Dare to Dream!
Dare to Dream!
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Contents WARNING...................................................................13 This Book Was Not Written to Make Money for the Author (but that sure would be cool).............................................................13 Foreword........................................................................15 Fail Your Way to The Top, Hank Aaron-Style Chapter 1: Meet Ken Forrest, Dreamer.......................19 Two Options...........................................................22 So What’s in This Journey for You?..........................31 Chapter 2: How to Succeed in Business The Formula for Success..........................................34 5 Steps to Success....................................................34 Rudyard Kipling’s “If ”.............................................35 Profile in Persistence Chapter 3: Step 1: Dream............................................41
Start Thinking Like a Frogger..................................44 Get Very Clear.........................................................45 I Got Just What I Asked For....................................47 Gotta Have a Deadline!...........................................49 Get Passionate…or Get Out!...................................50 Passion Can Be Well-Directed…or Misdirected.......52 Write It Down!........................................................54 Profile in Persistence Chapter 4: Step 2: Tool................................................59 The First Tool..........................................................59 The Second Tool.....................................................60 Find a Mentor.........................................................60 Get Connected........................................................62 Profile in Persistence Chapter 5: Step 3: Train...............................................67 More on Mentors....................................................68 Profile in Persistence Chapter 6: Step 4: Start!...............................................77 The Power of Commitment.....................................78 Seizing Opportunity................................................79 More on Getting Connected...................................86 Talk is Cheap. Take Action!.....................................90
Froggers Know There Will Be Pain..........................95 Froggers Dive Into the Deep End of the Pool..........97 Burn the Bridges......................................................97 Bet the Farm............................................................99 Be Prepared to Lose It............................................101 Discipline Yourself.................................................102 Resolve..................................................................104 Be True to You.......................................................104 Quitting: It Hurts!.................................................106 Profile in Persistence Chapter 7: Step 5: Finish! Focus or Fail....................113 Eliminate the Negative..........................................114 Visualize Your Victory...........................................115 Chapter 8: You Gotta Have Friends...........................119 Chapter 9: Putting It All Together.............................123 Recapping the 5 Steps to Success...........................123 Step 1: Dream BIG!...............................................123 Step 2: Tool...........................................................124 Step 3: Train..........................................................124 Step 4: Start!..........................................................124 Step 5: Finish!........................................................124 Take Inventory of Your Past...................................125 Succeed in the Future............................................125 Chapter 10: Now Itâ€™s Up to You.................................127
“...It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep movin’ forward—how much you can take and keep movin’ forward. That’s how winnin’ is done!” —Sylvester Stallone (from the motion picture Rocky Balboa, MGM, 2006)
This book is dedicated to the seven most important people in the world to me: my wife, my five children, and Mom. They are simply amazing! I want to thank them all for supporting and putting up with me! Julie, my wife, who made me a believer in happiness and supports me unconditionally. Brittany, my 21-year-old daughter—as beautiful and loving a daughter as any man could ask for. Max, my 17-year-old son, a skilled artist and talented beyond belief in so many ways. Nick, my 15-year-old son, #555…and the luckiest kid alive. Sawyer, my 11-year-old son. Watch out Bill Gates! This kid has your number. Isabelle, my 6-year-old daughter, and Daddy’s little princess. Martha Annette Parker Forrest, my mom. I could write a whole book about Mom. She is the greatest mom in the world. She taught me everything about work, sacrifice, charity, selflessness, and love—unconditional love. I love you, Mom. Thank you. To all seven of you, my deepest gratitude. I couldn’t be who I am today without each of you!
WARNING This Book Was Not Written to Make Money for the Author (but that sure would be cool)
wrote it because it was a goal of mine. I want my kids to know a little more about my journey through life, and unfortunately I have never kept a journal. I want my children to know that dreaming isn’t just OK, it’s the only way to live! I want them to know that failing is just another step on the road to success. So don’t be afraid to fail, it’s OK. I want them to know I love them no matter what, and I want them to chase their dreams until they reach them! I want them to know that it’s better to live one single day as a lion than a thousand years as a sheep. At least I want them to know that that’s what I believe.
urvivor. Promoter. Entrepreneur. Dreamer. Those are the words I choose to describe Ken Forrest. Oh, yes, he’s also the Greatest Salesman in the World. No kidding! I know you’re going to thoroughly enjoy reading this book. In fact, as you get into it, you’ll hear Ken’s voice—even though you may have never heard it before—speaking to you from these pages. His enthusiasm, coupled with the reality of his amazing journey through the business world, makes for an unforgettable and truly life-changing event for those who catch hold of his message and run with it. You’ll find yourself saying, “I want to be this guy!” Then you’ll retract that statement and exclaim, “I’d never want to be that guy!” Ultimately, if you’ve put it all on the line yourself at one time or another, you’ll smile, nod your head, and know exactly where Ken is coming from. There is much in this book for everyone. Experienced entrepreneurs will identify with much of Ken’s story and advice and find additional nuggets of wisdom throughout the book. Those new to the world of business will discover a realistic picture of the highs and lows that accompany being in the driver’s seat. This isn’t another feel-good book full of half-baked advice and untested ideas. There are enough of those out there. This is hard-hitting, down-to-earth reality, page after page. Hang on. You’re in for an almost unbelievable—yet totally true—story of 15
the business life of one of Americaâ€™s bona fide, self-made multimillionaires, along with his personal insights on what works and what doesnâ€™t in this dog-eat-dog world we live in. Bryan Pope
Fail Your Way to The Top, Hank Aaron-Style Hank Aaron is a man who understands the concept of swinging for the fences and never giving up. Over his 22-year career, he hit 755 home runs—a record that stood for over 30 years. He was at bat 12,364 times in 3,298 games and had a total of 3,771 career hits. He still holds the Major League Baseball record for the most consecutive seasons with 150 or more hits—17 seasons to be exact. What an amazing example of someone who knows how to get what he wants! Hank Aaron is truly an inspiration, not only to baseball fans, but to anyone who understands the importance of swinging for the fences if winning big is your dream. Along with Mr. Aaron’s very impressive home run record, he also had his share of failures. While nearly one in five of his hits were home runs—Wow! One in five!—he also has 1,383 career strikeouts on his record. But nobody talks about that. Nobody seems too upset that Hank has almost TWICE as many strikeouts as home runs! There are plenty of baseball players who have fewer strikeouts than Hank Aaron, but we don’t hear about them either. So what’s the story here? If you’re going to succeed—and I mean really succeed—you’re also going to fail. No one hits the ball every time. Are you ready to swing for the fences? Are you ready to strike out? Are you ready to hit more home runs than you ever have before? Swing harder! Don’t be afraid to fail. 17
Meet Ken Forrest, Dreamer
hen I was five years old, my parents moved our little family to my grandparents’ ranch outside Waco, Texas. My dad had put eight years into college. He was one paper away from a Ph.D. when a political battle he lost hurt him so bad that he quit college. So we ended up living a life very different from what you’d expect from someone with the kind of formal education my dad had. Somehow he had settled into the military surplus business (I suppose because there are a lot of military bases in Texas). And somehow he had decided that my mother, my older brother, Nathan and I were his “cheap” laborers. Dad had two trailers he pulled behind his pickup truck. At any given time, he had one trailer with him on the road, selling goods he had purchased from military bases to Army/ Navy surplus stores, then buying more from the military bases on his route. The other trailer was at the ranch where Mom, Nathan, and I sweated out our days—and late into most nights and weekends—loading, unloading, sorting, culling, counting,
and repairing surplus goods, using M.A.S.H.-style army tents as our warehouses. I was in elementary school at the time. My brother and I would come home from school, and the work began. The old man would roll in with a loaded trailer and a yellow pad indicating what needed to be loaded on that trailer for his next trip. He’d drop his trailer, hook the trailer we had unloaded and reloaded according to the yellow pad he had given us the last time he rolled through, and be on his way. I remember unloading, fixing, sorting, and reloading surplus goods until midnight or two o’clock in the morning many days, then getting up for school by six o’clock. Some may hear this story and think, “Wow, what a great way to teach a kid a good work ethic.” Granted, I learned how to work my tail off during those years– but it came at a great cost. If everything wasn’t exactly as dad felt he had indicated specifically on his yellow pad (I learned to hate those damn yellow pads so much I don’t use them to this day), he’d take his whip (belt, a tree branch … pretty much anything he could get his hands on) to us—literally. We were beaten almost every time Dad rolled in because we hadn’t met his expectations. I remember my big brother and protector, Nathan, taking the blame on many occasions so I wouldn’t have to endure the beatings too. When I was 11 years old, my mother asked me and my brother a question I’ll never forget. She asked us if we wanted to leave, or if we wanted to stay and see her die. She was as serious as she’d ever been. The reality of this possibility wasn’t lost on us, even as young as we were. We, too, had felt impending doom if we didn’t get away from our ever-worsening situation. If you’ve
Dare to Dream!
ever been in a situation like ours, you know the anxiety and repression I’m talking about. We decided to leave. Quickly and secretly, we packed up our ’65 station wagon and ran. By this time, I had three little sisters, so Mom was now responsible for six people. She worked three jobs trying to make ends meet. My brother and I helped everywhere we could. We spent several years living in trailer parks and run-down old homes. We were constantly moving. I tried counting once, and I could remember living in five states, in over 15 trailers, rentals, or friends’ houses between the time I was 10 and 18. Within a few years of leaving Texas, Nathan had dropped out of high school and joined the armed services. I assumed the role of co-breadwinner and began making more than Mom did working her three jobs. I bought the family car, paid the utility bills, and even purchased my little sister’s prom dress. My dad never helped out with one dime of support in any way. It seemed the State of Texas wasn’t too worried about us. I hated being poor. It killed me to watch Mom trying to make it all work. The only power I had was to use what God had given me—and Dad had taught me, albeit in a less-thansavory way, about turning hard work into money—to create a better situation for my family and myself, so I did. I worked hard, and I worked smart. I watched financially successful people and saw what they were doing—and what they were not doing. I parlayed the knowledge I gained and the experiences I had into bigger and better jobs, then bigger and better ventures. Money—or the lack of it—would not be my trial. I was committed to never again find myself in a situation like the one I grew up in. Being poor was simply not an acceptable option!
Two Options As I see it, everyone has only two options: accept things the way they are, or go out and make something different happen. Dare to dream! No one is going to hand it to you. No one is going to do it for you. If you want something different from what you currently have, it’s up to you—and only you—to go out and make it a reality. I wish I could say that keeping this promise to myself took away all my problems. Not even close. I’ve always had the means and drive to make the money I needed or wanted. But like everyone else, I’ve had my ongoing set of trials to deal with—mostly because of bad decisions on my part. I can only blame one big train wreck in my life on anyone but myself. That would be whoever was responsible for 9/11. That guy really screwed me good. I’m not going to finger an abundance of money, a high stress level, or failed relationships for the alcohol problems or addictions to pain killers and sleeping pills I’ve battled—all three and more have undoubtedly played their roles in these weaknesses I have. (Oops! Right now many of my good friends are either exclaiming, “What? You are an addict?” or “See! I knew it!” It’s OK. This book lays it ALL out on the table. Money problems, addictions, the outcomes of stupid decisions—all these contribute to the grief we each experience.) I’m not trying to make you feel bad for me. Are you kidding me? I love life! I’m not trying to justify any poor decisions I’ve made. And I’m certainly not condoning any such stupid and destructive habits by me or anyone else. I’m simply helping you understand where I’ve been and what I came from. I’ve been as low as low gets. I’ve been a victim of others’ selfish decisions. I’ve
Dare to Dream!
been the recipient of the natural and painful consequences of my own foolish actions. That’s life. It just ain’t fair. There’s just one difference between me and the oceans of people out there who are still in the gutter, whether literally or metaphorically: I have consistently owned my situation and done everything in my power, and then some, to bounce back and not give up. Have I screwed up? Yes. Have I misstepped repeatedly? Absolutely. But every time I have, I’ve owned the mistake and worked diligently to fix it until it’s taken care of. I’m not perfect, and I haven’t done everything the way I would if I had to do it again. Who has? My point is that the only reason to look back is to remember where you came from, not to be there again. No matter what you’ve come from, you have the opportunity to make your life everything you want it to be. No one but you can keep you from reaching your dreams! As a teenager I realized I could do what other teenagers thought was impossible. My drive was born of necessity and survival, but it opened my eyes to possibilities I’m convinced most other people never see their whole lives. I acted on what I saw and my dreams became reality. My drive wasn’t just in the realm of making money, either. I was a 4.0 student almost every quarter of my high school career, which spanned multiple high schools. I never met with a counselor, and my mom never once asked me about or told me what classes to take. I just paid attention to my smart friends and asked which classes they were taking. Then I’d get into the same classes and work my hardest to be at the top of the class. I graduated a year early—just two months after my 17th birthday—with honors. And all this while living with six different families during high school. I almost joined the military like my brother. I actually took
all their entrance exams. I had been a two-year student in an aerospace program at one of my high schools and got my solo pilot’s license when I was 16 years old. I was a varsity wrestler and played soccer and baseball. One of my teachers wanted me in the Air Force Academy. I ultimately took one of those military entrance exams and scored a perfect 100% on it. The recruiter told me I was the only applicant he was aware of who had ever achieved a perfect score. So they put a pretty serious recruiting effort on me. I had generals from the Marine Corps calling me and offering to fly anywhere to visit me, promising me I’d be a top-flight officer and pilot. It probably would have been great! But the problem was simple. I did the math. I was gonna be poor for a long time in the military. “Poor” was not an option. I had received an academic scholarship to one of the largest private universities in America. I took it. I went to the university for three years, but the call of business came when I made $50,000 in three months handing out voter registration cards on the beach in California. (Wanna know my secret? I spoke fluent Spanish and I only registered the Mexican-Americans.) My boss, a 23-year-old, made over $250,000 for managing five guys like me. I saw bigger opportunities out there than I had ever seen before and dropped out of school to pursue my next dream. By the time I was 23, I had founded and built a company with over 100 employees, multiple offices, and sales over $1,000,000 monthly. (That’s monthly, not annually.) Between the ages of 25 and 40 I bought, zoned, developed and sold over one hundred million dollars ($100,000,000) in real estate. At the age of 30, I started a sports-themed dot-com company.
