Do you have a favorite movie? If I asked you right now to name some of your favorite movies, what would it be? Now, think about those movies and ask yourself why you love them? Is there a pattern?

Some people love science fiction movies with aliens, some people love sports movies with a “Cinderella story” type of theme, some people love complex storylines with twisted endings, some people love romantic comedies that take place in small towns, some people love movies with car chases and helicopters (my least favorite), some people love documentaries of an event or a person that impacted and help change the course in history…some people just love goofy and hilarious movies with almost no plot and just plain silliness.

Me? The movie theme and pattern that I love are something with an extremely simple storyline with deep meaning. A movie that leaves you inspired and motivated to think differently or something that teaches me something about life in a more profound way.

The most recent one I watched is called “Perfect Days” directed by Wim Wenders. It’s a contemplative film that dives into the life of a character named Hirayama, a middle-aged man living in Tokyo. He works as a cleaner of public toilets, a job he performs with meticulous care and a sense of pride. Despite the simplicity and routine of his work, he finds satisfaction and beauty in his everyday life. The film is an exploration of finding joy in the mundane and the power of mindfulness.

What? Mindfulness? What’s that? Some people know exactly what I am talking about when they hear this word. But for some, they kinda sort of understand it as being some type of yoga or meditation type term but maybe think it’s weird or it’s not for them. Well, let’s first define it.

Mind·ful·ness a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment. Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present and engaged in the current moment, aware of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgment. It involves paying attention to the present experience with openness, curiosity, and acceptance.

Think of mindfulness as paying close attention to what you’re doing right now. It’s like focusing completely on one thing at a time, whether it’s eating, working, or talking with someone, and noticing everything about that moment without letting your mind wander or judging what you notice. Being in it, focusing on it, being grateful for it. Let the past be past and the future be the future, it has nothing to do with here and now…and that’s mindfulness.

By the way, we are on the series called “The Mental Game,” and I think it’s one of the most crucial and challenging aspects of how we can improve our mental toughness. This is what we covered so far on the subject.

  • Process vs Outcome: One of the mental game techniques is focusing on the process rather than fixating on outcomes. Individuals can maintain motivation, reduce anxiety, and ultimately achieve greater success and fulfillment. READ MORE
  • How You Think Will Change Everything: There’s a formula to make your result a reality. It’s the way you think. Believe it or not, once you figure out the pattern of how you think and strategize to re-think the way you think, it could be a game changer for you. READ MORE
  • Silence: Do you want to improve your mental health, grow new brain cells, improve cognitive function, be in a better mood, reduce stress, promote relaxation, and enhance creativity? READ MORE

Now back to mindfulness, how does it practically help us in our business and even in our entrepreneur journey? Well, I am glad you asked, here are some ways.

Enhances Focus and Concentration:

    • Mindfulness Practice: Regular mindfulness practice, improves your ability to focus on the task at hand and reduces the tendency for your mind to wander.
    • Business Application: Improved focus can lead to better productivity, more efficient use of time, and higher-quality work.

Emotional Regulation:

    • Mindfulness Practice: Mindfulness helps you become more aware of your emotions and manage them effectively. It promotes calmness and reduces reactivity.
    • Business Application: Emotional regulation is crucial in business, where stress and high-stakes situations are common. It helps you respond to challenges with composure and make better decisions.

Resilience and Stress Reduction:

    • Mindfulness Practice: Techniques like mindful breathing and body scan meditations reduce stress and promote relaxation, which can build resilience over time.
    • Business Application: Resilience allows you to bounce back from setbacks and maintain a positive outlook, which is essential for long-term success in business.

To make it even more convincing, here are some examples of people you might know who have implemented mindfulness into their daily rhythm of life.

Marc Benioff

  • Role: Co-founder and CEO of Salesforce
  • Mindfulness Practice: Benioff practices meditation and mindfulness and has been a vocal advocate for integrating these practices into the corporate culture at Salesforce.
  • Impact: Benioff believes mindfulness contributes to personal well-being and enhances leadership qualities. He has implemented mindfulness programs at Salesforce, including meditation rooms and guided sessions for employees.

Arianna Huffington

  • Role: Co-founder of The Huffington Post, founder and CEO of Thrive Global
  • Mindfulness Practice: Huffington practices mindfulness regularly. She is an advocate for the benefits of mindfulness in reducing stress and improving overall well-being.
  • Impact: Huffington emphasizes the importance of mindfulness for maintaining a healthy work-life balance and preventing burnout. Her experiences led her to establish Thrive Global, a company focused on well-being and performance.

Jeff Weiner

  • Role: Former CEO of LinkedIn
  • Mindfulness Practice: Weiner practices meditation and mindfulness and has integrated these practices into his leadership style.
  • Impact: Weiner believes that mindfulness helps him lead with compassion, clarity, and focus. He encourages mindfulness practices at LinkedIn, emphasizing their role in enhancing employee well-being and productivity.

So, now, back to the movie. How do we practice mindfulness? Is it some type of meditation or chant? It can be, but the concept of mindfulness is central to “Perfect Days.” Mindfulness, the practice of being present and fully engaged in the moment, is vividly illustrated through Hirayama’s daily routines. His meticulous approach to cleaning and his deep appreciation for small pleasures, such as listening to music or enjoying nature, highlights his ability to live in the present. This mindfulness allows him to transform ordinary tasks into moments of quiet reflection and contentment. Take a quick look at the movie trailer.

Throughout the film, Hirayama’s interactions with others are also marked by a mindful presence. He listens attentively and responds with kindness, creating meaningful connections despite the brevity of these encounters. This mindful engagement with the world around him underscores the film’s message that true happiness and fulfillment can be found in the simplicity of everyday life.

“Perfect Days” ultimately suggests that mindfulness, with its focus on the present moment, can lead to a deeper appreciation of life. By embracing his routine with a mindful attitude, Hirayama exemplifies how finding joy in the mundane can lead to a richer, more fulfilling existence.

