After 3 Years

For the better part of 3 years, I’ve completely fallen off the face of the planet. Why? Because in that time, I held my child for the first time. Life suddenly changes when you realize you’re responsible for the well being of this little creature. It changes the way you think about everything and has steered me on a very different path.

Prior to becoming a father, I was so obsessed with playing the business game. I had penetrated inner circles and got to hang with the “it” crowd. It was fun but quickly became impossible to keep up, to play the game, and stay on the inside. I noticed that the inner circles had inner circles. And those inner circles had inner circles. It was insanity derivative of a desire to gain power and prove ones worth.

When I held my daughter for the first time, I realized that this little being didn’t have anything to prove. She was full, whole, and complete the moment she took her first breath. There wasn’t anything she could do in her lifetime that would change the love I felt for her whether she became the president or a janitor. Her own desire to discover and pursue her well being was the only thing that mattered to me. This learning changed everything.

I realized I had been wasting my time in a pointless game that had no end. My business efforts weren’t actually about serving others but rather, trying to be a “someone.” So I made some drastic changes. I stopped blogging because everything I wrote sounded fake and lame. I stopped traveling. I simplified my business model. I stopped doing any networking of any kind. I canceled my overcrowded facebook page, stopped using twitter, and got off linkedin. I stopped hanging out in “politically minded” circles. I stopped reaching out to people. I stopped the madness.

Instead, I offered one service to clients only a few hours of a few days a week. I moved everything to skype so I didn’t have to travel. I focused my non-business hours on activities that bring me joy like writing, working out, and cooking. I started saying no a lot more. I set up a one page, one sentence website ( I focused my friend time on people who actually wanted to be friends- independent of our career paths. And perhaps most importantly, I doubled down on being really damn good at what I do. The irony (in the incorrect Alanis Morrissette use of the word), my business has exploded to the point where I often have to waitlist clients.

The concept of thegivegive (giving unconditionally) still holds true but I’ve realized I had it backwards. It’s not about giving to others first then you receive. It’s about giving to yourself so you have something to give. It’s about increasing your well being so much so that you feel compelled to give to others. I was on the right path but I was paying attention to the wrong thing.

So here we are 3 years since my last post and I’m back. But not because I care if anyone is paying attention or because this will somehow grow my business- it won’t. My work has nothing to do with the content of this site. But I’m back because I truly feel compelled to share what I’ve learned. I may not write often, in fact, I may not write for another 3 years. I have no idea what to expect moving forward. But I know for certain that whatever I share from here will be because it stems from my own well being.

5 Reasons Why Abundance is Important to Success

Everyday, you wake up with a choice.

“Do I choose to operate from fear or do I choose to operate from abundance?”

On one side, you can chose fear. Fear limits your ability to build, invest, and grow your business. It inhibits your creativity and keeps you from collaborating with others.

On the other side, you can chose abundance. Abundance opens up your mind to possibilities, new opportunities, and joint ventures. Abundance inspires new ideas and gives you the strength to bounce back from challenges.

Abundance is certainly the optimal choice but it’s not always easy while there is global economic turmoil, wars, an energy crisis, environmental challenges, and political unrest.

But for this very reason, it’s now more important than ever to keep yourself above the fear and operate from a place of abundance.

The Law of Abundance

I had the great fortune of working with a sales coach many years ago named Lorna Hines. She is brilliant and one of the best I’ve ever encountered.

One of her core philosophies is her belief that a successful sales professionals start with a mindset of abundance. Before every training session we would go through her definition of the Law of Abundance and discuss the value of this mindset. I don’t remember her version of the law but I’ve since created my own for my clients.

The givegive law of abundance:

“The world is an endless supply of opportunity for all of us to build, grow, and prosper. Our ability to receive endless abundance is based on our ability to believe that abundance is the way of the world.”

I would encourage you to either use this definition or create your own and review it often. It’s a great reminder that there’s always another deal, there’s always another opportunity, that money flows, and your business can always grow no matter the conditions of the rest of the world.

5 Reasons Abundance is Important to Your Success

1) Abundance ignites a more positive attitude

A positive mood gives you the mental and emotional capacity to delight your clients and increase the value they receive from your relationship. When we’re in a negative mood and focused on ourselves, it’s very hard to give to others.

2) Abundance gives you permission to say no when the client isn’t a good fit

If you believe in abundance you believe that you can always go get another client. This means that you have permission to fire pain-in-the-ass clients and say no to leads that are not the right fit. With less crappy clients, your energy and time open up to find and work with better clients that appreciate and respect what you do. And don’t forget, great clients will also refer you to more great clients.

3) Abundance opens up partnership opportunities and collaboration with associates

When we operate from fear, we are more focused on holding our cards than investing in opportunities that create mutually beneficial value. Neuroeconomist Paul Zak discovered that the most trusting countries also had the greatest overall economic distribution. At a micro level, this principle also holds true. The more you’re willing to work with others, the likelihood for greater returns for all increases. When you operate from abundance, you have the flexibility to explore these collaborative possibilities.

