Blowing Kisses to Lauren – I Have Faith in our Youth

December 27th, 2011 by Rich Christiansen

On any given night there are anywhere between 5 to 15 young men at our house for dinner. We manage our home not by control systematic mechanisms, but by total chaos. Last night was the ultimate joy and experience of not only chaos, but just a real, joyful experience. All of you who know me, know that I have an incredible, intense passion for Nepal.

There has been one family in particular that I have become very bonded with, to the point that I consider these young men and young women my children. We first went to Nepal in 2001, met our Nuwang, brought her back to the U.S., raised Nuwang Sera Sherpa as our precious daughter.

Several years later we took our oldest sons, John and Matthew, to Nepal. They became dear lifelong friends with Tashi and Tenzing Sherpa. Indeed this week our ultimate dream was realized as Tashi and Tenzing have done very well in school. They have followed my education requirements and are now here in the United States. Tashi arrived about a week ago and was able to come to our home for the first time, last night.

He will be going to Snow College next year with his brother Tenzing. As everybody heard about it, all of our wonderful friends and the wonderful friends of our children gathered together to meet Tashi and Tenzing and to celebrate. At the top of the list were Scott Harward and Wyatt Earnst, who were John’s dearest friends growing up. Our favorite thing was when Scott would fling open the door and say “I’m Home!” that is exactly what he did when he came over.

Last night we had a huge, blow-out game night expecting Tashi to invite a young lady named Lauren to join us along with a handful of friends. What we thought would be five or six individuals turned out to be 19 young men and one young women, Lauren. As each young man would walk in the door my heart would swell with joy knowing that that was a strong, determined, intelligent, capable young man and I would add the count for Lauren saying, “Now you have 12 adoring fans Lauren, 13, 14,” and the count went until we hit 19.

We had a joyful night of eating pizza, playing games, interacting with these young men and I want to say this boldly “I BELIEVE IN THE FUTURE OF OUR YOUTH!” There are more qualified, capable, incredible young men and at least I know 1 young women out there that will make a difference in this world. I know that things are challenging and this diversification into an international economy is tricky and scary for many people, but I want to, with boldness and with confidence say, “I BELIEVE IN OUR YOUTH!”

I believe that there is brightness in store for everyone. I believe that there is enough positive energy and goodness to solve our problems. I think the next major challenge that we have, as a society, is to end poverty–to bring equality to all the world. We can make the world a better place, especially with the positive influence of our youth. I look to the youth with great confidence, because I observe them everyday! I love those 19 young men who gathered in my home last night. And what a delight it was to also have one beautiful young woman join the celebration.

Building Your Guardrails – Zig Zag Principle #55

December 22nd, 2011 by Rich Christiansen

 

Building Your GuardrailsThe guardrails you create must be closely aligned with the values you set in chapter 3.  You need to have people in your life who will tell you out when you are out of bounds.  I have a good friend who was a successful and well-known college basketball coach until he got embroiled in some politics and lost his job.  We were talking not long after that, and he shared what I consider to be a very profound insight.  He said, “Rich, when I was winning championships, everyone laughed at my jokes.  Now they only laugh when my jokes are actually funny.”  You need someone in your inner circle who knows you and who you trust to tell you if your jokes are funny or not. 

 Alex Mendozian is a teleseminar trainer.  We had discussed the possibility of working on a project together.  Before we began, he called me and said, “Rich, I have some good news and some bad news.  I’d really like to work with you.  That is the good news.  The bad news is before I do, I need to have an intervention in your life.”  I pushed back, thinking, “What is he talking about?  I don’t have a drinking or a drug problem!”  He continued, “Yes, you need an intervention!”  He then got my wife and his executive assistant on the phone and explained he was having this intervention because I had to quit saying “Yes” to everyone and everything.  Warren Buffet once said, “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.”

Sometimes, in your zeal to reach your beacon in the fog, everything seems possible.  It’s a time when you’re generating a lot of ideas.  It’s a time when, out of necessity, you need to fire, fire, fire, and then aim.  I refer to this part of zig number 1 as the time I have to weave gold out of straw.  During this time I may not have a lot of resources, and I may find myself holding things together with duct tape and bailing wire. As I’m trying to get something to work that will generate cash, I find myself saying, “Yes, yes, yes, no; …yes, yes, yes, maybe.”

Once I get to the next zag, I have to create systematic and organized processes so I can hire employees and teach them how to make the business work.  During this time, I find myself saying “No” about half the time.  Part of that involves learning the discipline of delegating and letting others do the work for me. 

Getting to the third zig demonstrates that I have achieved success by reaching cash creating an organization that is working.  Now I need to scale it.  This is a much more controlled phase of the process because I do not want to destroy what I have just created.  I finally have all of the gears meshing, and I now need to figure out how to scale the business so it will generate income independent of my direct involvement.  During this period, I find myself needing to say “No” far more often. 

Another guardrail you need to put in place is identifying and empowering those people in your life who will help you say “No” and who will let you know when you are heading out of bounds.  For me, those people include my wife and my executive assistant, both of whom are excellent at letting me know when I am crossing the lines I’ve established.  My children will sometimes even tell me when I am out of line—and I’ve learned to listen.  My business partner is another person I make sure I listen to.  Unfortunately, it’s rare that your subordinates will point out when you’re heading toward danger.  Some see things quite clearly, but many are either making sure they look good in your eyes, or they are afraid of your reaction.  If one speaks up, listen, unless it feels like they’re stoking your ego. 

