Over the last several months my partner and I have been discussing and analyzing whether or not we should close down our business after seven years of operation.
We came to the conclusion that it was best to shut it down.
It was a great run, especially for two guys who didn’t really know what they were doing in the beginning, but we figured a lot of things out over seven years.
I will speak from my perspective only; because at the end of the day all I know is my perspective. My first business was and still is, real estate, but my second business was a service. This was a different beast altogether.
There are many reasons why I could say I agreed with shutting it down, but if I am honest with myself, it really comes down to one reason.
I could say that it is because we lost one of our biggest clients, which was one of our first clients as well. When I say we lost them, we didn’t technically lose their business to a competitor or anything. They had just made some changes and were doing more things in-house. They actually said that they would probably still do business with us but just wasn’t sure of timelines.
I could also say that it was getting harder and harder to execute on some of the functions of the services we provided. Which would be true, especially for certain clients.
Due to certain regulations and policies by the government, it actually helped our business in the beginning, but some of those early needs that forced companies to need our services waned over the last several years. Also, many of the organizations we worked with have changed many of the processes and procedures over time as well, which led to many of them not wanting or needing our services as much.
I could also say that my partner and I agreed with shutting it down, because we were both at different points in our life and career. And the business was really on autopilot, and allowed us to do other things.
What started out to be a full-time job became less than a part-time job for both of us.
Keep in mind; both of us left full-time careers at pivotal moments in our careers seven years ago. We both went from making very nice salaries (six-figures plus) to making zero dollars.
We both had mortgages, I had several. He had children at critical stages of life. Or should I say, expensive points in life.
At the time we made this decision to go all in. All we had were our personal bank accounts, some ideas, a few leads, some terrible processes, and a lot of HOPE.
We weren’t dumb at the time. We had planned and prepared. When we launched we thought we were ready. But we learned a lot about business, sales cycles, and the reality of operating a business. Especially a business that is more of a product than an actual business.
What I learned from the experience was this.
- Business is hard. Starting something from nothing is difficult.
- I learned more about what it takes to operate a business.
- I learned that most businesses are making it up as they go along.
- Companies outsource services more than you would ever realize.
- I learned about taxes. States, federal, business, and how it impacts your personal taxes.
- I learned pricing.
- Sales and execution
- Take risks.No matter how big or small. When I went to zero then, the stakes were smaller, since then I have done it twice again.
I could go on an on about what I learned, because I learned many things along the way, that I wouldn’t have ever learned if I wouldn’t have done it.
Now here we are seven years from when it all began. And we are shutting it down. As I mentioned earlier, it really comes down to one reason why I decided to shut it down.
The one reason is commitment. It is really that simple. Here is what I know about commitment.
Commitment has nothing to do with passion. Although if you have passion for something it helps you have more commitment towards it. But you don’t have to be passionate about something to be committed to it. That is my opinion.
But I lacked commitment towards it.
Wherever there is commitment. You will see three things.
You will see time and energy being expended. And you will see money being spent on it.
I didn’t have enough of any of the three of these being invested into the business.
If I am honest with myself, we probably should have closed it many years ago, but we would renew a contract or land another one. That would give us a shot in the arm, but it would wane after a few months or so.
It is not a sad time that we made this decision. It really is something to celebrate.
We both have other things we are doing, and although I didn’t put as much time as I should have into the business we are closing. It does allow me to focus on my current business.
It is also the reality of life, all good things to come to an end. We were profitable from day one. We never lost a dollar of our own money. We made money along the way, which was the most important thing.
But the thing you can’t put a price on is the education I got from running a business. That education is more important than anything.
Takes risks, keep going, and pursue whatever it is you want to pursue in life. You only have one. Don’t have any regrets.
Our sixteenth president is known for many great quotes and lead our country through one of the most challenging and difficult times in our history.
Recently, I read a quote that has had me thinking about it for the last several weeks.
Abraham Lincoln said: “I don’t know that man, I must get to know him better.”
Several weeks later this quote still has me thinking about it. Why?
In our current culture I think there are a few things that have gone to the wayside. I am just as guilty of it as anyone else.
First off, we think we know someone based of their social media profiles. We see that they post memes we disagree with. Or they post things that are political and if we disagree with them, we assume that the person must be this or that, without us really knowing who they are.
Think about it for a minute. I have yet to unfollow, defriend, etc. anyone that I disagree with that I actually know. Why would I? I know who and what they are. We may disagree with each other, but I know that they are still a good hang, or share other interests that I throughly enjoy about them.
