Archive for Behind the Scenes Guy

STEPPING STONES (One Day at a Time) from DailyOM

Posted in Life Management, Stepping Stones (One Day at a Time) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

STEPPING STONES (One Day at a Time) from DailyOM

Our lives are made of stepping stones, one experience after another in perfect and divine order.

The years of our life do not arrive all at once; they greet us day by day. With the descent of each setting sun, we are able to rest our heads and let the world take care of itself for a while. We may rest assured throughout the night, knowing that the dawn will bring with it a chance to meet our lives anew, donning fresh perspectives and dream-inspired hopes. The hours that follow, before we return to sleep once more, are for us to decide how we want to live and learn, laugh and grow. Our lives are sweeter and more manageable because we must experience them this way: one day at a time.

Imagine the future stretching out before you and try to notice if you feel any tension or overwhelm at the prospect of the journey still to come. Perhaps you have recently made a lifestyle change, like beginning a new diet or quitting smoking, and the idea of continuing this healthy new behavior for years seems daunting. Maybe you have started a new job or are newly married and can feel an undercurrent of anxiety about your ability to succeed. If you can shift your focus from what may happen years down the line and return it to the day that is before you right now, you may find a measure of calm and renewed confidence in your capabilities. You may also discover an inner faith that the future will take care of itself.

The way we show up for our lives today and tomorrow has an enormous affect on who we will be and what we will be experiencing years from now. If we can remain fully engaged in the day at hand, enjoying all it has to offer and putting our energy into making the most of it, we will find that we are perfectly ready and capable to handle any future when it arrives.

– DailyOM

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with Robert Finkelstein, for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.



Posted in General Management, How To Squeeze The Most Out Of Your Time, Life Management with tags , , , , , , , on April 4, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, and my own personal and business blogs, at Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO you will find the writings and videos of various thought leaders.

How To Squeeze The Most Out Of Your Time by Brian Tracy

How do you start your day? Years ago I started planning mine by writing everything down I would have to do, the night before. I found that drawing up your list the night before prompts your subconscious to work on your plans and goals while you sleep. When you wake up, you feel ready to tackle your challenges.

When prioritizing and planning your time, consider the following points:

• Key questions.
What is the highest value-added action I can do?
What can I, and only I, do that I’ve done well before to make a difference?
Why am I on the payroll?
The answers to these questions help identify all that needs to be done and in what order. That, in turn, will bolster personal productivity.
• Values.
Decide what’s important to you, and in what order. Make sure your values don’t conflict with work. Energy spent worrying diminishes your abilities.
• Consequences.
Every action has consequences – good and bad. Consider what rewards you’d reap by completing a task. Then, compare those rewards with the consequences of putting it aside. This process makes it easier to see which goals have a higher value.
• The Pareto Principle.
Vilfredo Pareto, a 19th-century engineer, argued that 20% of what you do accounts for 80% of the value. When considering the importance of a task, ask yourself whether it’s among the 20% that creates the most value.
• Urgency vs. Importance.
An unexpected phone call or a drop-in visitor may be urgent, but the consequences of dealing with either may not be important in the long run.
The urgent is other-oriented, it’s caused by someone else. Important things are self-directed and have the greatest value for you.
• The Limiting Step.
Standing between you and what you want to achieve is the limiting step. That’s the bottleneck that determines how quickly you can reach your goal. It’s important to identify that step and focus single-mindedly on getting that one thing done.
• A Written Plan.
Lists of goals, tasks and objectives are of no help unless they’re written. Putting your plans on paper makes a seemingly elusive goal more concrete. There’s a connection that takes place between the brain and the hand. When you don’t write it down, it’s fuzzy, but as you write it and revise it, it becomes clear.
• Visualization.
See yourself doing what you need to get done. Visualization trains the subconscious to focus on completing tasks. Say, for example, that you want to begin each morning by exercising. Visualizing yourself doing sit-ups and push-ups the night before conditions the mind to do those the next day. When you prime you mind, it wakes you up even before the alarm clock goes off.