See why did I loved the movie? Extremely simple storyline + Deep meaning. Oh, and by the way, it is nominated for Best International Feature Film at the Oscars.

Focusing on the here and now – mindfulness practices can truly enhance mental toughness by reducing stress, improving focus, regulating emotions, building resilience, and increasing self-awareness. These benefits are invaluable for achieving success in both personal and professional life.

Are you with me? Take a deep breath in, take a deep breath out, close your eyes, be in the moment, be in the now, let all your worries worry about themselves, be grateful for where you are now, the air you are breathing, and embrace the current moment that you get to what you are doing right now. Breath in…breath out…close your eyes…be grateful.



I woke up in the middle of the night. I am not sure what time; I am thinking around 1 am. I had a lot on my mind, I guess. Mostly high school shenanigans since I was a freshman, and I must have been carrying a lot of burden and feeling a lot of worries of the world. My own little world, that is. High School is not easy.

I decided to get out of bed and head to the kitchen for a glass of water. I had no concerns about my bladder back then; I was a young lad and could easily drink a gallon of water and hold my bladder for days without being bothered in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Oh, to be young again…

I walked down the long hallway and didn’t even bother to turn on the lights. When I took a sharp left to the kitchen, I saw a dark shadow on the right, in the living room. Someone was in our house. Sitting on our couch. I was startled. The stranger turned his head towards me and flicked on the lamp next to him. Oh, hahaha, it was my dad.

“What are you doing?” I yelled. He paused, looked at me, blinked once slowly, and said, “I am thinking.”  WTH?

I caught him in this position in the middle of the night a few times after that. What is he thinking about? And why in the middle of the night?

Turns out, he was on to something. Did you know that there have been studies conducted on the effects of Silence on mental health and well-being? Get this, research has shown that periods of Silence can promote neurogenesis, the growth and development of new brain cells. Studies have found that Silence can also help to increase the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein associated with improved cognitive function and mood regulation.

It also turns out that exposure to Silence or quiet environments can reduce stress levels and promote relaxation. For example, research conducted in hospital settings has found that patients exposed to quiet environments experienced lower levels of stress and anxiety compared to those in noisy environments.

Finally, studies have investigated the relationship between Silence and creativity. Research has found that moments of Silence can enhance divergent thinking and the ability to generate creative ideas by allowing the mind to wander.

So, let’s summarize. Silence improves mental health, grows new brain cells, improve cognitive function, helps you be in a better mood, reduce stress, promote relaxation, and enhance creativity. Wow! Where do I sign up?

Here’s a problem. I don’t like Silence. I avoid Silence. You’ll find me most of the day with AirPods in my ears…always listening to some podcast, book on audio or music. In fact, I go to sleep with my headphones on. I thought a lot of people did this, but apparently, I am a rare specie. Can someone that fall asleep with constant noise in their ears let me know so I know I am not the only one?

Why are we even talking about Silence? Because we are on the series called “The Mental Game.” and I think it’s one of the most crucial and the most challenging aspects of how we can improve our mental toughness. This is what we covered so far on the subject.

  • Process vs Outcome: One of the mental game techniques is focusing on the process rather than fixating on outcomes. Individuals can maintain motivation, reduce anxiety, and ultimately achieve greater success and fulfillment. READ MORE
  • How You Think Will Change Everything: There’s a formula to make your result a reality. It’s the way you think. Believe it or not, once you figure out the pattern of how you think and strategize to re-think the way you think, it could be a game changer for you. READ MORE

So, if you are a noise addict like me, I have two questions for you. Number one, do you believe me? Do you believe that Silence in your life can help you in certain aspects? Number two, if so, how do you implement the Silence in your life in this busy, fast-paced and noisy world?

Well, I had to test this for myself first. Last week, I went on a Silence & Solitude Retreat. Basically, I spent 24 hours in a beautiful Monastery in the middle of nowhere in complete Silence. I ate in Silence, walked around in Silence, sat in Silence, and finally, slept in Silence. These were some of my learnings.

  • The first four hours of Silence was a crazy battle. My mind raced 100 MPH, and my mind was very confused about why I was being silent, not having any social interactions, and depriving myself of any dopamine opportunities.
  • Eventually, everything started to slow down.
  • My continued Silence started to provide some type of pathway into my innermost thoughts and even emotions.
  • I am not gonna lie; there were moments of boredom, but quickly, it turned into deeper thoughts, and it ended up springing up ideas, goals, and dreams for the future.
  • Silence also helped me reflect on the past, and I became overwhelmed with gratitude.

All in all, I came away from the retreat being convinced that I need more of Silence in my life, in fact, I’ve decided to incorporate it when I got back into my daily rhythm. Here are some of my intentional planning for Silence.

  • Set Boundaries with Technology: Create designated times during the day when I disconnect from electronic devices. Implement a “digital detox” hour each evening to enjoy Silence without the distractions of phones, computers, or TV.
  • Create Quiet Spaces: Designate a quiet space and create a peaceful ambiance.
  • Schedule Silence: Set aside dedicated time each day for Silence and solitude.
  • Connect with Nature: Spend time outdoors in natural environments where I can experience the profound Silence of the natural world. Take walks, go hiking/camping, or simply sit and observe the beauty of your surroundings. I am 100% sure nature provides a tranquil backdrop for quiet contemplation and renewal.
  • Practice Gratitude: Cultivate gratitude for moments of Silence and stillness, no matter how brief it may be. Pause throughout the day to appreciate the Silence and the beauty of this life.

I am really enjoying doing the research and writing about this series. I hope you are, too. I am convinced that in every aspect of our business and life, having the proper mental game will make all the difference in the world. As for Silence, I really believe if you can implement Silence into your daily life, it can have transformative effects on your well-being…maybe fostering a greater sense of peace, bringing more clarity and purpose, or even providing fulfillment. I think it’s a powerful practice that can enrich us, from mental and emotional health to creativity and a sense of purpose. All from doing nothing and being in Silence. So, let’s take a deep breath, embrace the Silence, and once in a while, scare the crap out of your kids in the middle of the night.

