Matthew's Mind

Your wings already exist. All you have to do is fly.

I’m 50% average at numbers.

You’d describe my handyman skills as mediocre.

When it comes to anything artistic, I just hope to blend in.

Camping, boating, fishing and anything “car stuff”, you’re kind to call me lackluster.

And I’m absolutely, positively, unremarkable at golf.

But I’m super cool with owning that okayness. Owning that is the reason I can quadruple down on the areas to crush! Strengthen your weaknesses? Or off load them and quadruple down on your strengths? I know which I’ll choose.

Push marketing. It’s been around since you started seeing “sales emails” in your AOL account around 1997. Back then, we read every email, every word. Open rates were through the roof and products flew off the shelves, to be shipped anywhere UPS or Fed Ex could take it.

Fast forward to now, the cusp of 2018. How many daily emails do you get? How many do you read? Then with those, how many do you engage with? Walk that into social media. How much messaging is “pushed” at you, where someone wants you to buy their stuff, use their system and send them money? Where’s the value?

Today I’ll challenge you to break that. Break all of it.

If you want to stand on an island in this sea of sameness, you need to do what no one else is. And in this landscape of push marketing, it means finding a way to pull them in. And how do you do that?

Value. Content. More value. And more content.

All under the pretense of giving, giving, giving and giving more in a spirit of authentic sharing, without asking for anything in return.


The concept is jab, jab, jab, right hook. Value, value, value, ask. But for the people who really want to dominate in this arena, it’s more like a full round of boxing – with hundreds of jabs thrown in there. And when you go to throw a hook (ask them to do or buy something), even if they don’t – you’re fine. You’re great. You just keep boxing, keep jabbing, keep doing the right thing for the right reasons. Respect the process.

What’s this look like in your world?

  • A daily one minute video (to clients, prospects, anyone) sharing thoughts and not holding back on incredible strategies?
  • Speaking at community events for free, literally not asking for a single thing in return?
  • Mentoring or coaching others in your business who need it?
  • Sponsoring other professionals or putting them onto a pedestal when it makes sense?

That list could go on and on and on, if you’re not asking yourself, “What do I get in return?”. Because every single one of your clients and prospects are getting marketing hooks thrown at them daily. They’re dodging and ducking all the time.

To stand out, you need to give value repeatedly, consistently, wait for the “pull” into you to happen (be patient, it’ll take time) and smile ear to ear no matter what happens.

Because you didn’t need anything in return to begin with.

Everyone appreciates the truth. And not the polished up, filtered, edited version of what’s going on – but the rough draft, raw truth. This includes telling people when you’re lost, when you were wrong (the more, the better, it’s how we grow), how you don’t know the answer, when you’re nervous, that you’re looking for advice and letting everyone know of your numerous, regular shortcomings.

It’s the truth. And it’s real.

When you become comfortable with this level of truth, a mess of internal struggles begin to melt away. You never need to pretend to be someone else. You can be your true self in good and bad, success and failure. The right people will appreciate your posture and lean into you as a human being. The wrong people, wanting everything to fit inside their spotless box, won’t. That’s how you want it.

Owning this mindset of ultimate truth frees you from always needing to be politically correct for the sake of political correctness. That’s not to say bigotry, prejudice or inequality should own any space in your mind, they shouldn’t. Rather, that’s to say that you can do you. Your work/life balance can be what you decide, your parenting style can be appropriate for your family and the amount of drive and passion you show (or don’t show) for every other aspect of life is your decision, not someone else’s. It’s your truth.

The truth is undefeated. Internalize yours and feel how life begins to flow.

If I put your name and picture on a billboard, right there on the main highway next to your office, what would happen the first time you saw it?

I’m not sure what you’d logically think 30 seconds later, the next day or the 42nd time you drove past it. But I’m sure about one thing. The first time you saw that billboard, with your name on it, you’d smile.

