Jeffrey Hayzlett is primetime TV & podcast host, keynote speaker, best-selling author, and global business celebrity. He is the primetime television host of C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett and Executive Perspectives on C-Suite TV, and business podcast host All Business with Jeffrey Hayzlett, and has written numerous best-selling business books including The Hero Factor; How Great Leaders Transform Organizations and Create Winning Cultures and The Mirror Test. Hayzlett is also the Chairman of C-Suite Network, home of the world’s most trusted network of C-Suite leaders.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
Growing up poor in South Dakota taught me that I needed to earn everything I wanted – whether it was a record, a new bike, or something else I wanted at the time. It taught me the meaning of working for everything you had and yes, to hustle in order to get a good deal. When I was seven years old, I went door-to-door selling subscriptions to “Boys Life” and “True Grit.” That’s how I made my money. I wanted to convince people to do what I wanted them to do, so through hustle and grit, I got them to buy my magazines plus, it made me some money. There was no downside to that for me.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
When I first started my career, I was kind of quiet – no one wants to hear from the new guy. But one day I sat in on a meeting, I kept hearing these people who were older than I talk about how they did things the way they did because “that’s how it’s always been done.” I thought that was an incredibly antiquated way to think but since I was new, I figured I better keep my mouth shut. Looking back that was a mistake – I should’ve said something; however, that pushed me to keep thinking of ways of pushing the envelope as I got along in my career. I wish someone had told me ‘kid, speak up.’ Now, no one has to tell me that. I’ll speak up whenever I see people falling into that pattern.
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
To market your book a few months before its launch. As a best-selling author, one very common mistake I see other authors make is that they don’t market their books soon enough. My recommendation is to market that book at least a year out. Writing a book is an on-going process that requires planning and sticking to the schedule. I know everyone thinks they have a best-seller in their hands, but the truth is, it takes a lot of work, scheduling and careful thought process to make it into a best-seller.
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 tried to corner the pheasant farm market before I realized there wasn’t one. I didn’t have the expertise and even lost 10,000 pheasants in a thunderstorm one night. I learned this: Never lead a business you can’t control — that was the takeaway.
No matter how big you think your failure is, there’ll always be another one. It might not cost you money, time, or losing face. Don’t focus on the failure — strive for the next win as fast as possible.
When the press told Thomas Edison that he failed 10,000 times to invent the lightbulb, he responded that he’d “just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” That’s the mindset you want.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
I focus on what matters and tune out the noise. Everyone always has the advice to give out – wanted or unwanted. And while there’s no substitute from experience, one needs to learn to differentiate between legitimate advice from those who wear the battle scars of the experience and those who want to discourage and derail you. I quickly learned to tune out the unimportant opinions of others and focus on my goals and dreams and it hasn’t steered me wrong yet.
What is your morning routine?
I am an early riser. I love the mornings, the solitude I have with my thoughts, and my coffee. I wake up before everyone else so I can get a jump start on my day; what do I need to accomplish, who do I need to meet with, what interviews am I conducting – the morning is the best time to get my thoughts straight, and take on the day. I print my calendar every morning to see if there’s anything I need to move or how much time do I have to fit in other important calls. It’s not unusual for me to wake up as early as 4 am, especially if I have a busy week ahead of me. My wife may not always like it, but it certainly works for me!
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
Does drinking a good scotch count? Because it should. I work a lot, always have and I probably always will. I was born a leader, an entrepreneur, and I stop at nothing to get what I want; this can mean giving up weekends, holidays, and quality time with my family. But I have realized in the past few years, to remember to take a break and enjoy the little things in life. I look forward to a smooth scotch at the end of the day, I make time to visit and play with my granddaughters, and I make sure to get in some quality yardwork and sunshine when the weather is nice. While I love to work and sign deals and bring members into my network, my life will always be at its best when I’m surrounded by the people I love.
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
For me, it really comes down to organization and communication. We have a lot going on and I count my blessings every day for the terrific team I have. They help me manage everything from my calendar to media interviews, keynote speaking opportunities, and more. Since we’ve pivoted to remote work due to the pandemic, we make sure to connect as a group twice a week to not only check in with each other but to also give thanks. We highlight other team members who have gone the extra mile and done something enormously helpful; it makes the difference. We also take advantage of project management programs and video conferencing. We have staff and members all over the country and yet our business has grown tremendously in the past year all because we keep in communication, stay aware of red flags, and keep ourselves organized.
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. He perfected the concept of mastermind and harnessed the power of the collective mind. Ideas can come from anywhere and there is power in numbers. That’s what I’ve tried to create with the C-Suite Network – a place where all ideas are welcome, where we can help each other grow personally and professionally. The community has never been more important than in the past year. After all, your network is your net worth.
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
“A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business,” by Henry Ford. One of my conditions of satisfaction is to make money, so this always resonates with me. Money may be how we keep score, but any idiot can make money.