Oh, by the way, if you want to dive deeper into learning more about Silence, here’s an award-winning documentary you might be interested in.

Have a great week!


Here’s the link to watch the entire film.


What Are You Thinking About?

Circumstances are facts of life. Whatever circumstance you are in right now is what it is. You might have some thoughts about it, but the truth remains: You are in it, and you can’t control it.

Now, the thoughts in your head can be very different. Thoughts are sentences in your head and those sentences can range in every different direction. Many people have many different thoughts about the same circumstance that they might be in.

Are you still with me?

Thoughts cause feelings. Feelings are emotions. Thoughts cause your emotions…always.

Do you know what causes you to do something or not do something? Feelings. Action (what you do or don’t do) is fueled by your feelings.

Finally, every action you take or don’t take will result in some type of result. Results are the consequences or outcomes of your actions, inactions, or reactions.

So, let’s sum it up.

Circumstances are neutral. But your thoughts about that specific circumstance evoke some type of feeling, which fuels you to do something about it and take some type of action. Whatever you do will end up with some type of result. This is the ultimate formula called the “Model Framework,” and people use this framework to help them process, navigate, and win in life.


Great question. The answer has everything to do with “The Mental Game.” which is the current series we are on. Before we get into it, this is what we covered so far on the subject.

  • Process vs Outcome: One of the mental game techniques is focusing on the process rather than fixating on outcomes. Individuals can maintain motivation, reduce anxiety, and ultimately achieve greater success and fulfillment. READ MORE

Going back to the questions on how the model framework above can help me win in life, well…if you read the summary above, the initial kickstart of this formula that you CAN control is thoughts. If you can control the right type of thoughts, they will lead to certain types of feelings, which will help you take certain types of actions, which can help your result be what you want. So, would you agree that the most important part of this formula is Thoughts?

The truth is, we have lots of thoughts. Lots and lots of internal conversations in our heads every single day, every single minute, every single second; we are thinking, thinking, thinking. In 2005, the National Science Foundation published an article summarizing research on human thoughts per day. It was found that the average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. And guess what else they found? 80% of those thoughts were negative, and 95% were the same repetitive thoughts as the day before. I think I fit more in the 60,000 statistic. LOL.

It was also found that there’s power in our thoughts. It’s been proven over and over again with near-death circumstances or incredible triumphant moments in sports history filled with people who had vivid thoughts of survival and winning. In fact, if you ever get a chance, watch the ESPN documentary called Survive & Advance. It will move you to tears and also help you realize the power of thoughts. Coach Valvano was an NCAA basketball coach who desperately wanted his team to think about how he thought about the team…as the national champions. He wanted them to taste the goodness of the win and think and know they could achieve this. He believed this so much that he would have the team practice cutting down the net during practice. (Cutting down the net is a tradition that started in basketball after winning a significant match, the team would cut the net down to commemorate the win and keep it as a souvenir). He was reprogramming their thoughts to be champions. Here’s a 1:30 minute clip you need to watch.

So the ultimate question is, how do we change our daily internal dialogue, especially if it is 80% negative? Because our daily dialogue (thoughts) encompasses our beliefs and interpretations about us…our abilities, and the world around us. How we do this plays a crucial role in shaping our mindset and performance in sports, business, and life.

Here are some techniques:

  • Listen: Before you come to a conclusion about your thoughts, be calm and listen to your thoughts. Pay attention to what you are saying to yourself and believing about yourself. Listening is the key to change. It will help you recognize patterns.
  • Challenge: Once you identify your negative thoughts, challenge them. Question their validity. Is there evidence to support the negative thought, or is it only based on assumptions, past experiences, or someone else’s opinions? Consider the alternative, the more positive and truthful interpretations of the circumstances.
  • Visualize: Imagine yourself succeeding. Visualize positive outcomes and picture yourself at your best. This will build confidence and change your thought patterns, just like Coach V did with his team.

So, that’s it? 1-2-3, done? Nope. Not at all. It’s a life-long process; for most, it’s a difficult journey of reprogramming what’s already been programmed in your mind. The way we were brought up, the trauma we endured, the environment we lived in, and the experiences we’ve lived all affect the way we think. But be encouraged, with each step you take, you will awaken the strength and resilience within, ready to take on obstacles and embrace the fullness of your potential. I think this is where the true joy comes in. Focus on the process of each step. You’ll start seeing the change. I believe in you.


The Mental Game

I was having a conversation with a good friend the other day about my golf game. Well, I was mostly talking; he was just listening…I think. As you might have read from my past article, I’ve been trying to pass the PAT (Player Ability Test) to become a PGA Teaching Professional. You must shoot a score of 158 or less for 36 holes to pass. It’s a personal goal and dream to someday (when I am retired) help elite high school and college-age athletes to be even better athletes competing at the highest level. Also, I want to teach my grandkids (which I don’t have yet) and give them access to all the global PGA resources that might come with my credentials. But I keep failing the stupid test. I failed it eight straight times if you are counting. I eventually told myself that on the 10th try, if I still don’t succeed, it’s time to move on. Chalk it up as I tried my best, genuinely put all my heart and effort into it, and be okay with the outcome even though it wasn’t what I wanted. I was beginning to accept the sad but current reality of the situation.

My ninth try was similar to the first eight. I woke up early, drove to the course, signed in, warmed up, shook hands with the players I would be playing with for the day, and went to my designated hole to start the 36-hole marathon. What was different that day was my head space from the book I just finished reading on the mental game of golf. It gave me some new concepts and perspectives to work on and some practical things to focus on while playing. 

One key concept emphasizes focusing solely on the process or the controllable factors within one’s control rather than fixating on the outcome or result. You can only control what you can control, so focus on that and stop worrying about the outcome. The author suggests that athletes should concentrate on executing their techniques, strategies, and mental routines to the best of their abilities rather than becoming overly concerned with winning or losing. By focusing on the process, athletes can maintain a more consistent level of performance and reduce anxiety or pressure associated with the outcome. So, what practical thing did I decide to do? Don’t keep a score in my head. The score is the outcome of my process. So, focus on the process and don’t worry about the score. Be in the moment and take it one shot at a time…and whatever happens, happens. 

