As a small business coach, I am asked for small business tips all the time. “Tip” is a code word for advice. I don’t give advice; me giving advice inherently would be bad advice.  When faced with a decision, asking for and taking advice (see it’s meaning here) plants a seed that will grow and ultimately destroy your small business. Imagine, something as simple as taking advice from a fellow small business owner resulting in losing everything you have spent your life working for?

If you wish to avoid that, keep reading. Before you do, check out last weeks blog, so you are clear on what the word “decision” means when I use it.

This week’s blog will explain what actually happens when you ask for and give advice, by explaining something called the drama triangle. Once I challenge you to consider your use of the word “advice”, as well as asking for and giving it, I will coach you through some practical application (from my own experience) on how to empower yourself, ask the right questions, exit the drama triangle and enter the empowerment triangle. When I applied this concept to my business, my life, my family and my role as a man with a purpose, it completely empowered me in all aspect of my life.  It will do the same for you.  This is not my advice or opinion, it is a fact.

Tweet: Never ask for advice, never give advice, as @TheRock says “it doesn’t matter what you think!” Your advice only disempowers the advice seeker

When faced with a challenge, problem or opportunity, most people ask for advice. Asking another person to give you their opinion about what you should do, choose, apply, or take action on puts the accountability on them to fix your problem.  When this person gives you advice, they become the hero, who has now fixed your problem.  By the way, there is usually a villain who created the problem.  This scenario is called the drama triangle.  The underlying theme is each person not taking ownership, acceptability and responsibility for the role of solving an issue.  The issue must be solved, and the intention to solve it is good.  However, the method creates drama, lack of accountability and the cycle perpetuates whether the advice is good advice of bad advice.

Let me share an example.  As a small business coach, I work weekly with CEOs and small business leaders.  I was on a call with a CEO when he asked me “what I thought” about the comp plan for his sales team.  My initial reaction is to answer his question, that’s what I do, I am the ‘fix your problem/answer guy’, right?  Wrong, I am a coach, not an advice giver.  Fixing my clients problem makes me the hero and him the victim.  The villain is this evil broken comp plan that is wrecking his business.

drama triangle

It doesn’t matter what I think about his comp plan.  It is not my company, not my comp plan, not my sales leader.  My responsibility is to inspire and ignite my client to make a decision about what the actual issue is (which by the way, had nothing to do with his comp plan). If the comp plan actually was the real issue, it is still not my place to give my opinion about something that is not mine to begin with.

I challenged my client to stop asking questions about the comp plan, and tell me why that question matters anyway.  As we discussed this, I reflected some of my clients language back to him on our Skype call.  I basically asked a question, he gave me feedback, and I shared his language back to him. I typed his responses word for word on our Skype chat.  I asked, ‘Why does the comp plan matter?’ Then I asked, ‘Can I share an experience with you?’ Since I have experience with comp plans, not that it matters in this case, as well as what the real issue was (his behavioral and language patterns and programming), this makes me relevant to speak into his life.  Since he pays me a boat load of money to coach him, I would be doing a great disservice to him if I did anything other than coach him.

After a challenging, emotional and energy packed exchange, a breakthrough happened.  The breakthrough involved what he as a man believes with 100% absolute certainty surrounding his worth to the world, his family, his business and community.  The initial questions he needed advice on was a symptom of a bigger disease: a massive disempowering belief surrounding his worth.  If I would have fixed his comp plan problem, hung up, took his money, and then felt awesome about being the hero, I would have caused him massive damage.  Instead, he hung up the phone inspired and ignited to go win again.

This all sounds great in theory.  None of this story matters unless you can practically apply it.  Here are a few action steps to shift out of the drama triangle and into the leadership triangle if you are ever asked for advice.  These are the exact things I did in this scenario and what you must do the next time somebody asks you for advice.

