All posts in The Foundation

Week 2: Seeing a coach on The Work

I’m still practising this limiting belief reversal, and I feel I’m getting better and better at it, but I’m not yet able to get on a deeper level.

I’ll continue to do my 20 mile march by doing at least 1 reversal of my biggest belief of the day as my most important activity. Even though it feels like progress is not really tangible that way, I know it to be the best thing to do for now.

Playing full out

Every day, I’m using my Judge-Your-Neighbor worksheet in Google Drive and working through a single limiting belief statement. I work through all the extra answers that come up in the first 6 questions as well, by doing the Four Questions and Turnarounds on them.

It feels like hard work, and some days I spend over 2 hours on it. It might be possible to go faster, but this feels like a thorough method for now.

Getting a coach

I wanted to get some 1-on-1 practise as well, so I was browsing Katie’s list of Certified Facilitators in The Netherlands. I contacted Sagar Simon and had a great experience. I can really recommend doing a facilitated inquiry. My most important learnings were:

  • It’s key to really mentally picture the situation of the thought, and stick with it. Keep returning to that exact situation. All the work you do on this situation will help you in similar situations afterwards.
  • Go as deep as you can. Don’t be afraid to judge. If an answer feels a little bit exaggerated or too strong, use it. It’s important to really feel the associated emotions as strong as you can.
  • Inquire ALL of your answer statements from the 6 preparation questions with the Four Questions and 3 Turnarounds. It’s the only way to reverse all aspects and similar thoughts in one go.

Week 2: My telesales experiment

A few weeks ago I thought it might be helpful to get some calling practice without pressure. I signed up at a telemarketing company to see how they handle stuff.

Now, a few weeks later I was asked for a first shift. I’m a lot more connected with how I feel about what I do, and I noticed I had a hard time explaining myself why I was doing all of this. In the end, I just went with it, and would see what happens.

It was fun to experience learning something. I really like that feeling. First there was a briefing on the project and the script. Then I did some calls for about 90 minutes. Doing all of this I noticed two things:

  • I was learning stuff, but it was heavily scripted and focused on numbers. There was a lot to learn that is valuable to me, but I also felt I had to constantly second-guess myself. I was trying to make sure what I doing wasn’t going to hurt me in the long run, trying to learn Idea Extraction properly.
  • Making successful calls gave me short bursts of feel good, but the more I could imagine this call script to work out, the more I felt like a monkey in a cage doing nothing but this trick the best and fastest I can. Hardly any perspective.

Within 1,5 hour I checked my screen for the clock for three times. And I knew enough… This was not for me.

A script too good to be true

I did have a big learning though, helpful for Idea Extracion. I was working with a call script that was too good to be true: the leads were smoking hot. We were calling our own subscribers and asking them to sign up for a befriended company. Costs? Just a few euros for an annual contract. And if they refused, my company would pay their subscription fee for them. Yes, it would be totally free. All they had to do was say yes.

And guess what, most did. But even here I didn’t get to 100%. Some people just didn’t want to, no matter what. Would even get a little angry (you could blame me for that). I learned that, no matter how good the script, you will always find people on a bad time for them. And that’s just fine.

Follow your gut

After my shift, we planned two more shifts for the next week. Going home I wasn’t sure  about this whole experiment anymore.

Signing up felt perfect initially. I wanted to live with the total freedom I have, and work the way I felt like in the moment. I also felt confident it was good to see this whole telemarketing thing for myself and give it a second chance.

Even if it was just for 1 day, I learned a lot it about it, and found out it just wasn’t for me. So I called them them and resigned. Somehow I felt sorry for trying. At the same time, it felt super cool to do these kind of experiments whenever I feel like.

Week 1: Launch! Starting with mindset

Here we go! We’ve kicked off. Or haven’t we?

Doors have opened on november the 14th. Official kick-off is december 1st. And the first Idea Extraction course videos are released december 15th. First we’re focusing on mindset. Perfect, because that’s exactly what I’m focusing on right now.

Starting the 20 mile march on The Work

I have to focus on my current biggest challenge, even though it’s tempting to spend as much time as possible on The Foundation video lessons. So my 20 mile march this week is to do spend an hour minimum each day to inquire my biggest limiting belief at that very moment.

