I don't know about you but I am constantly reading. I am normally reading a few books at the same time and, with the weather being as hot as it is, I've been spending more time than normal in my reading chair. Currently I'm reading a book on Bayes Law, a second book is on Real Estate Syndications, and the third book is The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel. It's this third book that I'd like to highlight this month.
Over the years one of the things I learned is that saving money isn't that difficult. Saving is all about maintaining a lifestyle that costs less than your earnings. With discipline and time, you will save money. The challenge is making good investment decisions once you have saved money. Chapter five outlines three financial survival characteristics of highly successful individuals. These characteristics apply not only to investing but also to business ownership.
The goal is to become financially unbreakable. Most individuals place all their chips on one roll of the dice. All their income comes from one source. All their investments are in one place. If anything happens to either the income source or the investment, they have a serious financial issue. I know you're saying that's not you but how many people reading this newsletter have one job (one source of income) and invest all their money in the stock market (one place). The point of this first item is that being one-dimensional is highly risky. Life happens. The larger your diversity of income sources and the larger the diversity of your investment vehicles, the more unbreakable you will be.
You Plan, God Laughs.
The second point relates to planning. ‘Planning is important, but the most important part of every plan is to plan on the plan not going according to plan.' Remember Mike Tyson quote, ‘Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.’ Well, things never go according to plan. For a plan to be useful, it must be able to survive the vagaries of reality. In other words, it must have a significant ‘margin of safety’. Margin of safety is different from being conservative. Conservative is avoiding risk. Margin of safety is raising the odds of success at a given level of risk by increasing your chances of survival. The magic is that the higher your margin of safety, the greater your chance for a favorable outcome. Margin of Safety drives risk reduction.
A ‘barbelled personality’ is a personality that is both optimistic about the future but also paranoid about what can go wrong. Successful individuals believe the future is bright and that everything is moving upwards and to the right, while also understanding lots of things will go wrong and you need to be vigilant, prepared and even paranoid. Individuals who are solely optimistic tend to take foolhardy risks leading to loss. Individuals who are solely paranoid believe that everyone is out to get them and never take any risks. Neither path works. The only path to success is both optimism and paranoia.
Hopefully these three thoughts give you a little something to chew on as you sit out by the pool trying to stay cool this summer. Wishing you and yours the very best.
First, an most importantly, Happy 4th of July!. I hope you have time set aside with family and friends. Enjoy and stay safe.
At it's core, the 4th of July is about freedom and self-determination. It is about the willingness to bet on ourselves. Over a decade ago I published a blog summarizing a talk by Tom Shay. Today, his message is even more relevant so I am republishing this poignant essay.
Last week I had the distinct honor to hear Tom Shay, CEO of Right Management, Florida/Caribbean speak on the topic of job transition and career management. What an interesting discussion. Mr. Shay has held this position for 31 years and during his tenure Mr. Shay has seen exceptional change in the employer/employee relationship.
Mr. Shay began by sharing a very simple statistic. During his father’s generation (presumably 40 years ago), the average tenure for a manager or higher, was 27 years. Losing a job was considered taboo. As a matter of fact, it was hard to lose a job. You really had to do something wrong. Today the average tenure for that same employee is 3.7 years (update - 3.1 years in 2022). Doing a good job does not mean you will keep your job. Job transition is commonplace and expected. Does that surprise you? From 27 years to an average of 3.7 (3.1)years. Wow.
Mr Shay went on to state that what used to be ‘one job for life’ has disappeared. Today it is one boss for life – yourself. You need to look at yourself as a company and intelligently apply your personal brand to the marketplace. Mr. Shay’s point is that we are all ‘free agents’ or ‘businesses’. Companies may contract with you if they think you can solve their problem. Once the problem is fixed, you will need to find another application for your skills.
Finally, Mr. Shay spoke about the important of investing in yourself. Going to conferences, staying current and learning new things is what allows us to remain relevant. Don’t expect someone else to pay for you to improve yourself. We are all ‘free agents’ or ‘businesses’ and as such, we need to focus on doing those things that allow us to best achieve our personal goals
As you know, I spend most of my time discussing business ownership, but Mr. Shay’s points are well stated. The world is a different place. Business ownership may or may not be the right path for you but regardless, you need to think of yourself as a business.
