Archives For Business

Yesterday marked my two year anniversary as a business owner.  Well, I should say, as a successful business owner.  I did own another business before Next Generation Training Center, however it was an epic failure.  This story I’ll save for another time, because today is all about reflecting on the good, and a few lessons learned along the way.  I can’t give you everything that I’ve learned, because I would have nothing to write about after this, and my mission to sit at home and do nothing but blog would be out the window.

As I was going through my day yesterday, I kept receiving messages from LinkedIn congratulating me on my work anniversary.  I just dismissed it as that was the day that I created my account.  The amount of emails, texts and notifications from various social media outlets I receive on a daily basis would make you think I am actually an important person on this planet; so when receiving all of these messages I didn’t think twice about it.  Until it dawned on me… holy shit, today is the two year anniversary of Next Generation Training Center in Randolph, NJ.  Maybe this is a good example of why my marriage didn’t last very long… hmm… now it makes sense.

When I finally realized that it was our anniversary,  I went through an immediate emotional roller-coaster.  How could I have forgotten this?  I should have realized it, and congratulated my staff for being rockstars at what they do.  I should have thanked all of our members who have made this possible.  What kind of terrible business owner am I?  Well, when I figured out that I can accomplish all of these things through a simple video posted to Facebook, the big picture became more focused.  Most small businesses fail within their first 18 months.  We are now on month 24.  We’ve accomplished something that only two out of every ten small businesses do.  That’s nothing short of inspiring.

Once the regret of forgetting wore off, and I cancelled my order of flowers for everyone (that’s what you’re supposed to do when you forget an anniversary, right?) I learned a valuable lesson.  If you don’t slow down on occasion, if you don’t stop to look around and take it all in, you will lose perspective of how successful you are.  Success is something that is ever evolving, always changing, and never fully accomplished.  However, it is also accomplished everyday in all of our lives.  I know what you are thinking, what the fuck is Mike talking about with this confusing contradicting bullshit?  Well here it is, in plain English, if you woke up today, you have the potential to be successful.  It is as simple as that.  You just have to CHOOSE to be successful.  You need to realize that success is a term that is defined in an infinite amount of ways.  A successful mindset breeds success, and you can say the same thing about a negative mindset.

Being caught up in the daily grind of multi-tasking and trying to get “stuff” done can easily take over your life.  In fact, I fell victim of that and it made me forget my work anniversary (thank God for LinkedIn).  I’ve learned that it’s important to slow down and reflect on your daily success.  Will I ever be happy with where we are at the moment?  No.  I always want to improve, grow and make a bigger impact.  However, that doesn’t mean that at this moment we are not successful.  Remember, success breeds success.  When you reflect on it daily, you will bring more of it into your life.  Don’t ever stop moving forward, but don’t forget where you are at the moment.  It’s hard to accomplish more, if you don’t realize your success now.

I recently wrote about prioritizing your goals.  This is a practice that has to be done on a day in and day out process.  Whatever your priorities are, make them YOUR priorities.  Living by someone else’s standards, playing by someone else’s rules, being someone you are not is the fast track to mediocrity.  How can you fully live a life of freedom, if you aren’t free to truly be yourself?

How can you fully live a life of freedom, if you aren’t free to truly be yourself?

The spectrum of self awareness is very broad with many pit stops, downfalls, successes and failures along this path of discovery.  As frustrating as this path is, it is one that must be traveled to discover personal freedom.  To many people get stuck on a path that someone else is plowing ahead for them.  Your path must be yours, and yours alone.  We can share a common road map with others, but only YOU can travel YOUR road alone.  Often times your path will change, come to a dead end, take a U-turn and get stuck in a roundabout.  This is a good thing, because each time your path changes you will learn through experience how to re-route your GPS.

The only way to take control of your future, is to let go of your present fears.  Fears are irrational ways our brain likes to keep us conforming to everyone else.  This is the safe route.  This is the way we have been taught since we were a kid.  You either fit in with the rest of the kids in school, or be singled out as a “weirdo” or “loser.”  Well speaking from one of those “weirdos” who grew up to break free from those chains, and make a life that is on my terms, with my visions and plans, and with my own mission, all I have to say is fuck fear.

Fear controlled the better part of my life.  Every opportunity I would have to show the world around me who I truly was, I would be hesitant to do so.  I would start to develop my own voice, just to fall victim to the safe and comfortable route.  This is why I failed at practically everything in my life.  I would follow the path of someone else, because it was easy.  There were no obstacles of judgement, because the judgement was being put on someone else.  This is a great way to develop resentment for yourself, your friends, loved ones and basically everything and everyone around you.  Depression quickly follows, and your life turns into one big conforming spiral of self-destruction.

Self-destruction shows up in many forms.  For some it is drinking, other gambling, many like to do drugs or outcast themselves from virtually everyone.  However, the form of self-destruction that does the most damage is the type that no one, not even yourself can see until it consumes your life.  This is the type that I fell into… avoidance through conformity.  Life is easy when you live your life on someone else’s terms.  It is, at least, on the surface.

