Friday, August 28, 2009

Experiment Done!!!!

So here it is. Day 30. Thirty days ago I woke up and said to myself, "today I'm going to take some kind of action towards writing a book". Remembering how quickly National Powersports came together once I actually did something, I decided to commit to writing every single day for the next 30 days. I have read that forming a habit takes around 21 days of repetition. I figured that if I can write something every day for the next 30 days I would be on my way towards writing that book. I also know that I tend to get wrapped up in my life and needed some way to be held accountable.

I told Amy that I was going to do a public post to all my friends on facebook and ask them to read my blog and hold me accountable. Since I have never written on a regular basis it was pretty scary to put myself out there like that. I did not have a very clear idea for the book, but had a couple basic thoughts of what it might contain. At the heart of it all I wanted to write a book that would help people realize that they can get whatever they want out of life and hopefully my story would help inspire them to realize that. I also hoped that I would be able to come up with a type of system to go along with that idea.

I have discovered some interesting things in the last 30 days. I have realized that giving people inspirational ideas is not as powerful as explaining how that inspirational idea was actually put in place and used to change my life. I have realized that what I went through with my Dad is far from normal. And believe me, I did not come close to going into the real nitty gritty. I learned that many of us have a hard time as adults separating how our parents emotionally control our actions vs. becoming confident in the person we actually are.

I have also found inspiration in many of you. Many of you emailed me with emotional notes of your personal lives. I'm honored that you shared them with me. The best thing that I got out of writing this blog is seeing some of you using it as an catalyst to take action in your life. I've mentioned it before, but I'm terrified of going to the grave without contributing something to others. Seeing people improving their lives is incredibly satisfying. It makes me feel like I have purpose.

So, I have moved forward in some aspects, and not in others. This blog let me get some basic thoughts down about my history as well as ideas and principals I have used to change my life. I have not been able through this blog to develop any type of system that would make it clearer to others on how to do it themselves. I am actively working on that with Amy. We are meeting once a week and writing down what she wants and the action steps towards getting it. I am pretty sure that I will be able to look back on the process and it will help define a plan that will be a good part of the book.

So what happens now? Knowing that people were reading has done a great job keeping me from slacking on my writing. All day, every day, for the last month I have realized that there was no way that I could go to bed without writing here. It created pressure for me, but it was exactly the type of pressure I needed to take action.

I am going to continue to write every day for the next 30 days. It will not be here in my blog, as I am now going to start to organize my thoughts and go into much greater detail. I will post at least once a week about my progress with the book so everybody here can see how I am progressing.

The most interesting thought I had when starting this commitment was that I was going to actively show anybody who was interested how to take action and work towards a dream. With this blog and commitment I took step one. There are more steps needed. Today I started researching the Internet on how to write your first book and how to publish your first book. They are two very separate issues.

I have been overwhelmed at the show of support I have received. My family has taken time to write me poignant letters and tell me that they are proud of me. How awesome is that? People who I have not talked to for years have showed me support as if they were family members. People who I thought were acquaintances turned out to be friends. I am sure that some of you got sick of seeing "Day XX is up!!" on your facebook wall, but nobody ever complained to me.

Thank you so much. Please keep in touch with me about your progress. I'll do the same.

p.s. I'm not sure how much I'm going to use facebook in the future for updates. If you want to be updated with whats going on send me an email to with the subject "update me"

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Today is part 29 of a 30 day commitment. To read about how I am blogging to change my life please read here first.

So tonight is night 29. Only one more day left. I know that there are bunch of people reading and I made a promise to post every day. I have been sitting at my computer for the last 45 minutes.

I am in a bad mood. It doesn't matter why, I'd rather not get into it. That's just the point. I can't seem to get anything out of my mind that is not negative right now. I refuse to sit here and pour out negativity. I know that tomorrow I will see all the opportunities around me again. Maybe then I'll type the post that I wanted to. For tonight, I'm going to take a pass.

Thanks for your understanding.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Today is part 28 of a 30 day commitment. To read about how I am blogging to change my life please read here first.

As I have mentioned before, the idea of writing a book has been with me for quite a while. The last time I decided to investigate it I contacted a friend of mine who writes some of the "for Dummies" books. I met her through the eBay group that I talked about a couple of nights ago. She is dynamic and an incredible networker.

When I first emailed her and told her that I wanted to write a book she asked me what it was about. Thinking that I was being clever I simply emailed back "Turning $500 into $5 million. She then emailed back and said that doesn't tell her anything. What is it really about. I just went back and read the stream of emails from 4/1/2008 (Holy crap, a year and a half ago!!!). I sent her this response.

"My idea is to write an inspirational/business book about my story. From my severe frustration of being in the family business and the emotional torture I was put through. About going from not trusting what I knew to be correct when others told me I couldn't to trusing my instincts. About realizing that my lack of formal education wasn't a handicap, but a blessing. About the clarity that came from figuring out what I wanted with my life and incorporating it into everything that I do. About how that realization formed every aspect of my business and created something that was completely new in the industry. About how that continues to push 30-40% growth year after year in an industry that is down 35%. About how IN control of our lives we are once we decide to be.

I know that my story can be put into words in a way that can inspire people to follow their dreams and earn huge success at the same time. I started my business with $500. Last years sales were almost ($XXXXXXXXXXX)and we are up %40 so far this year. I also know that I am not an author and know that publishing a successful book is equally about the marketing as the content.

Is this arrogance on my part? Probably. Am I ok with that? Yes, if it truly inspires one person to get out of the hole that I was in and change their life.

She then emailed me back and told me that the story was NOT $500 to 5 million. It was about my story of hard work etc... She also said that if I was going to write a "Get Rich Quick" story then she wanted no part of it. She went into explaining that people like Donald Trump are ripping off poor fools and trying to convince them that they can be the next Donald Trump. She said that she would love to have sales like I do, but she never would. She told me not to expect to get rich writing books.

I was really taken back at her response. I can tell from the chain of emails that I didn't take it any further. From my point of view there is nothing wrong with somebody writing a book about getting rich. Thats not what my book is going to be about, but if somebody wants to spend $19.95 to be inspired to change their life that is not ripping somebody off.

Much of my success is due to two books. These books helped change the way I look at life. The first is the wildly succesful "Rich Dad Poor Dad". I read this book and knew that I had to follow my dream of owning my own business. It inspired me to finally take action. It was at least 5 years after reading that book that I started National Powersports. I bought most of the books in his series as well as his "cashflow" game. All and all I probably spent $350-$400 with that francaise. That book and those products produced millions of dollars for me. Not a bad investment!! I think they got the bad end of the stick. The other book was "The E-Myth Revisited."

This book got me to think of my business systematically as well as helped me define the core thing that I wanted in my life. I spent about $600 with this company between their emyth mastery program and the book. Again, I think they ended up on the wrong end of the deal.

The worst part of the exchange with my author friend is that I let it derail me. I started to think that I was not on the right track. I had the wind taken out of my sails and I went back to working IN my life not ON my life. When I sat down to write this post I looked up the emails in my inbox and was blown away to see that almost a year and a half has already passed.

There are only two days left in my commitment to write in my blog dialy. I think that I have made remarkable progress in getting my many thoughts out and putting them on "paper". The really great thing is the feedback that I have recieved. You guys and gals have helped a ton. Thank you!

I am going to try to lay out a plan of action for me in the last two posts.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Time off

Today is part 27 of a 30 day commitment. To read about how I am blogging to change my life please read here first.

Tonight I am sitting in a hotel in Maine. I decided last minute to take the week off and spend it with the family. The kids go back to school next week and I realized all of a sudden that we didn't go away like we always do.

We had a wonderful day today, although we got a late start. There was a point this morning that I seriously thought about cancelling leaving. It would have been really easy to just stay at the shop and help. I think those type of deciding moments are what we are going to look back on later in life. I have talked with a lot of "successful" business people and if they are older the almost always give the advice of not overlooking your family. A lot of them tell me that they wish that they didn't work so many hours and had spent more time with their families.

Nobody wants to end up having a life like the Cat Stevens song "Cats in the cradle". On the other hand, I always feel guilty for not working enough. Amy laughs when I say this, but I see other business owners working so much harder than me. My thought is that I will be truly successful when I don't have to be at my business anymore. On that day it will mean that I have put such a great team in place that they know exactly what to do. It will mean that I have put all the processes and procedures in place that they all know what is expected of their position.

I certainly am not there yet. I have an incredible crew, but I still need to work on having everything perfectly defined. It is way harder than it sounds. It is a great goal to work towards though.

