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12 simple Tricks to Success – Part 3

This is the third blog post of a series, “12 Simple tricks to Success” from Findamentror.com. We reveal one trick each month for you to read and practice so that in 12 months you’ll have developed some habits that can expedite your success. Enjoy!


Just like every trade and profession has its’, “tricks of the trade”, all very successful people have 12 tricks they do, no matter what industry or institution they work in. They do those things consistently. They are important processes that great and successful people follow.

Trick number three:

Keep your agreements — spoken and unspoken.

. . . Do what you say you will and re-negotiate when you can’t.

As a businessman, I discovered early the most successful people are reliable in almost every aspect of life and they keep their agreements.

I also discovered early that many people break small agreements often enough to condemn themselves to mediocrity. Many feel that seemingly small agreements can be broken because they’re unimportant. They believe that being late for a meeting won’t hurt anyone or that a client won’t really mind if a call isn’t returned exactly when promised or that a project may be late but it won’t ambush anyone else’s plans. They say to themselves ‘the consequences will be small and everyone can handle them.

The consequence of breaking small agreements is eventually loss of trust, respect and opportunity. It brings upon us a habit of unreliability. Each of these losses writes the label of mediocrity larger and larger on us as we go through life. Other people are chosen for important projects, promotions are not offered to us, opportunities are presented to those that show capability of excelling, not those who are doing an ‘okay’ or a ‘good enough’ job.

Managers, co-workers and peers may say, “He’s a pretty good worker” or “She’s usually on time” or “He always gets the job done — not always on time, but so what?” Many might perceive these statements as nice compliments, but consider the difference between “He does a good job” and “Her work is exceptional.” Who would you want on your team? Do you want be part of a pretty good team, or do you want to be part of an exceptional one?

Most people are good workers. They do their jobs and will be employed. Many of us want to stand out and to be considered leaders. But despite the desire of many to stand out and lead, few people excel in their careers. Those who do, go the extra mile often and especially when it comes to keeping their agreements and re-negotiating when they can’t. All agreements matter. When we keep them, they build trust and honesty.

The old saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” comes from experiencing a common situation: an inability to follow through with promises. A key part of human interaction is trust, and a key part of building trust involves keeping our agreements, even the little ones and unspoken ones.

As humans interact with other humans, agreements are made. Some of them are written, some are spoken, and some are unspoken. A common spoken agreement is, “I’ll have that done by tomorrow for sure.” Common unspoken agreements are, “When I speak, I am telling you the truth.” Or “I’ll be on time for work.”

Every time I break an agreement with another person, a layer of trust is stripped away because expectations are not met. When we are late for work or a meeting, we can call and let someone know that we will arrive at a different time. Re-negotiating helps maintain trust and manages expectations.


Sometimes we make agreements quickly without thinking things through and we regret the decision. In that situation, we can create an opportunity to renegotiate. Sometimes this is embarrassing. Pushing through embarrassment to be honest and renegotiate an agreement is critical to success.

I believe that our willingness and courage to be honest is intimately linked to our ability to keep agreements, communicate effectively and be successful. When we are not honest, we attract dishonesty. A spiral of dishonesty begins that interferes with our, and others’ ability to communicate and succeed. Communication often breaks down when people cannot trust us to follow through with agreements or tell the truth — after that, success breaks down to failure.

All of us set limits on how much dishonesty we find personally acceptable. We do it to protect ourselves and to keep ourselves from feeling vulnerable and judged. Sometimes our small dishonesties are even encouraged by society.

But there is usually a greater degree of honesty available to us when we really search within. I may tell myself that my dishonesty falls within the standards acceptable to society and everything is fine. But is it? If we accept that lies attract more lies, it’s easy to see how quickly even a small “untruth” can lead to more lies and eventually a very messy situation.

On the other hand, when I continually challenge myself to be honest and strive to keep all my agreements, I attract honest people and my ability to be honest increases. With practice and compassion, I can make honesty and keeping agreements a rewarding habit.

