NET OUT: Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain by Ryan Blair

Read This First

  • In good times, weak businesses prosper.


The Nothing-To-Lose Mindset

  • There is nothing more dangerous than someone with nothing to lose.


Hustlers. Charlatans and Tony Robbins

  • Work your ass off.
  • Don’t give up, ever.
  • When faced with defeat, rise to your feet!- Dr. Dre
  • Keep angling until you find your right angle, then play your angle.
  • Sacrifice.
  • You’ll survive, no matter how bad it is- it isn’t so as bad it could be.
  • Shake off your mistakes, but try not to repeat them.
  • Be grateful- most people don’t even have a dream.
  • Remember that you are not safe. Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there. – Will Rogers
  • Go big, have fun. If not, you either quit, die unhappy, or have a midlife crisis and blow your success.


Philosophies From The Jail Cell to Boardroom

  • Life is theatre; everyone is an actor- some in the lead, some in the supporting cast.
  • Never ask a question you don’t already have the answer to.
  • If you are unsure of the answer to a question, say, “I don’t know, but I will get you the answer by [day, time, date]
  • The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking down your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, the start working on the first one. – Mark Twain
  • When/if you feel you have failed at something, ask yourself: Why did this happen? What could I have done differently? How can I do it better next time? What changes should I make in my strategies? What can I do to improve my planning and preparation?
  • Postmortem- a process whereby we go back and evaluate our failures to make sure we learned our lessons so we don’t repeat the failures.
  • I suggest keeping a notebook specifically for lessons you learn the hard way.
  • Strive to become a master of action.
  • Always be engaged in the process of selling, networking, expanding, negotiating, researching and exploring.
  • Never express a negative emotion in an email or text message. These types of conversations need to be had in person or over the phone.
  • 24 Hour Rule- if you feel you may respond emotionally to something in business, sleep on it and respond the following day instead.
  • If you have something critical to say, do it in private.


Business Model Rules

  • You are a model driven company. Test your assumptions, and revisit your model routinely. Rip the model apart every time you look at it.
  • Create a retention-based sales model; ideally, pay a long-term residual.
  • Know your customer.
  • Be as close to your customers as you can be.
  • Cherry-pick your new markets.
  • Everything else within our company’s structure, needs to be focused first and foremost on creating sales.
  • The best formula for increasing sales: Exposure x Conversion = Results
  • It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change. – Charles Darwin
  • Adaption is the key to survival.
  • Compensation drives behavior.


Customer Rules

  • The best way to make your business stand out is to provide customer service at a level that is unmatched by your competitors’ services.
  • Worry about your loyalty to the customer, not your customer’s loyalty to you.
  • How loyal are we being to our customers? What decisions are we making in the short term and long term that might make our customers feel we are disloyal?  How do we treat them in our customer service group? How are we giving more to our most valued customers- the one’s who have been with us the longest, spent the most and given the most feedback? If you take care of your customers first, everything else will fall into place.


Strategy Rules

  • An army everywhere is an army nowhere. – Sun Tzu
  • A business needs to have focus.
  • Do one thing and do it well, philosophy.
  • One thing at a time, all things in succession. That which grows slowly endures. – J.G. Hubbard
  • Things that develop over time are the ones that are more likely to reflect timeless ideas rather than brief trends or flash-in-the-pan popularity.
  • Take the time to make your advantages and unique offerings clear, recognizable, and prominent.


Personal Rules

  • Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always try to do that, but the really great make you feel that you too, are great. – Mark Twain
  • Steer clear of people who are too shortsighted to recognize your potential- or too bitter to be willing to encourage it.
  • I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man. -Jay Z
  • I don’t buy stocks, I make stocks.
  • Efforts don’t pay the rent, I deal in results, not efforts. Results pay rent.
  • I make money, it doesn’t make me.
  • It’s a very bad idea to pursue too many good ideas. Make sure to be very selective in the projects you take on.
  • People will give you a reputation; you give yourself character.
  • The only differences between you today and a year from now are the people you know and what you have learned.
  • We cannot control what happens to us, but we can control how we react to it.


Honor Your Deals

  • We don’t have control over the expectations other people have. Someone will always feel you did him wrong. But you do your best to honor your deals, regardless.
  • The lesson here is not to create false expectations or make vague promises with regard ti cash, salary, or equity.
  • I call that making a new deal. If you can’t honor the first deal, make a new one and do whatever it takes to honor it.
  • When you are dealing with investors money, you have to act as if God himself wrote you the check.