Remember you are a winner and preparation goes a long way in helping you achieve all your goals.

– Brian Tracy

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with Robert Finkelstein, for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.


Posted in General Management, Life Management, Unlock Your Full Potential with tags , , , , on March 30, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, and my own personal and business blogs, at Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO you will find the writings and videos of various thought leaders.


If you have ever made a resolution to change, you know how difficult it can be to successfully make that change. Our natural tendency is to keep doing things the way that we have always done them, even after we learn that there’s a better way. This inability to adjust can have devastating consequences — for example, many people with major heart problems do not alter their diet and lifestyle, even when their doctors tell them that they must change or die.

When our attempts to change fail, we too often assume that we’re just too old, too stubborn, too undisciplined or too lazy to change. In truth, our attempts to change usually fail because we are succeeding so brilliantly at a different, conflicting goal. Often this is a goal that we don’t even realize we are pursuing.

Example #1: A manager consistently fails at his goal of delegating responsibilities to his staff, even though he knows his department cannot function smoothly if he cannot share his responsibilities. When he was young, his blue-collar father instilled in him a belief that people who do things themselves are better than those who hand off responsibilities to others. Now grown, the manager unwittingly continues to pursue this goal of being a “real man” by doing everything himself at the expense of his goal to delegate.

Example #2:
A woman regularly loses 20 pounds and then quickly regains them. She is aware that she is discouraged each time she puts the weight back on. What she is not aware of is the way she also is managing — each time she regains the weight — to extricate herself from her angry and overwhelming feelings at being treated as a sex object whenever she is thinner. Overeating allows her to achieve her hidden goal at the expense of her outward goal to be fit and healthy.

Example #3: A married man knows that he must stop lecturing his wife about minor financial missteps for the good of their relationship, but he finds himself doing so again and again. These lectures are a way for him to pursue his hidden goal of feeling as though he is in control of his financial life — but they come at the expense of his goal of a happy relationship with his wife.

Seven steps to achieving change…


Before we can achieve goals that have proved elusive for us, we must identify the hidden, conflicting goals that stand in the way…

1. List the things you do — and the things you don’t do — that inhibit your progress toward your stated goal.
Your goal is to spend more time with your family. Your list might include, “I work late many days, even when the office isn’t very busy”… or, “I accept every request for my time, even tasks that I don’t enjoy or that really aren’t my responsibility.” Be honest with yourself — list as many inhibiting behaviors as possible.

2. For each inhibiting behavior that you listed in step #1, ask yourself, “What fear or fears are raised in my mind when I imagine myself doing exactly the opposite?”
If your goal-blocking behavior is working late, you might write, “When I picture myself walking out of the office at 5:00 pm, I worry that my boss and coworkers will consider me lazy.” Or, “I worry that tasks will be mishandled if I’m not in the office.” Or, “I worry that people who report to me will goof off if I’m not around.”

3. Rewrite the fears you listed in step #2 in a way that expresses your commitment to your hidden conflicting goals. These are the hidden goals that prevent you from achieving your stated goal.
If you wrote in step #2 that you were worried about being seen as lazy for leaving work early, you might now write, “I am committed to being seen as hardworking.”

If you wrote that you feared that tasks would be mishandled in your absence, you might now write, “I am committed to not trusting anyone else with responsibilities.”


Once you have identified a conflicting goal and recognized that it stands in your way, you might find that you simply can leave this goal behind — but don’t count on it. Our hidden, conflicting goals often are deeply rooted in our “core beliefs,” the ideas and philosophies that shape our sense of who we are. Our minds will strongly resist any attempt at change that challenges these beliefs. It is more practical to move forward in small, incremental steps that give your mind time to adjust to your intended changes. To do this…

4. Go back to the fears you described in step #2, and list the assumptions that are built into them. The idea is to explore the worst things that can happen if you no longer pursue your no-longer-hidden conflicting goals — and to consider whether these results actually are likely. In many cases, they aren’t — they just are irrational fears. Even very intelligent people can hold on to very significant erroneous ideas when those ideas are related to their core beliefs.
Example: If your fear is that you will be considered lazy if you occasionally leave work at 5:00, you are assuming that leaving at 5:00 even occasionally is automatically equated with laziness… that arriving early counts for nothing… that effort level during the day counts for nothing… and that staying late on other days counts for nothing. Are these assumptions true? Do your colleagues and bosses really think this way or just you? Don’t other hardworking employees occasionally leave at 5:00?

