Join me in part 1 of this electrifying episode where I unravel the captivating story of Elon Musk’s journey. I’ll be sharing my own personal takeaways while discussing the secrets behind Musk’s mission-driven approach, fearless risk-taking, and relentless pursuit of the impossible. Get ready to supercharge your entrepreneurial spirit with lessons that transcend boundaries!

 

SHOW NOTES

 

So good it needed two parts! In part 1 I’m totally nerding out and sharing the invaluable lessons and principles extracted from Elon Musk’s biography. I found this book to be extremely impactful (obviously), and there were so many important topics and messages that I think every single entrepreneur needs to hear. You really must read this book yourself, but in this episode, I’m going to give a synopsis of what I got out of it as a business owner and how I’m implementing these principles into my company ASAP. Get ready for an insightful exploration of the mindset and strategies employed by one of the most visionary leaders of our era.

 

I’ll be sharing:

 

  • The correlation between trauma, struggle, and entrepreneurial success.
  • The importance of a clear mission beyond monetary goals.
  • That it’s possible (and encouraged) to ponder personal missions and align business goals accordingly.
  • The role of risk in achieving groundbreaking success.
  • How we can learn from Elon Musk’s mistakes that led to both failure and triumph along his journey.
  • Why we should be encouraged to challenge the traditional ways of doing things to make processes more efficient.
  • How to balance speed with depth to navigate challenges effectively.

 

… and much, much more!

 

This insightful journey through Elon Musk’s entrepreneurial playbook reminded me to embrace adversity, stay mission-focused, and never shy away from taking bold risks. To be a leader in change we must keep innovating and pushing the boundaries of possibility. 

 

Tune in to this episode if you want to feel INSPIRED. This book lit a fire in me like no other and I hope these takeaways fuel you in the same way.

 

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READ THE EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Emily Hirsh:

 

Welcome back to the podcast! I am super excited for this episode. It’s been about a month coming. So I read, well listened to Elon Musk’s biography and it is so well done. So first of all. Highly recommend, the author who also did Steve Jobs’s biography just did an incredible job. It’s it’s written very much taking multiple perspectives into view throughout the entire you know experience of his life and different interviews and just and in. Credible behind the scenes honestly experience of Elon Musk and I loved it I loved It so much it was filled with incredible takeaways about entrepreneurship. And what drives success and so as I’ve been listening I’ve been compiling this list of takeaways and lessons and principles that are so so important that I’m really excited to share with you guys because I think this is going to be It’s just like a bunch of incredible reminders in 1 place and I’ve been waiting to record this until I finished and I’ve been writing takeaways as I go so super excited depending on how long I go might split this into 2 parts for you guys. But here we go. So first of all.

 

I want to start with I know there’s some controversy I guess out there about Elon Musk and if anyone is listening to this and has an opinion about Elon Musk without listening to this biography which is very much not written in favor of him like love him or hate him. It’s just this is who he is right? and it’s very well done I would say before you say anything else about him listen to this I personally love him like as with anybody there is a dark side and there are flaws to someone. I think he is brilliant so unique and definitely going to make history. So I just want to be clear. But I also know there’s. You know people who there’s been some I feel are not backed at all by accurate judgments around him. I would highly recommend listening to the book if you’re one of those people. So let’s dive into my takeaways. It was a little overwhelming. I’m like where do I start? Okay, so first of all, it’s very fascinating to me how almost every single successful entrepreneur that you look at including Elon Musk has dealt with a tremendous amount of trauma and pain and struggle.