First Things First

  • That’s the problem, but what is the solution? We need to be solution oriented.
  • The path is all math, meaning there’s an equation that will lead to your answers.
  • Inspect what you expect, follow up on action items; make sure that everyone knows what’s on your mind.
  • Write down a list of everything you believe is critical to the success of your business and then focus on the one item that will save you the most money or generate the most money. Work on the task until it’s completed or until some outside dependency requires you to wait (such as getting a quote from a vendor or the arrival of a shipment), then work on something else and come back to the first when the outside dependency is fulfilled.
  • Sometimes the fastest way forward is to go backward.
  • The more things you say yes to or try to do, the less productive you are.
  • If you say yes to too many seemingly good ideas, then you have one bad idea of a company and a poor management culture.
  • Just say no- if the idea is good enough, it will come back around again.
  • As a CEO you need to be the foremost expert in the multiple variables that drive your business.


Watch Your Wallet

  • Compensation drives behavior and sometimes the threat of losing compensation will drive people to action.
  • There are no excuses for that type of error. You must put controls in place to ensure that money isn’t running out the back door while you’re trying so hard to bring it through the front.
  • Watch your wallet, be just as proud of what you do as what you don’t do, and focus on first things first.


What’s Driving You?

  • What drives you to become an entrepreneur?
  • Four main drivers that urge an individual toward becoming an entrepreneur: independence, wealth, recognition and fame, and contribution.
  • By generating wealth, you are providing for your own needs, for your family’s needs, and- moving beyond your own immediate considerations- probably creating jobs in your community as well.
  • Old saying about recognition- Babies cry for it, grown men die for it.
  • Where is your passion? What do you absolutely love doing?
  • Take stock of your skills, interests and hobbies. Determine what you are naturally drawn to.
  • Choose a business you would love to do without pay and build something that wakes you up in the middle of the night, something you’re proud of and you can’t stop thinking about.


Tap Those Assets

  • It takes approx. ten thousand hours of training and practice to truly master a skill set at a professional level.
  • When it comes to leveraging the assets in your network, many times having access is better than owning.
  • There may be small companies out there that are ripe for purchase, restructuring and re-branding. Keep your eyes open.
  • I have money, but I prefer using other people’s money in building my business. As an entrepreneur, you’re constantly taking all the risk, but when you bring in investors, it spreads the risk and brings complementary talents, skills and experience to the table.


Risk and Sacrifice

  • Asses your tolerance for risk, and the tolerance of others around you.
  • First, consider what is at risk. (home, luxury items, etc.)
  • Risk taking is NOT the same as being reckless.
  • Try to avoid personal guarantees.
  • The most important thing is that you know what you’re getting into.
  • Who else is depending on you, and how much risk can they tolerate?
  • Most men die at 21, we just don’t bury them until they’re 60 or 70.- Benjamin Franklin Don’t be someone who lives a life of excuses instead of action.
  • Investment over consumption
  • Take 5% of your gains and reward yourself.
  • An entrepreneur has to ask for what he needs to live- and that means preparing for sacrifices.


Million Dollar Mistakes

  • Don’t make wildly optimistic sales forecasts.
  • It pays greatly to be accurate in your projections.
  • Don’t hire people who like your ideas all the time.
  • Don’t focus too much on the competition.
  • Don’t waste your time caring what others think and worrying too much about mistakes, even million-dollar ones.
  • Say what’s on your mind and focus on the solutions.
  • Don’t do your business where you do business. Do not fraternize with your employees, and choose your partners wisely.
  • Don’t allow sales employees to sell you.
  • Not firing fast enough.
  • Don’t get caught up in your company.
  • Don’t under forecast cash needs.
  • Don’t try to do too much at one time.
  • Never write something you wouldn’t want to come back to you.
  • Don’t date the wrong women.
  • Don’t invest in uncoachable entrepreneurs.


I Hate Business Plans

  • The best business plan is one built from a business that is already up and running and forecasts the business’s potential growth.
  • Begin your business plan by writing a personal purpose statement in which you outline the philosophies and vision that you want for you and the company you are creating.
  • Make a list of adjectives you would like people to associate with your business, then narrow it down to your top 3 or 4.
  • What is going to make your business plan stand out from the hundreds of other business plans that get pitched to investors each day.
  • What need are you filling that no one else is?
  • What can you do better than anyone else?
  • You need to have an operations plan as well as a plan to raise money.
  • I start with my operational plan and develop that first before moving on to the financial plan.
  • If you are going to submit a plan to me, make sure it is concise.
  • PowerPoint presentation with no more than 15 slides is enough.


