ON THE COUCH: Shocking Confessions of a Self-Made Millionaire:  The High Price of Not Setting Boundaries

ON THE COUCH: Shocking Confessions of a Self-Made Millionaire: The High Price of Not Setting Boundaries

The word “boundary” has a negative connotation these days. And yet, it is a key concept that defines how to achieve successful relationships of every kind.  Every person has limits. Each person’s limits are different based upon many factors. There is no one-size fits all personal or professional boundary. This is what can make relationships risky.

Entering into any type of relationship, agreement, partnership or contract requires a lot of due diligence and even when due diligence has been performed at the highest levels, there is always inherent risk present. You just don’t know what the other person is capable of doing when faced with challenges that might arise during the engagement. Even in the absence of challenges, the other party may fail to perform.

I’ve been an entrepreneur all my adult life and have conducted business all over the world with small, mid-sized, fortune 500 companies and solopreneurs.  The risk is all the same, but the damages that can occur as a result of not knowing, setting and honoring your own boundaries can vary from minor to catastrophic. The bigger the fish, the greater the potential loss. But, regardless of the size of the fish, the sheer waste of time and energy expended to correct the breach is a drain financially, mentally, emotionally and physically.

The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything. ~Warren Buffett

Here’s How to Know, Set and Honor Your Boundaries to Maximize Your Success and Minimize Your Losses:

1. Know Yourself and Your Values. What behaviors are unacceptable to you? What’s you rule about 2nd chances? Do you allow 1 strike, 2 strikes, or none? What’s your #1 core value that if someone can’t abide, you walk away?

2. Don’t Violate Your Own Values. If you can’t honor your core values than you can expect nobody else will and it is the surest way to fail.

3. Walk Your Talk. If your behavior isn’t consistent with your promises or in general is inconsistent, the weakness will be noted and capitalized upon.

4. Clearly Communicate Your Requirements and Expectations. Take the time and make the effort to clearly set forth your requirements. This is an area where I see many companies and solopreneurs fail which causes them loss and hardship which could have been avoided.

5. Don’t Bluff. Say what you mean and mean what you say. If you set a clear boundary with a promise to seek remedy, then follow through. Making false threats only escalates the problem, is a character trait of a poor leader and set’s you up for potentially even greater losses.

6. Fearlessly Set Your Boundaries. Learn to say no. Don’t let fear make your decisions for you. If you’ve been wronged, harmed or damaged by wrongful behavior of another party, then step out of fear and into action. Nonaction or delaying action can cause you to suffer far greater consequences than standing up for yourself early on.

In Closing My Shocking Confession: A CFO of a major national bank had just committed perjury against me in a take-over attempt to seize everything I owned! WTF!?? Even my well-seasoned attorneys couldn’t believe it. My very expensive team of attorneys immediately told me I’d get crushed and lose everything if I tried to go up against the giant with the truth. They told me to cut my losses and payout the huge amount of money and hand over the assets that they were demanding. I was exhausted after months and months of court proceedings. I was about to throw in the towel, when I thought about how my letting this guy get away with this was going to give him the confidence to keep doing this to others. I had to take the risk and honor my core values which included honesty and having a social conscience.  Exhausted, I dug deep, sorted through mountains of data and correspondence and found the one bit of evidence that confirmed his fraud. Fearlessly, I reported the individual to the appropriate authorities and sent the evidence along with a letter to the founder of the bank (against all attorney advice). He immediately fired the CFO and dropped the claim. I later received a thank you letter from an executive within the bank stating that both the employees and customers had endured years of abuse from this man.

ON THE COUCH: Shocking Confessions of a Self-Made Millionaire: Baby, If You Ain’t Got Back End, You Ain’t Gonna Succeed

ON THE COUCH: Shocking Confessions of a Self-Made Millionaire: Baby, If You Ain’t Got Back End, You Ain’t Gonna Succeed

Here’s the unvarnished, uncensored truth about success. Even if you’re a rock star sales person who knows how to sell, if you don’t put at least as much effort into taking the deal and your client relationship successfully through the back end post-closing process, you will not ultimately achieve the success that you initially thought you had “in the bank”. And, any gain realized at closing, could be lost, or even worse, cost you more than you initially banked.

I don’t want you to think this post only relates to business, because it relates virtually to every aspect of your life. The success of your life (personal, financial, physical, emotional and spiritual) is contingent upon an on-going commitment to actively engage in efforts to do what you need to do to keep all your affairs operating in good working order.

