Friday, April 21, 2017

Project Rise Podcast Episode 4: Chris Johnston

Chris Johnston is the Senior VP at Community One Financial in Puyallup, WA.  He also is the creator and owner of Sparks Firehouse Deli, which is a hub for families and people in the greater Puyallup community.  Sparks Firehouse Deli is known for its fantastic food, awesome ambiance, and excellence service.  Chris is also part owner at Joeseppi's Italian Restaurant in Tacoma as well as several other business ventures.

Because of Chris' outstanding achievements, service and commitment to his community, he was honored with the 2016 University of Washington Milgard School of Business Small Business Leader Award.  From organizing parades honoring local athletic teams, to fundraising a new weight room for Puyallup High School, to coaching youth football, and running several successful businesses...Chris has a formula for winning and making a huge impact on others.  See the video honoring him below.


Chris has acquired wealth in many areas of his life - not just business.  He has what I call the Trifecta:
  1. He's a loving husband and father
  2. He is a thriving business owner and entrepreneur.
  3. He is continually serving his community as a volunteer, coach, and philanthropist.
Chris, like many self-made successful individuals, came from a single parent home, with no money, and limited experience.  Faced with other adversities and set backs, he built a flourishing and fulfilling life through grit, effort, and a "refuse to lose" mantra.  Listen in...I know you'll love and learn something from this game changer - I know I have and continue to do so.  

What a stud!
My key takeway: GET OFF YOUR ASS!  Success doesn't come to the lazy.  Take action!  What do you need to do right now to take the necessary steps to take your job, career, or dream to the next level?  You'll only get there through consistent hard work, commitment, and drive.  You got this!  Go for it, like Chris does.  Take that first step today and keep at it.

If you like this episode, share it with a friend.  Below are links to a few of his businesses.  Go support Chris!

Joeseppi's Italian Restaurant

This blog post and podcast was powered by KICKSTART KINGS, who help you and your business go further faster through better BRANDING, VISUAL CREATIVE, and WEB & SOCIAL STRATEGY.  Check them out here...they have  helped Project Rise take off!  Let them do the same for you!

Saturday, April 15, 2017


Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night, and had an image or idea flash inside your head like a neon light? Sometimes I do. I'll get an idea, and my brain just won't shut off. Inspired by Easter, this blog post is a creation of that occurrence. 

Despite your spirituality, faith, or even religion, there's no denying one fact - a little over 2,000 years ago, a man named Jesus walked the earth. The record of Jesus of Nazareth has been documented by historians, scholars, and theologians alike. 

Regardless if you believe you are here because of an explosion in space, karma, God, Allah, Xenu (WTF? YouTube "Xenu South Park"'s amazing). Or maybe you believe in a different dogma all together. Either way, there's one thing I BELIEVE we all can agree on - This man they called Jesus was one hell of a goal setter. 

That was my 2 AM epiphany. Jesus may have been the greatest goal setter of all time.

I mean, he set the bar HIGH! I'm talking Elon Musk SpaceX type ish. Being miraculously born from a virgin would probably increase anyone's swag factor. However, believing to be the son of man, performing miracles, sharing the new gospel, dying for the sins of the world, then coming back to life, and ascending into heaven...Jesus's goals made Elon Musk's goals look itty-bitty teeny-tiny. 

The original JB (Jesus born in Bethlehem...not Bieber) dreamed BIG. I'm talking supersized, XXXL, jumbo, gigantic, ridiculously crazy off the wall big!

If Jesus had one thing (besides a dope beard and legit pair of sandals) it was vision. In order to have a clear vision, you must have what I call MVPs: mission, values, purpose, and slogan. Every successful organization has these clearly defined. Why don't you?

Jesus's MVPs would look something like this:

Mission - Save the world from sin. 
Values - Love all people. 
Purpose - Share the good news
Slogan - I am the truth, the way, the light. 

Jesus without question could define his MVPs. You could tell by how he acted, spoke, prayed, and what he said "yes" or "no" to. His MVPs drove his behavior to reach his vision. 

Have you taken the time to define your MVPs?

One of my main goals is to be the best husband and father possible.
One of the pillars that Project Rise is built on is living a life driven by vision. When you have vision in your life, you have a clear set of goals. Goals create clarity, and clarity is power. Whoever has the most clarity always wins...whether it's a debate, competition, or getting the sale...clarity just flat out gets things done.

How's your clarity? 

Did Jesus have clarity on what his purpose and vision was? You bet your Peeps eatin', mimosa sippin', Easter pastel outfit wearing ass he did. 

No goal, no purpose. 

No goal, no direction. 

No goal, no life. 

No goal, no soul. 

I have the amazing privilege to have opportunities to speak to many audiences - especially to schools and young people about the power of goal setting. JohnNorlin is the Service Guy. Houston Kraft is the Love Guy. Collin Henderson is the Goals Guy. We all have a brand. If you don't think you have a brand, it's time to establish one (just don't be That one likes That Guy). 

But wait a sec, who am I kidding? I'm not on the same level right now as John or Houston...but the key word is yet. I'm not on their level YET (come on, where are my Growth Mindset people at?). The fact that I'm not there at this moment in time doesn't bother me. Not one bit. Because I'm already there in my mind. It's all ready done. It just hasn't happened YET. I have a vision and a goal to RISE, just like Jesus. 

I believe with every ounce of my being that having clear goals can transform your life - the way they have mine. 

Goals have taken me from a stutterer to a speaker. 

A perfectionist to an activist. 

A worrier to a warrior...a warrior who feels the fear, but goes to battle anyway. 

Goals will get you out of bed; help you overcome hardships; generate momentum; inspire others; and push you to become your best self. 

My man Zig Ziglar once said, "Don't be a wondering generality. Be a meaningful specific." A life without a goal is not a life at all. 

Casey is a testimate of going all in on a dream.
Who modeled the power of goal setting better than the Jewish carpenter? No one. 

Below are 10 lessons in goal setting I've learned from the real Jahovah-Jireh, Jesus of Nazareth. Sorry Hova and Yeezus, there can only be One (I can't wait for the Yeezy Fall Collection though). 

The 10 Commandments of Goal Setting - Modeled by Jesus. 