This message from Tom Shay goes to the heart of what freedom and self-determination is all about. A great message for each and everyone one of us on this 4th of July holiday.
Today, we are inundated with videos, blogs, posts and yes, even newsletters discussing the path to success. Most of the time there is limited real value in the content. However, every so often, we run into something significant. And often, it is the simple, short messages that have the largest impact.
The video message I would like to share is from Steve Jobs. The video is less than two minutes. During this video, Steve Jobs discusses lessons he learned when he was 12 years old and how he tries to pay it forward.
Short, powerful, and cutting to the core of what it takes to grow, evolve and succeed.
Wishing you and yours the very best.
It was the summer of 2019 when ‘D’ and I had lunch together. We had met a few years earlier and he immediately impressed me as a young man with a vision and, potentially, the fortitude to see it through. During our lunch together ‘D’ peppered me with questions. I could see he was hungry to learn and to grow. ‘D’ told me that he was going to change the trajectory of his life. Instead of working for others, he was going to be a business owner. Little did he know the tests that life was going to throw his direction. Amazingly, he never took his eye off the ball and, five years later, he is a business owner. If you want a wonderful story of stick-with-it-ness, read 'D’s' post, below.
After a five-year journey, I am officially a small business owner!! When I first learned about entrepreneurship through acquisition, it lite a fire within me I cannot explain. I began obsessively consuming books and podcasts, befriending business owners and investors, attending seminars and retreats. All to build the knowledge, skills, and monetary means to execute my dream.
Through my journey, I experienced a painful divorce, unexpected employment changes, loss of friendships, relationships, and financial setbacks. Enduring this with an attitude of radical acceptance, I slowly built the mental and emotional strength needed to change my life.
Over the past few months, I sold my home, investment properties, and possessions. I moved across the country, quit my corporate job, and liquidated my retirement in preparation for this moment. This is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done; but today, I have acquired my first business!
On February 24th, the day before my 39th birthday, five years of hard work have paid off in the form of more hard work; but for my own business, employees, and community in which I serve. I am dedicated to earning more to give more, to mentor and be mentored, to accept what is. The love and support of the many people in my life is both motivating and inspiring. Thank you all for sharing this journey with me and I wish you the best in yours.
Words that got me through it all:
Please join me in congratulating 'D'. He had everything thrown at him but never took his eye off the ball. Not only did he gain the 'mental and emotional strength needed to change his life', he developed the strength required to achieve new levels of success. Congrats 'D!
Several weeks ago, as the Outgoing Chairman, I was honored to speak at the Manatee Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner. During my remarks, I shared a story that resonated with many folks in the audience. At their suggestion, I am sharing an abbreviated summary of my comments in this month's newsletter.
....As part of my remarks, I'd like to share a story with you. A story that dates back over 20 years when I first joined the chamber. In the year 2000 my wife and I moved to Manatee County. At that time, I was employed. I didn't know anybody in the community – In truth, I barely knew my neighbors. I was traveling a lot and didn’t spend much time at home.
In 2002 Ella was born. We made a family decision stay here and to begin building businesses. The first thing I did was join the Chamber of Commerce.
At the first event I attended, I met Bob Bartz, Neil Spiritus and Marie Pender. They each took the time to speak with me. Bob quickly learned that I had spent a good number of years kayaking and invited me kayaking with the Chamber that weekend in Robinson Preserve long before it opened to the public.
There were about fifteen of us kayaking through the preserve that Saturday and it was an august group. Included was a President of a local bank, President of the local newspaper, a leading attorney, the President of the Chamber and a variety of other community leaders. I was amazed at the beauty of the preserve, but mostly, I was amazed at how open, inviting and humble the group was.
Over the past 20 years I have been honored to get to know many of our community leaders, some of which are still with us and some who are not. There's a common theme among those leaders who we universally respect and admire. I would like to list 5 common personality characteristics.
Although everyone has an ego, these leaders consistently focus on Humility. They don't need to be in the limelight. They actively look for ways to elevate others. They know that by empowering others, they are securing the future. They are securing legacy.
