Reason 154 to choose where you work based on THE LEADERSHIP, not the money


This past week in the news Capital One put out a press release, announcing they are shutting down the mortgage division of their company because “it’s too competitive”.  That’s literally what the leadership said.  It’s too competitive.  Wowza.

So I took a step back and sort of thought about that.  I can’t imagine telling my team that I just decided we’re done ’cause it’s “too tough”.

There’s a lot of risk when starting any company or a new division to a company. There are a lot of challenges involved, responsibilities to people, their families and the team in general.  For me, it was a lifelong goal to have my own business and focus more on the client experience and deliver on a promise of something better than all the “me too” mortgage nonsense going on in the world.  It was so glaringly obvious that the consumer needed a company that was focused on them. So that conversation turned into a dozen people……. and a year later we started to pick up some steam. We’re still growing at Hall Financial and that’s a big endeavor each and every day.  As we continued to grow our business we have had to make choices.  One of our early big decisions was do we stay small or do we expand?

We expanded.

It might be my name on the front door, but it’s far from just me making the decisions.  In fact it’s a highly collaborative effort amongst the team.

I like to build consensus and make decisions as a team.

Back to Capital One………1100 people lost their jobs. That’s a big deal.  And the leaders told the world it’s because they thought it was too hard.  You would think they might say something like, “It makes more sense for the company as a whole if we focus on our previous endeavors and will be relocating these employees to the credit card division because we value them.”  But they didn’t.  In fact it wasn’t even close to that.  Sort of a head scratcher.

I think leadership has a lot to do with a willingness to do what’s tough when things get tough.  And more importantly…….. keeping a keen focus on developing people to see them hit their “ceiling”.  So they can develop into their “best self”.  I’m pretty sure that’s not how Capital One thinks about the world.

Man, the credit card business must be a lot easier than I thought.

I am asking former Capital One employees to reach out to me.  I want to hear more about this story.  And if you also have an “unusual ambition and hunger to succeed” (our saying at Hall Financial) then we want to hire you so you can join us in our mission to become really great.  Even if it is hard.

So which type of leader are you?  Or do you want to work for?

Have a great Sunday.


The 3 stages of adulthood you need to get thru to know you are ok.

Last week I turned 47 (seems unreal with my boyish good looks), and it’s a great time for self-reflection. For one, it’s impossible that I’m closer to 60 than I am to 35. Just crazy. But I sort of love it. Cause the goal of life should be to enjoy, grow old, compete, have fun, love as hard as you can love, and contribute to society. Not necessarily in that order. 

So you start to think back about things………and I remember as a kid hearing an “old man” (at the time, my age now) tell me that the sure sign of maturity was when you’d “choose Napa over Vegas” as a vacation. Bingo!! Stage 1 of adulthood…….there it is. Passed that one at age 37. 

It’s been a while.

Then in recent years, I started thinking a lot about my own mortality. Deeply. And sort of somberly. But a lot of good came from it. Cause I realized that attacking life with boundless enthusiasm was my gift and most folks either don’t know how or don’t want to. And it’s a differentiator. BINGO!! Stage 2 of adulthood: use your gifts. They are yours and being you is the most important thing you can be once you realize who you are and who you want to be.

Lastly, stage 3 has been something I’ve been considering for quite a while: social media. What does it mean and why does it exist and why do we read it and who really cares? BINGO………Stage 3 hit me as I was cooking dinner with my wife—my life is good. When you realize no one else’s life is better than yours, no matter how hard people try to portray theirs as better, you’ve grown up. 

It’s important to remember that everyone needs to make these “discoveries” on their own. No one can be told “this is how it goes so just believe me”. It seems we all need to go thru our own struggles to “figure it out” on our own.

So in conclusion……………..

3 stages of adulthood:

  1. Napa is better than Vegas
  2. Be you
  3. Social media is a mirage of nonsense, and most people’s lives aren’t as glamourous as they make it out to be. They are “marketing” their lives to you. You’re good. 

Have a great week!!


Cleaning Laundry.

Have you ever really listened to this song? We all know the lyrics, we all sing along. But have you paid attention to what it’s about? 

This week I turned one year closer to the big 5-0 but I can honestly say I don’t feel old. I don’t even feel close to it. I feel young, like I’m always in my best years and I can attribute a lot of that to the people I surround myself with: wife, friends, family, coworkers. I make a conscious effort of not wasting my time with people who bring me down because anybody who knows me knows I’ve got big dreams. I don’t settle. It’s the one thing I’m very clear about educating my team on: be a goal digger. Be a battery charger. Surround yourself with the right people.

