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entrepreneurial process

4 Phases of the Mission Driven Entrepreneurial Process

When I restarted my own entrepreneurial process 3 years ago, I used Fizzle to help me design a roadmap of what I wanted New Inceptions to be.

Since then, I’ve realized that I was trying to build something that I couldn’t by myself. So, last summer, I started really putting an emphasis on meeting the right kinds of people to help things go bigger faster.

That’s about the time that I started doing more things locally and getting started with Amplify and C317.

Well, fast forward to today, and I have to say, there’s a lot of things I’ve learned along the way. And one of those things is that when you’re talking about scaling a business where you’re making a huge impact, you’re talking about a business that has gone through several stages to get where they’re at.

In this post, I want to share what those phases are so you have an idea of where you’re at.

 

Definition of the Entrepreneurial Process

Traditional Process

So there’s several entrepreneurial processes out there. One is the model that a lot of people know from academia or other traditional sources. It looks a little like this:

I’m not saying that this isn’t correct, but it’s not very functional. It “might” be functional if you’re in the tech entrepreneur space. But in reality, most entrepreneurs don’t focus on these topics today – especially not “Developing a business plan”!

 

Fizzle’s Three Phases

When I was in Fizzle, they had their own entrepreneurial process. It looks like this:

This is a much more practical model. And when you listen to Corbett, Chase, and Steph on their podcast, it does make a lot of sense in why they made it this way.

However, as I’ve been going back into studying other entrepreneurs out there, there seems to be an alternative path to the one above (which, I think is a great plan otherwise I wouldn’t be a proponent of theirs!).

This 4 phase path is one I wanted to share with you guys

The New Inceptions Roadmap

So, New Inceptions – what does that mean? When I first came up with it, I had recently seen the movie Inception. In the movie, we see this world where dreams happen in dreams. And if you’ve heard the podcast or talked to me in person, you might have heard that I feel that my job in life is to pull people out of mental prisons. Whether or not they put themselves there OR they’ve allowed others to put them there, they’re stuck.

So my 4 phase process includes one phase in where the focus is simply getting “unstuck”. I believe that this is is the most foundational phase and I see a lot of entrepreneurs skipping right over it as well as the next one. They start in phase 3, eventually find that they don’t like the work they’re doing or they’re simply not happy, and then have to start something again.

Our goal here is to prevent that from happening to you!

So, just to lay them out – here are the four stages:

  • Phase 1 – Set the Foundation
  • Phase 2 – Personal Mission Development
  • Phase 3 – Product and Service Development with First Customers (Start Becoming the Expert!)
  • Phase 4 – Optimization and Growth

 

Let’s take a little more of a look at them:

 

The 4 Phases of the Mission Driven Entrepreneurial Process

entrepreneurial process

Phase 1: Set the Foundation

You guys know that I’m also a huge fan of Dane Maxwell and Andy Drish’s The Foundation.

When I heard about it back in 2012, it blew me away. Up until that point, I had only really heard of the first process I presented here.

One of the things that The Foundation does a great deal of work in is helping people with their limiting beliefs.

It’s these same limiting beliefs that keep people stuck in their mental prisons.

So in this phase, a new entrepreneur should be essentially taking dumb action. Just getting a feel for what’s out there. What sounds interesting to them? What do they feel like they gravitate towards?

Another thing we need to look at is how do we communicate with ourselves and the world around us. Are we real when need to be with ourselves and others? If not, why not? Do we lump all people into one group or are we aware of the different personalities that are out there?

Also in this phase, we need to focus on moving a external locus of control to one that is a bit more internal.

This is all important stuff that needs to be thought about before we can dive into the next phase.

 

Phase 2: Create Your Personal Mission

In this phase, we’ll be looking at crafting your own personal mission.

This is a vital phase that many entrepreneurs skip over. However, time and time again, I’ve heard those from the top say they would have gotten to the top faster had they taken the time to understand what their work actually meant.

In particular, in this phase we’re looking at discovering our Passions, Purpose, and preferred Process (the 3 P’s) and how that relates to our overall mission. We’ll also be looking at all the options you could put your unique skill set towards.

And we also want to make sure we’re starting to develop our network. But we have to make sure we’re doing it strategically. There’s some key people that we need to be meeting if we want to do extraordinary things. We have to seek those folks out who have been there before.

 

Phase 3: Product and Service Development with First Customers (Start Becoming the Expert!)

Now that we’ve developed a understanding of who we are and the skills that we can bring to the market, it’s time that we actually see if someone would be willing to pay for what we can help them with.

