Welcome to the Join Up Dots Podcast with Jeff Tan
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Introducing With Jeff Tan
Jeff Tan is todays guest joining us on the Join Up Dots business coaching podcast.
He is someone who has been shooting for the stars since beginning his professional life.
You see he started his career as a pilot for the Republic of Singapore Air Force, and from 1980 until 2006, would run around shouting in best Top Gun fashion “I feel the need, the need for speed!”
Well actually I’ll be honest that is just my own little fantasy, and he may never had said that, but it is true that for twenty six years he was a helicopter pilot and flight Instructor.
And within that time he must have seen thousands, or at least hundreds of hugely ambitious individuals pass in front of him, eager to prove themselves to their colleagues, family and of course themselves.
Looking to take their performance to the highest levels they possibly can.
How The Dots Joined Up For Jeff
And I wonder whether this environment was the place that nurtured his desire to help people achieve personal excellence, he started a new company REV to do just that – motivate and guide people to their peak performance.
He realized that his gift and purpose in life is to help people on their way to the dream lives.
The lives that they deserve.
And that is what he does from his two bases, in Shanghai and Singapore, and it seems he loves every second of doing it too?
So I suppose the key questions are why did he leave the military after being in it for so long?
And does he see what he is doing now as his real role in life, or is this just to fill a gap that was left by the high octane testosterone filled life in the Air Force?
Well let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots, with the one and only Mr Jeff Tann
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Jeff Tan such as:
Why so many people say that they can’t be a millionaire as they are frightened of not achieving it, or being seen as a failure if they don’t achieve it.
How most of his life he realises that he was on an even keel and his emotions were very much kept in check. But now he believes in experiencing the peaks of troughs of life.
How expectations of living in a booming economy make our lives so different than many generations ago, who didn’t have the chance to compare with what others are doing across the world.
How he remembers that the turning point in his life was almost being forced into bankruptcy twice, and fighting back from each.
How he believes that he is totally unemployable and knows in his heart of heart that he won’t be able to work for anyone else anymore.
How To Connect With Jeff Tan
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here – enjoy
Full Transcription Of Jeff Tan Interview
David Ralph [0:00]
Today’s show is brought to you by podcast is mastery.com. The premier online community teaching you to podcast like a pro check us out now. podcasters mastery.com
when we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK. David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:38]
Yes, hello, everybody and welcome to Join Up Dots. This is Episode 338. I’m David Ralph, and I’m ready for today. I’ve got a whole day of shows lined up and honestly, I couldn’t want anything better. And I suppose it it’s it sort of goes on what the show is all about. But if you’re waking up every morning and you’re not thinking Bad not feeling like yes, it’s another day when start looking around and start to listen to these conversations because every man and a woman has been through those feelings and they are now doing what they love in life. And that’s why it’s so powerful to hear their story and get to the bottom of how they actually did it. And I suppose Today’s guest is someone who’s been shooting for the stars since beginning his professional life. You see, he started his career as a pilot for the Republic of Singapore Air Force, and I’ll be honest, I didn’t even know Singapore had an apples and from 1980 until 2006 would run around shouting him best Top Gun fashion. I feel the need the need for speed. Well, actually, that might just be my own little fantasy and he may never upset that. But it is true that for 26 years, he was a helicopter pilot and flight instructor. And within that time, he must have seen thousands or at least hundreds of hugely ambitious individuals pass in front of him, eager to prove themselves to their colleagues, families and of course themselves looking To take their performances to the highest levels they possibly can whilst in the military. And I wonder whether this environment was the place that nurtured his desire to help people achieve personal excellence, as he started a new company rev to do just that motivate and guide people to their peak performance. He realised that his gift and purpose in life is to help people on the way to the dream, live the lives that they deserve. And it is what he does when he’s two bases, Shanghai and Singapore, but makes me realise that he loved every second of doing it, too. So I suppose the key questions are Why did he leave the military after being in it for so long? Was he just called to do this? And does he see what he’s doing now as he’s real road in life? Or is it just a gap to bill that was left by the high octane testosterone filled life in the Air Force? Well, let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start Join Up Dots with the one and only Mr. Jeff Tan. How are you, Jeff?
Jeff Tan [2:52]
Fine Thank you, David.
David Ralph [2:53]
It’s lovely to have you on the show. So I’m going to cut to the chase. As I was saying in the introduction, I honestly didn’t. realise that the Republic of Singapore had an Air Force I’ve been to Singapore a few times. It doesn’t seem kind of big enough to be able to have that. Well where’s it where’s it hidden in Singapore?
Jeff Tan [3:12]
Well it’s actually hidden in plain sight that’s why no one sees it and the fact that you don’t know we have an Air Force hmm you might get a knock on the door later today. Be careful.
David Ralph [3:25]
Why Why are they all listening? I’ve all the military in Singapore listening to Join Up Dots on a daily basis.
Jeff Tan [3:33]
Oh yes. Did you know that your sister most popular show in Singapore so they were all listening to you all the time. So be careful.
David Ralph [3:39]
So so we’re waiting where is it though Singapore airport because it’s, it’s, it’s going to be hidden somewhere in
Jeff Tan [3:46]
it actually is all over the place. We’ve got several airbases, which will left behind by the British, so we use those and we converted our previous International Airport into an air base. We’re also at the International Airport. So we’re all over Singapore.
David Ralph [4:05]
And is it something that a lot of the young men out there look to go into? Or is it? Is it something that now the youngsters coming through sort of shy away from the fault of going into the military?
