Momentum Podcast: 547

Part 3: Asking Questions to Get Ahead

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

Listen in for part 3 of my presentation at the Titan Summit. This segment is all about asking the right questions to achieve success. We go over specific themes with successful people such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. We take a look at them because starting off, Bill and Warren were just like you. They just knew what questions to ask and how to use them to get ahead. 

Here’s the thing – as entrepreneurs, questions fundamentally drive us. It’s just how we are wired. We have questions that drive our life. We have questions that drive us crazy. We question just about everything – as we should. Tune in to hear the questions you should be asking to get yourself ahead and achieve massive levels of success. 

Make sure to listen to the episode, but the reality is to scale your business you need to simplify. In our coaching programs, our clients who have experienced fast growth have a common denominator…they simplified like crazy. If you want help growing and scaling your biz, head on over to 

Full Audio Transcript

Jeremy: Hey everybody, this is Jeremy again from Alex's team. This is part three of Alex's phenomenal presentation at the Titan Summit. Asking questions is a game changer for entrepreneurs. I mean, let's be honest, we are driven fundamentally by questions. In this episode, Alex starts to unpack specific themes in people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, and how you can start to see this transition in your business.

Alex Charfen: 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.

How many of you are driven fundamentally by questions? What is the kid who asks questions all day get told in school?

Speaker 3: Stop.

Alex Charfen: Stop. Sit down. Enough, right? I posted on Facebook this morning, we spend our entire childhoods being told to sit still and we spend our adulthood telling ourselves to move. Isn't that a fact? And when we look at the life of an entrepreneur, see Maslow has his hierarchy. And most people don't know this, but Maslow has hierarchy version one, two and three. Does anybody know that? Yeah, he got very confused. Really? He did.

And if you read the data tables and you look at his research, I've read a lot of stuff about, about people. I like Maslow. He was the only guy who thought that human beings weren't just here to like sleep with their parents and steal from each other.

He really did. He thought there was a human need hierarchy that made us good. And at the top, what's there?

Speaker 4: Self actualization.

Alex Charfen: Self actualization, Right? What's at the bottom? Food, water, all that stuff, right? How many of you know an entrepreneurial personality type, now that I've described it, who want to do nothing but help other people and feel good about it, but have very little food, water and other stuff? How many of you know that person? Maslow was wrong.

How many of you have been wanting to help people your whole lives since before they were nice to you? Right? Do you remember the contradiction of being a kid and thinking, "I want to help these people even though they're beating me up?" I'm not kidding. I was bullied, which is the U.S. way to just make torture sound good, right? You call it school, I call it 30 prisoners, one guard with the back turned.

Because for people like us is there pressure and noise? So here's how it works guys. We don't have a hierarchy. We have questions that drive our lives, the fundamental base questions and when I look at an entrepreneur, I can talk to them in five minutes, figure out where they are in their career because here's how it starts.

We all start asking the question, how do I stop pressure and noise? How many of you know that when you were younger you had more pressure and noise and most? Put your hands up. You remember this, right? The next question, how do I stop pressure and noise is where it starts. What is wrong with me?

How many are still asking this question? Guys, here's the fact. We can all get back to these two base level questions. How do I stop pressure and noise and what is wrong with me. The next question that is birth, is how do I get ahead?

First signs of potential because if you have high pressure and noise and you know there's something wrong with you, the burning question is how do I get ahead? How do I get ahead turns into how do I get further ahead? And this is normally where innate motivation is ignited.

How many of you remember that period? You're on a team, you had a coach, there was a mentor, there was somebody who saw potential in you and lit the fire that never went out. That's that how do I get further ahead. Now, this big transition in an entrepreneur's life is how does my team help me get ahead?

We all hope this is a short period. It was not for me. This is a messy management period. How many of you will admit to the, "How does my team get me ahead," where you hired people and you often hear people in this stage of management and say things like, "I don't understand why they're not doing anything. I already told them," right?

What do you mean, how do we do it? I already said it this morning, right? Why aren't they doing what they're supposed to do? You know what I'm talking about? How many will admit to that management period? I was 21 years old. I had nine secretaries in eight months. I didn't fire one of them.

I'm calm these days. You should've seen me back then. I was intense. So after, how does my team get me ahead? How does my team get ahead? So here's what happens in every entrepreneurs life guys. We see this. I've read over 10,000 biographies. When I was a kid, I had one year where I was in special education. The next year when I was in gifted and talented, the next year I was in special education. I figured I was screwed. I started reading about success and I knew that the institution of school was doing a lot for a lot of people. But for me it was doing nothing but confusing me. And I started reading about what makes human beings successful. And if you read 20 or 30 biographies, you see some patterns, but they're not really clear. Everybody looks different.

