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An Open Letter to (Potentially) One of History’s Greatest Leaders

“A man ain’t got no sense until he’s 35, and then barely.”  Sheriff Lucian, in the Longmire Detective series. 

It takes five years for start-ups to get it right.  It takes at least fifteen years, and probably more, to grow into an effective start-up manager and leader.  I say “probably more,” because I’ve been at it fifteen years now and I”m not there. 

But a start-up friend who I know well asked me for some leadership advice the other day – we’ll call him Johnny.

Abraham Lincoln was a great leader.  He wrote letters to those he was leading.  Here’s my letter to Johnny.

Dear Johnny,

You have more than your fair share of the necessary conditions to be a great leader.  

You have character.  Leadership without character is manipulation, not leadership.

You have love.  No one on your team will follow you if they don’t believe that you care more about them than your vision.  You care about your people more than any leader I’ve ever met. 

You have vision.  You instinctively know what your organization must do, and be, in its core competencies.  Not only that, you embody that vision.  

You have positive energy.  People follow positive energy flow from a leader as, to quote Jack London, “life grows towards the light.”

You have commitment.  You sold your truck.  You sold your fishing boat.  (We got us the makings of a country song, here)  You lived on manna from heaven in the desert.  No one following you can question your commitment.  To know you, and follow you, is to be inspired. 

You know your strengths.  Which means you know your weaknesses, and you admit them.  So your people can trust you.

Most good leaders only exhibit 3-4 leadership characteristics.  You have 6 and I could probably keep going for days here. 

So perhaps more Leadership development is not what your organization needs from you.  Perhaps its more Management development. Luckily, management skills are easily learned, as easy as ABC.  Even Harvard and Stanford grads can become good managers, but rarely (myself being surrounded by them in my Day Job) are they good leaders.  




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Get Lucky.

horseshoeBetter to be lucky than good, they say.  BS: be good to get lucky.

Luck, dear noobs, increases with a solid offense.  The blocking and tackling of luck include Presence, Awareness, Instinct, and Courage.

 Luck is not random chance.  Good things happen to a lucky person more often than an unlucky person.  Why?  What makes lucky people lucky?

“The more we know, the luckier we’ll get…the closer we are, the luckier we’ll get.”  Jack Reacher

Being lucky really is a set of values that raise the chances of success between players of otherwise equal skill and experience.

1.  Presence – simple, show up.  The more you show up; the more chances you have to get lucky.  Don’t show up, and you will never get lucky.

2.  Awareness – be consciously present, fully in the moment.  Center all your awareness in the situation and the people.  Or you miss luck’s whisper.

3.  Instinct – Your sub rational decision making process guides subtles maneuvering that draws luck to you.

“His instincts were buried beneath all that cerebral stuff.”  Jack Reacher

4.  Courage – Once the lucky moment arrives, boldly step into it.  Fortune favors the bold.

Simple, eh?  The people you know who seem lucky, possess some combination of these traits.  Spend time with them.  Observe.  What do you see?  Great timing, uncanny knowledge of the game within the game, they gain advantage effortless, while periodically taking aggressive action.  They have that quicksilver, that “subtle something that somehow anomalously does its duty” as Melville describes in Moby Dick.

Luck is infectious, as is misfortune:  “Recognize the fortunate so that you may choose their company, and the unfortunate so that you may avoid them.  Misfortune is usually the crime of folly, and among those who suffer from it there is no malady more contagious: never open your door to the least of misfortunes, for, if you do, many other will follow its train…Do not die of another’s misery.”  Baltasar Gracian

But don’t be a try-hard.  Remain stoic, be lucky but don’t “wear yourself out to get rich, cast but a glance at riches.”  For as Melville forewarns Ahab in his quest to slay the White Whale:

“Be sure of this, O young ambition, all mortal greatness is but disease.”

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Nourish Your Inner Samurai – Staying in the Moment with Eckhart Tolle

If a ninja and a samurai fought, who would win the duel?  Ninjas move in the shadows and samurai fight by publicly advertised appointments, so we will probably never know.  Better to be a ninja, I think.

Don’t get me wrong, samurai are great warriors from whom we can learn much:  honor, discipline, mental strength, the value of training, etc.   Historically, samurai would seek the best teachers to instruct them in a style that would lead to victory.  They were always in search of the best methods.  That’s admirable.