Dare to Dream!
In three years, I built it from an idea in my home office to a four hundred-fifty million dollar ($450,000,000) publicly traded corporation. It is still in business today. At 36 I lost my personal fortune of over $60,000,000 (that’s not a typo—60 million dollars) in the stock market, bad real estate investments and a divorce. I take responsibility for making the bad decisions that led to these losses. If I had to defend or explain how I made so many incredibly bad decisions in such a short period, however, this is what I’d say: I love my children more than anything in the world and there was nothing more important to me than trying to do what was best for them during a very difficult time. So frankly, I neglected all my business interests and was consumed, first off, with trying to keep a family together, then with trying to keep my sanity. Neither effort worked for a couple of years, but things got back on track. Remember, as we learned from Rocky, winning is all about how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Bankrupt, divorced, and addicted to painkillers and sleeping pills, I started over and in less than 18 months my business partner, Tim, and I built a chain of Internet companies with over $1,000,000 in monthly sales with no employees, no investors, and no offices. At 38 years old, I decided to write a book about some of my experiences and become a teacher or speaker so I could share my crazy stories with others. Needing professional speaking experience to do this, I applied for a job for the first time in some 20 years. I was told to go away—that I wasn’t good enough and lacked the skills for the position of professional speaker. I’ll admit I didn’t even know there was such a thing as “professional” speakers.
Knowing that in fact I didn’t have a clue what a professional speaker was supposed to do, but wanting to learn, I moved forward. I didn’t let a little thing like being told I was no good stop me. I didn’t take no for an answer. I called and emailed the employer who had told me I was no good almost daily for two weeks and asked for—and was eventually given—an entrylevel job at the company, literally carrying boxes and writing name tags for people at events. I was working for less than 10 dollars an hour—while making over $20,000 a month from my part-time Internet business—while speakers who had never owned a successful business, much less an Internet business, were making tens of thousands of dollars a week to stand on stage and basically lie. (That may sound a bit strong, but the people listening believed these people knew what they were talking about from personal experience, and that wasn’t the case with most of them.) It was a very humbling experience for me. Now that you know a little bit about me, you can likely guess what happened next. Within 90 days I had one of the top speaking slots at the company out of the 16 speakers in my category. Four months later I quit when the corporate boss didn’t think I was ready for a shot at the bigger stage. What can I say, I’m a Frogger, I couldn’t wait. (By the way, that was the best thing that ever happened to me, thanks Boss.) Motivated to make things happen fast (for the record I had no back-up plan, I had no money and no idea what was next), I talked to an investor the very next day and pitched an idea I had for an Internet-based sales training company. I quickly raised $250,000 and, within three years, was serving clients with over 11 billion dollars (that’s nine zeros: $11,000,000,000) in annual sales. At the age of 40, with a four-year-old bankruptcy and my
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credit in the toilet, I decided to get back into real estate investing and took control of over $12,000,000 in property in less than 30 days with no money of my own. At the writing of this book, I’ve just turned 41. I have the best wife a guy could ask for. I’ve quit taking pills (including painkillers and sleeping aids). I still battle the urge to drink when I’m happy or stressed, but right now I’m winning most days! I have had spectacular failures in business: losing tens of millions of dollars in real estate, computer software, publishing and the stock market. I have lost two homes. I have lost a wife. I have lost friends. I have lost my good credit. I’ve learned, however, that you can only lose, for real, when you quit– and my quitting days are over (much more on that later on). But I have also had some phenomenal successes. I have made over $70,000,000! I have traveled the world— first class. Twice I have taken companies from idea, to garage, to public. And I have recruited major players who have believed in me, my dreams, and my passion. These people include executives & CEOs from Fortune 500 companies like Nike, Novell, Wilson, Goldman Sachs … and the list goes on. I have spoken in front of, trained, motivated and inspired hundreds of thousands of people around the world on the subjects of setting and achieving goals, developing vision, sales, and becoming more successful entrepreneurs. Today I am a successful (most days) salesman, entrepreneur, speaker, and author. I spend my time between my homes in the mountains of Utah and the southern coast of California. I travel as I please, and I enjoy living like a lion with my family and friends. By the time you’re finished reading this book, you will have figured out that I’m a car guy. I love cars. I have, and have had,
Porsches, Mercedes, Lamborghinis, Aston Martins, BMWs, Range Rovers and every other car I ever wanted. And while I simply enjoy looking at, owning, and driving high-end cars, they are more than that to me. You see, among the other things I do, I am a sales trainer, motivator, and recruiter for a number of billion-dollar sales companies. These corporations pay me to get their people to sell more. The people I work with in this realm fit into one of two categories: they are either filthy rich, or they want to be filthy rich. It’s that simple. While my Lamborghini is extremely fun to drive, it is also a tool. It makes a statement. That statement is, “I am rich. I’m a car nut! I have an exotic personality. I’m just plain crazy. I believe in abundance. I have dreams. And I live life!” I like that statement. Let me share two stories with you about my Lamborghini that have both happened in the last 30 days. The other day my partner in my real estate investment company drove the Lamborghini home. His wife freaked out and told him he was crazy. She didn’t know if he had purchased it or just borrowed it, but that didn’t matter. She simply didn’t want it at their house. My partner’s father-in-law came to their house (after hearing from his daughter, apparently) to make sure the car didn’t belong to my partner. Before I go on, let me point out that my partner’s father-in-law is extremely wealthy and could drive any car you might imagine. He told my partner he needed to get rid of the car. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t even his car. He told my partner that driving a car like that sends the wrong message. The message he perceived the car to send is that the person driving such a vehicle thinks he is better than other people. He went on to tell my partner that by sending this message he is openly inviting people to hope for his failure.
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I respect this man greatly. He’s very successful and insightful. But he feels that having something this ostentatious—as he would put it—attracts everything negative in people. He sees having a vehicle like the Lamborghini as having a bull’s-eye on your back. Everyone in town will now want you to fail. They can’t wait for you to lose you car, wife, home, etc. My partner got an hour-long lecture on why no one should have such a vehicle. Now for the other side of the coin. Less than two weeks ago, I had a gentleman come to my corporate headquarters where we’re getting ready to take one of our companies public. This man spent 30-plus years in corporate America. He was a senior VP with one of the largest retail food chains in the country. He has a net worth in the millions and millions of dollars. He holds a master’s degree. He just retired and is beginning to enjoy the fruits of his hard work. I had never met or even spoken to this man prior to the other day, when he flew in to our local airport in a private jet to meet with me. I took him to lunch in the Lamborghini. Then I invited him to drive it up the canyon. We had a fun ride that lasted just 15 or 20 minutes before arriving at my office. We spent another 15 minutes or so in small talk at my office before this gentleman asked, “How much do you need?” I told him. He asked how I wanted the money sent, then said, “Let’s just take care of this now.” He pulled out his checkbook, wrote a check for $300,000 on the spot, and I took him back to the airport in my Escalade. In less than two hours—total—I raised $300,000 from someone I had never met before. Obviously he must have liked me and believed in what we are doing in order to invest, but the car just might have been the kicker. Even if he had felt good
about me and liked what he saw in our company, I don’t know if he would have handed over a check for $300,000 if I had picked him up in some run-of-the-mill car. He might have needed time to do his due diligence. He might have had a lot more questions. He may still have put his money into Solution X eventually, but it might have been with a lot more work on my part. If you’ve ever raised money, you can fully appreciate this story. If you haven’t, I’m sure you still get the picture. So why can one very successful businessman feel the car is a curse while another sees it as a plus? Obviously someone who is handing me a check for $300,000 isn’t hoping for my failure. My take is this: Both views are correct, just in different situations. A car like the Lamborghini will, in fact, send the message to some people just as my partner’s father-in-law said, and they will hope for your failure. They’re jealous, petty people who live in the narrow trench of the scarcity mentality. On the other hand, it will send the very right message to people like the gentleman who put $300,000 into Solution X. You need to know who you are, who your audience is, and what message you are trying to send. If you’re in the high-end sales business or the motivation business, as I am, it’s helpful to have the kinds of things your audience wants to have. They need to know you’ve already made it. Having truly made it is better than pretending to be conservative. We live in a shallow, materialistic world, and people look at what you have. First impressions matter! As a final note, I might point out that my fundraising story isn’t an isolated event. The Lamborghini has helped me with many more deals than this one. It’s a tool that makes money and helps put deals together. Fight that notion if you want, but it’s simply true.
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So Whatâ€™s in This Journey for You? Listening to my story and advice may not make you smarter, but it will make you think, search inside yourself, laugh, and maybe even give you an idea that will change your life or your business for the better. Enjoy the book!
How to Succeed in Business by Not Quitting
s there a formula for business success? Absolutely! And you’re lucky enough to be in the right place to discover it. Although the formula itself is simple, properly and consistently applying it is just plain hard work. It’s tough! If it were easy, everyone would do it. So before we go any further, ask yourself this: Are you ready to make a change? Are you ready to do the difficult things that need to be done to take you where you say you want to go? There’s an old saying along the lines of, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” Some credit Anthony Robbins with it. Others say Zig Ziglar said it. I believe I’ve even heard it in an Aerosmith song. No doubt it’s older than any of these people, though. If what you’ve done has got you where you want to be, that’s great! I hope I can add to that. If it hasn’t, pay close attention because by the time you’re done reading this book, you’ll have the exact formula you can apply again and again to achieve success in whatever you choose to pursue. 33
It goes a lot deeper than you might think at first glance, but I’m going to share the success formula and five steps with you right up front. That way you can pay attention to the details as you read and not be wasting your time trying to piece together what the formula and steps must be.
Success Formula: The Right Opportunity + The Right Tools + The Right Actions ___________________ = Success Every component of that simple equation is necessary. Only with all the components—working in concert with each other—can you create success. Now you know the formula. Let me share the five steps that you’ll use to implement that formula in your life. But first, let me point out that while there are exceptions to just about everything in life, there are no exceptions to these five steps. Let me say that again: 5 Steps, No Exceptions!
5 Steps to Success Step 1: Dream Step 2: Tool Step 3: Train Step 4: Start! Step 5: Finish!
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You may be saying to yourself, “This guy is off his rocker! This is too simple. There’s got to be more to it than this.” Nope. That’s it. But don’t fool yourself. There’s more to each of those steps than you’re aware of right now. You’ll be surprised both at how straightforward success really is and how complicated any given step can become in the process of making it a reality. Stay tuned! People who only see the stuff I have (because the people who really know me know nothing in my life has been easy) have asked me, “Ken, you make it look so easy. Is there a shortcut to success that you’ve discovered?” Yes, actually, there is—but just one: luck. Luck is the only shortcut to success. Unfortunately, you just can’t count on it! But while you can’t count on luck, you can count on yourself. You have the power to decide how you react to what happens to you. Again, it’s just plain old hard work, but it’s doable. Either Rudyard Kipling was a man of many trials, or he was a great observer of the trials others faced. Whatever the case, he said it very well in his poem entitled “If.”
“If ” If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too: If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or being hated don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise; If you can dream–and not make dreams your master; If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim, If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two imposters just the same: If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools; If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings, And never breathe a word about your loss: If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!” If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with Kings–nor lose the common touch, If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much:
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If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son! Rudyard Kipling
I hope this poem didn’t go over your head. If it did, you are under 30 or have never taken any risks. Life will hit you between the eyes at some point. You can’t hide. Be ready and remember just one thing: Get up and KEEP GOING! With that, let’s move into the five steps.
Profile in Persistence When I was in high school, I tried out for the basketball team, but was told that at just one inch short of six feet tall, I was too short. I pursued my dream anyway and made it into the NBA. However, my second season was cut short when I broke my foot. I missed 64 games that season. I was caught up in a gambling controversy in 1993 that took its toll on my reputation. I left basketball to pursue interests in baseball. I was ridiculed by many for this decision. To those people I say, “I can accept failure, but I can’t accept not trying.” I’ve lost my wife through divorce twice, in 2002 and 2006. I lost my father when he was murdered in 1993. Through all this, my team took the NBA championship six times and I’ve moved on to become a successful businessman and philanthropist. I am Michael Jordan.
Step 1: Dream
t one point in Lewis Carroll’s story, “ Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” Alice finds herself at a crossroads and asks the Cheshire cat for directions. The conversation goes like this: “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” replies the cat. “I don’t care much where…” “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.” If you don’t know where you’re going, you will go in circles or in the wrong direction indefinitely. While this may seem obvious, very few people take the step of clearly defining their dreams. They must feel that dreams are something we have when we’re semi-conscious—something we never intend to act on. My definition of dreams is very different from this. My dreams are what I see before I go and make reality happen. They are very real. They are the beginning of my map to success. Ask yourself these four questions about your dreams to begin creating your own map: 41
1. What do I really want? What are your dreams? Are they just pie-in-the-sky whimsy, or do you really see yourself obtaining them? 2. Am I dreaming big enough? Are you pushing yourself? Stretching yourself? If your dream is easily attainable, you’re not getting everything you can out of the journey. Raise the bar. Increase the incline. Jumbo-size the prize. Dream BIGGER! 3. Am I clear as to what my dreams are? We’re going to talk more about this later, but start by getting specific about your dreams. Can you see the outcome? Can you describe details of the dream? 4. When will I attain my dream? Set a date. How badly do you want it? Make it realistic, but make yourself push to meet the deadline. Nothing will help you visualize and attain your dream more than putting it in writing. Now that you’ve had a chance to think a bit about these questions, go back and consider them a little more. Then put your answers to those questions into writing. People who dream small don’t win big. Let me say that again. People who dream small don’t win big! They aren’t willing to take the risk necessary to succeed. Instead of pushing to win big, they don’t even push to win small. The fact that they had a small dream to begin with is testimony to the reality that they aren’t the types who make it happen—no matter the obstacles.
Dare to Dream!
