Success leave clues… and don’t discount the teaching power of failure

failure-and-success

Tony Robbins says, “Model someone who is already getting the results that you want. If you want to accelerate the tempo of mastery, find somebody that is already getting the result and figure out how they do it, and do the same thing. Success leaves clues.”

I believe in that concept and another important aspect of it is modeling someone who is at the top of their game in doing what you are attempting to do. If you want to be a great tennis player and have an average teacher you will only become a little less than average player. If you want to become great — find an outstanding teacher. Only from them will you learn the little pieces of mastery that separate the average from the outstanding.

What if, however, you want to travel into the unknown and rise above the best or doing something that no one has done before. Yes, you can still model success clues that have led other people to go down the road to the unknown that lies beyond. However, listen attentively to the failures that almost surely happened along the way which, in the end, were most likely key pieces to their puzzle. True, you might be able to learn from their failures directly but more importantly you need set yourself up to learn as much as they did for when failure happens to you — because it will.

When living in a world moving as quickly as it is (and, yes, it is different from how your parents grew up no matter how old you are) you cannot afford the time needed trying to be perfect. You need to move, react, course correct, and move again quickly to be that model of success for others. Forget analysis paralysis — it is more like death than paralysis at this speed. Failure is a part of the clues that lead to success. Remember, Life isn’t about what happens to you, it’s about how you handle what happens to you.

Originally posted on Medium

The 2016 Election Recap You Still Will Not Find in the Mainstream Media

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Stunning? Shocking? Unexpected? Maybe if you were only on the disconnected left coast and right coast of America. As I attempted to summarize in June — even quoting the words of Mark Cuban who had long since changed his mind about who he supported — the election is not about Republicans vs Democrats anymore. Though a quick place to rationalize — it is also not about racism, sexism, and other ‘news worthy’ points attempting to push everyone’s buttons.

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Bottom line — Mark Cuban was largely right about first liking Trump — as ironic as it can possibly be a billionaire is being looked at as not being a part of the controlling elite.

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How much was this a vote against the elite? Was everyone who tipped the scale a fan of Trump? We all know the answer to the second question even though most of us seem to ignore the first question.

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Was it time for a woman to be President in the US? Absolutely. I firmly believe as a nation that does not matter anymore. However, in this case, though people used different excuses to dislike her, the real issue is there was probably no one more qualified to represent the political elite than Clinton herself.

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As much as the left and right coasts were in a trance the mainstream media was worse. They believed so much in the stories they created in their heads that they forgot what they were reporting to the people was not news anymore — it was more a preaching of the opinions they came up with in an attempt to gain following.

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On top of the disservice to the people the media itself did a lot to create the hate monster they were reporting on.

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The hypnosis was so deep that people still did not see the change coming even well into the actual election day. There was buzz that this new website called Votecastr that was going to call the future in 100% clarity — yet all of these prediction ‘experts’ were really looking for affirmation than actual predictive data.

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Unfortunately these ‘experts’ do not seem to learn from failure…and even the masses accounting for a “9/11” magnitude drop via the DOW futures were wrong as the markets opened in the morning.

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This election is the beginning of change. How it will be implemented and where it will come from is unknown and will probably be as much a surprise to the left and right coasters as was the election.

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Also, you would think that this election would bring some validity back to the point that Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner have proved more than once. Which is, unless you are talking fractions of points, money does not buy elections. This entire election cycle, from the primary zoo to the end result, should further prove that and further supports my personal mantra of never giving to support either side in a race.

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If you want a political source some at least a little correlation in sanity The real election surprise? The uprising of the American people is a good read from Patrick Caddell — Democratic pollster:

For years, the political elites have governed America for their own benefit and to the detriment of the American people — this election is the best chance in our lives to take back our government. AGREE = 63% (with 46% strongly agreeing); DISAGREE = 31%

Voters were then asked the same two questions of each candidate: Which is closer to your opinion if (Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump) wins: the political elites and special interests win; the political elite and special interests lose.

By 65 percent to 35 percent voters said that if Hillary Clinton wins the political elites WIN. And by an opposite margin, the majority of voters said that by 57 percent to 43 percent the elites LOSE if Trump wins.

It is that last sentence, supported by the previous one, that is the punch line. 57% of the people polled thought that the elites lose if Trump wins.

To make your day a little better give The Risks of a Trump Presidency from Scott Adams a read, and if that fails…

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More seriously, remember this — it’s our American Spring

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(Originally posted on Medium)

The importance of finding a peer group for growth

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I was recently in a conversation with someone who reminded me of my own story — let us call him Jim. Jim joined YEO (now simply known as EO) at a time when he had around $1.4M in annual sales. It is same hurdle now as it was back then — your business needed a minimum of $1M in annual sales to join YEO. At the time Jim joined there was someone in his local group that was doing over $14M in annual sales. Jim reflected back to how impossible it seemed to compare his business to someone else’s who was doing almost as much sales in one month as he was doing all year long.

Through the short number of years that followed, Jim’s company grew to the point where he was doing almost $14M in sales a month. For those doing the math that is one-hundred times the annual run rate from when he joined YEO. Later Jim partnered with a private equity firm in 2011 and sold his business to a major national brand in 2014 for the nice sum of nearly $400 million dollars.

For myself I joined TEC (now known as Vistage) in 1995, partnered with private equity in 2004, and sold my domestic business in 2008. In 2006 I moved on from Vistage to TIGER 21 (coincidentally Jim is now a member of this group too), and have since found further growth deeply involved in the XPRIZE Foundation since 2011, and now, additionally, Joe Polish’s Genius Network.

