20 Questions

20 Questions




This is a great post from a mentor of mine, Josh Linkner.  Set aside a block of time this week to think about the questions in his post, I bet you’ll be surprised about some of the answers after taking the chance to relfect on them.

Give Josh a big Thank You for sharing either on his blog, Twitter (@joshlinkner) or on Facebook!


Excuses & Success


  1. Do you really want to be successful?
  2. Who and what have you blamed for past failures?
  3. What are the excuses that have prevented your from moving forward?

I always enjoying reading insights from Robert Kiyosaki.  I especially appreciate the message in his most recent blog post about taking personal accountability for our own successes and failures.  We as leaders, must realize that before we can ‘fix’ others or blame those around us for our situation, we first must look at ourselves and ask the question “would I follow this person as a leader?” and accept that we are the ones that have made the decisions that have gotten ourselves to our current point in life both good and bad.  Don’t let excuses prevent you from living an extraordinary life and embrace the reality that YOU have ultimate control over your thoughts, actions, beliefs, words, decisions and outcomes.

Be Remarkable

purple cow


For those of you who haven’t read Seth Godin’s book “Purple Cow” or any of his books for that matter, I highly suggest that you pick one up and prepare to be blown away.  He talks about how traditional marketing model is no longer an effective way to get the word out about your product or service.  And as the title suggest, it’s incredibly important to stand out in the marketplace by finding your purple cow strategy.

As Godin explains throughout the book, the problem with creating the ideal purple cow for many  organizations is that people are afraid of taking the risk and standing out in the marketplace.  He makes a great reference to the fact that from an early age, we are conditioned to sit quietly in the crowd, follow someone else’s rules and play it safe.  We’re afraid that when we fail or make effort to stand out among the crowd, many times we are criticized by our audience and suddenly the stage becomes quite lonely as a leader.

Many of us have been sold a false sense that criticism follows failure and that being invisible, anonymous, un-criticized and safe is that way to play the game throughout life.  Godin makes a great point when he says “In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.”  The reality is that the biggest risk in life is actually not standing out and being boring.   I challenge everyone to break the mold of quiet mediocrity and show the world how remarkable you are with your own purple cow.

Passion Capital

The following story relates to the creation of the hit TV show, The Apprentice:

In the wake of the success with Survivor Mark Burnett met Donald Trump, and said they should do a series together. The next time Burnett was in New York, he called Trump to say he was working on an idea but wasn’t ready yet.  Trump told him to come and pitch it anyway.  Burnett did, worried that he hadn’t really thought it through.  He made the pitch, and the famously decisive Trump said, “I like it, let’s do it.”  He told his assistance to get his agent on the phone and get a contract drawn up.  

Burnett spoke briefly to Trump’s agent, who was furious that he hadn’t been in the room when the deal was struck.  He listened to Burnett pitch his idea once more over the phone, then he said he didn’t like it and he was going to advice Trump not to do it.  Trump bellowed for his assistant to get on the phone and said “You’re Fired!” and hung up.  

Trump had just found his new tag line for the show “Your Fired!”


Follow your instincts and stay true to your Brand.  

MLB, Apollo 13 & Leadership

MLB, Apollo 13 & Leadership

“Whether it’s in baseball or business, the true five-tool player is a rare find — so much so that most successful teams don’t have any five-tool players, let alone multiple players with more than one skill. What the best teams have are individuals who recognize what capabilities they have and which they lack, and subsequently complement one another such that in the aggregate, they have the ability to draw upon all five tools.” Jeff Weiner — Founder, CEO & Investor

This is a fantastic read!  I specifically like the approach he uses by mentioning the Apollo 13 scene where the NASA team on back on Earth are given the task of creating a Co2 filter from all these random parts that are on the Apollo spacecraft (I also like this analogy bc I’m a huge fan of what movies can teach us).  He relates this scene to the point that in life or business, we are all going to face obstacles at some point.  Some of us encounter more setbacks than others, and face tremendous learning curves in looking for solutions to their problems.  I can say this from my own experience and that of others I have worked with.  However, I know that by facing these obstacles head on you will find that you will almost always end up successful on the other side if not at least much better off as a person, creative thinker and leader.