Jeff Tan [4:19]
To become a pilot is certainly still a very desired profession. The only trouble Singaporeans is that a lot of them have myopia. So they all wear heavy duty glasses from very young age, so a lot don’t qualify, but they still want to want to fly.
David Ralph [4:39]
Well, why do we have myopia then? Because he the only person that I know who’s told me about that recently, not personally, was Bono from YouTube. And he was he’s really big sunglasses all the time because of that. Well, why why is it that so many people in Singapore?
Jeff Tan [4:56]
Well Bano does it as a fashion statement. We in Singapore, the To have that same fashion sense. So that’s a very good question. And a lot of people in Singapore, the medical profession have studied this and all kinds of reasons have come out. But we’re not sure why because Singaporeans are mainly from Chinese descent. And so the people in mainland China where our ancestors came from don’t really suffer this problem, but we in Singapore do so. We have not maybe we read too much.
David Ralph [5:29]
That’s, that’s the new career for you. If you can solve that issue. You’re going to become a very rich man, I imagine.
Jeff Tan [5:36]
They have solved that because
Unknown Speaker [5:41]
a lot of
Jeff Tan [5:43]
potential pilots they can go too lazy to get the ice corrected. So it is a possibility. So certainly the solutions out there, not mine, but it’s out there already. So So
David Ralph [5:54]
we’ve Your life is is it where it should be now and obviously in this show, we aren’t going to take you back and forth. That’s that’s the part of joining up the dots. But when you wake up every morning, do you go? What? Whoa, this is where I’m supposed to be or are you feeling a bit fat after the military where which which part of that career is really where you should be?
Jeff Tan [6:19]
Well, this might sound like a terrible cliche, but I’m really living my dream life. And I need to emphasise that is my dream life. And not someone else’s dream life of of what life should be, but it’s my dream life. So I’m living it every day when I wake up. I love it.
David Ralph [6:37]
Well, that’s that’s a great thing to do, isn’t it? That’s what everybody would want. Did you? Do you find that you actually feel slightly embarrassed when you say that because so many people can’t quite buy into the fact that you’re living the dream life even though you’ve done it yourself and you’ve made that dream occur.
Jeff Tan [6:55]
Embarrassed and I got to qualify this also because to a lot of people That dream life involves heaps of money. Heaps of toys that show off that they have arrived. That’s not quite good for me. Well, I certainly would like to be a multi billionaire. I’m really not there yet yet. But I’m living the dream My dream life. I have a lifestyle that I really enjoy it is something that I cherish very much.
David Ralph [7:24]
So I’m not going to delve into your finances obviously but I Are you on the way to becoming a billionaire. Can you see that that could actually be a possibility in your life.
Jeff Tan [7:36]
If anything is a possibility, the only thing is is whether I really want to drive myself so hard to be a billionaire. A Millionaire is okay. I think everyone can do it. But to become a billionaire. It’s a little that little bit different. Little bit different. Yeah.
David Ralph [7:54]
Did you think that everyone can become a millionaire because I think there’s a there’s a big mindset out They’re almost say bats, but other people, bats for the lucky ones and bats. But there’s the myriad of excuses why people will say that they can’t be millionaires. But do you think that everyone can do that?
Jeff Tan [8:13]
Absolutely. And as you correctly said, it’s an excuse. When you say that you can’t be a millionaire. It’s an excuse, because all humans are driven by pleasure, pain, fear or success. So, to a lot of people, they say that they cannot be a millionaire is out of fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of not being able to get there fear of losing face, so they don’t give their all. So they make the fear come through. So when you change that voice in your head, you’re basically starting to change your belief, your belief system, and that can drive you to achieving everything you want. Granted, all of us can wish we could win an Olympic gold meddle in sprinting or swimming, that may not happen. But if we push ourselves towards that kind of aim, my goodness, you know, a lot of strange and really good things will happen to not care, but will happen. So you may never win the Olympic medal. But hey, you might become the coach of the Olympic winning team, something like that. So it’s a secret money
David Ralph [9:25]
is fantastic, though, isn’t it that we have all got this this million dollar bio computer in our heads, and we carry around with us. And some people know how to programme it really well. And other people barely use it. But as you’re right, there is no way that I’m ever gonna beat Usain Bolt a race. I just know it’s not going to happen. But I can actually programme my brain to become more positive in certain areas ban him to achieve things that he can’t do. So it is playing to our strengths, isn’t it?
Jeff Tan [10:01]
Absolutely an Usain Bolt is a very good example because you look at him when he goes on the track, regardless of how important the meat is like the Olympic Games. What is he doing? He’s smiling. He’s clowning around. He’s having fun. So that’s another key to achieving your dreams in life, which could be a million dollars and you could grind through life every day. But you could be like Usain Bolt, who does nothing but smile and have a good time. And look how far he’s gone.
David Ralph [10:34]
You see, smiles all the time as well. I’m here because I’ve been looking around and there’s either best you smiling in natural form I photograph or there’s like these weird cartoon versions of you. Smiling as well. Is that you? Are you paying on it by the daily basis?
