In this episode, our guest is Peter Thurin, Speaker, Mentor, Coach on his business philosophy, “Easy to Do, Easy Not to Do – Your Choice!”
We talk all about:
- How his father instilled an insatiable work ethic in him from a young age;
- Why customer care is at the heart of everything;
- Taking action simply starts with a first step;
- A few stories that personify his catch-phrase, “Easy to do. Easy not to do. Your choice”.
Connecting with Peter Thurin
Books and resources
“I’d never heard the two F words used so frequently in their response to me. They said, “If you buy that business you would be a fool and if you’re foolish enough to buy that business you will fail.” But you know what happens when you’re a 20-something-year-old kid going out to buy your first business and somebody says whatever you do, don’t do it. What do you do? You go and do it.”
On the work ethic instilled in him from a young age
- I think the whole notion around work ethic that I learned from my dad really held me in good stead. I know business is a little bit different today but I think back in the 1980s and beyond the harder you worked, the longer you worked, the more commercially viable you became. My early days of owning that business, I mean the banks really owned me and the only way I had of repaying the loan was by working long hours. And we worked seven days a week. I worked seven days a week until my first child was born. Really. Work ethic was the thing that held me in good stead. I wasn’t smart enough to complicate things.
On why customer care is at the heart of everything
- I know that sounds a bit strange but for me, it was about genuinely taking care of people and I love the acronym CARE. I wrote a book called Be the Best You Can Be many years ago and there’s a whole chapter devoted to that word. CARE. I was told as a young retailer that CARE is an acronym for “Customers Are Really Everything.” But I learned that that’s just not true. Before that my colleagues and my team members are really everything and the more I took care of the young people that worked on my team the more they took care of my customers and the side effect of all of that pharmacy-speak was that we grew an awesome bottom line. But it was always people first.
- I know this is very, very disrespectful to my old profession but you can teach a monkey to dispense. But to really care about people comes from a different place. I love to think that’s a place that comes from the heart, to really, really genuinely care about people.
On why taking action is a choice
- What’s interesting is that to me these days CARE is an acronym for “Choices Are Really Everything.”
- When I first started speaking my business was called Blackbelt in Excellence. I was an eight-year-old little boy who had a dream to achieve a black belt in martial arts but just didn’t get into the game until I was 36. It was impossible to achieve a black belt between the age of 8 and 36 because I didn’t get into the game. Talk is cheap. But every kid wanted to be like Bruce Lee. But Bruce Lee once said something along the lines of, no-one has ever earned a black belt reading about martial arts. At some point in time, it’s about the doing.
On “Easy to do. Easy not to do. Your choice!”
- Travelling the world with Blackbelt in Excellence, what was extraordinary to me is that the feedback I was continually getting was around my little phrase, “Easy to do. Easy not to do. Your choice!” I realise that was the key. That was what people were taking away. That’s what was driving people nuts and I was getting emails and text messages and phone calls literally from all around the world..”.
- Because I believe that everything in life is a choice between easy to do and easy not to do. Choosing easy to do means focusing on what you can do rather than on what you can’t do. It’s the first step to achieving anything in your life but it’s also the second step and the third step and the fourth step and so on. What I learned in my travels was that the best in the world, the best individuals, the best organisations, the best associations, the best companies, learn to find easy to do the things that others find easy not to do.
- Sometimes that big picture goal can be so daunting that we talk ourselves out of it before we’ve even got into the game. So what is that easy to do step that you can take? For me, it was making a phone call to book my first TaeKwonDo lesson. I’m now in the game. Forget the dream as an eight-year-old kiddie. I couldn’t make it happen because I didn’t have the courage to get into the game. I often talk about, don’t allow awkward and uncomfortable stop you from having the courage to get into the game.
- Whatever the challenge or goal. If you want to change your life or your business for the better you have to choose to do something. It’s about the doing. I think somebody once said that you haven’t truly decided unless you’ve taken an action.
- For those people that have played no sports since leaving school, to do a thousand sit-ups and push-ups is complete nonsense. One, you couldn’t do it and even if you tried you’re going to hurt yourself. But two sit-ups and two push-ups. Easy to do.
- For those people thinking I want to have a better relationship with my little kid. I’m not spending enough time. Well, just get home tonight for storytime. You know? 6:00 PM tonight, storytime with little Johnny. There’s a yes box and a no box. You just get to tick one of those boxes. You either did it or you didn’t do it. It’s not complicated. Just do it. And feel really good about yourself at the same time.
On emotional intelligence
- I often say that one of the most powerful things in life is that when somebody else believes in you. You know? That this young gentleman at the conference knew I symbolically had my arm around his shoulder. He had a sense of where I was coming from. I asked him that question (about would your boy be proud of what he’s currently seeing) because I genuinely cared about this human being. I think you get a sense of where somebody is coming from. I’ll say that again. One of the most powerful things in life is when somebody else believes in you. We want to be inspired by others but sometimes you’re in a position where you need to be a source of inspiration.
- I think too you’ve got to be careful, don’t you? You’ve got to know the people who you’re dealing with. It’s different strokes for different folks. Not everybody is the same and just maybe that there’s stuff going on at home that you’re not aware of or other things going on in their lives. So you’ve really got to do your homework first. I think emotional intelligence is really, really important to understand who you’re dealing with. I had a sense with this particular gentleman. One, because he was making an effort to be the first one in the conference room the next day. So I got him to myself for half an hour each morning before anybody else arrived into the conference room. That’s where that conversation started and that’s where, before we left the conference, I had this conversation with him about his boy.
Final message of wisdom and hope for future leaders
- That everything in life really is a choice between easy to do and easy not to do. I’ll say it again that choosing easy to do is all about focusing on what you can do, not on what you can’t do. I think I’m an optimist by nature and I really love to spread the message of optimism but people need to understand that to have that inherent belief that things can and will be better in the future you need to take responsibility to make it so. All right? Break it down. Don’t be so daunted by the fact. Global optimism, yeah, but just start with what you can do. Just get into the game. There will always be challenges in life and we’ve got to rise to those challenges. One of the great things by asking better questions, and that’s why I feel so privileged about this.
- Because when I talk about easy to do, easy not to do, you and I sitting directly opposite each other right now, if I think about the message for life it’s just this. We could have just done this online. People wouldn’t know if we were sitting together on opposite sides of the world but you’ve actually made the effort to sit opposite me. We’re putting ourselves in danger right now of doing something bigger, bolder, and stronger together moving forward because you’ve chosen easy to do and walked into my office. I love that. To get into the game, rise to the challenge, find a way to sit opposite each other so that ultimately we can be remarkable by however you define remarkable.
- Because what’s remarkable to me may not be remarkable to you, but that whole notion around getting into the game, rising to the challenge and being remarkable. Break things down. Easy to do, easy not to do. You really do have the power of choice.