Owning It: How to Develop the StartOver Economy Mindset

IMG_6650Starting over is tough. It requires discipline and something I call the StartOver Mindset.

The first step in developing the StartOver Mindset is taking ownership in everything you do, and things that may or may not happen that are often beyond your control.

You have to put yourself into the frame of mind that you are going to start over, let the past go, and move forward on a new path to success. As an Owner, you have no other choice to being with an acknowledgement that you own it.

Owning It and Moving Forward

Four years ago, I had to literally start over and reinvent my business and to a large degree, myself. It  was a very humbling experience that turned into a whole new phase of enlightenment for me.

There I was, 57, at the top of my game, and much of what defined me was my success in life was based on my business. I had a wonderful run at serving some amazing tech clients in Israel and the U.S.

After doing this for almost 30 years, I was partially burned out and partially started to see a decline in budgets and while I did not define it as such, I knew it was time to take a break and start over. I was not going to be homeless and while I had saved and saved and saved, it bothered me that I was going to have to dip into my savings until I figured out what was going to be next for me.

I discovered that I was not alone. I met people from all walks of life who were starting over, and coined the term “The StartOver Economy”, representing  millions of people around the world who are starting over, reinventing, blowing things up, doing things their own way and owning it[Read more…]

Write Your Own Cookbook In The StartOver Economy

Every day I read stories of inspiration about business people and startups and what it took them to succeed.

Many of them have started over.  Some out of choice after an exit; others due to a change in life’s uncertain circumstances, or in my case, the need to take a break, blow things up, and start over.

There’s also the concept in the startup world known as pivoting. Like in basketball, you gotta pivot. You have to change direction. You have to move the ball the other way.

Write Your Own Cookbook In The StartOver Economy

You can literally spend your life reading the stories about the ones who broke through, the ones who “won,” and what they did to get there.

There are common themes of hard work, luck, persistence, networking, going to the right school, quitting school, raising money, borrowing money, running up credit cards, moving back home to live with your parents (heaven forbid), running into the right person in an elevator, having a great elevator pitch, having no business plan, having a business plan, or just pure random, dumb luck.

You can’t do what others do — you have to write your own cookbook.

There are no cookie cutters, cookbooks, or recipes for starting over.  [Read more…]

Why Less is Greater Than More in The StartOver Economy

Why Less is Greater Than More in The StartOver Economy

In the StartOver Economy, Less > More. All you need is love.

This is not a contradiction: Less is greater than more.

This principle applies in the StartOver Economy –  and is based on the simple premise that in order to start over, you have to let go of what you had, release the energy into the universe, and let it come back  in its newer, restructured and yes, greater form.

Surrender brings a new sense of empowerment.

When I began the process of starting over four years ago, I surrendered with strength, a giant act of faith, and a belief that something had to change.

And that change began with me.

I made a list of everything I had to undo, release, let go of, reduce spending on, and consolidate. I got rid of the clutter in my life. Though slowly, I did it. Though painfully, and with humility, I had periods of self-doubt. I looked up. I asked not  for God’s help, but his (or her) guidance.

Mind you, I had runway and savings I could rely on, but I knew it wouldn’t last forever. I took a partial Sabbatical for almost 18 months and came to the realization that the global economy was going to survive and prosper just fine with me sitting on the sidelines. As I went back to work I came up with 10 practices which still apply today:

  1. Surrender does not equate to giving up.
  2. Letting go sets you free.
  3. A clear mind is an open mind; one open to new thoughts and energy.
  4. Going off the beaten path will take you to new and unexpected destinations.
  5. Giving without expecting anything in return will yield greater returns.
  6. Changing musical listening habits reshapes brain waves.
  7. Altering eating habits changes your biology.
  8. Moving more mixes things up.
  9. Extended stays away from home (if possible) will heighten your senses.
  10. Re-kindling childhood interests takes your brain back to its origins.

In order to get to more, you have to share your abundance of time, knowledge and sharing.

It’s called the currency of giving.

The returns will bring you abundance in many unexpected ways.

Does “Where” Matter in the StartOver Economy?

Does “Where” Matter in the StartOver Economy?

In the StartOver Economy, be open to new roads and new destinations awaiting you. Shot on location in Iceland by Alan Weinkrantz.

In the process of starting over four years ago, one the most painful things I had to do was slowly let go of my team of four, live out the lease on my office and walk away.

My office was my kingdom.  A place where I belonged and where I felt I mattered.

My office and my place of business was where mattered a whole lot. It was part of my identity and my brand.

In my travels back and forth to Israel, every time I left the country after spending one or two weeks of having the opportunity to be in Startup Nation, I was sad in my departure — not quite sure if there would be budgets to sustain my traveling back and forth the way I did for almost 20 years.

