The New Goal is Execution


Is it just me or does it seem to be the decade of goals? The personal development/inspirational speaker/best self movement is well underway. And yeah, sure, I’ve had a taste of the Kool-Aid (by the way, it’s pretty damn good). Have you noticed that every other conversation, social media post, book, podcast, reality TV show, etc. seems to focus on goal setting, goal casting, goal planning sessions, goal tracking…? We are living in a goal setting society. Okay, okay, I’m just as guilty as the next person, I love goals! But there is a major difference between goals and results. 

Goals are cheap. The new goal is execution.

Goals have become cheap, ubiquitous. My three year old has goals at day care and my great-grandmother has goals with her knitting club. I have goals, my team has goals, my wife has goals, my coach has goals, my competitors have goals, my goals have goals! But goals are meaningless without action, without execution.

Napoleon Hill said, “A goal is a dream with a deadline.” And while I’m not about to argue with a great thought leader like Napoleon, I think we need to take it a step further. A goal is definitively better with a deadline. But that is still too theoretical. Goals are still nothing without a plan of action and then executing on that goal every day. It’s important to write down your goals, but if that’s all you do, you’re totally missing the point. We’ve got to stop spending time talking about what we are going to do in the future and get focused on what we are actually doing today, right now.

Goals are just the bait. Goals are there to get you into action. The goal creates new thinking, gets you to ask bigger and better questions, which spurs a different action, and the action leads to a different result. You must change your daily habits in order to change any result you want in life. No change. No new results. No growth.

I can’t tell you how many conversations I have with real estate agents who have the goal of getting out of production, building a team, building a business, and moving into a pure leadership position. Love it. That’s a great goal. And if that’s really what someone wants to do then I’ll help them get there. The problem is, these agents put this goal on a two year deadline and think that by setting the goal, it’s just going to somehow magically appear. That’s definitely not how it works. In fact, once that goal is set the next 5-7 years become even more intense. Once that goal is set, it’s time to grind.

By grind, I mean execute. Let’s stick with the real estate team example (though this applies to any business). If an agent does, in fact, want to build a business and succeed through others, then they need to first prove that they can do it themselves. Even if it is just them and an administrative assistant, they have to lead themselves first. Prove they can sell real estate like the best of them. Lead generate 14 hours a day (while your admin picks up the pieces and starts putting them into some semblance of order so that you can start duplicating and teaching other agents how to do what you do). That is execution. 

Once you’ve proven that you can perform, it’s time for your next move. This is usually when your income significantly increases and you have to decide it you want to be self employed or build a business. Being self-employed means you’re in it every day. If you step away from the business at any time, income stops. If you want to build a business, then you must learn how to succeed through others. You’ll need to make peace with a certain level of income and put the rest back into systems and people in order to build your business. You’ll have to up your leadership game and learn how to lead yourself by focusing on personal development, business strategy, and more. That is execution. 

And you’ll have to be doing all of that while maintaining production (i.e. sales). There is a tipping point where you are able to step back, but it doesn’t happen overnight. You will have two jobs for a period of time and not many people are able to withstand the pressure, the grind, the long hours, the mental and emotional fatigue,  and the responsibility that it takes to move from doing to leading. It can be years. 96% of businesses fail in the first year because of this. But if you are one of the few, the mighty (and I know you are since you are reading this), then you’ve got to get to work. You’ve got to be lead generating for sales and lead generating for talent. You’ve got to be creating a culture of growth and opportunity and inspiring your team to think bigger every day, while also handling client calls and ensure your client experience stays top notch. You will have to constantly increase your leadership lid, paint the vision and think strategically, while also rolling up your sleeves and getting tactical with your team. You’ve got to master extreme time management and be laser focused on exactly what you need to do every week, every day, every hour, every minute. You will live and die by your calendar. That is execution. 

If you’ve made it this far, you’re not worried about the goal. You know the goal is an ever moving target (it’s your job to move it!), and that all that really matters is execution. You’ve been able to step out of production (5 years later) and are leading a large team of talented sales and operations staff. And if you thought it was hard before, it’s about to get even harder. Leadership, like goals, is seen as this sexy thing to aspire to. Leadership is not sexy! Leaders must give all the credit to others when things have gone well, and must take all the responsibility when they don’t. As a leader and owner of your business, your employees now employ you. You are there to guide, direct, refocus, and support them in their work. What time and money you used to spend with clients and generating business, will now be spent investing into yourself and your team. Reading, listening to podcasts, attending industry conferences, and thinking becomes your job. That is execution.   

I think the whole execution part is lost on a lot of people. Don’t get me wrong, it’s exciting to talk about goals and plans for the future. But talk is cheap. Action is everything. Let your goals and vision for the future inspire you to execute. The new goal is execution.


I have a daily reminder of this journey in my office. EXECUTION comes first. Then you will need GRIT to execute every day (enthusiasm is everywhere, but endurance is rare), then HUSTLE in order to grind through the grit stage, and finally you are able to enjoy a LIMITLESS life because you committed to execution first.

What to dive deeper into this topic? Email and request the link to purchase a webinar I recorded called How to Get Out of Production.

What are you going to execute on today?






5 Ways to Change Your Thinking to Achieve Success This Spring



Well, apparently this year the groundhog was right. Six more weeks of winter… We’re on week five and getting a foot of snow in Vermont right now. Last week it was 50 degrees. But as much as I’d like to complain about the weather, the weather is going to do what it’s going to do and Spring officially arrives on March 20 and daylight saving time begins this Sunday. An extra hour of sunlight for this Northerner is a big deal.

