How To Always Identify The Highest Value Thing You Can Do W/ Pete Mockaitis

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In this episode with Pete Mockaitis, we discover the skills and strategies that will help us identify and leverage the highest value activity we can do.
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“Certain activities are massively more valuable than other activities.”
— Pete Mockaitis

Greetings, SuperFriends!

Today we are joined by Pete Mockaitis. Pete is an award-winning speaker and coach, host of the “How to be Awesome at Your Job” podcast, who teaches professionals how to perform optimally at work. His work has been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, and Inc.

Pete has also delivered 1-on-1 coaching to over 700 leaders hailing from world-class organizations (such as Google, FedEx, Amazon, Apple, Anheuser-Busch, and the United Nations), 50 countries, and every Ivy League university.

Absolutely incredible!

In this episode, we talk about Pete's own journey from being a salaried employee and a consultant all the way to his decision to go out and become an entrepreneur. We talk about why he did it, how he did it, and his advice for being your absolute best – being SuperHuman – in the workplace. Some of the things we cover are how to actually make the difference in your work and life, as well as how to stand out.

And, of course, I asked him about all his favorite ways to perform at his absolute best. I really enjoyed this conversation, and I am sure you will as well!

-Jonathan Levi

This episode is brought to you by Caldera + Lab's The Good. Click here and use coupon code superhuman at checkout to save 20% on their amazing skincare product for men today, for all orders placed on their website!

This episode is brought to you by Comrad Socks. Click here and use coupon code superhuman at check out to save 20% on their amazing compression socks today, for all orders placed on their website!

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Who is Pete Mockaitis and how did he get here? [3:30]
  • What path did Pete take after high school? [7:00]
  • What is Pete's zone of genius? [11:10]
  • How to evaluate your options to identify the best one [13:40]
  • What can make you stand out at your work? [20:45]
  • Some SuperHuman hacks and habits Pete himself utilizes [26:05]
  • A piece of homework for you to act on from Pete Mockaitis [30:40]
  • Some books that have impacted Pete Mockaitis' life [31:50]
  • Pete's favorite products and services [33:30]
  • Some rapid-fire questions for Pete Mockaitis [37:10]
  • Where can you find out more about Pete Mockaitis? [38:40]
  • Pete Mockaitis' final takeaway message [39:30]

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Favorite Quotes from Pete Mockaitis:

“It is indeed possible to become SuperHuman when you do some great learning.”
“Do less than obsess.”


Introduction: Welcome to the award-winning SuperHuman Academy Podcast. Where we interview extraordinary people to give you the skills and strategies to overcome the impossible. And now here's your host, Jonathan Levi.

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Greeting, Superfriends, and welcome. Welcome to this week's episode, lovingly crafted. Thanks to a review from Idaho in Ireland, who says so interesting and fun to learn from five stars.

The podcasts are so varied and interesting. They keep me glued and coming back for more intelligent conversation, but fun and light. Keep it up. Thank you so much. Aydin for your wonderful review. We really do appreciate it. And for those of you who have not left a review, well, please do, because I will read it on the air onto today's episode.

Today, we are joined by Pete Mockaitis. He is an award-winning speaker and coach host of the How to be Awesome at Your Job podcast. And an expert who teaches professionals how to perform optimally at work. You've seen him in the New York Times, Forbes, Inc. And you've probably heard about his coaching, where he coaches world-class leaders in world-class organizations like Google, FedEx, Amazon, apple Anheuser-Busch, and even the United Nations.

Absolutely. In this episode, we talk about Pete's own journey from being a salaried employee and a consultant all the way to his decision to go out and become an entrepreneur, why he did it, how he did it, and his advice for being your best being superhuman. If you will, in the workplace, how do you actually make a difference?

How do you actually stand out? And of course, I asked him about all his favorite ways to perform at his absolute best. I really enjoyed the conversation and I know you will as well. So please meet my new superfriend, Pete Mockaitis.

Mr. Pete Mockaitis. How are you, my friend?

Pete Mockaitis:  Oh, Jonathan. I'm awesome. Thanks for having me.

Jonathan Levi: I'm really, really happy to have you here. I'm excited to talk about your field of expertise. I find that high-performance people always have high-performance habits and, uh, I'm excited to discover and unveil some of yours.

