Freeze Your Cookies Off 5k

November 6th, 2012 by Rich Christiansen

What are you doing the Saturday before Thanksgiving? What’s your health and diet plan as the holiday season rolls in?

One of my teams is headed by moms, and here’s their solution to dealing with extra calories during Thanksgiving and every other day of the year too. They call themselves Cookie Athletes and they commit to workout so they can eat cookies (or pie, or extra Thanksgiving rolls, and tons of turkey and gravy, etc.) I’m starting to learn this is really a popular lifestyle–and I have to say I quite like it.

Going without treats indefinitely is not going to happen. Instead…workout. Simple. 

If you’re free on November 17th (the Saturday before Thanksgiving) Come take part in the race this team of moms put together. Run the 3 mile course, indulge in cookies and hot cocoa at the finishline, and just have fun. Additionally, a portion of every race entry goes to support one of my favorite organizations, Choice Humanitarian, the organization my teen team worked with in Guatemala

It’s a great weekend to bust out a 5K. Join us.

FREEZE YOUR COOKIES OFF 5K & COOKIE BUFFET

  • NOVEMBER 17TH, 9:00 AM
  • AMERICAN FORK REC CENTER, UTAH
  • GOURMET COOKIE BUFFET & HOT COCOA
  • PIE TASTING
  • COOKIE ATHLETE TECH SHIRT
  • A PORTION OF PROCEEDS SUPPORTS CHOICE HUMANITARIAN
  • $20 PER PERSON. $85 PER FAMILY OF FIVE. (Prices go up Nov. 8th)

 

Cookie Athlete - Freeze Your Cookies Off

The Linker Boys Return as Men

July 10th, 2012 by Rich Christiansen

Every once in a while you have joyous occasions in life. I’ve had more than my fair share in the last month or so. Between Guatemala and Father’s Day, it’s been pretty rock star. But today I’m sitting in the middle of a purely joyous moment.

Jeff Lewis just walked in the door. He’s spent the last two years in Iowa. Johnny just returned from Japan. And Scott and Wyatt both went to South Carolina. This is the first in over two years that I’ve been together here with these guys. Pure joy. 

This group was indeed my first four hires, and what we affectionately now refer to as “The Linker Boys”. They accomplished amazing things in our company Castlewave. In fact, they were kind of the secret sauce behind the Wizard of Oz and some of the things we accomplished in that organization. Castlewave was the test business when we were writing Bootstrap Business.

In keeping with this joyful moment, and now that we’ve captured all this great wisdom in one place, I’m going to ask each one of these boys to say something. Although I realize I can’t call them boys anymore. These guys are now men, as shown by their facial hair—except for Jeff and I (and we’re not talking about that!)

So here we have a snippet of advice (especially for young people or teenagers, but applicable to all) about creating business and doing business.

Johnny:
Never give up. Keep moving forward. When you wake up in the morning, remember to stay awake and not fall asleep back into the normal grind of things. Instead, always reach higher and see yourself as someone who can do something. I think when you fight and win that battle inside of your own mind, then you can win at any other battle in life.

And I’d like to add to that…Zig Zag!

Jeff:
I’ve learned that the quality of our prayers is really the biggest indicator of how successful and meaningful our life will be. So consider the quality of your prayers.

I’m Christian, my mentor is an atheist, and we work with people all over the world of different faiths. It doesn’t matter what or who you believe in–you should always call on your higher power.

And I’d also like to add to that…Zig Zag!

Scott:
One of my mottos has become “live and learn”. In combination with that Rich’s “work hard and play hard” principle. I’ve learned that life is about living and learning. Learning from our mistakes and then moving on. Also working to together and then playing hard together. It makes is a lot easier to excel and have a drive for life.

Of course, I’d like to add to that, Zig Zag. You actually just describe zig zag because we have a life balance but we push it to extremes. Cross the line of balance as frequently as possible. Work hard, play hard!

Wyatt:
Don’t be afraid of the unplanned. You’ll have lots of things planned in life and if you stick rigidly to a plan you will fail, but if you are willing to be flexible with the plan, and still stick as close to the plan as possible, while being flexible. That’s when you find success.

…And Zig Zag!

That’s wonderful and amazing advice from four young men. Watch these young men and the amazing things that they do.

