Welcome to this episode of Les McKeown's podcast - 


...with Predictable Success

In This Episode: Megan Hyatt Miller on Growing a Family Business and How to “Mind Your Mindset”

Dave Brandon

In today's episode of 'Scale! with Predictable Success' our guest is

Megan Hyatt Miller

CEOFull Focus

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Guest Bio

Megan Hyatt Miller is the President and Chief Executive Officer at Full Focus and the co-host of the popular Business Accelerator podcast.

As the chief executive of Full Focus, Megan has developed BusinessAccelerator into the premier coaching program for small business owners, and has grown the Full Focus Planner to sell over 1 million copies.

Megan is also the co-author of Win At Work & Succeed At Life, and the architect of Full Focus's award-winning culture, which was named one of Inc. Magazine’s Best Workplaces for 2020 and 2021.

When she’s not taking the company to new heights, she’s fully present at home with her husband Joel and five kids in Franklin, Tennessee.

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Many of you will, like me, have first been introduced to Megan through her work with her father, Michael Hyatt - one of the most outstanding voices in the world of productivity and 'succeeding in business and life'.
Over the last few years, I have had the privilege of working with Megan as she took over the helm of her father's business, growing it even further, and in the process successfully transforming a highly-regarded personal brand into a scalable one.

"It's not just the actions we take that dictate the results we're getting." - Megan Hyatt Miller, CEO of Full Focus

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In our interview today you'll hear Megan share about:

  • Discover Megan's fascinating background and her experience taking over as CEO from her father.
  • Understand the crucial role mindset plays in achieving success and how it can be cultivated.
  • Learn about the process of succession planning and how it can ensure a smooth transition of leadership.
  • Explore the power of storytelling and how it can inspire and motivate teams.
  • Dive into the three-step process of "minding your mindset" and how it can transform your approach to business.
  • Gain insights into the role of intuition and how it can guide decision-making in leadership.
  • Understand the importance of engaging both the executive and default mode networks in the brain for optimal performance.
  • Discover the benefits of seeking outside resources and how they can enhance your leadership skills.

Tune in to this episode to gain valuable insights and strategies from a successful business leader.

Harness Your Mind's Operating System!


In your mind lives a narrator that’s constantly creating stories to help you understand your experiences. But what if those stories aren’t true? What if the tales we tell ourselves keep us from enjoying the level of success we know is possible?
Mind Your Mindset contains the instruction manual to challenge your narrator, rewrite your stories, and succeed beyond what you thought possible.

“The solution to the problem is often based on the story we tell ourself because, that story dictates how our brain starts sorting for solutions. And if we're telling a story that is disempowering, then we're not ever gonna get access to the kinds of actions that will ultimately lead to the results we want.” - Megan Hyatt Miller, CEO of Full Focus

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Tony Hsieh

On Why Her Passion Is Helping People To Get What Her Team Call "The Double Win"

 We don't just want people to grow their businesses or to grow professionally or financially.

We want people to have success in all the domains of their life, in particular, their health and their most important relationships, which often get sacrificed on the way to success, especially for entrepreneurs.

You know, it's like we're really good at the brute force method of success. 

And I think what we're taking a stand for is what if you didn't have to throttle your ambition and you also didn't have to throttle your priorities outside of work, and you could really succeed at both.

Megan Hyatt MillerCEOFull Focus

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Les McKeown: Hi everybody, and welcome back to another episode of Scale! with Predictable Success. I'm Les McKeown and today I'm delighted to be with Megan Hyatt Miller.

Megan's the President, and CEO of Full Focus. She's also the author of a fantastic new book, which we're gonna spend a lot of time on, called "Mind Your Mindset:The Science That Shows Success, Starts with Your Thinking".

And Megan is also someone that I've had the privilege of working with as a client over the last couple of years and got to know quite well. And, you're gonna really love hearing from Megan. So, Megan, welcome to the podcast.

Megan Miller: Les, thanks so much for having me. I can't believe it's taken this long to do it, mostly because of my schedule, but I'm so excited it finally worked out.

Les McKeown: Well, I played a little diva part as well. I mean, you would've thought that the two of us were the busiest people in the world, and I know you are very busy, but we made it and I'm delighted that we did.

Megan Miller: Me too.

Les McKeown: And, as I mentioned, you know, in between all of that, we meet in our regular client work, and it's great that we've been able to spend time, bringing the story of Full Focus and the new book, to our folks.

Now, many of the listeners are going to know, if not Full Focus, certainly the pre-cursor company, because this used to be, Michael Hyatt Company, your dad's business. Isn't that right?

Megan Miller: That's right, yep.

Les McKeown: And what was the story, we'll come to the name change in a second or two, but you are one of a number of siblings.

Were you up voted to to become the next CEO? Did you grab the brass ring early on? Was there just no other question or how did all of that sort of work out? How did you get to be here?

Both: Laughter

Megan Miller: That's hilarious. It was not like the Bachelor where I got the Rose, you know, so fortunately that would've probably, been a little bit of a mutiny.

But you're right, I am the oldest of five daughters and my youngest sister, Marissa, works in the business as our director of marketing. a couple of others have worked in the business at one time or the other.

And my husband, Joel, actually is on our executive team. And then of course, my dad is the Founder of our company, Michael Hyatt.