Here’s the thing, though. It’s not about what we THINK we can help them with. It’s about what we KNOW we can help them with. And the only way to find out what we can help them with is by actually ASKING them.

Once you know what they want – how are you going to bring it to them? Are you going to get external funding or are you going to do a presale (hint: if you’re smart, you’ll do a presale before you ever lift a finger creating a service, course, SaaS, or even a physical product).

There’s a lot of moving parts in this phase. However, if you do them in the right sequence, it can be super fun.

 

Phase 4: Optimization and Growth

Once you have your first handful of customers, you’ll need to start thinking about your systems. No business became an empire without having a set way of doing things. The more automated you can make things, the more you can leverage your time… and your TEAM’s time.

So, yes. This is the stage where we start thinking about hiring people to help.

Also, if you haven’t made a website yet, then you’ll want to do that in this phase. Because when you’re marketing to the masses (regardless of how you do it), you have to give them something to go to that’s not controlled by third parties.

 

Action Steps

So, this is a lot to throw at you. And really, it depends on where you’re at in your journey. I’ve known people who were in phase 4 and ended up having to go back to phase 2 to recreate their career. In fact, the last two books I read were all about that – people who were at the “top of the world” came crashing down only to build a less stressful and much more enjoyable life.

So where are you at in your journey? Let me know where you’re starting from and I’ll help you get to the next level.

a simple life

The Magic of a Simplified Life

Over the weekend, many people all around the world watched the Royal Family’s wedding. When you think of a Royal wedding, you think of a huge production full of… well all kinds of stuff: trumpets, long dresses, swords, horses, crowns and tiaras, limos… you name it.

As much as it was advertised, many would say that you had to practically be under a rock to not have watched a part of it.

If that is the case, then consider me squashed!

I really had no interest in watching it.

If you did, then we’re cool. It’s your call to do so.

But for me, I didn’t want to watch it because it interferes with my desire to keep simplicity in my life.

What do I mean by that? Well, let’s talk about it.

 

The Western World is Full of Offers

So what do I mean by keeping simplicity in my life? Well, it’s what it sounds like.

I like having a simple life. I’m really a simple guy. I have the things I like to do, and there’s only certain times where I feel I need to buy something.

Heck, I won’t buy anything unless it’s a replacement for something else that’s broken, torn, or somehow wrecked. I have clothes that are fairly old (some are 10 years old!), one of my cars is 20 years old, and when I do listen to music – it’s usually from the 90’s or the 00’s.

Here’s the thing, I’m happy with this stuff.

But, if I was to watch the wedding – I might have thought “Oh, damn. I really need to step up my game! I want something like that!”

Growing up, I was always comparing myself to others. It’s something we all do.

Even this morning, I saw an advertisement for a store I’ve never heard of. It was a very Ikea like place – I think it was called At Home?

Anyway, the ad that was played was like, “Keep up with the seasons by buying all new furniture!

Keep up with the seasons? Really? Who needs to switch their chairs and sofas that many times?

No one. But society, especially here in western society, would make us think we have to keep up with the Jones’. No, scratch that. The Kardashians!

Why do people behave this way?

Because buying stuff just to buy stuff – aka retail therapy – is nothing more than addiction. Those who participate get a high when the thing is new, but in the end, they don’t want the item anymore and/or, even worse, they end up being in a worse financial situation than they started.

 

Getting rid of Stress with a Simplified Life

So if you find yourself with a lot of stuff in your house you wonder why you bought OR you find it hard to live under your means, perhaps it’s time to not think about buying yourself out of the problem. Instead, perhaps it might be easier to bring more simplicity into your life?

I’m not saying you have to go minimalistic. No, instead I’m suggesting to have less stress in your life. Less clutter. Having the money to buy things you really REALLY want.

Does that sound good?

Well, here’s a few things to think about:

If your house was about to get hit by a tornado or a hurricane and you had a 20 minutes to pack a handful of items, what would they be?

In that same situation, what items would you pack in a suitcase?

If you had to move into a space half the size of what you’re currently in – what would you HAVE to keep?

 

Action Steps

I’ll tell you, when Laila told me she was a minimalist, I wondered what she meant by that. What went into being a minimalist? Later I had the chance to interview a couple of digital nomads including Arne Giske and Gregory Diehl. We found out that being able to live the lifestyle they do requires a minimalistic approach.