For tonight I am going to be content knowing that I wasn't at work today and they did a great job. I have now finished my commitment to write in my blog, even though I'm away. And now...I'm going to spend a little more time with my awesome family.

Have a great night.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Whats my USP?

Today is part 26 of a 30 day commitment. To read about how I am blogging to change my life please read here first.

So today is day 26. I can't believe that I have posted something every single day for 26 days! It feels great to know that I have actually taken a step towards writing a book. I didn't have a ton of ambition as far as this blog goes. I just wanted to get into the habit of writing every day. Involving all of you was to hold me accountable. It sure has worked! Thinking about the book has been at the forefront of my mind all day, every day. I knew that if I missed a day I would get a bunch of emails holding my feet to the fire. Thanks to every body for that.

One thing that I have not become any clearer on is my USP for the book. A lot of the business books that I read talk about a USP, or Unique Selling Proposition. A USP is what sets you apart from your competitors. I struggle with the idea because I really don't think that what I have done is that special. We all can do it. I just seem to be able to get people inspired enough to take the first step to discover that they can do it.

There are a ton of people out there writing "self-help" books. Why would anybody read mine? Do I write about what has happened to me to get to this point or the specifics of how I did it? Both?

The honest truth is, I don't really know how I did it. There are so many contributing factors. Did I have the "Perfect Storm" of events happen? I am lucky enough to have a great support group, zest for life, fear of death, drive to accomplish something worthy and an open mind that I don't have all the answers and I'm open to new ideas.

When I started this I posted that I didn't want to just write about my life's story. I believe that every person on this earth could write a book about their life's story and they all would be fascinating. But from a business point of view, why would anybody pick mine up off the shelf?

The funny thing is that the posts that have had the most responses are the ones where I opened up and poured out my guts about my life to this point. I am trying to balance that with the fact that most of the people who read this blog are friends and family. Would a stranger find it as interesting? Would the person who is trying to get more out of their life find anything in what I've done to help them move forward and do it themselves?

As the 30 day commitment winds down I find myself with a lot of unanswered questions. The biggest is still "How can I write a book that will help other people believe that they can do anything in this world?" I want to do more than inspire them, I want to help them believe that it is possible. But what can I really do to help?

The best thing about doing this blog have been all of you reading it. I am honestly blessed to have such an incredible group of people involved with my life. I have had inspiring emails from high school friends that I have not talked to in 20 years. I have become closer to many family members. I have been inspired by strangers sending insightful emails. I think that you all gave me more than I gave you. For that I am very thankful.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Every day is getting shorter...

Today is part 25 of a 30 day commitment. To read about how I am blogging to change my life please read here first.

When I started writing daily in this blog 25 days ago I had decided to take a first step. I have been thinking about writing a book for the last two years and decided to just start. It is hard to start. Maybe sometimes it is hard for a reason. Maybe it is not the right time yet. Maybe the idea just isn't formed well enough yet. I know for me I have a hard time starting when I don't have a perfect picture in my head yet.

I know that my daily life ends up getting filled with routines. Some of them are especially non-productive. I was regularly checking on a couple blogs, 3 chat boards, facebook and reading emails on a high traffic email list. I know when I'm doing it that I am really diverting time away from the things that I could be doing to increase the quality of my life, but it seems like I just get into a routine and check all this online stuff out of habit.

One message board that I belong to is a group of top ebay sellers. I have been a member of this group for 4 years. I have travelled all over the US to attend meetings. As my business moved away from relying to much on ebay I still found myself going to the message boards often. I am amazed at the amount of time that some of the members spend on the board. I am often struck by how much more productive they could be if they put that much energy into their business! The board is full of threads that complain about how ebay is changing and their business is suffering but yet they are spending 1/2 the day on the computer instead of putting that energy into building their own website and finding other venues to sell their product.

I am trying really hard to pay attention to the things that are time wasters. I am trying to use that time that I would have been wasting on working on my book and new business ideas. Right now I could easily be having a drink and watching TV.

On the radio today I heard Pink Floyd's "Time". Every time I hear the lyrics I get spooked. I am terrified of finding myself on my deathbed with a list of things that I never accomplished.

"And then one day you find ten years have got behind you,
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun."

I'm going to write this damn book!

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Today is part 24 of a 30 day commitment. To read about how I am blogging to change my life please read here first.

Today Amy and I hosted the 8th annual Sanel Family reunion. Most of us consider our family highly dysfunctional, but the truth is we have a great bunch of people in our camp. I was happy to have the event here at my new house and spent a lot of time preparing. Last night I prepared ribs and chicken and spent the entire day today smoking and grilling them. My brother made a killer slaw that went awesome with the ribs and the food was incredible.

My family was also incredible. Every time we do this I wonder why we wait an entire year to see each other. The kids played all day and night and the conversation was excellent.

I spent a large part of the day worrying about what to write tonight. It was a long day that I started with a 15 mile run. All day I looked for inspiration for tonight's blog. Although the conversation was great and gave me many ideas one thing just wouldn't go from my mind.

As the regular readers of this blog know, my Dad and I have had an interesting relationship. After I left his company he badmouthed me. No matter how angry you are at your parents, not much feels worse than being rejected by one of them. Over the years since I left Dad I have had periods that we talked and periods that we didn't. During the periods that we didn't I have told myself that it is his loss. One thing that I cant seem to get over is that he has no desire to know his grandchildren. He has met my daughter twice in her life and she is 9. There was a period of about two years that he didn't talk to me. Then at our family reunion 4 years ago he showed up early and told me that he wanted to bury the hatchet. He had a heart attack and I think he was realizing that he might go to the grave without ever talking to me again. It was nice to know that he still cared.

I welcomed him back with no hard feelings. For a man as stubborn as he is I was surprised that he had the courage to show up and try to make things right. I began calling him on a more regular basis and it was nice thinking that we were over the hump. It didn't change anything that he did to me when we worked together, but it was nice to think that we were both mature enough to put it in the past.

The following Holiday season my Dad and my stepmother sent the kids an incredible array of gifts. The kids were a little bit confused as to why these people who didn't want to know them were sending them such nice gifts, but they were as excited as any kids would be. Each day of Hanukkah the kids would call them and thank them for the awesome gifts. I thought everything was good.

I talked with my Dad on and off over the next year. He might have called me a few times, but mostly I called him. I kept him up to date on my running and how well the business was doing and he talked about the auto parts business.

The following Holiday season nothing came for the kids. I really didn't understand what was going on so I called him. I was worried that he sent gifts for the kids and they didn't receive them. I was kind of damned if I do and damned if I don't. If he did send gifts he would think that we were unappreciative. If he didn't he would think that I was fishing for gifts. Which I wasn't. I just thought that it wasn't fair to do that to the kids.

When I called him to ask if he had sent anything because we hadn't received it he said that this year he didn't send anything to my kids or my brothers kids. I called my brother and he said that his kids got the usual boatload. My Dad must have talked with my brother because he called me a week later and admitted that he had sent my brothers kids gifts but my stepmother didn't want to send my kids anything because we didn't send a thank you card the previous year. I reminded him that my kids called him every night and thanked him, but he didn't seem to recall that part. He then told me that my step-mother had a problem with my wife, which makes no sense to me. I told him that I would love to clear the air and get together and work though all of it. He said that we probably should do that and he would let me know when.

That was almost two years ago and I still have not got a call. About a year ago I called him, after contemplating what the right thing to do was. A stranger picked up the phone and said that my Dad had moved. Did I have his number? Did I want it? I declined. My Dad lives 20 minutes from me.

The rumour was that he was going to show up this year. He didn't. I'm 40 years old and wondering when I am going to stop caring. One thing that he has taught me is that the only thing I have control over is my reaction to the world around me. His actions are nothing that I can do anything about.

Do we ever stop needing our parents approval? At what point do we become confident with ourselves instead of being our parents kids? One of my friends who reads this blog emailed me saying that forgiveness is a liberating thing. I really wish I could get to that point with my Dad.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Today is part 23 of a 30 day commitment. To read about how I am blogging to change my life please read here first.

Everywhere I look I see potential. It is a blessing and a curse. I have come to realize that I am not that creative. Inventing something from nothing is very hard for me. For all my talk about vision I have a hard time starting with an empty slate. What I do see clearly is potential. I can take almost any idea and expand upon it. I can forecast the potential for what an idea can become. I can look at a program and immediately see things that it should do in the future. I can talk to a person and see what he or she can become or achieve, sometimes before they even see it themselves.