Not sure if I will be done by the end of the week. If not, I’ll see if I can change my plan to speed it up, or continue next week.

Getting deeper

When doing the simple version of the Four Questions, I found out the fourth question of the work allowed me to go deeper. It either creates a peaceful state (and then the turnarounds reïnforce that state the be permanent), or it opens up your mind to a new deeper thought. This deeper thought can be saved to do The Work on after you finish your current thought. You wouldn’t want to create all these open loops would you?


My strongest limiting beliefs are about how other people judge me for what I do. So I did the turnarounds on all people in my life who came up for being judgemental. This took me 5 hours and it felt complete.

Doing the four questions on it often results was how I’m judgemental about myself. I’m still having a hard time using The Work to reverse these self-judging thoughts. I think I had a breakthrough moment because everything appeared to be logical when I used the example turnaround from Katie like this:

For example: I’m a wannabe.
Turns around to: My thinking about me is a wannabe.

Now this sounds a bit conceptual, but it actually started to make sense after practising this self-judging turnaround on a couple of thoughts.

I’m a wannabe.
What’s a wannabe?
I trying to be someone I’m not.

Turns around to the self: My thinking about me is trying to be like I’m not
Turns around to the other:  My thinking about others is trying to be like I’m not
Turns around to the negative: My thinking about me is not trying to be like I’m not.
Turns around to the opposite: My thinking about me is admirable.

Don’t pay too much attention to the opposite statement itself. It’s all about conceptually grasping the turnaround of yourself into the thinking about yourself.

Not sure if these were permanent, but the day after they didn’t come up.

Tools for making calls

I put calling on hold for now, but I renewed my phone subscription so I was thinking about a good calling setup. My subscription gives me unlimited national calls. So instead of using skype I’m going to use this app called Dialogue so I can use my iPhone for calling.
In my calling CRM Pipedrive  I was very comfortable with click-to-calls to Skype. Pipedrive allows you to change the calling URL scheme. I changed it to have click-to-call phone numbers passed through to the Dialogue app:
It doesn’t ask for a confirmation but start the call straight away. At first I thought it might create some unwanted calls but it will remove friction as well. Might help me get it on with a next call quicker. Not because it saves handling time but it saves your mind from re-evaluating your action.

Pre-Week 18: Studying The Work

This week I wanted to fully immerse myself with The Work, by Byron Katie. I downloaded her audiobook and started listening as much as I can and made notes. The audiobook helped me to understand the framework and by listening to a few example sessions I really felt how negative thoughts can be reversed by plain logic.

The process is kind of similar to the 4 question Dane is talking about in for example this SPI 85 podcast and his earlier videos about limiting belief examples and how it affects your identity.

The base of the framework is this set of Four Questions. Katie’s version adds 3 preparation questions and 3 finishing questions on her Judge-Your-Neighbor worksheet.

Preparation Questions to embrace the feeling

The 6 preparation questions help you embrace your judgement without trying to change it. You go deeper into the negative feeling and try to spit it all out.

  1. In this situation, time, and location, who angers, confuses, or disappoints you, and why?
  2. In this situation, how do you want them to change? What do you want them to do?
  3. In this situation, what advice would you offer to them?
  4. In order for you to be happy in this situation, what do you need them to think, say, feel, or do?
  5. What do you think of them in this situation? Make a list.
  6. What is it in or about this situation that you don’t ever want to experience again?

The Four Questions

Then for each answer you do the Four Questions to open you up to a possible opposite perspective.

  1. Is it true?
  2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
  3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
  4. Who would you be without the thought?

The Turnaround

At the 3 finishing questions you turn your starting statement around in 3 different ways. This really acts as a mirror, and shows you how everything you call others is actually something you call yourself.

  1. Turn it around to the self
  2. Turn it around to the other
  3. Turn it around to the opposite

The result at the end of the process is a reversed empowering belief. Sometimes instead, you’ll find a deeper negative belief that allows to do the work on a deeper level.