Pete Mockaitis: Oh, I'm excited as well to be discussing. 

Jonathan Levi: I love it. So, Pete, tell me a little bit about your origin story.

Pete Mockaitis: Sure thing. Well, you know, I love the way, and that is just the perfect way to phrase that question, by the way. Uh, yeah. I get such a kick out of that.

Jonathan Levi: I just changed the way that we ask it. I was like, God, I've been missing this opportunity for like five years. I could be asking it.

Pete Mockaitis: Well, yeah. Video of Superhuman superheroes. I, you know, it's funny, superman was my role model, who I wanted to be. I'd watch the Christopher Reeve movies on loop as a child. And on VHS back in the day. But I think I discovered that it is indeed possible to become all the more superhuman when you do some great learning.

So my origin story really starts in my hometown of Danville, Illinois at the Danville public library, where I learned that as a youngster if I was feeling stir, crazy, wanting to get out of the house, my dad would readily take me to the library whenever. I was like, okay, that's a good little trick. So I asked frequently, and then we got into an interesting little groove where I would take an interest in a certain subject.

Maybe it was like chess or photography, and I'd read a bunch of these books on the topic. And then lo and behold, I got better at those things. I have read the chess books that I got better at chess than I beat my dad without him letting me when I was like, whoa, that's cool. I read the photography books I was taking, you know, better, more beautiful photos.

I was like, that's cool. And so there, I think we're really the seeds of the origin story was that you know, books or learning or knowledge make you better at stuff. And so if you go get that knowledge, you go get better. That's all.

Jonathan Levi: Man that so echoes my story. And I remember the first time I discovered that a book could make me a better version of myself.

It like blew my mind. Cause up until that age books had only been about what I learned in school and passing the test.

Pete Mockaitis: Exactly right. And then there could be any number of things. And so you just pursued them. And then when I discovered boy books about success, goal setting, leadership, teamwork, all that stuff.

My favorite Dewey decimal number at the library was a 158.1 success, psychological aspects. And I just devoured those in and even sort of, when it became a teenager, I strapped a, a boombox into my old school, 1989 Chevrolet celebrity vehicle. Cause it didn't have a tape layer. And that's what I was driving.

Even though it was like a 20-year-old car fiber, high schooler. And I will be playing all, these tapes by like Stephen Covey or Tony Robbins or John C. Maxwell. And it just sort of absorbing it as I'm cruising.

Jonathan Levi: Wow. Really, really cool. You must have been so popular listening to those tapes by the way.

Pete Mockaitis: Well, yeah, most people had no interest in and listening, but I was actually pretty popular. I was the homecoming king fun fact since we're going back in time. Well, I shouldn't have doubted you there, but I think that the reason was I went to a tiny school. Before I went to the public high school and I'm an extrovert and I had so much like pent-up, I want to meet people in this, that I was just always talking to people at curious about people and interested in and the different things they were doing.

So I formed a broad coalition from across, you know, marching band and drama to anything and everything. Uh, and so I, uh, was Victoria.

Jonathan Levi: Really cool. So tell me about after high school, where did this interest and passion for self-improvement take you?

Pete Mockaitis: Oh, sure thing. Well, then I went on to college and I studied organizational administration at the University of Illinois, and I got rather interested in strategy consulting and the work that these folks are doing at companies like McKinsey Bain and company, Boston consulting group, and thought that sounds like a really cool thing.

That's what I would like to do. And so I set my sights on that and practiced a lot for their unique interview process and ultimately got an internship at Bain and took it. And sort of began full-time work there. And that sort of set a lot of things up with regard to having a mindset associated with, you know, being data-driven and strategic and, um, and really just optimizing the crap out of a given opportunity.

Jonathan Levi: So where did you take it after that? Obviously today you are no longer at Bain. Tell me about that pivot moment.

Pete Mockaitis: Yeah, that's true. Well, I mean, in a way it wasn't super dramatic. Like I, I sort of left and turned my back because it was sort of the norm in the industry after three-ish years, like, Hey, what are you going to go?

Do you want to go to business school? You want to go to private equity or a corporate strategy, sort of what you think. And, and, and so what I was thinking was, you know, what I've been having so much fun doing, sort of speaking on the side and working with folks and sharing knowledge and see people transformed that.

