Tag Archives: chris brady

Life Leadership’s “You, Inc.” Financial Hierarchy or Pyramid

Proper Financial Fitness begins with mastering the Defense, Offense, and Playing Field of money.  For the many satisfied customers (click here and scroll down for textual, audio, and video testimonials) of Life’s Financial Fitness suite of products and services, this is exactly what they have discovered and put to good use.

But there IS more.

Just what do you do with the money once you stop being scammed as a victim of debt and start to instead enjoy the thrill ride of having extra money at the end of the month?  Where do you put it? How do you go about determining which investments might be right for you?

In this quick video shot several months ago in the hot Florida sun, I try to give a quick fly-by of how we present the answers to these questions in our new addition to the series: the Beyond Financial Fitness program.  It covers the concept of the “You, Inc. Hierarchy” or Pyramid of priority for your money.

I hope you enjoy the video, and more importantly, that you find the information useful!

God bless!

Chris Brady

The information presented on this blog and in any of its videos is for general educational purposes only, and provides information the authors believe to be accurate on the subject matter covered.  It is presented here with the understanding that neither the authors nor the publisher are providing advice for any particular portfolio or for any individual’s particular situation, or rendering investment advice or other professional services such as legal or accounting advice.  If expert advice in areas that include investment, legal, and accounting are needed, please seek a competent professional’s services.

This publication may make reference to performance data collected over various periods of time.  Remember that past results do not guarantee future performance.  Performance data, as well as laws and regulations, change over time, which could affect the applicability of the information presented on this blog and its videos.  Any data presented herein is used merely to illustrate the underlying principles.

This blog and its videos are not to serve as the basis for any financial decision or as a recommendation of any specific investment.

No warranty is made with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained herein, and both the authors and the publisher specifically disclaim any responsibility for any liability, loss, or risk, personal or otherwise, which is incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the contents of this blog and its videos.

How to Master the Skill of Not Quitting

chris-brady-quoteChris Brady gave a talk recently that laid the foundation for a basic skill that all leaders must learn if they wish to succeed at anything; it’s the skill of Not Quitting.

Brady states, “If a person can master the skill of not quitting, they will ‘make it’ in any endeavor they pursue in life.”

Orrin Woodward has a similar mantra to define this concept: Start Starting and Quit Quitting! Woodward states: “The biggest breakthroughs occur when a person refuses to quit notwithstanding the present dismal results. Persistence in a just cause through numerous failures builds character and determines whether a person joins the ranks of perpetual winners or perpetual quitters in life.”

To further this discussion, I am going to borrow a parable taken directly from Chris Brady’s leadership blog, which is a perfect parallel to introduce the subject: How to Master the Skill of Not Quitting.

There is an old story about a fisherman who believes he has died and gone to Heaven as he catches one perfect 2 lb trout after another.  As he sets his fly and hooks into yet one more, he can’t fathom his good fortune.  The sky is blue, the weather ideal, the fish biting like he’s never before experienced, and everything is absolutely perfect.  It is not long, however, before the realization dawns on him that he is not in Heaven at all.  Instead, as the boredom and the pointlessness settle in on him, he realizes he’s actually in Hell.

It’s hard to describe just how hard this little parable hit me the first time I heard it.  In one moment it erased all my whiny complaints about how difficult and elusive success seems to be.  The trout fisherman in Hell story is so extreme, so seemingly ridiculous, that we are confronted with a strange and brutal fact: we may hate opposition and struggle, but it is critical for our mental health.  Without the struggle, we would feel no joy in victory.

To transcribe and somewhat summarize Brady’s words, here is the basic premise, taken directly from his talk:

The truth is, we think we want everything to be roses and sunshine all of the time; we think that we want to cast our line and catch a trophy trout every single time; we think we want our life to be smooth and easy. And we try to do all of these things to eliminate obstacles and pain from our lives. We recoil from stress and calamity, thinking that somehow we should avoid it. However, what we think we want and what we actually need are two very different things. What we actually need is resistance, obstacles, and challenges, in order to appreciate the triumph.

“Adversity is the canvas upon which you paint your greatness.” – Chris Brady

Not quitting in the face of adversity is actually a skill; the ability to persevere against all odds is a skill; and quitting is a natural temptation for any worthwhile endeavor you’ll ever pursue. You’ll be tempted to quit any business you ever start and any relationship you ever find yourself in. So how do we protect ourselves from the temptation to quit? First, it’s important to define the different types of quits in order to develop awareness for ourselves.