5. Imagine what would happen if you pursued your stated goal and things did not go perfectly.
What would the negative consequences actually be? Would there be positive, liberating consequences as well?
Example: Would your job or performance bonus really be at risk if you left at 5:00 a few times a week… or just your reputation as the employee who puts in the longest hours? Would spending more time with your family be worth losing this reputation? Would it be liberating to shed the title of the “guy who always works late”?

6. Discuss your desire to alter your behavior with those who will be affected by your changes. These prechange chats reduce the odds that those around you will misinterpret your altered behavior… increase the odds that they will offer support… and make it more difficult to chicken out, because others now know your stated goal.
Example: Ask your boss if he/she would have any objection to your leaving at 5:00 on slow days to spend time with your family. Explain that your commitment to the company is as great as ever and that leaving at 5:00 when there is not a lot to do will make it easier for you to stay later when there is work that needs to be done.

7. Adjust your behavior in small ways that challenge the importance of your conflicting goal without forsaking it entirely. If the results of this experiment are positive, adjust your behavior a little more.
Example: Head home at 5:00, but bring your laptop and cell phone and instruct colleagues to call or e-mail you if they need you for any reason. If they do fine without you, head home at 5:00 on the next slow day without the instructions to call. If that works, try leaving the cell phone and laptop at home and joining your family on an outing after work.

If making a small change doesn’t seem to work, ask yourself if you may have “rigged” the experiment to fail. This is a common, unwitting practice. One manager we worked with discovered that he had done a poor job briefing his employees before he left so that they would fail and “prove” his indispensability.

– Robert Kegan, PhD

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with Robert Finkelstein, for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.


Posted in General Management, Life Management, Success is Not an Accident with tags , , , , on March 29, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, and my own personal and business blogs, at Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO you will find the writings and videos of various thought leaders.


Success is not a miracle. Nor is it a matter of luck. Everything happens for a reason, good or bad, positive or negative. When you are absolutely clear about what you want, you only need to copy others who have achieved it before you, and you will eventually get the same results that they have.

This is referred to in the Bible as the Law of Sowing and Reaping which says that, “Whatsoever a man soweth, that also shall he reap.”

Sir Isaac Newton called it the third principle of motion. He said, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

For you and I, the most important expression of this universal law is that, “Thoughts are causes and conditions are effects.”

Put another way, “Thought is creative.” Your thoughts are the primary creative forces in your life. You create your entire world by the way you think. All the people and situations of your life have only the meaning you give them by the way you think about them. And when you change your thinking, you change your life, sometimes in seconds!

The most important principle of personal or business success is simply this: You become what you think about most of the time.

It is not what happens to you but how you think about what happens to you that determines how you feel and react. It is not the world outside of you that dictates your circumstances or conditions. It is the world inside you that creates the conditions of your life.

– Brian Tracy

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with Robert Finkelstein, for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.


Posted in Life Management, Stuck in the Mud - Staying in Pain with tags , , , , , on March 26, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, and my own personal and business blogs, at Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO you will find the writings and videos of various thought leaders.


Pain comes and goes – it is when we get stuck in our pain that it becomes detrimental to our well-being and development.

Pain comes and it goes. It is just one component to the grand cycle of life. And when experienced as such, pain can serve as an important teacher. It is when we get stuck in our pain that it becomes detrimental to our well-being and development. If you notice that you feel closed-off, resentful, heavy-hearted, or that you try very hard to avoid being hurt again, there may be a part of you that is still stuck in pain.

