When Do You Figure It All Out?

When do you have it figured out?

When do you have it figured out?

When I was younger, I’d meet business professionals and business owners and I’d ask myself, “I wonder when they figured it all out?” I found myself wanting to know what they knew.  When did it click?

I paid very close attention to their success (or perceived success in my mind) and wondered exactly how they got where they were and if the path was repeatable.  What did they do?  Who did they know?  What books did they read?  How did they choose to spend their time?

Now looking back on my foolish and much younger self, I found the answer to the question.

When do you figure it all out?


The answers is never!  You never have it truly figured out.  Those that say they do are either completely satisfied with everything they’ve ever achieved, or they’re naive to the competition lurking in the weeds waiting to snatch up their precious market share because they’re still hungry.

The more I spend time with other high achievers, the more I learn about their quest to learn more and to deliver a better solution, no matter their craft.  What also stood out to me is the overwhelming number of people who say they didn’t have all the answers when they began.  They really didn’t have any answers, but they started and they learned.

Their lives are filled with the same fears and lack of understanding mine is, but they attack the fear. They take a chance and understand the worst that can happen is they start over.  Following the likes of Grant Cardone and Tony Robbins has taught me many things.  First off, they successfully attack opportunities with massive action.

Massive, determined action

Massive, determined action

Secondly, they successfully embrace the culture of continued learning and new challenges.  They thrive in uncertainty and most are ok with failing as long as they learn something in the process.

Contrast this with the average or mediocre (I hope every time you hear these words your body shakes with disdain).  Challenges cause the mediocre pain, fear, and drive the person to quit.  They live in the comfortable middle where the only challenge that exists is figuring out what label to put on their boredom.  These people have it figured out!

Are you trying to figure it out today for yourself?

Wonderful.  My advice to you is to stop figuring and simply START.  Start your path in a direction and see where it takes you, but 100% don’t be afraid of the ninth step when you haven’t taken the first.



Start Today. Not Tomorrow

ACTION ITEM: The more you start, the more comfortable you will be operating in the unknown and uncertain waters of achievement.  Start.  Start today and stop trying to figure it out!

Earthquakes, Magnitude and Success

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 11.51.17 AM

Earthquakes, Magnitude and Success


Do you know how much more violent a 4.0 earthquake is compared to a 5.0 earthquake?  What about a 7.0?

It may seem, simply by looking at the numbers, that a 4.0 quake would produce a similar but slightly less devastating result than a 5.0 quake.  However, this isn’t anywhere near the truth.

As measured with a seismometer, an earthquake that registers 5.0 on the Richter Scale has a shaking amplitude 10 times that of an earthquake that registered 4.0, and thus corresponds to a release of energy 31.6 times that released by the lesser earthquake.

The number of earthquakes registering 2.5 – 5.4 is estimated to be 30,000 annually.  Conversely, the number of 5.5 – 6.0 quakes drops to just 500 per year.  That’s less than 2% of the lesser magnitude in scale.

Why is this important to my readers?

Because I see a powerful relationship between mediocrity and 30,000 quakes per year.  No one really ever feels the efforts of these actions (or earthquakes), because the magnitude of the efforts are weakly measurable at best.  Check out the image below to associate a visual to what I’m discussing.


I ask myself, “How many daily activities would I label as: Not felt, Minor, Small, or even Moderate in magnitude?”

Even better follow up, what are my expectations for the outcomes of these activities?  I’m guessing they don’t match.  Maybe the image and corresponding labels below will help better paint the picture.  I love pictures and colors so this one really hits home.


The reason I chose to write about this topic and how it collides with success is because I was listening to Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk.  He talks passionately about cashing in on your talents and passions by getting all-in on a topic and executing fearlessly.  His well-pronounced goal is to own the NY Jets.  Not a small goal, and definitely one where massive action and focused energy will need to be invested over a long period of time to achieve it.

The magnitude of our outcomes (and success) is closely related to the investment we’re willing to make.

