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How to Ignite Fierce Loyalty: The Inner Secret [Day 22 – 28 Days to BFL]


This is Day 22 of 28 Days of Building Fierce Loyalty. Yesterday Julie Steelman drew profiles of five distinct social “styles” and how they apply to our efforts at building fierce loyalty. Great “a-ha’s in the comments! Today, Eric Klein taps into our inner eye to teach us the secret of igniting fierce loyalty. He also drew a doodle just for us. 🙂

How to Ignite Fierce Loyalty: The Inner Secret

By: Eric Klein| @EricKlein

I was at our local YMCA this week to swim laps.

To get to the lap pool, I had to walk by the family pool. A toddler was standing at the edge of the pool shaking in fear. His mother was in the water with her arms out-stretched. She was gesturing and encouraging him to jump in.

Watching them, I recalled experiences with my sons when they were toddlers.

They’d standing at the pool’s edge trembling in fear while I stood in the water coaxing them to take the plunge. It takes more than one request.

It takes fierce loyalty to take the plunge.

Think about that kid. His body’s telling him to stay put; that to jump is to die; that the water is life threatening.

What’s true for that kid is true for your customer or client.

They’re at an edge. They’ve gone as far as they can, based on the skills, knowledge, and actions of the past. And they’re stuck. You can see what they need and want to help them take the plunge; take the next step.

But they hold back.

They hesitate. And maybe even walk (run?) away.

How can you help them past their fear so they can benefit from what you have to offer? Through creating a relationship of fierce loyalty.

Fierce loyalty carries people past their fear-conditioned limits.

Fierce loyalty cuts through fear. Before fierce loyalty is ignited, people can only offer you fear-based loyalty.

Fear-based loyalty says:

I’ll follow your lead and let you influence me as long as you:

  • Support my beliefs
  • Reinforce my identity
  • Make me feel good

Fierce loyalty changes the game. Fierce loyalty says:

I’ll follow your lead and let you influence me even when you:

  • Confront my beliefs
  • Challenge my identity
  • Make me feel uncomfortable

What makes it possible for a person to make that shift?

To allow you to influence them to that degree.

The answer comes from studying your own life. Take a moment and reflect on this:

Who do you allow to influence you?

I’ve asked this question of over 2,000 leaders participating in my program on influence and communication. I had them make a list. (You should too.)

Then I asked them, “Why? Why do you allow these people to influence you?

They gave three basic answers.

One was fear.

Another was respect for technical skills or knowledge.

But the deepest reason and the only one that generated fierce loyalty was this: because they have my best interest at heart.

We give fierce loyalty to those people who have our best interest at heart.

Take a moment to let that sink in.

The implication is clear.  If you want to ignite fierce loyalty in another person – have that person’s best interest at heart. Really, deeply, honestly.

This isn’t a marketing tactic. It’s an inner commitment.

When you make this commitment, it transmits itself through your words and action.

People will sense it. They may not be able to put it into words. But when they’re standing on the edge of the pool frozen in fear – it’s your inner commitment to their best interest that they will feel. It’s your inner commitment to their best interest that will communicate.

Because what you hold deeply, truly in your heart will:

  • Shape your thoughts.
  • Shine through your words.
  • Transmit through your actions.

With this inner commitment you’ll be able to study science of influence and all the  marketing tactics and systems – without slipping into sleaze or manipulation.

Okay I can hear an objection.

The objection says, “Eric, I have a business to run. If I just focus on what’s best for them  . . . what about me, my business, my life?”

Great question.

Here’s the short answer: to have their best interest at heart includes your staying in business. It includes you having the financial flow and stability that will support you in having their best interest at heart.

There’s no conflict between your success and having their best interest at heart.

Unless there is . . . for you. But don’t worry. All you have to do is . . . embrace the principle of having their best interest at heart.

When you embrace this principle fiercely – it will bring to light all the ways in which you do not have their best interest at heart. Because even when you consciously choose to hold their best interest at heart – there are parts of you that hesitate, hold back, and are unsure.

