I Will Not Lose

I think one of the reasons that Jay-Z is one of my favorite rappers is because alot of his music is motivational.  It is based in business and competition.

It’s perfect workout music.  And the gym or jogging is where I listen to music the most.

Some people workout to heavy metal or hard rock because of the aggressive sound.

I love hip-hop because of the aggressive rhymes… the aggressive words.

Jay-Z’s mantra is “I Will Not Lose”.

It’s not “I will win”.

The thought of losing is more urgent and important than the satisfaction of winning.

To me it speaks of perseverance.  Of hanging in there.  Even when the going gets tough not giving up.

Jay-Z didn’t give up when labels didn’t sign him.  He created an independent label with his partners.

When the conventional rules of the music business didn’t fit, he wrote his own rules.

Case in point – when CD sales continued to dwindle because of new media forms, he forged a partnership with Samsung for his album which resulted in him going “platinum” overnight.

He hit the top of the charts, made money and his fans were able to access his music.

In the end he won.

By choosing not to lose.



One Hour Job

I finished my show at the school and the teacher said to me, “Where are you headed to this afternoon?”

I replied that it was the only show I had today.

He responded, “Must be nice, all done work for the day!”

Well, not really.  I planned on stopping by the music store to pick up a new mic cable, then respond to a few booking requests, update my blog, work on a new website, write a song, do some accounting work, and the list goes on.

I was just getting started.

Hearing this is nothing new.  I heard it often from the time I was a child.  Not about me, but about my dad.

He was a minister.  As a minister, people assumed he only worked one hour a week.

After all, church was an hour.

But growing up my dad was always working.  There was preparation for the sermon, there was hospital visits, or funerals, or meetings, the list went on.  I knew there was a lot more to it.

I’m a big fan of Tim Ferris.  I’ve read all of his books and listen to his podcast.  He’s been successful at branding his “4 Hour” concept.  The first book was the 4 hour workweek which talked about how importance of outsourcing and that you could be successful working just 4 hours a week.  He went on to write the 4 Hour body and chef on the same concept – minimal time to achieve maximum results.

I agree with Tim.  I think that when you implement systems or improve your learning techniques you can improve efficiency.

But I also know that to be successful you have to put the work in.  There is no way around it.

People often look at the finished product, but don’t realize the hard work.

Leadership is about what you do when no one is watching.


We Should Talk

I don’t get out much.

Well I do, because I travel monthly, but when I’m at home, I’m at home.  My priority is my family and with two young children I stick to a routine during the week.

I also live in the suburbs.  Toronto is a big city and getting anywhere usually takes a minimum of an hour.

When I see someone at a conference, a show or the odd time when I’m out in the city I look forward to catching up with them.  But it always amazes me when someone says:

“We should talk.”

I get it.  There is something that we could discuss.  Usually its a business opportunity that would be mutually beneficial.

But why not talk about it right now?

I know that the chances of setting up a meeting and then following through and making it happen are rare.

The best opportunity is right now.

Delaying usually leads to the idea being lost in the business of life.

It’s always best to take advantage of the present.


Lay Ups


If you play sports then you likely know what a lay up is.

It’s the basketball play where you drive to the net, take a couple of strides, and hoist the ball in the air towards the hoops.

It’s fundamental basketball – a high probability shot that is one of the first things you learn when play the sport.

But I also use the term in business.

For me, a lay up is when I revisit a task that I’ve already done part of the work in.

I’ve made it past the procrastination – often the biggest challenge.

I’ve studied what needed to be done and broke the task down into steps.

I’ve taken action on a few of those steps.

I may not have completed the whole project, but I didn’t have to.

It may be the following day or a few days after, but that’s when it becomes a lay up.

It’s no longer a daunting task that I will put off because the initial work is done.

I know what I need to do and often times I can skim and edit and quickly complete.

It’s almost like giving the assist to yourself and scoring at the same time.

It’s a great way to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

Try it out.


Hands in the air like you just don’t care

I consider myself pretty fortunate.  I do hundreds of performances and speeches and most of them go well.  But there is always ones that don’t go as smooth.  And its hard to tell when they are going to come.  I can wake up on the right side of the bed, arrive and feel great… I can even do a great performance – at least one that is similar to ones that go really well.  But sometimes the crowd just doesn’t respond.  They don’t laugh at the jokes, they don’t applaud at the punchlines, and they don’t put their hands in the air like you just don’t care.  It’s more like – they just don’t care.

I remember that it used to bother me.  If the crowd wasn’t responding, I would react.  My energy level would come down.  I might not try things that I would usually do.  But nowadays I consider myself a veteran.  I’ve been in the position before.  So I think of a few things…

When the audience doesn’t respond as they usually do, it makes me want to go harder.  Be better.  Not in a way that I have to force it, but I feel like – time to really step my game up.  I look at it as an opportunity.

I say to myself – It’s not me, its them.  I’m not criticizing the audience, but I know that I have enough experience to know that my material is good, sometimes people just don’t connect.  Just like a talented comedian might do a show that he has done hundreds of times and people don’t laugh.  That’s not to say you don’t have to self-evaluate.  I do, but I just don’t take it like its the end of the World.

And finally, I realize its not as bad as I think.  People respond in different ways.  Just because they aren’t outwardly showing their appreciation, it doesn’t mean that its not connecting.  After the show, I had students come up and tell me that they enjoyed it.

But it also made me realize, sometimes its selfish to expect an outward showing of appreciation.

I’m trying to connect with high school students.  I’m trying to connect with the ones that have some issues and things going on in their lives.

It’s easy to get response from the youth that are feeling good.

I remind myself that someone like a teacher doesn’t always get that response.  Oftentimes they don’t.  They might be appreciated years later, and they may never hear those words of appreciation.

Bottom line, don’t search outside for validation – look inwards.


Process People

Anyone that has gone on a fitness routine has likely heard the saying “trust the process.”

The scale might not reflect the commitment you have put in.  You are trying to lose weight but the scale doesn’t show it.

You might not be lifting heavier weights either.

But you have to trust the process.  You have to stick with it and eventually you will see the benefits.

Colin Cowherd – one of my favorite radio broadcasters – takes it a step further.  He believes in process people.  For him, it’s a way of life and as a professional athlete – either you get it or you don’t.  Either you put the work in, or you don’t.  After all, a professional athlete can often coast on their natural abilities.

A process person is the quarterback that spends hours watching film in order to gameplan and improve their game.  It’s the person that is training during the off season so that they come to training camp in shape – not working to get in shape in camp.

Process people are about habits.  They have schedules and plans and rely on a daily commitment to achieve their goals.

I’m with Colin on this one.  Process people are nearly always successful.  And if not, they may be disappointed, but they can rest with the satisfaction that they’ve put the work in.



Realistic.  It’s a word used by parents, by teachers, by some friends.

It’s a word despised by kids, by dreamers, by entrepreneurs.

We see it as limiting.

They will say “Why dream big?  You are not being realistic.”

Dreams aren’t supposed to be realistic.

I like to think of the saying – aim for the moon because even if you land on the clouds you will be okay.

If you only set your sights on the trees, you may not get hurt from falling from a branch to the ground, but you also won’t get the benefit of the chance that your dream can come true.

Of course there is also balance.

You can’t always have your head in the clouds.

I see rappers aspire to be the next Jay-Z, or the next Drake.

It’s great to have these aspirations.  But it can also set yourself up for failure when you don’t achieve their level of success.  Both of these artists are one in a million success stories.

What should you do?

I think the best thing to do is aspire to be the best you.

In the words of Oscar Wilde – “Be yourself, everyone else is taken”