Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Finish Strong, Start Stronger.


It's that time of year again. The time when we all start to reflect on our past year and think about setting some benchmarks for the coming year. Have you taken any time to review your 2022 goals and see where you stack up? Are there are some boxes you were unable to check? I've probably done more self reflection and personal development work this past year than any other time in my life. Well, there IS that one time I didn't do the term paper and got tossed off the basketball team but that's another blog all together 😩. As we steam toward 2023 I thought I would share a few things that I've been working on to make next year a great year.

I was asked these questions by Mental Toughness Coach Ben Newman:

What are the habits and disciplines over the last 30 days that have been working the best for you?

Take a few minutes to sit and reflect about what you've been up to for the last month or so. What has worked? For me, I committed to doing "The Unrequired" workout every day. I don't have a timeline, I'm just doing it every day. In the process I have had a few days where I did not want to do it. The momentum I have created by pushing through those days has made me stronger mentally. And the work out is making me stronger physically. I'm not riding my bike on 100 miles, I'm not running crazy distance. I'm simply doing the same one hour workout every single day. Sharpening the sword.

What is the biggest area of opportunity in the next 30 days?

How can you best spend your time? If you look out 30 days ahead what do you see? We all have no problem seeing all the challenges, the bumps in the road. But what are the opportunities? What would happen if you poured into that? Are there new relationships to be made? Do you see new business opportunities? Try to identify these opportunities so that you can be in a better position to capitalize on them in the coming 30 days.

What are the habits and disciplines that you have created that can be left behind in 2022?

It's been said that the best way to create change is to do it in small steps. Drop one bad habit at a time. Wholesale change typically ends with us reverting back to the bad habits we have created. What would happen if you changed one thing for the entire year?  Pick one thing, commit to not doing that anymore. I have started a "never do it again list". This isn't something that I would post on social media but it's something that I look at from time to time to remind myself that I'm trying to be better.  Give yourself some grace. If you have 10 things on your list and you accomplish eight of them, are you not in a better place? All too often we look at falling short as failure rather than reframing it as progress.

What habits and disciplines can you take with you into 2023? 

Hey, we ain't all bad! There are some things that you have done well this year. Make note of them. Stack a few more on top. Bring those good habits with you in 2023. Look at it this way, if you let one bad habit go you've got room for one good habit. Take some time to sit by yourself and write a few things down. What has gone well? Be honest. Don't be afraid to pat yourself on the back here. Maybe you've had a great 2022. If so, what are the things you can repeat in 2023? Why re-create the wheel?

We GET to do this. 

I'll leave you with this. I heard a guy speak about the difference between "I have to do this" and "I get to do this". What's on your schedule today? Are you looking at it and saying "I have to go to the grocery store, I have to do the laundry, I have to, I have to, I have to?" What would happen if you change that to "I GET TO"?  It lands differently doesn't it?  You see, we are all only here for a little while. None of us are getting out of here alive. If you adjust your perspective, sprinkle in a little bit of gratitude and reframe from "I have to" "to I get to" you might be surprised at how you feel.  I get to work out today. I get to pick my daughter up at the airport today. I get to see my family on Christmas. I get to do all the things involved with running a contracting business. What do you GET to do?

OK one last thing...

Another good nugget I got this week was "Finish Strong, Start Stronger."  Many people wait until the end of the year to make change. Today is December 21st.  That gives you 10 days to finish strong so that you can start stronger. You'll get a 10 day jump on everybody else and that little piece of mental toughness kicking around in your mind can be fuel that others don't have. Let's not mail it in. Let's keep our foot on the gas, pick a few things that you can knock off the list by year end. Would you take the last half of the last quarter of the football game off? Would you walk off the field with two outs in the ninth inning? Nope. Hammer down, finish strong, start stronger.

Go forth and conquer. πŸ˜ŠπŸ‘Š. I'm WATCHIN' you! πŸ‘€

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Keep Your Chin UP.

Ironman Mont Tremblant 2019 was my most recent Ironman race.  Notice I didn't say "last". πŸ‘€.  Anyway, I was cleaning up some files on my computer and I came across this write-up I did after the race.  I don't know that I ever posted it anywhere so I thought I would incorporate it into a blog post.  I have also met a ton of new friends since then and I thought someone might get something out of this. I have often said that if you could write down all the thoughts that go through my head on race day it would be interesting.  This is close. Enjoy! 😊

