Good Morning. F&*k That!

Is that what people strive for? Just a good morning?  I started thinking about it. People always say “good morning” to each other. Good is mediocre. Good is just above okay and slightly above terrible. I don’t want to be good. I want to be great. Sometimes people respond, “I’m good”, when asked how they are doing. Fuck that. Being just good sucks. Let’s be great! Let’s be fantastic. Good is not enough. You want to be great!

When I say great, I’m not talking about some unrealistic and naive status in life. I’m saying, you want to feel great!  You want to be great in your world, during your day and around your family. As you reprogram your mind from being just good, you will begin to do great things and people will gravitate toward you. Good does not get you far in life. Have you ever heard anyone get excited about how good a team is or how good a professional athlete at the top of their game is?  No, the ones that really get talked about are the great ones. Everyone is “good”, some may be terrible which is slightly below good, but only the great get talked about. So tomorrow when you wake up, have a GREAT morning!  And stop saying “good morning” to people. It’s now “great morning!”, “great afternoon”, “great evening”. You get it!  Now go get it.

 

So You Want to Be an Entrepreneur?

A lot of people fall in love with the fantasy of being an entrepreneur. People dream about the material things like nice cars, houses and vacations in the Caribbean.  They envision themselves driving the Bentley Coupe with their Hublot watch and latte from Starbucks. But, what no one shows is when money gets tight, and payroll needs to get paid, and when lines of credit dry up. No one shows the real world of what has to happen. Like skipping paychecks, like putting money in the business to keep things running. No one shows the late night anxiety and stress.

A true entrepreneur has to be able to step up and put it all on the line. It’s not like going to the casino. It’s like investing in the vision of the entrepreneur.  So when you are out there in the social media world, don’t be fooled by the guys posting pictures in front of their rented Lamborghini, or the stock image from the Island of Fiji. If you want this life, you can have it. It is awesome, but the responsibility is also awesome. I’m a real CEO and a real entrepreneur grinding it out and making it happen. If you want the real story and want to know how to navigate it, then follow me. If you don’t, there are a bunch of others trying to sell you a fucking dream.

Let’s invest in you, let’s invest in real life, real business, real stuff.

You must be a Pigeon First

Reflecting on my childhood, I would never have thought I would be where I am today as I type. I remember sitting on my back steps on a hot summer day such as today, with the putrid smell of trash and asphalt overtaking my senses. I watched as the pigeons picked at my neighbors’ trash bins that were overrun with maggots. I remember wanting to be one of those pigeons so that I could fly away from all the despair. A pigeon, that’s all I could envision for myself.

Not to take away from these birds, in fact, we can learn a lot from pigeons. However you don’t see pigeons in the suburbs or in the neighborhoods where the biggest challenge is the turkey population or the proper maintenance of a lawn. Growing up around drugs, crime, violence, and poverty doesn’t lead you to think about being a hawk or another powerful bird. You think about being a pigeon. Do you know why? It’s simple, really. Hawks don’t fly or hunt near the projects, even though there were plenty of rats. Pigeons were all I knew. At the time, I didn’t care or think about it, I just knew that I wanted to get out. I didn’t even know what it was like to be at the top or what “out” was.

I guess that’s when I came up with the 5% Philosophy, which became my latest book, 5% More.  I didn’t need to be a hawk yet, I just needed to get out day-by-day. So as I sit here in my custom-built hot tub, I realize that I needed to be a pigeon first, the best pigeon I could be, because that’s all I had known. By getting better slowly I was also to transform into a hawk.

The challenge today is that so many of us just want to start out by being a hawk. Many of us with no realistic justification feel as though we deserve to be a hawk. If I had known was a hawk was in my childhood I would have wanted to be a hawk, too. What I have learned through experience is that in order to be a hawk, you have to put in consistent, daily and progressive effort; what I like to call 5% More effort. You must be a pigeon first.

In our human society unlike the world of birds, we have the amazing ability and opportunity to morph into other forms through consistent and progressive change over time. You don’t have to remain a pigeon, but almost all of us will start as one. Don’t be afraid to be the pigeon, embrace it. Start by learning how to be the best pigeon first. Each day get better until you have transformed into a powerful hawk. Small, incremental steps, 5% steps toward a larger goal will get you there. That’s how it works in our human world. Then you too can fly high and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

When you become a hawk, you need to fully appreciate what it took to get you there and more importantly, what it will take to remain a hawk. So, embrace the pigeon first, and consistently give 5% More effort in incremental steps to become the hawk. If you want to learn more about the progression of success and how to maintain success visit my website for my new book, 5% More and connect with me on Facebook.

Is the Sky the Limit?