  • Ask yourself: “Why is this person asking me for advice?” Before you open your mouth, respond to the text, email, etc., consider this: do you have any credibility and real world experience surrounding the real issue to speak into this person’s life?
  • If the answer is yes, acknowledge and appreciate that they came to you and then decide if you accept the responsibility at the time to help them. If you a accept, continue on, if you do not, make it clear you do not accept the responsibility at that time.
  • Realize the initial question, most of the time, is not the real issue. There is always a question behind the question.  Your role as a coach is to dig and find the real issue.  You do so by implementing the following:
  • Reflect and repeat the question back to the person asking it to clarify that you understand the question.  Example, “So you are asking me what I think you should change about your comp plan?”  Once there is clarification:
  • Ask Why, “Why does the comp plan matter, and is your question really about the comp plan?”  Keep asking why.  Never stop asking why. At this moment you will feel a sense of frustration, energy shift, and challenge being injected into the conversation.
  • Remember that humans all respond differently to challenge, confrontation and problems (I speak a lot about this in my “Your Leadership Language” Interactive Keynote). The conversation will play out based on how you and the person you are coaching respond to confrontation and challenge.
  • Continue to dig until the root of the problem is exposed. Think about each why question as a small digging away of dirt from the base of a tree until a root is exposed.
  • Identify the root as being empowering or disempowering.  It is your duty to coach, not be the hero.  You must lead the person to the root.  Many times you must circle around the tree and approach it from different angles until the person sees the root.  Once the person sees the root, ask them to decide what they do with the root.
  • If, and only when, they decide to cut out or keep the root, hold them accountable to doing just that.  Never do it for them.  Give them the ax, let them swing it.

Remember this:

Tweet: Never ask for advice, never give advice, as @TheRock says “it doesn’t matter what you think!” Your advice only disempowers the advice seeker

7293412522_d279a58710_b Decide right now if you are ever again going to ask for advice and/or give advice? Remember last weeks blog. Draw a line in the sand.  Make a decision, right now.  What did you decide? What does this decision look like moving forward in your identity as a man/woman, your life, your family and your business. Share your thoughts below…………………………………………

It doesn’t matter what you think! Share your experience instead. If you are not getting caffeinated with me on a weekly basis, click the cup of coffee above to do so.

new-year-resolutionsDon’t be fooled by the New Year’s Resolutions crap out there.  Statistics state that between 8092% of New Year’s Resolutions fail. The reason: there is a large difference between choices and decisions. Understanding this difference will allow you to avoid this dangerous trap, and set you up for true success.


Understanding does not matter unless you combine it with implementing massive practical action. This blog will show you how to understand this concept, as well as give you practical insight to apply to your life. This will ultimately determine if you win or lose in life, and what legacy/story you leave behind.

Everyone carries emotional scars, hurts, baggage, pain, and deep wounds.  What are yours? Have you been abused or let down by somebody you trusted?  Have you loved with all of you and in return been stabbed in the back (or heart)? Has someone you were close to been taken from this world too soon? Have you gone all in with a business idea only to have it crash, burn, fail and spiral you into massive debt?  Did you not receive that promotion or close that deal you know you deserved? Did you awake Christmas morning to read a message from a great friend whose cancer has returned?  Are you that friend who sent the Christmas message?

If the answer is yes, you have made choices and decisions surrounding these events. What are they? Do you understand the difference between the two?  Are you constantly finding yourself chained by destructive thoughts, behaviors, patterns and mindset as a result?  Do you find comfort in alcohol, anger, drugs, rage, hate, eating three pizzas, pornography, guilt, pills,  _______(fill in your blank)? If so, how is a New Year’s resolution going to remedy all of that?  The truth is, a resolution, when approached as merely a choice, will not remedy that at all.

Tweet: January 1st is just another day, New Year’s resolutions quickly fade away.

A resolution is typically a choice to momentarily behave differently. We make choices constantly throughout the day.  Example, I chose to drink café con leche (spanish coffee) and eat tostada con tomate (spanish toast) every morning.  I have the option to chose between various food and beverages every morning, and choose to go Spanish style.


A New Year’s resolution is a choice inspired by a social construct around time (Dec 31 to Jan 1) and a sheeplike mentality to follow the masses.

Unless a choice becomes a decision, it will not become an ingrained and wired habit. That is why the gym gets quiet in mid February.