I passed.

I shot 158. I shot the exact score to pass. On the drive home, I thought that if I kept score in my head and knew that I had to make the very last 5-foot putt to shoot 158, Would I have made it? There would have been so much pressure to make it, and I would be so anxious and playing in my head how upset I would have been if I had missed it. With all that pressure I put on myself for that putt, I am pretty sure I would have missed it.

I told my friend, who was still listening, “It’s crazy how mental game is so important in the game of golf…some people say it’s 90% of the game, but why is it that we don’t work on it, learn about it or even implement it into our game?” He responded with something that made me want to dedicate our next series to it. He said, “The importance of mental game is not just for sports; it’s for business and life.” Whoa!! 

So, guess what? This is our new series called “The Mental Game.” I want to offer some mental insights that can be applied beyond the realm of sports and directly relate to business and life. For instance, let’s look at the process vs. outcome scenario that helped me pass my PAT. What are some practical examples of focusing on the process rather than fixating on outcomes?

  • Business Sales Targets:
    • Instead of obsessing over reaching a specific revenue target, focus on the daily activities that contribute to sales success, such as making a certain number of cold calls, sending out personalized emails, or attending networking events.
    • Set process-oriented goals, such as improving product knowledge, enhancing communication skills, or building stronger client relationships, ultimately leading to increased sales performance.
  • Career Advancement:
    • Rather than solely fixating on achieving a promotion or salary increase, concentrate on developing new skills, expanding your professional network, and consistently delivering high-quality work.
    • Set process-oriented goals for continuous learning, seeking feedback from mentors or supervisors, and taking on challenging projects that contribute to your professional growth and development.
  • Fitness and Health:
    • Instead of achieving a specific weight or body image, focus on adopting healthy lifestyle habits, such as exercising regularly, eating nutritious foods, and getting enough sleep.
    • Set process-oriented goals, such as committing to a workout schedule, tracking daily food intake, or practicing stress-reduction techniques, contributing to overall well-being and long-term health outcomes.
  • Entrepreneurship:
    • Rather than being solely driven by the desire for financial success, concentrate on building a solid foundation for your business, nurturing customer relationships, and delivering value through your products or services.
    • Set process-oriented goals related to market research, product development, marketing strategies, and customer satisfaction, which are essential for sustainable growth and success in entrepreneurship.
  • Personal Development:
    • Instead of fixating on achieving a specific outcome, such as becoming fluent in a new language or mastering a musical instrument, focus on the daily practice and consistent effort required to improve.
    • Set process-oriented goals, such as dedicating a certain amount of time each day to practice, seeking feedback from instructors or peers, and celebrating small milestones, which contribute to gradual progress and skill development.

These examples emphasize identifying the controllable actions and behaviors that contribute to desired outcomes and committing to consistent effort and improvement in those areas. By focusing on the process rather than fixating on outcomes, individuals can maintain motivation, reduce anxiety, and ultimately achieve greater success and fulfillment in their endeavors.

See, I told you. Or, my friend told you. The importance of mental games is not just for sports; it’s for business and it’s for life. I look forward to sharing more insights on what I am learning. 

In the meantime, have a great week. As my friend April always says in her email, “Cheering you on!”


I am Changing My Soap Brand

I am going to share a very personal secret. Not very many people know this intimate detail about me, but today is the day. I am going to be vulnerable and share it. Are you ready? Okay, here it goes. Oh, man…I am not sure if I can do this. I am so nervous. Okay, here it goes. Ready?

I use Ivory soap when I shower.

Hahaha! Are you disappointed? Sorry, I hyped it up so much. I’ve been using the ivory soap for years. I think over 20 years…maybe even more. But I wanted to tell you this because I made a decision this morning to change brands. And I am going to tell you why, and it’s all going to make sense. Especially because this is the finale of our series, “The Relationship Factor.” Here’s a quick review of what we’ve talked about so far:

  • How important is fostering good relationships in business? Read More
  • How important is fostering good relationships in life? Read More
  • What makes a successful business relationship? Read More
  • What is a relationship return on investment (ROI)? Read More

Everything we have discussed so far is relationship marketing. The world has transformed how we communicate. Brands now especially do a better job engaging with the public, and through millions and millions of data points, they have figured out how to get their products to the people. They have figured out that in order to do that well, they have to do these three things even better.

  • They have to know their customers better than anyone. Not as consumers and data points but as people.
  • They must understand how to connect with each of them individually and deeply.
  • They have to know how to earn their trust.

And here’s the bottom line of how this can be achieved: Once you find your target market…once you figure out who they are and know them better than anyone else, it’s time to connect with them emotionally, to speak to each one individually and deeply. Once they are moved and experience how a brand made them feel, trust will be earned.

And here’s a perfect example of how this can be achieved. Please watch this 2-minute video:

Dove is redefining beauty. And their message is that beauty is for everyone. They’ve studied their market…meaning they studied the people they want to serve, and they figured out that this specific market and the future generation of this market need desperately to build a positive self-image and reduce the anxiety that comes from the toxic ideas of beauty. So, they created a “Real Beauty” campaign, ensuring the world that real beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and ages, and this became the central message of their campaign.


Because they realized something, they realized something fundamentally important that most marketing books failed to tell you about. We were taught that the successful market mix incorporates the four Ps. Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. But, they forgot to teach us the most important P of all. People. And Dove doubled down and decided to focus all of their efforts on the missing P. It’s brilliant, and it worked.

So, why am I changing to Dove? Because it moved me deeply. It triggered something within me that resonated with the message. Dove made me see beauty differently, and it caused me to feel something. The heartstring they pulled in me earned my trust in this very brand, even to the point where I am willing to give up my 20+ years of loyalty to my dear Ivory.

What’s marketing? It’s all about relationships. It’s about the missing P, making a connection, and helping us see beauty in a new, creative, and profound way… from human to human. That’s life, too, isn’t it?