Launching Your Business

  • Not only do your consumers have to buy your product, but they have to be able to explain and recommend your company to their friends in a way that will be easily understood and remembered.
  • Focus on creating a single solution for a single problem in our society- in the simplest way possible.
  • If you can apply the “sum up your life in 6 words” approach to describing the problem your company will solve for it’s customers, you’re golden.
  • One of the biggest common mistakes new businesses make with their marketing is trying to reach to broadly to capture every possible facet of their industry.

Raising Money

  • No matter the source, you have to be willing to earn it.
  • Tell them the truth.
  • You get paid last, investors get paid first.
  • You build relationships by putting others first. You ruin them by only looking out for yourself. Never forget that, especially with investors.
  • You must offer value.
  • You demonstrate to the investors the lengths to which you will go to to get them a valuable return on their money.
  • Time is their most limited, and most valuable resource.
  • Securing one or two larger investors can open doors to a number of other investors.
  • Offer them equity in your company in exchange for their time.


Do’s and Don’ts of Pitching to Investors

  • Turn off your cell phone before the presentation begins, do not wear an earpiece.
  • Dress professionally, business suit or a shirt and tie. Casual wear is never appropriate.
  • Ask for the investment at the end of your presentation.
  • Rehearse a minimum of 10 times before you officially present.
  • Don’t allow your presentation to exceed 30 minutes, allow at least 15 minutes for questions and answers at the end.
  • End the talk by reciting the specific actions that were requested of you.
  • Follow up on everything to which you committed.
  • Don’t interrupt your prospective investor when they are speaking.
  • Answer all of your investor’s questions clearly and concisely. Always ask if it answered their question.
  • Don’t attempt to answer questions if you don’t have an answer. Politely say you do not know, and you will follow up with them on that question.
  • Investment presentation is printed in color and bound professionally.
  • Don’t ever respond with negative emotion to a criticism or lack of interest from a potential investor.


Growing, Hiring and Firing

  • Employees need to have a defined job description and a clear set of expectations, but you should also make it clear that time to time they may be called upon to step out of their job descriptions to help with other projects or situations important to the company.
  • People who are over protective or territorial about their job descriptions tend to not be team players.
  • As a CEO, you have to remember that all of these talented, well-compensated people are building your equity and your profits, and that contributes to your compensation.
  • You need to be entrepreneurially minded and create a culture in your company that is also entrepreneurially minded.
  • I want to have as clear a picture as I can of the people I intend to bring on board.
  • Ask yourself a question about each employee. If he/she came to you and said, “I am leaving your company for a new opportunity,” what would your gut reaction be? Would you be devastated that this person’s contribution is irreplaceable, or would you be happy?
  • There are 3 forms of compensation that all employees should earn. First is money, second is recognition, and the third is contribution.
  • Who’s the one person you need to take your company to new heights? Who is your perfect recruit?


Cashing Out

  • Founder’s syndrome- when it’s time for one of the founders to move on.
  • Retire while maintaining an interest that continues to earn you money.
  • You must be a good guardian of your investors money.

NET OUT: YES or NO by Jeff Shinabarger

Decisions Change Everything

  • Group decisions into 3 categories: Daily decisions, moments of decision, and transition times.

Daily Decisions

  • Have I prioritized nutrition, taste buds, or expense?

Moments of Tension

  • The further you go in decision making, the greater the problems that present themselves to you.

Transition Times

  • This time gives us both prospective and pain- for example, in the semester you are about to graduate from college and have to determine what you are actually going to do with your life and where you will live. Or the year that you questions whether or not it’s time to quit your day job to fully transition to your dream job.

Take Action

  • What many of us do when we don’t know what to do, is avoid the tough decision.

What is Your Coconut Calling?

  • Change is made more difficult if we don’t have a sense of what we’re made to do and where we’re going.
  • The most terrifying moments of transition come when we are dissatisfied with our current reality yet lack clarity regarding our future direction.
  • We feel stuck and in need of direction.

