When you are working with your natural genius, you’re working smarter and not harder. You build a business that works harder for you than you have to work for it. However, not everyone is aware of what their true potentials are. Fortunately, through this episode’s guest, the answer may not be far off. Aaron Young interviews Amilya Antonetti, the woman behind Genius Key—a science-based tool that gives an honest and actionable evaluation of the true potential of every individual. She takes us into the entirety of this game-changing technology that can help entrepreneurs in more ways than one, from hiring the right people to learning more about yourself, achieving success, and making a difference to others. Join Amilya and Aaron in this conversation as they dive deeper into decoding the human factor of success.
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Genius Key: Decoding The Human Factor Of Success With Amilya Antonetti
It’s super good to be back with you. I started this program to try to pass on the tips and the ideas and the shortcuts and the hacks to help you build a business that works harder for you than you have to work for it so that you can have a real business and not a glorified job. That’s the thing that we talk about here. The guests that I bring on are experts in these things and our guest is no different. You’re going to be very excited as we welcome her back to the program.
My guest is Amilya Antonetti. She was a guest somewhere around episode 60 or something like that. She’s a dear friend of mine. We’ve known each other for quite some time now. Full disclosure as we get into this conversation, Amilya and I have been friends and we’ve talked to each other and visited from time to time and had fun and enjoyed that and shared ideas and so on. She invited me to work with her and her board of directors on something very exciting, which is what I want to talk about.
Normally, I wouldn’t do this because I don’t want it to feel like a commercial. However, this thing that Amilya has been doing and is now trying to bring broadly to the business community will end up almost without a doubt directly or indirectly touching you, your business, and your life because the technology that she’s created is going to be used from the highest levels. Now, that I’ve got you all going, “What the heck is he talking about?” Let’s bring in my friend, Amilya Antonetti from the Genius Key. Amilya, how are you?
How are you?
I’m great. Here we are, we’re still in the midst of COVID, the pandemic and all the craziness. People tell us in podcasting generally don’t ever date the podcast by saying something that’s going on, which I regularly ignore that advice. We’re going to talk about what’s going on now. If you read this two years from now and it no longer is happening, you can reflect on the history of it all. Amilya and I are still in quarantine and yet neither of us has done a very good job of staying home.
We’re hard to cage. Talk about not dating. We’re probably in the biggest universal reset of our lifetime, but for entrepreneurs, nothing has changed. That’s what always people talk about, “All these things are happening, risk, uncertainty and everything that we know is going to be changing.” I was like, “You basically described the life of an entrepreneur.” For us, nothing has changed. This is the test of our instinct. This is where we shine. That’s what I love is that I’ve spent this time talking to many entrepreneurs and mad inventors who are looking at the opportunities and the gaps that are happening because everything has reset. That means opportunity, your perspective on how you look at this.
First of all, let me say this. As I mentioned not being able to cage us, or you said cage, I said we’re not staying home. You are coming from New York to Arizona and I was coming from Washington to Florida or to Alabama and we dismissed each other in Memphis, Tennessee. We went to the same restaurant. I went there for lunch, you guys went there for dinner. You were on your way to Scottsdale, Arizona for one of the last fundraisers for the Genius Key. You’ve got this storied career, which I’m going to summarize it and I encourage you to fill in the gaps, although we could be here for the entire hour checking boxes of, “Yes, I did that.”
When I describe you, I say, “Amilya right now talks about herself dealing in crisis management. That’s something she’s done,” but it’s so much bigger than that. You’ve been there in the room playing a leadership role or discovering all kinds of things in entertainment, in advertising, in how products are delivered. Everything from the Listerine strip that we put up there that sticks at the top of your mouth to Justin Bieber, Oprah Winfrey and Warren Buffett. You signed a deal with the NFL. It goes on and on. Your career has been wildly varied. As a matter of fact, when you first were telling me some of your life stories, I thought, “She’s got to be exaggerating.” These are in so many different places. She’s engaged in so many different industries. I don’t know how you can play at the top of your game in all these industries.
I found out about the process that you’ve used and to use a word you love, agnostic to any specific industry. It wasn’t fixed in one thing. You could use it anywhere. You developed the technology. Maybe you’ve always called it the Genius Key, but it’s getting ready to be launched in a very significant way to the world. Tell us, how did you get to play in all these different hallowed businesses, hallowed hallways with the actual people? With Steve Harvey, with Warren Buffett, with Oprah Winfrey and so on. Tell us how did that start and how did you stay in those rooms?
I think what articulates it best for me is I’m a human behaviorist. I have been obsessed with human behavior literally from my first memory. It has always stuck with me. I’m as curious about it now as I was in the beginning. I wouldn’t even say that my conscious thought was I was becoming a business owner or an entrepreneur. I was starting to employ people. I was feeling the pressure of employing people. If I was going to do it, I wanted to make sure that I could understand people so I could serve them better. It was that simple of a thought. How can I know you, understand you, and serve you? I had this overwhelming belief that if I served the people who joined me on my journey, who helped me make the things happen in my life that were my passion, which were my companies. If I could serve them better than anybody else they could ever find, I would have a team forever. When I started my first company, we’re talking about the early ‘80s.