Thanks for journeying with me through this series. I really enjoyed researching and sharing about it. Stay tuned for the introduction to the new series coming up. I can’t wait to share it with you. Until then, have a great week.


How to get Court-Side Tickets

I can count on my hands how many times I’ve been to a professional basketball game. So…less than ten if you were wondering how many fingers I have. And out of those, most of the seats were not great…in fact, some of the seats caused my nose to bleed. I have always wondered what it took to get a court-side ticket, so I can actually see the expression on Steph Curry’s face when he swishes a three-pointer and runs back for zone defense. According to my research, it costs about $1500-$2000 per ticket. Also, it varies depending on seasonality, which teams are playing, and the city you are in. So for me, I stopped dreaming about it. It’s never going to happen.


My friend called and asked, “Hey, do you want a court-side ticket for a basketball game coming up?” I didn’t care when, what time, or who was playing; my answer was a resounding YES! To make a long story short, I sat right behind the Kardashians and had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch the game like every celebrity would. It was epic!

So, this scenario begs the question, why did my friend call ME out of anyone else he could call? Because of our “Relationship ROI” – Relationship Return on Investment. It’s a metaphorical term and concept that if you pour time, effort, and care into a relationship, it will gain some benefits. In fact, our friendship goes beyond the norm…and it’s not just us; both of our entire families have created so many unforgettable memories together over the last 20 years of casual and celebratory meals together, graduations, kids performances, sunsets, engaging in deep and meaningful conversation about life, belly laughs, tears…lots and lots of tears, and we even got to vacation together. They are one of our closest friends.

So then, would you say relationships are important? I am glad you said yes to that because that’s precisely what we are talking about in our series called “The Relationship Factor.” Here’s a quick review of what we’ve talked about so far:

  • How important is fostering good relationships in business? Read More
  • How important is fostering good relationships in life? Read More
  • Successful Business Partnerships Read More Read More

How does this translate to business? It’s a well-studied, researched, and analyzed knowledge that a typical customer spends 67% more after their third year of business with you. Did you get that? 67% more! Did you also know it takes five times more effort and resources to gain a new customer than to keep your current customer?

Kristina Spillane is a regional executive for global key accounts at Fidelity National Information Services, Inc. She manages key strategic accounts representing over 100 Billion dollars of assets. Her priority and goal for her and her team is cultivating long-term relationships without missing long-term benefits. It’s called loyalty, and she defines it as such:

(Authenticity + Consistency + Value) / Time = Loyalty

TIME is the critical data element because, with time, we can perfect our authenticity. With time, we become more consistent. And with time, we create better value for our customers.

Well-managed relationships are still the best currency, and relationships are like compounded interest: the greater the relationship, the longer the time, and the longer the time can equal higher value. How much more value? How about 67% more?

Do you have a relationship investment strategy? We all should, and this is a great place to start. Let’s break down some key points about what our focus should be from here on out.

  • Listen: Actively listening to your customers is crucial for understanding their needs, concerns, and preferences. It involves paying attention to their feedback, whether it’s through direct communication, surveys, or social media interactions. By listening attentively, businesses can gain valuable insights that inform product development, service improvements, and overall customer satisfaction.
  • Respond Quickly: In today’s fast-paced world, customers expect prompt responses to inquiries, concerns, or feedback. Responding promptly demonstrates that you value their time and are committed to addressing their needs efficiently. It helps build trust and fosters a positive impression of your brand.
  • Show them appreciation: Expressing gratitude to your customers goes a long way in building solid relationships. Simple gestures like thank-you notes, exclusive discounts, or personalized messages can make customers feel valued and appreciated. Showing appreciation reinforces their loyalty and encourages repeat business.
  • Provide consistent value: Consistency is critical to maintaining customer satisfaction and loyalty. Delivering high-quality products, services, and experiences consistently reinforces trust and reliability. Businesses should strive to meet or exceed customer expectations consistently to ensure long-term success.
  • Admit your mistakes and correct them: Nobody is perfect, and mistakes are inevitable in business. When errors occur, taking ownership, apologizing sincerely, and taking appropriate steps to rectify the situation are essential. Addressing mistakes promptly and making things right demonstrates integrity and a commitment to customer satisfaction.
  • Focus on responsive support: Offering responsive customer support is essential for resolving issues and addressing customer concerns effectively. Whether through phone support, live chat, email, or social media, businesses should provide timely assistance and solutions to ensure a positive customer experience.
  • Include them in your success: Celebrating successes with your customers fosters a sense of camaraderie and strengthens the bond between the business and its clientele. Whether acknowledging milestones, sharing success stories, or offering exclusive perks, involving customers in your successes makes them feel like valued partners in your journey.
  • Create community: Building a sense of community around your brand can deepen customer engagement and loyalty. Encourage interaction among customers, facilitate discussions, and create opportunities for them to connect with each other. A strong community fosters a sense of belonging and strengthens customer and brand relationships.
  • Resist the urge for instant results: Building meaningful relationships takes time and effort. Businesses should prioritize long-term relationship-building strategies over quick fixes or short-term gains. Patience and consistency are essential for cultivating customer trust and loyalty over time.
  • Believe in the value of relationships over time: Recognize that investing in customer relationships is not just about immediate returns but also long-term benefits. Building strong, enduring connections with customers can lead to increased loyalty, positive word-of-mouth referrals, and sustained business growth.
  • Reinvest energy into making customers happy: Continuously investing in customer satisfaction and happiness is essential for maintaining strong relationships. Whether through ongoing improvements, personalized experiences, or innovative solutions, businesses should consistently strive to exceed customer expectations and create positive interactions at every touchpoint.

By incorporating these key points into their relationship investment strategy, businesses can cultivate meaningful connections with their customers, foster loyalty, and drive long-term success. Most importantly, who knows, maybe they’ll call you one day with available court-side tickets. I am rooting for you.


