Momentum Podcast: 259

Clarity Over Confrontation

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

We are some of the few people in the world that invite confrontation. We create businesses that challenge the status quo and demand that our dreams become reality. However the more we create confrontation, the less we're creating confidence in those around us. When we seek clarity, our world starts to change for the better.

Full Audio Transcript

I'm Alex Charfen and this is the Momentum podcast. Made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers, and creators of all kinds, those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny, we define it. We don't understand defeat, because you only lose if you stop and we don't know how.

While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future, and instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution and we always will be.

Clarity over confrontation. Applied correctly, this can be one of the biggest game changers in your business, in your relationship with your kids and in your life in general. Clarity over confrontation. See, here's what happens to us, to you, to me, as evolutionary hunters, we are that small percentage of the population that gets up every day, goes out and makes things happen. But epigenetically, historically, evolutionarily throughout all of history, we have been that small percentage of the population that gets up and goes out and kills things. We are the part of the world that is ready for confrontation. In fact, when you look at what we do as entrepreneurs, we start businesses that create a change in the world. When we're creating a change, we, in fact, by definition, invite confrontation into our lives. And I can tell you that this manifests itself in so many different ways for us as entrepreneurs.

When we're frustrated with somebody, we want to tell him right away; when we get upset with somebody, we want to have the last word; when we're angry or feel like somebody has slighted us, we want to go back and tell them exactly why. And why do we want to do these things? That's easy. It's because it feels good. Confrontation in the moment, when we're unloading that negative energy inside of us, if we're frustrated or irritated or confused or angry and we can just blow up in that moment, we all have to admit it feels good. It feels good to unburden yourself, to unload on someone. If you're frustrated, it feels good to pass that confrontation over to the other person in the moment.

But here's the challenge for us as entrepreneurs: we have to start to understand that the more we create confrontation, the less we're creating ease of communication around us. The more we create confrontation, the less we're creating confidence in those around us, and the more we create confrontation, the less we create clarity. Because when we get into a fight, an argument, when we will confront someone, what we're doing is we're telling them how we feel. We're telling them what's going on for us. We're explaining to them how their actions make us feel. But when we see clarity in stead, everything changes.

I'm going to give you an example, one that's very personal for me because this saying, this statement, clarity over confrontation has helped me in business immeasurably. It's helped me in leading my team and guiding the team, the people who have decided to work with me and helping them grow, probably just as much as anything else has. But the place where clarity over confrontation has probably helped me the most is at home with my family, with my wife and with my kids.

I'll give you an example from a few years ago. Reagan and I were going up to Dick's Sporting Goods, which is in a shopping center down the street from our house to go buy a soccer ball. We had purchased a soccer ball. We went on vacation, it stayed out in the backyard, and it had become one of those half moon soccer balls that was all kind of crusty and breaking apart. We had to go buy a new one. So we threw that soccer ball away and we went up to the sporting goods store and Reagan and I were walking through the store with Kennedy. And I can remember it like it was yesterday. Reagan said, "Hey dad, look, we should get me a new bike. Mine has a flat tire."And I remember in that moment the response that I was going to give her was the response that I probably would have gotten as a kid. This is what almost launched out of my head. I was about to say "Reagan, what do you mean buy a new bike because there's a flat tire? Are you crazy? What a waste of money. We don't need to buy a new bike, we can fix the one that you have. And there's no way we need to buy something new just because it's broken. Come on/"

And that is what was ready to go come out of my head in a moment. But instead I remembered this clarity over confrontation and even though physiologically I was feeling like I wanted to confront her, I wanted to say, "Hey, you can't think this way. This is the wrong way to look at this," I didn't. Instead I said, "What do you mean, Reagan? Why would we buy a new bike?" And she said, "Well, Dad, the ball's flat and it doesn't hold air anymore. So we threw it away and we're going to buy a new one. My bike has a flat tire. It doesn't hold air anymore. Let's throw it away and buy a new one."

And in that moment I realized how logical she was being. This wasn't a kid who was trying to waste money. This was a child who was actually thinking pretty logically. We were doing the same thing with the ball, why wouldn't we do the same thing with the bike? And that gave me this opportunity. Just asking one question gave me an opportunity to walk Reagan and over to the bike section, show her what an inner tube was, get an inner tube, bring it home, fix the bike, and show her that there was no reason to buy a new bike. We could just repair the one that we had, but we didn't have the same opportunity with the ball.

Now here's what I know in my heart as a father. Had that other confrontational response been what I used, had I turned and chewed her out for thinking that way about money, one, she probably would have been fundamentally confused. Two, she would have been scared or intimidated to say something to me about needing to buy stuff in the future because she didn't really expect that type of response. And three, I would have closed down and constrained the communication between my daughter and I, which in reality for me, the communication between my daughters Kennedy and Reagan and me and my wife Cadey is maybe the most important thing in the world to me. And so in that moment, that one question of clarity allowed me to understand what she was really saying and how she was really looking at it and allowed me to help her see another option.

See, I could have gone straight into confrontation and I feel so fortunate that in that moment ... I'm remembering it like it was yesterday right now, because I remember for the rest of the day it left this impression on me, that had I followed the base level instincts, had I followed that adrenaline that said, "Confront her. She's trying to waste money." Had I followed that first compulsion I had to confront her, we would've had a totally different outcome and who knows what level of confusion my daughter would have been subjected to. Instead, I was able to rectify it and fix it.

Now, here's the challenge for people like you and I. Entrepreneurs are often misunderstood. In fact, one of the biggest issues I deal with for my private clients, and what we work on daily and the systems and the structures and everything that we work with, is to help entrepreneurs be heard, to help entrepreneurs be understood. Because one of the biggest issues that most entrepreneurs deal with is the constant fluctuation between what they thought they communicated and what people around them heard.Aand if this doesn't happen to you, consider yourself fortunate, because most entrepreneurs are in a constant state of trying to figure out whether they communicated correctly or not.

