There’s one quote that, to me, best encapsulates how successful people think: “2x thinking is ‘what can I do?’, 10x thinking is ‘who can help me’?”.
In this episode I’m going to show you the simple process I use to solve large, complex problems quickly and take advantage of huge opportunities.
It’s called the “triangulation process” and I’ve been using it for over 10 years to compress time, avoid mistakes and get to where I want to go in one-tenth the time it used to take me.
Hey hey, Mitch Harper here and welcome to episode number four of my Insane Growth podcast, which I’ve called 10X Thinking. Now, if you’ve been following me for a while, you’ve probably seen me tweet quite a few times one quote that I really live by, that I have up here in the office, that I write down all the time. And that quote goes a little something like this:
2X thinking is “What can I do?” 10X thinking is “Who can help me?”
And when we think about how most people approach solving problems, they go internally. So they ask a question along the lines of “What can I do to solve this particular problem? What do I know? How can I approach the problem?” And in some cases that’s okay, but most of us, myself included, have a limited amount of knowledge or expertise in different areas. So the approach that I’ve found that works really well over the years is something I call the ‘Triangulation Process.’ And I’ve been using for about ten years now in business, in investing, in relationships, in health, in every area of my life. And that’s what I want to show you today. It’s a very simple process, but it’s also very powerful and it goes a little bit like this:
So, instead of internalising the problem and saying “What can I do?” Or “How can I solve the problem?” You really want to look externally, as per the quote that I just mentioned, start by looking at “Who can help me?” And the approach is really simple. You want to get opinions or answers or advice from three different people who are domain experts for the problem you’re looking to solve. Now don’t go to your mom. Don’t go to your wife, your husband. Don’t ask your brother, your kids. Look at people who are domain experts in the area of the problem you’re looking to solve. And if you don’t have a network, if they’re not people that you know, you can use books. Books are great. You can look on websites like Quora, Clarity.fm, you can post in Facebook or LinkedIn groups. There are very smart people out there who are more than happy to help you with the problems you have if you don’t have a big network.
And basically what you want to do is put the problem that you have to these three experts. If they’re in person, you can just ask them about it, or you can email them. If it’s in books or online, look for chapters in specific books that talk about the kind of problem you’re having. Look for interviews that people who are domain experts have done around the kind of problem that you’re having, and write down those answers. And what you want to do then is look for the commonalities of approach in their three different answers. And what I normally find is if three very smart people who are domain experts all tell me to do something specific as part of their advice, that’s a great place to start.
Now I don’t just go in and act on their advice straight away. I’ll take that as a research point and I’ll start researching that particular approach to the problem to start building up what I need to actually attack it. And then I’ll take that approach to a few other smart people that I know who may not be domain experts, and say “Hey, I’ve got this problem, what do you think about this particular way of solving it?” And again, I’ll get their feedback and kind of tweak and iterate on the approach. And then once I’ve done that, that’s where I start.
And the reason this triangulation process works so well is because you’re modelling. It’s a Tony Robbins concept where it essentially means that instead of taking ten years to learn a skill or to learn how to solve a problem, you go to smart people. You take their advice. You look for the commonalities and you get that result in a much shorter period of time. You’re avoiding mistakes, you’re compressing time, and as a by-product, you’re getting to the outcome you want much, much faster. Instead of just jumping in and saying “I’m a smart person. I can figure this out.” Maybe you can, but the mistakes you make along the way and the opportunity cost of that time you take can be better spent on something else, to move you forward in another part of your life, to solve another big problem that will get you to an opportunity, etc.
This approach, for me, has been really transformational. And I’ll share two different examples of how I use the triangulation process in my life. The first one is all around business, and one thing I’ve decided to do last year, about this time last year was launch an online education company. I’m very passionate about helping founders, as you know, that’s why I do this podcast. That’s why I blog all the time. That’s why I have my Inner Circle group. That’s why I do consulting, etc.
And I didn’t want to just jump in and say “Okay, I’m going to launch a consulting or online education company.” I wanted to figure out, number one, how to build that business rapidly within the first year to well into the seven-figure mark. Number two, I wanted to make essentially no mistakes or very few mistakes getting things off the ground. And number three, I wanted to understand pricing and psychology from the experts who had built big, seven-eight-nine figure consulting online training companies like I wanted to do. So I wanted to model them.
So of course, what did I do? I took the Triangulation Approach. So the first thing I did was I met with Casey. He was actually my first business coach back in, would’ve been 2007/2008/2009, somewhere around there. He’s from Adelaide. He was up here in Manley, which is a nice beach here in Sydney, if you’re not familiar with it. And we went to have lunch. I asked him about his business and took a lot of notes. He coaches founders. He has products. He has courses and just really, he gave me a great look inside his business.
And then I said “Okay, that’s great. I really like certain parts of Casey’s approach. How are other coaches/mentors/advisors/experts packaging/positioning/pricing/selling their products and their knowledge and building audiences?”