Jeff Tan [10:56]
Is it scientifically proven fact is that smiling when you do it enough will condition your brain to release chemicals, the pleasure chemicals, dopamine, serotonin, and stuff like that. So just by smiling, you can change your emotional state literally by snapping your fingers. So why not do it? You know, it’s free? Yeah. So very often when I’m feeling really down I just smile for no good reason. Does it change me? Yeah, a little bit sometimes. But all I need is that little bit to get me out of a rut. Yeah, so I’m not one of these crazy, eternal optimist that go through life. Yay. No, I’m normal person I had moments to Yeah, but I found this smiling really helps. So why not?
David Ralph [11:43]
I am one of those kind of people. But I would say 99% of the time I am what I am now. I’m very, very enthusiastic. I’m always looking on the bright side. But I do find on those moments as you say that you just decide to go to the dark side. For some reason and your your morale dips, I find it’s a huge drop. I sometimes wish that I was more kind of level playing field than being skipping happily across the mountains and then suddenly falling into some deep chasm. And fortunately, it doesn’t take me long to get out of it. Because it’s such a different mood that I’m in. I’m aware that it’s, it’s not me. I’ve just allowed myself to get there. So I can literally drag myself back out. So it’s not a huge problem. But did you do find that with yourself because you’re generally positive when when there’s all of the moments of despair and depression come along? You’re more aware that you’re feeling bad more than people that are just miserable every day?
Jeff Tan [12:46]
Definitely, but it wasn’t always like this. Yeah, I’m, I’m 54 now and I remember right up to the age of 46 or 47. Sometime around there. I was a very even keeled guy. So why did people like working with me because I was always the the the guy who could level the playing field I was the guy who was never crazy happy or never crazy said so I was Mr. dependable Mr. Steady Mr. stable. Yeah. And I found that that kind of restricted me a lot, not a little bit but a lot. So nothing made me crazy happy. But nothing made me crazy set and are just enough going through the middle. And that didn’t help me because I wasn’t in touch with my true feelings through a long process. I’ve managed to really enjoy the highs and the lows. So that’s why I’m really a different person and we can change how we are. So we don’t always have to be stuck with what we were born with. So that’s the point. We can change.
David Ralph [13:56]
Well why did you feel a need to change them? Why did you Because I can imagine the even kill worked very well in the military because you don’t want people on highs and lows Do you? Do you just want somebody who gets out there does his job and he’s kind of in some ways an emotional it’s just a job and they’re doing it so why did you feel that you needed to change
Jeff Tan [14:22]
the two things I didn’t feel that I needed to change a lot in some of it just happened. And more importantly now life is not at zero decibel throughout, you know, it’s not a constant hundred miles per hour, like goes up and down. So why not enjoy more of it? Even more than you already are, but allowing yourself to enjoy it because a lot of us we know we get really crazy happy and Okay, that’s enough. Let’s come back to reality check. Why not just go all the way and when I was at the low of my little Whenever I go there, I experience something new and it makes me think it makes me feel. And it makes me find solutions to prevent whatever brought me down. And by finding the solutions I applied other parts of my life. Yeah, so it’s useful to go up and down. What the hell?
David Ralph [15:20]
What the hell indeed? Yeah. So So did you do you feel because most people in the Join Up Dots timeline, actually now when they get to the point where their life has come together and they’re living their dream life, they will openly admit by learn more from their dark dots that dark times in their life, man may did from the the light, breezy ones that just kind of floated around and everything was pleasant. So you buy into that as well. But you actually gain more from the, from the moments that were difficult to get through and the good times.
Jeff Tan [15:53]
For me absolutely true. I’m not sure whether this applies to everybody. But for me, I believe So much more by by being exposed to the dark side. Because when you’re happy, you’re happy now you don’t examine why you’re happy. Just say, let’s do it again. Yeah, you don’t ask how but when you’re down, you know, you don’t want to feel the pain again. So that makes us reflect. I have not met many people who reflect when they’re happy. I only know people who reflect with a doubt. So that’s how the brain works.
David Ralph [16:25]
It’s true Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever thought about until you just said that. It’s like being in therapy in this show. Jeff when you say things, but no, that’s true. When winnings good. You just you just didn’t the moment Aren’t you just love it and everything’s pleasurable. But it’s only when things go a little bit. skew whiff and a little bit off track. You think why Why? Why is this happening to me? And that’s when you do actually, you you start making mental checklist and learning from what’s gone wrong.
Unknown Speaker [16:53]
Absolutely, absolutely. So do
David Ralph [16:55]
you find this with your clients now that come to you through Your companies and went to the top both of them, obviously, you’ve got Rev. And you’ve got sticky steps as well, which I was fascinated with sticky steps because there’s a picture of Steve Jobs who is the kind of the de angel that floats through this show every single day. The whole theme of the show was based on the speech that he did back in 2005. So when people come to you, are they looking for something or have they already started to find it and they’re looking for you to speed them forward?
Jeff Tan [17:30]
There are many people who do what I do. What I specialise, if you want to call it that. What I specialise in, is to help people who are stuck in life, they’re really stuck, or people who are searching and in Shanghai is kind of unusual people who are searching. It’s not because they have not enough choice. But people in Shanghai have too much choice. That’s why this searching so every decision is a right decision and a wrong decision at the same time. Too much choices. You can do this is Shanghai today’s like New York, the turn of the century, you know, where all the immigrants came in and became a very vibrant city. So Shanghai is the same thing. So I hope people who are stuck, or who are searching for clarity. But what
David Ralph [18:17]
people? I don’t know now, if we’ve actually created an environment, which is harder for people to get through, and because we’ve got so many opportunities, and we’ve got so much ability to connect with people across the world, but seem like they’re doing amazingly fantastic things. Do you think life somehow has become harder because we feel that we should be having that where, maybe hundred years ago, you couldn’t see it? You just saw what was happening around you. So if everybody was going to work in a factory, that’s what you did is expectation and realisation is that the difficult thing to actually encounter on a daily basis and get through.
