We have been trained from a very young age to suck at the way the real world operates.
In school, we prepare cyclically for tests. We spend 3 months in a class preparing for a midterm and then a final. After taking those tests and receiving your grade, so long as you pass, there is no self-evaluation of how you could have done better to improve. It’s off to the next class to repeat the 1-off performance measurement.
The real world doesn’t work this way. You can try, fail, tweak, try, fail, tweak, try, improve. etc.
This goes against how we have been trained for so many years in our life, to prepare for a test we only ever take once.
In business, you get to review your ‘score’ and then re-take the test. Essentially everyday.
What we find most useful is doing this on a monthly basis. Having metrics that you check in on each month is essentially your ‘test’. Based on the results, you can change course and modify as needed.
The mentality in that case is way different. You aren’t thinking how ‘I have to crush it this month or I am a failure’ since reality isn’t a one-off thing.
Ryan: Welcome back once again to the Health Fit Business podcast. I’m Dr. Ryan Debell. This is episode, I don’t know but that doesn’t matter as much as the content. In this episode, we talked about monthly evaluations and why they are so important for getting to where you want to go and how we have been set up from our time in school to not think and behave this way. So, that’s what you can expect from this episode. That’s enough talking about it. Let’s get into it.
Ryan and Anthony: Welcome!
Anthony: Welcome! Welcome!
Ryan: To another episode…
Anthony: With my man, at last, in person. We haven’t recorded much in person. This is the Health Fit Business podcast by the way.
Ryan: Episode, I don’t know. Thank you, guys, for tuning in, listening. This episode… Well, where are we right now?
Anthony: San Francisco baby.
Ryan: We’re in San Francisco. We’re at the headquarters of Dr. Anthony Gustin.
Ryan: Which is incredible because the last time I was here, you guys were at We Work, right?
Anthony: I think we just started there.
Ryan: And now you have this incredible physical office with all your employees
Anthony: Yeah, I feel very…
Ryan: It’s beautiful here. You really did a great job.
Anthony: Thank you.
Ryan: On this episode of the Health Fit Business podcast, we’re talking about doing monthly evaluations and overcoming the pressure of having to have perfect performance and how that essentially… How we are essentially trained to think and behave that way throughout school growing up. But in reality, in the business world, that is not actually the best way to do it.
Anthony: So essentially, why we usually go towards leaning to stop doing things and how to systematically break through that. Right?
Ryan: Yup. So, if we think about like in school throughout our lives until we’re probably for a lot of people, probably a lot of people listening to this podcast, in school until you’re 25. If you go think about elementary, high school, college, and then graduate or even if you know, even just from essentially the age of essentially 4 to 18 through high school, depending on how far you took your education- a vast majority of your life you were trained to prepare for a test, be evaluated on your performance, and then never revisit that test. And move on to different concepts. Let’s say you’re doing a math class, you have a test on this one specific way of doing Math, you take the test and then you move on to that other type of thing.
Anthony: Yup! If you take that test and you get an A, it’s like “Great! You did a good job!” If you get a C, then you just have to move on. It’s not like you take it again until you get a B and then an A.
Ryan: Right and then, in business, in life, first of all we are not really giving ourselves tests regularly. The test is sort of like how much money do I have in my bank account, you know, versus like what you’ve been doing monthly self-evaluations or monthly evaluations of the business.
Anthony: Yeah, in personal I think I’ve mentioned a few times in podcast that once a month, I typically head up north and do a little deep dive session where I just bring a book and a do a retreat. Take one to three days just depending on how overwhelmed difficult that time to stop and evaluate the situation for what’s it’s worth. So, reacting to things on a day to day basis will get you caught in this zone where you’re not really asking yourself how things went and where things should go based upon current data. And so, this monthly retreat is a system for me to evaluate. “Did I get a… what was my grade in the last test? What subject am I testing myself on? What was my last grade? Could I improve? How does that look? Let’s figure out next month what my outcome on that test was.”
Ryan: Every month, you’re essentially retaking a similar test, performance test, and then you are using the previous test results to change course versus in school, it was always this “Well now there is a different test, different topic, different subject,” You never were trained to take the test, learn from it, and then take the test again better.
