Feb 13

Choose Your Words And Control Your Destiny

Your words are your reality. I have been reading about the power of the words people speak. These instructions they give their subconscious mind directs their activities and ultimately creates their reality. I have been paying close attention to the words I use when I am making statements. The idea boils down to expressing independence versus dependence and shapes our reality.

We all use these subconscious words daily. I was surprised how often I use words of dependence – which was not the reality I intended to be creating or the vibe I was giving off to the world. Have you ever said “I need… (fill in the blank)?” Using the word “need” expresses to everyone and anyone who will listen that you are thinking of yourself as dependent. You are a victim. Are you attempting to convey to the world that you are a victim? More importantly, are you attempting to convince yourself that you are a dependent victim?

Wishing, wanting and hoping are more of those words of dependence and will ultimately leave you unfulfilled. Remember, your words create your reality! If you catch yourself saying I “wish” I was rich, you are expressing to the universe that you are at its mercy and a dependent being. The reality that those words will create for you will is more wishing that you were rich and not the reality of being rich. If you say instead I “intend” to be rich, you will instruct your brain to begin formulating the blueprint to make it happen. Even in its subconscious state you still control what your brain thinks.

I am going to be rich.

I will go to law school.

I intend to take vacation next month.

Using statements like those above challenges your brain to solve the problem you just posed. You will develop a plan and achieve those goals. You will also not allow yourself to spend time shuffling through your “go to” excuses for not achieving your goals. Excuses are the “outs” we give ourselves when we set our list of achievements up from the beginning with those loophole words above.

Needing yields only more needing.

Wishing yields only more wishing.

Wanting yields only more wanting.

Hoping yields only more hoping.

I challenge you to pay attention and see how much you and the people around you use words of dependence. You gain knowledge of a person’s outlook on life. Do you want to surround yourself with or do business with people with a dependent victim mentality who will have a propensity for not achieving goals and making excuses? Refuse to be the victim by not speaking like one. Be empowered!


Jun 11

Immersed in the Business Traveler Subculture

As I write this I am somewhere between Austin and Cleveland and yes, I am completely immersed in the Business Traveler Subculture (BTS). Although my travel has ramped up lately, I really don’t have to travel all that often. I think that’s why I am able to recognize the subculture all around me. For the BTSer its just another day at the office. It started back in Cleveland when I was grabbing lunch at my gate.

Business travelers photo by Robert Couse-Baker via Flickr Creative Commons

A guy next to me was banging out some spreadsheets and all of a sudden asked me to watch his stuff because he had been paged. When he came back he just said “free upgrade to first class” and smiled. He went back to his spreadsheet. My coworker then arrived and said “hey, I got a free upgrade to first class so I won’t be sitting near you.” What the hell? I soon learned that he is a lifetime member of some “million mile” club or something to that effect due to years of business travel to Europe. Obviously, I am now experiencing what I always pretty much knew, there is a business traveler subculture and though I can be immersed in it, I am not a part of it.

Every direction I turned, I witnessed another amazing BTSer doing their thing. A guy was pitching rubber gaskets to a client in Chicago while meeting with the ticketing agent (probably for an upgrade) and blasting out an email on his laptop. The pitch was convincing. I almost took 10,000 gaskets from him too.

A woman ran past in a business suit and high heels that didn’t slow her down. She couldn’t have been faster in a pair of Nikes and a jogging suit. Again, she balanced her Blackberry and a large bag that she was going to apparently try and carry-on her plane. I made sure I had only one personal bag and my small suit case that fit inside the little metal cage used to measure carry-ons as you board.

Some guy turns to a stranger and says “we have some storms moving in so the plane will probably be rerouted around Chicago.” He shows his phone to the stranger. The stranger gives one of this half smiles and says “yeah, cloud deck will be pretty high and storms of that size.” BTSers are also meteorologists.

Then there was the steady stream of BTSers that flowed through those private lounges such as “The Admiral’s Club” and other creativly named exclusive clubs. Exclusivity is a good word to describe the Business Traveler Subculture. I am sure that the biggest hollywood movie starts would not be allowed into The Admiral’s Club unless they were a BTSer (or traveling first class – internationally only). The perks seemed to continue forever. Priority boarding. A “special welcome.” I am waiting for the Captain to ask if any of the BTSers would like a chance to sit on his lap and steer the plane for a bit.

