"The Man, The Mission, The Passion" Husband, Father, Attorney, CPA, Steward Leader, Entrepreneur, MBA, Author, Builder, HBS OPM 25 Class, Mentor, Teacher

Mentor’s Reply to Young Entrepreneur’s Questions (Part XIX)


Hello Mr. Collier,

I hope all is well. When you get a moment could you please answer these?

Would you agree that using all of one’s cash or the majority of it per deal will take longer to grow versus using leveraging with debt wisely?
High leverage boosts both profit AND risk; wisdom is knowing how much you can handle. Sooner or later a deal will go south on you; that’s just the nature of life. That’s when you find out what you are really made of, crisis reveals character as much as it builds it. I’ve had at least three MAJOR economic apocalypses in my life, all resulting in sleepless nights, stress and strain.

Do you find opportunity first or find the right person to find the opportunity?
When I was young I found deals/opportunity personally; now it’s a team effort.

What are you working on?
Working on ground up development (300 apt homes in Ocala, like number in Port Orange, 300 beds in 3 micro sites in College Park north of UF); couple of acquisitions with partners; always trying to help my organization grow, get ever better; develop people, help them be their best selves; challenge myself to do the same.

Any reason why so much new development right now? Cheap land? Great deals? Cheaper to build than to acquire existing units?
No, No, No/Sort of. Land is definitely not cheap; the deals are good (we hope/project) but not especially great. New acquisitions are not particularly pricey re replacement costs BUT they do require HUGE hunks of cash/equity. Developing our own allows us to substitute sweat equity/risk premium for a portion of that equity; easiest way for us to upgrade our portfolio.

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier

How Often do you Engage in “Prosocial Deception”?

White lies

A “Prosocial Deception” is a falsehood spoken without the intent to harm i.e. a white lie: “minor or unimportant lie, especially one uttered in the interests of tact or politeness or to minimize harm, embarrassment or distress, often considered harmless, or even beneficial, in the long term.” White lies take many forms, including:

– Out and Out Lies
– Softened truths
– Careful omissions

When we tell lies, we do a form of mental calculus. We weigh the benefits of the lie, both to ourselves and to the other against the downside, the odds of being caught, and the consequences thereof; a cost/benefit analysis that has as much to do with our personality as our value system. What value do we put on time? Some will do most anything to postpone the time of reckoning, even for a short period. Others would just as soon face the consequences now and get it over with. What value do we put on the relationship; on social discomfort, ours v. others?

Factors to Consider:

– Are you being kind? “Selfish Honesty”: bluntness for the sheer sake of itself can border on cruelty; not every truth needs to be verbalized; does it help the situation? The person? Make the world a better place?

– Will the truth come out anyway? Do not compliment someone’s idea to their face and then oppose it elsewhere!

– Is there a better time to tell the full truth? More private time/place? Less stressful? If there is little a person can do at the moment about it, is it the best time to add pressure?

– Will the truth hurt or help?

– Is it your discomfort or theirs (or mutual) you are concerned about?

– Does the Golden Rule apply? Would you want to be told the same lie?*

– If your lie is fear based, is this a fear that you need to confront? (Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway; The Cave We Fear to Enter Holds the Treasure We Seek; Do the Thing You Fear and the Death of Fear is Certain; Our Fears often Point the Way to Our Greatest Growth)

– Does the other need to hear the truth (and in the current context) in order to grow? (“Would that some power give us the gift to see ourselves as others see us” – Robert Burns; being an accurate, if gentle, social mirror is one of the greatest gifts of friendship)

* “A lie is a form of power over someone—it is deceiving the other person in some way—and it can be useful to ask oneself if you would want someone else to deceive you in the same situation,” – William Doherty, marriage and family therapist and professor of family social science at the University of Minnesota

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier

One Secret of Happiness: Cultivating the “Active Constructive Response”

way to go, good job, well done, you're the man, thumbs up, you rock - a set of isolated sticky notes

When we receive news or respond to a comment or compliment, we have a choice of 4 styles of response. Imagine a 4-square grid with “Active” and “Passive” along the top and “Constructive” and “Destructive” along the side.


Enthusiastic, Authentic, Fully Engaged, Response Rapport, Non-Verbal Cues: Eye Contact, Wide Smile, Appropriate Supportive Touch

“Terrific! You must be so proud and rightly so! I am happy for you!”: Delivered with a genuine smile, from the heart; response often elaborates, adds in a positive way, looks for the good, shows interest, ask relevant questions, builds up other person, expresses bona fide excitement; contains sincere compliments, legitimate praise


Low Energy, Delayed Response, Flat, Non-Verbal Cues: Little to No Active Emotional Expression, Dead Pan Face

“Oh…how nice for you.”: Delivered without enthusiasm, commitment, no emotional involvement, perfunctory, going through motions


Dismissive, Demeaning, Display of Negative Non-Verbal Cues: Frowning, Furrowed Brow

“A promotion? You must have really brownnosed your boss. Guess you will be working longer hours too.”: Takes the air out of their sails, looks for the negative


Changes Subject, Ignores Speaker, Turns Focus Inward, Non-Verbal Cues: Shrug of Shoulders, Eye Contact Avoidance, Turning Away, Crossing Arms

“Really? Well, something like that happened to me too but more interesting.” Shows no regard for others feeling, disdainful, even contemptuous, belittles, debases, detracts, degrades

An Active, Constructive Response builds the relationship, creates a positive vibe:

In Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being, Martin Seligman recounts how Shelly Gable of the University of California at Santa Barbara “has shown that how you celebrate is more predictive of a strong relationship than how you fight. When people share with you a victory, or any positive experiences they have had, how you respond can either strengthen the relationship or undermine it. Research shows that when you respond actively (showing interest and asking questions) and constructively (building up the other’s points), it can significantly enhance the quality of your relationship.”

We can reflexively give non-positive responses: Every time we turn away a compliment, we more push away the giver than display modesty. A simple “Thank you” will suffice, with a “Kind of you to notice” added if you wish. Also, I’ve noticed I have a tendency (socially dysfunctional trait left over from law school?) to point out the other side, often when it is not necessary or productive. I’m learning to simply “accentuate the positive” and focus on giving an Active Constructive Response from my heart.

 Closing Quotes:

“Words are powerful. Whispering words of wisdom can empower, encourage, uplift and help move someone forward. Choose kind words to heal one’s spirit.” – Ritu Ghatourey

“What we say matters. The unkind things we communicate can soil the best of relationships; even with the deepest of regrets.” – Jason Versey

“Kind words are short and easy to speak; but their echoes are truly endless.” – Mother Teresa

“Positive and kind words can empower, encourage, motivate and help move someone towards their goals. Always choose words that can heal not destroy.” – Anurag Prakash

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier