Depression is a dark and frustrating place to be in no matter what you do for a living. Entrepreneurs face a unique set of challenges when depressed. That's because for many entrepreneurs, their personal mental outlook directly affects their business outlook.
When you're depressed, you're not productive. When you're not productive, your business suffers. When your business suffers, your depression deepens. And the cycle continues and can become more insidious with every iteration.

Entrepreneurs know that their business successes are personal successes -- and their business challenges are personal challenges. The phrase “it’s not personal; it’s business” doesn’t apply to them. And so a personal struggle like depression leads to business challenges

Depression in the life of a business owner is so often hidden away and internalized-- after all, you're never allowed to show that you are struggling.

I was at a conference recently where a successful entrepreneur was being interviewed about his success and struggles. I've heard these type of interviews so many times that they have become repetitive and boring but the reason this one stood out was his vulnerability and transparency about the struggles he had in the past and still has today but he often pointed out that even while he and the business were struggling they had to put on a good face to the community, clients, vendors and especially the investors and the bank. he used the phrase that running a successful company depended on using a smoke and mirrors approach that hides any weakness. You can't run a business without putting a good face on things, and as some people put it, "fake it till you make it". This makes us hide any struggles that we have. Part of what gives depression its power is the shame -- and the need to conceal those feelings to give off the aura that everything is awesome, business is great and I'm doing fantastic. We desperately need openness and transparency but the balance between transparency and the need for "smoke and mirrors" is a hard balance to find when running a business.

Yet how can we deal with this problem if we can't acknowledge that it exists? Brad Feld, a early leader in the tech startup world, admits his own struggles with depression and tells us that depression is very common in the startup realm. Though often internalized and hidden away, despite the way we increasingly admit and even celebrate failure in the startup community, we still don't like to acknowledge depression as a struggle “For some reason we’ve embraced failure as an entrepreneurial trait that is okay,” he wrote, “but we still struggle with acknowledging and talking about depression.”

As a business coach I have dealt with so many business owners who deal with depression, most would never admit it or call it that or even realize it. But as their business coach, I am the one person who they can be transparent with and openly admit that their business/life sucks. They tell me about the nights lying awake staring up at the ceiling, indigestion boiling up their esophagus worrying about their business, their family, their employees families, their own life. They tell me how bad the collitus is getting, how they are desperately looking for a way out that they aren't sure exists.

And as business owners you can't get around the tie between personal and business, your business struggles will cause you to struggle personally and your personal issues show up in the business.

So how do you deal with it when it's so intertwined? Where do you start? Does fixing the business fix the personal issues, or does changing the business owner's mental state change the trajectory of the business?

There is no "one way." You can tackle this from either end, improve their business-- then it's easier for them to deal with their personal health issues, help them see the truth instead of the lies that they are believing and their business likely will start improving.

But this type of situation really speaks to the need for a coach, someone that they can be transparent with. Someone who can look at their situation without emotion and fear, who can see reality and communicate that reality back to them, someone who can spot the obvious to anyone else hole in the boat that is sinking their business.

Better than trying to tough it out and endanger the life of the business on which many lives are depending, including your own. Better than internalizing the struggle and making your life suck and possibly shorter. Find a business coach who has been down that road before with all it's craziness and try opening up and have them lead you on a healthy path out of depression for both you and your business.
Consider this problem for a moment: 

Simplicity, Leonardo da Vinci

This is fun to do, but it really illustrates a good point about how we tend to over-complicate things. When you figure out the pattern in this picture, it is a "palm slap to the forehead" moment where you realize the utter simplicity of the pattern. A friend from down under calls these moments BFO’s (Blinding Flash of the Obvious).

I have seen so many business models; in particular, those put together by people with advanced degrees where I walk away thinking, “He is obviously really smart, I just can’t seem to grasp the business." With some very rare exceptions, the overly complex plans never do work out (unless it is in a movie where the more complex the plan is the better plan... think of any of the Ocean’s 11 plots).

But in business, simpler is almost always better. As Leonardo da Vinci once said, "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." In business, you don’t get extra points for the difficulty of the plan, you don’t get points for style, you don’t get points for sophistication. You get points for doing the simple things well.
Are you giving your clients too many options?

Are you trying to cover too broad of a market?

A very successful investor one time said that unless you can illustrate what a company does using a crayon and sheet of paper, don’t ever invest in that company.