4) Abundance gives you the mental and emotional ability to build a business by referral

As opposed to many other marketing and sales techniques that are tangible cause and effect strategies, this law gives you the ability to create a cause, allow actions to happen without you seeing them, and then reaping the rewards in the effects.

For example, cold calling is very tangible and you see the results in the real time no matter positive or negative. Referral business requires that you give lots of value and use the right language, allow your clients to go out in the world and talk to their friends without you seeing this happen, and then eventually receiving a referral. There’s this giant blank area that we can’t see or measure. It’s just like dieting, you don’t see the results instantly. You wake up one day and look in the mirror and realize how far you’ve come.

5) Abundance empowers you to be more resilience

Just because you lose something doesn’t mean the next opportunity isn’t right around the corner. When you believe that there is an abundance of new clients, partnerships, and growth opportunities, you will bounce back faster from failures. We all hear “no” but the most successful people bounce back from no the fastest. Abundance gives you the resources to bounce back.

The secret to building deep and meaningful business relationships

Giving as a business strategy is not a kumbaya circle. It’s smart.

As a byproduct of being smart, it’s also an enjoyable way of doing business.

Seth Godin recently mentioned in his post “Do you love your customers” 

There are two ways people think about this:

We love our customers because they pay us money. (Inherent here is customers = money = love.)

We love our customers, and sometimes there’s a transaction.

The second is very different indeed from the first.

In the first case, customers are the means to an end, profit. In the second, the organization exists to serve customers, and profit is both an enabler and a possible side effect.

It’s easy to argue that without compensation, there can be no service. Taking that to an extreme, though, working to maximize the short-term value of each transaction rarely scales. If you hoard information, for example, today your prospects will simply click and find it somewhere else. If you seek to charge above average prices for below average products, your customers will discover this, and let the world know. In a free market with plenty of information, it’s very hard to succeed merely by loving the money your customers pay you.

I think it’s fascinating to note that some of the most successful organizations of our time got there by focusing obsessively on service, viewing compensation as an afterthought or a side effect. As marketing gets more and more expensive, it turns out that caring for people is a useful shortcut to trust, which leads to all the other things that a growing organization seeks.

Your customers can tell.

I believe the difference between these two is your stance.

The power of “stance”

A stance is the inner attitude of an individual or business.

If a business holds a stance that their focus is closing deals and making money, no matter how much they may say the right things and appear to love their clients, their tone of voice, body language, and even the words they use will reflect this stance to their clients.

If they hold a stance that their focus is about serving their clients unconditionally, the client or prospect will “feel” this stance and have a very different experience.

The difference between the two is significant and as as Seth Godin writes, your clients can tell.

thegivegive stance

thegivegive stance: my job is to genuinely give unconditionally to my clients and partners without expecting anything in return (within the context of our professional relationship).

This is the secret to building successful business relationships and deriving value from your network as fast as possible. As I shared above, it’s not a kumbaya circle. It’s a smart business strategy.

By holding this stance your clients and partners feel your commitment to their best interests through your body language, tone of voice, and even the words you subconsciously choose to use. The impact of this “feeling” on your clients is a development of much deeper and faster trust, which is fundamental to turning prospects into clients and generating referrals from clients and partners.

Imagine sitting with a business and you feel they truly have your best interests in mind. Now imagine sitting with a business that you feel wants to “close” the deal and make money.

We’ve all experienced both of these and the first business wins our affection AND our dollars every time.

To that point, this stance is also not suggesting that you give away your services for free. You’ll notice that thegivegive stance says give unconditionally “within the context of our professional relationship.”

This means that if you’re an attorney sitting down with a prospect or client, the context of that relationship is such that they’re paying you for your services. Your job then is to build the deepest relationship you can by putting aside thinking about the transaction and holding thegivegive stance.

Yes, it’s a paradox. You must make money to have a viable business, but in order to do so, you have to put that out of your mind and focus on serving your clients unconditionally and genuinely. But the impact on your relationships is significant.

Try this. Hold a meeting with this stance and see how things change.

This tiny adjustment is the difference between businesses that do OK and those that thrive.


Learn How to Ask

Are you regularly asking for help from your network?

Too many entrepreneurs have impressive networks but they refrain from extracting value for themselves! It’s like investing your savings but never actually getting access to the principle or interest. 

If you’re going to build an asset, it’s OK to benefit from it too. Especially an asset of relationships where you’re building something that is inherently give and receive.

To create value, you must give to your network. But to receive value, you must be willing to ask of your network.

Asking is one of the single greatest skills you can acquire for your professional toolbox.  

A fundamental human right

Imagine receiving a call from a friend asking for help. How do you feel?

