Jim Collins, the author of “Good to Great” and “Built to Last,” was speaking before a group of people, and in the last 10 minutes or so of his speech he addressed young emerging leaders. One of the ten things he advised young leaders to do was:

“If you woke tomorrow morning and discovered you inherited $20 million and had discovered you also had terminal disease with 10 years to live, what would be on your stop-doing list?”

The next point Mr. Collins made was “Start your stop-doing list.”

Stephen Covey had written in his book “7 Habits of Highly Successful People” to begin with the end in mind. You should reflect on what you would have people say about you at your funeral and begin to live out your day working toward becoming that person.

As I am reading through the book “Modern Buddhism: The Path of Compassion and Wisdom,” one of the meditations suggested focuses on death: “I may die today.” The fact is we all face death one day, but to assume we are given tomorrow leads us to a point of delaying the good we might otherwise do today. If I live with the knowledge that I may die today, the actions I take and the things I do would be far different than if I lived with the notion that I have tomorrow.

Christianity holds the same thought. In the book of James, it says,

Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will got to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”

It would seem that all these thoughts around death and the shortness of life would be discouraging. For some it would be. For those who grasp an understanding of our brevity of life on this earth, it motivates them to focus on what is truly important. We would express more gratitude, show more compassion, and live each day to its fullest.

Some might even say, “What’s the point of planning any long-term goals?”  It isn’t that we don’t plan for the future, it is that we live each day to achieve what we see ourselves becoming. If your goal is to be the CEO of a large corporation, you know that it takes daily actions to get there. You don’t put off reading that book one more day. If you goal is to be remembered as a loving spouse, you don’t put off those words of encouragement until tomorrow. If your goal is to be financially free at the age of 40, you don’t put off saving money now to buy that gadget that is the latest and greatest.

Normally, we would not associate death as being a motivator to LIVING life. Yet death’s ability to steal from us our potential for leaving a legacy is not a power I want to ignore. I choose to acknowledge my finite nature and LIVE today doing what will advance my goal of being the person I want to be remembered as.

Take time to reflect on who you want to BE as a person and don’t let a career choice define who you are.

One thing that hasn’t changed over the years is the struggle almost every teenager faces in deciding what you want to do when you grow up. All throughout your childhood, and even more so in your teen years, you are asked over and over, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” It is as if every teenager is supposed to have their whole career path chosen before they graduate from high school. When I was a teenager, I wanted to pursue a career as an aerospace engineer, a robotics developer, a high-tech farm designer, a florist, and probably a half dozen other fields.

There are some people who ask the above question a little differently. They’ll ask the question, “What do you want to BE when you grow up?” Too often, people associate the answer to that question with a career or job as if a career or job defines who we are. I would challenge you to answer that question as it reads, “What do you want to BE when you grow up?”

Do you want to BE rich? Do you want to BE a generous giver? Do you want to BE a loving spouse? Do you want to BE famous? Do you want to BE a loving parent? Do you want to BE a leader in your community or country? Do you want to BE happy? Do you want to BE the best in the world at what you choose to do? Do you want to BE a world traveler?

When you answer the question in those terms, your future choice for a career will be decided on whether it allows you to BE the person you want to BE. A career choice should not define us any more than our gender or race. Who we are and who we become is determined by the choices we make each and every day of our lives regardless of our career choice.

If you decide to BE a person who brings out the best in others, then the interactions you have with other students at school will be a reflection of that desire. In order to BE true to yourself, you will choose to stand up for those who are bullied so that they can allow their best to shine. You will not participate with your peers when they are tearing others down. Day by day, your actions will either bring you closer to becoming the person you want to BE or take you farther away.

Take some time out of your busy schedule, turn off all your gadgets, and reflect on who you want to BE when you grow up. A career choice should not be what defines you, only enhancing who you ARE and want to BE.

There are times when we get excited about a big project or big idea and we want to take that proverbial leap of faith and go for it. We take a few running steps, leap toward our goal, and splash! We land short of what we intended and end up either drowning in misery that our big idea didn’t happen or swimming back to shore to figure out how we didn’t land where we wanted to land.

This morning, a link was shared on a private Facebook group that opened my eyes to see why I am standing on the shore all soaking wet. This realization hit me: I took a leap when I should have taken a step. (Here’s the video if you’re interested.)

Brendon Buchard – Experts Academy

A few of the steps that Brendon shared in the video on how to build a buying audience from your expertise included knowing your target customer (which I do), understand their buying behavior (something I need to investigate more), and create a product or service based on your expertise (you’ll have to watch the video to get the all the steps). Even though I did create a product or service, my service is probably too big of a step for people to take as their first step in working with me. Regardless of how good the product or service is or looks, very few would be willing to make a big step until they have taken a smaller step first.

So now that I am standing on the shore letting the sun dry me out, the next STEP I need to take is creating products or services of value with little to no buy-in costs. I will be looking to add some great content to inspire young leaders to thrive and become stronger leaders tomorrow. That is a step in the right direction that won’t leave me soaking wet.

