Super Bowl Perspective


Super Bowl Sunday is fun. The Lawrence Phillips story is sad.

Today is an exciting time for people to get together, eat a lot and stay up late talking about how this day should be a holiday so we didn’t have to work the next morning. But bigger than the game itself, the hype surrounding the commercials and half-time show is the people that make the game happen. The players… This Super Bowl Sunday I want to remember a player who dreamed of playing in the Super Bowl. And that dream never came true.

25 days ago Lawrence Phillips killed himself in a California jail cell while serving a 30 year sentence for a myriad of issues with the law that were not defendable nor okay. Phillips was the very best running back in football in 1994 for the University of Nebraska. His dream was to play in the Super Bowl.

It’s interesting to me the way that we, as a society, enable people that can dribble a ball, tackle other people, and run fast. Even prestigious college and professional coaches, highly respected people, enable kids like Lawrence Phillips. They do everything they can to make sure these superior athletes are “on the field” rather than take the time to do what’s best for the kid over the long term.  Whatever happened to teaching and discipline for young 20 year olds from the coaching staff and their mentors?  And why does it usually not happen?   Well in this particular case, cause he was big and he could run fast. Johnny Manziel isn’t the first or last public fool who has been enabled. There is a long line.

This is why results in sports matter less and less to me as I grow older. I’m more interested in the type of people they are and what else they do. Are they well rounded?  Do they care about others?  We live in a “win at all costs” society. Is it really that great to root for a team if your players can win but they also beat up women and steal from the elderly? Or cheat on their exams?  I’m not that into any of that.

I think about the people that were around Lawrence as a teenager. No one could help him? Did he have a mentor? Was he a really bad kid that no one could reach? Here was a guy that has talent that our society cares immensely about, making horrendous off the field decisions and ruining his future. Where was the guidance?  Where was the coaching? Where was the parenting? Why do I have a feeling that everyone was more concerned with getting Lawrence “on the field” rather than mentoring and disciplining him which ultimately led to his demise.

On today’s festive Super Bowl where we toast and applaud the achievements of the great athletes on the field, let us not forget of all that didn’t make it, and the sacrifices of what is perhaps much more important in our short lives than the ability to throw and catch a ball on a field.

I’m rooting for Peyton Manning and thinking about Lawrence Phillips.

Enjoy the game.


P.S.  Attached are some accounts of letters Lawrence wrote from prison. Pretty dim stuff, but the truth of what he was going through. Sad. These letters from Lawrence make him sound both introspective and intelligent. Can’t imagine being in his situation, granted he made his own decisions throughout life, however misguided they were. The concept of “get to vs. got to” is quickly amplified after reading through them. After reading his thoughts, I have much appreciation for my circumstances, those that guided and helped me along the way and for life in general.

Cosmic Shifts In Thinking


Ok, we are one month into the new year……have you stuck to your resolutions? They say (I love saying “they say”) it takes 21 days to build a habit and the longer you go, the easier it gets.  Keep on it.  Don’t let up.

Top 4 things (and a bonus 5th for golfers) that I have discovered in January 2016 that have me approaching things differently (potential cosmic thinking shifts):

1. If you work out a lot and your body and back are just a little sore, that’s a good thing. Your body is making adjustments to the new you. Great feeling.

2. Weight loss is really simple even though the world wants to complicate it. If you make sure that 80% of what you eat are fruits and vegetables, drink nothing but water, and work out hard for 45 minutes a day, you will see DRAMATIC improvements in 30 days. In fact if you can do this for 30 days, thejoy of eating and drinking garbage will be trumped by how good you feel being in better shape.

3. The key to “growth in your career” is often the direct result of becoming more aggressive about the things you want. Passive and reluctant behaviors usually do not create success.

4. CNBC talks a lot about numbers, pricing, future forecasts, revenues, and cutting expenses in predicting business success. In my experience business success is  equally dictated by overall teamwork, leadership and creating a culture of winning. I can’t find a channel for that.