And here's the challenge with confrontation. When someone on our team or in our lives or someone around us communicates in a way that is not clear to us and we confront them, we go back at them, we go energetically and push them backwards, They are even more likely to hear us in the future. Did you hear that? I want to make sure that this gets through.

See confrontation, while it feels good in the moment and it makes us feel like we're doing the right thing and it makes us think that the person that we're confronting is going to hear us better in the future, the reality is exactly the opposite. When we confront someone and intimidate them and make them feel uncomfortable, make them feel small, and make them feel less-than, that [jades 00:08:55], that conditions, that challenges all the communication we have with that person from that point forward, until you earn back their trust.

But when you have someone on your team and there's a moment where you could confront them, there's a moment where you could go back at them, there's a moment where you could energetically shut them down or make them uncomfortable and instead you seek clarity, You aggressively kick down the walls that are between the two of you. You build a chain of communication that is incredibly strong. You lock the two of you together so that you can communicate in the future. And the more you see clarity with the people around you ... This is the key ... The more they will trust communication with you.

Because a lot of us as entrepreneurs have something twisted. See, we think that it's the job of the entire world around us to understand our communication, but the fact is whether communication is understood or not is the responsibility of the communicator, for us. And so as entrepreneurs, our businesses, our lives, our legacy will only be improved if we aggressively learn how to communicate better. If we are constantly working on how to improve how we communicate and relate to the world around us, and when we as entrepreneurs are willing to put time in here, when we as entrepreneurs are willing to communicate in a better way, when we are willing to rise up and seek clarity rather than communication, here's what happens. We increase the level of trust that everyone around us has for us.

The less we confront people, the more we seek clarity, the more we are seen as the person who can accept communication, who understands what's going on, who's easy to talk to, who coaches rather than confronts, who seeks clarity and helps people create momentum, it will shock you how much you can get done.

Because today on my team I've created an atmosphere where rarely is there any type of confrontation and we only see clarity. And here's why that is so magical. In fact, I'll use the example with Justin Light who works with us and is quite possibly one of the most talented people I've ever had the opportunity to work with. And he runs our coaching department and works with our clients. And he has this ... It's hard to describe Justin. He has this incredibly caring and grounding and motivating personality that helps the people around him do better just by being there. And the people on my team absolutely love Justin. We have this thing called "caught being awesome" and I just kind of keep a tally in my mind and justin is one of the people most often called out for being caught being awesome because he's such a motivating factor on our team.

And a few weeks ago we were actually having a discussion around this topic or a very similar topic about what do we do on our team when there's a mistake, what do we do when there's an error, how do we handle a challenge or an issue in judgment? And Justin answered the question for the client that asked it in a way that I thought was pretty magical. What he said was "When there's a challenge or an issue or any type of a problem on our team, we just bring it to Alex and take care of it as quick as we can. On most teams, they hide problems, they hide issues, they hide challenges. But on our team, we know that if we bring it to Alex and we discuss it with him, we're gonna find a way to move it forward and create clarity and get back into momentum fast."

And I remember as Justin was saying that how it gave me chills and gave me a body reaction and I felt emotional about it because that is not the company I've always run. I haven't always been that CEO. In fact, there's been times where I had entire teams of people around me that were intimidated by just talking to me. There's been times where I was the last person to find out if something was going wrong. There has been times in my career where I had teams that did everything they could to hide problems from me and fix them without me knowing because they knew they would be in a confrontation. H

Here's what I can tell you about having run businesses both ways. Clarity over confrontation will not only make you a better CEO, but it will help your team grow. It will pull you and the people around you even closer together. It will help you be seen and felt as a better leader. It will help you develop your business faster and clear the constraint out of your life at a rate that you never thought possible.

Because here's one of the biggest challenges for people like us. When we go through our lives in confrontation, when we go through our lives fighting and swinging, when we go through our lives and we don't seek clarity, then we leave constraint all over the place. But when we get up on a daily basis and at any point where we feel a constraint or a loss of momentum and we seek clarity in that moment, we ask the questions that we need to, we gain the understanding that we need to, e get right back into momentum faster than just about anybody out there can.

And that's what I want for you. I want you to have a life where you can get back into momentum, where your team trusts you, where your family trusts you, where you feel good about the communication that you have with the people around you, and where you create clarity over confrontation. Because I want you to go grow your business bigger than you ever thought possible. I want you to create an enterprise that will shock you at what an incredible contribution it makes to the world. And I want you to build a team that makes you feel fully supported so that you can be everything that you are in the world. Clarity over confrontation will get you there. I know it's changed my life beyond anything that I could describe on a single podcast.

If you're ready to not just improve your communication, but improve your entire business and create a forward looking planning structure so you know where you're going, you can call your shots and have your team follow you there, then get in touch with us. Go to and I want you to do two things. One, fill out some questions for me and my team, because we will return to you the survey results of the billionaire code and show you exactly where you are on the path to entrepreneurial success. We will give you the nine levels of success that every entrepreneur goes through on their way to over a nine figure business, and we'll show you exactly what level you're in.

And here's what that will give you. It will tell you where you are, what you should be focused on next, and what you should do to create as much momentum as possible. Go to and in just a couple of minutes you'll know exactly where you are as an entrepreneur, what you should be focusing on right now, and you will stop wasting time feeling plateaued and not knowing where to go next. The path to entrepreneurial success has been solved. Know the code. Go to, answer a few questions, and you're there.

Thank You For Listening!

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