The Future…(along with 4 things I LEARNED this last year, and 3 things I’m going to DO this next year)

“The best way to predict the future is to change it.”

–George M. Church

I’m drafting this short blog on the last afternoon of the year.

It gets kind of weird for me around the holidays, especially as it gets closer to New Year’s Eve.

I get reflective—think about the year that’s slipping away before my eyes. It starts with an hour-by-hour thing. Then it’s minute-by-minute. When the ball finally drops in Times Square, I count the seconds, just like you do.

I’m the type of person who likes to take inventory of everything.

My mind goes to what I did RIGHT during the previous year. Then my brain takes me down that road of what I may have done Wrong…or didn’t do at all. I beat myself up a little. Maybe you do that too.

Then I wonder…

What will this next year look like? What does my immediate future hold? What can I change?

And the truth is none of us know what the hell will happen to us this next year.

We don’t have a crystal ball. Oh, we can plan…and we should plan, but like the saying goes, “You PLAN and God laughs.” Now don’t misunderstand me at all. I’m not advocating for just sitting around and waiting for life to HAPPEN to us. Not at all. I hate that way of thinking. All I’m saying is that we don’t have any idea of what life is going to throw at us, both personally and professionally.

So I’m in a wonderfully positive, but also in a slightly reflective and melancholy mood. This complex disposition usually leads me to grab my MacBook and begin writing something.

So here goes…my last piece of writing for this year on New Year’s Eve day.

I’m going to share 4 things I learned (or re-learned) this year, and 3 things I’m definitely going to do this next year.

What I LEARNED This Year:

  1. Great mentors and COACHES are 100% necessary for success

I’m not suggesting that mentorship is “nice to have,” or it “helps,” I’m saying that without great coaching—the right coach for what you are looking to learn and accomplish—you have a better chance of failing than succeeding. Without a superior coach, the best scenario that you can hope for is to experience a very long, painful and tortuous route to your end goal, stumbling and getting bloody all the way. Without proper mentorship, you will be relying on what you know, and worst, what you think you know. If you cross the finish line at all, you may be so beat up and emotionally spent that you won’t have enough gas in your tank to get to the next level.

In my opinion, (and you may disagree, but I don’t care cause I know I’m right, LOL) the coach you want to engage MUST have already accomplished what you are trying to do. Any other coach or mentor is simply a pretender—really more like an imposter—and they have no fruit on their tree to share with you. Everything they tell you is THEORY based, or worse, simply bullshit.

Also, any coach or mentor you select MUST be in alignment with your objectives and values. If they have a different agenda or timeline then they may be hurting your cause more than helping it. The danger here is that if a coach or mentor isn’t 100% in your corner (slightly different agenda) you won’t realize it at first. By the time you figure it out, you may have already invested yourself in some of the wrong habits or directions. Depending on how long your financial runway is you may run out of time to lift off and get to your intended destination.

If you are 50-something years old (like me) and you’re not already financially free (Thank God I am) you may be running low on time. And that’s not a good thing. You actually have very little time to figure things out and implement a plan. The information and mentorship you seek and receive needs to be 100% pure.

  1. There are things I’m just NOT WILLING to do any more

There are things I was willing to do when I was younger and had more energy that I’m just not willing to do any more. There are things I was willing to do (or say) ten years ago that don’t necessarily fit my plan or value structure today. What I’m saying here is that you need to figure out what you are willing to do or say to accomplish your objectives. It’s nice to have lofty goals, but are you really willing to do what’s necessary to reach them? If the answer is “YES,” then great…push forward. If the answer is “NO,” then congratulations for being honest with yourself.

That’s all I’m saying here…just get real with where you are at in your life and make sure that your objectives align with with what you’re willing to do.

  1. You must select the VEHICLE(s) you represent carefully

The vehicle or organization you represent is an EXTENSION of you. More importantly, the organization you sell for (or affiliate with) is a DIRECT extension of your reputation. Because of this, my strong suggestion to you is that you take great care in vetting out and selecting the companies you associate your good name with.

I will also say something on this topic that may be controversial to some. (Especially you loyalists) It is my belief that virtually NO corporate C-Suite can be trusted to have your personal best interest in mind. Actually, if you break it down logically and recognize whom the C-Suite is really serving in today’s complex world, it is rarely the salesperson. Let me say it differently…it is NEVER the salesperson in today’s business atmosphere. LOL!

Look, the point I’m trying to make is, set down your red cup of Kool Aid, take off your rose colored glasses and drink some black coffee.

  1. Sunken cost BIAS is a bitch!

You may, or may not have heard this term before. Plain and simple, sunken cost bias happens when you continue to throw good money (and time), after bad at a situation that is draining both of those valuable commodities. The reason(s) you suffer from sunken cost bias can be complex, and you’ll have to be your own shrink on this one. I will tell you that the results of refusing to break away from something that isn’t working for you is usually kind of ugly.