 

And how that is often what creates success and I’m not saying you have to have that to be successful, but there are so many like there’s such a dark side. You know everybody has a dark shadow side right? But there’s such a dark side and such deep trauma. I feel most successful, especially as successful as Elon Musk, entrepreneurs have had to endure being able to do what they did and what they do because of the level of turning off emotions and being able to. Push through challenges and overcome is not something that usually somebody who hasn’t gone through a lot of shit can do and although I absolutely love Elon Musk like I would die to meet him in austin not really I shouldn’t say that but like I would love to meet him I would love to have a conversation with him I do not want to be him like and I have no desire to live my life the way that he does and work as much as he does and. I can only imagine how challenging it is to be him and to live in the pain that he lives in as you read the book like he’s he clearly is constantly running away from something and creates a level of.

 

Chaos and pressure and stress oftentimes on purpose like thrives in that time because of trauma and so it’s fascinating to just First of all note that most successful entrepreneurs the things that. Create the traits in entrepreneurs which is the ability to turn off emotions and see things for what they are sometimes and just as logical facts money and money out and to be able to handle pressure to almost thrive actually in pressure. To be able to be in extremely stressful situations and be absolutely fine at the root of it comes from learning to do that usually as a child and so that’s not really a takeaway as more of an observation. And it’s something that I’ve sat with with my own kids is like obviously I’m trying to have the least amount of trauma for my kids. I think we’re all going to give our kids something. But. They won’t have and don’t have near the I don’t want to say level of trauma I had mostly because my parents might listen to this but their experience is different and so I’ve thought about like will they be as successful.

 

As I have been because a lot of especially the beginning version of my success was driven by grit and survival mode and thriving in that you know and I’ve had to unlearn some of those things but it’s something I’ve sat with of like. You know those things equal success sometimes but at what cost you know? So that’s more of an observation. The principle I want to talk about that stood out in everything he does that is so important to remember is. Every one of Elon’s companies which I think he’s at at the end of the book. He’s at six six massive companies like insane. He is focused first and foremost on a mission, everything that he does. And I didn’t realize this like for example with Tesla. It’s all about creating automated cars and the sustainable energy cars like that’s the mission. Everything he does in Spacex, every decision they make, even the government contracts that they take on are for the purpose and his mission of colonizing Mars in his lifetime which is crazy like who even says that.

 

Right? And he fully believes in this mission and that he believes it is possible and that he will do it and so all of his business decisions and actions that he takes are centered around a mission first. Whereas I think a lot of entrepreneurs fall into money right? being the motivator and and money is of course important in business money is a scorecard like you need money to to be in business and. You need money to be able to pay employees and to build a company, and like that’s the scorecard of how well the business is doing but what’s driving a business should be a mission and every one of Elon’s companies were built around a mission in the name of humanity like he really cares. About humanity. He may struggle to care sometimes in scenarios with people 1 on one. He has Asperger’s and he really struggles with that but like humanity as a whole everything he does is for that. And I think that’s really important to remember as I was listening to the book. It really made me think about what’s my mission and I and I throughout the book like I really sat with that and have you know thoughts I’m not going to share on here but an invitation to consider outside of.

 

A successful revenue number for your business. What is your mission? What is your deeper mission and purpose in this lifetime that you feel your business is a vessel for that to come true and how can you build a business around a mission. And the other thing he does around this mission is there is no other option but to succeed like the things that he has already accomplished between so just Spacex and Tesla but he also has his other companies. Beyond what was previously possible but he believes it is possible and he doesn’t make it optional like he doesn’t go into creating you know the Tesla cars where where he was like well maybe this will work or. Or Spacex where they’re launching rockets every single week into orbit I mean prior to that and I I don’t actually want to say numbers because I don’t remember but prior to that it’s like the Nasa the government hadn’t gotten a spaceship into orbit in years. And Spacex is now launching them every single week. The things that he accomplished by everybody else were previously said isn’t possible like he was told so many times that it’s freaking crazy like that is not possible I don’t think we can do this. It’s going to be too expensive.