The BTSer treats the airport as their own office, only more luxurious. They get all the perks of a fine hotel with the comforts of home and functionality of the office. While I am in the office all day, business is being conducted in all over our ever-connected world.

My experience makes me wonder how much longer companies will be paying for the overhead of a large office. It makes more sense to send all your workers home to work virtually. It will be interesting to see how productivity and standard of living will fluctuate when the rest of us catch up to the Business Traveler Subculture.


Apr 11

Improvise, Adapt and Overcome – What Works for the Marines Will Work for You Too

The United States Marine Corps was founded in 1775 to provide offensive and defensive support to U.S. sailors. Spending for this new effort was close to zero.  Therefore, much of the equipment including the field manual were Army hand-me-downs.  The Marines took this ill-suited equipment and adapted it to suit their particular needs at sea.  Born out of necessity to function and survive, “improvise, adapt and overcome” has become the mantra of the Marines and a framework which fuels creative thinking and unyielding perseverance.

Improvise, adapt and overcome is a way of thinking for any survivor – be he a Marine, an entrepreneur or any person faced with a roadblock in life.  It is necessary to train your mind through a mental boot camp to think, solve, recalculate, think again, develop a plan B, execute plan B and think more and not stop until the mission is accomplished.  If “improvise, adapt and overcome” is the framework of success, then “vision, understanding and perseverance” are the flesh to those bones and the fuel for the process of success. 

You need to have a clear vision and an understanding of what the mission or objective is.  What are we trying to accomplish here?  Once a clear objective is established, it’s much easier to clear away the clutter in the process and eliminate seemingly necessary tasks that are impossible to accomplish and not a requirement to meeting the objective successfully. 

For example, say your original objective is to go to Harvard Law School and to realize your life’s dream to be able to practice law.  You just got denied admission.  Is going to Harvard Law School your dream or is practicing law your dream?  Not everyone gets in to Harvard, but you can still realize your dream and accomplish your objective of practicing law by going to a different law school.  You will have successfully completed your mission or objective if you didn’t get deterred by the setback of one of the tasks along the way.  Life is full of setbacks and the person with the focus to visualize clear objectives and the perseverance to continue with alternative plans to accomplish their goals is the person that completes the mission.    

One of the most interesting lesions that I took away from business school was that 50% of new businesses fail in the first year and only 25% of all business last five years.  Any entrepreneur who has done any research on what it takes to establish a business has come across these statistics.  Everyone always thinks that they are different and their business will be different, but the statistics are the statistics.  There is a 50% chance your business will fail in 1 year and a whopping 75% chance your business will fail in 5 years. 

Entrepreneurs are sort of anomalies.  A real entrepreneur grew up thinking differently than the other kids.  Many entrepreneurs were out-of-the-box thinkers and didn’t fit in well in the formal school setting.  There is more that goes into the entrepreneur mindset than an out-of-the-box methodology and a burning desire to control their own destiny.  Entrepreneurs are fully responsible for their own successes and failures.

Success is easy to deal with.  Handling failure and the fear of failure are main factors contributing to whether or not an entrepreneur can bring his dreams to fruition.  Most likely your business is going to fail.  Have you failed as an entrepreneur?  Only if you quit at that point.  If you can use the failure as a lesson you will emerge a more powerful and successful business owner in the future. 

For Marines in the theater of war, their decisions can result in life and death of the individual and/or the unit.  Improvise, adapt and overcome is a simple way to remind them that nothing goes as planned and you need to keep your head in the game and systematically move on to the next option until they complete the mission.  Professionals and entrepreneurs have the luxury to build on this framework with a more cerebral approach and implement vision, understanding and perseverance to their own mission.  Success is a process and a journey.  There will be setbacks along the way.  Keep focused and keep working towards your objectives.

Accomplish the mission.





Jan 11

How Your Expectations Are Ruining Your Life

Get straight A’s. Graduate from a top ten college. Get a job making at least $X in your exact perfect city. You probably have many expectations for your life. You did not even realize that these expectations were ruining your life and were hindering you from leading a more fulfilling life.

A life spent chasing expectation (or others’ expectation for you), is merely a life running from disappointment and failure as these negative outcomes are the hidden alternatives to our specific expectations. The thought of not achieving these goals is perceived as a failure. What is driving you, your goals or your fear of failure?