It really likes to be doing that as my primary thing. Full-time and so that's what I did. I didn't really have a great plan, which is ironic. I should know a lot about, you know, business plans, but as like, you know what, I've seen some speakers who don't really impress me and they're getting paid and I really liked doing this.

So I'm pretty sure I could find a way. And that was kind of the decision point. And I kind of went after it and I sort of stumbled in some ways, as I, as I relearned the fundamental lessons that, Hey, you know, just because you're passionate about something or you really like to do something doesn't mean you're going to get paid for that something.

And you really. Answer those basic questions associated with, okay, you know, who is the customer? What is their pain or problem or need, how can I solve that? You know, uniquely or helpfully or differentiated only relative to the other options that they have available such that it is kind of worthwhile from a money perspective there.

So yeah, it took a little while for me to zero in on those things. But it's worked out. And so now I think with, uh, how to be honest, mate, job podcasts has really been growing nicely about 8 million downloads. We just hit and the associated sort of training that I'm doing with regard to helping individuals and teams just think and collaborate all the more effective is massively valuable, you know, based upon, you know, just all the hours that can be wasted during the course of a, of a Workday work year.

And, and the dollars that adds up to, if you could take a bite out of that, that is very handy and worth some money. 

Jonathan Levi: Yeah, absolutely. And by the way, I have been meaning to thank you. And I figured I would get to thank you on the air. You guys did the coolest thing of any podcast I've ever been on and you not only sent me a t-shirt, but you also sent me a handwritten note which reference, I mean, it wasn't mass-produced because it referenced what we talk about. And I was just so impressed and I know my buddy, Joe Polish, who is big on, send something in the physical mail would just love that. So kudos to you guys. That was the coolest thing to get that in the mail.

Pete Mockaitis: Oh, thank you.

Yes. Well, I'm glad you dug it and that's really the scoop. I mean, I am genuinely appreciative of guests sharing their wisdom and expertise and, um, so it, it just feels natural to do so. And it's just really kind of fun to imagine, you know, all the superhumans out there, you know, supporting this t-shirt as I am too, it's kind of like a, a community or a powerful vibe.

Jonathan Levi: Totally. And I need to pick your brain about how you execute that strategy, because we totally want to copy it. Right.

Pete Mockaitis: Go ahead. Thank you.

Jonathan Levi: So where's your area of genius? I mean, obviously how to be awesome at your job. You've done an incredible job with that podcast. You also work with clients. What are kind of some of the areas?

Because you and I both have this fascination with, how can we use knowledge to be better people? You have a very different background from mine, which is consulting and working in large corporations and things like that. What would you say is your super

Pete Mockaitis: power, right? I think my superpower is just doggedly digging down until we hit the thing, you know, because, and I think with consulting and they do that too because consultants are sometimes I know lambasted lampooned made fun of because, oh yeah, the consultants they'll just steal your watch to tell you what time it is.

And by that, I think they mean, Hey, you know, the employees of the client organization have mentioned the solutions that you are providing. So what the heck are you offering? Well, but I think what the consultant offers and what I offer, you know, when I'm just kind of thinking in my own life and or with clients is that, well, there are hundreds or thousands of potential options.

Plans things to pursue. And if you're sort of to-do list or your quote priority list has many, many, many, many things. Well, then you're going to get cluttered. You're gonna get unfocused. You're you're not going to have the clarity and you're going to be pursuing items that have a sub-optimal level, of impact and leverage for you.

And. I love talking about the 80 20 principles from the economist, the freight operator, which suggests that, you know, 80% of results come from 20% of causes and thus the remaining sort of leftover 20% of results come from 80% of causes. So let's let people take away from that, that, oh yeah. You know what you should prioritize because you know, some things are, are a bit more important than others and I'd say, no, no, no, no.

Some things are not a bit or important. Some things are 16 times as effective as others that I've seen that again and again, and my business in terms of, you know, my investments into what I'm doing, some activities and pursuits generate literally over 16 times as much profit per hour as others, even though on the surface, they might seem like two reasonably, maybe equal ish options to.

Jonathan Levi: So how does one go through doing that? I mean, how, because I spend so much time talking about this and even teaching it in my courses, you know, the whole Eisenhower decision matrix and choosing the rocks. And yet even I get sucked into, I think we all do. We get sucked into things that are top of mind, but not top of priority.