Why is that? What is it about your name in lights that makes you smile? It’s illogical right? You’ve seen your own name thousands of times and it doesn’t take much for someone to display it. But the simple fact that someone cared enough to showcase your name & acknowledge your presence has a simple, euphoric effect that’s universal. We all smile.

So never again let a client or prospect enter your office without prominently displaying their name (and picture if you have it).

I’m talking televisions upon entering, other screens around your office, the billboard sign in your parking lot and any other location you can. Also think about their initials on drink-ware, notebooks, pens or anything else you prepare for them. Continue down this path and make sure the first person they see in the office greets them by name, then adds other details about what they like to drink, or anything personal that shows they’re heard.

It doesn’t matter if you display their name digital or manual. It doesn’t matter how the rest gets done. What matters is that you do it. People will cross the threshold into your office smiling and the tone of connection and caring will be set before you even say hello. Don’t wait, take steps to improve on this today.

The reason for your success is you.

Not a program. Not a tactic. Not someone else’s vision. Not your company. Not your staff. Not your marketing or anything else 100% outside your control.

The reason for your success is you. Have faith in that and take confidence in it. Then find the best environment for you to keep doing you. The right culture and association go a long way.

Regardless of any external factor, the reason for your success is you. Lean into that.

You need challenged in 2018…

We all do. We all need to expand our thinking and push into next year a better person. So in 2018, my challenge is to make it completely selfish – all about you. It’s time to OWN more of your successes and failures. In 2018, it’s your time to quit looking at outside forces for your validation and take things into your own hands.

In 2018, I’m challenging you to think different
about failure and success.

I want you to fail more. And not just fail more, but know that your failure is just that… yours. It’s not your family’s failure, not your spouse’s or kid’s, not your friend’s, not your parent’s, not your colleague’s, peer’s, staff’s or client’s failure. Outside forces be damned. When you step out next year and use informed intuition to make a decision, and fail, internalize that as yours.

That means that when you fail, you were meant to. The idea wasn’t pure. Maybe you didn’t educate yourself enough, your intuition was off or your execution missed the mark. But it was, and still is, within your control. You own the result 100% and any external forces (emotional or logical) you used to carry as excuses in your back pocket; they aren’t viable anymore. You’re bigger than that now.

And the best part?!?

Taking all the losses you experience in 2018 squarely on your shoulders… well, that means the successes are that much sweeter.

Voices in your head said someone won’t agree with your decision, but you pushed ahead and took action anyways. You’re owning it. Once it was launched you felt resistance and would’ve caved in before, this time you didn’t. You might even double-down. Forces continued to say you were going to fail, you weren’t capable of this, or the cause wasn’t worthwhile. But your gut you knew the direction you were headed, and you crushed it!

No more them. It’s about you. Your failures and your successes now. It’s completely selfish. Take that internal for 2018 and see where it leads you.


You know those items that remind you of the past? Photos, keepsakes, books, notes, all those objects placed in drawers that you just couldn’t throw away? I know I do. I have plenty. And recently it was time to move past one of them.


Over the years I kept adding to my tie collection. A tie from my wedding rehearsal, ties from the first trainings (at the Chicago O’Hare Holiday Inn) Advisors Excel ever conducted, ties from our boys’ baptisms, family pictures, friend’s weddings and unfortunately a few funerals. I had ties that were gifts from my wife, colleagues and friends. And looking inside my tie drawer, I saw ties that brought me back to meeting dozens of my top clients and best friends to this day.

But it was time to move on; and end to this era. I haven’t worn a tie in over 2 years; it’s just not me any more. Ties haven’t felt right for awhile and I can own, and love, that fact at this point in my life.

In addition to that, a group of underprivileged, and deserving local high schoolers were asking for help. Their mentors needed for clothes (and ties) these students could wear when the situation was right – on athletic game days at school, for job interviews, graduations and school dances.