Using my above example, I decided (based on continuing to choose) that Spain will permanantly play an important role in my life.  It has impacted me so greatly that I made the decision to share it with others. That is part of the legacy I will leave behind that is greater than me. Now, what was initially a choice to eat spanish breakfast every morning, is no longer a choice.  It is a result that happens naturally based off my decision of my legacy, including sharing my Spain story to inspire and encourage others. The consistent daily choice that created inspiration to decide has now become an unconscious action, habit and state of being. New Year’s resolutions (which start off as choices) do not evoke this kind of action, habit and state of being unless they become permanent decisions.  Are you making choices or decisions? How are these making an impact in your life?  Are you arriving to your destination and vision, or are you massively off course?

Choices are not sustainable for the long term, but when they become a decision to do life a different way, a huge shift takes place! These decisions create habits that become ingrained patterns of behavior, and as Tony Robbins says, “decisions shape your destiny.” What decisions have you made that have shaped your destiny?  What course are you headed on?  If you continue to do life the way you do life, where will you end up?  What is your trajectory?

If you made a New Year’s resolution, excellent!  Don’t feel bad about me saying that resolutions are crap.  Just make sure your resolution does not end up as only a choice that the masses also make, but rather a decision inspired by something greater than you. If it is not, it will fade and fail. What are the daily habits and actions that are driven by decisions you have made?  If these decisions have sucked, thus creating bad habits and patterns, how will you focus on changing the pattern (decision), not just the action (choice)?  Only when that happens will you truely accomplish a resolution.

Now that the concept is clear, here are 13 practical action steps to apply today. These steps, when acted upon will change your habits, patterns and ultimately decisions, as well as tactically arrive to your legacy.

  • Evaluate what choices and decisions you have made and where they have taken you in life.  Where will they continue to take you?  What will happen if you continue down this path?  What will your story be?  Write it down.
  • You must decide to do life differently-until you do this, habits will not change.  What do you decide today will either exit or enter your life.  Write it down.
  • Why this decision is bigger than you, and how will it positively impact the world and those you care about? Write it down.
  • Set your Destination and vision: your life in the present, assuming you have arrived to your destination. Write it down. Here is an example of M & E Painting’s Vision. It was written in 2013, as if it was 2016.  Today I reflect on that vision being accomplished.
  • Create and write down an action plan, step-by-step to arrive to your destination.  Just like directions to drive from your home to the grocery store, map out each step you must take to arrive from your current situation to your vision.
  • As Grant Cardone says, “you will understate your goal by 10, and will underestimate the work required to accomplish it by 10”.  Set your goal 10x as big, and plan to work 10x as hard to hit it.
  • Turn the action required into a promise to someone you deeply care about.
  • Name a “real” accountability partner to hold you to this promise, and make sure they agree to do so. This person does not necessarily have to be the person you made the promise to. A real accountability partner will do just that, hold you accountable. They will smack you in the face (literally, figuratively or both) if you are not DOING, what you promised when you promised to do it.
  • Get to work doing what’s important now. Right now! What is the most important thing you can do at the beginning of each day that will step-by-step slowly take you to your destination. DO NOT make a to do list, as these remind you of all the pieces of the elephant you are about to eat. Instead, schedule the task (piece) in your calendar and do it first thing in the morning. Now, schedule the next task (your next “what’s important now”).
  • Rinse and repeat. Keep eating that elephant.
  • Expect to be massively imperfect in your action. Keep working.  Remember that an object in motion will continue to stay in motion unless another force stops it.  Do not be, or let others be, the force that stops your motion and action.
  • Do not measure daily.  Rather measure over longer time periods such as months, quarters and years.  People overestimate what they can do in a day, and underestimate what they can do in three years.
  • Find, subscribe to, follow, or connect with a source of inspiration and encouragement such as a blog, video series, book, event, and people.

These are facts supported by human behavior and motivation, not my opinion. I know with absolute certainty this is true because I have made dozens of resolutions (choices) that have faded, and I have decided to changed patterns in my own life (decisions) that have shaped my destiny. None of my decisions happened on December 31/January 1 of any year. Remember this:

Tweet: January 1st is just another day, New Year’s resolutions quickly fade away.

