I Speak, Therefore I’m an Expert

 
There are a lot of people who want to give you advice. Many will offer valuable insight but many others have no right to give you, or really anyone else, guidance. To twist a common phrase, they subscribe to the idea that “I speak, therefore I’m an expert.” It’s like the out of work whatever suddenly becomes a consultant to the industry they just left. They were probably let go from their previous job, but they’ll tell you they left to pursue other opportunities. They’ll regurgitate cliches such as “turn the impossible into the possible” or use what I call dumb quotes like “If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.”

How many coaches, advisors, consultants, or experts are really just trying to invent a pedigree? If a business coach’s only business experience is coaching, then how can they help you navigate the intricacies of what it’s really like to negotiate a lease, manage cash flow in the early months of a new business, or later sell a business?

Taking a course in coaching or becoming a certified leadership guru means nothing unless their background and life experience give them insight that you can’t get out of a book.

Speaking of books, how many authors churn out e-books and don’t know what they’re talking about and don’t treat the reader with enough respect to actually proof read let alone get professional editing? A fellow self-published author and I once traded books. As I attempted to read their book I was shocked at the basic mistakes such as lists (three reasons for x) that stopped short at only two, with no mention of the third item. That is disrespectful to the reader and simply sloppy work.

This rant was prompted by an update I saw on an acquaintances profile saying they were part of some consulting group with a fancy, executive style name that I won’t mention out of respect. My only thought was: Really? Wouldn’t you need to have been part of the executive level if you’re going to advise them? Wouldn’t you have had to rise up a bit higher than middle management?

I’ve said it before, I’m a nobody. If you’re reading this you’re probably here by accident (I’m glad you found me though) but I’m a nobody with real accomplishments and real lessons that I can share, not just a story of someone I knew who had a friend who owned a business.

As I plan my what next, coaching is a possibility but it’s a decision I have to consider carefully because I’d hate to be lumped in with people who are only experts because they alone have deemed themselves experts. They are thought leaders without an original thought and very little leadership experience. Where did this phrase thought leader come from, anyway? I’d prefer a do leader. I’d rather a person does something than thinks about it.


Posted in General by with no comments yet.

Confidence and Negativity Happy Together

 

I read one line of an article and was so annoyed I just had to write this post in response. The line read: “The most confident individuals are able to avoid negative self-talk…”

I am one of the most confident people I know and I’m also really good at negative self-talk. I am so hard on myself sometimes, I could make myself cry. OK, that might be an exaggeration but come on, who doesn’t doubt themselves, and occasionally beat themselves up?

Negativity is balance to an over-confident idealist who believes they can do anything. Through negative self-talk I can explore and understand my own deficiencies. I can come up with all the reasons I’ll fail and then I can convince myself I’m wrong. If I can’t convince myself that I’m wrong, then I’m probably right.

I would say that confident individuals don’t avoid negative self-talk, they use it to gain a better understanding of themselves, to become more self-aware. What confident people do is not let the negativity win. Avoiding negative self-talk completely, sounds a lot like delusion to me.

Not only do I not avoid negative thoughts, I also try to find the negative aspects of success. Sounds pretty pessimistic of me but what it does is help me understand how I could have been better. For example: I just sold a business. The business was profitable and successful in many ways but I know it could have been better. Instead of patting myself on the back, I’m looking for the areas where I didn’t do so well so that next time (I promised my wife there wouldn’t be a next time) I’ll be a much stronger businessman or, maybe, I can just offer better advice.

Where has that negative self-talk (I call it honest assessment) taken me? To the realization that I need to be a better evangelist, I need to communicate my excitement in a way that will excite others. There were times I was able to do that but I know I could have been better. Without the negativity I would blame all my failings on my employees. They share some of that blame but not all of it. The negative self-talk helped me realize my deficiency.

How do you handle negativity in general and negative self-talk specifically?


Posted in General by with no comments yet.

If You Can’t Beat Them…

Well it’s official and Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States. As the saying goes: if you can’t beat them join them.