Unfortunately, if we just assume we know someone based on their social media posts or likes, we really don’t know that person.
Now, I know we aren’t going to actively seek out every person we are connected with and spend time with them. However, if we take the approach Lincoln says. We can give that person the benefit of the doubt that they have some qualities and beliefs that you would agree with.
I can think of many times I have made a blanket decision about someone or something because of what someone else said, something I assumed, or some other kind of signals I used to predetermine my opinion. As much as I hope to prevent myself from doing this, I still do it.
In this day and age, I think we could all learn from our sixteenth president Lincoln, and seek to understand people, especially the ones we think we dislike. Lincoln spent his entire life fighting and pushing his agenda. Through all of his experience doing that, it prepared him for the biggest challenge our country, and young country at that point, had ever faced, and most likely will ever face. Because of his lessons and demeanor, his style allowed us to get through it and become a better country in the process.
Lincoln used the approach of getting to know people better, especially the ones he disliked, to navigate through one of the greatest feats in the history of our nation.
How can you use this approach? It is a way of life. It is decision.
To your success and your future.
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
I’m not sure who originally said this, but I think Wayne Gretzky is credited it for it the most. Whether he did or did not. The statement is true in the game of hockey, which Gretzky is considered to be one of the best at, or the best. And it also pertains to life.
I think there is another version of the quote that says “You will regret that of which you did not pursue, more than the things you did pursue.” For me this is the more relevant statement when it has come to my life.
I am not sure when it started, but I know as an adult I have always had this willingness to be willing to take a risk, even when it wasn’t the best risk to take. I know there are people saying as they read this, that you have to take calculated risks and not be dumb about it. But I am not sure where that line is drawn.
I believe most of us spend too much of our lives questioning, thinking, discussing, instead of doing. Look around at the meeting you are in today. How many times have you and your colleagues talked about this same issue? This same person who is an issue?
My guess is a lot, and you will continue to do this until someone says “I’ve had it.” “We can no longer allow this person control the culture of our organization.” “We can no longer be paralyzed by our indecisions and fear of the worst.” Until someone steps up and says this, you will continue to do what you have always done and you will continue to get what you have always gotten.
Two times in my life now, I gave up a very substantial six figure salary to go out on a limb and bet on myself. The first time, the risk was a little premature. The lessons I learned were priceless though.
The second time I did this, it was a success. When I say success, I mean in general it was successful, but it had a lot of bumps in the road. And the road continues to be bumpy. But that is just the reality of life if you are going to play in an uncertain game and you put all of your chips on the table.
The best lessons I have learned by going to zero dollars twice are lessons I couldn’t learn playing it safe. We all know how it ends. When I get to the end, I want to be able to say, you did it all. You have nothing left to try.
Where is it in your life you need to take a risk and prove to yourself you can do it? If for nothing else, to learn.
I am not saying you have to go to zero dollars to learn what you are capable of or to take a risk. I am saying you have to be willing to go to zero though. If you aren’t willing, the chances are you will never do anything that is too far out of you comfort zone to know.
Jim Rohn one of my first mentors said it this way. He said “The pain of discipline weighs ounces, and the pain of regrets weighs tons.” I don’t mind the discipline, but I don’t want the regrets.
To your success and your future.
I look around today’s culture it is quite sad to see how many people could have done better, if they were just told the truth. Now more than ever, in an effort to prevent someone from having their feelings hurt, or even worse, possibly making them feel bad about what it is they are doing. People are willing to skirt around the truth instead of being direct and honest about what it is the person needs to hear.
For the last ten years, I have taught and trained on the methodologies and principles of the Dale Carnegie Training company. If you aren’t familiar with Dale Carnegie Training. Mr. Carnegie wrote a book titled “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” This book has been in publication since 1936. There is not a top 10 book list that doesn’t include this book on it. It is a must read for anybody who must work with other people to get things done. Which is all of us.
In his studies of people, and in his book, Mr. Carnegie provides thirty Human Relations principles that his readers can use to persuade and influence other people. These principles are often known by all of us. I recently had a participant in one of my courses of the Dale Carnegie Course summarize the principles, and the actual course that uses the principles as the centerpiece of the training like this:
He said this course and these principles are really just a reminder to forget about ourself and to put others first. I agree with him. The course and the principles really do just that.