 

And he would not accept that and I know this when you look at business like if you have a mission and then you understand where you’re going with that mission and you have this end result in this end outcome. It doesn’t matter what it takes to get there, if you believe in that mission you will create it into a reality and that’s really powerful and I think so often we forget this. I talked about this on a recent podcast episode of as you get successful. The urgency to do crazy things or to go after huge dreams kind of dies because it’s like well I’ve kind of already created success. So why would I and I think it’s so important in business to constantly be shooting for. These things that most people around you would probably be like that’s crazy. That’s impossible like how are you going to do that and he didn’t always know how he just knew it is possible. We will make this happen that still like he still believes in his lifetime that he will colonize Mars. And it’s kind of like what I was saying in that podcast of like I don’t know if it will happen. I mean he is dedicated to that mission probably more than any of his other companies and believes it can happen but it is a huge challenge I mean like.

 

Colonizing Mars like you’re not talking about getting to Mars, you’re talking about like people living on Mars in the next fifty years I don’t know exactly how old he is but I would assume he’s got fifty more years if he lives for a while that may or may not happen but the journey to getting there and the progress that’s going to make in our space travel and ability is insane but that progress isn’t going to happen if he’s like well we might colonize Mars like I don’t know I don’t know if it’s possible but we’ll just try you know he’s like we will. We have to. Humanity depends on us. We need to move faster. And then the progress that makes is evident in his company. So 1 of the first principles that stood out through the entire book to me is to be focused on it. Be focused and clear on what your mission is beyond revenue in your business and then build the business around a mission. And then see that mission as no other option but to succeed no matter what it takes to get there that will be your mission and that’s what drives you and I think so many of us are missing that the next thing that stood out throughout. Is so admirable to me is the level at which he’s willing to take risks like I’ve never I’ve never seen even in you know, learning about Steve Jobs and these other entrepreneurs. 

 

An entrepreneur who is willing to take such big risks like when you go listen to around 2018 where Tesla was I mean they almost completely. They were like a couple of decisions or things happening away from completely going out of business and now they are. Worth more than all 10 of the top car companies in the world combined like insane right? So you see that success and you’re like you see the success. You see the success for what it is but in order to get to that success. What it took to get there is really admirable. And really inspiring. But 1 thing that Elon does is takes insane risks like he has success and he puts his own money into a risk that there’s no way if he knows it’s going to work for sure. But it comes back to that mission. Where it’s like he’s taking the risk because he has this mission and is accomplishing. This mission is non-negotiable and there was one point in the book that I forgot who it was said most entrepreneurs are actually trying to mitigate risk like that’s the job of an entrepreneur Elon is. Taking massive risks and after so much success you start to think and this was the quote you start to think Elon’s onto something because at first you’re like at some point it’s going to crash and burn. 

 

But after constantly like creating success and it’s coming from him being willing to take risks and take action and actually have things not work out and. That’s something to remember in business because as entrepreneurs like us we so often get ourselves into a place where we’re really comfortable and then to get to that next level might require a risk. It might require a decision that we don’t know how that’s going to go. And some of those risks are going to work. Some are not like there are so many examples of mistakes that he’s made and risks he took that did not work out but then on the flip side look at all the ones that did. And I think what is working in conjunction with him taking risks like he’s not aimlessly taking risks his number 1 being focused on a mission but number 2 he’s always taking action and he’s always let’s try this let’s try this okay that didn’t work let’s try this and it’s that urgency piece that really backs the risk taking it’s not like aimlessly taking risks. It’s taking a risk on something that he believes is the best possible scenario or decision for that situation but not allowing fear.

 

And comfort to hold him back from taking that risk the next lesson is one of these that it’s like you know, but it’s really great to be reminded and that is that even the most successful entrepreneurs make a ton. A ton of mistakes I would even argue that the more successful you are the more mistakes you’ve made and it’s like okay if that’s the formula for success then it it comes back to that action and risk taking and actually wanting to make mistakes so that those mistakes can also get you to where you want to go. There are so many examples in all of his companies of Mistakes. He’s made that he says he made big big costly mistakes from decisions to how he treated someone to something he tweeted that wasn’t a good idea Like. He’s human right? and he can be reactive and he can make mistakes and he can try something and it doesn’t work but that led them to the next thing and so when he was building. Especially in Tesla, like there were a lot of mistakes made in the manufacturing process. He actually tried to create too much automation in the beginning like too much robots, too much automation and he had to kind of backtrack that at one point and so remembering that.