I want to point out this moment to everybody. I always encourage people to hire the best people you can afford to hire that are super smart, smarter than you in marketing, sales, IT, R&D, human resources or whatever. What I heard you say was once you hire those people and get the team in, if we treat them well, the likelihood is they will stay with us and we won’t have to keep reinventing the wheel. We won’t have to keep going on hiring and making hiring mistakes. Not only will we be able to retain them, but at least my experience is that once people trust us, they give us more of their own ideas. They’re trusting so that they can play full out instead of wondering, “If I bring this up, am I going to get in trouble? Am I going to get yelled at? Am I going to be told I’m out of my wheelhouse?” You’re saying, “Treat them like gold and they’ll stay with you.”
For me, I look for an individual who is curious by nature, who craves information and knowledge, who has a self-directed, “I want to do and be my best.” I look for that more than anything else because if you can find that, I can develop anything from there, I can teach you skills. Skills are a no-brainer. I can send you to school. I can have you mentored. What I can’t do is that drive, that dedication, the commitment to quality of work. I’m a big believer of lead by example. I’m also a big believer of leading from the back. Many leaders lead from the front. That has never been my style. It’s never worked for me. In every crisis that I’ve ever been into, it was because the leader was leading from the front.
I always give people this analogy. It’s like walking a dog and pulling the leash. Literally pulling the dogs going, “I don’t want to go.” That’s what it feels like when you lead from the front versus standing behind somebody and say, “Fall down, I’m going to help you get up. I’m going to teach you how to balance. I’m going to teach you to be your highest and best self. I’m going to bring to life for you more than you’ve ever dreamed of.” That is my biggest compliment. I have people who have worked with me through literally 14, 15 different variations of companies that in a drop of a hat, they’re like, “I’m coming. I don’t know what you’re doing, but I’m going with you.” It’s because I am so dedicated to knowing and understanding who they are, what makes them a genius, what they’re passionate about and what their lifestyle makes them thrive. When my team says to me, “You know me better than I know me,” that type of vulnerability, trust, and loyalty connection, the business can’t fail.
I have people regularly that say, “Yes, but if I hire good people, smart people, these are the go-getters, the curious, what if they steal my idea?”
They were meant to. Any one individual, it doesn’t matter how talented or how genius we are, not one individual is bigger than the collective. It’s not possible. My belief system has always been that what I’m put here to do, it doesn’t matter how much money you have, how much influence, how much power. You’re not going to beat me because I was God-given the right to come here to birth my passion and my genius. I may not even understand it at the time, but it’s something that ticks inside of me beyond strong, it’s an obsession. I won’t stop. This is what I’m put here to do. If somebody comes on my team, and which I’ve had myriads of people, very talented, hungry, driven individuals, that in my seek to understand them, you bump into their desire to want to run their own show and whatever.
I’m like, “Let’s be collaborative. If this, then that. If you learn from me and help me achieve whatever this milestone is, then what I’m going to do is I’m going to turn around and I’m going to invest either money or talent or time or connection so that you can step into what you believe is your next thing. I have absolutely groomed and invested in a myriad of other businesses and people who at one time worked for me.” Because the understanding was open, clear, and honest from the beginning, we can have a very powerful relationship. A lot of those people have come back to work for me afterwards because they’re like, “I thought this whole business thing was going to be easy because you make it look so easy, but shit, it is hard. I want to come back to the job that I had.”
They do come back because they find out how tough it is. Folks, everything Amilya said was great. There was a subtext there that maybe you caught. If not, I want to underscore it. When people are fearful of losing this finite thing that they’re doing, and they’re going to lose it to one of their employees or somebody else that they’re going to share their dreams with, the reason they get scared, from my experience, is that they think this is their one thing.
As an entrepreneur and a business owner, there’s no such thing as one thing.
Your subtext was, “We’ll get this project done,” then we know there are other projects. It’s not this one thing. “Here I am. Here’s my store. This is it for the rest of my life. Here’s my invention. This is it for the rest of my life.” Somebody said to me. It was a random meeting at the Audubon Society where I had some rescued ducks. This lady had a rescued bird that got hurt in her backyard. She was maybe ten years older than me. We ended up at the Audubon with our masks on and all our 6-foot distancing. In order for them to process in these animals, we had to wait and it’s the two of us. We started to chat and before I knew it, it was an hour-long conversation. She had a great life with her husband and great careers. They lived in an upscale neighborhood. They had a good life and now they’re in retirement. She started asking me questions about, “How do you get to live on a farm? When you live way out there, in the middle of the day, you can come clear over here 50 miles away to drop off some ducks? Who are you?”