Try explaining your business on one sheet with a large marker… can’t do it? Then try again until you have simplified it.

I have previously written about my own struggles with depression and the particular struggles that entrepreneurs have with depression based on my experience of coaching many of them. but once you realize that you might actually struggle with depression yourself then what next?

So how do you actually go about dealing with it? Let me try to give you some practical ideas, but first a few caveats:

I am far from an expert in the area of depression, I have read a total of one book on the subject and while enlightening, it was short on how to deal with it.

Second, and I am really struggling with how to explain this without coming across as arrogant or elitist but these ideas aren't meant to be a solution for everyone-- this isn't a "one size fits all" approach in dealing with depression. I am writing this to entrepreneurs, people who don't just passively take what life gives them but actively goes out and creates what life didn't hand them, People who not only can see something that doesn't exist, but can then mold the world around them to match that idea. people who don't whine and complain but make things happen, people who have a history of self-motivation, of moving men and mountains. I don't say all that just to flatter you, but to acknowledge that you look at life differently than most, you're one of the crazy ones, the dreamers that Apple talks about in its commercial, the ones who think different. this is written for you.

Admit to yourself and others that you are depressed.
There have been times in my life where this one thing has turned the corner on different times of struggling with depressed thinking. I will tell you that mine hasn't been a continual struggle with depression, but more dealing with periods-- be they weeks or months or years-- when I spiraled downward in my thinking and decisions and had to acknowledge the fact that I was actually struggling with depressed thinking and needed to turn my thinking around. Admittedly, I wasn't so far down the path that I could just stop myself in my tracks and realize I was on the wrong path mentally and find the right path again. so really for anyone seriously struggling, this is only a first step but for me sometimes this one step has change the trajectory of my thinking and was the key for moving past my feelings of depression.

Realize you are believing some lies and keep track of the lies that you believe.
This may sound strange when I say "lies that you believe" because it doesn't make sense that if you know something is a lie that you would continue believing it, right? Well, maybe I am the weird one here, because if you asked me I could at any time give you a list of some of the lies that I currently believe. Because "believe" is more than just a mental thing, it's an emotional thing that moves us, motivates us, determines how we act and react in this crazy illogical thing we call life. I believe things about the way others think about me that there is no way I can know whether they are true or not and when I think about I am pretty sure they are false but that doesn't stop me from responding to them based on the lies that I keep telling myself.

No one else could tell you what those lies are in your life, but I can guarantee you that you have them and that you respond to the world around you based on your belief in those lies, some of them you may not yet realize are lies but I am pretty sure that if you think about it, you will be able to point out assumptions that you are basing your life on that you can't definitely tell are true no matter how strongly you feel them and in some cases if you are honest with yourself you can tell that they are most likely false. yet you still believe them and your self-talk is constantly reinforcing this lie causing you to live them out.

What are these lies in your life? List and track them as they enter into your mental conversation. If you are anything like me, you won't be able to immediately change the way you respond to the world based on this, but over time keeping track of the lies we tell ourselves can go a long way toward changing our thinking and through changing our thinking, changing the way we respond to the world.

Change what's going into your head:
Old Programmers maxim, if the output is different than what you expect, check your inputs.
If you don't like the what's coming out of your head and your life, then check on what's going into it.

What's going into your head?
What are you reading?
What are you listening to?
What are you watching?

What's going into your body?
What are you eating?
What are you drinking?
What kind of sleep are you getting?

You can't change all these things at once, I doubt you have the consciousness, willpower and stamina to change all these things at once but if I know you at all I know you have the ability to chose one or two of these inputs and live consciously enough to deliberately change them for the better. Take a look at the inputs in your life and decide which of them need to change.

Radically change things, change your perspective, change your environment.
In the movie Dead Poet's Society, Robin Williams' character got his students to do the strange thing of standing on their desks in order to just gain a new perspective of the role that they were in.
Move your office - either temporarily or permanently - go work at a coffee shop
Clean your office - I call this clearing the decks for action, remove every scrap of paper, knickknack or not absolutely essential item off of any surface in your office or work area. even if it just gets piled into a drawer
Mess with your routine - take a vacation, take a trip, go to work early, leave work early, go for a walk, go for a swim, allow yourself to take a nap, I don't know what but change something, your currently in a mental rut so change your routine

Will changing your environment change your thinking? Not necessarily. But sometimes it is just what is needed in order for you to start to see things differently

Bring someone else into the picture:
AA knows that in order to make significant change you need to involve someone else in your life as someone to be transparent with, to help when your struggling and to hold you accountable. Find someone with an outside perspective, someone who is willing to tell you the truth and who you can be truthful and transparent with.