Too many times, I’ve either witnessed or been a part of a deal gone bad because someone who sold something dropped the ball on delivering the goods, services or warranties that were promised.

Baby, if you ain’t got back end, you’re gonna regret it down the road. It just ain’t worth the risk. Take the time to take care of the deal, transaction, contract, relationship, or account. If you do, instead of regrets, you’ll achieve maximum sustainable success…and be a whole lot happier, healthier and wealthier in the long run.

You don’t close a sale; you open a relationship if you want to build a long-term, successful enterprise. ~ Patricia Fripp

Here Are the Top Six Things You Must Do to Achieve the Optimal Back End Strategy for Long-Term Success:

1. Live the Reality the Sales Cycle Does Not Stop at Closing the Sale. See it as phase 2 of building a successful long-term relationship and nurture it.

2. Maintain A Balanced Achievement of Pursuing New Sales and Servicing Existing Customers. Repeat business is the biggest payout you can achieve. If you’re only focusing on new sales and new leads, you’ll shortchange your success.

3. Realize Achieving a Successful Deal Is Found in the Details. Fearlessly pay attention to the details of the deal. Many people fear losing a deal if they assert their boundaries on deal points and contract terms.

4. Be Honest with Yourself and Others. Don’t offer something that you realistically can’t manage to maintain over the term.

5. Value and Prioritize Your Relationships Over Money. When you care more about people than money, you will begin to see both your wealth and well-being skyrocket.

6. Habitually Go the Extra Mile. Exceed in delivering more service and value than necessary or expected.

At the end of the day, your relationships are what makes you or breaks you. Whether it’s your relationship with yourself, others or God; as you consistently and continuously serve, appreciate and value them, they will, in turn, serve you by adding long- term value to your wealth and well-being.  If you got back end, they’ll in turn, cover yours.

In Closing My Shocking Confession: I had just signed a long- term lease agreement with a great company to provide their product to my enterprise.  The terms of the deal allowed them hefty earn outs and commissions during the life of the contract which would far exceed the purchase price. Both the provider and I were very excited about our new relationship and we sailed through the closing. They banked the purchase price. And, within 60days, all the problems began.  A whole host of issues arose from not having the support staff as promised, to constantly charging for non-contract driven items. After months of friendly attempts to get them back on track, they finally come forward in stating they didn’t have what they had promised and didn’t have the resources to deliver on the contract. However, they expected me to honor the terms of the contract by solving and financing their problems for them! Their belief that they “had me over the barrel” for all the time, effort and expense I’d invested, emboldened them to attempt to extort more from me.  They didn’t believe I would walk away. I’m sure you can guess what I did? I cut my losses and got out. And, legally recouped cash.


How To Know When You’ve Become Too Hungry For Success

How To Know When You’ve Become Too Hungry For Success

This article originally published at Forbes.com

Entrepreneurs are routinely reminded that they need to “stay hungry” to sustain competitive advantage and success. Though that may be true, what you don’t always hear is that there is a real and present danger in becoming too hungry for success.

The difference between being hungry and too hungry can be summed up in one word: discernment. When you’re hungry for success, you are driven to go to great lengths to achieve your objectives — short of sacrificing your boundaries, values or integrity. But in being too hungry for success, desire overtakes discernment. You dive headfirst into dangerous territory where managed risk is no longer present.

In my many decades coaching, from Main Street to Wall Street, I’ve borne direct witness to the consequences of being too hungry for success. The financial and personal losses ranging from mild to life-threatening are consequences that can be avoided if one learns to recognize the warning signs

How do you know when being hungry is manifesting into being too hungry? Here are the top five signs.

1. You desperately make decisions: High achievers often feel pressure to outperform and prove themselves to others — at an accelerated pace at that. In a too-hungry state, your ability to maintain rational analysis amid challenges or crises is compromised, resulting in a false self-narrative that justifies unethical conduct to solve problems.

2. You’re impatient: When you’re too hungry, you take imprudent action, rationalizing that you must do something right now. Successful entrepreneurs understand the prudence in waiting for the right opportunity.

3. You have false pride: In a normal hungry-for-success state, you care more about successfully solving problems and overcoming challenges than about how you are being perceived, even if that means exposing your losses or mistakes. In a too-hungry state, ego rears its head, causing leaders to care more about the opinions of others. That includes shutting out those who can help them during critical times.