Check out how  the short The Foundation version and the longer The Work version compare:

Worksheet Comparison

Practising the paper Work Sheet

Althought I like writing, I don’t really like the Judge-Your-Neighbor worksheet because it is very small and leaves me little room to express myself. I also came across an iPhone and iPad app by Byron Katie herself. You’ll have The Work without at any time, and it allows you to email yourself (or your Evernote email address) the results for later reflection. There are some extra audio and video explanations in there as well.

After listening to her audiobook and watching a few of her movies I did see the amazing calming impact both her voice and her apperance have. I guess her face in the app might help people to calm down and know things will be alright. But I prefer a more clean designed app, without looking at Katie’s face all the time. I feel it’s much more empowering to be able to do The Work by ‘yourself’.

Doing The Work in Google Drive

Because I like to write down as much as possible when answering the questions, I felt both the PDF worksheet and the App didn’t give me the space to do so. I created a simple Google Form of both the Judge-Your-Neighbor worksheet and one with just the Four Questions on it.

When answering a question these forms allow me to type, type, type until I feel I’ve expressed everything on my mind. The results go into a Google spreadsheet so I can have a look at them later. For now, no need to look back.

If you want to use my Google form or edit it to your liking, check out the links below:

Google Form BLANK Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet in Google Drive
(Make sure you ‘File > Make A Copy…’ before using it, or the results will go into my spreadsheet)

Google Form BLANK One-Belief-At-A-Time Worksheet in Google Drive
(Make sure you ‘File > Make A Copy…’ before using it, or the results will go into my spreadsheet)

Short or long version?

The shorter version saves a lot of time and I can successfully reverse a lot of simpler limiting beliefs. However I had the best results with the long version on stronger beliefs that feel like they are strangled together with other beliefs, and sometimes even feel like they have deeper beliefs causing them. Doing the 6 preparation questions helps me to get deeper into the feeling, declutter it, and reverse it with the mirror effect of the 3 turnarounds.

Pre-Week 17: Limiting beliefs and personal development

So this week I started by learning some more about Byron Katie’s The Work. A process of answering 4 questions about a negative thought to be able to reverse it. I remembered a kind of similar process I did a few years back, when I practised Man Transformation, an amazing DVD series by David Deangelo, that literally transformed the way I thought about myself. Only this week I found out his real name is Eben Pagan, after listening to Andy Drish’ Starting With Nothing Podcast. He mentioned Eben as one of his top influencers.

Our mind is trying to protect us

So a few years ago I tried to go back deep into my memories to understand the roots of some of my thoughts. Especially my most annoying ones about feeling judged by others.

Some of the stuff I’m doing for The Foundation I’m also constantly questioning in my mind. It’s blocking my progress and holding me back from success. I’m questioning what other people are thinking about this process (do I look like a wannabe?), I’m questioning what others think about the market I selected (is it cool or sexy or not?) and even questioning my success in the end (what do other people think about me being succesful?).

Reach out for help

Rationally, I know this is crazy stuff, but I still feel it. So I’ve got to work on understanding and reversing it. I am going to get deeper into The Work and try it on my own thoughts. In the mean time I will try to speed up the progress by looking for help from more experienced people. Like Peter Shallard, who I’ve done a Clarity Couch session with once and who get me totally unstuck and back on track in a 13 minute mp3 report. My first option is to see if someone from The Foundation such as Dane, someone from the team or an alumni would have some time available to help me practise this stuff.

Time to relax

This week I went to visit my brother in Barcelona, so it was time for some refueling. I downloaded the I’m Fine, Thanks movie by Grant Peelle for some inflight entertainment. It wasn’t that actionable, which made it a nice feelgood movie that made me connect to and identify with their goals for life.

Pre-Week 16: P for Problem Questions

After finishing chapter 8 from SPIN Selling (Turning Theory into Practice) and learning about implication questions, I took the most important advice from the end of the book: learn one thing at a time. I understood it’s best to take it slow and learn each type of question one a a time. Kind of like the 20 mile march from Josh Isaac’s story.

Because I feel asking questions come naturally to me, I’m very confident asking Situation Questions (S). These tend to bore people, so I’m glad I can focus on the next step, asking Problem Questions (P). I’ve read about Implication Questions already, so I have to force myself to not focus on asking them. I’ll get there eventually.