I Need a Dancing Partner

I heard someone say, “The only time I ever need a partner is when I am dancing.” Just to put it into context, this was quoted by an entrepreneur who got burned on several business partnerships that cost him a lot of grief, stress, and most of his money. He swore that he would never go into business with someone else EVER again.

On the flip side, how about this quote? “Individually, we are one drop, but together, we are an ocean.” Or this? “In partnership lies the power to achieve what we cannot accomplish alone.”

So, from these quotes alone, a partnership’s success or failure depends on who you partner with. If you partner with the wrong person, it can turn into an absolute nightmare, but if you partner with the right person, it can lead to the most productive collaboration by leveraging the power of two or more to achieve success.

So then, would you say it’s all about relationships? I am glad you said yes to that, because that’s exactly what we are talking about through our series called “The Relationship Factor,” where I’ve been diving into the importance of relationships in our business. Here’s a quick review of what we’ve talked about so far:

  • How important is fostering good relationships in business? Read More
  • How important is fostering good relationships in life? Read More

If you are thinking about starting a new business, it’s essential that you find the right person to partner with. Don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing wrong with solopreneurs. I know brilliant and capable individuals who did it all on their own…but for me, I would rather not do it alone, and here’s why…we all have our strengths and our weaknesses, and don’t you think if we can recognize each other’s unique abilities and talents, we can leverage our combined skills to achieve greater success? Also, isn’t it just better and funner to do it together? Isn’t it better to celebrate our victories together? Isn’t it just better to share the burdens together? Isn’t it just better to divert the workload together? Isn’t it just better to dream together?

But at the same time, we need practical guidance to find the right person. Here are some that I think are essential:

  • Identifying Shared Values: When looking for a partner, it’s crucial to identify shared values. For instance, in a business partnership, if one person values integrity and the other prioritizes profit above all else, conflicts may arise. Conversely, if both partners prioritize honesty and ethical conduct, they are more likely to build a strong, trusting relationship.
  • Assessing Complementary Skills: Finding a partner with complementary skills can enhance the overall effectiveness of the partnership. For example, in a startup venture, one partner might excel at product development and innovation while the other is skilled in marketing and sales. Together, they can cover more ground and address a broader range of challenges than either could alone.
  • Testing Compatibility through Small Projects: Before committing to a long-term partnership, it can be beneficial to test compatibility through smaller projects or collaborations. This allows partners to gauge each other’s work ethic, communication style, and problem-solving approach in a low-risk environment. It may be worth exploring further if the partnership proves successful on a smaller scale.
  • Seeking Mutual Respect and Support: A good partner is someone who respects and supports you, both professionally and personally. For example, in a business partnership, if one partner consistently undermines the other’s ideas or fails to offer support during difficult times, it can erode trust and damage the relationship. Conversely, partners who celebrate each other’s successes and provide encouragement during setbacks are more likely to thrive together.
  • Open and Honest Communication: Effective communication is essential for any partnership to succeed. Partners should feel comfortable expressing their thoughts, concerns, and ideas openly and honestly. This transparency fosters trust and allows partners to address conflicts or misunderstandings before they escalate.
  • Flexibility and Adaptability: The ability to adapt to changing circumstances is crucial in any partnership. Partners should be willing to compromise, pivot when necessary, and adjust their strategies as circumstances evolve. This flexibility enables partners to navigate challenges and seize opportunities as they arise.

By considering these practical examples and principles, individuals can increase their chances of finding the right partner and building successful partnerships. How cool is that? To prove my point, numerous successful business partnerships have significantly impacted various industries.

  • Susan Wojcicki and Anne Wojcicki (23andMe): Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube, and her sister Anne Wojcicki co-founded 23andMe, a personal genomics and biotechnology company. Susan provided her expertise in technology and business, while Anne, a biologist, contributed her knowledge of genetics. Together, they built 23andMe into a leading company in the field of genetic testing and personalized medicine.
  • Jen Rubio and Steph Korey (Away): Jen Rubio and Steph Korey co-founded Away, a direct-to-consumer luggage company, in 2015. Rubio, with her background in branding and marketing, teamed up with Korey, who had experience in operations and supply chain management. Their partnership led to the creation of stylish, high-quality luggage designed for modern travelers, and Away quickly became a disruptor in the travel industry.
  • Arianna Huffington and Kenneth Lerer (The Huffington Post): Arianna Huffington and Kenneth Lerer co-founded The Huffington Post in 2005, revolutionizing the landscape of online news and media. Huffington’s editorial vision and Lerer’s background in venture capital and media investment were instrumental in the success of the publication, which eventually became one of the most influential news websites in the world.
  • Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger (Berkshire Hathaway): Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger have been business partners for decades at Berkshire Hathaway, a multinational conglomerate holding company. Buffett is known for his value investing strategy and capital allocation decisions, while Munger provides insightful perspectives on business and investing. Together, they have built Berkshire Hathaway into one of history’s most successful investment vehicles.
  • Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (Ben & Jerry’s): Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield founded Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream in 1978, starting with a small scoop shop in Vermont. Cohen focused on business, while Greenfield oversaw product development and marketing. Their socially conscious approach to business and innovative flavors helped Ben & Jerry’s become a beloved global brand.

These examples demonstrate how successful partnerships combine complementary skills, shared values, and mutual respect to achieve amazing success in business. So, let me say it again… it’s all about relationships. I am more convinced than ever. Relationships are a testament to the endless potential that awaits when we dare to join hands and journey together. It’s a reminder that behind every monumental achievement, there’s a partnership—a duo whose unwavering commitment and unwavering belief in each other defy the odds and redefine what’s possible.

Let’s gooooooo!!!


You Have 3 Wishes

What if I were a genie who just came out of the lamp to grant you three wishes? What would you wish for? From what I gather from my own research, there are three main things that most people will want.

  • Happiness
  • Health
  • Money

Well, I might not be able to help you with the third option, but I have some insights on improving your happiness and health.