We have in our office a wall that we call the “Live Strong, Die Hard. Defenders-of-the-Faith-Wall.” These four young men were the first people to have their photos posted up on that wall.

I expect amazing things from these four young men. Go forward and let’s knock it out of the park. What delightful time it is to have these little exchanges in life. I thoroughly enjoyed this moment with my young men.

Incredible Power of 1

June 11th, 2012 by Rich Christiansen

One very humble small man, wearing home-spun clothing, walked across India. Hundreds of thousands followed and British rule was overthrown. And so we see the potential power of one for good. Unfortunately, the inverse is true as well.

When I last left you we were extreme zig zagging and preparing to hike out of Havasupi Falls in Arizona. Our group waited until the sun was starting to set and we began hiking out of the canyon.  The trail is approximately 10 miles long,  1,600 vertical feet total, and it was 100+ degree at 6:00 p.m.

Throughout the entire scout trip there had been one young man who had ignored all the rules, including the buddy system rules. In fact, he took it a step further and intentionally took every opportunity to hide behind rocks, or do his own little thing.

As we hiked up the trail that evening, it soon began to get dark. Our patient, incredible ecclesiastical leader took it upon himself to watch this young man. Several times the monitor saw this young man hop off the trail, and sit down behind a bush as everyone else was passing.

I was in the very back sweeping, helping the boys who were struggling a bit coming up the trail. One of my tactics for keeping the kids going was to just start talking about what we were going to have for breakfast. Pretty soon everyone was deeply engaged in talking about their waffles stacked four deep, their eggs-over-easy, and what kind of bacon they were going to have. In the middle of our salivating over breakfast, this young man once again disappeared.

In horror our leader dropped his pack and ran back. He could not find the young man, so he also ran ahead to check with another group. No such luck. They hadn’t seen him. We figured that somehow he must have come along, so we proceeded up the path.

Finally we got to the last phase of the hike–a very tight 1,600 foot high set of zig zags, switch backs going up the face of the cliff. At this point it was approximately 10:00 p.m. and our prospects were very concerning as we still hadn’t encountered this young man.

Our leader ran ahead to validate that indeed they had not seen the boy from our group. I stayed back.

At one point we saw lights way, way down in the canyon, so I ran back down the canyon. To my dismay indeed this was not the young man or the group following us. I hiked back up.

After finding another large scout group I requested that they help scour the canyon. Then I raced back up the canyon to discover indeed he had been found.

I raced back down to call off the search party.

On the other side of the story we had some powerful “ones”. We had one 16-year-old man who, despite how difficult the trail was, carried my pack. There was one dear friend, who sat and waited for me as I was going back down the last time. There was a scoutmaster deeply concerned. There were prayers offered. Indeed the power of one is great to both extremes.

I think in all of our organizations and in all of our situations we need to make sure that we seek out the “ones” that align well, in order to get maximum enjoyment and production out of life.

I love the book “Good to Great” by Collins. One of his statements is, “the key to a successful business is getting the right people on the right bus in the right seats”. Indeed in business and in life, that is the case.

Now in the case of this young man he is learning and progressing so we can’t kick him off the bus. However in our efforts and enterprises, we really need to have people understand the implications.

In this scout scenario, hours and hours were wasted at great sacrifice to the entire group. It’s often that we forget how our individual selfish behaviors can so dramatically impact others. Our decisions have lasting impact with all those around us and it’s really important that we remember that we get people who are team players. I always say I’d far rather have B talent that give A effort, than A talent that give B effort.

The Power of Unplugging

April 30th, 2012 by Rich Christiansen

This past week I took my entire family down to the Caribbean for a grand family celebration.

My oldest son, John recently returned from two years in Japan, and my second son Matthew is preparing to go to Italy. During this short time we have when both boys are home, we decided to take the whole family on a trip to play and celebrate together.

The first day I found myself a little antsy reaching for my cell phone or other technology, but then an amazing thing happened. In no time I was weaned from the addiction and the technology bad habit. The result was that I was able to think on a deeper and clearer level.

I think so often the things we think are helping us be productive are no more than a noise or just “movement”. I’ve previously posted about the difference between motion and momentum. And indeed in creating a business the difference between success and failure frequently comes from engaging only in the momentum activities.

This week I’ve concluded that everybody needs to take time to unplugged for clarity and to get focus back in his or her life. I know I’ve come back not only resolved but also with clarity of thought in several areas that had been eluding me earlier.

