4 Years in Cali – 44 More Lessons Learned

On June 17, 2010 I heeded the call to “go west young man.” After 45 days of getting rid of everything I owned, I flew from New Jersey to San Diego with four suitcases in hand.

On June 17, 2011 I wrote a blog post of lessons learned called, “One Year in Cali: 365 Days of Distinctions and Discoveries!”

In 2012 and 2013 I followed suit.

You can read 2012 here and 2013 here.

Here are 44 more lessons learned and a few important enough to repeat. This was a very “learned” year.

Feel free to share the love and comment if you’re so moved.

4 Years in Cali… 44 More Lessons Learned

1. You have special thinking. People say to me over and over again, “I love the way you think. I want to get inside your brain and root around.” What’s my special thinking? It’s one of the few things that makes me completely unique, distinct and one of a kind. It’s true for you too. Discover your special thinking. Then bring your special thinking to benefit others.

2. I speak into your listening. I don’t expect you to listen to my speaking. This distinction changes the context of every conversation and ultimately, every relationship. I can hear you listening. When I listen to your listening, I can speak into it. When I’m speaking my speaking, I can’t know for sure if you’re listening or hearing. Practice it. You’ll be amazed at the strength and power of speaking into other’s listening.

3. Are you a goal setter or river person? A goal setter must control, navigate and direct his ship. The river person jumps in the river and goes where it takes her. The river doesn’t go where you want it to go. It takes you where it wants to take you. I’m a river person. What are you?

4. Adaptability may be THE most important life skill of all. How well I adjust, revise, correct, and shift when I get knocked off course determines if I can play another day. I seek outside navigation when my internal guidance system is off. How can you be more adaptable?

5. Control is an illusion. When I surrender the force is with me. Goal doesn’t put me in control. It traps me. I can’t enjoy the scenery if all I look at is the map. I don’t appreciate the ride when all I care about is arriving at the destination. Let go to let in.

6. Your IP – intellectual property – is a gift to the world and your most under valued asset. Is it time to liberate your knowledge, wisdom and experience to benefit others? Stop obsessing over “information products” and start thinking “intellectual property.”

Here are some great resources to help you make that transformation quicker and easier.

7. In business, are you a retailer or wholesaler? I spent the first 10 years of my financial planning business advising and serving individuals, families, and small closely held businesses – a retail market. I spent the next 10 years consulting, training, and advising big companies and Fortune 500 corporations – a “wholesale” market. I love working with individuals. My highest and best game is to work with companies with thousands, tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of people. Are you in the retail or wholesale game?

8. Life is not linear; it’s quantum! I explained to a client just today how, after losing a million dollars in 1988, I took just two steps to go from zero to $100,000 of income in 1989.

9. Life is not about systems; it’s about people. I don’t look for the next great system to plug in and vacuum up all the money. I’m looking for people who want to take the ride of a lifetime. Steve Jobs asked John Skully, “Do you want to sell sugar water the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?” So I ask myself, “Do you want to sell the next whiz bang system (sugar water), or do you want to transform lives (change the world)?

10. I leave conferences I attend with $5,000-$25,000, even when I’m not speaking. So many people ask me how I do that we’re making it the subject of an upcoming training. Keep an eye out.

11. Less is more. The less I say, the more they talk. The less I teach, the more they do. The more I teach the less they do. Pick ONE THING for them to do, not 10 things you want to teach.

12. You, we, then me! I focus first on you, we, and then me. Try it out. You’ll be amazed at how you, we, then me transforms every relationship.

13. Playing a bigger game doesn’t make me a bigger player! It’s not the size of the game I’m playing. It’s the size of the player in the game.

14. Mitch’s NEW Math: addition by subtraction, multiplication by division. In the old game, more is more. In The NEW Game™ less is often more. I add by subtracting what I don’t want. I multiply by dividing the rights to my intellectual property and letting more people use it. How can you add by subtracting, and multiply by dividing?

