Interview with Steve Sims
Steve Sims on The Art of Making Things Happen
How do the richest, most successful people get to where they are?
Today’s guest, Steve Sims, was determined to find out—and in the process, accidently created the world’s first luxury concierge, with Forbes later calling him “The Real Life Wizard of Oz.”
Steve’s day job is to make the impossible possible. With his help, his clients’ wildest fantasies and dreams come true. Getting married by the Pope in the Vatican, being serenaded by Andrea Bocelli, and connecting with powerful business moguls like Elon Musk & Sir Elton John, to name just a few.
When I asked Steve about his life growing up, he shared a story about his father teaching him that failure is just an education of what not to do. He’s not shy about the fact that he’s failed many times—but he views those experiences as sources of growth and education.
Steve’s journey serves as a powerful story for anyone aspiring to succeed. If you can view your failures as simply learning what not to do, and if you can grow a little bit each day, it’s going to have a huge impact.
In this episode, I speak to Steve about his remarkable journey from his humble beginnings as a bricklayer’s son, to creating a unique and thriving career while rubbing elbows with the most successful people in the world.
You’ll also learn all about his book, Bluefishing: The Art of Making Things Happen, which reveals his secrets to accomplishing the seemingly impossible!
Featured on This Episode: Steve Sims
✅ What he does: Steve Sims is the Founder of the world’s first luxury concierge that delivers the highest level of personalized travel, transportation, and cutting-edge entertainment services to corporate executives, celebrities, professional athletes, and other discerning individuals interested in living life to its fullest. He owns Sims Media, Sims Distillery, is the author of Bluefishing, host of The Art of Making Things Happen podcast, coach, speaker, and speakeasy host.
💬 Words of wisdom: Steve thought if he was connected to so many successful people, one of them would end up giving him a job. None did, but during the journey, he ended up building his own unique career.
- If you don’t know the answer, find someone who does. When Steve wanted to know how to become successful, he figured he’d go straight to the source and ask successful people about their path to achievement. He ended up building a whole career out of it. If you’re trying to learn about something new, the advice Steve gives is to seek out someone who is credible and qualified. Educate yourself by learning from the best, most successful people in that field.
- Be deliberate about the people you surround yourself with. Everyone has people in their life — whether it’s family, friends, or colleagues — who can be draining to be around. But, most of us also have people in our lives who energize us when we spend time with them. Steve noticed the correlation between his dealings with people and his mood and decided he was only going to talk to people he liked dealing with. If you cut the people who bring you down, it leaves more room for the people who elevate you.
- If you want to see what it’s like on the “other side,” get creative and put yourself in a position to have new experiences. When Steve wanted to understand what affluence was like, he immersed himself in it. He couldn’t afford a Ferrari, but he could go to a Ferrari dealership and sit behind the wheel. He couldn’t afford to stay at a 5-star hotel, but he could go sit in the lobby and order coffee at one. Too often, people are afraid to try these things, but Steve recommends pushing yourself to create experiences that will give you a flavor of the kind of thing you’re seeking. If you never find out what it’s like, you’ll never know whether it’s your style.
Clips From The Show with Steve Sims
Failure is the greatest education
“I thought to myself, hang on, I keep falling over here. In fact, I’m falling over, I’m burying myself in the water, but I have the choice. And it resonated. I’m 55 years old now, and the amount of mistakes I have now are maybe less than when I was younger, but I still have a lot. I want to force myself to grow. I want that education. I want that experience. And anyone that wants education and experience knows that comes from things going to shit. So, every time I try something, I go, ah, if I had done this, it could have been … That’s what I want. The second I stop failing, I end up staying still. Anything that stands still becomes stagnant, stinks, and dies, and I don’t want to be doing that.” – Steve Sims
There are no excuses for not achieving greatness
“I remember when Joe Polish said to me, ‘The definition of hell is to meet the man or woman that you could have been.’ and I thought to myself, I want to be somebody else’s definition of hell. I want someone to meet me, read my book, have me coaching them… and go, how the hell can this bricklayer from London be working with Elon Musk or the Pope or Sir Elton John? Hell, I’m already out of excuses. That’s what I want, and I challenge you to be able to use me as an excuse for you not to be able to achieve greatness, because, jeepers, if I can be doing it, you are already out of excuses.” – Steve Sims
Make it impossible for people to misunderstand you
