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Monthly Archives: October 2014

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Contacts vs. Relationships

Several weeks ago I was enjoying lunch with a friend, Bill J. While waiting for our meal to arrive and while engaged in casual conversation, I began feverishly scrolling through the contact list in my phone. With anguish, I stated that I was feeling incredibly frustrated that I cannot monetize all or most of the contacts here…and there are nearly 1500 contacts in my phone. Bill looked at me smiling and with unwavering wisdom, he said…”you can’t monetize a contact, Steve; you can only monetize a relationship”. A profound idea, eloquently stated. Bill explained that a contact is merely someone you may have met or someone to whom you’ve spoken – someone you may think of in terms of only a name. By contrast, a relationship suggests the state of being connected in some way. Relationships take time to evolve. They require effort, energy and attention – they need to be nurtured, they need time to cultivate – much like a plant, Bill explained further. Once a contact becomes a relationship, only then can the value of that relationship be realized.

Subsequent to this conversation with my friend, I felt mesmerized by the concept: contact vs. relationship. I was compelled to examine all of my relationships in an effort to understand their evolution. I realized that, initially, so many of these individuals were merely just contacts but that over time, many of them have been “cultivated” into very powerful and meaningful relationships.

Interestingly, I had met Bill J. at a political fundraiser some time ago. We spoke casually that evening, and as it often goes, we exchanged business cards and most likely, we both quietly assumed that we had met someone new to add to the “contact” list in our respective phones.

A few months later, however, we met for lunch. During easy conversation, we casually learned a few things about one another and as a result, we were each able to help the other, with a favor of sorts, that would be mutually beneficial. In retrospect, perhaps it was at that moment that the “contact” made during that political event was now evolving into a “relationship

What I have learned, simply stated, is that everyone we meet might be considered a contact.

When contacts can assess and appreciate the potential value they may offer for one another, it can create the perfect opportunity for a relationship to evolve. This is the ideal set of circumstances to monetize…to increase profitability. The potential for growth opportunity from just one contact can be infinite if a relationship can evolve from that contact. Your relationships are instrumental in attaining success. They can work for you!

Success coaching, undoubtedly, is relationship driven. Recently, I met with a prospective success coaching client. During our conversation, I took a few moments to relate this important concept of “contact vs. relationship” and impart my newly acquired wisdom. Although this young man is extremely talented in his field of work and has developed numerous relationships during his tenure, he admitted how difficult it can be to maintain many of those relationships. Though he understands that relationships are essential for increased business profitability, he had not consciously realized that the “contact vs. relationship” can work in reverse as well. What  this means is that if a relationship is not continually nurtured and cultivated,

or as my friend Bill J. would say, “watered with a little sunshine”, it will revert back into a contact. As we know, a contact is truly just a name. Transforming that contact, or acquaintance, into a valuable asset is the key…and that can be achieved with relationship building!

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The Power of the Hour

hourglass

For the last several weeks, I have been consulting with two brothers who are partners in a technology company.  They had grown concerned about the level at which their company was operating and determined a need for “Business Coaching” in an effort to achieve maximum growth and a greater level of success.  

Initially, when coaching, though business owners believe they may know everything there is to know about their business and one another, I find it useful (and it’s enlightening for the owners) to help owners discover that there are many things they truly do not know about their business.  Hence, this was our beginning point.

There are a multitude of applicable techniques in “Business and Success Coaching”.  One of my favorite techniques to use, particularly in a partnership like this, is to separate the owners physically during a coaching session, thereby disallowing any form of communication between them.  This is precisely what I did.   At this point, I asked a series of questions, directed at each brother.  In an effort to determine their performance under pressure,  there was a time constraint enforced.  

 The questions were as follows:

What is working well in your business?  10 minutes to complete

What is not working well in your business?  10 minutes to complete

What are your brother’s strengths?  10 minutes to complete

What are your brother’s weaknesses?  10 minutes to complete.

 The “Infamous” Big White Board:

During this next exercise, the brothers stood side by side and wrote down each other’s strengths and weaknesses.  It was easy to observe that the level of stress had increased dramatically for each of them during this discovery technique.  During the next hour, as our discovery phase continued, the brothers learned a great deal about one another that they admitted to not knowing.  As the brothers engaged in discussion of strengths and weaknesses, there was one item, in particular, that they each noted as a significant weakness in the other….the frequency with which each engaged in argumentative behavior.