15. Deconstruct form: move forward by going backward. This year we introduced The NEW Game of IP™ – Intellectual Property. This is a powerful game that changes the playing field. The key to winning is to move forward by going back from form to essence. We live in a tangible world of form. Deconstructing form and returning to the essence that created it is the secret to capitalize, monetize and actualize the most valuable six inches of real estate between your ears.

16. Strength of relationship beats size of audience. The first question I’m often asked when someone pitches me to “Joint Venture” is… “How big is your list?” I turn down everyone who asks me that question. If your only interest is the size of my list, you will never get a second chance to make a first impression. I’ve worked hard for 35 years and 75,000 hours to build my relationships. I’ll be damned if I let some one trick pony cannibalize my relationships for a quick payday.

17. Ownership is onerous. Use is freedom. You don’t have to own something to enjoy using it. We “own” nothing. Everything is borrowed and temporary. We surrender it all upon our departure. I don’t get caught up in owning things. I especially don’t invest time in trying to control people. Even my body I will return to the earth and stars. Think use, not ownership. It might lighten your load.

18. Starting matters. I rarely end up where I thought I’d be. I am once again “homeless” as I was the first day I arrived in San Diego. My landlord decided to sell the house I was living in. As I write this, all my personal belongings and business boxes are in a U-Haul cargo van. I am staying with my friend for the week as I decide on where I will live next. I notice how many people are shocked at my uncertainty. I’m in the river. It took a turn. I can fight the tide. I choose to go for the ride.

19. Beware the curse of knowledge. This devil is wreaking havoc. Too little knowledge, and we never start, believing we don’t yet have enough. How does a “newbie” get started in anything if knowledge is the requirement? Too much knowledge, we never shut up. We spew it everywhere and on everyone we meet. How do we avoid the curse of knowledge? Love and serve. You don’t need knowledge to love and serve. There are plenty of knowledge junkies who can answer any question you have. There are few people dedicated, committed, and willing to love and serve. Beware the curse of knowledge. Is it holding you back?

20. ROI x 2! My game is fast return OF your investment, and a forever return ON your investment. The faster you get return OF investment back, the sooner you’ll reinvest with me. The longer you get return ON investment, the longer you’ll stay in the game with me. How do you generate ROI x 2 for your investors?

21. For hire: full time brain, part-time money! I ask my clients how valuable it would be to have me on their team? Then I propose they hire my brain full time for part time money. No benefits, no overhead, no perks, no health insurance, no sick or vacation days. My brain works 24/7 on your behalf. Who’s game?

22. Birth, rebirth! I’ll never know how it feels to give birth. I do know how it feels to go through rebirth. It may not be as physically exhausting. It can be as mentally, emotionally, and spiritually transforming. Every day can be a rebirth. We only have to choose it.

23. Key to win in The NEW Game of Business™ is the strength of deal, not “closing” techniques.

24. Trust your inner guru. True North is not an outside destination. It’s an inside game. I listen to my advisors, wise friends and confidants. Then I go inside to find my True North. I trust my inner guru. I keep chipping away the marble to find my David inside.

25. Don’t trade the present in hope of future value.

26. Take imperfect action because imperfect action beats perfect inaction every time. It’s less important how I do it. It’s more important THAT I do it.

27. I’m better at not being upset, angry, or outraged. Instead, I’m accepting everything and everyone. Everyone has a load to carry. I can’t know yours. You can’t know mine. I choose to be kind and compassionate, not upset, angry, and outraged. Staying upset, angry or outraged made me a victim. Now I’m a victor over my upset, anger and outrage.

28. I’m out of the success trap. I no longer feel a driving need to do more, be more, or have more to validate my worthiness. I’m content, not complacent. I’m challenged, not comfortable. I’m committed, not just interested. I gave up my life to be the person I am today. Was it worth it?

29. “Belief is not merely an idea the mind possesses. It’s an idea that possesses the mind.” A great lesson I continue to learn from Robert Oxton Bolton. I find when a belief takes over me I am no longer possessing it. It possesses me. Beliefs are meant to be servants, not masters. What belief is possessing your mind?