Thank you ALL for the kind words and encouragement regarding my Ironman finish on Sunday.  I was not as prepared for this one as I would have liked due to some nagging injuries, weight and other things such as life in general.  But are we EVER really where we want to be? Perfectly prepared?  Yeah, maybe sometimes.  But I had a choice, I could sit on the sidelines and mope or I could jump in and do it and see what happens.  I have never been afraid to fail and I truly believe you have to be willing to fail if you want to do something great.  Rather than bow out, I chose to try to focus on the positive and I found many positives along the race course and beyond.  I knew I could swim ok…. And I was pretty sure I could get through the bike ride with a respectable time even though I was showing up with ONE 100 mile ride in my holster.  The running? Well, I knew it would be a grind, or a walk… it was both.  I realized out on the trail when I was walking that my chin was on my chest…I pulled it up…. It went back down.  Pulled it up again and said to myself that I have nothing to be ashamed of.  Hey, you’re out here walking… this is what it’s like.  I realized that THESE are the tough people… the one’s out there doing what amounts to a death march.. and doing it late into the night.  I was walking and shuffling my second lap after managing a shuffle for the first 14 miles or so.  LOTS of those people were on their first loop!  How do you have anything but respect for these guys?  Amazing.  Chin went down again…. Pulled it up… looked straight ahead.  Walking… doing the math…. “ Good Lord, I’m gonna be out here forever”…How many miles is a kilometer..? OK… 9K = One 5k plus 4K… and a K is roughly .6… soooo…. how long IS this thing?  42K?… OK.. So… 21Kx2…divided by 4….  Just get me outta town , and then back… and then out … and back…And on and on….. Somebody tell my family I’m fine…I’m just gonna be awhile…Chin back down…. Back up again… Choked up… pissed off…I’m BETTER than THIS!!!  Then here comes a firefighter in full gear… walking…. Then a guy that had an 8 hour bike due to a mechanical…Saw Brian Brewer on the overpass… That guy is something.. he had friends on the bike and the run at the same time and found the ONE spot on the course that he could support both.  By my count he spent at LEAST 8 hours on that bridge.  I saw him a ways out… God, I can’t let BRIAN see me walking…. Shuffle shuffle shuffle…. Get under the bridge…(walk walk walk)…. Pop out from under bridge… shuffle shuffle shuffle “ Hey Brian”…. Could’t keep up the facade….had to walk… and he hollers at me “ Hey 207 in the HOUSE”…. Chin came up….Kept me moving.  And he was there both times I went by.  Thought about Sean Snow and how tough HE is…he kept moving in Ireland with hypothermia…I can do THIS,…Spent some time thinking about friends with challenges… whether it be cancer or some other illness that keeps them from competing… I bet they would LOVE to be out here… keep walking… faster if you can… shuffle… let’s try a shuffle again… shuffle….NOPE… walk walk walk… heel hurts… well, HOW BAD?  I mean.. CAN you RUN?  If so then RUN!…. But it hurts… It hurts so bad… What if I make it worse… how bad IS it?  Maybe it’s just the calf… ok, land flat footed, don’t flex… Damn… walk walk walk…. Where the hell is RICK?? I haven’t seen him all day!….Jesus, I know he was gonna go for it, I hope nothing happened….Chin on chest…. Pull it up Bob, Don’t want someone seeing you like that.  And on and on it went… like that… until I had about 4 to go… and I popped out of the trail onto the main road... I managed to shuffle the last three or so… and if you think you’re gonna WALK past the “shoulder to shoulder” crowd of people at the finish you’re crazy… I managed to ignore the pain, choosing to hear the cheers, see my family and friends, and get across that damn line.  Made it….   

You know, it’s awfully easy to say “respect the game”, “don’t quit”….”Never give up”….but when you actually have to DO IT it is a real moment of truth.  You find out a little bit more about yourself in those moments, that’s for sure.  Anyway, that’s kinda’ how it went on Sunday so I thought I would share.  Those of you that know me well know that it is not so much about the RACE for me as it is all the stuff in between… the stories, the challenges, the training rides/runs….the memories with friends and family that no one can ever take away. I don’t know how long I will do this crazy sport but when someone tells you that you “ inspire” them, well that’s pretty special.  Thanks again for all the messages, notes, comments and kind words.  I’m a lucky guy!

Chin UP guys. πŸ˜‰


Sunday, December 4, 2022

Changing Our Perspective

They say the Big Man upstairs only gives us as much as we can handle. I know a lot of people spend a good part of their time building their base of faith.  I believe it's more of a private thing and although I don't attend church I respect the fact that everybody has to be at peace with their own faith.  I try to be a good person, a great dad and friend to many.  If that gets me a little closer to the pearly gates then so be it. If they are saving me a chair down in the southern part of town well then I guess there must be a reason.

So when I hear "Jesus take the wheel" I picture someone just letting go, giving up, losing control. There have been times this past year with my business where I have felt like we are driving 70 miles per hour down the road and someone just chucked the steering wheel out the window. Not a good feeling at all. It reminds me of a saying I heard once " the brakes are gone, no sense steering". Where am I going with this? Well, there are a few things I have heard recently that made me think.

