Saturday, November 29, 2008


Many are aware of my “mentor journey” twenty years ago when I interviewed over 60 very successful professionals, entrepreneurs and business executives in an effort to determine a direction for myself. It was one of the greatest educational experiences of my life to that point.

The thought for December 5 this week is from “Mentor #2," Stephen R. Covey, the well-known author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Steve Covey was introduced to me by another mentor of mine, my dad, long before the rest of the world had ever heard of him.

Steve Covey taught me first-hand the importance of a personal purpose and passion for what you do. I have yet to meet anyone more purpose-driven and passionate since.

At a time when our minds naturally reflect on the things for which we are grateful, I continue to remember each of those 60 mentors and the positive influence they continue to have in my life. That’s what great mentors do. That’s what great mentors are.

Lord Chesterfield once said, “We are more than half of what we are by imitation. The great point is to choose good models and study them with care.”

My challenge to you is to choose or renew a mentor relationship and “study them with care.” If we are more than half of what we are by imitation, then it would serve us all well to imitate “on purpose!”


I took a quick run across town from our “Total Immersion” course in San Diego this week to speak to the members of the University of California at San Diego Pre-dental Society. This group of 200 college students, mentored by Dr. Irv Silverstein, manages and staffs three charity dental clinics in San Diego with a $0 budget. All supplies, facilities, and staffing are donated. The group just surpassed the $2 million mark in donated dental services for the year.

What impressed me most about the group was their energy, determination, and focus. We talked together until 10:30 PM and they would have stayed longer! They are ambitious, goal-oriented, and highly motivated. You won’t find it surprising that all but 6 students in the room were first or second generation immigrants to this country.

It has long been said that you have a 4 times better chance of becoming successful in this country if you weren’t born here. It was easy to see why this week. I don’t think I have ever been with a group of more motivated, enthusiastic college students anywhere. (And I have spoken to a lot of them over the last 16 years.)

So take a chapter out of these student’s lives and live yours with more energy, enthusiasm, and focus this week. There’s no question that these students will get a lot out of life because they are and we all can too.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Forbes Inisght

When Steve Forbes (Forbes Magazine) climbed into my pick up truck this week in Ft. Worth, Texas, I knew I was in for an experience. I invited Steve to come spend a private evening in a “Town Hall” type meeting with a group of local CEO’s to discuss his views on the future of the economy, the impact that the results of the election will have on our futures and how we can manage in turbulent times. His insights were fascinating and his perspectives refreshing. I could write several pages about his prognostications, but there are two of his opinions that I will paraphrase that are worth passing on and acting on:

1. The biggest challenge in our economy today is….FEAR! Fear was the biggest factor that drove government regulators to put Lehman Brothers out of business and Merrill Lynch into a merger. Both companies were cash flow positive until the day they “died.” Fear continues to be the biggest bottleneck on main street and Wall Street. The good news is that battling that fear starts between your own two ears and within the four walls of your office. Keep it out and you will be amazed at what flows in your direction.

2. Keep the FAITH in our ability to solve problems…even the problems we have created ourselves! It is a personal decision. Are you currently innovating or disintegrating? It is a choice not a condition.

As evidence of what Steve Forbes was saying, I was in a dental office this week that is “on fire.” The enthusiasm was contagious. The energy was palpable. I could not help but feel great while I was there. And I’m not the only one. Evidence that they are radiating positive vibes to their patients and the community came in the form of 16 new patient calls in just one day this last week. The vast majority of those were referrals from existing patients.

You may not be able to control Congress, the economy, or the new presidential administration, but you can control the attitude that you chose in your practice each day. That was one of the positive messages I received from Steve Forbes. There are a lot of problems to solve, but the most important of those problems can be solved right where you are.

Have a great week and

Make It Happen!