But the question is not what you’re going to do with an extra hour of sun, the question is: are you and your business prepared for the Spring market?

It’s easy to allow the holidays to derail your momentum. Businesses are closed, people are on vacation, families are recovering from the financial stress of the holidays and buying power can be limited. But there’s this crazy thing that happens when we turn the corner into March and feel Spring coming… shit gets busy! All these people who were hibernating over the winter decide they want to buy a home, they want to sell, they want to attend more trainings, they want to build a house… Sales calls increase. Taxes are due. Your insurance company is calling for renewals. You’re flooded with resumes because people are back at jobs they hate. Marketing requests fill your inbox. Whatever your role is at an organization, I bet you are feeling the flurry of activity and the pressure of being inundated with work while being pulled in multiple directions. Does any of this sound familiar?

Look, we are either entering into a very BUSY season. Or a very PRODUCTIVE season. The choice is yours. The dilution of focus is real. It happens to all of us. But do you want to be busy or do you want to be productive? I vote for productivity! We must create space by saying no to as many things as possible in order to say yes to just one or two of the most important things. In order to achieve success (whatever that looks like and means to you) then you have got to make it a priority to take control of your internal dialogue, your thoughts, your emotions… your life.

Our ability to focus and achieve success is directly determined by the quality of questions that we ask ourselves. And our output is a reflection of what our internal dialogue is today and everyday. Our internal dialogue is simply a series of the questions we ask ourselves, the thoughts we plant in our mind, and the answers we are giving ourselves. What is your internal dialogue? What conversations are you having with yourself today? Are you on repeat?

This internal dialogue (i.e. thinking) translates into the actions you take. If you want to change your results. Change your internal dialogue first.

Here are 5 ways you can change your thinking/internal dialogue to achieve success:

  1. BRING AWARENESS TO YOUR INTERNAL DIALOGUE. What conversations are you having with yourself each day? What beliefs are you basing your life decisions on? What are your truths? Are your conversations on repeat? Are you stuck in a mindset of mediocrity? Do a gut check. Where is your internal dialogue at? Your internal dialogue (good or bad) is driving your actions every minute of every day. If you are not even aware of the patterns or mindset loops you’re in then there is no opportunity for change. Once you are aware that your internal dialogue needs to change – ask better questions.
  2. ASK BETTER QUESTIONS. The first step to changing your thinking and your internal dialogue is to ask different and better questions. It takes the same amount of energy to ask, “What’s for dinner tonight?” as it does “What steps do I need to take to open my first restaurant?” And yet, the answers are drastically different and will either get a quick response, or start you down the path of dreaming, researching, developing proformas, learning a new skill, hiring, etc. Which question do you think leads to massive growth? Which question allows you to take control of your life? Take control of your internal dialogue. Right now. And take control of your life.
  3. LEARN HOW TO TURN OFF. We all spend way too much time being “on”. But what does that even mean? We spend most, if not all, of our day caught up in our thoughts and internal dialogue. We make assumptions, judge others based on our perspective, and generally live a pretty self-centered life. With all of this brain-space being filled up with our internal dialogue, we end up becoming our thoughts, which in turn hinders our creativity, productivity, and ability to truly connect with others. But what if we just stopped and turned off our mind – just for a few minutes a few times throughout the day? We just go go go and our mind races with to-do lists and judgements and projects and rehashing conversations from weeks ago. What if you paused between tasks? Just taking a few seconds or minutes to “release” your thoughts before moving on to something else? Take ten seconds and breathe. Focus only on your breath. As you breathe hear the word RELEASE and let your body relax. Do this 3-10 times throughout the day as you move from project to meeting and back again, and as you’re transitioning from the office, home. Hell, if you only do it once during the day, you’re ahead of 99% of people! So why turn off when our culture is always on? Because the more you are able to turn off, the more you are able to turn back on with much higher intensity than you had before. Recovery equals results, right? Your computer needs to be rebooted from time to time. So do you. If you can implement a daily practice of “rebooting” or releasing/turning off throughout the day, you will be unstoppable. Turn off in order to turn on.
  4. WITNESS YOUR THOUGHTS. When you’re “off”, don’t get frustrated when thoughts start racing through your mind. The goal is to realize that you are not your thoughts. Your thoughts are just that, thoughts. Nothing more. Nothing less. Do not attach judgement or emotions to them. Just let them exist and work on finding the space where you can just witness your thoughts in the third person. For example, when you’re getting pissed at the waiter for taking too long to bring the check, just stop and reframe to something like, “Oh, Adam is getting really upset right now because the waiter is taking too long. Adam should understand there are other customers here too.” This will help you get a handle on your internal dialogue, get a different perspective, gain clarity, and ultimately move on. Keep working on witnessing your thoughts and you will start to retrain your internal dialogue, which in turn changes your actions and results.
  5. BREAK DOWN TASKS. When someone is performing a specific task at a higher level than you, it’s easy to chalk it up to something magical, to innate ability, or just dumb luck. But that’s just a story you’re telling yourself (there’s that internal dialogue!). It’s not luck or magic. What you’re seeing is someone who has broken down a specific task into much smaller components in their mind so that each segment of the task is refined and refined again. They are manageable and achievable at a high level. The casual observer may think this person is frickin’ amazing and they are. But not by some magical power. But because they took the time to plan, prepare, practice, and make progress on their one thing. Let me give you an example. Remember when you first started driving and it took you ten minutes to adjust your mirrors, radio settings, buckle, and put the car into reverse? Now, you’re doing all of those things at the same time while drinking coffee and putting on your makeup. Now, when a 15 year old sees you doing that, they think you’re pretty damn awesome. But what they didn’t see is the practice over time that went into creating a confident driver. But this is the pathway to learning. Breaking down each step of a process until that step becomes ingrained and doesn’t require any conscious thought. Then you continue to refine and refine each segment of each step. That’s the power of going from good, to great, to elite. That is the power of retraining your internal dialogue for maximum success.