By embracing the challenges in front of us, creating an plan and working toward what Jeff says in his post “looking for those five tool superstars” we can attack problems head on and form ideas to make the leap over obstacles that are in front of our teams.   Everyone has some specific skill(s) and value(s) that they can add to the team, it’s up to us as leaders to help utilize everyone’s talents around us in ways that provide the best return toward accomplishing our groups goals.

Embrace Failure

I know in my family failure was something that was never embraced as most the people closest to me held the same job for most if not all of their lives. There is a stigma against taking risk and embracing your failures by instead avoiding the opportunity during which you could fall. I have opted to take the route that failure and the lessons that accompany the fall are some of the best ways to learn in life. I’m reminded of the latest “Batman” movies, when Bruce Wayne’s father reminds his son that failure is a necessary evil in our lives when he poses the question “Why do we fall? So we can pick ourselves back up”. While such a simple saying, it is something that I will always encourage people within my inner circle to embrace. I look forward to the day in which my failures can become valuable lessons in other people’s lives.

Follow your vision

This a great example of listening to your inner voice, committing to a vision and following through on your passions. I love hearing success stories about people knocking on doors, getting kicked in the face and never giving up on their dreams.

Jesse and his concept for the Samovar Tea Lounge are a perfect example of how traditional ways of thinking aren’t always able to grasp new entrepreneurial concepts and the potential for creating a new market around an idea. I know I’ll be making a stop next time I’m in San Fran for a retreat from the constant commotion of our daily lives.

Whether its pursuing an entrepreneurial endeavor, becoming a expert in your chosen field by starting your own online platform to share your knowledge, reaching out to a mentor for advice, or breaking into your dream career by making that right connection. Have confidence in your abilities and take the first step today to follow your dreams. As Warren Buffet says, “have you just say-no list” & focus your time where it provides the greatest return.

Life Accounts

For my first post, I wanted to talk about something that I came across the other day while reading an article about building your “life plan”.   The quote mentioned discusses your various life accounts and the need to prioritize them.

This made me think of the T.V. show America Pickers.   I love this for a few reasons including the crazy treasures that they find while searching across the country, the people they meet along the way &  for the fact they get to drive around the country together as best friends and make so many incredible memories while doing what they are passionate about.   While usually pretty easy for Mike & Frank to get people to part with their stuff, sometimes have problems getting people away from pieces of their collection for whatever reason they feel tied to it, which in some cases they didn’t even know they had!  (My Grandpa would be one of these)

This brings me first lesson about developing our life plan:

  • While we all value  things differently, it’s important to realize that there comes a time prioritize what’s important, to let go of the clutter in our lives & move forward.  This may be difficult at times, I’ve found that junk from one life account can easier spill over, cause chaos & hold us back from our true potential.

The second point deals with relationships:

  • Mike & Frank have a mutually invested interest in each others success.   It is important to point out in both business & life circumstances, there are times when we all overdraw our life accounts (relationships, business, family, etc.).  We sometimes intentionally do this & other times don’t realize that these relationships take initiative from both sides to balance the account.   In Frank & Mike’s case, they drive around the country making sure that each one has the others back in all the business decisions that they make whether one has a difference of opinion or not. They have a vested interest in each others success knowing that if one takes too much or makes a bad decision, his partner suffers this.

Make sure that when you are crafting your life plan,  that you realize that its better to make more deposits in relationships & keep the account in the positive than to continually charge to the relational credit card until one day your over-limit not realizing the damage you’ve done.  This weekend, get rid of the clutter, focus on developing you life plan & continually make lasting deposits in others around you.  I promise they will provide the greatest return of any investment that you could make.