She’s used to punching a clock. She was a high school counselor. Her husband had a job in some company in finance. The point is that she said, “I look back now and maybe we should have been entrepreneurial.” I said, “No, don’t do that to yourself. A lot of people think it’s cool to own a business, but entrepreneurs can’t help themselves.” It’s a way your brain works and you can’t turn it off. Many people want to squeeze themselves into the very tight spandex suit of entrepreneurship. It’s uncomfortable if you don’t fit in it.
The same thing too of spending your life thinking that somebody’s going to take something from you, they’re going to hurt you. They’re going to do something bigger. All of those negative limiting abandonment type of thinking is doing you a disservice. You’re always one step closer to your highest and best self, but you never achieve it. You’re always working towards higher and best. You’ve got to give yourself the freedom to evolve. The business that I had when I was in my twenties is nothing like the business I had in my 30s, my 40s and my 50s because I’m evolving. What you learn is that bad shit happens to all of us. I could give you all those stories that both men and women have done something and you’re like, “Why would you do that?” Your whole brain goes, “What?” In those moments, you can focus on what is outside of you and what somebody else did and how it’s not fair and woulda, coulda, shoulda or you bounce off that scenario and say, “What could I have done differently to get a different result? What is the scenario trying to tell me?” I love the quote “unanswered prayers.” I’m a big Garth Brooks fan.
The lyrics of that song, if you haven’t heard it, if you like country, you don’t like country, but I’m a big communication, messaging, mean what you say, say what you mean type of thing. I will give you 100 scenarios where in that moment I believe with conviction that I wanted X and how could that not have happened? How could I not have gotten that deal? How could I knock out the funding? How did I not get that higher person? How did I not get that date? How did I not get the whatever? The calling on the radio show, how could I not have one? I go on and on. As much as in that moment I believed I wanted it. I deserved it. I work hard. I am dedicated to other people, the minute I let my brain go, “What am I trying to learn here? What is the conversation I should be having with myself?” When you start to seek to understand you, what I have found every single time was the reason why it didn’t happen was because it was somebody else’s dream. It was somebody else’s want. It was some magazine that said, “This is success,” not my version of success. My version of success in my life, if you walked into it right now, anybody who’s reading would be like, “This is it?” It’s designed for me. It only makes sense to me. It’s in my life.
Amilya is very successful. I’ve got a certain level of success and yet we’re regular people too. People think somehow they’re going to be different when they become wealthier and all wealth is or all money is a magnifier of who you already are.
I say it all the time. Money makes you more who you are. I’ve worked with so many affluent people, some of the biggest success stories in North America, what is sad is to see who people are when they achieve success. I always turn like a little time clock. I said, “Give that some time,” because you will go back to your baseline. A bunch of people make a bunch of money and then they lose a bunch of money or they make a bunch of money and then something else devastating in your life. It’s like cleaning a closet. You can’t take something out of the closet and it’s not coming in. You’re always trading X for Y. If you achieve a lot of money, do not think there’s not going to be a price or a consequence or a trade-off.
I’ve been vulnerable, authentic and truthful in my journey. When I was growing and I sold my company to Clorox, when I was on that $0 to $180 million, I wanted it so bad. I wanted it at all costs. You know what this feels like as a business owner. I wanted it over every other choice. I’m honest to say, “I chose it over my marriage. I chose it over my oldest child. I chose it over my friends. I chose it over my family. I chose it over everything,” because that’s what I thought. My false belief is if I create this massive company and if I take my 49,000 employees and I impact their life, there was going to be some ta-da that was going to happen. What happened was I did it. You go, “Where’s the parade? Why do I not feel inside of me?” I listen to people read off my resume and I would be like, “Where’s that feeling that I believed I was going to get when I overachieved my overachieving-ness?” I try to tell people who choose this journey, whether they choose to be an entrepreneur or an intrapreneur, that if you’re looking to scale in any way. More money, a bigger business, a better relationship, a different quality friends, working with the elite, whatever you say you think you want, the answer is in the conversation you have in the mirror every morning. That’s where the answer is.
I’ve known you for all these years. Every time we do this, I’m hearing stuff going, “Now I know why we’re such good friends,” because there’s a level of alignment you and I have.
It all came with a cost.
They’ve heard it from me. I’ve talked about Steve Jobs saying, “I ask myself every morning, ‘If this was my last day, I want to go do what I’m doing. If I have too many days in a row like that, I stop doing it.’” That was his conversation. I don’t know that I have that conversation. I simply ask myself, “Am I happy? Are you happy doing what you’re doing? Are you happy with your schedule this week? Are you happy?” Maybe I should ask a more complicated question, but what the truth is I find joy in a lot of things. Tell me, what’s the conversation, maybe not that you have, but give us a little more definition on that idea. You said that your real success in life will be illuminated by the conversation you have with yourself in the mirror. Michael Jackson, The Man in the Mirror, we have all these things. I want to hear your perspective.