“For me, I’m like, hey, this is it. If you like it, just get in the sandpit and let’s play. If you don’t, you’ll be fine. I’ll be fine, we’ll walk on by, okay? You’ve got to make sure that those people on the fence can’t misunderstand who you are. If you meet me in a pub, if you meet me driving down the road on my motorbike, if you meet me at a stage event, if you have me coaching you, don’t be stupid enough to think that I’m going to change who I am for any of those reasons. I am the exact same person, I can’t spell for shit, I’ve got a greater ‘I can’ than an IQ, and I’m going to get you uncomfortable. Wherever I am, that’s me. And it will resonate with you. And it’ll have you close to me, or it will repel you, and we will never speak or look at each other again. And that’s what you’ve got to do.” – Steve Sims
Don’t waste your energy being somebody else
“I am amazed that the first mistake that people make when they launch a company is to go on a branding campaign to brand themselves as someone that they are not. Why would you do that? You were born different. You walk different. You look different. And the first thing you do, you try and act like somebody else. Why would you become a sheep when you were already an individual? So, for me, I realized that we are a battery. We all got these cell phones and just like your cell phone, have to be plugged in. My computer has to be plugged in. We exert energy when we’re working on a project. Why should a high percentage of that energy be focused on being someone that you are not?” – Steve Sims
‘Change the room:’ Surround yourself with the right people
“The first thing you’ve got to do if you want to change is to change the room you’re in. I already said to you that I got the book deal because I was in a great room full of great people, and a great thing happened. You’ve already said that when you wanted to scale and learn how to invest, you sought out people that were credible at that position. So, you change the room. If you want investment advice, you don’t go down to the local pub and speak to Billy on the last stool and then ask him. He’s got an opinion and he’ll tell you what to do with his money, which is more money than he’s ever seen in his life, even if it’s $10. Everyone’s got an opinion, but it’s not credible. So, the first thing you’ve got to do is change the room.” – Steve Sims
Don’t let your bank balance control your decisions
“For many years, my life and my emotions reflected the size up or down of my bank account. There’d be a lot of money in there, and I’d become lazy and smiley. And then there’d be a little bit of money in there, and I would become hustly and get involved in deals that I shouldn’t have gotten involved in. So, I found that I was reacting to my bank balance. A bank balance that I was creating, and that I was then allowing to steer me. It was the classic tail wagging the dog. So, I basically set myself up to where I didn’t pay attention to that. If I would step aside of that, I could be much more fruitful in what I actually did.” – Steve Sims
- Connect with Steve Sims Website | Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube
- The Art of Making Things Happen podcast
- Bluefishing: The Art of Making Things Happen
- Sims Media
- Steve Sims Coaching,
- Hire Steve Sims to speak
- Sims Distillery
- Joe Polish
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Read the Full Transcript with Steve Sims
Justin Donald: Well, Steve, it is so great to have you on the show. We’ve got several mutual friends, John Ruhlin, Hal Elrod, Jamie Hope, and a handful of others, actually. I’m just thrilled to have you on the show. So, thanks for joining.
Steve Sims: It’s a pleasure to be here. That’s a pretty decent lineup you’ve just given a shout-out to.
Justin Donald: I love it. Well, I’ve had so much fun getting to know you and learning your story, and I’m excited to share it with my audience because you just have, in my opinion, one of the coolest stories out there. What you do for a business is incredible. And I want to get the word out. This whole idea of Bluefishing, which you coined, and I read your book, it’s incredible. Tell us a little bit about that, because you’re really like– one of the things that I noticed about you is you are full of passion and you talk about the importance of having passion and the excitement that that brings. And you have built your whole career and life around this idea of passion. You’re a walking, talking trophy for exactly that.
Steve Sims: Wow, there’s a lot of questions in there. So, how do we unpack it? Go, let’s just start at the beginning. Like all entrepreneurs, I grew up aggravated and I grew up financially poor. I’m always very quick to say the difference between being poor and financially poor because I was loved, I was protected, I was taught what an honest day’s work was. I was always that, but we had no money. So, we were financially restricted, and I didn’t like that bit.
So, I went out to try and find successful people to have conversations with, just very similar to the way people do podcasts today. So, I went out on a journey to literally ask the richest people in the planet, how come you’re successful, and I’m not? And it’s a very cheeky, abrupt, borderline rude question to ask that I’ve been able to ask so that when John Richard Branson, Elon Musk, and some other wonderful people that I’ve worked with, worked for, big clients, and I’ve done that. So, for 25 years, I wanted to get a room with rich people to do that. I needed to do something for them.