Here are the 3 different types of quits to be mindful of:i-quit

  • The temper tantrum quit
    • The dramatic: “That’s it; I’ve had it; I’m done!!”
  • The slow fade quit
    • You slowly let your light go down to a dim and you just back off slowly.
    • You don’t admit to yourself that you’re quitting, but you’re backing off.
    • You start to make little compromises that start to stack up.
  • The just for now quit
    • Just until the kids get done with hockey season…
    • Just until after the holidays…

So now that we’ve identified the different types of quits, on a deeper level it’s even more important to be cognizant of the reasons that make you feel like quitting. Here are just a few:

  • You get to a point where you feel like you can’t do it anymore.
  • Someone else quit and it influences your decision.
    • Don’t let their decision undo your decision when your decision to start didn’t even involve them.
  • Justification (I gave it my best shot)
  • I’m not as successful as I thought I’d be by now.
    • You may have started with an unrealistic expectation of what you could do and/or an over-confident expectation of what you were capable of in the beginning.
  • I’ve invested so much already.
  • It’s harder than I thought.
    • It may be because you don’t come from a language of excellence. Excellence is always harder than you thought!
  • Criticism (Someone made fun of me)
  • Someone hurt my feelings OR I’ve been wronged.
    • These are usually little tiny rubs that start to stack up in your head about people. Somehow your rights are being violated and you get offended and your feelings get hurt (different than criticism).
  • I came across some negative and now I have doubts.

Have you ever succumbed to one of these reasons for quitting? I know I have. So we dig deeper…

Brady identifies three phases of mastery: ignorance, immersion, and intelligence. To paraphrase, he says that in order to protect yourself from the temptation to quit in the face of adversity, you have to learn how to personally manage yourself in the immersion phase.

Think about it, once you get immersed in something, that’s when you start to get hit with reality. He shares the example of marriage; in the ignorance phase you are excited and everything is bliss. You don’t see all of the potential calamities that are about to arise. But, immersion is different. It can be overwhelming; it can become unsettling and complex. And it’s how you manage yourself in the complexity and pressure that will determine how far you make it. Further, he says that the secret to maximizing your success in the immersion stage is to stay in touch with the wonder of your discovery.

Unfortunately, the direct result of what happens when you don’t have proper personal management is……….quitting. And it’s a travesty.

The travesty of quitting:

  • You pull yourself out of the immersion stage and you put yourself back into some new ignorant stage, thereby surrendering any of the value, progress, and distance you made through the previous immersion stage. Essentially, you have to start over new somewhere else.
  • Quitting is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
  • Quitting starts a pattern in your life that gets hard to stop. Naturally, people follow down the same path with the same patterns in everything they start to do. The loss of time after quitting in the immersion step is never redeemable. You can’t get that time back. When you quit something, you’ve lost your investment.

“The key to long term success is to cultivate and keep alive that sense of wonder at the immersion step. If you can master that, you can master your craft.” – Chris Brady

Here are 9 practical steps Brady gives that you can do to prevent yourself from quitting (or to quit quitting, as Orrin Woodward describes):

  1. When you’re feeling down, when your tank is low, take positive action immediately!
  2. Listen to informational reinforcements (audios)
  3. Refresh the “deep” dreams (cause, purpose, and legacy)
  4. Envision your future – you only get what you picture.
  5. Don’t fall for the false illusion of unknown alternatives.
  6. Get around other leaders.
    • You don’t just need informational reinforcements, you need relational reinforcements!
  7. Focus only upon what you can control and disregard all the rest.
  8. Know how to repair yourself.
    • In times of being down, sometimes you need to get around people because people charge you up, others of you may need to get away from people because people drain you. You need to know which one you are.
  9. When you need to repair yourself, postpone all decisions. Allow yourself to not make decisions when you’re tired, sick, hungry, or frustrated, no matter how impending the decision is or what the deadline is. Don’t make any decisions until you’ve resurfaced as yourself once again.

There you have it. Learn to develop the skill of Not Quitting by applying some of Brady’s advice and you will be on your way to achieving success in every venture that you ever pursue.