That’s another one of my clients who I absolutely was in awe of.
Michael Jackson. I have never in my lifetime witnessed a work ethic like that. A relentless pursuit of overachieving and perfection.
I saw Taylor Swift interviewed on a talk show like Jimmy Fallon or something. They said, “You have the top album in the world, the top tour in the world. You’re twenty-something years old. You’re worth gazillion dollars. Do you ever pinch yourself?” She looked at him seriously and she said, “Do you think this happened by accident?” I thought, “People think people got lucky.” Garth Brooks, Michael Jackson, Taylor Swift, Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra. Those are singers. Amilya Antonetti, how did she get so lucky to know Michael Jackson, Mike Tyson, Steve Harvey and Oprah Winfrey?
That’s why for me, it’s the relationship in the mirror. It’s owning the hard truth about who you are. I will tell you that it is still a journey for me, the probably hardest thing that I have to do. When I was pursuing the company at the time, the story I wanted to tell myself was, that I wasn’t difficult, that I wasn’t demanding, that I wasn’t an overachiever. I literally would tell people I’m easygoing. It’s all a lie because none of that’s true, but I wanted that. I believe that if those things were true about me, then somehow it would justify this obsession I had of building but it doesn’t work that way. Every one of my teammates, I have team captains and that does our vernacular in our company. The first thing you do, if you enter our C-Suite is you write your headstone. It’s a requirement. It is a hard one. If you want to figure out who you are, if you want that conversation, write your headstone.
What I had to get clear about who Amilya was that my headstone was not going to say I was a great wife. I didn’t earn that title because I didn’t fight for that title. My head still won’t say I was a great mother. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children, but I didn’t have the fire in my belly about them as I did about my company. I got crucified for saying that out loud when I started, but it’s real. I had to have honest conversations first with myself and then with my children. The obsession for behavior understanding is what allowed me to create all of these games and all of these keys so that you can show up in your highest and best self. When I went through this exercise of writing my headstone saying, “If I’m not going to be a great wife and I’m not being a great mother, a great sister, a great daughter, who am I? Am I that’s selfish that I’m not great at anything?”
I was looking for, what makes somebody great? I used to walk. I still walk cemeteries and I read headstones. It’s so powerful because the first two rows of your funeral are going to struggle and cry to sum up your entire life to literally 4 or 5 words. I was like, “I fix crises and I scale people for a living. If you don’t know what the destination is, you don’t know where you’re going.” What you must understand more than anything else is that conversation in the mirror to say, “Where are you going? Who are you choosing to be?” I finally got it. I was like, “My headstone says, ‘She made a difference.’”
When I spoke my truth to myself in the mirror, without looking away and without trying to sugarcoat it and tell a story and make myself feel better or make other people feel better so I would feel better. I realized that that was my truth. That my truth is I work every single day with a force of nature that you do not understand because I am passionate about making a difference. For me, that means each and every day when I wake up, my commitment is that I’m going to impact every single person that I speak to, that I see, that I smile at, that I waved to when I come on and off the freeway. Every day, I’m going to make an impact on the people that are around me. Even if that impact means to go backwards in order for them to go forwards, you may not like me, but I assure you, you won’t forget me.
That’s the part that’s hard. The thing about being a business owner is that nobody opens up the book and says that what you’re going to learn about yourself and who you are, that’s the pain. That’s what hurts because you want to be the story in the book. I wanted to be an amazing, incredible wife. I wanted to be this mom award that baked cupcakes and ran the PTA and raised money for the school. I wanted to be all those things, but you have to choose the one thing that you were put here to do. What I’ve found that my gifts since I was little were that I helped people move and grow. I help them speak authentically. I help them serve themselves so they can serve others. I help them get on the path that they were meant to do. It’s all hard work, but that difference is the difference that I make. It’s what I’m committed to. Above my office when you come up this hallway here, it says, “I won’t make a bad person rich.” Once you walk in the door, it says, “Just because I can, doesn’t mean I should.”
You’ve developed an ethos for yourself that has produced some terrific results. It’s not just hard work, it’s knowing what you’re great at.
What does that mean to you? What does that mean to your nucleus, the people right around you, the titanium circle? What does that mean to your family? What does that mean to the community? What does that mean to your state? What does that mean to your country? What does that mean to the world? Most people don’t take that thought all the way through. When you take it all the way through and then you say, “The first two rows of my funeral are going to stand up and say this about me. They’re going to tell this story. I’m okay with all of that.” It took me a long time to be okay with that. Once I was okay with it, I then had to explain it to my children.
I have one boy and three girls. When my eldest son was in elementary school, he said, “Why can’t you be like XX mom?” I said, “Let’s run that train of thought a little bit. If you want me to be like that mom, I’m happy. I will quit my job now. I will get in a lane and I’ll be more like that mom. I will appear at PTA and all of these things that you talked about that you think you would like me to do. Here’s what we’re going to trade. Do you know all those trips that we take to all those different countries and you get to meet all these other kids? We’re not going to do that anymore.”
