you know, early in your career, regardless of what the career is, you're always looking for opportunities. You know, when something comes to you, you want to jump out and say yes, but as you become more and more successful, it's not how many times you say yes, how many times you say no even to potentially good opportunities, because sometimes saying yes to a good opportunity that doesn't bring you further along in your vocation career goal, whatever it's just gonna take you off track. Here's the question, what's going on inside the minds of top achievers that caused them to make extraordinary breakthroughs, both personally and professionally. My name is tim sure, and I invite you to join me as we take a deep dive into the unconscious mind and discover how to transform your biggest dreams into a reality. Welcome to the how to be mesmerizing podcast. Hey everybody! Welcome to how to be mesmerizing its temperature. And today we have another extraordinary guest with us, Tony Alexandra is with us Tony. Welcome to the program.
Thank you, tim appreciate it. So Tony is for anybody that doesn't know, Tony is a real legend in the field of speaking and training and psychology. He's a hall of Fame speaker. He's written a gazillion books, best selling author and and also has gone deep into really the psychology of human behavior and he's created incredible assessments that help turn, as he says, prospects into promoters and really helps companies to build high performing teams. So I'm really excited to get into that mind of yours Tony and and take a few laps so right, good, good. So I always start off with this question, what would you say from all the experience that you've had up into this point, what's the secret to success much? There's one secret to him. But the things that come to my mind, number one would be education constant learning posture. Now, whether that that is learning in school or out of school, you don't have to go to college, you could read books, reading books probably is as good as going to college.
Quite frankly, I will tell you this, I've been doing crossword puzzles, you know, new york times, crossword puzzles. Now for the last let's see, I would say 15 years And quite frankly I think that that is as good an education as I got in all of my 20 years of going to college. So you know, there are things like that also, you know, education, talking to a lot of people, having a mentor, having role models, having colleagues, guys do a lot of the people that you have interviewed everybody from brian Tracy and Dennis wait li you know, and I can go on and on, but you know, rubbing shoulders with them and asking them questions like, you know, what got you to where you're at, what did you do? But back to your question, education constant learning, I would say number two would be focus there are too many people who are gifted and I've seen many of them who are scattered.
They chased this, they chase that, you know, they're all over the place and as a result they don't achieve what they possibly are able to achieve. So a good example, I had somebody talk to me about a year or so ago and this woman introduced me to disk assessments back in the late seventies, right? So she was into this into disk at least before I was. So anyway, last year she's saying Tony, I'm just I don't know why you are so far ahead of me in terms of you know, your career and I said to her, it's because you are always chasing that shining object and not focusing on one thing. You know, my whole career, I focused on well at least initially being an educator, I was a university proper 8.5 years, then professional speaking and then my online assessment business, but that's my blinders and you know, early in your career, regardless of what the career is, you're always looking for opportunities.
You know, when something comes to you, you want to jump out and say yes. But as you become more and more successful, it's not how many times you say yes, how many times you say no even to potentially good opportunities because sometimes saying yes to a good opportunity that doesn't bring you further along in your vocation career goal, whatever it's just going to take you off track. So education focus, I really think that networking is absolutely crucial, I'm constantly on the phone with my colleagues, people like Jim Cathcart, Don Hudson, Mark Sanborn, I'm on the phone with these guys and we're talking about, hey, what are you doing? What's working, what's not working? And you're always getting little insights how I, you know, I didn't try that. Let me try that. So this whole networking is absolutely crucial. So there's three things for your right there. Education focus networking, that's brilliant, Tony.
In fact, if people just did what you said right there, it would be a significant improvement in the results that they get because that is, I mean you really have nailed it, everybody that I've interviewed and talked to as well as always talking about the importance of self development, working on yourself, always growing being focused, I love that you're right, entrepreneurs and business people love chasing shiny objects and so you know, we we go and we dig a bunch of one ft holes in the yard and never feel like we strike oil and we end up tired and dirty at the end of the day and you're like, no dig one hole and go as deep as you possibly can, which is beautiful. And then the third part is your networking because that's how you shave years off your curve right there's I wouldn't have had the pleasure of sitting down and interviewing you right now if I didn't know Don and Jim and Mark right and were and I didn't know them, you know I was working through you know Les Brown you know and brian Tracy and and so you know the power of networking and connecting opens doors that you couldn't have opened on your own.
So already brilliant advice tim let me just add one thing a world vice. Now this is this sort of like permeates all three of those piece of advice my mother gave me see if you can finish this, you're ready, always go the extra mile. She told me always go the extra mile or the extra inch. It's a play, it's a play on words. And so my mother said a mile so far but an inch you can do every day and she said every day go the extra inch. Oh a new vocabulary word, Give somebody an extra complement. Read an extra page in a book, walk, one extra block, you know physically or do an extra push ups or sit up, always go the extra inch. And she said eventually if you go enough extra inches, you've gone the extra mile, wow!