In a sense, I live in the future. I have a hard time with the now. Now doesn't go fast enough for me. I have had a ton of people ask me if I ever relax. If I'm ever content. It is very hard to admit, but I'm not content very often.

That's not to say that I'm not happy. I'm extremely happy. People confuse the two. You can be extremely happy but not content with leaving things the way they are. I just feel like content is a cop out. Content means that everything is perfect and relaxed. I would give anything to be content. To not have to be tortured by the "what if?" I am pretty sure that I will chase that thought for the rest of my life. Even if I won the powerball I don't think that I would ever be content. My mind doesn't seem to work that way. Its what drives me to succeed and also what makes me feel like nothing is good enough.

It is tough to type that. Does this mean that I am doomed to a life of constant frustration? When people tell me how impressed they are with how well National Powersports has done my mind immediately focuses on what we haven't done yet. You see, there is so much potential!!!

Over the last 23 days I have forced myself to think about the potential for a book. One of the things that I think about a lot is the nature vs. nurture question. I think that anybody can have anything that they want. Other don't agree with me. They come up with scenarios that might limit somebodys potential. I hope that I can come up with an iron clad system that will allow anybody to improve their life and get what they want. Regardless of their situation. A book that can do that has huge potential.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Study hard, get good grades, get a good job.

Today is part 22 of a 30 day commitment. To read about how I am blogging to change my life please read here first.

I grew up a good portion of my life thinking that I was not that bright. I was good at physical things, but did terrible in school. Based on what my teachers told me, as a solid C/D student, I could expect to work in bicycle shops for the rest of my life. Not that I had a problem with that. I liked working with bikes and people. I never considered myself a corporate type and the thought of wearing a suit and tie every day was comical.

The one thing that I just assumed is that I would never make a lot of money. I had bought into the idea that the higher your education or degree the more money you make. That certainly seems true in the corporate world, but as I have discovered, it doesn't have to be that way in the world I live in. It seems as if we get a lot of advice growing up that doesn't have the data behind it to back it up.

So why do most of our parents tell us to study hard, get good grades so you can get a good job? I think that they want us to be safe. And that is what their parents told them too. Unfortunately it is not always the safe thing to do. It certainly is not the only path to becoming rich. Again, that's OK. It all depends on what you want and as I've said many times in this blog, money is not the only thing in this world. But if it is not the exclusive path, why are we constantly being told that's what we should do? I think that we repeat a lot of things that we get told without ever investigating if it is true.

In Thomas J. Stanley's "The Millionaire Mind" he does extensive research into the lives of approximately 700 millionaires as well as a control group. The results show a number of traits that are consistent among millionaires that are not what the stereotypes would have you believe.

Most of the millionaires had been told by some authority figure or by the results of a standardized test scores that were not:

- Intellectually gifted
- Of Law-School caliber
- Medical School material
- Qualified to pursue a MBA degree
- Smart enough to succeed

They also said that a major reason for their success was "Learning to fight for our goals because somebody labeled us as having "average or less ability".

When I worked for Dad I was constantly battling in my head about my lack of education vs. my gut instincts. I would have ideas that I knew were right, but when somebody with more education argued against it I would lose confidence. I wasn't afraid to try new things, but nobody wants to look stupid. Even worse, I didn't want to make any decisions that would hurt the business. I always had a little voice in the back of my head saying "maybe you don't understand as well as the guy who went to college".

Now that I've started my own business I've learned to trust my instincts better. I might not have as high of an IQ as a Harvard Graduate, but I have more "EQ" than most. EQ stands for Emotional Intelligence. It has to do with your ability to handle real world situations vs your ability to remember and recite information. I'm not saying that people with high IQ's aren't smart. It is just a different type of smart. The person with a high EQ has the ability to quickly judge a situation and act. They have the ability to quickly build rapport with other people. I think of it as a sort of social intelligence instead of a traditional education intelligence. Google IQ vs. EQ and you'll find a ton of information on the subject.

I think that it would have been wonderful to have an EQ test as well as the standard IQ test that I took as a kid. It might have been helpful to my teachers and my parents to know that while I didn't possess the best skills for studying I did posses some social skills that would have suited me well later in life. I think that I would have grown up with a little more confidence in my abilities. It would be great if the schools would recognize that some of the same kids that they are classifying as ADD and drugging are the same kids that have the ability to change the world. They are not dumb. They are not handicapped. They just learn different and have different skills than the "normal" kids. They might actually have a greater chance at becomming a millionare! If you didn't do well in school don't let it hurt your confidence to succeed. The facts prove that it doesn't.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Writing it down

Today is part 21 of a 30 day commitment. To read about how I am blogging to change my life please read here first.

This morning I went out for a 16 mile run in the hot humid weather. I had a great run and it went by really quickly. A lot of people ask me what I think about when I run so long. I usually kid with them and say, "what goes through my mind is ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch" or "left, right, left, right". Some days my runs flow and I find that I don't think much at all. I am just in the moment gliding along feeling strong and smooth. Those are the best runs, but the most infrequent. Most have different periods where I go between thinking about how tight my left hamstring is or how much my ankle hurts to listening to my breathing and feeling ok.

But other days I just forget that I am running and get so into my thoughts that the running part disappears. Today was one of those days. It didn't start out that way. For the first 3 miles I wanted to turn around and go home. I know its busy at work and I felt like I should be there helping.

Yesterdays post asked for feedback from whomever is reading. An old childhood friend of mine wrote a great note to me. In that note he said "You saw something today that inspired you in some positive way, you just may have overlooked it at the time." I was trying to keep that in mind as I ran. I was really paying attention. But a funny thing happened. My mind drifted to the business as it often does. I have had an idea for the business for quite some while but it never got clear in my head. It is an idea that would constitute a pretty radical change in the business so it is kind of scary. This thought has been with me for at least a year, but I've never acted upon it or investigated it.

On the run it became crystal clear. All of a sudden all of the reasons why I cant do it went away. I started to see how all the little pieces would fit together. Nothing negative came into my mind. I started to realize how huge this idea is. There is nobody in my industry doing it. Not even close. It is completely new. As I ran the details got clearer and clearer. My pace actually picked up because I got so excited.

I have had this type of excitement happen many times. The reality is that I almost never act upon it. I know its a good idea I just can't seem to find the time or energy to dive deeper into it. So today when I got in from my run I decided to not go to work. When I got home there were messages for me, emails to answer, calls to make and my phone was ringing off the hook. Out back in the yard there are two more cords of wood that need to be stacked before my family reunion Saturday. I've ignored them all. Today I am working ON my business, not IN my business.

I decided to come upstairs into my home office and start writing it down. Start taking the idea from my head and turning it into reality. This is always the big step that starts the ball rolling. I could have easily decided to do it later, but I know that the clarity that I had during the run will soon fade and the idea will be shuffled back into that part of my brain that has lots of good ideas sitting in the file cabinet that never gets opened.

Its the same reason that I decided to write this daily blog. I have had the idea for a book in my head for a long time but it too was sitting in the file cabinet. Starting to write is turning it into reality.

When I started National Powersports I used to spend a portion of the evenings writing job descriptions for positions that didn't exist yet. I really believe that writing it down turns it into reality. There it is, right in front of you in black and white. Just do it! I really believe it is one of the reasons we grew so quickly.

Last night Amy and I went out to dinner together. Several weeks ago we decided to take one night a week and work on things that we wanted for our lives. I actually told her that I want the one night a week to be all about her telling me what she wants. She wasn't that comfortable with that, but I made her! This will work for both of us as I can work on the process of helping her, which in turn helps me get clear on many of the things I want to include in the book, and she gets to work on working on her dreams. For the last few weeks we just have not been able to get it done, but last night we sat and talked. And I wrote it all down. And we started to outline what needs to be done. It is amazing how much faster things go when you write it down. She is working ON her life, not IN her life. The things she wants are so obtainable and I am psyched to be there to help.

Here is an idea that might help others. Get a notebook that is just for you. Keep it next to the bed or wherever it is convenient. Every time you think of a great idea go to that notebook and write it down. Its your notebook. There is nothing to silly or far out to write down. You will be amazed at what will happen. Its the first step to turning anything into reality.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Help, I need somebody. Help, not just anybody.

Today is part 20 of a 30 day commitment. To read about how I am blogging to change my life please read here first.