(Posted by Kristen Seidl, on behalf of Chris Brady)

A Rascal’s Battle Plan: The Productive Loop

In Chris Brady’s book, Rascal, he lays out the foundation of a leader’s journey toward success and some of the roadblocks that can happen along the way. Brady calls this process: The Productive Loop, and it can be found in greater detail in Chapter 4 of his book. Here is an overview of the Rascal’s Battle Plan, as explained by Chris Brady. May it bring clarity and encouragement to your leadership journey!


There is a pattern of success for any Rascal choosing to be a force for good and seeking to achieve excellence and significance. It is called the Productive Loop.

the-productive-loopRascals start out ignorant like everyone else. They simply don’t know what they don’t know about a certain subject, and they may not even realize they are Rascals. But then new information finds its way into their consciousness, either through a good book, a friend, a life experience, or whatever. This new information suggests a path toward accomplishment, a route of opportunity, an idea to be tried. Immediately, though, upon receiving this new information, most Rascals, being Rascals, are skeptical. They take a mental step back to consider what they are learning with a critical eye. Eventually, however, that new information starts to make sense. This leads to curiosity. The Rascal begins asking ‘What if?’ questions, considering possibilities. From there the Rascal digs into the learning process. The learning curve is steep because the Rascal is learning quickly, happily gaining knowledge in the direction of this new possibility. Learning becomes extremely fun, because it is so relevant. This leads to excitement. The Rascal can feel the enthusiasm rushing into everything he does. This excitement, in turn, leads to the overcoming of fears. Things that in the past, without this purposeful direction would have held the Rascal back are now no match at all. Small trees are smashed down in front of him, hills are scaled, rivers forded, and mountains climbed as the Rascal is now in hot pursuit of a brighter tomorrow.

This spirited action leads to progress. Progress is one of the best encouragers known to man. Progress builds belief, confidence, and momentum. Progress lets the Rascal know he is on track; his efforts are making an impact, and his learning has merit. Therefore, he learns even more. He applies what he learns, analyzes how it affects his actions, makes adjustments, does more, learns more, and accomplishes more. He is in the Productive Loop. He is in “The Zone”.

Life in the “The Zone”

“The Zone” is a concept that describes a peak performer in a moment all their own, where they are doing exactly what God built them to do, to the best of their ability, with all of their faculties aligned and intensely focused. It is Michael Jordan in the closing seconds calmly hitting the outside shot to win the game. It is those moments when a champion gets to call on all the hours of preparation, planning, and practice and put it all together. It is a rare, true moment in life.

“Being in ‘The Zone’ is when one’s actions are perfectly in line with one’s purpose.” – Chris Brady

bradyThose in my audiences who don’t understand what I am talking about can barely even relate to a Rascal. They don’t speak the same language, feel the same impulses, or have the same magnitude of dreams and aspirations. They don’t live in The Zone. Instead, they live zoned out, and it’s a shame. The great news, though, is that nobody gets to choose for you. It’s all up to you. Anyone can choose to do what it takes to be a Rascal and perform to such a peak as to find himself in The Zone.  Don’t think that Obstaclès isn’t actively at work trying to stop Rascals everywhere from succeeding as a force for good. He is poised and ready at every step of their journey to throw up barriers and dig potholes. Obstaclès particularly hates it when Rascals are in The Zone, because he knows that in those moments his weapons have the least effect. As the old saying goes, “A dog in the hunt doesn’t know it has fleas.” Rascals are not bothered by Obstaclès’ tactics when they are in The Zone, focused and entirely committed to their task.

The Wimpification Process

Obstaclès succeeds in coaxing a Rascal out of the zone. It could be any of his weapons to do the trick, from fear of distraction to low self-confidence, to a failure in character, relationship challenges, or any of the others. Where once the Rascal was overcoming fears and learning and doing with excitement and enthusiasm, now the Rascal caves in to fears and falls into inaction.

The less action he puts forth the more his mind intellectualizes, becoming some elite thinker and never accomplishes anything. This leads to paralysis as fear sets in even further. Paralysis then leads to frustration. The Rascal starts looking at his or her lack of results.

Frustration is the moment of truth, of peak danger, a fork in the road. It is at moments of peak frustration where many Rascals leave the path of excellence never to return. This is where Rascal “wanna-be’s” turn into Rascal “has-beens.” They slip back into old ways, embracing the old vices and convincing themselves that it really isn’t so bad.