And I had a knack of getting people into places that they weren’t invited to. So, it started off getting them into parties. If Cartier was having a private event at the Rodeo or Calhoun Store, I would get affluent clients into it. Cannes Film Festival, Milan Fashion Week, the Grammys, Sir Elton John’s Oscar party, the events just got bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger. I would have realized that over 25 years, I created quite simply the personal concierge industry. Forbes called me the real-life Wizard of Oz. One of my little taglines, which someone called me, I think it was Entrepreneur magazine, they said, I’m the way to wish foundation for people with really big checkbooks. I like that one.
But my job was basically if I could look after you, get you to do a drum lesson with Guns and Roses, drive a Formula One car in Monaco, hang out with Ferrari, go backstage, go on stage, I’ve had clients literally structured to go on stage and sing live with their favorite rock band, I became that guy, not because I wanted to do that, but I wanted to ask those people the questions. And along the way, I used a lot of passwords. And so, I would say, “Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, don’t see Jimmy, tell him Sims said, yeah,” and I would always give them a stupid password because I wanted them to smile.
So, I would say, you’ve got a name, two of the Teletubbies, or you’ve got a name, Big Bird’s mate out of Sesame Street, the elephant. And I would give them all these stupid things so I would have some of the most powerful and sometimes intimidating people walking up to my contacts going “Snuffleupagus” or “Tinky Winky Po.” And it was hysterical. And one of them was– I finished his sentence from Dr. Seuss, one fish, two fish, red fish. So, people would go up and they’d be like, “Sims sent me, Bluefish.” And I obviously used that password too much because people would then contact me, going, “Hey, you’re that bluefish guy we keep hearing about.” And so in the end, though, I’m “Yeah, okay,” and that’s how it started.
I didn’t really think much of it because again, my focus was on getting into the boat. I always thought if I knew 10 millionaires, which ended up becoming 10 billionaires, that give me a job. You know none of those bastards gave me a job. And now, I run a company, Sims Media. And actually, three of those 10 are actually clients of my media company. So, they’re okay about giving me money, but they never actually gave me a job. What I realized now, I was building my own up, but the whole premise, the whole point was to find out why successful people, we’ve had this conversation when you want, well, on my podcast, if you don’t know the answer, go and find someone that’s qualified and credible with it. And that’s what I did.
So, even though me and you have different industries, the mentality was the same. We started off, I provided, and then we went and saw that sort, that information from credible sources to become educated ourselves. And that’s how it started. And then, I got the chance to buy a book three years ago. I had a different title, but they were like, no, no, no, we got to call it Bluefishing. So, we called it Bluefishing. It became a best seller and translated into Chinese, Polish. It’s just been released in Russia, Japan, Thai, Korean, all over the planet. And now, I coach, train, speak, and that’s what I do now. I basically take everything I’ve learned for 25 years of getting the answers, and I coach and train entrepreneurs on how to get away from the biggest problem they’ve got, which 99% of the time is them..
Justin Donald: That’s right. That is so cool. I’m curious, what was the title of the book going to be called?
Steve Sims: I was going to call it Getting Sh*t Done.
Justin Donald: I think that would have sold pretty well too.
Steve Sims: I think it would have done, but there was actually a couple of books that went out and did that. There’s actually a couple of titles that are similar, but the book was released by Simon & Schuster, and I learned a lot of things. If any of you are out there going, “Hey, I want to launch a book,” get ready to hate me because I was in a bar, it’s been known to happen, having a conversation with a girl who just happened to be something to do with Simon & Schuster. A week later, no proposal, no manuscript, nothing, I got offered a very large book deal. The tip of the day on that, the lesson to learn from that is when you are in great movies with great people, great things happen.
So, I didn’t expect the book to take off. I didn’t expect anyone would find my story any different. I was wrong. So, when it got released, it really did change my world. And for that reason, they had a bit more control over things like title or layout than I wanted and I knew about. I didn’t know anything about buying a book. I’d read a couple, but that was about as far as it went.
Justin Donald: Well, while we’re talking about it, where can people find this book? Because I think it’s an incredible book. I just loved reading it. And it’s an easy read and it’s fun. And as you hear the stories that you were able to create for people, you vicariously live through these individuals, and it’s so uplifting. So, I’d love my audience to know where they can find out more about you.
Steve Sims: Well, it’s very easy. You can find it on SteveDSims.com. And that said, don’t forget the D for dashing, and there’s only one M in Sims, so SteveDSims.com, but when you go to that website, there’s a little story that should give you a little bit of background before you actually look at the video that you will see. I knew nothing about publishing a book. I think that was probably my greatest asset. I missed out on a few things, but I’ve made up for more things that I’ve lost because I wasn’t trapped in the myths and the rocks of what normal publishing looks like.