1. Your goals should scare you 
I don't think you need to take it as far as Jesus did....on the night before his crucifixion, where it says in the Bible that he was in such a state of distress that he was sweating blood (but when did Jesus go small?). If your goals don't scare you at least a need bigger goals. No guts, no glory. 

2. You're gonna have haters
For some reason, many people don't know what to do with different. If you feel your talents and aspirations are unique, pay these haters no mind. Just do you, just like Jesus did.

The Pharisees and the ancient high priests were the OG's of haters. They were so jealous of what Jesus was doing, all the attention he was getting, the wisdom he had, and the blasphemy that he believed to be the son of God?! Jealously has been with man since the beginning...remember Cain and Abel? 

Listen, it's sad but, many people aren't comfortable with extraordinary. Many prefer the status quo...even some people who love you. If you are raising your standards and living with a vision that others can't see, you'll get criticized. Criticized because of jealousy, lack of faith, and quite honestly, fear they might lose you to bigger and better things. Sound selfish? Yes, but it's true. 

I like to think that having haters is good. It means you're doing something.

Sometimes your dreams might scare others. They'll say, "You can't do that," or "You'll fail." Let them be scared and continue to live a life of lazy mediocrity, while you work your ass off, and not listen to the haters, but hold on to your dream and your process. If you stay true to you, your vision, and your'll be well on your way to RISE above the fray.  

3. It's going to be hard
Jesus had an unmatched work ethic. From walking from town to town spreading the gospel, to performing miracles daily, to addressing large crowds hours on end...your boy got after it! 

The amazing fact about having a clear goal that inspires you, moves you, and stirs your emotions - it will give you ENERGY! Even though it's really hard work, you'll be able to push through and not even notice the hours you put in. You'll pay no mind to setbacks. You'll be able to persevere through the pain. 

There's no doubt that Jesus suffered to fulfill his destiny. Because he suffered an unimaginable death, his reward was to sit at the right hand of the throne next to his father in heaven. This is the most extreme example imaginable, but it reminds me this simple fact: the higher the level of achievement - the higher the level of hard work and sacrifices required. 

But the payoff will always be worth it. 

Does your goal drive you to work your ass off? If your answer is no, it might be time to reassess your vision and goals. 

4. Break some rules 
One of Arnold Swartzenegger's rules to success is this: Sometimes you've gotta break the rules. 

Jesus understood this principle. He followed his heart, vision, and values, and not to the old crusty Pharisee law. He knew what was right - he was fulfilling his mission.  He was staying true to his MVPs, which sometimes meant breaking the rules. Whether it was healing the sick on the sabbath or rewriting a new covenant - a salvation that is based on faith and not just deeds alone - Jesus stuck to his guns. 

We can learn from Jesus's conviction. 

If old philosophies and out dated guidelines block your path - it's time to blaze a new trail. The worst 6 words that stand in the way of innovation are, "That's how we've always done it." Learn from Jesus. Some rules are meant to be broken. 

5. You'll need a crew
Life was made to be lived together. With that said, our alignment defines our assignment. We are a byproduct of the people we hang with the most. Jesus knew he couldn't do it alone (hence his 12 disciples) - nor can you. Be open to delegate and seek out help. Just be selective on who you choose. Here's one tip: If you're the smartest person in the room, find a new room. 

There's a cool phenomenon called the Koehler Effect, which as been scientifically proven to show that when people work in groups they perform at a higher level. Whether it's a greater sense of accountability, or more energy, it's just proven - teamwork makes the dream work. 

Who's in your squad? 

Join a small group. Get a buddy to go with you to the gym. Align with a partner to start a new business. Nothing great was ever done alone. Develop a team, and watch your production RISE.

Squad goals achieved: the Hopper's, Isaacson's, and Martin's. Love this crew so much!
6. Be well read 
Jesus knew his Bible. He did his homework and could recite all the scriptures. While traveling with his family as a twelve year old,  he was mistakenly left behind because he was studying in his God's house - the church. 

Are you well read in your field of choice? Have you studied those who have came before you? 

The one thing that changed my life when I was going through struggles was investing in my personal development. I've made it a habit to read and listen to books incessantly. I hope you do the same. Eric Thomas, the Hip Hop Preacher often advises, "You are what you know."

What are you reading, watching, and listening to? 

If your answers are: Facebook, Netflix, and's time to find new material. 

7. Humble yourself 
Jesus didn't roll into town in a Bentley spinning on 22's. He was riding a donkey. Humble yourself to focus on what's important - substance, not flash. Do the grunt work. Start from the bottom. Push your ego aside. If a carpenter can be the savior of man, then you can ascend to unreal heights too. The only way you'll stay there though, is with humility. Don't judge your success on things, but in the people you impact and your personal growth. If those elements are your focus, the frankincense and myrrh will come. 

Jesus never looked to take credit for any of his miracles.  Often times after helping someone, he would tell them to "tell no one."  How many times have you looked for praise for the simplest of accomplishments?  I am so guilty of that...seeking for praise, instead of seeking to raise someone up.

He who humbles himself, will be exalted. Today might be a good day to start to eat some humble pie. You'll reach your goals faster if you do.

8. Be a servant 
Gandhi peacefully fasted. MLK marched. Mother Teresa fed the poor. Jesus washed feet. It didn't matter if you were a tax collector, prostitute, Roman guard, or stricken with leprosy, Jesus loved and served all people. 

Achieving is serving. The more you serve, the farther you will go. To me, that's the definition of greatness. Dave Ramsey once  said, "The only effective form of leadership is servant leadership." 

While you are striving to achieve your goal, just remember this: The more people you serve, the more abundance and success you'll create. 

Who served others more than Jesus?

9. It's never too late 
Jesus didn't perform one miracle, make any ripple in history, or begin his ministry until he was in his early 30's. 

It's never too late to get on the goal train and achieve greatness. Look at John Wooden and Warren Buffet. Goals don't have an age requirement...just a passion qualifier. It doesn't matter if you're 9 or 90 for the conductor to click your ticket. Just like Jesus, the goal train accepts all passengers. No matter your age, failures, disappointments, background, or history - everyone is welcome - similar to God's kingdom.

What debilitating story have you been telling yourself? What excuses have you been making that have created a failure to launch? 