Elite athletes, world-class businessmen and businesswomen, and high performers everywhere understand these concepts. If you take action on the above steps you will gain more clarity and learn how to achieve success. It all starts with your internal dialogue. Change your thoughts. Change your life.

What stories are you telling yourself? What questions do you ask yourself daily? Does your internal dialogue need an update?

The Art and Sport of Business


I just moved into a new home a few weeks ago. The last time I moved was about six months ago and again about six months prior to that. I’m averaging a new home about once a year right now (thank you for being awesome about that, Sarah!). So, the question is why, right? Why build a 6,000 square foot house, move my wife and three kids, and pack up and unpack over and over again? I wouldn’t exactly call it fun. But neither is business. Neither is working out. Neither are a lot of things I’m passionate about. The fun comes in the challenge, the negotiations, the design, the skills it takes to execute a vision.

Really, above all else, for me it’s about the vision. It’s about being able to see something so clearly in my mind on a raw piece of dirt that no one else can see and then working through people to execute that vision and watch it come to life. I do this with tangible buildings, I do this with my team, I do this with my business at large. It’s an incredibly cool feeling to show up on a job site and see 40+ people there all working and you can literally see the vision coming to life. I get the same feeling walking into my company and seeing teams of people moving our company forward and growing my organization.  That’s why I love building new homes. That’s why I love business.

For me, designing and GCing a luxury home is both an art and a sport. I get to use my creativity in the design through the careful selection of lighting, flooring, trim, stone work, and more. I get to use my creativity designing floor plans and spaces where my family will make memories. Because it’s not really about the home, for me or my family. Our family life is rooted in experiences and building a new home and picking out new paint color with the kids or having an indoor picnic, is just that, an experience. Architecture, interior design, landscaping – it’s all an art. All an experience.

And art and sports aren’t mutually exclusive (thank you Glee for breaking those stereotypes!). Building a home is also a sport. Negotiating contracts, tight deadlines, the non-stop action to drive towards the ultimate goal of seeing how much added value I can bring to a piece of land and then sell for a nice profit. It feeds my competitive spirit.

So does business. You have to play in leadership constantly.  There is no other option then to be the owner, often the coach, and to build a team of star players. Probably the most exciting part is that business is an ever changing game. Once you’ve figured out the rules, something in the industry changes or better yet, you disrupt your company first before your competition ever can. Business building is competitive, often brutal. It’s an intellectual sport of innovation, team building, operations, deals, and leadership. The battle for rank and title and for building a legacy that lasts well beyond your human existence. It’s a game I’ll suit up for any day.

If business is your sport, then you have to focus on building a bench of people. Take football for example. There are only 11 players on the field at any time. But 53 players on the roster and 46 of them dress for the game. That’s like having three back-ups for every position on the team. Do YOU have that many team members or employees on the bench or in your organization? The concept for building a professional sports team is awesome. You’re never missing a player, you’re never out of the fight, because you have depth! And the crazy thing is, each team has several scouts looking for people to add to their bench for years. Scouts will start following athletes in middle school to watch their development, analyze their skills, and see how their character develops. Middle school! Most business owners or hiring managers throw out a job ad and hope to be able to secure top talent from the 10 resumes they receive. If you treat business like a sport, a big part of that is relentlessly scouting for talent and building a deep bench.

If business is your sport, then it means you eat, sleep, live, and breathe it. It’s why I work 60-80 hours a week “practicing” and honing my skills. Between reading, journaling, setting aside time to think and strategize, it’s all a deliberate practice designed to increase my leadership. Sure, some people will question your dedication and call it an obsession (it is and that’s not a bad thing!). They will ask why you don’t take more vacation time or why you’re at the office on a Saturday. But let me ask you this. Does anyone ever ask Tom Brady to take more vacation time? Does anyone expect Oprah or Tony Robbins to relax and take more time off? No. Because they are their business and their business is them. They play in it every day. So do I.

If business is your sport, then you have to practice the art of business daily. I’m talking about emotional intelligence, leadership, mastering behavior and personalities, casting a massive vision and inspiring others to follow. Navigating the complexities of people is definitely an art form! As a leader, you must understand the players on your team and how to get them all working together towards a common goal. Is this an art? Is this a sport? Both. I could compare a well-oiled team of employees to that of an orchestra or an NFL team. The sport is the competition and aggressive drive, the art is the finesse. You need both to build a business.

Is business your sport?




Your Most Important Relationships May Be With People You’ve Never Met


Last week I taught a business and leadership bootcamp in Vermont to an incredible group of entrepreneurs, small business owners, and leaders. One of the topics that came up was mentorships and the value of a mentor.

The whole conversation started when we began talking about the five relationships you need to live a wealthy life. Wealthy, not just financially, but in health, relationships, community, career, and ultimately your fulfillment. The five relationships include your top 5 financial wealth determiners (the people you pour into daily), your top 25 allied resources (these are the five people that each of your five wealth determiners pour into), love (family, siblings, friends & co-workers), the person you determine wealth for, and mentors and role models. We could talk about these different relationships for hours, but let’s just focus on mentors and role models today.