Donald Trump says it perfectly in his book, How to Get Rich. “In some ways, it’s easier to buy a skyscraper than a small house in Brooklyn. Either way you’ll probably need financing and most people would rather invest in a great building than in a dilapidated duplex on a dangerous street. With the skyscraper at least if you hit you hit big. And if you don’t hit what’s the difference between losing $100,000 or hundreds of millions of dollars? Either way you’ve lost, so you might as well have really gone for it.”
Donald is 100% right on. When I think about people I know who have dreamed big, I think of a man who came from nothing just like I did. He’s one of my mental mentors (I’ll talk more about what that means later on). His name is Stan Pope. Stan was born in the little town of Romeroville, New Mexico, as the seventh of seven children in a ranching family. He grew up on his family’s ranch knowing the meaning of hard work. By the time he was eight years old, the next youngest boy in his family (there were three girls between them) had left home and he became his father’s right-hand man on the ranch. He spent most of his days on his own accomplishing whatever his father had lined out for him. Stan started his first business as a teenager and was in business for himself his whole life, except for a few years when he worked as a mechanic for a Pontiac/Cadillac dealership and a locksmith for a steel mill. I first met Stan when my mother moved us away from our situation in Waco, Texas. I was just 11 and Stan was probably about 40. He owned multiple service stations, dozens of real estate holdings, and a
number of other businesses in everything from manufacturing to trucking. I watched Stan with great interest during my teen years. Although he didn’t know it at the time, I was eagerly learning from everything I saw him do. At one point, while I was in college, I had the opportunity of working with Stan for a short time in one of his industrial service companies. I went to school all day and worked a 10-hour night shift for Stan. Having gotten to know me, he readily gave me a responsible position in which I was able to more closely observe his dealings with his clients and employees. Stan confirmed my belief that a person doesn’t have to come from money or have a formal education to be able to make it big in the business world. A solid work ethic, a belief in providing superior value in the product or service offered, and treating your employees fairly were the trademarks I saw in Stan. Although Stan and I never joint-ventured on any projects, we had a mutual respect for each other’s ambition and abilities. Stan died prematurely in 2006 shortly after I had the opportunity to thank him for taking notice of a dirty little nobody boy from Texas and giving him a chance. I’m thankful I took that opportunity. Stan leapt from nothing to success in a non-traditional way. He didn’t know any different. He didn’t know you were supposed to follow the rules. I liked that about him. Stan was a Frogger.
Start Thinking Like a Frogger You can take steps to success. Or, if you’re a little more aggressive, you can run. But if you’re really going to make it big,
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you need to become a Frogger. Froggers are people who break the rules of conventional thought. Conventional thought says you must crawl before you walk, walk before you run, and so on. The Frogger approach suggests this is not the case. Froggers are people who believe as Mr. Trump. Froggers dream BIG and they hop right over the conventional steps to the top. Froggers believe you might as well aim for the top. There is no reason to slowly work your way up the food chain. Most successful businesspeople are Froggers. There simply isn’t enough time to accomplish truly incredible things if you don’t start thinking BIG and get outside your box. Stop seeing what you have been or what other people think you should be and start seeing what you see yourself being in your wildest dreams. You must also stop thinking there is only one way to accomplish things. You’ve grown up in a society that tells you how to become mediocre. Our education system, our workplaces, even too many of our households are places where we’re taught to shoot for the middle. To be normal. To be mediocre. If you’re going to break out of the mold, you’ve got to start thinking differently! If what you have been trained to think or are currently doing isn’t working, change it today. Become a Frogger now!
Get Very Clear Are you clear as to what your dream is and how you will reach it? Can you clearly and specifically articulate your dreams? Do you know exactly what you want? Being clear means more than just having a list of points
about your dream, it means being very specific as to how those points work together and get you to your goal. Here’s an example of how you might go about clarifying your dream: I want to be rich. This is unclear and definitely not specific enough. What does it mean to you to be rich? The answer to this question will be different for everyone. I want a nice house and a lot of money in the bank. This is better, but it’s not there yet. Again, what constitutes a “nice” house or “a lot” of money? Let’s get more specific—more clear. I want a $5 million ski-in-ski-out home in Vail, Colorado, with a six-car garage for Lamborghinis. I want 10 million dollars hard cash after taxes: 5 million in the bank, 3 million in gold bars in my safe, and 2 million in the stock market. Now we have it! This is very specific, very clear.
Your dreams cannot be points of confusion. They cannot be fuzzy. They must be crystal clear in your mind and on paper if you want them to really happen. What you are going to learn is that you can—and will—make your dreams come true, for better or worse. So you have to know what you really want or your brain will give you exactly what you thought you wanted. Being clear helps you remain focused. If you aren’t clear, or if your dreams are too fuzzy, you may get sidetracked and not even realize it. By being very clear about what you want you will remain focused along your journey—or, at least, recognize when you have left your path so you can get back on track. And don’t forget that being clear also means being careful. Following the formula and steps I’m sharing with you will result
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in your attaining your dreams. You absolutely will succeed. So make sure you really want what you’re shooting for and you’re very clear on that target, because you are going to get it.
I Got Just What I Asked For Let me share a story from my own life to illustrate this truth. While this story is specific to an experience I had when I was a teenager, the principle is true and has repeated itself over and over in my life. When I was 17 years old I wrote down my goals for the upcoming baseball season. One of my goals—the wording of which I want you to pay particular attention to—said, “Only strike out three times.” Sure enough I played over 30 games, went to the all-star tournament, was the leadoff batter, and had reached all my goals that year except one: I had only struck out two times going into the last game of the all-star tournament. My team was losing, 0-1. Bases were loaded at the top of the eighth inning. I still remember this experience like it was yesterday. I was up to bat with two outs. I hadn’t struck out in so long I couldn’t remember when the last time had been. As you’ve probably already guessed, I went up to the plate and struck out, leaving the bases loaded and my team losing by one point. That was my last at-bat of the season. I had set my goal to strike out only three times. I did exactly that. I should have made my goal something more like this: Do not strike out more than three times. Do you get the difference? Your brain is smarter than you are. It will do what you tell it to
do. I told my brain, “Only strike out three times.” It was just helping me reach my goals. My point is simply this: be careful. When you dream, then follow the steps to seeing that dream come to fruition, you will get exactly what you set your sights on. It’s just like driving a car. If there’s a pothole in the road and you’re focused on that pothole, guess what—you’re going to hit it! It’s a long-standing truth that neither you nor I can do anything about, except use our knowledge of the truth to avoid the potholes in our own lives. Be very clear! I had another goal I reached once that cost me millions and millions of dollars. This goal was based on a lifelong dream. The problem is, I wasn’t clear enough in defining my dream. My dream was to start a company and eventually take it public. That was my goal. I had even written it down: Take my company public. My goal should have been this: Start the company, go public, and get out with $50 million in cash. But no, my dream, my goal, was written down and it said, “Take my company public,” so I did just that. The short version of the painful story is that I took the company public. It was valued at over $450,000,000 at one point. The new board of directors didn’t like the “direction” I was taking the company and didn’t like a “young punk” (their words, not mine) telling them what to do. During the process of going public my personal stake in the company dropped to well under 50%. I had lost control and watched as my company spiraled downward under the “vision” of the experts (who, by the way, had told me they were going to make me a billionaire!). I had accomplished my goal. I had lived my dream. I took my company public. I had been incredibly rich (for a while),
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and then watched everything I cared for disappear and hundreds of people I cared for lose everything they had invested. It was a terrible time for me. But what I learned in those years has been invaluable to me and many others with whom I’ve been in business since that time. I haven’t repeated that mistake. Not the mistake of taking a company public—that may or may not be the right move for any given situation. But rather the mistake of not being clear enough as to what my dream really was. I knew a lot of people who had become very rich in the process of taking a company public and, therefore, figured “take a company public” was interchangeable with “get rich and get out with a lot of money.” I have been much more clear and specific with regard to my dreams and goals since then. Again, be very clear! My current goal with a company I started in 2005 is this: 5, 5, 50! Five years, if necessary; 5 million shares, or more; and at least $50 million in my pocket. (I’ll keep you posted.)
Gotta Have a Deadline! Now that you’re clear as to what your dreams, goals, and aspirations really are, when will you realize them? Do you have deadlines set? You have to put dates on your dreams. Yes, this undeniably turns them into goals, but for the sake of this book—and in my own life—I like “dreams” a lot better than “goals.” I already gave you my pitch on this earlier, so remember that when I talk about dreams, I’m talking about concrete visions of your future that you are going to arrive at. So, what is the ultimate date for achieving your dream?
What are the dates you’ll reach the incremental steps along the way? It’s too easy to procrastinate and never get moving if you don’t have a definite timeline established. Do it now. Write it down.
Get Passionate…or Get Out! Are you committed to and passionate about achieving your dreams? Passion is to dreaming what oxygen is to fire— MANDATORY. If you lack passion your dreams will die like a suffocated fire. If you’re already passionate about your dream, good! If you’re not, find your passion or get out now. You won’t succeed the way you’d like to in your superficial dreams anyway, so you might as well save the time and energy. Get real with yourself right now. If you lack passion, find it before moving forward. Passion comes from different sources for different people. You may be passionate about your dream because you’ve held the dream for a long time and you want to see it through. Maybe your passion originates from your desire to be the best at what you do. Or perhaps you have the need to outdo yourself as your toughest competitor. The list of possible sources goes on, but the point is you need to identify the source of your passion and nurture it. Passion in this context does not mean joy or excitement. Passion for reaching your dream comes from having a high level of commitment to achieving something for a specific reason that may only be important to you. (That’s my definition anyway. I make up words and definitions on almost a daily basis. Get used to it.)
Dare to Dream!
In the spring of 2006, I was retained by a gentleman named Sid to consult with him on a project. I want to share the abridged version of Sid’s story with you because Sid is passionate about what he does—and it’s paid off big time! Sid is a very wealthy man—a billionaire. In 1961, when Sid was 40 years old, he found himself unemployed. He had roomed in college with a gentleman named Marriott—perhaps you’ve heard of him. Sid called Marriott, who lived and worked on the East Coast, and told him of his situation. Marriott offered Sid a job, and Sid was off with his family to live in the Eastern States. Sid was an engineer—and a good one at that. Marriott knew that and put Sid in charge of working up changes for the hotels he was building. After working together for a short time, Sid made a proposal to the Marriotts that would have him breaking off on his own and contracting with the Marriotts’ hotel chain. They didn’t bite. Sid decided to set off on his own. Just a couple of years after being flat broke and moving his family across the country, Sid saw the opportunity that awaited him with the expansion in the Washington, D.C. area and decided to get his piece of the pie. In 1963 he started a construction company and began building. Today, Sid’s company is a monolithic, privately held company that builds, owns, manages, rents out, and maintains its expansive portfolio of commercial real estate. As we were enjoying dinner together one evening, Sid told me he never planned to be a billionaire. He said that one day, many years ago, one of his sons told him, “Dad, you’re worth a billion dollars.” He has repeated that success many times over now. So if Sid wasn’t passionate about becoming a billionaire,
why am I telling you his story? Because Sid is passionate. He was passionate about being a top-shelf engineer in the United States Navy during World War II. He was passionate about reorganizing the architectural design and construction division of Marriott’s company. He was passionate about becoming a developer, and has built a literally self-contained dynasty in that realm. The money has simply been a by-product of his passion for being the best at what he does. Do you think it’s an accident that successful entertainers and athletes are so rich? Not at all. They’re passionate about what they do. They don’t give up! Get passionate about what you do. Align yourself with others who are passionate about what they do.
Passion Can Be Well-Directed …or Misdirected Not all dreams—and not all passion behind those dreams— seek good and righteous outcomes. However, that does not keep evil or corrupt people from reaching their dreams. The formula works because the cosmic nature of the universe does not change the rules depending on whether you are good or bad. I know many people who believe they are blessed for being righteous, and for their belief in God. (Whether they really are righteous is a topic for a different book.) Then I also know people who don’t even believe in God who certainly appear to be blessed. Then there are people who believe in God but are just plain mean or evil; and some of them sure seem to be blessed. Then there are righteous people who seem cursed, and evil people who seem cursed…
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“What’s the point, Ken?” you may be asking yourself. “I thought this book was about success.” Oh, yeah, I forgot to tell you: life isn’t fair. There are always exceptions—always. So to every rule, list, or law I give you there is certainly an exception or two. These exceptions fall into one of two categories: 1.) a shortcut to success—or the lucky exception, and 2.) a black hole—or the unlucky exception. It isn’t fair; I’ll give you that. Just when you think you have something figured out…Wham! The rules change…the market changes…something changes, and just like that you are back at square one. What can you do about it? Just one thing: stand up, dust off, and try again! Don’t whine, complain, or cry like a baby. (I have tried all three of those things, and they just didn’t help!) Call on your passion to give you the energy you need and begin the march again. Get a new BIG dream! I went to Vegas with my friend and business partner, Tim, two days after 9/11. The place was empty. We were in the middle of a large real estate project we were trying to complete before the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. We had some big bills due and were very low on cash. We needed about $100,000 by the next day. We had sold our two Rolex® watches for $4,800 (they had cost us about $8,000 each). We got on a plane, flew to Vegas, took a cab to the Hard Rock Hotel, sat down side by side at a blackjack table, and pulled out $4,000 cash. each. Almost exactly one hour later, Tim and I got up from the table. We tipped our waitress $25,000. We tipped the dealers (they had tried four different dealers on us during that hour) $5,000 each. We cashed in our remaining $120,000 and headed for the
airport. We were home six hours from when we had left with the money we needed. Am I recommending this as a form of fiscally responsible behavior? No! However, if you have $4,800 and you need $100,000, I don’t see $4,800 as being of any help. Remember, there is nothing wrong with getting lucky. Just don’t count on it! Remember these three rules for which there are no exceptions: 1. Life isn’t fair! Count on it. 2. If you want success you can never, ever give up until you achieve it! 3. You can’t count on luck! OK, did you fall for it that time? Do you really believe there are no exceptions to those three rules? Of course there are exceptions. There are plenty of lucky people to whom life seems fair and plenty of people who are so lucky success just follows them everywhere they go. But get this, THAT’S NOT HAPPENING TO YOU! You are gonna have to work for it. You can’t count on luck. You need it. You want it. You can even pray for it. But you just can’t count on it. I digress. Back to passion! (I am, by the way, very passionate about helping you understand that LIFE IS NOT FAIR! But that’s OK. We can still succeed because the laws of the universe are this: Opportunity + Tools + Action = Success!) You must be passionate about achieving your dreams or every little setback along the way will be a reason for you to quit. And quitting is the only way you can really fail.