After spending 1000’s of hours in the classroom, and just as many, studying the material and creating engaging exercises and applications of the material. I am reminded that Mr. Carnegie in all of his infinite wisdom, never said “Don’t tell someone the truth.” He instead said, tell them the truth, but to do it in a manner that keeps the other persons desires, emotions, and needs at the top of your mind.
As I think about our culture and society today, many people think that hearing the truth is some kind of attack against them personally and they take it as such. Because everyone is looking for a reason to be offended or to feel attacked, that when they hear or see something that confirms that belief or need in many cases, they immediately assume that is what is happening.
I am proposing a different side to this equation. What if instead of looking at the truth, or even if you disagree with whatever the opinion is. To look at it as if someone is actually attempting to help you in some way, not hurt you. Wouldn’t that be a better way to handle the situation, instead of assuming the worst.
In my years of studying people through various leadership roles, 1000’s of participants, and 1000’s of hours in a training environment making people uncomfortable sharing stories about themselves and engaging in exercises that get people to share the truth about their feelings and desires. I have learned that most people assume the worst. Yes. They assume the worst when they hear something from someone else, that this person didn’t have their best intentions in mind.
In today’s social media culture often times we don’t have the luxury of explaining ourselves fully in detail. Who would actually read that. I am suggesting regardless of what it is someone says to you in person, or on their facebook wall, twitter, or something similar. Instead of assuming the worst take a different approach and assume that whoever said it thinks that this may be beneficial to you. Who knows it actually might be.
To your success and your future.
This morning I was reading a book titled The CEO Next Door. I am only two chapters in to the book, but I already have a couple of pages of notes. This book includes research from over 17,000 assessments and over 2,600 real interviews of CEO candidates that were ultimately placed in to CEO positions. This book provides what they call the CEO Genome, the characteristics of successful CEO’s.
One of the key characteristics of successful CEO’s that they shared already in the book, that I think is more important today than ever before. Great CEO’s and great CEO candidates have the ability to make complex things seem simple. They communicate complex things in terms that people can understand and buy in to. They do this by making sure all stakeholders understand how something applies to them and then uses simple terms that are easily understood.
The ability to make things simple and communicate it in a way that is easily understood is really an art and is necessary for all areas of life. Everything seems more complex than ever before. So anyone who can communicate and make things seem simple is someone who can carve out a niche for themselves.
A few areas that I believe that too many people over complicate, that aren’t really that complicated. Losing weight and becoming more financially healthy. My mentor told me that there are about a half of dozen things that we can all do to have success in whatever it is that we seek to have success in.
Becoming healthier and losing weight: What are the things you can do that lead could lead you to success when applied.
- Exercise for 30 minutes a day
- Eat less
- Eat better foods
- drink more water
- Cut out the bad thing you know you need to cut out. (alcohol, sweets, etc.)
What if you want to become better financially? What would you need to do?
- Make more money
- Cut out unnecessary expenses
- Get rid of your debt.
- Dont buy things you can’t afford.
What if you want to be a better employee?
- Show up early
- Be willing to put in extra hours as needed.
- Be coachable
- Get a long with others.
- Learn how your position contributes to profitability and then do whatever that is repeatedly.
The blueprint is easy. It isn’t complicated. Quit over complicating things in your life and boil it down to the simplest of terms and the simplest of activities. Because the more simple the better. I understand the hard part is the execution of each of these things. But too many people get ahead of themselves and start over thinking the execution way before they even know what it is they need to do.
Make a calendar. Put on the calendar the 15 times this month you will exercise for 30 minutes a day. Secondly, figure out how you can cut out some of the bad foods you are eating and what you could replace them with.
If it is better financial health you want. The first question I ask is always, “How can you make more money?” That is easy. You can figure that out. The second question is “Are there things I should cut out? What are they?
And if you want to be a better employee. Ask yourself or others in your organization: “Where could I be better team-mate?” “Where else could I contribute to help our company or department be more successful?”
I know some of this seems like common sense. And guess what? It is. Common sense is common knowledge, but unfortunately it is not common practice. Where do you need to implement more practice and less talk?
Remember you are the CEO of your life. You have to take control of it. By making things simple for yourself, it will give you the motivation and path to make it happen.
To your success and your future.
I know for a fact that I am not the only person that has that little inner voice that talks to me. Someday that inner voice is amazing and is really positive. Somedays, that little voice makes me feel like I am the best of the best at everything I do and any thing I am thinking about doing.