 As we delved into this one aspect, they agreed that cumulative, at least  one hour per day was spent engaged in argument (productive or non-productive).  In an effort to help them realize the magnitude of the time spent arguing, I offered them totals…that one hour per day translates into 5 hours per week, which then adds up to 20 hours per month and finally, in total – 240 hours per year of valuable company time may be spent engaged in disagreement.  Needless to say, they were shocked as they never considered the bigger picture in regard to the amount of time they had been spending entangled in disputes related to business.

Interestingly, the brothers explained that their average customer’s worth was valued at approximately a $10,000 profit.  In addition, they agreed that the average number of hours spent on “closing” a customer was nearly 20 hours.  As they considered this facet of their business and then re-examined the number of hours they attributed to argument, they were able to clearly see that the time spent engaged in argument directly impacted on time that could be devoted to potential sales…perhaps nearly 12 new business deals earning the company approximately $120,000.00 in income.         

At this point, the brothers agreed that, while they continue to develop strategies to maximize growth of their company, if they could simply reduce the time engaged in dispute by half, it could possibly render $60,000.00 directly to their bottom line.

Not bad for a two hour session!!  I felt my fee was well earned and they agreed. J

To learn more about your business – things that you may never have known, give me a shout at steve@livetowincoaching.com .  There might just be a buried treasure that you haven’t yet uncovered!!!

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What Inspired The Titan

Recently a friend asked what it was that inspired me to write my first book. I titled The Titan?

Some might call it serendipity, but I prefer to it as the “unpaved path” of the entrepreneur. I had for a long time explored the folks and events in my life that had led up to my life as an entrepreneur. I recalled that I had graduated from Arizona State University in the spring of 1982 with a degree in Political Science. About a week after returning back to Chicago, my best friend and former roommate asked me if I wanted to visit a place called The Chicago Board of Trade.

We were going to view this business of controlled chaos from an observatory and then speak with some young guys about the business. Call it serendipity or “the unpaved road” but 60 days later we were both Professional Commodities traders in the world’s busiest environment, The 30 U.S. Treasury Bond pit.  The irony was, the just a few months earlier I never knew the place existed. My career spanned from 1982-2001.

Since leaving the commodities business I have been involved in a number of business ventures. In 2009 I formed Live to Win Coaching.  www.livetowincoaching.com.  LTW is a private coaching practice designed to help entrepreneurs and business leaders develop greater focus and skills to bring their businesses to levels they had never imagined.

In 2012 I decided to write my first book, based on my experiences as an entrepreneur. My idea was to use the knowledge I had explored as it related to my development as an entrepreneur. I had always been of the belief that I need to understand my past in order to understand my future. With the help of a very talented writer, Rick Butts we set out to identify the most influential men and women in my life, “look back to the future” and see how these folks including my father, grandfather , great uncles and aunts along with my mother, helped me to identify my “business DNA”.  The book is a short fictitious adventure novel, highlighting real life experiences, while tying in the people who played such an important role in helping me discover my strengths and weaknesses as a business person along the way.

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What inspired The Titan

Recently a friend asked what it was that inspired me to write my first book. I titled The Titan?

Some might call it serendipity, but I prefer to it as the “unpaved path” of the entrepreneur. I had for a long time explored the folks and events in my life that had led up to my life as an entrepreneur. I recalled that I had graduated from Arizona State University in the spring of 1982 with a degree in Political Science. About a week after returning back to Chicago, my best friend and former roommate asked me if I wanted to visit a place called The Chicago Board of Trade.

We were going to view this business of controlled chaos from an observatory and then speak with some young guys about the business. Call it serendipity or “the unpaved road” but 60 days later we were both Professional Commodities traders in the world’s busiest environment, The 30 U.S. Treasury Bond pit.  The irony was, the just a few months earlier I never knew the place existed. My career spanned from 1982-2001.

Since leaving the commodities business I have been involved in a number of business ventures. In 2009 I formed Live to Win Coaching.  www.livetowincoaching.com.  LTW is a private coaching practice designed to help entrepreneurs and business leaders develop greater focus and skills to bring their businesses to levels they had never imagined.