Today, I know that the minimalist lifestyle isn’t completely for me. However, it might be for you. Here’s a couple of exercises you can try if you’re wanting to experiment with this lifestyle. If it feels liberating, then maybe it’s a sign to bring more simplicity into your life.

 

  1. For one month, limit the non-essential items you bring into the house to one thing a week. At the same time, go through your house and ask yourself what items you need and love. If you don’t need OR love something, then consider getting rid of that item – you can trash it, sure – but I’d recommend giving it to someone who appreciates it (just like the collectors do with Mike and Frank on American Pickers!) either by giving or selling it.
  2. Also, as I mentioned in a recent post, pay for everything with cash only. This gives you a finite about amount of funds to work with and makes it harder for you to buy on impulse. You learn to appreciate the money you have. Stretch that dollar!

 

Let me know how it works out for you!

surround yourself with good people

Finding Your Success Board – Why It’s Necessary to Surround Yourself with Good People

Have you ever thought back to a time where you met someone super intriguing? Someone who simply made you feel better about the world? And all you had to do was be near them? Maybe you met them when you were in school and they gave you a certain attention that others didn’t? Perhaps it was a colleague you gave you some career guidance?

Hopefully, you’ve lucked into one of these people in some way in your life.

They’re a complete joy to be with.

 

John Maxwell says that people are like elevators. Some bring you up, and others bring you down.

Personally, I’m all about spending time with people who bring me up. In fact, I try to have a core group of around 5 people in which I bounce ideas and concerns off of on a regular basis.

Why 5? Because Jim Rohn once said that you’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.

If you’re looking to get somewhere in life or with your business, you need to make sure that those people are people YOU’VE chosen and are not placed there randomly by the universe.

 

YOU have to seek these people out.

So here’s the question – how do you find these people? Well, here’s a few ideas to help you start a process to find these right folks.

 

Define Your Influencers

Here’s the thing. The 5 people on your Success Board – your Influencers – they need to be sought after and chosen by you. Your immediate family members don’t really count because they’re family and you’re stuck with them. There might be some bias there and there’s a good chance they might not have the life that you’re looking to have someday.

So who does that leave? You’d think the rest of the world, but that’s simply not the case. I wish it was as simple as that!

No, what you and I both have to do is have a way of sorting out the folks that we want in our life. We want to find those that take us up, not down.

How do you do that?

By defining a list of characteristics that you want in those people!

If you take the time to define the vision and the attributes of your inner circle, you could discover those folks who embody those attributes are probably not far away from where you’re at today.

When it comes to those that I surround myself with, here’s a list of characteristics that I thought was important.

 

Authentic

No one wins when people try to be someone they’re not. Not the person themselves, and certainly not those that think they’re that certain kind of person. Who you are professionally should be a better representation of who you are, but not completely alien.

 

Intelligent

For me, up til grad school, I knew I always wanted to be around people who had completed their bachelors. The reason I believed I wanted this in my friends and spouse was because for the longest time, academic achievement was how I measured intelligence. (Unfortunately, that’s how it is in most of the world yet today!)

However, when I did get into grad school, I had many huge revelations. One was realizing that there are people who have degrees that aren’t that intelligent (they do whatever they’re told). There’s also those that don’t have degrees who have been super successful in life.

So how do you recognize intelligence? It’s simple. Look for thinkers, dreamers, and people who want to do great things.

 

Creative

There’s a lot of problems in the world that need to be fixed. We need more people who want to fix those issues themselves or be part of a group that’s making great change. Personally, I don’t have time for people who think “someone should do something about that…”. Do you?

 

Growth Mentality

It’s been said that if you’re not growing, you’re dying. Or, if you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward. Either way you look at it, to move forward you have to grow. And to grow, you have to learn.

When searching for people to be part of my Success Board, I like to find out what they are currently learning about. If they’re not learning about something or aren’t readily willing to share what they’ve learned, they might not be the best folks to work with.

I also like to look for people who aren’t happy with where they’re at in life and are actively trying to be more, earn more, and help more.

 

Aware of Meaningful Current Events

I don’t understand people who live vicariously through others. Watching reality shows has never really been of interest to me. Why? Because I feel that it’s not fair for someone to devote their emotions to an event that doesn’t affect them one way or the other.

When I was younger, I did this way too often. Heck, I’d have a bad week when the Colts lost – but if they won, it’d be a great week! (And of course, those were the weeks where I’d wear a jersey with pride!)

A lot of my friends were the same way about their favorite NFL teams.