Ok, I'll admit it. Tonight I'm drawing a blank. I have a couple topics that I would like to explore, but just are not coming together clearly. Some of the clearest ideas for the book have been brought about by your comments. I am realizing that it is hard to solicit feedback in this type of format, but if I was face to face with you all we would be having great conversation.

I'm going to cop out tonight and put it back on your shoulders. I would love to know a couple things about you.

1. Who are you?
2. How long have you been reading?
3. Where did you hear about this experiment?
4. What are your thoughts about my posts? Do you see any recurring theme for a book? Do you have any thoughts about how it might help me help others see and achieve their dreams?
5. What are you going through in your life that is relevant to my posts.

Many of you have told me your reading, and I am psyched that the amount of people are increasing. At the very least, can everybody who is reading send me a quick note just to let me know that they are? It would inspire me to be better and work harder. One thing that helped me be successful at National Powersports was not being afraid to ask for help. Tonight I'm asking for yours.


Monday, August 17, 2009

2009 Vermont 100 Road Race Report

Today is part 19 of a 30 day commitment. To read about how I am blogging to change my life please read here first.

Something that I have been meaning to do for the last month is write my Race Report for the Vermont 100. It is hard to put everything that goes into running and preparing for running 100 miles into a single blog post, but I'll do my best. For reference, the first blog post I ever made was my report for last years race.

What a difference a year makes. After my first 100 miler last year I knew that I had to prepare a lot better if I wanted to soundly beat the 24 hour cutoff it takes to get a belt buckle. I know, for most people it sounds ridiculous that you do something so gigantic all for a belt buckle. I had messed up my foot last year trying to run across NH (124 miles). I had to stop at mile 70 with a stress fracture. That was in October. I spent the next few months trying to maintain my fitness but not cause any further injury to the foot. I incorporated biking into my training and also did all my runs over the winter on the treadmill. If you want to practice mental strength, try running 20 plus mile runs on one. It was boring, but didn't seem to aggravate the foot so I did what I had to.

In February I hired Jack Pilla out of VT to be my coach. Jack has placed 3rd at the Vermont 100 3 times and is an incredible runner. He's also a great coach. Oh yeah, he's 51! Jack won the race this year in a time of 16.5 hours. In late February I started running outside again. It felt so good to run the frozen snowmobile trails and to be outside. I switched shoes, went to physical therapy and was very careful to listen to my body. Keep in mind, the race I was training for is in July. This means that for 5 solid months every run that I did was focused on preparing for that one day.

I did a few races leading up to VT and set a PR (Personal Record) for the 50 mile distance. I did the Pineland Farms Trails 50 mile race in 7 hours and 52 minutes. I crushed my previous best by almost 1.5 hours. Jacks plan was working and I was running as high as 100 miles a week and feeling great. I was also injury free.

On July 17th me, Amy and my brother Barry met at Silver Hill Meadow in Brownsville VT to set up our tent and get ready for the 4:00am race start the following morning. I was excited for the race, but I was really enjoying just being with Amy and Barry. I love camping and it was nice having private time with Amy. I was completely prepared and much more relaxed than last year. This year I knew what to expect. I knew how hard the last 20 miles of this race are. I knew that Barry and Amy would be an awesome crew. We went to bed around 9:30pm after my medical check and weigh in and setting the tent up. It promptly began to rain cats and dogs. I like sleeping to the sound of rain bouncing off the tent, but I was really concerned that I would be running for the next full day in the rain. The forecast was changing by the minute and I had no idea what to expect. Running 100 miles is hard enough. Rain increases blisters and chafe, both things that make it a lot more difficult.

At 2:30am my alarm went off and I went in search of the porta-potty. I couldn't do it. Oh well, I carry TP with me and I've had to do it plenty of times in the woods. There are some things that you just learn to do when you are running for such long distances. At 3am the traditional "Chariots of Fire" started blaring over the loudspeakers and racers headed down to the start tent. I headed down early and Amy and Barry told me that they would see me there. At 3:58, as I was lining up, I still had not seen either of them. I was super bummed that Amy wouldn't get to see the start, but then at the last minute she found me and gave me a great big hug. Now I felt better!! It was raining, but it was time to go!

At 4:00am, with headlights on, we took off. There were 250 or so starters. I felt great. My entire focus was to just pay attention to my body and keep myself from getting to worked up. I had a bunch of friends at this race, but really kept to myself. All of them knew how hard I was training and I didn't want to let anybodys outside influence get to me. I just wanted to run and trust my training. At this point there was nothing else I could do, just let it all unfold.

The race has 30 aid stations. An aid station can be anything from a table off the side of the road with some bottles of water to a full blown manned house with all kinds of food and people. Nine of those stations are "handler" stations. These are stations where your crew meets up with you and helps you with whatever you need. One of my biggest goals in the effort to get a faster time was to have super fast aid station stops. I had prepped Amy and Barry on exactly what I would need at each station and it was written out in a book for them.

The first handler station, pretty house, is at mile 21. I came into the station at 7:40 which was already 34 minutes faster than last year. Barry hadn't quite figured out what to do first and kept asking me what I wanted. Amy had read the notes and quickly took over filling my bottles. I was using two handheld bottles and a small fanny pack to carry my gels and electrolyte tabs. I was out in a matter of minutes and feeling great. The rain had stopped and it wasn't too hot.

The next handler station was at mile 30.1. Amy and Barry had me in and out in less than two minutes with two fresh bottles of Gatorade and Powerbar endurance drink plus a new cache of gels. Barry's notes say "Cool as a cucumber". I really don't remember that much except for the fact that I was starting to get tired, but nothing that wasn't manageable. I remember thinking that I had just run a 50k in 5:24 which is only about 30 minutes slower than my PR. Was I going to fast? Would I pay for this later? I was having images of my friends blowing by me 70 miles in and telling me that they knew that I was going out to fast. Luckily that was not to be.

I ran on and off with a couple people I know and a couple I didn't. One was a guy from CA who was super optimistic. He had a lot more experience running 100's, but hadn't run VT before. He kept telling me that we were on sub 20 hour pace. I shared with him that the last 20 miles are the hardest part of the course and that we should be careful. We enjoyed some nice conversation but continued to run our own paces. I found that I was pulling away from a lot of people running up the hills while they walked. Again, I was wondering if I had built up the endurance to keep it up for the full pull.

Camp 10 bears is at mile 47.2 and again at mile 70.1 as it is a loop in the middle of the course. I pulled in at 12:38pm. I was already almost 3 hours ahead of last years time. This was the first medical check and I was only one pound lighter than the start of the race. I had my longest stop of the race as I decided to change my shoes. My feet, socks and shoes were still we from the morning and from sweating and I had a few blisters starting. The stop took 11 minutes, but it was worth it. I left feeling like a million bucks. I had just run almost 50 miles in 8.5 hours which would be a great time in a 50 mile race. Although I felt good, I did question myself again whether or not I was going out to fast.

I don't remember too much about the next handler station, Tracer Brook, at mile 57. I was only there for 2 minutes and everything went off well. Barry's notes say "looking good, Halitosis". He's such a wise ass. I came into "Margaritaville", mile 62.1 at 3:45. Again I had a two minute stop and was out. I had to get out quickly. I can't stand Jimmy Buffett and the music was driving me crazy. I thought it was mile 66 and I told my crew to call my Pacer Joe and tell him I would be at Camp 10 bears in about 50 minutes. This set off a chain of events that I didn't know about until later. Joe had been waiting at Silver Hill Meadow for the shuttle bus to take him to Camp 10 Bears I would pick him up. He thought that he had plenty of time. But my miscalculation along with my way faster time that we expected had him changing buck naked in the bus and lacing up his shoes just in time to pick me up at Camp 10 bears at 5:20. Last year it was almost 8pm when I came through and it felt great to not need my headlight yet.

Joe and I instantly settled into a nice pace and great conversation. I was really psyched to have Joe (Holland) to be my pacer. Last year Joe finished in 20th place in under 21 hours. He knows the course and he knows what you go through to do this. He made me feel great and told me that he was amazed at how I was doing. We came into the West Winds aid station, mile 77, at 7:02pm. Last year it was dark. Joe told me that we would be able to run at least another hour without our headlights and it became obvious to me how much better I was doing this year. It wasn't just my time either. It was how clear headed I was. Last year by this time I was starting to get really really tired. I was already whining to my pacer at how bad I hurt. This year I was kidding around with Joe and drinking Chicken noodle soup. Amy's notes say "Great!"