In 2012 I decided to write my first book, based on my experiences as an entrepreneur. My idea was to use the knowledge I had explored as it related to my development as an entrepreneur. I had always been of the belief that I need to understand my past in order to understand my future. With the help of a very talented writer, Rick Butts we set out to identify the most influential men and women in my life, “look back to the future” and see how these folks including my father, grandfather , great uncles and aunts along with my mother, helped me to identify my “business DNA”.  The book is a short fictitious adventure novel, highlighting real life experiences, while tying in the people who played such an important role in helping

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I Wanted To Be Wealthy Until I Found Out I Was

Since I started in the working world my main goal was to create wealth. I am not, nor have I ever been, a lavish or imprudent spender, but I always wanted to create wealth, primarily for financial security.

From the time I began making money in the commodity business, my first career out of college, I began a plan to save for the future. So focused was I that I couldn’t wait to be 65 before I was even 35.

The reason: when I was 65 I would have accumulated enough money to win the game and I would have financial security and wealth.

 

When I was in my early 20’s I began investing in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.  I even bought a large insurance policy that would create more wealth for me along the way. I was incredibly focused, committing to putting away the same amount of money each and every month. I learned and studied the “Power” of compound interest. I was determined to “win the game.”

 

When I couldn’t save for a particular month, I would deprive myself of things that made me happy. Maybe a short trip or rounds of golf at my favorite courses. I became a pro at making sure my desire to create wealth conflicted with any happiness I would have because I was going to get wealthy and “win the game.”

 

Well, as life would have it, my plans got derailed. My career as a commodity trader ended abruptly in 2000 with the advent of computerized trading. And so my plan to create wealth became derailed also.

 

I have achieved major accomplishments and suffered countless defeats since leaving the exchange.  But a funny thing happened to me along the way.

 

I created wealth, an enormous amount of wealth. Not the kind you put in the bank or by stocks or bonds with however.

 

  1. I am rich in terms of my marriage and the support I have received from my wife.

  2. The wealth that I have in the relationships with my children is priceless.

  3. I have a wealth of family and friends that care about me and contact me daily. I am truly blessed.

  4. The wealth of knowledge I have accumulated over the last 13 years could not be purchased or learned at the greatest business schools on earth.

 

Through all of my trials and tribulations I have created a mountain of wealth that would take a lifetime to climb.

 

How do you measure your wealth? If it is strictly by what sits in your bank account, you are missing out on some of life’s greatest lessons.

 

For insight on wealth creation beyond monetary value,  e-mail me at Steve@livetowincoaching.com.

I’d like to share my valuable lessons.  To your wealth!!  Steve

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Four Reasons Why People Can’t Find Success

Unwillingness to change

Plain and simple, folks just are not willing to change.  Many people wake up every day expecting something different to take place in their lives without doing anything differently.  Until you commit to change you behaviors , your life will look the same every day. Conversely, once you make that commitment or radical shift, you can start seeing changes almost instantaneously , whether it is in your career, your relationships, your physical or mental health. Unwillingness to change is a gigantic roadblock for most.

 

They don’t believe they have transferable skills;

People who have spent the majority of their lives in one arena tend to believe they are not capable of moving on to other areas. I myself spent the first 19 years of my professional life as a commodities trader. Most would argue that the skills of a floor trader were not transferable to any other profession. I always knew that my skills as a people person would allow me to succeed in sales, business development or anything else related to relationships.  Until you sit down and actually write down what your skill sets are, you can become paralyzed in the myth of not having skills that are in fact transferable.

 

Lack of focus

There is a tremendous amount of sacrifice, commitment and daily focus that goes into being a success story. Athletes set their goals high, surround themselves with a team of coaches and commit to a grinding, daily regimen of practice to achieve. You can apply this  discipline and mindset to any successful endeavor. It’s more than building habits, discipline is about grit, determination and flexibility.

 

We all get off track, distracted and confused. It is only human, and a fact of life today. If you put the right pieces in place from the beginning, set yourself up for success and have determination, your likelihood for achievement increases and your personal frustration decreases. Focus can help put you on the road to success.

They Have Not Developed A Unique Personal Brand.

 

Personal branding is valued capital and currency for professional advancement. How you present and market who you are, what you do, and whom you serve , so that you stand out, claim your space and build your credibility is essential and indispensable to the attainment of success.