After my class, several people emailed me to ask if I would be their mentor. Did I feel completely deserving of the request? Not really. Flattered? Definitely. But regardless, the answer wasn’t a quick yes. In fact, it wasn’t a yes at all! Being a mentor to someone (in the traditional sense) is an honor and commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly by either party. I consider a traditional mentor someone who is guiding you along your career path, coaching you through big life decisions, and providing you with advice specific to your business or career.

I’m nothing if not self-aware and I am definitely not a traditional mentor. I don’t have weekly coffee dates or monthly lunches with anyone in particular. So while, I may not be the [traditional] mentor for you, you should work to get mentors in as many areas of your life as possible, like a financial adviser, a business or career coach, or a personal, physical, or spiritual role model. But here’s the thing – these mentors and role models don’t have to be weekly coffee dates. Hell, you don’t even have to know them or have ever met them!

Let me explain. Mentoring or being a role model isn’t always about regularly meeting with someone. If you’re looking for a mentor in your life, all you have to do is open Instagram, pick up a great autobiography from your local bookstore, or attend a conference. It’s about finding the people (who you may know personally or not) that are truly living the life that you want in those six categories (financial, business, career, personal, physical, spiritual). It’s about following what they do and then implementing it. If you want to be a thought leader and motivational speaker then you might follow everything Tony Robbins does – from reading his books, watching his videos, and attending his live events. Not your style? Then maybe you follow Marie Forleo and do what she does. If you want to build an investment portfolio, then perhaps you read, listen to, and watch what Ray Dalio or Warren Buffet does. Regardless of what area you want to work on – there is a mentor and role model for you.

The trick is to really identify want you want and what lifestyle you want to lead and then find the people who are doing that. And be careful who you take advice from. For example, I wouldn’t recommend following someone who is a single narcissistic workaholic just because they make a lot of money, if your ultimate goal is to be financially wealthy AND have a fun and fulfilling family life. You also don’t want to follow people who haven’t really done what you want to do. People LOVE to give advice, but are they following it themselves? If not, move on. Fast!

So, like I said, I may not be a mentor in the traditional sense, but I do coach and mentor my leadership team and employees regularly. That is where I have chosen to devote my time and energy. These people are 100% invested in me as their leader and I am invested in them. And, yeah, it is pretty cool that people want me to be their mentor and might be looking to me as a role model for life or business. I wish I could spend one-on-one mentoring time with hundreds of people, but it’s just not feasible. It’s one of the reasons why I put so much time into creating content (webinars, blogs, podcasts, live events, etc.) and so much time pouring into my team, who in turn share our vision and mission through their own content and network. The people who happen to like what we are doing – great! Maybe they’ll follow my Ironman training schedule, or start to work between vacations, or allow their standards to be the bad guy with their team, or start Transcendental Meditation, or commit to reading 52 books a year. Those are the people who I do end up getting into relationship one way or another (as an attendee at an event, a future employee, or business partner).

So why are people looking for a mentor or role model in the first place? I think it’s a couple things. They are looking for proof that it’s possible to achieve the things in life that they want (money, travel, freedom, a family, writing a book, whatever). I think people are also craving growth and want to be inspired by someone to change their thinking and habits. But here’s what mentors are not. They are not miracle workers. They are not going to do the work for you. And they don’t always have the answers. But they just may give you enough inspiration to change your life forever.

My mentors and role models range from people I see regularly, to people I only talk to on the phone once a month, to people I have never met. They all provide incredible value to my life and I can only hope to do the same in turn over time. Here are my mentors and role models:

  • Dr. Smith – Spiritual mentor, specifically Transcendental Meditation
  • Gary Keller – Mentor in all areas of life
  • Tony Robbins – Role model for inspiration and energy
  • John Spinney – Physical mentor and coach
  • Ray Dalio – Mentor for business, spiritual (Ray also practices TM) role model, and role model for principles on life and work
  • Warren Buffett – Role model for business and investment philosophy (My particular favorite: “Rule No. 1: Never lose money. Rule No. 2: Never forget rule No. 1.”)

Who are your mentors and role models?

How to Use the Weekend to Set Yourself Up for a Successful Week

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Are you one of those people who has a bad case of the Mondays? Every Monday? Do you sing song lyrics like, “It’s just another Manic Monday,” or “But whenever Monday comes you can find me cryin’ all the time,” on your commute into the office at the beginning of the week? Well, you’re definitely not alone. And I think you have two choices here:

  1. Refresh your resume and start looking for another job. Clearly you are not happy or fulfilled in your current position if you are dreading Mondays. (If you need a new career opportunity – we’re always looking for hungry, humble, and people smart individuals. Email to chat! )
  2. Refresh your weekends so that you are setting yourself up for a successful week. If you genuinely enjoy your work and career, you may just need a reboot. Let’s talk about how.

While the seven day week can be traced back 4,000 years to Babylon, the first recorded mention of a weekend wasn’t until 1879. Back then, the weekend was a 1/2 day on Saturday and a full-day on Sunday. In 1908, a New England mill was the first American factory to institute the five day work week we know today. A full day of rest on Saturday and Sunday. So, how can you maximize that time in order to have a productive week?