There are parts of your mind that believe it’s you or them.

Revealing those parts of your mind that are fearful, needy, and distrusting – is part of becoming fiercely committed to their best interest.

It’s an inner process of that reveals the parts of you that

  • buy into magic bullets
  • get-rich-quick schemes
  • flim-flam manipulation tactics

All of which comprise your ability to spark fierce loyalty. All of which divert you from having their best interest at heart.

Being fierce about having their best interest at heart will show you those parts of your mind that are petty, manipulative, fearful. It’s not pretty. But it’s real.

What do you do when you see those parts of your mind?

You act like that mother in the YMCA pool. You look the fearful parts of your mind in the eye – with love. And you tell them, “It’s okay. You can jump into my arms. I’m here for you. Let’s create something beautiful together.”

As more and more parts of your being make the commitment to holding others best interest at heart  – the people in your world will feel it. They’ll respond to your fierce resolve.

And as you become more fiercely aligned with that commitment –people will naturally line up at the edge of the pool and when you invite them to jump . . . they will.


Eric Klein is one of the few people on the planet who is both a lineage holder in a 5,000 year old yoga lineage and a best-selling business book author. You can get his free book 50 Ways to Leave Your Karma: Freedom, Fear, and the Art of Getting Unstuck at

Eric has worked with over 35,000 people to infuse greater meaning, awareness, and purpose into their work and lives. His book You are the Leader You’ve Been Waiting For won a 2008 Nautilus Book Award for being “a world-changing book promoting positive social change and responsible leadership”. He is the author of the best-seller, Awakening Corporate Soul: Four Paths to Unleash the Power of People at Work (over 200,000 copies sold) and To Do or Not To Do: How Successful Leaders Make Better Decisions.

He lives in Encinitas, California with his wife Devi. Learn more about their work (and get the free book) go to


P.S. If you aren’t already signed up and don’t want to miss out on  28 Days to Building Fierce Loyaltyplease sign up here.

P.P.S. Just in case you missed my announcement about my only live coaching retreat in 2012, you can catch up on the details (like there are only going to be 10 people there) and grab your seat here:

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  • Mark_Silver

    Eric. Brilliant. Thanks for coaxing us all into the pool so fiercely. This is why you’re one of the people I let influence me so deeply.

  • OMG ~ how did I miss this series?! Thanks to Fabeku for posting on Facebook! This post is exactly, I mean EXACTLY, what I needed to hear. I’ve been struggling, knowing a piece is missing, and yet it’s been illusive, right near by, but can’t quite get my finger on it. This filled the gap. Thanks Eric. 

  • Ah, I love this! Such a great mental picture to describe it. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • annettenack

    “Being fierce about having their best interest at heart will show you those parts of your mind that are petty, manipulative, fearful. It’s not pretty. But it’s real.”  <—-this is exactly what I've been needing to hear lately because it is exactly the parts of me that I'm working on.  I've fallen into the me vs them mentality before & I can see how it's counterproductive to fierce loyalty.  Your imagery & your drawing puts it all so succintly that I can't help but want to make the jump myself.

    I'll be working through your questions today so I might be posting again later in the day.  What's really hitting home for me are the questions: who do you allow to influence you?  Why do you allow them to influence you?

    Very simple questions but very powerful.  Thanks for you post today! And thanks for the doodle, ironic in it's own way since I'm sitting inside a YMCA as I type…

  • Eric

    Annette – I love that you’re posting from a YMCA. Life has an amazing sense of humor. Do post your thoughts/reactions to the questions. It will help us all.

  • Eric

    Right back atcha Mark, my man. 

