The Capital Masters Talks (No Fluff Stuff): Damon Gersh, President & CEO of Maxons Restorations

The Capital Masters Talks (No Fluff Stuff): Damon Gersh, President & CEO of Maxons Restorations

Rich: Today I’m thrilled to interview someone I’ve worked with and known for two decades. Damon Gersh, of all the CEOs I’ve worked with, no one has a better handle and understanding of work-life balance than you do. Damon, let’s start with why you think work-life balance is the wrong label.

Damon: Sure Rich, well I think it’s more about life integration, when you say work-life balance, it’s almost as if one takes away from the other. In my view I try to have it all and make it all fit together as one whole part of my life.

Rich: Let’s start off with how you started your business which was an unusual father/son launch for sure – what do you guys do?

Damon: We do emergency property damage restoration. After disasters such as fires, floods, smoke etc. we help people and businesses get their lives back in order. I started the business with my Dad when I was 21 years old, right out of college. He was 81 and he had a similar business that he had sold. His name was Max and I’m the son so it became Maxson’s, that was in 1989 and that’s pretty much where it all began.

Rich: Before this interview started you were talking about abundance and abundance mentality, would you share with us how that evolved for you, what you mean by that, and how other CEOs can put that into play.

Damon: Sure, I think it’s all rooted in an outlook on life, kind of an existential outlook, that’s about the life that you’re living. You’re an entrepreneur but that’s not the total sum that defines you. You’re a human being that chooses to go down the path of entrepreneurship in their professional life. So entrepreneurship and business is just one piece of what it means to be a human being so to me putting it all together and having a well rounded or complete life is fulfilling all the areas, whether it’s a business, family, friends, personal passions and interests, physical activity, all those things put together to me make a more complete life, and entrepreneurship is just a part of that.

Rich: So let’s talk about some of the amazing things you do for fun, I think every year you go to a baseball camp in Florida? You’ve taken your kids all over the world, you’ve started an association of peers, you’ve started a festival in Long Island. You have a growing thriving business, how do you determine where to put your time and energy?

Damon: I think it all starts with taking a step back and being clear on what’s important to me. I’ve done an exercise where you do a pie chart of where do you spend your time right now and then doing another chart right next to it of where you would ideally like to spend your time. I’ve done this with a lot of entrepreneurs and I see a lot of those two circles don’t really align. What I try to do is organize my schedule in a way that puts me in the position to be doing the things that align with my priorities. I really live very closely out of my schedule but my schedule is proactively put in place so that I am putting myself in position to do the things that I want to do.

Rich: You have an administrative assistant and how does she help you manage your time and priorities, and bring the right people to you at the right time, and allow you to focus on where you want to be and what you’re doing?

Damon: I think first and foremost is having somebody who is committed to my success and obviously I’m committed to her success so it’s a mutual partnership. The other thing is being very clear on what my priorities are and making sure that she understands them. I’m very open that it’s not just about she’s my administrative assistant for my professional life, but that I want my schedule to reflect what my total priorities are. She’s my assistant and supports me in all areas but she’s empowered to say no to things and to people that don’t align with my priorities which is very important because she controls my schedule.

Rich: We ought to say her name is Anna Chow and how long has she been with you now?

Damon: Oh about 15 years now! I think in that relationship the longer that we work together the more aligned that we get and we just keep on developing that relationship. We finetune and now we almost speak in shorthand, I don’t have to tell her what my priorities are, she knows and knows that her success is measured by how much I’m living in accordance with those priorities.

Rich: You have so much energy and there’s so much that you’re able to take on at any one time, what do you consider to be the source of your energy? I remember a number of years ago we had a conversation about you wanting to get back to being healthier and on an exercise program, is that maybe one part of it?

Damon: That’s a piece of it I think, if I look at my parents they’re both very high energy people. My father was an entrepreneur and lived until he was almost 95 years old, and I think the first foundation is picking good parents, that’s always a good starting point. I think there’s a genetic factor that I just feel like I have a lot of energy but then I think some of the choices that I make in terms of how I spend my time is i’m doing things that are aligned with my purpose, priorities and my passion so that things I’m doing feed that energy, they don’t draw from it. 