If I’m not willing to invest a great deal of effort and energy into a project, business or idea, then my results WILL BE (100%) limited to the bottom end of the magnitude scale.  Many goals, multiplied by little effort, eat up massive amounts of your time and energy for minimal outcomes.

However, lets consider the highest magnitude.  Who are those individuals experiencing massive success?  They are labeled in the chart above as “Outstanding” or “Extraordinary.”  What do they have in common and how do they spend their time?  Also, notice there are substantially fewer of these super successful people in volume when compared to the mediocre many.  Probably less than 1% of the population.

I don’t think this can be understated.  Little goals, limited effort, and the minor impact outcome are related.  No one feels a minor quake, and 30,000+ happen every year!

ACTION ITEM: I’m personally doing an audit and taking a look at the aspects of my life in which I feel like I’m creating a very minimal impact.  The next choice I must make is to either eliminate the activity or refocus and rededicate my efforts.  Not all efforts deserve the same attention and energy.  I hope this audit will also serve you well.

The WHY Behind A Keen Mind


I started this blog 10 months ago for a reason.

Do you know what this reason is?

Start With Why

I just finished reading a great book as part of a mastermind group.  The book is Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. This book, by Simon Sinek, outlines the very simple, yet difficult statement, “People don’t buy what they do, they buy why you do it.”  The illustration above is a simple outline of this principle.  A principle he calls, “The Golden Circle.”  It is a principle I’ll never forget.

If you’re a subscriber, I hope you find my “WHY” in line with my content.  If you’re new to A KEEN MIND, welcome!  Here is what’s in store for you when you subscribe.

Why: I believe in strategies helping people to establish a positive mindset and more achievement in their lives.  Whether the goal happens to be: a raise, a promotion, a calmer more centered mind, or more security with their bank account.  I believe in the continued pursuit of achievement and learning and will share my journey with my tribe.

How: I will consistently deliver content, not withholding my own faults and challenges with my readers.  I will share openly and honestly my strategies to create trust in the tribe, in hopes the tribe will grow and share on its own.

What: My content will start as a blog.  In the future, I do not know where it will go, but it will always be grounded in serving my WHY.

My starting goal was simple.  Help one person achieve their pursuit.

ONE PERSON.  I thrive in hearing about a reader that gets what they were looking for (I save every email).  I love hearing about the content I’m sharing.  How it changed the way the reader or others around them think and feel.

I accomplished my goal.  It’s time for a much bigger goal!

My New Goal: Help 10,000 people.

If you think I’m a little nuts, thank you!  I LOVE IT.  Better question is how the hell am I going to achieve this?  The answer is astonishingly simple.

One post at a time.

It only takes one well written strategy, posted here, shared by one of you, to catch fire and change hundreds of lives.  The tribe will grow, and I will continue to focus on my WHY!

ACTION ITEM: I’ve got to write my next post!

Losers React, Winners Anticipate

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 9.11.24 PM

Tony Robbins – zackeeney.com

Which one are you?

This extremely powerful advice was shared by the one and only Tony Robbins.  I just heard this on the Tim Ferris Show Podcast and had to dive into more detail.  My addictive personality is really tuned into Tony right now and I loved the simplicity and realness in this statement.

Losers react, winners anticipate.

Maybe we don’t want to be called a loser (who does), so lets put this into a different context I’ve written about before.  Very simple question.

Do things happen to you, or because of you?

There is a great deal of shared value in the bolded statement and question above.  But, instead of casting a shadow of name calling and labeling, lets look deeper into each action and see how it makes you feel.  Better yet, lets paint a real world scenario for us to live and accurately depict two sides of the same story.  What this does to a person emotionally is very eye opening.

THE STORY – You have a client.  A client with high expectations of your work and your results.  You have an upcoming meeting scheduled with the client in 48 hours.  Both of you are aware of the date, time and location. How does this scenario play out with losers and winners?