Here are five things I recommend you do every weekend in order to rest, recover, and prepare yourself for a week of minimal stress and maximum results:

  1. FAMILY MEETING —> Whether your family includes yourself, your in-laws, and your five children or it’s just you and your partner, schedule a weekly family meeting for 30 minutes to an hour every week. This is the perfect time to connect to discuss the week ahead – who’s picking up the kids, what late meetings you might have, are there any dinners with friends or special events? Syncing up your calendars is a must. It’s also a good time to talk about any upcoming household items that need to be taken care of (like a new landscaping company or scheduling a handyman for repairs). Don’t forget to get on the same page with finances. Are there any big purchases coming up? Perhaps you want to aggressively pay down some debt. Discuss and make a plan and then check in weekly during your family meeting so that you actually make progress on these goals. Involve the kids as soon as they are old enough. Start them young learning about financial management and time management and they will be ahead of 95% of the adult population. Have fun! Grab your favorite coffee and get down to business. If you schedule these conversations weekly, you will significantly cut down on the mundane, uninspiring conversations with your partner and family and have much more time for deeper and meaningful interactions.
  2. SCHEDULE WORKOUTS —> You all know how important fitness is in my life. #fitnessfirst Exercise has such a huge impact on all areas of your life – mental clarity, focus, energy,  health, nutrition choices. Exercise truly leaks into all areas of your life. Use workouts as tool to be a better leader, partner, friend. Take the time to plan your workouts on the weekends. Yes, put the workouts in your calendar, but don’t forget to actually plan out what you are going to be doing during the allotted times so that you’re just not aimlessly taking selfies in the gym mirror. Have a plan and then execute. Better yet, get a trainer or coach who will tell you exactly what to do during your workout time. #leverage
  3. MEAL PLAN AND PREP —> Exercise and nutrition go hand in hand. To be the best version of you – you have to take care of  yourself first. That starts on the weekend. Yes, it can be time consuming, but the investment of time on the weekends planning out your meals, prepping protein and cutting up veggies, and portioning out snacks will save you a ton of time during the week. And it will help you reach your health goals. You can save even more time by using a meal prep service, getting your groceries delivered, or ordering your groceries online for pick up. As the great Ben Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
  4. WEEKLY GOALS —> Regardless of what system you use (BestSelf Journal, basic planner, Gmail Tasks, 411, etc.) make sure you are strategically looking at what you need to accomplish during the week ahead to get you closer to your monthly and annual goals. What you do this week will either move you forward or backwards. Make every day count. Focus on the revenue generating activities that will move you and your business forward. Identify the 3-5 big things you need to accomplish and then make sure you block time into your calendar during the week to work on them. If it is not scheduled, it’s not real. Once it’s in your calendar, as long as you honor your commitment to yourself and do the “big thing” when it’s schedule in your calendar your results will be inevitable.
  5. UNPLUG —> One of the most important things you can do is unplug! Take time to rest and recover, whatever that looks like for you – hiking, skiing with the family, spa time, or reading a good book at home. You can’t be effective and productive if you are “on” all the time. Now, just like unplugging looks different for different people, the amount of time needed to unplug varies. Some people need an entire 48 hours with no work emails, others just need a couple “non-work” hours each day. Do what works for you, but honor that time. If you’re unplugged be unplugged and present in whatever moment you are in. Recharge and get ready for a kick ass week ahead!

Those are five basic principles I encourage my team to utilize on the weekends. If you want to take it a step further, here are three additional tactics I use on Sunday nights to make the shift from weekends to the work week.

  1. Do a detailed review of your calendar based on your current company objectives and shifting priorities. Add or cancel meetings as necessary. For example, you may need to postpone an interview for a new Controller if you have a development deal that needs to be renegotiated at the eleventh hour.
  2. Email your leadership team or your direct reports any ideas you had over the weekend you would like them to explore or take action on, questions, and any new directives for the week. The weekends offer great time to reflect and gain clarity, so you may be shifting course the following week. Make sure you communicate that to you team.
  3. Check your energy and alignment. This is all about mental and emotionally preparing to bring your best self into the office on Monday. Is there anything bothering you that you need to work through? Do it. Maybe that means doing an extra meditation session, an intense workout, journaling, or calling a trusted mentor. Make sure you are ready to show up and do work on Monday.

I’ve been following the above routine for years. For me, the weekend is a great mix of time with the family, time to read and think about my business, getting in a long Ironman training day, having great conversations with my wife, and getting organized and ready to crush the week ahead. If you do this every week, you will have a competitive advantage over the majority of the population. Having the discipline to have a purposeful and productive weekend sets you up for massive success. Not everyone is willing to do these things. But discipline equals freedom. And isn’t that what we’re all after?

How do you relax and recharge? What do you do to prepare for the week ahead?





People Are Your Best Business Investment


I spent last weekend on a birthday adventure for my sister-in-law. We snowmobiled on the Trans-Quebec trails and stayed at a beautiful resort complete with incredible dinners and tons of spa time. This luxury resort has been in business for over 25 years and while much of it’s success is owed to the vision, execution, and business acumen of it’s eight shareholders, I didn’t see any of them over the weekend. It was the concierges, the massage therapists, the chefs, the wait staff, the housekeepers, etc. that made the entire trip an experience that we will remember for years to come.

Back in the office on Monday, I couldn’t help but think about my company. The ideas, the talent, the successes, the challenges, the various perspectives, the skills, and the personalities of the people all woven together to create the fabric of my organization. I’m not thinking about a marketing campaign, a development contract, or a new client testimonial. I’m thinking about Erin, Ben, and Caitlyn.

People will always be your best business investment. 