It's time to start a new thought pattern, and a new plan to finally go after your dream. It's never too late.

Jesus was willing to die for what he believed in...are you? Are you willing to lay it on the line and sacrifice everything you have because your faith and belief is so intense that nothing will stop you? Belief was one of Jesus's strongest super powers. By faith, not in acts alone will you RISE. 

A goal without belief is like a car without gas. It won't go anywhere. Choose faith. Believe in the unseen. Trust your process. Do whatever it takes to get there. If you do, you will be handsomely rewarded...just like the Jewish carpenter from Nazareth. 

Sometimes you gotta just GO FOR IT!

He has RISEN
I hope this post gives you an epiphany like I had the other night - an epiphany of clarity and inspiration. In order to RISE and be your best self, it starts with a goal. I hope your goal is so crazy and exciting that it keeps you up at night.  If you have a passionate goal, there's no doubt you will. 

The central theme of Easter is rebirth and resurrection. If you are not where you want to be, that is OK. Get rid of your old ways. Cease your limiting thoughts. Create a goal and begin a rebirth of the new you.

Here's a simple exercise to get you started. Pull out a sheet of paper and pen (or use the Notes app in your phone) and create your MVPs. This exercise will give you the framework for your vision - to help you achieve your goals. 

Mission - What do you want to accomplish?
Values - What are the standards and guiding principles that will drive your behavior?
Purpose - What is the reason and "why" behind your goal?
Slogan - Create a slogan or mantra that sums up in a few words what you're all about and sparks action. Tell this slogan to the world! Put it on your Instagram and Facebook page.

Let Jesus be the model of how to live and love. If you do, who knows, with GRACE, GRIT, and most importantly a GOAL, you can create your best self...and a version of heaven on earth. 

If you like this post or you know somebody that could use this framework, The 10 Commandments of Goal Setting - Modeled by Jesus, please share it!


Monday, April 10, 2017


Sometimes when I write, it's a byproduct of being inspired, wanting to get clarity on a topic, or exploring my own theory in a specific area. With that said, I'm about to embark on a voyage that deals with an enigma similar to the Bermuda Triangle, the Egyptian Pyramids, Stonehenge, and figuring out what the hell happened to Richard Simmons.

This topic has been a mystery that man has tried to understand since the beginning of time: 
What Do Women Want?

No man is as fortunate as Mel Gibson's character in the 2000 film What Women Want - by being able to hear the inner most thoughts of women...and dogs, "Monsieur, Monsieur, I need to poop!" Without this mind reading ability, men are tasked to know their woman's needs and deliver on their desires. 

The only advice my dad gave me on the topic of women was, "Find a girl who can afford you. It's a lot easier to fall in love on the beaches of Hawaii." He obviously was joking...or was he? Then in his Ph.D. wisdom, J. Hen would follow that with his real offering, "Find a girl who is smart." 

My response to him now is, "Ok dad, I've done that; so now what?" The most attractive quality that drew me to Kendra was her brain (oh and she's 5'9, gorgeous, has a funny wit, is an amazing cook, and loves football...winning!)

She is definitely out of my league. (shout out to B. Hop!)
Aside from finding my soul mate, I've been blessed with amazing mentors in my life who have modeled the proper way to treat women and how to have a flourishing marriage. Young people do what you do, not what you say. I'm thinking about my son Baylor, and my goal is to model to him that the only way to have an effective relationship is to serve your partner. 

Let me premise that I am not perfect in this area, but like most males, I'm a work in progress. I've been labeled by a few people as selfish, "the King," and being all about me. My job requires me to travel quite a bit; I'm very active juggling multiple passions outside of work (can you say Rise?); I don't have many man skills (thank God for our neighbor Jeff); so sue me, I married Wonder Woman. Kendra seems to have super powers in many areas - her weapon of choice is either the power drill or her trusty breast pump - depends on the day. 

This is how I see my bride.
What's awesome is that people are entitled to their opinion. They don't have to agree 100% on my (or your) relationship dynamics. The most important factor is that you and your partner communicate frequently and have established clear expectations - and you both deliver on those. I feel that this is were Kendra and I have excelled - communicating on what our needs are and doing our best to make those happen. 

Things are not always going to work out perfectly or as planned. Being able to say "I'm sorry," owning your mistakes, and sincerely make the necessary adjustments to correct the behavior or issue is what effective teamwork is all about.  I think I'm winning on the "sorry" scoreboard.  Wow, grace is powerful in a team setting. 

As with any team in sports, business, or life, it's all about playing to your strengths. I feel we do a great job at this. For example, when we got married, Kendra assembled our new barbecue, while I wrote our thank you letters for all of our wedding gifts. 6+3=9. So does 7+2, 5+4, and so on. There's not one way to have an effective marriage. Know and playoff each other's strengths. Your production and happiness will be elevated.  

A few years ago, we read the book The Five Love Languages (which I totally recommend) and we do our best to make sure those needs are met consistently. My top two are: 1) physical touch, and 2) acts of service. While Kendra's are 1) quality time, and 2) Starbucks or Chipotle (really, the author added those in the latest addition). 

Aside from mastering each other's love languages, another tool to use is the framework I call A.L.A.ask, listen, and act on what what makes your significant other happy. Why does it need to be more complicated then that? 

Step 1: Communicate and ASK what makes her happy and how you can help. The first response might not tell the whole story. Be ready to dig deep and peel back the onion (women have layers...just like ogres, ogres have layers too...pardon my Shrek reference). The more details and specifics you can obtain the better.

Step 2: This might be a new concept for some of you guys out there (after 6 years of marriage I'm still working on it), but truly LISTEN to what she is saying. Seek to understand. Don't just nod your head and envision what meat you're going to BBQ next. Make a mental note, store it, then proceed to Step 3. 

Step 3: Based on her needs, take ACTION. This could be the most important step. Why? Because taking action takes effort. But not just mindless effort (how many times have you half-assed made the bed or picked up after yourself). Intentional action that follows a strategy is where magic happens. Effectiveness is all about execution. If you execute on her needs, I can give you 50 reasons how this will benefit her and YOU (trust me, there will be no shades of gray). 