We can get stuck in our pain for many reasons. As children, it was natural for us to cry, throw a tantrum, and let the experience move through us. By fully feeling our pain in this way, our emotions would wash us clean, leaving us open and available to new experiences. With age, though, we might have determined that expressing emotion was no longer appropriate, and so we developed a variety of coping strategies to deal with our discomfort. We may have learned to stuff our feelings down or to run away from them. Perhaps we began thinking that staying closed and unwilling to try new things would keep us safe from heartbreak, safe from rejection, and safe from failure. We may have even gotten so used to being in pain that the thought of being without it scares us. But, if we continue to hold onto it longer than necessary, we are expending a lot of energy that could instead be channeled into making our life experiences more positive.

If you notice that you are continually connecting with the same familiar patterns of pain, consider embracing your feelings and letting go of your hurt. Whether your pain is from childhood or from an experience last week, see if you can give it room to move. When it does, you will reconnect with a wonderful source of your own vital energy.

– DailyOM

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with Robert Finkelstein, for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.


Posted in "7 Keys To Liberating Yourself From Fear" by Katie Freiling, Life Management with tags , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, and my own personal and business blogs, at Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO you will find the writings and videos of various thought leaders.


Fear. It’s everywhere. And there’s a lot of suffering happening right now in the world because of it…

We’ve come to an incredibly critical time in our evolution as a species… where we’re being called to wake up, see the truth, and liberate ourselves from the grip of fear once and for all.

Fear is the ONE thing that holds you back in life. It’s the source of your worries, insecurities, burdens, guilt, resentments, stresses, and any feelings of lack that you may experience… lack of love, lack of joy, lack of success, or lack of inspiration. Fear is THE barrier to the ultimate realization of your true potential and power.

When we experience fear, our entire being literally closes itself off from the world. We limit and restrict the flow of life and our bodies enter into “survival mode” as we gear up the fight or flight hormones to protect ourselves from danger. This is in response to a “perceived” threat… which, of course, is completely imaginary 99% of the time. Because unless we’re being physically threatened in that moment, the fear is only in our heads.

So if fear is a frequent companion of yours, in any of it’s various forms, you’re keeping yourself stagnated in a state of “fighting for survival”, whether you realize it or not. When you’re in fear, you can’t grow, you can’t expand, you can’t relax, you can’t create… It’s quite paralyzing. Living in fear is essentially toxic to our mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being and growth.

As an entrepreneur, not only do you have the opportunity to liberate yourself from your conditioned fears to create the success you want in your business… but you also have the opportunity to lead by example… to show the rest of the world what’s possible when fear is no longer in control. When we, individually and as a collective, wake up from our fears, we create the space to truly evolve, grow, and experience ever-expanding joy, love, and peace. In fact, I believe that it’s our calling.

Waking up from fear is not something you only do once. Fear is deeply engrained into our reality. It’s something we need to commit to bringing awareness to again and again and again. Once you start awakening from your fear, this power in you gets strengthened just like a muscle.

So I wanted to share with you “7 keys to liberating yourself from fear”. Feel into each one, and please don’t just read about them, practice them anytime you need a reminder!

(*And please note… these keys are in reference to mind-created fears that you want to wake up from. They are not for situations in which you are in real danger.)


Key #1: Get present.

Again, over 99% of the fear you will experience in this lifetime is not from any real imminent danger… it literally exists only in your head. The mind loves to think about the past, your stories, what happened to you, what happened to so and so… and then project that into the future by either fantasizing about something or worrying about it.

An “untrained” mind has an extremely hard time staying present. Most often… there’s no real drama in the present moment. There’s nothing to fear and nothing to worry about. Your fear only exists in your thoughts about the future. Life in your head is not real… it’s a conceptualized, analyzed, thought-created reality that leaves you susceptible to all sorts of imagined future fears.

The present moment is all that exists and will ever exist. So in living life in the now, not in the future, you are free. Next time you feel fear about something, come back to the present. Focus on what’s here in front of you right now… focus on your breath… and relax. And just notice that when you’re present, there’s no such thing as fear.

Key #2: Inquire into your fear.