However, when they finally won the Super Bowl back in 2007, it got me thinking: how did this affect me personally?

The best response that I came up with was “Well, I guess I can tell future generations that ‘I was there.’” When in reality, I saw it on TV.

Today, anyone can watch that same game on YouTube. It’s not that big of a deal.

What’s going on with the Kardashians or the Royal Family? Who cares? How does watching their life help yours?

What’s going on with your family or the people around you who you care about? What can affect those people? That’s what really matters.

And just for clarity, I’m not saying that you and the folks you surround yourself with should not pay attention to pop culture at all. What I am saying is that we all need to find the things that are interesting to the REAL us. If you’re a bit dorky like I am, then enjoy your Sci-Fi. But ask yourself why you liked that series or movie. Was it worth the time you put into it?

Are you really into music? Why are you into that particular song or group?

These aren’t just questions we should be asking ourselves, but also those who we surround ourselves with.

 

Sense of Humor

One thing that irritates the heck out of me is when folks are constantly promoting a politically correct agenda. If you want to be, that’s great. If you want to be the next Donald Trump, I’m for that too.

But sometimes, you need to look around and see things for what they are and have a chuckle. While I might not have had the same views as George Carlin on a lot of things, I did appreciate his genius in finding the humor in just about everything. And when he did, there was always a bit of truth to it.

There’s a place and time where humor is needed. Heck, even Avengers: Infinity Wars used it for plot gaps!

 

Civilized

As much as I hate to admit that I have certain standards, I do.

I like being a person of the people. I believe that everyone has potential. It’s just that they have to see it in themselves before they can act on it.

So sometimes, I find myself interacting with people who others might think are a bit shady on the surface. But the truth is that if I see they’re trying to be better (see above), then I’ll help them along the way.

However, if they’re not interested in improving themselves, are vulgar for no reason, and just down right crude – I’ll typically not be interested in spending time with that person.

Same thing could be said about how they achieve what they want in life. Are they grateful for what they have or are they trying to knock everyone else down?

Even taking care of themselves. Do they practice good hygiene regularly or only when they have to?

If you have certain standards, why surround yourself with people who don’t? They could easily become a distraction or even worse, a downer!

 

Action Steps

So the above traits are a few simple examples of traits that people in my Success Board have. You might have a longer list than the one above – which is just fine.

In fact, using a list like this can be a great way of finding a future spouse. (It’s how I realized Maria as wife material! However that list was much longer as it was more of an itemized list.)

The sooner you have a list like this, the sooner your subconscious will start seeing disconnects with those who are bringing you down but you just weren’t aware of.

Are you thinking of adding any other traits to your list? Maybe you have already. I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

self fulfillment

Self Fulfillment: The Secret to True Success

In our world today, we’re often seen as doing the right thing when we’re seeking success. I mean, why not? On the surface, success seems like the perfect way to measure someone’s value to society. The more success someone has had at doing a particular thing, the more likely they’ll be able to teach someone else to do the same thing.

Right?

Well, perhaps.

See when I think of the word success, I think of it more as a label coming from external sources. Someone else has told me I’m successful. Whether by a simple compliment or by getting my degrees in college, it’s been someone else telling me that I’m a success.

On that same note, I’d really only say I’m successful when I achieve goals that I set for myself.

However, as much of a good feeling I had when I got my Masters, it was short lived.

The hard reality set in that I hadn’t been really setting my own goals. Others had put emphasize on what I should be pursuing. When I achieved that, I asked “What now?”.

It took me a good several years to truly figure out the answer to that.

Here’s what I’ve realized.

 

Modern Success is Superficial

Since our success is usually measured by other people, it’s probably not the best measurement for ourselves and navigating our own personal journey.

Take, for example, your typical “successful” professional athlete. On the outside, they seem to have it all. Many have a job that pays super well (the low end is $100k/yr for NFL players), and because of that, they should have a cushy lifestyle compared with the rest of us.

They should be set for life.

As we know, this isn’t always the case. For some people who go the professional athlete route, their money goes as quick as it comes in. Or they get injured on the job and are unable to perform at the same level. For those folks, they’re not considered any more a success in life when they end their career vs when they got started.

So maybe there’s another way to measure success?

Well, in professional sports, we can say that a player has had a successful career if they have had great stats over a certain amount of time.

But, from their perspective, good players tend to not really care about padding stats. They simply want to be considered great at what they do. It just so happens that good stats in professional sports usually means someone’s really at their craft – playing their sport.

