November 15

“Punching through” to achieve incredible results

To understand how top leaders accomplish seemingly ‘impossible’ things with their businesses, carefully read this thread that I found on Reddit:

Question: How can martial arts people punch through wooden and concrete blocks?

Answer: I’ve been doing martial arts for over a decade, and I've got my share of experience punching and kicking through wooden boards and the like. The most important thing is focus — if you're trying to punch the board, you're going to hurt your hand. It takes a lot of time to get adjusted to the idea of punching THROUGH the board because it's the follow-through that allows you to do it. 


“Punching through” to achieve incredible results

Conventional vs exponential success

When I read this, my mind immediately went to Rivendell, my community of extraordinary CEOs. Pretty much all of them are on a journey away from ‘conventional success’ towards ‘exponential success’.

  • You can achieve conventional success by having a three-year plan, setting goals for the quarter ahead, managing your stakeholders, driving execution, and the like. And for many people — even at the CEO level — that’s enough. The rewards are there; there are interesting problems to solve; there’s the buzz of making progress and hitting milestones.
  • But then there’s exponential success. This is where you have a moonshot, a long-range vision to make a significant impact in the world. You’re on a mission, and you’re prepared to risk your current success for your future success. You’re prepared to reinvent yourself so that you can truly multiply your impact and leave a legacy.

Put it another way, the members of Rivendell are already successful and now they want to change the world.

How to “punch through” to move beyond conventional success

Part of the secret to exponential success is “punching through”.

In other words, first get very clear about the bigger picture; the 100X impact you want to make; the person you’ll have to become in order to create that.

This can’t just be an intellectual target like “10X my valuation” or “become a billion-dollar company”. Those can be interesting goals to shoot for, but what’s the impact that moves you, stirs your heart, makes you cry to think about and would make you incredibly proud to tell your great-grandchildren about?

This can require some deep reflection and some confronting inner fears and hang-ups, but once you have it, the magic is that it sets your immediate goals, challenges and priorities in a much bigger context.

The paradox is: you’re able to achieve more in the short term because, for you, it’s not about the short term.


If you're trying to punch the board, you're going to hurt your hand. You need to punch THROUGH the board because it's the follow-through that allows you to do it.

Using the Focus Frame

To get you started thinking about this, here’s one tool I use to stretch my clients’ own thinking, which I call The Focus Frame:

“Punching through” to achieve incredible results

Tell me: what has your focus right now?

You may be focusing mainly on your company’s annual goals, say, or what’s going on for your family this month.

That’s all good - but what would shift for you if you put some focus on how to impact your industry across the next ten years, or the legacy you want to leave in the world beyond your own lifetime?

Is it time to think bigger?

One of my clients had a life-changing insight today during our coaching session. He’s an extraordinarily successful founder and CEO, having built a company worth eight or nine figures. He has a seven-figure income, at least. And today, he realised how much he is in his comfort zone and getting bored.

We started to chart out a future that would set his heart on fire. A new business that would impact the lives of millions.

And then I pushed him:

”If this new business made the impact you just described, but it didn’t change your personal wealth dramatically, would you still feel incredibly excited and proud?”

The answer was yes. He was in. He’s ready to start punching through…

How about you?

If you know an extraordinary entrepreneur or executive who’s ready to move past conventional success and start ‘punching through’ to exponential impact, you may like to mention our Rivendell CEO community to them, or suggest they get in touch.

PLUS, whenever you're ready, here are 4 ways we can help you multiply your impact on your people, your purpose and your profits:

  • Work with me 1:1 and your whole future will shift. I work with just a handful of 1:1 clients at any one time, so you need to be committed creating a new level of impact. It's a five-figure investment and you'll need to ready to be challenged and stretched in all kinds of ways. The results will be remarkable.  Let's start with a 15 minute chat.
  • Create a cohesive and high-performing leadership team. Our team coaching approach focuses in on the critical few shifts that will make the biggest difference to your team's performance.  We start with a quick discovery process and take it from there.
  • Surround yourself with elite CEOs. Rivendell, our CEO mastermind group, is an extraordinary group of leaders who will help you raise you own leadership game. Our first cohort was sold out. Our next intake is in about a quarter, so now is a perfect time to apply.
  • Shift your organisation's thinking.  Invite me to speak at your leadership team meeting, annual kick-off, or conference. We'll make it engaging, inspiring and thought-provoking...and yet grounded and practical.

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