What is it that you’re really afraid of? Inquiring into your fear requires radical honesty. Most often, our fears are accumulated response patterns from the past that operate almost completely on autopilot. Fear is just a story. So unless you question the fear and bring awareness to it, it’ll have unconscious control over you.

Let’s say for example you have a fear of public speaking. Ask yourself what you’re really afraid of… Maybe you’re afraid you’ll mess up your words? Maybe you’re afraid of judgment or criticism? Then inquire into the meaning you assign to that possible outcome… What would it mean if you messed up your words? Maybe you think it would mean you’re not a good speaker or you’re not good enough? Is that true?

No. Most often, your fear of a projected outcome is not based in reality at all. Messing up your words on stage means nothing about who you are and your worthiness. Your mind is the only one that thinks this could even be true. In inquiring into the root of your fear, you’ll discover that it’s quite insubstantial. It’s all based around possible outcomes, interpretations, and projections. You always have a choice… to believe the “story of fear” or not. And through inquiry, it’s easier to let go of the belief in what you fear when you see how “untrue” it really is at the core.

Key #3: Flow with the fear.

When you’re experiencing fear in your body, you can either resist it or you can flow with it. Resisting fear only strengthens its power. So when you’re trying to suppress it, ignore it, or hide it to avoid feeling bad or looking bad… you’re just perpetuating the fear. The key is to flow with the feeling until it’s gone. It’s still important to choose not to give fear any reality… but if there are residual feelings from the effects of your thought patterns, don’t fight it.

If you inquire into your fear of public speaking and you see how untrue it is, your body will probably still feel fear when you get up in front of a room. That’s ok… if you let yourself fully feel your emotions, they’ll flow through you like water and will be gone before you know it. Resisting keeps them trapped in your body where they’ll escalate and get stronger. So put down your sword… fighting fear is not a battle you can win. Fear will pass when you allow it to flow.

Key #4: Choose trust.

Some people say fear is the opposite of love. I believe fear is the opposite of trust. Love is always present, it’s just a matter of how much we are able to open to it. When we fear, we close down, we tighten, we can’t see love. When you trust, you open yourself to life and it becomes a gateway into love.

So trust, is the antidote to fear. And this trust that I’m speaking about specifically is not trust for a particular person or company or government… it’s simply a trust in life. Trust that life is supporting you, taking care of you, and giving you exactly what you need for your highest growth and evolution. Everything has a reason, a divine plan that we may not see right away, or ever… But it’s there. We just need to show up with openness and trust, and we’ll flow into harmony with the current of life.

This is definitely something you’ll need to consciously invoke within your body. If you’re feeling fear, you can’t just tell yourself to trust… you have to really feel it. So take some deep breaths, and create the intention to completely surrender in trust. Affirming it out loud is also very helpful. You can say something like:

“Even though I feel fear, I am choosing to let it go and completely surrender to trust. Peace and harmony flow through my being easily and effortlessly”.

Then FEEL it… feel the peace that is present within you when you open, trust, and relax. So trust through the fear. And what you’ll experience on the other side is nothing short of pure magic.

Key #5: Do the thing you fear.

Most often, the fear you feel is a fear of the “unknown”. With our public speaking example, if you’ve rarely spoken in front of a group of people, your mind can create all sorts of fearful fantasies about what might happen, what it would be like, etc. But really… it’s just because it’s an unknown experience. You’ve never really faced it.

Another example is if you fear leaving a relationship for one reason or another, even though it’s what you know is best. That’s also a fear of the unknown… you’re unsure of what will really happen, it’s unknown to you, so your mind automatically fears it.

When you do the thing you’re afraid of doing, it’ll be scary at first, but then once you face it, you’ll see that it was never as “bad” as you thought. In fact, you’ll feel much more empowered because the fear lost some of it’s power over you. The more you do the thing you fear, the easier it gets… and you can even learn to enjoy what you used to fear. When you have the courage to step into the unknown and face your fear, you become liberated, inside and out.

Key #6: Shift your focus from fear to gratitude.