LOSER (Reacts):

  1. Lacks preparation and insight (knowledge)
  2. Spends no time looking for solutions and ideas prior to the meeting
  3. Your relationship resembles more of a punching bag than a resource
  4. You leave with tons of work to do because you showed up with zero plans
  5. Never asks the questions: How can we provide more? How can we do better?
  6. Likely all of this is the client’s fault, certainly it can’t be you. This client can’t be pleased!
  7. The client controls the entire agenda (you have zero control)
  8. No matter what, you can’t get what you want out of the relationship
  9. How do I get all the bad clients?

WINNER (Anticipates):

  1. Prepares for multiple angles and directions the meeting can go
  2. Delivers fresh new ideas to the client without their asking
  3. The client places a great deal of value and trust in your relationship
  4. You leave with a plan and likely some (if not most) of the work already done
  5. Asks the questions: What more can we be providing? How else can we help you?
  6. The winner frequently demands more of himself and those around him
  7. You call the client, with a plan (and a great deal of control)
  8. Get what you want on your terms
  9. Loves the challenge and opportunity the client presents and can’t wait for the next opportunity

 Now the million dollar question. How did each scenario make you feel?

The loser feels like a weak-minded loser.  A weak, unenergized, unorganized, negative person.  To me, it is exhausting and draining just reading through the scenario.  IT SUCKS!  But yet we see it every day.

Contrast this with the feelings of reading about the optimistic winner.  An energized, enthusiastic, go-getter and nothing can stand in his way.  He creates his own luck.  This is invigorating.  My eyebrows lift in excitement as I was making my way through the list.  This guy is BADASS!

ACTION ITEM: Anticipating can be a learned skill.  The only investment needed to obtain this skill is focused time and energy.  If you can think about it, you can anticipate it and create it.


Why Learning to Drive with Two Feet is Imperative


Think I’m a little goofy?

GOOD. It’s actually metaphor, but before we get there think about this for a moment. You’re in the cockpit of the sports car of your dreams.  A sleek, sexy, red, engineered speed machine with a full tank of gas and only you in the driver seat. Complete freedom is at your fingertips and feet.

But here is the problem. Actually it’s likely one of two problems.  One, you can’t get the car out of “P” (for park) because your foot is firmly planted on the brake. Or two, you stomp on the gas so hard and never let go resulting in the immediate crash of your adrenaline chariot.

What do you do now?


Had enough of the metaphor yet? For me personally the car is my brain (my idea and execution engine). The challenge for me (and maybe you) is keeping the engine revving at an efficient enough RPM to keep the wheels a turning, while being in control enough to react to the changes life throws at us.

The specific reason I relate the metaphor to driving with two feet is because at equal points in our day we may have to use both feet to drive at the same time.

One foot (the brake)– to slow down or stop. Continue asking questions, and dig deeper into a solution so it doesn’t spiral out of control producing too much speed crash before the idea can mature. Or quite frankly to punt on an idea and not waste the fuel on unneeded acceleration.

The other foot (the gas) – to speed up. Activity, energy, passion, relentless pursuit of goals, and inspiration.  All great things to use the accelerator pedal for.  Sometimes massive acceleration is needed to gain the momentum needed to see progress begin.

Either way, neither action is final and at multiple points throughout the day you’ll be using both feet to keep your momentum moving in a positive direction.  What I do recommend is not applying max pressure to the brake and the gas at the same time. This will cause paralysis, exhaustion, and (continuing with the metaphor) an empty tank.

This is my challenge every single day. My mind races and I’m in need of both pedals all day long. I’ve come to realize I thrive in this scenario. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Now that I’ve been able to rationalize and simplify the available next steps, they don’t feel so paralyzing.

Either choose the gas or the brake.  Choosing neither is the worst decision and as the decision is out of your control.

ACTION ITEM:  Do what’s needed to maintain momentum and make progress.  Even small progress is progress in the right direction.

Counting Your Currency

There are two types of currency being traded in our lives.