Believe it or not, the Harvard Study of Adult Development has studied this very subject—it’s the longest study of adult life that has ever been done. For 75 years, they tracked the lives of 724 people from all different social, economic, and cultural backgrounds. Year after year, they surveyed and asked each person a list of questions in their living rooms, interviewed their children, observed their marriages, studied their medical records, and even scanned their brains.

So, what have they learned? What are the lessons that came from thousands and thousands of pages of data they’ve generated on these people’s lives? Well, surprisingly, the lessons weren’t about wealth, fame, who worked harder, or who became most successful; the clearest message they got from the 75-year study is this…

Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.

From this research, they found that there are three relationships that are good for us:

  • Social connections are really good for us, and loneliness kills—those engaged with family, friends, and community are happier, they are physically healthier, and they live longer.
  • It’s not the number of connections and people you have but the quality. People who were most satisfied with their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at the age of 80
  • Good relationships not only protect our bodies, but they also protect our brains – their memories stay sharper for longer.

Great lessons, right? Well, don’t just take my word for it. Here’s the 12-minute presentation from Psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, the current director of the 75-year-old study on adult development, in which he shares the important lessons learned from the study.

So, why are we talking about relationships? First of all, we are currently in the series “The Relationship Factor,” where I’ve been diving into the importance of relationships in our business. And since our personal relationships have been studied and analyzed through many studies out there, what about our business relationships? The benefits of strong social connections and relationships extend beyond personal well-being. They can positively impact work and business life in several ways:

  • Team Cohesion and Collaboration: In a work environment, having positive relationships with colleagues fosters a sense of teamwork and collaboration. Employees who feel connected to their coworkers are more likely to communicate effectively, share ideas, and work together toward common goals. This can lead to increased productivity, creativity, and innovation within the organization.
  • Employee Engagement and Satisfaction: Supportive relationships at work increase employee engagement and job satisfaction. When employees feel valued, respected, and supported by their peers and supervisors, they are more likely to be motivated, committed, and invested in their work. This can result in lower turnover rates and higher talent retention within the organization.
  • Effective Leadership: Strong interpersonal relationships are essential for effective leadership. Leaders who develop positive relationships with their team members earn trust, credibility, and loyalty, which enhances their ability to influence and inspire others. A leader fostering respect, open communication, and collaboration can create a more cohesive and high-performing team.
  • Networking and Professional Development: Building and maintaining a professional network is crucial for career growth and advancement. Positive relationships with mentors, peers, and industry contacts provide learning, mentorship, and professional development opportunities. Networking allows individuals to exchange ideas, gain new insights, and access career opportunities that may not be available through formal channels.
  • Customer Relationships and Loyalty: Strong relationships with customers are essential for building trust, loyalty, and long-term success in business. When businesses prioritize customer satisfaction and develop positive relationships with their clients, they are more likely to retain customers, generate repeat business, and benefit from positive word-of-mouth referrals. Customer relationships also provide valuable feedback and insights that can inform product development and service improvements.
  • Resilience and Adaptability: Strong social connections can provide support and resilience during times of change or adversity. Businesses that foster a culture of trust, collaboration, and teamwork are better equipped to navigate challenges, adapt to market shifts, and innovate in response to changing circumstances.
  • Work-Life Balance: Positive relationships outside work contribute to employee well-being and work-life balance. Employees who feel supported in their personal lives are more likely to be productive and engaged at work. Employers that prioritize work-life balance and support employees’ personal relationships create a more positive and sustainable work environment.

Overall, cultivating solid social connections and relationships in the workplace promotes collaboration, engagement, and satisfaction among employees, enhances leadership effectiveness, fosters customer loyalty, and contributes to businesses’ overall success and resilience. Investing in relationship-building efforts can yield significant benefits for individuals, teams, and organizations alike.

So, what do you think? Want to live happy and long? Let’s focus and pour our efforts into people and value our relationships over deals. Who knows, maybe that’s also the right formula to fulfill our wish #3…making lots of money!!


The Relationship Factor

“It’s all about relationships.” How many times have you heard this saying in reference to doing business? Well, I have heard it all of my working career, and honestly, I haven’t heard a lot of opposition to this interesting concept. But it does make me wonder: Is it really all about relationships? What does that even mean? And if so, how much of it? Is it the most important factor in business? Or is it just something nice to have, just in case?

In my past life, I worked for a large corporation for 14 years. My first ten years were as an engineer with no management roles, and the last four were as upper management with nothing but management roles. I’ve noticed that during my first ten years at the company, there was a lot of grumbling amongst the non-managers about all the money the company spends on extravagant 10-day, all-expense paid trips hosting the top 250 customers that earned the trip with their purchases. These trips weren’t just to local hotel resorts with golf, food, and shopping; we are talking about international flights to a remote destination guided by a team of travel specialists, fine dining, cocktail hours, concerts, and dressed-up events. Our company saw this as a high value and always set aside a budget to make this happen every other year. But why?

I was about to find out.

When I got promoted to management in year 11, I got to go on this very trip I used to grumble about. The first day at my new position was held at this glamorous, rooftop, outdoor restaurant overlooking the city of Rome. The sun was setting, and I was delivering a speech welcoming everyone and introducing myself to my new role. I still remember the thrill of this new adventure and being overwhelmed by the room full of decision-makers I never met. One of my mentors whispered in my ear, “you’ll need to get to know every one of these people; the relationships you build will determine the success of your career here”. Oh wow. Really?

It turns out that the time we spend together in the next ten days will create a bond that will last a lifetime. It turns out that the hilarious events we got to experience together during that trip will be talked about and laughed about together during our business calls and strategy meetings. It turns out that the relationship that was built actually affected our bottom line regarding who purchased our product vs. our competitors. It turns out that relationships did matter. Almost too much.

Don’t believe me? How about some factual insights into numerous studies that have highlighted the importance of relationships in various aspects of business?

