How to Build Confidence with 2 Bulletproof Questions with Steven Rowell – Ep. 45

Welcome to Daily Confidence for Entrepreneurs Show Episode 45.

In this episode, join my friend Steven Rowell and me talk about How to Build Bulletproof Confidence with 2 Questions.

Listen to the podcast here:


  • How did you build your confidence as an entrepreneur?

  • What does certainty have to do with loneliness?

  • Can you build bulletproof confidence with your 2 questions?



11:34 – If you’re wanting to boost your confidence, the number one thing for me is to get out of your own way, get out of your office, get out of your home, especially in COVID, and reach out and become fascinated and curious about other people. And in doing that, you’re no longer alone.

16:13 – What I learned was that the people that are super successful have already arrived, they’re wanting to give back. It’s about legacy contributions and about being a mentor. 

25:11 – One of the ways to get confidence is to go out and reach out to successful people who have done what you’re trying to do. They’ve done it before.

41:23 – The idea is you boost confidence through competence.

43:00 – By expanding your relationships, by learning and listening to others, you will start to fill in missing pieces that up until then, you weren’t confident about.


Mostafa Hosseini  0:02  

Welcome to Daily Confidence for Entrepreneurs. My name is Mostafa Hosseini, and I’m your host for the show. At Daily Confidence, we share tips and actionable advice and strategies that you can use daily to boost your confidence when it comes to running your business. 

During the show, and after the show, we have drawn and we give a gift to people that watch and join the program. For you to enter the draw, You need to like the show and subscribe to our channel. If you are on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or whichever channel you’re on, comment as we talk about different ideas with our guest experts. 

You can ask questions about the topic that we are talking about. You can also tag friends who could benefit from the show and the stuff that we talked about and follow us on your favorite platform. If you’re listening to this on Apple, Google, Spotify, subscribe to the channel. Make sure to give us a review of what you thought about the topic or the interview and the guest expert. If you have any questions, you can post them on the podcast channel and take them from there. 

Now, one of the ways that we help our audience boost their confidence when it comes to running their business is by creating and implementing their One Page Marketing Plan. The problem that we solve and we fix is the fact that most coaches and consultants and business owners are poking around at different marketing ideas, tools, systems, processes, programs, and software. They do that aimlessly, without any goals, plans, or directions that cause a lot of confusion, frustration, anxiety, overwhelm, and you name it. 

What happens is they experience daily setbacks and failures when it comes to running their business. They get all overwhelmed and depressed and sometimes they quit their business and whatnot so there’s that lack of results. 

What we do is help them consolidate and simplify everything that they need to do into a One Page Marketing Plan so that they could use that daily. You see, most plans that are out there with businesses are massive, multiple pages, tens or hundreds of pages of a marketing plan that is usually sitting somewhere collecting dust, or if it’s a digital file that is lost in a computer folder, you really cannot do much with it. 

If it’s a one-page plan, then you could use it and you can check in on it on a daily basis. Knowing the priorities, no to KPIs, and having the plan, to begin with having a goal knowing exactly what you want gives you confidence in your business. Like how many sales do I want, right? 

In the next three to 12 months, how many customers do I need to serve and support to help me reach my revenue goals? Once that’s clear, then we can set the plan on how we’re going to get there. Here’s our goal. What is the plan to get there? Once we have a clear written goal and a simple plan to reach there, that boosts our business confidence because I know what I want. 

I have a plan with details on how I’m going to get there. Now, the analogy that I usually use is when people try to build a house, you see most houses when you try to build them, you complete the plan. You complete the blueprint and the design on paper first. Then you start building. You don’t start building and then decide to design and build a house or a car or an engine or when you try to design something. 

You put the blueprint first and you start building it phase by phase as you’re going through it, so it is essential and important to have that plan and you’ve got to know what the finished product would look like. Now, even when it comes to building a house, you have the finished blueprint and the layout, and you would make modifications as you go. But when you try to watch Build the House, you can make modifications as you go. I mean, you got the foundation, the design, and the layout. You can just go out there and make different changes for the house that you’re building. 

However, the overall plan is finished first, then you start building. What happens with most business owners is that they run a business and they don’t know exactly what it is that they’re trying to achieve. They don’t know their goal. How much revenue do I want?  Well, I don’t know. If you don’t know how much revenue you want, then how are you going to achieve it? 

It’s going to be impossible to achieve and reach something if you don’t know what it is. That’s the number one reason where business owners fail in their businesses. They don’t know what they want. Number two, who do you serve? A mistake that most business owners make is that they try to serve everybody and anybody and what happens is when you try to serve everybody, you end up serving nobody. You need to identify your target market and your niche market. 

The next thing that you need to identify and get very clear on is what you do for that target market. That goes in the format of I help X get Y. Once you get that all figured out, you have a plan, then you become a lot more confident when it comes to running your business. Today, we have an amazing guest expert, Steven Rowell. Welcome, Steven.

Steven Rowell  7:58  

Thank you for having me. It’s great to be here.

How to build bulletproof confidence with 2 questions
Importance of a Business Blueprint.

Mostafa Hosseini  8:02  

Great to have you. I have known Steven for a couple of months now and we connect it right away.  I am really glad that we connected. It’s one of those connections where you say, “I wish I met this guy 10 years ago or 20 years ago.” It’s been a fruitful friendship. 

Today, we are talking about how to build bulletproof confidence with two questions. Let me do the proper introduction for Steven then we’re going to go from that. Now, before I get started. I’m just going to finish up the conversation that I started and that is if you want to build your One Page Marketing Plan, we run a Simple Marketing Formula. I’m going to put the link in the show notes. 

You could check it out and join us and build your one-page plan and boost your confidence when it comes to running your business. Now, back to Stephen who I am really looking forward to chatting with. Steven Rowell is a former Walt Disney World and Disney University leader, change management consultant, entrepreneur, and philanthropist who licensed his patient satisfaction system to 1100 hospitals. 

He is the author of Success From the Inside Out and Jumpstarts Your Creativity books, his newest book, How to Connect with Anyone, Anywhere, at Any Time comes out later this year. Today, Stephen helps speakers and consultants license their best programs and corporate sponsorships and launch their first high-end mastermind programs and groups. Welcome, Steven. Steven, you’re muted. I can’t hear.