Rich: Let’s talk about purpose and passion, for so many entrepreneurs it’s so easy to get into a mindset of wherever I am, I’m not somewhere else. If I’m with my business I’m thinking about how my kids need me, or if I’m with my kids thinking how I should be working. How have you been able to create the right balance, or to use your wonderful word integration so wherever you are you’re there as Gandhi said. 

Damon: The main thing again is being clear on what my purpose is and what my kind of unique ability is, and to me it’s working with other people in close relationships to create extraordinary experiences. So the things that I do are aligned with that purpose whether it’s in my business, my community organization, my YPO forum groups, whether it’s in my industry association, my softball team or my band – whatever it is there’s a kind of unifying theme there that I get energized and feel on purpose when I’m in relation with other people creating extraordinary experiences. I think the other thing going back to the  and I think the other thing scheduling piece is I know what my next week two weeks look like so I know that I have time reserved to spend time with my family and to get unplugged from email and phone calls and busyness, so it allows me to be fully present when I’m at work and not feel like I’m detracting from some other area. I know that I’ve allocated the time coming up and that allows me to, when I’m with my band, be fully with my band, not worrying about what’s happening at work and when I’m with my family I’m fully present there. It allows me to kind of live in the moment which brings me that energy and makes me feel like I’m on purpose as well.

Rich: So what do you do to restore your energy? 

Damon: I remain very active, I have a lot of interests. I play golf, I play softball, I’ve run some triathlons. I have a morning routine where there’s a stretching and meditation routine which I think is a great refreshing habit to have developed in the last couple of years which feeds me on a few levels.

Rich: Do you want to spend a minute talking about meditation, how you got into it and what it’s done for you?

Damon: Sure, I’m in a YPO forum, so this is a group that we started kind of as an executive conference that meets once a year up at M.I.T in Boston. The group as a whole has kind of moved from success to significance, and entrepreneurship is not just about your business – it’s about leadership of yourself, leadership of your family, leadership of your community, and the contribution that you could make. In the leadership of ourselves we try to set goals and be clear on making commitments that are aligned with our priorities and purpose. I think we’ve all found almost independently, and together in some way, that meditation is an anchor that allows you to kind of step out of the busyness of the moment, and creates a little bit of space that allows me and the people who I’m doing this with to respond. So again it’s being more purposeful about how you’re living and having more awareness about where you are, where you’re going and just taking time out of the rushing stream of life to reflect.

Rich: How do you define leadership because obviously you see yourself as a leader and what qualities does it take to be a leader across the board, not just in one area of your life? 

Damon: Hmm, you know the question of are leaders made or are leaders born – I think it’s both, I think it’s a muscle that you could develop but certainly it involves a clarity of vision in order to lead, so by having a clear set of priorities or a clear vision for the future I think that allows you to at least point in the direction of where you want to go. The other thing is articulating what that is for other people, because sometimes people have a vision in their head but they’re not able to share it. I also think there’s an art in getting people on board right, and it’s not a gimmick but really kind of enlisting them. Part of it is a passion thing, part of it is alignment with getting their input and their buy-in. I think people really look for something better than things are currently, so if somebody has a vision, a passion and some ability to shepherd, I think people really get excited about that. You know though not everybody can lead, it can’t be all chiefs and no Indians.

Rich: Along the way you’ve learned a lot about leadership and much of it has been through trial and error. What advice would you give an entrepreneur right now who’s struggling to be the leader of their company, and more importantly, the leader of their life?

Damon: This actually came up recently in a conversation I had with another entrepreneur. I came up with something and I don’t know if I’ve heard it or I just developed it, sometimes it’s hard to tell. But the concept of you can expect what you accept, so you can see that your life and your company is a result of what your standards are. So if you have a high standard then you’re going to hold yourself and your company to higher standards, and you’re not going to accept mediocrity. 