Look I know you can beat this, you know you can beat this but that doesn't mean you don't need any help whether that be being honest with yourself, self awareness of your thinking, changing the inputs in your life or just plain changing things or involving other people,  This may not be all that you need but it's my attempt to give you a starting point to deal with it.
What happens when your business depends on you being a motivated driving force, but you don't feel that motivation?
When the fact that you are your own boss and have to kick yourself in the butt isn't working because you just plain don't feel like it?
When your long-term success depends on you focusing on a long term project that is hard but you are having a hard time seeing that far down the road?
When you need to be focusing on the hard projects that don't have a short-term positive impact but you would rather tackle the quick-fix items on your list that have negligible long-term value but give you that short-term feeling of accomplishment?
Or even just drop the task list and play a video game with its constant feeling of accomplishing something but really accomplishing nothing?
What do you do when no one is going to tell you to get out of bed in the morning and get to work and you just don't feel like it?
When you used to thrive on 6 hours of sleep a night and woke up brimming with potential ideas and thrilled with a new day but now you seem to need at least 8 hours and wake up frustrated with all the undone stuff you put off yesterday and still need to do today.
You've stopped yearning to fill your mind with good information from books and lectures and instead want to occupy your mind with trivialities and movies.

At some point, you realize you just might be struggling with depression.

Depression... I can't be struggling with depression. I'm the eternal optimist, I'm the self-motivated one, I'm the one who not only keeps myself motivated but motivates those around me, I'm the one everyone looks too to make sure everything is okay, I'm the leader, the driver, the one others look to for direction and inspiration.

I can't possibly be depressed... can I?

Isn't depression is something experienced by those sad souls who have no ambition in life and just go to work and come home and sit on the couch in front of the TV and live for the weekend or those who don't even have a job or direction in life? That's not me... how can I be depressed?

No one would ever look at me and say, "there goes someone who is depressed", they point to me as a motivated high-achiever. I remember a story where someone working with a successful litigator came to the realization that this lawyer was drunk a large portion of the time and when he questioned him about it, the lawyer called himself a high-functioning drunk. I think I am a high-functioning depressed business owner.

I know that Depression is something that a large portion of the population struggle with, some have struggle with it for periods lasting months or years and others struggle with it at some level their entire life. But that can't be me, right? Depression is for other people and if I am to be brutally honest in the back of my very judgmental mind, depression is an excuse used by those weak people unable to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. How could I be struggling with depression?

Yet the more I want to deny it, the more it looks and acts like depression, then maybe it really is depression.

So where do I go from here... I mean, this is kind of embarrassing, this isn't me, I'm not supposed to be this person. Yet I can see myself making bad decisions, not big ones or even noticeable ones, yet, but bad decisions all the same and I'm starting to see one bad decision leading to another and another in a cascading effect that may not be apparent on the surface just yet but if left unchecked will lead to larger, more impactful decisions. Yet the strange phenomena of the personal embarrassment and guilt feelings of watching myself make bad choices causes me to feel even worse, cycling me further down the path.

Never having struggled with alcoholism myself, I have still learned so much by talking to those people who are in AA alcoholics anonymous. the principles behind that organization are so sound and so in tune with our fallen nature as people, our need of God and our potential as image bearers and children of God. the First step is admitting that you are an alcoholic made famous by the statement "Hi, I'm _______ and I am an alcoholic"

Part of what gives depression its power is the shame -- and the need to conceal those feelings to give off the aura that everything is awesome, business is great and I'm doing fantastic.

Well, here goes: "Hi, I'm Seth, and I'm depressed."

It's a usual writing pattern to start out with a question and then take the reader down the path of looking at the different sides of the issue before the author finally gives the reader the answer. Lets change that up a little bit.

If by "teaching," you mean the traditional idea that education is the process of taking young skulls full of mush and cramming them full of facts, figures, principles and processes that they can later regurgitate on a nicely gradable form of test, then no, I don't think that it's possible to teach entrepreneurialism.

But let's move past that limited thinking and look at whether we can effectively teach a generation to venture out into this area of entrepreneurship. 