Cheddar, coin, dough, green, cash, Benjamin’s.  Pretty obvious right?.  I spent the first decade of my career working to accumulate this currency.  I counted it, I helped make it, created it, I saved it and every day I search to find better ways to invest it and grow it for my family’s future.
I don’t think money is a bad thing or the pursuit of money is a bad thing.  I think money is a great tool and every day I learn it is actually more of a resource.  Have I been greedy in pursuit of money?  Maybe?  When I was younger money was a way to keep score and I’m an achiever.  I like to see the scoreboard.  Today I still like to make money, I just frame it as a tool/resource to open up more doors and experiences in my life.  However, money alone will not bring happiness, but if I can choose between being poor and happy and financially comfortable and happy I’ll choose the latter.
Any ideas on the second type of currency you traded today?
Any guesses?


Time is the most valuable currency we own and the crazy thing is we each get the same amount to use every single day.  I’m sure you’ve heard this, so I won’t belabor the point.  Actually I will, I would like to drive it home like an ice pick into the icy side of a frozen mountain pass.
Everything changed for me on July 30th 2014.  This was the day my son was born.  I’ve learned so much in the three months since then I can’t even believe it took me this long to understand it.  Today everything revolves around the question, “What is the best use of every second of my time?”  Where can I get the most time with my son?  Where can I get the most time with my wife and family?  How can I maximize my time to spend with cherished friends?

Where can I invest my best strengths and talents to generate the biggest return for everyone involved?  Everything I think about now revolves around time investment and return.  This is much different than simple bottom line return (scoreboard & money).

What I encourage you to do is think about the relationship of money, freedom, and time in your life.  Have you earned enough money to have the freedom should you choose to exercise it RIGHT NOW?  Can you leave what you are doing this very second to be with your family if needed or pursue another opportunity?  Can you take that vacation you’ve been talking about to create a lifetime of memories?  If not, it’s time to start thinking about how your currency is being spent or find ways to make more money today to get closer to freedom.

Whatever you choose, don’t be a cheapskate.  No one likes a cheapskate!

Your resources(time and money) are in constant competition for your willpower and your goals.  I’m asking you to consider more “experiences” instead of things.  I’m asking you to save a little now for the overwhelming pleasure to pursue freedom if you choose later.

The iconic Steve Jobs says it perfectly.

Steve Jobs - Experiences Quote

Steve Jobs – Experiences Quote

ACTION ITEM: If you’re not happy with the track you life is on I’ll ask you to evaluate to simple resources.  How are you spending/wasting money?  How are you investing/wasting time?



Would You Rather Be A Guru Or A Proven Learner?

Screen Shot 2014-11-08 at 8.50.02 AM

The word guru carries less weight in my mind than ever before.  When I hear someone labeled as a guru my spine shivers and I immediately put my guard up.  Maybe this is because the word is one of the most overused words in our vocabulary.

So what worries me so much about the word guru?

I believe many using this word use it to either: describe themselves in a higher being, or describe someone on their team (sort of inside baseball) to make them seem smarter than they really are.

The word “guru” also states to me the person has already figured something out with their jedi-like mind tricks.  Guru is supposed to reflect a teacher, and today I feel like the term is often misused as “already figured it out intelligence.”

Here is the challenge I see with this.

The world we live in is moving and evolving so fast.  I don’t need a guru, I need more learners who can adapt quickly.  I need to surround myself with people who can evolve, and reverse engineer plans and strategies for success.  The really talented people of the next 10 years will adapt and evolve to be successful in multiple endeavors because of their learning style.

I don’t need people who’ve already figured it out with their labels and you don’t either.  They can stay stuck in the rut of what they already know and their “guru-ism” of a topic. This leads to death of teams, brands, and businesses.

I need people willing and not afraid to tackle new challenges, new strategies, and create new problems.  I need a learning mindset flexible to the challenges of the future.  These people will continue to grow their minds, experiences, and new opportunities will continue to present themselves to these individuals.


ACTION ITEM: You have to commit to a life of learning.  If you want to be a guru, please be a guru of 19th century history because it will never change.