 

Surprise Work Trip

December 20th, 2011 by Rich Christiansen

One of the traditions that I have began with my children is a sheer delight. Just before they get ready to permanently leave the home I take them on a surprise “work trip”. So far they haven’t really figured out exactly what this will entail.

This weekend I was able to continue this tradition with my second son Matthew—who is simply an amazing young man, and someone that I thoroughly enjoy being with.

Two weeks ago I made arrangements and then told Matthew, “I have a really nasty project I need to have you help me with.” Being a very dutiful and good son, he said, “Dad, I’ll be delighted to help.” I had him block out Friday at about 9:00 p.m. and all day Saturday. When he showed up I told him to make sure he brought his warm jacket and tennis shoes, because we would be pretty active. However, I had secretly loaded our golf clubs in the trunk. We got in the car and I headed south for a surprise golf trip.

About halfway to St. George, Utah, the destination of our gold expedition Matthew still had no idea where we were going and he finally asked, “So Dad, what are we going to do?” Then I sprung it on him and he was ecstatically excited!

We had the most delightful day bonding and spending time together.

I remember when I started this tradition with my oldest son John. He really loved musicals, so we loaded into the car and headed north. I played the music to Wicked as we drove. It wasn’t until we got all the way to Salt Lake City and pulled into the airport parking lot, that he realized that I was taking him on a trip. We flew out to Los Angeles to see Wicked.

This tradition has created surprise and delightful memories that the boys will continue to talk about. It is important that you also do this in your work environment and for yourself too.

I often comment that we are nothing more than Pavlov’s Salivating Dogs. Indeed we have to give rewards and feed that inner animal. Surprise and delight go a long way in helping to get yourself loose, fluid, happy, and in the right, positive mindset. Not to mention—it’s just plain fun.

There is nothing better than the delightful surprise that feeds a life full of good memories and passion. Far more powerful than handing someone a stack of dollars is helping to make a meaningful memory.

Please make sure that you do that in your business, because it really is about the memories. It really is about the experiences that make it meaningful and lasting. Go forward and motivate yourself and your team and have a blast doing it!

The Business of Marriage

December 15th, 2011 by Rich Christiansen

Anyone who knows me personally knows how important marriage and family are to me. Anyone who reads my blog knows that by now too.

My children and especially my beautiful wife are vital to my happiness and every success I’ve found.

Like most of you I too have blocked out my calendar to spend the holidays with my family exclusively. But before I wind things down here at the office I want to pass on some information about an amazing workshop designed exclusively for married couples.

The event is called, The Business of Marriage Relationship Seminar. It is being put on by an amazing couple Dino & Shannon Watts. If you attended The Zig Zag Principle launch party you will remember Dino as the smart, exuberant, and hilarious emcee.

I encourage you to attend, and if possible book before tomorrow night.

Until midnight December 16, 2011, you can get 75% OFF this live, 3-day event.

Grab your tickets here, and save 75%.

On the site you can watch an informational video from the eloquent Dino Watts. In addition to the 75% discount on the event, Dino is giving out five Holiday Gifts:

- VIP Seating at The Business of Marriage seminar. 
- 2 tickets to pre-event session
- Recession Proof your Marriage, a 68 page e-book 
- The entire Marriage Mastery 6 audio library (in .mp3s)
- Marriage Mastery companion workbook (.pdf)

So hop over to Dino’s site, learn more about The Business of Marriage Seminar, and hopefully I’ll see you there.

My 1st Mentor – Alan Hall

December 13th, 2011 by Rich Christiansen

Rich:

I’m so excited to be here today with my first mentor Alan Hall from back in the Netline days. You’ve heard me talk about Alan. Alan is an amazing individual. I’m so grateful to have him in my life. He is indeed an amazing individual and an example of what I hope to be in twenty years.

 

Alan you are now giving away everything you make! You’re promoting entrepreneurship and helping people’s lives. Will you talk a little bit about your work?

 

Alan: Well, it’s important for everybody to understand this is about stewardship—we’re stewards of resources. Somehow we accumulate wealth, but then wealth is really for us to give it away. To give to those who are of need. We all get enough to take care of our basic needs and then the rest outta be given away. That’s what we’re all about.

 

Rich: One of the philosophies that Alan has, is that the best way to take control of your life, and I agree, is to create a business. Not only does it impact yourself, but it impacts many people around you too.

 

Alan: Oh yeah. We’re looking for people all over the United States who are ready to start a business, and we’re here to support them! Obviously with Rich’s great knowledge, together we have teamed up to help make people successful. So go start a business! America needs you now.

 

Rich: That’s wonderful advice from a wonderful man. Look for more to come! I’m going to start highlighting Alan in future posts and tweets. Watch for Alan’s example. He’s done it the proper way. There are a lot of individuals that live and “it’s all about me”. But, Alan is the example to me; what I want to become like. Go forward and do good in this world. Please look forward for more to come from Alan.