Microscopic continuous improvement, which is so simple, wow, simple yet profound. Your mother was full of wisdom and it makes sense that you would love doing crossword puzzles now. All right, pick up a new word, a new idea takes you opens a new door and you're right, we make it seem simple and easy and inch sounds a lot more doable than a mile. So I love the language and the semantics of it. And yeah, that was just brilliant. I love that because you can take another inch, you know, you can add one more smile or you know, make one more phone call or just do one more thing, One more push ups. Big Ziegler's talked about how, I'm sure you remember this, how he lost 20 or £30. He just walked to his mailbox and the next day he added a mailbox and then every day he added a mailbox and then he lost his weight. Right? So that's really good. Very profound. So yeah, Dr Nieto Cobain was just telling me about all the amazing advice that he had picked up from his mother as well.
And so you have that in common. So what caused you to go from, I mean, you've had a pretty amazing life from growing up in, you know, the projects in new york city and and then to becoming a professor, right? And uh, and teaching students and now becoming, you know, a a worldwide sensation and offering really changing the culture of so many companies through your personality assessments. How do you end up falling on personality assessments as one of your main streams of revenue is one of your passions. Well, while I was at Georgia State University, I was in my PhD program. This was probably the fourth quarter of 2000 No, 4th quarter of 1974, right. And I had finished my course work, I was looking for a dissertation topic. In fact I even think I had my dissertation topic approved, which really has a very significant thing to get that improve because then it's just going through the motions.
The disputation topic was buyer seller similarity as a determinant of success and industrial selling. And basically what it was is if a buyer felt that the seller was more similar to the buyer, the buyer would be more likely to purchase the product and the reason I chose industrial products because they were basically all the same, you know, toilet paper paper towels, you name it. So it's pretty much the same product, similar price. Who are they going to buy from? So and I was measuring that based on demographics, age, gender, you know, things like that. In that fourth quarter of 1974, I was invited to this private in somebody's home little workshop and it was on social styles. Are you a driver expressive, amiable or analytical? And it really was built around Larry Wilson's, what did he call it?
Social style sales strategies for s. S social style sales strategies. And when I saw that I don't know, maybe the one thing that I think I have and probably have had since I was a kid is when I see opportunity that I really think is good opportunity, I jump on it. Alright, sometimes I jump on on things. But this was something I looked at and I said whoa I love this. And you know at my undergraduate degree at Notre dame and my M. B. A. At University of Connecticut I was even though I majored in business, I took courses in sociology and psychology, I was interested in that arena and of course you know psychology and sociology etcetera and business they sort of go hand in hand. All right. So I went back to my professor, my dissertation chairman and I'll tell you about him in a second and I said hey what I'd like to do is I want to change my dissertation from demographics to psychographic personality, behavior and he looked at me and he said absolutely not, no way.
He said, finish your dissertation, get out of here and then pursue this psychology but don't mess around with getting that PhD. And by the way my dissertation chairman, let me sort of back up early in my life. There were three books that had an impact on my life, really an impact psycho cybernetics by dr Maxwell malts. I mean really wow. You know as a teenager reading that book and it was wow you know I can change things just by my thought process. Uh And another book I believe it or not, I wasn't really good in the verbal skills, Math was my key. So I one of my three key books was 30 days to a more powerful vocabulary, really, really helped me, you know, in that arena. And then the third book was the Magic of Thinking Big By Dr David Schwartz.
A multimillion bestselling book. Well at Georgia State, he was a professor there. Dr David Schwartz in the department of Marketing before I went to Georgia State University, I called up, I got him on the phone, I said I'm thinking of coming there. Would you be my dissertation chairman? I was looking you know, ahead and he agreed. So when I got there was my professor, he was my role model. He guided me through the entire program uh you know, told me the road blocks, you know which way to take when I came to a fork in the road. Very significant. So anyway, but I got the initial interest when I went to that little workshop in the fourth quarter of 1974 when I and then I started teaching it. So as I was doing meditation, I had time, you don't work full time doing your dissertation, I guess some people do, but I didn't. And I started actually doing workshops now keep in mind I was at Georgia State University which is a major downtown Atlanta business.
I mean they have other subjects in areas, but the business, they were huge. And whenever calls came in from the business community to the school of business. If it was a marketing or sales issue, it went to the marketing department and if it was a sales issue, it actually came to me, even though I was a doctoral student, I also was an instructor. I was actually teaching there too. So that got me into doing sales and marketing consulting and sales and marketing training. So I started doing the social styles type training. People loved it, they ate it up. You know, today it's pretty ingrained in business and in people's minds. But think about 1974 75 76. This was, wow, I've never seen or heard anything like this before. And so when I graduated Georgia state, I got a teaching position at the University of SAn Diego.