Pete Mockaitis: Certainly well, and what's also interesting in terms of, you know, top of mind, top of priority, you might say top of your fun list, or what's sort of more kind of desirable or interesting because often, you know, we procrastinate those very things that could be quite valuable, but you know, are not as fun and interesting to pursue.

It's like, you know, figure out away. To handle the invoicing, you know? Oh, that doesn't sound like a lot of fun, but by golly, if it did, you know, that might save you, you know, an hour or two, three more a month and thusly that's, it's so leveraged and valuable to pursue that. So, uh, so that could be one indicator right there.

I had Perry Marshall on the show and he said, when my procrastination demons go off, that's often an indicator. I really do need to, uh, you know, pursue that very thing. You know, that, um, So that's one little indicator, but more so I recommend a kind of getting into a bit of the number, you know, in terms of, you know, if it is like a financial person, I have a simple spreadsheet that gets into it in terms of, okay, what are all the activities necessary to accomplish this thing?

How many hours do all those things take? And then what is sort of the lift or benefit in terms of revenue increase or cost decrease that I might expect to get? And so then we of. Uh, calculate it over how many years or what period of time was my probability of success. So it's just very simple as a spreadsheet I could fill out in about five minutes and then when I do so I can see, okay, what is the expected profit generated per hour invested of all these different initiatives?

And I could say, wow, holy smokes. This one. Is, you know, five times as valuable as the other one. Let me really focus all my efforts on this one. And just having that knowledge is so helpful because you'll see another opportunity pop up like, oh, Hey, here's that thing they could say, no, no, no. I am aware that there's other pursuit will be five times as valuable and thusly.

I'm going to go after it. And so, and your goal might not even be. But you might be thinking about how can I deliver the most delight to I'm thinking about my wife with regard to like the honeydew lists, you know like there's all these things you could do, but you could sort of check-in and say, Hey, you know, what would just make you smile the most and be such a relief if it were handled, you know?

And like a zero to 10 scale, zero is like, don't even care. If I was like, oh, it's kind of nice tense. Like, ah, And then I could sort of compare that score against how long the things take and be surprised like, oh, wow. So if I just, uh, sanitize this nasty little, you know, section of the, under the sink that would make your day or your bug, that's going to take me 20 minutes.

All right. Well, that's what I'll do first. So I think it's great to just really ask the questions. It's almost obsessive. I had a guest Morten Hansen. He said one of the high-performance habits. Of professionals is to do less than obsess. I think it's a good turn of phrase is that you are really kind of ask so many questions that many people would just have given up by then.

My mom is kind of exasperated, for example, when she has a cool, she finds like a cool project. I'll ask her like nine follow-up questions, like, oh, how'd you discover it? How does it compare to the others? Do you find this feature to be superior in this way? And to what extent she's like, I don't know, Pete, I just like it.

But when you bring that kind of intense curiosity, it's just something you really start to see, you know, cool opportunities that get overlooked because you see, oh my gosh. If this little thing is true, well then there are huge implications from how that gets applied in LA.

Jonathan Levi: That's really cool. So what I'm hearing, if I'm understanding is really thinking about not just the impact of something, which I think many people don't even get that far.

Right? What is going to be the impact of doing this versus another thing? But also what I liked about what you said is what is going to be the impact relative to the investment, right? Because. If I switch it to financial terms and dollars and cents, it's like you would never assess an investment by I'm going to make $10 off this.

Well, making $10 out of 10 is really bad, but making $10 off of one, you know, it's this relative, how much do I need to invest in time or in money? And how much do I make based on that? And you can't evaluate things along with that same criteria. I really loved that. Okay.

Pete Mockaitis: Oh, cool. Thank you. And I think you could apply it to any number of things you got to prioritize.

Like I remember I had a project once doing some non-profit consulting for this organization that was doing sort of environmental work and they had a really cool piece of intellectual property or approach they were using for investing in wildlife conservation. And they called them biodiversity hotspots.

In terms of where are the particular places on this earth? That have tons of different species of plants and animal life. Okay. And then what kind of money is it going to take to protect them and keep them alive and operating? And then they make it say looking at across the whole globe, we can zero in on, Hey, you know what?

