Vince Poscente is an internationally acclaimed keynote speaker, founder of The Goal Acceleration Institute, and author of both The Ant and the Elephant and The Age of Speed. His specialty? Helping people achieve big goals in less time. Given that in just four years, Poscente himself trained to go from recreational skier to an Olympic speed skier competing in the 1992 Albertville Olympic Games, we’re thinking he’s pretty well qualified to tell us a thing or two about just going for it, achieving our dreams, and living the lives we want. So, with our interest in his theories piqued, we went ahead and did – probably just what he would do – we called him up, and asked him for an interview. He said yes. So, in the spirit of Poscente, we set the clock to five minutes… And without further ado, let’s ready, set, go!
gA: Can you tell us a little about your background and explain how you believe your past got you to your present?
VP: Well, I’ll try to keep this as succinct as possible. What I’m best known for is having gone from recreational skier to an Olympian – who, at my peak, ranked 10th in the world – in just four years. This achievement alone is proof that I somehow put together an effective formula for reaching big goals fast, in this case the Olympic Games.
Being able to take that achievement and “formula”, and apply it to any number of unrelated goals and objectives – for both myself and my clients – is something I’ve since dedicated my life to. And I must say that it’s very nice that recognition of this unique gift has afforded me a bunch of honors and just an amazing ride through life that’s included being inducted into the Speaker Hall of Fame in both Canada and the U.S., with people like Ronald Reagan, Zig Ziglar and Og Mandino, and becoming a New York Times best-selling author. But ultimately, it’s given me the opportunity to have that sense of contribution in helping other people not only reach their goals, but be real clear on what those goals are. Today, companies have the pressure to reach big objectives, and people working for those companies are feeling overwhelmed. My job is to eliminate that, so that individuals can have more fun, and corporations can achieve their big ambitions fast.
gA: How would you describe the two books of yours that we’ve created summaries of for getAbstract?
VP: The Ant and the Elephant is a personal development book, told in parable format; the ant being the metaphor for the conscious mind, and the elephant for the subconscious. The theory is that when you align your ant and your elephant, then things get easier and more fun; in other words, it’s less arduous to get to where you want to go. But if you have a conscious intention, your ant will head in one direction and your subconscious agenda may be on a completely different path, thereby creating a self-destructive course.
Ultimately the book lays out a formulaic plan on how to align your ant and elephant, whilst being an entertaining read at the same time.
On the other hand, The Age of Speed is more of a case study, a concept book about the world we live in. Contrary to how some have perceived it, the book is not about having more speed in your life, but rather how we can thrive in a fast-paced world without feeling like we’re overwhelmed. (Actually, the subtitle is Thriving in a More Faster Now World, so I don’t know why some readers have misinterpreted the intent. But that’s another note.) I wrote The Age of Speed to have a better perspective on how technology is impacting us – how the distractions can take us down, and how multitasking is a real issue. We’re all feeling like we’re just trying to cope, and we can’t cope our way to excellence and a higher level of results.
gA: How do people’s decision-making habits determine their lives?
VP: Look, I’m not this guy that put on a cape and became a super hero that was able to go to the Olympic Games. I’m just a regular guy. I grew up in a small town in Canada. The only difference is that I got to the point where I realized I had to engage. And – I know it’s easy to say – but life is more difficult than the Nike slogan: Just Do It, which is essentially paramount to saying, “If you want to stop procrastinating, stop procrastinating.” Of course there’s the psycho-babble behind that in terms of why are we holding our self back? Why are we limiting ourselves? Why are we not engaging? And that – in essence – is the exploration that I have chosen to dedicate my entire life to. But in the interim between now and my finding the key, we have to be able to ask – and answer – the question: how will I engage in a different way? And in answering t h a t question you can replicate a customized solution over and over and over again, applying it to any number of situations as they arise. With that said, we are all creatures of habit. So, therefore, we are creatures of decision-making patterns. But if we want a life with more wealth – not just money – but more free time, more experiences with family or loved ones, and so forth – what needs to be different to shift from the “now” where that doesn’t currently exist? In other words, if you don’t have it right now the way you want it, what needs to be different? These are the questions I pose and urge my readers to answer.
gA: We’re running out of time. Can you give us one more?
gA: Thanks! OK, so tell us, how do we conquer that little voice of doubt? The naysayer that sits on our shoulder?
VP: Great question! Yeah, the voice of doubt is an interesting little being. First off, give him or her an identity – for me he’s short and green – and then accept that the voice of doubt is completely natural and there must be a reason why the subconscious mind serves it to us. I personally don’t care about what the reason is but I want to combat it when it shows up uninvited. Ultimately, I’ve found, that the shortcut is to simply acknowledge that that voice of doubt is there, and to talk back to it. Say “Thank you for your opinion but that’s not part of my vision. My vision is [insert your elephant (i.e. emotional) buzz here] because that’s what will get me to the endpoint I desire.” I know it might sound stupid, but in that brief, mental dialogue what you’re really doing is acknowledging – but interrupting – the pattern of negativity. And the second you can do that, you’re back on track. Trust me: the second you interrupt the pattern, you redirect the course. And that’s pretty powerful.
gA: I’ll get my cape then!