The Siege

Posted: September 12, 2012 in Uncategorized



Centuries ago, castles and fortresses like Ivangorod were built as strongholds able to protect its inhabitants from a number of enemy forces. Tall, thick walls were built to withstand battering rams and to allow defensive units to stand guard. The fortress was built to close down all access points into the fortress to keep any enemies from entering.

Occasionally, an enemy would lay siege to a fortress. They would surround the fortress and cut off any supply routes to force the eventual surrender of those within the fortress as supplies ran out. Soldiers would look out over the walls at the enemy and see them eating, drinking, and enjoying each day as if they were enjoying the high life. With each passing day, morale would deteriorate as supplies began to dwindle and rationing took place. It was either surrender, go out and meet the enemy in battle, or continue to wait it out and see if the enemy would pack up and leave.

Do you ever feel like you are on the inside of the fortress encountering the siege when it comes to LIVING your dream? You look out from the top of your fortress walls to see that you are surrounded by an unknown force that is keeping you locked down inside. 

As I stand upon the wall of my fortress, I look and I can see people who have set themselves free to enjoy life to its fullest. I can smell the breeze coming off the oceans where they are vacationing. I can hear the sounds of people enjoying a life of abundance and sharing their stories of freedom. However, there are two things I haven’t been able to do yet. I have yet to taste the fruit of a life of abundance nor have I felt true freedom in my life.

I am looking for every hole in the enemy line that is keeping me from receiving the supplies I need. I am looking for every opportunity to LIVE my dream and leave behind the limitations of this fortress. With each passing day though, my morale keeps dropping. The hope of actually LIVING out my dream diminishes a little with each passing day where nothing seems to happen. Surrender it seems is a reasonable option IF I didn’t know what I know.

My head has been filled with stories of people on the edge of losing everything and then the big break comes. Napoleon Hill shares the story of the Darbys quitting just three feet from gold. These words Napoleon wrote in Think and Grow Rich inspire me to press on:

Before success comes in any man’s life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat, and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest thing and most logical thing to do is to QUIT. That is exactly what the majority of men do.


“More than five hundred of the most successful men this country has ever known, told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them. Failure is a trickster with a keen sense of irony and cunning. It takes great delight in tripping one when success is almost within reach.” 

If you can see it, smell it, hear it, you are much closer than you think to also taste and feel the success and freedom you seek. Do whatever it takes to boost your morale, to take that next step, and move closer to breaking the siege.

Dream BIG and LIVE your dream!






Dear Student,

I am positive that you have probably heard from from your parents, those in your community, your teachers, and so many others the importance of getting an education. You were probably told that a college degree is a must if you want to earn more money and get better positions and more pay.

“83% of college students and parents strongly agreed that higher education is an investment in the future, college is needed now more than ever (70%), and the path to earning more money (69%).”

How America Pays for College 2012 Study by Sallie Mae

Yet despite this strong sentiment toward higher education, the glaring problem of unemployment or underemployment of those holding college degrees poses a serious problem.

“A weak labor market already has left half of young college graduates either jobless or underemployed in positions that don’t fully use their skills and knowledge.”

1 in 2 New Grads Jobless Or Underemployed” by Hope Yen

As a student, you are or will be spending a lot of money for a college education and taking on student loans to pay for it, only to be left with a 50/50 chance of landing a job in your chosen field of study.  Do you like those odds? What if you could do something to beat those odds and increase your chance of getting the job you want or begin building the skills necessary to creating your own business?

The time has come for a change. A change from a mindset that an education by itself is enough to get you where you want to go. You have to make a decision to do something that will make you stand out from all the rest of the graduates.

Something remarkable is worth talking about. Worth noticing. Exceptional. New. Interesting. It’s a Purple Cow. Boring stuff is invisible. It’s a brown cow.”

Seth Godin, Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

What is true for a business to succeed in today’s world is true for individuals who want to succeed in this world. You need to be REMARKABLE. Let’s face it:  What is remarkable about graduating from college? Yes, it is an accomplishment worthy of being proud of accomplishing; but, using Seth Godin’s words, “It’s a brown cow.”

I am offering you an opportunity to do something over the next four years of your life that will make you remarkable. We have created a mentoring program designed to make you stand out like a “purple cow” in the midst of a herd of brown cows. Take a look at the first year’s program objectives.

In the first year, you will learn a foundation of leadership principles as we study The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell. We will study the laws and discover how each one of them applies in your own interactions as a leader.

You will be required to serve in a leadership role with an organization or create a project to make a positive impact on the community where you live. You will be able to take the principles we discuss and apply them directly to your experience. As you serve, you will also be making valuable contribution to your community and start building a network of people who will see you in action.

We will study Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. It has been included to help you create a framework to build a life of success. The principles Napoleon shares in his work come from a study of thousands of people to find out what made some successful and so many fail. The principles in this work, if put into practice, will set you apart from the majority of people, who refuse to do what successful people do.