But then there are other times when that little inner voice tells you that you aren’t that great, and that you better be thinking twice before you pursue what you are thinking about.
That little voice pops up at different times and is pretty consistent.
I can remember when I was thinking about leaving a six figure plus job and go to zero dollars. Right before I was about to let my current employer know, I can remember that little voice saying:
“Are you sure you want to do this.” “Things are going so well.”
I can remember that time, well, I don’t want to lie about it. The little voice pops up more frequently than I would like to admit when it comes to this. It says:
“Are you sure you want to get up?” “This bed is so warm!”, “You worked out yesterday, take the day off.”
Yes. It doesn’t matter, as a person who has been focused on health and fitness since my late teens, I still have to fight that little voice at times.
When I was purchasing my first rental property. I can remember that voice telling me.
“Tenants will call you in the middle of the night.” “Are you sure you can afford this!” “You have never done this before, what makes you think you can do it?” “You don’t have enough money to do this.”
You and I are just a like, we have this little voice that starts to talk to us whenever we are about to do something that we don’t want to do or, something we have never done before. This voice starts talking. I am not sure where it comes from, although there have been countless numbers of books written about it and I have read a lot of them.
Here is what I know. All you can do is tell that little voice to shut up. That is what I did in each of the cases above, and they all worked out. That is what I do on a daily basis, when that little voice starts to tell me that I have earned the right to sleep in.
No matter who you are and where you are in your life, this little voice will be chatting with you. At times, it can save you from yourself. But there are many times it will actually work to the negative and prevent you from achieving everything you are capable of achieving. You know what needs to be done. Just go and do it and tell the little voice to shut up.
To your success and your future.
Whether you are starting your career or have been in one for a very long time. The chances are you have already received a lot of advice on what to do and what not to do. You might even think you have it all figured out.
I spent fifteen years of my career managing and leading teams. I hired hundreds of managers, and other people in the organizations that I worked in.
Here is the one piece of advice that I personally never received, nor have I read or heard about others giving this advice.
You should look at all positions you take as three-year contracts with your employer. I would even tell them this. Now, some employers are old school and they think you will stay there forever, so proceed with caution with sharing that information. But I personally would love it if someone says, “I will be in this position for three years. I will become really good at it, and then I will seek other positions.”
Why three years?
In any position you take it is going to take to you some time to figure it out. I say after a year in a position you will have a pretty good gage on what the position is and how to do it effectively. If it takes you longer than that, than I would encourage you to learn how to speed it up.
In that second year, you should get better at the job you are doing. You now have enough information and knowledge to probably even make changes to what you are doing and can contribute to making your position better.
In that third year, you should start to seeing a lot of results from the changes you have made and you are really fine tuning all of the things you have learned from your previous two years. You now really have your position figured out and are probably even helping people who are doing similar jobs as yours.
From my experience doing the same job past three years doesn’t have very many advantages. You do not become incrementally better at the job beyond three years. You learned what you need to learn, and if you are good at the job, you have proven that you can get results in that position.
You may be thinking “I have been in leadership for many years and I learn everyday.”
When it comes to positions such as sales and leadership.
I belive that your first leadership position is usually leading and managing a small team of people who are performing a job that you used to do yourself. After three years of managing those people. If you have proven that you can get them to perform and deliver results, you should be looking for your next position, which would include managing other managers.
Leading a group to perform a task is one skill set, and leading a group of managers to get others to perform a task, is a different skill set. Again, the three-year contract fits.
If you are in sales, you are learning daily how to get better at your position. You are constantly seeking new ways to deliver results. The job itself requires you to constantly learn and develop. But eventually you will get things in a good place, with a great pipeline.
Unless you go into sales management, you should strongly consider looking at selling different products that may require a different sales process or selling to a different set of buyers.
The goal in life should be skill development not years in a job or in a position. The more skills you can develop the more marketable you become. And what happens typically in a company is most people, including myself. Is we get into a position and we are so excited to have that position, the money that goes with it, the prestige of the position or the company, and we spend the next five, ten, or even fifteen years doing that same position. We may grow, or we may think we are growing, but in reality you are really just doing the same things over and over.
I would love to hear your thoughts on my advice.
To your success and your future.
This morning, I was thinking about the three vendors I am currently working with that have not sent any follow-up like they said they would. In the process of wondering why the heck they haven’t done what they said they would do. I am in the process of sending that email I told one of my clients I would send to them.