You can accept excuses for both yourself and from others and most people avoid conflict, and I think that that’s an important thing – that you have to be comfortable having constructive conflict in order to move yourself forward out of your comfort zone and be able to push other people on your team out of theirs as well. 

Rich: You do a great job of that and I’ve seen it with the incredible team you’ve put together and the challenges you’ve had over the years. How do you challenge someone and say you know you can be better than this, and what advice would you give for the entrepreneur who’s thinking I can’t get through to this person or I don’t know how to communicate this?

Damon: To me conflict is inherent to all relationships and if you’re not comfortable with conflict you could have struggles, because what you’re doing is basically procrastinating dealing with that issue. I try to be proactive in dealing with conflict in my relationships and proactively maintaining those things. It’s like relationship hygiene, it’s almost like brushing your teeth right, no one likes to do it but if you don’t do it there’s going to be a consequence down the road – so it’s just what choice are you willing to make. Do you want to avoid having a difficult conversation now or having a real problem that blows up in your face at some point down the road.

Rich: A few years ago I believe you brought in a consulting firm to interview all your leaders and the people that work with you to ask them about the qualities of the team. When you shared that with me I think you were a little concerned that they would say well Damon isn’t here all the time and we’re doing all the work, but what did they actually share and what did you learn? 

Damon: This process was a kind of deep dive into our company independently of me. They were interviewing my people and it was in a confidential setting so they could speak very frankly. I’ve arranged my schedule so that I’m probably in the office two days a week, so I expected that there would be some resentment of that, but I was surprised to learn that they were fine, that I’m clear and upfront about what my role is in the company, which is setting the direction, what the priorities are and then kind of getting out of the way because I have great people. So my job is more about making things happen and their job is about getting things done, and on some level they kind of like when I’m not around because I’m not coming up with new ideas, disrupting things, they can get the things done and make the trains run on time.

Rich: I have two final questions, we could go on forever. The first is what advice do you have for entrepreneurs in terms of being a parent?

Damon: That’s a pretty big question Rich, I certainly think you have to allocate the time for it, it’s not something that you fit into the margins of your schedule. To me the relationship that you have with your children from early on, you never get that time back, and I think if you look at it existentially, if you look back from your deathbed, you’re not gonna be thinking about the days that you missed in the office right. I’ve certainly made it a priority and I always put my kids and my family before work, I never miss a baseball game, never miss a recital you know, I put that big rock in the jar first and then the business has to fit around it.

Rich: When your priorities are clear, your decisions are easy. The final question I wanted to ask you is I find great entrepreneurs are lifetime learners, but not everybody learns the same way. I’d like you to share with us how you learn and how you put lessons you learn into practice.

Damon: Sure, as I said before my pattern is about working with others so I’m a relational person. I’ve done a disc assessment, I know about myself that just working with others is where I fit. I don’t really read many business books like a lot of my friends do, it’s not really my favorite mode of learning, it takes a long time. I have read some great books, but I prefer learning in a dynamic interactive setting, so whether that’s one on one with other entrepreneurs or business leaders and coaches like yourself, in small groups like a forum or in my leadership team, in larger groups such as a conference or an association, and then even much larger groups, being part of a community, I just really get excited by those atoms bouncing off each other. I really value learning from other people’s experience and perspective in a real-world setting.

Rich: Finally Damon we were talking before the interview about how you see life and whether it’s a zero-sum game or a world of abundance and abundance mentality, could you please elaborate on that and let that be something that we can all take away?

Damon: I think it’s about self-limiting beliefs, I see a lot of people who think that working is going to take away from time with family, or time as a family is taking away from work, or I don’t have time to go to the gym or pursue a passion or learn a musical instrument, whatever it is. For me, I have a conversation with myself about having my cake and eating it too, basically that I can have it all. Starting there with that conversation it just opens up the idea that it’s possible and then I look for ways to do it, rather than thinking that it’s not possible. So opening up that possibility and then creating that in my life, because as entrepreneurs we know that we have the flexibility and the ability to create things where they haven’t been before so to have that possibility be open and then actually make something happen.