Steven Rowell  9:56  

There we go. I even have this to remind myself. You are on mute, Steve.


Mostafa Hosseini  10:04  

Amazing, how’s your day going so far?


Steven Rowell  10:06  

It’s going great. Thanks so much for having me. I have to say I did your Simple Marketing Formula weekend last month. Obviously, I’m an advanced, experienced marketer and business owner but what I wanted to share was, it was a great way for me to take three days and just step off the carousel, my busy life, and focus on my business. I have to tell you two of the big breakthroughs that I had from that one. 

I was thinking about one of the divisions of my company and the laser focus that we wanted to have. That’s one of the really powerful things about doing a marketing plan, writing a one-page marketing plan in three days or less, which was awesome. The other thing I wanted to share with you was simply because I did that work with you and that was just what three weeks ago, I have actually gotten crystal clear about saying no to things that are not the highest value activity.

For instance, I’m shutting down a product that I was going to be doing, but it’s now a bright, shiny object because it doesn’t fit. Then the other thing is I’ve told a business partner that we’re no longer going to go after this one project so I have to tell you that’s just the tip of the iceberg for me. That whole idea of getting laser-focused on a One Page Marketing Plan, it’s absolutely genius. Thanks for letting me be a part of that last month.

Mostafa Hosseini  11:15  

Appreciate it. Great to have you and you’re one of the people that I really enjoy hanging out with. It was great to have you and I really appreciate having you there. Let’s get started, shall we? Tell us about your story. What’s the story behind what you do these days? How did you start?


Steven Rowell  11:34  

Sure. So a couple of things just in terms of context. My wife’s a documentary filmmaker and has done feature films. I keep telling her that I think an amazing documentary would be about this pandemic of loneliness that we’re experiencing on this planet. We’re more digitally connected than ever before but I think we truly are feeling a sense of loneliness.

What I wanted to share today was something that, I believe is a simple, yet very powerful way to kind of reconnect to other people, but also to bolster your confidence when you are perhaps, as an entrepreneur, feeling alone or feeling that sense of loneliness, or feeling like people don’t understand you, or you’re just not really feeling like you have that team around you that can support you and drive you forward. Would it be valuable if I share with you one quick example of how this whole paradigm for me came about? Would that be valuable? 

So I was in college, it was back in the 1980s. I was 19 years old and the internet didn’t exist back then. I’d been in a college class and we saw this video by Tom Peters called In Search of Excellence. It was talking about what makes these different companies great, like Disney and FedEx and all these big companies. What I did was,  I went back to my dorm room, and I picked up the phone. 

It was on the wall back then in my dorm room, and I picked up my phone off the wall. I dialed 1-800-555-1212, which was the national number for information and I asked to be connected to the corporate headquarters of Walmart in Bentonville, Arkansas. Sure enough, after a few switches, I got connected. Then once I got to Walmart, I asked to speak to Sam Walton, the founder. I was ultimately connected to Sam Walton, a system that obviously is paid lots of money to be his gatekeeper and to protect his time and his calendar. 

So anyway, I got through to her. What I said was, Hi, my name is Steven Rowell. I was just curious. Then I asked the question, and this question caused her to simply say, “Wow, that’s so sweet.” She’s very patronizing to me and what’s interesting is I sat on the phone for about a minute and a half. 

Next thing you know, Sam Walton gets on the phone, and he says, “Hello, this is Sam. How are you doing?” I said, “Hi, Sam. My name is Steven Rowell. I’m just curious. If you look back on your entire career with building Walmart, I’m just curious if you have five minutes just to tell me the secret to your success.” 

Unbelievably, for the next two hours, he talks to me, and there’s no laptop, there were no laptops back then there was no internet. I’m sitting there with a ballpoint pen writing down notes as fast as I can. I’m getting writer’s cramps and the next thing I know, in the middle of that call, Sam says “You’re the son I never had.” I’m like what? I was blown away. 

I’m 54 years old today and I’ve done over 1200 of these phone calls. What’s interesting is, only one of his children actually got involved in Walmart and that’s Robson Walton, who is chairman emeritus of Walmart today. I hung up the phone from Sam, I was blown away by the generosity and everything that he shared. 

Then I picked up the phone immediately and I called FedEx Federal Express. I asked for Fred Smith, the founder of FedEx. Sure enough, the same thing happens. “Hi, Fred. I’m just curious if you’d have five minutes to tell me the secret to your success.” Now, this is the second phone call like this that I’ve ever made. The next thing you know halfway through the call he says “Because you’re the son I never had.” I’m like, holy cow. 

What I figured out, Mostafa is there were certain things that happened in that phone call that made these men just open up and talk about their trials and tribulations, but also their successes. I simply sat and listened. The first thing is, I was blown away that they took my call. Number two, I’ve taught this concept to lots of people, including entrepreneurship students, and it has resulted in people becoming angel investors or finding angel investors, who gave them $100,000 or more to help them with their business and took zero equity. I’ve had people start nonprofits using this question, and really connecting. 

The first thing I wanted to share with everybody, in terms of today, is if you’re wanting to boost your confidence, the number one thing for me is to get out of your own way, get out of your office, get out of your home, especially in COVID and reach out and become fascinated and curious about other people. In doing that, you’re no longer alone. That’s the first big takeaway, Mostafa. 


A mistake that most business owners make is that they try to serve everybody and anybody and what happens is when you try to serve everybody, you end up serving nobody.

Mostafa Hosseini  16:04  

Wow! That’s quite a true story. You talked to Sam Walton, and there’s no then I woke up part?


Steven Rowell  16:13  

Exactly! Not only did I call Sam Walton, but then I talked to Fred. What’s interesting is at the end of the second call, which was Fred Smith, it just came over me that at the end, this is the second question for everybody. At the end of the call, I say, “Fred, thank you so much. You’ve been so generous with your time and sharing your insights. I’m just curious, is there someone else that you think would be willing to talk to me just as you have?” 

That’s the second question that I want people to write down because that’s the question that will change your life. What I mean by that is this, I was on the college program as a college intern, for instance, at Disney World and I had this idea of a five-minute secret phone call conversation. 

I called Michael Eisner, the CEO of Disney, and at that time, everything he touched in the movie business turned to gold, he had touched on pictures. We were doing amazing things at Disney so I called Michael and said, “Michael, I’m just curious if you look back on your entire career at Disney and before, what do you think is the secret to your success?” Michael Eisner opens up and starts sharing amazing things but then here’s what happens. 

“Michael, I’m just curious. Thank you so much. You’ve been so generous with the end of the call. You’ve been so generous. I’m just curious, is there someone else you think would be willing to talk to me?”He says, “Would you love to hit the movie industry, Steven? I said, “Yes.” He goes, “Have you ever met Roy Walt’s nephew?” I said, “No but that would be amazing.”  

Here’s where your life changes, Mostafa. When you make the second phone call, it sounds like this. Roy Disney hops on the phone and says “Any friend of Michael’s is a friend of mine. Great to meet you, Steven.” I call that the halo effect. Now, here’s the second layer to boost everybody’s confidence. You’re no longer alone, you’re not trying to pitch, you’re not trying to sell, you’re not trying to convince people, you don’t even try to influence people, what you’re doing is you’re simply showing up in a genuinely authentic way of saying I’m fascinated, I’m curious about you. 

Second, though, is when you get referred to somebody else, the dynamic completely changes in the sense that they feel that they already know you. Here’s the thing that happens in that second phone call to that second person. This is five times in my own personal life, and also with business partners then also multiple times out there with people that I’ve taught this to that second person phone call, it goes like this. 

Well, tell me more about what you’re doing, Steven. Then you talk about your business, you talk about your nonprofit, you talk about your mission, and here’s what they do. “Oh, that’s fascinating. So tell me a little bit more about that.” Next thing, you know, if they’re interested, if they’re hooked into what you do, they’ll start asking you questions but here’s what happens. 

It’s the second phone call that the second person that you refer to where they’ll say “Tell you what, I’ll wire you $100,000 just contact me on a monthly basis. I want to be an advisor. I just want to be there for you as a mentor, I don’t want equity. I just want to be a part of the game, be a part of the startup, and I want to help you grow. 

In other words, what I learned was that the people that are super successful have already arrived, they’re wanting to give back. It’s about legacy contributions and about being a mentor. So true story. I’ve had angel investors that took no equity in the company whatsoever but one requirement was you better call me on a monthly basis and ask for feedback. Tell me how things are going. 

I’ll never forget about a year into my very first one. He offered $100,000. I said I don’t need $100,000. I just need 50. He goes great. I’ll wire you 50,000 And then I’ll send you a letter of credit for the other 50. I’m very happy to say I didn’t ever use the second 50 I just needed the first 50. 

But here’s what happens about a year into the relationship. His assistant calls me and says Steven, you didn’t call last month and we’re coming up on this next month which is just a call. I’m letting you know that he’s very upset and you better call him. One of the things I learned at that moment was it wasn’t equity in terms of a percentage of equity in my company. He wanted equity in the relationship, and he wanted equity in the journey. 

What I learned was, it’s all about honoring that and making sure that you’re contacting. Here’s what I wanted to share: the second layer of confidence that I’m sharing with everybody as this, you can imagine, after I’ve done probably 30, or 40 of these calls, I feel bulletproof because all of a sudden, I have this whole list of people I can lean on, I can call on, I can get referrals from people too, and so on. 

Now that I’ve done this 1200 times in 30 years, you can only imagine how many different industries I know, how many people I know, and how many people I can connect to. What’s exciting is the ripple effect of sharing this, like we’re doing this, and that’s why I’m so grateful to be with you today. 

If somebody that’s listening right now takes this idea, simply makes a list of five or six names and just picks up the phone literally, just forget about the internet, and contact these people and simply say “Hi, Mostafa. My name is Steven. I’m just curious when you look back on your entire career. I saw on LinkedIn that you’ve done this, and that is right on your LinkedIn profile. I’m just curious Mostafa, what do you think’s the secret to your success?


How to build bulletproof confidence with 2 questions Ep. 45
Question No. 2 "Is there someone else that you think would be willing to talk to me just as you have?”

Mostafa Hosseini  21:19  

How did you get past the gatekeeper again?


Steven Rowell  21:23  

The big thing with the gatekeeper? It’s a great question. The big thing with the gatekeeper is, it’s about intent and it’s about energy. You’re not selling anything. It’s almost like, Gee, golly, gosh, shucks, I was just curious. In that genuine sense of curiosity, typically, he’s so used to getting people that are selling something, that basically what you do is you say, “Hi, my name is Steven.” 

Now watch. I’m gonna give you the secret. With LinkedIn today, You can research even famous people or not famous people. You can find on LinkedIn, typically who the executive assistant is so what you do is use the five-minute secret conversation with the gatekeeper. Here’s what it sounds like. “Hi, Sally. My name is Steven Rowell. I saw on LinkedIn that you’ve been with the terminal car cutting for 35 years and you started off as a customer service agent. It’s amazing how you’re the executive system of the whole company. I’m just curious when you look back on that. What do you think’s the secret to your success to be so successful inside Hertz for 35 years?” 

Here’s a quicker version. “Hi, Sally. My name is Steven Rowell. I saw on LinkedIn that you started with Hertz as a customer service agent in 1973 and now you’re the executive assistant of Hertz. You and I both know that you are really the one that runs the company.” Then they’ll chuckle as they always do. They’ll chuckle because the truth is, they’re the one that controls everything. 

And so you say, “Hi, my name is Steven. You’re the executive assistant to Hertz Rental Car, I can only imagine that you’re really the one that runs the company.” Not so and so, the CEO. They chuckle so whatever way you want to get in there, the idea is you connect with them. 

What you’re going to do is you’re going to reference their experience, their years of investment in the company, or whatever it may be. But the idea is this. “Hi, Sally. My name is Steven. I’m just curious. When you look back on your journey for 30 years with Federal Express, what do you think’s the secret to your success? As an administrator, as an executive system, all FedEx gets ready. 

You better have your calendar clear? You don’t make one of these calls, Mostafa. When you’ve got an appointment, 30 minutes from now on your calendar, you better have the next two hours of your life clear because get ready, here’s what will happen. These people will talk to you and the big thing that happens is they’ll go like this even the executive assistant, they’ll go, “Wow, that’s a really great question. You know, nobody’s ever asked me that.” 