Do this ALA process:
0 times per year = F results. 
1 time per year =  D results. 
1 time per quarter =  C results. 
1 time per month = B results
1 time per week = A results
1 time per day = A+++ results 

The reason why a high number of relationships get stale and fail is because there is no energy and effort. Imagine if you put the same type of energy, passion, and attention to each other as you did in the beginning of the relationship! Love doesn't sit on its ass and binge on Netflix all day (unless it's New Girl - watched together of course). Love is a Verb...just ask John Mayer. Love Does...just ask Bob Goff. 

Average in = average out. Awesome in = awesome out. What's more important then you and your partner's relationship? Besides putting The Man Upstairs at the center of our life and marriage, Kendra and my relationship is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN MY LIFE! 

We feel the best gift we can give to our children is putting our marriage first, and them second. Many couples married with children have it backwards...and their marriage takes a back seat. Hmm, I wonder why divorce rates are so high for new empty nesters?

Below are what I call Kendra's Keys. If I can deliver on these, I'm winning, she's winning, our marriage, and family are winning. 

1. C.S.S. - Certainty, Security, and Safety
Similar to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, I've learned that everything starts here. 
Certainty: Being the man of the house, I feel a sense of responsibility to operate and function in a consistent manner, provide stability, and create vision for our family. 
Security: It's my duty to provide for us through generating short and long term financial security. 
Safety: A must is to make Kendra feel that she and our children are safe. This dictates the car we drive, how we handle certain public situations, and the fact that I make sure the doors are locked each night before we go to bed (this took me a few years to embed in my psyche). 

2. Be Present 
Being a Zombie is not a good look. Zombies don't make good husbands or fathers. Amber Alert: PUT THE CELL PHONE AWAY. I try to institute the 6 to 9 rule - my phone stays in my room plugged in from 6 to 9pm when I get home from work. Don't be a Cell Phone Zombie, put the cell phone away (this is one area I need A LOT of work on). While your phone is charging locked up in a safe, play the Rose/Thorn game. Each of you share something that you loved about the day (rose) and something that could have been better (thorn). This is an easy, simple, and effective way to communicate and have a little bonding time. 

3. Deliver On Her Love Languages 
We are very intentional to carve out time and connect during that sweet spot when the kids go down to bed and before we go to bed. This is always much valued QT. Also, I make it a point to bring her Starbucks, flowers, or her favorite…Chewy Sprees candy when I can. About 75% of the time when I come home from the gym, I come packing heat - a toasted Chonga bagel with an iced coffee.  This always is a crowd pleaser.  

4. Connect Emotionally and Physically
Most women are crock pots, not microwaves...this includes Kendra. If I want a connection downstairs, I better connect upstairs first (Hint: this doesn't start at 9pm, but 9am). Compliments are free. Acts of service are free, but the payoffs are priceless. Also, every physical touch doesn't need to lead to something else. Put some money in the bank, rub her feet and expect nothing to happen. You will earn some bonus points, which you can cash in later - Yahtzee!

5. Love Our Children
Serving our children is serving Kendra. Being the best daddy is deeply appreciated and sexy as hell...ask any woman. When I get home, I love to give Kendra a break from Earth, Wind, and Fire (Baylor, Bella, and Winnie) with some dada time. They love it. I love it. And after being a physical and emotional punching bag for the previous 10 hours, Kendra loves it the most. 

6. When I'm Fulfilled, She's Fulfilled
I need to make sure that I'm doing the things that fill me up - exercising, doing my best at work, following my passions. Kendra is so amazing, that she understands the importance of allowing me to be who I am. When that process takes place I have more to give and everyone wins.

7. Date Consistently 
Make the words "Date Night" a staple in your relationship's vocabulary. Don't let your love fern die...water it, nurture it, and give it regularly scheduling a night out on the town WITHOUT YOUR KIDS! Do I even need to justify why this is important? 

For some low cost date night here
I am fully aware that this list is not the end all be all. If you have your own way of investing in your marriage that works, then great! The most important key to this whole What Women Want thing is to DECIDE and COMMIT 100% to your relationship. Love is a choice that needs ACTIONS to fan the flame...not with intentions or "should do's."  When I take care of Kendra's needs...she more then takes care of me!  The Bible says you reap what you sow...this is so true in relationships. Take care of your woman where she needs it the most, and you will be the wealthiest man on the planet in the area that matters most - LOVE. 

Since there are 7 Keys to my list above, take the Kendra's Keys Challenge. Discuss and implement one of the 7 keys each day of the week with your spouse...start today! 

For all my fellas out there, I hope Kendra's Keys help you unlock your inner Prince Charming. Who knows, you just might awaken your Sleeping Beauty and discover not just what WOMEN want, but what YOUR WOMAN WANTS. 

And if you execute on this quest, you'll create a happy ending in more ways then one.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017


Over the past month I've watched the Disney movie Moana at least 5 times. If you have younger children like we do, you most likely have seen it and can probably recite the songs in the film like a JT record. 

All Baylor and Bella want to do is watch the "Big Guy"...Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson's character, Maui...which he crushes btw...and the brave heroine, Moana.

She's next level.
Even our one year old Winnie is getting into the action. I got home the other day from a work trip, and all she could say to me was, "Muah, Muah." I was like, "Kendra, what is she saying?" She replied, "Moana!" 

Huh, should have known. Gotta love baby gibberish. 

There's a reason Disney owns everything from the Marvel Universe to ESPN. They are frickin' smart and have mastered the art of storytelling. They have gotten so good over the years, and the plots have even struck cords with adults as much as kids. 

Disney has a proven plot system. Here's my breakdown: 
1. Scene and characters are established (old normal)
2. A challenge arises
3. A nurturing character close to the protagonist dies or is faced with a dangerous threat
4. The naive hero (protagonist) goes on a journey
5. The protagonist is mentored
6. The protagonist fails and contemplates quitting
7. The protagonist faces his/her fear and transforms into a real hero
8. With a new found courage and skill, the protagonist saves the day. 
9. A new normal and happy world is created

Disney's Empire is endless.
I've loved many Disney films, but this Moana story stirred my spirit and emotions more than any drama or action film of recent memory (nothing creates water works like Cuba Gooding, Jr's movie Radio though). The symbolisms in Moana, her journey, failure, triumph, and message of redemption are timeless. There's a plot twist in the end and a climactic scene that had me balling my eyes out...I mean grown man ugly cry. I had to hide my face so my kids didn't think something was wrong with me. 