 

The most successful entrepreneurs have made way more mistakes than you and it’s because they are staying in action that they actually are creating this success. It’s like the mistakes are creating the success because the mistakes are leading to figuring out the things that actually work and so this is very important. Core value of mine is constantly growing, constantly implementing, constantly being in motion in the most strategic way I see but not being afraid to make those mistakes like if we are aiming for perfection or we are aiming for something to never go wrong or to never lose money. Or to never make a bad hiring decision or to never have a bad relationship in business. It’s like that’s not a reality. So if you’re running from that it is keeping you stuck. Okay, next one this one is one of my favorites because I really resonate with this as a kid. And I think this is lost a little bit in our society which is questioning everything like this is one of my favorite things about him I would say in the process of building Tesla and then also in Spacex.

 

Every regulation cost to a part everything he questioned down to the root of it so there would be things that’s like oh you know we have to do it this way because this this you know regulatory. Is in place and he’s like why or we have to use this part that costs this much money because that’s just what we have to do and he’d question and the result of this is he was able to get both Tesla and his spacex rockets built for a fraction of the cost of what it could have been. Because he was able to use for example, parts that were like a tenth of the price but they’d still work or he was able to question a regulation that didn’t actually have to be in place and so he questions everything and he has this rule that says delete delete delete. And if we don’t have to add 10% back then we didn’t delete enough and so he would literally go around to the different stations at Tesla and spacex with the engineers and he questions them. Why are we using this part? Do we have to use this part? Is there a better way that we could do this? Can we use this part instead and 1 cool thing about him is he definitely like can talk to engineers. He understands the why behind it so he’s not like questioning them and he has no idea what he’s talking about like he actually knows these things. So I think that’s really helped him but he had a rule of delete delete delete.

 

And we didn’t have to add 10% back then we didn’t delete enough and then he also had a rule of every regulation or reason we did something had to be tied back to somebody’s name. It couldn’t be tied back to like a group or like you know. The department of regulation. Whatever said that we had to do this. It had to be tied back to a name who actually said we have to do this and it’s backed by physics For example, like there really is like this really does have to be done because physics says if you don’t use this part this will happen on the rocket right? and I Just think that’s so important because. So often you know even outside of business like this is something I try to instill in my kids is to question things like until you feel confident about that rule or. That regulation or the reasoning behind something Question. Don’t just blindly be like okay because Authority said so then I’ll do it and I think in business that if you question a lot of things you’re able to find better solutions and that’s like the core of innovation and and a visionary is how. Can we do this better? How can we do this differently and you’re not going to get to those things if you don’t question what already exists. He also is very quick to change a process once he realizes There’s a better way.

 

Think this is really really important too because a lot of times I think we get stuck in trying to do the same thing or forcing something to work in a certain way but the second that he realizes. There’s a better or a different way. He’ll change the process. He’ll also admit oh like I was wrong. You know I put my name on that i. I said that that’s what we had to do and I was wrong. So for example, he put way too much automation in the initial factory line of Tesla and tried to remove humans too much from it and once he realized that. They quickly changed the process and they shifted things and so he’s constantly in motion. What is really important in business is the speed at which you are able to change processes and change what you’re doing the second you realize it’s not working. So the second you realize oh there’s a better way or this isn’t working like as fast as you can changing the process changing what you’re doing that something I feel that I do really well in my business is the second I get feedback from a client from a customer from a lead from someone and it’s like oh I don’t even think about that. That’s such a good idea. We change the process we want to implement as fast as possible and that’s where speed comes in and staying really nimble and on top of those things is what allows it when you go and take a bunch of action and you figure out what mistakes you are making.