What Is an SBA Loan and How Do I Get One?

What Is an SBA Loan and How Do I Get One?

Hosted by The Capital Masters, Rich Russakoff and Bob Hernandez, our recent webinar in association with Sutton Land of Texas, How to Get an SBA Loan, was in high demand. If you weren’t able to get a seat in time, don’t worry you can watch the full session here:

Today’s post is taken from this webinar and covers what an SBA loan is and how to get one. 

What Is An SBA Loan

Run by the Small Business Administration, an SBA loan is available to small businesses to help them access capital. The reason we’re looking at SBA loans today is because in the current environment, the SBA loan facilities are going to provide the most flexibility. SBA doesn’t loan money directly to small business owners, instead they set guidelines for loans and reduce the risk for lenders by guaranteeing up to 80% of the loan. So it makes it possible for banks to do deals that they otherwise would not be entirely comfortable with. SBA loans also focus mainly on cash flow, whereas conventional bank loans look at combined cash flow, guarantor cash flow, and generally have a shorter term.

If it’s a real estate loan, there’s no better way to go than an SBA. You can either apply for the traditional loan 7 or 8, or the 504. On the 504 loan, you get a blended rate because you’re dealing with a debenture as well as a bank. With a 7 or 8, it’s going to be one facility, but it’s going to encompass all of the fees and expenses. Keep in mind though that if you have a real estate deal, it’s extremely important to have a title insurance company that can address all of the potential risk with a sense of urgency. Make sure it’s a company who knows all of the legal regulations, and all the real estate processes.

What Will The Bank Look At When I’m Applying For An SBA Loan?

They will look at the historical trends of your business. Being that an SBA loan is a government guaranteed loan, tax returns or government documents are what they’re going to want to see. So that’s step one, you have to make sure you have your returns.

They will then run the proposed loan amount that you’re looking for against the cash flow from those tax returns. You may be familiar with the term EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation & amortization). They’ll take a simple ratio of your EBITDA to the proposed principal and interest payment and see if that meets bottom line metrics of what the bank is looking for, which is typically 125%. 

They’ll then look at credit scores of any guarantors, as well as how much money the guarantors have in the bank. Do they have enough to make the down payment? Do they have enough reserves, which today in the COVID world is a big concern for a lot of banks. Some lenders across the US are looking at anywhere from 10-20% in additional reserves to the down payment.

How Do I Approach A Bank?

The first thing to check is that you’re speaking to the gatekeeper, aka the Business Development Loan Officer. You should then ask ‘does your back office (credit operations & underwriting team) have a sense of urgency? Once my deal gets past a term sheet and comes into the bank, will they perform at a high level to get my deal processed?’

Another important question is what is their closing department like? Can they get this deal done? Can they manage the appraisers, the lawyers, the insurance agents, if there’s construction, the GCs, can they handle all that? To have experienced back office operations is key – and not every bank does. Do your homework. 

When approaching banks for clients we always look at at least 10 banks and begin with ‘Mr Hernandez, my name is Rich Russakoff, I work with The Capital Masters and we’re representing a client in your area. This is the industry the client is in. This is the revenue that they do. This is the money they’re bringing to the bottom of the line. We’re looking for an SBA loan of $X, would this be something your bank would be interested in considering?’ And then if it looks good, we’ll set up an appointment with them and say, ‘we’re going to need 1-2 hours of your time. We have a complete package to go through with you, you’ll meet the client and we’ll answer your questions.’

One of the main things we always say to clients when approaching a bank for a loan is you need to have your ducks in a row. Blue sky, pretty pictures and ideas don’t repay debt. Hard, verifiable data, is what you need to present to the bank to show that you’re going to be able to repay your loan.

For more information on how you can build a stand out loan package, check out our D.I.Y Loan Package bundle available here.

September 11th

September 11th

“Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.” – Albert Schweitzer  

After 19 years of reflection, the above quote  comes to mind when I remember where I was on September 11, 2001. 

