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

Do You Have the Courage to Ask These Questions?


Question #1:

“On a scale of 1 to 10, how is our relationship?”

Question #2:

“What would it take to make it a 10?”

Sometimes it takes courage to ask for feedback. First, we potentially open ourselves up to criticism but then we also possibly commit ourselves to changing! Both require a stout heart and a solid sense of self. It is all too easy to sweep things under the rug; indeed some folks have so many elephants in the room, it’s practically a herd.

The rewards of showing a genuine interest in others’ opinions, in the quality of your relationships, and of demonstrating an honest, authentic willingness to listen are tremendous. Ask these questions regularly AND follow through and you will life an extraordinary life.

Closing Quotes

“O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us. It would from many a blunder save us.” – Robert Burns

“If you don’t get feedback, you’re working in a vacuum.” – Peter Maxwell Davies

“If EXCELLENCE is one of your values, not do you evaluate your performance consistently, you BEG others for honest feedback.” – Assegid Habtewold, 9 Cardinal Building Blocks for Continued Success in Leadership

Acknowledgment: Thanks to Jack Canfield and “The Success Principles” for sharing this powerful question.

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

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

back of the envelope

Hello Mr. Collier,

I hope all is well with you. When you have some time, could you please answer the following questions? Thank you so much for your time, consideration and wisdom.

When you say you like “having roots” would you say that’s a preference or sound business practices?

Real estate is a local business, a relationship business much more than most. Even national firms often choose to partner with locals in order to have boots on the ground that have an equity interest. So to the extent that having deep roots gives you extraordinary local market knowledge, it can be a sound business practice. Also, stability, reliability, and dependability are in-demand traits related to deep roots that foster trust and long term relationships that can help create value. Furthermore, if you actively manage your real estate investments (and I highly recommend you do, it’s hard to find someone who cares as much as an owner with everything to lose!) then geographic proximity is highly beneficial. Find a location you like that has good future prospects, move there, and live near your investments.

What does “back of the envelope guy” mean?

A back of the envelope analysis is a rough calculation using simplified assumptions, a quick, down and dirty sketch often written down on the closest piece of paper available during a moment of inspiration, often the back of some other document or envelope hence the name. While my organization can and does create intricate Ten Year Pro-formas with myriad variables and assumptions about how they play out in the essentially unknowable and murky future, I’m most comfortable starting out with a back of the envelope analysis. If it doesn’t make sense at that level, then it is probably not worth pursuing further.

A major point to be made is that most complex spreadsheets with all sorts of back up sheets give a false sense of certainty. Dig into all the assumptions and professional judgements made and you will understand the shaky ground on which they are built. I shudder when I see projected IRR calculated out to the 2nd decimal (i.e. this investment will return a 14.27% IRR!). The real truth is that maybe, just maybe you can get the 2nd digit in FRONT of the decimal point right i.e. I can, with accuracy, reasonably well predict whether an investment will make high single digit return v. mid-teens return v. low twenties. That’s it! Note I said predict with “accuracy”; I did not say with “confidence” because all too many folks out there are “confident” of predictions that they have no earthly right to be!

Media in search of a sensational story or click bait will profile some “genius” with an incredible track record of correct predications. Usually, this is the equivalent of taking a year’s graduating class of new minted MBA’s and asking them to start flipping coins, asking anyone who doesn’t flip heads to sit down. The last one standing, having flipped a remarkable number of heads in a row, is annotated a genius.

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

Who ARE You?


More specifically, what is your self-concept? Who do YOU think you are? Who do you WANT to be? A self-concept is different from a Mission Statement which is focused more on your PURPOSE in life. Writing out your self-concept is also different from setting goals which involves what you want to DO, what you want to achieve and accomplish. Writing out your self-concept is a terrific way to increase your self-awareness and focus your thoughts and efforts and I would strongly encourage you to do so, the benefits are many. Since I sincerely believe that thoughts held in mind attract in kind and what we focus on expands, my self-concept is oriented to the positive and definitely includes aspirational aspects!

Below are two versions I’ve written, the first is from the late 1970’s, when I was somewhere between my mid to late twenties. It was written on an IBM Selectric typewriter; I know I got my first computer, a Kaypro II the size of a sewing machine, and dot matrix printer around 1980. The second was written recently at a 3-day YPO retreat in South Beach.

Circa late 1970’s

He was the most upbeat, enthusiastic person I’d ever met. He was always alive with energy and ideas… Going places, doing things, making things happen. He kept busy with project after project… meeting people, making friends everywhere he went. He had a zest, an appetite for life that never seemed quenched… he was tall, good looking with a rugged face and gentle eyes…there was an undefinable air of confidence about him, he met everyone’s eyes straight on and his face always seemed to have a smile on it. Sometimes it was just a hint but often it was a wide, breezy grin. He was a winner, he had a sense of being in command of his life…he genuinely cared about people and enjoyed talking with them. I guess you could call him a charmer. He was good at small talk, asking people what they did, who they were, how they felt, did they like what they were doing. He was a man who could be anything he wanted to be, do anything he wanted to do… and he always knew just what he wanted…and he always went right for it, wearing that great big happy grin of his.

January 2017

I am a task-oriented, DRIVEN workaholic who has chosen to re-orient my life centered on my family: my beloved son and wife. I am a leader, a role model, a high achiever who respects the social contract and believes in giving back and honoring all stakeholders in proportion to their stakes. I am a goal-focused, solution-oriented, disciplined, continuous learning positive thinker. I awake every day with the goal of going to bed a better person having made the world better.

My Sense of Self is Anchored Deep within, from which Flows a Wonderful Sense of Peace. I cheerfully release all thoughts that hurt; forgiveness offers me ALL that I want. I Live Serenely in the Present Moment; I greet the Present Moment fully, I greet each moment as a friend. Peace of Mind is my only goal; I am responsible for the world I choose to see; I choose to see myself surrounded by a loving, supportive network. I fully understand the power of my thoughts, I use them to attract all the good I want into my life. I have an “Attitude of Gratitude” and the Habit of Happiness, I carry the Sun in my Pocket!

Wikipedia (edited for brevity)

One’s self-concept (also called self-construction, self-identity, self-perspective or self-structure) is a collection of beliefs about oneself and embodies the answer to “Who am I?”.  One’s self-concept is made up of past, present, and future selves. Self-concept is distinguishable from self-awareness, which refers to the extent of one’s self-knowledge. Self-concept also differs from self-esteem: self-concept is a cognitive or descriptive component of one’s self (e.g. “I am a fast runner”), while self-esteem is evaluative and opinionated (e.g. “I feel good about being a fast runner”).

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