5. Bonus one for golfers……make your focus when you putt on the distance and not the line. Distance control in putting is very underrated. Everyone is trying to hit the putt on the perfect line……but focusing on the line is not the optimal focal point while over the ball. That’s what you focus on prior to the putt…….I will be sure to show you when I see you on the putting green if this doesn’t make sense.

Happy February!! My hope for all of you (and what I’m trying to do) is you pursue your goals just as hard in the new month as you did in the new year.

Make “cosmic shifts in thinking” in areas you want to improve… if you want to make cosmic shifts in your results.


P.S. We have received a lot of great feedback from those that receive our newsletter and many have forwarded them to share with co-workers and friends……speaking of that, rumor has it (from a good source) the BYOG blog from last week (thanks for all the great feedback on yelling BYOG around your homes as well) reached the desktop of Dabo Swinney himself……the entire team was excited to hear that, and personally I think that’s bad ass!



I find myself attracted to figures in life that are inspirational.  Sometimes it’s funny or silly and sometimes it’s real.  But I keep going back to it because it speaks to me on volume 10 out of 10.

I guess the reason I have such little interest in politics is there is such a void of real inspiration.  It’s a lot of canned crap.  Rehearsed and re-rehearsed messages that are constructed to serve those that pay for them.  Pretty lame in the overall scheme of “what is great in life” or “stuff that gets you juiced”.  Important issues that get melted into “what serves who” the best at the time.  It’s really unfortunate.

So let’s turn to Dabo Sweeney, Head Coach at University of Clemson Football.  I’ve always found Dabo to be a bit “clownish” but the more I see from him the more I can sense he is growing and developing as a person.  He is genuine.  He is fun.  He is not polished.  He is authentic.  And I love it………  And when I watch sports coaches I often get “juiced up” or “inspired” because so much of what they do and say is filled with passion and spontaneous enthusiasm.

So let’s rewind to the post game IMMEDIATELY after Clemson beat Notre Dame 3 months ago and the reporters and fans rush the field and there is a sea of humanity and they stick the microphone in front of Dabo to get his immediate comments on a 2 point win at the buzzer………you talk about inspirational……..for those that heard this interview it never gets old…for those that haven’t……read on and then immediately check it out for yourself by clicking on the link at the end of the page. (It’s worth sitting through the ten second ad to watch!)

“I can give you uniforms, and meals, and we can give you scholarships, but I can’t give you guts……and tonight it was BYOG, Bring your own guts”

I can hardly watch it without either smiling, thinking about how those kids were inspired to do something special and/or laughing because it is just so genuine.  And I find myself walking around the house some days when I want to get pumped up and just yelling out randomly “BYOG Bring your own guts”….I really do.  At the top of my lungs.  YELLING IT……why?  Cause it’s fun.  And it does something to me that gets me into a state that is higher than before I said it.  I highly recommend it if you aren’t feeling your best.  Watch it, repeat it, and yell it.  And then tell me it doesn’t immediately lighten your spirits or inspire you.

I guess that’s why I always go sport over politics.  Even though it doesn’t feel right and a “game” is so inconsequential in comparison to world issues.  But sports keeps drawing me in.  Passion, enthusiasm, emotion, something real.

I wish Dabo or someone worth watching would become a politician.  Nothing would be better than him telling some talking heads to “BYOG”.  America would be talking about it and the platform for inspiration would be well served.

Are you “inspired” by any of the 15 or so politicians we have seen in this Presidential run?  Isn’t that one of the top things we are looking for?  It’s kind of sad we can’t find one.



Do you “get to” or Do you “got to”?

Full disclosure – my friend Eric Thomas spoke about this last Wednesday and it was so good I had to blog about it this week.

Think about the difference in one letter and how it effects your entire outlook on life.

Case in point – I GET to vs I GOT to.

I got to go to the grocery store. I got to iron my kid’s clothes. I got to go to this dinner thing.

I GET to go to the grocery store. I GET to iron my kid’s clothes. I GET to go to this cool dinner thing.

Everything we GET to do is a privilege, an experience and something to be thankful for. Even the smallest, most mundane things. I GET to go and workout. I GET to try and make my connecting flight.