Anthony: Right. And get that feedback, of what did I do wrong? How? What is my hypothesis a and how I can fix it? And then testing that hypothesis and getting results from the test next month.
Ryan: Right. So, it is very unnatural unless you purposely do something that you haven’t done before. Most people haven’t done this so they are like “That seems like a weird thing to do.” Well yeah. That’s a weird thing to do because you never done it in your life.
Anthony: Right, and so, it’s been a process that we’ve been working on for the last year, year and a half, two years of doing this constant reevaluation once a month. You can’t really fit that in in a regular day to day. It doesn’t work. Just like with a midterm and final exam, you’re not going to be taking that every single day. You need to be doing the studying, you need to be doing the learning, executing, and then you go “Okay, what was the result from all of that?” So, that is why I do it about once a month, if I was just reevaluating once a week, it is like taking a test every single day. It doesn’t work.
Ryan: There is not enough time to let course changing take effect.
Ryan: You know?
Anthony: Right. I’m going to come up with templates that would probably share at some point of how I look. So, I have a big yearly thing that I track and so I visit that. So, this is what it looks like where I say “Okay, my goal was x amount of whatever or this grade on this test?” if you want to put it in that language for the whole year. “Do I need to change my course for this yearly?”
Ryan: What about people who are listening and they are like “This is very abstract.” What would be the things that you would go through in a monthly evaluation?
Anthony: Right. One of them was I want to meditate two or three times this year and so I track, “Oh okay. Where am I now at my own pace?” and then I put a marker on that if it’s green, yellow or red. Green means keep doing what I’m doing, don’t change my habit. Don’t change any of my strategies. Yellow means maybe we should look at this and see if it’s just a down month towards something that I should look at and red is just completely off track and we really need to to think about approaching this from a completely different solution.
Ryan: What about in terms of business?
Anthony: Yeah! So, revenue targets, launching x amount of new products, launching new types of products, hiring new people, things like that.
Ryan: So, all those will have some metrics of like “We want to have this x amount of revenue. We want to have like launch new products this frequently or have this mini business partners.” and then you are looking at the “Okay. At the end of the month, did we hit those things? If not, why? What can we try to do better for next month? And then re-measure those same things.“ You might find that there’s other things. It’s constantly evolving, isn’t it?
Anthony: The general seeking of feedback from your actions on a very regular systematic basis makes it so incredibly effective. Because otherwise, you have this ambiguous yearlong goal. You try to break it up in to daily chunks. Some people like, they work backwards from a goal to make like daily checklist of things they do. They don’t evaluate systematically if that is actually a good way to do it. Let us say I have an exam coming up. Well maybe I should study with study partner instead. Maybe I should do this instead. Let’s try that out next time and then take the test again. Same thing on a month to month to month basis. Meanwhile, the test is in marketing. I’ve been trying to learn how to market better and so you can measure that with data that you get and you can do this on a personal basis or business basis. But being intentional about how you are approaching the problem and if that approach has been a good solution or ineffective solution.
Ryan: I would say that vast majority of people do not do this level of self-reflection regularly. There’s some barriers to it.
Anthony: We were talking about, yesterday about, trying to be more aware of our actions and what is more of a reaction than an action. And so, in that sense for me, I literally. I’ll show this to you later if you want to check out but I put in my calendar the first 3 days of every month. And so, this is actually a time, it gave me an alarm yesterday – monthly check-in. And so that way, it is a system that I go into and I don’t have to think about and react to it and be emotional about it. I don’t have to rationalize out of it. It is something that “Oh! It’s on my calendar. This is what I do” and then I’m like “Oh! Sh*t! I really let this go this month or did this.” Like one of the things was…
Ryan: So you are planning the deep thinking and the reflection sessions…
Anthony: Yeah. Way in advance and make it part of my routine and systemize it in a way that I don’t go away from that because if you take away this reaction mentality, like, “Oh! Marketing doesn’t feel like it is going in the direction I want.” It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how you feel. Like, look at the numbers. Look at what you did and the actions you took and then be aware of how you want to change that reactions in the month ahead and having ways of getting around that. There’s another conversation but then that monthly tracking then I make a list after that of “Here’s where I want things to go. Here’s what’s there now. Here’s the things that I should change and turn in to action plans.” Then I change, I have a daily check list thing where I can see my daily actions where it kind of score based system, like competitive like that. That’s how my brain works. And so, I can like for instance, writing blog post to me was more important to me beginning of the year. It was on my daily thing. I’d put a 1 in the box, if I did it. 0 if I didn’t. And I total all these numbers of different things that I want to do and ended up in a score. Green means I’m getting all the sh*t done that I want to get done. But I reevaluated different priorities now and that column is now gone.