  • I’m going to call myself a patriot but won’t care if a foreign country interferes with our election, won’t trust the CIA or FBI.
  • I’ll wave the flag but not believe in the necessity of government.
  • I’ll call myself a Christian but won’t give a second thought to the less fortunate.
  • I will believe in individual responsibility but blame everyone else for my problems.
  • I’ll hate big government and taxes but will cry foul if bridges and roads are falling apart and the police aren’t paid well enough.
  • I’ll call myself a capitalist but be incensed when a drug company raises their prices.
  • I’ll demand my rights but want to take rights from others.
  • I will demand respect but not give it.
  • I’ll value the second amendment but not the first.
  • I’ll make alegations and offer no proof.
  • I’ll decry some people’s conflicts of interest but ignore other’s.
  • I’ll blame environmentalists for over-regulation but complain when air is polluted and water isn’t safe to drink.
  • I’ll do all this because I’m smart, smarter than scientists, smarter than generals, smarter than Nobel laureates.

 


Posted in General by with no comments yet.

The Sinking Boat

 
SinkingBoatWhen is a dream about a boat sinking a good thing? Well, it’s better that it was a dream rather than real but I still think the symbolism of this dream was positive.

I don’t often remember dreams but when I do there always seems to be a reason. Let me setup the situation with some background as to what was going on in my life.

The spa business my wife and I own has been doing well. The one problem we have is that we need to hire more people to keep up with the demand so that’s a good thing. One hire we needed was a manager and we had found a winner. Our new manager was excellent in every way and really put us at ease. Now we could concentrate on other issues and keep growing. Three weeks into her employment, however, she stopped showing up to work. We could not reach her in any way. She didn’t return phone calls, emails, or texts. We were at a loss.

That’s when I had this dream. In the dream every time I checked on my boat it had sunk but, being a dream, it would rise up again. I’d leave and when I would return it had sunk again. But it would rise again. The pattern continued, sink, rise, sink, rise. And that’s when I woke up.

So why do I think this is a positive thing? Because being an entrepreneur, owning a business, is like being a sinking boat that can rise again. Things go wrong, some things are beyond your control, but when things go wrong you have to rise up and deal with them, fix them, and keep moving. Our manager chose Valentine’s Weekend not to show up and my wife and I stepped in and worked. We did what we had to do and the business kept moving. We sank but were able to rise again. I’m sure something else will happen to make us feel as if we’re sinking but we do what it takes to stay afloat. Whatever the challenge, we keep focused on success.

Saturday could have been a disaster but we rose to the challenge and had a very good day.


Posted in Business, General, Leadership, Outdoors, Success, Taking Action and tagged , , , , by with no comments yet.

Dream Income

 
No I’m not going to show you how to have a dream income, instead I’m going to rail against those who make money doing nothing but selling you a dream.

SunsetDreamI don’t respect people who sell nothing but hope and dreams. These are the people who come up with inspirational quotes, who make you believe you can do anything, that all you need is the confidence and belief in yourself. They tout mystical and mythical things like The Secret and “laws” of attraction.

I’m thinking of people like Jim Rohn and Anthony (or is it Tony) Robbins, people whose product is inspiration and motivation. I know they have fans Anthony Robbinsand supporters but they don’t impress me. Jim Rohn was an “entrepreneur” who ran a direct sales organization (Nutri-Bio, whatever that is) that went out of business. (Don’t get me wrong – I couldn’t be successful at that but then again I’m glad that I can’t sell people useless things they don’t need.)

Instead I’m impressed by people like Gary Vaynerchuk who is not short on inspiration and motivation but who doesn’t make those things his only source of income. On the contrary they are a small portion of his success. His speaking and books are his side hustle not his industry.

Similarly I wrote a book and have my own quotes like the one above and this one: “inspiration without action is just a good intention.” But I don’t want to sell you the dream of success, I want you to be motivated by the realization of my dreams as I am by the realization of Gary Vaynerchuk’s.

Gary_1Gary has great quotes but it’s his business success that I derive energy from. Whether it’s building Wine Library from a bricks and mortar liquor store to a large online retailer, or being an important part of social media with Vayner Media, Gary has built tangible success.

Too many people eat up the inspiration of these salesmen and feel great about themselves while they continue sitting on the sofa safe with their dream of success.


Posted in Business, General, Success and tagged , , , , , , , by with no comments yet.