Dare to Dream!
Write It Down! I’ve mentioned this already, but it’s important, so you get to hear it again. You must put your dream in writing. Writing it down reenforces your commitment. It makes it clear to you that you truly intend to accomplish your dreams. If you don’t write it down it’s too easy to just forget about it or pretend it was never really a dream in the first place. Write it down now. If you’re serious about your success, take this action of writing it down one step further and create a Dream Card™. Laminate it. Put it in your wallet. And look at it, at least once every day. Never quit. Fail your way to the top! Here’s both sides of my personal Dream Card™. Use this as a model to create your own card and use it!
$25 Million Cash
• • • •
Lido Island Park City Manhattan Cabo San Lucas
$50,000/ Month In passive income
ZERO Personal Debt
Charity No Anger No Hypocrisy Give All I Can Live!
Profile in Persistence I was born in Henryville, Indiana. My father died when I was five years old. Since my mother worked, I was put in charge of cooking for the family. This turn of events kept me from ever receiving a formal education. I worked during my teen years as a firefighter, steamboat driver, railroad worker, and at other unskilled labor jobs. At the onset of the Great Depression, I owned a service station and motel and began cooking for my guests. They loved my chicken. My place became a popular stop for travelers. In the 1950s an interstate was planned that would bypass my little establishment in Corbin, Kentucky. I knew I had to do something else. Knowing people loved my chicken, I hit the road to sell my chicken to restaurant owners as a franchise. I was turned down hundreds of times until I met Pete Harman in Salt Lake City, Utah. He liked the idea of a franchise and together we opened my first franchised store in 1952. From there, my company, Kentucky Fried Chicken, became the largest chicken-based franchise in the world. I am Harland â€œColonelâ€? Sanders.
Step 2: Tool
o matter the job you’re doing, you need to tool correctly for it or you simply won’t be successful. You gotta have the right tools! And you need to know how to use those tools. If you don’t, get trained by someone who knows how to use them. Training itself is also a tool! Most people fail because they are naïve, inexperienced, not committed enough, or sometimes just unlucky. In any case, they don’t get the right tools in place before they start the job.
The First Tool The first tool you need is your list of tools you need. What do I mean? Well, if your dream is to build a house, you first need to make a list of all the things you are going to need to build the house. You’ll need a parcel of property, architectural plans, excavating equipment, lumber ...and the list goes on. Then you need to get all the things on your list, or at least be prepared to get everything on your list in the order it is needed, one way or another. Now, I am not suggesting you need everything before you start. Remember, Froggers get started now! If you wait until you 59
have everything perfect you might never get going. Successful people do what they can to prepare, but more importantly, they begin. They take action!
The Second Tool Another tool you need is your plans, your blueprints. Some plans are fancy. Some are simple. But you need some sort of plans. Having a written plan—even a simple one—is a critical tool for your success. A well-written plan will keep you from wasting your most valuable asset: your time.
Find a Mentor Need help with your plan? Get a mentor. They are free, easy to get, and will love helping you. If you need help, please get it! Don’t be proud and think you’ve got it all figured out. That wastes time. Do you know people who have already succeeded at what you are doing? Go to them. Get their advice. Ask for their opinions. Invite them to look at your plan. Get all the help you can. Not that you have to take these people’s advice, but if they have succeeded at exactly what you are trying to do, why wouldn’t you want to at least talk to them if you could? Getting help is very important in the planning process. Many people, out of fear or ego, fail to ask for other people’s help. This is a big mistake. You can avoid years of struggles and setbacks by just getting an hour or two of your successful mentor’s help. Do it! When I was in my early twenties, I had a real estate appraisal business. As I learned more about the real estate business, I realized that appraisers were not the people making big
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money. Real estate agents did better, but that still wasn’t where the big money was. The big money was in developing. I decided I wanted to be a developer. Luxury condominiums seemed to be a hot ticket, so that’s what I decided I wanted to do—develop luxury condominiums. It doesn’t take a wizard to figure out that a kid in his early twenties probably doesn’t know enough about developing luxury condos to get anyone to take him seriously. I knew I needed help. I looked around to find the person who was already doing exactly what I wanted to do. I needed to find a super-successful luxury condo developer. I found that mentor in a gentleman named Harrison. I began doing appraisals for Harrison. I found every way possible I could help and serve him as I asked him for advice on becoming a developer. He was the epitome of the perfect mentor. Harrison gave of his time and knowledge freely—sensing my passion. He taught me the finer points of getting financing and successfully selling out a development. He had specific and very duplicatable techniques that I learned and followed. In a few short months, I went from making $300 on an appraisal that took me four or five hours, to making $800,000 on my first development. Do you think this is a chance occurrence? Did I just get lucky? Absolutely not! I’ve had many mentors in different areas of my life and the outcome has consistently been the same. Those who have traveled the road you are traveling are happy to help you out—if they can see that you’re passionate about what you’re doing.
Get Connected When it comes to tools, some of the sharpest, hardesthitting, most effective tools you can have in your tool belt are connections with the right people. You’ve heard the old saying: It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. I don’t agree with this 100%. You better know your stuff. But I can promise you that you can know your stuff all day long and it won’t do you a bit of good if you don’t have the right connections. So how do you go about getting connections? Froggers simply go for it. All the people I talk about throughout this book are certainly connections who have helped me make things happen. But I want to tell you about one connection I made years ago that has proven to be of monumental importance to me in the success of my ventures. After I had finished writing and compiling the program Surviving the ‘90s, I was distributing it and enjoying some success. A man who has come to be a true friend and faithful business partner, Daniel, ran across the program and called me. He asked me if I’d like to sell a whole lot more copies of the program. Of course I did! Daniel became my publisher and, between Daniel’s company and my other distribution channels, we sold over 300,000 copies of the program. It was a huge success! Since that time, Daniel has been involved in virtually all my business ventures. Through good and bad we’ve made and lost money together. Daniel has always been there for me. We’ve all heard that a person finds out who his real friends are when times get bad. Daniel is a real friend. Not every one of your connections is going to be a Daniel.
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But not every connection needs to be a Daniel. Every connection you make is important. Make sure these people know of your appreciation for what they do for you. Keep them close. Keep them informed. Be loyal in return. Nurturing relationships sincerely and consistently is paramount to your success. Be sincere. Be loyal. But be aggressive, too. Then you’ll be able to jointly benefit from and enjoy your success just as Daniel and I have. Now you have a plan, the list of tools you need, a mentor, and some connections. What other tools will you need? Money? People? Equipment? Training? I could write a book longer than this one simply listing the tools I’ve used in my business ventures. I won’t bore you with that list. You’re a sharp person. Take some time to sit down and brainstorm. Look over your plan. It will point out many of the tools you will need. Ask your mentor. Look at the resources other people in similar businesses are using. Once you’re comfortable with your list of tools, put them in order. Which ones do you need before you begin? Which ones will you need as you begin? When do the others come into play? Don’t get hung up on thinking you need everything to begin. Remember, Froggers get going now! Since you don’t have a crystal ball, you need to remain flexible as you move forward. The plan is flexible. The dream is not! Don’t get so set on your plan that you miss opportunities or drag yourself down on your journey to your dream. If a better solution presents itself, jump on it! If you find you were wrong in your thinking, be humble enough to accept the truth and move on! Check, revise, edit, and change your plan as you go. Make it
dynamicâ€”a truly living plan. Adapt your plan every day, week, month, or year as necessary based on your realities. Just never waver from the objective: reaching your dreamâ€”succeeding!
Profile in Persistence I was born into extreme poverty. When I was just seven years old, my family was forced from our home and I began to work to help support them. Two years later, tragedy struck when my mother died. Another love of my life, my sweetheart to whom I was engaged to be married, died when I was 26. The next year, I had a total nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months. I failed in business twice. The second time I had borrowed money from a friend, only to find myself bankrupt by the end of that same year. It took me 17 years to pay off that debt. I had an interest in politics and pursued entrance into law school at the age of 23. I was turned down. I ran for political office eight times unsuccessfully. At the age of 51, I was elected President of the United States. I am Abraham Lincoln.
Step 3: Train
ou can have a rock-solid dream and the best tools available and still not succeed. Think of a profession with which you are not familiar. What tools do people in that field use? If you were thrown into a situation where you were expected to use those tools, could you? Of course not! The situation here is no different. Simple question: Do you already know what you need to know to effectively work your plan? Do you have the skills, knowledge and resources to use your tools and reach your dreams? Ask yourself honestly: â€œDo I believe I can reach my dreams with the experience I already possess, or do I need to spend some time obtaining additional knowledge, experience or skills?â€?
A number of years ago, I had a DREAM! I wanted to become a teacher, a professional speaker who could share his experiences to inspire others. When I decided this, I took an honest look at my credentials and saw that there were a couple of things I needed to do
before I would feel comfortable, prepared, and—most importantly—qualified for the job. So I made my plan. I broke my dream into three parts I needed to address: 1. I needed speaking experience. 2. I needed a book—a written history to back up my stories. 3. I needed to get back on top financially and professionally. I refused to allow myself to be one of those people who make more money from their books and speaking engagements than from the actual topic they speak on. That’s just not me. So I set some goals, followed my own five steps to success, and will have accomplished all of my goals to reach this dream once I’ve finished writing this book. I am a highly paid professional salesman and speaker who has traveled the world and gets paid for it. I have written this book to put my beliefs and experience in print for the world to see. I have gone from bankrupt just a few years ago to living a fantastic lifestyle. I have all my toys back and more. More importantly, I have my life back. In other words, folks, I practice what I preach.
More on Mentors Let’s go back to talking about mentors for a minute. They are invaluable. You cannot and should not live without them… especially if you are living the life of a Frogger.
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I have a mentor in my speaking career. His name is Matt. I donâ€™t believe Iâ€™ve ever known a more disciplined person in my life. He is like a pit bull. When he sets his mind to something, he accomplishes it. End of story. Matt taught me the application of two little words that have changed my life: focus and finish. Matt is one of the best professional speakers I have ever known. He is also, among other things, a third-degree black belt and martial arts expert. He is the one who took me under his wing and helped me from the first day I met him. He became my first mentor in my speaking career and I will be eternally grateful to him for the hours and hours of his time he gave me and continues to give me. Like all good mentors, he has never charged me a dime. He has encouraged me from day one. He has given selflessly and never once been worried about whether he might be training his competition. True mentors like Matt feel blessed and lucky to have what they have and are almost always willing to share with someone who honestly shows the desire and heart to go after their dreams. Good mentors will go out of their way to help you, to the point of spending their own timeâ€”and even money and other resources. They enjoy giving back. They honestly want to see you succeed. They are never jealous of your success. They take great pride in seeing their students succeed, knowing they had a part in getting you there. Tony Robbins calls it modeling. Call it anything you want. The bottom line is this: successful people know you can accomplish things faster and be a more successful Frogger if you have mentors. When I solidified my dream to become a real estate developer, I immediately went and found a couple of mentors. One
was a mental mentor, meaning I read all his books and studied anything I could find on him, although I never actually spoke to him. That was Donald Trump. The other was my personal mentor, Harrison, who Iâ€™ve already told you about. I went to Harrison anytime I needed information, and he was happy to give it to me. We became good friends, and over the years he has even been an investor in some of my projects. I owe much of what I know about developing to him and will always be grateful. Not only did I get a mentor when I wanted to become a developer, I also practiced the Frogger theory from the beginning. My first development was not building a house or duplex. My first development was a 60-unit condominium project. It was a $10 million-plus project. Never mind I had never built so much as a house (not to mention I had no money, credit or experience). It was a success! I made over $800,000 in profits. And I got $150,000 of it up front without one dollar out of my own pocket. No money down, once again! Get a mentor. Be a Frogger. As I mentioned earlier, the Frogger mentality says there is not always the need to crawl before you walk. It suggests that you can, in fact, sometimes come out of the chute not just running, but leaping. And I believe whole-heartedly in this theory. In fact most great dreamers are Froggers to one degree or another. Being a Frogger requires superior optimism and self-confidence. It calls for a very high degree of risk tolerance, as Froggers are the ones most likely to have spectacular successes and equally magnificent failures. Back to getting the skills you needâ€Ś Your mentor may be able to convey them to you. You may be able to go to work for your mentor, or apprentice with him.