I believe that most people naturally have a creative and entrepreneurial spirit, and many of them have great ideas, but what they don’t have are:

1. A practice environment, a place where they have the opportunity to voice their ideas without fear of someone who has never tried to make something themselves squashing their idea out of a warped sense of justifying their own metiority. but have the idea criticized and honed by others who because they are creating themselves aren't threatened by the success of others. An environment where they are allowed to fail without judgement 

2. Someone who teaches them the practical technical skills needed in order to take this idea and actually make it into reality. The basic skills needed to run startup a venture, the skills needed to run a business. This isn't teaching them entrepreneurship, but it is teaching them the skills needed to make sure that their innate entrepreneurial spirit doesn’t get wasted

3. Show them how to look at the world. Sure, you can teach them the skills needed to run a business, but can you teach someone to recognize ‘entrepreneurial opportunity’ - the step before entrepreneurial action?

Simply get students thinking in an entrepreneurial way — get them looking for problems and searching for ways to solve them.

Having that mindset will help them regardless of whether they start their own company, become an employee of an existing company, or even in solving, say, social problems in their communities, No matter what career they choose, it’s important for young people to look at the world through the lens of an entrepreneur.

4. Practice, Practice, Practice. 
The old ways of teaching entrepreneurship with war stories of successful entrepreneurs and a mindset and theories taught in a straight line from the practice of large, existing organizations is dying

I don't think we can teach entrepreneurialism through the traditional model of education, but I do believe that we can facilitate this learning through experiential pedagogy by allowing them to take action and try things out.  teach entrepreneurship with a focus on bringing action and ‘doing’ into the classroom.

We can give them an environment to allow it and the skills to make the most of it but we also have to have a way for those seeds to be planted such that the teaching someone to be ‘entrepreneurial’ becomes about them teaching and learning on their own through ‘doing.’ 

Ever tried teaching how to ride a bicycle in a classroom? It really doesn't matter how much or how well you can teach the theory of why and how a bicycle stays upright, far better to get them outside on a bicycle, trying it, falling down, wobbling and then finally succeeding, then bring them into the classroom and explain to them the physics principles involved in riding a bike. 

Through traditional education you can give them some of the tools needed to succeed, but you also have to get them to see the world differently. It’s both about teaching individuals to build ventures but also teaching them to think and act in an entrepreneurial way. Thinking entrepreneurially is something that everyone can do, but most don't. We need to get people to engage their creative spirit and and then build something that doesn't currently exist except in their imagination. 

This believe and dream for helping people unlock the potential of their creative and entrepreneurial capabilities is why I love working with programs like the Entrepreneurial Program at Hope College This program is the vision of Steve Vanderveen who has been creating a environment of allowing students to learn and grow not through sitting through lectures but by taking their ideas out into the real world and testing them out, to get them to not just engage the idea but to engage the community, to work with mentors and coaches who have experience who will guide them on their way. Steve's Program has launched numerous successful ventures started by students while still in college.

Entrepreneurship education must move beyond the classroom. 

It needs to be brought into the world where business happens. In an academic setting, students will learn, sure, but I don’t know how much they’re going to be inspired or how much they’ll retain.

drill and drill bit with phrase no one buys a solution for a problem they don't have

Millions of drills are sold each year, and yet, I have never met someone who wanted a drill.

