Written by: Tricia Brouk, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Being able to support speakers in using their voice for impact is a privilege and I had the pleasure of sitting down with Dan to discuss numbers, why mindset won’t make you rich and how accounting does not have to be boring.
Dan Nicholson is the author of Rigging the Game: How to Achieve Financial Certainty, Navigate Risk and Make Money on Your Own Terms, deemed a best-seller by USA Today and The Wall Street Journal, among others. In addition to founding the award-winning accounting firm Nth Degree CPAs, Dan has created and run multiple small businesses, including Certified Certainty Advisor, a professional certification he runs through CertaintyU. CertaintyU is a program that teaches business owners methods for increasing financial certainty, minimizing risk, and engineering cash flow. Dan also developed the Certainty App, a financial tool built for entrepreneurs based on the ideologies he teaches.
Dan, rigging the game connotes manipulation or dishonesty in order to achieve a certain result. What do you mean when you use this phrase?
It’s true, many hear “rigging the game” and they think it’s nefarious. I’m intentionally being a bit provocative with the term. That said, when I say “rigging the game,” what I mean is how to design systems or processes to engineer luck, and, even more specifically, ‘Certainty.’ Certainty, in my lexicon, means to get what you want, on your terms, without compromise.
As further context, I believe this quote from W Edwards Deming to be profoundly true – “Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.”
Let’s deconstruct that further. Let’s say you don’t like the results you’re getting. That leaves you with 3 options:
Change the system to get the results you do want.
Change your behavior within the system to get the results you do want.
When you change the system or your behavior, you are “Rigging The Game.” You are engineering what others will perceive to be “luck.”
Why do people desire certainty in their financial lives? Talk about the psychology behind this desire.
After thousands of financial related conversations, I’ve found that the ultimate question every person is asking themselves in the context of finances is: Am I going to be okay?
That is to say, will I have enough financial resources to live the life I want on my terms? Within this question is an inherent challenge. “What we want” is an infinite game – it continues to evolve and change. As humans, we are biologically wired for more in the form of dopamine (the molecule of more).
So, even when we’ve “made it,” the impulses for more are unlikely to fade. This compounds the wondering of “Am I going to be okay?”
This future focused concern is a representation of anxiety.
Now, as Chip Conley once said, Anxiety = Uncertainty x Powerlessness.
Taking that one step further and applying the distributive property, we can recast that as Financial Anxiety = Financial Uncertainty x Financial Powerlessness.
So, if we want to ultimately have less Financial Anxiety it follows that we need more Financial Certainty and more power over our finances.
How do you support people inside of CertaintyU?
CertaintyU is an education platform where we certify purpose-driven entrepreneurs in what we call the Certainty Methodology. This is an operating system that teaches entrepreneurs how to systematically gain more Certainty in their business(es) and life – that is to say, how to continually engineer getting what they want, on their terms, without compromise.
There are three pieces to how we support our students:
Supercharging their authority.
Through our educational platform, we support our students through highly curated cohorts of diverse purpose-driven entrepreneurs. It begins with 8 weeks of weekly education on extraordinary leadership. During this time, they are unlearning a lot of falsehoods about what it really means to be extraordinary and beginning to hone in on their unique abilities (or what we call, Playing Your Game). During this time, we encourage them to keep loops open and journal daily.
After the 8 weeks we transition to 12 weeks on the Certainty Methodology. At that point, we create a communication channel for all the students to collaborate as frequently as they want.
Question and Answer meetups are scheduled monthly along with 2-day quarterly summits. Its during the Summits in particular where the students really gel with many reporting that this is the first group where they’ve ever felt truly seen as no one is telling them to conform or be someone they are not.
Lastly, once they graduate, we supercharge their authority in their field. We do this by showcasing them on my Podcast, on social media channels, through press releases, through article placements and through speaking opportunities within our network.
Do you use these principles in all areas of your life and if so how?
I developed all of these principles in reaction to perceived failures in my business and life. So, yes, I use all of the principles in all areas. As an example, one of the underpinnings of the Certainty Operating System is “closer over more.” That means that instead of assuming more is the answer (e.g., more clients or more revenue) we evaluate whether the decision will get us closer to what we really want. I use this within my businesses with every decision but as it relates to what “I WANT” that necessarily means that I’m evaluating it in the concept of my life.
Tricia Brouk, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Tricia Brouk is an international award-winning director. She has worked in theater, film, and television for three decades. Tricia founded The Big Talk Academy where she certifies speakers in the art of public speaking. She was the executive producer of Speakers Who Dare and TEDxLincolnSquare and now The Big Talk Live. She is currently being featured in a new documentary called Big Stages, which highlights the transformation of her speakers. Tricia’s commitment and devotion to inclusion are a priority as all of her shows, events, and communities are diverse. She curates and hosts the Speaker Salon in NYC, The Big Talk, an award-winning podcast on iTunes and YouTube. The Influential Voice: Saying What You Mean for Lasting Legacy was a #1 New Release on Amazon in December 2020. She was awarded Top Director of 2019 by the International Association of Top Professionals and Top Ten Speaker Coaches in Yahoo Finance in 2021. Her documentaries have received critical acclaim—winning Best Documentary Short at The Olympus Film Festival and Los Angeles Movie Awards. Tricia has spoken at Forbes, Pride Global, New York Public Library, I Heart My Life Live, and The National Organization for Rare Disorders.