Unplug. You’ll find great power in it. Give your full attention to your family and your loved ones for an extended duration. I promise it will have impact in your lives.

Avoiding the All-Or-Nothing Trap – Zig Zag Principle #68

March 29th, 2012 by Rich Christiansen

I grew up in a rural community.  My father was completely blind.  I am the oldest of four sons, and as long as I can remember I have had entrepreneurial desires.  Despite some lofty ambitions, I was never any kind of a standout kid.  I was one of those boys who was often overlooked, and I spent a lot of time hoping I wasn’t the last kid picked on the basketball team. Nonetheless, I had this incredible and deep desire to do something of significance with my life.

I remember when I was eighteen years old and just finishing up high school, I wrote down some personal goals. I had always been goal-oriented, and my mother encouraged me to write down my goals. One of those goals was to become the CEO of a major company. Even though I wrote it down, I knew that was as far off a goal as I could have set.  I didn’t think that there was any chance or any possibility in the world of actually ever reaching that goal at that time; in fact, I might as well have written that I was going to sprout wings and flap my way to the moon.  But that became a powerful goal. It was my beacon in the fog.

I was very fortunate to have been able to get a good education.  After graduating, I worked hard and had some incredible opportunities.  And I ended up having the opportunity to work as a CEO and a general manager at some large and well-known companies.  Midway through my career in corporate America, I was given a leadership role in a large, international organization.  I was eager and determined to earn my stripes, and I basically committed to do so at all costs. I was a very young general manager of the U.S. division, and I was determined to do anything that was necessary to succeed. My commitment bordered on insane. I had a young family, but I was traveling hundreds of thousands of miles every year.  There were nights I would stay at the office all night long to do what I felt needed to be done.  I was going to succeed, and I didn’t care about the costs.  Then I learned the lesson that it is not worth risking everything of importance in your life to achieve success. The division I was over became very successful.  In the middle of our run, my mentor and boss, Dr. Peter Horne, called my secretary and said, “I need to have a visit with Rich.”  That meant jumping on a plane, flying to Atlanta, then from Atlanta to Amsterdam, and from Amsterdam across the channel to Birmingham, England.  Door-to-door, this was a twenty-hour trip. When I arrived, Dr. Horne pulled me into his office and sat me down.   He then said, “Rich, we’re really delighted with the progress you’ve made in the business. Things are coming along rather nicely.” And then he made this comment, which has stuck with me: “I want you to remember one thing though, Rich. You can replace almost anything in this world. You can replace a car. You can replace a job. You can replace money. But you can’t replace your health, you can’t replace your trust relationships, and, most importantly, you can’t replace your family.” Then he shooed me out of his office, and I began the long journey home. 

Those twenty hours, which I spent alone on a very crowded airplane, gave me plenty of time to think about what Dr. Horne had just said.  Most of my thoughts centered on my wife and children.  For years I had been telling my wife, “This next project is a big one for me.  I am going to give it my all for six months, so don’t plan on seeing much of me.  But once I finish it, things will be different.”   The six months would pass.  I would complete the project, and then a new project would come along and I would start the cycle all over again.  Those six months had turned into years as I kept promising, “If I give my all to this for six months, then we will have it made.” As we crossed the Alantic, I reflected on a trip I had taken to India some months before.  When I got home, all of my sons and I came down with whooping cough, or pertussis.  We had all been immunized, but somehow we contracted this miserable illness.  It was terrible.  I remember coughing so hard one day that I literally vomited, but I lacked the discipline to take some time off from my work to get better and help my wife with our sons.  My youngest son at the time was Nathan.  He was less than a year old when we all got sick, and it was life-threatening for him.  In fact, he ended up in the hospital, where my wife took care of him because I was too busy.

Flying home, I realized I was falling into the “all or nothing trap,” and I resolved that I was going to do better as a father and husband, and when I got home I made it a point to gather my young sons together, give them each a hug, and tell them I love them.  But when I went to pick up Nathan, he hollered and screamed.  As he pushed me away, I realized he did not even know who I was.  At that moment, I realized that achieving my goal of being a CEO was not worth losing the love of my family.  And I began to change both my priorities and how I actually lived my life.