So, they contacted me about a month out and they said, “Do you have your launch ready?” And I said, “What launch?” And they said, “For the book.” And I went, “No, I thought you did that. I thought you just released it in paperback and I became an international bestseller. I thought it was just what you did.” They were like, “No, no, no, you’ve got to do a book launch.” And here’s the funny thing. It gets strange. They would always wire the money into my account. This time, they sent me a check for two-and-a-half-thousand dollars. And I’m like, “What the hell is this for?” And they said, “That’s for your launch.” “What launch?” And they said, “We will launch where you live. And in Los Angeles, there’s a Barnes & Noble, in an affluent area called The Grove. We want you to rent a table.” Apparently, you can rent things from Barnes & Noble, “buy some champagne and sell autographed copies on a Saturday afternoon.”
Now, for any of your listeners that aren’t lucky enough to see me, I don’t look like Brad Pitt. There is no way in the world you’re going to be wandering through the mall on a Saturday afternoon with the little door and go, “He looks lovely, warm, and fuzzy. Let’s go find out what he’s talking about.” So, I said to them, “I’m not doing that.” And they said to me the words that you always hate to hear. They went, “It’s in your contract, you have to do a launch.” I thought, “Oh, sh*t.”
So, again, knowing nothing, I went down to a whiskey bar that I’d love to frequent on the Sunset Boulevard. And I said, “Look, here’s the scoop. I’m going to sign this check over to you. Kick me out when we run out of money. I’ll invite a bunch of my…” And they went, Yeah, okay, you can have the back room.” So, I had the back room of a Hollywood whiskey bar, and all I did was I phoned up, I might have phoned up like Jay Abraham, Lewis Howes, Jim Kwik, Greg Reid, a whole bunch of people. And again, when you know great people, you can make a great movie yourself. So, I thought of all of these people I want. I’ve got to do a launch party for this, but basically just going to get pissed. Do you want to come down? Because I had to take a few photographs.
Well, a girl turned up by the name of Sanja Hatter. Sanja and Cole Hatter won a very big event called Thrive in Vegas, and he’s always doing videos for him. And I had some good people at this party. So, she said to me, “Do you mind if we get our guy just to do some video footage for his Vimeo?” And I went, “Knock yourself out, enjoy it.” So, that’s what they did. I saw them floating around the party, just taking videos of Jim Kwik and all these other people. And then I had the party, got drunk, went home. And Simon & Schuster contacted me and they said, “Look, we’ve seen a couple of pictures up, but we haven’t seen like a formal launch. You know there’s no website or anything.” And I said, “Well, I’ll stick the pictures on the website. We didn’t have a website, but I own Steve D. Sims.” I said, “I’ll stick it up there.”
That afternoon, Sanja sent me that video that’s on the website. And she said to me, “I apologize for lying, but we edited and filmed a launch party video for you.” So, to say that it was perfect timing is an understatement, but when you see the video at the beginning, everyone’s sober, and it’s all kind of like it’s a blessing to be here with Steve. Steve’s done just such a good job with it. It’s an honor to… And as the video goes on, everyone just gets sh*tfaced. And then it’s a case of I didn’t even know you can f*ckin’ read a book. Let them buy a book. What’s this about you? And it gets abusive.
So, they sent me this video, and I thought to myself, is it too coarse to post up? And I thought to myself, again, we’ve spoken about this. When you’ve got people saying real things about you didn’t know, how more real can that be?
Justin Donald: That’s right.
Steve Sims: And I talked to my friends, going, oh. I said, no. So, I’m going to post that up because my friends can call me and also because they’re my friends. I posted the video, and this was about a month after the launch, and the first month did very little, second month did slightly less than the first month. I posted that video up on there. And I think we hit 8,000 copies, and it just hockey-stick. And I would say it was down to that video in the front page of SteveDSims.com.
Justin Donald: That’s awesome. What a great story. And one of the things that I appreciate the most is you did it your way. And I can tell that this is just kind of the way that you live your life. You figure out how you want to do it. And it doesn’t matter if someone else thinks you should do it differently, you do it the way that you want to do it. And that has had tremendous success and results for you. I think that that’s awesome.