The next handler station was Bills Barn, mile 88.6. Last year this is when things got so miserable I didn't know what to do. I was a fuzzy headed mess. This year I was running well. I came in at 9:40pm. Last year I came in at 12:30 in the morning. As I was running down the road to get into the station I started to feel sick. I was super nauseous and thought that I might throw up. This would not have been a good place to do that as it was a medical check. I jumped up on the scale and tried to hide the fact that I was sick. If the medical staff sees you being sick or underweight they will hold you until you are better. They can hold you as long as they want and this station has a reputation for being super cautious. I was only one pound down and they let me go. As Barry and Amy were refilling my bottles I was telling Amy that I was going to puke. Barry quickly told me to get out of there because he didn't want the medical staff to see me boot. I choked down a bottle of boost and started to feel better a couple of minutes later. I had forgotten to eat for the last hour thinking that the previous chicken soup would have enough calories and that is why I felt sick.

The last aid station is at mile 95.5. It was 11:15 and I knew at that point I was not going to finish in under 20 hours. Honestly I didn't care. I had set a super secret goal to try to break 20 hours, but I wasn't unhappy with my performance and just wanted to enjoy doing what I was doing. I was gabbing with the aid station worker when Barry and Amy told me to get the hell going. Their notes say "great, but had to push to leave". I guess I started to ask the lady where she was from (it was in front of her house!!) and tried to have a conversation with her. Joe was telling me to "come on!!". I asked the lady what place I was in and she said "are you sure you really want to know?" After I said yes she told me I was in 18th place. Wow!! It was time to go! I only had 4.5 miles to go, but they are incredibly tough miles. Joe and I pushed and I was actually still running up a bunch of the hills (not all!).

A little after the "1 mile to go" sign I looked back and saw lights. I told Joe that there was no way in hell I was going to lose a spot with less than 1 mile to go. I started running as fast as I could through this woods section of single track. It went up a hill then started to descend. As I was twisting and turning down the path I had my first full blown running induced hallucination. I thought I saw a skunk running up the path towards us. I screamed "Look out Joe!" and jumped off into the brush. Joe started laughing his ass off and I did too when I realized what had just happened. Soon I saw the famous light up milk jugs and I heard somebody at the finish line yell "runner whats your number?" I yelled "199, Nathan Sanel" and heard screams at the finish line. I crossed the line in 20 hours 29 minutes and 24 seconds. I finished in 18th place happy as a clam. Until I took off my shoes and looked at my feet....

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Spoiled Brat

Today is part 18 of a 30 day commitment. To read about how I am blogging to change my life please read here first.

I grew up hearing that I was a spoiled brat a lot. I guess I deserved it. I don't think that there were many other kids at my elementary school that wore a Rolex. The truth is, there is a lot more to the story.

My parents divorced when I was 5. I was raised by my mother. The household consisted of me, my two brothers, a dog named Nellie and my Mom. Mom worked full time. She had a number of different cars over the years, starting with a faux wood paneled Oldsmobile station wagon. We lived in the home that Mom and Dad lived in together, which was a really nice home. Besides the home there was nothing about how I was raised on a day to day level that was affluent. That sure didn't stop people from deciding that I was rich.

I certainly felt rich when I visited my Dad though. My dad always had a wad of cash with him. Always. He was extremely generous with his money with us. As a matter of fact, he was very generous with his money to everybody. In his world, money was ridiculously easy. Why not spend it, there will always be more coming in. There was nothing that we asked for that we didn't get. He might have said no at first, but it didn't take much to pester him to the point of getting it.

I had new bikes and a parts account at my local bike shop. All I had to do was call him and ask if it was OK. Any time we visited him and my stepmother they bought us new clothes and toys. It was an interesting contrast to how I lived my daily life and how I saw my mother treat money. At home, my allowance was .25. Really. It would take several weeks to save up enough to by a candy bar at the Bow Mobil on Saturdays when I rode my bike into town. My friends actually had quite a bigger allowance than me. And believe me, I did plenty around the house by the way of chores. I really think that she wanted to be the Yin to the Yang that my father created. She didn't want us to be spoiled brats.

I grew up knowing that I could get anything that I wanted, even if I didn't live like that on a day to day basis. I was, by most peoples standards, a spoiled brat. Hold that thought for a minute.

Amy grew up in a middle class family with a sister and three brothers. Her family didn't struggle, but were a typical American family. She heard "we can't afford that" many times in her life. She did not grow up in the world of abundance that I saw with my Dad. If my Dad had not been in the picture my upbringing as far as outlook on money would have mirrored hers exactly.

So the spoiled brat grows up knowing that there is a way to get anything that they want and the "typical" child grows up hearing "we can't afford that". They learn that there are things that they just can't and will never have. They do not grow up believing that they can have whatever they want.

As parents most of us deny our kids a lot of things. Even if we can afford it. We are terrified that our kids will become spoiled brats. Who wants a kid who whines until they get what they want? Who wants a kid who doesn't work for their money? We teach our kids that money doesn't come easily. It takes hard work. If we just give them stuff they will never understand how much hard work it takes to get our things. We want them to know that in order to have money they need to study hard, go to college, and get good grades. This will lead to getting a good job where they can work up the corporate ladder until they have a high paying job. That's the way it works, right?

National Powersports has done well for Amy and I. In 7 short years we have gone from eating Ramen Pride's and terrified that we can't pay the mortgage to pretty comfortable. The funny thing is that I have to beg for Amy to buy anything. She is always afraid to spend money. Her attitude about money is exactly the same as it was growing up. "We can't afford that" is ingrained into her personality. She is getting better, but her natural instincts are to not spend it.

I, on the other hand, being the spoiled brat, am not afraid to spend money. I know that I can use my brain to create more money. I grew up seeing both sides. It created an abundance mentality in my personality.

I struggle with this as a parent. I want my kids to see that they can have anything that they want, but I do want them also to realize that you have to work for it. My idea of having to work is not the get good grades and a good job method though. I want them to see that they can create money if they use their minds. I do not give my kids ANY allowance. And yes, the have chores. I do not buy them everything that they want, even though I want them to have everything in the world.

When Max was 11 he was super into Lego's. I decided that I would give him a lesson that I wish that had been taught to me when I was his age. I told him that I was not buying him any more sets, but I could show him how to have as many sets as he wanted. I made him a loan for a soda machine and the first load of soda. It was a three year loan at 6% interest. I allowed him to place the machine in the shop. He was fully responsible for the machine and stocking it. If it broke, he wouldn't make any money. It has done well for him and now he knows that he can create as much money as he wants. It still takes work, but it is not what the schools teach.

So why don't we want our kids to be spoiled? I wonder how many peoples upbringing and outlook on money is a key factor in them not believing that this world will give them whatever they want. Why is it that when our sons and daughters are kids we deny them things to make sure they are not spoiled, but later in life we tell them that they can have anything in life they want? I always hated being called a spoiled brat. Now looking back at it, I guess it's not such a bad thing.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Being a "Visionary"

Today is part 17 of a 30 day commitment. To read about how I am blogging to change my life please read here first.

People who build great things from nothing are usually referred to as "visionary". I have spent time lately reflecting on how literal that word is. It all fits in with some of the other concepts that I have outlined earlier. In an earlier blog post titled Getting what you want...what do you want? I talked about taking the time to work on what you want out of your life and not letting negative influences get in the way of dreaming big. In the post Getting what you want, part II, I talked about how catastrophic events in your life often lead to amazing clarity about what you want to accomplish.

But deciding what you want, without some life changing event, is not easy. It is the reason that I'm writing this. In two other posts I discussed the Law of Attraction. The LOA is something that I have only really shared with Amy until this blog. I have been very surprised at how many people have sent me emails saying that they had read the secret and other books on the topic, but yet are still struggling with the concept.

You can actually exercise your ability to try the LOA. It works in excellent with becoming a visionary for what you want out of life. In order to do this, I keep a couple things in mind. One is that the LOA is always working. It is not as simple as focusing on what you want for a few minutes then waiting for it to happen.

LOA returns what you put out whether or not you ask it to. It doesn’t only work when you put effort into it. Setting time to work on envisioning what you want is important, but it is also important that you realize that it works even when you are not putting effort into it. Think of it like a magnet that is always on. You have the control of the polarity (positive or negative) and strength (emotion you put with the thought), but it is always on.