I was 13 years old and I remember my grandfather was teaching me how to catch rabbits with a cardboard box, a stick, and a string. I’ll never forget, my grandfather said, blank. In other words, what I want everybody to think about is this, there’s something about the question. I’m just curious if you have five minutes. If you look back on your entire career, if you look back on the 20 years that you’ve spent building FedEx or whatever it may be, if you look back, I’m just curious. What do you think is the secret to your success? 

I’ve tested the question a million different ways. But there’s something about when you look back, and then you make the reference, the 20 years you’ve spent building Federal Express or whatever. When you look back, there’s something about that from a brain science perspective, that what happens is the person goes, “Wow, that’s a great question. Nobody’s ever really asked me that.” Then they think back. What’ll happen is, it takes them to some younger period in their life and what I’ve learned is, that’s when the person starts to open up. 

Now watch, I’m gonna go back to where I started. In the midst of what I argue to be the most lonely pandemic time in our lives. We’re most digitally connected, but we’re most disconnected as people. All of a sudden, you’re a human being that shows up, I simply asked. Now in this world of loneliness, the person goes, “Well, it’s a great question.” The next thing, you know, you start having some amazing conversation.


Mostafa Hosseini  25:11  

That is, so you just shared the secret, the secret on how to find a mentor for free, and have them write a check for you for 100 Grand. Then you just gave us the script and the whole thing. So Gang, if you’re watching or listening, Steven and I are talking about how to build confidence in your business on a day-to-day basis. 

Now, one of the ways to get confidence is to go out and reach out to successful people who have done what you’re trying to do. They’ve done it before, and you just ask, and he just simply shared this simple process to call him and say, “Hey, I’m just curious, I don’t know, Steven, I don’t know who I heard this from or learned this from.” Then, one of the well-known people says, “Learn to be curious.” 

Just learn more, observe and ask questions so these people are all usually sitting there, open and willing to share their experience, knowledge, expertise, and wisdom with someone like me or if you’re young, and you’re just starting, regardless of where you are. I’m really fascinated by that story. I can only imagine that you have a wealth of connections through that two-step process, basically.

Learn to be curious. Just learn more, observe and ask questions so these people are all usually sitting there, open and willing to share their experience, knowledge, expertise, and wisdom with someone like me.

Steven Rowell  26:36  

Absolutely. The other thing to think about is this, and it’s a little bit of a paradigm shift for some people, let’s say that you’re working in the automobile industry and it’s automobile sales, or whatever it may be. All of a sudden, you hear a story, or you see on Google or somewhere out there, about somebody who has completely failed. Let’s just say as an extreme example, Elon Musk is famous today and then all of a sudden, Tesla completely fails. It goes under, and it’s completely over. 

It’s an extreme example but here’s the idea. You can do this conversation with a person who, quote-unquote, failed and they’ll still take your call. But here’s the magic, I argue that you’ll actually learn as much, if not more from the person who, quote failed, because you called them and simply said, “Hi, my name is Steven. I’m just curious. I saw the journey you went on over the last 11 years trying to build XYZ company. 

I saw the news just yesterday. I’m just curious. You had to have learned so much through that process.” I’m switching it. “I can only imagine how much you must have learned through that process. 

I’ve failed in the business myself.” Now you’re connecting with them. You say, “Look, I’ve failed a couple of times trying in business myself. I’m just curious if you would have five minutes. What are some of the lessons you learn from that journey? ”Some people might say, “Nobody’s gonna talk to you about their failure? Nobody’s going to be willing to.” Stop. That’s not the case at all. 

It actually turns out that it’s cathartic, or therapeutic, or helpful or constructive to let people like that talk about the pain, the scars, the mistakes, the failures because here’s what they’ll do. In the midst of that conversation, they’ll actually tell you, “You know, I don’t know it’ll be an hour that we are in this call, and you’ve said maybe three sentences.” 

Then they’ll say, “You know, Steven, I really appreciate this call. I’ve told you things I’ve not told anybody, not even my spouse and I’m not even sure why I told you but thank you so much for listening. Thanks for asking. This has been a really great call.” That happens both to successful people and when you’re doing it in the context of failure.


Mostafa Hosseini  29:09  

Guess what, now you have a friend. They just opened up their heart to you and they shared for like an hour or two the biggest secret. You were probably the first and maybe the only person that reached out and said, “Hey, can you share with me?”


Steven Rowell  29:22  

Sam Walton sent me a Christmas card every year until the year before he died.


Mostafa Hosseini  29:31  

Wow. That is major. I’m literally blown away by that story. I need time to digest a simple process. Let’s explore this. Tell the people about overcoming the fear of picking up the phone and making that call. Let’s say I have Elon Musk’s phone number, and here’s what’s going on in my head. Elon Musk is not going to want to talk to me. He’s going to say, “Who is this guy?” He doesn’t know me from a sack of potatoes, and all that internal talk that’s going to block me from. God, how did you overcome them?


Steven Rowell  30:22  

Great question. The first thing is this. I will never forget, when I was working at Walt Disney World, we had these opportunities to go in an hour before the theme parks the Magic Kingdom opened. What we would do is, we would be on the other side of the castle. We were in Fantasyland and we would hide. 

This is a true story. We were on stage, but we’d be in the bushes and there’s a thing called rope drop. It’s for guests that stay at Disney resort hotels, one hour before the Magic Kingdom opens, Mostafa, you’re able to get this little pass and you’re able to go into the Magic Kingdom an hour early, are you with me? Here’s the idea. They have this rope at the entrance and the rope drops and all the children do what? 

They run down Main Street. What I want everybody to visualize is this: we’re standing in the bushes in Fantasyland, Dumbo’s flight is going and the attractions are up in the air. We’re waiting to see who’s the first person, man, woman, or child to reach Fantasyland and this morning I’m standing there with my team. It’s a little boy with red hair and his sister, probably a year or two older has red hair too. They come running into Fantasyland and they stop. 

They’re just enamored, total childlike wonder, as they hear the music and they see Dumbo’s flight. Of course, all of us can’t help but have a tear in our eyes. We’re just completely blown away by childlike wonder. What I want everybody to think about is this, when you’re that little boy or girl, and you’re running into the Magic Kingdom, all excited, you’re not worried about what you look like, what somebody is gonna think you’re worried about or any of that. What you’re worried about is what’s on the other side. 