But you start reading 100, 200, 1,000, 2,000 and you start really reading. You see these transitions because the transition here is magical, from how does my team get me ahead, to how does my team get ahead, is where an entrepreneur is sees value in people around them. Sometimes for the first time, no joke.

We can look at the histories of some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world and it is clear that prior to this question being birthed, they did not see value in people. But what this leads to, is the connection, the contribution, the spirituality of running a business, the exchange we enter into with the people around us as we all mutually move forward. Is that an experience?

It's magical because it gets us to this question, how does my team get further ahead? Where an entrepreneur leans in and it's all value in people. It's all improving his team. And what happens is even the toughest competitors, the most challenging entrepreneurs, the cutthroat competitive people have so much reflection from their team, they want them to get further ahead and then they want to start helping others.

And the way that every entrepreneur ends up is with the question, how do we help everyone? And guys, I can demonstrate this to you. Watch.

So Bill Gates, anybody remember Bill Gates? See Bill Gates. What is he today? He's remembered as like a humanitarian. Let's go back through Bill Gates' life. So first, how do I stop pressure and noise? Did Bill Gates have pressure and noise? Here's Bill Gates. Look at him. I'm not kidding. When Gates was younger, he didn't have eyeballs. He had these regions behind glasses. Right? You know what I'm talking about? So, did he have pressure and noise? Absolutely.

How do I get ahead or what's wrong with me? You know he was asking that question. How do I get ahead? Like in the early years of Gates' life, there's some bad stuff there. He stole some stuff to start Microsoft, just like Jobs, right? That, how do I get ahead burns hard.

In fact, of course not in this room, but in many rooms of entrepreneurs I speak to, there's a high percentage of us who have a period in that how do I get further ahead, not that it's like we wouldn't be transparent, but we're not necessarily volunteering it to the kids. Right?

You can always tell that the people laughing are the ones who really had a challenge. That's why I always laugh. See when you look at Gates, he matured. What is wrong with me? How do I get ahead? How do I get further ahead? How do I get further ahead?

Those of you who don't remember the biography of Bill Gates, he was at one time suing half of the states in the United States, 13 countries international. Almost every attorney general in the U.S. was going after him and Gates was using Microsoft as a battering ram against the entire world. Who remembers this?

He was public enemy number one, sitting in front of Congress and basically flipping them off, right? And so how do I get further ahead? Here's what happened. He overwhelmed himself. He couldn't breathe. His team had to move in. He started mentoring people, working with them, saw value in people, changed. Gates became kind of like a guy who was good to be around. People started saying like, "Hey, Bill actually is like a mentor. He's a good guy."

I visited Microsoft once. I had a name badge. The name badges had carpet colors on them. You couldn't go on to certain carpet colors unless you had the color on your name badge. The one that I didn't have was brown. I asked why I couldn't go in there. They said, "Well, we installed that carpet because visitors can't go on the brown carpet. It's the perimeter from where you could hear Bill if he's yelling."

That's like real, but what does Gates turn into? What happens? Microsoft explodes. A secretary becomes a millionaire off the stock. He starts seeing value in people. There's this thing called contribution. We can change things. So much so, he asked to leave Microsoft and what is he trying to do today? Save the world.

His buddy, Warren Buffet is just the same. I mean Buffet, how do I stop pressure and noise? Same as Gates. He had some issues as a kid, right? And so how do I get ahead? Buffet knows he's terrible at managing people, but he wants to get ahead and his whole thing is scale. So how does he get further ahead?

He gets a team. 25 people in Berkshire Hathaway Corporate ran the single most valuable company in the world. It was all paper. But Buffet, you remember in the early days, this guy was cutthroat He was an undertaker. He used to take companies apart. He was also public enemy number one, right?

And Buffet used to say things like, "Do not give anything away." I mean this guy had his communion money rattled away somewhere. And what happens? Read Snowball. Same story. Team starts being successful. He sees money doesn't change people for the bad, success changes people for the good. We should give things away. We should help other people. Maybe there's more people that need help. Maybe other people will help. Hey, I've done scale before.

Buffet today runs the single largest private fund in the history of the world, with less than 25 people. It's a charity. See? How do we help everyone comes right back.

Jeremy: Thanks for listening to this episode again and look, the reality is in order to scale your business, you need to simplify. In our coaching programs, clients who have experienced fast growth have a common denominator. They simplified like crazy.

If you want some help growing and scaling your business, head on over to That's

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