You always hear the phrase “the sky’s the limit” when people want to motivate others. Some others are “shoot for the stars”, or “shoot for the moon”. The challenge with the latter examples are that they are actually achievable goals. But because the moon and the stars figuratively and literally seem so far, people can’t look beyond them. I have always preached realistic optimism and I still stand by this philosophy. However, I have never been a proponent of limiting your goals. Thinking big is what has gotten me to where I am today, not limiting my goals no matter how big they are.

A couple days ago I was talking with my ten year daughter about space exploration. We were watching an episode on the Discovery channel about the colonization of Mars. She was perplexed by why we would want to go there and what else was out there in space. I explained that space is infinite and how space is actually growing. Imagine that, space is infinite and actually growing, but we tell young impressionable kids and adults that the sky is their LIMIT! We are really telling them their growth or success is finite. Crazy, right? Great intentions from great people who want to help others are actually limiting people.

The sky should never be the limit, just ask Elon Musk or Richard Branson. If they thought sky was the limit they would never be who they are today. Your potential truly is infinite. Next time you want to say “the sky’s the limit”, change it to “life has infinite potential”.

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Is Urgency Important as an Entrepreneur?

I was recently speaking with a very successful entrepreneur about how others can grow and succeed. They said that too many entrepreneurs act with a sense of urgency and they shouldn’t. It really shocked me that they would give this advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. Before I continue, I must come out and say I disagree.

But wait there’s more! 

Urgency as an entrepreneur is one of the few tools in your toolbox that you have absolute control over. As an entrepreneur and someone who coaches other entrepreneurs, I tell them to “ACT WITH A SENSE OF URGENCY but never be in a hurry.” As I discussed what the entrepreneur above said to me and gave them my edict, they agreed and qualified what they meant a bit. They went on to say, “Urgency is crucial, but you don’t have to let it rule your life”. So I reiterated, “You can act with urgency but also NOT be in a hurry.”

What do I mean? Let me give an example. Let’s say you are in the process of launching a new product, including everything from product development, to quality control, to market testing, you must act with a sense of urgency. You want everyone to appreciate how important this product launch is and how important it is to get to market. However you DON’T have to be in a hurry.  In other words, urgency IS important, but it doesn’t have to take over your life in order to work. Act with urgency, be relentless in your drive and dedication, but don’t let the urgency blind you and cause chaos in your business and personal life. So, after listening to the successful entrepreneur discuss urgency a little more, we were in fact on the same page, they just needed to explain exactly what they meant.

Urgency is crucial, but most effective when harnessed properly. 

So You Want to Be an Entrepreneur?

A lot of people fall in love with the fantasy of being an entrepreneur. People dream about the material things like nice cars, houses and vacations in the Caribbean.  They envision themselves driving the Bentley Coupe with their Hublot watch and latte from Starbucks. But, what no one shows is when money gets tight, and payroll needs to get paid, and when lines of credit dry up. No one shows the real world of what has to happen. Like skipping paychecks, like putting money in the business to keep things running. No one shows the late night anxiety and stress.

A true entrepreneur has to be able to step up and put it all on the line. It’s not like going to the casino. It’s like investing in the vision of the entrepreneur.  So when you are out there in the social media world, don’t be fooled by the guys posting pictures in front of their rented Lamborghini, or the stock image from the Island of Fiji. If you want this life, you can have it. It is awesome, but the responsibility is also awesome. I’m a real CEO and a real entrepreneur grinding it out and making it happen. If you want the real story and want to know how to navigate it, then follow me. If you don’t, there are a bunch of others trying to sell you a fucking dream.

Let’s invest in you, let’s invest in real life, real business, real stuff.

Why Your Dream Board Isn’t Working

Have you heard of dream boards?  Maybe you have one.  A dream board is a collage of things that you dream about someday getting. Maybe it’s the Rolex watch, or the Rolls Royce Phantom, or maybe you dream about becoming the CEO of your company. All seems like a harmless good idea, right?  Wrong! DREAM boards don’t work. They are just dreams. They aren’t a reality, they have no timeline, there is no action plan on how to accomplish your DREAM.

Here’s the good news: you don’t need to toss your DREAM board. Rename it your GOALS board (physically alter it). The things you put on that board need to be more than a sleepy time thought drifting through your mind while you are cuddled up under your warm blankets at night. They need a dose of reality. Why?  Because dreams are for sleeping and goals are for achieving.

So now what?  I just rained on your parade. Or did I?  I bet most of you reading this have never accomplished more than maybe one thing on your DREAM board. I too had a modified DREAM board and I have accomplished many of the things on the board, but I didn’t start achieving those DREAMS until I simply turned them into GOALS. DREAM boards, most of them are lists of material things that we all want. That’s usually what DREAM boards are for most people. They are very effective at stirring up excitement and emotion in a MLM conference or at a sales meeting. But that’s all they are good for. A little temporary feel good to get you to the next day.