When they run through the arch of the castle, and they get to Fantasyland, they have no idea what they’re gonna see, and also they see it. So what I say, Mostafa, is be that little kid running down the main street filled with the wonder of what’s on the other side? I’m just fascinated. I’m curious because here’s the deal. Number one, you’re not selling anything. Number two, you don’t have to influence anybody.

Number three, believe it or not just by showing up and asking the question, that in and of itself is magic. I’m going to say it again, just showing up to ask the question, that is the magic. Here’s why I’m gonna help everybody with another layer to this. Whether it’s Elon Musk or the CEO of a company or the founder of a nonprofit, they are surrounded by whom? 

They’re surrounded by a bunch of yes people or a bunch of politically savvy people. Everything has to be perfect, say all the right things. They’re surrounded by people that quite frankly, don’t know if they can trust what they’re saying is they’re just hearing what they think they want them to hear, right. So all of a sudden you show up with a childlike wonder. You just say, “Hey, Elon, I saw an article in Forbes magazine this week and it said, XYZ. 

I’m just curious. When you look back on your whole career, what do you think’s the secret to how you were able to achieve that?” In other words, Mostafa, it’s about how you show up so stop thinking that you’re trying to sell something, stop thinking that you have to convince anybody of anything. That’s my number one place to start with your question, which is, folks, just stop all that and just show up with the wonder of a kid and go, “Hey, I’m just curious.” 

The second layer of this, though, is quite worrying about rejection. Now, drumroll, I’ve done this over 1200 times. Only two times in my entire life, only twice in my entire life have I had somebody say no. 

One, it wasn’t even the person, it was their handler because the handler was an attorney. It was the only time I’ve ever dealt with a handler that was an attorney not like an agent. The attorney I convinced was just trying to show his power so he said no. The other person was just simply a woman CEO who is now today a billionaire. For whatever reason, it was just not the right time and she said no. 

Other than those two people, I’ve never had a person say no except for two people in 1200.


How to build bulletproof confidence with 2 question Ep.45
Just show up with a childlike curiosity.

Mostafa Hosseini  34:43  

Wow. You’re not selling anything. You have that childlike curiosity, going out there exploring, learning, asking questions, and listening. I’m not calling Elon Musk to dump my opinions on him. I’m asking him questions. There’s nothing wrong there. 

People always ask me about this fear of picking up the phone or whatnot. It’s like, there’s that dip. It’s like the fear of diving off a diving board into a swimming pool. The first phone call that you make, everything else becomes easier. I love it.


Steven Rowell  35:33  

The other neat thing for everybody is let’s say you make a mistake, you blow it, and it doesn’t go well. Here’s what’s great. Give yourself a little bit of time and then do what? Well, if you feel like you blew it with a gatekeeper, then go back and do it again with the gatekeeper. If you did it with the gatekeeper, but nothing ever happened, that’s fine. 

Wait. Put it in your calendar for three months from now and do it again because I’m going to tell you, out of all these young people, for instance, I get entrepreneurship schools that I’ve taught, they’ve sent me emails, sometimes months and years later. They have had people that have been quite difficult to get to but they didn’t give up. It was on their second or third round of getting back to them. It actually did happen. 

You have to remember all these other people are making all these decisions. They’re busy just like you and I are right now. I mean, think about what everybody had to do just today to even make it to this call. There are a million things we could have done to not be on this call so instead of taking all that stuff personally, let it go and say, “You know what? Okay. So not today. 

But when? Okay, so it’s not happening today.” Hopefully, that helps. It’s just a different paradigm, Mostafa. It’s a different way. 


Mostafa Hosseini  36:44  

Just to add to your point, I knew of this woman who was known for getting hold of impossible people. Here was her secret. She tried up to six times, emailing, calling, messaging from different channels, and she did not stop until she got there. Then I think we got to understand that these people are busy. It’s not like they’re sitting there waiting for you and nobody shows up in your life.

You’re not waiting and expecting but I think most of the people that have started from zero and they got to a place, appreciate that persistence. It’s like, “Oh, this guy’s actually serious. Let me talk to him.” Then you go through that curiosity question. Next thing you know, they open up their heart for a couple of hours and share things that they never share with anyone else.


Steven Rowell  37:35  

Exactly. On LinkedIn, yesterday was International Women’s Day. I’m sorry, I don’t remember her name but the woman that is now a billionaire was the one that created Spanx, the woman’s outfit. I can’t think of her name. Anyway, she did a post yesterday in honor of her best friend. 

It turns out her best friend died on International Women’s Day, many years ago. As a memorial to her friend, yesterday, she posted a LinkedIn post. She talked about the fact that her best friend died. Think about what she’s doing, Mostafa. In the LinkedIn post, she’s telling the story that was in her best friend’s empty bedroom after she passed that Spanx was created. 

That is today in social media, that she’s willing in reverence and holding up her memory of her best friend, to be that vulnerable to share that Spanx started in the spare bedroom that was created by the loss of her best friend. People can find that on LinkedIn today, it was posted yesterday. 

What I want you to think about is, if you go back to what I’m asserting as the pandemic of loneliness, and now you think about a billionaire woman, who has been on Shark Tank as a shark, she’s an investor. This woman has massive media exposure and she goes out on LinkedIn, on a day of the memorial of loss of one of her best friends, and shares that level of a story of where the beginning of her company started. What I want you all to think about it, there’s another way to look at this, which is in the midst of social media, where you do have people being vulnerable and putting posts out there. 

Imagine when you pick up the phone and you talk to them personally or by the way, it happens in person as well. Imagine how the conversation will be that much more intimate and more meaningful than just a social media post. That’s what I want you to think about, as people are opening, I’m looking at Tiktok. Now people are pouring their hearts and souls out in a 30-second video on Tiktok. 

Well, imagine if that was a meaningful live conversation. That’s the power of what I’m talking about. I think people are craving authentic, genuine connections today.


The idea is you boost confidence through competence.