Get to vs. Got to.

That simple letter changes how you think, how you approach things, how other people perceive you and it’s nothing other than a very, very simple choice.

As a kid in school, I learned “I before E except after C”……….  As an adult I am coining my own phrase “E instead of O always and never let that go”.

As I head into this upcoming week, and the beginning of this new year, here are some of my “Get to’s”:

I get to continue to work on mastering my golf swing. I get to help lead and innovate for 1400 people at our company. I get to continue to recruit great talent. I get to collaborate with CEOs and visionaries from other companies to learn from them. I get to go through security at an airport to take a great trip with my friends and family.

The power of your mindset is invaluable. Think about all the great things you might have once viewed as a pain or inconvenience and instead view them from now on as a privilege.

Enjoy your Sunday!

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Happy Holidays!! And Happy Wednesday………

If you are like me (and I don’t wish that on anyone), you are wanting to feel productive today after a 3 day-binge-eating-festive weekend.

Here are my top 4 things you can do today to make yourself feel productive and finish the week right…….(if you do 2 of them you get an A+).

1. Find 5 things in your house you don’t use anymore and put in a bag and take to Salvation Army. People less fortunate need it.

2.   Whether you are a Democrat or Republican, find an issue that is on “the other side” and seek to understand “the other” point of view. Makes you more empathetic and well rounded.

3.   Write down your top 3 goals on a piece of paper and laminate it tomorrow at the office. Make it pocket size so you can carry it around every day of 2016.

4. Add 2 new apps to your phone today. Here are my top recommendations:
Evernote: Touted as the world’s most widely-used productivity app. Evernote can be used simply as a note taking app, it will also let you sync files across devices, among other things.
Dropbox: Before iCloud, there was Dropbox. And there still is Dropbox, which is still widely used by both Mac and PC users all over the globe. It’s like having a flash drive in your iPhone. A must-have. You can sync it to your laptop and other tablet type devices as well.

Ok, that’s it. Short and sweet. Holiday style.

Have a great Wednesday and here’s to a great 2016!


Top 3 things consumers need to know today about the mortgage world

  1. Home sales are rising, boosted by luxury homes, and low-down payment buyers being welcomed back to the market.  “Today’s” mortgage rates are very low in a historic sense.
  1. As the housing market improves, mortgage lenders have made low down payment programs available to U.S. buyers. The programs aren’t just for first-time buyers, either. Repeat home buyers are getting access to the same low down payment products as everyone else.
  1. For  six straight quarters, U.S. lenders eased loan approval standards. More loans are getting approved than during any period this decade as lenders are becoming more understanding of the reality of today’s market.

How you treat people does matter


Ever since the fallout of the Miss Universe pageant and Steve Harvey naming the wrong winner, the internet and morning talk have loved this story.  It’s like a guy stumbling around the bar drunk and misguided……it’s hard not to watch.

But above all in this story seems to be one central theme……people that know Steve Harvey, are letting us know what a great guy he is.  So many people are defending him and this as “an honest mistake” and attest to his character “Steve’s a great guy”.

Which begs the question, if a jerk like Justin Bieber did this, would this not be an honest mistake?  Of course it would.  No one wants to announce the wrong name of the winner of a contest.

And therein lies the lesson.  Treat people well and it will come back to you.  My guess is that in the next 3-9 months Steve Harvey will be hailed as a hero/comeback story from someone that did something great after “overcoming adversity”.

Next time you see someone who treats people great vs. someone who doesn’t, think about how supportive other people will, or will not be in their moment of need.  Sort of makes your decision on what to do today when someone bothers you, cuts you off on the road, takes your place in line at Starbucks, or whatever crazy thing happens to you today……….an easy one.

Happy pre-Holiday Wednesday!!


Ice Cream, Holidays, and one great thing you can do to improve your 2016


Happy Holidays……tonight’s installment is a piece on “awareness of the people that make up your team” that we often don’t act on or take as serious as we should.  It will be brief and insightful (I hope).

If you are in the business of growing your business, you inevitably have a team dynamic.  You have people working together toward a common cause and those team dynamics are typically very important.


