Tips for success — and maybe some free advice

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Last week I offered some “Firefly” tips.

And no sooner had the paper been printed than I received a newsletter, “The Flame Thrower,” from my friend Denise Ryan, who owns Firestar.

(Not sure that two like items make a trend, but it appears “fire” is a favorite moniker of the consulting genre.)

And because I don’t want Denise to even consider that I’ve thrown her over for someone else, I thought it probably would be a good idea to share some of her tips about how to be successful.

(Not that it’s going to make me any points — but more on that later.)

Denise wrote that if you run your business and your life according to the following six suggestions, you’ll be successful:

1. Treat others as you want to be treated. (I’m thinking this one isn’t original — probably going to lose points for pointing that out.) Companies are more worried about having a blog than treating their live customers well. We ignore those we love in order to check our BlackBerrys and iPhones. What are we becoming? (Too attached to technology, maybe?)

2. Attitude is everything. (At least she admitted this one sounds lame.) This will always, always be a deal breaker. (Kinda like the fact that I’ll never embrace exercise as much as Denise will or still have a soft spot for the plight of poor tobacco farmers — but, yeah, I’m getting to that later.) We want to be around people who are optimistic. No one wants to work with, hang out with or hire a bitter whiner. You can control your attitude. To be successful, get a good one.

3. Work hard, but on the right things. (Now we’re starting to sound original.) We have so much distracting us now — e-mail, text messaging, Twitter, blogging, Facebook, all the TV shows we DVR’d, etc. It’s a wonder anyone gets anything done at all. You can spend all your time on Facebook and all you’ve done is re-connect with people who weren’t important enough for you to stay in touch with in the first place. (This might be the second thing Denise and I have ever completely agreed upon — right, more later.) Know what success means to you and do what will really get you there. Maybe you should spend those hours calling real prospects or doing some [GASP] physical exercise. (Knew the warm fuzzy feeling was too good to last.)

4. Have some discipline. The life you have is a direct result of the choices you have made. You want to be successful? Be disciplined. Don’t eat the entire box of Little Debbies. Exercise when you don’t feel like it. Doing what makes you successful isn’t easy for anyone. [Um … that’s why not everyone is successful — it’s hard!]

5. Know what you want. (Denise writes that she doesn’t want anyone to exercise if the pain outweighs the gain, but based on personal experience, at least as far as exercise is concerned, I’m not buying it.) There is a difference between crafting a success plan and a lack of discipline. There is more than one way to get what you want, but you have to know what you want first. Know what you want and run your business accordingly.

6. Live each moment as if it were your last. (Thankfully she admits we’ve all heard that before and that it’s impossible.) But this is still good advice if you keep the other five points in mind.

Bottom line, Denise says: “You already know what to do — do it.”


To add to the Jungian synchronicity of last week, I had a couple friends ask me for some relationship advice.

In the interest of full disclosure, a mutual friend tried to set up Denise and me about eight years ago. After five minutes of intense interrogation on the phone, she decided that I was absolutely not worth going out with, and might possibly not be worth sharing the same air and water, which are necessary to sustain life.

A couple years later, we bumped into each other at a chamber of commerce event and decided to have dinner — during which we determined we did have one thing in common: we both like to eat.

So, Denise is waiting for me to embrace a healthy, productive lifestyle, and I’m waiting for her to lower her standards. Guess you could say we’re the modern day equivalent of Dave and Maddie.

But back to the advice thing.

Given that my track record with relationships is perhaps poorer than my investing acumen, I’ve never thought of myself as someone from whom to seek relationship advice. However, my friends had a different take: If we truly learn from our mistakes, then I must be a relationship expert.

After careful consideration of what I had to say about their situations, they suggested that I offer to provide such advice to the reading masses. So, here goes.

If you’d like my opinion about any problems plaguing your relationships, send the questions to the e-mail address below. If I receive enough questions, I’ll publish them and my answers in a future column.

Just remember, the advice is free — and you get what you pay for.

Mike Boyd is editor of the Colorado Springs Business Journal. He can be reached at or 329-5206.