My guess is, I will receive an email from those vendors at some time today that says they were so busy and in the email will be what I need. Or, I will receive and email telling me that they have been so busy, and they will send it later today.
And the reason, I haven’t sent that email to my client?
“Because I was so busy!”
I have written on this topic before, because it is one that is near and dear to me. I guess because I have to protect myself against this very thing as well.
Ask anybody today how their day is going, or how things are going in general at work or in life. And my guess is 99% of the time they will say they are just so busy. As in sales though, the first question is only important to get the conversation going, it is the second and third question that are most important.
Ask the follow-up question of: ” “Busy, doing what?”
Their first reaction will be “how dare you ask me that.” You will either see it in their face. Or you will hear it when they start to respond.
I don’t know about you, but when is the last time you actually heard someone say they are so busy making someone else’s life better. Changing the company culture. Leading a major change at work. Innovating the next big idea that could transform their company. Or heard that they were working on the top three priorities of the company’s current year initiatives? Probably never.
I work with leaders and sales people every day and I never hear things such as the ones I mentioned above. Instead, I hear a bunch of small trivial things such as email, meetings, phone calls, and any other task that makes people feel busy, but these busy actions and tasks are the ones preventing them from doing the real work.
A few years ago, I read the book “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. I will be reading it again this weekend. Because I am just too busy to read it now. Haha. Plus I am traveling and it is at home on my book shelf.
In this book, the author talks about our habits and behaviors. He talks about how triggers that happen in our daily life causes certain behaviors in all of us. He goes in to detail that there we have cues or triggers in our life that force us into certain routines that we continue to follow over and over. Those routines become our behaviors in how we act and react based on these cues. These behaviors become the habit that is formed.
This weekend I was reminded of this concept. The person I was listening to was talking about the same concept as Duhigg does in his book.
They said it this way: They said that all of us know that we should do something and even can do something. Whatever it is. And when we have the opportunity to do what we should do or could do. Depending on what it is, if it is going to require more energy, time, or even effort then it is much easier for us to fall back on the things that are easy to do than to do this more difficult task. Instead of doing the difficult task, we will replace it with the easier task. Such as make the phone call, attend another meeting we shouldn’t attend, or run the report that nobody cares about.
I understand that there are meetings, reports, and other things at work that are required of us. But many times we use these things as excuses for not doing the real work, the work that pushes the company or department forward. We take the busy work instead of the hard work.
After reading Duhiggs book I had one of those aha moments.
At the time I was working really long hours. Not because it was required. I was just doing it. I could have left at a normal time. I was getting my job done. But instead I would stay a little bit later.
On top of it, when I would leave I would think about the stress of work and instead of going home and doing some physical activity or cooking a healthy dinner. I instead would stop and pick something up. I would then go home and eat the 2000 calorie count meal and go to bed and then do it all over again the next day.
After reading this book I learned the concept of triggers and cues. These triggers and cues I had in my head such as working late and the stress of work. Instead of saying I would stop and pick up the unhealthy meal, I instead said I would eat something smaller and would go home and run or walk instead.
I started controlling my behaviors that were being triggered and cued up by the long hours and stress. I stopped allowing the emotion of the moment to push me to keep doing this bad habit.
And this is what happens every single day. The people who say they are so busy, are allowing the triggers and cues of their life drive them to do a bunch of busy work, or this so-called busyness of life is being driven by the fact they are avoiding the bigger and more difficult tasks that they should be doing.
The first step to any change in life is to first become aware of what it is you are doing. I had to become aware of what was causing me to want to stop and pick up the unhealthy meal. Once I figured that out, I could then decide and replace that habit with another one that was better for me.
After you figure that out you then have to decide what are the important things you could do instead of what you have been doing. And then prioritize that list accordingly.
So this week when you go to respond to someone and tell them how busy you are. Ask yourself first. “Busy doing what?” If whatever you say wouldn’t even be noticed if you stopped doing it, then you have to wonder if it is really necessary that you continue to do it.
To your success and your future.
It’s that time of the year in America where the grass is green, the flowers are blooming, and college seniors are graduating. Which means they have earned the opportunity to sit through a two to four-hour event called their graduation. They get to listen to some politician, alumni, business owner, author, etc. tell them that their life will be whatever they want it to be.
