The Wealthy Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship has long been the proven path to wealth – great wealth in fact. For decades we’ve heard the rags-to-riches stories about men and women who have had an idea and built a successful company around it. I don’t need to cite these examples because you have already heard them over and over. Normal, ordinary people have become billionaires and centimillionaires through their entrepreneurial endeavors. But I want to focus on wealth differently in this blog.

Early in my career my focus was on making a lot of money. I don’t think I was a whole lot different than many other young, driven, Type A people. I went about my business always checking my bank balance and trying to figure out how to add another zero or two. And the harder I tried, the more elusive the result seemed to become. I scrimped and saved and eventually enjoyed a nice material lifestyle – but the big dollars that I coveted never seemed to come.

I can’t pinpoint exactly when the shift occurred or what triggered it, but one day I found myself less obsessed with the end result (a large net worth) and more focused on the process of what I was doing and the joy it brought me. The money and wealth accumulation became secondary to actually building the business with my partners. Once I did this, the dollar rewards appeared – and sometimes in ways I’d never dreamed. There’s a constellation in the night sky that illustrates this perfectly. When we try and look directly at the Pleiades (also known as the Seven Sisters) it’s hard to see all the stars. But when we focus on a nearby star or constellation, the Pleiades can be vividly seen in our peripheral vision. In other words, trying to see the Seven Sisters head-on is frustrating and nearly impossible with the naked eye. But when our focus is elsewhere, the star cluster comes into view with greater clarity. This became a perfect metaphor for my situation.

Along the way I have discovered there are many more elements to wealth than simply money. The entrepreneur who thinks that life is only about making tons of money is going to miss many opportunities to become fabulously wealthy in other ways. Let’s explore some of these possibilities.

At this stage of my life I value the relationships with which I’m blessed as much as the dollars that come my way. I’ve long believed in collecting as many relationships over the course of my life as possible for the purpose of serving others. These relationships have been developed without quid pro quo. In other words, I serve my relationships without any expectation of something in return. The results have been incredible with countless friends and acquaintances whose lives I have hopefully impacted in a positive way. I consider myself wealthy beyond my wildest dreams through the knowledge that I am helping so many others.

Another aspect of wealth for me is the pride of accomplishment. Yes, I’m extremely proud of all that I’ve accomplished whether it be in my career, civic activities or avocations. This pride is not something for which I need to be recognized outwardly. Instead, it comes from the satisfaction of knowing that I succeeded at something – often something very difficult. Over the years, this success adds to my overall wealth of being.

I am a very wealthy man when it comes to the diverse and active life I’ve led. I can honestly say that I’ve never experienced a day where I’ve been bored. My waking hours are filled with creativity and new experiences. I always see life in full and glorious color. There is no such thing as monotony in what I do. Also, my health is my wealth. I was adopted and have no idea my genetic history. So, I have worked very hard to maintain great health as though I am constantly at risk. Exercise, eating right, maintaining an optimal weight level, and regular consultations with medical professionals has enabled me to remain vibrant and physically fit.

Finally, my family is a huge source of my wealth. I’m blessed to have had a nearly 50-year relationship with my wife; two amazing and talented daughters and a son-in-law; three beautiful grandchildren, and a host of cousins and in-laws. Unfortunately, both sets of our parents are gone, but we had wonderful relationships with them while they were alive. Love abounds every single day and has generated pleasant memories that will last a lifetime.

Truly, I believe that I fit the definition of the Wealthy Entrepreneur. Money is a part of the equation but there’s so much more including relationships with friends and acquaintances, pride of accomplishment, a diverse and active life, great health and an incredible family. I hope that you too can enjoy such bountiful wealth!

This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.

Chronicles of a Loser

Entrepreneurs absolutely do not like to lose. We’re winners at heart. But there’s one kind of a loss that is actually an enormous win. Give up? Let me give you some background. When I got married in January 1974, I was 19 years old; was 6’4” tall and weighed 150 pounds. It took many years before I “filled out.” But something else happened. The filling out didn’t stop. In August 2012, my weight had ballooned to 289 pounds! I had actually begun to make healthier choices in the years preceding this date and at one point had dropped to 245 pounds. But somehow the pounds I had lost were found again.

Carrying too much weight had a number of unsatisfactory consequences for me. My cholesterol and triglycerides were higher than they should be. My blood sugar was elevated and when I vacationed in the Colorado mountains, I huffed and puffed (and wheezed) just walking into a restaurant. My left knee had been weak for years and the extra weight exacerbated the issue. Finally, my clothes fit tightly and the size of my stomach was an embarrassment. A little voice in my head began screaming, “You are a prime candidate for a heart attack!”

To change a destructive behavior we usually need an “aha” moment. Sometimes it IS a heart attack that provides the wake-up call . . . assuming that we wake up afterwards. In August 2012 my “aha” moment was not so dramatic, but it was just as powerful. My oldest grandson was six years of age at the time and his daddy isn’t in the picture. He definitely needs a father figure in his life – a role that I had been filling. The realization that I might not be around when he needed me most hit me like a sledgehammer. But I knew that a diet would not work. And I knew that if the pounds came off too fast, the weight loss wouldn’t last. Thus I embarked upon a complete lifestyle change that has become permanent.

I have always exercised and in August 2012, I was lifting weights three days each week and about 30-minutes of cardio five days a week. Today, in August 2014, I exercise seven days a week for a total of 10 hours. My cardio consists of walking at a pretty good pace – last week I walked nearly 32 miles. A personal trainer adjusts my weight lifting routine every five weeks – something I still do three days each week. And I’ve become addicted to the Fitbit®, a wearable device that tracks my steps, calorie burn, sleep pattern, etc. The goal is to walk 10,000 steps each day – I’m usually achieving 14,000 – 16,000 steps daily.