 

Then you’re able to take the quick action and make the changes and the shifts that you need to do so taking action and also with urgency. So this really this piece of it really kind of validated for me pieces of me. As an entrepreneur because I have always felt my whole life that I move so fast and that I need to kind of slow down or tone it down for people around me and sometimes with employees. It can be hard to. Really express the level of urgency that you want and have it received well and I’ve had to work on this myself. But I think it is just such a testament to how urgency is a secret weapon and. I think 1 thing that a lot of companies do especially is they get bigger is they get bloated and then things take a really long time and when you look at Elon’s companies that’s the 1 thing I mean there’s many things but it is 1 thing. He did not let it happen in his company. Urgency to die down and so he sets and he has known for setting completely unrealistic deadlines and I think there’s probably opinions on that like if people were to hear that or especially employees like

 

100 % working at 1 of Elon’s companies would be pretty stressful with not a lot of work life balance but on the flip side of that look at what they are accomplishing and I think he’s lost some pretty good employees. Because he took this too far but he’s also created the space where his teams were able to accomplish something that they did not think was possible and so he’s creating the ability for people to literally do. Impossible and so he’ll have something that’s like his engineers will tell him oh this will take three weeks and he’s like do it in five days or you know we need a week to to finish this and he’s like no, we’re launching it tomorrow like do what it takes and we’re doing it and. Not every single time but most of the time they do it and they actually get it done and it just kind of goes to show that when we decide something is possible. And we push for that speed and we push for that urgency. People figure out a way to make it happen and I think that in a lot of companies as I said, especially as they get bigger. They kind of accept this like a slow bloated place which ultimately when you took over Twitter that was the entire company.

 

Like a completely bloated way too comfortable type of a company. So I think urgency in really understanding how much of a secret weapon an asset that is to business is really important and. Ultimately combining that with being willing to to execute something that isn’t perfect, but at least it got done in like a third or more of the time that you were thinking it was going to take and one of the reasons that he actually operates with this level of urgency that I don’t think people realize is because. He actually feels this level of urgency in his life because he has these missions that have to happen in his lifetime. So you know the reason behind him wanting to move so fast is not because he’s like make me more money. It’s because he’s like we’re going to colonize Mars like we have to do it so we got to go faster. We’ve got to get this rocket into orbit. We got to get this launched you know so I think that’s just a really cool thing to understand about him is he has these emissions that he knows are a massive undertaking. And in order to get them and get there. We have to be moving fast and there’s a lot to do you know in his lifetime and so one kind of lesson though I think is that he you could tell that he kind of learned it also in certain cases where.

 

He would say to move forward with something and then it didn’t work like the rocket launch failed and so I think there was times especially with the rockets in Spacex where he pulled back on the urgency and to me that’s something I talk about which is the harmony between speed and depth and kind of knowing when okay. We want to move really fast but we can’t afford for this not to have some more thought put into it, some more intention put into it in kind of that balance between speed and depth and so there was a time at Spacex when he. Slowed down some of the things they were doing to make sure they checked off all the boxes and everything worked because they had at that point 3 failed rocket launches and it was like one more and you know we’re going to quit type of thing although one actually ultimately failed after he said that and he kept going so. That’s another piece is a belief in the impossible and he just did not quit in the beginning of Spacex his rockets failed and failed and failed which is a big deal. You spend all this time on a rocket, money , time and money you launch it and it explodes or something happens. And there was one that it was I think it was the third time when he was like if this one doesn’t work like we’re not doing this and then it didn’t work and I think everybody is just cool like all of his employees and everything we’re kind of looking to him of like what’s he going to say and he’s like we’re going to do it again.

 

Like we’re colonizing Mars and we won’t stop until this works and so that belief in the impossible even when you are hit multiple times with an obstacle even when you fall down multiple times and you get back up and you keep going.