I think about some of the things that I learned from your book, and there’s just a wealth of knowledge. Obviously, the stories are great, but I love how you talk about passion being the best language or currency that exists. And you can see it, you can hear it, you can feel it. You exude passion. Now, one of the first things that you talk about in your book is a lesson from your dad. And I feel like this is something that really has been a foundational concept or idea around a lot of what you’ve built in the way that you live your life. And you had said this, that your dad said you don’t drown by jumping in the water. You drown by staying in the water too long. And I’d love to hear you unpack that a little bit.
Steve Sims: So, I left school at the age of 15. There was a school counselor that I saw on my final day, and he said, “Don’t bother applying for college, you’re done.” And that was it. I was like, “Oh, that was great.” So, I left school. My dad had a little construction firm. My dad was a thick-headed Irish lad, just a proud, solid man. And he owned this little building thing. And they would do everything from little houses to working on factories.
And so, I would go in there in the summer and I would go in there in school holidays to make some extra cash. So, getting kicked out of school at 15, the natural step was the following day, bang, I’m on the building site. And I remember walking through the town with him one day, and we were walking between projects. So, we were filthy working on a building sign. My dad was a chain smoker, and he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, but he was a good, honest, hardworking man, but he would have one cigarette going and in the other hand, he’d have one that hadn’t been licked yet. And just as this one would be about to die, he’d light that one up, puff that one out, throw it on the floor and be off again, and get another one better. Always double fisting, okay.
So, we’re walking through this town, and he’s smoking away and in his right hand, he’s got this cigarette not even lit yet. We’re walking and he puts his hand on my shoulder. No leads and no lead-up, no quiet conversation, and he said, “Son, no one ever drowned by floating in the water. They drowned by staying there.” He took his hand off my shoulder, lit up a cigarette, put it in his mouth, stubbed the other one out, and carried on walking. And I had stopped, I was faced to him, I was like, “What was all that about?” I thought he’d been consumed by a fortune cookie or something. I was like, “Where did that come from? What the hell did that have to do with anything?” And I was completely perplexed. And as I say, he had just carried on walking. So, I didn’t want to catch him up. And I just thought, yadada, where that came? And I ignored it, forgot it.
And then as I started my entrepreneurial journey, I realized, and we had discussed this when you were on my podcast, and we had discussed that we have had a lot of mistakes and failings. And that’s what education is. And I thought to myself, hang on, I keep falling over here. The fact I’m falling over, I’m burying myself in the water, but I have the choice. And it’s risen now, I’m 55 years old now, and the amount of mistakes I have now are maybe less than when they were when I was younger, but I still have a lot. I want to force myself to grow. I want an education. I want that experience. And anyone that wants education and experience knows that comes from things go into sh*t. So, every time I try something, I go, ah, if I had done this, it could have been, that’s what I want. The second I stop failing, I end up staying still. Anything that stands still becomes stagnant, stinks, and dies, and I don’t want to be doing that. So, I love to remind myself of that statement that my dad gave me walking through town.
Justin Donald: That’s powerful. And you compound that by saying failure is just an education of what not to do, and that’s so true. And for every failure, you’re learning, but I think that it really resonated with me when you said the worst thing is not failing. The worst thing is not trying and then falling short. The worst thing is to not try and to be in the exact same place that you were without growing one bit. And that is so true. And if we can all, and I know you’re a big fan of growing 1% every day, getting a little bit better every day. And I think if more people can embrace that mindset, it’s going to have a tremendous impact on the world.
Steve Sims: I remember when Joe Polish said to me, they just heard this new statement. So, I don’t know who he heard it from, but he said to me, he said, “The definition of hell is to meet the man or woman that you could have been.” And I thought to myself, well, I want to be somebody else’s definition of hell. I want someone to make me read my book. You’ll have me coaching them anything. I want someone to get involved in my ecosystem somewhere and go, how the hell can this bricklayer from London be working with Elon Musk or the pope or Sir Elton John. Hell, I’m already out of excuses. So, that’s what I want, and I challenge you to be able to use me as an excuse for you not to be able to achieve greatness, because, jeepers, if I can be doing it, you are already out of excuses.
Justin Donald: Yeah, that’s powerful. And I think most people don’t because they’re afraid of the embarrassment of not doing it. And we just have to get beyond that. Like that just can’t be a thing.
Steve Sims: Who’s embarrassed? That’s a brilliant statement, and you’ve sparked me up that nicely. Embarrassed by who? Haven’t you know that all those people around you that laugh at you when you fail have never achieved sh*t? If I went into investing and I was working for asset drive investments, as you would teach me earlier, and I got involved in a mobile park home and it flunked. Would you laugh at me? Or would you educate?