Staying out of the Weeds – Zig Zag Principle #56

January 5th, 2012 by Rich Christiansen

Staying out of the WeedsWeeds are diversions, inefficiencies, and even short-term successes that distract you from the course you have set for yourself.  Weeds can be either negative or positive forces.  They may take the form of being stuck with a large team you just can’t find a way to keep motivated.  They might involve becoming so mesmerized with the profitability you’ve achieved that you forget to move on to your next step.  Your personal weeds might have to do with a tendency to continually react to everyone else’s demands instead of moving toward your goal.

Just as important as establishing the values that will serve as your road map is your need to set up the guardrails that will keep you out of the weeds.  The guardrails you’ll need to keep you out of the weeds are very personal and will differ according to your circumstances and objectives. Everyone should have guardrails in place for the various parts of each zig and zag so that you are always in control of your financial number, your allocation of time, your duration of time, and your financial targetYour other guardrails will be determined by factors such as your tolerance for risk, your family’s tolerance for risk, your value system, and what portion of your personal network you are willing to expose to your endeavor. 

I’m going to share some of my guardrails, but remember that these are my rules, not yours.  I share them only to illustrate how important it is to give careful, specific thought to your guardrails, rather than attempting to put them in place when you’re in the middle of heading over the cliff:

·                     I will not jeopardize the financial stability of my home or family.  I am not going to mortgage my house for my business.

·                     I like to keep my teams small (under fifteen people).

·                     I will be very careful in taking venture capital.  I want to retain ownership in my companies.

·                     I must control the finances of my business.  

·                     I will not sign personal guarantees on a business I do not personally control. 

·                     I will protect my personal network. 

·                     I will not get involved in a business that goes against my personal moral values. 

·                     I will not do anything illegal or unethical.

·                     I will not work with people I do not enjoy.  Whether it is a customer, a vendor, or an employee, life is too short to work with miserable people.

My list is actually longer, but these are a few examples of my guardrails.  If I find myself getting near the edge on any of these, my wife, my business partner, or my executive admin each knows me well enough to tell me I am starting to cross the line.  And I expect them to not stand by silently.

 

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.

Strengthen Your Business by Strengthening Your Marriage!

November 4th, 2011 by Rich Christiansen

 

Strengthen your business by strengthening your marriage!Have you ever thought how closely connected success in your business and success in your marriage are?

I have, and I am convinced that when I am happy at home, I am more creative at work. I have more energy. I am definitely more productive, and I seem to make more money.

My dear friend Dino Watt and his wonderful wife Shannon pointed out this powerful concept to me recently. They have a company called the Business of Marriage where they help people learn to strengthen their marriage without sacrificing business success.

In short, they take the best systems and practices used by successful companies and help you infuse them into your marriage. This will help you have more love, passion and fun in your relationship. It’s really a unique concept that is revolutionizing the traditional way to overcome your marriage challenges, and it aligns perfectly with Zig Zag Principle number 10: avoiding the all-or-nothing trap.

And now Dino and Shannon have just released a FREE four-part video series called Marital Revolution, and we want to give you access to it. Just click here to see what it is all about. You can thank me later.

You need to act quickly though because they have only given me permission to send out this information until midnight on November 22nd. So don’t wait! I can’t believe they are giving away this much content, some of which their mentoring clients have paid up to $5000 to learn.

I’m watching the videos, too, so come learn with me how to strengthen your marriage and your business.

 

Upcoming Speaking Event

October 6th, 2011 by Rich Christiansen

By the time you’re reading this, many of you will have gotten your copy of The Zig Zag Principle. Yippee! I am thrilled to have the book released! Now all of you can read it and use it to improve your business. Thank you for your support, and good luck!

I have good news! This November 4 and 5, you have a great opportunity to catch a glimpse of the life balance The Zig Zag Principle is all about. My good friend Dino Watt is putting on the event—Grow Your Business without Growing Apart event in Sandy, Utah.

I will be speaking about how to find true balance between your family life and marriage and your work life and entrepreneurial dreams.

The event is geared toward women, but couples are encouraged to attend. You can register and read more about it here. General admission (husbands are free) is $100, but we have a special deal for all of you Zigzaggers! If you register before October 21, you can use the coupon code “marriage” at check out to get a 50% discount!

If you’re still unsure about it, check out this video to learn more about the sort of things Dino will talk about. It’s really great content that will make all the difference for you, your business and your marriage.