Finding My Purpose

  • We may find success for a season on a project, but that doesn’t always mean we should give our lives to that cause.
  • “Learn to say no to the good so you can say yes to the best.” – John C. Maxwell

Saying NO to Saying YES

  • More often than not, they choose a calling that improves life for other people. They value this more than making money for themselves. These people have innovative approaches to addressing social issues that plague the places where we live. I love to help them expand, sustain their efforts, dream at new levels and share their stories with others.
  • I am a uniquely creative individual.
  • I need to have the freedom to create and the space in my work life to create.

More Carving

  • I was doing two jobs, and neither was getting the full attention necessary.

Take The Time

  • When you step away from the hustle that makes up daily living and reevaluate the hectic pace, it is common to start seeing things more clearly.
  • Times of transition often naturally give us the opportunity of time, but filled with the fear of the unknown, we quickly move toward any solution in order to fill time, meet the budget and move on.
  • I recommend not trying to figure it out while he was still consumed in his current role.
  • He found energy to pursue this new vision.
  • The more we understand what we should not do, the more a resonant picture emerges of what we ought to do.
  • The process of learning what to say no to only gets us closer to what we ought to say yes to.
  • The only way to find your unique calling is by saying no to those things that are not your calling.
  • If you are doing your best work on the most important things, you will reach your goals.

Moving Forward

  • The fact of the matter is that 100% security is not possible if we are pursuing problem solving in a new way.
  • I had good motives, the people and things that I loved were in support of it and would be served by the calling, the choice lined up with my past story, and I had been given a vision of where my calling and my dreams lined up.
  • Three legitimate options- end consulting and become the executive director, find a different leader to be the full time executive director and become an advisor, or shut it down completely and move in a new direction.
  • In every way possible, leave past partners in a good next place.
  • Three questions guided my choice- What do you love? What wisdom have you been uniquely given? What problem have you been called on to solve?
  • When we identify and prioritize what we love, it brings us life and revives us.

A Lifelong Love

  • You have an idea, but you fail to see the idea through to completion?
  • Excitement does not automatically equate with love.
  • Why? Because temporary passion for something is not the same is love.
  • Those who have a clear connection between their life story and the change they want to make in their world generally preserve past the initial honeymoon stage.
  • In pursuit of a dream, there ought to be a life experience that has shaped the part of your heart driving that dream.
  • When confrontation hits hard, the people who drive through are the ones whos personal story and heart-level connection push them through the challenge.
  • If the idea does not have a direct correlation with our own story, there is a good chance it’s not a true love.
  • Love leads to action. Love leads toward change. Love empowers us to make things different. Love lasts.

I Love Doing Good

  • Am I loving people, or am I loving the idea of doing good?
  • There are things we love and things we want to love for all sorts of reasons.
  • We can only love others as much as we love ourselves.
  • What you chose will show what you love.

Love As Competition

  • Do i go to my daughter’s dance recital or to a meeting with a new client? Do I check my email or do I build blocks with my little boy? Do I invest in a new idea or pay of our family credit card bill?

Take Action

  • The quickest path to who you were made to be will be a line toward your true loves. Prioritize your love. Make sure what and whom you love are shown in your daily life.

Seeking God

  • I find it interesting that as we pursue wisdom and justice and right paths, Proverbs 2 tells us that eventually those paths will all lead us to God.
  • True wisdom comes with seeking God.

Life Learned

  • They key is to not be defined by the past but to be formed by it.
  • Eat the fish and spit out the bones.
  • The people who can connect ideas from seemingly disparate places will create what is common for tomorrow. The bringing together of utterly impossible ideas into something that does not now exist is where brilliance emerges. The more informed we are, the greater choices we will make.
  • If I have a limited view of the world, this causes a limited view of what I have potential to create.
  • What is one thing I can take away from what this person is saying?

Live the Learning

  • “Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” – Albert Einstein
  • Seeking, Learning, Applying, Sharing, and Curating the wisdom you possess- that is a life worth living and a decision worth choosing.