Justin Donald: I’d educate you.
Steve Sims: Because you are in a position of credibility to be able to do so. The person who goes, oh, you lost your *ss, can’t even afford the payments on that pushbike. So, we care about the people that are going to laugh at us that don’t actually add anything to us. So, surely when you start validating that, you tend to try more often because the people who’d send me hate mail, the people who’d go, oh, how do you live yourself? Yeah, how do you live with yourself and sleep at night when you’re dealing with billionaires? And I tell them, “Very well, thank you very much.” It doesn’t matter what these people are saying because this friend of mine said to me years ago, “Be so successful and disruptive that you have haters.”
Justin Donald: That’s good. That’s powerful. Something else that I took away from your book and really just your overall message is don’t be easy to understand, be impossible to be misunderstood.
Steve Sims: Yeah, there’s too many people. Well, let’s break it down. There’s a percentage of the planet who have already decided they love you. You walk into the room, they just go, I love your shirt, I love his haircut, I love his size, I love his smart, I love this guy. This guy is brilliant. I want to do any business I can with him. They’re throwing their checkbook and first-born at you, and asking you if you’ll marry their sister. They’re committed to you..
There are people in this world that just based on your accent, t-shirt, the way you walk, your favorite tune and music, what cheese you like on your sandwich, just hate, you can’t do anything about it, they don’t like you. That’s not the problem. The people that are the problem are those on the fence. Those people who sit and go, I don’t know if I like this. Do you know whose fault that is? You. You see, you are the one to blame if you have anyone confused because no one confused would ever gave you that checkbook.
So, for me, I’m like, hey, this is it. If you like it, just get in the sandpit and let’s play. If you don’t, you’ll be fine. I’ll be fine, we’ll walk on by, okay? You’ve got to make sure that those people on the fence can’t misunderstand who you are. If you meet me in a pub, if you meet me driving down the road on my motorbike, if you meet me at a stage event, if you have me coaching you, don’t be stupid enough to think that I’m going to change who I am for any of those reasons. I am the exact same person, can’t spell for sh*t, I’ve got a greater “I can” than an IQ, and I’m going to get you uncomfortable. Wherever I am, that’s me. And it will resonate to you. And I’ll have you close to me, or it will repel you, and we will never speak or look at each other again. And that’s what you’ve got to do.
We have a company, Sims Media. I am amazed that the first mistake that people make when they launch a company is to go on a branding campaign to brand themselves as someone that they are not. Why would you do that? You were born different. You walk different. You look different. And the first thing you do, you try and act like somebody else. Why would you become a sheep when you were already an individual? So, for me, I realized that we are a battery. We all got these cell phones and just like your cell phone, has to be plugged in. My computer has to be plugged in. We exert energy when we’re working on a project. Why should a high percentage of that energy be focused on being someone that you are not?
Now, for me, this is going to surprise a few people, it takes zero effort to be me. Zero. I have 100% effort, energy, and passion. And so, in your sh*t out, I’m making you more scalable and more impactful because being me do that all day every day, all day long. And you guys out there, guys and gals, should be doing the exact same. Stand out by being you.
Justin Donald: I love it. I also thought it was cool hearing your story of wondering how people stayed at such fancy hotels and what that life was like and that you’d figured out this hack, instead of like staying at this expensive hotel, just go and grab a coffee in the lobby and hang out and see what it feels like to be there. And I just love that idea. I’d love to hear more about some of those experiences and how it morphed into having, like experiencing the higher-end stuff that you’ve had the privilege of experiencing and have become accustomed to in many cases.
Steve Sims: Yeah. So, the first thing you’ve got to do if you want to change is to change the room you’re in. I already said to you that I got the book deal because I was in a great mood for the great people, and a great thing happened. You’ve already said that when you wanted to scale and learn how to invest, you seek out, but you saw out people, they were credible at that position. So, you change the room. If you want investment advice, you don’t go down to the local pub and speak to Billy on the last store and then ask him. He’s got an opinion and he’ll tell you what to do with his money, which is more money than he’s ever seen in his life, even if it’s $10. Everyone’s got an opinion, but it’s not credible.
So, the first thing you got to do is change the room. And the good thing is today, you don’t even have to leave the door. You can change your room by subscribing to this podcast, join in the appropriate Facebook group, join in the appropriate online community. You can change your environment of challenges and create disruptors by joining some kind of digital ecosystem. Now, I came from an era where I didn’t have Instagram to point out how inadequate my life was.