Jeff Tan [18:57]
You’ve hit the nail to hit expectations. versus realisation. So in the country in a booming economy in China, everybody’s expectations are very, very high in a city like Shanghai, where you look out the window, and you’ve just yesterday, you know, I saw a BMW 435. I’ve never seen the four series VM in my life. I didn’t even know they made one. But it’s a two door sports car, which look really cool. So when you see that kind of things, you see Ferraris on the road, or you hear them coming from a mile away. your expectations are if that guy can do it. So can I it’s very normal for people to keep aiming higher and higher. But the realisation is, hey, how many can actually get there? Yeah. So that was a struggle in a in a booming economy in, in China. In other parts of the world where a lot of traditional ways, a still practice and, in fact, respected. Yeah. So you’ll Father is a civil servant, you’re going to be a civil servant to and there’s nothing wrong with doing that. In fact, it’s great. So doctors, doctors, lawyers, lawyers, but in an economy like in China is very different. And that’s where you get a lot of people, including experts will come here who are a little bit stuck. And when they search, it’s not because this duck for choice is that there are too many things they could do. Interesting. It’s the other way around
David Ralph [20:26]
here is isn’t it? And I had somebody say this to me on a show, and I’d never sort of thought of it this way. But if we were having a race with Usain Bolt, we would just be happy to finish somewhere in 20 seconds after him That’s brilliant and we’d be happy without we’ve raced Usain Bolt we’ve been on the same track and we didn’t make ourselves stupid. But if you same boat boat was racing us and he came second he would be hugely disappointed because he’s expectation is that he’s gonna win. He’s gonna win every time and he’s the world’s fastest man. So every and that comes It blows my mind if you think about that, Jeff, but any person on earth that challenges Usain Bolt to a race is gonna lose. Fancy that, that he knows literally that if he’s at his peak performance, he’s gonna be able to beat that person every single day. That’s that must be quite hard actually, to keep that kind of level going, because the only way he’s down, isn’t it, he’s suddenly going to get to a point when he starts to get beaten. And then what does he do when
Jeff Tan [21:28]
he gets psychologically beaten even more, and then he keeps going down this slippery slope? And before you know it, he’s out. So that’s what happens to a lot of people. But like I said, if you happen to be in China, the opposite is true now because right you make a mistake, you made the wrong choice. You can go and do something else again.
Unknown Speaker [21:50]
So you keep moving.
David Ralph [21:53]
How do our listeners out there, get the Usain Bolt mindset, but they are actually Winners, but they can actually compete. How do they get that when their programme for years and years and years of you’re just lucky to have a job? Oh, you’re okay doing that everything is kind of small scale, how do people change to become winners?
Jeff Tan [22:18]
The theory or the logic behind how to change is simple. executing it, of course, is another thing. The first thing these people have to do is to ask themselves what they really want. Really want in life, really wanting the job really want in the relationship. If you as a male, you want to go out with Miss Universe and if you’re a female, you want to go at Brad Pitt and assume that he’s not merit. So be it so be it. But you’ve got to set your goal, your aim your direction, and a lot of people who are struggling in life I know it’s okay I don’t mind But so before they even finish the sentence, they are convincing themselves why they cannot have it. So the first thing to do is to slap yourself silly and set an audacious goal, aim direction, intention, whatever. Yeah, that part is a little bit different because our brains are all wired differently. So some people need very firm and clear goals. Some people need a fuzzy direction, whatever it is, that’s the first step, know what you want. The second step, why do you want it up? A lot of us don’t really asked ourselves, really, why do I want Miss Universe strapped to the site to my site? You know, she’s got to cost me an awful lot of money to maintain as my girlfriend or wife, why do I want someone like that? So the reason why we want something is always linked to our core values. So you need to know why. And just by doing this simple exercise, you’ll find out what really drives human life. And the third thing to do find out how to get there. Most people will go straight to how but the real magic is when you understand what ny if you want how you can search it on the internet, all these websites will always tell you how. But they cannot tell you what to do and why you want it because it’s very personal. So that’s how you do it. So instead of just oh man, it’s good for him but not for me. I wish now that you just let yourself and tell yourself, here’s what I want. Here’s why I want it and the how it just magically fall into place. That’s how you do I think
David Ralph [24:38]
that is extremely wise advice. And what I always say to people through the shows and people that I coach as well is but that that exact statement really think about what how it makes you feel if you are earning a million pound a month, but you haven’t got a second to yourself because your servicing all these clients and you’ll be important pillar to post is that million pound worth it? And I work down from that level. And so where would you get to? Would you like 100,000 pounds a month, but you still haven’t got a second to yourself? No. Okay. And once you sort of get down to that the essence, I know, in my essence, Jeff, it’s the fact that I want to basically have a life away from the show. I love doing the show. I love recording it. But I love being able to disconnect and just go off to the pub and just live a normal life. I wouldn’t want to be on call every second of the day. So everything that I have been working towards has been based on that. Is it going to restrict my time? Yes. What I’m not going to do it. Is it going to allow me to have flexibility? Yes, very unlikely to do it. And once you get that, why it really does make that path easier to navigate, doesn’t it?