The greatest samurai of all, Musashi, had no method:  “By all accepted standards, Musashi was not a great sword technician.  Schools, styles, theories, traditions – none of these meant anything to him.  His mode fighting was completely pragmatic.  What he knew was only what he had learned from experience.  He wasn’t putting theory into practice;  he fought first and theorized later.”

Musashi was actually a spiritual warrior.  He started his training by spending three years locked in a monastery studying what it meant be human.  His conclusion:  to be fully human is to fully live in the moment.   This fighting style, if it can be called that, carried him to many glorious victories and into Japanese legend.

Consciousness was his weapon.

Musashi  is long gone and so are the shoguns, daimyos, and ninjas.  But if he were alive, he’d be a huge fan of Eckhart Tolle.

Musashi:  “Fighting isn’t all there is to the Art of War.  The men who think that way, and are satisfied to have food to eat and a place to sleep, are mere vagabonds.  A serious student is much more concerned with training his mind and disciplining his spirit.”

Meet Eckhart Tolle, German Mystic and Champion of the Now.  Tolle asserts that your whole life exists only in this present moment.  Locking your conscious in the Now unlocks power.  For us Biz Warriors that is power to fully connect with people, exercise clear judgment, and inspire creative solutions.  Being elsewhere other than the Now, in a place he calls Psychological Time, as opposed to Clock Time, fills our head with worries, fears, and anxieties.

These distractions disconnect us from clients, customers, and teammates in critical moments such as closing deals.  Mental distractions cloud our judgment when fear dictates strategy instead of clarity.  Left brain analytical noise overwhelms the quiet, inspired right brain from where creative epiphanies arise.  For Musashi, allowing his conscious to slip from the present added milliseconds to his sword stroke, costing him many defeats in his early days.

Tolle presents concept and techniques to anchor us into the present.


There Is Only Now:  The past and future do not exist, except as concepts in the mind.  All reality is now.  Our (left, or analytical) brain tells us stories about the past and future.  They aren’t real in the present moment other than our mind tells us they are real.

Psychological Time vs Clock Time:  The former is a hazardous place where our mind leaves the present to focus on thoughts and feelings about times past and future.  The latter is the practical reality that must be dealt with through plans and strategies.

Consciousness:  The human existence composes four realities.  The first three are where 99% of people live their lives:  thoughts, feelings, & perceptions.  The fourth is the space in which the first first three exist.  That space is called consciousness.  Enlightenment:  you are not your mind (Descartes was wrong), you are your consciousness (Jesus, Buddha, James K A Smith, and Pascal were right).

Wanting is Weakness:  “Most egos have conflicting wants.  They want different things at different times or may not even know what they want except that they don’t want what is:  the present moment.  Unease, restlessness, boredom, anxiety, dissatisfaction (and all other forms of neurosis) are the result of unfulfilled wanting.”


The following serve to quiet the left brain, center the awareness in the present, and make us alert to the right (creative) brain.

Focus on the Breath:  This, the most ancient of meditative practices, can easily be done 1-2x per hour all day.  Merely take three slow, full breaths giving them your full attention.  The brain chatter will recede momentarily.

Connect with the Natural:  The second most ancient meditative practice, also quiets the chatter.  Focus for 20-30 seconds on something natural.  That can be sunlight, a tree, a flower, your thumb.  Notice things about it.  Thoughts will come.  Instead of resisting or analyzing them, just notice them and then re-focus on nature.

Observe Your Inner Energy:  Similar to the above, focus a moment periodically through the day experiencing the feeling of aliveness inside you.  Take a breath, find a place of tension, which is the physical manifestation of “non-acceptance,” and relax that part of your body in your exhale.

Accept, then Act:  “Whatever the present moment contains, accept it if you had chosen it.  Always work with it not against it.  Use it as your ally, not your enemy.”  Cease internal conversations about how you feel about your circumstances and how they inform your egoistic self-narrative.  These things are not reality.  Instead, accept your present and live fully in it.

Watch Your Mind:  “Be present as a watcher of your mind — your thoughts and emotions as well as your reactions in various situations.”  You are not your thoughts or emotions, you are the watcher.  Your consciousness rises to this higher level of awareness.  Neurotic mind-chatter fades and the creative spirit that is God’s gift to all humans emerges.  That spirit, your whole self, will solve the business problems that stumped your analytical brain.