For these leaders, the first step is always ‘Bridge Building’. These leaders understand sustainable progress cannot be achieved without the assistance of others. They actively work to engage as many people as possible building bridges, building trust and building the type of respect that withstands the test of time.
Once clarity and consensus is reached, once the bridges are built, they are comfortable leaning in on the project, providing leadership and strength.
Attention to Detail.
These leaders know that details matter. Little things make a big difference.
These details are the things that often determine long term success.
These are some of the most approachable people you will ever meet. Most importantly, when you do speak with them, they are 100% present. They are great listeners, and they listen with an intention to understand, not simply to respond.
These 5 characteristics have consistently been the cornerstone of great leadership here in Manatee County and beyond. We continue to embrace these 5 characteristics because we know that community involvement, empowering others, building bridges and staying humble is critical to our mission.
….In closing I'd like to share a few ‘Thank Yous’
I'd like to thank the many mentors I have had over the years. Some of whom are in the room this evening. You have been my guide, my example, and my strength. You saw more in me than I saw in myself and for that I am eternally grateful. What you did for me made a difference and my mission in life is to pay it forward
The above comments are abbreviated from an 18-minute speech, but they get to the heart of the message. I hope you find value in these five characteristics as I have.
Yesterday was an interesting day and it reinforced what I call 'power in doing'.
Yesterday afternoon I was involved in an e-mail exchange with a fellow franchise coach. We were discussing a franchise system and their ability to create successful franchisees. He shared the fact that is most polished, seasoned, professionals often over thought the process and, as a result, they often struggled during the startup phase. He then compared this to his candidates who were scrappy, focused and action oriented. Even though their resumes are not as impressive, these folks seemed often found success faster and more reliably. It was interesting food for thought.
As the day ended, I headed over to my local Pilates studio and, in the parking lot, one of the ladies who works out at the same facility walked over to me and said, ‘Rick, you were SO right. All the stuff I was worrying about when it came to starting my business didn't matter. Most important thing was to simply get started’. She continued by saying, ‘There were so many things I didn't know that I didn't know. I would have never started if I tried to sort all of that. However, now that I've been in business for six months, I can see myself learning and improving. Doing is the most important thing!’ She was genuinely excited to see her business grow, and I could see that she was also growing as a person. Maybe Nike had something when they said, ‘Just Do It’.
Same day, same message, from two different places. Maybe 2023 is trying to tell me something. If 2022 was your year of planning, make sure that 2023 is your year of doing.
I think I'm going to go out and buy myself a pair of Nikes.
Last week I had the opportunity to hear a leadership specialist share her ideas on personal growth and leadership. During her talk she discussed the importance of using VUCA as the starting point for all strategic leadership and planning activities.
What is VUCA?
VUCA stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. First used in the late 1990s by the US Army War College, VUCA is the assumed starting place for most war game activities. Over the last 10 years VUCA has been increasingly applied to strategic leadership in the corporate and nonprofit world.
The speaker's point is that we must each, individually, apply VUCA to our personal planning activities. As you are building your personal plan, it's no longer adequate, or even safe, to say ‘I like the status quo’. In most scenarios, the status quo is not a realistic long-term assumption. Our world is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. As a result, our personal visioning and strategic planning activities must presume change. The term ‘What If’ must be included in every planning activity and your personal vision needs to be flexible enough to adapt to a wide range of future environments.
Pressure Testing Against VUCA
If you don't have a personal vision statement or a strategic plan for your future, I would encourage you to begin working on this. If you already have a personal vision statement, you need to begin pressure testing it. Ask tough questions. If your vision statement isn't sufficiently resilient or flexible, evolve your vision to encompass more eventualities.
None of us know the future because the future is VUCA. We cannot control what comes next, we can only control our reaction. The more carefully you've thought about the alternatives the more likely you will make the right decision at the right time.
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to spend some time with my wife's family in France. One evening my niece, who is currently a college student, asked me, ‘What is the American Dream’? She had a paper that was due in a week on ‘The American Dream’ and wanted my thoughts.
Interestingly, this is a question I've thought of more than once. My parents immigrated to the United States in pursuit of the American Dream. As a first generation American I have also pursued the American Dream. But what is it?