When you’re experiencing fear because of a thought or projection about the future, simply choose to shift your focus. Again, because most of your fear is completely imaginary, don’t give it reality. Don’t let it monopolize your thoughts. Notice when you are focusing on a fearful outcome, and consciously choose to shift your focus to gratitude instead.

Fear can’t survive in the high vibration of gratitude. When you focus on what you’re grateful for, you’re putting yourself into a state of giving… of giving thanks and appreciation for what’s in your life here and now. Fear, on the other hand, is a state of depletion… it robs you of your energy, your connection to yourself, and it throws you off track. It sucks the life out of you, whereas gratitude gives you energy.

So if you’re in fear over what might happen with your finances, or the economy… choose to focus on how grateful you are for the roof over your head, the food and water in your kitchen, the opportunity you have to create a business that you love, etc. You will immediately shift your vibration… and you’ll also start attracting more of what you’re looking to bring into your life. Focusing on what you fear will give you more of the very thing you fear. Choosing an attitude of gratitude will give you the energy, the strength, and the resolve to move through anything… and life will give you more of what you’re grateful for!

One of my favorite quotes is by Lynne Twist, author of “The Soul of Money” and founder of the non-profit organization, The Pachamama Alliance: “What you appreciate, appreciates”. Appreciate life, even the fear… And your gratitude will bring abundance.

Key #7: Re-connect to yourself.

When you feel fear, you are disconnected from the truth of who you really are. Fear perpetuates the illusion of separation… the illusion that you are separate from the life force that is organizing and guiding all of existence. When you feel fear, you feel alone, afraid, and small. The truth is… that you can never be separated from the infinite intelligence that is living through you in every moment. You are made up of pure potential and you are always infinitely supported and connected. Fear itself is what puts up “walls” of separation and limitation that keep you feeling disconnected from your true self.

So really… the “game” of life is just to keep remembering who we really are in the face of fear. Fear limits, constricts, and creates pain. Truth expands, opens, and allows love to shine through. To reconnect with the truth, simply close your eyes, and focus on the stillness within you. Just put your attention on the life force that is existing within you, and feel how expansive, alive, and nurturing it is. Since fear is created in the mind, it’s important to experience who you are beyond the mind… so being quiet and still and allowing your mind to calm down is so important.

You can choose to sit in stillness for any amount of time that feels good to you… it really only takes a moment of remembering who you really are at your essence to wake up from fear. Experiencing your true self will anchor you in love and trust… and in a world where everything is constantly changing, you’ll find a peace within you that stays constant and remains unshakable no matter what’s going on around you.

Re-connecting to yourself is something you’ll need to do again and again and again anytime you need a reminder in the face of fear. It’s a practice… and really, it’s the only one that really matters! When you’re truly connected and aligned with who you really are at your core, everything else seems to fall gracefully into place.


You are SO needed in our world right now. We need your true power, gifts, strengths, awareness, and commitment to inner peace. Your inner reality is contributing to the collective reality, so each one of us has the responsibility and the calling to choose love and trust when fear arises. It will not only liberate you, it’ll help liberate the planet. And when you’re free on the inside, nothing can stop you. You will be able to effortlessly create the wealth, success, and impact that you truly want in your life.

So please… spread the word. Practice peace. It starts with you!

To Your True Liberation,
Katie Freiling

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with Robert Finkelstein, for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.


Posted in General Management, Life Management, Thinking Big is the Best Plan with tags , , , , on March 22, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with the inspirational quotes, the beautiful images, and my own personal and business blogs, at Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO you will find the writings and videos of various thought leaders.


Years ago, when I was just starting my real estate investing career, I came across a property with a for-sale sign on it. I called the broker and asked, “What can you tell me about the property, and how much does it cost?”

The broker politely and patiently said, “It’s a commercial building with six tenants. There’s a chiropractor, a dentist, a hairstylist, an accountant, and a bail bondsman. The price is two million dollars.”