The other thing where we get to, my son loved to play in the R&D department and technology, all the stuff that we were doing. He was supported by the team, “You’re not going to have the opportunity to do that anymore.” I went through the list of what entrepreneur children get exposed to and the conversations and the people. He said, “I don’t think I want to trade that.” I wanted him to understand that as much as it may be difficult for him to have an entrepreneur mother, there is a myriad of things that he gets as a bonus because I’m an entrepreneur mother. There are some things you give up.
I always say it’s the give and receiving keys to understand what that is and be okay with it. My son is the one who came back and said, “Mom, I like you being the mom that you are.” I had to first like the mom I was before he could like the mom that I was. I had to spend an oodle amount of time with my family because my family had a very different version of what I should be like. I should get married and have a fence and a husband and twelve children running around. I was like, “I love that that’s what you would love for me, but that’s not my life. That’s not what I want.” It took a long time for them to understand that what I was doing and the way I was behaving and traveling, especially in the ‘80s and ‘90s as a woman in all different parts of the world. The things that I’m obsessed about getting to people and teaching people and empowering people, my family saw that as dangerous.
When I got it in my dad’s head to understand that what he wasn’t saying was no. What he wasn’t saying was that I wasn’t good enough. What he wasn’t saying was abandonment issues, even though that’s what it feels like. What he was saying is, “I worry about you. I have a false belief that if you are married to an alpha male that will keep you at home and close those doors so that you never leave the barn, you’ll be safe.” I had to educate him that I am no safer in his version of a life than I am in my version of life. I’m less safe in his version because in my version, it’s what I was born to do.
You’re independent. You’re not at someone else’s disposal.
For a lot of people, that’s their gift though. Their gift is that they become the amplifier underneath a force. That force can be nothing. It’s about your personal design, what works for you in your life. That’s what I’m saying. If you traded in my life, you’d be like, “I don’t like this,” but if I jumped in yours, I’d be like, “I don’t like that.” It’s asking the questions to say, “What are you building? What are you designing? Why are you designing it that way? Is it your dream or somebody else’s dream? Is it truly your authenticity of who you are or is it somebody else’s?” That’s what happened.
How did you apply that? Learning to acknowledge your gifts and know that your gifts were different than others, even to the point where you could articulate it both to your son and to your dad, how did that in this lifetime of solving problems become the Genius Key that you’re getting ready? You will be starting your media tour and in the late summer of 2020. How did you take all of that life experience and put it into some matrix that could be accessed quickly? Now you’ve gone and been able to put it into software an artificial intelligence that is going to impact not just this famous person, this one product, but now make it available generally. Tell us about the keys because you’ve mentioned keys multiple times and readers don’t understand the context of the keys and also, what is your vision for the Genius Key?
I was young when I started into being an entrepreneur. I knew I could not give people the things that my heart wanted to give them. I had this abundance that I wanted to give them, but I knew I couldn’t. I was like, “What can I do? I can serve them. If I serve them, what does that mean?” It means I needed to understand them, but most people don’t understand themselves. How am I going to understand you if you don’t understand you? Yet every successful book that I ever read and any white paper that I ever read talked about that business success is so dependent on its people. People were the secret sauce to success, yet nobody understands them.
If you look historically in like the last twenty years and say, “What do business owners say they struggle with the most?” They say, “Business would be easy if it wasn’t for the people.” That’s the thing that trips us up. When you take a look and they say, “Where do companies fail people?” They fail people because they don’t attract the right ones?” They fail people because they don’t develop them to their highest and best use. They fail people because they don’t properly sync them up for massive scale inside. They’re not attracting them. They’re not developing them and they’re not retaining them. Yet we keep doing it the same way. There’s all of this false belief about if you invest in a person, how much it costs the business. Anybody who understands anything about math look at what it costs us to lose one.
It’s in your favor exponentially to understand and invest in the people that you’re asking them to invest in you. It’s a different investment. I started creating new boundaries, new guidelines, new conversation, and new matrixes that paired people with what they were a genius at and then showed them how that genius is critical to success on different projects and tasks that live in every business. It doesn’t matter. If you’re more than a party of one, there becomes some semblance of a process to get things done. That’s why I called it keys. Once people unlocked what made them unique, what made them different, why that matters, and how to apply it, the next automatic question for people in an abundance was, “Can I use this same thing on my husband, my wife, my children, my colleagues or my boss?”
