Mediocore is Worse Than Bad

Jun 28, 2010


Give me a disaster any day of the week. Disasters are easy to fix, because they MUST be fixed. They must never ever happen again or else. Whatever it takes to fix, you will give.

Mediocre is actually worse. Feeling slightly more lethargic because you don’t get enough sleep or eat bad isn’t enough to change for 99.9% of people. Being in an OK business that pays you slightly over subsistence is hard to walk away from after you’ve spent years building it. Same thing from mediocre marriages and relationships.

Walking away from mediocre or above average for something uncertain is one of the hardest things in the world to do, especially if you’ve worked hard for it.

It is only when you realize that mediocre is a trap that keeps you from greatness, that you then realize that leaving mediocre behind is a MUST.

What’s mediocre in your life and how can you eliminate it immediately?




Think Big

Jun 27, 2010


It’s possible!!

I am literally constantly humbled. Being the co-founder of the tour, I’m constantly surrounded by people who have done more in their life in different areas than I have, most of them at a younger age.

I remember when I was in college and just starting to meet people outside of where I grew up. It was actually debilitating to learn about entrepreneurs more successful than I was. It challenged my self image, made me feel jealous, resulted in a long overnight work spurts to compensate, and sometimes made me knock down someone else’s accomplishments so I could feel better about myself. It’s not pretty. It’s not something I’m proud about, but it’s the truth, and it’s how the ego works.

However, there comes a point, when you realize that there are just so many amazing people in this world who have lived, who live now, and who will live – that comparison becomes irrelevant and almost silly. Everyone has played life’s roulette when it comes to who their parents were, where they grew up, and how they were exposed to life’s circumstances. We can’t change that stuff. So much is out of our control.

Most likely, we will all die. We will all be equally humbled by life.

In the end, we must live our own journey, and compete against who were yesterday, no who someone else was. We must ask ourselves what we did today to take full advantage of the potential we were given.

We must look at the accomplishments of others as inspiration for what we too can do and be.

So, today, think bigger than you ever have! It’s possible. The proof is all around us.




The Hard Work I Do

Jun 26, 2010


Below is a list of the hard work I choose to do in order to live my purpose:

  1. Going to bed around 10:00pm on weeknights and waking up at 6:00am. I’d rather stay up late reading blogs and watching TV and then sleep in as late as I want.
  2. Meditating for 30-60 minutes a day on weekdays. Most of the time, I’d rather be doing stuff than being alone with my thoughts.
  3. Making sales calls every single day. I used to be terrified of calling past or existing customers. It was just outside of my comfort zone. Now, everyday, I know that the most important work I can be doing is understanding our cusotmer’s needs better and expanding our relationship. Now, many customers are friends.
  4. Being a vegan and eating little sugar and saturated fats. I know that not eating properly has the ability to throw my whole day off and make me very silly. It also makes it much harder to focus and do the work that must get done. At the same time, I still want to eat ‘bad’ food when I see it.
  5. Doing the most important things first. I start off the day doing what I’ve already established as the most important stuff, not necessarily the stuff I most want to do.
  6. Speaking in public. I grew up being very shy, and I still consider myself introverted. I get nervous every time I speak, granted a lot less than I used to. This year, I had a lot of firsts. I spoke to three audiences over 1,500 people. I spoke internationally. I spoke to MANY groups of students who were required to be there by their teacher who came from a completely different background than I did. I’ve spoken to audiences that have consisted of entrepreneurs with businesses in the tens of millions and hundreds of millions. I spoke to an audience with the former secretary of education and Steve Forbes. All of these were outside my comfort zone.
  7. Spending 6 hours per day with my daughter during the week. Although, I love this time, I ALWAYS feel like I’m behind on my work. As an entrepreneur, I always have the fear in the back of my mind that we could go bankrupt. To spend time with my daughter and be with her, I must let go of my ‘stories’ about what I should be doing.

These are tough trade-offs. They are trade-offs that must be made every single day. Sometimes, I cave in to my ‘lizard brain’. However, I know they’re the right thing to do in order to live my purpose.

What hard work do you do?




Paying Dues is Not Necessary, But Hard Work Is!

Jun 26, 2010


I never liked the idea of starting at the bottom of a hierarchy, doing grunt work, and incrementally getting more money and freedom, as I did my job well and played the proper politics. That’s partially why I’m an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurship allows you the freedom to do what you want, when you want, with whom you want, and have “unlimited” earning potential.