So I went to the quote-unquote “gurus.” I bought every single course I could from people like Frank Kern, Brendon Burchard, Russell Brunson. And, no joke, locked myself up at home for three months just going through their courses a few times each. Taking pages and pages and pages of notes. Going back and re-watching the courses.
And when I took the commonalities of approach from Casey, and also from Frank Kern and Brendon Burchard and Russell Bronson, I came up with a really nice plan for the three-year period after July last year, which is when I started doing all of this, to acquire clients. How to do pricing. How to launch different products and different price points. How to automate a lot of the marketing. Understanding the psychology of founders and entrepreneurs and CEOs who look for coaching and advice and consulting and why they join groups and masterminds and everything like that. And really laid out just an incredible plan that we’ve been executing on for about, it’s been about a year now. Maybe 11 months.
And it’s just worked incredibly well. The business is doing seven figures. It’s growing massively and it takes about five hours of my time a week to run. So obviously, I create content like this. I do blog posts. I run Inner Circle, which is our group training programme. I do one-on-one consulting with a few of the high-end founders that I work with directly on the phone and it works incredibly well. And I believe it would’ve taken me, I’m a smart guy, but it would’ve taken me maybe one to two years to figure out what I was able to hit the ground running with from day one because I used the Triangulation Process.
Really simple process, but it just got me started on the right path and building a really big business very very quickly. And for me, this is not about the money. It’s about empowering and helping one million founders build better businesses. But of course you’re not going to go into business and launch a new company if it doesn’t generate a huge amount of revenue and profit, essentially, as quickly as possible, because, for me that’s opportunity cost of deploying my time against some other asset that will create value for me.
So that’s the first example of how I’ve used the Triangulation Process. The second one has nothing to do with business and was all about fitness, and I wanted to lean up. Cut, if you like. And lose about ten kilos, and that was at the start of the year. And so the first thing I did was look at who has the body or the result that I want. And I went on Amazon and bought a few different books, and I spoke to my best friend who’s actually ripped. He has a great body.
And the commonality of all the different advice that I got, and I looked at people like Mike Chang, and I’m sure you’ve heard of the Hodge twins, they’re just hilarious. My friend, there were a few books, as I mentioned, on Amazon, and I decided after looking at all the advice and boiling it all down and looking at the commonalities of these different people, that intermittent fasting and HIIT, High Intensity Interval Training, were the two things that I needed to add into my routine to drop that ten kilos, which is, I think, about 22 pounds, something like that, if you’re doing conversion to the imperial system.
So that’s essentially what I did. I started eating all of my meals between 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm, and I would have two meals a day, so two bigger meals per day. And I wouldn’t eat outside of those hours. It was hard at first, but I’m a big believer in routine and I really wanted to make this work. And then I added HIITs, or High Intensity Interval Training to my workout routine. So instead of doing five weight sessions a week, which I’ve been doing for years, I reduced that down to three weight sessions per week and I added in three HIIT sessions. So three High Intensity Interval Training sessions, which for me, 30 minutes on the treadmill. So sprinting for 30 seconds, having a 30 second rest, that’s one minute, and repeating that for 30 minutes.
And when I got started I had to build up to that. So I started with ten minutes and then 15 minutes and then worked my way up to 30 minutes after a month or two. And got the result that I wanted. I lost that ten or so kilos in eight or nine weeks with very minimal effort.
And I think that’s the big thing that the Triangulation Process gives you. It’s still work to get a result, whether it’s in business or fitness or investing, or relationships, but because you’re not making as many mistakes along the way, it’s much easier to get to that result, because you see progress sooner. Because instead of spinning your wheels for the first few weeks or few months or few years, on something new or a problem like most people do, you’ve negated most of those mistakes because you’ve taken smart advice from smart people and that’s where you’re starting. So you essentially buy back a lot of time and it just makes it easier to keep moving forward, because you see momentum quickly.
And that’s for me, personally, why I use the Triangulation Process in everything, in all different areas of my life. It just works incredibly well.
That’s pretty much all I wanted to share on this episode, episode number four, called 10X Thinking. If you’re liking my Insane Growth podcast, make sure you subscribe on iTunes. Make sure you leave a five star rating. Tell some friends about it if you have founders or entrepreneurs or CEOs or people who want to start companies. Or even just want to have a better life. Make sure they come on and listen as well and we’ll go ahead and wrap it up. I will come at you next week with episode number five. Until then, be well, read my blog at mitchellharper.me/blog and I will talk to you soon. Bye.
If you enjoyed listening to this podcast, you have to come check out Inner Circle. It’s my monthly coaching program where we take all this material and we apply it into your business. We take it to the next level and we actually study it together. You’ll learn how to build your business faster, how to avoid mistakes, and most importantly, how to make your entrepreneurial journey fun. Join me over at mitchinnercircle.com. I’d love to have you on board and I’ll see you there.
|About Mitchell Harper
Mitch is a 7x company founder, advisor and investor. He is best known as the co-founder of BigCommerce. His companies have generated over $200,000,000 in total revenue and he is currently building an online education company and a SaaS company.