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

The Full Glass

Pouring Water Into Glass On Blue Background

Proponents of optimism and positive thinking (of which I am unabashedly an advocate, see links below on the health benefits) tell us to see the glass as half-full, not half-empty. I’m going to go further and tell you to see a FULL glass: full of water, full of life-giving oxygen! Both of which are vital to life and you’d miss desperately if you lack either. Satisfied needs tend to get ignored, often to our eventual detriment.

Yes, it is a metaphor but it is a metaphor with power and great relevancy. Some of Life’s greatest gifts are, in retrospect, unanswered prayers i.e. what we at the time we saw as “empty glass”. Furthermore, some of our greatest triumphs and greatest learning lessons come from overcoming the trials and tribulations of life; more of that empty glass. Stumbling Stone, Building Block: “There is nothing that thinking does not make it so.” (Hamlet, Act II, Scene 2). So wrap your mind around the idea that maybe, just maybe that glass is full and life does really, really turn out best for those who make the best of how life turns out.

Closing Quotes:

“If you will call your troubles experiences and remember that every experience develops some latent force within you, you will grow vigorous and happy, however adverse your circumstances may seem to be.” – John Heyward, 1497-1580

“If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.” – Peace Pilgrim, 1908-1981

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill, 1874-1965

Health Links

Pessimism May Be Bad for Your Heart NOV. 16, 2016 

Stay Optimistic, Live Longer? DEC. 7, 2016 

An ‘Up’ Outlook Can Improve Our Health JUNE 13, 2013

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

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


Good morning Mr. Collier,

Here are some questions I have been pondering, when you get a moment could you please answer? Thank you for your time!

How important are forecast reports to you? Do you use them to make buying decisions? If so what are some reliable sources?

I pay little to no attention to forecasts other than at the most macro level i.e. Detroit’s population is shrinking; risky place to be. The future is essentially unknowable. Media has a bad habit of shining the spotlight on whomever forecast was closest but at the same time ignoring all the past incorrect calls the same pundit made. Someone, somewhere will always guess right but it’s random; celebrating them is akin to painting a bullseye around wherever the arrow lands.

From 0 to 100 units who was the most important person on your team?

The entrepreneur working 60, 70, 80 hour weeks i.e. me. Then the handyman taking good care of my Residents! Then my banker: no financing, stunted growth. A good transaction lawyer and a good accountant/bookkeeper if you’ve not gone to law school or passed the CPA exam.

Who was the most important person on your team when you had the largest growth in your company’s history?  Who is the most important person on your team now?

I’d have to thank my CEO’s, David Materna originally and now Andy Hogshead. Both had a vision and a wide view of business possibilities. Dianna Miner, currently my Head of CapEx played a major role as well and now Jenn Clince, my COO is also an impact player. It is very, very difficult to single out individuals; over the years The Collier Companies has had many, many outstanding Team Members.

What lessons are you learning now in business?

My greatest challenge now is not so much learning anything new per se as it is simply learning to do as well as I know! I awake every morn with the goal of going to bed a better person in a world I’ve somehow contributed to being a better place in some way, no matter how small. Mostly these days it’s improving my EQ; learning the patience to live in the moment, work through others, and allowing things to unfold.

How many employees are needed in a company before it can be self-managed without the founder’s physical presence?

Does Apple have the same magic without Steve Jobs? Why did Howard Schultz come back to Starbucks? How well is Microsoft doing without Bill Gates? How well will Berkshire Hathaway do when Warren Buffet goes on to his heavenly reward? [A: 1. Not quite the same 2. Because he was NEEDED 3. Ok but they were never in the gee-whiz business, more the blocking and tackling biz where sheer size wins the day (at least until the next giant killer comes along) 4. Momentum of Warren’s rep/past investments will last for a few years, then reversion to mean will occur.]

It is a rare company that does not do better without the founder’s guidance. How much guidance? That’s a whole other question and the answer is highly variable depending upon the industry, the founder, and the team and culture she created/left behind AND the leadership put in place. I’ve always felt that while it might lose a bit of an entrepreneurial edge over time, my org would do well in my absence. One of my goals in continuing to grow is to be able to afford an ever increasing quality and quantity of senior management talent. I’m a firm believer that the cost of a deep bench is an excellent investment. I’ve a Mack truck philosophy: if a manager gets hit by a Mack truck tomorrow, I want their #2 to be able to keep things running smoothly.

To more specifically answer your question, it is HIGHLY dependent upon the type of business, what the founder was adding by their presence, the quality, training, experience, orientation and background of the management team (including Board of Directors if any), the culture AND the quality of the policies, processes, procedures and systems left in place. Also, there’s a BIG difference between steady state self-management and growth oriented. At a minimum, if the Founder was contributing energy to the growth or profitability of the company that allowed it to perform above the norm (as one would hope!), expect an eventual reversion to the norm whatever that might be.

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

Staying Calm when Angry


Anger can have a positive side; it energizes us when we are threatened or when boundaries have been violated. Unfortunately, most of the time anger does not serve us well; anger makes a lousy servant and a terrible, terrible master if we allow it to take control.

Managing our emotions breaks down into the Immediate (dealing with the emotion in the moment) and the Long Term (what thoughts, world view created this emotion, what trigger/fuse brought it to the surface?).

First, never, ever deny the emotion. What we resist, persists. Acknowledge its existence while controlling its expression to the extent you, your intelligent/rationale side, feel is appropriate given your goals and priorities. Never sacrifice what you want most, what you want and have worked for long term, on the altar of hot, frenzied short term emotions! Misdirected anger can harm your health, mental and physical, as well as damage your relationships.

Look for the original source of the anger; cease fueling it, stop feeding it, refrain from telling yourself the stories that generate the seeds of anger, the litany of wrongs that justify your outrage. Even if true (and there is always another side to the story, other points of view), it does not serve you, it does not lead you to a better place, it does not create happiness, joy or contentment or generate solutions. If your thoughts are drawn back, simply repeat “Release! Release! Release!” or “Onward, Forward, Upward” over and over and over, as long and as frequently as necessary. Physical activity or movement of any kind or change of location all help re-focus your thoughts and energy.

The story of “The Two Wolves” is a Cherokee legend of that uses the metaphor of two wolves fighting, one of Light and Hope, the other Darkness and Despair, to explain our inner conflicts. Which one wins? The one we feed. Which do you feed most?

Closing Quotes:

“You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.” – Buddha

“The best remedy for a short temper is a long walk.” – Joseph Joubert, 1754-1824

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” – Mark Twain/Samuel Clemmons

“When angry count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred.” – Thomas Jefferson

“Getting angry is punishing yourself with the mistakes of others.” – Ritu Ghatourey

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