We get so caught up in “coaching people up” and “making it work” that often times we miss the obvious.  Addition by subtraction.

I once had a smart guy tell me…………….”Hall if you had a beautiful bowl of ice cream and I dropped a little spec of dog doo in it, just a small, small spec, what would you do with that beautiful bowl of ice cream?”

Of course my response was “I would throw it out, I wouldn’t eat any of it, the entire bowl”.  I think you would agree……’d throw it down the drain right?  The entire bowl…yes sir!!

Well that’s what people that don’t want to be on the team/take coaching/get better/mis-wired are doing to your potentially BEAUTIFUL, STRONG TEAM.  Yet we angst, worry and fret over telling them to find a new opportunity.  We worry what HR will say.  We worry about “how they will feel” and we put it off and put it off and ignore the problem.   We lie to ourselves.  Why?  To avoid the smallest and most insignificant pain that is caused by someone that doesn’t want to be there being let go.  It’s total insanity.

One person can hold back your entire team.  Make the decision today to move them out in January and then execute on it.

You wouldn’t eat around the spec of doo-doo in your ice cream would you?  Why are you asking your team to do it?

Happy Holidays!


Spring Home Buying Season is only 90 days away….Top tips to start now

home-buying-guide–Invest in yourself as a method of building credit to buy a house. Ideally, have an amount deducted automatically from your paycheck that goes directly to your bank account…a separate account that is for house savings.  Don’t touch it.

–Make all of your payments on time.  Never ever miss making the minimum payment.

–Check your credit report today so if there are any inaccuracies you can fix them in time.  It’s not a quick turnaround often.

–Know exactly how much you need to put down based on your credit score.

–Understand the payments you are going to be making thoroughly and don’t forget to include Taxes, Homeowners insurance and Mortgage Insurance if you aren’t putting 20% down.

10 confusing and advanced (if you are really bad) Communication techniques that make me scratch my head

1. “I thought you spoke to them”

o  Assumptive, don’t hope that they spoke to that someone, make sure of it ahead of               time.

2. “It’s a Fact”

o People are persuaded by reason. Why is it a fact? What makes it a fact? When                 stating ‘’it’s a fact,’’ it sounds like a cop out, like you don’t know why it is a fact                     yourself. Give detail!

3. “Didn’t you read the email/memo about that?”

o Most people glance over emails and memos. If you send something important out,              follow up with the people that need to really know/understand it and ensure you                   take the time to TALK to them about it. Don’t assume people understand their level            of accountability to the topic.

4. “This is always how we’ve done it”

o Assumption that because we’ve always done something a certain way that:

I. Its Right

II. Everyone knows why/how, etc. it’s done.

III. It has anything to do with the fact that you still didn’t communicate on it great.

5. “There was a lot of time to prepare for this/get this done, so I didn’t have the chance to let everyone know/explain it further, etc.”

o Excuses. Victim.

o Not only are you a poor communicator, but saying this shows you can’t prioritize                and don’t take ownership.

6. “There have been meetings about this with____. I figured it was covered or you knew.”

o Shame on you for not including the appropriate people in the meeting/discussion.                Again you’re relying on OTHER people to do what you are responsible for. And by              nature, remember, people aren’t great communicators, so what makes you think                everyone is going to follow up with other people on your behalf?

7. “I thought I told you that”

o Maybe you did, but it wasn’t clear.

o More is better. Over-communicate! Most people under-communicate                                    tremendously, and think they’re good communicators. Donk THINK you told                        someone, KNOW that you told them because you’re a great communicator.

8. “I meant to call you”

o Do it now, not “I meant to.” Communication is now, not later. Take ownership.

9. “I figured you knew that”

o Assumptive, horrible, sucks the life out of organizations.

o Just because one person knows, don’t assume others associated will know as                  well.

10. “__________”

o Confused? Most people are by no acknowledgement or response. Are they                        working on it? Are they ignoring it? No-one knows….. ALWAYS acknowledge and              respond to messages you receive (email, voicemail, etc.