I was in Manhattan walking down Madison Ave, heading to the offices of Maxon’s Restoration to give a presentation on leadership to their leadership team.  

In hindsight, there are so many ironies to that.  

Maxon’s Restoration is the city’s premier choice in property damage restoration. (That would become incredibly clear to me later that day and in the weeks to come.) I was a block away from their offices when I saw about a dozen people looking in a bank window at a TV screen.   

I had witnessed a group of people with that collective look of fear and concern only once before. I was working at my college radio station, and it was the day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and a crowd gathered around an AP wire machine.   

When I arrived at the company, many members of the leadership team were already there. Howie White, the executive VP of Business Development, was on the phone trying to locate associates who worked that morning on projects near the towers. “We need to locate them and make sure they are OK,” he said. Members of the team were shell-shocked.  

Simultaneously, Damon Gersh, the founder and CEO of Maxon’s, was driving into the city from Long Island when the midtown tunnel was closed, and he had to head back home. As Damon drove back home, he scheduled a conference call with the leadership team for 11 a.m. By the time of the call, the second tower was hit, and both had fallen.  

At the start of the call, Damon asked everyone how they were doing. He listened and responded to everyone, and then he said in a strong, confident voice (I’m paraphrasing):  

 “Our mission, as always, is to get people’s lives back to normal as soon as possible. How we respond to this crisis will define us. It will determine who we are, what we are capable of, and define us for the future.”  

When Maxons held a follow-up meeting on September 12, the phones were already ringing off the hook. Howie received a call from the historic St. Paul’s Chapel asking for help to prepare the building for use as the primary Ground Zero relief center for first responders and emergency recovery workers. Maxon’s was asked to clean up the historic Trinity Church for services. During that same meeting, one of their associates they had not yet heard from finally called in. You could hear the sighs of relief from everyone who listened to his voice and knew he was safe. 

Over the next 90 days, Maxons’ project managers coordinated the clean-up and restoration of more than 50 high-rise office buildings, hundreds of businesses, and 3,000 residences and important landmarks. 

The conditions and challenges of the clean-up were formidable. The collapse of the World Trade Center blew over two million tons of gritty concrete dust and debris, including sheetrock, concrete, ash, soot, asbestos, and particles of glass and steel into the air. The air quality was so bad it required special face masks.  

When the towers collapsed, the plume was so robust that it blasted into everything from elevator shafts to computers, and the dust went three miles in all directions.  

As soon as buildings were permitted to reopen, the restoration work began. Maxons hired over 1500 emergency workers who were on-site for months.  

I never did present that presentation on leadership at Maxons. Watching the way the company held it together on 9/11 and during the ensuing weeks and months, I’m not sure they needed to learn leadership from me. They had learned it from Damon and the experience of their mission.  

I work with many great small businesses, but I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed so much courage, resiliency, and determination. It was Maxons’ core values — combined with Damon’s strong leadership — that guided them every step of the way:  

  • Responsibility: Be accountable for our words, deeds, attitude, effort, and results—no blame games.  
  • Sincerity: Caring and respect are the foundation of all great personal and professional relationships. Our word is our bond. 
  • Tenacity: We make things happen through courage, determination, and resilience to achieve our objectives. Obstacles are opportunities.  
  • Optimism: It is our job to restore people’s hope as well as their damaged property. Say no to negativity. 
  • Results: We have a relentless focus on delivering tangible benefits to our clients, customers, and coworkers. Make it happen. 
  • Energy: People count on us to take immediate action and make things happen to solve their problems. Maxons to the rescue! 

Damon won the NYC Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year for 2002. The company received praise in newspapers, magazines, and local and national television for Maxon’s role in the city’s recovery from 9/11. Damon also donated some of Maxons’ proceeds to the NY Police and Fire Widows and Orphans Fund.

After the company’s work at ground zero was completed, he called his team together and thanked them for their extraordinary efforts. He then told them that now they knew what they could achieve, and it set a new standard. 