Thing is, not all professions have these measurements of greatness built in. In fact, most don’t.

So, the question is, how do we measure our greatness?

 

Greatness comes through Mastery

Those professional athletes could not have the stats that they had without seeking mastery in their craft. If you have two people with the same level of talent, who will come out ahead? The one who works on their craft day in and day out? Or the one who just tries to wing it?

In sports, we see this time and again. The players who study film and go through the reps in practice are going to be more successful than those who don’t.

Same is true about the rest of us.

Those of us who improve in our craft a little more each day are going to eventually get better than those who just do the same thing as a hobby.

As we work towards this mastery, the better we get at something, the more we’ll be fulfilled.

So, if that’s the case, the more fulfillment we get from doing something, the more potential we have to be great at something. If we don’t get fulfillment from doing something, then there’s most certainly going to be a cap in how great we’ll be able to make ourselves at it.

 

Action Steps

So as you’re thinking about this new definition of “success” and how importance true fulfillment is, perhaps we can think of it in simple terms. Here are a few questions to ask yourself.

How many things are you currently doing or have done because you wanted the reward at the end? Compare that to the activities you do because you truly want to get better at that particular craft or process. Which percentage is higher?

If money or stuff wasn’t a measurement of true success (because it isn’t), what would you be doing as a career? Are you currently at your job because it pays the bills? If so, it might be time to consider a change.

And finally, since we measure true success by the fulfillment we get out of what we put our effort into (and not through the view of others), are there any specific ways you can measure your current fulfillment – whether it’s in your work or through making yourself a better person?

Personally, knowing how many people I’ve helped live a better life helps gives me fulfillment.

Perhaps you can measure your success through that scale?

Or maybe, you can track your success based on something completely different – such as how well you can play an instrument or how much you’ve improved your health over time. Heck, maybe it’s something like how well you can speak a language.

 

professional etiquette

15 Professional Etiquette Tips to Help Your Business Blossom

You know that feeling. When someone doesn’t quite live up to your standards. It’s hard to describe that particular feeling though.

Do you feel let down? Sure.

Maybe a little bit of shame because you feel you might have dropped the ball somehow? Quite possibly.

Maybe, it’s neither. Maybe you just brush it off and place a label on that person as “not up to par”.

Well, having grown up in a old patriarchal family that was HUGE on manners, I can tell you a thing or two about how it’s helped me throughout the years.

I remember one particular instance where I reached for food in a wrong manner, and was stabbed with a fork.

It taught me a lesson in being polite at the table. Reaching for things across other people – not a polite thing to do.

Today, however, stabbing someone with a fork (or most discipline for that matter) is not acceptable in our PC liberal leading world. In fact, I’m sure it would be considered child abuse.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of people out there practicing business that might not have been taught how to be polite growing up themselves.

Quite regularly, for example, I hear the question “does profanity bother me in business?” Well, that’s kinda like asking “Does nudity bug you in public?”.

I mean, of course they’re not the same thing. But the same principles of self control are used in both.  

Personally, it’s hard for me to trust people who don’t show self control up front. It makes me wonder if they’ll show self control in the rest of their life and business.

 

Manners Matter!

That being the case, what are some ways of making sure that people don’t get the wrong impression of you when you first meet?

Of course the answer is being mindful with your manners.

Manners are a great way to illustrate that you practice self control. And self control is one of the keys in building long lasting trust.

You want a good working relationship, that first impression (as well as your 2nd, 3rd, and etc.) is huge when it comes to self-selecting yourself when it comes to opportunities.

Likes attract likes. If you want to attract Gary Vaynerchuk type folks in your life, work it like Gary. But I’m not saying just be crass – I’m saying have people skills and know how to get the job done. Otherwise you might end up like looking like a try hard Jesse Pinkman type of character.

So here’s a few things that I think many of us online business folk should probably get a little better at:

 

First Impressions

First impression is the best way to start building good moral right away. Besides not swearing as if you’re beer buddies, it’s also good to present yourself in the manner you want to known. Sure, you can dress like Elliot Alderson if you want or you can suit up. Personally, I’m somewhere in the middle.