Jeff Tan [25:56]
It certainly does. And another another challenge. For people who you know facing these conundrums is that they think of a solution. We have to learn how to trust our instinct our gut a lot more because there’s a lot of research over the last 2030 years or neuroscience is become a buzzword on neuro marketing neuro leadership. And it’s been proven that our instinct is the first thing that fires up in our brain. And then our logical mind will find the reason why we feel a certain way and take a certain action. So the point is, trust yourself. When you feel something, examine what the feeling is, when you work things out to logically, your logical mind will follow the patterns which are already in existence in your head, because that’s how the brain works. When we trust you’re feeling and you’re not quite sure what it means. Get a piece of paper and figure it out. You’ll find different ways to overcome whatever State, you’re not happy? Yeah. So trust yourself. isn’t that
Unknown Speaker [27:05]
David Ralph [27:06]
Yeah, absolutely. This is one of those hardest conversations you’re ever gonna have with yourself. Because you get to a point in your life where you’ve already lived a certain amount of life. And it’s, it’s who you are. And to be able to break that down and move on. When everybody around you isn’t feeling that same way. And everybody else seems to be happy with what they’re doing or not even that they don’t seem to be happy. They just seem to do it without questioning the people that we’re talking about. And I am and you are, get to that point in their life and think that there’s got to be more, there’s got to be more to it. Why am I feeling differently? Is it me? Is it the situation? Is it the money is it whatever and more often than not, you get to the bottom, it isn’t the money anyway, the money comes when you find what you want to do. Anyway, I’m going to play some words now which are going to take us into the next part of our conversation. And these are really prime but what we’re saying now, it’s finding the moment when you decide to give it a go, this is Jim Carrey.
Jim Carrey [28:04]
My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [28:31]
So all by the words that we should be getting out to the world nowadays, Jeff?
Jeff Tan [28:36]
Definitely, for sure. Even in my own life, I signed up for the Air Force. When I was in high school, I did my A Levels. I joined the Air Force immediately after I’m supposed to retire next year. But I left the Air Force nine years ago, not because I wanted to, but because they changed the rules of the game. So can you imagine the UK civil service they suddenly turn right Say, Hey, buddy, 45 You’re out. That’s what happened to the Singapore military. So the rules change because I had a safe job. I worked for the government, I worked for the military. I made the conservative choice of joining the civil service, and then suddenly at the age of 45, and out, so who’s who could see that coming? Yeah. So Jim Carrey, he’s kind of a smart guy. So so
David Ralph [29:27]
with your military, Ben, did it take you by surprise? Or were they aware? Or were you aware that that was going to happen? Did you suddenly forced out and oh my god, what do I do with my life? What was it a moment like that?
Jeff Tan [29:41]
I wasn’t forced that suddenly we were given enough notice. In fact, I knew 10 years before I had to leave about eight years before I had to leave that it changed the rules. But it was still a shocker. In your mid 30s when you consider in your prime and ability Suddenly, hey, my shelf life just shifted so much closer to where I am now. Right. So, that just goes to show that nothing in life is certain.
David Ralph [30:12]
And you look back on it now and go thank God for that. Actually, I could have still been there quite happily plodding along. But now because of that, that was a good thing.
Jeff Tan [30:25]
I, I may be one of the few people who left the military, but I am absolutely delighted they threw me up. Because it made me grow into different things to realise other parts of my potential is great. I wouldn’t change anything.
David Ralph [30:45]
So how do you do that though? How do you transition because you’re transitioning from, you know, the military to civilian, which is quite hard to do anyway. But some people struggle from moving from one corporate gig to another corporate gig, which seems quite similar from the outside, so when you left, had you started planning to what you were going to do, or did it come together once you left? How did you get Reverend sticky steps together?
Jeff Tan [31:12]
No, I actually thought about it a lot. I attended courses, met people, and did all my homework. I came to China ready, but I struggled for a heck of a long time. It’s not because of the transition. I just struggled because it’s a very new thing for me from having absolute stability, where I just need to go to the ATM machine on the 10th of every month to check my salary. And now I’ve got a complete life of uncertainty. So it was tough. I have to say it wasn’t easy. It was tough, very tough. But I have no choice. I have two young children at the time. I have to move on. So just do it.
David Ralph [32:00]
That’s probably the key thing, isn’t it when you haven’t got a choice. I’m a great believer now in having no plan B, the escape where, because I’ve, I’ve said this numerous times on the shows as well, but hey, after 350 episodes, you can repeat yourself. But I was down a pub with a chat one day and I was talking about doing the show. And I said to him, I’ve got to make this work. This is this is it. If this doesn’t work, I can’t work for somebody anymore. I can’t go back and work in a corporate gig. And I don’t know what else to do. I’ve got to make this work. And as I was saying it, I remember thinking, Oh my God, I’ve got to make this work. I don’t know if I can do that. But now I look back on it. And I think because I had no plan B, you’re more likely to make it work because you’re going to put effort into it where perhaps you wouldn’t do and you would go the extra step. So do you do you see the same way as well. You didn’t have a choice. And it became easier, although it was harder.