Losing Big
I almost choked. “Two million dollars?! That’s way too expensive!”
Thirty years ago, $2 million was a lot of money. And instead of looking at the property, I let the price frighten me off. I never looked at the deal, and just assumed that the seller was crazy, greedy, and out of touch with the market.

Today, there’s a luxury hotel on the same site. It’s spectacular. I estimate the property to be worth at least $150 million, and maybe more.

Cheap Lessons
Not seeing the potential of that deal taught me many lessons. Here are two important ones:
• Sometimes you learn more by being stupid and making mistakes.
• The person with the better plan wins.

In the above example, my plan was just too small. In fact, the only plan I had at the time was to collect the rent money from the tenants, cover my mortgage and expenses, and put a little in my pocket. And 30 years ago, I knew that the rent from six small tenants couldn’t possibly pay for a $2 million property.

I later learned that the property’s eventual owner bought it for full price — with terms. He put $50,000 down as an option and asked for 180 days to put the rest of his plan together. During those 180 days, he gathered his investors, a builder, and his tenant, a major hotel chain.

If he hadn’t been able to put his plan together, he would’ve lost his option money. Instead, before the 180 days were up, his investors paid the $2 million in cash, and he spent the next three years getting the project through the city planning commission and finally began construction. He won because he had a better plan.

Mind Expansion
Donald Trump often says to “think big.” He definitely does so, but by nature, I don’t. My excuse is that I come from a small town in Hawaii. My family wasn’t rich, so when it comes to money, I tend to err on the side of caution. Over time, my thinking has become medium-sized when it comes to spotting opportunities, but I’d still like to think bigger.

One of the reasons I enjoy doing business in New York and having Trump as a partner on different projects is that he makes me do just that — because if you don’t think big in New York, you get kicked out. If I thought small, I wouldn’t be on television, cutting book deals with major publishers, or talking in front of tens of thousands of people in arenas like Madison Square Garden.

Recently, I worked on a real estate project to present to Donald. Consequently, I found myself pushing my thinking, expanding my context, and thinking of luxury, not just price. Just preparing to present the project to him required me to think bigger and come up with a better plan.

A Blast from the Past
About a year ago, someone called to say that there was a spectacular condominium that had just come up for sale. She wanted to know if I was interested in looking at it. Of course I said, “Yes.” I wanted to see what her definition of spectacular was, and trust me — it was spectacular. She then said, “And the price is only twenty-eight million dollars. But I believe you can pick it up for twenty-four million. At that price, this condo is a steal.”

Once again, I heard myself saying what I said so long ago: “That’s too expensive.” But, as I said, that lesson from 30 years back proved to be priceless: After hearing the think-small person in me comment on the condo price, I took a deep breath and asked myself, “What’s my plan?” Then I asked myself, “What’s wrong with my plan?”

I didn’t buy the condo, but I did come up with a better plan. Over the next few days, I realized that the reason I couldn’t afford the condo was because my business was too small. If I wanted to afford such a luxury residence, I needed to come up with a better plan for my business. Today, I’m working harder than ever to improve it — not because I want the condo, but to be able afford such a condo if I someday decide I want one.

Plan Ahead
In many of my Yahoo! Finance columns, I’ve written about my concern over the devaluation of the U.S. dollar. As the dollar drops in purchasing power, it often pushes up the prices of real assets — quality real estate and equities. My fear is that many people may not be able to afford tangible assets and become poorer as the dollar declines. This drop in purchasing power also widens the gap between the rich and everyone else.

One method of staying ahead of rising asset prices and the declining dollar is to think bigger and come up with better plans. As important as financial and business planning is a plan for personal development and self-improvement. I’m often asked to invest in people’s business plans, and one of the reasons I turn many of them down is because a big plan requires a big person who’s spent time on personal development. In a lot of cases, a business plan is far bigger than the person with the plan — that is, the dream is bigger than the dreamer.

Today, I’m glad I missed out on that $2 million property all those years ago. The best lesson I learned from it is that I can have a better life if I have a better plan — and a plan to become better person. So what’s your plan?

– Robert Kiyosaki

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