Because of Damon’s leadership and the skilled team he has in place, Maxon’s has continued to grow every year.  My relationship with Damon and Maxon’s has so much history. It’s an inspiring company that lives its values and is committed to individual and team growth.

“When your values are clear, your decisions are easy.” – Roy Disney 

Make today a day of remembrance for the lives lost on 9/11/2001 and the lives to Covid-19 by 9/11/2020.


How to Get a Small Business Loan

How to Get a Small Business Loan

Our Capital Masters experts recently hosted the first in a series of webinars. Titled ‘Financial Strategies for Today’s Market’, Rich Russakoff and Bob Hernandez covered topics such as maximizing PPP forgiveness, the reopened EIDL loan program and the benefits of a 7(a) loan. Don’t worry if you missed it, we’ve got you covered! The full webinar is available below – 

If you don’t have time to watch the full recording, we’ve condensed the information presented into bitesize chunks for you to nibble at in your own time. Today’s post is taken from the segment on what a bank will need in order to provide you with a small business loan.

Our treasury, credit and finance wizard, Bob, has been on the phone with bankers throughout the country for the past few weeks, and has learned a few things about the banks’ appetite for lending in the current climate.

The common thread amongst them all is, they’re going to want to see extremely detailed business plans. 

They’re going to want to see credible, factual, and justifiable projections, assumptions that relate to that business plan. 

They’re going to want to see that you’re able to articulate how Covid-19 has affected you as a business, what’s happening now, and what you think’s going to happen at the end of the year, as well as next year. They want to know how it’s affecting you and your industry. 

Then, they’re going to check that against what they already know for that industry by researching your NAISC code (National Industrial Classification Code).

If you weren’t cash flow positive in past years, and COVID’s made things even worse, you’re probably not going to get a deal. If you were cash flowing previously, and things stopped because of COVID, then you may be able to get a deal. Banks are always looking at historical performance to dictate future results. 

Next up, the credit analyst and credit officer are going to look at your previous trends. Are your revenues going up, down, or do they look like a roller coaster? Is your cost of goods stable? Same thing with your SG&A cost (selling, general, and administrative cost).

Finally, they’re going to look at your Earnings Before Interest Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA). 

The key factor when applying for any loan is that you have your financial house in order. 

Credit score and things like that have their place, but that’s not really where it’s at when you’re going into underwriting a deal.

So, not only do you need to have a strategy and an action plan, but you have to show you have the people, the market, that the industry opportunities are there, and how you’re going to use the cash flow – which is why your projections are so important. Because for banks, it’s how am I going to get repaid, number one? Number two, how am I going to get repaid? Number three, how am I going to get repaid?

If you can provide all of the above, then the bank has a certain comfort level to go with. 

A successful loan application package is quite an undertaking. It needs to include a compelling executive summary on how you’re going to use the money, where the business is now, what opportunities are available, and how you’re going to pay back the loan. It will also need a clear company section, who you are, what you do, and all company milestones. 

If you’d like assistance building your loan package, get in touch to discuss working directly with our experts using our white-glove process and get your business the loan it needs.

To be notified of any upcoming webinars, subscribe to our mailing list here.

Four Mavericks Who Did It Their Way

Four Mavericks Who Did It Their Way

In 1982, I visited the beach town of Pescara, Italy, on the Adriatic Coast. I met an American on the beach and we started a conversation, he told me he was there on business. “There’s a clothing factory in town that had a fire. The Insurance company called me and said they’d paid the claim and all the clothing had smoke damage, so they invited me to bid on it.” 

“They accepted my bid and I’m waiting to complete the deal. I’ll ship the clothes back to NYC, have them dry cleaned to remove the smell of the smoke, and sell them to street vendors.”

“They’re pre-sold to the vendors, and I’ll make a healthy profit. Insurance companies know to call me, and I do three or four deals a year. I make a handsome living, working about thirty days a year, but I never leave NYC during the opera season.”