Spoken and unspoken agreements are part of life. People who keep all their agreements or re-negotiate when they can’t are few and far between. But then, so are successful people. People who succeed in life arrive at meetings on time. They phone when they are late. When they say they will do something for a customer or a co-worker, they do it, or they phone the customer or co-worker and explain why they can’t.

They understand, however, that constant re-negotiation is the same as not doing what they say they will. Re-negotiation has more credibility if it isn’t part of every agreement.

When we keep our agreements, we gain respect and trust. We are viewed as reliable people with integrity. People depend more on us for leadership, advice, troubleshooting, and even friendship. Good management recognizes leaders and rewards them with promotions and raises because it knows that reliable people are the foundation of a successful business.

I built a cellular phone business from the trunk of my car to 3 stores and 3 million in annual sales over a nine year period. When I moved from selling phones from the car trunk to selling them from a small store, the lease agreement was made with a handshake. After we had done all the leasehold improvements and been operating for three months, the landlord said to me, “We better get something in writing here.” Two days later we signed a one-page document.

I had known the landlord for almost five years. I met him when he interviewed me for a job 5 years earlier. I chose not to work with him directly then, but we stayed in touch. He became a mentor and a customer before he was my landlord. The point is that because both of us knew and trusted each other’s commitment to keeping agreements, the business transaction was very smooth, comfortable and allowed for a kind of peace of mind we don’t always find when operating a small business.

These kinds of transactions occurred often for me when building a business because my handshake was considered as good as my signature and my networks include people with the same type of character. People trust me to do what I say I will do. People who keep their agreements tend to associate with other people who keep their agreements.

The benefits of being perceived in this way are not just professional. Co-workers, peers, and friends outside of work need reliable people as much as business.

When we build the habit of keeping agreements into every part of our lives, we will eventually find ourselves surrounded by people who are reliable and help us succeed. We gain the confidence we need to become successful. No great undertaking is achieved by one person. Great people have other great people working with them.

But how do we practice getting better at keeping agreements? It’s difficult if we believe the agreements are insignificant and the consequences are trivial. However, if we accept the opposite, then it becomes easier to practice keeping the promises we’ve made — all of them, even when we’re scared. It’s really very simple: Acknowledge the fact keeping agreements is important to success. Trust your basics intentions to be trustworthy. Commit to integrity. The more we practice, the better we get at it. Eventually keeping agreements becomes a habit and it drives us nuts if we can’t keep one. This is the state of being, successful people reach.

People who keep agreements prefer working with people who are the same. Would you rather work with someone who does what they say, or, with someone who does what they say — some of the time? The choice is clear.

The choice is yours. You can develop the habit of keeping agreements, being honest and being recognized as someone, super reliable or you can be in the habit of renegotiating many agreements. It’s the super reliable people that are most successful. Be one of them. Develop the habits of reliability in every aspect of your life. Be the choice of integrity and attract more integrity.

Have a great day keeping agreements, every day.

Thanks for reading.


If You Want Your Life to Change, Get Better at Masterminding!



I first learnt about masterminding reading Napoleon Hill’s books. He wrote many books on the subject of being successful and growing rich. Basic success principles haven’t changed for thousands of years. Hill interviewed thousands of the world’s most powerful and influential people throughout most of the 1900’s — Ford, Churchill, Gandhi, Bell, Edison, Roosevelt, Carnegie, etc. Writing about success was his life’s mission. In every book he devoted an entire chapter to the masterminding principle. He said everyone he interviewed told him they owed much of their success to the mastermind principle.

Great men and women around the world use masterminding principles in their daily life — always have. They build incredible networks where they source information to help them make wise decisions. Ask any successful person and they will confirm that their accomplishments happen as a result of using strong teams and implementing ideas from other people.

Using other people’s money is one way of getting help from others. It’s involves using a finance mastermind group for the business. One of Canada’s billionaires (Ted Rogers) once told me in a luncheon that he would borrow as much as people would lend him as long as he could cash flow the commitment. If they’ll lend him a million, he’ll take it. If they want to lend him a billion, he’ll take it, to help him achieve his goals. He used masterminds in every part of his business and made sure his people kept them effective. His team of vice presidents was the lead mastermind group and they coordinated the successful business culture through the many down-line mastermind groups.