  • Sharon E. Greene

    Hi, Eric,
    Thank you so much for your thoughtful, thought-provoking post. I’ve just downloaded your eBook, 50 Ways, and I’m already benefiting from your insight (on chapter three). One sentence in your post especially resonated with me: “There’s no conflict between your success and having their best interest at heart.” I totally agree. Otherwise, we are not being honest with ourselves and what we say we are here to do, and what we actually deliver. I look forward to finishing your book (over the next several weeks or months, as you recommend) and to receiving your newsletter. Thanks, Sarah, for introducing us to Eric’s work. I’d have never found him without you!

  • Hi Eric,

    If we jump and realize we are our own safety nets, it’s easier to take the plunge.  We will be there to catch ourselves. I jump in, knowing that the water will be warm. And the more I jump in, the more others jump in around me.

    Going for the gusto is contagious. Enjoyed your post. Good words of wisdom for folks stuck in the wading end of life’s pool.


  • eric_klein

    You are your own safety net. Perfect Guiletta. And true. Letting go into bottomless safety – falling deeper and deeper into the truth.

  • Thank you for these thoughts. You have clarified a point that had been bothering me over pulling people into help me. I know now I have to be clear to them about why I’m in the pool trying to persuade them to jump in. They deserve a full explanation of my motives and gains as well as what they will be doing to help others if they take the plunge.

  • Beautifully illustrated…  It is the authenticity that shows through that tells us you have our best interest at heart.  It is this that leads us to be fiercely loyal for it is those who we connect with that we want to be with.  I feel inspired after reading… thank you Eric!

  •  Love this. Especially struck by: “Why? Why do you allow these people to influence you?” Makes me think about being in the right moment to make that connection–ready to accept, absorb, learn, change, experience. Sometimes we “need/want” things but the moment isn’t there (whether it’s new clothes or advice). I think this happens with kids, too–especially the teenagers and young adults in our lives.  

  • Hello Eric, outstanding post! I’ve been in sales and marketing for two decades and if I could identify one reason for my continued success it would be my philosophy of putting my customers/clients best interest first. This way of thinking has cost me money in the short-term but has paid bigger dividends long-term in terms of integrity and respect. The integrity and respect which I have earned has presented me with greater opportunities which have lead to increases sales and revenue. No one has told me they are fiercely loyal to me, but their actions speak for themselves.

    Thank you for being a part of this series. I greatly appreciate your contribution.

  • jPeter78

    I do believe you’re on to something… never quite looked at in this light before, so thanks for turning the light on.
    Coming from the heart is a big message out there these days… and I for one hope that it keeps on getting turned up louder. As more parts of my being commits to showing the love you speak about I truly believe this will  show up the way you speak about.   You have given great insight on how to do that and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for doing that.

  • Thanks for this post Eric. Your picture and analogy of jumping in the pool are wonderful, and I love the constant theme of this series of putting the other person first.

  • rmsorg

    Love it Eric. I am a spiritual person and I can so relate to what you are saying.  Having other’s best interest is hard because at the end of the day we are all human and we all want to “survive” but truly giving to others, unconditionally, will come back to you a thousand times over.  I have battled with this for years and have discovered that the more you put yourself out there and give, without wanting anything back, comes back to you in more blessings than you could have ever expected!

    Truly love your post!  I felt your inner commitment to this community and truly appreciate it!


  • I’m commenting late, but even though I’ve likely missed the conversation, I feel the need to say that this was wonderful. Thank you.

    It really struck me that “respect for technical skills or knowledge” has to be accompanied by knowing that the person has your best interests in mind, or else it’s much less useful. When those two are combined, you have trust that the person both wants the best for you and also has useful insights on how to achieve that. If all you have is the respect for skills and knowledge, though, then you stay a little wary, hoping that this clever, capable person is on your side, hoping their capabilities will help you rather than be downright dangerous.

  • Leila Fanner

    Sooo true, and truly good to hear more and more people in business GETTING it like this. Thank you.
    It all comes back ( to my mind) to the fact that we are all ONE. However over-used that term is – it is true. What I do for you, I do for me. There are no losers when you have another persons best interests at heart.