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Or he may simply save you hours, weeks, or years by telling you the right place to get the specific skills you need. Don’t proceed beyond this point in pursuing your dreams without having mentors in place. Personal mentors can be monumentally helpful, but mental mentors—those whose books, websites, and audios you read and listen to—can play a significant role as well. Having both is best, but you can begin with mental mentors today. If you are a salesperson and your dream is related to sales, then get with the most successful person you know in your field and make him or her your mentor. (Note: If you can’t succeed at accomplishing this task, perhaps you shouldn’t be in sales!) If your dream is related to sports (or perhaps helping one of your children with his dream in sports), find the mentors in your area. There are ex-pros in every field living in every part of the world. Seek them out. Find out how they got their skills. What was their training program? How much sacrifice did it really take? How much money did it take? How much time? How many trips to the ER? How many medical bills? How much stress? How much travel? How many delayed dreams for their parents? For their siblings? Will they need therapy? Yoga? A trainer? How old is too old? Get the truth from the horses’ mouths. Then you can decide if you really want it bad enough (or if your kid really has what it takes). A quick story about my son, Nick. He moved to Florida in 2006, at 14, literally by himself. He lived in a 24-foot R.V. on the side of a motocross race track—by himself. He did his own cooking, laundry, shopping…everything. Yes, he dropped out of school. (Ahhhhhh!!!) I know what a horrible, stupid parent I am. But Nick has a dream! A BIG DREAM! Nick Forrest,
#555, wants to be a professional motocross racer. You know, like those crazy X-Games superstars who think racing and jumping motorcycles is fun. (Some people call it dangerous.) So right now you are either judging me and thinking what a terrible parent I am, or you are saying (if you have been paying attention while reading up to this point), “Wow! This guy practices what he preaches and has a LION for a son!” I pay all his bills and support him in his dream. How crazy is that? Well, let’s just say for better or worse, I will never, ever hold back from supporting the dreams of my children. I really don’t care what you think of me for supporting him. You know nothing of the circumstances. You know nothing of the sacrifices, dedication, discipline, or self-motivation it takes to do what he does and live as he lives. So your opinion (or anyone else’s) of our decision is completely irrelevant to me. The point is this: When he decided to be a pro motocross racer (when he was 11 years old) I told him there are five steps he needs to take. Step 1: Dream. Done. Step 2: Tool (which in his case was bikes, trucks, trailers, parts, and gear). Done—thanks to Dad and friends. Step 3: Train (run, go to the gym, ride, watch films, yoga, jui-jitsu, diet, sleep, get a mental mentor, get a track coach, find a mechanic, etc.). In process. This step never ends in this sport. Step 4: Start. This was done when he got well under way with Step 3 to prove to me he was committed. Step 5: Finish. This part is up to him. In three years he will be 18 years old. His website will be nickforrest.com. You just check and see if he makes it. He may, and he may not—but he certainly is giving it all he has to make it. He has two personal
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coaches who have nine—that’s NINE—world championships between them. Nick lives and trains with them every day in Southern California. Remember modeling and Frogging? This kid has it down! Rick Johnson and Sebastian Tortellia, to both of you, “Thank you!” Are we just crazy, stupid parents? Just take a look at Nick’s website in 2010, then judge. Whether he makes it or not (there are no guarantees, and life isn’t fair!), he is chasing his dream and living every day as a lion! I will love him forever, no matter what. If you can’t get a personal mentor like Nick’s two amazing mentors, read everything in the world you can find about those people you’d have mentor you if you could. You can get 20, 50, or 100 mentors using this method. Go to the bookstore or library, or get on the Internet, and study everything ever written by the greatest in the world at your chosen dream. Do it. Do not proceed without getting your mentor(s) and getting all the help, advice, and wisdom you can from those who have already traveled the road you are heading down. In this process, you may decide you want to pursue a different dream. You might find out your dream was a BAD dream—even a nightmare. What a great time to find this out! You may have saved yourself lost time and money, not to mention pain, by simply taking the effort to find and engage a mentor or two. Now that you’ve taken advantage of the wisdom of your mentor(s), go back to your plan. Is it still viable? Is it intact? Can you improve on what you had before? (I hope so!) Edit, revise, change, and rework your plan with the benefit of the new insights and direction you’ve gained.
Profile in Persistence I was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota to a family in the petroleum business. I was one of the first people in the world with a fortune of over $1 billion. I was educated at the University of Southern California, Berkeley, and Oxford. At 22 I started my own oil company, and within two years had made my first million. At 25 years old I announced my retirement and headed to Los Angeles to spend my money playing. I did return to the business two years later, but was assured by my father that I would ultimately destroy it. In 1949, I undertook my most daring adventure of all. I paid $9.5 million in cash, and $1 million per year for a 60-year concession to a tract of barren land near the border of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. No oil had been found there, and we didnâ€™t find any for four years at an expense of $30 million. Finally, in 1953 the gamble paid off and that investment has been producing some 16 million barrels of oil each year since. I owned the controlling interest in nearly 200 companies and at my death in 1976, was considered the richest man in the world with assets in excess of $2 billion. I am J. Paul Getty.
Step 4: Start!
ost people quit before they really even begin. They may have a dream—not by my definition, but by the world’s definition of being a dreamer, a visionary, someone who has grand plans with no concrete action to back them up—but that’s where it ends. There’s no acquisition of the right tools to complete the job. There’s no training, no development of the skills needed to reach the dream. Without those things, you can’t legitimately start. You may think you have begun something; but you haven’t. If you’ve taken the time and invested the energy to tool up for the job and go through the arduous task of getting the training you need to complete your journey, you’re probably already feeling burned out and have—at least once or twice— considered abandoning your dream. This is where another round of cuts takes place. Are you one who not only has the fortitude to complete the necessary legwork to assure your success, but the strength to take that first step and begin with full intent? The fallout at this point is significant. Many do not make it past this crucial juncture. But you have a dream. Not a flimsy, fleeting dream, but a rock-solid dream—your vision of what 77
you will accomplish, what you will experience, what you will do. The following is my 2nd favorite writing of all time…
The Power of Commitment by W.H. Murray Until one is committed there is hesitancy, A chance to draw back, Always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, There is one elementary truth, the violation of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans; That, once one definitely commits oneself, Then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, Raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidence, Meetings, and material assistance, Which no man could have dreamt Would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect For one of Goethe’s couplets: Whatever you can do, or dream you can, Begin it; boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
No truer words have ever been spoken. When you begin, having done your homework and legwork, providence does move as well. Streams of events do roll forth from the decision and action. All manner of unforeseen opportunities, meetings,
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and material assistance come your way—literally things you could not have dreamt. Mr. Murray is absolutely correct. I shared a few facts from the life of J. Paul Getty before this chapter. It was different from the other stories I’ve shared from the lives of successful people in this book. He wasn’t born destitute. His father didn’t die when he was young, leaving him to help support the family. By all accounts he lived a charmed life. So why did I share his story? Because he acted! He risked it ALL! He set a goal to be a millionaire by the age of 24…and he met it (and that was in 1916!). He took a HUGE risk in 1949 when he put it all on the line and purchased the rights to seek oil reserves in the Middle East. He had no way of knowing if that investment would pay off. But he believed it would, and he acted on it. This is what made J. Paul Getty the monolith of a businessman he was. It’s easy to sit in the cheap seats and say, “OK, so he took a big risk; but he had a lot of money, so it didn’t really matter if it panned out.” That’s crap! He went “all in!” His situation was no different from your situation today. What opportunities are sitting right in front of you that you haven’t taken advantage of because the risk is too big, the stakes are too high, the downside is too steep? Your situation is no different from Mr. Getty’s in 1949. Are you willing to go ”all in”?
Seizing Opportunity When you start—when you begin in earnest the actionpacked journey toward the realization of your dream—you will see things you did not see before. You will have opportunities present themselves that you will be prepared to act upon. And you must act on them. In the late 1990s, I had been working with my attorneys to
put together our private placement memorandum (PPM) for SportsNuts. I was almost finished with the PPM when I was contacted by some potential investors in Southern California who wanted to meet with me. Even though I wasn’t ready to take their money, I decided I needed to meet with them anyway. We could always get back together when the PPM was finished if they had a real interest. As I recall, they called me on a Tuesday and wanted to meet the very next day. I couldn’t get a flight on Delta Airlines—my usual airline—so I booked a flight on Southwest Airlines. I don’t like flying Southwest because their planes seem cheap and dirty to me and there is no first-class. I like flying first-class. And even if I’m not in first-class I find it motivational to sit in coach and dream of owning my own plane. That’s just how I think! But it was more important that I get to Southern California than that I have a first-class flight. I figured I’d simply put up with the inconvenience. Let me paint a picture of where I was financially to help you understand why I was so willing to catch whatever flight I could to get myself to Southern California. I had gone through the friends-and-family money I had available to me, as well as my own funds, and I really needed to find my next round of significant funding to keep my company alive. This fact was all-consuming in my life at that moment. I had my radar going 24/7 in search of the money I so desperately needed. If you’ve been there, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I was walking down the corridor in the terminal at the airport when I noticed a very well-dressed older gentleman. He was wearing a long, black cashmere coat and expensive shoes with his business casual attire. With him was a younger couple
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dressed equally nice. I remember thinking to myself, “Those people look rich.” We ended up walking to the same gate. As I got closer to them, I could overhear the phone conversation the older gentleman was having. Based on what I heard, I figured he had to be a movie producer or something similar to that. He was definitely in the entertainment industry. After we got our boarding cards, the gentleman sat down in the waiting area. I sat down right behind him and continued to listen in on his conversation. I gathered that some of the actors he was working with were not happy with the accommodations they had in Park City, Utah. He was talking about what whiners these actors are. When we went to get on the plane, this gentleman and I were two of the first few people to embark. He went back just three or four rows and chose a seat. I wanted to sit next to him, but I didn’t want him to think I was some kind of freak to sit right next to him when there were dozens of seats—rows and rows of empty seats—left on the plane. After hesitating for a moment, I finally decided I needed to sit next to this man, so I asked him if he would mind if I sat next to him. Just as I suspected would happen, he looked at me like I was crazy, looked me up and down, then replied that he supposed I could sit anywhere I’d like. I could tell he wondered what was wrong with me, but I was dressed as a successful, young businessman, so I must not have looked like too much of a threat. We were at least 15 minutes into the flight before I got up the nerve to say anything to him. He was reading a magazine and I turned to him and said, “I don’t mean to be too forward, but I heard you talking on your phone back in the terminal and it sounds like you have some people who aren’t happy with their
accommodations in Park City. It happens I’ve been working with a developer in Park City, Harrison, who does nothing but luxury properties in that area—in fact they’re in Deer Valley, the nicest part of Park City. These are the types of properties that rent out during the Sundance Film Festival and ski season for thousands of dollars a day. I know there are some that are vacant right now.” He was interested and we struck up a conversation. For the next hour-plus, I asked questions and listened to him talk about himself. The whole time I was trying to think of how I could bring up the fact that I had just started a new company and was looking for funding. I assumed he had money and I knew I needed money. Even though I had listened to this man talk about himself for over an hour, I still didn’t know exactly what he did or who he was. He had simply told me his name was Dick when I had introduced myself. It was literally at the point when we were told to prepare to land by returning our seats and tray tables to their upright positions that I knew it was now or never. I reached into my wallet and got one of my business cards for SportsNuts. It said, “Ken Forrest, CEO” on it. I handed it to him and told him it was my business card for a new business I was starting. I told him I was doing real estate, like I had told him an hour earlier before the conversation had changed from real estate to listening to the stories of his business life—which included cable TV, executive management, along with a number of other things—but that I was starting this new business as well. He reached into his wallet and pulled out his business card and gave it to me. It had his name along with, “President, Dick Clark Entertainment” or “Dick Clark Productions” or something like that. Everyone my age knows who Dick Clark is and
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that heâ€™s no lightweight in the entertainment industry. This guy was obviously a serious player in the business! I told him my new enterprise was a dot-com company. The only people who even knew what that meant at the time were in the communications industry, so Dick knew exactly what I was talking about. I found out later he had been in meetings before our chance encounter with people like Barry Diller and others who were actively moving into the dot-com space, so he was very tuned-in to what I was talking about and was well aware of the future potential of this medium. I went on to tell him I was combining the dot-com business with direct sales, and happened to mention Herbalife as an example of what I was talking about. Dick told me he knew Mark Hughes, the founder of Herbalife, personally, as well as the founders of Amway. Then, for the next 15 minutes as we were landing, Dick told me the story of how he had started one of the first commercial cable television stations back in the mid-1900s. He started by serving his friends and grew it quickly into a business with subscribers in the six digits. Time Communications bought him out when he was 25 or 26 years old for tens of millions of dollars. So he became wealthy at a very young age and became president and CEO of what became Time-Warnerâ€™s cable company. He retired some time later and bought a yacht. He and one of the founders of Amway captained their yachts around the world. So now I found myself in a position where I had spent the last couple of hours building a relationship with Dick by listening to him tell me all about himself. What a match! Here was a guy with money, who was very involved in and understood the communications industry, who knew and understood
network marketing, and who had been an athlete in his younger years and loved sports. As we landed, I told Dick the purpose of my trip to Los Angeles that day was to meet with investors on my SportsNuts project, and that I needed a board of directors. I asked him if he had any interest in hearing more about my company. He said he did and asked what I had to show him. I told him I didn’t have anything at the moment, but that I’d have my PPM ready in a couple of weeks. He told me to send it to him. A couple of weeks later when the PPM was finished, I FedExed a copy to him first thing. I might mention that besides sharing a lesson here about going after whatever it is you want, there’s also a lesson in leveraging your assets. Over those couple of weeks between my flight with Dick and the time I sent the PPM to him, I showed his card to a number of investors and indicated that I had visited with Dick and he had asked me to send him the PPM as soon as it was finished. I leveraged that asset into two or three hundred thousand dollars in investment funds in that short period. Even without a commitment from Dick, the simple fact that he had visited with me and said he’d look at the PPM was enough to convince other investors that what I had was worth looking at. After I sent the PPM to Dick, I called literally every day to talk to him. I didn’t get through to him, but I did get to know his assistant quite well. After weeks of this game, she put me through one day. Dick told me he figured he had better take the call or he’d never get rid of me. He hadn’t read the PPM—no surprise there—but he liked me. I had listened to his stories and I had shown some moxie. He told me he was going to his mountain home a few days later and told me if I’d fly in, he’d pick me up at the airport, we’d
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spend the weekend at his mountain place, and he’d drop me off at the airport again Monday morning. I obviously jumped all over that offer. Dick picked me up at the airport in his Porsche convertible wearing a jogging suit and chewing on a big ol’ cigar. We jumped in his car and went from the Burbank airport to his home in Tehachapi. Again, for the next couple of days I listened to stories of Dick’s life and enjoyed it very much. Just like before, we got down to the end of our time together—about an hour before our departure in this case—and Dick said, “Tell me about your company.” I gave him the one-hour pitch on what SportsNuts was all about and he said he was in. He signed on as chairman of the board and CEO. He had stock in the company and began helping me and my team raise money from people he knew. No other companies in the dot-com space were going public yet as this all happened about a year before that whole world broke loose. As chairman and CEO, Dick flew out to Utah every couple of weeks for over two years and worked with us for days at a time putting together our team and other integral parts of the business. When we went public he helped us land other major executives for our board—including his replacement, Tony Moore, who had also been Chairman of a division of Barclay’s Swiss Bank and with Goldman Sachs, and Pierre Boivin, CEO of Bauer Nike Hockey, to name just two. He also facilitated the raising of funds literally all over the world from major investors, and was an integral part of the success of the company. He remained active in the company all through its startup and IPO phase as a board member even after he had stepped down as chairman of the board. None of this would have happened if I had not seized an
opportunity and pushed it through to fruition. Don’t doubt yourself. Don’t worry about what others are going to think. If you have a dream and you believe in that dream, go out and blow your horn just as loud as—or louder than—anyone else, because you have as much of a right to be successful as anyone else out there. Seize opportunities. Take chances. Start the ball rolling.