2017 is just about a month in.  For most people, this is the time that your New Years resolutions start to go out the window.  We all live busy lives filled with family, friends, school, and work (except for me, because I’m a blogger now so I don’t work).  These are the reasons we can never accomplish the things we say we are going to, because life gets in the way.  These things are more important, and a higher priority than anything else.  At least this is what we say, right?  Well, I’m calling bullshit on that, and here’s why.  You are scared.

The psychological term for it is “avoidance.”  Now I’m no psych, so don’t go quoting me on that, but I’ve been to enough therapy sessions to know that what I see in myself is happening to others.  Change is hard, change is scary, but change is necessary.  How we VIEW change is the most important aspect.  For most people, personal growth is just not a priority.  Most people will not do whatever is necessary to take that step off the proverbial diving board into the deep end.  As I mentioned before, this is because of fear.  However, it’s not the fear of not being able to swim that is plaguing you.  It is the fear of the free fall.  The moments before you hit the water, and your brain has induced the idea that you may just belly flop, embarrass yourself in front of that hot life guard (do they exists besides in the movies?), and swim away with the absolute worst stinging throughout your entire front side of your body (I could have gotten descriptive there, but I refrained myself).

Do you see where I am going with this?  It is the process that is scary.  It is the thought that you may just fail!  Newsflash, THAT’s OKAY!  We all know by now that failure is a part of life.  It happens, it happens a lot, it happens often, heck it happens daily!  In fact, I encourage mistakes.  If I don’t make one mistake daily, that means I am not putting myself in a position to grow.  So, as some president (I think it was a president?) famously once said, “There is nothing to fear, but fear itself.”

Whether it is subconscious, or starring you right in the face, this fear is going to hold you back.  So what do you do about it?  You PRIORITIZE (finally getting to the point of this article).  When the ball drops to officially make it the new year, you have all these thoughts of hope and change, and how this year will FINALLY be the year you ________ (fill in the blank).  However, these plans drift off and blow away in the wind with the confetti at Times Square.  You know deep down inside what you want out of your life, but you allow other things and people to get in the way.  If you really want to lose weight, then DO IT.  The fear of falling into bad habits, causes you to do exactly that.

Prioritizing our life isn’t as difficult as you think.  You just need to know how to do it.  What I recommend is taking all of your goals, hopes and dreams, and putting them down on paper.  Once they are down on paper, then they are real.  When they are in your head, they are just ideas floating around in your brain’s cloud.  However, once you get it down on paper, they are legit.  There’s no turning back at this point.  Once you see all of your goals, new years resolutions, or whatever you want to call them –  you can then see what is the most important to you.  Start to order them from the most important to the least important.

Once you have your list of priorities, start to prioritize your priorities.  Let’s say you have 10 goals on that list.  Take the top 9, and throw them away!  In reality, you can only focus and crush one big goal at a time.  Make that one goal your priority; eat, sleep, and dream of that one goal.  Make adjustments in your life to accommodate it, and don’t take no for an answer.  If you need to sacrifice “you” time, then do it!  Remember, anything that is working on getting to that goal, IS “you” time.  There is so much more on this topic that I can talk about, but I am going to leave you with this one final thought.  If you are going to belly flop, don’t you want to do it from the highest diving board?  At least you will be remembered.

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What actually separates a good business from a great business? Is it the amount of money it nets at the end of the year? Possibly… if it’s being judged by some narrow minded, numbers crunching, penny pinching, never get out of my comfy chair except to take a shit on my golden toilet “leader” out there. Now don’t get me wrong, I am a business man myself. Numbers are very important to me, and that bottom line is critical to being able to achieve what I feel is considered success. However, success to me is something so much more than just the bottom line.

Success is a numbers thing, but it’s the important numbers that matter to me.  For example, the gross amount of people that I can make an impact on through my business every year. And by gross I don’t mean that creepy guy on the train who has one hand down his pants, and the other one on his iPhone taking a video of you, who is pretending not to look at him.  By gross (it’s a business term, I swear, you can look it up), I mean the absolute total amount of people I can make an impact on.  The higher the total gross, the more people I can help through my business.  That brings us to our next business word (who knew you would be getting a business degree by reading my blog?) which is the term “net.”

By definition, net is free from deductions and is what’s remaining after loss.  So when talking about making an impact on people, unfortunately there will be those who fall off.  Everyone might see the light, but not everyone will walk towards it.  However, the ones who do walk towards the light will forever have their lives changed.  Ultimately, this is what success means to me.  Do I want fancy cars, nice clothes, and a mansion in Hawaii?  Ummm…. do you know that saying there is no such thing as a dumb question?  Well that right there is one, because OF COURSE I DO!  However, that’s not success to me.  Maybe financial success, but not life success (except for the whole living in Hawaii part, that’s life success to me).

Everyone might see the light, but not everyone will walk towards it.

You might be asking yourself right now, what the fu*k is Mike talking about?  Well, here it is… PEOPLE CARE.  Alright well it might not be as catchy as “customer care” in the world of business, but  it has so much more value in the meaning.  It’s a simple concept, that is often overlooked by a lot of people.  Care for people, and care for everyone.  That’s about it.  Do the little things that will make an impact on someone, because you never know how that impact is going to change their life.  Go the extra mile, take the extra step, spend the extra few minutes and make an ordinary encounter something of an extraordinary experience.  You never know who’s life you’re going to change.  Thank you for reading.