Execution in the Now:  Recognize that your life journey or business strategy “ultimately consists of the step you are taking at this moment.”  Set times aside to plan and strategize.  Then execute, execute, execute.  There is only this pitch, this conversation, this hand shake, this eye contact, this pause to fully listen.  Your brilliant strategy to dominate your market means nothing outside of this moment of execution.  Read Dwight D Eisenhower’s reflections the days before launching the D-Day assault.

Live, Work with Uncertainty:  As you no longer let your ego (left brain chatter) run your life you enter into uncertainty.  Learn to live with it and love it.  The universe has all you need.  Your heightened awareness will help you become comfortable with uncertainty, which is merely infinite possibility.  The Roman philosopher Tacitus “rightly observed that ‘the desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise.’ If uncertainty is unacceptable to you, it turns into fear.  If it is perfectly acceptable, it turns into increased aliveness, alertness, and creativity.”

Consciously Do:  “The modalities of awakened doing are acceptance, enjoyment, and enthusiasm.”  Cease your doing, your amazing start-up or exhilarating new executive responsibilities, from want, and move to enjoyment and enthusiasm.  The ego wants, and therefore you do, you do all sorts of unpleasant, miserable, hateful things that spawn negative energy.  Doing with inspiration and enthusiasm, which can be translated from their original language to  ‘with spirit and with God,’ drives you towards your vision with the divine energy in all humans.  Jesus called this the Kingdom of Heaven that dwells inside all of us.  The Stoics called it the Divine Spark.

Aim, Fire, Forget:  Your left brain is a wonderful, incredibly powerful weapon.  Situations will arise that require its use.  Aim your analytical Death Star beam at the situation, question, challenge, and fire all guns.  Then holster your analytical blaster and return to conscious awareness.  Marcus Aurelius calls this the Hegemonikon, or the Directed Mind.

Even a half-hearted pursuit of the above should yield increased tranquility and focus.  As always, be stoic about your pursuit of this, or any other, particular notion of stoicism.  If you screw up, or have set-backs, be stoic.  It’s not a big deal. Try again in a half hour, or try another three breaths.

For more, listen to Tolle’s chat at Google:


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Books for Business or How Not to Be A Noob Forever

In the lifelong battle against Noobdom, Knowledge is king.

My rightbrainer friends would say that Wisdom is king.  My personal muse, the great Charlie Wilson, may he rest in peace, would say that Pleasure is king.  Recall that Charlie Wilson helped Reagan, Thatcher, the Pope, and Lech Walesa bring down the Soviet Empire merely using wit and charm.   He based himself in a Vegas hot-tub (rumored to be full of strippers and cocaine – neither of which do I advocate).  Charlie knows of what he speaks.  And really, Charlie’s just quoting William Blake:  “the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.”  So, I try to rise above the Left Brain/Right Brain debate and have some fun while attempting to make the world a better place, including you and your little merry band of Biz N0oBs.

Anyway, back to the need for Knowledge to be a true player.

Three reasons not to read.  One.  You are a dumass.  Not sure how you got this far, but welcome.  Two.  You are a hater (technically, a Benchwarmer Noob).  Haters gonna hate so stay on your job, haters.  Three.  You are a Natural Baller.  That’s good news.  Success comes easy to you.  But someday it won’t.  Cuz your natural game will be eclipsed by some Noob who got his game together and crept up on you with some trick plays while you were still running the same stale plays.  So think on that and maybe start expanding your playbook, son.

What can books do for you?  Check this, Noobs:  “literature became an arsenal open to all.”  Thus spoke Alexis de Tocqueville describing how the commoners rose up and stole power and riches from the landed aristocracy in Medieval Europe.  Printing presses and translating books from Latin to regular-speak armed commoners more effectively than swords and maces.  First, they became clergy, then bankers, then merchants, and fast forward to today when any “lizard can get a king’s palace” to loosely quote the Good Book.

“Gradually the diffusion of intelligence, and the increasing taste for literature and art, caused learning and talent to become a means of government;  mental ability led to social power, and the man of letters took a part in the affairs of state.”

Inner Game – Psychological Strength

Step 1 – Stoicism

Rookies – A Guide to the Good Life – A philosophy prof details his re-discovery of ancient Greek/Roman Stoicism.  Essentially Stoicism for Noobs.