So, it is a family affair. I was not upvoted, but I have always had a keen interest in business ever since I was a little girl, literally eight years old was the first business trip I ever went on with my dad. It was to a trade show and had my little dress and my little fancy socks, and I sat at the meetings.

I don't know what I was thinking, but apparently I liked it.


Megan Miller: And so we have been doing professional things together. My dad was great when I was young about taking me on trips and, giving me opportunities. And I think I just had an affinity for leadership and business at the beginning.

And, of course, the opportunities on the family side enabled me to develop those things. And so in 2011, my dad left the CEO role at Thomas Nelson Publishers now called Harper Collins Christian Publishing, and started his own business, kind of thought he would just write and speak, and then it quickly took off from there.

And I joined in 2012 and a few years after that became the COO and then eventually the CEO in 2021.

So, it wasn't always kind of, you know, the handwriting on the wall, but it's had a nice natural progression and it's been a really fun project for my dad and I together.

Les McKeown: I love the thought of eight year old you just sitting in a business meeting.

Both: Laughter

Megan Miller: I know!

Les McKeown: And funny enough, that's gonna echo a little bit in some of the things that you talk about in the book. So that's interesting.

Now, my mind plays a lot of tricks, more and more as I get older, but I do remember, your dad was very early into blogging, isn't that right?

Megan Miller: He was.

Les McKeown: Would I be right in saying that he actually started blogging before he left corporate and announced the move on his blog? I seem to remember that happening.

Megan Miller:You're absolutely right about that. And, this was a kind of new format, you know, back then he was one of the early people to figure out how to monetize a blog and how to build a personal brand and a online platform and all that.

Believe it or not, some of you who are kind of newer, maybe to this world, there was a time when none of this existed!

Both: Laughter

Megan Miller: No social media. It was like, you know, baby Twitter back then. And that really enabled him to build an off ramp from the corporate world to being a solopreneur back, you know, in the early 2000's, mid, you know, 2010's.

And so, yeah that's kind of how it all began with that blog.

Les McKeown: And was that jump, you know, it's one thing to be doing really well in corporate as your dad was, becoming a founder and an entrepreneur, it's a guess if you're not in business, it's a version of the same thing, but it's a radically different position. Was that a surprise to the family, or did your dad always have that in him?

Megan Miller: No, it was not a surprise to the family. Actually, the corporate stint that he did was kind of the anomaly in his career, because by that point, he had had several other businesses from the time that I had been young. And that was kind of the norm.

He worked at Thomas Nelson when probably in the early 1980s and then came back, when I was in high school and ultimately became the CEO.

But the rest of his career was really spent in business for himself. So he, I think would be classified as a serial entrepreneur, and I think was excited to get back to that after his time in the corporate world.

Les McKeown: And moving then forward, racing forward, I guess, at the point where you move in as CEO, and you and I have talked about this in different contexts before, but, I know our folks, it really means a lot to them is just how transitions get handled? The sorts of situation that you were in.

So often, particularly, when it's a founding person, not just a family member, but when they're also the founder and they quote "step back", they don't.

Megan Miller: They "don't step back"?

Both: Laughter

Les McKeown: I've always, watched with admiration, the degree to which you and your dad, and I don't make this all about your dad by any stretch of the imagination.

It's really about you. How did you sort of just navigate that? Was there any awkwardness in it? Did you need to set boundaries? Or did he just get it from day one? How did that all sort of work itself through?

Megan Miller: Well, I think that we had the gift of a really bad experience that he had when he was at Thomas Nelson. So his predecessor at Thomas Nelson was not the Founder because Thomas Nelson goes back to like the 1500's or something.

So, obviously not the Founder, but he had been there for like 50 years. And he had handpicked my dad, groomed him for that role, you know, the board was excited, the shareholders were excited and everything like that.

And then the day that the transition happened, he kicked off a two year process of trying to unseat my dad from that role as CEO and making his life absolutely miserable.

Fortunately, my dad had the board support and it all worked out. But he came to him and said, "Michael, if I'm not the CEO, who am I?"

Megan Miller: And so he had had an up close and personal experience with succession gone wrong.

Les McKeown: Right.

Megan Miller: Not to mention other, ministry founders and people like that, that he had worked with as authors at Thomas Nelson, who refused to talk about when they were gonna retire or refused to talk about a transition.

And so all of that was kind of in the backdrop as we started to think about, "okay, where are the risks in our business?"

And one of those risks was that we were totally personality driven at the beginning, which can be a great way to start a business and a less great way to scale a business,

Les McKeown: Right.

Megan Miller: And there were other things that he wanted to do, other contributions to the business he wanted to make. He actually didn't wanna retire, but he wasn't interested in being an Operator, per se, anymore.

Les McKeown: Right.

Megan Miller: And so we just had really candid conversations many years before this transition happened. It was really about a four year process of us talking about it, planning it, thinking through. And I think people underestimate the existential part of it for a Founder, especially the Founder, him or herself.

And if you do underestimate that, and you don't kind of do the work of figuring out, you know, to harken back to my dad's experience with his predecessor at Thomas Nelson, who you are, if you're not the CEO, then what we learned kind of to, you know, draw a connection back to the book "Mind Your Mindset" is that the brain really likes comfort and familiarity. It does not like to do new things. It does not like to be in liminal space where, you know, we don't know what we're doing and we haven't quite made this full transition yet.

And so the gravitational pullback, and Les you have taught me so much about this, just with the kind of cycles of growth that businesses go through, like, we're just gonna go backwards if we don't have something really compelling that we're committed to in the future.

So I think that applies to business growth. I think it applies to transitions in our roles, and it's so important to be self-aware about. And he did a great job of that.

Les McKeown: And, a sort of a capstone of that, I'm guessing is the transition to the name.

Megan Miller:Yes!

Les McKeown: The move away from Michael Hyatt, the company, to Full Focus. So, share with the listeners a little bit about Full Focus. What do you do?

Megan Miller:Yeah, so we were Michael Hyatt & Company before, for many years. And part of the transition as a succession, it wasn't just about who was in the CEO seat, it was really about our brand and wanting to build equity in the brand itself, not just my dad's name.

And he and I were sharing some of the kind of public facing duties as well, but I didn't have a desire as I stepped into the CEO role of being quote "a celebrity", you know. That was kind of something I wanted to avoid and as a way of de-risking the business and, just kinda my personality in general.

So when we decided to make that decision, our marketing team came to us and made a big presentation about how to do it.

And part of it was about the fact that we had a lot of different products, you know, as we have kind of been, mapping our growth against the Predictable Success model, you know, during that Whitewater phase, we were saying yes to all kinds of stuff.

And I think at one point we had like 13 products or something that we were promoting, and now we're down to fundamentally two, you know, outside of our books and stuff.

What we are really passionate about is helping people to get what we call ‘the double win’, which is winning at work and succeeding at life.

We don't just want people to grow their businesses or to grow professionally or financially.

We want people to have success in all the domains of their life, in particular, their health and their most important relationships, which often get sacrificed on the way to success, especially for entrepreneurs.

You know, it's like we're really good at the brute force method of success. And I think what we're taking a stand for is what if you didn't have to throttle your ambition and you also didn't have to throttle your priorities outside of work, and you could really succeed at both.

And so the way that we deliver that to our customers and clients is one, through our coaching program, which is called Business Accelerator.

It's a small business owner coaching program, and then we also have our Full Focus Planner, which at present is a physical 90 day planner that helps people to connect their annual goals to their daily actions and, and to really figure out how to achieve more by doing less.

It's not magic how you work fewer hours and get the same or better results.You actually have to figure out what are the things that are the most high leverage so you can achieve more by doing less, because we all have the same amount of hours every day and a list a mile long, I'm sure.

So that's really what we do at Full Focus. My dad and I have a podcast together. We have a podcast for the Full Focus Planner as well, that others host, and then we write, and speak together. So that's us.

Les McKeown: And we'll, link in the show notes, to the site, but just so we get it on the record, the site that they can go to is?

Megan Miller: FullFocus.co

Les McKeown: Super. Just before we move to the book, really briefly, again, one of the things that our listeners always love to hear, is just what got you involved with Predictable Success?

Megan Miller: Laughter

Les McKeown: What was it that triggered that? And, you know, in a brief summary, how has the model been most useful to you over the last while?

Megan Miller: Well, I'm a huge fan of yours, Les, and I'm a huge fan of Predictable Success, and I have found our coaching and consulting relationship to be hugely valuable.

And I think the reason for that is because like so many of you listening, Full Focus has been successful. It has grown at a high rate and kind of like, barnacles on a ship or barnacles on a whale, even, you know, you just accumulate things over the years that drive complexity, and all of a sudden you get to this point where it feels like the scaling journey is hard.

It's harder than it used to be. Things are messier than they used to be.

Les McKeown: Right.

Megan Miller: I used to think, gosh, we are aces at this, you know, maybe we're not quite as good at anymore despite our best efforts.

And so, when I was introduced to you, it was actually through a friend of mine, Shannon Linton, who is a fellow CEO of a marketing agency called Five By Five.

Our kids go to school together. And I was kinda sharing with her some challenges that we were having, and she was like, you gotta check out this book called "Predictable Success". I think it's really describes where you are and come to find out where we were was Whitewater.

And I think what has been most helpful, and this is true of so many things that have been meaningful in our journey, is you gave us an organizing principle for kind of the messiness that we were experiencing at that time.

It was like all of a sudden all these things that, you know, we're, as my dad often says, it's like, you know, you're trying to read the label of a Coke bottle from inside the Coke bottle, which you can't do, you know, that's kind of how it felt.

And I think that the model of Predictable Success enabled us to go, "oh! This all makes sense".

And not only does it make sense that we would be in Whitewater, 'cause like this is just right where we are on that growth curve, but we haven't done anything wrong by ending up where we are and experiencing some of the friction that we're experiencing.

And I think, I don't know, maybe this is just me, maybe this is every one of you guys listening, but it's so easy to feel like, "oh gosh, if I had just done a better job, I wouldn't be right here. I wouldn't be struggling with, you know, my data being messy, and not being able to answer these questions that I'm trying to answer that are really important", or, you know, "my process would be better mapped over here" or whatever.

In reality, just like, you know, I have five kids, just like my 13 year old son right now. His voice is gonna crack on the way to becoming, an adult man no matter what. There is nothing I could do about it. And if it doesn't, the voice probably didn't change, and then we got an even bigger problem.