 

Few more pointers include:

  1. When meeting someone, always shake hands firmly while making eye contact. No wimpy hand grabs. And make sure that if you’re sitting, that you get up to shake their hand when you first meet them. Note: It’s ok to sit while shaking hands when you’re agreeing on something!
  2. Pay attention to their name and use it as frequently as makes sense. Up to a point, the more you use it, the more they feel important. (Just don’t use it in negative examples.)
  3. Besides learning their name, give other cues that you’re paying attention to what they’re saying. Repeat what they say sometimes.
  4. Use your inside voice. Sometimes people are obnoxiously loud when meeting new people. Might be because they’re over-excited. Might be because they’re not aware that their voice carries as well as it does.
  5. Put away any digital devices when meeting someone. Better yet, put it on silent or turn it off completely so that you can have a good uninterrupted conversation.

 

Communication

Speaking of turning off digital devices, there’s some things that you should probably think about with communication etiquette:

 

  1. When it comes to a phone in particular, maintain your usual speaking volume. Also, if you’re speaking with someone on the speakerphone – let them know. This might actually keep them from looking like a tool… or both of you if they drop something on the line that might not be the best thing for people near you to hear.
  2. When it comes to email and other online messages, you can never be too cautious. Generally speaking, in person, we all have an easier understanding of what others are trying to say. But if you use too many exclamation marks, reply in all caps, or use too many emoticons.
  3. Also, when it comes to emails – use professional email addresses. At one point, this meant just not using names like “[email protected]…”, “[email protected]…” or other cute or fun names. That still is good rule, but we live in a time where if you have a business, you should have a business email. You can get up to 10 of them for free at zoho.com.
  4. When it comes to messaging people, whether it’s on Facebook or through texts, try to keep the conversation short. Also, don’t be a negative through messages. Important conversations need to be had on the phone or in person.
  5. If you miss someone’s call, get a text, or an email try to respond to them promptly. In a world where ghosting is a thing, you don’t want people to get the idea that you’re avoiding them on purpose.

 

Other Stuff

A few things that don’t necessarily fit above include:

 

  1. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. A good rule of thumb is to not disrupt the ways of the locals. Whether that means keeping your space tidy or labeling food in a refrigerator  in a coworking space or knowing a bit about the language.
  2. Be timely. Be on time as much as possible. End meetings on time and never use more words when you could use less.
  3. Unless someone is volunteering information or you have their permission, don’t brain-pick! Always ask permission to get someone’s advice or when you want to be direct with them.
  4. Be strategic when choosing meals. You don’t want to order anything that splatters with new people. If you can, only do meals with people you feel comfortable with.
  5. Might be a little old fashioned, but handwritten thank you cards go a long way. Pat Flynn has a wall where his fans’ notes end up! Also, when not handwriting, make sure you always use spell check!! 🙂

 

Action Steps

That’s a good list to get you started. I’m sure there’s plenty of pointers I’m missing, though. What are some things you’ve noticed people have done that left a sour taste in your mouth? Let us know in the comments below!!

great leaders

5 Characteristics of a Builder: Why Builders Can Make Great Leaders

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind for me. As many of you know, Maria and I had a wedding to attend in Honduras. So after the last post, the rest of the week was geared towards getting there while at the same time releasing the last podcast.

That’s why you might have noticed the last podcast was released a couple of days early.

Anyway – as we were there in Honduras, I met several guys (including the groom) who were really wanting to improve life down there. Not only their own, but the lives of their neighbors in their city – San Pedro Sula.

For much of the western world, when we think of Honduras, we think of a place that drug lords have called home to and they have no shortage of violence.

While this used to be the case, I was told by the guys that this really isn’t how they see it.

They see a lot of opportunity for truly building something.

While we were having our fairly deep discussions (especially for a wedding!), I got to thinking.

How can these guys be more of an influence in their own town? Then it came to me.

They can become great builders.

Let’s take a minute to dive into some builder characteristics.

 

1. Builders are Results Oriented

When I’m talking about becoming a builder, I’m not talking about just construction builders. While Honduras definitely does need an updated infrastructure, there’s other jobs that these guys could excel at – in which they CAN make a difference.

When I was speaking with the groomsmen, this is one thing I noticed they all wanted to do.

Not only did they want to make a difference for themselves – but for their countrymen as well.

While they wanted to know the inner workings of our government here in the states, they also wanted to make sure that I knew the results that their work was accomplishing.

The thing about builders of all types is that they’re numbers oriented. I mean, when you think about it, people who are numbers oriented are usually builders of some sort. Engineers are a great example. Local government members can be another.

One thing to note though. These folks might fudge their numbers a little bit. Sometimes it’s not a big deal. Other times it can be a huge issue. So make sure if you’re planning on being a builder, set a good example and always be transparent with your results.