Watch this video to learn more about Masterminding and peer mentoring:

In business, an accounting team is a mastermind, a sales team is a mastermind, a production team is a mastermind, etc. The leaders of these teams come together to form another senior management mastermind. There are four critical and simple masterminds to establish in any business that will assure success in almost any economy:

1. A mastermind group focused on happy customers.

2. A mastermind group focused on happy employees.

3. A mastermind group focused on happy suppliers.

4. A mastermind group focused on leading the above three groups to keep the shareholders happy.

It’s a four win situation and great success tool. In smaller companies, the mastermind groups may be smaller and some of the members may not be employees. An accountant, lawyer or business coach may participate in some small company mastermind groups.

In very small companies and start-ups the mastermind groups have to be assembled in the form of mentors, and/or service providers you might contract too, or buy from. We want to mastermind with people who don’t necessarily work for our company full time, or at all, in a start-up or very small business environment.

I started a cellular phone business in the late 1980’s from the trunk of my car and built it to three stores and 3 million in annual sales over a nine year period. At first I was working by myself with service providers to back me up. The service providers became part of my mastermind group for customer service. It enabled me to use the word ‘we’ when talking to customers about exceptional customer service, even though I was a one-man business at the time.

A very important word to consider using when talking to customers, suppliers or colleagues is ‘we’. A mentor once told me to always use the word, ‘we’, when talking to customers, even though I was a sole proprietor at the time. Using the word ‘we’ gives the large customers confidence they are dealing with a team that can meet their service requirements.

No-one accomplishes a major goal in life without the help of others. Success is a ‘we’ situation. Using the word ‘I’ is not inclusive of the team needed to service a customer or supplier, even if that team is not employed directly by my company. ‘I’ can be interpreted as egotistical expression — turning customers off. ‘We’ is accurate. If we’re selling a product, we bought the product from someone so it’s the manufacturer and my company providing the product and service. It’s not ‘I’, it’s ‘we.

Where do we find the people so we can assemble our mastermind groups for a start-up company? When building the cellular phone business, I had a minimum of four mentors to call to discuss challenges with. I would call different mentors for different challenges. I was very fortunate to have many mentors by the time I started my own business. Past managers, co-workers, suppliers and customers who I established relationships with while working for other companies became friends and mentors throughout my career. My mentoring network continues to grow vertically— more mentors and mentees.

I use mentors and mastermind groups for important aspects of my life. I have communication masterminds I consult with to keep my communication skills honed. I have spirituality masterminds I consult with to help maintain my integrity. I have business masterminds to help keep me successful. I see my family as a mastermind group for healthy loving. I see my network of friends as a mastermind group to keep my life balanced between work and fun.

Mastermind groups can be utilized in different formats. In a business the most common format is a face-to-face meeting. In a very small business the most common format is by contacting at least four different mentors on the phone in separate conversations, or in separate meetings. I talk to at least four guys about current issue or challenges. After listening to each, I decide which information is right for me to use, and act accordingly. In all cases masterminding uses more than one mind to discover and evaluate options and help make wise decisions.

Two minds are better than one, but what is the ideal group size for accomplishing goals? A mentor once shared with me what he called a ‘channelled from above’ idea on masterminding: “Four wise men close and two distant make up the nucleus of your mastermind. One of the four is two.” I was 17 when he shared it with me and I had read 3 of Napoleon Hills books by that time so I knew exactly what he meant by mastermind.

From the beginning of my work career I’ve watched and evaluated effectiveness of groups focused on objectives. The most successful teams I’ve been on, and witnessed, used the channelled mastermind formula. “Four wise men close and two distant make up the nucleus of your mastermind. One of the four is two.” ‘One of the four is two’ means to me that it’s best to have someone who can play devil’s advocate in the group — seeing both the positive an negative consequences of each idea. An effective mastermind group includes a participant that can explain two sides of any story.

