Extra Points: Dog Days

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40This week’s guest columnist is Captain Jack. I opted to take the holiday weekend (Super Bowl) off from writing when he asked to step in with a special message….

Dan and Barb went to a Chinese New Year party that they go to every year with friends from high school. Bella and I are never invited; which is stupid because I know there’s another dog there. This year is the Year of the Dog. It comes in a 12-year cycle and the last one was before I was born, and based on my knowledge of my own mortality, this will be my only one. With that in mind, I’ve decided it’s going to be the Year of Captain Jack!

So allow me to share with you five ways you can take part in the Year of Captain Jack to improve your life:

  1. Smell everything once. Opportunity is always there, but you have to take the time to sniff it out. If something smells rotten, kick it to the curb. Just make sure you don’t miss your chance because you’re too scared.
  2. Tell the truth. When I’m hungry, I have a certain bark; same when I need to go out. I don’t play games, I bark what I mean. Humans sometimes beat around the bush. Life’s too short.
  3. Never turn down a walk. Walk’s clear your head and offer special smells. For humans, it means exercise and clearing the decks of the stuff stuck in your head.
  4. Sleep. You’re no good working if you’re exhausted. The brain needs a chance to re-charge and re-invigorate. Dogs have known this forever. When will humans get this?
  5. Take what you want from life. Dogs don’t dwell on whatever happened last year. We don’t care what someone else might think. We sniff out opportunities and take a chance. If we fail, we go to the next one.

Look, I am only going to get one Year of the Dog in my lifetime. You humans get to use all the years. Stop wasting time and enjoy life, even in your work. If your work is fun, your life will be fun. Go chase the ball that’s thrown today, track it down, and rinse and repeat. In your world, that will lead to a lot more tail wagging.

Just me…

Captain Jack

Quote of the Week:

“Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world straight in the eye.”

~ Helen Keller

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Do you need help unleashing your potential? My mentoring and coaching program has availability. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592 to apply.

Extra Points: Unleashing Your Good

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40You’re not good enough.

Has anyone ever said these words to you? Are you included on that list?

As humans, we have rampant thoughts go through our heads as we take in and process information from the outside. All of us will fall victim to self-doubt, whether it’s manifested from inside or outside our own heads. Social media threads are rampant with opinions, especially in politics and sports. I read plenty of mean-spirited and mostly uneducated judgements of fired and hired NFL coaches that weren’t “good enough.” In high level executive board rooms, leaders of Fortune 500 companies often succumb to the imposter syndrome where they think it’s a matter of time before they are “found out” to be not good enough. Even small and medium-sized business owners must fight negative thinking so as not to allow themselves – especially in times of crisis and challenge – to think they aren’t good enough to overcome adversity.

Last weekend, a young man on the Washington State University football team committed suicide. He was only 21 years old. Everything you read about him painted the picture of a happy, gregarious, and good teammate and friend. None of us know what thoughts and demons he may have had in his head, but at some level he believed he wasn’t good enough as a person, when it was obvious to everyone else that he was. Not all self-doubt will lead to this end, but it will ultimately lead one to not fulfilling their human potential and living a life that they desire.

Former big league pitcher and Seattle Mariner Jamie Moyer was once asked about his mindset on the mound when things were going poorly. Moyer – winner of 269 games – explained that he might have the bases loaded with one out and one run already in, and the opponent’s best hitter at the plate. He would tell himself, “all I need to do is get a hard ground ball right to the shortstop and the double play gets us out of the inning.” That’s how to unleash your self-belief!

Last week, I asked if you could handle the truth, remember? Let me leave you with this today. The truth is you are good enough. That first sale is to yourself and if you have that belief, then you, your business and career, and your life will follow suit.

Quote of the Week:

“Nobody is defeated until until he starts blaming somebody else. My advice to you is don’t fix the blame. Fix the problem.”

~ John Wooden

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Do you need help unleashing your potential? My mentoring and coaching program has availability. Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592 to apply.

Extra Points: Plan B…C…and D

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40As we begin a new calendar year, businesses and organizations are fervently putting together and starting to implement plans for success. Metrics and mileposts have been set, and hopes are high for a better year in 2018, regardless of how 2017 turned out. The problem is, the majority of businesses and organizations (especially non-profit) fail to take into account one thing…how to respond when the bad thing happens. And then what to do when Plan B doesn’t work. Let’s discuss…

Most every business has plans for growth over the next 12 months. The savvy ones have strong metrics to keep track of the growth based on sales, marketing, and performance objectives. The most sophisticated companies also take time to figure out what obstacles stand in the way. To that end, they figure out a Plan B if Plan A doesn’t work. And then they figure out a Plan C and often a Plan D. Redundancy in strategic crisis planning is crucial to resilience and business continuity.

What are common obstacles your business might face to hamper your biggest dreams for this year?

A physical loss (e.g. fire) that forces your from your building. A cyber attack that compromises your data and reputation. The loss of a key employee or owner. Loss of business knowledge through lack of pre-planning and documentation. A new competitor emerges in you territory. A weather-related calamity that causes you to stop operations for an extended period of time.