So I moved to San Diego in the summer of 1976, still live here by the way and was a professor, assistant professor at the University of San Diego. I was teaching marketing subjects, sales and marketing strategy and planning at the NBA level. After two years of doing that and still doing the training on the side, The dean of the school of business. So I remember this vividly. It was uh probably September August or September of 1978. And he said, Tony, you've got to make a decision. You cannot be a full time professor and try to be a full time speaker, although I was meeting all my responsibilities at the university everything. And he said, you got to choose one or the other, you cannot do both. I try to talk them into allowing me to do both. Even if I cut that out on this or whatever. No, you got to do one or the other. And I said, you know, I've been teaching now for full time for eight years because even through my doctor report when I was teaching and I said I'm going to give speaking a go.
And so I taught that first semester, the fall semester of 1978, but that was it. Then I left in January of 79, became a full time professional speaker. And lo and behold a couple of interesting things happened. I was writing my first book during that time period during 78 And my first book came out in January of 79 exactly when I was going out into the marketplace, it was called non manipulative selling. Very first book, an audio program, eight cassette, audio program cassette tapes, Okay. And it was either january february, I don't remember when it was, I was doing a speech for Century 21. They gave us booths to show our product that we want to sell to the real estate agents and who had the booth next to me Jim Cathcart. I had never before, he had never met me before, but during break, he came to my table, he was looking at my books and he said, wow!
You know if I wrote a book on sales, this would be the book, he said how about if I sell your book, Wow. And anyway that was the beginning of a friendship that became an actual business partnership. We were partners through 1985 and then we kind of decided to go our own way. We were trying to build a training company, then we decided you know what we're better speakers than we are traders, let's just go become speakers to this day, as you probably know because you interviewed him I think fairly recently we are very close friends. He used to live in La Hoya, moved up to 1000 oaks California now just moved to austin texas. We won't see them as often, but we're still quite close, but that's how I sort of got into the personality styles, behavioral styles. Whenever I would give a speech on sales I cover a whole array of topics, I mean everything from pre call planning into prospecting needs analysis all the way through, assuring customer satisfaction.
But one little section was on the four behavioural styles and I would always get people come up afterwards and say, hey could you come to my association, can you come to my company and just do that little part on the four styles? Well the more I got to ask, you know, the blinding flash of obvious hit me This, I mean people are responding to this, let me speak more and more on this and you know as I was speaking on it, you know, I was actually the first couple of years I was doing well as a speaker, you know, 79, 80, 81. But you know, I wasn't burning down bridges in 81. 1 of the grand grand fathers of Professional speaking, at least at that time was Bill Goave. Bill Go was the first president of the National Speakers Association. So in 1981, at a mid-year meeting of the National Speakers Association, he came up to me, put his arm around me, got me in a little loving headlock and whispered in my ear, Tony Tony when you speak on stage, you're speaking like a professor in college, but off stage you're funny, you're a new york italian, you have an edge to you, your mischievous none of that.
You are allowing to come out on stage, you need to allow that natural style to come out on stage and tim, I gotta tell you as soon as I started doing that, my career skyrocketing, wow. You know. So Then in 1985 I'm giving a speech on the four styles, right? And somebody comes up to me afterwards, he and his writing and he said, I loved your topic and I really think it would be a great audio album. I said, I'd love to do an audio album. He said, hi, my name is Earl nightingale, you believe that he's in the audience, so that's crazy. Yeah, Cathcart and I said jim we're going to do it now and we actually did it together. It sold over a quarter of a million copies over the years. So it was a runaway best best seller for nightingale konia.
But you know, that was a bit of a big push of my career. And then in the late 80s, somewhere in the late 80s again, I'm giving a talk, somebody comes up to me and he said, I love the simplicity of your model. I love the visual aspect of the way you present these four styles and what I'd like you to do is I'd like you to write a book with our VP of Research and Development and it was the then president of perform acts or I think it may at the time have been Carlson Learning Performance was the original company that created disk. Then it was bought by Carlson Learning, bought by Escape and now bought by Wiley. But they came up to me and said we'd love you to take your simplicity of that model and build it into the disc assessment which didn't have quadrants or anything at the time. And so we wrote that book, it was called People smart ends upon tens of thousands of copies were given out to every disk consultant at the time, but that got me into disk.