Mostafa Hosseini  40:01  

Absolutely. I’m going to ask an obvious question and that is, Alright, Steven, let’s say I pick up the phone and I make these curiosity calls and I get, a big shot CEO, how does that actually boost my confidence? What does that have to do with my business? My confidence? 


Steven Rowell  40:19  

Bingo. Brilliant question. Here’s the deal. Most of the time, when we think about it, we’re not confident. What is the lack of confidence? Well, there’s mindset stuff in terms of limiting beliefs and things like that. Have you heard the old saying? Confidence through competence. The big phrase in martial arts is helping children build confidence through competence. 

In other words, I don’t know how to do something so here’s what I want to do to tie this up for you. I’m a business owner, I’m feeling low confidence, low self-esteem, which is a sense of worth. There’s low confidence in what I’m doing so here’s the idea.


Mostafa Hosseini  41:05  

You’ve muted yourself. There we go. You said, here’s the thing. You’ve muted again. I did that.


Steven Rowell  41:23  

It’s just doing it on its own. It’s the weirdest thing. The idea is you boost confidence through competence. When you ask people, you have this great idea but you haven’t launched or you have this new product but you haven’t done it? They’ll say, “Well, if you really get down to it, they’ll say, Well, I just don’t have the confidence to pull it off. Or I just don’t feel like I’m ready. There’s all this litany of stuff, Mostafa that they say. 

Well, it’s why you’re doing the show, it’s at the root of what confidence is. The concept is this, if you start to do these calls, let’s say, you just did two of these calls a month, and you started learning things that you’ve never even known so there’s the old saying, I don’t even know what I don’t know. Well, entrepreneurs face this every day. You go out, you think you’ve prepared, you think you’ve done the research, and then you get a launch. What happens? It’s 10 times harder than you thought it would be. 

My point is this, the answer to your question is by expanding your relationships, by learning and listening to others, you will start to fill in missing pieces that up until then, you weren’t confident about. Here’s one of the examples. Let’s say you’re wanting to do a product launch online, but you’ve never done one. Well, who’s the guru? Arguably, quote-unquote, a product launches? It’s Jeff Walker. 

One example would be to do a five-minute secret phone call with Jeff Walker but then, what’s the next layer? Well, now there are Jeff Walker certified product launch experts. Like a gentleman named Steven Caffrey who’s incredible. All of a sudden, through the internet, you find Steven Caffrey. You have a five-minute secret conversation with him about product launches. Now watch. 

At the end of that Steven Caffrey conversation, you say, “Steven, thank you. You’ve been so generous with your time and with your insights. I’m just curious, is there someone else you think would be willing to talk to me about product launches?” Now watch. 

Steven Caffrey is one of the top certified Product Launch Formula people in Jeff Walker’s world. Do you think Steven is going to send you to another person that’s got some other great experiences? Sure. Then he says, “Well, tell me about your product launch? What is it that you’re wanting to do?” Then you’ve got to be ready with your 30 seconds. I help these people. I help x do y, which is what you teach. 

Once they’re clear about that, then they’ll say, “Oh, you know what, I have a buddy, who’s an expert in product launches in the health and wellness space which is what you’re wanting to do, tell you what, I’ll be happy to introduce you.” 

The concept is, it’s by you getting out of your own way, getting on the phone. By the way, this gave everybody a million-dollar tip, which is to make a list of people that you want to contact that have already done what you’re trying to do. That’s a writer, downer, Mostafa is to make a list of people that have already done what you’re wanting to do. And then just go from that perspective and just keep doing the calls. 

What will happen is, you’ll have about five or six people, you’ll have basically a master’s degree in that topic because you simply interviewed these people. Remember, the other thing I want people to write down is, it’s not just the secret to your success. 

Later in the conversation, you can flip it and say, “Well, I can imagine during this journey with all the success you’ve had, I’m sure there have been times that you’ve experienced challenges or even possibly failures. Is that right?” “Oh, absolutely.” What will they say? “I’ve experienced way more failures than I have successes.” “Oh, really? Tell me more about that.” Then get ready. 

That’s when they’re going to teach you pearls of wisdom. That goes back to my grandfather which is why go and learn it yourself when you can learn from someone else 10 times faster in terms of this context, and it’s cheaper.


Mostafa Hosseini  45:05  

Oh, yes.


Steven Rowell  45:07  

You don’t have to have scars. Does that help in terms of translating that into confidence?


Mostafa Hosseini  45:16  

Absolutely. I’m going to go back to what we talked about earlier. You said that when you did this 1200 times, you only had like two people over the years that you didn’t connect with. Let’s hypothetically say that six out of 10 calls actually say no to you. Let’s imagine that out of 10 big people that I want to connect with, I end up actually connecting with two or three of them, that will end up in a relationship or some sort of a fruitful future or mentorship or something. Wouldn’t that be worth it if we did that? 

I guess as you talked about building competence, I’m sure as we start making these calls, we get better at asking, following up questions, and being more curious. Maybe we’ll come up with a checklist of questions that I’m going to ask. I have a gallery of questions that I could just pop up and be like, “Alright, what do you think about this? How is that? How is this?” Then build competence and now, if you have a conversation with a big shot under your belt, that gives you confidence. 

If you develop a relationship over the years and months to come with that person, and that person becomes your mentor then that gives you confidence. You could walk around and say, I got mentored by Elon Musk himself. Doesn’t that give us confidence? 


How t build bulletproof confidence with 2 questions
Book a 5 Minute Secret Call with Steven Rowell

Steven Rowell  46:54  

Remember, it’s that second question at the end of the first call. It’s that person that refers you to someone else. Remember, when Michael Eisner the CEO of Disney refers me to Roy Disney, Walt’s nephew. The exponential magnificence of this is the power of the halo effect when Roy Disney says any friend of Michael’s as a friend of mine, great to meet you. 

So yes, it’s not only and I love what you said, so two, or three out of 10 people, that’s great. But guess what, it’s two or three out of 10 and then two of those three, refer you to one other person. Those two people that you were referred to, and my experience with others that I’ve taught this to those two people, that second tier, these two are the people that are going to change your life. 

These two are where the angel investor comes from. This is where “Hey, I have a friend who just started a nonprofit. “Hey, I have a friend who’s a CEO of a corporation, who was a victim of domestic violence, and they would love to support your domestic violence charity.” In other words, it’s connecting the dots.