Are you a VICTOR or a VICTIM?

You didn't know you had a choice right?  So much of this has to do with mindset.  We have all had bad things happen to us, but are they happening TO us or FOR us? How do we respond? Do we go on the offensive or do we curl up in a ball in a corner and give up? Don't get me wrong, if you get drilled head on by a drunk driver you're probably a victim.  That's not what I'm talking about here. I'm talking about reframing your mindset in a manner that has you taking a different viewpoint of the things that happened to you. Maybe someone stopped contacting you. Maybe that's a blessing in disguise. Maybe you lost your job, and found a better one. Maybe you missed the great deal on the vehicle you wanted to buy and the next week another one popped up that was an even better deal. I've heard it said recently that you get more of what you focus on. Focus on the bad and that's what you'll attract. Manifest, visualize the good over and over and you might be surprised what comes into your life. What do you have going on currently where you can apply this shift in mindset? How can you be the VICTOR, not the VICTIM?

Is it a LOSS or a LESSON? 

So many of my life's lessons have been the expensive kind.  Not sure why that has been the case but it always seems that what I learn comes with a price.  We all make mistakes, it's part of growing up and figuring life out. However, if you take those mistakes and view them as lessons then they at least have some worth. You've heard the definition of insanity right? The process of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Learn from your mistakes, even better, help someone else avoid making the same ones.  That's probably the thing I've enjoyed most about coaching, being able to help someone else avoid some of the pitfalls I have endured.   

I always like to tell a few race stories in my blogs so here's a story about a loss and a lesson. In 2017 I trained hard for a marathon. It was my goal to qualify for Boston. My training partner and I ran the course for our last long run, a 22 miler. So we knew the course exactly. On race day, there was pretty much a monsoon. We ran in full rain gear basically so now I was gonna have to try to run a Boston qualifier wearing a Northface coat. I set that aside and we took off and were hitting our pace even though there were probably 20 to 30 mile per hour winds and a straight downpour along the ocean in Maine. At about the 11 mile mark we came upon a volunteer and he was sending everyone to the right, down a side street. He was motioning people to the right and saying "down there and turn around at the end". I said to my training partner as we were running stride for stride "that's not the course". But everybody was headed that way so we had to make a decision and we went right. At the end of the road there was no orange cone or anything that directed us to turn around and everybody was just kind of turning around at the end of this little side street and running back. We came back out onto the main course and when I hit the 12 mile marker my Garmin watch showed that we had been 12.5 miles. I said "don't worry about it, keep the hammer down and they will figure it out at the end". I needed a three hour and 25 minute finish time to qualify for the Boston Marathon. When I hit 26.2 miles my watch said exactly that, three hours and 25 minutes on the nose. I was just barely hanging onto an eight minute per mile pace so it took me another four minutes to finish the added half mile. The race Director admitted there had been a mistake and said he would do his best to fix it. The Boston Athletic Association denied his request to amend some finish times. We fell into that category.  So I had to run my ass off in a monsoon only to be denied my goal. Not because I didn't run well but because someone else made a mistake. So yes that was a loss. The lesson? Life isn't fair. I kept my chin up ran another marathon three weeks later and try it again but it wasn't meant to be. I went to Boston and cheered my training partner on. I could've played the victim card but I didn't. That doesn't help anybody. My perspective was that I was happy, healthy and able to drop a "325" marathon at age 48. 

So not everything has to be just a plain loss. There's always a lesson in there somewhere. If you peel back the curtain you can usually find the positive in every negative. The choice is yours. 


I've spent a bunch of time over the past year thinking about this one while on my quest for world dominance. πŸ˜†. I guess it came to mind during contractor coaching where it seems people in the same business and in the same geographical area would think it was crazy to actually sit down and talk about each other's business. Don't get me wrong, there are networking groups where you can sit and talk about all kinds of stuff but there is only one discipline in each group. That's why I really like the contractor group that I'm a part of. However, it is so vast there are very few people in my geographical area that are a part of it. Outside the group it seems that most people have a scarcity mindset. They don't want to share business practices or beliefs or even share something that might help a competitor. I've always viewed it from an abundance mindset, in other words, a rising tide lifts all boats. I figured if I could help everyone get better then it just levels everyone up overall. I remember when I was busier in the triathlon training world and my friend Rick and I opened up a riding center. We had the option to rent the adjacent space but we didn't know if we would need it. As we were mulling it over a new guy came in and scooped it up. It was Scott Baumann from Iron Legion Strength Company.  We kind of kicked ourselves about it but then moved on. I went over and introduced myself to Scott and asked him about his business. Then I set about getting him some referrals and helping him get going. He told me months later that he was really shocked that I had handled it that way. He said that most people would've been intimidated because we were literally looking for the same clients. I never really gave it any thought in fact I even referred my own mom to him and his staff. He still tells that story today when he speaks to groups about business and life. I hadn't realized it at the time but what seemed natural to me to try to help another person can be unnatural for many others. And the bonus? I got a great friend out of the deal. So help others, be genuinely happy when you see someone succeed. Work to level yourself up and you'll be surprised how people respond. They say the best way to help yourself is to help someone else. I truly believe that. 