What they wanted was a hole.
No one buys a solution for a problem they don't have.
And yet, most marketers jump right into features and benefits, without taking the time to understand if the person on the other end of the conversation/call/letter believes they even have a problem. This seems particularly prevalent in business to business marketing where we just assume that the prospect feels the pain that we are there to fix.
The challenge is this: If you don't think you have a problem, you won't be looking for a solution. You won't wake up in the morning dreaming about how to solve it, or go to bed wondering how much it's costing you to ignore it.
And so the challenge is to find the problem.
Interesting paradox: a lot of people aren't willing to embrace that they have a problem unless they also believe that there's a solution (I don't mind walking places, but if I knew I could somehow fly like superman then being limited to walking would really irk me). Part of selling a problem is hinting that there's a potential solution out there that others are using, or is right around the corner.)
When a prospect comes to the table and says, "we have a problem," then you're both on the same side of the table when it comes time to solve it, "selling" becomes a team sport where the prospect and you are on the same team and the enemy is the problem. 
How do you apply this?
In face to face selling:
If the words coming out of your mouth would naturally have a period at the end of them, then you're doing something wrong. In the early going, what comes out of your mouth should end in question marks followed by long stretches of silence where you listen to their answer which should be more then Yes/No. Open-ended questions and active listening. Ask questions about them, about their business, about their family, about their goals, anything to help you help them to find the pain point that come from the problem. Don't ever start talking about the solution until you have found their pain point. even if that means leaving the meeting without ever telling them about what you do and how wonderful you are.
Putting together marketing pieces that sell:
This is where we so often just want to scream and shout all the features and benefits of of our totally awesome product or solution but that just turns people off, it screams pushy sales guy in a bad suit with a too-short red tie that has been taught the sales system of "always be closing." He just wants to extract all the money he can out of your pocket before he beats a hasty retreat and moves on to terrorizing someone else. You can do better then that. 
You don't have the luxury of asking the questions to find the pain point in those situations so you have to depend on your targeting of who is going to actually read what you are putting together. But how should you best organize monologue to make it actually end up being a dialogue in the mind of the reader and still lead them through the process of finding their pain point and show them the solution. 
I have found this template to be the most simple and effective way of writing copy that actually sells.
1) State the Problem
2) Agitate the problem
3) Provide the solution
Simple sounding, but often hard to produce because every fiber of your being will want to shortchange the first two points and quickly get back to that comfort zone of vomiting up your awesomeness. You need to get into that dialogue going on in the mind of your reader so that when you talk about the problem they will be right there with you and when you agitate the problem they will start to sweat and have their stomach start to tie up in knots and when you finally, finally get to the solution, it brings relief.
How about Marketing online?
Many of the same things stated above will apply to this as well but you should add more of the inbound marketing perspective to it. Before you actually try to sell to them or even agitate the problem you need to attract to you people who self-identify as having a problem or having an interest in a solution. Because your not sending something to them, you are trying to get them to find you. You will need to find the way to get them to come along side of you and admit that they have a problem.
Really, "selling" done properly is coming alongside someone else and helping them to find a solution to their problem. 
What solution are you seeking? Visit my page Who & Why or send me an email at to find out more information.

How can we get people more engaged, more productive, and happier at work? Is technology part of the problem — and could it also be part of the solution?

How can we get out of the rut of trading time for money and expecting others to do the same?

There is a need in people to actually give value and often the expectations of others will only get in the way of them giving value.

How will you engage your employees? Visit my page Who & Why or send me an email at for more information.

bridge over water with phrase make more mistakes, make them bigger and faster

Making mistakes is one of the best things you can do. Mistakes are often the bridges between Inexperience and Wisdom.

So, when you have found that you have made a mistake, don’t be too hard on yourself because the only way to learn from one's mistakes is to make them in the first place.

One of the goals I have written down for this year as a reminder is to make more mistakes. I need to accelerate the pace at which I am making mistakes and I need to have the courage to be willing to make bigger mistakes.

Go and make some mistakes.

Are you seeking wisdom for your business due to inexperience? Visit my page Who & Why or send me an email at

Charles Dickens with phrase your personal financial situation can destroy your business

As a business coach, I am often going over a business's finances with the business owner, looking at their current financial situation, their future budgets, and their creation of long-term equity in their business. These are all very important because we need to create sustainable businesses, and sustainable means profitable. A business can't be sustainable unless it is profitable.

When it comes to a businesses and a person's financial stability, there are many dangers out there from the obvious loss of clients, lack of credit from banks or vendors, loss of margin do to competition, inflation, deflation, they can come from all sides. But it's interesting that there is one area of threat that isn't talked about as much because it's never really reflected in the business finances. That's the business owner's personal financial situation.

When you are in business for yourself, you effectively have two different sets of finances, and I can tell you from experience that if one of them is out of shape then it will affect the other.

Not having your family finances in order can cause some strains on both your mental outlook as well as your business.

I worked with a business where from the outside, the business looked like it was going great. It seemed very successful. But once you looked inside at the financial picture, there was always financial stress, much more than should have been there for the stage that the business was in. What I realized later was that the owner was giving me an incomplete picture of the finances of the business. What he showed me made sense, but there were black holes in the business. At first, I didn't question them, but the longer we went the more obvious they became. The problem was that the owner was in subtle ways co-mingling the money from the business with his personal finances. These things weren't being recorded properly in order to hide them because he clung to the hope that things would just turn around and he could make all those issues go away. He never dealt with the underlying problem that he and his wife had no discipline in their personal spending. Strangely, he had great discipline in his business spending habits so it took me a long time to realize that something was off in his personal life.