Les McKeown: Perfect.

Megan Miller: And that's kind of like growing up in a business, the same thing. Like, those are just inevitable developmental phases.

And so you, I think in this model, gave me as a CEO permission to stop asking the question, what about me, wasn't I good enough, or didn't do this right or whatever, and just give me a clear path forward of how do I operationally get things in order, in terms of the team and systems and processes and decision making and all of that so that, I can chart a course out of Whitewater to Predictable Success. And that's been enormously helpful to me.

Les McKeown: Thank you for those words. And it's been as I said at the top of the call, it genuinely has just been such a privilege working with you and the team. And I've seen the power, I think, of shared vocabulary...

Megan Miller: Absolutely.

Les McKeown: Each of you knowing what you each mean when you talk about, you know, we're going through Whitewater, or that's a Visionary versus Processor issues.

Megan Miller:Yes!

Les McKeown: All of that's been just marvellous to watch. So, onto the book, wonderful book, I thoroughly recommend it. This is actually the second one that you co-authored with your dad.

Megan Miller:Yes!

Les McKeown: And you refer, I think in sort of summary to the topic and title of it, "How to Win At Work and Succeed at Life.”

Megan Miller:Yes.

Les McKeown: Maybe the other way around. So before we get into the content, co-authoring, I don't know that I could ever do it. What's the process? Do you write a draft? He writes a draft? Do you do a chapter each? Does he do the research and you put the verbs in?

Megan Miller: Laughter.

Les McKeown: Because the book is a two-hander, and you do introduce yourselves through the book, you know, "I'm Megan", "I'm Michael". How did you actually get this to this final version?

Megan Miller: Well, our secret weapon as I, kind of alluded to earlier is my husband Joel.

And Joel is our Chief Product Officer, but he's also our writer. And he has written and published a number of books himself. He has written all of our books, both my dad's and ours together, with us, with the exception of I think one or two of the early ones.

And, and so really what he is, is our collaborator. And he helps to draw the stories out. He helps to kind of figure out that interplay between our two voices and making that work. And he would tell you it's really difficult to write a book, with two authors, you know, that that's one of the hardest things that you can do.

And a lot of times it just doesn't work.

Les McKeown: Right.

Megan Miller: And I think, because he knows us so well, we know each other so well, we're so passionate about this material, that we were able to come up with something really great together.

But I'm not sure it would be possible without him, because that has been tremendously helpful.

Les McKeown: That makes a lot of sense. Having obviously met Joel quite a lot, I can just see how he could be the secret sauce that's holding that together, but the result is fantastic.

Just to remind our listeners, "Mind Your Mindset:The Science That Shows Success, Starts with Your Thinking".

If I can, start at the highest level, what you've done here and I'm not making this up, I'm taking it straight from the book, because it really struck me is, you've taken the world that I thought I understood, which was, problem is here, a strategy solution is here, and you've put story right in the middle between the problem and the solution.

So with that being the big picture of it, what prompted you to come at it from that angle? You share a very personal story as being the initial genesis of some of this thinking for you, but what brought you to this topic?

Megan Miller:Yeah. Well, I think what brought me to this topic and my dad and I together were our personal stories. And, you know, in some ways this is the book that we should have written first, except we had to live life to be ready to ride it.

But it's kind of the prequel to everything else that we do. And the personal story that you're referencing is the debilitating fear of public speaking that I had.

And you may be like, "wait a second.You said you were a CEO". Yeah. Hence the problem. There was the conflict. Always brewing.

But, you know, I had an experience when I was in high school where I had a friend who was giving a presentation who became overwhelmed with anxiety and mid presentation, ran out of the presentation setting in tears, had a panic attack in the bathroom. I met her in the bathroom. She's like, kind of in the fetal position.

And unbeknownst to me, this is all happening subconsciously, my brain takes in that information, the facts where she had a panic attack and concluded from that, wrote a story in other words, that speaking was dangerous and that I should avoid it at all costs, because it was likely to lead to public humiliation.

And so that story got lodged. Again, I wasn't conscious of this, but what happened over, you know, the next 15, 20 years is that as I was presented with opportunities that naturally came up for me to present, I kind of deflected those to somebody else.

I kept getting smaller and smaller to the point that even in like a book club or a church group or whatever, when I was asked to read something aloud, I was so afraid of hearing my own voice aloud that I would pass to the person next to me.

Les McKeown: Right

Megan Miller: And it all came to a head. I was the COO, this is now probably maybe six years ago, I'm not sure.

And my team came to me and they said, "Hey, we wanna do this live event".

This is, you know, definitely in the Fun stage of, Hey, wouldn't it be cool if we did this thing that seems easy, but it's actually really complicated, and, you know, let's do this live event.

"And, you know, it's the funniest thing.We realized that you have never keynoted for us". And I'm like thinking to myself, that's not an accident!

Both: Laughter

Les McKeown: Right

Megan Miller: And they said, "so we want you to keynote. I think our audience would love to hear from you". And I'm like, oh, shoot.You know, this is really one of those moments that your life turns on.

And I realized I either had to say yes and figure out some way that I was gonna make it through, or I really had to take a step back in my career, and I was not gonna be able to move forward because this was just going to be critical for me.