Progress Vs. Perfection

 
twit1There are a couple of trends I’ve noticed among those I follow on twitter recently. The first is a belief that passive income is the path to success. That one isn’t wrong but it isn’t as easy as it sounds either. The other trend is the choice (maybe a false choice) between progress and perfection.
The Truth
It is true that if you wait until everything is known, until there is no risk and everything is perfect, you’ll never get started. Paralysis by analysis as it’s called. But that doesn’t mean you should settle. Strive for perfection while moving forward.
The Reality
In What Next I talk about the ability (metaphorically speaking) to hike or travel two or more paths at the same time. This is working a day job while pursuing a business idea you have, for example. Well the same is true with progress and perfection. Keep moving forward and when you fall short of perfection ask why and modify your course.
Simple Sells
The reason progress or perfection is presented as a choice or passive income is presented as the solution to success is that they’re simple. These choices let you off the hook. You don’t have to work hard because you have passive income – well that’s bull. It’s ok not to strive for perfection because at least you’re moving forward – also bull.
It may not be the simple solution you want, but the truth is, success is hard. If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t be reading this and other similar posts. Don’t let yourself off so easily, dedicate yourself to doing the hard work and find true success.


Posted in Business, General, Money, Success and tagged , , , , , , by with no comments yet.

Building up

 
This is what I want:

home48

And this is what I have:

NewBoat

And this is where I started:

Jetski 750SX

You don’t start at the top and work your way down. You don’t start with a yacht and end up with a Jestski. You start at the bottom – but the bottom for me is different than the bottom for you.

Richard Branson grew up wealthy so for him starting at the bottom was founding a magazine. John Paul DeJoria, founder of Paul Mitchell hair care and Patron tequila (love the coffee Patron), once lived in a car, bottom for him was really low.

It is incremental steps that build success and wealth, but like starting at the bottom the increments are larger or smaller depending on the person.

Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, grew that business incrementally. Begun in 1971 Schultz bought the company in 1987 and expanded outside the Seattle area for the first time that same year. The company didn’t go public until 1992 when it had just 140 locations compared to over 16,000 today. The incremental growth was slow in the beginning and picked up speed as time went on. Incremental growth speeds up with momentum. None of the successful people you know have coasted to the heights they’ve achieved. Success is an uphill climb and coasting doesn’t work up hill.

But what do the boats have to do with growing a business? Nothing really, but they are the end result of that success. I mean really, why work if it can’t buy fun? The boats represent how growing your business is tied to growing your own success. We grow our businesses, our savings, our net worth so that we can enjoy it. When I got my first job out of college I bought that Jetski and thought I had hit the big time. Over the years I upgraded and bought a boat and then another Jetski. I traded up for a bigger boat and now I’ve traded up once again for the boat you see in the middle.

I’ve taken small steps over the years which is how I’ve been able to grow in other areas such as net worth and investment portfolio. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the yacht in the first picture but I know I won’t get it by obsessing over it. I’ll get that boat by continuing to work hard, by growing my various What Next businesses, and by keeping focused on success. It’s the people who focus on the results of success rather than the work of success who end up with less than they started.


Posted in Business, General, Money, Success and tagged , , , , by with no comments yet.

Gamblers Who Don’t Gamble

 
Entrepreneurs are gamblers who don’t gamble and risk takers who aren’t risky.

Sparked by curiosity, entrepreneurs explore farther and wider than most people but they aren’t reckless (at least not the successful ones).

RouletteNothing happens without ideas, and curiosity is what leads to the best ideas. You have to go through a lot of ideas before you find that magical one that both excites you and works. That search can sometimes take a lifetime and the search is what many people don’t understand about entrepreneurs. In my interview with Gary Vaynerchuk he said he has ideas “24/7.” But he doesn’t blindly follow all of them or most of them or even some of them. He said that if the idea sticks around for a while, just won’t leave his mind, then he’ll follow it.

Which takes me to the idea of risk. Acting on any new idea has risk associated with it but there is a difference between being risky and taking a risk. Being risky is just doing it without much thought or planning. Taking a risk is researching, learning as much as you can, turning the unknown into the known so that surprises are minimal, and then going for it. One approach is dangerous the other is smart.