‘Two wise men distant’ can mean having two members of the mastermind group that are not always present at the meetings but hear about the agenda and offer input through one of the four close members. An accountant or lawyer might be two distant members of a business mastermind group. Mentors of primary, ‘close’ mastermind group members might be the two distant members of a mastermind group.

In all cases, when I see four strong members in a business mastermind group I see success. In the early part of my sales career I was part of a four person sales team. We were all very young and inexperienced in the industrial rental equipment field and had just gone through a huge economic downturn. We were also starting an aviation rental business. The company we were working for fired their entire sales team and hired a new young sales force. All of us were under thirty and closer to 25 years old. Every night of the week this team met with our sales manager and each member discussed our entire day’s activity. We masterminded our sales process with the team every day. We all learnt from each other what the best words to use, or approach to take, would be with different types of people and different companies. I received raises every six months because of performance. Sales grew 30% year over year for 3 years until I left for another opportunity. I was sales manager of a large industrial rental company selling to large plants and construction companies at 27. At 28 I started a cellular phone business.

We used the channelled mastermind formula to help build the cellular phone business. I’ve been doing business consulting and coaching for 15 years now and we help customers build and adjust their mastermind groups using the same formula.

Your success will relate directly to how effective your mastermind groups are. Life and business is a team effort. Masterminding is happening in your life whether you like it or not. Are you directing it to your satisfaction? Are your outcomes what you want? Remember the definition of insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” If you want your life to change and get better, get better at masterminding.

To get better at masterminding, you have to become a great communicator. Look for our next blog post on being a great communicator — communicating from the HIP (Human Interaction Process). Sign up to our newsletter below to receive posts directly in to your mailbox.

How to find a business mentor!

How to find a  business mentor online and in your community and plan for your mentor sessions.

How do I find a business mentor? Many people are looking for business and career mentors. Career mentor categories are the most popular at Http://FindAMentor.com .

When you need to expand your mentor network beyond your community for any reason, the internet is the next best place to look. Having at least four mentors for each aspect of life that is important to you is a very good idea. We’ll give you tips for finding a business mentor in your community or on the internet in this blog. We’ll tell you how to plan your request for mentor and your mentoring conversations to build your confidence.

We suggest starting by trying to find a mentor in your community or city. Mentor relationships are best with face to face communication when possible. Four key aspects of effective communication are present. (Facial expression, body language, voice tone, and word selection.) Each time we remove one of the four key aspects of communication from the interaction, the effectiveness can decrease.

The first thing to do in order to find a business mentor is to identify your first choices for mentors in your community or city. Who do you admire in your field of business? Do some research. Try going to industry events like lunches, seminars, talks and conferences. Join community groups — your local chamber of commerce is a great place to start. Chambers of commerce often host networking events and meetings that bring beginning entrepreneurs and successful businesspeople together. Talk to people, listen to their stories and pursue further meetings with those whom you can learn from.

Be sure that you choose someone who has experience and connections within your area and level of business. If you’re a budding entrepreneur in, say, the building and home repair industry, you shouldn’t waste your time trying to court a senior executive at a multinational engineering company. Focus on finding someone who has started a venture that’s similar to yours, and who understands the trials and tribulations of building a business in that area.

Keep in mind that an adviser who offers his time in return for compensation is not the same thing as a mentor. While advisers and consultants can be very helpful, true mentors are effective partly because they are only interested in helping others succeed.

Now Begin your lists.

  • Write or type all the names down of people you’ve identified as potential mentors.
  • Beside their names, write down what you admire about each of them and how you think each can help you.

Make a list of requirements for a mentor you want to find online that you don’t know yet.

  • What type of experience do you expect them to have?
  • Are they working now, or are they retired? Does it matter?
  • How much experience do they need to have to be your mentor?
  • How old should they be?
  • What do you want to learn from them?
  • Which positive emotions do you want to learn to invoke? Confidence, patience, persistence, gratitude, humor, belief and perseverance? Positive emotion is critical to achieving goals.