The final steps are justification and blame. Losers must always provide an excuse for their lack of winning. This begins with justification. It is a search for an excuse plausible enough to hide behind, first for the quitter, then for everyone he’ll tell. This justification rarely involves any responsibility on the part of the has-been Rascal. It is always someone else’s fault, or at the very least, it’s a situation that’s to blame.

“People will justify almost anything to themselves, when it serves their cowardice and covers their failures. Justification is the door through which character departs.” – Chris Brady

There is a name for people who were once on the path to becoming an official Rascal, but instead succumb to the slippery slope of the wimpification process and scorn Rascals and the principles for which they stand: Jackals.

jackal-for-productive-loop-article

Jackals become the natural enemy of Rascals everywhere because a Rascal’s example eliminates a Jackal’s excuses; the bigger the Rascal’s accomplishment, the more obvious the Jackal’s failure.

Revisiting the Fork in the Road

Let’s go back to the fork in the road where it all went wrong to see that even when things appear their darkest, a true Rascal still has a choice. Remember that the Wimpification process was caused by inaction, over-intellectualizing, analysis paralysis, and peak frustration. That is what brought the Rascal to the fork in the road. But by definition a fork has two options. It’s the other option chosen by the Rascal that makes all the difference. Understand: there is no shame in getting frustrated, falling into inaction, or having doubts and discouragements. It happens to everybody. Champions, however, keep these moments to a minimum and always find a way to pull out of them. How do they do this? By taking the other side of that fork in the road. At this moment we see the courage of the Rascal tested to the limit. They remember why they started out in the first place and refresh those dreams and causes in their minds until they reconnect with them emotionally. Having made the choice not to Wimpify, a Rascal seeks the association of other Rascals within whose company he can be strengthened and rebuilt.

Rascals encourage themselves by remembering that the worse the odds and the bigger the opposition, the better the drama and the more fascinating the story.  He goes back to the basic reasons he began this journey in the first place. He plugs back in to the learning cycle and starts to gain new information about the fundamentals of what he does while learning new techniques and methods that can improve his performance over what he did before. This new information leads to renewed excitement and the overcoming of fears. Then, action steps invigorate him and he feels his old strength returning. The more action he takes the more progress he sees as evidence that he’s made a wise and courageous choice. This progress fuels further learning and the Rascal has chosen himself back into the Productive Loop. Taken far enough with enough commitment, his renewed vigor might even lead him back into the highest level of the Productive Loop, that wonderful place called The Zone.

At this point, the Rascal is back! Obstaclès is forced back to the drawing board in frustration, planning his next attack with renewed hatred. And so the cycle goes throughout the life of a Rascal. Always tempted, always maligned, a Rascal knows his path is fraught with danger. He is a Rascal, though, because he presses forward boldly.

Rascals wage their individual battles against Obstaclès gallantly, knowing that their fight in the trenches has a tremendous impact on the overall battle raging in society.

“Rascals know that one person can and does make a difference, and strive mightily to do their part.” – Chris Brady

This will involve criticism and resistance, and may even result in the opposition throwing fruit! Undeterred, Rascals become a force for good and attack the status quo, striving to leave things better than they found them.

(Posted by Kristen Seidl, written by Chris Brady)

Focus on Abilities, Not Obstacles – Trystan Willems

My friend recently shared the story of a professor who handed out an exam to all of his students – one plain piece of paper with a black dot on it. There were no questions – nothing but a black dot. He then told them to write about what they saw. At the end of the exam he collected all of the papers and started reading each one out loud. Without exception, every student was focused on the black dot, what it meant, how it was positioned on the paper, etc.

After all of the reading was done, he said: “I’m not going to grade you on this; I just wanted to give you something to think about. No one wrote about the white part of the paper. Everyone focused on the black dot – and the same thing happens in our lives.”

We all have this tendency to focus on what is wrong, what is different, and all of the obstacles in our lives, rather than focusing on the enormous white space – our blessings, our potential, and our abilities.

tystan-and-cb

At a Life Convention earlier this year, a young man named Trystan Willems provided a true picture of what it looks like to focus on the “white space” of life. Trystan overcame an enormous obstacle when he spoke to an audience of thousands of people… without even having the ability to move his lips.

Trystan was born with Cerebral Palsy which is a neurological disorder that affects body movement, muscle coordination, and impairs motor function. It affects all people differently. For Trystan, it affects his speech, his legs, his muscle tone, and his trunk. For years, he has been trapped in his own body.