Pros – Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations, Seneca’s Letters – If you only ever read one book to improve your life, it should be Meditations.  MA was the true Philosopher King, as a Roman Emperor at Rome’s peak.

Step 2 – Outcome Independence

Rookies –

Pros – Walden

Step 3 – Positive Energy Flow

Rookies – How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie’s classic for improving business acumen.  If you are in sales and haven’t read this yet, step away from the strippers and cocaine (speaking metaphorically and ironically if HR people are reading – apologies for the salespersons stereotype), and read the free copy at the above link.

Pros – Charlie Wilson’s War

Step 4 – Know Thyself/Be Thyself

Rookies – Now, Discover Your Strengths

Pros – Bury My Heart in Conference Room B

Step 5 – Stay in the Moment

Rookies – Tolle at Google (Youtube clip)

Pros – The Power of Now

Step 6 – Abundance Frame

Give all the books you bought away to someone else, buy them a drink or two, and explain how all this knowledge changed your life.  Or just buy me a drink and keep your books.

The Payoff



Extra Innings – More Knowledge for Other OffWins Topics

Calibration and Congruency – Emotional Intelligence

Healthy Masculinity – Way of the Superior Man

Paradox – Moby Dick

Framing – Beyond Culture

Social Dynamics – The 48 Laws of Power

Friendly Psychopathy for Business – The Wisdom of Psychopaths


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Prepping Your Star Player

Here we go again, Inner Game for Geeks.  Tonight, I coach seven start-up execs.  Its the usual Psychological Strength stuff, detailed below.  I’ve re-arranged the six step order, added some snarkiness, and polished the prose.  Also, note the hyperlinks to added content.  Also, note that the Tech Accelerator I’m working with chose the title.  All start-ups aim for a billion dollars, I guess.  I’ll support that goal as long as I get free rides on their Gulfstream when one of them makes it.  Of course I believe the best way to attain wealth is to be your (best) self then ignore wealth assuming wealth will find you.  But that’s for a different post.

Introductory Preamble:

Greetings, Geeks.  My name is RG3 and I want you to be rich and happy and successful.  The three rarely go together, so listen up. 

Biz is a game.  But before you even get on the field, you got to take care of your Star Player – Yourself.  We call that Inner Game.  Its all about boosting your Psychological Strength.  That’s what we are talking about today (below).  Once your Star Player steps on the field, we get into Outer Game – Social Dynamics.  Those ideas will have to wait for another day.  A quick preview of Outer Game:  Frame Control, Attraction/Connection/Respect, Calibration, etc.  Lastly, there’s a few other elements of Inner Game you can explore at your liesure, like Healthy Masculinity, Functional Psychopathy, Congruency, and Nice Guy vs Good Guy

/comment  Normally at this point, I’d launch into the 4 types of Players, Which Type Are You discussion (Naturals, Wannabes, Noobs, and Numbs) but these are start-up Geeks, a special breed.  Those categories apply more to large organizations.  Noobs and Numbs don’t last ten mins in the Start-Up Game.  /comment

So, Geeks, we are about to get philosophical and literary and whatnot, to help you level up.  But real quick, I need to you pop this Red Pill for me, and embrace Paradox.  For instance, I’m about to tell you  that you will more easily and successfully achieve your goals if you quit caring about your goals.  That makes no sense.  Paradox. 

Alright.  Let’s huddle up and get started.  Dominate on 3.  





 “The man who acquires the ability to take full possession of his own mind may take possession of anything else to which he is justly entitled.”  Andrew Carnegie

 Inner Game – A person’s organization of self.   A composition of their values, state of being, human energy, self-perception and -awareness, life philosophy, value set, consciousness,  totality of desires, and personal presence.  The ideal inner game state removes negative energy, enhances relationships, and leads to clarity of thought and speedy, effective judgment.  Problems begin to solve themselves, people are drawn to your presence. Your calmness, positivity, and self-confidence will lead to a huge status increase.   You and your team will have an aura of difference about you.  Investors always value team first.  This “aura of difference” can lead directly to more investors meetings, smoother engagements, and potentially higher funding levels.  This can be especially true for video game start-ups where management  teams are notorious for being passionate but immature.  