Prosper: Create The Life You Really Want

September 30th, 2011 by Rich Christiansen

Next week is the week of good books! The Zig Zag Principle is releasing Tuesday, and my good friend Randy Garn is releasing his book Prosper—Create The Life You Really Want next week as well. I’m excited for both events because I love a good story about success, especially when it features zigzagging entrepreneurs.

Randy and his co-author Ethan Willis are zigzag entrepreneurs. They have worked in the eCommerce, real estate, investment, and the personal development sectors; zigzagging their way to success. Garn and Willis’ new Prosper Book is a great read because it shows people how to find prosperity and still maintain a balance in life.

Life balance is hugely important whether you’re an entrepreneur or not. It’s something I preach and strongly beleive in, and it’s just one reason I think this new book is important. Within the pages of Prosper Book you willl learn the following skills and techniques for finding prosperity and life balance.

   1. Find your personal Polaris Point:  What is guiding your life?
   2. Balance money and happiness: Get your Polaris Point and your living in alignment.
   3. Earn from the inside out: Mix your passions and your profits.
   4. Focus on what you already have: People who emphasize what they already have, usually end up with the most.
   5. Create and commit to a plan: Decide to live the life you really want.
   6. Take profound, continuous action: Persist, persist, persist.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…right now is a great time to be involved in entrepreneurship! Now is the time to get educated and take your destiny into your own hands. Entrepreneurship is your ticket to prosperity. Check out Prosper—Create The Life You Really Want and learn how to control your prosperity and maintain your life balance.

Also remember to take part in the fun events we have scheduled surrounding the launch of the The Zig Zag Principle.

What is the Obelisk in Your Business?

August 19th, 2011 by Rich Christiansen

This past week, I have been on a much-needed rest in Europe with my beautiful wife. I had an amazing experience in Rome and there was one object in particular that captivated my attention. I was so fixated on it that I couldn’t get my brain off of it, even late into the evening. I wasn’t fixated on the things that you would expect one to ponder after visiting Rome.

Of course we were fascinated with the Sistine Chapel, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and the Colosseum. Each was equally captivating and intriguing to me. But the one thing that struck me like no other was the Obelisk in the middle of St. Peter’s Square—the most famous Obelisk that the Greeks had originally captured from the Pharaohs in Egypt.

As I was looking at it and thinking about it, I considered that indeed this very Obelisk once stood over the Pharaohs in the height of their reign in Egypt. They were the supreme rulers, only to be conquered and have the Obelisk taken by the Greeks, and later the Romans. The Romans placed it in the middle of the Circus of Nero. They held chariot races around this very Obelisk. They thought they were invincible and the Obelisk was a sign of that power. With that power they crucified, burned, and tortured the Christians around their Obelisk.

Ironically, about 300 years later Constantine declared Christianity a legal religion and now the Obelisk sits in the Vatican—the headquarters of the most famous religion in the world.

That very same Obelisk, around which Christians were tortured, became the place where Catholics (believing they were invincible) turned and tortured Protestants.

Now when I look up on top of that Obelisk, I see the old Egyptian symbols, but more prominent is the gold cross adorning the top of the once Egyptian Obelisk. As I gazed up and then contemplated the Obelisk’s history, I had two major thoughts.

1.    It is vital that we steer our businesses in a deep legacy and tradition. That helps us endure. Tradition is what helps sustain and grow roots that penetrate deep.
 
Tradition is also part of our firm foundation and value system discussed in The Zig Zag Principle.

2.    My second thought is more meaningful and impactful to me. I think it is vital that we actually recognize how superficial and intangible many of the things that we espouse to really are.

That hunk of rock is going to be sitting somewhere as a great sign of the power of someone for thousands of years into the future. Our own transient little rocks can be ever so fleeting.

My final thought and bit of advice is this—there are multiple ways that we can live our lives. On choice is to be power hungry, arrogant, and eager to wrestle all the power you can. But I contend that there is a more meaningful way to live life. I suggest we create long term, meaningful, and lasting trust relationships with those around us. It’s fine to appear a little vulnerable and susceptible at times. I would rather live my life that way.

I do believe that we have purpose beyond this life. When the time comes I believe we’ll actually find a much greater level of happiness and joy if we led a meaningful life, rather than a life of seeking after a power rush.

So in your business, make sure you have something to fixate your attention and effort on, but don’t let it be based on a flimsy facade and transient power that will come and go.