Trystan would have every reason to focus on his obstacles, but he chooses not to. Instead, with the help of an advanced communication device that detects eye movement using pictures and words, Trystan is now able to speak and inspire the world with his positive attitude and outlook on life.

“Once in a great while someone comes along who deeply inspires us; smiling in the face of adversity, overcoming obstacles, and choosing to live a life of contribution despite the circumstances. Trystan is one of finest in that class of people who make us better just by being around them.” – Chris Brady

At almost every junction on the road of your life, both personal and professional, you have a decision to make. Will you let your obstacles stop you and dictate your life? Or will you charge forward focusing on your abilities?

Trystan Willems is a true living example of a person who is charging forward and changing the world because he has decided to focus on his abilities. Here’s his story (in his own words).

(Written by Kristen Seidl on behalf of Chris Brady)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life Leadership Reviews

The Top 10 Reasons Not to Join Life Leadership

One thing I learned a long time ago was that we should never take ourselves too seriously.  I love the Life Leadership business, and I love building it.  I also enjoy working with the many fine people who make up Life Leadership around the world.  In a busy season, with lots going on, it’s good to remember to enjoy the journey, too.

As usual, when Orrin Woodward and I get together, no matter how busy we are or how many issues are pressing, we always seem to have some good old fashioned fun.  At a recent Policy Council meeting in Florida, we took a little time to shoot a fairly spontaneous video.  This was (obviously) a one take wonder.  It was inspired by some research I had read in a book by Adam Grant discussing the idea of “front running one’s weaknesses.”  I won’t play spoiler here, and will instead let the video speak for itself, but these really are legitimate reasons someone should consider before getting involved selling our products.  We think what we do is great, but of course, it’s not for everyone!

I hope you enjoy it.  I think it embodies our slogan of Have Fun, Make Money, and Make a Difference!  Thanks for watching.

Sincerely,

Chris Brady

 

Life Leadership and the Fight Against Illiteracy

Life Leadership and the Life on Life Initiative

Life Leadership is proud to support the Triangle Literacy Council through it’s Life on Life Initiative.  One aspect of this program involves a monthly corporate contribution of funds at the rate of $1 donated for each Life Leadership subscription.  These funds are provided to qualifying literacy centers in our various markets.

The Triangle Literacy Council is in Raleigh, North Carolina, near our headquarters.  Therefore it made sense to begin our fight against illiteracy right here in our own backyard.  Watch this video to get an understanding of just what an urgent problem illiteracy is, and what an excellent job the Triangle Literacy Council is doing to combat it.

Life Leadership also provides two paid hours per week for any of our employees who wish to donate their time tutoring others and teaching them to read. Several have already gone through the training process and are currently meeting with their assigned students on a regular basis.  This effort inspired several of Life Leadership’s members in the field in the Technical Triangle area, and they are undergoing the training process to become weekly tutors as well.

We are proud to be blessed to not only give treasure, but time and talent too, to a cause this critical to improving people’s lives, one at a time.

Laura Walters and the Triangle Literacy Council are doing an excellent job, and we look forward to eradicating illiteracy in our community together!

God bless!

Chris Brady

Pick Your Curve – Life Leadership and Power Curve Success

I have often taught that we don’t know what we don’t know. But sometimes, we don’t know what we think we know. And this second condition can lead to erroneous conclusions and frustrated efforts.

When I was a child in elementary school, one of my teachers had the nerve to teach me something I didn’t want to learn. She shared with us how the colorful objects we see really aren’t that color, but rather, the range of light waves of the color spectrum that are reflected by the surface of the item make it appear to be that color.

Woah.

And then my Dad taught me about the “birds and the bees.”

Double woah.

Here I was, cruising along on my BMX bike, wearing tube socks and thinking I had the whole world figured out. And then in an instant I discover that the way I thought everything worked was entirely wrong – twice!

Unfortunately, this condition isn’t confined to childhood. As adults, we are susceptible to the same “knowledge bias.” We think we know how something works when we actually don’t. And usually, we are very cock-sure in our incorrectness. It’s a condition I like to refer to as passionate ignorance. We are wrong, but we are certain we are right.

At Life Leadership, we are in the business of setting people free. For the vast majority of people who are in debt and struggle with their finances, we offer debt freedom through our Financial Fitness product suite. For committed, hard-working high-achievers, we provide a compensation program that authorizes people to sell our products and build teams of people who do the same thing. This is a shot at financial freedom. And, perhaps most importantly, for the few who are disenfranchised, disabled, or victims of disaster, we offer functional freedom through our Life on Life Initiative. We developed this terminology about “setting people free” and the three categories of freedom to explain our fundamental mission and how we strive to offer something for the whole spectrum of people and their particular situations.