So, for me, to want to understand what affluence was like, I’m not going to go to my local Ford dealership, I’m going to go to a Ferrari dealership. I’m going to stay in a Ferrari, I’m going to touch the steering wheel, lick the leather. I’m going to immerse myself. I did that. I used to get kicked out of that place. I ended up buying one with a credit card. And then, I would go to hotels. This is a five-star hotel. I can’t afford to stay at the room, but I can afford 10 bucks for a coffee, even though it’s too much for a coffee, I could immerse myself in the experience of being served in the same way and in the same porcelain that a billionaire would.
So, I immersed myself in that experience by paying too much money for a cup of coffee, sitting on a fine couch and watching how people interacting. And then I would take you a bit further. I would actually go up to the front desk and go, “Hey, I got clients flying into town. They always like to stay at the penthouse. Can you show me the penthouse?” They would show me the penthouse. So, now, I’m walking around the penthouse and I’m going to see what a 2,000– well, then, a $2,000 a night penthouse would be, and I’m like, “Oh, so this is– oh, you’ve got your own private chef and your own private elevator. Oh, right, okay.” And I immersed myself. It opened my eyes because I asked myself to see it. I pushed myself to try it.
I remember taking my dad. My dad didn’t want to hit some old school. He didn’t want to get into the Ferrari, and he was like, no, no, no, I would like to sit in that damn car. You can have no idea what it’s like until you sit in it. And I forced him to sit in. So many people are scared of doing it. What’s going to happen? You know, you’re not going to suddenly explode into a ball of flames, but you are now going to know what it’s like to sit in the front of them. You might not be driving it down the autobahn, but you now know what it’s like. You’ve got to do that. You’ve got to experience those kind of things so that you can make an educated decision as to whether or not that fits your style. As it is now, I have owned the car for 20 something years. I literally ride motorcycles every day, all day, I have like 12 of them. And I just collect motorcycles.
Justin Donald: That’s awesome, what a fun way to experience the finer things in life when you otherwise could be afraid of what that looks like or not know, and then you can get in touch with it and realize, maybe it’s not that big of a deal or maybe I can have this or maybe I deserve this, too. Why would someone else get this, and I don’t get this? Maybe it’s just a mindset thing. It’s just so powerful.
And on the flip side of the coin of this, one of the things that you talk a lot about is taking money out of the equation whenever you can because it drives out the physical and emotional states. And so, I think this is another great way to look at it because money probably drives most of us too much too often. And when you get rid of that stimulus, that whatever it is, then you can make better decisions. It’s like making decisions based on where your bank account is today. That’s not probably the best way to make decisions, right?
Steve Sims: Oh, yeah. It messed me up. For many years, my life and my emotions reflected the size I pulled out of my bank account. There’d be a lot of money in there, and I’d become lazy and smiley. And there’d be a little bit of money in there, and I would become hustly and get involved in deals that I shouldn’t have gotten involved in. So, I found that I was reacting to my bank balance. I bank balance that I was creating, that I was then allowing me to steer me. It was the classic tail wagging the dog. So, I basically set myself up close. Well, I didn’t pay attention to that. I would step aside of that, I could be much more fruitful in what I actually did.
Justin Donald: Yeah, that’s good. That’s really good. Something else I think is fun about the decisions that you make and you are able to create such clarity and make decisions with such ease, with these simple rules, the simple concepts. And one of them is the Chug test that you want to know that you could chug a beer with someone and that you would enjoy it, you’d enjoy your time, you’d enjoy your conversation. And that’s one of your tests, your mental tests, if you’re going to work with someone, if you’re going to hire someone, if you’re going to spend time with them. I’d love to hear more about that because I think it’s brilliant.
Steve Sims: So, have you ever had a conversation with someone new, maybe you were going to make a lot of money from, but you really didn’t want to have that conversation?
Justin Donald: You bet.
Steve Sims: You’re on the phone and go, yeah, yeah, yeah. No, I understand what you’re saying, but no, no, no, of course, you’re right. And it wears you out, and you get off the phone and you are physically white. You are drained. Do you want to jump on another phone call? Hell, no. You just want to hide in a box and recover from that pain in the ass, but when you have a phone call with someone you like having a phone call with, you’re energized, you’re motivated, you get out, “Wow, that was great. Let’s do it again.” And you hang up on the phone, you think, well, who else can I call? And you jump on the phone, or a client or a prospect contacts you, you’re like, “Hey, Jack. How are you doing?” And you’re so pumped. Jack now wants a piece of it, and he’s doing all the business with you.