Learning how to ask the right Problem Questions

Before I did my calls I tried to get into the mindset of asking Problem Questions. The Huthwaite institute also focuses on learning one step at a time, and they published this (kind of scary corporate) video where they explain how to ask proper Problem Questions.

Evernote Camera Roll 20131029 085324

The most important use of Problem Questions is not to just understand whether your customer HAS a problem, they help you UNDERSTAND your customer’s problems by asking questions that start with Who, what, where, when, why, how much, how many, how often

Sounds like basic stuff, huh? Try to have a proper conversation and see how often your questions actually addressed a problem instead of a situation. I found myself way more often than I liked asking questions about what was happening instead of what kind of problem the situation might cause.

Practise in real life

I’ve tried to also focus on problems questions when talking with friends and family. As these type of questions tend to be a little negative, I felt I was constantly looking for problems instead of having a good time. So I quit focusing on them in my personal life. I did occasionally, when listening to someone talk about their challenges, find myself asking a problem question.

Practising in business calls…

Of course the best place to practise these questions is in doing the Idea Extraction calls.

Unfortunately, after doing about 6 calls this week, which is nothing. I had only 1 real conversation and I felt more and more bad about doing these calls. Setting up a ’20 mile march’ with 1 hour of calling each day started to feel like I was reaching to the end of the hour just to feel like I’ve ‘done’ something.

I became more aware of stuff blocking me in my calls. I felt more and more negative towards my market, like I got all the learnings from it I could possibly get (which I highly doubt when thinking about it rationally).

Recognising limiting beliefs

Especially after listening to SPI podcast with Dane Maxwel and Pat Flynn where Dane put heavy emphasis on mindset, I just knew I had to change my approach. The methaphor of the Elephant and the Rider just stuck with me:

The conscious mind is the rider and the unconscious mind is the elephant. The conscious mind is unable to control the elephant by force. Even if he’d try, he’d only succeed for a little while, because the elephant is of course way stronger. The key is to understand and train the elephant instead.

I felt this was exactly my mistake. And even though I felt slightly good at it, forcing myself into action, I just felt dead tired by now.

My conclusion was to reshift my focus on understanding my mind, retraining it by removing blocks and negative thinking I come across.

Pre-Week 15: Slow down!

Your focus when switching projects

I’m doing freelance work on mondays and I notice it affects my focus a bit the day after. Feels like I have to rebuild some momentum on tuesday. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are full-focused on my Idea Extraction so that’s great.  This situation won’t change for a few weeks so I will see if I can cool down a bit better on Monday evenings to give myself a better start on Tuesday.

More SPIN Selling learnings

I’m starting to feel ashamed about not making the progress I want. For over a month now I keep telling myself I overwhelm each time I try to push my learning. This can’t be an effective way to learn.

Because I learned so much reading SPIN Selling I decided to finish the book, and I had two insights.

1: Learn one thing at a time

Learning too much at the same time made me feel overwhelmed for a few weeks in a row now. The funny thing is, that’s actually explained at the end of the book!
I would suggest: don’t read this book step-by-step and try to implement it along the way. Make sure you read it first, and then implement it step-by-step without worrying about perfectly implementing all of the theory at once. Trying to distinguish Problem Questions from Situation Questions and at the same time focus on Implication Questions while trying to avoid Need-Payoff Questions just yet. That can be a bit much.
So I’m now following the book’s advice and decided to only proceed to the next step when totally comfortable with the current one.
  1. Start asking questions instead of talking yourself
  2. Get comfortable asking Problem Questions
  3. Focus on asking Implication Questions
  4. Only then start asking Need-Payoff Questions
The focus is on quantity. Ask lots of the type of questions you want to learn. Don’t try to be perfect from the start.