Ok, so maybe that’s three things. 

To me, this song is all about surrounding yourself with the right people. There will always be that one person who craves drama and gossip and who will try to bring you down to make themselves feel good, to make themselves look better. Don’t get sucked in. Don’t contribute to the gossip. Don’t go smelling other people’s laundry. Just make sure to keep your own clean.  The only one you should be competing with is who you were yesterday. 

This week, make a conscious effort to clean your laundry. Surround yourself with those who will support you, push you to chase your goals, pump you up, and leave your dirty laundry alone. 

After all, success doesn’t come from poor attitudes. It comes from a positive mindset. 



Some people flock towards it and some avoid it all costs. I personally have seen many people ruin their relationships, careers, friendships, and more by the lure of drama. I choose to move AWAY from drama. I like reality and normalcy cause I know it gives me my best chance for peak performance.

As I grow older and wiser I realize some truisms of this short tenure we have here called life. Getting to bed at 9pm makes a ton of sense. Getting up early and getting your body warmed up makes a ton of sense. Spreading goodness to everyone you can makes a ton of sense. Encouraging others to be their best makes a ton of sense. Realizing you will make mistakes and trying to learn from them makes a ton of sense.

Then there are things that don’t make sense: drinking yourself silly, taking drugs, talking shit about other people, being in the wrong place by choice at 1 in the morning, fighting, being in the middle of a dispute where you have nothing to gain by winning.

I think people who move towards drama are generally bored with their own personal existence and they need a “new game” in their life to play. Staying out of drama takes focus and work.

Avoiding drama takes will power. 

Building your future is tough and takes a full, concentrated effort. I can’t think of many things more rewarding than being the one to build that foundation, the one holding that responsibility.

And as I told my team at Hall Financial earlier this week, I can’t think of many things more rewarding than being on the front of this story we are building. It’s really fun and really rewarding. It gets me pumped to go to bed by 9pm, wake up early, and encourage others to invest in their own futures.

Choose to build yourself and your future. 

Don’t choose drama. Drama sucks.


Unfiltered LIVE look at the inside of Hall Financial

We’ve made some major strides at Hall Financial this summer and we’ve come a long way in just over a year.   We promoted six new team members just a week ago and I am excited to watch them succeed, watch them push their teams, and watch Hall Financial grow.   So last week I decided to give the new leaders some nuggets.

This is how I choose to lead my company and I like to think it’s how we become great.   And I wanted to give you the same advice for your own success.

  1.  Start working as if you are acting into your future self.  Does a bad ass big time sales leader have habits like you do today?  Probably not.  But you can start to live into what you think that looks like.   Get in at 720am to get ready?   Not staying out late so you are fresh for your opportunity tomorrow?    Dress more professional?   All contributors.  Be your future self every day.
  2. Create a unique team schedule, enforce the hell out of it, and sell your sales leader on why you should get it.   And get your team to come up with it collaboratively WITH YOU.  8am to 4pm daily and out at 3pm Friday as long as we have 10 for the week?  Love it.    Go 1030am to 8pm mon-thurs. and 9-2 Friday’s?    Take Monday’s off and work Tuesday to Saturday?  Love it. But don’t do it half ass.   OWN IT AND EXECUTE ON IT.  If you can make your people successful AND get them some free time, you are living into “great leader” status.
  3.  Remember sometimes what you got you here won’t get you there.  CEO’s are much more disciplined and organized and thoughtful than they were when they were working their way up.  At some point in your career you “flip a switch” and take yourself to levels you weren’t sure you can get to.   Shed old bad habits and replace them with strong ones.
  4. Visualize what your day looks like the night before for 5 minutes with your eyes closed.  This will create a peace and a vision for you to go big time the next day.  Visualizing my day for 5 minutes is hard and I try to do it every night.   The first time you do it you will open your eyes and realize it was only 2 minutes.  That’s when I learned to think deeper.
  5. Invest in yourself.   My dad taught me as a kid that some things I was going to do would have immediate gratification while others would not.   A lot of people can’t get passed that they worked hard for a few months without the reward they thought they deserved.   That’s NOT how great people think.  Great people chase a passion and a vision and have a faith that it will work out great.  It’s called positive thinking.   It’s powerful.
  6. View each other more as allies than enemies.  There is a natural inclination to want to be the best team.  And that’s good.  But don’t let it blind you from doing the easy stuff.  See another team doing something smart, copy it!!!  We don’t have to reinvent the wheel and in my experience, most smart people copy and execute VERY WELL.   Share ideas.  Try to help the other team leaders.   And then try to beat their brains in fair and square after you gave of yourself and gave away all your trade secrets.

