What Kind Of 2017 Will You Choose?

If you’re like me you spend some time at the end of each year reflecting on what happened, what you did right, what you could have done differently… probably lingering too long on what you could have done differently. After this process is over, I normally switch gears and start thinking about the future. What is 2017 going to bring for me, my family and my businesses? I have a few thoughts on how I think we should approach that this year. (You need to read all four of these.)

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  1. When it comes to setting any goal just remember that it needs to be realistic, specific and attached to a very solid way to measure it. Also keep it written down and in a place that you will see it often and then share it within your circle if that makes sense. It is always good to have the support of those around you because we rarely accomplish anything important without a little help.
  2. Don’t be a pansy. Set some goals that are attainable but think big this year. My wife gets so irritated with me because I have these HUGE expectations about every project I tackle and very often end up disappointed because I fell short. HOWEVER, even if I don’t hit the home run every time, I end up with a lot of base hits along the way and that scores runs too. Be realistic on what you want to accomplish but don’t be afraid to think big. I truly believe that with a project my brother and I are launching in February/March that we are going to sell lots of product and inspire thousands if not millions along the way and literally change the way people think about a mattress. Too much? My business partner Simon Spinks told me that together we could change the world. I actually think he’s right.
  3. If you had a rough year, get over it. Seriously, I know that sounds harsh  but you can’t live in the past and allow that negative thinking to impact where you’re going. Let me take you through an exercise my favorite college professor Dr. Tim Clypson taught me. Step 1: Get a piece of paper and write down all of the negative crap that happened to you in 2016 or anything that seems to be weighing you down. Step 2: Go outside with lighter in hand and torch that mother.  (Tim had us wad the paper up and throw it in the trash can because we were in class but I think he would support my more dramatic approach here.) Dwelling on the bad stuff only brings more bad stuff. My wife Bridget is my biggest cheerleader and is there to lift me up when needed, kick me in the butt when needed, and club anyone that does me wrong. Spend time with those people in your life and lean into them. It’s a game changer.
  4. Give to others and be grateful on your journey this year. I can’t possibly put into words what living this way means to me. I’m not saying I am the perfect model of this but I do make time to give to others that need me and I start every day being grateful for the good and the bad. All life’s experiences impact me, I have to choose how.

Happy New Year to all of the Q’s Views readers out there and know that I am pulling for each and every one of you to have an epic kind of year. Enjoy the last few days of the holiday season and then strap on your butt kicking boots and make 2017 the kind of year they will write about in books.

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Shine The Light!

Hopefully most of you are getting ready to unplug if you haven’t already. I don’t know about you but this holiday really fires me up. I love it because I get a chance to have some real quality time with the family, eat to0 much, and enjoy the spirit of Christmas.

I am a guy of faith so for me it really is about the birth of Jesus and what that means. I can tell you one thing, if I didn’t have His example to guide me in my life, things would be a lot different for me and my family. So I hope that you are able to pause on that idea, shine some light into dark places if given the opportunity over the holiday, and celebrate like you were one of the three wise men standing in that manger.

If you are somebody that struggles at this time of year, we will be thinking about you. This can be a tough time for people so just know that your not alone in that.

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and may you all have a blast celebrating with your family. Crank up some Christmas tunes, eat, drink and be merry.

Gabby and Nick

Gabby and Nick

 

 

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Is It REALLY A Partnership?

Are you in strong partnerships with the people you do business with or is it just one more overused and abused business term like “synergy” or “paradigm shift”.

This is what sba.gov says a business partnership is, “A partnership is a single business where two or more people share ownership. Each partner contributes to all aspects of the business, including money, property, labor or skill. In return, each partner shares in the profits and losses of the business.” Does this sound like what you have? My litmus test for this comes down to one thing…do the people sitting across the table from me care about my success? Do their actions represent that? You can apply that to a business or personal relationship and when you do, you might be surprised at what you find.

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Expecting the other party to be a good partner is a must. If you are on the sell side and a buyer is all about striking the best deal, at the lowest cost, with the best possible service, with no regard to the impact on you, I would say you are in a bad partnership. Have HUGE expectations from the people you buy from but be realistic. I have sold to people that are absolute HAMMERS and don’t care at all about the party they are negotiating with. They drive hard and DEMAND things if you are going to be allowed to sell them product. You might get what you want, but that approach will bite you in the butt at some point down the road. I  spent 9 years of my career negotiating with the largest retailer in the world, Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club. If anyone carries a big stick its those guys and believe me I got hit with it a few times, but for the most part the buyers I dealt had a better approach.

Just because you have a big stick doesn’t mean you wield it. When I was at Serta we killed ourselves taking care of Sam’s Club. We committed a lot of resources to the account, returned calls as soon as they came in, flew there at a moments notice, and made absolutely sure that everyone servicing them on the operations side of the business was held to the highest level of service. We earned their respect and they treated us as real partners because of it. Just because you have leverage doesn’t always mean that you use it. Because of the way they approached us personally and professionally we made it our mission to take great care of them. Doing that because you have to versus doing that because you want to are very different things. Do you fight harder for the people you like? Do you do more for the customers that treat you well and are fair? Think of this as winning a battle vs. winning a war. Being a good partner is as important as expecting it from the other guy.

Of course you run in to those idiots that don’t get it and think the only way to succeed is by crushing the person they are dealing with. Take a minute to consider those guys in business. Where are they today? How is their company doing? There are always going to be exceptions to this but I am betting money, the most successful people are the ones that give AND take. Be one of those and you will win the war.