Mostafa Hosseini  48:03  

Yes. Then it starts that chain effect that you just keep going next person, next person, and it could be a never-ending web of people, and amazing, influential experiences. People that you can come across.


Steven Rowell  48:20  

Let me give you one that happened just recently. Last three weeks ago, I taught a young man who has started a new 501C3, started a new nonprofit. Three weeks ago, he took the five-minute secret concept. He made a list of 20 people that were more corporate CEO types that he thought would become sponsors to support the mission. Here’s what’s amazing stuff in three weeks. This was yesterday, on the phone for three weeks. He has seven people that are now board members of the board of directors, and they’re having their first board meeting on Sunday.


Mostafa Hosseini  48:59  

To move forward in three weeks, Wow! Nice. You just gave a masterclass on this and I love it. I’m actually pumped up about what we talked about, it doesn’t happen very often. Tell us about what you do these days and who you serve.


Steven Rowell  49:23  

Oh, sure. I’m a 25-year change management consultant and professional speaker. With the Strategic Speaker Institute, we help professional speakers, typically business corporate type speakers, and business consultants, do three things. One, we help them launch their first high-end mastermind group for their own clients. Number two, we help them license their best programs to other companies or universities. 

Then third, we help them land five and six-figure corporate sponsorships, either to create, for instance, the publishing of a book and a speaking tour or to do a corporate campaign around the country but it’s really licensing your best programs, landing corporate sponsorships, and then launching your first high-end mastermind. A mastermind for corporate executives, that’s $25,000 per person, for instance.


Mostafa Hosseini  50:13  

That is very nice. I’ve seen it firsthand. Steven knows what he’s talking about. He’s been here for a long time. Now I understand that you’re sharing a gift with us: a five-minute sicker blueprint gift. 


Steven Rowell  50:28  

Yes. This will be my fifth book, but this new book, How to Connect with Anyone, Anywhere at Any Time is coming out later this year. Basically, what I’m doing is if you got to talk with Steven, that’s Steven S-T-E-V-E-N, and, you can simply book a 15-minute call. What I’ll be happy to do is, after you book that call, simply connect with me. I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have but I’ll send you the actual process blueprint of exactly how to do these calls. 

It will talk about the scripts to use and how to deal with objections that might come up, or how to really position it, how the conversation itself goes, the questions you want to ask, the question at the end, verbatim, how do you ask that final question? It’s basically a turnkey blueprint for the whole process. 

That’s just my gift pack to anybody that’s interested. I’ve been amazed in the last three months of podcasts, interviews, and summits that I’ve been a speaker, a guest on how many people are starting nonprofits, Mostafa. It’s incredible how people are starting their own nonprofits, or they’re looking to get a board of advisors or strategic advisors, mentors, or board of directors for their own companies whether it’s nonprofit or for-profit. I’m amazed how this process has accelerated for people, the ability to get that group of mentors and advisors around them. 

The other is the angel investor piece. I mean, the angel investor piece is not hyperbole, that’s not an exaggeration. It’s real. There are people that will say, “Well, let me know why you are $50,000, I want to be a part of the game. It’s the whole psychology because they’ve already made their money. Most of these people that go there, they’re good, they’re looking at a way to give back. 

The other thing is to tie back to the son I never had. What I found, Mostafa, with entrepreneurs is that so many of them with their children would be interested. You and I are the father of children ourselves. Of course, there are days when I think that it would be great if my son took up after me with my business. When they don’t have that in their life, that’s another connection, if they want to help you simply because you’re the son or daughter they never had. It’s another part of it. 


Be who you are for a cause, for a reason, for somebody that you want to help. Then build a community around that.

Mostafa Hosseini  52:40  

Another topic for another day would be how to build curiosity in our children. We have them become entrepreneurial and take over the business. Obviously, they have their natural way of thinking and what they want to do but if they’re there, I want my kids to be entrepreneurial. I don’t know, maybe they’re gonna prove me wrong and become an artist, but we’ll see. 

Gang, if you’re listening or watching, to get access to Steven’s five-minute secret blueprint to build confidence in your business, book a call with him. You could sense Steven has been around for well over 20-30 years. He knows what he’s talking about. He just gave us a masterclass on how to connect and build that network. 

By the way, we need a network. It’s a must to build a business and to grow and scale so having that network alone gives us confidence. I always say that it takes a village to raise a kid, but it takes a city to run a business. Have that city you need to have that network of all these people to build and grow and scale your business and what better way than doing the amazing, simple process that Steven shared with us. 

If you want a secure conversation with Steven, go to and pick a time so you can chat. Now, Steven, a couple of questions for you. What are the top two or three books that have made a massive difference in your life or business?


Steven Rowell  54:28  

Great question, I would say it’s definitely Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss.


Mostafa Hosseini  54:50  

I would say send me an aha moment. 


Steven Rowell  54:54  

Seth Godin, you can get it as an audiobook. Seth Godin is The Dip. It is simple but profound. It’s about when you’re in the valley, and you’re thinking that you’re about to give up. It shows how actually some of the people’s greatest successes have come just on the other side of that dip but some people quit too early and they were right at the cusp of something great. The Dip is great. 

Anything by Larry Winget, is incredible, like Success is Your Own Damn Fault, Grow A Pair or You’re Broke Because You Want To Be. Any of those by Larry Winget. It really shoots it straight and says, “Look, get out of your own excuses, get out of your own way.” Those are all really great.


Mostafa Hosseini  55:43  

Anything that you usually recommend people around you to read? You’re like, you’ve got to read this book. 


Steven Rowell  55:55  

I will say, as old as it is, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is profound especially if you’re not from business, and you’re just looking at life in general. Others don’t have to be just about business. It’s really about kind of the key drivers of how to really be a person, a man or woman of character and really have a good focus on that.

How to build bulletproof confidence with 2 questions
It's a must to build a business and to grow and scale so having that network alone gives us confidence.

Mostafa Hosseini  56:27  

I’m good there. Asking the next question, if you had an ad on Facebook or Google that everyone on the planet could see, what would your message be?


Steven Rowell  56:44  

It doesn’t have to be this hard. Just ask. It’s really the spirit of what we’ve been talking about today, which is I think people struggle so much when they try to do it alone. When they try to go, either because of pride or fear or not knowing or genuine dictionary definition of ignorance. They simply go the hard way. 