However, here’s the reality:

  1. Most entrepreneurs spend more time working for themselves than they ever would for their boss.
  2. Being a successful entrepreneur often requires you to work harder (stuff that’s outside of your comfort zone) than you ever would for someone else.

When you work for someone else, you’re given a job description and an estimate of how much you’ll have to work on a weekly basis. Of course, you may have to work more hours sometimes and do stuff out of your job description, but a rough ceiling is set.

When you’re an entrepreneur, there is no ceiling. You’re responsible for 100% of the result. On the other hand, you have the freedom to do whatever it takes to achieve that result. However, very often, what’s required is gaining new skill sets, going outside your comfort zone, spending your own money, and doing whatever else it takes.

This reality is very different from the one that’s painted in the media. I used to think that entrepreneurship was only about doing what I enjoyed 100% of the time, not having any challenges, and become rich overnight.

The problem was thatn when I tried to live the picture that the media painted, it didn’t work very well. I found myself resisting the hard work that would lead to growth, which made me feel guilty. It also meant that the business wasn’t growing, which meant we amassed tens of thousands in bad debt.

When I switched my paradigm away from purely passion to passion and purpose, my life completely changed personally and professionally. It’s a much harder life to live, but completely worth it in my mind.

I’ve seen many people stop being entrepreneurs because they are running into challenges, which is not fitting in with their paradigm of “living the dream effortlessly”. Unfortunately, they don’t realize that entrepreneurship has challenge after challenge and a great entrepreneur is able to constantly confront those challenges and recontextualize them as opportunities.

A great book you may want to check out is the War of Art.




16 Inspiration Strategies that Have Worked for Me

Jun 26, 2010


  1. Setting a vision that truly resonates with me on an emotional level.
  2. Surrounding myself with peers who are on the same path at a similar level and supporting each other in every way possible.
  3. Reading autobiographies of people that I really admire.
  4. Having short-term and long-term goals that are inspiring and believably achievable.
  5. Being a parent.
  6. Being part of a network of people doing stuff that really inspires me.
  7. Being exposed to mentors who are many levels above where I am.
  8. Making progress toward that vision.
  9. Constantly learning new and more effective ways to realize my goals and vision.
  10. Recontextualizing my experiences to be grateful and appreciative for every moment.
  11. Creating an action plan that leads to my goals and vision.
  12. Eating well.
  13. Getting good sleep.
  14. Taking time for relaxation.
  15. Having deep family and friend relationships that are deeper than what I’m doing or have achieved.
  16. Having faith in a higher power.



What To Expect When You’re Starting a Business (3 Misconceptions)

Jun 26, 2010


I completely believe in the potential of entrepreneurship as a vehicle for changing the world, creating wealth, having freedom, and pursuing your passion. At the same time, many people drastically overestimate how easy everything will be. By being more realistic, you can massively increase your odds of success and not give up too soon thinking that your business was a failure when it wasn’t.

  1. You’re Initial Idea Will Not Work. When you’re starting a business, your idea is essentially a bunch of assumptions (ie – If I do x, then so-and-so will do y). Most of these assumptions will be wrong. Even successful experienced entrepreneurs will have many incorrect assumptions about their business idea. However, it’s ok!!!! If you realize this ahead of time, systematically test the assumptions, and don’t bet the farm upfront, you’ll be more than ok.
  2. It Will Take More Than Twice as Long and Twice as Much Money to Get StartedPartially related to randomness and partially related to your assumptions being wrong, things will just take much longer and be more expensive than you think. If you give yourself lots of wiggle room, you’ll be ok.
  3. Your Challenges Will Only Grow. As your business grows, the quantity and magnitude of your challenges will increase. If you think things like coming up with an idea are hard, wait until you start worrying about employees, making payroll, etc. You must completely recontextualize challenges as positive events and consciously choose them or you’ll go crazy. Solving challenges is the best way to learn and grow. Solving tough challenges gives you an advantage over current and potential competitors who may confront and not be able to overcome the same challenges. I see too many people give up when they face challenges thinking they’ve done something wrong.



Constant Maximum Personal Growth without Exception in Every Moment

Jun 19, 2010


A note to myself….

That is the vision for my life. Living this as a father, husband, son, social entrepreneur, and human being is the best way that I can make the maximum impact on the world and be fulfilled.

The plateau of wealth, materialism, fame, hedonism, and power are well-documented. After a certain point, each incremental improvement yields a smaller reward.