Perspective. To me it's all about mindset. I always say that life is about choices. You get to choose your perspective and you get to choose the mindset that you lead with. Are you going to be a victim or a victor? Did you suffer a loss or learn a lesson? Do you operate with a scarcity mindset or an abundance mindset? Speaking of choices, you also get to decide if you want to play small or play big. What is that one thing that you've been thinking about doing that you haven't acted on yet? Ever sit there and ask yourself "what would I do if I could do anything?".  I mean literally sit there for 10 minutes and just think about that. Then ask yourself this, "what would have to happen for me to be able to do that?". THEN GO DO IT.  Let me know if I can help. πŸ˜‰

Go forth and conquer. πŸ‘Š


Thursday, November 10, 2022

Podcast Insights...

 Over the past year I have gotten into listening to a bunch of different podcasts. Heck, I even started my own. I remember years ago my friend Rick was always listening to a podcast. I just figured he was a nerd or just locked in on getting better at sales. Either way it wasn't anything that interested me because it seemed boring at the time. Maybe I'm just late to the party. The podcast world is a place where you can get more of whatever you're looking for. Whether it be personal development, pure unfiltered entertainment about just about anything, or something very specific. I guess I could credit the podcast arena with connecting me to The Contractor Fight and the many people I've met over the last year from that organization. I think I was out on a walk one day and was scrolling through and probably typed in "contracting" and The Contractor Fight podcast came up and off I went. Next thing I knew I was learning all about how to be a better contractor.  Anyway, it's good stuff and whatever it is you're looking for you can probably find in that area. One of the podcasts I really enjoy is called The School of Greatness. Lewis Howes interviews a guest just about every day and he asks them about their life and talks about the good the bad and the ugly. Today I wanted to share some things that I heard back in February when he was interviewing Matthew McConaughey.  I actually took notes which means I viewed it as important.  If I remember correctly the podcast was framed around happiness and how to improve your life. I got the bullet points from the show but the thoughts that follow are me expanding on each one. 

1.    Eliminate bad people. Not literally of course, because that will probably get you in a lot of trouble. Don't get me wrong, there are some people on that list for me (if you see me headed for the Allagash pulling a wood chipper ...nevermind) but I digress. If you think about it there are probably some people in your life that are not a net positive. I've come across guys like this on the job site from time to time. Have you ever had someone in your life that when you ask them "good morning, how are you today?" They launch into a long diatribe about how terrible their life is? You come away feeling drained and puked on. I learned from that, now I just simply say "hi". I have found as I've gotten older that I just don't have the bandwidth for it. Because we all know that nine days out ten you're gonna get the same response from this person. I called them Eyore's. It's probably not nice but in the interest of protecting my own happiness I have to keep people like that at arms length. It doesn't mean I don't wanna help someone, it just means that I'm not going to continue to pour into a bottomless cup when it's clear someone's general persona is to be negative. Anyway, do what you can to remove these people from your life. It's hard when they are close to you but you need to do it. At a minimum you can filter the input. In other words, you have more control than you think. You can control how you respond to the negativity, and you can control how long you subject yourself to it. Being aware of this kind of behavior from a person is a blessing and a curse. Once you're aware of it it seems more prevalent. So if you know that going in, just frame your conversation around more positive things. Keep pulling the train back onto the track. Most of the time the negative person will tire and go find someone else to puke on. Fair enough!

2.    Eliminate comparison to others.  This is huge. In a world where social media reigns supreme, comparison is the thief of joy. You only have to log onto Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, LinkedIn, you name it, to see what everyone else is projecting. You can be whoever (Whoever?WHOMever?  crap..) you want on these platforms. No one ever puts a video of their crying miserable child on Facebook. No one ever says "yeah I did a really shitty job at work today, totally mailed it in, I just wasn't feeling it" And you certainly don't get this one, "yeah I've thrown on 20 pounds over the winter and I hate myself". Instead we get filtered photos of fake happiness and images that represent a life people want versus one that they have. So, using any of this stuff as comparison to where you are at in life is literally fantasyland. Compare yourself to where you were yesterday. Look back at your notes from January, your New Year's resolutions, and see where you are lining up with those. Be accountable to yourself, no one else. Because in the end the only person you have to impress is you.