Over the years there have been many commencement speeches that have gone viral. A few that come to mind is the famous Steve Jobs at Stanford, the Conan O’Brien address, Oprah, and a few others.
Since I have not been contacted by any college or university to provide a commencement speech, I thought that I would write one instead. There may be some variations of what I am about to say in some of the speeches given this year, but these are my words. These are the words I think college graduates need to hear.
Congratulations on your accomplishment today. I want to congratulate you on your successful completion of another hoop you jumped through on this path in life.
Although many people started the journey with you four, five, six, seven, and maybe even more years ago, you are the ones that stuck it out and finished your requirements. You showed up everyday, and provided answers on tests that your teachers and professors already knew the answers to. You finished what you started. And that is what we are here to celebrate. Because that is the one thing that you can takeaway from your time here at your college or university. The rest of it you will now learn on the job.
Here are the five things I want to share with you that will be more important to you than anything you have learned up until this point. These five things weren’t talked about by your professors, they weren’t discussed because school wasn’t set up to teach you things like this. These things are things you have to learn on your own. And I want to share these things with you now.
Pay back your student loans:
You borrowed the money. You have to pay it back. You can complain about it all you want. But you made a choice to take the money out. You made the choice to sign the papers. Now you have to pay them back. Don’t expect anyone else to pay them for you. Don’t expect the government to forgive them for you. You borrowed the money, so pay it back.
And my suggestion is to do it as quickly as possible. Don’t go and buy a car. Don’t go and get an apartment to fancy shoes. Take any and all money you get and pay back your student loans as quickly as you can. The sooner you get this debt out of your life, the better. You owe to yourself and you actually owe the country, or whoever else you borrowed the money from to pay this money back.
Learn a skill as soon as you can:
Yes, I know you just spent the last several years in college learning. However, college, well most colleges and universities, are just teaching you how to learn. They also teach some principles that you have hopefully learned along the way, like showing up on time, prioritization, time management, making decisions, etc. But for the most part you haven’t really learned anything else. I am not discounting these skills, they are important, but they are the standard in the real business world.
You now have to learn how to influence other people. You have to learn how to sell. You have to learn how to effectively lead people, learn communication styles that work, etc. Yes, these are all skills that are not taught as well as they could be at the post secondary education level, but are the skills that are required in the workplace and the marketplace to get things done.
I encourage you to find a great company as soon as you can, and start learning the skills that lead to results for your company. This is what the marketplace will pay you for.
You can’t say whatever you want:
I know we live in America and our first amendment right is the right to free speech. However, something that you might not have learned, is that there are consequences for you saying whatever you want.
For example: If your company provides tools and materials that are used in the coal industry, and you think coal is a bad thing. You can’t go around saying that the coal industry is bad. You can and will be fired. My hope is that you wouldn’t take the position to begin with, however if you find yourself in that position, remember, that whoever pays your company is the customer. And if you make your customers mad, they will no longer want to pay your company. Which means fewer people will work there, and if you are the reason for this, then you will no longer work there.
Your boss, and yes you will always have a boss, if you work for a company you will have a manager. If you work for yourself, you will have a customer. Customers are kind of like bosses. If you don’t provide them what they asked for, they will no longer pay you. If you insult them or hurt their business in any way. They will no longer pay you. It is kind of like being fired. Except they don’t tell you that. Your boss on the other hand, will just relieve you of your duties.
I am not saying don’t communicate your message if you disagree, but once again this is a skill that requires tact and practice to perfect. You didn’t learn this in school, you will need to learn it on the job.
Your company pays for value
For every hour you work for your company, they will pay you accordingly to the value you bring to that company during that hour. If you show up on time, can speak to customers, and help them resolve their problems. The company will pay you a wage for your services. The value will be determined by what the company things that task is worth.
If you can show up, speak to customers, help them resolve their problems, and identify other products the customer could be using with your company. Your company will pay you more because you are bringing more value to their company. Instead of two skills, you now have three or four.
So the lesson here for you is if you want to make more money, find ways to bring more value to your company.
This season is over, but don’t wait too long to start the next.
No matter how long it took you to graduate college, this season is now over. It is no different from a NFL Football Season or a College Football season. They don’t last forever, and once they are over, they are over.
In the NFL and College football, as soon as the season is over the next season begins. Which means after about a week off, if that, the players are right back in the weight room, back on the field, or back in the film room studying schemes to prepare for the next season. You have to do the same thing.