Jeff Tan [33:05]
Definitely. And, and for me, the turning point was when I almost went bankrupt twice, twice. Yeah. So I have no choice. If I don’t shift and change how I’m doing things. That’s it, I’m gone. Literally nothing left to sell either. So have no choice. There’s this famous American high rise type group family that will endless. Those guys cross. Things like what the Grand Canyon Niagara Falls without a safety net without being attached to the rope. So if this guy, if he loses his balance, he dies. So that’s a very extreme example of do whatever it takes to survive a lot of people today. If I don’t make it, that’s okay. I’ll just move in with mom and dad again for a while. Blah, blah, blah. Yeah. So today’s society has given us too much choice and because of that, for some people, it doesn’t work for some people love or for some people having to us choice makes them complacent. Yeah,
David Ralph [34:14]
we were the D, walking on a rope that you’re gonna fall off and die. When when you’re talking about that. I was thinking, that’s just lunacy, isn’t it? Doing anything but one, one wrong step and you’re dead. It makes me wonder why people are driven to do that kind of thing. Why are people so driven to go to that point when common sense would say at least put a net hundred or something nobody’s gonna think any worse of you. But you fold into a net over the Grand Canyon, you’ve still balanced your way across. Is that that sort of the ultimate level or is that just lunacy in your view?
Jeff Tan [34:54]
It’s something that is very personal to that person.
Some of them are adrenaline junkies, like base jumpers and and they don’t just skydive, they jump off bridges and fly down cliffs and stuff like that. So that those people need the adrenaline rush. And the thought of doing the next jump pushes them on in life. Okay, so that’s one group of people. For the other group of people. It’s not so much the adrenaline rush, it defines who they are. It is their identity in life. I am someone special. So for them special could cross the Grand Canyon without a safety harness. Yeah. So it depends on how how our brains made up. So if you’re not an adrenaline junkie, it is due to who you are and what you represent. That’s why they do what they do. So is it lunacy?
Unknown Speaker [35:53]
David Ralph [35:56]
there’s no getting away from this.
Jeff Tan [35:58]
You know, I feel Helicopters for a lot of my life. And that is a crazy contraption. Yeah, it, it just doesn’t make sense on the scientific level of how it flies as so many things to do at the same time. So that is lunacy also. But what the hell? It was great.
David Ralph [36:17]
Yeah, no, I can say that. And the problem with helicopters, I always think is you can’t glide them. Can you glide them down? I always imagine if I stop, that’s it. You’re going down like a brick.
Jeff Tan [36:28]
Yeah, you go down like a brick. You can glide a little bit. A little bit. That’s about it. Yeah. Not enough.
David Ralph [36:35]
So So we’ve yourself fighting back from bankruptcy twice, as you were saying, was that anytime within the first one, but you fought, I’m just going to work in an office. I’m just going to go and get a job. I’m going to work in McDonald’s. Was there anything that forced you to sort of go the easy route or did you know about what you were doing was right, and you just had to work at getting this.
Jeff Tan [36:59]
The truth Thanks. One It was my is, is my unshakeable belief that what I’m doing is correct. And the second thing is, I’ve told everybody I know that I can never work in the corporate job anymore. So for Chinese, for Chinese, there’s kind of a loss of face. So that kind of pushed me on. There are some corporate jobs that I would love having. Because I work these clients and I am. I really love what they do. And that’s a very different kind of thing because I want to do it. So it doesn’t matter whether it is a corporate job or not, but there’s something I want to do. So there are about two or three jobs out there that I would love to have. But I’m not actively looking for it. So whatever comes my way.
David Ralph [37:40]
It’s difficult, isn’t it? When you realise that you can’t work for somebody anymore, you can’t be going to a corporation and working in an office and I spent years working in an office my entire working career was based in an office and now I just know in my heart parts, I can’t do that. Absolutely can’t do but I’ve got to make My own economy. And the question that sort of leads to that is, is that the risky route now? Or is that the easy route, making your own money so that you always know that you can pay the bills and nobody’s going to sack you? Is that riskier or safer? In your view?
Jeff Tan [38:17]
I’m ambivalent. Because if you’re the top doctor, a specialist, you earn the big bucks. And you never have to worry. Because if you’re not at the top of the heap, no one’s what you can get a sec, but you still have enough if you’ve been careful of your money. The business owner and I don’t use the word entrepreneur. I use the word business owner. Being a business owner running a small business, of course is risky, of course, is risky. So what type of work you do whether you work with someone or you work for yourself, boils down to who you are and whether you won The freedom to do what you want or you prefer the structure and stability of a regular paycheck. So I can’t say which is better it depends on who you are and what you want in life if you’re a stability freak for goodness sakes don’t start your own business you will die cash flowing oh my goodness me is supposed to be up and down. So if you cannot stomach uncertainty like that, for goodness sake stay in your job and enjoy it instead of saying that I wish I could have the freedom to make a choice. So a lot of people have that Miss mistaken idea that I want to work on myself. Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of people who go up and oh my goodness, I burn a tidy sum of money but I have to pay for the office read my staff my this my debt and I’m left with a little bit only. Wow, I learned so much and yeah, I take home so little. I don’t like that. So, which is better? It depends. It depends on, on your core values and your beliefs and your skill set. So, which is better? I don’t know.
David Ralph [40:10]
But But you hit the nail on the head in that statement that you can stay in a job and you can be happy, can you and that’s what I think people miss out on. They miss out on the fact that when they get a job that they’re lighted and they got a new job, it’s gonna be brilliant, it’s gonna be amazing. And then somewhere along the line, they stop bringing their enthusiasm to that job. Now the job hasn’t changed. It’s just them, they’ve changed and I felt this myself when I left my corporate gig. I knew that I’d kind of lost something in myself and I had to move on to something else. But I could have forced myself to become happy. I could have raised my game, I could have done anything to make sure that my mood was conducive to be happy in that job. So that this whole show isn’t about being entrepreneurial in any shape or form, but it is about being happy. Wherever you And if you are in a job that you don’t like, start looking at it and think, why don’t I like this when I used to love it, but what what’s different? Is it the job is it me whatever. And more often than not you look at it and you’re, you have all these excuses. It’s the management, it’s the way they treat us and all that kind of stuff. But issue, isn’t it really, Jeff?