So try this. Actually pick something small that you want. Not a big lofty goal like curing cancer. Decide that you would like $20 in your wallet. Now, here's the catch. If you say to yourself, "I want my wallet to not be empty like it is now, please send me $20" It probably won't work. As a matter of fact, you might be asking the universe to guarantee that your wallet stays empty. Why? Because the image in your head is of your empty wallet. The emotion behind your request is revolving around how bad it feels to have an empty wallet. Your words asked for $20, but your mind did not. So I try to practice like this. I say, "Man, I'm so happy that I have $20 in my wallet (which I don't). I imagine opening my wallet and pulling out the bill and how happy it makes me feel to be able to buy what I want with that money. I see my old worn out wallet in my hands. I can actually feel the papery texture of the bill. I have created the "vision" in a literal sense.

I talked earlier about envisioning winning bmx races as a kid. I'm not sure if everybody caught it, but a key point in the practice was stopping when the vision had somebody getting in front of me. When that happened I had to start over. And over, and over. It was hard. But it worked.

So, lets take it a step further. Say you recently lost your job. You know that you are really good at what you do. You have a great resume and lots of experience. You have a reputation in the industry for being excellent. You are positive that you will be a valuable addition to any company.

Most people in this situation say it like this to themselves. "Man, I can't believe I lost my job. This company is so stupid for laying me off, they can't replace my experience with only one person, so the layoff will end up actually costing them money. They will have to hire two people to do the work that I did. I should be able to get a new job, but lately all I am hearing about is how bad the economy is. I can't believe that I have to start looking for a new job. The economy is pretty tough right now, so I am probably going to have to take a pay cut. Well, that's OK I guess. I heard that Bob was out of work for over 6 months. Holy crap, how am I going to pay the mortgage if that happens? I guess that I could take a pretty sizable pay cut if I have to. Damn it, why did they have to fire me? How am I going to tell my wife? We are going to have to start being more conservative with how we spend money. Shit. I hope I don't end up without a job for a year. Well, I do have more experience than anybody I know. If the economy wasn't so tight right now I could find a job today. Damn, this is scary."

This person knows in their heart that they are the excellent at what they do. They should be able to get a job in a heartbeat. But the powerful emotions combined with the doubt will produce disastrous results. This person has already written the script for what will happen. In their head the "vision" is of them sitting at home with the bills piled high. They can already feel the despair that will be set upon them.

Now, if that person says, "Man, its about time I got out of that company. They were not using me to my abilities and I could have been making them so much more money. No wonder they are not doing well, they don't appreciate great employees. This will be a blessing in disguise. I will have a new job in a week and I can already feel the stress that that place caused me slipping away. I can't wait. I'm going to make some phone calls right now. I bet there will be a bidding war for me." In this persons head the "vision" is of their new well light office with a new computer and a nice fat paycheck in the top drawer.

This is more than just positive thinking, although that certainly goes along with it. In the latter paragraph the person is brimming with hope and positive emotions. To this person the economy matters not one little bit. The first guy will let each rejection fill him with more and more dread. He will go into each job interview already knowing that he won't get hired. And he's right. The second guy will blow through his job rejections and push on with confidence that anybody who didn't hire him lost out anyway. The each are literally creating what will happen.

So there is one more very important part to creating this vision for your self. Remember that I said that whatever you ask for is what you get? There is a catch. You have to be open to receiving it. You have to be on the lookout for the opportunity. Often times that will mean taking yourself out of your comfort zone. You might have to break routine (which will be another post within itself). But the opportunity will always be there for you. Whether or not you decide to see it and act upon it is up to you.

In the middle of the complete despair that I was in working for my Dad, a man made a comment to me about coming to work for him. I could have easily blown it off and missed a life changing opportunity.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Blurry Vision

Today is part 16 of a 30 day commitment. To read about how I am blogging to change my life please read here first.

As I was driving home tonight I was looking for inspiration for tonight's post. As I passed the intersection of South Street and Clinton street I looked at a building that I have seen my entire life. It is called Modern Pharmacy. I will try to get a picture tomorrow and add it to this post so everybody can get a visual. The building looks identical to what it looked like when I was a little boy. In the window is a sign that says "Fax's - $1 per page". It is about 1500 square feet and has about 8 parking spaces. Two buildings over is a new Rite-Aid Pharmacy. It is about 15-20,000 square feet and has at least 30 parking spots. There is about 6 of these giant pharmacies in this town, not including the one in Wal-Mart and Target.

As a kid my mom drove from Bow to get all our prescriptions filled at Modern Pharmacy. The people were friendly and knowledgeable. The shelves were stocked and it was a fascinating place to be in for me. It was truly a "modern" pharmacy.

Before I dive into this post it needs to be said that I have not been in the place since I was a kid. I have no idea if it is family owned. I have no idea if it is profitable or if it is in trouble. What follows is nothing but an observation and a though about vision. I mean no disrespect to Modern Pharmacy.

The thing that struck me today was the name on the building. Modern Pharmacy. It is anything but modern. The name almost looks comical, or like some kind of joke. It looks so outdated. The Rite-Aid two buildings down looks modern. So what happened? I have to assume that when this business was started the owners had a vision of being the most modern pharmacy. So much so that they named it that! When it comes to health, people want the latest information and the most knowledgeable staff. I am sure they had dreams of keeping it at the forefront of the pharmaceutical world.

I am going to take a guess and say that money got in the way. When money becomes more important than your vision things usually fall apart. If Modern Pharmacy's vision was something like "To always stay at the absolute front of technology, quality and staffing in the pharmaceutical world" then they never would have ended up stalled in the 1970's. And, they would be making a TON of money. They would have been the first to invest in Internet technology that streamlined prescriptions. They would have had to move to house the modern products. They would have made decisions to invest in the vision for the future because that would have been their passion. Their Vision.

I bet that what happened is that a competitor moved into town. Then another one. Then another one. Instead of staying at the forefront of their industry they started stocking less because sales were slipping. The decided that they couldn't afford a new modern looking sign to update the building. They certainly wouldn't think that offering fax's for a dollar a page would be a hot marketing technique.

This is what separates the visionary companies from the ordinary ones. A great read on the subject is "Built to last, successful habits of visionary companies" by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras. This book describes how companies who have taken leadership roles in their industries have out performed their rivals. It profiles companies like 3M, American Express, Boeing, Disney, Sony, etc to their competitors and why they have outperformed them. In each case a strong vision for the company drastically outperforms helps guide and outperform competitors for multiple generations.

The company service standards for National Powersports has one guiding principal. Tell the truth. No matter what we do, no matter what process we put in place, no matter who we hire, it always stands up. In any situation. If I decide to expand into watercraft, it stands up. If I decide to sell cars, it stands up. If I decide to change the entire marketing arena for my products, it still doesn't change. If anybody in my company runs into a situation that we don't have a guideline for, they can ALWAYS fall back to that one statement. Its the main reason that I think our company is so special. I feel like I could grow it to the biggest motorcycle shop in the world and no matter how big we get, it always holds true.

Now, if I could just get the vision for this book to that level...(but it is getting there!)

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Today is part 15 of a 30 day commitment. To read about how I am blogging to change my life please read here first.

I'll be honest with everybody, I'm having a hard time tonight. I am having a hard time getting my thoughts clear. Some days are like that. But, I made a commitment to post something every night for 30 days, so here I go.

I was talking to Amy this morning about goal setting. I am extremely goal oriented. Without goals I flounder. I am almost afraid to live without setting goals for myself because I will not hold myself accountable to anything. One of the reasons that I have done well with running is that I have set goals. I had a goal of running 10 miles. When I did that I set a goal of a 1/2 marathon. When I did that, I set a goal of a marathon, then a 50k then a 50 miler then a 100 miler. The thing that seems to make me tick is to set a goal that seems hard or impossible to reach then do whatever it takes to make it happen. The buzz I get from achieving a goal that once seemed hard to reach or impossible makes me feel alive.

I told Amy that I thought that many people set goals that are huge, then have a hard time figuring out how they are going to get there. They would like to accomplish something big in their lives, but it is hard to imagine how they will get to it from where they are. I try to approach my big goals from a software engineer's point of view. If I decide I want to be the country's largest motorcycle wholesaler I then have to reverse engineer what needs to be done and set milestones. I go backwards. I would need multiple locations. I then need to figure out how many employees it would take per location, and how many locations it would take. And then where the locations would be placed. And then how much money I would need to fill them with x amount of bikes. And how long it would take to get them up to speed. And how many computers per location. And how many square feet per location. You get the point.

If you can do that to your big goals then you can start setting smaller, more achievable goals for yourself. It starts to become manageable as opposed to something so big that it is hard to figure out how to connect the dots.