The concept of an ‘American Dream’ dates back to the founding of our country. The American Dream was about the life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness regardless of the status of your birth. It was about creating a country where everyone could break free from class restrictions and religious persecution. The American Dream was a promise that a person could increase their station in life through their own labor and ingenuity – A Horatio Alger story. Today, we see many examples of individuals who have done just that.
However, over the past few decades the American Dream has been distorted. Today, American Dream has become more about ‘stuff’ than ideals. When asked, many people will tell you the American Dream is about the right to live in a large home, even if it means taking out an overly large mortgage. It's about leasing a new car or going on fancy vacations to keep up with the Joneses. Somehow the America Dream has been hijacked by corporate America and our political leadership to become the ‘right’ to lots of stuff. The belief seems to be that pursuing more stuff equates to greater happiness and fulfillment and; therefore, the American Dream. When the economy slows and those individuals who are overleveraged lose their home and their fancy vehicle, there are cries that the American Dream is dead. I would argue the opposite.
The American Dream is a gift of hope. Not a guarantee of a fuller, richer life with more stuff. It is simply a promise that if you believe in yourself, listen, learn, and make good decisions, then you will have an opportunity to succeed. To be clear, the American Dream is not a guarantee of fairness. The world is simply not fair. Some people will get lucky and find unexpected wealth. Others will work hard and not find the same amount of success.
Mostly, the American Dream is about the opportunity to succeed with the understanding that failure is also a possibility. It about self-determination where you are in control of your present and your future. For me, it is about controlling my time and my sources of income and never again having a boss. I also understand that I must take ownership of my actions, regardless of the result.
The American Dream is about a society, however imperfect, that seeks to empower individuals to take ownership of their future. No promises or guarantees. Nobody to blame. Just the freedom to pursue your dream to the best of your ability.
Wishing you an exceptional Thanksgiving,
A couple months ago my good friend and co-author of The Franchisee Playbook, Britt Schroeter, shared an interesting take on the passage of time. Britt, and her husband Bill, have been traveling around the United States for a couple years now while Britt works from the RV. Britt and Bill are living the life that many people only dream of. This experience has created an interesting insight on the passage of time and why time seems to move faster or slower.
By Britt Schroeter
As we age time seems to go faster and faster. Time becomes a thief in the night. You wake up and ask... how did I get here? It's a fair question. I don't fear death, but as the Kenny Chesney crones "everyone wants to go to heaven but no one wants to go now."
Since my husband and I have started traveling full time, we realize it has slowed time. A week feels like a month. A month feels like a year. Fascinating and something we contemplate. Why is this? We have realized it is monotony that makes days run together and makes time indistinguishable. When you do the same thing day in and day out, your mind can't distinguish day to day, it blurs time. Like looking out the window of a train barreling through the countryside. Blurred time passes fast.
When you change things up everything slows.
Wake up, travel, learn something new, meet new people, explore, create, take some risks. take the road less traveled. A franchise may just be the vehicle to shake it up and slow it down?! If yes, you know where to find me.
Variety will slow time. If you can create a life which feels novel, meaningful and entertaining in the present, the weeks and years will feel long in retrospect. Time gives you space to love and grow. Time opens room for peace and gratitude
Take back your time before it is too late.
I wish you a wonderful year filled with new adventures, peace and gratitude. With a little luck, we will all be able to slow time down a little
Once a year I am fortunate to be invited to attend the Leadership Florida conference. It is an amazing gathering of leaders from across the State of Florida. As well as reconnecting with a group of amazing people that I feel truly fortunate to be associated with, the event attracts a cadre of amazing speakers. The topics are wide ranging and always thought provoking.
This year one speaker stood out – Don Yaeger. A longtime Associate Editor for Sports Illustrated and 11-time New York Times bestselling author, Don has spent his career interviewing top performing athletes including Michael Jordon and legendary coach, John Wooden. His stories cut to the heart of success. For over an hour he discussed the anatomy of success. It was both enjoyable and eye opening.
Some of the topics he discussed parallel Chapter #3 of The Educated Franchisee, but others take it to the next level. With Don’s permission, I would like to share highlights from his book ‘The 16 Characteristics of True Champions’.
How they Think
How They Prepare
How they Work
How the Live