More on Getting Connected Going for it—seizing opportunities—and getting connected are very closely related. Connections happen because of opportunities seized. And being connected is a big part of what makes business happen. Through my experience with SportsNuts I became connected with some extremely influential, intelligent, successful people. It’s interesting how success begets success. It just does. I mentioned Tony Moore in the last section. I became connected with Tony through a real estate transaction. He purchased a condo in Park City, Utah, from a developer who was a friend of one of my friends—who just happened to be Tony’s mortgage man. I asked my friend for Tony’s number because I thought SportsNuts might be a good fit for him as an investor. My friend wouldn’t give me the number (hey, it never hurts to ask!), but said he’d give my message to Tony. Remember that Tony has been with some very impressive firms around the world including Goldman Sachs. He was a busy man. My friend kept his word and passed my message on to Tony, who called me to discuss my dot-com business. Tony ended up investing in the company and joining the board.
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One of Tony Moore’s partners, Sharon Clayton, became my connection to yet another connection, Pierre Boivin, who was key in the SportsNuts story. If you’re a hockey fan, you already know Pierre’s name. He founded Bauer Hockey, which later became Bauer Nike Hockey. He left SportsNuts to become president of Molson Entertainment (owner of Molson Brewing, the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Blue Jays, and other ventures). Pierre, being very connected himself, helped SportsNuts create its brand identity and was instrumental in seeing the stock run. Pierre ultimately became the President of SportsNuts, replacing Dick Lubic. You can see how connections create additional connections and lead to the realization of your dream. These people were part of a truly world-class team at SportsNuts. Pierre was very hands-on with the company. He traveled from Canada to Utah each week and stayed in one of my condos in Deer Valley as his residence when he was here. He used his influence and connections to take SportsNuts to yet another level. Pierre’s connections paid off additionally when, because of a relationship he had, we were able to recruit the CEO of Wilson Sporting Goods. If we’re going to talk about the importance of being connected, I can’t leave out a prime example that shows that not all connections need to be at the level of those I’ve been talking about. A good friend named Tim Shields was very influential in building SportsNuts. He was the V.P. of marketing and on the board of directors. Tim had spent some time working in Saudi Arabia and was well connected there. One day he suggested
we take the SportsNuts investment opportunity to some of his people there. Tony Moore and Pierre laughed at the idea, but we went anyway. Tim had been the sports director in a city of expatriates in Saudi Arabia. (In case you’re not aware, that country is pretty well run by foreigners. They handle all the operations of just about everything.) Tim and I held investor meetings with his contacts for four or five days and collected some $2.5 million—including $1 million from one of the princes of Saudi Arabia. We then went on to London and hooked up with Tony and Pierre for some additional investor meetings there. When those two saw the 10 or so checks we had totaling $2.5 million, they were impressed and amazed. High-level connections are good. No doubt. But Tim’s connections—most of whom were just successful project managers and other mid-level people with big companies— paid off in spades for us. Solid connections are something to be nurtured and maintained at every level. You never know when they are going to pay off. And not all connections need to be those who can bring money into the game. There are many other needs as well. Sam Battistone, the former owner of the Utah Jazz basketball franchise, is a perfect example. I met Sam through his daughter, who was my nextdoor neighbor. Sam had opened a chain of high-end sports memorabilia stores called Field of Dreams (along with other sports-related ventures). Sam was an early adopter. He was involved in SportsNuts with me before any of the other people I’ve told you about. He was very instrumental in getting the company off the ground. We ended up using Sam as a vendor,
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making many of his products available through our distribution system. My connection with Sam was invaluable in the early days of the company. Sometimes connections don’t end up turning into business immediately. Remember, though, that connections need to be nurtured and maintained. Don’t let them wither and blow away. At one point during my years with SportsNuts, I was hooked up with Pete Rose. I got a call from his agent through another connection I have and ended up flying to Florida to meet with Pete and discuss what we were doing. In the end, we didn’t work together on that project. I was also able to connect with Ronny Lot, Steve Young, Danny White and other well-known athletes who have sportsrelated businesses. We ended up working with some of them, and others we didn’t. The point is, these were and are all great connections. Moving to some connections in another world, I’ve been fortunate enough to align myself with some of the heaviest hitters in the direct sales world. People like Rodger Smith, James Robison, Ricky Frank, Mitch Hume, Dell Williams, Robert Dean, Mark Ewell, Steve Campbell, and Gene Yamagata, just to name a few. These high energy, successful salesmen and motivators have built and managed some of the most successful teams in the sales world. I still bring Ricky in to work with some of my clients when they have a need for sales help. Ricky’s best stories are about his life and the failures he has picked himself up from and then kept at it until he has succeeded. (I’m trying to get all these guys to write books. They have amazing, inspirational stories to share!) All these men are great connections. They make millions of
dollars helping others make money. It’s a good world they live in. Get connected!
Talk is Cheap. Take Action! They say talk is cheap…and they’re right! A person can complete the first three of these five steps almost without even leaving the house. No one, not even those who are close to you, may even know about your dreams. But when you execute the fourth step—when you start the journey in earnest—that changes. And it changes fast. This step is all about action. It’s about going for the gold! We’ve all heard these words and phrases. We’ve even said them ourselves on many occasions. They are words that are simple to speak, but so hard for most people to do. I’ll bet you have worked through steps one through three in your mind more than once without even realizing it. Maybe you had a business idea. Perhaps it was a personal-improvement goal related to fitness or some other aspect of personal development. Whatever it was, for some reason it came to a screeching halt when you hit the fourth step—when it was time to really begin. Steps one through three are easy. Time consuming, perhaps, but easy. Step four is the wall!
Do you have what it takes to get over that wall? The only way I know to get over the wall if you are having a hard time is to find the real reason behind your pursuit of your
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dream—the why that will keep you going. Why do you have this dream in the first place? If you can’t find a good enough why then you will never get over the wall. You will never start, much less finish and succeed. If your why is half-baked, you may even begin, but you will not finish. You’ll quit because the journey will simply be too difficult. Mark my words. And why will you quit? Because to succeed is going to be HARD! Nothing, and I mean nothing, in life you can truly enjoy or appreciate is going to be easy to get. If it is easy to get, it wasn’t a dream in the first place. It was simply something you just hadn’t done yet, or something you got through sheer dumb luck. And if that’s the case, frankly you don’t deserve it any more than the next person, so it will probably be wasted and gone soon. Just look at the history of lottery winners. How many of them have money just five years later? What about children who inherit money? There must be an ancient Chinese proverb that addresses this, but I don’t know it, so here is the Ken Forrest version: Easy get, easy go! Success doesn’t just happen. It takes work, sweat, tears, pain and sacrifice. Are you ready for that? Tony Robbins is my favorite mental mentor when it comes to the value of taking action. He is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, personal coaches/motivators in the world. He has mastered the ability to articulate and inspire people to take action! So I’m not even going to pretend to be as smart as Tony at this. JUST GO BUY HIS BOOKS AND CDs on taking action! Then READ his books, LISTEN to his CDs, GO to his seminars if you can and then APPLY his principles for taking action. Make him one of your mental mentors. Get all his stuff and learn it, use it, apply it today. You gotta get over the wall. Quit being a chicken. Don’t be
afraid. Fear paralyzes. It cripples. It destroys. Get it? NO FEAR HERE! This needs to be your war cry. Why aren’t you selling more? Fear. Why aren’t you performing better? Fear. Why haven’t you started a new business? Fear. Why haven’t you gone on that vacation? Fear. Why haven’t you written your book? Fear. Why haven’t you sat down with your kids and had better talks with them about life? Fear. Why don’t you tell your boss what you really think? Fear. Why don’t you live in the house of your dreams? Fear. Get the point? Of course there are exceptions. Some people are just lazy. Maybe they’re just looking for luck to carry them. But I doubt you are one of those or you wouldn’t have spent a dime on this book and you certainly wouldn’t have read this far. So if you don’t have what you want, it’s because you haven’t taken step four. Start! Do it today! Is the reason you haven’t started that your dream will become public and there’s no more hiding in case of failure? If you have the guts to take step four, people will know you’re crazy. They’ll know you’re a DREAMER! If you fail, they’ll all know! Or maybe you’re actually afraid of success. I don’t understand this concept, but I’m told it really exists in some people. In the end though, I think this is really a fear of failure, too. These people fear success because they think they might not live up to the expectations that will be placed on them after they are successful. In other words, they’ll fail…after having been successful. This is the only reality I can understand, because it simply doesn’t make sense for someone to be afraid of success. So let’s face it. If you haven’t taken step four and started,
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you’re afraid. And that is keeping all your dreams bottled up inside. If you are hiding your dreams because you don’t want other people to think you are a loser or a failure, I feel sorry for you. You haven’t felt how alive a person feels when he fails! Failure isn’t final; it’s just a step in the process of success. When Thomas Edison finally hit on the right formula for the light bulb, he hadn’t failed some two thousand times; he had succeeded in finding two thousand ways to make a light bulb that didn’t work. That’s the kind of view you need to have of your own situation. Don’t be a glass-half-empty type of person. Always look at how much is in the glass, not how much is missing. Never trying—never starting—may seem like a safe place to stay; but if you reside there, you’ll die with your dreams all inside you and no one will even know they existed. Safe? Maybe. But it’s a sad and pathetic way to live. There’s a saying I live by. I teach it to my kids. I practice it every day. I’ve tried to find its origin, but have not been able to definitively do so. No matter. It’s powerful and it’s true, so where it came from is immaterial. Better to live one single day as a lion than a thousand years as a sheep.
If you don’t believe me, you’ve never tried it. Go ahead. Pull out all the stops. Live one day as a lion—whatever that means to your situation. Dream big. Then aggressively follow the steps I’m sharing with you in realizing your dream. Don’t let anyone or anything get in your way. See for yourself how it really feels. Then ask yourself, in all honesty, how many of your “sheep”
days you’d trade for that one day. When it gets in your blood, you won’t ever want another sheep day in your life. You’ll want to live as a lion, getting what you want and helping others get what they want. Of course, once again, there are exceptions to this line of thinking. But I’m not writing this book for those people. There are people who truly seem happy being sheep. No problem! But then those people don’t buy books on success. You did. So somewhere in you is the desire for something more than you currently have. Be a lion! With that said, don’t think I’m silly enough to believe I know anything for sure. Don’t think I view myself as a guru or genius of some kind. Don’t think I don’t know about all the exceptions to every rule and step. Something I know as well as anything else is that there are always exceptions. Always. Just take this book for what it is: some common sense; a lot of experience gleaned from doing it all wrong; and most of all, the ramblings of a BIG DREAMER who became a success, who became a failure, who then became a success once again. This book benchmarks the beginning of the next chapter of my life. Will I fail or succeed? Both. I guarantee it! I’ll fail along the way just like Hank Aaron, Thomas Edison, and so many others. But I’ll know those failures are just steps in my journey. I’ll emerge, as I always have, a success. I will realize my dream. I will be successful. I will not let fear of failure have any place in my life. I have cleared the wall and am executing step five! I love the line from the movie Braveheart: “Run, and you may live. Stay, and you may die.” Allowing fear to keep you from pursuing your dreams isn’t a guarantee that you’re going to be
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all right. You may “live.” You might be just fine. Maybe you’ll be happy with your life. It’s not my place to say. By the same token, following your dreams with the ferocity of a lion may not take you where you want to be. You may “die.” You just might find yourself in a tangled heap wondering how on earth a dream that seemed so wonderful could ever lead you to the awful place you ended up. Remember my story of taking my company public? I definitely “died” in that battle. The bottom line is this: You may or may not succeed if you choose to pursue your dreams. But you will absolutely fail if you do not pursue them.
Froggers Know There Will Be Pain How much pain and disappointment can you take without quitting? Froggers have to be able to endure even more pain and sacrifice than the average person. Why? Because Froggers make more mistakes. They leap quickly and seize opportunity—sometimes before they even look thoroughly. Is this good or bad? I can’t answer that for you. All I know is Froggers are some of the richest people in the world. Froggers are also the biggest risk-takers in the world and, therefore, experience some of the greatest failures in the world. Remember the quote from Rocky Balboa at the beginning of this book? “...It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep movin’ forward—how much you can take and keep movin’ forward. That’s how winnin’ is done!”
This is just the way it is. You’re gonna get hit. You’re gonna get hit hard. If you can’t keep moving forward after being hit repeatedly, you’re not Frogger material. Be mentally prepared for the pain. For many years I was overdrawn at the bank almost every day, but I never bounced a check. I couldn’t afford to. Some days it was just a few thousand dollars; other days it was $100,000. Let me point out that I don’t advocate this practice. It has surely shaved years off my life with all the stress it caused. It’s just the way I knew to make everything happen that needed to happen. It pushed me. But it caused significant pain as well. Here’s a typical scenario: I’d call the bank at 9:01 a.m., which sometimes meant I was up in the middle of the night, depending on where I was in the world. The bank would tell me what had come in that would not clear that day. They needed the checks covered by anywhere from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., or they’d get returned. And the only acceptable payment was cashier’s check or wire. So I’d call people—family, business associates, and so on—who owed me money, might lend me money, or even buy something I could sell cheap until I could find the money I needed. If I was in town, I’d get the money to the bank myself. If I was gone, I’d get my assistant to handle the logistics. Why do I share this? Not because I want you to think I’m irresponsible or stupid (although I suppose I’ve been both), but because this is the kind of pain and stress you need to be prepared for. It also illustrates the fact that I like deadlines. Deadlines force you to perform! I hope you are infinitely smarter than me with regard to how you handle your cash flow. Your life will be much simpler, at least in this regard. But I can GUARANTEE that you’ll have something in your business that will be just this
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painful. It may be dealing with employees, or a vendor who has you in constant turmoil trying to meet the promises you’ve made your clients. Whatever it is, it will be painful. Are you ready for that pain?
