7 Things I Learned From Spending the Afternoon with Phil Collen of Def Leppard

How often do you get to hang out in somebody’s house with a member of one of your favorite bands?

Phil Collen is the lead guitar player of Def Leppard, one of five bands to sell over 100 million albums. I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon listening to Phil (both speaking, singing, and playing guitar) in the home of Kyle Wilson as part of a mastermind event. As a huge Def Leppard fan, this was a crazy-amazing experience for me.

And as you will find out, Phil has some amazing insights we can learn from and apply to any area of our lives.

1. Exercise

Like many who lived the real rock-n-roll lifestyle, Def Leppard partied hard in their early days – drinking heavily while on tour. So much so that Def Leppard guitarist Steve Clark lost his long battle with alcohol and drugs in 1991.

Phil changed course, though, when he stopped being able to remember events. He started jogging and noticing how much more energy and sharpness he had in his mind. He quit drinking and turned to a lifestyle of health and exercise.

At one time, Phil could bench press 380 pounds (172 kg)! And he only weighs 155 pounds (70 kg). He attributes his energy now to a strict vegan diet and exercising two hours per day.

[clickToTweet tweet=”You either poison yourself or nourish yourself with every meal you eat – Phil Collen” quote=”You either poison yourself or nourish yourself with every meal you eat – Phil Collen”]

He and his wife Helen still have an occasional splurge day (Dorito Day) and feel terrible the next day.

Takeaway: While we all don’t have two hours a day to workout, eating a healthy diet – with the occasional splurge – and exercising are keys to having more energy and getting more done.

Phil answering questions
Phil answering questions

2. Be humble

In 2014, Def Leppard went on tour with Kiss. Even though Def Leppard:

  • sold more albums than Kiss
  • had more #1 hits than Kiss
  • were just as big of a band as Kiss

They were the opening act. A slot usually reserved for lesser-known bands with a smaller fan base. Def Leppard hadn’t been an opening act for years.

Did they balk at being the opening act? No. They took advantage of it and embraced the opportunity.

The result? After the tour had ended, Def Leppard continued touring as the opening act and ticket sales increased 20%.

How did this happen? They got their name in front of all those Kiss fans.

Takeaway: Take advantage of opportunities to get in front of other people’s fan’s and customers even if you are more accomplished/successful/richer. By leveraging these opportunities, you can grow your own audience and business.

Phil and Debbie of Delta Deep Performing
Phil and Debbie of Delta Deep Performing

3. Have a plan A, B, C, D, E, F, G

While Phil initially didn’t have a Plan B if the band didn’t work out, he suggests people to have a plan A, B, C, D, E, F, G..

Because one of those will work.

Takeaway: Work your Plan A, but don’t be afraid to modify it as you go along.

4. Don’t settle for good

During the making of the album Hysteria, famous album producer Mutt Lange had this to say about the bands rough-cut songs:

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    [clickToTweet tweet=”These are good, but if you want to be great, work harder. – Mutt Lange” quote=”These are good, but if you want to be great, work harder. – Mutt Lange”]

    Clearly the band listened. Hysteria would have some of the band’s biggest hits – songs that still get regular airplay today on rock stations.

    Takeaway: Average is easy. Good takes a little more work. Greatness requires great effort.

    5. Keep your foot on the gas

    Phil commented on how Van Halen were extremely hard workers. In the early days, they would play pool parties, schoolyards, bar mitzvahs, high school shows, tiny clubs – everything.

    They were relentless at playing and building up their fan base. They never quit. As Van Halen grew in popularity, they never stopped working hard. They were everywhere.

    If you want your message to be heard, and it’s worth hearing, you have to get in front of as many people as possible.

    Takeaway: Relentlessly work towards your goals.

    6. Be apolitical

    Phil described the band’s music as ‘an escape for everyone’.

    Their music doesn’t reflect what’s going on in politics. You won’t hear about them supporting or not supporting a particular candidate or movement.

    Takeaway: Unless you’re in the business of politics, your best bet is to stay out of politics. Otherwise, we run the risk of alienating others. And for what purpose? Nobody every switched political parties because of your Facebook rant or Twitter post.

    7. Surround yourself with inspiring people

    One of Jim Rohn’s famous quotes is:

    You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

    When you hear about a band that’s been together for 30+ years with the majority of the founding band members still intact, it shows what can be accomplished by surrounding yourself with like-minded people.

    Takeaway: You can take any area of your life – health, business, personal, spiritual, relationships – to the next ten levels if you surround yourself with like-minded people. Consider joining a mastermind group, an accountability group, or finding a good coach/trainer.

    Question: Which rock star would you want to hang out with for an afternoon? Please share your answer in the comments below.

    Thanks to Kyle Wilson for the invite to this awesome event. Kyle is the founder of Jim Rohn International, creator of LessonsFromNetwork, a business coach, and runs mastermind groups.  If you’re looking for a mastermind group, please check out Kyle.

    Thanks to Butch Bellah – an amazing speaker and sales trainer – for introducing me to Kyle.  If you want to take your sales to the next level, connect with Butch.

    Image credit: Chaomancer via Flickr

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