 “Let not to get a living be thy trade, but thy sport.” Henry David Thoreau

 Step 1 – Quiet Down- Stoicism  –  Nervous energy sucks. Neuroticism sucks. The ancient Greek and Roman Stoic philosophers figured out how to hack their brains.  Consider Seneca, Emperor Nero’s right hand man (before he went crazy), who got rich, ran the Unholy Roman Empire, partied like a rock star, and got banished twice for seducing imperial princesses. All while keeping his swag on full with tranquility and joy.  Stoicism is a school of Greek philosophy that holds that poor decision-making results from the presence of destructive emotions.  Makes you immune to emotional manipulation and “shiny object” syndrome. Dave McClure, self-professed High Priest of Start-Ups, posits that VC’s screen for management teams with “balls of steel.”  Stoicism gets you pretty close:

 “And if you come across a man who is never alarmed by dangers, never affected by cravings, happy in adversity, calm in the midst of storm, viewing mankind from a higher level and the gods from their own, is it not likely that a feeling will find its way into you of veneration for him?”  Seneca

 –  Balance – Von Clausewitz – “The ability to keep one’s head at times of exceptional stress and violence…balance the strong feelings in one’s characters without destroying them…strong character is one that will not be unbalanced by the most powerful emotions.”

–  Melville – “The invulnerable jollity of indifference”

–  Differentiation of Self – one’s own value not tied to another’s mood or judgment.  Take responsibility for your own emotions and manage them without placing blame.  No one can “make you feel” any way other than how you choose to feel.

–  Neuroscience – The forebrain has been scientifically proven to be capable of overriding hindbrain reactionary instincts and limbic emotional reactions (similar to explaining the physics of flight to yourself so you aren’t scared on a 747 flight).  Do so, often.  

 “The man who looks for the morrow without worrying over it knows a peaceful independence and a  happiness beyond all others.”  Seneca

 Step 2 –  Quit Try-Harding – Outcome Independence 

“You got to know when to hold em/know when to fold em/know when to walk away/and know when to run.

You never count your money/when you’re sittin at the table.”  The Gambler by Kenny Rogers

 By wanting anything, like a business goal, you give that thing power over you. Screw that. You are free– give nothing power of you. Live like Janis Joplin: “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” This advice works really well with seducing the ladies (in an HR-approved manner of course) as well as baddassing your way to the top. Isolate process from outcome = power.  In other words, Buddhism for business.  Remove all desires from yourself.  A mindset that does not focus on a specific results in the moment while still maintaining a sound longer term strategy and goals.  


–  Strong Defense – You become immune to manipulation, high pressure deal tactics, etc.

–  Peacefulness – Removes yourself from the immediate chaos by disconnecting your ultimate goals from the activity in the moment.  Makes you more effective in the moment.  

–  Separates your identity and self-esteem from immediate outcomes.  Helps you own the frame.  

–  Shields you from disappointment of momentary failures and setbacks, giving you consistently higher energy levels and psychological strength.

–  Makes walking away from uncertain, risky, and negative situations much easier.

 Step 3 –  Positive Energy Flow

 “People remember how you make them feel, not what you tell them.”  Maya Angelou

 Negativity of any kind depletes your vitality, makes you petty. Noobs failing at the game of business are marked by pettiness, gossip, hate. I know haters gonna hate, but we don’t want to be that. Winning the Game w/in the Game w/in the Game requires pure, unadulterated positivity:  Cali surfer style, “it’s all good, no worries, brah!”  What the kid’s call “chill,” which is good, versus “intense,” which is bad.  Eliminating negative energy from your life has so many benefits in promoting overall physical and emotional health, making you more attractive to other people.  It’s a multi-step process:  first clear yourself of all sources of negative energy, then develop a daily habit of keeping  negativity out.  It requires you to fully accept yourself and others around you, to release all bitterness, fear, and judgment, to forgive all those that have wronged you, including yourself and living a non-judgmental life.  St Paul has a couple things to say here.  First, he encourages us to “forget what is behind and press on towards what is ahead.”  Second, to “take captive every thought.”  To fully release themselves from the past, men need to have made peace with their fathers.  Women, to live in full positivity, need to be at harmony in their closest intimate relationships.

       “We are shaped by our thoughts. We become what we think” The Buddha

 Step 4 – Know Thyself, Be Thyself –   We are not talking about your sucky self, here, rather your best self. Figure out your strengths, forget about your weakness. Your energy level and work/life satisfaction soars, your “lose” button stops working, you get stuck on “win.”