Froggers Dive Into the Deep End of the Pool How did you learn to swim? Froggers jump into the deep end of the pool without knowing how to swim and then learn how before they drown. Only you know whether you are a Frogger, or at least have what it takes to become one. If you are not, then do yourself a favor and make sure you spend a little time mentally preparing (going through steps one through three is a great place to mentally prepare) before you jump into the deep end of the pool. Ready for the deep end of the pool? Great! Let’s get cracking.
Burn the Bridges Yes, burn them. You’ve been told all your life that you should be careful not to burn your bridges. That statement was made over and over by well-meaning people who assumed all bridges are created equal. Not so. If we’re talking about relationships, connections and the like, I agree. Don’t burn those bridges. Obviously a rock-solid network of people and resources is a necessity for your success. I’m talking about the bridges that would allow you to back away from pursuing your dream—to retreat in the face
of danger. If you’re truly committed, this becomes a non-issue. So prove it to yourself by burning those bridges once you’ve crossed them. You know you’re going to succeed, or keep trying until you die. You’re committed! I believe it was George Washington who had his men burn their boats after crossing the Delaware so his soldiers knew there was no chance of retreat. You succeed, or you die trying (which, in my view, is succeeding because you never quit). The only way to fail is to quit trying. That’s my definition of failure. As long as you are trying, you are succeeding. You are closer to success with every step you take. Continued effort equals success. Quitting equals failure. Now that you know this, there’s no reason for you to ever fail again. Many people begin their journey with pre-planned outs. This is proof you are not committed in the first place, which means you might as well save the wasted time and effort and never begin. Truly committed people have no need for exit strategies—except for reaching the end goal and moving on to the next dream. They have no room for “what if ” contingencies. They do not start the path to success by preparing for possible failure. Remember, failure is necessary. You will experience failures along the path to realizing your dream. Those failures, as I’ve already pointed out, are not final. They are expected. They teach us things we didn’t know before. They are useful. They will happen, so be ready to learn from them and move on. Quitting, on the other hand, is final. It’s true failure. Quitters never win and winners never quit. Overused, I know; but it’s as true today as it has been for the decades it’s been freely tossed around by parents, teachers, and coaches. Quitting is not an option.
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Back to burning bridges… I burn bridges almost every week. It’s what makes me move forward and succeed. Burn them! You will never succeed consistently if you have backup plans that can save you by retreating.
Bet the Farm We’ve been taught all along to save for a rainy day. Why? What do you need a savings account for, or equity in your home, or anything of any material value if you are going to succeed? Let me say again—because I’m only talking to the Froggers out there—that this advice is absolutely not for everyone! If you’re comfortable working a nine-to-five, you had better be putting away some money for a rainy day (and retirement) because there ain’t nothin’ else coming your way! Is this a bad thing? NO! If everyone were like me, I’d have a tough time staffing my office or accomplishing my work. Let me make it very clear that I fully appreciate the wage earners of the world. I hope they are as happy in their employment as I am in being a Frogger. Don’t bet the farm if you’re not a Frogger! With that disclaimer on the table, let me move on… If you’re absolutely going to suceed, you don’t need a cushion. You’re going to push until you get your way! Can’t you buy new stuff with the millions you are going to make from your great idea? So give up what you need to now in order to make your dream a reality in the future. I have lived this scenario several times in my life and have “bought it all again” when I’ve succeeded. It feels great! Are you willing to accept that? Do you even really understand what I am saying here? I once had a friend who invited me to a meeting where he laid out a plan for a new business. He wanted me to invest
one hundred thousand dollars, which was all the business plan required. I asked him why he didn’t just refinance his home and pull out $100,000 and keep 100% of the company for himself. His response blew my mind: “Oh, I could just use my savings if I wanted, but I can’t risk that money.” At this particular time I had millions of dollars and could have made the investment easily. Do you think I did? Are you kidding? Not only did I not make that investment, I lost a lot of respect for that person. Conversely, I have nothing but massive respect for anyone who has a dream and is willing to bet everything on themselves. Those are the people I want to invest in! I regret to say I don’t always stick to my own beliefs, and recently made a mistake I could have avoided if I would have listened to my own advice. I invested $600,000 in a business belonging to a friend, even though he wasn’t willing to put his own house on the block for a business he said he believed in. Guess what? In less than six months I lost $600,000…and a friend. I have never taken a dime of investor money in for a project until my homes, cars, toys, savings, investments, and every dime I had was 100% committed and at risk for the venture. When investors have lost, I have lost with them. When we’ve made money, we’ve made it together. Some of you might disagree, but I know I’ll never again invest a dime in a venture that the founders aren’t willing to bet their own farms on. Why would I? How much do you believe in you? Have you bet the farm yet? Are you willing to? Can you live with the consequences? Are you going to succeed in spite of setbacks and failures along the way?
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Be Prepared to Lose It I hate working with people who have back-up plans. I want to be surrounded by people who will succeed…or fail magnificently trying. I want people around me who see success as the only option they will accept—like the Apollo 13 mission director who said it so perfectly: “Failure is not an option!” If you can’t commit to the point where you are willing to lose everything instead of quitting, you aren’t really committed. You are just dabbling with a hobby. I have no room in my world for those people. When I start a new venture I throw myself into it 110%. I am literally willing to sell my furniture, my home, my cars, any asset of value to make payroll or meet my obligations if that is what it takes to succeed. I have lost everything twice in my life. I lost houses, cars, furniture, clothes—everything in my bankruptcies. (More on that in a moment.) But here I am! None of it broke my spirit—for too long, anyway. Make no mistake, I had a few really unhappy years! Starting over is part of dreaming BIG! I am excited! More so than ever. And my next dream is bigger and bolder than any I have ever had before. I have embarked on the creation of a business so successful it will overshadow all the successes I have ever been a part of. I am dreaming HUGE! As I’ve traveled on this new journey, I have burned every bridge, boat, and line of retreat. There can be no turning back. Advancement is the only option. I’ve already cleared many hurdles and moved monumental obstacles. I am succeeding! Have you burned your bridges, or are you still hedging your bets? Get all the way committed to your dream NOW! (Or rethink your dream and turn it into something you can
commit to 110%.) Are the bridges and boats burned? Are you living like a sheep or a lion?
Discipline Yourself As part of getting started you are going to have to get some discipline in your life. Discipline requires sacrifice. Sacrifice involves depriving yourself of things you want today for the good of the bigger dream tomorrow. (I am terrible at this.) If you have resources to easily obtain what you want, then the level of discipline must be increased. Therefore, what may be a great sacrifice to one person may not be a sacrifice at all to another. Do you have enough focus and commitment to remain disciplined? Will you make the sacrifices required? Time away from family? Waking up early? Staying up late? Risking your money and reputation? Can you keep your daily commitments and make the daily sacrifices required to make your dream a reality? I gotta admit, this is the part of dreaming that gives me more trouble than any other. I personally find myself getting sidetracked and making excuses for not keeping my commitments to myself on a regular basis. That is, I suppose, why they call them sacrifices. It is hard to change your habits and lifestyle. That is why people who act out of necessity, rather than casual desire, tend to succeed more often. When acting out of casual desire, the bridges havenâ€™t been burned and one can always hesitate and quit. A person with no option but to succeed must succeed. Failure is not an option! Do babies try to walk a few times and then quit because they fall over? No. They feel the need to walk. Itâ€™s a necessity.
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Will you try to reach your dreams but give up when it gets hard? Or will you keep trying until you succeed? Too bad we canâ€™t remember the trials of early childhood. We were all pretty tough then. We simply didnâ€™t give up! I spent almost an entire month on the road one year with my friend and speaking mentor, Matt. We traveled all over the U.S., and then went to Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Korea. I saw him practicing, rehearsing, and training every single day, even though he was already the number one speaker at the company he was with. His discipline in front of a room was incredible. He even took acting lessons on his time off to improve his skills. Nothing took him off his game. I should rephrase and you should take note: He was the number one speaker because he constantly practiced, rehearsed, and took acting lessons. And Matt, by the way, shared with me that he, too, had a mentor who had taught him the skills and disciplines of the trade. There are common threads in the lives of successful people. You can do it the hard way, or learn from someone who has already been there.
Resolve When you get to step four and you start—that is, you begin pursuing your dreams for real—you put everything out there for the world to see. Sometimes—in fact most of the time—they laugh at you. When your best friends and your spouse tell you you’re crazy and you can never be, do, or become what you are shooting for, what are you going to do? Well, if you have burned your bridges and bet your farm, it’s going to make it a lot easier to ignore those people. After all, you have nowhere to go except Successville. Your decisions are already made. You have no other options. And by now you know failure is not an option! What if things don’t work out as you planned and you run out of savings and credit cards? Are you willing to look your spouse in the eye and try to convince him or her that you need to mortgage the house and you could lose it all if you fail? How deep is your resolve? In my personal history I have chosen to liquidate everything from real estate to mountain bikes to golf clubs, guns, country club memberships, motorcycles, boats, jewelry, furniture, and much more to make it work—to pay vendors and landlords or make payroll. Are you willing to go that far?
Be True to You When I have been truly committed in the past, things have worked out as I dreamed. I’ve been able to accomplish the things on my list. (Remember the Dream Card? This is where it pays off!) Everyone has, or should have, a list. These are the things you want to obtain, accomplish, see, and do in your life.
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Put them on your Dream Card and use it! Let me share just some of the benefits I have enjoyed—and items I’ve been able to check off my list—as my reward for staying committed until I reached my goals. I have had every dream car and motorcycle I ever wanted including Porsches, Mercedes, Hummers, BMWs, Range Rovers, Excursions, Jeeps, Lamborghinis, Harley-Davidsons, and many others. An incredible waste of money, I know…(Or were they?) But hey, they were dreams I had. They were on my list! I have built my dream home—three times. (Dreams keep changing you know.) I have traveled around the world several times. Twice I have taken other couples with me at my expense. First class all the way—spending as much as $10,000 a night on hotel suites, thousands on food, and hundreds of thousands shopping. A totally crazy use of hard-earned money, I know; but again, they were dreams I had. They were on my list. Yachts, private jets, exotic cars…I have owned them, rented them, and enjoyed them all. I loved every minute of it and will keep doing it until I die. Remember the concept of living one day as a lion? How about living the rest of your life as a lion? I once spent over $50,000 on clothing in less than one hour. Stupid? Yes! But it was a dream I had, and the clothes weren’t for me. Once I flew by private jet with some friends to St. Maarten and St. Barths for two weeks’ vacation over the 1999/2000 millennial celebration. We stayed in our own private villa overlooking the Caribbean while maids, butlers, and chefs took care of us. We took a 50-foot yacht for a midnight cruise so we could watch the fireworks from the bay in St. Barths. Silly waste of
money, I know. But hey, it was a dream a friend of mine, Daniel, had. It was on his list. He even paid for the whole thing. I have stayed at the nicest hotels and resorts in the world from Ritz-Carltons to Four Seasons to The Ritz in Paris. I know cheaper hotels will give you a good bed, too. But these were dreams I had. They were on my list. I love going first-class. But for a couple of years, I also lived in trailers and shacks in Mexico that wouldn’t even pass for storage sheds while serving as a missionary. I can certainly survive either way. I simply prefer a first-class lifestyle. I have been to the World Series, the World Cup, NBA Finals, PGA events, All-Star Games, and given away my tickets before to the Super Bowl so some friends could go instead. Going to the Super Bowl was on their list. I know I could have watched these events all on TV, but these were dreams I had. Yeah, they were on the list. And just in case you’re thinking all I do is play with my hard-earned money, I want to also briefly mention that I am a big believer in helping others. I’ve given millions of dollars to help the homeless, orphans, single parents, employees in need, and other worthy causes. But that’s all I’m going to say about that. Charitable giving is a very personal thing. I don’t want to cheapen it by getting into details. Charity is simply an important part of my list. What’s on your list?
Quitting: It Hurts! OK, it’s time for a little confession (another one). I haven’t been perfect in my commitment level in the past. It’s through the pain and heartache I’ve endured because of my lack of
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commitment that I’ve learned never to make that mistake again. When you commit then quit, you fail. Remember? Quitting is the only real way you can fail. Here are just a few of the losses I have suffered because I committed, then quit: I have lost two homes. I have lost tens of millions of dollars. I have lost a wife. I have lost friends. I have lost my good credit. I have lost years of sleep. I have temporarily lost my sanity several times. (And perhaps not so temporarily!) I have lost my health at times. I have been really bankrupt. (Really bankrupt is the kind where you actually lose your home, your cars, your country club membership, your furniture, your credit cards, your toys, and you really start over as if you just finished high school—but with bad credit and a family to support.)