They're just a few hundred square miles that we're, that make all the difference and that's what we're going after. So I think about it in terms of an effectiveness ratio of the outcome you're after on the. It could be profit, could be wildlife conservation. Then the constraint as the denominator on the bottom could be hours or, you know, could be dollars.

So I'm often looking at profit per hour as an example, in terms of the honeydew list, that could be a delight, you know, per hour. And that really, I think. Illuminates things quite a lot in when you've got 50 options, you just sorta sit down and put a number to them. You're like, well, holy smokes. You know, these four are really, really, really worth doing and the rest, you know, maybe.

Yeah. Well, I'll see you if I can fit them in.

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Or use the coupon code superhuman that's C O M R A D S O C K All right, let's get back to the episode.

I want to change gears a little bit, Pete, and I want to talk about this whole idea of being awesome at your job. Not just because you've interviewed dozens and dozens and dozens of experts on how to be awesome at their jobs, but also you've coached people at some of the world's largest and most successful companies.

I've never had a job, so to speak that I didn't sign the paycheck for. So I'm curious, like in today's market where obedience is not the primary criteria like it was during the industrial revolution. I mean, what things have stood out to you in your work, in interviewing what makes people really phenomenal at their jobs, Superhuman, if you will, at their job.

Pete Mockaitis: Oh, I will. Thank you. Well, you know, there's really a few and one of them, I think we just talked about that, that clarity, that focus that prioritization, you know, is because if you are primed to see, what's really going to generate the most value and make the biggest impact, then that really goes a long way.

So that's kind of one of them, but I think the other one may be more fundamentally is just that, just that you care, you know, like it's so funny. And this has come up so many times on my podcast. It's almost like trite. When did they cite the Gallup engagement numbers? I always have begun editing that out of the, of the interviews, just because my listeners have probably heard it 50 times because they're bad and they can serve as a proof point to everything.

And those numbers are something like two thirds ish of employees. And. What nation you're looking at or not engaged in their jobs. So that's the story and it's relative a minority or fewer people really are. And so, you know, that is correlated all kinds of things like, you know, higher turnover, you know, less creativity and all this stuff.

So I think in a way that's one of the fundamental points is that you just, you actually. In terms of what your organization's mission vision values are or what your team is trying to do or who you serve, you know, those, the user or the customer, the stakeholders, like you really do. Want to do what y'all are purporting to do.

Well, I'd say with excellence and you think it matters and you want to have that done at a great quality and quantity because it does something for you now. I think that's huge. And if you don't have that, I mean, you're not really inspired to get good ideas. You don't really care to stick around. You don't want to kind of help out, um, a colleague when it doesn't really directly impact.

You know, you and your, your metrics and such. So I think that it's almost kind of too obvious or simple or fundamental, but it's so often missing and it makes a huge difference is that you give a hoot about what you're doing. 

Jonathan Levi: Yeah, and love it, it's not a given. It is the sad thing is that a lot of people, and I see this in Israel because there is this culture, not as bad, maybe as in South Korea.

Right. But there's this culture of like work involves some suffering. And in order to demonstrate that you are doing a good job, that you better be suffering at least a little bit, because that's just how. Has to be. And, you know, we all have that friend who has every single time you've seen them for the last two years, told you how much they hate their job, and yet they never freaking quit.

So I wish it were a given, like, you should love what you do, but unfortunately it's not.

Pete Mockaitis: Right. And that suffering point, boy, I think that that's a really juicy one to just sit and think about it for a while. I had a guest, her name is and she was fantastic. And talking about these notions of, of why we feel guilty if we're not working hard enough, like what's behind that.

It's sort of like culturally and technologically and economically. And, and so, and she had a really cool turn of a phrase, which was performative stuff. That a lot of employees are doing just that it's, it's like they have to perform to impress and to show off, you know, the extent to which, you know, they are suffering and that means they are committed, et cetera.

And it's really just not helpful. And it's true. I think in, even in your, you said you've, you've never had a job per se, which you weren't starting in the paychecks, but I mean, we engage you and I entrepreneurs, we engage in activities that generate. Well, as you might call that working or a job, and I would think you could back me up on this.