True power comes from humility.  The Buddha and The Christ, among many other  spiritual leaders teach this.  “The meek shall inherit the earth.”  Humility means realizing the best you you  can be is you, the you that encases the unique divine spark imputed in you upon creation.  Do not idolize your heroes.  You are you; attempts to be them will only meet failure and erode your energy.  Steve Jobs is dead;  Zuck and Pincus are discredited, 99.9% of the wunderkinds from the last bubble are gone.  Emulate their best traits, to the extent they match your strengths, but do not worship them.  Also, your venture should be as much about self-discovery as getting rich.  In that way, you will emerge wealthier even if you go bankrupt.   And always be Congruent with who you are, even as you work through all this material and other leadership philosophy.

 –  Lead From Your Strengths  – Identify your organizational strengths, specialize in those, release yourself from all other responsibilities as soon as possible.  Do only what only you can do.  Don’t think you can do everything.  Specializing in your strengths will release higher energy levels and effectiveness.  You don’t have time in a start-up situation to grind out improvements in your areas of weakness (highly highly recommend spending 30 mins working through   

–  Lead From Your Values – Become an authentic leader by boldly living out your personal values in the workplace, in a way that drives your team’s success.  A far less tricky proposition than you would think.  Authentic Leadership inspires immense trust, turning teammates into comrades-in-arms willing to fight and bleed for one another.  Bury My Heart in Conference Room B

–  Team – Always be open to a team member being better than you at something.  Delegate immediately if possible.  

–  Pride/Ego – Is the root of all sorts of evil (aka suboptimal management and leadership).  Let go of yourself.  This isn’t about you.  it’s about a vision, an adventure, your team, not your own glory.  

Step 5 – Stay in the Moment – Noobs are neurotic basket cases, always fearing the future and fretting the past.  Not you, slayer of management objectives.  You are in the present, with every neuron, cell and drop of blood, sweat, and testosterone (or the female equivalent thereof). People feel more alive in your presence, because you are fully “present.”   A concept developed by the stoics, and recently plagiarized by a goofy German philosopher named Eckhart Tolle.  The idea is to improve clarity of thought by centering your consciousness in whatever moment you are in (meeting, dream session, hot date, tennis match).  Your senses and emotional sensitivity are thus heightened.  

 “Anxiety is…due to projecting our thoughts far ahead of us instead of adapting ourselves to the present.”  Seneca

 –  “We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn…to live deliberately.”  Thoreau

–  Don’t “project,” rather see what is actually there, not what you think, believe, or hope should be there.  

–  Practice self-awareness and other-awareness – you aren’t in the moment unless you can identify all parties’ subtexts, what the frame is, who has frame control, and what the competing frames are.  

–  In a meeting, be only in that meeting.  Don’t think about last meeting, don’t think about next meeting, don’t think about strategy, or goal setting, or milestones, or budgets.  Think only of that meeting’s goals and participants.  Forget that time exists.


 –  Enables deeper, easier connections with people:  enhanced networking, team leadership.  

–  Reduces emotional volatility.  Forces you to leave negative emotions at the door.  

–  Draws meeting participants into your frame.  

 “Be happy for this moment.  This moment is your life.”  Khayyam

 Step 6 — Give It Away Now –  Abundance Frame

 “To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.”  Thoreau

 An attitude for engaging people in social/biz situations where you presume you have value to share for all parties, confident that all outcomes where you are involved will provide value increase for everyone.  You approach each person eagerly anticipating that you will leave them in a higher energy state than you found them.  Network according to the Golden Rule:  seek to give, not to get.  Assume the “ whole” of business and networking relationships is always more than the “sum of the individuals.”

 “A generous man prospers.” Proverbs 11:25

 “Happy the man who improves other people not merely when he is in their presence but even when he is in their thoughts!”  Seneca


–  Networking:  Your network will grow exponentially faster, and generate much more value for you.  

–  People will seek you out, you will be included, invited more often.

–  Problem Solving:  “The universe will provide.”  Solutions hunt your problems down.

–  Investor Meetings: Eliminates neediness, which comes across as weakness.  Enables you to flip the script from prey to prize.  Also stimulates intrigue.

 Conclusion (errrr, Payoff) – Judgment – Embracing the six principles above frees your instinct and subconscious, which is far wiser than you can imagine, to guide you while leaving your conscious free to stay in the moment and fully engage people making you an inspirational leader worthy of human and financial investment.   