Start Finding Success today!!  www.livetowincoaching.com

 

 

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Expect The Best

index

Why do so many of us spend so much time second guessing our efforts and expecting negative results? After all, if you put in the effort you were meant to from the beginning, you have to WIN.

If you start with the mind set that each hurdle is actually a gift to get you to where you need to end up, even if things don’t turn out exactly the way you want, then you will create a driving force that will enable you to not only “expect the best” but to create and be the BEST.

 

Tips :

 

1) Decide To Win- What does this mean? This means that you will not settle for anything less than The Best for whatever it is you are trying to achieve.  Envision yourself in the winner’s circle, on the podium, or receiving that all-important positive feedback from your boss, manager, or client.

 

2) Decide Not to Lose- Imagine the pain in your mind of what it would feel like to not achieve The Best. After all, if you put out your best effort how can that possibly happen?


We all know that there have to be winners and losers. Getting yourself accustomed to feeling success will keep you determined at all times. You can still have the best outcome and not have the first place trophy. It is all in the preparation. Knowing that you did your best in your own mind and heart is a victory in itself!!

 

Are you eager to learn how to prepare to win and create the best outcomes in your life???

 

Email me at Steve@livetowincoaching.com  and start expecting “The Best” today!!!

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Competing Mentalities: Scarcity & Abundance

glass_half_full_empty_1600_clrI recently received a phone call from a gentleman who had stumbled upon an article I had written several years ago on why traders cannot leave the (virtually non existent) trading floor.

http://www.livetowincoaching.com/the-poison-of-the-pits-why-floor-traders-can%E2%80%99t-leave/

He had done a Google search for alternatives to floor trading and, to my lucky surprise, my article was still on page one of Google. The article had then directly linked him to my web site (hey SEO actually works).

He was looking for some direction in his life and in business. He told me that he was still a floor trader, who was struggling the last few years (imagine that? I left in the year 2000) and had just gone through a nasty divorce.

We agreed to set up a time for a “sample” coaching session so that he could understand how I work and so that I could understand where he was at in his life. 

On our call, he began to tell me what had led to his eventual demise as a trader over the last few years. I know that most readers would find it fascinating (joke) to hear that it was a breakdown in discipline that had ruined his ability to stay consistent. He told me that he would actually make money 85% of the time that he was trading, only later to have a major implosion and lose everything, plus more, on his bad days.  He was now, as he phrased it, “under capitalized.”  He had developed a view that he was competing against, and losing in, a world that he beat 85% of the time.

Later in our conversation, he stated that he felt like the guy at the poker table with $5,000 going up against the guy with $1,000,000.  “Do you know what I mean?” he asked.  I remained silent.  Again he asked “Do you know what I mean? I’ve only got five thousand bucks and the guy I’m playing against has a million.”   After a brief pause, I replied, “If I’m the guy with $1,000,000 I would not be excited about playing a guy like you with only $5,000 in his pocket.”  “What do you mean?” he asked.  I said, “If I’m the one with $1,000,000, the best I could do would be to win $5,000.  On the other hand, if I’m the guy with the $5,000 and I was careful, disciplined, and consistent, there’s an opportunity right in front of me to win $1,000,000 over time.”

I told him he was so busy worrying in his mind about losing the $5,000 that he failed to see the $1,000,000 he had to gain.  Fear had the same effect on him that it has on so many people.  It made him see a problem where really there was a great opportunity. 

His next question was, “When can we start working together to fix my discipline problem so I can get on with my life?” My answer:  “Whenever you are ready!!!”

Do you have a problem that needs to be looked at as an opportunity? Or just feel stuck and need to move forward?

E-mail me at steve@livetowincoaching.com  for a free sample session and get on the way to your $1,000,000 today.

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Amazing Golf Shot

I wanted to share a story that happened to me last Saturday afternoon, while playing a round of golf at a local course.

It was Saturday and I was at the local Jeep dealership getting the oil changed for my sons’ car.  They were both working that morning, so I thought I’d take care of this for them.  As I waited, I received a call from a friend asking if I wanted to play golf that day.   I told him that I was busy and asked for a rain check. After the oil change was finished though I decided to call my friend to see what hole he was on and to see if there was any chance that I could still join him.  He told me he was just finishing the 8th hole.  I suggested that we meet on the 10th and then play the back nine together.  Racing over to the course, I arrived just in time to catch up with him and his neighbor and to tee off on the 10th hole.