And I’m going to tell you one more thing I told my team: print these, keep them, carry them with you every day and live into them.


Is your personal agenda more important than the team?

Colin Kaepernick.  What else do I need to say? Well this, apparently, and it’s going to be short and sweet like Colin’s career.

I am growing tired and perplexed by why people are confused about why no team wants him.

Has nothing to do with his politics.  Has nothing to do with his views.  Has nothing to do with black and white.

Has 100,000 percent everything to do with this:  You can’t be the leader of the team/company/business and put your own personal agenda ahead of winning.  You can’t.  It’s the number 1 rule of anything if you want to be successful.

And he broke it.

And he’s done.

It doesn’t matter how talented you are. It doesn’t matter the hours you put in. You play as a team, on and off the field.

So the lesson for all of us.  Put yourself ahead of the team.  And you lose.  And you should.


Monday July 3rd: A work day amidst the holiday weekend.

What percentage of future millionaires and high achievers do you think took Monday, July 3rd off?  Well, in my advanced calculations, mostly based on experience, thought, talking to other people, and a scientific formula I can’t reveal…less than 5%.  Which means 95% of all future millionaires in 2036 who are in their 20s or early 30s today were working Monday.  They weren’t at the zoo or the beach getting wasted (and wasting their time), they were hustling!

Why is that?  There are a few reasons I can think of…

1.    All opportunists look for times to work when others aren’t, in order to “get ahead”. They’re focused on the bigger picture and don’t let a weekday that falls before a holiday to fog that vision.
2.    Monday, July 3rd was sort of an optional holiday.  Most self-made millionaires (opposite of Daddy’s money millionaires) don’t take holidays off, much less optional holidays.
3.    The desire to achieve is higher than their desire to be on the lake.  That’s why they are millionaires.  It’s not an accident.  It’s full of purpose.

Now, does this blog mean “don’t take time off” or “don’t have fun”?  Of course not.  Do I also take into account that a lot of people don’t care about being a millionaire.  Absolutely.  Most don’t want to.

But if you do, and if you aspire for that, think about this blog and internalize it on the next Monday sort of holiday.  And decide if you’d rather see your friends at the bar or at the bank.


Habits, old adages, inspiration and modeling

Wanted to share a message with everyone that I sent to my team last Saturday.  We are now 60 strong at Hall Financial and you can never give enough examples of hard work and the importance of knowing there are no shortcuts.

Have a great week……….

Happy Saturday morning and welcome to the next opportunity you have to be great.   That would be TODAY.   Yea, we all woke up today and some people are going to do something with today and some are not.  My first advice would be to “be a somebody” today.

I was extremely fortunate to grow up with 2 hard working parents as models for me to watch.  I learned good habits at a young age cause my parents both put a strong value on working hard and giving a lot of effort.  As I have gotten older I realize that everyone doesn’t have this advantage.  If you have this, be grateful……..if you don’t, get a mentor asap that you can watch and observe so those work habits/ethics can become a part of who you are.  If you don’t know how to do that, email me and I will be that for you or I will find you one.

My Dad was the first person in his family to ever go to college.  His dad (my grandfather) was illiterate.  Couldn’t read or write and was dirt poor.   Had no money and no advantages in life   I always was aware that if my dad could go to college (and medical school) coming from absolutely nothing with a dad that wasn’t able to read or write…….then a son of a Doctor better have his shit together……and I took that challenge on very seriously.   It always bothered me when rich kids thought they were rich cause their parents were rich.   I didn’t want to be like that.

So why am I telling you all this?   Because there is NO SUBSTITUTE in life for hard work.   Putting the time into your goals and dreams is the only way to get there.   A lot of people think they can get to where they want to go with a scam or a scheme or that because they are smarter they can cut corners.  It does not work like that.  Believe me, if it were available I would have done it.  Hard work is tough and the only way to talk yourself into becoming anything, is when you realize “the pain of ultimately not hitting your potential in life, is way worse than the pain of working hard”.   Once you realize how true that is, you have a real and true shot to “hit your potential” and live out what your dreams look like.

So here is today’s lesson.

Habits…… either have them or you don’t…….good news is that I’m here and I can help you if you need it.

Old adages……..hard work is the only way to get to anything great.  It’s true so accept it.

Inspiration………my Dad really inspired me and I fed off of that.  Find your inspiration daily and don’t let go of it.