 “If one listens to the faintest but constant suggestions of his genius, which are certainly true, this is where his road lies.”  Thoreau

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The Playbook – Exec Summary

Winging my way to DC for the week. Beside me slumbers one of my state’s Senators. I’m from Cali; she’s our shorter one.  A row behind me, the CEO of one of the coolest media companies around pecks away at his laptop.

I just sent him the following, an exec summary of the Offense Wins More Championships Playbook. Knowing how sucky Virgin’s internet is, we may land before he gets it. Anyway, I thought you guys might want to see it even though much of it’s redundant from earlier posts here.

Ultimately, the full Playbook will be linked above next to the About tab.

Offense Wins More Championships – A Playbook for Nice Guys Finishing Last in Business

“Let not to get a living be thy trade, but thy sport.” Henry David Thoreau

Nice Guys purportedly finish last. Confused about how the world really works, they muddle along in neurotic misery ultimately taking refuge in moral superiority as a measure of last resort.

Don’t be that guy. Losing the “Right Way” doesn’t help you or your team.

There are four types of players in the corporate world. The Natural Ballers, the Wannabe Ballers, the Benchwarmer Noobs, and the Comfortably Numb. Nice Guys make up the second and third category. Wannabe Ballers who work on their game can actually end up outperforming the Naturals over the long haul. End result: Badass.

Nice Guy Wannabes, this is your Playbook.

The corporate game plays out on three levels. The first two are obvious, well studied, and hyper-competitive. The third is none of those, and where you’ll gain advantage.

G1: The Game itself. Whatever it is that you do and your team does.
G2: Politics. This sucks, and is bad for your soul and your team.
G3: Psychology. The Social Matrix where you and your team can Win Together.

Pop the metaphoric Red Pill and see the Social Matrix that rules existence. Social Dynamics controls the corporate reality, paradoxically, not power or money. Those are merely pocket change. Situational Social Status is the real currency. Attraction, Respect, and Connection – your ignorance costs you. A little knowledge in these areas ups your game considerably.

Nice Guys don’t do well because no one Respects them, and thus people (clients, teammates) are neither Attracted to Nice Guys nor have interest in Connecting with them. Yet Nice Guys spend all their time trying to Connect, and end up bitter and frustrated. This lack of Respect stems from psychological weakness. Easy fix: set strong boundaries and learn Frame Control.

Nice Guys: “We Win Together even at my expense, if necessary.”
Bad Guys: “I win at everybody else’s expense, if necessary.”
Good Guys: “We Win Together, but not at my expense.”
Great Guys: “We Win Together in time for Happy Hour.”

Psychological Strength grows as does Physical Strength: heavy lifting. Men should pursue both. Great Guys throughout space and time have left vast resources. One must merely lift the cover: philosophy, psychology, mythology, religion, neuroscience, physiology, poetry, literature, anthropology, and even the occasional biz leadership book.

Note that Nice Guys are still Guys. Great advantage can be gained by embracing Healthy Masculinity:

Strength – Effective Impact, not False Productivity.
Courage – Risk to Win, Fail to Learn.
Honor – Win Together.
Wisdom – Prudence over Fear.

Every social interaction has a Frame. He who controls the Frame controls the interaction and the outcome. The most common Frame in the corporate world is the Power Frame. Second is the Analytical Frame. Both are mostly worthless. Almost nothing gets done. Thus, endless meetings. Skip all the above.

The Savvy Player always “flips” the Frame to either Intrigue or Bro Frame. His Situational Status pops. He can take the Alpha role. People will follow. The Good and Great Guys use this advantage to lead the team to a win. In particularly tough times, the (functional, positive) Psychopath Frame works. Overtime the Savvy Player’s frame evolves to BadAss Frame.

Once a Wannabe, now a Badass, this Guy’s game finally exceeds the Natural.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We are American; time to put the work in.

Basic Workout:

Stoicism – Squash your neuroticism , which is highly unattractive. Coaches: a Roman Emperor, a Greek Philosopher.

Outcome Independence – Quit Try-Harding and eliminate your neediness, which is also unattractive and gives others power over you. Coaches: Buddha, Jesus.

Positive Energy Flow – Take captive every negative thought, releasing the nuclear power that is positive human energy. Coaches: Charlie Wilson.