That is what I am trying to accomplish here. I don't know how to write a book. But by blogging everyday I am tackling it in small bites. Next I have to investigate what it takes to write it out in detail. Do I get a ghost writer? Do I write it myself in better detail? Who do I get to proofread it and edit it?

Amy actually had a great point that I didn't consider. She said that she thought that some people don't set big goals for themselves because they are so maxed out for time in their life it is hard to imagine finding time to work on anything else. She felt that that certainly would be true for mothers in this modern world. They are going like crazy from the time the get up until the time that they conk out at night. Wake up early and exercise, get the kids up, get them ready, make lunches for school, go to work, pick the kids up, take them to soccer, make dinner, do laundry, clean up, then maybe take a few minutes to watch their favorite show before the go to bed and do it all over again. Who has time to set big goals for their lives?

I mentioned in an earlier post that my business growth was influenced heavily by a book called "The E-Myth Revisited" by Michael Gerber. One of the main concepts of the book is that business owners need to set time aside to work ON the business, not IN the business. I think that same principal should be applied to living a more fulfilling life. None of us wants to go to the grave thinking that there were so many things that we thought we could do, but never set the time aside to make them happen. We need to prioritize our time and commit to a certain amount of time per week to work ON our lives. Watch one less hour of TV per week and write down what you want to do that you haven't started on yet. Spend an hour per week with your husband or wife and write in a notepad what you want to achieve. Once you put it in writing you start the ball rolling to getting it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Getting what you want, part II

Today is part 14 of a 30 day commitment. To read about how I am blogging to change my life please read here first.

On July 30th put a post called "Getting what you want, what do you want?" This is a continuation of that post.

The motivational speakers make it sound so easy. Just decide what you want and work towards it. Do something! Take action! My problem is in figuring out what I want. There are some people that seem to know exactly what they want and will work relentlessly to get it.

Most of the people who I can put in this category seem to have gone through some sort of personal tragedy in order to form this clear vision and purpose. Think of John Walsh, the host of Americas Most Wanted. John was a successful businessman who built high end luxury hotels. In 1981 his 6 year old son Adam (his picture is above) was kidnapped and murdered. His new mission in life was to make sure he did whatever he could to prevent anybody else from going through the same tragedy. Do you think that he cared about how much money he made at that point? I seriously doubt it. He became focused on a larger role for his life. He found his purpose. What a terrible way to figure out what your purpose is.

So my thought is, why wait? Why do we have to wait until we have some sort of devastating event happen to us before we gain that type of clarity? Can we take ourselves so far out of our comfort zone as to create our own personal tragedy? Not literally create it, but use the power of your mind to envision what you would do with your life if something like that happened. You don't really need to loose a loved one to cancer to decide that you are going to dedicate your life to finding a vaccine. But you do need the passion and vision to be able to get through the countless failures it will take along the way to success. That relentless drive seems to be more defined in those people who actually have gone through it. So how can we get that kind of burning passion for our lives. How do we get that clarity to not care what anybody else in the world thinks and know that we are on the right path to success?

I wish that I could create that kind of vision for myself without the terrible loss. My vision for National Powersports became clear because of the emotional agony I went through working for my Dad. It helped me be clear on what I wanted to build and money didn't cloud the issue. I would have swept streets rather than have money at that point. As long as I didn't ever have to feel that way again I knew I'd be happy. So I built an environment around me with based on those thoughts.

Now I want to write a book, and even today I still don't have a clear vision on what it is going to be. That's frustrating. Even though I'm frustrated I am very happy that I am taking steps to move forward. That feels good. That actually reduces the stress in my life. I put a lot of stress on myself when I long for something that I can't seem to define.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mental Training

Today is part 13 of a 30 day commitment. To read about how I am blogging to change my life please read here first.

When I was 12 or 13 I lived for BMX bike riding. I lived on my bike. I raced every weekend that I could and I spent all my free time riding my bike. It was the only thing that I cared about. I read every issue of BMX Plus magazine 100 times from cover to cover. This pattern would repeat itself in my life with every new sport I discovered and still does to this day.

I read an article titled "Training your brain with Self-Hypnosis" in the April 1984 edition of BMX action. It talked about how the top racers could close their eyes and start a stopwatch. They could picture racing on a particular racetrack so clearly that they could ride the entire track in their mind and stop the stopwatch when they were done. The time would be within seconds of their actual time at the track.

It talked about how it was a mental exercise that had to be practiced. The same way that you would actually practice getting your body ready. It stated that if you were going through the mental exercise and your minds eye pictured somebody passing you you were to stop and start over from the drop of the gate. The idea was to go through the entire track without anybody getting in front of you. This would train your head to picture winning.

I remember how hard it was to do. The first time I did it I kept picturing the "fast guys" getting in front of me in the places that they had beat me the past week. I had to start over and over in my head before I got to the point where I could beat them start to finish in my head. It was a tough mental exercise that required a ton of patience. But I wanted to win so bad it was easy to stick with it. It was exciting to think that I might have discovered a secret weapon. I guess that I have always been open to new ideas.

The first week that I was really dedicated to it was amazing. I raced that Sunday and the "fast guy" got in front of me after a couple of turns. But this time it was totally different. In my head I said, "no way buddy, I've already got you beat". I passed him because in my head it wasn't his race to win, it was mine. My belief in myself allowed me to put the extra energy into winning the race.

I didn't lose that much after that, but it took many years before I realized what I had been doing. The called it self-hypnosis, but it really was getting a clear vision of what I wanted and believing that I could have it. I think that this related pretty clearly to last nights post on the Law of Attraction. I combined a powerful want with strong emotion and got what I asked for.

I am back at that point where I am realizing that if I want something it wont just happen on its own. I have to train. But this is mental training. It is not easy and takes a dedicated effort to do. The more you train the more the goal becomes obtainable. It is exactly the same thing as running your first marathon. It requires commitment and training. If you think that you'll just line up at your first marathon without training you will be headed for some real suffering. The better prepared you are the easier it is.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Life is STILL a blank canvas

Today is part 12 of a 30 day commitment. To read about how I am blogging to change my life please read here first.

Today I received an incredible email. She told me that she recently found my blog and started reading. Her words struck a cord with me. She said,

"I have been wondering where I fit into my own life and how I have sacrificed so many of my own dreams to raise a family etc. My thoughts have been wandering to old friends, youth and times when the future was a blank canvas."

The words could have come out of Amy's mouth. Actually, the have before. I had her read the email and a big smile came to her face because it was so familiar. Amy has sacrificed a lot of her personal dreams to raise our incredible family and now really wants to get some other things done in her life. I think a lot of people our age feel the same way.

I have thought about this email all day. It brings me to something that I was going to get to soon, but now the time has come. It is hard for me to write about because I lose a lot of people here. I only have talked about it with a few close friends and Amy. It is called the "Law of Attraction". Many people have heard about "The Secret", a book that was made famous by Oprah. The book is about the Law of Attraction (LOA from this point out).

The LOA states that you get what you ask for. Even if you don't know your asking for it. The basic idea is that whatever you put out to the universe is what the universe returns. The stronger the emotion, the stronger the attraction. It states that is is law. Like the law of gravity. It is absolute.

The Secret was the first real mass marketing of this idea, but it has been around for a very long time. If you read a lot of business books you will without a doubt find the book "Think and grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill referenced. This book was published in 1937. The title is a bit deceiving. He refers to Rich as having what you want, not just money. Most put it in the category of a "self-help" book, but for those who have read it and used it to change their lives it is much more than a book about being positive. There are a HUGE amount of people in the business world that attribute their success in some part to this book.

I read The Secret with some hesitation. It is really tacky, especially the movie. But some of the thoughts that it put in my mind have been really powerful and helpful. If the LOA is true, then all we have to do is think about what we want and believe it. This is where most people mess up. Any of us can imagine having $1000, but can we imagine having $10 million? If you can imagine it, do you actually believe that you can have it? If not, the law of attraction isn't that powerful. You cancel out your request by not having the true emotion behind it. It has been reported that Jim Carey wrote a check to himself for a million dollars and carried it in his wallet until he could cash it. That's belief!

The thing that gets more interesting for me is thinking about what happens when you are thinking negative thoughts. Usually negative thoughts are surrounded by powerful emotions. When your mad at somebody you are full of anger. Anger is such a powerful emotion. It works to bring you MORE anger because you are thinking about it and it is combined with powerful emotion. This has forced me to find a way to divert myself when I am angry or negative. If you let yourself believe this concept then you get scared to be upset. The longer you are upset and the more emotion you put into it the more you are bringing to yourself. That's scary! Have you ever noticed that some people just are constantly surrounded by tragedy? Or sickness? Or "bad luck"? Its because it is all they focus on. On the flip side, have you ever noticed how some people are super "lucky? Same reason.