    Eliminate bad places. Control your environment. Stay out of bars and fast food joints if you are looking to improve your health. Limit your time on social media if you are looking to not be frustrated with everyone else's fake happiness. I turned off the news about a year ago because I just couldn't take it anymore. I flipped it back on during the election season and literally nothing has changed. Both sides still hate one another and no matter who is the president half the country is unhappy. So don't go there, control the inputs. If going somewhere puts you in a bad spot don't go there. Going to camp puts me in a great spot. That's why I'm heading there tomorrow.

4.    Stop overthinking your failures. I could write a whole blog about all the things that haven't gone well in my life. I'm the common denominator. But lately, I've been trying to examine all the ways that I've been successful versus dissecting all my failures. I love a good clichΓ© so here's one. The windshield is bigger than the rearview mirror because we are supposed to be looking forward, not backward. No charge for that one. Lol. But seriously, ask yourself how you can replicate your success versus how you can stop having more failures. Something is only a failure if you don't learn from it or if you quit. In my book, you haven't failed yet if you keep on going. You have just tried a bunch of times. You're just not done yet. When I look back at my Ironman races some of my favorite memories are the ones where I had the biggest screw ups. Where I missed my nutrition plan or got off course. Heck my favorite race memory is probably the one where I was lined up to finish seventh overall in a large Half Ironman. I went the wrong way toward the end of the race. I could blame it on the volunteer but it was really my fault. At the end of the race I had to let the Race Director know that I had gone off course and effectively disqualified myself. But that is not what I think of when I remember that race. I remember the feeling of coming back into the bike transition area and only seeing three or four other bikes. I thought something bad happened, I didn't realize I had basically out biked the field. Out on the run I saw all these 6 foot tall 140 pound guys flying along looking at me like I was lost and I thought maybe I had missed a lap somewhere or something. I hadn't, I was running with the big dogs and having the race of my life. So the best race? Or the worst race?  Only I can decide what shelf to put that book on.

5.    Eliminate instant gratification. This is a big one. Today, if you want something you just go get it. If you want to watch a movie you just flip on Netflix, or VooDoo, Roomba or YooHoo or WHATever. When I was a kid we used to have to go to the video store where they rented VHS tapes. Your big concern was whether or not you rewound the tape before returning it. Now you just press a couple buttons on one of your 27 remote controls and BOOM, you are enjoying your favorite show. We don't have to wait a week to watch the next part of a series, we just binge watch it all in one three week hole of time in our life we will never get back. We can fly anywhere in the country almost instantly, we FaceTime and Zoom and text. If someone doesn't get back to us in .08 seconds we figure they died in a fiery crash somewhere. Yesterday I was sitting at my desk trying to punch out a couple contracts and my phone kept buzzing.  It's all important stuff right? But I found with my diminished ability to focus at age 53 that I kept grabbing my phone and then looking back at my computer trying to figure out where I was. Eventually I put the phone on do not disturb and finished my work at the computer in a very short amount of time. And, everybody lived. Lol.  That makes me think of the acronym FOMO. Fear of missing out. I think that is quite prevalent in our society today. Everybody has to be part of everything or they feel left out. Don't be afraid to unplug. I'll probably unplug this weekend. I think it's gonna rain most of the weekend but I'm gonna throw a log on the fire and sit back and enjoy myself. A little solo time never hurt anyone. Anyway, I think I got off track on this one but my main point was to fight the cravings for instant results with delayed gratification. Save your money, skip that meal out and make something at home, get to bed early, shut the phone off. I'm doing better with this, during the World Series I decided to turn my bedroom TV on and watch as I fell asleep. I had to reenter all my passwords because I hadn't turned the TV on for so long. I guess that was a good thing.

So I'll leave you with this. Are you happy? Are YOU controlling whether you are or are not? Who are you allowing to impact your happiness? What environments make you happy? How could you reframe how you think about your failures? Do you spend any time thinking about your successes? What could you delay today for more enjoyment tomorrow?

Go forth and conquer my friends. Well, don't conquer my friends, they are good people. Just go conquer. 

6.    Work on my grammar. πŸ˜†

Crush the Day! I'm out!


NOTE:  You can listen to

MY podcast at

It's called "Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things".  I try to connect with people doing cool things, and people that have done or been through a lot. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Owner's Mind. Do YOU have it?

 I'm back.  I think this is a record.  Doing away with the five year gap between blog posts.  I have lots to say lately I guess. 