But there is more to the story.

Most of us, without even realizing it, think of the world like the old “bell curve” we remember being graded upon in high school. We automatically think people and their performance fall into a normal distribution, or what is officially known as a “Gaussian” curve of distribution. I am sure you are familiar with what it looks like, but here it is nonetheless.

BellCurve

And in the case of the population of people in the markets in which Life Leadership operates, as described above, this bell curve of normal distribution describes very well what we see. A few at the high-end choose to take advantage of our pay plan and actually build the business. Most people are in the middle, merely using our Financial Fitness products to whittle down their debt (these people may or may not be “signed up” in our business). And a few are at the “bottom” of the curve in dire need of our help, because they truly can’t help themselves.

Freedombellcurve

But when it comes to describing the actual performance (read: results) of those who attempt to achieve high-level success, those who embrace our pay plan and determine that they want to use it to make money, things don’t follow the Gaussian bell curve, or normal distribution at all.  For this case, we must dig into the reality of how success actually “works.” You see, when it comes to success, and especially high-level success, what we think we know just isn’t so.

To demonstrate what I mean, let’s consider an endeavor totally outside of Life Leadership, such as being a professional actor/actress instead. The stage, the screen, the lights, the money, and the fame all have a strong appeal on those with such talents. We hear of high paychecks and we see outlandish lifestyles. We see the glitz and the glitter and the glossy gossip magazines. But we all know that only a few are fortunate enough to make it to this high level, and, thinking the bell or Gaussian curve describes the situation, we assume there must be a lot of people, in fact, most actors and actresses, who are somewhere in the middle, with a few terrible ones down at the lower tail of the curve. We all know this intrinsically, and yet we have it wrong!

According to leader of Google’s “People Operations”, Laszlo Bock, in his book Work Rules!, Screen Actors Guild data published in 2008 show that the financial results of actors does not follow a Gaussian curve at all, but rather what is called a “Power Curve” (or perhaps also a decaying exponential).

Power Curve

According to Bock, “Very roughly, the bottom third of active SAG members made no money from acting in 2007, and the next third earned less than $1,000. The next group, between the 68th and 95th percentiles, were paid between $1,000 and $100,000. The 95th to the 99th percentile actors earned between $100,000 and $250,000. And the top 1 percent earned over $250,000. The top 1 percent of the top 1 percent earned even more: Will Smith was the highest-paid actor, with over $80 million in earnings, followed by Johnny Depp ($72 million), Eddie Murphy and Mike Myers ($55 million each), and Leonardo DiCaprio ($45 million).” [italics added]

So for professional actors/actresses, the curve of distribution, roughly plotted, looks like the following:

Actorpowercurve

Notice that it is not the normal Gaussian bell curve at all, as we all would assume it would be, but rather a power curve. Notice also that the super high achievers at the extreme top end pull the average income way above the median. This means that most people are not average, but actually – wait for it – most people are below average! Stop and think about that for a minute. Most people are below average! (Oh! They’re not going to want to hear that!) Notice that fully 1/3 of the actors/actresses made no money! And the next third only $1,000! That’s two thirds of all the actors and actresses making next-to-nothing!

All of this goes against what we think we know. But if you really study this and understand it, you’ll quickly see that this curve for actors and actresses is exactly how success works in all categories where a government or artificial imposition is not placed upon results. Plot the financial results of people in professional sports, country singers, those who launch tech company start-ups, and even authors of books, and the results are similar – following a power curve and not a Gaussian bell curve.

Enter Life Leadership. In November of 2011 we proudly launched our company with world-class personal, professional, and financial development information and service products. We authorized distributors to sell those products for an immediate sales margin of 25% (a higher margin than many professional salespeople are paid), and then added a compensation plan on top of that sales margin to reward them for also building teams of people who did the same thing (merchandise our products and build teams to do the same). We worked really hard to minimize costs to run the enterprise and formulated a pay plan that paid very generously to the people making the sales.

Next, people joined, worked hard, sold our products, and built teams. Some people prospered and made enough money to live on, making the building of our business their professional career. A handful achieved really high levels of income, while many others only made a little. Many signed up and never did anything, riding off into the night after buying our starter kit never to be heard from again.