And so I really went on a six week journey. That's how much time there was from the time that I was asked to do that speech, to the time I had to give it, of looking kind of the demon in the eye, so to speak.

And that demon was just a story that I had unconsciously constructed that was driving my actions in ways that were really shaping my life and unproductively.

And so I was successful at that. I was able to really rewrite that story. And with the help of a speech coach, anxiety coach, I had medicine from a doctor. I mean, I was like, everything I could do, I did.

And when I was able to step on that stage, I didn't even need the medicine. When it all came down to it, I realized, oh, I actually kind of like this, and I'm actually kind of good at it.

And I had no idea because I had literally spent my whole life avoiding it. And so, what I think came out of that was realizing that it's not just the actions we take that dictate the results we're getting.

And most of us, especially if you're an entrepreneur, you probably have an action bias just like me. Like, let's go make it happen. Right?

Les McKeown: Right

Megan Miller: The problem is, the what are we gonna do to make it happen? Or as you said earlier, the solution to the problem is often based on the story we tell ourself because, that story dictates how our brain starts sorting for solutions.

And if we're telling a story that is disempowering, you know, debilitating in some way, then we're not ever gonna get access to the kinds of actions that will ultimately lead to the results we want. And that was a huge, huge breakthrough for me.

Les McKeown: And in the book you identify this story that we tell ourselves as the narrator.

Megan Miller:Yes.

Les McKeown: We all have a narrator. And I guess we're all familiar with that.

Megan Miller:Yeah.

Les McKeown: We all have voices in our heads that are telling us things before, during, and after doing something.

And, you share about the three stages that we really need to take in order to face this down. We just talked about the first one, which is to identify that narrator, and in your case that was prompted by the fear of speaking. And you tell a incredible story, a guy called Hugh Herr and share his example as well.

If this is resonating with someone and they're saying, "oh, I know I have on narrator", is your betting that they'll know what the issue is likely to be? Do we tend to know what it is and what the areas are? Or do we really need to go on a journey and test everything against the likelihood that we're telling ourselves a story?

Megan Miller: Well, it's a little bit of both in a way.You know, first of all, I think it's really important to say this is not, a talent.

Some people are not just great at this, and other people are not. And that's sort of some kind of fatalistic thing. This is a skill, it's really a skill of self-awareness that we develop, which I think is so much of what leadership is about and what the entrepreneurial journey is about.

You know, our success depends so much on our self-awareness. And the reality is, the way the brain works is that there's what happens to us, and these are things that could show up in a police report or a medical report. They're usually dry, boring facts.

And then our brain, because it's fundamentally about making sense of the world and helping us avoid risk, it's gonna tell us what those things mean.

And it's not usually gonna be the most optimistic. In fact, it's the first thing your brain is gonna throw up to you is probably going to be negative and very risk averse, because like I said at the beginning, our brain likes to be comfortable and just do what it has done, because that's how it knows to be safe. 'cause it's solved for all those problems.

And so, you know, if you think to yourself, "gosh, I'm just kind of a negative person because I have all these negative thoughts".

No, you just have a very adept brain that's trying to keep you safe.

And what you learn in this process is that the first story that your brain tells doesn't have to be the final one.

And so just because that pops up as something that's negative, you shouldn't try to change that or like, stop that from happening. That's always gonna happen, and you're not doing anything wrong.

But what we wanna do is, as you said, there are these three steps to ‘minding your mindset’, and the first is to identify the story you're telling.

And I like to think of that as, you know, if I do this with a client, I will on a whiteboard, put two columns, here are the facts, and we list all those.

And a lot of times the stories will try to find their way into the facts column, and we just say, "Nope! That's not a fact, that's a why it happened or what it means". So that's the story.

And then what is the story you're telling yourself about that? For example, maybe your sales were down last month. Okay, so that's a fact.You can see that on a spreadsheet. So that would be a verified fact.

What that means is the story.You know, maybe it means that people don't want your products anymore. Maybe it means that we're fully in a recession and no one's told us yet. Maybe it means that you've kind of lost your touch.

All of those are subjective interpretations of the facts. And so you wanna just identify what's the story I'm telling. And then step two is to interrogate the story. And I always like to think of like those old black and white movies with like the basement of the police station with a light bulb.

Think about that. Like, you're doing this to your stories, you're grabbing the light bulb and shining the light on 'em.

And what you wanna do in this step is really loosen the connective tissue between the facts and the stories that you're telling, that your narrator's telling you about what the facts mean.

And you can do this by asking questions like, "if I were someone off the street presented with these facts, would I come to the same conclusion about what they mean as my narrator has?" you know, "if I were to ask my spouse or my best friend or my business partner, would they come to the same conclusions?" "Or my coach?" Or whomever.

And what you start to see is these are arbitrary and subjective interpretations that typically, you know, if you start to say, well, if I believed that story, what actions would I take? And what results would I get?

You start to see the connective tissue and go, "okay, this all starts to make sense".

Les McKeown: Right

Megan Miller: And so then the last step is to imagine a better story. So now you're in the driver's seat. Now you have a choice to make.

Do you wanna keep that story that we identified in Step One? Or could there be another interpretation that would be better?

If you kind of take the perspective that all this is subjective, you know, that we're not talking about objective interpretations of things. That's really not a thing. Then it's really about what serves you best.