4. You lack faith: When you’re too hungry for success, you don’t make time to develop or practice habits that lead to maintaining positivity, confidence, faith and hope. Devoid of faith, you fail to gain the courage, strength, endurance, inspiration and direction drawn from having the mindfulness or spiritual practice necessary to grow and sustain success.

5. You’re a workaholic: In a too-hungry state, you prioritize work above everything, including your own and others’ wellbeing. You falsely believe you can’t afford to take a break, lest you risk failure.

Here’s a very important fact to know about becoming too hungry for success: Every single person can get into that state of being. In my book, I share real-life stories of good, ethical people who slipped into the too-hungry-for-success state, resulting in avoidable hardships. One of these stories is about a very successful entrepreneur — a charismatic president of his church — who got so angry and tired of being falsely accused of a petty crime that he began to fight back unethically. His justification was that because these people did him wrong, they deserved to be treated the way they treated him.

The takeaway here is that the pathway to prevention is to never allow yourself to become too much of anything, whether it’s hungry, angry, lonely or tired. What does that mean? Recognize and honor your most valuable asset (you) by maintaining healthy habits of self-care, no matter what is or isn’t happening in your life. Optimal self-care is doing all the things that you would advise your child or client to do to maintain a healthy body, mind and spirit.

Become vigilant in recognizing the too-hungry-for-success warning signs — and when they do begin to manifest, halt. Stop for a time-out to refuel yourself via rest, relaxation, sound nutrition, exercise and meditation. Your body needs to regain an objective state of mind. There is no risk in halting, only reward.

ON THE COUCH: Shocking Confessions of a Self-Made Millionaire: SHORT CUT TO SUCCESS: Beware of the Success Bandit

ON THE COUCH: Shocking Confessions of a Self-Made Millionaire: SHORT CUT TO SUCCESS: Beware of the Success Bandit

I’m going to share a shocking truth that I experience practically on a daily basis. It still, even after decades of entrepreneurialism, never ceases to render me speechless. I want to share it so that it will help you to attain far greater success in shorter time frames. So, here it goes…

The truth is that there exist two classes of achievers. There is the genuine achiever and then there is the counterfeit variety. And, here’s the tricky part. It’s sometimes very difficult to discern which one a person is. One of the reasons why it’s so difficult to decipher is that a large segment of the counterfeit achiever class truly believes they are the real deal! They go to work each day, have all the key social media channels up and running, network, make sales calls and set appointments. On the face of it, they appear to be doing what successful people do. But, they have certain habits that if you aren’t aware of or chose to ignore, will rob you of achieving maximum success in minimum time.

Here Are the Top 6 Habits of the Success Bandit:

1. Catfishes: Lures prospects into a relationship (business or personal) by means of a fictional online or offline persona. Yes, they do this not only on Facebook, but also on Linked In.

2. Disrespects Your Time: Sets appointments only to cancel at the last minute, stand you up or show up late. And, often has the gumption to continue to contact you time and time again.

3. Doesn’t Follow Through: Has a great offering, but doesn’t ever put in the work to close the deal.

4. Talk and No Walk: The smooth talker. Charismatic, smart, knows what they are talking about and repeatedly makes promises and fails to honor them.

5. Regularly Goes Dark: Here one day and gone the next which always leaves you wondering if you will ever hear from them again. Until, yep, you get that text, email or call saying, “I haven’t forgotten about you. I’m still here and working on it”, only to disappear again.

6. Unrealistic: They frequently pursue that which is beyond their level of expertise

The number 1 way to avoid both the intentional and unintentional success bandit is to do your due diligence no matter how good something sounds or looks.  Due diligence means you never rush into anything regardless of your need to have something happen right away. Before you formally engage someone, ask for and call 3 references that they’ve done business with in the last 6 to 12 months. And, most importantly, do not ignore the signs of the success bandit!

Lastly, if you identify with some or all of the signs, and consistently wonder why you aren’t achieving the kind of success you feel you should be having, be honest with yourself, modify your habits and behavior, and watch as you finally become a genuine achiever.

This is not a personal rant. This is me, sharing my direct experience, to help you in becoming hyper-vigilant to quickly and expertly recognize who to choose to associate with that will most easily and effortlessly expedite your time to achieving the outcomes you desire. Cut to the chase and weed out the chaff! It doesn’t make you mean, it makes you smart and successful.