One of the hardest parts of starting and growing a business is knowing when and how to bring on additional help. Not having the right people in your organization can be the biggest barrier to your company’s growth. Often people wait way too long before pulling the trigger on their first hire. And what they don’t realize is that it isn’t really saving you money not to make that hire. Think about it. As a business owner, your time is usually best spent on sales/marketing, key relationships, strategy, and vision. All other tasks that take you away from those responsibilities are taking you away from additional revenue. People always tell me they can’t afford to hire an administrative assistant, a sales associate, or a marketing coordinator. But I say, how can you afford not to? Look, I get it. Making that first hire is a big step. More money is going out the door and you’re not sure when (if ever) you’ll see a return. But you’re thinking about it all wrong, people aren’t an expense or a cost, people are an investment. And if you are committed to growing your business, then you must master the art of leverage – recruiting, hiring, onboarding, and then leading and growing your employees.

If you are in the early stages of your business and a little gun shy about your first hire, then it’s time to think outside the box. Your first hire does not need to be a $120,000 a year marketing director or a $55,000 a year assistant. Here are some creative ways to add leverage to your life on a minimal budget so you can focus on the dollar producing activities that grow your business:

  1. Interns
  2. Part-time Employees
  3. Family Members
  4. Trade expertise with another sole-proprietor/entrepreneur
  5. Virtual Assistants
  6. Personal Assistants
  7. Outsource projects (like graphic design, social media, or bookkeeping)

The point is, investing time to bring on a virtual assistant or partner with another entrepenuer who you can trade your marketing expertise for their financial advice is only going to help you and your company grow. If I had $5,000 left in the bank, I would hire a part-time team member for 2 months, before ever thinking about spending it on technology or advertising. Why? Because if I went the software route, while I’m trying to build my business, I’m also having to figure out how to use the damn technology which will only slow down my focus on sales! And as we know the CEO should only be focused on the dollar producing activities.

If you are already a small business and understand the importance of having great people on your team, don’t stop! It’s not just a matter of hiring the right people, though, that’s a great first step. It’s continuing to hire great people because they will shape the culture of your organization, which will in turn either attract or repel additional talent. Beyond that, you’ve got to teach your team how to recruit and hire great staff. You must teach them the value of hiring people better than them at a particular job function so that you continue to level up the talent in your company.

This all sounds great when a company is consistently exceeding their revenue goals (sure, hire away!) but what about when a business is struggling? Often, when a business is looking to cut expenses, the first thing managers look at is reducing staff or instituting a hiring freeze. I believe in doing the opposite. I will look at every line item on our P&L and eliminate extra marketing, client events, and office supplies before I even think about reducing staff positions. Remember, your company is made up of the people that you’ve hired and cultivated; it is not built on your fancy conference room, new logo or latest software. Clients and customers care little about what’s going on behind the scenes, just that they receive exceptional value for whatever product or service they purchased and that they had a great experience along the way. People tend to do business with people they like. Invest in amazing people and keep investing in them and you will come out on top no matter the internal or external economic climate.

My mission at Adam Hergenrother Companies is personal growth through business success and that is not something I take lightly. Once you have the right people in the right seat on the bus, you’ve got to keep them engaged and continue to invest in them. Whether it’s an intern or a VP, we carefully select the team member and then pour into them daily so they grow. From weekly one-on-one coaching sessions, to an unlimited vacation and time off policy, to training events and industry conferences, to monthly book clubs – an organization that is committed to the growth of it’s employees is an organization that will continue to grow.

People are the cornerstone of your organization and will always be your best business investment. Truly leading through others is a humbling experience and takes years of practice. The hardest part about building a business is finding, hiring, developing, and shaping people. It takes years to really get to know people and to understand if they have what it takes to execute and achieve your vision. It will be painful at times. It will cost you time and money. But achieving success beyond what you are capable of alone and succeeding through others is a gift that keeps on giving.

Do you have a story about a great hire or how one of your team members changed the trajectory of your organization? Share in the comments below!


Are You a Cheater?


When you think about cheating, you probably immediately think of illicit text messages, dark hotel rooms, secrets, and lies. But whether or not you’ve ever cheated on your partner, chances are you’ve cheated at some point in your life. Perhaps you’ve cheated on a test in high school, cheated on an application or resume, or most commonly, cheated on yourself and your goals.

Did you know that 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February? We’re already nearing the end of January. Where are you at with your New Year’s Resolutions?  Have you cheated on yourself yet? It’s just a mental game; are you prepared to win? Are you so laser focused on your goals and your big why that cheating is just not an option?

Cheating is never a mistake. Cheating is always a choice.

I used to be a cheater (No! Not that kind!). But I would cheat on my future and on my goals. I would negotiate away my integrity with a simple push of the snooze button or by allowing one cheat meal to turn into a cheat week of eating. I was only hurting myself and my chances for success. In fact, success started rolling in bigger and faster when I said NO MORE and started to retrain my brain to be impeccable with its word.  I did not commit to things that I knew I wouldn’t do; and once I committed to something, there was no stopping me. I was not going to cheat on myself. 

I like this definition of cheat in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: to deprive of something valuable by the use of deceit or fraud.

Isn’t that exactly what you are doing when you don’t keep your word to yourself? You are depriving yourself (and your family and the world at large) of something valuable! Think about this for a second, when you commit to taking your family on an all-inclusive, exclusive, fast-pass vacation to Disney World, then you’ve got to step up your game and meet your financial goals in order to make that happen. Are you going to cheat yourself and your family on this? Are you going to negotiate away your goal so that before you know it, you’re spending a day at Santa’s Village instead? I certainly hope not! 