  • Customer Relationships:
    • According to a study by Bain & Company, increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by 25% to 95%.
    • A Salesforce survey found that 73% of customers say that one extraordinary experience with a company raises their expectations of other companies.
    • Harvard Business Review reports that acquiring a new customer can be five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.
  • Employee Relationships:
    • Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report found that close work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50%, and people with a best friend at work are seven times more likely to engage fully in their work.
    • A study by O.C. Tanner found that 79% of employees who quit their jobs cite a lack of appreciation as a key reason for leaving.
  • Networking and Partnerships:
    • A HubSpot survey found that 85% of people say they build stronger, more meaningful relationships during in-person business meetings and conferences.
    • According to LinkedIn, 80% of professionals consider networking essential for career success, and 61% say they’ve found jobs through their professional network.
  • Supplier and Vendor Relationships:
    • A study by AT Kearney found that companies with strong supplier relationships typically outperform their competitors in key financial metrics, such as revenue growth and operating margins.
    • The Harvard Business Review reports that companies collaborating closely with suppliers can reduce costs by an average of 20%.
  • Entrepreneurial Relationships:
    • The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) found that entrepreneurs with strong networks are more likely to start businesses that succeed and grow.
    • A study published in the Journal of Business Venturing found that entrepreneurs with solid relationships with mentors are more likely to survive and thrive in the early stages of their ventures.

While these statistics may not directly measure the importance of relationships in business, they provide valuable insights into how relationships impact business performance, including customer satisfaction, employee engagement, networking, and collaboration. Building and nurturing relationships is essential for long-term success and growth in any business context.

Do you believe me now? Well, you don’t have to yet. I am starting a new series called “The Relationship Factor.” In it, I will dig deeper into this mysterious world of business and relationships. I have a feeling it’s not going to be all sunshine and rainbows. We’ll tackle some negative impacts of relational business as well. But before I go, here’s a quote to consider this week.

“Business is all about relationships…how well you build them determines how well they make your business”. – Brad Sugars

You might be right, Mr. Brad Sugars, so let’s investigate further, shall we?


The Secret of Life

My sister subscribes to my content and she reads them from time to time. I don’t think she reads all of them though. I test her sometimes by writing about things she might find interesting and sometimes she would reply with a comment. Let’s see if she reads this one. I’ll let you know.

So, this is it. I am going to stop talking about it. This will be my last effort in writing about “Goal Setting” for the year. I had a great time doing the research and I learned a ton. I hope you did too. If you need a recap, here’s a summary and links for your reference:

  • Goals? What Goals?: This is about why our brain works against us when we want to change and grow because when things are familiar and consistent, your brain feels safe and doesn’t want change. How do you fight this?
  • My Lame Unfinished Journal Collection: We don’t achieve the goals we set because we don’t seek help. But there are different types of help we need depending on what type of tendencies we have when it comes to setting goals. Figure out which one you are.
  • Can We Change Who We Are?: Can we truly fundamentally change? Even if we fulfilled our goals, would that now make us a different person? Aren’t goals supposed to change you? What’s the point? Find out more.
  • Why is it So Hard to Take Action? There are 4 things we can control that are intertwined and can determine our destiny and change. But there are 2 out of the 4 that are constantly in conflict. But if we learn how to control it, we can make some incredible progress. I am being vague but you have to read it to find out. It’s fascinating.

So, back to my sister. She’s a freak. An organization freak. A neat freak. A clean freak. She’s probably one of the most disciplined people I know and she’s just always been that way ever since I can remember. The other day, I was at her house and I noticed that my nails were pretty long. So, what’s a better place to clip your nails than at someone else’s house? I asked her where her nail clippers were and she quickly answered, “Upstairs, hall bath, top right drawer, left side, in the back”. When I opened up the drawer, I almost fainted. There was a clear plastic drawer organizer thingy with tons of dividers and on the left side – in the back was a section just the right size for a nail clipper and that very nail clipper was neatly placed in its place. How freaky. I thought.

Anyway, I didn’t think much of it but after goofing around for a while, I needed the nail clippers again, I looked around to see where I left it last and couldn’t find it anymore. “Hey sis, where did the nail clippers go that I just used?” She replied, “Upstairs, hall bath, top right drawer, left side, in the back”. Oh, what? She put it back already. So freaky.

What’s my point? There’s a tremendous focus, process, and place for this ONE THING. And she nailed it. (Get it? Nailed it).

My sister is also a minimalist and her closet is immaculate as you can imagine. I asked her how she keeps it so nice and tidy without letting it get out of control. She said it was easy. When you buy a new shirt, you hang it and you pick out a shirt to donate or give away. If you get one, you have to get rid of one. What an amazing concept. You get ONE, and you have to get rid of ONE.

Why am I capitalizing and bolding the word “ONE”? Because ONE is the final secret I want to share in your Goal Setting.

Focusing on just ONE thing to achieve your goals is often aligned with the philosophy of prioritization and concentration. The idea is rooted in the belief that by concentrating your efforts on a single, significant task or goal, you can maximize your efficiency and effectiveness.

This concept is popularized by the “One Thing” philosophy, as emphasized in the book “The ONE Thing” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. And yes, I read this book and he confirmed what my sister was doing was correct. If you want that ONE thing, you have to give up that other thing.

The philosophy suggests that by identifying and dedicating your energy to the most crucial task or goal, you can achieve better results than if you were to spread your efforts across multiple tasks. It involves recognizing your priorities, eliminating distractions, and dedicating significant time and focus to the most impactful activity. Like her nailing her nail clipper organization.

The benefits of focusing on one thing include increased productivity, improved quality of work, and a better chance of achieving meaningful and long-term success. It also helps prevent burnout and reduces the feeling of being overwhelmed by a multitude of tasks.

But more importantly, I’ll let you hear it from the real philosopher himself.

It’s the ONE thing. It’s the secret of life and it’s something you have to figure out. So, my final thought on this series is this, pick a goal, just one goal. Pick something meaningful that you know will impact your life and the lives around you. And focus on that ONE thing, all year. Just one. That’s it.

I am looking forward to celebrating the achievement of that ONE thing at the end of the year with you. Share with me if you want, I am curious and I want to cheer you on all year long. You can do it. It’s just one and it will change everything. I promise.


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