I have watched a very well-respected lawyer who was in practice for 25+ years hit some personal rough patches in the 2008 credit crisis and started pulling money out of some of the trust accounts he was entrusted with, thinking that it was temporary and that he could fix it before any audit came along. However, it was detected and he lost his credibility, his license, and faced some criminal charges.

Having your personal finances in order is essential for both the peace of mind and stability that it takes to run a business. People have this idea that if they just make a little more then that will stabilize everything but one needs look no further then the lives of sports stars who are in constant stress in spite of having multi-million dollar salaries. Many of whom will declare bankruptcy soon after their career ends.

I was recently reading the book David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, and I came across this very sound advice given to a young David Copperfield. I found it to be marvelous in its simplicity and memorable in its delivery.

“'My dear young friend,' said Mr. Micawber, 'I am older than you; a man of some experience in life, and—and of some experience, in short, in difficulties, generally speaking. At present and until something turns up (which I am, I may say, hourly expecting), I have nothing to bestow but advice. Still my advice is so far worth taking, that—in short, that I have never taken it myself, and am the”—here Mr. Micawber, who had been beaming and smiling, all over his head and face, up to the present moment, checked himself and frowned—'the miserable wretch you behold. My advice is, never do to-morrow what you can do to-day. Procrastination is the thief of time. Collar him!' After which, he was grave for a minute or so. 'My other piece of advice, Copperfield,' said Mr. Micawber, 'Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the God of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and—and in short you are forever floored. As I am!'”

It's not how much you make. but how much you save, that will determine your financial stability. 

Part of this starts with keeping the two different financial pictures separate so that you can see the reality in both areas of your life. 

The business owner who takes cash and puts that cash into his pocket as spending money will never have a clear picture of what's happening in his business or his life.

I have worked with students who are launching their first business and one of the simple pieces of advice I gave them was before they got a dollar of revenue to get a business bank account and everything for the business goes through that account and everything personal goes through their personal account.

Get those pictures clear and straight and it will make the creation of your business much easier.
For more information, check out my page Who & Why or send me an email at
music, art and theater, Genesis 1, make man in our image 

At the conclusion of creation, God created mankind as the pinnacle of His creation. As he created man he said, “let us make man in our own image”.

What exactly does that mean? Well, there is a lot in that statement, but let me bring out one point: Until this time, the greatest amount of self-revelation from God was that he was an intensively creative being. His creative work was insanely diverse, ascetically beautiful and profoundly functional. At the conclusion of this creative burst and self revelation he said let us make man in our own image.

What does this mean to us, his created beings? 

Would I be wrong in saying this a calling to creativity, a mandate to being an artist in some way? Are you called as an image-bearer of a creative God to be likewise creative? Are you called to create things both functional and beautiful?

God didn't create everything that could be created, he created a creative being and called them to be creative. If you aren't being an artist and designing, then it begs the question: Will you ever be fulfilled as a person? You were made to create and build.

We have developed this idea that there are some people who are creative and some who aren't. We look at artists, musicians, and crafty people and we say they are "creative." 

"I'm just not creative," we say to ourselves. But wait-- you were both made in the image of your creator. You have every bit of imagination faculty that they do. So why are there some who are considered creative and others who aren't?

At some point in your past, you were told or you told yourself that you just weren't the creative type and you believed that lie. I was told this and I believed the lie. I was told that I wasn't a writer, that I just didn't have any ability to draw, that I was more analytical than creative (as if they are antithetical). I can't even tell you where those lies came from, but as a result of believing those lies I never exercised my imagination in those areas for years, never realizing the latent creativity i had at my disposal. I am still trying to counteract my belief in those lies

You have been given this life with all the building blocks and blank canvases you could ever want. What are you doing with it?

Society will try to make you a conformist. Just look at our school system-- creativity is relegated to a few narrow subjects. Interestingly, the church has become a place of conformity where people are pressured to conform not to the image of their creator but into the image of a "Christian". There is very little place in the church for most people to exercise any creativity. It's interesting how in the area of Music the church is typically 10-50 years behind the rest of culture. Why doesn't the church lead the way in this very significant culturally-altering area? Why do most people feel that they need to exercise their creativity in areas outside of the church? Why is the church fighting this creativity and ending up playing catchup in these creative areas? Your creator called you to be creative.