When I was kid I was the one looking to shovel your driveway for five bucks after a storm. In High School I needed a way to make some money while playing sports so my dad helped me start a lawn mowing business. We called it Yard Busters.  Luckily we never got sued by the Ghostbusters people. We wrote a letter introducing me and then I spent a Saturday stuffing mailboxes with a friend. By the time I got home I had eight or 10 phone calls and I was off and running. For the rest of that summer I could be found driving around my hometown with a couple of lawnmowers and a Weedwhacker sticking out of the back of my 1977 Chevette. My first piece of "rolling stock" was an old boat trailer my dad and I morphed into a leaf trailer. It was just heavy enough but not too heavy to pull behind the car. Once  had that, I could offer yard cleanups as an expanded offering. I got my friends to work for me for $5/hr and then charge them out at  $7.50/hr. I was printing money. Lol. I learned a lot of early lessons about business with that small operation. I learn how to talk to people, hire people, have tough conversations and how not to manage money. Lol. After high school I wasn't all that interested in college and just wanted to work. The pull of owning my own business never really went away. My dad likes to joke that ever since he helped me start a business I haven't been right since. πŸ˜‚ Maybe that's where the concept of having an owner's mind came from. And looking back, when I have punched a time clock I have always tried to work like an owner. I've always felt anything worth doing was do it worth doing well. That was probably instilled in me at a young age. Never half ass it. Always go all in. Presentation is everything. Those are some valuable lessons. It really showed me the value of calling your own shots, doing what you want do and not necessarily being tied to punching a time clock if you didn't want to be. It's never been easy, there have been ups and downs and I have questioned my path many times along the way. But I wouldn't change anything, I wouldn't trade that journey for the world. It's made me the business owner I am today. I'm fair, accountable, always trying to do the right thing and I still have a ton to learn.

Owner's Mind. I was having a discussion with someone I respect a great deal last week and this topic came up.  Maybe I was whining about people not wanting to work or something like that.  I can't remember.  But we ended up talking about Owner's Mind and how rare it is to find an employee that has it. I would define someone with an owner's mind as "someone in your employ that conducts themselves as if they owned the business".  If you are a business owner and you find one of these unicorns hire them immediately. 

Here's the catch though. It is exactly this mindset that creates business owners. These people are driven. They are accountable and they are WINNERS. Often times they end up starting their own business. Sometimes this is because they are simply driven to become an entrepreneur but it can also can be due to not being challenged enough in their current environment. Sometimes they just "top out". They've moved all the way up the ladder to the #2 spot and there's nowhere else to go. At that point they have also benefited from working closely with the owner and have essentially been groomed to own their OWN business. There is ONE exception to this.  The Holy Grail of "employee that thinks like an owner" is a former business owner. They are the ones that have already been the business ownership route and decided for whatever reason that it's not for them. They show up with work ethic, accountability and a high level of respect for what it takes to own and operate a business.  They are doers and they can handle a ton of responsibility. 

SO, how do you find these unicorns, keep them challenged and retain them long term? 

1.    Network.  You have to hunt for these people. They are NOT sitting at home on the couch.  And they aren't on Indeed. You have to get out there and let everyone know what you are looking for. Talk to fellow business owners, go to lunch with your biggest competitor, think outside the box. Write a job description and be super specific about what you are looking for. Crush your social media game and brand yourself well. Show your work environment and highlight some projects. SHOW what it's like to be part of your team. Display what you want to attract. Walk the walk. 

2.    Challenge Them.  These are not your infantrymen. They are the officers. They are leaders. If they don't feel challenged they will go somewhere else. They typically need very little direction and will NOT be micro-managed. Consequently, you can outline a task or broad vision and they just go to work carrying it out. Be prepared to tuck your ego in your hip pocket though, often times these folks come up with a better way! Don't be intimidated by them, embrace the fact that you have a legit baller on your staff. Don't mess it up by saying "yeah, hey GEORGE...we kinda have always done it THIS WAY around here...". Be flexible with your processes and procedures, these people bring a lot to the table. Give them the room they need. Show them the way to the top. Our unicorns are movers and shakers and get bored easily. They want to know the distance between where they are and the top. Lay out the process to get them there. Mastery Ladder, Organizational Chart, whatever works, but define it.

3.    Pay Them.  Pay them well. They'll earn it back for you ten-fold. I have routinely paid my key people as much and at times MORE than I have paid myself. I valued what they brought to the table THAT much. I have never felt short changed and cheated by it either. If you do this with the right people you'll end up with someone that feels more like a partner than an employee. They become invested, they believe in the mission and they think like an owner!