2: Offering your solution too early creates objections

Last week I realised how my offer talking to business owners is a product itself as well. They aren’t paying money, but they do spend time. So offering to talk is like offering a solution. But did they have an explicit need to do so yet? Of course not, or they would have been looking for people to help them already.
I think it’s important to explain what you’re doing (as a software entrepreneur, studying the market to find the biggest problems, and then create a solution for it). But asking for the call is like closing without developing the need.
So you should ask questions first, and then make them realise they have a problem/implied need and then develop it to an explicit need so they want a conversation.
That explains why my calls where I mentioned problems I heard in earlier ones are way more successful compared to the calls where I asked for a meeting or longer call straight away.

A 20 mile march

Josh Isaac already mentioned how taking a 20 Mile March would guarantee daily action without wearing yourself out. Make steps every day and eventually you will arrive at your destination. In his interview with Andy Drish he mentioned this again, and Andy talks about the power of streaks as well.
I’m hooked on the app lately, and noticed building a streak of 30 minute movement each day is actually very addictive. The longer your streak, the more you’ll want to protect it.
I’m going to implement the 20 Mile March in my Idea Extraction as well. So every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I will make cold calls or have face-to-face conversations where I will try to find pain on a deep level.
Every day I want at least:
  • One call over an hour. Or:
  • Two calls of 15 minutes. Or:
  • Ten failed calls
I downloaded the Goal Streaks iPhone app to help me track my progress.

Problem hooks

This week I had my longest meeting ever. It lasted 3,5 hours! The guy had all the time in the world. It was not a business owner but an Operations Manager with experience at a few very large companies. I found it hard to judge how deep the problems were. Although I’m still working on getting to the deepest problems, it’s interesting to use these surface problems as a hook in conversations. And it looks like most of them can be applied to many markets:
  • no time acquisities or commercial activities
  • no contact plans for existing customers
  • no personal attention for staff
  • high sickness absence
  • high DSO (daily sales outstanding)
  • time consuming quotes
  • fees for missing appointments
  • complex status reports
  • time consuming client information updates
  • problems finding the right staff
  • long waiting time
  • contstantly explaning quotes
  • high staff turnover
  • inside/outside work rate out of balance
  • problems staying up-to-date on their industry


Pre-Week 14: Idea Extraction calls are the product to be sold first

Where do objections come from?

I continued reading SPIN Selling book. Today I read page 106-142, and once again am amazed how brilliant this book is. After reading about how stating advantages/solutions too early raises objections, I recognise how in a lot of my behaviour I do exactly that!
It’s now more clear to me how offering to call (and idea extract) is actually providing a solution to a problem they haven’t even stated yet. That explains why my earlier openings where more successful: I wasn’t offering anything. I did a quick (you could say messy) introduction that did create some trust. And then I asked an implication question about wether they are spending a lot of time on making price quotes.
A lot of times this got people talking. Sometimes the call would end after a few minutes. When I then offered to do a proper call on a more convenient time (offering a solution) the ‘implied need’ was not developed yet

Your Idea Extraction calls are the product to be sold first

While I tell people I don’t have a product to sell yet, I came to realise offering the actual IE call is a product in itself. It wouldn’t cost your prospects money, but time. I handled my offers like a ‘small sale’, because I thought the time investment would be small. I’m starting to think otherwise. The time investment might be small, but the information about their business is very delicate. Let alone the effort thinking about changing their business.
So I’d better develop the implied needs to a more explicit need before I offer to help.

Building my call proposition

I was having a hard time explaining my offer so I thought about refining my offer. After trying to improve it myself for weeks now, I thought it would be wise to ask some help from a professional.
But, the objections I’m facing might not even be because of my unclear proposition. Of course I think it’s still a good idea to work on my proposition. But after realising I’m talking about my offer way too early, I think it’s much more important to ask the right implication questions early in the call. Those would lead the way to an explicit need after which I should state my offer.
I’m in the middle of chapter 7, opening the call. So I might learn more about that.

Pre-Week 14: Building Momentum

Man, it’s hard to even start a single call after a long time. But don’t bash yourself for it. Build momentum, and make sure you make more and better calls each single day.


Tried one call, got blocked by the gate keeper. Decided to e-mail the owner and offer him a 15 minute call
Am changing 3 new things at the same time:
  • e-mail instead of calling decision maker
  • mention straight up that I create software but don’t sell it yet
  • offer a call instead of tricking people into asking questions

Not sure what’s happening now.