Wait a minute, I just realized I need to stick to inspiration, encouragement and practical wisdom, not poetry. This is what happens when I get super caffeinated early in the morning.  Happy 2016! Make it a year of decisions, not choices.


This blog is dedicated to the friend who sent that Christmas message.

If you want to keep getting caffeinated with me, click the coffee cup to the left to receive my latest blog posts, podcast episodes, speaking event updates and videos.  I will send you emails weekly that pack a punch of awesomeness!

Stock Photography

Having access to incredible stock photography is hard to come by. Let alone stock images and graphics that are free.

That is until I came across Pixabay and FreePic. Both sites offer free pictures and graphics where you can use them commercially. There is a catch though. The only catch is that you have to link back to the site where the image resides. With that said…

Here is a list of the images that we’ve used from Pixabay:

The team of people with which you build your company will be the lifeblood of your organization. Every human being has great potential within them waiting to be unleashed. Imagine them doing so while they are a part of your company. What would if look like if every team member you had was sparked with that moment of inspiration during his or her time with your organization?

Here are 9 tips to motivate your team members to become phenomenal leaders within your organization:

1. Stop calling them employees- Dave Ramsey once said, “Employees come to work late, leave early, and steal from you while they are there.” Companies that have thrived have built teams of people working together around a common goal. Start looking at your ‘employees’ as team members rather than subordinates that work for you. I hate the word ‘employee’ and never use it (other than for the blog title).

2. Speak their language. I mention this tip repeatedly in other blogs and with coaching clients. We are all wired to behave differently. I call this the language of human behavior. Some people are introverts, some are extroverts; some are initiators and some are finishers. Some are assertive and while others are more passive. To the degree you can understand your team member’s behavioral language and then speak to that, you will have high chances of success and connection with them. Here is a FREE assessment you and your team members can take to determine your behavioral languages.Team Quote

3. What is the one big goal that, if you could help them accomplish, would completely change their life in a phenomenal way? I started doing this with my team a few years ago and the results have been astonishing. Conversations, motivations and their drive in business and the company all stem from this one goal. By helping them and giving them resources to connect to and accomplish this big personal goal, they become more inspired and driven in the work environment.

4. Share in the profits. Something I implemented early on in my business was profit sharing. When a team of people comes together to help you and your company make a profit, sharing in it is one of the ultimate rewards. Sharing and being generous with your team will show that you care about them more than the money they make you. Because of that, they will continue to make your more money. Profit sharing does not always have to be monetary either. Think about taking a company trip or retreat, having a big celebration, or purchasing your team member something they have always had on their bucket list.

5. Have them be part of a bigger purpose- People do not work for a company because of the job description, they do so to be part of a bigger purpose. When you can align your purpose and direction with that of your team members, you will gain high levels of loyalty.

6. Show it don’t say it. It is one thing to tell a team member, “I appreciate you”, and it is another to do it. Make sure that you share your appreciation in words as well as in deeds. Also understand how your team members receive appreciation, as this differs from person to person.

7. Have their back inside and outside the office. When your team knows that you are more than a boss, that you have their back in relation to their goals and their life, they will have your back as well.

8. Help them build and create a vision- many great business leaders have discussed the importance of vision. Entrepreneurs and CEOs are creating and executing on their visions now more so than ever before. Now, flow that vision down through your organization. Help your team members cast a vision and help them see what life clearly looks like 3-4 years down the road. Then tie their vision for their life into your vision for your life and the life of your company. When there is alignment and congruency, greatness will follow.

9. “I never feel like I am coming to work”- over the years I have implemented these strategies and concepts and the repeated sentence I hear from my team is that they, “I never feel like I’m coming to work.” When you start to hear your team members say this, you know you are doing something right!IMG_3655

So what are your thoughts? I would love for you to post your comments and feedback below. Have you implemented any of these strategies? If so, what has worked? What else are you doing in addition to this?