Boxed In? 4 Ways to Transform Your Corner into a Doorway

One of my favorite books when I was growing up was “Harold and the Purple Crayon.” With the stroke of a purple crayon, Harold designs the life he imagines. When he wants to go for a walk, he draws a moonlit path. When he’s hungry, he draws himself a lunch. When he becomes scared of his own illustrated dragon, he creates an ocean and a sailboat to escape just in time.

Harold uses his creative thinking to escape from life’s corners that constrain him.

People with big vision often find themselves painted into a corner. We set upon our path, often underestimating or unaware of the obstacles that may get in our way of progress. Or, we over-commit, and find ourselves completely overwhelmed with what we have promised to others. Wouldn’t it be great if we could draw ourselves an ocean and a sailboat, and simply sail away to a far-away land?

We can’t do that, but when our backs are up against the wall, we can create additional paths to lead us out of our corners. We can transform our corners into a doorway.

Your Banking Relationship: Worth its Weight In Gold

Entrepreneurship is all about calculated risk. We can create strategic plans, implement repeatable processes, hire the top people, and engage with the best customers. However, the only way to grow to the next level is to bite off more than you can chew, and pray you don’t choke.

I know the feeling of biting off more than you can chew. Four years ago, Information Experts made the strategic decision to invest in a newly formed Joint Venture (JV) to pursue a multi-billion dollar Department of State program. The risk was ridiculously high but the possible reward was astronomical.

Every Day is Independence Day for Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship is as American as apple pie, baseball, and SpongeBob Squarepants. The essence behind entrepreneurship is the freedom to live a professional life that has the most meaning to you – to not be defined by someone else’s value system, personal vision & goals, and decisions. But with that freedom comes tremendous accountability, responsibility, and risk.

As SpongeBob and Patrick so eloquently discussed, entrepreneurship has unlimited possibilities. With entrepreneurship, we are limited only by our own vision (and money – but we can often find it if we look in the right places). However, entrepreneurship does bring its own pain and suffering with it, so to answer Patrick’s question, yes entrepreneurship can hurt at times.

Rejected by TED… No Problem! “No” Means “Not Yet”

February was a month of wins – and losses. Everyone talks about their wins, so I’m going to move right past those, and get to the topic that that leaders rarely glorify: the losses.

I was rejected in February by TED. TED stands for Technology, Engineering and Design. There are TED events all over the world that feature speakers that have ideas worth spreading. The TED website ( is my all-time favorite site because it opens our minds to so many ways of thinking about things we’ve never even thought about! It spotlights our greatest potential in any topic you can imagine.

Accountability and Goal-Setting (Follow-up to WBR Segment 1/13/2013)

My January small business segment on ABC’s Washington Business Report with Rebecca Cooper-Dupin focused on accountability and goal-setting strategies to start 2013 strong. Accompanying me was my accountability partner and personal financial advisor, Anne McCabe Triana, owner of CAM Private Wealth ( I’ve expanded on those strategies here, incorporating many great ideas from other small business owners.

Your Greatest Success Lies Directly Behind Your Greatest Challenges

“Every adversity, every failure and every heartache carries with it the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit.”

This is just one of the golden nuggets of wisdom that stays with me from one of my all-time favorite business books, “Three Feet From Gold” by by Sharon L. Lechter and Greg S. Reid. ( The book is a synopsis of Napoleon Hill’s philosophies for success (

The title conveys that people often give up on their dreams because they believe they can’t succeed, when in reality, their success is within their grasp – sometimes literally three feet away.

Feeling discouragement or even despair when we’ve convinced ourselves that success isn’t an option happens to everyone. So how can we push past the negative thinking? How can we find the strength and resolve to continue for three more feet to find our own pot of gold?

Six Unique Traits Biz Owners Look For in Potential New Hires

As a business owner always looking for exceptional talent, and as a mentor to emerging entrepreneurs seeking guidance on how to hire great people, I’ve learned that there are six definitive traits that great potential new hires share. These apply to candidates in all positions, in every sector, at any level – from intern to senior management.

If you’re in the market for a new position, if you’re charged with scouting for new talent in your organization, or if you’re a business owner trying to make those essential first hires, consider these characteristics or behaviors.

10 Ways to Lose Prospects as Soon As They Hear your Voice

If you pick up the phone and start making calls without thinking about your approach, habit and the phrases you’ve picked up from telemarketing calls you have received over the years are going to dominate what you say. Surprise, surprise: that’s not the most effective way to make calls. You may be committing age-old blunders without even knowing it. These strategies were written by one of my Mastermind group members, friend, and trusted advisor Bill Cates, also known as The Referral Coach.( Bill is THE EXPERT for anyone who wants to know how to build a thriving referral-based business.

Here’s a quick checklist of classic telephone prospecting mistakes. Are you making any of them? If so, take action to rectify your approach!

Goldman Sachs Exec: Leaving Due to “Toxic Culture.” Three Lessons for All of Us.

This past week, veteran Goldman Sachs employee Greg Smith submitted his resignation via the New York Times, due to the “toxic culture” that now permeates the organization. “I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it…. The firm has veered so far from the place I joined right out of college that I can no longer in good conscience say that I identify with what it stands for,” he said.

Smith’s resignation cost the company more than $2 billion.

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