And the final component of the first year is The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann. This small yet powerful book will share principles that will shape your character and give you a set of principles upon which will steer you toward “stratospheric success” in business and life.

Over the course of nine months, we will have 32 live one-hour-long sessions to discuss the material for the week via teleconference. There will be a private forum to connect and share ideas with other participants. You will have 24/7 email access to our mentoring team.

If you want to stand out as “remarkable” and accelerate your success, then consider being a part of our mentoring program. Sign-up for our newsletter to stay connected and be notified when open enrollment begins. Invest in your future, build a network of connections, and be the one people will choose first over all the rest.

LIVE your dream,

Greg “Big Z” Zander
Cultural Architect and CEO ~ EPIC Journey, Inc.
Founder ~ Catalyzing Leaders

“At its heart, business is not about formality, or winning, or ‘the bottom line,’  or profit, or trade, or commerce, or any of the things the business books tell you it’s about. Business is what concerns us. If you care about something enough to do something  about it, you’re in business…”

Richard Branson, Business Stripped Bare

Does the idea of spending your time each day doing something about the concerns you have seem almost like a dream world? I often wonder if people don’t give themselves permission to live their life doing something they care about. I wonder what holds them back from pursuing those things and being rewarded financially for making the world a better place.

At this point in my life, I have been on a journey to LIVE each day pursuing my dreams. This process has challenged me to uncover what matters the most to me, what impact do I want to have in this world, and what is holding me back. The revelations of my search have uncovered a very significant issue that I needed to be address.

The big issue I uncovered came after reading T. Harv Eker’s book, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind.  One of the steps in the process of having a millionaire mindset is to uncover what you have learned from your family and your environment growing up about money. Many times, what you learn growing up or from your environment is what is limiting you from acquiring wealth. While I know the influence my family had on me is a primary source, the more significant influence came from my time spent in ministry.

The following verses have probably had the most impact on shaping my mindset regarding wealth. Mind you, these verses I memorized and became a part of me very early on in my college years.

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

“But you, man of God, flee from all of this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.”

I Timothy 6:6-11, TNIV

Those words are hard to erase from the etchings they made on my soul and mind. Those words have shaped my views on money and influence me on a subconscious level.

I accepted a poverty mindset of being content with just food and clothing. It has imposed upon me to look negatively at riches because look at all the evil just waiting to cause harm and destruction upon my life if I desire to have wealth. So in my time spent in ministry, I never asked for more even when I only had $20 a week for groceries, no money to pay for visits to the doctor, dentist, and optometrist, because a “godly man” was content with poverty.

As I live out my dream to inspire one million people to dream BIG and LIVE their dream, I need to overcome this barrier. I need to recognize that it is okay to earn my living that goes beyond food and clothing while helping others achieve their dreams. I need to internalize this passion within me as an honorable goal and to use my wealth to further my passion.

So I ask you, what is holding you back? What is keeping you from doing what you want to do? All I want to do is make a positive difference in the world. When that is all you want to do, its business.

“The world is filled with talented poor people. All too often, they’re poor or struggle financially or earn less than they are capable of, not because of what they know but because of what they do not know.”

Robert Kiyosaki, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”

I have had a copy of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” for a long time, read it when I bought it, and haven’t picked it up to read again until this past week.  As I read through this book at this junction in my life’s journey, so much of it is making more sense now than it did in my first reading.

When I came across the above statements in the book, the reality of why so many people trudge along never finding financial success or freedom hit me like a ton of bricks. When we shut down the learning process, and we close the doors to learning something new, the opportunities to grow and expand our wealth are reduced greatly.

From my viewpoint, there are two things that will cause someone to change course from where they are to something better: desire or pain.

Desire is the strong emotional component that can drive someone forward, pushing through obstacles, and will only stop when it reaches its destination. Wait. Let me rephrase that. A BURNING DESIRE will push people to see a goal reached. Now, I have the desire to own a Nissan 370Z. However, that desire is not a burning desire so I don’t put much effort into attaining that goal. When it comes to my life goal, to inspire one million people to Dream BIG and LIVE their dream, that is my burning desire.

Pain is also a strong motivator to change. For some people, the pain comes too late to make the necessary course changes to LIVE a fuller life. For others, the pain of being where they are in life becomes so unbearable, they do what it takes to change the course of their life. The memory of that pain motivates them to push forward and crush the obstacles that stand in their way.

Unfortunately, the majority of people endure the pain, never seek to flame the desire within themselves, and don’t seek out what they need to learn to make that one change that will push them toward a more rewarding financial journey.

When you take a look at where you are at today, are you satisfied with your place in life? Does your financial balance sheet give you a sense of security for your future? If you answered yes to both of those questions, congratulations. If you could only say yes to one of those or no to both, what is keeping you from reaching your goals? Make a conscious decision to learn what it will take to make your goals happen, and start making the changes necessary.