 

2. Builders are Hardly Ever Satisfied

When it comes to builders – the reason they build is because they want some sort of change in the world. But even when that change occurs, there’s a big chance that they’re not going to stop there. If they’re an entrepreneur, there’s going to be another product they’ll want to make. If they’re an engineer, there’s another project they’ll want to work on.

One thing to think about is that builders feel like they have to be productive each day. They feel like those who aren’t naturally productive might have something wrong with them.

But, in reality, there’s nothing wrong with them. It’s simply the fact that everyone is different. While builders are task oriented, those “non-builders” are probably people oriented.

Both are needed in the world.

So instead of worrying about what others are doing, we should be concerned about whether or not we’ve been meeting our own standards.

 

3. Builders are Comfortable with Uncertainty

You’ve heard the saying before “Ready, Aim, Fire!”. Well, a common saying in the online entrepreneurial community is “Ready, Fire, Aim!”. In fact, in my conversation with Andrew O’Brien (founder of the Vetrepreneur Tribe) he said that when starting a business, people need to think about it as a 50 caliber machine gun instead of a sniper rifle.

That said, snipers have to consider the wind when taking shots. In other words, they have their own kind of uncertainty.

So us builders, even though many of us are ok with rushing into uncertainty and finding an answer, it might be best to think things out first from time to time.

 

4. Options are Desirable

When it comes to being successful, many would say that an abundant mindset is key to reaching that success.

Why? Because having an abundant mindset gives you lots of options in any givien situation. On the other hand, a scarcity mindset prevents many of those options from ever presenting themselves.

Successful builders realize that having more options to tackle a problem is better than having just a few.

To a successful builder, there isn’t any one particular right way.

 

5. A Builder’s Drive is Contagious

A final characteristic about builders is that their plans are contagious to others. For one, builders learn more from other builders. But another thing is that when builders get around other builders, they feel like they can do anything.

So if you’re a new builder yourself, ask yourself, “Am I contagious?”

Do people feel that way when they get around you?

If the answer is yes, then you’re going the right direction.

If not, it could be a number of things. So feel free to contact me if you feel you don’t quite have a magnetic personality yet.

 

Action Steps

Anyhow, there’s just a few characteristics of builders. Whether or not you’re looking to improve your local government, start improving your town’s infrastructure or make your business better, these are some things you might want to consider if you feel that things aren’t going the way you’d like.

If that’s the case and you haven’t plugged into a group who supports each other, then you’re invited to join us in the Junto!

moral compass

Developing a Moral Compass: 21 Standards to Live and Work By

Here we are at the beginning of a New Year. In a lot of blogs across the web regarding business and self development, you’ll be seeing a lot of posts talking about planning your upcoming year.

I’m going to change it up just a bit here. Instead of giving you yet another one of those posts (which I have done my fair share), I wanted to focus more on having a good mindset to start out the new year.

Because, really, when you think about it, planning and reflection shouldn’t just be a particular once a year activity. It should be ongoing.

That being the case, one can talk about doing these things until you’re blue in the face. But if you don’t have the right Attitude or “Lattitude” as the podcast would suggest, you’re not going to be getting too far.

You need a moral compass.

So here’s a post originally from March 20th, 2011. When I first heard the information, it really helped me out of my funk. Not only that, but it was one of those pieces of knowledge that set me on my current trajectory.

I hope it does the same for you!


So here’s a question for you. What’s holding you back? What is the main problem that keeps you from achieving whatever it is that you’re trying to achieve? Have an idea? Ok. Now let’s see if you agree with one of these next sentences. It’s someone else’s fault. Someone else got the promotion. Someone else got first place in the last tournament.

But is that really the reason why or is it that you beat yourself? Through all the conversations I’ve had over the years (including the podcast) it seems that there’s one main reason they’ve failed. Up to a point, they believed that to be successful, you had to work by beating the competition.

What we’ve found is this simply isn’t the case. To be successful in life, you simply have to beat the you of yesterday. That’s really one of the keys of success. A mentality of “If not today, then when?” or “Don’t put off ’til tomorrow what you can accomplish today.”

Back when I was active member of LTD, we had a subscription to a weekly CD called the Continued Education Program (CEP). Many times the topics that were covered relate to business development itself, but more often than not, most of the time it relates to living a successful life in general. (Side note: you can’t be successful in one thing without being able to be successful in another. The rules and laws of success transfer.) One example is a CD I was listening to by Joe Markiewics. In it he talks about something that I think definitely needs to be brought up to the front of my things to write about – Standards to Live By.