My office in San Antonio mattered.

Being in Israel mattered.

Both were places where I belonged.

Then things came to a grinding halt.

No more office.  No more traveling to Israel.

I had to start over.  I had to find a new place where I could matter.  I needed a place to belong.  [Read more…]

How To Re-Wire Your Brain in the StartOver Economy

A funny thing happened to me when I decided to start over.

I had no more to-do lists. No clients to answer to. No follow ups. No explaining. No re-doing.

My head was clear. I thought I was losing my mind. But no… that’s not what was happening. I had a new sense of clarity. I was lucid and clear for the first time in many years.

How to Re-Wire Your Brain in the StartOver EconomyWhen I took time off to re-start my business, I did it first by helping others.  I  helped a friend of mine at a really cool guitar store – Redbone Guitar Boutique in San Antonio. I  started shooting videos like this one, doing fun reviews of cool guitars and accessories.  Oh — did I tell you I’m not a videographer?  And did you know that I am hardly a “guitar expert?”   I would check in on Foursquare, helped create content for their Facebook page.

I also started buying guitars.  I hired a wonderful guitar teacher, Steve Owens.

With my head clear, and taking guitar lessons, something else started to happen:  I started to write better.  I was a better communicator — and more importantly, I became a better listener.

New business started to come in, and I became more selective with the clients I would take on. If a client-to-be did not feel right, or I did not think they would be a great client, I politely turned them down. There were times when I made a bad judgement call.  If the client would not take my advice, or thought they had the right to be an asshole because they were paying me,  I fired them with humility and grace.

I discovered that I had the currency of knowledge and deep expertise.

That’s a commodity you can’t buy.

Prove It!

I am no scientist, and while I can’t document what happened to me with scientific proof, I do believe that unbeknownst to me, I was re-wiring my brain.   I believe I had dead connective tissue, or tissue in my brain that started to wake up because I was doing something creative that I had never done before, and I was starting to connect new neurons.

I had a dear friend (and client) who had a very successful exit. He too was in the process of starting over. He had more money than he could ever spend in his life time. He, like me, took some time off, and jumped seriously into photography. I met others who were also starting over. They were all taking time off, doing something creative, re-wiring their brains and then going back to “work.”

How To ReWire Your Brain in the StartOver Economy

1.   Find something creative to do that you have never done before.

The more off-the-wall, the better. I chose guitar, simply because of my love of music.  I happen to have played drums for over 40 years, but never quite got to the guitar thing, until I started over. Do something that will shock your friends, family and business associates. Think painting, pottery, music, dance, race car driving, poetry… do something that is so out of character, even your brain will freak out.

2.  Introduce new creative inputs.

When you learn to play guitar, you have to learn chords, melodies, strumming and picking. Think of it as someone going through physical rehabilitation and learning to walk again.   

3.   Volunteer anywhere that needs creativity.

When I asked Richard Turner. who owns Redbone, if I could help, he never asked me if I was “qualified.”  I just showed up and started doing product reviews. These reviews lead to views approaching 100,000 and new business leads from all over the world. I never asked for money. I would have paid Richard to do it and to have the experience this volunteer work provided.

4.   Borrow a friend’s camera.

Yes, you may already have a good camera. And certainly, the camera in most current generation smart phones, coupled with apps like Instagram, are really good. The reason to borrow a friend’s camera is they have a different lens. A different lens gives you a different view on the world. You will shoot differently. You will experience the world in a different way. Your input and in turn, your output will start to change. Yes,  you are re-wiring your brain.

5.   Break a few habits and mix things up a bit.

Do you  always go to the same movie theater, restaurant, or grocery store?   Drive, or take public transportation, somewhere out of your neighborhood. Get out of your comfort zone. Break every possible routine you can. Go see a movie in the middle of the day. Get out of sync with the world you know. Mix it up. Mix it up. Mix it up.

6.   Shake up muscle memory.

Once you start doing something — be it exercise, writing, singing, dancing, etc. — you might get really good at it, but to keep your brain fresh, you need to mix up the muscle memory.  Whatever it is you are doing, do it differently, maybe just once a week. Mix it up. Mix it up. Mix it up.

7. Unsubscribe from everything, unless you truly need it.

This is a great way to clear your head and re-wire your brain. Kill every subscribed blog, ezine, or newsletter that you have been reading for years unless you absolutely need to read them. Try new ones. In new areas that have nothing to do with work.

