Get to Know Yourself

So much of life is choosing between things that are good and things that are the best.  

-Arnold Lovin

Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle

You are in business.  You are a business.  Your Name, Inc. is in the business of marketing and using its skills to add value to the market place.  And I have come to believe that the skills you have are one of the key factors in your ability to accumulate money.  Rabbi Lapin suggests creating an inventory of your skills and how others might find them useful.  I have also come to believe that experiences are the best way to gain skills.

Experiences can come in many forms.  The best, I think, are the hands on sort.  Build something or what have you – right.  But they can also come from watching someone else.  Or being intentional in talking with people and really listening when they tell about what they have done right and wrong.  I have this saying that a smart person can learn from their experiences and a wise person can learn from others’ experiences.  I am always working to become the latter – seems faster and better and more interesting.

Shortly after I was married I had several things going.  Too many things.  To those that cared about me it was quite plain.  They all seemed to wait patiently for me to come to it.  When I did, it was of course at the counsel of my most trusted advisor.  Vice Chairman of the Board of Michael Somers, Inc.  My wife is wise and beautiful and good and strong.  In her way she helped me understand I would be more useful to others if I focused.  I am so very grateful for Jamie.  She grounds me in a powerful way.  We make a powerful team.

When the things in my life were on the chopping block one of my mentors, a sitting Board Member, Jake Davis, suggested that I put all my things in order of where I was growing the most to the least and axe the ones on the bottom until I got to a point where I had enough margin to be most impactful. What a fantastic way to approach this situation.  I love how this process ties into Your Name, Inc.  Where are you growing the most?  Where are you building the most skills?  Where are you increasing the most in your ability to service the marketplace – to serve others?

-A takeaway from Thou Shall Prosper by Rabbi Daniel Lapin

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject would be the coolest.



Extend the Network of Your Connectedness to Many People

God wants you to love other people.  You do so through service.  And He rewards you for it.  

-Rabbi Daniel Lapin

big tree root

 Rabbi Lapin explains that the Jewish word for love is, Ahav, which literally means: to give.  God wants us to love people by serving them and He rewards us for it.  So what does this have to do with networking?  Networking is meeting and learning how to serve people.

When I was going through my undergraduate studies networking fell into the bucket of ‘so overused it was beginning to lose its meaning’.  Or at least that was the case for me.  It seemed like it was in every top ten list to being the next king of the moon or whatever equally capable success article I was reading.  Luckily, one of my entrepreneurship professors cleared it up for me.  Dr. Noel told our class that networking is connecting with someone else so that you know what value they bring to the market and they know what value you bring.  In other words, you know how to help them and they know how to help you.

Once I had this understanding of networking, the advice I kept reading in business articles to ‘work your network’ finally made sense.  Help people.  Zig Ziglar says “You can get whatever you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”  I think he is right.

In his book, Thou Shall Prosper, Rabbi Lapin says that reward will follow in proportion to the lack of self interest we project while forming relationships.  In other words, are you here to help me get what I want or to have me help you get what you want?  One of those is a lot more attractive.  I will let you decide which one is which.

A takeaway from Thou Shall Prosper by Rabbi Daniel Lapin

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject would be the coolest.



Believe in the Dignity and Morality of Business

“Take out a dollar bill and look at it.  Now pat yourself on your back because you are looking at a certificate of performance. If you did not rob or steal from anyone to obtain that dollar, if you neither defrauded anyone nor persuaded your government to seize it from a fellow citizen and give it to you, then you could only have obtained that dollar in one other way—you must have pleased someone else.”

-Walter Williams

The sun on dramatic sky over sea. Natural background. Forces of nature concept.

The setting is an elementary school classroom.  The teacher asks the children what they want to be when they grow up.  The first to answer, a little girl named Suzie, says ‘I want to be a nurse.’ – the class nods and smiles as if to approve her choice.  ‘What a nice little girl,’ the teacher thinks.  The second to answer, a little boy named Tommy, jumps up and shouts as if he can not hold it in any longer, “I want to be a fireman!” – the class thinks “good for him”.  And then there is the third child to answer.  Little Billy, feeling a sort of lumming pressure of an anticipated pending response timidly proclaims, “I want to be a businessman.”  The class is taken back, aghast.  What evil is this child conjuring?

Ok, perhaps, just maybe… I went a little too far.  Yet still the point I am trying to make, through the subtle art of exaggeration, is that I have come to believe and perhaps most will admit, that more would question little Billy’s morals than little Suzie’s or Tommy’s.  Why is that?

In Thou Shall Prosper, Rabbi Daniel Lapin draws from accumulated Jewish learnings to lay out his Ten Commandments for Making Money.  Rabbi Lapin believes the first and most important commandment is to believe in the dignity and morality of business.  His point: if you believe business is evil, you will have a hard time acquiring money.

Thinking about the classroom scene above and how subtlly the immorality of money and business is woven into our world – I wonder if it is worth considering why more of our youngsters do not aspire to go into business?  How come business is not viewed as a means to serve others?  To earn certificates of performance?  How come each dollar is not viewed as a testament of our ability to please others and make their lives better?

A takeaway from Thou Shall Prosper by Rabbi Daniel Lapin


What are your thoughts on the dignity and morality of business?

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject would be the coolest.