So what do you need to do other than change the name of your DREAM board?  You need to set an action plan on how you plan to achieve the GOALS on your board. Now, I’m a believer in thinking BIG, so if you have BIG GOALS, keep them there. But map out exactly what you plan to do in order to achieve those GOALS. You will find that by putting an action plan in place with both mental (similar to dreaming) and physical action your DREAMS turned GOALS will now become a reality.

What is Your Stock Price?

If you were a corporation would people invest in you?  Are you increasing your stock prices? Are you increasing your valuation or what I call your NET WORTH of YOU Enterprises? People ask me almost every day what they can do to increase their NET WORTH.  I discuss this concept in my book Ask More Get More but there is a lot more to discuss.  As the CEO of YOU Enterprises you must ASK yourself what are you doing day in and day out to increase your NET WORTH.

You see, as humans we are all given the same exact thing when we are born and that is ourselves.  The only way to get better at anything in life is to DO MORE to improve the stock in YOU Enterprises.  But, what specifically do you need to do to increase your NET WORTH?  Well, every person and situation is different, but we are all our own business and responsible for our fiscal health in our own corporation.  There are many things that we can do to improve our stock prices and NET WORTH.

Another thing that all humans have is time.  One of the biggest excuses I hear is that people don’t have enough time.  So, I’m not going to suggest you spend inordinate hours every day doing something to increase your NET WORTH, but I am suggesting that you set aside some time every day for yourself in order to increase value in YOU Enterprises.  Some basic things are:

  1. Take a class.  Learn something new, something that interests you, something that will expand your mind.
  2. Read a book.  Read just a half hour each day of any type of book.  I would suggest a book that will teach you a new skill, or ways to improve your skills over a fictional book; however any book will increase your NET WORTH.
  3. Write down your business plan for YOU Enterprises. As part of your business plan, establish tangible, realistic and achievable goals.  Put a plan in place to achieve those goals; read and improve upon those goals every day.  Ask yourself what is your exit plan?  Meaning, once you achieve these goals, what are you going to do next to increase your NET WORTH?

These are just a few things you can do to improve your stock price and NET WORTH, but take notice that I did not talk about money.  Money will come when your value increases.  Too many people in my field think that money is the end-all be-all, money is certainly important and it’s not evil.  In fact, with money you can change the world.  But increasing your NET WORTH is not about money, it’s about making you better, it’s about changing your outlook on life and your family’s life.

There are 24 hours in a day and practically all of them you can increase your NET WORTH, even in your sleep.  When you sleep enough you are physically healthier, have more energy and help prevent disease. When you are at your place of employment, try to learn more about your occupation and get better every day.  Start with just 30 minutes a day and improve your NET WORTH, and then expand on this each and every day.  Increasing your personal NET WORTH will then bring to you the financial rewards that so many of us are interested in.  Ultimately, we are talking about asking moreout of you.

Michael Alden Honored with Boston Business Journal 40 Under 40 Award

The Boston Business Journal (BBJ) celebrated it’s 40 Under 40 Award recipients on Thursday, October 16, 2014. Among this year’s winners is Michael Alden. The BBJ 40 Under 40 Award recognizes 40 of the Boston area’s most influential business leaders under age 40 that have made significant economic impact. Alden is the President & CEO of Blue Vase Marketing, a leading Direct Response Marketing firm that has been included in the Inc. 500|5000 list of America’s fastest growing private companies for two consecutive years.

Michael Alden Interviewed in Smart Hustle Magazine

President and CEO Michael Alden shares his advice on starting his own business. For many entrepreneurs fear holds them back from taking risks. Read Alden’s advise below if you are struggling to make the leap.

Excerpt from Smart Hustle Magazine:

“I’ve long dreamed of starting my own business. How do I make the leap?

This issue our expert mentor is Michael Alden, business guru and author of the best-selling bookAsk More, Get More. Michael overcame a traumatic childhood (born into poverty, his father, step-father and brother all were drug addicts, and his mother was infected by HIV). Coming close to turning into a criminal, Michael chose to clean up his act, become an attorney and eventually an entrepreneur. Today Michael runs Blue Vase Marketing, an Inc. 5000 infomercial consulting firm with more than 150 employees.

Community Q: I have long dreamed of starting my own business, but frankly I’m afraid. What if it doesn’t work? What if I fail? My bank account is not exactly bursting, and every time I get ready to take the leap, I think about what I’m risking, and decide it’s safer to keep my job. Can you help me make the leap?

Michael Alden: “The biggest risk is not taking one.” I saw that quote several years ago and I will never forget it. I never wanted to be that guy, who forty years from now wished I took the risk to change my future.”

Read the complete story on Smart Hustle Magazine’s website.