Problem Solvers

  • When we as leaders start taking responsibility for problems we see, we turn into leaders of action- in short, problem solvers earning influence.
  • Seek to be known for what only you can contribute to the world.
  • When you prioritize making societal needs known, you simultaneously gain influence. You build a reputation that others respect and admire.
  • If you try to do everything, you accomplish nothing.
  • Be picky.
  • As a leader of problem solving initiative, you must always maintain this view. Where you are going, the big picture. Seeing what others cannot see.
  • “There are many things we can do, but only a few things we are made to do.” – Bob Goff
  • As a problem solver, one of the greatest responsibilities you have is to attract other talented people to your solution and retain them over a long period of time.
  • Real problems will be difficult to solve. Surround yourself with a team that is pursuing those solutions hardest to tackle.

Take Action

  • Making a change starts with being intentional about the story you are sharing with the world.

Explore the Options

  • We often see a very limited perspective of what could be. It is important to consider what all the possible options may be. Try to include the most unreasonable options in your process, because they could cause you to think of new solutions.

Out Of Your Mind

  • Great problem solvers utilize the opportunity of options as a starting point.
  • Look at 4 variables at work in any situation: Time, impact, person and emotion.
  • Given a clean slate, what would we do to live out our vision? Given the hand we’ve been dealt, how should we proceed?

No, Yes and Maybe.

  • If you were to say no to all the options you were currently considering, what would you do then? If you were in a completely different situation with the same problem, what might the solutions look like? Take out the constraints of budgets, timelines and people.
  • Once you have three good options, consider what might happen in each of the choices to see if you are comfortable with the outcomes.

The Mighty Jungle

  • Every decision will open up new opportunities unforeseen at the previous point. Every opportunity creates new challenges to conquer. We are created with the power to choose. We have been given the abilities and knowledge to make wise choices. Given all the options at hand, you have the opportunity to choose your next adventure.

If I Change the World and Lose My Family, I Fail

  • Often it is your family and close friends that get left behind.

Leadership Choices

  • Decisions must be calculated with other people in mind, or before long you will be a person meandering alone instead of a decision maker with influence over a team.
  • While different is better in my mind- it often means more work for other people.
  • There is a fine line between creating results by looking ahead and understanding the speed and pacing of the people who are following us.
  • But the timing and decisions making process negatively affected my team. Every good endeavor is not the best for the people you lead.

Swimming to the Sandbar

  • Fear brings doubt. Fear leads to quitting. When fear drives my decisions, I usually make the wrong decisions.
  • We must beat fear with courage even when we don’t know where it will take us.
  • Potential failure turns big dreamers into non-doers.
  • If you make decisions based on a fear of failure, you might as well take yourself out of the game altogether.
  • We all have failures, the difference with people like you and me is we fail big.
  • Never forget this moment, and don’t let this failure happen again.
  • Without failure we would never succeed. Failure makes us stronger. Failure is where we learn. Even the wisest of leaders will make wrong choices.
  • Decision makers fail often and fail fast because we know that even through failures we gain wisdom and get closer to our calling.

Fear of the Future

  • One hundred percent security does not exist.
  • Decision makers realize that the future is out of our control, and we pursue purpose in spite of the risk.
  • Most of our greatest limitations are within ourselves.
  • Decision makers choose to focus on what we do know and find others to fill the unknown spaces in order to keep moving forward.
  • There is nothing ‘once and for all’ in any decision to change.
  • It starts with us choosing a new way one day and continuing to choose it day after day.

Why You Should Blog Even If You Can’t Write And Have Noone To Read It

“All I need is a sheet of paper and something to write with, and then I can turn the world upside down.” -Friedrich Nietzsche


Let’s dissect what blogging is right off the bat. “Blogging” is simply a term for writing stuff publically online for other people to read. It can be used to tell a story, share a lesson hype a product and so on. This venue for your collection of words is a lot more powerful than you realize. Much like the discipline of journaling, it value is a lot less about actually what comes out but what happens when we activate ourselves to initiate and follow through with the process. We stroke multiple channels of thought and communication in our brains, stir our emotions and the output can be striking unfamiliar but very satisfying.

If you want to skip to the technical of how to setup a blog right now you can check this walkthrough out I created: HOW TO SETUP A BLOG IN 10 MINUTES OR LESS


Here are 3 (of many reasons) you need to be blogging:


Blogging allows you to outwardly process emotion and thought.

There is power in the pen. Writing out thoughts and feelings allow us more depth in processing. 99% of the time I find new revelations in past situations and ready application I never even considered before. It can emotionally unconstipate us and create huge breakthroughs in areas of our lives where we feel “stuck”.