Modeling…… parents showed me the way.  If you don’t have anyone to show you the way, see me and I can help you with this.

Have a great Saturday.  Make it count.  And remember that “your ceiling of your potential” is probably higher than you even know.  So push yourself in an extreme way so you can discover it.


Burn Your Ships, Ignite Your Confidence, and Douse Your Fear.

burn the ships

Is it a bit of an overstatement to say, “Nobody goes all in with their goals anymore”?    Maybe a little but I see this increasingly as a problem in people that are trying to do big things.

It’s always, “well if this doesn’t happen, then at least I’ll have this.” I often wonder if this mentality sets us up to fail because we’re subconsciously aware of that safety net. There’s the fighter and the runner. What happens when you don’t have the option to run? You fight. Your survival instincts take over. When failure isn’t an option, you adjust your course to reach your goals.

There is something to be admired about the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes before he was feared as too powerful and therefore stripped of said power. Upon arriving to Veracruz with 600 men, he ordered his men to destroy the ships. Upon reaching new, unfamiliar ground, they burned their safety net. Only two people exist in the world at this point: those who believe it’s absolutely foolish and those who want that level of confidence.

Two years after the burning of the ships, he gained control of Mexico. The Aztec Empire fell. His conquest was successful.

If you want to not only chase your dreams but achieve your dreams, you need to have a one option mindset. And that one option needs to be Success. Nothing else. Cortes knew that by removing the option of fleeing, he was removing the option of quitting. There was no going back.

That’s pretty damn powerful: burn the ships. Imagine how you would tackle your goals if you knew failing wasn’t an option.

As you head into your week, mentally remove all those safety nets—the backup job as a bartender, relocating to another department in another state, the idea you’ll just work out twice as hard the next day instead or will run off that donut later, you’ll always have next year, there’s always next time, etc. Remove all of it. Lay out the path of success. What does it look like?

Do you feel the chains of negativity break? Can you feel the freedom?

This week, burn your ships.


The biggest thing we can learn about the Fox News/CNN phenomenon.

I am a bit of a purist.  I like traditional things and in some areas I’m sort of old fashioned. I sort of long for the days when George Kell and Al Kaline would bring me Tiger baseball in my youth.  Man those were some great memories and certainly a reminder of my days growing up and what television was to me.  All sports all the time and Kell and Kaline giving it to me straight.

In my view, recent television has for the most part moved more and more to “reality TV”…which of course is what sports is.  But these days it’s not about sports at all.  The more real the tv the better………..girl’s feelings get crushed on the Bachelor, ratings go sky high………Trump forcibly says “you’re fired” on The Apprentice and everyone tunes in……….Survivor—hey you’re outta here.  You’re kicked off the Island!!  We can’t get enough.

So I get it………….

Now, the rawest form of reality TV is on display 24/7 these days in the form of CNN/Fox News.  And it has sort of always amused me that the “news” they broadcast that is so biased in one way or another, draws so much attention.  Then it occurred to me…..this is the latest in reality TV.  But this unintended version of reality tv has a new twist.   As much as it walks the line of reality TV, it walks right up the kazoo of “CONFIRM MY PERSONAL BELIEF SYSTEM”.  And that’s new.  We’ve gone from entertain me with sports……to surprise me with pure reality/heart break……to sprinkle some reality into telling me how smart I am.

You see, people don’t watch Fox or CNN that much as to see the “reality” of it, but to continue to reinforce their own thought processes.  And deepen them.  And confirm them.   Makes us feel better when we do that.

Wouldn’t someone really advanced in thinking and so “impassioned” by the “GOD DARN GOVERNMENT” want to seek to understand the other side of the aisle instead of just reconditioning all that they know or think to be the single source of truth?  Of course they would.  So why don’t many delve into the other side with an open mind?  Because by nature we aren’t open minded.  We hold on tight to what we believe because it makes us feel better.

When it comes to politics, do we actually know all the facts?  Isn’t it true we probably know about 17% of what’s really going on?  All the back room deals and internal stuff happening that we have no idea about doesn’t stop us from forming strong opinions though, does it?

I continue to scratch my head about “absolutes” in life as there really aren’t that many.

For the most part, I have found myself to be served well by the following rules:

1.      There are 3 sides to every story.
2.      There is always information you don’t know.
3.      Politics is really dirty and these guys get paid to spin their story, not tell the “truth”.
4.      There is a lot of money to be made in television because the broadcasters get ratings.  Not because they are right.

Me? I’ll stick with George Kell and Al Kaline.  I think they tell me the truth.  I’m sort of a purist that way.