Our second maverick, a man from Harlem, made his living by taking the subway to the Upper Westside of NYC and moving parked cars on garbage pickup days. He double-parked them on the other side of the street and returned them to their parking spots after the trash truck left the block. He worked both sides of the street, the police all knew and liked him and he was a beloved figure in the neighborhood.

Virtually every car owner in a three-block radius gave him a set of their keys and paid him a nice sum for his services, and he was home by noon.  

 An avid golfers’ dream was to play every day and play at every Country Club in the USA. He came up with an ingenious way to make his dreams come true. He was an insurance salesman who went to an insurance actuary and asked him to calculate the odds of a hole in one.

An insurance actuary is a professional that analyzes financial risk using mathematics, statistics, and financial theories. Most actuaries work in the insurance industry and help insurance companies determine reasonable risks. 

 He then went to an insurance company and asked them if they would underwrite a policy against hitting a hole in one. Once he had the policy, he sold it to Country Clubs as a promotional opportunity. If someone hit a hole in one on their course, they would win a Mercedes Benz. Why Mercedes, because he made a deal with them for a discount as part of the promotion. 

It was the ultimate win-win-win-win-win. The insurance company made money; the golf club and Mercedes had a publicity event, the golfer wins the car and becomes a local celebrity. And the avid golfer/insurance salesman lives like a king and makes his dream come true.

Finally, an art collector loved Hummels, Disney cartoon limited edition prints, and American folk art. He bid on these items from Auction House catalogs in New Orleans, NYC, Chicago, and Berlin. He always bid low and placed bids on hundreds of items in these categories every week.

On average, he won 10% of the items he bid on. He then had the auction house ship them to another auction house where he knew there was a market for them at a higher value, and made as much as ten times what he paid for them. If it was something he really liked he added it to his collection.

Mavericks like these are my heroes. They identify a need and create an opportunity to live life on their terms.

The Fear of Outshining Others

The Fear of Outshining Others

“You don’t have to control your thoughts. You just have to stop letting them control you.” – Dan Millman

Upper Limit Barriers sabotage our success or cause us not to enjoy our achievements. 

During my years of coaching and studying the companies that made the INC 500 list, and then failed within two years of making the list, I’ve concluded that an entrepreneur’s Upper Limit Barriers are a significant underlying cause of their business failures. 

The origins of our Upper Limits Barriers are the messages we heard about ourselves as children from the “powerful” people around us. As a result, our thermostats get set low early in our lives. When we achieve success, above our artificial ceiling, we are prone to find ways of bringing ourselves back down.   

It goes like this. I believe my success will steal from someone who needs it more. If I continue to reach for my full potential, I will make others in my family, friends, or peer group feel bad. So we hold back or find a way to self-sabotage.

In his book The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level, Gay Hendricks writes, 

“This barrier is very common among gifted and talented children. They get a lot of their parents’ attention, but they may also get a subliminal message. The gifted child is often convicted of stealing attention from other members of the family. 

One unconscious solution gifted children devise is to turn down the volume on their genius, so the others don’t feel threatened by it. The other answer is to continue to shine brightly but turn down the volume on their enjoyment of it. If they can appear to be suffering, they can get empathy and sympathy from others instead of jealousy.”

How sad.

So don’t shine too much, or you’ll make others feel bad. If you are worried that your success will steal attention from someone you believe needs it more, it may be holding you back from achieving your ultimate success. YOU DON’T HAVE TO LET IT!

Most of the guilt we feel is for crimes we didn’t commit. If you resolve to remove the guilt your parents and siblings convicted you of, you can liberate yourself from the main issues that trigger this Upper Limits Barrier. 

Any gifted child can potentially get in real trouble because of the way they are handled. – Itzhak Perlman

Moe and I were so inspired by the book The Big Leap that we became certified Big Leap coaches. We coach it to our clients and have given Big Leap presentations in Mexico, Australia, Nepal, The Cayman Islands, The Entrepreneurs Masters Program, and throughout the USA.

The Big Leap teaches you how to identify your zone of genius and the importance of spending as much of your time as possible there, and how to overcome the four Upper Limits Barriers.