I mean really got I was certainly familiar with disk. I was running at the time with my own platinum rule model which was director thinker or later and socialize er but disk was much much bigger worldwide. Much more well known And little by little I started gravitating toward the disk model and I will tell you from 74 through 96 everything was paper based. So all the assessments were paper based but in 96 I had what I thought was going to be my true bestseller which it wasn't my true best seller was the art of managing people. But in 96 my book the platinum rule came out and I decided to put the platinum rule assessment online First time 1996 I was having over 10,000 people a month taking it for free.
My goal was to sell the book, take the sentence, they get their report and there's some copy there about buying the book if they wanted to dig in deeper and of course it's sold books but not enough to you know get it onto a new york times bestseller list. But that assessment won a webby. A webby was at least at the time. I don't know if they still have webbys but a webby was like an Oscar. Remember that internet world? It was the online it was the online something of the week in USA Today which got a lot of people going to it and after so many people Taking this over a few years I said you know this really can be a business. And in 2000 actually it started just before 2000. But in 2000 is when I may two key decisions and decision No one was to say I'm going to slowly cut back in.
Speaking travel was killing me. Here I am with 12.5 million frequent flyer miles. That's how many, that's how much I traveled in my career. Oh my gosh! It was crazy. You know, some people love trump travel and I believe me, you know, I grew up in the projects of new york. I had never been out of New york city or New Jersey Until I was 18 years old. I didn't get on my first flight which was really from South Bend to New Jersey in you know, 1966 or 67. I mean so travel, you know boy I was interested so I've traveled all over the world, you name it. I've probably been there other than Antarctica and but it is draining, especially in the days, you know, up through, I would say 1999 and 2000 to a degree. Were you averaging 100 to 120 speeches a year all over the world?
I mean it's running back and forth, back and forth to your, your speech out of the speech to the airport on another flight to another city. It was crazy. It was draining some people get energy from it and other people that drains energy may I add drained energy. So in 2000 I went to my head of marketing of my speaking business. Her name is holly and I said holly, we've briefly talked about this, I'm gonna spin off my speaking business to you. You're going to have all of the staff, the office, the computers, everything. I'm giving you everything and you're still going to market me but only on percentages. So I got rid of all my fixed overhead. Now it's variable percentages and I said I'll get you other speakers so that your revenue is equal to or greater than it was when you were working to me. So I got her gym Cathcart, I got her real neato neato.
Cobain was one of hers, Although he wasn't one of the 1st 4 jim Cathcart was one of the first four of course Rick Barrera, the author of over promise and over deliver today. You know, she has people like Brown a brown, you know though that level of speaker Neto and I are still on there but we're called emeritus, you know, which means you know old guys over the hill but starting 2000 I hired this young kid 23 years old, I got his name through a friend of mine and I said could you program this for me and you know create the dashboard or whatever and that's what happened. We, we started building this assessment platform. We lucked out that our first client was ken blanchard, the manager sure gave us credibility, gave us a lot of revenue at the beginning and helped us along and you know, as that business grew, I slowly cut back on the number of speeches I was giving and I think well here we are today, I won't mention the year because we don't want to date this, but here we are today, where I literally don't have to give another speech.
Do not need the money from speaking. And quite frankly, uh, the only time I really want to give a speech is only for either my assessment clients or to an organization, a big organization that can become an assessment client and I won't even charge for that. So in the assessment business over the years has grown to multiples of what my speaking revenue was, which was pretty significant. So it's been a great move now. I'm able to spend basically all my time. Of course all of us have to spend all our time at home, but we won't go into that, you know, what's going on in the world, but I don't have to travel anymore. So it's great. So anyway, that was actually a lengthy answer tim to your question, how I got involved in in the, the assessments. Oh, I loved it. I'm so thankful that you took me on that journey. It was so great. I felt like I was right there with you and, and you know, it was so cool because you know, you had these life changing moments where you met Jim Cathcart or where Earl Nightingale approaches you, which is just mind blowing and you know, and people will sometimes listen to that and say well, you know, you just got lucky, But you just talked about how you put 12 million miles in right preparation plus opportunity equals success and you prepared and prepared and prepared and worked hard to be in those situations.
And then when opportunity arose, you leaned in. Sometimes people will get the opportunities and because of their limiting beliefs and insecurities, they won't feel like they can measure up and they sabotage themselves right. And so you were able to lean in and then the third thing that I really enjoyed is that um you know how we sometimes think that the one thing that we're doing is going to be it like you're one book was going to be your best seller, you know, and it ended up being something totally different and you know, but you are still able to reach the destination that you kept holding in your mind, you know, because you kept holding it in your mind, you kept going towards it and that was pretty powerful stuff. One of the things people need to understand is at least for me, I kind of go with like with the flow of water wherever it's going and I read not literally, but the tea leaves, I listened to the market. Although the platinum rule was my baby, I realized this was going to be a much more important assessment.