Know Thyself/Be Thyself – Learn your strengths, live and work in them; pop goes your energy, crushing everything and forgetting how to lose. Coaches: General Patton and Gallup.

Stay in the Moment – Anchor the entirety of yourself in this moment with these people…massive Connection and Attraction. Coaches: a kooky German Philosopher and a Persian Poet.

Abundance – Give yourself away and get an infinitude back, lacking nothing, fearless, needless, open. Coaches: Lao-Tzu.

Note: Working out your inner-self as described above is not permission to mis-execute. Keep up with G1 (the Game, noobs): crush your goals, beat the quarter, beat the year, keep the investments and strategy going to own years 2+.

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I Wish I Was a Little Bit Taller, I Wish I Was a Baller

New blog, Day 2.

My girls are running around the hood slanging rocks (girl scout cookies – hit my pager if you need a lil sumn sumn).  Gives me time to drop more wisdom for Wannabe Ballers.

I’ve got a couple exec coaching sessions coming up.  Some media company sales dudes in LA and some Silicon Valley video game start-up geeks.  Stoked!

The sales guys signed up for the Healthy Masculinity for Corporate Purposes.  We’ll have to work cigars into that one.  The geeks get the “Soul of the Billion Dollar Deal” package.  Will be a few ladies there.  So that one will be smoke free.

Both will hit the philosophy stuff.   I’ll get to that in a few posts.  Here’s a sneak preview:  Stoicism, Abundance Frame, Outcome Independence, Positive Energy Flow, Know Thyself.  The dudes get some Nice Guy versus Good Guy thrown in, plus Its OK to Be A Man No Matter What HR and the 3rd Wave Feminists Say.  Of course we’ll respect all boundaries on that latter point.

Anyway, I say all the above to give some context for this new blog.  All my lovely, faithful readers from the original Offense Wins Championships have heard a lot of this “man up for awesomeness” nonsense before.  Here, I’ve re-skinned for my exec coaching purposes.  To the existing reflections on masculinity and philosophy, I’ll be adding some “Corporate How-to,” while dropping nearly all the male/female relationship thoughts.  So more emphasis on Framing, Frame Control, Social Dynamics for Bizness, Status and Attraction (which my astute readers will know overlaps quite a bit), Effective Pitching, Body Language, Game within the Game, Productivity vs Impact, Meeting the Quarter from the Hot Tub, Vegas for Successful Objective Achieving…

Enough with the preview reel, the show must go on:

How I Learned to Love My Inner Psychopath

Don’t be scared by that psychopath reference.  The surgeon who rebuilt your ACL is probably a psychopath.  Your CEO is probably a psychopath.  Saint Paul, Abe Lincoln, FDR, and Patton were probably all psychopaths.  The Wannabe Baller who makes the leap, does so, by tapping in to his inner psychopath…exercising cold judgement, developing social potency, fearlessness, stress immunity, impulsive non-conformity, and even a bit of coldheartedness and Machiavellian Egocentricity while avoiding the Hannibal Lector weakness for, well, nevermind, you get the idea.

How I Learned to Love My Masculinity

Now the Noobs are really freaked out.  HR does not permit discussions about gender.  But you are man.  You have 17x the amount of Testosterone as a woman.  Evolutionary Psychology hypothesizes that most great feats of humanity were/are/will be driven by man’s hard-wired survival/reproduction instinct.  So there must be something important about manliness, and progress, and civilization (which is different than culture).   Healthy masculinity builds and strengthens.  Healthy masculinity embraces conflict and challenge.  Get some.

How I Learned to Love My Inner Philosopher

You don’t know what you don’t know.  Somebody needs to tell you.  Wisdom does not chase you down the street, begging you to listen.  In fact, the opposite, nobody wants to help anybody.  People are locked in their miserable, average little lives.  They lack the will to succeed and they sure hate to see other people succeed.  Plus, orthodoxy, convention, and the institutionalized status quo are threatened by a untamed free thinkers.  So triteness and cheap stimulation are mass produced to distract and tame.  But the raw truth about you, life, and the world is out there.  The faker our reality gets, the hungrier we are getting for the real.  Hence goofy movies and books like The Life of Pi.  Ancient and not-so-ancient thinkers offer rich sources of wisdom that can strengthen our vitality and energy.  Or figure out how to thwart convention on our way to the top.


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