Now imagine it’s you who’s asking for help. How do you feel?

It’s likely that you were happy to help your friend but afraid to ask for your own benefit.

You can see how there is a strong disconnect between our abilities to give and receive. We’re often very good at giving but not very good at asking and receiving.

What if babies were born without the ability to ask (aka- cry)? There would be a lot multi-soiled diapers and hungry babies out there.

Babies are born with a very strong and confident ability to ask of others. This right is just as fundamental as their right to eat, sleep, breathe, be loved, and poop!

You haven’t lost your right to eat, sleep, breathe, be loved, or poop. So neither should you lose the right to ask of others.

But I don’t want to be a taketaker 

When working with clients on this topic, I often get resistance because they’re afraid they’ll be seen as a taker.

First, if a client is working with me or in your case, if you’re reading a site called the givegive, than we can reasonably assume no one will EVER get the sense that you’re a taker.

And secondly, a relationship is inherently give and receive. You must give others the opportunity to give because otherwise, you’re depriving the relationship.

A good rule of thumb is the net positive giving strategy: give 51% or more and receive 49% or less. This is a healthy ratio of giving to receiving and ensures that you’re adding more value to the world than taking.

There are definitely takers out there but the difference between you and them is that they fundamentally believe they have a right to take whatever they can get. These people follow a net negative giving strategy, which means they try to take 100% and only give when it helps them to advance their taking.

I remember in the early days of my business, an acquaintance and CEO of a start up asked for relationship strategy help. As a favor, I gave her a couple hours of my time going through the givegive mental models and strategic ways her specific business could grow their referrals.

A few days later, I was gathering testimonials and asked this CEO if she could share a few sentences about her thoughts on the relationship strategy work we did together.

Her response- “I’m not willing to put my reputation on the line until I know these strategies work”.

I was shocked because a) she didn’t have a reputation to put on the line and b) I wasn’t asking for her to give me her first born child; just a few words about the work we did.

This interaction solidified my instincts that this person was what I call a taketaker (this was later confirmed by others as well). Since then, I’ve turned down her countless attempts to take and added her to my “D” bucket in my database, which stands for delete. More on the bucketing strategy here

Get ready to ask

Here are a few things you can do to sharpen your asking abilities.

1) Know what you want!

This is mission critical. If you don’t know what you need, than asking doesn’t serve much purpose. Spend a few minutes thinking about the things you need help with or want, and be prepared to ask for those things specifically.

2) Get a sense of your baseline

A baseline lets you get a sense of where you are now so overtime, you can get a sense of how far you’ve come. Practice asking a few times to get a feel for what it’s like now. How hard is it? How sweaty do your palms and forehead get? :) What do you notice?

3) Start small

Identify a very simple ask of others and start practicing. Keep it small and simple. Get used to this and take one step forward to something slightly bigger as you get more comfortable.

4) Are you giving at least 51%

Are you still giving as much as you can? Make sure that while you’re increasing your asking that you’re still giving value and committed to helping others. No one likes a taker except themselves.

5) Step into others

Start getting a sense of what asking feels like to those you’re asking by stepping into their experience. Imagine you’re them and visualize what it’s like to be asked by you for help. What do you notice? What are they thinking/feeling? Carry that new found information with you when asking.


Your relationships want to give value to you but you have to be willing to ask. This is one of your rights and an important skill for taking your business to the next level.


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Take It One Task At a Time

The internet makes it extremely easy to multi-task. We can easily flip between screens from writing, reading, and IMing but this behavior helpful or hurtful?

It turns out, this behavior is not helpful for getting things done. In fact, our brains are not designed to operate in this way.

In one of my favorite books on business The Personal MBA, Josh Kaufman distills down the best business books and knowledge into this 400 page gem. in his chapter on working with yourself, he talks about Cognitive Switching Reality.

Every project and every task that you decide to work on takes a certain amount of attention, energy, and focus to get it done. The question is: how can you accomplish everything you need to do most effectively?

Many people rely on multitasking: trying to do more than one thing at the same time. While many people assume this makes them more efficient, monoidealism and multitasking are complete opposites. Neurologicailly, it’s impossible for your brain to multitask. When you’re trying to do more than one thing at a time, you’re not really parallel processing- you’re rapidly switching your attention from one thing to another. While you’re paying attention to Task A, you’re ignoring Task B until you switch back to it.

As a result, productive multitasking is a myth. According to several recent neurological studies, the more things you try to pay attention to at any given time, the more your performance at all of them suffers.

Kaufman offers a solution.

To avoid unproductive context switching, a batching strategy is best. Elimintating distractions can help prevent unnecessary interruptions, but it’s entirely possible to waste energy mentally thrashing even if you have the entire day free. The best approach to avoid unnecessary cognitive switching is to group similar tasks together.

So why do you think we’re so prone to multitask? What are some strategies that you employ to reduce distractions and stay focused?

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