So I went that direction. I listened not just to my colleagues. We talked about networking and my colleagues, but I listen a lot to my customers and my customers tell me what direction to take. They tell me what's working, what's not working. When we built our first assessment platform, we went to our customers and basically said, okay, here it is. Tell us what you like, tell us what you don't like tell us what we left out. And when they came up with ideas that my partner and I now, you know that 23 year old back, in You know, is now 43. So, and he's my ceo now. So he really grew with me and the company. But when we did the first platform, when somebody came up with an idea that we did not think about, we say, hey, let's add it, let's add it, let's add it. And we kept adding things. It's like taking a little strip mall and you know, when people are giving you ideas, you're adding, you know, a story here, hearing another story here, You're expanding this thing here and then it becomes unwieldy.
So what you want to do is then let's raise this whole shopping center and build from scratch what we had and then we, so we went to two point oh three point oh 4.0 over the years. And right now I'm hoping by the end of september we'll have assessment platform five point oh so we've rebuilt our assessment technology. This will be five times much of it based on customers saying, you know, if it only did this or we love the way it does that but and you know, we listen, we evaluate it and then do it. So are there some some trends that you're seeing lately where what you know what our business people asking for now or what is the biggest struggle that they're having? We're right at this moment, it's about either keeping employees or hiring employees and even hiring employees if they instead of letting an employee go, let's call them furloughed employees, which sort of as a temporary thing.
So now the question is, a lot of these companies are now saying okay with the furloughed employees, which of those furloughed employees do I want to bring back or should I look for new talent to replace some of those furloughed employees? So right now there's a big to do about hiring or keeping employees. So we have an assessment called higher sense. H I R E S E N S E and and higher sense is not an assessment. It's three assessments in one. So it's taking the disc assessment which measures how people do what they do. It's the motivators assessment that measures why people do what they do and what we call the Hartmann value assessment which measures your decision making ability, your critical thinking. So how you do what you do, why you do what you do in your critical thinking.
And we allow people to create what's called a benchmark. The benchmark. Maybe let's just call it the ideal type of person we're looking for for a job. Let's see the ideal salesperson, the ideal CFO you know whatever the ideal administrative assistant we create a benchmark which is a objective benchmarks based on those three assessments. And then when they have candidates take the higher sense they could actually benchmark these candidates against the you know Against the benchmark and decide which ones come closest to that ideal. Higher you know a lot of companies when they're looking for whether it's a salesperson or whatever they may have 10, candidates. Do I interview all of them? I mean do I have the time to do that and you know with interviews People come many people in an interview, a job interview are coached so they're putting their best foot forward they send in their resume tim a resume is like a balance sheet with no debits right?
It's only positive holy assets. That's it recommendations from previous employers. Do you know? It is it's sort of in a sense like a minefield for previous employer to say something negative about a past employee. So there's so much subjectivity in the hiring process, assessments bring in a sense of objectivity. You don't make a higher no higher promote not promote based on assessments alone. No way. But just make it another piece of the puzzle among other things. So that's one of the things we're seeing right now is definitely a greater interest in this whole hiring process. Do I keep employees? Do I replace them? Do I hire new employees? And how do I do that? So I can really get the best of the best.
The other thing which really is amazing that I've gotten out of the speaking business is what has happened to the speaking business and what has happened to the meeting business in general right now it is shut down in terms of of live face to face speaking, everything has moved online. So we're finding the most creative, the best speakers literally building within their home or their office like studio where you know, they have cameras, they have green screens, they have monitors, they have switchers where they can switch from different camera views and slides and even video examples and they're finding that they like it, they're good at it. They're getting bigger and bigger fees, maybe not as much as when they were traveling but they don't have to travel.
Imagine the less impact on your body and your, your family and your friendships. So you know, a lot of that I think is crucial. We're seeing the entire meetings. Industry really transform itself, much of it going online and I believe a lot of it staying online now. Well that means the total two in person meetings. No, I think, you know, we'll get back to that, but nothing like we've seen in the past, you know, this is the third major correction To live meetings since 2000. We had 911 where there was somewhat of a connection correction not big Then the Great Recession in 2007 08, whatever that was a bigger correction. But today this is a major correction and part of it is because of the how much better the online meeting possibilities are, I mean look at us right now, where are you located right now, tim Indianapolis, your Indianapolis.
I'm in san Diego. We are face to face and this did not exist a few years ago, not like this. And you know like in my company, I have employees in six different states every week on Tuesday for one hour, we're all on zoom. We all see each other, you know, it's like we're all together, we joke around, we give what we call fist bumps to each other, who in the last week has really helped me out or you out or whatever, we talk about what we call our rocks. The biggest single thing that we're facing in the week ahead. But every week we are meeting online and we don't have to do that on purpose, you know, uh we don't in person Yeah, that is a major shift, a lot more is happening online. And the online options are significant for small little meetings, what we're doing here like zoom is great.