Growth is its own reward and its benefits multiply with each incremental improvement.

The dissolution of fear, greed, jealousy, anger, negativity, etc. is not easy and becomes progressively harder as bigger and bigger blocks are removed.

Sometimes there is nothing outward to show for personal improvement. Therefore, the need for recognition and approval for may have to be surrendered in order to stay focused and not default back to old behaviors.

I believe who we are echos more loudly through history than what we do.

As the famous basketball coach, John Wooden, said, “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.” – John Wooden




Books Are One of the Best Mentors You Can Have

Jun 19, 2010


What is the lowest cost way to quickly get great mentorship guaranteed?

Books!

On Amazon.com, you can buy the best books the human race has ever known on any topic, for between $.03 and $30. Or you can pick it up for free at the public library if its a classic.

There are three types of books that I personally find great for personal growth and success:

  1. Autobiographies
  2. Self-development
  3. How-to

Autobiographies provide a step-by-step recounting of someone else’s journey in their own words. It really helps you get beyond what the media says about them and understand their worldview. Self-development books provide general principles for success based on research and/or personal experience. Finally, how-to books provide step-by-step advice on a how to accomplish a specific goal.

It’s too bad there is a stigma against books among young people. The real stigma is being forced to read books one doesn’t enjoy or benefit from by well-intentioned schools and parents.

We can’t control where we are born and who our parents are. Some of us are lucky and exposed to principles growing up that will have us be successful. Unfortunately, others are never exposed to these principles by parents or community. For these individuals, the right books (in-print or audio) are a second chance.




To Do Lists Generally Hold People Back

Jun 19, 2010


If we had all the time in the world, to do lists would be the perfect time management tool.

For the better or worse, we only have 24 hours in a day, 365 days in a year, and around 70-80 years to live.

Furthermore, we consistently and drastically over-estimate what can be done in a given time period, because we don’t account for randomness and having less than 100% productivity.

With only a to do list and no accountability system, many people default to what is most urgent or what they want to do. This doesn’t create the best results.

A to do list is step 1 of 4.

Step 2 is dividing the to do list into what MUST get done and what is on the CRITICAL PATH to your most important goals. When creating MUST goals, it is important to be disciplined about not including would-be-nice goals. When creating CRITICAL PATH goals, one must work backwards from a general life vision, to specific goals, to specific actions that can be taken today that will most directly lead to the goals.

Step 3 is prioritizing the MUST and CRITCAL PATH action items and making more tough decisions about what you won’t have time to do. Realistically, you probably won’t be able to get all of them done as quickly as you’d hope, so having them prioritized helps you focus on the most important ones first.

Step 4 is scheduling and taking action on what’s most important first. Most people need some sort of accountability system to make this happen. A basic system includes sharing the actions with someone supportive and attaching a consequence to uncompleted actions and a reward to completed ones.




The Power of Mentorship – We All Should Have Lots of Them

Jun 19, 2010


Nothing is guaranteed.

I could eat perfectly, go to the best schools, and generally do all the right things and be hit by a drunk driver tomorrow who drives on to the sidewalk. In other words, there is no way to guarantee the results you’re looking for.

However, mentorship is one of the core best practices to putting the odds in your favor when it comes to success.

In my mind, success is about putting the odds massively in your favor. Mentorship, or learning from people who have already accomplished all or part of what you want to accomplish, is one of the best tools to stack the cards. If you’re resilient, able to learn from and adapt to a constantly changing environment, and matched with the right mentorship, the odds of achieving your wildest entrepreneurial goals over your lifetime is extremely probable.

I think statistics about success are complete BS. For example, have you heard the statistics about the number of startups that fail in the first 5 years…something like 80%.

Numbers like these are misleading. First, they don’t take into account people who die and people choosing to move on to better opportunities. Secondly, who cares if most first attempts fail? I personally expect most of my first ideas to fail in the market. However, the feedback I get and lessons I learn help me be more successful the next time. Finally, these statistics are for the overall population. What about people who get mentorship, are as resilient as I am, etc. What are the odds of success then? I believe they are very good and that they increase over time.

One of the biggest mistakes I see first-time entrepreneurs make is not appreciate the power of mentorship. Ironically, the more of a newbie one is, the less one realizes the power of mentorship. Newbies don’t know what they don’t know. They can’t grasp how big the world of knowledge is that they don’t know is.

In a future article, I’ll talk about specific strategies to find and build relationships with mentors.