Here’s another example. Let’s say you have committed to getting 1 new client appointment a day, for a total of 5 per week (which, by the way, was my goal when I first started in real estate). If you know your conversation rates, then that means you may need to make 20 contacts or 100 contacts a day to make that happen. Okay, that’s a great start – know your numbers! So, when you go to make your first call, a voice pops into your head that says, “Hey… why don’t you just jump on Facebook for a second to see how many likes you got from that motivational quote you posted.” Instantly, you’ve just negotiated your way out of doing what you committed to doing – what you know you need to do to hit your goals! Why!? Because you’ve allowed cheating to become a habit.

Cheating (and not-cheating) is simply a habit. Cheating is letting yourself say no to workouts or eating healthy or to anything that is pushing you closer to your goals. When you do this over and over again, when you let cheating become a habit, it becomes part of the fabric of who you are. 

But the good news is, cheating is a habit – you created it, so you can break it! This is pure mental fitness, man. When those damn good procrastinating, master negotiating, goal crushing voices start talking to you beware! We tend to want to cheat on the same things over and over, the things that are hard and that we want to put off. Don’t. You can do hard things. Don’t even engage  with yourself in a conversation about cheating on your goals. Every time you push that voice away and proceed with the end in mind, you win. And you build the mental fitness muscle that will eventually lead to habits, which eventually leads to reweaving the fabric of who you are. 

If you can’t even count on your word to yourself, who will be able to count on you? Yes, I know no one is perfect and shit happens, but you know the difference between getting stuck in traffic because of an accident and missing your appointment with your personal trainer (an appointment you will quickly reschedule) and getting “stuck” in conversation over coffee in the break room and missing your appointment with your personal trainer (an appointment you will never reschedule). You control whether or not you cheat on the commitments you’ve made to yourself and others.

Bottom line: Don’t cheat. The only person you’re cheating is yourself.


5 Questions You Must Ask Your Employees Each Day


One of the questions our team often gets asked during interviews, particularly for other leadership positions, is, “How much time will I get to spend with Adam.” Our leadership team knows, it’s not much! But that’s okay. I spend my time pouring into the right leadership people. Let me explain.

My days are scheduled down to the minute, which doesn’t leave much time for the “drive-by conversation.” That’s not my style anyway. I like purposeful and productive interaction. The quicker and more decisive, the better. That doesn’t work for everyone and it is often an adjustment period for higher maintenance staff members who want or need constant interaction. I’m pretty (okay, very) blunt about the fact that I am more concerned with who my employees become, than being their friend. So again, very purposeful.

I actually spend quite a bit of time with my team. We have a weekly Wildy Important Goal meeting, as well as individual company meetings. I run a very autonomous organization and the people who are the right fit for our company and our culture are the ones who are able to take our decisions from the various meetings and execute throughout the week.

But there is one critical piece that makes all of this work, and that is the five daily questions  I have each of my leadership team members email me at the end of every day. They in-turn have their staff email these questions to them, and so on, throughout the organization.

Here are the 5 daily questions you must ask your employees each day:

  1. What successes did you or your team have today?
  2. What struggles did you have today?
  3. How did you overcome them?
  4. Where is your mindset on a scale of 1-10? (1 being terrible. Be honest here. I don’t care if it’s a 1, but if there is something preventing you from being at the top of your game, we need to know and fix it.)
  5. Who is your replacement? (Ultimately, there should be 5 people – inside or outside of the organization. If you don’t have anyone, use the next 30 days to start filling the gap.)
Why these questions?
Primarily because they are fast and effective for both you and your staff. As we’ve heard, it’s hard to have contact with the CEO, Director, or supervisor every day. These questions serve as a daily touch-point for the leader and employee. People often open up more on email, too, which begins to build trust. More often than not, the answers I receive to these questions have much less to do with the day to day operations of the business, and more to do with where the employee’s mindset is or what is going on in their personal life. Your employee’s personal life does bleed into their work life, even if they don’t talk about. Be aware and show that you genuinely care about what they learned, what they failed at, how they are feeling, and how they are coping with it (at home and at the office).
These questions help you keep a great pulse on the people who report to you, especially when you are traveling, in all-day trainings, or simply aren’t able to spend time walking around to feel the energy in the office. These daily questions are a system to ensure that you have a pulse on the energy of the office, even if you aren’t physically there. From there, you are able to direct the energy of your team.
The last question always gets the most questions! It’s designed to get your team to be thinking about future opportunities for their growth. If they are searching for their replacement (either inside or outside of the organization), then they are focused on their growth, the growth of the company, as well as who they are grooming and pouring into. It’s a model for internal growth.
More than anything, these questions are a tool for your team. Yes, it is a quick way to gauge your team member’s mindset, pain points, and progress, but it’s an even better tool for them to increase their self awareness. This daily reflection focuses your employees on what they learned and what they could do better tomorrow… every day. It’s a forced journaling model for them to follow and growth for them is simply inevitable! Which is exactly what I’m after as a leader.
A couple of things to note:
  • Start these questions on day one with new employees. Set the precedent that their growth is valuable to you and to the organization.
  • If you are implementing this with existing team members, please explain to them the reason behind why you are asking these questions and make sure you are replying. Take this seriously. Your employees are taking the time to answer these questions daily and you’re going to hear some very personal (and professional) business struggles. This is exactly what you want! It’s impossible for the two not to go hand-in-hand. Be prepared to respond with care and candor and allow your employee the space to be honest and vulnerable.
  • Be very specific about explaining question #5. We implement these questions immediately with new staff, so it’s no surprise. However, if you are implementing these questions after an employee has been with you for three years, they may think their job is in jeopardy. Let them know it is a growth-based question and that as they continue to grow, they will need to find others to take over pieces of their position (or their entire role!) in order for them to move into a different opportunity.
  • You are not looking for any specific answers here, but rather for patterns of behavior and problems that you need to help resolve. For example, if one of your staff members mindset is always at an 8 (they’ll never be a ten), then when you see them drop to a 5, you know something is up. Conversely, you’ll have team members who are always at a 10, so dropping to an 8 or even a 9 could be a red flag. Other questions you might ask yourself as you are reviewing their responses, are: Where they able to solve their own challenges or did they blame others? Are they taking responsiblity for missed deadlines? Are they learning and progressing each week? All of these questions (and the patterns that emerge) are simply a model to help you be a better leader.