There are other options where there's bigger meetings where you can see the audience, there can be interaction. It's just it's amazing. So yeah, Yeah, you're right. There's been much change and now we really do live in a new world and I don't think that it's ever going to go back to the way that it was, it's gonna be forever shifted. And as we move it deeper into the 21st century, there's gonna be a lot more of, you know, this, this virtual experience because if you can have the same kind of impact and make the same kind of money and you don't have to be gone all the time. I mean in the speaking world, that's amazing. Right? So let me take one step back real quick. So as you talked about leaders and what they're struggling with right now, it is this has changed as well because before covid 19, you know, I do a lot of mesmerizing leadership programs and my specialties, unconscious beliefs and bias, I've spent 30 years understanding what drives us at an unconscious level and I always appreciated personality assessments because they give you a lot of amazing data without all the the emotions or the subjectivity, you know, laced on it.
So it gives you really invaluable information and tools also. But as you said, you know, and you're one of the most well known authorities in the world on personality assessments and but even you said it's just one piece of it. Another piece of it is uh you know, being able to recognize the beliefs of, of leaders because you can have all the information and data in the world and it doesn't change behavior. Right? So one of the beliefs that I kept noticing over and over from leadership teams was I'm too busy to train my people. I don't have time to develop my people. And one of the main goals of a leader is to grow your people. And the unconscious belief was, I don't have time to do that. I barely can get my own stuff done. And now we go from that belief to suddenly trying to lead remote teams. And so now, you know, I'm just so curious where leaders are at with um you know, with that, which is why I asked you the question because definitely should we keep employees? Should we hire new employees?
Do we bring our employees back? Should we ethically bring our people back? You know, because you know, they were with us all those questions come up. But now I'm just curious what the other beliefs are about how you manage people when you didn't feel like you had time before? Yeah, well let me address this training issue. You know, there's an old singing in the speaking world. What if I train my people and they leave? The bigger issue is what if I don't train them and they stay, I have to subject them to my customers. But I will tell you just like we were just chatting about the technology today where we can have meetings like this many, many speakers, including myself. We've, we've gone to virtual training. I have a virtual training quote was called disk virtual training where I don't have to go out and do the program. Actually, the virtual training program in my opinion, does a better program. It does a better job educating people on disk.
Then I would do in a live program because you know, I made sure, you know, with scripting and everything and my video recording that all the pieces were there in the right places. But when I'm live on stage it might not go that way. You know, it depends on, you know, the audience, the interaction and you know What, I spend a day or two with give and take Q and a quizzes with an audience. Probably not. But the disk virtual training does just that after every segment and there's I think 60 something segments all short, you know, anywhere from maybe a couple of minutes to maybe 12 minutes, maybe the longest with everyone has quiz questions. And if you get it right. You know, I tell you you got it right right on screen if you got it wrong, I explain why you got it wrong, go back and try again. I mean this is the world we're in the technology today to do this, to do this interactive.
You can have training right now where you can say to somebody here is the question, here is the scenario, pick what you think is the best way to approach this. They click on something and then you come on the screen and say, well, you know, remember it, this is the scenario, I'm not sure that that would work because of so and so go back and try again. They go back and you can even give them video segments, you know, of actual actors who act out that process and show what's right and what's wrong. It's near impossible really to do that in a live program. You have to have actors there, they'd have to come up on stage, are they doing the right thing? Didn't remember everything. But you know, in a virtual training program, all that is scripted and videoed and edited so that everything is just right. And many of my colleagues, you know, I'm sure Don Hudson has his virtual training on sales scott McCain has his on scott McCain and chef hiking, have Arizona customer service and it goes on and on.
We all have our programs now that we actually can deliver without being there. So that's a way that we can actually train people. But I think companies and managers who are not devoting either the time, the energy or the money to even put their people through virtual training. I think they're short changing themselves in the long run. Yeah. You know, I just signed up for something. What is it called? The great courses you're familiar with, what I'm talking about, It used to be that you had to buy the Dvds, which was a pain for me to buy the Dvds now everything's online and they get the best professors in the world To do these lectures and they're not, you know, the lectures maybe 12-20 lectures on a topic.
I just went through one that was the history of music because I'm I'm a music buff especially, you know, growing up, you know, in the fifties and sixties, you know, oldies, the oldies. So it was good to watch how this guy took us through. Really good with examples and music and history. You know, this song Let Me Tell you a little bit about this artist and you know, he would go in and whoa, I didn't know that about Dion and the Belmonts or you know, uh Frankie Valli and the four seasons and what they went through through, you know, and they must have, oh my God, 100 different courses, you can learn languages and you know, sociology, psychology, political science, you name it. These are the things that are available today, tim and there they cost pennies, pennies compared to if you had to sign up for this course in college, it's just crazy.