Trust me when I say I am not proud of losing things, but I am also not proud of many of the things I’ve accomplished. Sometimes both my losses and accomplishments have been the result of having the wrong priorities, “bad” dreams, or simply making poor decisions. But losses and failures are the direct result of having truly challenging dreams in the first place. They cannot all be avoided. Once again I remind you, however, that failure isn’t final. It’s just a step along the road to success! It’s only final if you quit. You may be much luckier than me, or better at what you do…or you could be less so. Who knows? Only time will tell how your story plays out. What I can tell you is that I am happy
with my life now. For better and for worse I dare to dream! I go for it! I live my dreams and occasionally go down in a blaze of glory in the process. I don’t live in fear! My wife and I recently bought our three boys—Max, Nick and Sawyer—necklaces with silver dog tags on them. On one side they read, “We will love you forever, no matter what.” On the other side they say, “No FEAR, Dream BIG & NEVER give up.” We are trying to get them to believe that anything is possible and failure is only temporary. So dare to dream. And dream BIG! The question I propose to you now is: Do you understand what it means to make a commitment and announce your dream to the world? Because once you start, you need to be committed to the toughest step yet—step five: Finish! If you start and don’t finish, people will talk behind your back. They’ll point out all your faults. They’ll tell you they “told you so” before you ever got going. They have all the answers at that point. They’re the experts. Guess what? They talk about you anyway. Whether you reach your dream quickly or stumble and fall multiple times along the path—temporary failures, remember—before attaining your prize, the people who really care about you will be the same people they’ve always been. They’ll be true to you just as you are to them. So don’t worry about the naysayers. They’re jealous. They don’t really care about you. You’ll never be able to do enough to please them anyway—and they’ll always be watching to make sure they make the big announcement when you fail. Who cares? You will finish what you start! One of the really good things about getting older is I realize I don’t care what people think of me anymore. I used to be so
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caught up with what so-and-so thought, or how I looked, or what my reputation was. I feel much better now that all I really care about is my immediate family and the few “real friends” who have earned that title with me over the years. The rest of you can, frankly, take me or leave me. Love me or hate me. Or not care or think about me at all (which is likely the majority of the world). That’s great! I don’t need those validations anymore. My life is about my family, my dreams, and those to whom I can be of genuine service. These are the things that drive me. This is what I care about. Now you know what makes me commit to my dreams, start them, and finish.
Profile in Persistence I was born in Hell’s Kitchen in New York, a dangerous neighborhood known for spawning many criminals. We didn’t have much money, so we lived in a cold-water flat. As a child I had a short attention span and ended up attending a number of schools as I didn’t seem to fit anyone’s idea of what a good student should be. I was literally asked to leave a number of schools. I ultimately went to college overseas for a couple of years, then enrolled at the University of Miami to pursue my real passion: acting. I was told I didn’t have the face for it, that I had a snarly look. I ended up leaving, just three credits short of graduating, to pursue my acting career. I did bit parts and got into writing. I was so broke I sold the rights to a script I had written for just $200. Later, a producer read it and said it was pretty good, but it was legally tied up, so it was worthless to both of us. I told him I could write another one. I went home, and inspired by a fight I saw on TV, I wrote a script—longhand—in just three days. He liked it. But I wanted to act in the lead role and nobody wanted me. I was an unknown for the most part. They wanted one of the actors who were at the top of their careers—Burt Reynolds, Robert Redford, Ryan O’Neal, James Caan—to play the lead. I said no. They offered me $20,000 for the script on their terms. I said no. They offered $100,000. I said no. I was completely broke and that was a lot of money. The car I was driving cost just $40. I had less than $100 to my name. But I had a dream, so I said no. They offered $175,000, then $360,000 (which was close to a record at the time). I said no. I knew how to be poor. I was good at it. It was my way or the highway. They finally agreed to cast me, giving me one week to 111
perform or be replaced. I agreed. The film was the first in a string of huge successes. I have a little homemade pillow in my house that says it just the way I see it: â€œHe lived life on his own terms. He fought his wars. He lost a few. But he never quit.â€? I am Sylvester Stallone.
Step 5: Finish! Focus or Fail
uccess requires focus. Focus allows you to get to the finish line. Ask marathon runners how they run 26.2 miles and most will tell you they do it by focusing on the next step. At some point, that next step is the last step. They cross the finish line. Even if you have steps one through four perfectly completed, a lack of focus can lead to ultimate failure. You won’t finish. You cannot allow yourself to get sidetracked. If you lose focus and get sidetracked, you better realize it quickly and get back on course! There is naturally occurring opposition in all things. It’s a law of the universe. Don’t fight it. Accept it…and beat it! That’s how we grow and eventually succeed. It doesn’t matter what it is—big or small—opposition is there waiting for you. As much as you want to succeed there are opposing forces working to see to it that you fail. Even if every person you know is behind you 100%, I am here to assure you that forces out there you cannot even imagine want you to fail at anything that is good or worthwhile.
On the positive side there are forces over and above your own powers that also want you to succeed at any good or worthwhile endeavor. The difference between success or failure is, fortunately, all up to you. Focus means having your ultimate goal—your dream— right in front of you every day. (Is your Dream Card ™ in your wallet yet?) Focus requires that you’ve carefully completed steps one through four. If you’ve completed those effectively, it will be much easier for you to stay focused on your mission and finish! Just like the marathon runner, you have a dream. You’ve obtained the right tools, equipment—whatever you need. You’ve trained with the best mentors, coaches, and advocates you can find. You’ve started the race. Now you need to stay focused on the next step, then the next. At some point, after enduring trials and overwhelming temptations to give up and quit, you’ll look up and see the finish line. Your dream will have become a reality!
Eliminate the Negative What or who in your life is not helping you achieve your dreams? Whatever or whoever it is, get rid of it. That’s right, get rid of it. Thoughts, habits…anything that doesn’t help you reach your dreams needs to go. Even if that happens to be the person you sleep next to at night, guess what: you need to give up your dreams or get rid of the enemy. Yes, the enemy. If you have made the fatal mistake of being with someone who does not support your dreams, then run—don’t walk—run away. Get that person out of your life. This includes other well-meaning or antagonistic family and friends. If you have put the thought
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and care into deciding upon your dreams that you should (this is serious stuff—this is your life we’re talking about!) and those around you can’t see their way clear to supporting you in becoming everything you know you can be, you are better off without them. I’m not talking about selfishness or stupidity on your part here. Again, these are tough decisions. I’m talking about selfishness on the part of others that is keeping you from reaching your potential. It’s sad, but true, that there are many people out there who say they love someone, but then do everything they can to hold that person down. Have you ever watched a bunch of crabs in a bucket? One crab will begin to work his way up the edge of the bucket and finally get hold of the top rim. Then he’ll get his other claw over the top and begin to pull himself up in an effort to go over the edge. But no crab ever makes it out of a bucket when there are other crabs in the bucket with him because the others will always grab him and pull him back down before he makes it over the top. Thankfully, people are not all like crabs. But many of them are. They’ll do anything—anything—to make sure you never get what they know they’ll never get. You want to be in the bucket with the people who are working together to launch each other to new heights, not the bucket where everyone is tearing each other down and making sure no one exceeds the status quo. Eliminate the negative, whatever it is. Supplant the negative with positive influences, activities, mentors, coaches, and education.
Visualize Your Victory See yourself as already being at the finish line, having already reached your goal, having succeeded beyond your wildest imaginations. Dream bigger. See yourself consistently exceeding your goals—by double, triple, even a hundred times your initial thoughts of what is possible. Can you see it? If you can’t, you have a serious problem. You have to be able to see yourself as if you already have achieved success. This is critical. You have thought it out, written it down, planned it, studied and trained for it, and committed to achieving it. It is time to BELIEVE and SEE it in your mind as if it has already happened. Plan out your acceptance speech. Buy your “skinny” clothes. Decide where you will spend or invest your money. Decide where you will live. Identify your dream home. Find the car you will drive. See the type of family and marriage you will have. Plan the time you will spend with your loved ones. Decide how much time and money you will give to charity and service.
Jack Nicklaus said, “I won every golf tournament I ever won in my mind on the way to the tournament before I actually won it.” Have you already won your “tournaments” in your mind? Can you visualize yourself as the person you want to be? You must be able to do this. It is not optional. I have never had a problem visualizing. I have been a
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dreamer—again, by my definition—as long as I can remember. When I talk and people roll their eyes and call me a dreamer, I consider that the best compliment I can get. I have always believed I could do anything I wanted to do. I use this part of the success formula more than probably any other. I literally see myself having the life my dreams will provide. I know I will have it. Dare to dream. Dream big. Dream often. And in those dreams, visualize your victory. You must see the end from the very beginning. Every time I go to a big city, I hire a driver to drive me around the really rich neighborhoods. As I look at the homes, I tell myself there is nothing they have that I can’t have if I want it badly enough. That’s a fact. I love magazines like the Robb Report and going to exotic car dealerships for this same reason. Anytime I’m in a coastal city I go to the marina and look at the incredible yachts. These things stimulate me and remind me of what is possible. I love beautiful things, but they are no longer the reason I want money. I want freedom and I want to help as many other people as I can who aren’t in a position to help themselves. I want to spend a big part of my life giving away $100,000,000.
You Gotta Have Friends
o success is worthwhile if you don’t have friends with whom to share it. You will also find it difficult, if not impossible, to achieve success without the help and support of true friends. Simply stated, you gotta have friends! I’ve talked about a lot of people in this book. I consider all of them to be my friends. Some were friends first, and then became business associates. Others have been and are business associates who, in the process of working together, have become great friends. I appreciate every one of them from the depths of my heart. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of having genuine friends in business. These are people who stick with you through the tough times, and with whom you enjoy celebrating the good times. They’re rock-solid, built-to-last, hold-you-up kind of people. I’ve already told you about one very close friend who I want to mention one more time: Daniel. Daniel is the kind of friend who gives straight-up advice, who tells me what he really thinks,
and who holds my feet to the fire. He cares about my success. He cares about me. Another great friend who has shared both business and personal successes and anguish with me is Todd Shell. Todd was the number twenty-four pick in the first round of the NFL draft in 1984. He played with the San Francisco 49ers and got a couple of Super Bowl rings during his time with them. His career was cut short by injuries. Like many athletes, Todd has battled his demons. He’s been straight up about it. He hasn’t hidden from his problems or from people. Todd is a shining example of hard work and dedication. I’m proud to call him my friend. Rodger, like anyone else in this book, could have been used as an example of just about everything I talked about. Rodger and I met in college and were roommates there. Unlike me, Rodger got his degree. He was the V.P. of marketing for SportsNuts for a time, and has also been with such notable companies as Novell, MyFamily.com and XanGo. Rodger has developed Internet-based marketing, training, and development systems for a number of companies including our current company, Solution X. Rodger and I have been in and out of projects together over the past 20 years. We’ve made a lot of money together. We’ve lost a lot of money together. But we’ve done it together. I have a high level of respect for Rodger and all he’s accomplished. I appreciate his friendship and loyalty. Yes, you gotta have friends. Real friends who hang in there with you. Real friends who see you as the whole person you are—understanding that business, family, and personal needs are all intimately connected. Such is the friend I have in Jeff. Jeff is the kind of guy who
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works quietly behind the scenes making things happen. Jeff likes being Jeff without any fanfare. He helped me through my very darkest time more than anyone else. He was there when I went through my divorce. He has stood by me personally and in business. The problem with naming names when you talk about friends is that you always stand the chance of mortally offending someone. I hope I havenâ€™t done that by excluding anyone from this list. Again, there are many people in my life who are dynamic examples of everything Iâ€™ve talked about in this book. My sincere thanks goes out to every one of you. You are a major part of who I am today.
Putting It All Together
’ve covered a lot of ground. Let me bring it all together for you by touching again on the five steps to success and a couple of other key points.
Recapping the 5 Steps to Success I know these steps sound simple—almost too simple. But don’t let their simplicity fool you. This is a tried-and-true approach that I’ve lived for two decades now. If you follow these steps cognitively and consistently, you will succeed—you will reach the top!
Step 1: Dream BIG! I’m not talking about mindless daydreaming here. I’m talking about visualizing your future reality. As I said earlier, my dreams are what I see before I go and make reality happen. If you’re going to make your dreams a reality, you must think— and act—like a Frogger. 123
Step 2: Tool First, you need the list of tools you’ll need. Second, you need a plan—a blueprint to follow. You may need to gain or enhance the skills necessary to complete the plan. Get connected with the people who can help you make your dream a reality.
Step 3: Train Just like an athlete needs to train for a competition, you need to train for the experience you’re heading into. Find at least one good personal mentor and one good mental mentor. If you can, get more than that. The more people you can tap for knowledge and experience, the better off you’ll be. Take your training seriously just as if you were training for a sporting event.
Step 4: Start! Commit to yourself and seize opportunities that will help you fulfill your plan. Be prepared for the pain. Burn the bridges behind you so you know there’s no retreat from reaching your dream. Bet it all, discipline yourself, and resolve that there is no quitting. You will succeed!
Step 5: Finish! Get rid of the negative influences that stand in your way of success. See the finish line and don’t slow down. Persevere, and never, ever quit!
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Take Inventory of Your Past Where have you failed in the past? Review these five steps and see where your weaknesses lie. Do you fail because you don’t believe in your own dreams? Is it because you don’t prepare properly by tooling up for the job? Perhaps you don’t train effectively and, therefore, find yourself without the stamina, know-how, or support necessary to make it to the end of your journey. Then again, you may be one of the masses who have good intentions but falter when it comes to actually starting. Making your dream known to the world is just too much for you. You can’t bear the thought of laying it all out on the line for everyone to see because they’ll all know when you trip. Are you past that? Then maybe you’re one who just can’t seem to finish what you start. It’s usually a long road between start and finish. Do you have what it takes, or do you get beat down and give up—quit—before reaching your dream?
Succeed in the Future Once you know why you’ve failed in the past, take time to do some serious introspection. What does this revelation tell you about yourself? More importantly, what can you do to fill this pothole or remove this obstacle from the road you’re traveling? You must be honest and open with yourself and clearly identify what will be different this time so you never quit again. Remember, failure isn’t final, quitting is. Quitting is the only real way you can fail!
Now It’s Up to You
ow you’ve heard my story. You know the good, the bad, and the ugly. What are you going to do with it? I don’t expect you to be me (or even want to be me). That’s not the point of this book at all. If you read this book, you have your reasons. People without dreams don’t read books like this. Most people will read the first few pages and decide I’m a nut case who doesn’t know the first thing about success. No problem. I didn’t write it for them. I wrote it for you, my kids and my grandkids. Decide on the dream you are going to achieve. Then follow the steps I’ve given you and you will succeed. Dare to Dream! Dream BIG! No Fear! Never Give Up! And to my kids and grandkids… “I will love you forever, no matter what.” - Ken Forrest
“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” —Henry Ford