While insurance may reimburse you for some of these, it’s negligent not to have a plan to immediately stay open for business to reduce the financial and emotional impact. Too much damage can result that is not protected by insurance. It’s incumbent on you to make sure your plan to mitigate the damage and reduce financial risk to protect your property, people, and profit. The consequences of not doing so will result in loss of profit, damage to people, and going out of business.

Bottom line, I believe you’re resilient. That’s part of the makeup of an entrepreneur and business leader. The problem is that if you’re a “brawler,” you might win the game but come out battered, bruised, and bloodied (bleeding profits). If you fight like a boxer – with a planned strategy that includes obstacles to success – then you’ll come out of the next calamity (and they will happen) moving full speed ahead toward higher profits and business wealth.

P.S. This concept applies to your personal life, too. What are the obstacles that can derail your personal goals, dreams, and lifestyle? You need to create contingencies for your family to assure that your personal hopes and dreams all come true both now and in the future.

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Death, Taxes, and Business Succession

20 Under 40 20_3As a business owner, you have two problems that need to be solved. First, debt does not end with death. Second, what are you going to do for money when you retire?

The answers to both are the bases of business succession planning. It’s a topic that often gets pushed to the back burner until it starts boiling over and it’s too late. As many of you baby boomer business owners are creeping towards your “retirement,” it starts becoming a more important issue. For my fellow Gen X’ers right behind in the generational chronology, you’d better pay attention because you’re time to start is now.

Let’s tackle each problem one at a time.

Problem 1: What do I mean by “debt does not end with death?” If you die, you don’t get to take your debt with you. It’s what you bequeath to someone else, namely your business partners, whomever they may be. That debt may have paid for a new building, an expansion, new product development or acquisition. Regardless of what it is, it needs to be paid and your demise will make that more difficult for someone else.

The reasons? First, you must be replaced. Someone must fill whatever role you played internally or externally. Either way, it doesn’t happen without financial or time investment and cost. Second, if your spouse is not your business partner, he or she may not want to take over your role. That means your business partner must buy them out. Finally, if there is no business partner, what’s the plan if you are no longer there? Does the burden fall on your spouse that wasn’t working in your business? To a key employee? Regardless of whom that might be, financial help to cover the debt is necessary.

Bottom line: Your untimely death exacerbates any debt left for the responsible party holding on to the bag. Leaving them without a plan and money to deal with it is negligent.

Problem 2: At some point, you’re going to sell your business to “retire,” right? Now I’m not suggesting you be put out to pasture. Retiring can mean travel, new business ventures, writing a book, or taking up a new life hobby. Retiring is just a word used to get to that next adventure, but in order to do that you better be able to pull out money to fund whatever is next.

The first problem had you dying. Good news, this one you live! The problem is how to transition out of your business and get compensated for years of hard work sleepless nights, and great success.

In the “old days,” it was more common for children to buy the family business and turn it multi-generational. That has become less common as children have found other means of making money and eschewing the thought of taking over Mom and Pop’s business. I’ve seen more cases in the past few years of business owners reaching their 60’s and desiring to transition out, but have no idea as to how or to whom to sell the business to. It becomes a new anxiety as they keep working at the job they desperately want to transition out of to start that next adventure.

Here’s the process solution to both problems:

1. Go to your business attorney and draw up a Buy-Sell Agreement. This agreement clearly stipulates what to do about money in the event of a death, disability or exit of a partner. It creates a game plan to buy out spouses and families, and deal with the financial responsibility of continuing debt for the remaining owners.

2. Fund your Buy-Sell Agreement with life and disability insurances. The agreement is nearly useless without a vehicle to fund it. Cash flow and reserves are not the answer. By leveraging the power of life insurance, a company can much more easily deal with the debt and future expenses of losing a partner or main business owner. It also allows the family to receive their just compensation for their share of the pie.

3. Buy life insurance that creates cash value. If you’re familiar with permanent life insurance products like whole and universal life, this might sound familiar. The business buys and owns the life insurance policy being used to fund the Buy-Sell agreement. When the owner decides to transition out (even if it’s the sole owner), the life insurance policy can then be cashed out and all the premiums paid over the years returned to use as part of the “retirement.” Note that this concept is more complicated in nature and you should talk with both your team of attorneys, accountants, and life insurance brokers for options and details.

Your two problems are real and they have financial ramifications for those that don’t plan ahead. It doesn’t matter your age or how long you want to own your business. Take responsibility for your debt, your retirement, and the well-being of those left behind holding the bag.

Business succession should not be left to last minute; otherwise, it becomes a crisis. Succession planning is a key part of risk management for any business. Why not start the new year off creating or improving it?

© 2018 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The Rabbit Hole

20 Under 40 20_3“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.” (Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland)

As finish one calendar year and get set to embark on a brand new one, this famous quote from the classic 19th century story about a young girl who dove into a rabbit hole chasing the white rabbit should give us all pause for thought. The reasons?