Stop living a non-creative life. Yes, your current job might not have a place for you to fully exercise your creative abilities, so let that job pay the bills while you start living your life. What dreams have you had, what latent abilities have you never put to use?
Are you bringing your imagination, your creativity to your work, home and church? 
First Question: Can a Gum commercial make you cry in 60 seconds? 

Second question: Will it make you buy any of their gum?

Great stories can be incredible, but if they don’t move you to action, then it is an ineffective commercial. Sometimes the art of something makes it an incredible selling tool but I have also seen where the artistry can actually get in the way of selling. One of the worst reasons I have heard about why a company went with a advertisement is that "the business owner liked it."

I don't care if you liked it, I only care if it sells.

Have you tested it? Have you seen that it actually drives people to buy your product? Don't be lead down the very expensive path of brand awareness marketing. Sorry, but if you are reading this blog, then you likely don't have the budget of Coca-Cola in order to develop Brand awareness. Advertisers and artists will try to get you to fund their brand awareness campaigns because they get to put their art on display and sell advertising space.

But either way, watch the commercial-- it is a masterful use of story telling. It just doesn't do much to make me buy it... in fact, right now, I can't remember what the brand of gum they are trying to promote, I just know they have silver wrappers.

As creative writing advertiser William Bernbach once said, "Nobody counts the number of ads you run; they just remember the impression you make.”

Are you looking to make an impression? Find out more on my page Who & Why or send me an email at for more information.
Procrastination text with whimsical background

 How many times have you found yourself saying, "Well, I guess I'll start tomorrow." 

We all have things on our to-do list that we don’t want to do.

There may be people pressuring us to accomplish these things, or perhaps there is a long-term benefit to getting these things done, but nothing applicable for now.

The simple truth is that we don’t want to do them...

I've created a short guide on making sure that you will never have to.

Never give yourself a deadline. Who do you think you are, anyway? You can’t tell what the the future holds. You don’t know what things may come up that might be more important then this task. So acknowledge that the future is unpredictable and never set yourself a deadline.

Do the tasks you love to do first. Why take a risk that you won’t get to those jobs? Never put off the easy jobs for the hard ones-- life is too short for wasted starts to days.

Don't put your task list at the forefront of your vision. If you write a task list at the start of the day, make sure that by 9am you have covered it over with some other papers on your desk. Why should you go through your day with that list staring at you? Your work day is hard enough without a piece of paper giving you a hard time. Make sure that you end up burying it deep enough that it won’t be found for at least a month, at which time its power over you will have decreased to the point where you can throw it away without a tinge of guilt. Those of you who do this on your computer, same principle applies. Make sure that you never look at that list again.

Ensure that no one ever sees a list of your priorities and make doubly sure that no one ever finds out your goals and objectives. I mean, really, you have enough guilt in your day from your own mind screaming at you and your list. Who needs someone else bugging you about your progress? If by some surreptitious method another person has found out about one of your goals in life then make sure that you either pass it off very casually as a non-issue, “Oh that, yeah that is something I would like to do someday,” or just tell them that they got their facts wrong, such as, “I wasn’t really planning on doing that, I just thought it was a nice idea.” Never let anyone else into the sphere where they can ever make you feel embarrassed.

Make sure that you employ the trifecta of ways to pass the time without actually having to do anything.
1. Read the news - you are bound to find some wonderfully upbeat and positive things there that will just make your day that much more pleasant
2. Check Facebook - It is just wonderful to see how your friends are wasting their time. it can be a great cathartic that removes any negative feelings you may have about not doing anything worthwhile.
3. Play solitaire or your passing-the-time game of choice - these games give you just enough sense of accomplishment that for that one moment you don’t feel bad about not doing something that might make you feel better next week or next year.

Never look at the clock. Never, never, never look at the clock. Time passes too fast as it is, there is no reason to remind yourself of just how quickly the day, month, year, your lifetime will pass. In fact, wouldn’t we all just be so much happier if we did away with things like clocks and calendars? Then we could spend our time with all these great ideas and not really worry about when (that pesky little question) it will get done.
If you employ these tactics correctly to your life, you will never again feel any guilt around not accomplishing something. Enjoy life, but don’t enjoy it so much that it makes me look like a slacker.