There were many takeaways from this gem that made me laugh, think, and cry. Below are elements of the movie that paralleled with real life - and even had a biblical influence. Take a look at this list and reflect how it relates to your life.

Under qualified 
The chosen one, Moana, lacked experience, was under qualified, was too young, and an unlikely choice to save her people. 

How many characters in the Bible were an unlikely choice from God? Moses stuttered. David was an adulterer. Paul killed Christians. 

You might think you are under qualified, but trust that no one is ever 100% ready and are completely qualified. Know that you are chosen. You are worthy. There is no such thing as perfect. It's about the journey and growth along the way. Stop thinking that you don't have what it takes. The people who shaped the world where flawed just like you and me. The only difference is they took action! It's time for you to stop thinking you don't have what it takes, because you do!  Take ACTION! 

Despite going against her father's will, Moana left her island and faced many dangerous situations to save her people. 

David faced Goliath. Noah survived the storm. Daniel was saved from the lion's den. 

You will never reach your potential or achieve anything of significance unless you face your fear. Warriors feel the fear, but go to battle anyway. This is where growth happens. What fear have you been avoiding that you need to attack?

Moana knew very little about sailing or the world beyond her island. However, she had a connection with the ocean and the dream of exploring. This dream was encouraged and nurtured by her grandmother. While on her journey, Moana, who was a novice sailor, learned to be a master of the seas. She learned this skill from the other main character in the film, Maui. Because of Moana and Maui's teamwork, they saved the day. This feet would not have been possible without each other. Maui learned a great deal from his mentee, Moana, as well (humility, courage, resourcefulness). 

Mentorship has been a critical part of achieving greatest throughout history. Moses mentored Aaron. Eli mentored Samuel. Jesus mentored his disciples.  

What is your dream? Who can you seek out to help you achieve it? You are not alone. We all can benefit from having at least one source that is full of encouragement and knowledge. Focus on learning from those people instead of the naysayers, critics, and doubters - which, if you are seeking to do something great - you will have plenty of those types of people. 

Think of one person who believes in you. Channel their energy and encouragement. Also, who has what you want? Ask them to be your mentor. This relationship will be life changing. 

You should always have a mentor and a mentee.
"This does not define you" 
Moana and Maui had several major setbacks and failures throughout the process. Both even felt so defeated that they lost hope and even quit. Yet, something inside of their spirit lifted them out of a state of despair to keep fighting and fulfill their destiny. 

God never makes it easy. Whether the Jews exodus from Egypt, to Abraham and Sarah waiting until late in life to have children, and even Jesus's death and resurrection (there are many more examples)...the people who fall and get back up and face the fire are rewarded. 

The most powerful scene in the film felt like a scene straight from the Bible. There is a clever twist at the end when Moana reaches the end of her journey to restore the heart of Te Fiti. While facing the lava monster (that's what my kids call it), Moana realizes that the monster is not really evil. The ocean parts, she calls to her, and sings a message that has so much biblical relevance that it had me balling. I saw God in the form of a 16 year old girl speaking to me, people who are lost, hurt, afraid, living in guilt and shame, and who have lost sight of their true self. This is what she sang:

I have crossed the horizon to find you
I know your name
They have stolen the heart from inside you
But this does not define you
This is not who you are
You know who you are
...who you truly are.

God has been on an endless search to reach you. 
He loves you, and knows you by name. 
He may have challenged you with hardships that have broken you. You may have lost your way and have been on a path of self destruction.
God adores you and sees the hero inside of you. 
He knows who you are. You know who you are. Let that person come back to life and grow to something even greater. 

This song could also be sung from a parent to a child; a child to a parent; a friend to a friend; or you to yourself.

Sheesh, I'm tearing up right now just as I write this. Please watch the scene below and reflect on your life. Forgive yourself and start living in color, not darkness. If you are in a healthy place, how can you be a light for others?

In summary:
• Even though you are under qualified, you are ready. 
• Nothing of significance happens without courage. 
• You are not alone. Seek out mentors, while you mentor others. 
• Your failure does not define you. How you respond does. 
• In order to be great, you must love yourself first. 

Forgive yourself.  Mend a relationship.  Forgive someone else.
Begin a new adventure.

Start an adventurous journey today and become your best self...just like Moana. 

Friday, March 31, 2017


Alright.  I told you people that I was going to get crazy with this whole studying of selling shit (I tried a few other words, but they just didn't have the same ring to it).  Based on your feedback from my last post (a big THANKS to all of you who sent in your favorite selling books), the top requested sales book was The Little Red Book of Selling, by Jeffrey Gitomer.  I read it, really liked it, and have already used some of the tactics I learned - like focusing on profit over price with a customer.

Many of you may be into self-help, motivational books, and auto-biographies (those are my favorites).  However, this is selling season - time for expensive things for no reason (ha shout out to my boy Hova).  We all are selling ourselves, we are always interviewing whether we know it or not, and our ability to influence dictates many things in our life...including how much money we make.

Let me preface that life isn't all about things, new whips (not 50 Shades, but "cars" for you laymans), baller cribs, or how many digits are in your bank account.  Connection, impact, relationships, memories, and how many people we help is the essence of life.  However, what if you can positively impact all those areas, but make lots of money while doing it?  To me, more money doesn't mean 'mo problems (we miss you Big!), but that I get to help more people.  I get to bless more in need.  I am able to create more freedom for myself and my family.

Utilize this list and make it rain with Lil' Wayne and this guy
So here is how you do it.  I call this the 8 M's of Making Money.  This system was largely inspired by 3 books I read by Grant Cardone, sprinkled with my other readings, and life experiences.  This is less about investing and more about a framework to take your passion to the next level.  For wealth management and investing tips, read Money: Master the Game, by Tony Robbins.  It's a game changer (one word: FIDUCIARY).  He also has a new money book out as well called Unshakable.  HINT: the bubble is about to burst; he'll help you be ready.  Enough about Tony and his big hands and wallet. 