Are YOU a unicorn? Owner's Mind is quite literally the reason I ended up becoming a business owner. Any place that I worked I worked like an owner. It served me well most of the time.  It also was the reason I chose to leave a few different situations.  I have moved on due to not being fairly compensated, being micromanaged, and in one situation due to the owner being intimidated by me. So the unicorn life isn't always a bowl of cherries but should you find that you are one, look to either own your own business or work for someone that understands your need for autonomy. You need to be in an environment where you can grow and feel like you have control of your own destiny. The alternative to that is, you guessed it, own your own business. That's where you trade your 9 to 5 job for a 24 seven job. The risks become real but you reap what you sow.I'll take that deal any day. πŸ‘Š

Go forth and conquer.  But take a minute to think about whether you NEED a unicorn or you ARE a unicorn.  It can save you a few ups and downs along the way!

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Working on Mindset

(Warning, strong language)

(Also, I write like I talk - that’s intentional.  You literary buffs know the term for that. 

Grammar Police need not apply. And don’t talk to me about ONE space or TWO spaces after a period.  I dabble in both, lol!)

It’s been awhile.  If you have to restart your blog all the time do you really even HAVE a blog?  I HAVE been blogging regularly, in my mind.  Unfortunately these thoughts rarely find their way to paper…errrr digital media.  I really should at least write down ideas when I am in the truck or when ideas for a blog topic pass through my mind.

Lately I have been doing some work on my mindset.  Yes, me…Mr Motivation…working on how I receive information and taking a good hard look at what comes out of my mouth.  All that starts with what is going on from the neck up. 

Perception / Self Image:

We all have an opinion of ourselves.  Some are realistic, some are way off base.  And SOME are self-deprecating.  The last one is something I didn’t ever think I would experience but it seems that lately I have either just started it or have become aware of it.  I think it’s the latter.  So I have been exploring that with the help of some close friends and business coaches.  You might ask how I could possibly be exhibiting this behavior.  Me too!  Here’s an example.  You guys know I play guitar.  I have messed around with it for years.  I took lessons a few years ago and stopped for a bit.  I played guitar for a friend the other night and her response was “You’re REALLY good at that”.  I responded with “Well, thanks…but it doesn’t come easily….I really have to work at it and my goal was to be able to play around a campfire and I guess I have kinda done that… but I don’t really sing that well…”.  I could tell by the look on her face that she was confused.  I had just ripped off about seven songs and had a blast doing it.  Her response was something like “why do you do that?  You’re good at it. Own that.”   So I thought about it and I thought about what it’s like to be around someone who exhibits that kind of behavior.  It’s not super attractive.  And Good Lord, the REALITY is that I KNOW I am good at it.  Shit, during a trip to Nashville last year I grabbed the guitar from the guy in the band, jumped up on stage and played and sang a SONG in front of 100 people. Who does THAT?  ME!!!  I had a blast!  Was it perfect?  Hell no.  But did I have the guts to get up there and to know that I could pull it off?  Hell YES!  So in looking at the negative self talk / self deprecating behaviors I think I have confused it with humility.  See, nobody wants to be around someone that is arrogant or egotistical.  I want be humble. So I think that as I have had success in different areas of my life whether it be triathlon, business or say, playing the guitar, I have tended to downplay the accomplishments at times.  Am I proud?  Damn right. But I think somewhere on along the line I forgot that many people view me as motivational and inspirational based on some of these accomplishments and how I generally “roll”.  The self deprecating stuff comes across as weak, and I am anything BUT that.

Getting back to ME:

So I have decided it’s time to get back to being ME.  The guy that gets up and kicks ass every day and asks YOU if YOU are kicking ass.  The guy that says “ F yeah, I can do that, watch me.”  The guy that gets all up in your business and doesn’t let you mail it in.  The guy with all kinds of motivational cliches and quotes. The guy that gathers people and shows them that they too can do epic shit.  I’m gonna get all up in my OWN business and start calling myself out on this bullshit behavior of not walking tall and acting like the freakin' badass that I am.  There.  FLAG PLANTED!  The same person that ripped into me about not owning my abilities on the guitar also told me “NOBODY wants to hang out with a Pu$$y”. They are not wrong! I think that the quote below sums up the way I feel pretty well. I am going to make a poster out of it and hang it in my office.

We get MORE of what we focus on:

So if you have read this and it has you thinking about what comes out of your mouth or what rolls around up in YOUR mind then it has hit it’s mark.  They say the easiest way to help yourself is to help someone else.  I hope that in some way this has done that.  So don’t let me hear you talking down to yourself or mailing it in - I’ll be all up in YOUR business!  Take a few minutes and replay some of the things that have come out of your mouth lately and examine where they come from.  Respect yourself if you want others to.  Be proud of what you have accomplished, tell someone about it.  Don’t hide that stuff, it’s powerful and it just might be the one thing that someone else needed to hear that day to turn their day around.  A speaker I listened to recently shared that “our brain gives us back more of what we give it” or something like that.  In other words, if you constantly tell yourself you suck, then your brain hears that and fires more of that back at you.  Practice some positive affirmations and turn that shit around.  “I am good at the guitar” “I am a successful businessman” “I am kind and empathetic”.  Try it, recognize the difference.