You know, they're charging what, $40, a year in tuition at some of the top schools when you can get better professors from various universities around the world Teaching those courses and in a month, if you wanted to be really focused in a month, you can do a semester's worth of work. Are you ready for this for $30? It's crazy. Really crazy. Anyway, you're right, you're right, we live in an amazing time. You know, we have this oracle called google and it has opened us up to extraordinary opportunity and you might have just described the new future of college, right? The new future of how people educate themselves because you can go through a four year program and end up in student loan debt and not really know much more than you did when you started. And so, you know, to be able to sit down with some of the very best people in the world while they give this knowledge and then to have have it produced in a way that's so entertaining, you know, in a way that's so captivating that holds your attention.
I mean, I don't know about you, but there was many times where I was doing the head nod, sitting in class listening to a professor, listen to somebody, you know that was brilliant, but maybe they're not a good communicator. Right. And so yeah, so this was extraordinary. So last question then for you with all the experiences that you've had and I mean this has just been a fantastic ride as you've described, all the things that you've been through. I mean it's just been so much fun listening If you could go back and talk to the little kid that you once were a little Tony when he was maybe seven or 10 years old and go back and give him a little bit of advice. What would you give him? Because I think people need to really keep hearing this advice for their own little inner side. So what advice would you give him about his future? Again, I would focus on the importance of education and paying attention, which I did not do As much as I should have started on crossword puzzles a lot sooner because quite frankly, I think, my what I learned in the last 15 years of doing crossword puzzles and when I started it was a struggle.
I had to do the easiest ones. I wasn't even near the new york times, did the easiest ones and had to actually look up so many things, but little by little I got better and better and better and now I can go all the way through the entire week with the new york times, you know, it gets more difficult for monday through saturday and just so that, you know, the reason it gets more difficult is that as you start approaching friday and saturday, many of the clues if you're looking for definitions, they're like the third or fourth definition, They're not the most common ones, so you really have to use your head, but I think I've learned more in those 15 years of doing crossword puzzles than I did in 20 years of going through college. I'm serious. Is it just because it forces you to learn differently or just just causes you to learn, you know, to be a seeker of knowledge or what is it about it? Yeah, no, I think it's the first of all, it covers the gamut of everything from literature to business to you, name it, I mean it's just unbelievable.
So it gives you that broad education in things and you're not going to learn it in a year, but over a period of time it's amazing how much better you get at these crossword puzzles as time goes on and the way it makes you think because you don't think necessarily, especially when you get into thursday friday or saturday in the new york times you brought in those blinders to think of? Okay, it could be this answer, but I got to think broader and broader, it could mean this or this or this or this, The creative thinking process is amazing. So I would have started crossword puzzles a lot sooner. I what else would I have told myself? You know, it wasn't until I really got into business that I learned to focus, you know, initially when I started, let's say in the speaking business, I was creating a lot of pride books, audio videos, you know, on videotape and what I should have done is created less and marketed it better as opposed to just creating product.
And you know, I myself, I'm a marketer. I mean I taught marketing, I am a marketer. My colleagues would say I'm a marketer in a salesperson, which I am. I mean I worked my way through school through college, paying my tuition selling door to door cookware, pots and pans, door to do when I was selling it in 66, in New Jersey guests who was selling pots and pans, same pans in texas, zig, Ziglar, zig, Ziglar, same company salad man. Yeah, amazing. It's amazing how our paths crossed of course, you know, zig and I became friends later on and when, when I told them I sold salad master, whoa, I mean talk about a bonding experience. Yeah bond speakers, but hey, we cut our teeth selling door to door Cookware in 1996, 10 piece set of cookware for $300. I mean it was not easy, but you know when I was young, I definitely had a natural ability for selling and persuading maybe that led me to do what I do to teach sales and being it.
I'm not sure if I would have told myself other than getting the crossword puzzles focus more on school, you know, on learning and you know, paying attention to the teachers and not goofing off as much as I used to in school, the crossword puzzles and focus, focus, focus, focus. So yeah, for sure, some key ones, Yeah. And you know, powerful life lessons, you know, I don't know what it is about the door to door stuff, but in I was probably 1988 where I was selling tristar vacuums, right? They called it the pig. So of course they were home cleaning systems is what they were And if I sold one for the full price of $1,200, you know, it was like we called that a full voter and then you know, I get 300 bucks and I was like, oh my gosh, $300 was everything to me because I was pretty broke growing up. And so um, and being out on my own. So I worked my way through school as well doing stuff like that and it really teaches you a lot about how to stay driven.