And I'm not talking about, like, in my speaking story where I was saying, "now I'm a TEDx speaker and I'm the best speaker that's ever been." It wasn't some grandiose thing, it was just that, you know, I started telling myself, I have a voice that deserves to be heard. I have something to say that matters. And that my body was my partner and not the enemy.

Those are the stories that I started telling myself. And those stories that I had imagined that were better than the one about, you know, this is gonna lead to humiliation and all the other bad things, started to shape my behavior, which changed the results that I'm getting in my life and my business.

So those are the three step process. Identify your story, interrogate it, and imagine something better.

Les McKeown: In the Interrogate phase, a lot of leaders lean heavily on their own intuition.

Megan Miller:Yeah.

Les McKeown: And particularly, in my world, in the founder leader environment or that part of my world, you know, a lot of them are very proud of their ‘Golden Gut’. We call it that, you know, leadership by, you know, visceral sense of things.

And you talk in the book about the role of intuition. Share a little bit about where intuition comes into the interrogation talk.

Megan Miller:Yeah. Well, first of all, I consider myself to be someone with very strong intuition. And I really thought that was something special about me until you just said what you said.

And apparently it's not.

Both: Laughter

Megan Miller: Apparently that's what we all think about ourselves.You know, we're just special. We have such great intuition. And I still think that that is a strength that I have.

On the other hand, what I wanna continually grow in, is my ability to be the observer in my own life, to be detached, to use my intuition as a data point, but not THE data point.

And, you know, Les, I think you have done a great job of helping to develop this in me, because you talk about high quality team-based decisions in the Predictable Success model. And a big part of that is using data.

Les McKeown: Right.

Megan Miller: And I think data is one of the ways that we can interrogate our stories.

Maybe for example, in our business we are coaching small business owners in our Business Accelerator program. Well, there's many factors with how that program is designed and where it may be optimized or not.

And if I get data back on customers, for example, we have, clients that attend our Quarterly Coaching Intensives in person and virtually.

And it tends to be that the people that attend virtually have a slightly less, slightly lesser score on their satisfaction of the day than those who attend in person. It's not a big difference, but it's maybe like a 10% swing.

Les McKeown: Right.

Megan Miller: Well, you know, I could start coming up with all kinds of conclusions about why that's the case from my intuition, you know "Well, I think it's because they get distracted when they're on their own" or whatever.

And that might be my intuition, but now I wanna use that. "Okay, that's an interesting thought. Now, can I go use data? For example, to validate that intuition or not? And let's don't get on the confirmation bias train. Let's really be open to what the data's gonna tell us."

And so I think intuition is very useful, but it's not the last word and we know this partly because if you've gotta convince someone, you know, you gotta get somebody in your team aligned with the decision you wanna make. After a while, just because I think it's the right thing, is not a very compelling way to get people enrolled so that they can enroll others.

We actually need to give them some more objective ammunition, so to speak, to be persuasive than that. And so I think this is just a good discipline on the interrogation side in general with intuition.

Les McKeown:Yeah. That really spoke to me because that's one of the battles that I find myself helping people with a lot, is just trying to work out, you know, this intuition, the visceral leadership, it got me so far, other people remarked on it.

And why is it not delivering for me now? And it's often because when you break it down, it's a combination of judgment, expertise, and data, but you're just doing it all in a smaller, slightly more simplified environment.

And when the data becomes large and complex and hard to get to, as you were talking about, it really gets harder to give the right result.

Megan Miller: So true.

Les McKeown: So we've identified what the narrator is telling us, and by the way, I'm assuming that that can be something that, I mean, my first reaction was I thought about it for myself, is the story I tell myself, well, I can't swim. I'm 67 years of age next month. And I can't swim, and I tell myself I can't swim.

But obviously I probably can, just there's a story in there. But it's I think, automatic to think about something negative. I'm presuming our narrator can also be deceiving us by telling us we're really good at something?

Megan Miller: Sure.

Les McKeown: When we're not.

Megan Miller: That's really true.You know, I mean, I think one of the places this shows up that I see with my own clients, and I hear it myself sometimes is with delegation.You know, like, "well, I could never turn over closing sales. I'm the rainmaker.You know, nobody could do it like me. Nobody is ever gonna trust a salesperson in the way that they would trust me. I'm the Founder. I made this stuff up."

Les McKeown: Right.

Megan Miller: Well, of course, if you think that, if you ask yourself the question, "okay, that's my belief, that's my story, then what actions am I gonna take and what results will I get?" You are probably not gonna look for solutions to overcome that problem, because you're actually gonna look for confirmation that you're right.

If, on the other hand you said, "I have a feeling that there is somebody out there, or maybe a number of somebodies who could actually be better at closing new clients than I am. And what that would make possible for my business is exponential scaling. 'cause I'm only one person. I can only talk to so many people in a week. Well, I, I wonder how I could do that?".

Well, now your brain goes to work on how could I do that Because that would be awesome.

And the thing is, you see what you're looking for.Your brain just basically shuts out the things that are not what you're looking for, because it can't process. It's too much information. It can't process everything.

Les McKeown: Right. Right.

Megan Miller: And so it's gonna be like sorting for what you tell it. It's kind of like ChatGPT, you know, I've gotten really into that lately. The quality of information that you get out of ChatGPT is so much about knowing how to write great prompts and then refine those prompts.