A lot of people confuse this penchant for risk as gambling but gambling is a loser’s game, gambling is a game of chance and successful entrepreneurs work hard to reduce chance. You can’t eliminate chance but there comes a tipping point when risk has been reduced to the point that action makes sense. This is why I put the following quote in my book: “I have always found that if I move with seventy five per cent or more of the facts that I usually never regret it. It’s the guys who wait to have everything perfect that drive you crazy.” That was Lee Iococca, the former CEO of Chrysler and that is the difference between someone who sees entrepreneurship as risky, as gambling, and someone who understands risk and works to make it less risky.

The person who has to wait until all risk is eliminated will never be an entrepreneur, and the person who rushes in without thought or preparation won’t be successful, but the balance between these two extremes puts the odds in your favor. It’s why I ask What Next and why I work hard to answer that with facts.


Posted in Business, Curiosity, General, Success, Taking Action and tagged , , , , , , , , by with no comments yet.

Finish Strong

 
finish-lineI don’t want to cross the finish line feeling half dead, I want to cross that line feeling victorious no matter what place I’m in.

I’m no coach or professional trainer but, as I work my way up to 13.1 miles in preparation for my first half marathon, I have a specific method to my treadmill workouts (it’s cold outside).

I always start slow (my current starting pace is 5 mph) and increase my speed as the run continues. When I reach a comfortable speed (currently 5.5 mph) I stay there for most of the run. On longer runs I will drop back to 5 mph and then build up to 5.5 or higher to finish.

The point is that I want to finish better than I started, and the important takeaway is that it’s a gradual but building process. The same is true in life and business. A business doesn’t go from $100,000 in revenue to a million overnight, they build up to it over time.

Sometimes it’s necessary to pull back, to intentionally slow down, so you can be fresh and have the energy needed to see the goal to the end. How many people and businesses keep the pedal to the floor but run out of stamina?

As I was increasing my speed on the treadmill I thought about what incremental changes I could make in my life, what could I do more of to get ahead. As I was dropping back to my starting speed I thought about what I could let up on so I could focus on more important things.

This gave me a whole new perspective and I wanted to get off the treadmill right then and get to work (ok, I just wanted the workout to be over). So I finished strong and turned my attention to other ways I’ll be sure to finish strong.


Posted in Business, General, Success, Taking Action and tagged , , , by with no comments yet.

Slow Motion Lottery

 
powerballI didn’t win the Powerball (I also didn’t play but my wife did) and to make matters worse, my net worth has taken a big hit so far this year as the stock market has cratered. If I were close to retirement I’d  be worried.StockDecline

People, so called experts (you know my feelings on experts), are saying stupid things like sell everything, or sell into any rally. Don’t listen.

On the contrary, buy and keep buying. Don’t take every last penny and invest, that’s just as stupid, but if you buy regularly as the market falls, you’ll have a lot more shares when things turn around. It’s a proven concept called dollar cost averaging. These “experts” make it sound like dollar cost averaging is only a good idea when markets rise but it’s just the opposite. It works best the further the market falls.

The spring is tightening, coiling up for those of us smart and confident enough to stick with a plan, and bold enough to adjust the plan to take advantage of panic.

The lottery is real it’s just not a sudden and unexpected thing. It’s predictable (over long periods of time) and involves some faith but mostly discipline. The slow motion lottery of investing and working hard isn’t found in a convenience store, it’s found in your character.

So what should you do?

Make a plan. Investing blindly is no different than paying money for random numbers you hope will match some other random numbers.

It’s a new year and if you didn’t max out your 401k last year, this is the year to do it. I have calculated the amount I need to invest each paycheck so that I’ll hit the max on my last paycheck. Here’s how you can do the same: Take 18,000 (2016 max) and divide by your salary. This is the percentage you should invest. Take that percentage and multiply by your gross paycheck. For example: if your income is $80,000/year then the percentage you need to save is: 22.5%. Your weekly gross is $1,540 and you should put $347 each paycheck into your 401k.

That alone is good but it’s not lottery worthy. Save more now than you ever have and invest in accounts other than your 401k.

Discipline is hard. Saving when you really want to spend is hard but it’s a winning lottery ticket you just have to have the guts to buy it.

PS: if you read this far I’m impressed but I know you’re probably thinking there is no way you could save and invest that much. You’re wrong. Check out how much I save and stop making excuses.


Posted in General, Money, Success and tagged , , , , , , by with no comments yet.