It is, it isn't a dream come true every minute of the day, there are hassles and frustrations and pieces of activity that we prefer not to do that yet need to get done. And hopefully over time, you know, you can outsource, automate, minimize, but there's still some stuff, you know, that, that lingers. So yeah, there's some suffering.

Yeah. We're going to do it, but hopefully, that is a modest proportion of the Workday. And there are more things that get you juiced and there's some stuff you can do with your own mindset and attitude with regard to that. And there's some stuff that's just universally crappy and you might want to look around at other words, Right.

Jonathan Levi: Absolutely. Now tell me a bit about some of your high-performance habits. I mean, I know you coach on a wide range of things with your clients, but I also kind of, one of my discoveries throughout the years has been, it doesn't matter if I'm interviewing a guest, who's an entrepreneurship expert or someone who's a marathon runner.

High-performance people, as, as I said, have these high-performance habits. I wonder if you could walk us through the things that you do on a given day to perform your best.

Pete Mockaitis: Oh, sure thing. Yes. Well, I'll start with, even before the day starts, I'm pretty hardcore about steeping enough. And, um, my wife is a Saint.

I love her so much. We have two children who are two years old and she has done almost all of the sleep sacrificing on that dimension. And for that, I salute her. We always have these conversations like, Hey, if it's a big day for you, I can make the sacrifice. I could do this after I get she's like, you know what?

You need to sleep more. And what you're able to produce in a day varies greatly based on how much you have it. So sleep is huge and I'm big on it. And you probably heard all the sleep hygiene things, but I often do choose to wear earplugs and a sleep mask and have a cool, quiet, dark environment, all that stuff.

So great sleep is where it starts. And then in the morning, I've kind of got this groove going. So that's, you know, I will wake up. I will weigh myself, just make sure we're. Staying in line. I will pour 20 ounces of cold water and have a couple of almonds. And my multivitamin, my D vitamin, and my probiotic, I will then proceed to walk on the treadmill at a four-mile per hour pace for approximately 40 minutes with some blue light exposure while doing, some prayer, and gratitude.

You know reflection and maybe listen to something uplifting, you know, as well, such as, uh, maybe some daily scripture readings or a podcast that's positive. And then I'm in the groove. It's like, all right, we'll start this day. I will write on a giant thick, luscious, no card. You know, the top priorities.

I've worked for the day prior to looking at, um, you know, email or text messages or any other input. And then I sort of viewed that as sort of like the defending champion on, okay, how's this day, get it go. Well, this is the control that this is what needs to get beat. And so then when I look at my inbox, I'm sort of in a defensive posture, as opposed to I'll do whatever is in there.

I'll say. Are you more critical than this stuff that I've zeroed in on? And most of the time it's not, but sometimes it is. It's like, oh, Hey Pete, I need this thing or else you won't get paid. I was like, oh, okay, well, here you go. Thanks. And then just sort of going after it, I like to do work in, you know, 60 to 90 ish minutes bouts, if you will.

So there's some time for resting. I think that's, that's a scoop, but I think I've learned that we had a guest, Jenny Blake. She said it very nicely. She said, you know, your body is your business. And that really resonates in terms of what I do to be energized. Pays rich dividends. Because that energy can be applied to really hard, tough, tricky, challenging, deep work activities that are highly valuable as opposed to the activities you're capable of accomplishing when you're you're zonked at it.

Ready to be done.

Jonathan Levi: Yeah, absolutely. I love that. My favorite piece was the whole bit about sleep. Cause I see my marriage in that as well. It just seems, and I did a little research on this. It does seem that, and even Arianna Huffington talks about this, that women can get by with less sleep. Like.

Genetically, they can survive better than a weekend with less sleep, but ironically, they actually need more sleep than we do. And I totally see this in my marriage. Like I cannot function unless I sleep Ella, kill people to get an extra hour of sleep.

Pete Mockaitis: I will kill people. Well, yeah, that's the thing is we're both kind of a kind and not nasty to each other and just about always, which is awesome, but like when I'm sleep deprived like my face just had.

Deadness about it and my wife and her sweet compassion, just like, I just, I don't know if I could do that to you. Wow.

Jonathan Levi: Well, Pete, I want to transition now into some of the rapid-fire questions I like to ask first off, I love to assign homework and I haven't been good about assigning homework to our audience. Recently, what's a homework assignment that people could do this week to act on some of the things they've learned so far?