If we aren’t willing to take a careful look at what factually may be considered a poor investment of time and money, and then STOP investing in that thing…well, some people call that the very definition of insanity. But some of us are so stubborn. Salespeople, entrepreneurs and leaders tend to be some of the most stubborn people. We tend to be less than willing to give up or “quit” on something. We say to others (and ourselves) “Hey, I’ve invested so much in this ____ (fill in the blank) already…if I give up now…I can’t give up now.”

I get it.

But your time, energy and capital is limited. Would you keep sending your hard-earned money to an investment advisor that was losing it for you, week after week, month after month, year after year? Of course you wouldn’t! What if he or she said to you, “Hey, we’ve already put $100,000 into this investment. I know it’s not working, but let’s just keep pouring money into it and see what happens, because we’ve already gone this far!”

I think you get my point.

If something isn’t working, be willing to take a step back.

Don’t be a fool!

Okay. Those are some critical things I learned or re-learned this year. Some of these points were learned by observation (of others) and some were experienced personally.

Now…

Here’s What I’m Going to DO This Year:

  1. I’m going to add NEW people to my Life’s Board of Directors (LBoD)

It’s time for me to add a few new people to what I call my Life’s Board of Directors. (LBoD) These are the 4 – 6 people that I will go to with the most important challenges, opportunities or decisions I my have in front of me at any given time. I preach to others that they need to create a LBoD for themselves. Now it’s time for me to expand my own personal LBoD and get some new mentorship voices in my head.

  1. I’m going to be VERY careful of WHO and WHAT I invest myself in

As I have recently completed another trip around the sun, it dawns on me that I’m most likely closer to the day when I croak than to the day that I was born. (My life is more than half over) Not a bad thing. Not a negative thing to me in any way because I’m such an angel that I’ll probably go straight to Heaven, where there is reportedly no IRS. This startling realization of the statistical proximity I have to my own death has me assessing who I should invest time with and whom I should not.

Because I have begun to value my time more and more as my life advances, I have an overwhelming urge to guard my time and use it wisely. In other words, I’ve made a conscious decision to invest my time with positive (and growth minded) people only—people that I can enrich (make better) and that can also possibly enrich my life. My thinking transcends personal relationships and extends itself to business affiliations also.

I’m not suggesting I’ll become snobbish or isolated in any way. I simply wish to have more meaning when I connect with someone. I just don’t want to hang out or take a meeting with people when there’s no real purpose or positive end result for either party. It is also my desire to carry this paradigm over to business associations or projects. When it pertains to time invested in business ventures, organizations or vehicles, I plan to be very critical of where my time, energy and money is placed going forward.

Again, I simply don’t feel like wasting my time…rather, I want to INVEST it wisely.

  1. I’m going to place extreme FOCUS on HAPPINESS

Everybody wants to be happy. We all deserve to be happy.

I find a lot of US (hard cores sales, entrepreneurial and leadership geeks) tend to drill down on our stated objectives—goals—end games, without stopping to smell a few roses along the path. We really know how to focus and grind on stuff for long periods of time. We will work ourselves right into the ground. If it’s not our organizational hierarchy placing pressure on us (“produce or lose your contract”) then WE place unreasonable pressure on ourselves because we’re fiercely competitive and we take incredible pride in what we do.

Ultimately, we fail to stop and create enough space to ask the question:

“Is our state or intended destination a place that will create true happiness for us?”

In other words…

“I’m climbing some sort of corporate ladder, but is my ladder leaning up against the right wall?

I plan to ask this question often this year. The answer will inform what I need to change, add or stop regarding my personal life and business ventures.

So, the future.

I think about it a lot.

I certainly can’t predict it, but I can learn from the past and then think about things in a different way. These different paradigms may cause different actions that change my results in the future.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading about the four things I learned or re-learned this past year and the three things I’m going to DO this next year.

I’m optimistic about this year.

One more thing…if you want to know about a really cool (but exclusive) group coaching program that I’m registering a limited number of people into, hit me here: jbuzzello@me.com and just tell me you’d like to know more. I will place you on an advanced interest list.

Hit me here: jbuzzello@me.com

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Joe Buzzello is a nationally recognized expert on the roles of direct selling, entrepreneurialism and leadership. He has built legacy sales teams and experienced unprecedented success in individual and business-to-business markets as well as the network marketing industry. Joe has held executive level positions for Fortune 500 companies, but he has never strayed far from the art and science of selling, which he loves. In early 2014, Joe began writing, speaking, and coaching through his platform, www.joebuzzello.com and The CAP Equation.

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