These are powerful and valuable questions whether you travel three weeks out of the month or are in an office with just one other employee. Add these into your cadence of accountability with your team and watch your relationships grow and your team members flourish, no water cooler conversation necessary.

What questions would you add to this daily check-in?

Are You a Wartime or a Peacetime Leader?

war time

Okay, for the past month or so it’s be quiet at the office, too quiet. People were on vacation (as they should be!) and business generally slowed down. The shift was palpable. From a constant go go go to slow slow slow. No major problems to solve, no employee crises, no deals to negotiate, no lives to transform. Alright, this may be a bit of an exaggeration, but you get my point. Problems and challenges are my life blood!

I was listening to #askgaryvee a couple of weeks ago and Gary Vaynerchuk mentioned the same thing. He’s a wartime general. So am I.

Now, there are two different times in business – peacetime and wartime. Companies will ebb and flow and experience both over the course of their lifecycle. Peacetime is generally when a business has a competitive advantage and it’s market is growing. Wartime is when the business is facing an immediate threat from a competitor, the economic climate, or a major market shift. Peacetime sounds amazing, right? Why wouldn’t we all want to operate business in the peacetime zone? Because where is the fun in easy!? If it’s not challenging you, it’s not changing you. The market may be growing during peacetime, but is your business, is your staff, are you? You really find out what you and your team are made of during chaos and war. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you’re not growing, you’re dying. Businesses are the same and I would much rather operate during wartime then peacetime. In fact, I simply operate as a wartime leader, even during peacetime. That’s just how I roll.

Here’s a really great explanation of the Peacetime CEO vs Wartime CEO from Ben Horowitz:

  • Peacetime CEO knows that proper protocol leads to winning. Wartime CEO violates protocol in order to win.
  • Peacetime CEO focuses on the big picture and empowers her people to make detailed decisions. Wartime CEO cares about a speck of dust on a gnat’s ass if it interferes with the prime directive.
  • Peacetime CEO builds scalable, high volume recruiting machines. Wartime CEO does that, but also builds HR organizations that can execute layoffs.
  • Peacetime CEO spends time defining the culture. Wartime CEO lets the war define the culture.
  • Peacetime CEO always has a contingency plan. Wartime CEO knows that sometimes you gotta roll a hard six.
  • Peacetime CEO knows what to do with a big advantage. Wartime CEO is paranoid.
  • Peacetime CEO strives not to use profanity. Wartime CEO sometimes uses profanity purposefully.
  • Peacetime CEO thinks of the competition as other ships in a big ocean that may never engage. Wartime CEO thinks the competition is sneaking into her house and trying to kidnap her children.
  • Peacetime CEO aims to expand the market. Wartime CEO aims to win the market.
  • Peacetime CEO strives to tolerate deviations from the plan when coupled with effort and creativity.  Wartime CEO is completely intolerant.
  • Peacetime CEO does not raise her voice. Wartime CEO rarely speaks in a normal tone.
  • Peacetime CEO works to minimize conflict. Wartime CEO heightens the contradictions.
  • Peacetime CEO strives for broad based buy in. Wartime CEO neither indulges consensus-building nor tolerates disagreements.
  • Peacetime CEO sets big, hairy audacious goals. Wartime CEO is too busy fighting the enemy to read management books written by consultants who have never managed a fruit stand.
  • Peacetime CEO trains her employees to ensure satisfaction and career development. Wartime CEO trains her employees so they don’t get their ass shot off in the battle.
  • Peacetime CEO has rules like “we’re going to exit all businesses where we’re not number 1 or 2.”  Wartime CEO often has no businesses that are number 1 or 2 and therefore does not have the luxury of following that rule.

Which one are you? Are you a wartime or a peacetime leader? Many of us may have qualities of both and deploy either peacetime or wartime tactics as needed, but I bet you lean to one side or the other. Neither one is better than the other; it simply comes down to self awareness. Own who you are and know that you are going to create a culture around your war or peace mentality and will likely attract people who either thrive during peace or thrive during war. Just know that when your business flips to the other side, you will need to adjust (which may mean adjusting your staff).

When I feel the pressure of battle, when I know my back is against the wall (even if it’s self-inflicted), I step-up and operate at peak performance. Believe me, just ask my team, if there isn’t enough chaos or I feel like things have slowed down, stagnated, and we’re just resting on our successes, I get in there and shake shit up! If there aren’t enough problems to solve, I disrupt our business and create problems, just so my team and I can solve them. I would rather disrupt our business, then have our competition see our weaknesses, see us getting “fat” and lazy, and attacking. So I just do it before they can. Sure, not everyone likes it, but it’s how we’re all going to grow. I refuse to stay in mediocrity. To me, that means I’m always at war.

Progress is everything. I may not win every battle (hello, failure!), but I sure as shit am going to win the war. Because I am laser focused on my goals and the life, business, and legacy that I will create. I demand of myself and I demand of my team to accept challenges, set goals, and exceed them.  I am relentless in the pursuit of progress. I am at war. It will take time. And I will win. Will you?