In Closing My Shocking Confession: I was interviewing companies to award a contract to handle a very important aspect of a global operation. I reached out to my colleagues to get recommendations feeling like that was the smartest way to cut to the chase and weed out the chaff. I was excited and confident about the prospects because they came from high profile and highly reputable corporations. Wow, was I shocked and disappointed. The CEO of the #1 prospect arranged three separate conference calls over a protracted period of time (often leaving me wondering if she was ever going to follow through) pulling in different senior executives each time to be a part of the needs analysis. I documented each call with a follow up email. On the last call, we clearly defined next steps. I never heard from them again, they never sent the needed documents. I moved on to my next best candidate. Lo and behold, many weeks later, I get a phone call from the CEO asking me to call her back. There was nothing more to talk about. The Success Bandit had already wasted enough time and energy.

My mistake here was that I had failed to perform my standard due diligence practice of talking to at least 3 references and had ignored the red flags because she had been referred by a hugely successful global corporation.

The Counterintuitive Way To Stand Out And Be Recognized Amid Today’s Noisy Social Media Culture

The Counterintuitive Way To Stand Out And Be Recognized Amid Today’s Noisy Social Media Culture

This article originally published on Forbes.com

We all know that content is king. Never before in entrepreneurial history have there been so many platforms and communities to learn, join and establish a presence on.

It’s easy to spend countless hours per week churning out blog posts, article submissions, videos, podcasts and social media posts, and engaging in conversations. With the mad rush to gain a brand presence and stand out in an ever-increasingly complex and crowded social media landscape, it’s easy to lose one’s self amid the maelstrom.

I talk daily to both emerging and seasoned entrepreneurs who spend much of their time and energy researching where their target audience is spending their time and then churning out content they think their audience wants to hear. Eyes focused downward on their devices, they closely monitor, minute by minute, how many views, likes and shares they are getting.

In the mad rush to put out mass competitive content, the gold standard for achieving and sustaining brand recognition is being lost. In place of communicating in one’s authentic voice, which is the conveyance of personal standards, values and truth, the focus is now on how to post the most frequently and outrageously in order to capture views. Keywords have replaced the authentic voice. Outlandish headlines and video antics have replaced being true to oneself. Getting traffic has become more important than increasing value and discovering customers’ needs.

It’s time to regroup, refocus, take a stand, break out of the pack and lead by taking a counterintuitive action that will authentically get you the competitive advantage, the brand authority and the customers that you’re seeking — without losing yourself and your values in the process.

Silence is the counterintuitive action that will earn you massive attraction. I know it seems totally counter to what you probably learned or are currently doing. But using silence as a strategy is, in fact, a tried-and-true method of winning a competitive advantage.

Using silence as a marketing tool will get you back on track to delivering your unique, value-driven message. Value is what attracts and keeps customers. At the end of the day, you could have a store online and in every single physical mall in the world — or self-publish 100 books and make them available everywhere — but if the unique value proposition isn’t inside, you’ll just be adding noise to the already noisy, crowded environment, and you will not achieve success.

How, then, does silence help you stand out? Here’s what I’ve learned from 40 years of being an entrepreneur and from studying some of the greatest achievers of all time:

1. Talk is easy and cheap, but walking the walk requires strength and is invaluable to becoming sustainably successful.

2. Being discerning about where, when and how you speak creates brand power and authority, and positions you as a leader.

3. Focusing on quality over quantity results in long-term gains.

4. Knowing yourself, your unique purpose and value proposition — and honoring that truth — delivers sustainable success.

The first step to effectively using silence as a success strategy is to take the time to be silent within yourself, reconnect and reclaim your authentic self and unique message. Then, go out into the world and share it discernibly, simply and powerfully.

When feeling compelled to compete, remind yourself that it’s not about who can shout the loudest, longest or most frequently, but who can share the most compelling and meaningful content where and when it is needed the most. Talking and sharing are valuable only when you have something meaningful to convey. Otherwise, it results in brand dilution.

Training yourself to become still and silent positions you to optimize your mental, intuitive and spiritual powers to use your voice as an instrument to convey the unique truth of who you are. In practicing silence, you become proficient at observing and listening and gain invaluable insights on how to become of better service to your tribe. That’s what successful leaders do, and that’s what creates authentic brand authority.

After all, even amid the evolution of social media, the axiom “silence is golden” remains an unchanged truth.