Chuck Blakeman is a serial entrepreneur, internationally acclaimed speaker, best-selling author, and world-renowned business advisor. He is the Founder and Chief Transformation Officer at 3to5 Club, a company that provides tools for business owners to grow their business, make more money in less time, get off the treadmill, and get back to the passion that brought them into business, and also the Founder and CEO at the Crankset Group, a company that offers business advisory services. Chuck is also the author of the #1 rated Business Book of 2010, Making Money Is Killing Your Business and Why Employees Are Always a Bad Idea, one of the Top Ten Business Books of 2013.

Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?

I grew up in a small town in Ohio and my childhood was the Home Alone movie, over and over. I was once asked, “Name the adult who was most supportive to you as a child.” My first response to the question was, “Is that a thing?” It never dawned on me that I should have received support as a child. I just decided early on that to be successful in life I had to figure it out – no bitterness, no sorrow, just absurd independence that has taken me years to get past so I could get excited about living in the community.

What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?

Really nothing. It all unfolded in the order it should have. No mistakes, just “seminars” that I needed in order to continue to grow.

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

Work harder and longer to make more money. (We should make more money in less time.)
Leaders tell people what to do. (Managers tell. Leaders ask.)
You should let your accountant dictate how your business grows. (Amazon.com would have died on the vine).
Live a balanced life. (Nobody ever makes a great contribution to the world by living a balanced life – nobody).
Work hard to obtain time and money. (Those are only resources, means to an end. Work hard to get an Ideal Lifestyle and use time and money as the resources for that pursuit).

Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?

I’ve had a few! I joined the army because I was certain that if there were 524 jobs for the 525 kids in my high school class, that I would be the one without a job. I was HDHD, dyslexic, left-handed, and right-brained, and none of that fit with (or was recognized) in the education system. In basic training, I wrote a letter to my mom telling her I forgave her for being a lousy mom. I read the letter and it was instead, “Forgive me for being such a lousy son.” Darker moments can just be the curtain about to rise.

What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?

I keep going. As a kid, I was a quitter and was known as a quitter. I quit anything that got hard. It was easier than trying to figure it out without support. A few years ago a friend said, “When I think of you, the image of a bulldog comes to mind. You never quit. You just push through.” The most important word we’ve never heard is “conation”, which is the will to succeed that shows up in single-minded, unrelenting pursuit of what we want. Keep going.

What is your morning routine?

I never use an alarm clock and am usually up quite early. I do mindless things for a few minutes and then usually jump on a bike or a trainer in cold weather for 15 minutes to 2 hrs. Then I’ll read and meditate a bit, review the day and jump in.

What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?

Changing my eating habits. I was very disappointed to find out that scientifically and by FDA standards, sugar is generally a drug and a poison, not a food. And is the most inflammatory thing we can eat (almost all disease is caused in large part by inflammation). I wasn’t heavy because I exercised a lot, but I was a fat man in a thin man’s body. Dropping most sugars from my diet and actually exercising a little less has been the best life habit I could adopt.

What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?

I have learned through trial and error that time management is not possible – the clock just keeps moving. The only thing I can manage is my priorities, and when I figure out each day/week/month/year what the most important thing is that I should be doing, I manage that. Managing my priorities has been exponentially more effective than managing my time.

What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?

Self-Made in America – John McCormack. The only motivational book I will recommend, and it’s not written by a professional motivator. Read it any time you think things are going hard for you, or you have lost your motivation for why you’re doing what you’re doing.

The Power of Full Engagement – Jim Loehr. It helps us move from being transactional to relational, in a world that has lost much of its emotional intelligence.

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey – there are no new fundamentals.

Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?

You get what you intend, not what you hope for.
Stop wishing things would get better and intend for them too.
Circumstances don’t make me who I am. How I respond to them does.
Stop being a victim and be a victor.
Every day we’re faced with opportunities cleverly disguised as obstacles.
It’s all in our perspective.
Why do what so many others can or will do when there is so much to be done that others can’t, or won’t do.
The entrepreneur’s burning question.