In my Freemason studies, one of the things that I’ve also come across is the idea of the ashlar block. At first it starts out as a rough ashlar, but after the work of educated workmen it becomes what is known as a perfect ashlar. In construction, a perfect ashlar is a standardized building block that is then used to build reliable structures with.

So with that said, how does one become a perfect ashlar? How do we become a part of a community in which others can trust them to be valuable part of the community? It all starts with standards. If you want to be successful in life, then I suggest you determine your own standards. With a bit of help from Joe in reminding me, here are standards that I try to live by:

1.) No one person is more important than another, the group as a whole, or the vision of that group.

If one person thinks that they’re better than the next guy and causes problems, then that person can and should be left behind. If you ever get the chance to study a pack of dogs (via Dog Whisperer), notice what happens when one starts acting weird. The others start noticing right away and soon leave it behind. In a pack of wolves who have to hunt to survive, unpredictable behavior can not be tolerated.

2.) No excuses.

If something isn’t done, it’s not done. Period. “Do or do not, there is no try.”

3.) Never complain.

I know that things aren’t fair and they may hurt your feelings, but it’s not for you or me to retaliate in complaining. Just do better next time. Make your reasons to not do something your reasons to do it.

4.) No weak faces.

This means no bad body language. In a sports team, if one member drops the ball repeatedly because their head is not in the game, can they ever be trusted to actually catch it and be a go to guy of the team? All it takes is one person to feel sorry for themselves and the rest of the team falls apart. Don’t lose your poise.

5.) Be unselfish.

There are other people. Make sure they get their share as well.

6.) Positive mental attitude (PMA) at all times.

Learn what to say when you talk to yourself. “I can do this. I just got to figure out how!”

7.) Never talk negatively about somebody behind their back.

Never gossip for gossiping sake or for small talk. If you feel you have to be negative, only be constructive about it and do it in a manner that is not mean or backhanded. State only the facts. Use the sandwich method.

8.) People matter – care about them.

If there’s someone sitting by themselves in a group setting, go be a friend to them. Invite them into your group. Offer to do something for them. (When my mom passed, I got more cards from LTD members than from any other group. I haven’t opened them yet, but I really truly appreciate them!)

9.) Be a giver – go the extra mile.

Be a giver with time, friendship, and money when and where possible.

10.) Be enthusiastic.

Have fun! It brings energy to people you’re with and rewards them in being with you. Never mail it in.

11.) Edify all success.

Promote and congratulate people for all levels of success. People like to be noticed – they probably do the same back to you.

12.) Be committed to people you team up with.

Have each other’s back. Pray for each other when they’re having troubles.

13.) Be honest all the time.

Your word is your worth; your worth is your word.

14.) Personal conduct.

If you wouldn’t do it in front of your family or people you work with, then why do you think you should do it all by yourself? Don’t be a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Remember there should never be double standards – ever. You don’t need to give people a reason to be skeptical of you – especially if they’re not a trusting person to begin with.

15.) Take personal responsibility for your decisions and actions.

This is something that is taught to kids early on. Why would it change as an adult? It’s not the alcohols fault you were drunk. It was your fault you were drunk and yours alone.

16.) Be accountable

Especially to those that are important to you. This includes friends and family. (If you’re at all spiritual or religious, don’t forget God.)

17.) Collective responsibility.

Aka Unity with your group. You win together, you lose together. It’s not the failure of one person on the team to fail, it’s the teams. (Example – it’s not the kicker’s fault he missed the last chance field goal, it was the team’s fault for putting him in a position where it was up to him to be the clutch guy. Ask Peyton Manning about this one…)

18.) Preparation

If you don’t prepare to win, you don’t deserve to win.

19.) Pride

Have pride in what you do and who you are. Be proud of your lineage. Be proud of your work ethic.

20.) Never settle for good. Go for the great.

No matter what happens, you have not arrived. Never settle for what you have now because you can always be better. Success only gives you a platform to be a motivator and helper of others. Create a vacuum of inspiration.

21.) Perform to your standards at all times.

So there are my standards. I’ll admit, I don’t live up to them all the time – I’m not perfect. But I don’t go out of my way to break them either. What are some standards that you’ve set in place that work for you and you work towards them?

Action Steps

There have been many times where I thought the rest of the world would profit quite a bit from the things I learned during my time in LTD. Many of the topics that were discussed were very eye opening. This was definitely one of those lessons.

Let me hear from you. What principles do you use regularly in your day to day life? They can be your own or items from this list.