The universe was speaking; 2+2 was coming together…

Opening up my tie drawer, 33 of them stared at me like this:


But not any more. If you came to my home today, the tie drawer would look more like this:

no ties

And all of those ties are being put to better use, with students and young adults who will use them in this phase of their lives!

giveaway ties

It’s the end of a personal era. One I’m proud of. But recognizing that fact still didn’t make giving all those memories (of my last decade plus) away any easier…

Most of the successful entrepreneurs I coach run their cash flow like this:

  1. Fixed costs first – Building, utilities, maintenance and upkeep.
  2. Staffing second – Competitive pay, usually benefits, sometimes bonus plans, rarely deep engagement. Some with more effort here than others.
  3. Marketing third – Client acquisition is mandatory. The methods, means, effort and metrics vary widely and the results show.
  4. Profit last – Whatever’s left, Lord I hope there’s something left, comes home. Usually this is pretty good, but there are plenty of shaky times too.

Recently I studied with one of the fastest growing, most elite financial advisory firms in the country. And they flipped that model on its head.


Their cash flow model (very simplified) looked like this:

  1. Profit first – They were determined to take home 40% of gross cash flow. It’s why they built this business and top priority. If that was going to happen without fail, this was essential to be the first step.
  2. Marketing second. In their world, this number is 20%. Client acquisition was a massive priority and needed to be treated as such. That means multiple marketing funnels running efficiently and simultaneously. It also ensured a healthy enough marketing budget to scale alongside them and facilitate growth.
  3. Staffing third. This was another approximate 20%. Looking at this element, you clearly saw how they planned to deeply engage with current clients, carry out their marketing vision and build an incredible culture – filled with competitive pay, benefits, intentional engagement and culture building activities.
  4. Fixed costs last. This represented the last 20% and rightfully so. A few variables change year to year, but not much. There’s a reason this area is called fixed costs. While you should never make people uncomfortable or give them an undesirable work environment (that sabotages the other parts of this pyramid), if a copy machine can wait to be upgraded, your staff can find a better deal on WiFi or the cleaning crew comes by once a week instead of twice, that should happen – as to not sacrifice the other priorities in the pyramid.

Pay yourself, find clients, take care of staff, lock in fixed costs. In that order.

Sounds simple, but will you adopt it?

It’s not that I don’t care what you think… Because I do.

It’s also not that I don’t care what others think… I do.

But if you add all that up, the sum of all the opinions of everyone I trust… well, the thing is… I just care a little more about what I think. And you shouldn’t take that as rude or self centered; it’s not where I’m coming from.

But understand that I’ve witnessed most people entirely too tied up in someone else’s opinion about them. What will Sue, Greg or Malik think about that? What will they say?

If you’re true to yourself, who cares?!?

Most people act everyday based on how they’ll be judged. Putting on a fifty pound vest to walk through the day with an incredible burden; that’s self limiting and weighs down what you believe you’ll accomplish. (Unless Sue, Greg or Malik think you can do it, right?) It’s insane! Most times, other people aren’t thinking about your decisions to begin with, and the amount of time they are is infinitely smaller than the time you’ve put into it.

So give me your opinion, I sincerely want it. I’ll take it in and soak it up. But that doesn’t mean I’m moving ahead because of it.

Thank you to everyone who disagrees with me; your thoughts open my worldview.

Thank you to those I collide politically with; that’s the beauty of being blessed an American.

Thank you for the people who have different priorities in life; it strengthens my own.

Thank you to anyone who looks different, dresses different, talks different or acts different than I do. Without you, the world would be a very boring place.

Thank you to everyone who reads this and is open to new perspectives. That open architecture is we collectively move forward.

This Thanksgiving we’ll all experience gratitude toward those items we value most – family, friends, health and happiness. That’s par for the course, and worthy of pause. But the same last year, this and next. Yet if you feel the way I do, a second order of thanks (in thought and most importantly action), to everyone who’s not in our immediate circle is needed more than ever. Inclusion, not division. Bridges, not walls. Humanity at its core is something to intentionally appreciate.

Happy Thanksgiving.