I love the way I eat. I gave up sugar in 2006; have eliminated dairy, and am mostly gluten-free. The biggest difference maker was cutting out the carbohydrates – mainly the simple carbs. I eat a lot of protein – a cardiologist told me I could eat as much red meat as I wanted – provided I continued doing everything else I am doing. Thanks to the Fitbit® I am able to log everything I eat into a computer program that calculates the number of calories I am consuming. The awareness of calories in vs. calories out has helped me fine tune my food consumption. And I owe a huge debt of gratitude to a medical professional who specializes in blood chemistry and prescribes an extensive regimen of supplements based upon my blood work every four months.

Today, I now weigh 218 pounds – a loss of 71 pounds in two years. I am within eight pounds of the target weight my doctor and I agreed upon. I feel stronger and healthier than at any time in decades. I’ve made excellent progress with my blood work and have been able to eliminate several prescribed medications. My knee doesn’t hurt anymore. My bank account is smaller as a result of the constant tinkering with my wardrobe – stuff just doesn’t fit – but that’s I problem I can live with. My stomach bulge is nearly gone. People who haven’t seen me for a while tell me that the change in appearance is dramatic. A recent scan showed an exceptionally low plaque build-up in the primary arteries of my heart muscle. I have seemingly dodged the proverbial bullet. And my chances of being around for a long time to support BOTH of my grandsons seem pretty good.

I’m glad I paid attention to my “aha” moment. I’m glad I found the way to be healthy that is just right for me. I’m glad I found the tools that I needed to help me with my journey. There’s no turning back. I’m not the least bit concerned about any backsliding because my LIFE has changed permanently. Perhaps you have something in your life that you want to change permanently. I’m a walking testament to the truth that you absolutely can.

This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.

Konishiki

Lovin’ It – Part 1

Question: You’ve written before about passion. How do I find my passion?

Answer: I’ve said previously that most people go through life and work at a job. Fewer of us pursue a career. And even fewer yet actually live a passion. To be truly successful entrepreneurs living a passion is requisite. But there are plenty of very rich entrepreneurs who are miserable, so what gives? I’m defining success to be much more than just money. A truly successful entrepreneur has success in relationships, in health, in philanthropy, in hobbies, in intellect, in spirituality and in emotion.

Passion is multi-dimensional. I submit that living a passion is more than just our chosen profession. It’s about reaching the conclusion that life is all about more . . . not less. And it’s not just more of one thing but more of many. A fundamental question to be asked is, “What are we excluding from our lives?” Kindling and sustaining passion is difficult if we’re one-dimensional and our lives are out of balance. We may experience bursts of energy and creativity, and we may have moments of euphoria when we achieve that upon which we focused. But then what happens? More often than not we crash and burn. Then we may yo-yo back and forth between the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.

Here’s my story. Early in my adult life I was pursuing a career. I move out of the “working a job” phase pretty quickly. Our business was growing and I threw myself into building it. There were plenty of 18-hour days plus weekends and holidays. In fact, I actually took pride in working 100-hour weeks. I read nothing but business books and thought about little else than what was happening in my company. I was the poster boy for being one-dimensional. No, I wasn’t unhappy but there was always a gnawing feeling that something was missing.

Living my passion did not come through an epiphany but was gradual over time. I loved what I did professionally but realized that burnout was unavoidable if I didn’t change my ways. Over the years my life became more balanced, and that in turn stoked the passion. What I’ve learned is that passion is much more than just loving my profession. The balance of physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and relationships in addition to our profession has a multiplier effect. I love being creative in my businesses. I love the philanthropic endeavors that my wife and I pursue. I love mentoring and coaching others – the list of the things I love to do goes on and on. And the cumulative effect of all of these “loves” is what becomes passion for me.

Make sure to read my next installment in which I’ll add the other ingredient necessary to discover our passion.

This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.

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A Positive Rₓ

Question: Some of my friends and co-workers seem to be sick all the time. I don’t have time to have the flu or whatever else is going around. How much illness is in a person’s head?

Answer: More than you might imagine. But first, understand that this is too complex of a subject to generalize. It’s tough to see how some infirmities are anything less than real. But you’ve heard it said many times before how powerful our minds can be. And I do believe that the mindset we have makes a big difference in whether we are sick or not.

Here’s the simplest way that I can boil it down. How often do we respond when someone asks how we’re doing, “I’m OK though I’ve been fighting this cold for the past few days?” In some cases we might even tell ourselves or someone else that we’re sick. This may reflect how we feel at the moment, but it goes a lot deeper than that. What we are actually doing is affirming sickness. So when we say, “I’m sick,” guess what – we may eventually become sick or continue being sick if we truly are. So you say, “But I’m just stating the obvious!”

Here’s where it gets interesting. When we affirm something – and really believe it – the probability increases for our affirmation to become a reality. Why then, would we want to increase the probability for our reality to include being ill? Words have power and our thoughts are even more powerful. When we speak words that come from our thoughts we are giving a great deal of power to what we say and what we believe.

As an entrepreneur, I’ve been blessed with a very positive mindset. I’ve noticed over the years that the healthier my lifestyle has become, my attitude has become more positive as well. Good health and a positive frame of mind are two extremely important traits for entrepreneurs. I’ve lost weight by changing my eating habits which has transformed into a new lifestyle. I stopped smoking pipes and cigars years ago. I’ve become addicted to a six-day-a-week physical fitness routine. And I meditate on a daily basis. The result is that I feel better than I have in many years; my outlook is almost always positive, and I won’t allow sickness and disease into my body.

You may think that this sounds a bit woo-woo, and maybe it does. But I’m a walking testament to what can happen when we affirm good health and really believe it. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. And so does our mind.

This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.

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