Pete Mockaitis: Oh, sure thing. Well, I would recommend that you sit down with a piece of paper and away from technology for a moment, and then ask yourself some of those questions like, Hey, what are the vital few things that will make a big impact?

You know, you may be, if you have a few options, You put them through that kind of effectiveness ratio? Well, you might ask, uh, the one thing question, uh, from my, I had a guest Jay Papasan. Who's awesome. Who said, Hey, what's the one thing I can do is such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary.

So having some of those, those reflection moments to dig into that, to surface the big priority and then schedule, it would be huge. And I'd also say for kind of applying these same principles to podcast episodes. I put some of my most impactful ones in terms of listener favorite high impact at the very beginning between episode zero and one labeled A, B, C, D, E, F.

So if you're wanting to do some superhuman learning in an efficient way, I'd recommend that you start with the very best, and those are the two. 

Jonathan Levi: I love that, love that. Speaking of homework books, you and I both love books. I didn't make a habit of hanging out at the library as much as you did probably. But what are some of the books that have most, most impacted your life?

Pete Mockaitis: I'm going to say there's so many great ones and feel free to cut that out. I always do. When I ask about books that people could say, oh my gosh, there's so many great books. Yes. We know that's. So tell me what yours now. All right. So I'm going to go with, I think Getting Things Done was huge for David Allen, just from his organization and not having everything just taking over my brain, but having a trusted external system on which I'm putting the stuff so that, that as well in handled.

So that's huge, I think, Influence Science And Practice by Dr. Robert. Cialdini is also so powerful in terms of how do you persuade and how are you being persuaded and how can you be more impactful elements of style?

Uh, just about writing. I've read this book maybe once a year because it does the finest job. I've seen it. I'd like to get the board books like this, but I can't find any, it is the finest job I've seen of articulating what makes a sentence good and clear. And what makes a sentence not so good and clear.

Cause often if it's been too long since I've read that book, it's sort of like, I kind of know it when I read it, but I don't quite know why, but then when you, you go through it and it's like, all right, boom, omit needless words. Yeah. Okay. And then another law and then another law. And you're like, oh, thank you.

You know, my writing has been rejuvenated from this annual reread of this classic. So we'll leave at three unless you're Jones. 

Jonathan Levi: No, those are really, really good favorite products that help you perform at your absolute best.

Pete Mockaitis: Oh, sure thing. Well, you know, I'm holding one of them. We both had Chris Bailey on our shows.

We had a lengthy talk about this pen. It is the pilot precise RT and a, I think it just writes like a dream. And I also like to write that on a Cambridge Limited business notebook. I think you can overdo it with the tools. It's not about the tools, but at the same time, if you have a little dose of delight, when you use it, then you're more motivated to do so.

I also love Omni Focus, uh, in terms of talking about David Allen, getting things done so fast, I hear an idea. And instantly I can just sort of note that in the inbox like, oh, that sounds like a cool movie. I'll check it out. And it's not lost. And then later on I will process it. And what I want to watch a movie, like weeks later, I can go over to the movie list.

And so all of these little tiny opportunities that would have disappeared had not had a rapid capture tool. I now have with that. So, so I really dig that as well as I think I sit to stand desk is really cool. There's a few great. In terms of having that flexibility and ability to stand up, sit down or, and even just adjust the height a little bit, you know, and when you're in a different kind of a posture, uh, so those are some of my faves.

Jonathan Levi: I love that. Tell me a little bit more about OmniFocus I'm not familiar?

Pete Mockaitis: Oh, sure thing. Well, so there's a lot of, I think, productivity to-do list type applications. You got things. Remember the milk. Do you use one?

Jonathan Levi: I use Asana. I use Evernote, but I'm not quite sure what one is because I still haven't figured out what Omni focus, where to put on the focus in the right box.

Pete Mockaitis: OmniFocus will be lack of Asauna, except it's more for one person. So I think OmniFocus would call itself a task management application. So if a task comes up, I can sort of just add it to a running list in the inbox, but where it gets very powerful is that I can then sort of drag and drop or tuck those into specific projects.