Emerson Brantley, my business partner, and I were led last February, in the midst of COVID to start a free Friday virtual mastermind group for professional speakers and consultants because we knew that these people were going to get 50/60, 70% of their income taken away from them within 30 to 60 days. I mean, we have a gentleman that shows up every Friday that lost $800,000 in 30 days of business. I mean, when you’re a $20,000 keynote speaker and you lose 40 events, that’s 100 grand, before you even knew what hit you. 

We created that Friday group for one hour, simply as a way to create safety and community for people that we knew were going to be struggling. For me, it’s really about building community. If you really want to put me on a soapbox, this whole thing where people think, “Oh, Steven, I can’t go to that mastermind group because they’re my competition.” If you genuinely think that three other people doing, quote, unquote, the same topic, are a competition, and there’s not enough on this planet for all four of you, you are living in a world of scarcity. I just feel sorry for you because you know that you have the heart for this with what you’re doing with a Simple Marketing Formula. Simply look, let the other three people do what they do.

I mean, there are 100,000 chiropractors, we’re going to become a chiropractor because there are other chiropractors? What you could do is become a chiropractor that specializes in children, specializes in people 50 years and older, specializes with women that are moms after pregnancy, and wants to get healthy backup. In other words, and that’s really where I honor you, Mostafa. You’re really a messenger around that, which is, don’t just say I’m a chiropractor. In other words, be who you are for a cause, for a reason, for somebody that you want to help. Then build a community around that. That’s my quick answer.

Mostafa Hosseini  59:09  

Now, was there one piece of advice that you received over the years that made a massive difference for you? What would it be?

Steven Rowell  59:28  

There are so many, but I’m going to give you one that I think will help people here that are entrepreneurs. No offense intended, by the way to your spouse, but stop asking your spouse what they think about your marketing message in your postcard or in your direct mail piece or on your webpage if they’re not your dream client. 

In other words, stop asking your friends what they think about your new book cover or the title of your book. Stop worrying and asking if they’re not the person that’s going to buy the book. It’s the biggest mistake people make. The one idea is to stop asking people for feedback. That’s not valuable because it’s not who your buyer is. The other piece though, the other side of that same coin, Mostafa, is you are not your own customer. So stop making decisions, as if you’re a customer if you don’t know what your customers are going to buy. 

Mostafa Hosseini  1:00:29  

I’m guilty of that. I’ve done that. 

Steven Rowell  1:00:33  

I think the quintessential want of information marketing today is people spend nine months of their lives building the perfect info product. They painfully never went to ask the people that would buy it, whether that’s what they wanted. You and I both know the rest of that story and I’ve done it twice in my own life, built an entire product that nobody wanted because I never asked what they wanted.

Mostafa Hosseini  1:00:53  


Steven Rowell  1:00:56  

Wanted or needed. Right? 

Mostafa Hosseini  1:00:59  

I heard this from Laura Lankhmar. She says she sells a book and becomes a bestseller before even starting to write a book. So there’s the cover, there’s the outline. Then it becomes a bestseller, and it’s gonna be delivered on such and such date. That’s a better way to go about it, than spending two years to write a book, and then figure out nobody wants that topic. 

Steven Rowell  1:01:28  

That’s true of a product or service, consulting anything, just go sell it first. Then develop it, build it. Go. In other words, go ask the market. Do they even care?

Mostafa Hosseini  1:01:39  

Absolutely. We got to do the market research and do validation, validate the idea on whether we want to know. Now, last question, what advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

Steven Rowell  1:01:56  

You’re gonna fail a lot more than you are successful. Instead of losing 10 years of your life through depression. Stop and feel the pain of the failure and of the loss, but don’t define yourself by the failure.

Mostafa Hosseini  1:02:22  

Steven, is there anything you would like to add before we wrap up, something we didn’t talk about?

Steven Rowell  1:02:29  

I would just invite people to do this. You can make the list and you can get the process blueprint for booking a call with me and so on. But what I’ll share with you is this. 

I had a young man at Temple University, who was an older MBA student or entrepreneurship school student in his mid-30s, older than most of the kids at that time, that would be in that program. He said he hadn’t talked to his dad in 10 years and had been estranged from his father for 10 years. I said, what if you simply take the five-minute secret question, call your dad and say, “Hey, Dad, I know we haven’t talked in 10 years. But when you look back on being the father of five kids, my four brothers and myself, and you look back on your career, what do you think is the secret to your success?” 

The young man did that at Temple University, and three months later, he wrote me an email and he poured his heart out in the email. He said, Steven, I had a two and a half-hour conversation with my dad and we’ve now been talking every week. And I hadn’t talked for about 10 years. I want everybody to think that this isn’t just about business. 

This is about any human being on the planet that you want to deeply connect with, or reconnect with. Simply get out of your own way, and say, “Gee, golly, gosh, shucks, I was just curious. You have five minutes to tell me the secret of how you blank XYZ. Then just listen.

Mostafa Hosseini  1:03:57  

Love it. Steven, this has been a pleasure. I really appreciate you. Gang, if you’re watching or listening, go to It’s going to be in the show notes as well. If you want to have a conversation with this brilliant man, you could secure a time with him there. Thank you for joining us again. If you’re watching and listening, and you’re wanting to become more confident with your business, you could join us in a Simple Marketing Formula. The link is going to be in the show notes. You could click in there and check for upcoming dates. 

Again, if you have any questions, comment as you enter the draw for the gift that we would be giving away throughout the week. For that, you need to like and subscribe to the channel. Comment and ask a question about the topic that we talked about, tag a friend who could benefit from this conversation or rate the show on various platforms, maybe on Apple, Google, Spotify or whatnot and when you enter the draw, you can ask the actual questions there as well. If there’s someone that you would like me to interview, if you have any questions for me, send them to us. 

You can go to our website, where the links are going to be there and we’ll make sure to cover that, or we’re going to go reach out and I’m going to use Stevens’ curiosity method to go and bring people out on the show. Steven, thank you for your time. Have a great rest and we’ll see you. Gang, if you’re listening, we’ll see you next week. Bye now. Take care.


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