Once they start to unlock themselves, they were like, “If I knew this about everybody else, any success is limitless.” I keep saying, “Isn’t that the case? There’s no solo in success.” We all agree there’s no solo in success, but where’s the learning that helps you understand who you need specifically in order to scale you. To scale you, where do you apply that genius? Do you apply it on the same thing that’s on your to-do on the calendar? Where do you put it? That was the whole process that I had done for the last 35 years in conflict resolution. Whether I was going in behind a Mike Tyson, a Steve Harvey, an aftershow, a product that I was going in and I was saying, “Here are the people that are involved. If these are the people that are involved, here’s their genius key. Here is what makes them a genius. All this other stuff you’re asking them to do, you’ve already set them up to fail because this is the thing that they were born to do.” I then look at what they were trying to do, the work itself, and I attached the keys to the work.
Now what’s happening is you’re getting a welcome into the work that aligns with your highest and best use. The reason why people do more tasks in a genius company is because I’m asking you to do the things that A) you’re great at, you love to do, and it comes easily to you. People go, “Are you kidding? I’ll take this one.” They’re doing two thirds more work than they would have if you have taken any of the average. Most people get one or two projects that they love and a whole bunch of stuff that they can’t stand. They avoid it. They push it to the back. They do it half-assed. They don’t collaborate. They’re trying to get it done.
The whole philosophy about the Genius Key is to put people in alignment of that drive and ambition, that natural instinct of their own curiosity and pair it with the different work. Lead them into that development that this comes first, this comes second, this comes third, and this comes forth. When they work in that sequence, what’s happening is they’re building a bond with their other team captains. If your brilliance is right in front of me and our colleague is right behind me, I have to trust and empower you to start so that I can then add on my genius and I have to be able to have the ability to pass on my work.
I tell people it’s like running a relay race. Why is it that the person who’s the fourth leg usually is the fastest but he’s at the end? He’s trusting the first, the second and the third to do their very best so that he can be within that gap at the end. That’s what business is about. I trust you to run your lap so that I can run my lap. I’ve got to pass all of what I’ve learned onto somebody else because they’re going to create the next wave of it. When you’re not emotionally invested in your outcome, I always say, “If you always make the choices that are best for the business, everybody will win. The minute you make the decision for one person, you, the one employee, you think you can’t lose, the one anything, you already have chosen failure.”
That’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to say, “The infrastructure, the people operating system of business is broken.” To go a step farther, I was saying, “It’s so broken that we’re going to do it with no knowledge at all of who the person is.” Other than their keys and the work, I don’t know if you’re a boy or girl. I don’t know if you’re black, white, yellow or green. I don’t know what your religion is. I don’t know where you are in the world. I don’t know what school you went to because I don’t care. What I care about is you have a key that unlocks this project’s scale and success.
Does this apply to small companies, 2 or 3-person companies?
Yes, because that’s where the complication is. Most entrepreneurs start out by doing everything themselves. All of us start out that way. We do everything. We go, “I’m going to go from doing everything to doing everything except this first couple of things.” They pass that onto a person. That determines their scale. What they use to pass off first causes the problem. They don’t pass off the stuff they’re not a genius at. They pass off the stuff that they don’t like or the stuff that they think somebody else is capable of with no data points whatsoever.
They basically say, “I’m failing at this. I’m going to hire you. I’m not even sure if you’re great at it, but you say you are, so I’m going to take a risk.”
They don’t even know if what they’re asking somebody to do is what needs to be done. There’s so much uncertainty. “I don’t know if it’s the right task. I don’t know if I’m asking you the right time. I don’t even know how I want it done. I can’t even train you because I’m not sure what I want. I want you to read my mind and assume.”
“I can’t inspect it. I don’t know,” and then I wonder why I get ticked off and fire that person after six months.
You then hire the next person and they don’t do it either. Everybody is screwed up, “Nobody gets me, but I have to do it myself.” You’re committed to doing it yourself. You can never scale. The Genius Key is for anybody from 1 to 1,000,001. If you were trying to decode the human factor of success then the Genius Key, I assure you, is going to enlighten you on how you interact with people, how you communicate, how you assign in somebody else’s language what they need to do in order to meet the objective. Everything goes back to the desired outcome.
We have an Unshackled Owner class. What the Genius Key does is in such alignment with the class. I think we’re going to have everybody take the Genius Key. I would like to give them even a deeper training that I can do.
Think about it. If you have this ambition and you want to further your career, your company, if I gave you a cheat sheet, even if that cheat sheet was 50% right, wouldn’t that save a lot of the trial and error? What if I told you that after over 500,000 Genius Keys now that we’re scoring between 90% and 93% accuracy? Why would you not use a framework that said, “I can see my own reflection. I didn’t realize that this was my highest and best use?” This is why people are attracted to me. This is why people ask of me this and quantify that and pair it to that’s the tasks in your success plan. People tell you who you are every day. You just don’t know how to listen.
People are constantly telling us who they are, what they want, how we’re doing, but we don’t want to hear it. We’re not tuned in. As we come to the end of this, folks, I’m going to put a link, but if they want to jump the line or don’t want to look for the link, where’s the best place for them to go to take the Genius Key survey? It’s $39.95. It’s super inexpensive. When Michelle and I went through it, I’ve done all the other personality tests, the Myers-Briggs and DiSC and all the Color Code. There was one thing to look and say, “This is your tendency,” like so many other ones do.