Blogging allows us to grieve publicly and heal

Grief doesn’t happen just because of a death in the family. We sometimes need to grieve and heal from lost opportunities, poor choices, hurtful situations and more. There is something so satisfying about being “real” and putting yourself out there. It is like saying “I’m vulnerable and broken but I’m here and this is my story”. Truly powerful stuff.

One of the most powerful bi products of blogging online is that you sharing where you are can turn your hurts and hangups into healing for someone else – someone you don’t even know! The web is powerfully connected and we all have some social media somewhere. Just sharing your blogging with people in your inner network can have a huge impact on them and their network and so on.

One big stopping point for people is that they feel they don’t have millions of people to read it. As we said above, do it for yourself first. But in regards to this thought – would you rather be slightly know by 1 million people or have a life changing impact on 1 person’s life and all those they connect with? It is not about the width of our impact – it is about the depth of our impact. Be real and authentic and you’ll be surprised how much of a light you can be for others.


Blogging helps us refine our communication skills.

Life is all about communication. We are wired for community and we can’t have community without communication. Writing develops our communication skills and cognitive abilities. It help us process things better. Even if you can’t “write” writing makes you better.


So what is stopping you? If you are hung up on the technical pieces of setting up a blog, you can review my walkthrough on how to setup a blog on BlueHost (a blog hosting provider). The cost is $4-$5/month (and they have specials). WAAAY worth it.

How To Setup A Blog In 10 Minutes Or Less



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The 3 Dangerous Ways We Self-Destruct Our Future Potential

“What you think, you become.”


We’ve heard the “think yourself rich” stuff for a long time. Gurus have sold us all for decades on how to make it work for us like they did. If you could just think different you could be a millionaire, own a jet and build a huge business. I’m sure most of us check out when we hear that – I know I have a bad taste in my mouth when it comes to someone selling hype. BUT (with a big but) I think there is truth in the principle of self perspective when it has to do with the way we think about ourselves- especially when it comes to us thinking about our own value in life.

We are WAY to hard on ourselves. Have you ever had someone belittle themselves convinced of a lie that they believe about themselves that you don’t even remotely believe? It manifests itself more when we hear or see people’s actions. How could they do that? Why are they always in a funk, in trouble, hurting themselves and others? Lies. They are believing and acting out lies about themselves that they’ve come to believe that are simply not true. They aren’t worth it, they should feel guilty and ashamed, they don’t matter, etc.

I was at a luncheon once that was raising resources and awareness to rescue women from sex trafficking. In this horrific practice, the “pimp” that would introduce and keep women in the sex trade would start with a subtle lie about their value. These are women who you would NEVER think in a million years would consider anything like this.Then they’d continue to build the lies until the point where they’d convince these women that their only value is to sell themselves. It is sick and twisted – yet it demonstrates that what we end up believing about ourselves (true or not) will manifest itself into reality. Once we believe it, it is very easy to become it.


Here are the top 3 ways it creeps into our lives and keeps us from all our potential:


We believe other’s lies about ourselves.

We live in a harsh world with a lot of broken people. Angry, frustrated, mean and hurting people. In relationships, scenarios and situations we encounter a lot of false information. One person’s opinion doesn’t define us. When I was in middle school I was a bit of a class clown. I felt that was where I got the most self esteem and people looked at me as someone that was funny but not smart. I played “dumb” a lot and that believe actually impacted all my output in school and many relationships. I remember one scenario where another peer strait asked me – Why are you acting dumb? You’re not dumb.” It completely shattered me. I thought to myself – he’s right what am I doing? Just that pivot changed a ton of things in my life. We have to diligently filter other’s input against what we know is true about ourselves.


We internalize these lies and wire them into our reality. 

Usually as a second stage of believing the lies other people spin, we internalize their belief. We think, “..they said that so it must be true”. STOP. People say a lot of things that aren’t true – especially immature, emotional defunct people. Think about bullying. Did you have any bullies when you were growing up? Bullies hurt a lot of people but usually when you dig deeper most are really immature hurting people inside. They are trying to numb the pain in their lives by taking it out on others.

I remember this guy from highschool that I felt was always picking on me for some reason – acne, weight, you name it. This dude was such a jerk. He hurt me with his words and comments when I was prob most vulnerable and it took me a long time to get over it. Some of the stuff he said I felt just replayed in my head. Lies.

I found out later that he was physically abused pretty badly by his parents all through school. When I heard that, it just broke my heart in a way that I never thought I’d feel for this person. I went from resentment to compassion.