So, I noticed on my miserable days, there was a definite bellwether and relationship to the miserable people I was speaking with. And I thought to myself, that can’t be right. So, I tested it and I thought to myself, I’m done with this, I’m only going to talk to happy people, I’m only going to talk to people I like. So, I came up with this little, I don’t know why you call it, formula, and here it is. You’re walking down the high street and you’re on the left-hand side of the high street, and between you and the other path is two lanes of busy traffic.
And as you’re walking north on the left-hand side of the street, coming south, on the right-hand side is somebody in your life. Maybe they’re in your family, maybe they’re in a relationship, maybe it’s your top salesperson, maybe it’s your accountant, your underwriter, whatever, it’s someone in your ecosystem. Do you automatically (A) quickly look in the window and pretend you’re looking at those kids’ cots, okay, and then watch the reflection for them to walk past you and then quickly turn around and carry on your day? Or do you want to cross two lanes of speeding traffic to jump in front of them and go, “Justin, let’s go grab a beer. We haven’t seen each other for five minutes,” and you hug it out and you’re going, chug a beer with him.
If it’s not option B, get them out of your life. And I thought, I wonder if I can do that. And here’s the darn thing. When you get rid of the a*holes from your life, it leaves you more room for the good ones. You imagine a day where all you speak to is good people, the people in your company are good people, your accountants. I had an accountant, and you’re sitting there going, “Well, who cares if you get on with an accountant. All accountants are a**holes.” Ah, not mine. I went out to find an accountant that I was not depressed when I got off the phone with. My old accountant would do the same numbers, but every time he’d phone me, he’d be like, “Hey, Steve. Yeah, well, I’ve done the– yeah, it’s not good.” Shut up. I’m making a lot of money. I’m paying tax. How is it a bad thing? He just happens to be what it is. Why am I going to have the added misery of your thumb a** action?
Now, my accountant comes on the phone, he’s like, “Well, you’re making too much money, Steve, because we got to give a little bit to someone else.” And just a reframe is what I like, I love the fact that he tries to make a joke out of a fact that I’ve got a big tax bill. You may not want to hit, but I’m not going to be stew in that messenger. So, I literally went out of my way and I did this with my family. And funny enough, there were a couple of people even in my family that I wondered whether or not I would look in that mirror too or in the window. And so, I was able to confront them and go, “I don’t like our relationship, let’s work on it or forget it.” And if you could be that brutal with your life, you end up with the life you want to live in.
Justin Donald: That’s powerful, and I can tell you that that whole idea has served me very well and I’ve been on the side of that where I didn’t make decisions based on who I wanted to spend time with and who I didn’t. So, in the business world, hiring people, this is of the utmost importance because these are people you’re going to work with on a regular basis, especially with a small company. And I really learned this the hard way. I had one brutal year of just hiring the wrong team, the wrong main point person. And I did everything in my power to avoid having conversations, which means that this person did worse and worse and worse because I didn’t do my job, I wasn’t motivated to do my job.
And I learned that you have to hire people that you love, that you want to spend time with, that it’s a heck, yes. It’s not just a yes to hang out with them. It’s a heck yes to hang out with them. And so, I love that chug test on your end. And by the way, if you say it’s that important in business, imagine how much even more important that is in your personal life, right, outside of business, like, your spouse, your friends, like who is it that you’re choosing to spend time with? And I think that that is imperative. So, brilliant, totally brilliant.
We’re coming to an end here. And I thought it’d be cool to kind of close things out with just this idea that you said in your book, which was living with passion and moving with persistence, that combo of passion and persistence makes you invincible. And you do that. You are a walking, talking version of exactly that, someone with passion and persistence. And I just want to thank you for your time on the show. And please again, share with us where we can find you.
Steve Sims: Well, you can watch my get-ups on Instagram @stevedsims. You can join An Entrepreneur’s Advantage with Steve Sims, which is my free Facebook group, or you can learn about me and everything else I’m up to on SteveDSims.com, D for dashing, one M in Sims, Steve D Sims.
Justin Donald: I love it. Thank you so much for your wisdom and for the time and for the wonderful stories. This has been great. And I just want to leave our audience, those of you watching, those of you listening with my favorite way to close out every episode, and that is this: Take some form of action today, one step towards the life that you desire, a life on your terms, a life that is proactive and intentional, not a life by default, and move towards financial freedom. Thanks. We’ll catch you next week.