Be careful of who you hang out with. The people that you hang out with can have a profound impact on the comfort level of your life. If they are one of these irritating people who are always getting things done and when your around them you get this image of that stereotypical picture of a dog with big brown eyes with his head slightly cocked to one side, giving you a guilt trip because his dinner is running late?

I don’t need friends around like that... I'd prefer to have friends around like these: 

 The art of procrastination

What's your style of procrastination? Find out more about me on my page Who & Why or send me an email at for more information.

Lightbulbs, Newton's Cradle
Time after time, I talk to my business owner clients about how they handle situations in which their employees ask them questions. Invariably, they will answer the questions in the most expeditious manner in order to keep things going quickly.

This ends up being a short-term thinking strategy-- by answering questions in this manner, they are actually crippling their employees and enabling dependence on themselves. This might sound attractive from a job security point-of-view, but what entrepreneur in their right mind wants job security?

Do you want them to always have to depend on you to get things done, or do you want them to start thinking for themselves and taking ownership and pride in what they do?

When employees can be certain, they can count on you for any minute question comes into their head, you won’t have a life and your business will only grow to the size where you can handle all the issues that come up.

The only way to turn this around is to STOP ANSWERING QUESTIONS.

You could say that a leader is someone who provides answers, but a great leader is someone who helps others to find the answers. As many of us have heard before, "If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime."
When faced with a problem, do you instinctively try to give an answer or do you ask them the questions that will help them to come up with the answers themselves?

you discover nothing edward demingYour answer has a lot to do with just how large your business can become and how much of a life you have.

You need to enable, encourage and promote an environment where they can find the answers to the problems instead of being dependent on you for all the solutions.
It is much harder to ask questions then to give answers but the long term value to yourself and your people is infinitely greater.

Here are a couple of questions that might help you out the next time they come to you with questions:

  • What exactly is the problem?
  • What caused this?
  • How is this affecting us?
  • What is holding us back?
  • What should it look/function/be like?
  • If you could start over again what would it look like?
  • What kind of a solution are you looking for?
  • How would you handle this?
And of course, the old favorite that can be overused-- but in the right context it is the best question out there.


Make them come back with a solution in addition to the problem, It's fine if for a time they want to check their thinking against you but they shouldn't learn to be dependent on you.

Black and white image, feeling strangled by your business

Like most small business owners, when you started your business, you were probably full of hope and excitement about what the business could do for you.  

Thoughts like these probably filled your head:

“ I will finally get paid what I am worth.”
 “I will finally be able to spend  time with my family.”
 “I will have security at last.”

Then something strange happens. A few years into building your business, an unexpected reality hits home. You have to deal with production issues, employee problems, taxes to file, bills to pay, and more customer problems than you could ever imagine.

So how did you learn to survive all this?  By motivating yourself, of course.Telling yourself things like, “I’ve got to get it done”, “Winners do what losers didn’t!”, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” And the ultimate  battle cry – “If it is to be, then it is up to me.”

The result: you arrive at home each night, totally exhausted.  And of course, thanks to cell phones, you can never get completely away from your business. We even take them into the bathroom with us! The last bastion of privacy in this country - Gone!

The dream doesn't match up to the reality.

Why is this? Why is this so common?

When you start the business it's just you, you do the marketing, you do the sales, the order taking, the production, shipping, customer service, and the accounting. It's all you. Then you invite someone else to join you. Now you would think that this would reduce your madness but if the business isn't ready for the new employee then really you are just inviting them to join you in the madness that is your business.

The reason for the madness is that it's just you doing everything, "ahh," but you say, "that's why I hired Jake, he is supposed to take some of this off my plate." But mentally, you as the business owner aren't prepared for Jake because you don't have the position ready for him and because it's not ready you're still doing a lot of the work that you hired Jake to do. You may start to think that Jake is the problem, when in actuality, you're the problem. You need to organize his position so that he has the systems, the processes, the tools in order for him to master the position that you brought him in to fulfill. If he doesn't have these in place then naturally he will be coming back to you, the business owner, again and again to both find out how to do it and to get approval for doing his job.

Unless he can truly take over the position (which means you're no longer involved), then you will still have to be involved in everything. As the business grows, you will become more and more strangled by your own business.

So as you grow, as you add on more people and prepare the position for the person to decrease the amount you will have to be involved. That is the only way you will every achieve any degree of freedom from your business.
For more information, visit my page Who & Why or send me an email at