Each year, we publish a comprehensive “Income Disclosure Statement” designed to show the exact results of everyone who joins, whether they ever worked the business hard or not, or just signed up and rode into the night. And inevitably, someone looks at this data and says something like, “Only the people at the top make any significant money,” or, “most of those people aren’t making any money.” This criticism didn’t make any sense to us, from our angle, because we simply put a compensation plan out there that pays extremely well, and fairly at various levels all the way along the path of progress. It doesn’t discriminate in any way based upon race, creed, color, age, gender, or anything you can name. It is strictly pay-for-performance. So we have tried to explain it in different ways. But still, there will always be someone out there who says, “only a small percentage make the money.”

In a way, we can see their point. Why shouldn’t more people make more money? Why shouldn’t there be a bunch of people making a medium amount, for instance? How come there isn’t a larger percentage of people “in the middle” making the money our pay plan delivers for those levels? We’ve got a pay scale that rewards effort along the entire journey! And the 25% sales bonus is paid to everyone at every level no matter how long they’ve been with the company or how big their business is. What gives?

What gives is that our population of Life Members is not properly described by the Gaussian bell curve we all carry around in our heads, but rather by the Power Curve that depicts the results of all true performance-only systems (such as professional acting described above). Leave people free to achieve and perform in any endeavor, and you’ll get a power curve. Life Leadership and its compensation plan are no different.

This is very important to understand, and it applies to all areas of life, not just participation in Life Leadership’s compensation plan. High achievers are way ahead of the rest of the pack, and their results skew the scale and pull the average way above the median. What this means is not that one should avoid undertaking a performance-based endeavor, but rather that one should not falsely impose an erroneous bell curve in order to “analyze” the “odds of success.” With power curve situations averages are misleading because they are pulled upward by the lofty achievement of the top performers. And in true performance-only situations, there is no comfortable middle where a large percentage of the participants can hang out and do “pretty good.” Ultimately, one either makes it within the upper 1 or 2 or 5th percentile, or one doesn’t see much reward (at least financially speaking). As we said before, just apply this reality to professional sports, the arts, business start-ups, direct sales, and the like, and you will see that it is true again and again. Our false application of the bell curve simply won’t properly describe these “free to perform” situations. Such a map, in essence, doesn’t match the territory.

This is simply how the world works. In fact, the only alternative is to create a system wherein outside forces eliminate the upper possibilities based upon performance so that everybody instead gets a decent result but nothing big is available for high achievement. This, in fact, is exactly what most jobs provide. In such scenarios you will never hit it big (it’s not even available), but you can count on a steady flow of at least something for the fat middle of the pack. Some will get a little bit more, others will hang out at the bottom, but most people will be kept clumped together in the comfortable middle.

And this brings us full circle to the exact reason we launched our company in the first place. We wanted a legitimate alternative to a closed system of enforced mediocrity. We wanted to provide a legitimate shot upwards, without restriction, that would be available to anyone who chose to work that hard, learn that much, and stay at it that long. As cofounder Orrin Woodward often states, “We don’t promise easy. We just promise worth it.”

So ultimately, we have two choices in life. Find a closed system with outside forces that artificially impose a safe and “comfortable” bell curve, a situation with no chance of high highs but very little worry about low lows. Or, conversely, enter into a power curve situation where there is not much reward unless you perform mightily. It is one or the other.

It is ultimately up to each individual to choose which is right for him/her, and what God has designed and called him/her to accomplish. Just don’t apply bell curve analysis to a power curve situation and call it “unfair,” or a “scheme” or a “pyramid.” And then likewise, those who live in the power curves of life shouldn’t denigrate bell curve situations for being stifling and without upward mobility. Each is for whom it’s for.

Just make sure you choose wisely. Bell curve people are miserable in power curves, and power curve people are miserable in bell curves.

Pick your curve and live it with verve!

Sincerely,

Chris Brady

Smile - Version 2

The information presented on this blog and in any of its videos is for general educational purposes only, and provides information the authors believe to be accurate on the subject matter covered.  It is presented here with the understanding that neither the authors nor the publisher are providing advice for any particular portfolio or for any individual’s particular situation, or rendering investment advice or other professional services such as legal or accounting advice.  If expert advice in areas that include investment, legal, and accounting are needed, please seek a competent professional’s services.

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