 

 

 

 

What I learned From Elon Musk

First of all my apologies for skipping a few blogs over the past few months. The blogging rule book, which was apparently written by someone that has a lot more time than I do, says to blog 1-3 times a week. RIGHT! As I get busier it’s going to be hard to keep up with one a week but I am going to try my best. I also want to make sure I have something to say vs. just writing stuff to fill a page so there you go. Moving on…

I just finished a great book by Ashlee Vance about the life of Elon Musk.  You get a behind the scenes look at how Elon made his mark at companies like PayPal, Tesla Motors, SpaceX and Solar City. The book review says, “first inside look into the extraordinary life and times of Silicon Valley’s most audacious entrepreneur…Vance spent more than 30 hours in conversation with Musk and interviewed close to 300 people to tell the tumultuous stories of Musk’s world-changing companies.” World changing is a big claim but they were absolutely right. This guy thinks big.

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There are a few things that really stood out to me so I want to share my thoughts with you.

  • Elon put it all on the line more than once. He risked the $22 million he made from selling his first company Zip2 on building PayPal. Then he took his PayPal fortune and spent all of that to create Tesla Motors, SpaceX and Solar City. Bottom line here is that in order to create your fortune, you must be willing to take on risk. Imagine being worth over $200 million at one point, living that lifestyle with large homes and private jets, only to face bankruptcy several different times with the threat of losing it all.
  • Great leadership was always necessary when it came to building these companies. Being smart wasn’t enough, the businesses required someone that could bring people together, execute sound business strategy, and build the right team. More than once, Elon had to accept the fact that he could not deliver those things and was forced to take a back seat to someone that was more skilled at leading. Can you imagine having to turn your company over to another person to run after you built it? Know what you don’t know and trust someone better than you.
  • Right when you think that you have pushed hard enough; push harder. Elon reminds me a lot of Steve Jobs in terms of his unwillingness to give up. When someone told him that they couldn’t get a rocket part down in cost, he made them go back and work on it some more until they made it happen. If they still didn’t get it done, Elon would take that project over and end up meeting and exceeding the original expectation. No, is not an answer.
  • Electric cars, rocket travel at half price, a trip to Mars,  and solar power for everyone. How often do you think Elon Musk has been told he “can’t do that” ? It has happened so often for him, he has even contemplated the thought that he could be crazy. There is always going to be someone telling you that your ideas won’t work. They will talk behind your back, be quick to judge you on the direction you are going, and be the first to think you are finished when you are just getting started. For that group of people the only answer is to succeed in spite of their opinion and remember them when you are backing the cash truck up to the bank.
  • Purpose is a big deal. Mr. Musk is not building electric cars because he likes electric cars, he is doing it because he wants to help this planet figure out sustainable energy; same for his solar business. He really cares about the things he gets involved in and that passion is what drives him forward. Its not about money, its about much more.

If you haven’t read his book I would recommend it because there is a lot in there to inspire you. Elon Musk is also one of these big thinkers with a brilliant and creative approach to business and life and we need more of them. I aspire to be one of THEM. What big ideas are you working on? If nobody is telling you it can’t be done, maybe you should consider going bigger? Just a thought.

BONUS MATERIAL: Normally when we produce the Dos Marcos podcast we are not rolling video but in this case we did so check that out. It was a special occasion because we had the one and only David Perry with us from Furniture Today and we had a blast. Dave has been a good friend to me over the past 10 years or so and its fun when we get to collaborate on projects. If you watch this please make note that I did NOT realize that the camera was recording anything. I check my Apple watch for messages and am my usual fidgety self so my apologies; I would normally be on my best behavior if I knew YOU would be watching. Enjoy as we tackle a very wide variety of topics. Some very controversial and some just funny so step away from that spreadsheet or e-mail and give it a look. Dos Marcos Episode #47

 

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Something To Be Grateful For

My wife and I are at the doctor yesterday (the amazing Brian Ipsen), with my 14 year old daughter. She hurt her back playing volleyball over a month ago and has been in pain ever since. We have had x-rays, doctors visits, and an MRI and were hoping yesterday to walk in and gain a full understanding of the problem. Is it serious? Will she be able to continue playing sports? The images didn’t tell us everything we needed to know so now we are going to have to get a CT scan and wait a few more weeks for the diagnosis.  My daughter was pretty bummed out as her basketball and volleyball teams continue on without her. After we let that sink in we decided that this was actually good news because there was no real bad news.

Today as you reflect on the blessings in your life and give thanks for all of the great things you have going on, don’t stop there. Shine a light on your problems and find the positive side of those. Consider the bad things that have happened to you this year personally and professionally and give some thought to how they could have easily been worse. Has the pain you have endured this year from all of the junk made you a stronger person? Has it given you some clarity of vision on something that can help you in the future? If you are having trouble finding the good, then give thanks for those friends in your life that have helped you navigate through the dark and out of the stormy water. One of my best buddies Mandy Ciotti reminded me this morning that “friends give you a shoulder to cry on, but your best friends are ready with a shovel to hurt the person that made you cry.” Send out some love today for those people holding the shovel. 🙂

I want you all to know that I am grateful for you. It means a lot to me that people take the time to pull this blog up and give it a read. From my family to yours we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving and ask you to please say a prayer that the Cowboys beat the Redskins later today. Get out the stretchy pants and have a great holiday everybody!

Quinn grandkids with their Mimi

Quinn grandkids with their Mimi wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!

The real grandkids with their Mimi

The real grandkids with their Mimi

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