These money making concepts can by applied to two groups: 
  1. If you are a sales representative who is looking to take your sales results to the next level, or
  2. If you are an entrepreneur that could benefit from added clarity by utilizing a systematic approach to growing your business.
So here goes; here are the 8 M's of Making Money (I picked the number 8 because its the same symbol as infinity...just like the never ending streams of income that is on your horizon if you follow this framework).  

If you are serious about improving your sales or taking your business to the next level, stop what you are doing, and take out a notebook or a few sheets of paper right now.  

Based off of each section, I have listed several questions that you need to answer...if you do and execute on those questions...there is no doubt you will create more wealth for yourself. 

I'm going to warn you though...this is a ROBUST post...but WELL WORTH IT!  Pace yourself, but stick to it and finish it all the way through and you'll be well on your way to MAKING IT RAIN...

Since I will never make it rain in the club, I'm thinking of other venues that are under utilized to throwing up Benji's or maybe Hamilton's are your thing: at the gym, the grocery store, nail salon, getting take-out teriyaki, the movie theater...the options are endless!

This is a slam dunk, no brainer.  In order to dominate your sector, you MUST have an insane amount of belief in yourself and your product/service.  You can't fake passion, enthusiasm, and an all-in attitude.  Prospecting, handling objections, and closing become a whole lot easier when you have a winning attitude and unwavering belief in yourself and what you're selling.  You must DECIDE, that you will do whatever it takes to make the sale, and that you have the ability to do it. Prospects can smell what I call CP's: confidence pheromones.  Like bees, customers can smell fear and BS.  If you are timid and unsure...say this with me in a Brooklyn accent, "Forget about it!"  If your hair isn't on fire in excitement for what you are selling...why should theirs be on fire to buy?  

Pit Bull, Walt Disney, Gary Vaynerchuk, Bill Gates, Tony Robbins, and Richard Branson all had an insane amount of self-belief in themselves and what they offer, which helped them overcome setbacks and create a road map to achieve their dreams. 

8M Questions to consider:
  • Do you use or would you use your product/service if the situation called for it?  What about your loved ones?  If the answer is no...find something new to sell.
  • Do you believe in your abilities to effectively sell this product?  If not, get some coaching, do some more studying, and practice your craft.
  • Do you love this industry, customer base, and process of the selling.  If you don't love it - get out and align yourself with something you believe in!
Project Rise Application:
I believe without a shadow of a doubt that what I'm doing with Project Rise is bringing value to others.  I am so convinced and believe so strongly in the principles I teach, because I have seen them work in my life.  I receive an abundance of energy and fulfillment when I help others be their best self. 

In any military mission, there is something called: Commander's Intent.  Commanders Intent succinctly describes what constitutes success for the operation.  It includes the operation's purpose and the conditions that define the end state.  When things get crazy (oh and they will), having a clear goal and vision (or Commanders Intent) will keep you on track.  Partnered with Commanders Intent, is this one question, "What are you willing to sacrifice?"  This boils down to your values.  This set of values will help you make the tough decisions.

8M Questions to consider:
  • Clearly and succinctly define what you want to achieve (Your Commanders Intent).
  • What does success look like to you?  Think about starting with the end in mind first.
  • What is your offering?  Do your customers 100% understand what you offer and the value associated with the product or service?
  • What is your story?  Story telling is the most effective way to grow support, investors, and buyers.  If done effectively, story telling creates emotion and feelings.  The wealthiest are the best storytellers. 
  • Make a list of your core values that will drive your actions (what to say "yes" or "no" to) and will help you determine what to fight for.
Project Rise Application:
Success for me would look like this:
  • Be able to monetize Project Rise as our sole source of income
  • Witness positive transformation and improved results in individuals and teams from directly working with me
  • Be a best-selling author
  • Be a sought after speaker on mental performance
  • Positively impact in some way 20 million people by 2020 (go ahead and laugh at me...I don't care!)
  • My values are B.U.I.L.D.: Believe. Unselfish. Integrity. Learn. Discipline.

Motives matter.  Having a clear "Why" and reasons for achieving your vision is everything - not only for you (internal motivation), but your customer as well (external motivation).  If money is your only internal motivator, you will not sustain the drive necessary to keep going.  Also, if your motivation is not powerful enough, you will have a hard time overcoming hardships and setbacks.  

In terms of external motivation, ask Simon Sinek...people buy WHY you do what you do, not what or how you do it.  If people external from you and your organization do not connect with your "why," they won't buy what you are selling.

I often use the TOMS shoe company as an example here.  Their "one for one" motto has helped them impact thousands of lives by providing free shoes to kids in need.  This "why" has also helped them sell millions of shoes - which is a double win!

8M Questions to consider:
  • Why are you doing this?
  • Can you list the reason(s) behind your mission?
  • What is your "Why" story?...write it down and practice saying it.
  • Can you clearly articulate what motivates you to potential customers and investors?
Project Rise Application:
My reasons behind Project Rise are... 
  • I struggled with insecurities and negative self talk for most of my life, which held me back from being my best self.
  • Through my decent and RISE, I want to help others RISE with me.  I desire to be a lifelong student of mastering one's mindset.
  • Finally, I will generate enough income to support my family comfortably, which will allow Kendra to focus 100% on being a mom and CEO of the house.

Identifying WHO has the means to make the decision and purchase your product is as D. Trump would say, "HUUUUUUGE."  The more niche you can be the better.  Remember this saying, "Scratch an itch. Find a niche, and you'll be rich." (you can add "bitch" in there at the end to get a laugh)

8M Questions to consider:
  • Who is your target audience?  
  • Who has the means to buy what you are selling?
  • Who are the decision makers?
  • How can you get in front of them more?
There's money out there waiting to be used on what you have to offer.  You just need to identify with crystal clarity who that group and specific set of people are (or person).

Project Rise Application:
My customer base includes:
  • Businesses looking to improve mindset, sales, and culture
    • Mangers, VP, and directors of sales have the money
  • Athletes and athletic teams 
    • Parents have the money
    • AD's, coaches, and booster clubs have the money
  • Scholastic settings (schools and universities)
    • Principles, department heads, and district office folks have the money
    • Clubs, groups, and associations have the money (especially for conferences)
The next step would be to get them on board with the value and benefits of your offering...not price.  Objections are never on the price, but the perceived lack of value...we'll get to more on that in METHODS.