This one said, “Here are your tendencies, but here’s what you’re also great at. By the way, here’s how this other person is and how you guys would best work together.” I’ve got a blissfully happy married life for more than 33 years. We still learn stuff about each other by going through the Genius Key which is actionable. If you don’t take it with your spouse or your romantic partner and you did it with your employees, the same thing is going to happen. You’re going to figure out who you are, who they are and how to work together.
What’s happening is what you’re learning about me is what’s innate. What I came here and I do no matter what, those are my Genius Keys. You’re also learning the keys that I picked up along the way. You’re also learning what keys you can develop. You’re understanding where all of that matches your desired outcome. There’s a big difference when I give you a project or a task and I assign it to you. I know that what I assigned to you, you innately do. You can’t help but do it versus I assigned something to you that you learned. The success ratio changes dramatically. That’s what’s not understood in a business. People forget that most people get hired in a business based on the job that you had open, not the job they wanted. You brought me in as an admin. I wanted to get in the company and my foot in the door. Statistically, I will stay in admin for the entire time I’m at your company because you never see my genius that where I need to be is over in strategy or I need to be over in sales. There’s no way of finding me. There’s no way to say this project that the CEO or the team captain can’t get done correctly underneath your own roof is a person that could do it in their sleep.
I don’t normally do these things because I never want the show to feel like a commercial, but I was so anxious to get you back on here to talk about this because I’ve felt the impact of it in my life. Now I’ve met a bunch of other highly accomplished people who have also taken the survey or the test. What do you call them?
It’s unlocking your key. You can call it an assessment. You can call it a test. It’s self-discovery. You’re understanding why you’re here. During COVID, once you go through the Genius Key and you figure out what your genius is, I can then tell you how to apply that exact same genius online. What is everybody struggling with right now? How do I transfer this belly to belly skill that I have? How do I digitally have the same impact if you don’t know what it is? You don’t know what makes you a genius. You don’t know how it shows up in your physical contact, then you don’t know how to transit online. For the younger generation, for my twenty-somethings who have an entirely different relationship with technology and people online, they’re trying to understand, “How do I translate that skill, what I call my norm, into the work environment? I want to excel in Harvard. I want to excel at Google. How do I translate what I have my reality into somebody else’s reality?” Remember, it’s only perception.
If you want to have an impact on me, you have to first understand what impacts me. Your way won’t impact me. You sending me a TikTok, that’s cute. It has no impact on me. I’ll find it interesting, I’ll grab a recipe, but I’m not going to share it because I don’t have a relationship with TikTok. I respect it but I have no relationship with it. If you don’t understand how I’m wired, you’re never going to get on my radar. When people say, “Amilya, how have you worked with all of these incredible people?” I decoded them. I got right onto their radar in their language that made sense to them. I gave them a value proposition that said, “If I can’t do this thing that you struggle within 24 hours, I’ll never contact you again.”
They said, “I like this woman. She gets me.”
They said it’s not possible. I remember a conversation that I had with Steve Harvey. I was saying, “This has to be done. This is part of what drives value in your business and in your brand.” He said, “Amilya, it can’t be done. I have a bunch of lawyers. I can’t legally do that.” I’m like, “Excuse me? Did you say I can’t do something? I don’t know what that word means. I wouldn’t say it unless I knew I could do it. You give me one hour. If I can accomplish what you have struggled with in one hour, I will never call you again.” I gave him what he values in his reward, the way he wanted and the way he understood it.
It happened. You went on to have a long relationship with Steve Harvey and his business?
Yes and we’re still friends.
Yes. It will flow you right into the Genius Key if you’re interested. If not, it’s going to give you a whole bunch of information that I promise you will improve the journey that you’re on right now.
This program is designed to give the readers stuff that they don’t know exists. We almost never “sell” anything. You guys know if you’ve been reading for 100 episodes or whatever or even 2 or 3, you know that I don’t let people get into their normal pitch. I don’t let them get into their routine and do the same talk they’ve given to twenty other people about their new book or something. I don’t do it. This is one of those times when we have a technology finally available to the masses, the average small, medium-sized business owner that heretofore was available to Oprah, Mike Tyson, Steve Harvey, Jason Aldean on and on, but not to Bob’s plumbing, to Mary’s horticulture or whatever.
I’m a lot like you. That’s why I don’t have a bunch of books. I don’t want to sell anything to anybody. The entire purpose, the reason why I decided to come back, provide tools, and do all that was, I was like, “Somebody has to step up and start healing pain.” That is the entire purpose of the Genius Key because it helps you heal pain. The pain of, “You don’t understand me.” The pain of, “Why is it not happening?” The pain of, “If I could make more money. If I could lose 10 pounds,” and all that if. None of that is true. That’s not where the solution lives.
