice oil and soap that she will then resell, and I won’t make any interest on this loan. Instead, it’s a virtuous cycle where the person who earned the interest is the field partner who facilitates it. So in this way, hopefully a lot is done. A lot of good for a lot of people, even beyond those who will ever hear it.
Phil Jones [01:04:59] I love that. That’s amazing. Thank you. Thank you.
Brilliant Miller [01:05:03] My pleasure. OK, so very last few moments here, last minutes, question or two. Just want to turn the conversation to writing for a moment? Let me just ask you, so I’ll ask you two things I’ll ask you the second. What I intended as a second one first. What advice or encouragement would you give anyone listening who is either actively working on getting their book done and out into the world, or it’s a dream they’ve been harboring for a long time? What do you say to someone in that situation?
Phil Jones [01:05:36] Get crystal clear on three questions. The first is, who are the people you’re looking to help? And that can be multiples, but it definitely should be one within an army of followers. The second question is one of the challenges you’re looking to help them overcome. And the third. Is what are you looking for this book to do in your own world? And your answers, those questions keep you honest. Because without those boundaries, what ends up happening. Is you end up producing a piece of work with the person you’re looking to help as you? The problem you’re looking to solve is ego or money. And the thing this book is going to need to do is going to be questionable. So having that clarity of purpose means all the micro-decisions along the way become a lot easier to make. You know, this is a book to help busy entrepreneurs achieve blank. OK, got it. And what is it looking to be on to help them overcome? Well, it’s looking to help them overcome brain fog. Procrastination bum. Okay, got it. And what are you looking for this book to do for you? Well, I’m looking for it to be a genuine revenue stream that allows me to be able to spend more time at home when my kids are. Well, that’s a different book than you’re looking for a book that’s going to put you on stage to allow you to spend 50 nights a year away from your kids. Completely different book, is this because you want to make your mom proud? Is this because you want to win a literary award or is this because you want to get a Wall Street Journal bestseller again? All different books. But I think without that clarity of focus, going in what you do is you get lost in the creative process. As opposed to the rational side of brain actually providing the boundaries for that creative process to flourish, and I think you’ve got to set those boundaries first. Otherwise. You end up in no man’s land creating a book that was only ever for you and that should have been a journal. Yeah, that’s great blog or a podcast or whatever else you wanted it to be. And, you know, I think is for that reason. Exactly What to Say is a paperback. It’s for that reason that Exactly What to Say is 17000 words because its form has followed its function. Every major publisher told me that it wouldn’t work. It was too short. A million copies later, every major publisher is wishing they bought it. Yeah, I own all my rights. So I potentially in Exactly What to Say, I have an annuity for my children and my children’s children.
Brilliant Miller [01:08:25] Good for you. That’s really cool. Well, good. OK, so just the last question, and thank you for that. I’ll just ask, I know every artist, every creative, everyone who produces work that benefits others encounters some kind of resistance, at least at some points along the way. How do you overcome resistance on those rare occasions it shows up?
Phil Jones [01:08:54] Clarity, those questions I gave a second ago are really helpful because I’m not looking to help all the people. So, you know, I’ve got over 2500 reviews online for Exactly What to Say. Not all of them are kind. And that reminder of who did I write this forward, it wasn’t for those people, so OK. Well, I wasn’t looking to please you. The fact I didn’t please you, thanks for joining the audience is all I can do. So it’s that reminder you can’t please all of the people all the time. Also, the other reminder that if you want to succeed in this world, you’ve got to find a way to serve the many. And that means that you’ve got to put yourself in the arena. And if you’re going to put yourself in the arena, people are going to first visit you, you’re going to get hurt. So just get used to getting hurt. And I think that that acceptance of the fact the just like a boxer knows that you’re going to get punched in the face on occasion and a UFC fighter is going to spend most of their life with bruises. If you want his personal brand space, you want to challenge status quo. You want to be able to present your ideas to the world as a as a different reality to what people are currently living right now. Work to get liked. And expect the fact that you are going to like expect the friction. Be ready for the punch and also decide, do you wish to fight? And my general belief from my point of view is No, no, I’m not. I’m not looking to fight with the people who disagree with me. I’m very accepting of the fact that people would disagree with me, and I’m looking to water the garden, not tender the weeds.
Brilliant Miller [01:10:41] Mm-Hmm. Well said. All right, Phil. Well, thank you for that. And I don’t know exactly when or where our paths will cross again, but I’m sure that they will and I will look forward to that day. So thank you so much.
Phil Jones [01:11:02] Thank you for a great interview. Thank you for the insightful conversations that you’ve brought into the world with so many brilliant, talented people. So I appreciate your efforts of helping to be able to make the world a better place through your great work. So thank you. Thank you.
Brilliant Miller [01:31:34] Hey, thanks so much for listening to this episode of the School for Good Living podcast. Before you take off, I just want to extend an invitation to you. Despite living in an age where we have more comforts and conveniences than ever before, life still isn’t working for many people, whether it’s here in the developed world where we deal with depression, anxiety, loneliness, addiction, divorce, unfulfilling jobs or relationships that don’t work, or in the developing world where so many people still don’t have access to basic things like clean water or sanitation or health care or education, or they live in conflict zones. There are a lot of people on this planet that life isn’t working very well for. If you’re one of those people or even if your life is working, but you have the sense that it could work better. Consider signing up for the School for Good Livings Transformational Coaching Program. It’s something I’ve designed to help you navigate the transitions that we all go through, whether you’ve just graduated or you’ve gone through a divorce or you’ve gotten married, headed into retirement, starting a business, been married for a long time, whatever. No matter where you are in life, this nine month program will give you the opportunity to go deep in every area of your life to explore life’s big questions, to create answers for yourself in a community of other growth minded individuals. And it can help you get clarity and be accountable to realize more of your unrealized potential. It can also help you find and maintain motivation. In short, it’s designed to help you live with greater health, happiness, and meaning so that you can be, do, have, and give more visit goodliving.com to learn more or to sign up today.
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