The course (no pun intended) of my day was changing unexpectedly, and it was going to change again soon.

We proceeded to play swiftly until we reached the 16th hole.  Now, the 16th hole of this particular golf course runs parallel to a street that leads through our town—it’s not what I would call a busy street, but there is a minor flow of traffic throughout the day. My friends teed off and hit shots onto the fairway.  I, unfortunately, hit my first shot out of bounds a few hundred yards to the right.  My view of the shot was blocked because this part of the golf course is lined with rather large trees from tee to green.

As I walked down the fairway thinking about this poor shot, I could hear someone yelling at my friends and I saw them gesturing back and soon a shouting match broke out.  I proceeded to jog down the fairway to an opening in the trees and saw a young man holding a golf ball and screaming. “You hit my freaking (I’m being polite) car,” he yelled.

My errant shot had hit squarely in the middle of his windshield, shattering it completely. He looked at me and questioned, “Is this your ball?” I answered simply “Yes.”  The young man was livid, and his swearing and yelling were reaching a fevered pitch.  I was told that I had hit his father’s car. I was told that the windshield would to be very expensive. I was told that I was at fault.

I looked around the crazy scene and for some reason calmness came over me. I saw that the windshield was in a million pieces. I saw the young man screaming at me.  I saw my errant golf ball in his hand.  I saw cars passing. I saw mothers walking their babies in strollers happily down the street.  I saw joggers passing by on the side walk.  At that moment, all I could think was how had this young man been able keep control of his car?  How had he not driven up the curb?  How had he not hit a tree or a telephone pole or a jogger or a mother and child?

 I asked, “Is everyone alright?” He looked at me, stunned.  This was clearly not the reaction he had expected.  He tried to muster up some more anger but he stopped. He said, “Yes…sir, everyone is fine.”  To that I pulled out my cell phone, asked him to call my number, and had him watch me answer my phone to confirm that the number he now had belonged to me. I assured him that if I was at fault, I would take care of the damages. I told him how extremely grateful I was that he was not hurt, that no one was hurt.  I even suggested that he call the police and meet me in the Club House in 20 minutes to figure out the matter.

With that, the young man’s eyes filled with tears. He began to apologize profusely for his behavior.  I assured him that I understood his immediate reaction completely and, again, I let him know that if I was at fault I would take care of the damages. As we made our way to the Club House my friends looked at me in amazement. My buddy said he had never in his life seen some one take such a negative situation and turn it completely around so quickly.

The story gets better.

 We met at the Club House and I bought the young man a Coke. I asked him where he was from and what he did for a living.  Ironically enough he said he was in the business of wholesaling cars, and I mentioned to him that I just happened to be in the market for a car for my daughter.  He replied “I will find the one, don’t you worry.”  As we left, the young man told me he would call me on Monday to tell me what the replacement cost of the windshield would be.

As he promised, I received a call late Monday morning.  The cost would be a staggering $2,200. I knew it would be expensive but never dreamt it could be that high. I called a friend who owns a Lexus dealership who verified the cost. I called the young man back and told him to go ahead and replace the windshield and that I would write him a check.

Later that afternoon, the young man called me back. He and his father had talked about the incident in depth. They decided together there was no way they were going to make me pay $2,200 for the windshield. They would replace their custom glass with a standard windshield, which was $900. The young man told me that my honestly and integrity had impressed him and his father so much that they felt it was a blessing to have met me.

A few days later, the young man came to my house to pick up the check. I reiterated to him that at the time of the incident my only concern was that no one was hurt and how grateful I was that that was the case.  He, in turn, looked at me and again said what a blessing it was that we had met.

As he walked out my front door my wife handed him a list of cars my daughter had put together that met her price and mileage ranges.  He said, “Be patient, I am going to find you guys the best deal you can ever imagine!”  The truth, however, is that I already had the best deal I could ever imagine.  A bad situation that could have been much, much worse turned into a sincere new connection with a complete stranger and a renewed appreciation for the incredibly good fortune I’ve had.   

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