And first my first, my first mentor, his name was carl, him and his father owned this vacuum cleaner company and he would always, I'd walk in and he would teach me things like he'd say tim how you doing? And I'd be like, I'm all right. He's like, no, you're fantastic. You know, and he's just trying to give me okay carl. And I thought he was weird at the time. And now I realize how brilliant he really was, remember the day I broke his heart, I told him I was going to get a job at radio Shack and here's an entrepreneur. He's like, what are you crazy? You're gonna go and you're gonna work for per hour selling batteries when you could do this with me and you know, and I wish I would have stayed with him, I would have learned so much more. But you know, our beliefs cause us to go where we think we're safest. And as we get older and we become wiser and that's not always what happens sometimes we just become older, but those of us who keep learning and studying and pushing ourselves and become wiser, we start to become more comfortable in uncomfortable situations. And then that's how we have these extraordinary breakthroughs. So it has been an absolute delight hanging out with you Tony and listening to your stories.
And I mean, we could go on and on because every time you tell another story, there's some of the amazing thing that you've been through. So would you say in your life, from all the traveling and everything else you've done, there was one particular adventure that maybe stand out from all the rest, like the coolest adventure, the coolest person you ever met. Well, you know, when you travel that much, you sit next to famous people. One of the interesting ones, I sat in there somebody, I don't remember his first name, his last name was Jenrette, J E N maybe er E T T E. And he was one of the founders of a Wall Street firm. And so I was asking him about investing, you know, so I certainly was communicating with him and he was giving me his advice on investing and basically invested the things you know, personally and that you really like and you know, he was at the time we were on a flight on american airlines, he said, you know, if you love american airline lines and that's your key air of the line, you know, invest in that, you know right now, you know, I do a lot of business with Net with oh my gosh, uh coffee uh company, what's it called?
Starbucks, Starbucks. Yeah, jeez, I couldn't believe I'm thinking of netflix uh watching these days. So you know, so I look at those things where you know, I have a lot of experience with, you know, that was really good as for traveling. You know, I mean I've been to incredible places, you know, including you know, Reykjavik Iceland, that was a really interesting experience, especially when somebody was taking us around the island and there were these colored rocks with little doors and everything you know and windows painted on it and they believe in these little elves, you know whatever and wow you know that that was really incredible. I've seen movies now where you actually see that. Yeah, but I will tell you my one go to place over the years is where I was born which is Manhattan New york city. The reason I love New York City is I am New York City, you'll never take it out of me.
I mean I've lived in San Diego for so many years over 40 years. I only lived in New York City in the city itself for nine years. But the first nine years of was it nine years years. Yeah. Wait the 1st 12 years of my life. Excuse me. So it really had that impact. But you know with the theater, the restaurants, shopping, the museum's love new york. So that's the place I would always sort of be my first choice to go to. But you know we've been all over the world. We love, I love Australia, I love the people of Australia, they are so positive and friendly tim. I don't know how old you are. You don't have to say it. But if you look at the way America was In the 50s and early 60s, that's the way Australia has been. You know, even in 2000 the people are just so up and positive. I love the people there so yeah, those are some of the things, you know, with all the travel, you know, and after a while, you know, you travel so much, it becomes old hat.
So yeah, I don't mind if I stay in san Diego and that's that. Well, that is beautiful. And um, yeah, Zac Efron actually has a show on netflix where he was in brockovich as if I'm saying that correctly in Iceland and and showing the hot springs and volcanoes and everything veronica the things that you're burning up and I would just watch that with my family last night. And so I'm talking about the elves and everything. So you know, it's really amazing. You tune into this kind of energy and, and uh, it's just really spectacular the stories and the relationships that you create. So dr Tony Alexandra Tony. Thank you so much for being a mesmerizing guest on this program. It was awesome to talk with you again today. Thanks for inviting me to and I appreciate it. Absolutely. And so everybody. There you go, wow, Tony. Just nugget after nugget of amazing wisdom and insight. So make sure you visit his website, bring his assessments to your company, into your leadership teams because he provides the five point oh version. It's going to be extraordinary on the links to all that are going to be in our show notes.
So take what you've learned share with your friends and make today mesmerizing, we'll talk to you soon. Hey, would you like more free tips on how to be a mesmerizing leader? Then check out mesmerizing leadership dot com and also hang out with me on facebook facebook dot com forward slash tim. Sure. Thanks so much. And make your day a sure success. Hey, it's tim. Sure. Would you like to learn my best secrets for how to be mesmerizing. Then head over to www. Dot surviving to thriving dot me. That's www dot surviving to thriving dot me. I'll see you there.