Have you ran the numbers?  Generating the wealth you need is a simple equation that can be preemptively set up.  Based on your mission and goals, look at these questions...

8M Questions to consider: 
  • How much money do you WANT to make each month and year?
  • How much do you NEED to bring in to keep the lights on, cover expenses, and support yourself, family, and staff (if you have any)?
  • Based on this, how many sales do you need to make?  For example, If I want to make $100,000 in six months, I'd need to sell $100 worth of product to 1,000 people...or $50 to 2,000 people...or $200 to 500 people.  This approach simplifies and makes the process less overwhelming and gives you a measurable goal that you can track.  
  • How much money will you need to invest in the growth of your company to get started or to take it to the next level (new website, consulting, expanding, advertising, more sales, etc.)?
Project Rise Application:
I'm currently working on this as we speak.  I recently took some money out of savings to invest in:
  • Costs to launch my brand and updated offerings on a higher level - including a new website and video content
  • I recently finished the content of my first book (can't wait to tell you more about it!), and I've budgeted funds to support it's completion and launch
  • I have a specific number in mind in how much I need to bring in. 

Ideas are good, but actions are better.  This section is all about creating a plan to identify what the most important actions are needed to achieve your goal.  Methods also have to do with the most important word in sales: VALUE.  What are your methods to bring value?  In the many crowded markets that we operate in, how will you differentiate yourself and your product?  Developing a daily, weekly, and monthly process is the most effective way to perform at your best.  This single step is why I have had the success I've had in my medical device sales role (Rookie of the Year, back to back Top Performer Award, #1 in product orders in the nation last year).  Your PROCESS is everything.  #trusttheprocess.  To get there, answer these questions...

8M Questions to consider:
  • What actions must I complete to take me closer to my goal?
  • When will I achieve them?
  • How often will I perform key tasks per day, week, or month?
  • What is my value proposition?
  • How am I, my product, and/or service different vs. the competition?
  • What are my strengths?  How can I play to them more?
If you can master these 3 concepts, I guarantee you will out pace and out value your competition.  Own these 3 areas:
  1. Anticipation - Anticipate the needs of the customer and market first.
  2. Innovation - Don't follow the heard, offer a new or different solution to the customer that solves a problem.  If you go the same direction as everyone else, it will be harder to get noticed.  Be different! When you can identify that need and pain point, and where there is a gap in the market...that is where you strike!  Formulate your offering in this space.
  3. Domination - For the buyer, competition is good, but it's not for you.  Don't compete in your space, own and DOMINATE your space.  This will only happen with sacrifice, strategic thinking, and precision and execution. 
No one anticipated, innovated, and dominated better than Steve Jobs and Apple when he took over in 1997.  Jobs helped spawn the iMac, iPod, iTunes, Apple Store, iPhone, and iPad.  By the time he was done...Apple didn't have competition!!!  He changed the game forever (1 billion devices used world wide - Jobs got the job done).

Project Rise Application:
This one is a beast.  Here is just a small sample...My methods include:
  • Offer a consistent brand of excellence that brings value through:
    • Uplifting posts on social media
    • One podcast a week
    • One video a week
    • Secure 3 speaking gigs a month
  • Be authentic and vulnerable
  • Be the best storyteller in the business
  • Add humor and humility
  • Give actionable tools and resources with every encounter (either one one one, with a group, or through my blogs, videos, or podcasts).

It's a marathon, not a sprint.  A HUGE goal can sometimes feel overwhelming.  Often times the hardest step is the first one.  Break down your action plan in mini-seasons and preemptively set milestones that you are looking to achieve.  When you hit these milestones...CELEBRATE!  The grind is real.  Reward yourself by setting multiple action goals along the way that build over time.  This will help you build confidence and not be overwhelmed by the process. 

My senior year in football at WSU, we won the Pac-10 Championship by breaking down our season in several mini seasons: 1. Beat Idaho, 2. Win our non-coference games.  3.  Go undefeated at home.  4. Finish strong in November.  5. Be Pac-10 Champs and go to the Rose Bowl (which we did!).  How can you apply this concept in your business?

8M Questions to consider:
  • What is the most important first step for you to take to dominate?
  • How can you break down your vision into multiple seasons or sections...with each one getting more challenging than the previous?
  • Can you list several key milestones?
  • How will you reward yourself AND hold yourself accountable for achieving these milestones?
Project Rise Application:
My milestone points that will build momentum:
  • Launch website
  • Finish book and get published
  • Secure multiple streams of income through:
    • Individual coaching
    • Speaking endevours
    • Book sales
  • The ultimate milestone: Host a RISE Party book launch that is a mix between an educational seminar and a dance party...holla!!!!

Any industry, skill, trade, or technique you want to learn has already been mastered and someone has written a book about it.  Go to a Barnes & Noble store (if they even exist where you live) or go on Amazon or iTunes and buy or download some books.  There are at least 10 + books in the field you are working in.  Study and master those concepts.  Discover who the best in your company is and build a relationship with them.  If you run your own business, research through your network to find individuals who are more seasoned or on a higher level than you.  Ask these people if the would mentor you (think about how you can bring them value as well).  Join a Master Mind small group and learn from other leaders in your field.  


You'll learn more in 4 weeks with an expert in your field versus going to 4 years of college.  Success leaves clues.  In order to innovate, you need to master what already has been offered first.  Somebody has already paved the way for you.  This technique is called "drafting."  Just like in bike and car racing - you're following an established leader.  Follow the path modeled by someone who has been extremely successful and is winning.  Wisdom is created in one of two ways: 1. By experience, or 2. By learning from others who have already done it.  Based on my "drafting" analogy, which one is the most efficient, requires less failures, and will save you energy?...I hope you said, "learning from others."  Below are options to learn from others who have paved the way.  These mentors can be found in many difference forms.  

8M Questions to consider:
What people or topics will you research or connect with in these 7 areas?  I call this VAP2ERS Modeling.

Mentorship is such an underrated tool for success.  Get your mentors lined up now and watch how much faster you'll reach your financial goals!!! I'm so passionate about this topic, I could write a whole other blog post on this!