In School

I am a big proponent of education. All types of education. Even education for education’s sake is beneficial. If you did not happen to get into your top choice schools, you might view yourself as a failure. A degree is a qualifier not a determinant of future successes – meaning it may get you in the door for an interview or for grad school, but there are many factors that also contribute to your success. Your expectations for your life have gone to hell and you have never even sat in a classroom. Be happy you got into the best school you could and concentrate and doing well with that opportunity.

In Relationships

I have known a few people that refuse to deviate from their expectations of what attributes their significant other should possess. Needless to say, these people are usually single as they cannot recognize a potential significant other through these clouding expectations. Relax and get to know someone for who they are as a complete person before you immediately write them off as not meeting your pre-conceived notions.

At Work

People set career benchmarks. They want to be at a certain place by a certain age. Sometimes it’s all salary and other times they are after a title. Achieving anything less than their expected career benchmark is viewed by them as a failure. A lot of people finally be made a partner at their firm for example, and they have no one to celebrate with because they alienated everyone in their lives to get their title. Keep your career in perspective. Work hard. Look out for new opportunities and make sure you are challenged continually and compensated fairly.

In Your Investment Portfolio

There is not a money manager or retail investor out there that has who hasn’t had a bad year. You have to curb your expectations and be realistic in your forecasts. Sometimes things happen that are out of your control. You cannot let your fear failure and of the riskiness of the markets keep you out of the game. Read all you can about investments. Study profiles of the professional managers. Develop a sound strategy and execute it with confidence.

You need to change the way you think about your life’s goals. Instead of waiting until you achieve one of your milestone stretch goals to take a breath, celebrate the process of working towards them. Recognize all of your efforts towards these goals as successes and let your small successes drive you. It’s the journey not the destination.

Throw all of your expectations out  the window and enjoy the surprises that life throws your way. Allow your expectations for life to be dynamic. Keep your eyes peeled for opportunities that you never considered. Your life will undoubtedly not turn out as you expect it to and that is perfectly ok because that’s how life works.


Jan 11

What is Wealth?

Some are born with it. Some achieve it. Some will never experience it. Some just don’t get it. It was many years ago that I began to study the fundamentals of wealth creation. Some people have it and some people do not. The people that had it seemed to have much more fun than the people that did not! As I examined more closely, the wealthy seemed to live a more fulfilling life – and this fact was the driving factor in my personal quest to get it. I wanted a more fulfilling life.

What do you think of when you read the word wealth? Most likely, the first thoughts that pop into your mind are all the things that you can buy. Perhaps a 60-inch LCD television with remote control that can launch a rocket as well as turn on the fireplace is your dream? Or maybe a yacht moored out in the pristine blue water of a Mediterranean bay (complete with wait staff of course)? Or even a shoe closet bigger than your college apartment stocked with the finest shoes hot off the New York runways. All these things are fine and would be really cool to have, but there is a danger in this type of thinking.

Motorboat photo by Maxine Simpson via Flickr Creative Commons

Wealth is a subjective. When are you really wealthy? I recall watching an interview with a hedge fund tycoon that talked about his yearly income which was in the billions. Yes, you read income not wealth or net worth.  This guy admittedly could buy anything in the world and couldn’t spend his money in ten lifetimes. This is an extreme case to show you the sliding scale of wealth we are dealing with. Many people consider themselves wealthy if they can merely control their own life and make decisions on what to do with their money – in other words, they don’t have it spent before they make it.

People often mistakenly associate wealth with success. Although wealth may be a result of successful planning or even achieving one’s goals, it is impossible to measure success by the amount of wealth a person has accumulated. Like wealth, success is subjective. I am sure you can think of hundreds examples of success being achieved with no creation of wealth. The birth of a baby, the finishing a marathon or graduating with a bachelor’s degree can all be examples of success without the presence of wealth creation. Moreover, a person born into a wealth may project success as they have their driver drop them off at the front curb of their high school. Therefore, success may be achieved with or without wealth and wealth may be achieved with or without success.

When you measure your wealth by the amount of things you have or can have, you end up empty and always craving more. I believe wealth offers freedom and options for your life and should be defined as such. If you didn’t have to go to work what would you do? If you actually had the option to plan out your entire day from scratch, would you go to the beach, play a round of golf or write a novel? My challenge to you is to measure your wealth simply by reflecting on your day. How did you spend your day? Did you do whatever you wanted to? The most important thing wealth will buy you is freedom. What you do with your freedom is up to you.