And our brain is actually very similar. So if we start asking good questions, we're gonna get good answers that ultimately lead us to the results that we want.

Les McKeown: That's a great point. I bet you if you'd written the book a little later, that would've got in there.

Megan Miller: It really would've, I know a lot has changed in a short period of time.

Les McKeown:Yeah. So, we talked about identifying, talked about interrogating. I love the Imagine section. Two reflections I wanna make. And then I've got a hard question. It's hard in that I don't know the answer, but I know you do. 'cause you wrote the book.

The first thing is, that I learned something that has affected, and I used it just in this last couple of days, with a group. I'm not gonna say who they are on air, but you know them, that I was with over the last few days, where you talk about, you've actually got a graph where you show how ideas emerge over time as we're focusing on an issue.

This is all about the re-imagining of outcomes. And, you show how, you know, a group in particular, will start by spitting out a bunch of relevant solutions and ideas. Then it'll sort of dip into the ridiculous

Megan Miller: Mm-hmm.

Les McKeown: And this is where I have been getting things wrong. I have always seen that as just a lazy version of work avoidance, that whenever the group gets to that point that they're just tired.

And so I would typically break the process up at that point, go re-energize, come back so that we can get back to relevant ideas.

Not judging them for doing it. Just saying, "okay, we need to stop, come back". But what you're showing, just as soon as I saw it, it was like a flash of, you know, "Duh! Start with these relevant ideas".

You descend after a while, 'cause we all run out of ideas, into sort of ridiculous, but it's breaking through that ridiculous stage you get to the creative solutions. I thought that was absolute genius.

Megan Miller:Yeah.You know, I think the thing that is happening there in part is that we're letting our brain continue to loosen that connective tissue between what we think and what is.

And, what we want is to be able to let go of our assumptions about how this has to work, what's reasonable, what's realistic, and kind of playing with things that are on the edges can help us get to creativity.

You know, it's not that we're gonna do the ridiculous stuff necessarily, it's just that, again, the way we're priming our brain is we're giving it more room to run. We're giving it more access to novel solutions and third options and unconventional thinking, which is exactly what we need.

You know, I find in my own business and with my work with clients, that the best solutions are usually the least obvious and often the most kind of iconoclastic in some way.

You know, they're really disrupting the status quo of our assumptions or the way we've done business up to that point. And we need to be able to access those. But they're inherently threatening to our brain.

Back to the whole, our brain just likes to do the same old thing over and over again. 'cause that's the safety zone, you know.

And so allowing our brain to run a little bit enables us to engage the kind of thinking that ultimately, as you said, is gonna lead to the real novel thinking that ultimately gets us to the breakthrough.

Les McKeown: So true.

Megan Miller: I love that too. I think that's a fun, discovery for us in this process.

Les McKeown: And a great example that you give, which I hadn't really related to that was how Jeff Bezos, I guess the word we would've used a year or two ago was pivot. When he saw that Amazon Auctions, which was an attempt to eat eBay's lunch, wasn't working at all.

Megan Miller:Yeah.

Les McKeown: That became the third party vendor program, which has been enornous. I mean, I think it's polluted on the user experience a little bit, but it's been an enormous success. Enormous.

And you and your Dad are way too much of a class act to mention it, but in the book. But if you were to contrast that with how Mark Zuckerberg's just not budging on the Metaverse.

Megan Miller: Right.

Les McKeown: I think that tells the tale. So, two things to finish with Megan, you talk about in the, Imagine section, you contrast two things, the Executive Network, you call it, and the Default Network.Yeah. Where brains are, are wired. Share a little bit about those.

Megan Miller:Yeah this is really cool because I think we've all experienced how this works, but not necessarily had the vocabulary around it.

So your Executive Function is, you know, your conscious thinking, planning, you know, this is sort of like the adulting, so to speak.

Les McKeown: Right.

Megan Miller: As my young adult children would say, the adulting happens in your Executive Function, and this is what's necessary to do that work of, you know, planning your finances and creating strategy in your business and annual planning and all that kind of stuff.

That's all Executive Function. This is what, you know, we think of when we think of thinking.

However, there is the Default Mode Network, which is slower, less linear, that is happening behind the scenes. We're not really conscious of its work, but this is what's happening when you go on, like, I do this regularly.You go on a walk if you're stuck on a problem, or maybe, you know, you're in the shower in the morning or whatever, and all of a sudden you have this incredible idea.

Or you go to bed at night and you think, "I gotta come up with three points for that presentation I gotta give tomorrow and I don't know what I'm gonna talk about, but I, you know, I gotta do that right".

When you're sleeping, when your brain is at rest, especially if you're doing things like giving it a lot of blood flow and oxygenation through exercise, it's going to come up with these really creative solutions that you can't consciously think your way through.You actually have to just give your brain space to run.

And so part of the reason that we advocate in the book for things like exercise and rest and play, is because some of the best ideas and the best solutions to problems you have, you cannot get there by brute force.

You actually have to let your brain do what it does in the Default Mode Network and come up with something great for you. And, we've all experienced this, but you can do it on purpose by engaging some of these behaviors that elicit that function from your brain.