I hope you have enjoyed reading the random thoughts that come out of my mind.  I’ll call it a win if I’ve made you think about ONE thing you could change. As always, I promise to blog sooner and I hope to go good on that!  Now….where did I put that guitar? 

Yours Truly,

Eddie Van Halen 

Monday, January 10, 2022

Bringing the Ironman Focus to the Business World. 

Been thinking… again.  Shocker, I know. I have been asked a few times recently if I was going to race another Ironman.  My last one was in 2019 and I gutted out my slowest performance over the six that I have completed.  I have always prided myself in getting across the line before the lights came on and they start handing out glow sticks.  I have managed to do that but in 2019 I went into the race knowing I would at some point be walking on the run due to a nagging foot injury.  I was also carrying an extra 20 pounds for this one and it showed in my finish time.  Oh well, I got it done but it didn’t leave a great taste in my mouth for signing up again.  Ironman is ALWAYS painful but the more prepared you are the less it hurts.  

Lately it seems my focus has shifted to a higher level of attention on Gross Profit, Net Profit and building my business.  In getting back to business I was able to put together a fantastic 2021 and we are well positioned to kick some serious a$$ in 2022.  2021 was tough though.  We had some tough projects, challenges with material pricing and availability as well as some struggles with sub contractors.  I found myself extremely stressed at times, like I was on a hamster wheel and I just couldn’t get off of it.  I wanted to build the business, create something sustainable, but I knew we needed to walk before we took off at a full sprint.  At times it was flat out chaos. By year end we got our arms around things and had learned some lessons. However, there is much to be done in 2022 before I can say we have a finely tuned machine, positioned for growth and ready to be scaled.  

Some of you may know that my daughter moved to Texas last year.  She’s out there doing well and making her mark so that has this proud Dad on a plane a few more times per year than I am used to.  As a result I have had a lot of time to think and reflect.  On this last trip I spent a lot of time thinking about the business and also whether I would train for another Ironman.  In that thought process I realized something.  What if I could take the same approach to my business as I have to Ironman? As a business owner I am often too lenient, too forgiving, not charging enough and overdelivering.  Now, some of those things certainly will keep you “top of mind” with your customers but it doesn’t do a heck of a lot for your bottom line.  Sometimes we take too long to complete jobs because we are doing a little extra (for free) and not getting to the next project on schedule.  We (I) sometimes interpret daily challenges as stress, and it is cumulative, adding up over the course of the week or months or the entire year.  So if my WORK was an Ironman how would I be handling things differently?  As an Ironman competitor I am sizing you up from the minute I see you at 5AM.  I train for a year, sparing no expense on a good coach and training plan.  I am up early, training and preparing.  On race day I am all business, picking people off all day long, rolling through an internal dialogue not fit for print.  I race ANGRY at times, I am laser focussed.  I look at adversity on race day as a challenge to be dealt with.  I WELCOME it. If the weather sucks I love it even more.  I tear through the  course BELIEVING I am the baddest MF’er out there, that NO ONE is tougher than me and if you are going to beat me you are going to earn it. I am no one you want to tangle with late in the race because I am NOT going away.  I once DOVE over the finish line in a Half-Iron race just to beat a guy that wasn’t even in my age group.  I go hard.

So how do I bottle that shit up and open it up over here in the business world?  I think if I figure THAT out it’s GAME OVER.  I am going to start by making sure I am getting uncomfortable, taking care of the shitty stuff.  My Mom always says “Do the worst FIRST” and I believe she’s right.  I will knock down the most challenging stuff first and then attack the rest of it the way I do a 140.6 mile race.  I’ve also asked for help.  I am working with a business coach and we are going to make some huge strides in 2022.  Funny, over the years I have had all kinds of coaches.  High School sports, triathlon coaches, nutrition coaches, Personal Trainers, Guitar teacher, you name it.  But never ONCE did it occur to me to hire a business coach.  Someone that can take a 30,000 foot view of what I am trying to accomplish and work with me to implement strategies and tactics to get me where I want to go.  I am excited about this and I can’t wait to see where things go.  I have done a lot of good things over the years but I have made a lot of mistakes too.  It’s time to bring it all together.  

As for the question of whether I will race another Ironman, well, I can say that I am going to go all Ironman on my business first and see where that takes me.  I am enjoying some weightlifting and a variety of other activities like hiking, fat biking and working to find a better sense of balance than Ironman training affords.  I may try some ultra running. If I feel the pull back to the Ironman race course you can bet it’ll be with a full vengeance and I’ll be looking to put my foot on someone’s throat. (figuratively of course) :) 

Stay tuned, it’s going to be a great year!