Jeff Tan [41:18]
Yes. I want to quote what my old friend. I have a very dear friend who talks to me very regularly. And you may know him also, although you from the other part of the world. His name is Socrates. Yeah.
David Ralph [41:31]
I haven’t had him on the show, I’ll be promise.
Jeff Tan [41:34]
Okay. So he keeps telling me know thyself. An unexamined life is not worth living. So people who are in the corporate world or as business owners, and they say all this has changed, it has changed. Actually, the only thing that has changed is their perception. So when we follow the advice of my dear friend, Socrates all we need to do is to learn about ourselves discover what drives us. And then we can realise up, actually is my perception that change. My boss didn’t suddenly grow two horns and a tail and carry a pitchfork. Not that didn’t happen. But I suddenly saw my boss as Satan himself. Yeah. So follow Socrates advice, not mine, and learn about yourself, discover who you are. And with that, it doesn’t mean your troubles go away. But when you know yourself, you understand at the conscious level, why you feel the way you do. And then you find a little bit more peace. And with the peace, you can go and find a solution because a lot of people look for solutions when they feel terrible, and that’s not going to work. Yeah. So Socrates, quite a smart guy.
David Ralph [42:50]
He’s a very smart guy and and you go out for a beer with him. You hang around with me. He seems quite close.
Jeff Tan [42:56]
No, no, he doesn’t drink. Yeah, he doesn’t
David Ralph [42:59]
drink So So do you use this the kind of the classic wisdoms do it is, is going back in time actually as powerful today as it’s always been, or is it all about the future and technology and moving forward in your life?
Jeff Tan [43:16]
knowledge in the future is important to set the direction. But if we don’t know who we are, and why we exist, and why someone put us on this planet, every future plan is both right and wrong at the same time. Yeah. But when we know who we are, what we stand for a day, we can make one direction happen. So we have to look at our history and our pasts, but don’t get too hung up on it, and immediately come back to where we are now. Now, and then we can keep moving forward.
David Ralph [43:52]
But let’s play some words. Now. These are words that I come back to on a daily basis and they’re not from Socrates, but they’re from a gentleman whose name became the best, and Steve Jobs and as an omen as well. So it’s kind of anagram if you’ve been taking drugs or you’ve been drinking, these are the words that he said back in 2005 and have become the whole theme of the show Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [44:14]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference
David Ralph [44:49]
to buy into those words. Jeff
Jeff Tan [44:52]
100% The thing about
the human race is that 50% of us will agree Steve,
the other 50% would like to agree with him, but cannot do it. Because
some people really need to have certainty life. That’s why they joined the dots forward. They and they don’t trust themselves because they need proof. They need something to have happen. And then the brain says yes, that’s good, good to go. So these are the people who need proof, and they need to join the dots forward. I’m not going to pass judgement on whether this is right or wrong. I just want to say that they’re half of us are like that. Half of us are like Steve Jobs at what he said. So who is right? Both right, both are wrong. It depends on how your brain has programmed itself. So the trick here is, if we really want to join the dots by looking backwards, some people need to reprogram their brain, which is possible, which is possible and there’s something I did myself actually
David Ralph [46:01]
How did you do? How did you reprogram your brain?
Jeff Tan [46:06]
Well, I taught myself a whole bunch of nifty tricks.
At a logical level, it somewhat most didn’t work. But when I attach an emotion, a very strong reason why things started to move. And I didn’t expect to change overnight, just like that. Instead, it’s taken me a heck of a long time. But I’ve slowly reprogram a lot of how I think and feel and behave. So it is possible, but we got to do it with great patience. Yeah. And keep doing it. And that’s a lot of people read a self help book. Oh, great tip. I’m going to do it. And then one day later, oh, this doesn’t work next. So that doesn’t work.
David Ralph [46:52]
And that is Yeah, that’s the problem of those books isn’t there? I’ve got a friend who he will buy every single motivation No book known to man. And he says to me, I bought this new one. Oh, it’s really good. I’m really into it. And then next time I speak to him, I just bought this book and look at what you’re not doing anything with it. You’re just reading all these books. And every now and again, there’s one that will come along that will really sort of move you forward. And my mind was Napoleon hills Think and Grow Rich. I remember reading that and thinking, wow, this is that there’s something in this one, and it’s really sort of moved me on. But you do see that all the time, don’t you people buying the next book, The next book, The next book, and I have a whole bookcase over or they have a whole bookcase of them, and I haven’t even got around to reading them, but I still keep them buying them because they think it’s going to give them the answer.
Jeff Tan [47:40]
You’re right, you’re right.
These people are looking for the magic formula. Yeah. And if you look at the titles of the books that these people buy, the books are title, three steps to instant success. 21 ways to get rich now Seven Steps so that you can make money while you sleep. There’s this instant gratification concept, which is very prevalent in today’s society. That’s why we buy throw stuff in as a consumer society by through. So it kind of pervades our, our psyche. So they’re not wrong in buying the books. But I do wish they would persist with the key lessons in the book. And then things will change. So it’s about persistence. Steve Jobs is a great example of someone who just persisted. I mean, he’s set from his company and the ultimate
David Ralph [48:38]
white Why do you have that picture of Steve in little cartoon form, standing by your side on your website?