8.  Learn to say “no.” 

Learning to say no is a powerful thing. It’s not for the purpose of having “power.”  It’s to give you the right to control what you want to do, with who, and when. I am not here to advocate not helping someone in need. While your mileage and situation will vary, you can be gracious and humble in the process of saying no. Maybe the timing is not right. Maybe you just don’t believe in a cause that someone has asked you to support. Or perhaps in your journey of starting over, you just are not ready to being investing time and energy in someone else’s time and energy. Remember, it’s your time. It’s your energy. Conserve and use it wisely.

9.  Don’t ask God for Anything. Thank God for Everything.

When I refer to “God,” I mean it in the metaphorical sense, as in a higher power, and respecting whatever you do or don’t believe in. I quit wishing for things  to happen and became more thankful for everything I had in my life.

If a pitch to a prospective client did not work out, I let it go and said that it was their loss; not mine.  I was thankful that I did not have to engage with a client to-be who was clueless.

When I turned in the BMW I was leasing, and instead started to drive a 29-year-old BMW that I had restored, I thanked God for the wisdom to do this and never have to fork over $700 per month again. Don’t get me wrong. I love nice cars. And I may go back to doing this one day. But for now, I was grateful and thrilled to have no payments and a way cool car.

Look around you and take stock of what you have. Not how much money. Not how many homes you may own. Take stock of where you live, the people who love you and your friends.

Be grateful. Remain humble. And be gracious in your actions.

10.  Practice.

In January, I started practicing Yoga.  There is a wonderful teacher that I met at Gold’s Gym in San Antonio.  I feel better and am rediscovering parts of my body that are waking up again. It’s also affecting the re-wiring of my brain. Compared to the others in the class, I am a total klutz.  At times during the 50 minute session, I just can’t keep up with the rest of the class. My teacher does not care, and nor do my fellow classmates. They all keep encouraging me to come back, and get better at my practice. I am practicing not to get to being perfect. I am practicing for the sake of practice, for I now realize that every Yoga session is a different experience and a different practice.

In your journey of starting over, come up with your own form and structure in how to re-wire your brain.

Remember to mix things up as you see fit, and more than anything, be grateful for the abundance that surrounds you.

In The StartOver Economy of 2014, Belief Sets Come Before Action Plans or Goal Setting.

Start your new year by not making any to-do lists, setting goals, building action plans, or promising yourself something you’ll more than likely never follow through on.

Instead, take the beginning of the new year to examine your belief sets and re-evaluate what’s important to you.

Beliefs First.  

Belief sets that you believe in make your dreams come true.

Belief sets that you believe in make your dreams come true.

One of the fundamental principles of the #StartOverEconomy is you need to clear your head, get rid of old habits and refresh.

Once you can get your head clear, you can dig deep into your heart and mind and recalibrate, and get your belief sets aligned so you can then execute on what needs to get done in the new year.

It’s not a case of what’s right or wrong, but what you believe to be possible and true.  Here’s what I am doing to refresh my belief sets in 2014. [Read more…]

Welcome to The StartOver Economy

Three years ago, my business and part of my life went to hell.

I was my business.

My business was me.

It was an extension of my ego, myself, my purpose in life.

It took about one year for me to figure this out, but I came to the conclusion that I needed to start over.

Literally start over.

I knew that starting over was not limited to my business. It was about how to stop what I was doing, take a breather, and with a bit of business experience, common sense, and a giant leap of faith, I entered the era of The StartOver Economy.

LuchasWelcome to The StartOver Economy

I defined what I did, and my accomplishments, by how successful I was and how much money I was making.

I ran a very successful boutique public relations firm serving Israeli and U.S. technology companies. With four great team members, we helped our clients define who they were, created compelling messaging, engaged with journalists, bloggers and industry analysts, and gained media and thought leadership coverage that contributed to our client’s success.

In the midst of the financial crisis in 2010, I started to notice clients cutting back or killing budgets altogether. VC (venture capital) money started to vanish. It was the lifeblood of what funded my clients, and PR was what part of their funding went to.

Eighty percent of my fee income came from Israeli tech companies. Money flowed in through wire transfers and life was good. I had fun, lived well, provided for our family, and luckily, saved and saved for a rainy day that I never thought would happen.

The financial crisis aside, I started to see myself competing against other service providers on the other side of the world in Israel, often claiming to do what we could do (and in some cases they actually could) for sixty to eighty percent less than what we would do.

Most of the companies we represented were disruptors, or creators of new paradigms in doing business. It was ironic that the industries that I was involved with, and the markets we helped disrupt, wound up disrupting my business. It was the perfect storm that forced me to completely and totally re-examine what I was doing, how I approached my life, and set me on a course to being part of what Chris Brogan helped me define as being The StartOver Economy. [Read more…]