So how does this relate to the email I received today? The hope in the words "when the future was a blank canvas" is extremely powerful. I can feel the warmth that she gets when she remembers what life was like when it was full of promise. The cool thing is that this very thought, combined with some work on deciding what she wants, might just turn things around for her. Its more than just being positive.

This is something that I have become better at. When I catch myself being in a negative frame of mind I have to consciously squash that thought or emotion with a powerful positive one. One that is filled with positive emotion. There are a couple that work for me. I have a wonderful memory of watching the snowflakes fall outside my window when I was a child. There was a flood lamp on the house above my window and when it would snow at night the light would light up all the individual flakes and reflect off them. I used to pull the shade back and just watch them fall for what seemed like hours. I remember feeling so peaceful. That's a powerful emotion.

It makes me wonder if JK Rowling believes in the LOA. In order for Harry to conjure up a Petronus he has to find the most powerful happy thought and concentrate on it as hard as he can.

There is a lot more to this than I can put in just one post. I probably will expand upon it more in the upcoming days. When I read her email I was overcome with the thought that life is still a blank canvas. All she has to do is believe it and it will happen. You can do anything you want to do. You can have anything you want to have. You have to give yourself permission to have it first.

She told me that my blog inspired her today. It really was the other way around. Thank you for sharing it with me.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A great night

Today is part 11 of a 30 day commitment. To read about how I am blogging to change my life please read here first.

Tonight I spend the evening with some of my best friends. My friend Carl was back in town and I invited all of our high school friends over. Much to my surprise everybody I invited came over. It was awesome. I am fortunate enough to have a very tight group of friends that will be friends for life.

We barbecued and had some drinks. We rode our 50cc dirt bikes around our new track that I built just for the event. We played washoos, which is a redneck version of horseshoes (as if horseshoes is not redneck enough).

But something happened that bothered me a lot. In the middle of having the time of my life one of my friends mentioned that he had talked to a girl that had bought a moped from me years ago and recently brought it into my shop.

Here is the story. This girl used to hang out with my group of friends. When I started my business she bought a moped from me. She didn't have any consideration for the fact that I had just started a business and was eating Romen Pride. I gave her a deal on the moped and hardly made any money on it. That's the right thing to do, right? So I hear that she is telling my friends that I screwed her on the deal. This was 5 years ago. She told everybody that I was getting rich and didn't care about my friends. I should have given her a better deal.

Over the years I have remained an acquaintance of hers. Recently she brought it into my shop and without speaking to me asked the shop to get it running again. The thing was seriously neglected and we did one hour of diagnostic work to tell her what it would need. During this time period she posted on my facebook page that my shop didn't return phone calls and what was going on with her moped. I emailed her back and asked her to simply pick up the phone and call me. That would be much more appropriate than leaving a comment on my facebook page.

So I talked to my service department about getting her moped done quickly. After all, she was a friend of mine. I put aside other customers that needed repairs done. I put aside the 100 bikes that I own and need to go through the shop to get her moped done. The shop got the service done and let her know it was ready. We received no return phone calls, but some days later I got an email from her telling me that she had no money and wouldn't be able to pay for the repair until the end of August at the earliest.

I actually expected it. It's her M.O. So tonight when I'm talking to my friends they said that at their 20th reunion last week that's all she was bitching about. She told them that I charged her full price on the repair and the only thing I cared about was money. She thought that since she bought it from me I should have fixed it for free and my shop took to long to fix it.

Honestly, I lost my cool. I called her up and told her to pick up the moped, no charge. I also told her to never call me or come into my shop again. That's the nice thing about being the owner. I can make those calls. I don't like getting as angry as I did tonight, but I don't like getting taken advantage of.

So, whats the point of this post? The point is, if you decide to do something special with your life be prepared for the people who don't want to change to dislike you. There are people in this world who are "professional victims". There are people in this world that will not recognize the sacrifices that it takes to follow your dreams. The will assume that somebody gave you what you have worked for and they will be bitter about it because nobody gave the same thing to them.

Don't let these people derail you. When you decide to follow your dreams you will encounter a lot of negativity. Blow through it and enjoy the results of your hard work.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run.

Today is part 10 of a 30 day commitment. To read about how I am blogging to change my life please read here first.

If your a runner, you probably know where the title of this post comes from. The most over quoted movie involving running, Forest Gump.

Most of you know that I run Ultra-marathons. An ultra is considered any distance over 26.2 (standard marathon). I get called Forest Gump all the time. Most people consider running a marathon one of the hardest physical challenges in the world. They talk about "the wall". It is the area of the marathon, usually explained as about mile 20, where the body's muscles run out of glycogen and become depleted of usable energy.

I'm here to tell you that it doesn't exist. Its bull. It becomes reality for people who believe it because they are so afraid of it. They wait for it and look for any sign of it happening and give in to it. It is the power of suggestion at work in a big way. Once you realize that you shouldn't take what everybody says to you as gospel, you start living your life based on your experiences, not what you expect to happen based on what you've been told.

Here's another secret. Anybody who can walk can run 100 miles. Almost every time I tell somebody that I ran 100 miles in less than a day they say that they could never do that. The reality is that they have never considered what it might take to accomplish it. It needs to be broken down into bites and it takes time to prepare for it. I think it would be more appropriate if people said "TODAY, I couldn't do that". All it takes is patience, vision and dedication. It is the same formula for getting anything you want in this world.

I started running in the most innocent fashion. I have been extremely active my entire life. I lived on my BMX, mountain bike and snowboard from the time I was 11 until I was in my late 20's. As the business was taking off I noticed that I was spending a lot of time in front of the computer. I also noticed that I was gaining some weight and didn't like how I felt. All of the sports I was into seemed to require specialized equipment and travel, and I just didn't have a lot of time.

Amy suggested that I go for a run. We lived in a cul-de-sac that was one mile around and it would be easy to go out the door and get some exercise. I really thought that running was stupid. I like to go off jumps and go fast. Why would I want to run? I bought a pair of running shoes and ran twice around the neighborhood. It was 2 miles. I felt like the worlds biggest dork. Nobody likes to be seen running when they are brand new at it. It didn't seem that hard, but it sure was uncomfortable. I ended up not being able to walk for days. I have never hurt so badly.

Hurting meant that it must be working so I started running a couple times a week, gradually increasing my loops around the neighborhood. I remember telling Amy that running was stupid and she replied that I would be racing soon. I laughed and told her that she was out of her mind. Its pretty funny to think about now.

Well, my OCD behavior took over and I started running further and further. I remember that the first big goal I set for myself was to run 10 miles. I remember the day that I did it like it was yesterday. I started training for my first race, the Big Lake 1/2 Marathon. In training I did a 17 mile long run and knew I was ready. The race was the first time that I had ever run with anybody else. I had always run alone because I was still paranoid that I looked like a dork or did it wrong. I finished in 1:47 and naturally decided to try a marathon. I did my first marathon in September of that year and began to see if there were longer races. I found a 50k (31.5 miles) race in December. I ran it in 4:56. The next year after a few 50k's I ran my first 50 miler, the VT50. I finished it in a little under 10 hours. Then I started training for the big one, the Vermont 100. My first blog post is a recap of the race. It took me 23 hours and 47 minutes. This year I was back and finished in 20 hours and 29 minutes for 18th place. Who knows what I'll try next.

Back to the point. I learned that there is no wall at 20 miles. Actually, I usually hit somewhat of a wall at 16 miles, but I have learned that it goes away at 20. Then I feel bad again at 30-35 miles, and then things get better again. In a 100 mile race there are many times where you hit a wall. Its mostly mental. I know that now. Its the point where things get hard. If you know that things will get hard you learn how to manage them. You expect it. You prepare for it. You also learn that after things get hard they get easier again. I think that is exactly like life. Things get hard. When they are hard don't lose site of the fact that things get easy again. They always have, haven't they? Why would this time be any different? Learning to wait things out and have the faith that things always get good again is something that running long distances has taught me. It take a lot of focus away from the tough times when you know that good times are coming.

Running has also taught me that listening to others sometimes creates walls in your mind that don't have to be there. Have faith in the fact that you can create whatever you believe in. Walls are there to be broken through and there are great things on the other side of them.