We are much different today than we were in December of 2016. As much as some people loathe the thought of change, we’ve all done it whether we liked it or not. If Alice can theorize that we are different people over the course of just one single day, imagine the change over 365 days. The events (happy, sad, and everything in between) alter our perspective; people both new and established impact our thinking and challenge us; and the opportunities for growth and resilience occurred daily whether we recognized them or not and the results and consequences changed us.

This has been a year of tremendous transition for me personally and professionally. In the last year, my wife Barb has joined my practice and works side by side with me; I’ve added two new substantial partnerships that has enhanced my work and ability to serve my clients; and my granddaughter was born and that has forever altered my view of the world. To say I’m the same today would be, well…. mad.

My dog Captain Jack relentlessly seeks out rabbit holes, likely with a different purpose than Alice. He understands that somewhere in that hole is opportunity. He may not know where the path will lead him, what (or whom) he will find along the way, and what potential obstacles lay in wait, but he does know one thing; he’s moving forward to find out.

It’s time to boldly dive into our own rabbit hole. Let’s start by exploring what the quote at the beginning means for you:

Stop focusing on closed holes. Too many people allow past failures and missteps to keep them from jumping into a new rabbit hole we affectionately call “next year.” Instead of ruminating on what could have been and constantly looking back, accept the change and seek out new adventures in front of you with the same zeal that Alice had in chasing the rabbit.

Additionally, focusing on the “good old days” gets stale and stops one from trying anything new. If there’s one thing we are learning, the world may be turning at the same speed, but innovation, knowledge, and change are racing like no other time in history. You need to hang on!
Honor the struggle. You won’t go through a full year without being tested physically, mentally, spiritually, or emotionally. Each of these are tools in the journey that help us grow and achieve resilience. Instead of avoiding them, we can accept (there’s that word again) and honor them as part of what builds us into better humans.

Honoring the struggle wards off low self-esteem because it gives credence to perseverance rather than lack of worth.

Seek out new points of view. We seem to be losing the ability to hear different and new points of view without making judgments on people. We see a Mad Hatter in our way and we dismiss them without learning more.

Holding fast to our own beliefs and only keeping company with those that agree with us is a recipe for stagnation and decline. There are many different characters that are ahead in our rabbit hole; there’s an opportunity there to improve ourselves if we allow it.

Allow time for a tea party. Life balance can get most out of balance for entrepreneurs. The reasons are many, yet the control always lies with the boss. The best way to assure that this next rabbit hole is a successful dig is to make sure you’re mentally and physically able to sustain the journey.

Poor life balance leads to high levels of stress and low levels of mental and physical health. If you want your tomorrow to be better, then save some time everyday to enjoy what you have and take care of yourself.

Fear is the real Queen of Hearts. In the story, the Queen of Hearts is constantly trying to lop off someone’s head. In our stories, fear is constantly trying to sever our spirits. It’s easy to say to not allow fear to drive our decisions and actions, however in practice we are human. Fear is innately in us to keep us safe from things that will harm us, like being burned in a fire. We’ve acquiesced to this wicked queen to allow us to fear what others might think. Having a healthy balance of the “good” fear is necessary for survival. Eschewing the fear that keeps you from unleashing your potential will allow you to consume more tarts along your way.

January is the best month to plan your journey into a new rabbit hole. Who will go with you, what will you take, and most importantly, will you be accepting of whatever comes your way? There’s a lot of uncertainty and there within it lies your adventure and your journey that will change you every day along the route.

Sounds mad, doesn’t it? Good. Because we’re all mad here…

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: The Impossible

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40This past Saturday I boarded The Santa Train with my granddaughter and family on a 105-year old train in a rural gem in our area. As we traveled the rails back at a brisk 20 MPH, I wondered about what it was like traveling on a train even more than 100 years ago just to get someplace. I thought about soldiers heading out to war, businessmen on travel, and families off to visit families or move to a new place. I tried to put myself in their place and the thought of people traveling on airplanes, communicating instantly with anyone in the world on their watches, and dropping into a Starbucks for a caramel brûlée latte to begin a ride home in a vehicle that plays music and has heated seats.

Impossible to imagine.

I the started pondering the next 100 years. What would we deem impossible? Frankly when I was a kid growing up in the 1970s, the Internet, digital music, and video calls like FaceTime and Skype were impossible to imagine. The fact that this is only 40 years ago, what does the future hold? The impossible is what’s ahead. Sadly, too many people allow the impossible to dictate their lives.

Like I wrote in my book, Unleashed Leadership, people are apt to build “invisible fences” around their lives. Due to fear of rejection, fear of failure, and fear of what others might think, they choose to eschew trying for the impossible. As we have seen over the past hundred plus years, humans can create artificial intelligence, fly to the moon, and exterminate diseases like polio.

Nothing is impossible unless you just don’t try. To live unleashed, tear down that invisible fence. Captain Jack can’t be fenced in and neither should you.

Go be possible.

Quote of the Week:

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

~ Theodore Roosevelt

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

I can help you get and your company sprint to the finish line, call me. I have ideas on how you can finish strong and start fast! Contact me at dan@danweedin.com or (360) 271-1592.