I believed some of the lies that he told me and for a long time because I made them my own. They kept me from seeking my full potential. Just because someone says it, doesn’t mean it’s true or that it defines who you are.


We build our lives based on other people.

We’ve all heard the phrase “keep up with the Jones'”. It has to do with building our lives and making decisions around what other people think or how we think we look to other people. Facebook feeds this desire. Everyone seems so perfect that we feel like our lives aren’t matching up – but behind the scenes everyone is broken and struggling just like the next person.

Why does this destroy our potential? Because it keeps us from being who we really are, making the unique contribution to our world only we can make and it perpetuates this belief system.

Thing about when someone is just real – an unadulterated “what you see is what you get” kind of person. It is almost refreshing. That is because we are drawn to authentic people  – they feel “real”. Authenticity has become so rare in our world but so attractive.


To sum it up:

Evaluate what lies you might be believing from your past and debunk them. Curate a positive self image and be yourself. The world needs you and what you bring to the table. You are valuable!


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3 Serious Lessons I Learned About Taking Shortcuts When I Cheated My First 5k Race


I learned this lesson the hard way when I decided to cheat the Cleveland, Ohio 5k race at Thanksgiving about 10 years ago. (It’s embarrassing to even tell this story but it was quite a learning lesson for me.)

My father is an avid runner and has been his entire life. As for me I didn’t get those genes – I’ll run if my life is in danger or the food is ready. So, as a “bonding” experience I opted to run a yearly race he does at Thanksgiving in Cleveland Ohio called the “5k Turkey Trot”. I showed up completely out of shape. I hadn’t done ANY training for this race – I was overly optimistic and completely unprepared.

I remember staring with my dad and hundreds of others at the starting line. When they said go – we were off. The first half mile was bearable and then it started to get a bit tough. My dad was just cruising and it wasn’t long before I couldn’t see him. Before I knew it, I was already at the back with all the stragglers. I was a straggler.

Halfway into the race my mind started to give up. I found myself justifying speed walking, then justifying regularly walking and then I had the bright idea of taking a shortcut back to the finish line. Haven’t I run enough? Who will know? Who would really care? It’s just a dumb race. I’m not even a runner. (It’s always amazing to me how willing we are to justify our own lies).

So I did it. I took the next side street and headed up toward the finish line. About halfway up the street I turned around and literally about died. People were following me.

I have to say that in that moment I felt like the worst human being in the world. First I had convinced myself to cheat and then I had unknowingly brought innocent people along with me. Could it get any worse?

Yes. I am not proud of my next action and it’s crazy to even think I made this choice as a twenty something “adult”. What did I do when I saw I was misleading others? I ran ahead and hid behind a car. Even typing that makes me feel scuzzy. I-hid-behind-a-car. And when the other runners came around the corner I remember peeking and seeing how bewildered they were that I had “vanished”. Eventually, they ended up running back the way they came and found the course they should have been on.

I’ve thought of this story many, many times and there are 3 lessons that stick out so clearly:

Shortcuts don’t work. They just waste our time and resources.

Not only did I give up on my goal of finishing the race and let people down – I ended up actually getting lost in Cleveland and going further than I would have if I would have just finished the race out. Shortcuts in life, business, relationships all have some kind of appeal in the beginning but in the end we wind up with wasted time, efforts and resources we will never get back.

Our shortcuts hurt other people even if we don’t see it. 

We like to think everyone else is isolated from our decisions. It is one of the great lies we spin. It is not true. Everything we do has an impact on the people closest to us – family, friends, etc. EVERYTHING. Positive and negative. When we opt to take a quick route or shortcut we will effect their lives and it rarely in a positive way.

Shortcuts hurt us even if we don’t want to admit it. 

The emotions I felt from this experience didn’t stay in the race. I felt guilty for a long time because I cheated myself. I felt ashamed and embarrassed because I had quit so easily. I wound up lying to others about it, my results, what happened,etc. because I felt so bad. Negative emotions take a serious toll on us and rob of us joy and energy. This internal damage comes out in our attitude and behavior with others. No one wants to feel like that.

Make sense?

Guess what? I’m going back at it this year – Thanksgiving 2016. No shortcuts, no gimmicks. I’m going to finish it (run,walk, limp, crawl – whatever) and rewrite this chapter. :)