Although your college season is over, your new season begins. And you have to study and invest time and resources into your skill development so you are ready to take on the challenges that will surely come in this new season for you.
I have watched too many people over the years rely on their college education and what they learned five, ten, and even twenty years ago to still be relevant for them in the present. If you don’t enhance your skills, you will be left behind. You wont be able to keep up.
I wish all of you luck in your next steps on your journey.
Thanks Brian Willett
To your success and your future.
As a kid growing up I am sure I was told by much smarter people, grown ups, of things that I should do or shouldn’t do. And I didn’t listen. Because I was young and dumb. But the older I get the more I realize that those grown-ups knew more because of their experiences. And nothing can replace experience to teach us lessons.
With all of those lessons that I may have missed along the way, I did pick up a few lessons that I did listen to that were completely wrong. And these people didn’t intentionally lie to me. It wasn’t their fault. But I learned them, and as I have gotten older I now realize they didn’t know what the heck they were talking about.
Money isn’t as important as you think.
If I had a dollar for every time someone said this to me, I wouldn’t have to worry about money. I am sure it was told to me as a child at times as well. But more importantly, and more critical, was the fact that money wasn’t discussed. Look, I know my parents did all they can. I didn’t go without food, water, shelter, and clothing. And I know for a fact that my parents did whatever they could to provide us with everything they could. I had a great childhood.
I also know that there were people around me that were better off. Their parents had better paying jobs. Which meant that they got the newer and nicer things. Kids are smart enough to look around and see the reality of situations, but instead of them only seeing the realities of the situation, I think parents can use that as a motivator to encourage their kids to understand the realities of the situation better by explaining to them the realities of the situation.
My parents didn’t talk about money which meant we didn’t think about money. At an early age, I knew that money was important, because when I had it, I felt better, and I could go and buy all the damn candy I wanted. And for me to be able to do that I had to have money.
I can remember poor person after poor person telling me that money wasn’t everything. There are more important things in life. But just as I learned as a kid and I know it to be more true as an adult, money is necessary for everything. I need money just to leave my house. Gas is expensive, food is expensive, dry cleaning is expensive. Everything requires money. Not only do you need it to live, but if you have any desire to help other people, you will need money as well. Never tell anybody that money isn’t that important, because it is.
Formal education is the most important education:
Do good in school, pick a great high school, and be sure to go to college. I don’t want to discount any of these things. We all need to understand the basics of which education teaches and provides. I think most people get this. Where it goes wrong though, is to only focus on this.
I never had a teacher, parent, counselor, etc. tell me that skills are more important than education. Skills that I can use in the marketplace that can help me get what I want from the marketplace.
Here are just a few skills, that should be overtly taught, instead of hoping students get them through the process of pursuing a formal education.
Skills such as influencing other people, selling their ideas, being a leader, communicating with tact and candor, taking initiative, problem solving, critical thinking, how to get attention for the things you want, marketing, etc.
Yes, you get some of these skills through the process of a regular classroom, but there wasn’t any course on how to get attention (marketing) in the marketplace. And if there was, the people teaching the course, my teachers, didn’t know how to exactly do it themselves. They were reading it to you out of a textbook, which meant their examples were weak and not very compelling.
Yes, a level of formal education is important, but skill development is what is even more important. Children should learn how to make money, manage money, talk to people, take initiative, take risks, problem solve, etc. These are the skills that are more important.
Everything I learned by watching everyone in my life was all about security. Find a good paying job with benefits. Go to college and get a good education so you can have opportunities. Save your money. Don’t get noticed, stay under the radar. Do what you have to do.
Not once did I learn that everything in life that is worthwhile will be just out of reach of my comfort zone and my willingness to expand that zone is what will allow me to get whatever it is that I wanted.
Nobody taught me to seek discomfort. To seek challenges. To challenge myself to learn new skills and to be entrepreneurial.
Again, it wasn’t anybody’s fault that I learned these things. This is what the people I was around the most were taught, and this is what was taught by everyone they knew. We really are a product of our environment.
As the great Charlie “Tremendous” Jones says: “You will be the same person you are today, five years from now, except for the books your read and the people you meet.”
As a child growing up, I didn’t read very many books outside the ones I had to read. And I only met people who were in my circle of friends and family.
My suggestion to parents is to look for unique ways to challenge your children and get them experiences with what they will eventually be exposed to in the marketplace. Teach them the skills that will help them get ahead and stay ahead.
To your success and your future.