Accidentally called someone who from the first second kept talking for 30 minutes about an iPad solution they already created in house. We set up a meeting about the app later. The most important benefit I found for now is their app getting rid of maintanance costs of the servers, data and backups they need for their old application. I’m very curious to find what problems in operating the business are solved as well.


A no Day. Lots of no’s. Tried different things. Didn’t feel very sharp when getting up. Not sure if it’s related, but it does make you feel more down when things aren’t going the right way.
Got stopped by a gatekeeper from a big corporation and told myself it’s impossible to reach the big corporations without a good proposition. Managed to get past a gatekeeper at another big corporation but got hung up by the business owner. Quite a dissapointing day.
Tried to e-mail another big business owner instead. Also sent a LinkedIn invite to a former Operations Manager and invited him for a coffee.
Felt quite stressful and overwhelmed today. Got the feeling I’m trying lots of different ‘tactics’ at the same time making it hard for myself to find out what works.


I feel I’m overwhelming myself too much to set up proper learning. I’m trying to go too fast which creates lots of stress. Going outside your comfort zone is good, but I suppose I shouldn’t go too far. Leaning just over the edge of fear creates the best growth.
Also trying to break apart the stuff I’m doing right now, to find out how I can focus on learning the smaller parts.
Got a positive reaction on my LinkedIn invite. Trying to set up a meeting.


Pre-Week 13: Building Idea Extraction skills in an every day phone call

During my focus on Idea Extraction in the security market, there are a lot of different skills I need to work on. Next to doing a lot of calls I’m trying to practise these skills as much as possible in every day situations.

This week I needed to contact my General Practitioner about an issue with my foot. Once again I found out how hard it is to reach him or his assistants. A good reason to do some inquiries about the way he is running his business.

These were my findings:

A permission problem
In the morning I called and got to speak the assistant. She told me I needed to repeat a recipe. But, to be able to do so I would have to call the GP during his phone consultation between 13:00 and 13:30 hrs. Yes, this was the only way because she wasn’t allowed to help me.

Wasting clients time
From 13:00 hrs I tried to call and for 10 minutes I kept being told it’s too busy by their automatic voicemail. Then, all of a sudden, I got a different message and got into a waiting line. Finally, after another 10 minutes, I got to speak to the GP, who needed less than 2 minutes to repeat my recipe. Great.

So I started asking some short questions about communication and contact with his clients. This is what I was told:

The underestimated business side of being a General Practitioner
“Yes, it takes quite some time to become a GP. After about 6 years you’re a doctor. And it takes another 3 (?) to become a GP. And then all of a sudden they tell you you’re an entrepreneur as well. But that’s not what they teach you at all.” (PAIN)

Objection for possible solutions
“Yes, we’re thinking about a call-me-back system instead of having a specific time for phone consultation. But…”

  • “My 2100 clients would have to get used to a new way of doing business, while they are used to working this way for 31 years.” (Is that you or your clients who need to adjust?)
  • “For a lot of clients we don’t have their phone number”
  • “A lot of clients change number”

What about emailing?
“Yes, that’s possible, but our system is not secure. We are working on it though”

Is your email address on your website?
“I’m not sure. I sometimes do get an email where I wonder how did they find my address?”

Doesn’t this way of handling phone calls cost you a lot of time?
“It sure does.”
And what about your assistants? Aren’t they working overtime as well?
“Yeah, one just burned out. And my other just came back.”
Must be expensive.

When I listen to you, and the way you talk, I always get the feeling you are someone who is thinking about innovating his business?
“Yeah that’s true. This problem has more attention now, we are working on it. But stuff like this takes time”.

Not too long ago I spoke to someone running a notification system for this particular kind of problems. So it’s nice to give him the lead. I tried to close:

I just spoke to someone who is running an easy call-me-back service. Would you appreciate it if I let him contact you?
“Sure, if he has a good solution”.

I felt it was a good practise of asking implication questions in an unexpected situation. And there was a closing exercise as well. Next time I should also focus more on quantifying the pain or costs in an amount of money.

Even though it was unrelated to my current market, I did enjoy the extra learnings.