Project Rise Application:
I'll use my VAP2ERS Model to share who my mentors are...
  • I watch a TON of YouTube VIDEOS on:
    • Tony Robbins
    • Gary V.
    • Simon Sinek
  • AUDIOBOOKS...There is not enough room on this page.  Audiobooks are my favorite way to learn because I drive so much.  The last few audiobooks I listened to where:
  • PAPERBACKS...I prefer audio over written, but I do usually have a book nearby to read at night, or on a flight.  Here are the last two I've read:
  • My Favorite PODCASTS are:
  • ELECTRONICS...let's face it, we all have a smartphone and/or tablet.  Use them for something productive instead of Snap, Insta, Twitter, and FB.  I recently downloaded on my iPad and read:
    • Sell or Be Sold, Grant Cardone
    • I use Wikepedia constantly
    • I Google stuff non stop
    • Remember to use YouTube as a platform to learn...not just watch cat videos
    • My work mentor this year is a 5-time Manager of the year in my company and an amazing guy: Rick Schulz.  We talk on the phone at least once a month about leadership, vision, balance, and execution.
    • I'm doing Life Coaching with an entrepreneur and business owner named Sean McCormick.  He owns Float Seattle...if you want a relaxing experience for your mind, body, and got to check it out!
  • SMALL GROUP...Meeting once a month with several like minded individuals that challenge you and hold you accountable is such a life changing advantage.  I've been meeting with two small groups this past year.  Even though I am out of town for our meeting guys are Skyping me on by boy B. Hopp's big screen in his office at that is dedication! (shout out to the Power Tribe: Mike Isaacson, Charly Martin, and Brian Hopper).  Love you guys and I learn so much from you!
 Is this list perfect and the end all be all?  No, but's a great place to start.  

I have the desire and patience to see this list through.  Do you?  We all have to start somewhere.  Take an hour...go to a Starbucks.  Brainstorm ideas with a Master Mind group of people who inspire you.  Just stop thinking, daydreaming, and wishing...START DOING!

Use the 8 M's of Making Money as your template to create the road map of success.  Big time results will not just magically happen.  You have to put thought, effort, and energy into creating your mindset and plan.  Once this step is's time to EXECUTE.  

I believe in you and can't wait to hear the success stories on how you took this first step in controlling your financial destiny by pursuing your passion, playing to your strengths, and positively impacting others along the way - all while utilizing these 8 steps to becoming the wealthiest version of you! 

Possible book cover?

Monday, March 20, 2017


Take some advice from my boy 50 Cent
Everyone is in sales.  Whether you are a parent, teacher, preacher, spouse, doctor, lawyer, coach, banker, personal trainer, barber, real estate agent, or in landscaping - everyone is selling.  It could be a concept, new idea, a product, or service...either way, whoever is the most skilled at listening, communicating, influencing, and delivering value - reaps the most rewards - personally and professionally.  Selling to your kids, spouse, friends, co-worker, potential buyers/customers/consumers all takes a specific set of skills.

Being that I make a living as a salesman to support my family (I've been in medical sales for over 10 years now), I have recently been doing my best to fine tune my craft.  Let's face it, no one likes the feeling of being sold anything.  I don't either.  I try to look at myself as providing value; being more of a consultant than a salesman; a partner in helping someone achieve a goal; and a problem solver.  All of these examples require a great deal of time, experience, and failures. 

For all of you in sales right now (which technically can mean everyone): 

Most of the books I read are personal development books about mastering your mindset, overcoming adversity, leadership, and creating better habits.  I decided recently to delve deeper into the art of selling.  I'm in the process of going ALL-IN on learning from the best minds and authors in this space.  Being a territory manager and sales trainer, I'm very curious at looking at new strategies to help others and myself improve how impactful our sales calls can be.

I'm going to stop right here and make a confession:

I feel that I am somewhat of a hypocrite.  I preach all day about the importance and power of investing in your personal development, which I have committed to with 100% passion and focus.  I read or listen to at least 4 books a month.  However, as a salesman, I have not made the topic of SELLING a main book genre that I have studied.  I went through sales training with two Fortune 500 companies; I've read a few books and articles here and there; but I have not committed to this area enough.  For the next few months I am going to attack selling books, podcasts, YouTube videos, and key thought leaders in this field.  I have devoured three books by Grant Cardone recently (click on his name to go to his website).  I'll share my findings in my next post.  He has been thought of by several media outlets as the best sales trainer in the world. 

According to Cardone, there are many amateurs in the selling profession.  Who would Cardone call an amateur?  Someone who doesn't sharpen their ax by learning and applying new ideas in their given field.  Instead, they wake up and keep doing what they've always done - not learning new techniques and skills, but relying on what they used to do and have always done.  "If it worked ten years ago, it will work again," they might say.  This average approach creates average results.

I'm calling myself out right now and need to get better at this.  What about you?  Are you reading up on the latest sales strategies & techniques? 

Would you see a doctor who wasn't trained and experienced in the latest advances in medicine?  Would you select a financial planner who isn't growing their knowledge on the stock market and trading daily?  There is no chance you would pick a real estate agent to help you sell your house if they weren't experts in the current market and up to speed with the latest tools to attract buyers. 

If you are in the sales profession, LET'S GO, and invest in your knowledge, so we can apply new findings and improve our production.

Some great pearls in Conversations that Win the Complex Sale
When you improve your sales, let's face it, YOU FEEL AWESOME!  You'll have more confidence and motivation to try new things and stretch your comfort zone.  This is where personal growth happens, which creates ultimate fulfillment.   I offer these three books that I recently read that might help you learn a few new tricks of the trade and help you improve your sales.  Give these books a try to increase your influence (if you don't like to read...try them in audio book form):  
Below is a video discussing key findings from the Challenger Sale:


In my next post, I'll share a new approach (inspired by three Grant Cardone books I have read) that will give you a framework to INCREASE YOUR SALES; launch the side project that you have always dreampt about making a full time venture; and for all my entrepreneurs, this system will help take your business to the next level.  I'll share examples of how I've applied this framework with Project Rise.

Thanks and have an AWESOME WEEK!!!