We were in different parts of the country, we had vastly different businesses, there was no one in common that we worked with — but the thread of a peer group being important to our success stories was the same. Depending on what you are looking for and where you are in your life the cost of being a ‘member’ of these various groups range from under $10,000 to over $100,000 a year.

One thing I am definitely not talking about are social groups where the ‘value’ comes from the bragging rights of being a member. These aren’t country clubs. They are groups where you will be challenged, supported, and, at the same time, able to help others get through tough times you might have already experienced. They work the best when everyone gets a chance of being the smartest person in the room depending only on how they can add value to the problem of the day.

When looking to hire for a growing business look for people the business can grow into and not the other way around. When looking for a peer group you know you are in the right place if you feel you need to grow into the group. You will also know if you are in the right place if the cost of being a member is being returned to you in multiples without needing to do any hard accounting.

Most likely through time you will out grow your group and look to move on, or you might be lucky and find a group that will grow together in ways that cannot be imagined up front. Though this world has become a place where scaling and building a ‘winner takes all’ business is almost thought of as the norm no one who has become an ‘overnight success’ can do it alone. Find the group that is right for where you are today, for where you want to go tomorrow, and who you want to be around while doing it. The pieces will then come together to make everything happen as if by magic.

(Originally posted to Medium)

What I learned from Mikki Williams that stuck with me for over 20 years

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On December 18th, 1995 Mikki Williams did a presentation for my, then TEC, now Vistage, Group 100 entitled — Pyromania: How to set a fire under yourself. Like most all presentations there was a good amount of wisdom and take home for the moment and, like most presentations, almost of that wisdom was forgotten relatively quickly. However, as I mentioned in a previous story here called Stupid Human Tricks — I have set my bar for success very low and, though I try to actively listen to everything said, I only look for the one thing to take home and really implement. That one thing that stuck with me all of these years from the 90 minutes or so Mikki was in front of us was to — ask, and more importantly, ask first. It was punch line of her “Ferrari Factor” story, which was all about taking a risk and asking for what we want, no matter how outrageous.

In short the story was about a friend of hers — a super tiny beautiful blonde that happens to drive around in a red Ferrari convertible. It was told that at a stop light a bunch of guys who were playing basketball came up to her and only one of them who rushed to the front said, “Lady, you would make my day if would just give me a ride around the block.” She actually took him up on that ask and he got to wave to everyone he knew on that ride with a big smile on his face. When they returned the next person was ready to get in but the answer to the rest was, “No, he asked first.”

Since then, and perhaps because of then, there have been many times in my life that I have gone out of my way to not only ask, but ask first. The flip side for me has been doing my best to respond — and respond quickly. For almost everything that matters, small to large, one can either answer positively now or say no with the affirmation of never looking back. Meaning opportunity is a two way street that more often than not only holds open for a brief period of time. Sometimes the ask comes from you while, at other times, the ask comes from someone else.

Time is the great equalizer that is given to us all in the same proportion. Asking is taking a risk. As Mikki says, “When you live, you risk dying.” If you don’t ask you don’t get. Time can either be spent asking, and getting ahead, or asking, and finding out what doesn’t work. All of the rest of the time waiting on the sidelines is wasted. In a different story called “Advice to a younger self” I briefly mentioned how important taking those risks are.

Mikki went even further using the acronym “PIES” to help you think about the types of risks you can take: Physical — meaning anything involving the physical world, Intellectual — meaning anything that will stretch or otherwise challenge your mind, Emotional — meaning anything that comes from the heart, and Spiritual — meaning anything that helps build your soul.

20 years later and I still remember this. It helped me build a life I am grateful for. Perhaps it will help you too.

(Originally posted on Medium)

Life wisdom from Deadpool and Colossus

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When life ends up breathtakingly fucked, you can generally trace it back to one big, bad decision. The one that sent you down the road to Shitsburg. — Deadpool

Which is true… but hidden under the hood is the fact that big, bad decisions are the zoomed out fractals of the choices we make every-year, every-month, every-day, every-hour, and every-minute. Yet, at the same time, I cringe when people claim, “not everyone can be so perfect,” when things are going well. Repetition is the mother of skill because failure is the mother of all success.

Imagine the insanity of the scenario where an archer picks up his bow for the first time and gives up after the first shot he takes misses his mark. How many times in life do people get frustrated when they cannot accomplish the ultimate goal on the first attempt. Imagine the double insanity with the want to be archer missing the first shot with his bow and deciding darts might be more his game. Then, if he misses on the first dart throw — maybe he was destined to be an expert at pistol, and when that did not work of the first try, maybe it is time to give up on this whole target idea… Dieting, exercise, learning a new skill, whatever it might be is a road to be taken and not a sci-fi transporter ride from zero to everything.

Four or five moments — that’s all it takes to become a hero. Everyone thinks it’s a full-time job. Wake up a hero. Brush your teeth a hero. Go to work a hero. Not true. Over a lifetime there are only four or five moments that really matter. Moments when you’re offered a choice to make a sacrifice, conquer a flaw, save a friend — spare an enemy. In these moments everything else falls away… — Colossus

Despite where you might lay down the measuring stick and claim something took ten years to change you will still be able to track down the real change in a moment — the moment when the decision was made to do something different. It might be ten years of pain followed by the moment when you could finally say enough is enough — no more — the moment when you finally decide to pick the bow, stick with the bow, and start aiming at the target. Being the hero, however, is not hitting the target every time you pull back on the string. On the contrary, being the hero is deciding to be a little better than yesterday in getting closer to the target. Being the hero is getting closer to the target by learning from the skills of others and then applying your unique abilities on top of those skills. Being the ultimate hero is, in-turn, helping others who want to do the same succeed as well. Unless you really want to visit, and perhaps live in, Shitsburg — step up and start making those moments for yourself today.

(Originally posted on Medium)