Les McKeown: Absolutely! Again when I read it, it was just like, "oh, that's put words to what I do in my own life". And this is gonna sound a little bit like I'm being a little bit humorous and I guess I am being a little bit humorous, but I mean it, naps are just a bite part of my process, you know?

Megan Miller:Yes.

Les McKeown: I know that I think better if I'm getting good sleep. And that includes for me, a nap in the day and losing the guilt over that was a great relief.

Megan Miller:Yes!

Les McKeown: Alright, my final question, Megan, is about a contrast that you make towards the end of the book in the Imagine section where you talk about the Limited Mindset versus the Possibilities Mindset.

And you have a great table that gives some examples of ways in which our Limited Mindset thinks about solutions and our Possibilities Mindset thinks about solutions. And this for me, is the hard question that I mentioned earlier.

If you hadn't read the rest of the book and you just open to that page and that table, what would the distinction be that you would make, if there is one, between Possibility Thinking and Manifesting, you know, magical thinking? That world?

Megan Miller:Yeah. I love that you brought that up because I think that we're in an interesting stage culturally where there's so much emphasis on just follow your heart, you know, whatever you feel is true. All that kind of stuff.

That's kind of a reaction to hyper rationalism, which I think there's lots of good in that, but it can also be, a slippery slope where one, we make people wrong for suffering. Like there's just a whole ethical issue there, you know, don't even get me started on that.

Les McKeown: Okay.

Megan Miller:You know, there's a little bit of soapbox there.

Les McKeown: It's another podcast.

Both: Laughter

Megan Miller:Yes, it's a whole other podcast. We need a different kind of podcast probably for that.

But I think that this is not about magical thinking. This is really about understanding how the brain works.

And if your thinking is limited, for example, if you believe that there are only one or two solutions to this problem, it's very binary and it's very rigid, and it's gotta be one or the other.

That's not an objective fact. Like, can you look at, let's say, a cashflow crunch, or a sales issue And can you really say that there are only two solutions to that problem? I mean, there's no way to anybody could objectively measure that.

The problem is, when you have limited thinking like that, you are not going to be able to think the kinds of thoughts that you need to think to find the solution.

If on the other hand, you believe, you know, there are pretty much infinite solutions to most problems. We may not never know what they are, but there are many different ways to solve a problem. And as long as there's time on the clock, we can try something else, you know.

Well, that's gonna change how you engage the problem from a possibility standpoint. So this is not like Pollyanna thinking, you know, positivity. It's not about that.

It's really, I would say empowerment, to use the word you use a lot. It's really about empowerment.

And it's about saying, how can I leverage the way that I know that my brain works We're not gonna change the way that our brain works fundamentally, you know, so how can I leverage the way my brain works to get the outcomes I want and there's a real relationship, as you said at the beginning, between our thinking, our actions, and the results that we're getting.

And if we just focus on this kind of binary rigidity that happens in more of a fixed mindset or limited thinking, we're not gonna be able to access the new thoughts that we need, which we have to prime our brain for to get results that are, are bigger and better.

Les McKeown: I love it. I love it. So our final question is, what have we not talked about, as far as the book is concerned that you'd love people to be aware of?

Megan Miller:You know, one of the things that for me was a big takeaway and actually, I found to be really encouraging in our research is that there are some thoughts that we wanna think.

So we get to step three, we've interrogated the story. We're like, you know, this isn't necessarily true or false, it's just an option of how to think about these facts, you know, that I identified in step one.

Sometimes we really struggle with the Imagine Phase.You know, that could be because you've, had significant failures in the past, or you had an influence from somebody, you know, maybe a parent or a business partner or mentor or somebody who really shaped how you think.

And it's hard to shake that loose because it feels very true. I think all of us could think of examples of this in our own life.

This is where coaching comes in. And I think that, a great coach, unless, you know, I certainly think you are, a fantastic coach.

In fact, I think you're the best coach that I've ever had. And I think part of, part of what a great coach does is that they come alongside you and they help you interrogate your story, and they help you imagine something better that you might not have the ability to do on your own, or it would take you a lot longer to get there.

And so I guess this is just my little plug for coaching for you Les, in general. But, but you know, if you find that you're struggling with a story that you know is shaping your life like I had with my speaking story, this is where outside resources can be hugely valuable. And I do this all the time.

I love outside resources and it's a huge shortcut in getting to the part where you have a new story to imagine. And I think, you know, in a way less, the Predictable Success model is a story about business growth that is empowering.

And I think for a lot of us who are fans of your work and who benefited from your work and our businesses, that's a way that I can say I didn't have that story when I reached out to you, but you basically lent me your story. That has enabled me to have access to different actions that's leading to different results.

And that's just a great hack.You don't have to do this totally on your own.You can leverage coaching, which comes in so many forms, that can help you go further faster.

Les McKeown: Well, that's undoubtedly the case, both ways. I think we've both benefited so much from the work that we've done together.

And a vital resource, outside resource, because I agree with you outside resources make a huge difference, is "Mind Your Mindset:The Science That Shows Success, Starts with Your Thinking" is available wherever you buy your books.

And, I am pretty sure this is not the last tome, whether it's a joint one with your father or not. And I hope when the next one comes out, you'll come back and tell us all about it or not.

Megan Miller: I'd love to Les. Thanks so much for having me.

Connect with Megan!

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