Ryan: So, it’s not like…
Anthony: But I’m trying to remove this automatic reaction process of just like “I know I should be doing stuff like this.” No, that stuff is on my to do list every single day based upon the feedback of where I want to go and what I need to do and how I need to course correct way to do that on a month to month basis.
Ryan: Yeah. You do that month in, month out. The actions you take daily are going to change dramatically.
Ryan: Because you realize these things don’t matter. These are the things do matter I think. Let me test them out. See if those effect in a positive or negative way the metrics that I’m basing my evaluation on business wise. That’s how I know. But don’t just guess or have a view based on feel. There are ways to collect the data that will help you make better decisions for your business but it is hard. You to dedicate time to it. It feels unnatural because we aren’t grown up doing it. There’s a lot of intention and planning that you have to do when you start to do this.
Anthony: It’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of energy. It’s a lot of… I’ll go one to one to three-day retreats and people who know me that know I do it just think I’m going like f*ck around.
Ryan: “Yeah, he’ll go hang out…”
Anthony: Yeah. Forget it. It is more mentally exhausting than any day to day is. You have to approach being comfortable with being uncomfortable. Meaning that you are doing things that are counter-productive. Evaluating your own self and saying “Oh shit! I just spent the last 30 days doing something that I should not be doing. It is not a comfortable thing.”
Ryan: People don’t do it because they are like, they are afraid of…
Anthony: Here’s a real strip on your ego would be honest with yourself that you are not making good decisions. You need to improve them constantly.
Ryan: Right. If you don’t know, then you can never know that you wasted your own time and then having to reflect and be like “Wow! That wasn’t effective!”
Anthony: Yeah. These weekends are not fun. It’s a lot of work. I try to make it as nice a possible that’s why I go to these certain places that have a really good environment so that way the uncomfortable thoughts I have to have with myself me not doing things correctly and how to fix them is less of a stressor than it would be otherwise.
Ryan: Because you are going somewhere enjoyable. Got it! Yeah! So, we’ve been set up to not do this. We need to really intentionally do it!
Anthony: And we are working on a project right now that actually has a lot of stuff in there. My little sheet where you can include that. This is little bonus things. You can see how I structure it and use it.
Ryan: Sometimes soon, hopefully.
Anthony: So, I guess Challenge of the Week would be…
Ryan: Yeah. What’s the COW COW?
Anthony: Identify something that you’re trying to improve or skills that you are trying to master. Anything where you would normally have a goal in your life and then think systematically. Put it in your calendar for the next couple of months “What was I doing to reach my goal? Was it effective? Was there something that I could be doing better?” Have this self-reflection put in and take the test again. And think about like that. “I’m going to do marketing once and that’s it. I failed. I’m not good at that. Things go out the way I wanted to.”
Ryan: Yeah! You can retake the test man!
Anthony: So, study different way.
Ryan: Study different way and approach the test differently and find what’s the most effective method to do really well on the test.
Anthony: So, pick a topic, set right away thing.
Ryan: Get after…
Anthony. Revisit and get after it.
Ryan: Get after it.
Ryan: Thank you guys for tuning in to this episode of the Health Fit Business podcast. If you found it helpful, please share with someone that you think it would also help and leave us a five-star rating on iTunes. Make sure also to go to healthfit.biz and sign up for the email notifications to which you can find right on the homepage so that you get all the updated podcasts and blog posts sent directly to you. Until then, we will see you next time.