When you walk around with that type of disappointment, with, “I want to be able to do this, but this is my life. I’m trapped. I’m an indentured servant,” it causes pain. Pain causes bitter, anger and resentment. It is rampant now. People are angry. They’re upset. They feel stuck. They feel trapped. What I wanted to do was not to come out and say, “I want to sell you a book.” That’s why it’s $39.95. It’s to say, “If you want to understand what you’re carrying around that was never meant for you to pick up, it will free you.” If you want to understand, what’s going to propel you forward, it’s going to tell you. It won’t do the work for you, but it will lead you every step of the way of what you need to do to get back into the driver’s seat and go anywhere you determined the desired outcome is.
The Genius Key is the combined knowledge and wisdom and tools Amilya has been using to impact brands and celebrities you know, companies you may not have ever heard of, but impact your life playing at the highest level. Is it okay to say NFL, UnitedHealthcare and on and on?
Yes. I’m grateful.
All I’m saying is this isn’t new, folks. This already exists. Over 500,000 people have taken the assessment. It’s being used at high levels. It’s one of the things that I admire and we’re not going to go down this path now, but I want to say this. One of the things I love about being invited into your company as a member of the board is that you could have sold this already. I won’t drop the names, but to some names that everybody reading this knows. If you don’t know them, you’ve been living under a rock. You have to have known the several companies that already wanted to buy the Genius Key. Amilya said, “I don’t want it to be pigeonholed into one little place. I wanted to have broader access.” Someday, somebody else may buy the company, but right now we need to get broad access to it.
If you’re scared right now, if you’re wondering about all the volatility in the world, if you’re worried about the insecurity of the markets, of the government, of the race relations, of health and wellness. If you’re worried about that stuff, what Amilya said at the very beginning is this, “If you’re worried, everybody else is worried,” and that’s where the opportunity lies. Some of the biggest brands have exploded in strength during times of huge challenges. The Genius Key gives you a tool to use to get the band together, get all the right players together to become a wild, successful hit. This is the way to not make a whole bunch of big mistakes to get the right people in the right spots, doing the right work so that you can grow. You can ride the front of the wave as we come out of this thing because we’re going to come out of it.
I will say one last thing. Never forget, brilliance is born in chaos. In this time is where brilliance will be birthed because you can see so clearly.
Most people are hunkered down right now. They’re wringing their hands. They’re wishing for the way it used to be. Entrepreneurs, by something in their genes, in their DNA, they’re looking around going, “We could fix this. I could do that. I could buy that.” Now is the time to get all your resources together and figure out quickly. Don’t delay because other big players are out there looking for the companies to buy, the real estate to buy, how to control the money, how to control the narrative, but you absolutely can play in the rebirth of the economy, race relations, and health and wellness. You can be at the forefront of it if you make a decision that you want to play in the game instead of sitting on the bleachers and watch. The Genius Key is a terrific tool. Many golden nuggets that have been dropped in this conversation will guide and direct you as you have the courage to jump in and be your authentic self.
Self-discovery is fun. Don’t let anybody kid you. The more I learned about myself, the more fascinated I am and the people around me as well. There’s nothing more entertaining than real life.
We’ve all been entertained and we’ve all been fascinated by Amilya Antonetti. This is a great time. As Amilya has said, “Look at where you want to be in a few years.” Think about what will be written on your tombstone, on your headstone. Think about what would be said about you by those people in the two front rows or by the masses. Right now is a great time. Some of us are going to look back and go, “I got squashed during that,” and other people are going to say, “That is where I made my fortune.” It’s all about becoming in control of your own life. It’s about taking the reins and being the boss of you becoming an unshackled owner. I’ll see you guys again on the next episode.
About Amilya Antonetti
Amilya Antonetti is one of the most sought after Human Behavior and Strategic Advisor experts in the world. Her deep “in the trench” experience leading organizations in identifying “Why” a company exists and measuring it against “how” it and their people show up in the world is changing the way we “onboard” back to business, in 2020. She has successfully led companies through some of the most challenging succession planning, M&A and crisis/change management work, in a series of successes spanning nearly 30 years.
Amilya has been changing the game in the “relationship” between technology,
business and people. She has successfully performed for some of the most high-profile clients in music, sports & entertainment, as well as served both entrepreneurial and fortune 500 clients. The “Genius Key” a matrix in “People Translation for Purpose, Performance & Meaning” aligning people + workflow together in training modules built for today’s diverse and globally located workforce. Committed to providing leaders the ability to understand and amplify their people so all companies can have what they need to better serve the company’s “people purpose”, customers and communities they “all serve” unitedly for a greater impact for all.
2019 “Woman of the Decade” award recipient from “Women’s Economic Forum” and Honored with the Kauffman Foundation Entrepreneur Award are just some of the numerous accolades she has received.
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