This is like goal writing and writing down goals is the most important first step to achieving any objective. Do what works best for you. Write your goals and lists on paper or type them in a document you can save. When you write down what you admire about your potential mentors, you identify personality aspect and intellectual goals for you. You have now written goals for what, and who you, want to become.

Now that you have your list, prepare your request for a mentor—plan your introduction conversation with them, or their assistant, and plan your email. Look at your list.

  • Write down the good things you want to tell them, about them, first.
  • Then write down what you want to tell them about why you want them to mentor you.
  • Tell them why you would be a good mentee.
  • Decide how long you want your first mentor session to be. I suggest asking for 15 minutes of their time for the first session.
  • If there is something you can offer them, do so.
  • Write out your introduction conversation and your introduction email. Keep it short and simple.
  • Practice the introduction conversation a few times. (Practicing with other people is good too)
  • Have someone edit your introduction email and read it before you begin sending it out. Make it right.
  • List contacts you have, that might know the mentors you want to connect with.
  • Research, on the internet, how you might contact your potential mentors.

Begin to connect. Warm contacts or introductions are best. Call and ask your friend to introduce you if the option is available. If you don’t have a common acquaintance, you can try phoning them, or their assistant, and asking for a short mentor session using your preplanned introduction conversation. If you don’t reach them on the phone, send your pre-planned letter or email to them.

If you don’t find a mentor in your community, don’t give up. Try the 100s of online mentor sites. Begin at http://FindAMentor.com. Join the site; build a profile in the career category you are looking for a mentor in. Search the database for mentors in that category. If you don’t find one right away, check back every month or so to see if a mentor is joined in that category.

If FindAmentor.com doesn’t have the mentor you are looking for, check their Mentor Resources and Website page. Look in your geographic area and then for sites that have mentors in your field of interest. If you don’t find the right website there, then search in Google the specific type of mentor you want. For example search the words ‘business mentor’ or ‘engineering mentor’ or ‘carpenter mentor’, etc. There are many business mentor programs available online and/or through professional and trade organizations. Some unions may offer them as well. Look for sector– or industry-specific events and groups on Facebook; subscribe to useful newsletters; follow interesting or relevant individuals from your region on Twitter or LinkedIn; then get in touch and ask questions.

Now that you’ve found your mentor it’s time to plan for your first session.

  • What do you want to accomplish and learn about? Write it down.
  • What questions are most critical to ask? Write them down. (2 max — you want to keep within time limit of 15 minutes).
  • Agree on an action item or items for you, the mentee. Write them down during the meeting so you can report back the next meeting.
  • Watch the clock. Close the session on time or ask to talk longer if it’s going well.
  • Decide if you will have another mentor session with this mentor and set the time and time limit.
  • Thank your mentor.

All this shows professionalism and respect for your mentor. It’s a good thing.

Begin to do what you said you would in your mentor session. Every time we cross an item off our list, we gain confidence and feel better about ourselves. Use lists, cross items off and build your confidence. It’s up to you. Just do it.

If you are in a position to share the skills you have learned, you should give back by becoming a mentor yourself. Finding success is hard work, and entrepreneurs could use a little help along the way.

As the American businessman Zig Ziglar once said: “A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could.” So get out there and find the right mentor to help you along the path to success.

In closing, remember to make your list of potential mentors and what you like about them, write out what you want to learn from them, plan your introduction conversation, and begin to connect. Try warm contacts first, and then try phoning and then emailing. If you don’t find a mentor in your community, try online at different websites.

Plan your first mentor session; key questions you want to ask and what you want to learn from the session. Watch the clock, keep the session to the time limit you agreed on, and ask for an extension of time if it is going well. Agree on an action item for you to complete, and report back on in the next session, if you agree to a next session.

Just do it. Your confidence will build as you succeed. Never give up. Perseverance,  persistence, patience, gratitude and belief are all key ingredients to success. Build the positive emotion and you will succeed. Your mentor will help you.

Good luck with your new connections. Thank you for reading.