And then place those as well. It was with tags and deadlines and I could sort of defer them or flag them. So you sort of have some nice flexibility with what you do here. And so I was just at the podcast movement conference and I've got. So many little tidbits, they start off as just like just a quick capture and you can chew on them.

So for example, someone mentioned that a life insurance ad on an OJ Simpson podcast had tremendously high performance, and I just thought that's. And then you could, later on, unpack that in terms of what is the significance of this? I guess if I'm going to pursue advertising, I should go with a super good fit.

And if someone's listening about someone who allegedly killed somebody, then that might put you in a primed, privileged position to buy life insurance. Then what are some other instances of that in terms of podcast and advertiser fits that were excellent? And then where might I go? So anyway, I don't have time to think about all those things in the middle of a conversation, but I can just push a button to capture it, and then it's there for me to process it afterward.

Jonathan Levi: Awesome. Love that. Really, really cool. I'm gonna have to check out Omni focus, complete this sentence. For me, most people would be much better off as they just.

Pete Mockaitis: I would say stopped breathing and thought through things as opposed to a kind of retreating from boredom, by firing up something digital and or entertaining.

Jonathan Levi: Really good. Really, really good. What's a question I should've asked you that.

Pete Mockaitis: I think I often like to get some insight when it comes to asking about mistakes in terms of, you know, what's a common mistake. People make sort of the stop doing part of, of the continuum. And there, I think the state could be.

For being awesome at your job, it's just sort of misunderstanding. What do you mean by awesome? You could have one conception. Your boss has a very different one. And until you sit down and have that sync up in terms of how do you define quality? What's really the priority. If I could nail three things this year, just extraordinarily.

Well, what would? Your dream be for those three things. And so, so getting that alignment is so huge. And the common mistake is I had a guest, Mary Abby, Jay talked about managing up and she mentioned that, uh, the vast, vast majority of employees never have this conversation with their boss. And it's too.

Jonathan Levi: Totally true. Totally true. All right, Mr. Pete Mockaitis, I know we are running up on time. I do want to give you an opportunity to let people know where they can reach out where they can learn more about all the different stuff that you're doing. The senior podcast, where should we send them?

Pete Mockaitis: Oh, thank you.

Well, I would say right there on your podcast playing app, you got to go, and right now I'd recommend you search how to be awesome. And you'll see that lovely yellow cover art with the girl looking upward at the how to be awesome at your job podcast. And it would start with some of the favorite episodes at the very beginning in-between episode zero and one, I captured the fan favorites, uh, labeled A, B, C, D E F, and their cool.

Uh, communication secrets from an FBI hostage negotiator to a rockstar business school professor who's identified the key career derailers. Those are some, uh, fun places to start.

Jonathan Levi: Love it. And I love this. You make it really easy for people to get started. Another brilliant podcasting idea that I might just borrow from you, Pete.

I want to thank you so much for coming on the show before I let you go, though, what's the one thing you hope people take away from this episode and remember for the rest of their lives.

Pete Mockaitis: I hope that you take away from this episode, that certain activities are massively more valuable than other activities and thusly.

It's very much worth your time to stop think ponder, identify those, and then doggedly pursue them without getting distracted and doing what is sort of urgent and easy and fun, but rather what's really high impact. So yeah, I hope you remember that. 

Jonathan Levi: Brilliant. Thanks so much for coming on the show. It's been a pleasure.

Closing: Thanks for tuning into the award-winning SuperHuman Academy Podcast. For more great skills and strategies, or for links to any of the resources mentioned in this episode, visit superhuman. blog while you're at it. Please take a moment to share this episode with a friend and leave a review on iTunes. We'll see you next week.



  1. Luiz
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    Thanks, I learned a lot of interesting things in past episodes.

  2. Shivaditya Purohit
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    loved th heart and the depth of the conversation. The way that Dr. Metivier shared from his enormous experience and insights was just amazing. Thank you Jonathan for doing this podcast!! 🙂

  3. Rob
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    Great interview with Dr. Greg Wells! He mentioned a doctor from Colorado around the 42:30 point of the podcast, discussing turmeric and black pepper. I couldn’t make out the doctor’s name. Can you provide me with his full name and maybe his website or contact info. Interested in his products.



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The Basics of Total Personal Transformation W/ Stephan Spencer