Jeff Tan [48:47]
Oh, everything I do is to cartoon form. Yeah, everything is fun. It’s not so serious life is to life is serious enough. So everything I do. I have little caricatures little cartoons. And yeah, it just makes it more interesting.
David Ralph [49:05]
And was there something in him that you, you bought into why you surrounded yourself with him and, and some of the other famous people, but what was it about Steve that you liked?
Jeff Tan [49:15]
I first use a Macintosh computer in 1984. And it blew my mind. It’s like, wow, this thing is so cool. So I used it. And then I’ve been a great fan of Steve Jobs before he was the Steve Jobs. So in the old days, there’s not many books or I know, I’ve got as many books as possible and I learned everything about marketing, from him, marketing, and that he doesn’t have books on him and marketing. But if you read carefully, or even not so carefully, you understand what makes Apple Apple whether you like apple, not the point, but there are lots of little clues of how we can improve our lives just by reading the stories of famous people who have done crazy things. The next guy that we have to study is Tim Cook.
David Ralph [50:09]
Who’s Tim Cook?
Jeff Tan [50:10]
Because Yeah, exactly. So how do we take over a company from an iconic figure like Steve Jobs and triple revenue, triple profitability, which is what Tim Cook did? How do you do that in a while maintaining a very hard business sense. And keep pushing on so, so he’s the next guy that I’m going to study like crazy. Find some secrets.
David Ralph [50:39]
Well, what was your big.in life pain in those words that Steve said, when you look back on your life, what was the moment?
Jeff Tan [50:49]
I have many moments. So I’m not quite sure how to answer that question. I had multiple epiphanies in my life
David Ralph [50:57]
and Are you aware when bye Are you kind of Oh my god, this is what I’ve been waiting for. Is it afterwards you kind of think Oh, yes, I can see how that happened.
Jeff Tan [51:08]
Oh no, but definitely moments are so extreme. And that’s because I allow my emotions to run the wall today. My epiphany moments were so extreme. I remember two of them two instances where I had to stop what I was doing, and just do nothing. The rest of my brain stopped working because it’s like, wow, it’s really a wow moment for me. So, for me, I feel it. I really feel those moments.
David Ralph [51:35]
you’re somebody who’s living life though, aren’t you? You’re You’re it doesn’t surprise me. But you say that used to be on an even keel. But now your emotions are up and down. you’re experiencing you’re living aren’t you?
Jeff Tan [51:49]
Yes, and I can. I can. sounds terrible because he’s talking about Top Gun Need for Speed and pilots and all that. But today I can. I can actually feel emotion. Reading a book about somebody. I can even feel emotional watching comedies like What the hell’s going on, then?
My moto index has fallen completely. But
David Ralph [52:14]
yeah, and have you ever said those words? I feel the need the need for speed and have you
Jeff Tan [52:19]
other helicopters fly really slowly?
I need I feel the need to get lower. Yeah, because we like to fly close to the ground.
David Ralph [52:28]
Yeah, in case you dropped like a brick, it’s easier, easier to jump out at the last minute. Well,
Unknown Speaker [52:33]
David Ralph [52:35]
miss the end of the show now. And this is the part that we call the sermon and Mike when we send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to the younger Jeff, what age would you choose and what advice would you give? Well, we’re going to find out because I’m going to play the theme tune now and when it fades you up. This is the Sermon on the mic.
Unknown Speaker [53:01]
We go with the best bit of the show.
Jeff Tan [53:19]
Hi, Jeff, I’m going to talk to Jeff without
a predetermine h because I feel that my message to previous Jeff could apply to me yesterday also, all the way back to as soon as I start speaking. So this is me talking to Jeff of all ages because I have a simple message. And that message is just do it and make it happen. Because I have why these two because I’ve spent my whole life overthinking things and by over Thinking things, opportunities disappeared. Things happen. And, you know, they were beyond my reach. So my two things that I would tell every Jeff, just do it and make it happen. So that’s it.
David Ralph [54:18]
Just do it and make it happen. Perfect, perfect words, Jeff, how can our audience connect with you?
Jeff Tan [54:25]
They can visit me on my website, or
write me an email. I I actually love getting email from anybody in any way. So email me, and I will respond within 24 hours. You might
David Ralph [54:41]
have thousands come through to you, Jeff.
Jeff Tan [54:45]
Fine, I spent a large part of my day actually emailing. I wouldn’t call them clients anymore, but people who have come into my life yeah, so my coaching is a little bit different and I don’t just see once every x number of days. I always tell Either your best friend or worst enemy, because I’m gonna hold you till you do what you told me you’re going to do. So please, if I get 1000 so be it. I love it.
David Ralph [55:09]
Perfect accountability. That’s what we like. Jeff, thank you so much for spending time with us today, joining up those dots. And please come back again when you have more dots to join up because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Mr. Jeff tan, thank you so much.
Jeff Tan [55:26]
My pleasure. Thank you.
David Ralph [55:30]
Thanks for listening to today’s episode of Join Up Dots brought to you exclusively by podcast is mastery.com the only resource that shows you how to create a show, build an income and still have time for the life that you love. Check out podcast mastery.com and now
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