30. Clarity is a gift we can give to others. If my clarity is diminished, impeded or I’m operating in the blind, I cannot access my inner guru. I need corrective lenses. If you could gain more clarity on your own, you would. When I’m stepping in the same potholes over and over, I know I’m not seeing something. I seek clarity from others. I bless the gift of inner vision when I have it, and share it generously with the clarity impaired.

31. Eventually never comes. When I ask someone “when” and I hear “eventually” I know they are in postponement mode. There is no eventually. NOW is the only time that exists. If you think things will work out eventually, you are living a deferred life. It’s a small hinge that opens a big door. Change “eventually” to “now” and watch the world transform right before your eyes. Mine has.

32. It’s harder to take someone from STOP to GO than from Go to Go Faster. If you are frustrated playing the “stop to go” game, consider changing your game. Find people who are going and help them go faster.

33. I ask, “Who or what is the greatest threat to your career, business, or company? Then I look in the mirror, and realize it’s the person staring back at me.

34. Better to have one goal I act on, then 100 goals on paper. Success is not about how many. It’s about how good.

35. Cut your losses. Don’t compound them. Redirect your time, attention, energy and money into something productive. Dump non-performing personal and business assets. If they haven’t produced yet, chances are good they won’t. Staying with “losers” is the fastest way to compound your losses. That includes coaches and players. Change your asset mix.

36. Create better buyers, and you’ll be the trusted seller. When I educate, train, and support people to be better buyers, they value my value. I get more business when I help them elevate their buying game.

37. There’s “go” but no “flow” in goal. Flow comes from the soul. Goal exists in the external future. Soul operates in the internal now. Goal is a concept, an illusion. Soul is essence, a reality. I spend more time soul setting than goal setting. Try it out. It might work for you.

38. “Don’t let the bastards get you down. Don’t let them get you down.” One of my favorite songs from the Toasters, it reminds me not to let the haters spoil my day.

39. Introducing “Mitch 6.0: A Mighty Big 2nd Wind.” On December 2 I turn 60. Creativity has no age boundaries. I am only limited by the belief that possesses my mind. My belief is that I am in the most creative, expansive, integrated time of my life. I have so much more to learn, discover, teach, give, share, and play forward. I’m ready for a mighty big 2nd wind.

40. I’ve got it out of my head that it’s OK to settle for just enough and taking what comes instead of asking (more than once) for what I want. You can be sure you’ll be hearing from me again soon.

41. Everything happens for the best, and I make the best of everything. I can’t think of a more important lesson to learn. If adaptability is the alpha, making the best of everything is the omega. When I accept, adapt to and make the best of what is, especially when I don’t want what is to be, I am happy, joyful, and stress free. It’s a simple lesson. Sometimes the simplest lessons take the longest to learn.

42. Cash is one kind of currency. Non-cash assets like relationship capital, contacts, credit, coaching, clarity and many others can be worth as much or more than cash. If someone doesn’t have the money to pay you full price in cash, look at the non-cash assets available to compensate you.

43. I love and serve, and people reward me with their money. This philosophy put me through college 40 years ago, and it still puts food on the table today. I will never want for business or money if I love and serve people.

44. Life goes on, then one day it stops. Every year I end with this same lesson. My nephew Robert passed away suddenly in December 2010 while playing with his son, too young at 46 with too much life left to go. He left behind a beautiful wife, 3 gorgeous kids under 8 years old and my broken-hearted brother and sister-in-law who live with the unbearable pain of losing a child. Once again I was jolted into remembering to be kind, relish every day, and be present in every moment. My game is to fill my day with love, serve and deliver. If I love, serve and deliver, I will have a great life. More than likely, the money will come. If it doesn’t, I still have a great life.

Life is beautiful.
Enjoy each breath.
Savor every moment.

Today is a treasure, a gift to be opened.

Make today a WONDERFUL day!


P/S ~ Please share this with friends. I invite your comments.

No tags for this post.