Every business owner should have their own thinking chair to envision themselves solving the problems of their companies. The best way to do this is to practically take an inventory of what your business needs in terms of core job functions and preventing brand slaughter that could have you running all over the place. Problems will happen along the way so setting goals will help to keep things in perspective. Be real in rating yourself on where you stand with those goals so that you can create a plan, build your confidence and begin to spiral up. Learn more of the positive power of negative thinking with David Corbin, the Robin Williams of business consultancy.

Know The Core Of Your Business, Preventing Brand Slaughter with David Corbin

My guest is a business expert who’s been referred to as the Robin Williams with an MBA because of his very practical high-content speeches coupled with entertaining, silly, and side-splitting stories that he’s famous for. A former psychotherapist with a background in healthcare, he served his management and leadership consulting to businesses and organizations of all sizes from Fortune 20 companies to businesses with less than $1 million in revenue, and enjoys the challenges of all. He worked directly with the presidents of companies like AT&T, Hallmark, Sprint as well as the Honorary Secretary of Veterans Administration and others. David Corbin, welcome to the show.

Thank you.

David, it’s such a pleasure to chat with you. I actually had no idea who you were until we met up just a few weeks ago. I was so impressed with the way you spoke at the event that we had attended. More importantly, I think what impressed me was what you brought to the table. You brought your brilliance and your intelligence. You brought your heart to the table, and that for me was a very big deal. I loved seeing that. What we do on the show, David, is we start at the beginning. What I want to do is I want to go back to the beginning of your career. We want to mine the wisdom that you uncovered, probably very hard-won wisdom about how you made it to the next level and then the next. Could we start there?

It usually is hard-won wisdom. If we call wisdom calling from our experiences that which works in the direction of that which we want, maybe we could define wisdom that way. I’m not sure. That’s just coming off seat-of-the-pants. My first venture was extremely successful and it’s because I saw a need and filled it. I was about seven years old going to softball games and Little League games and saw that people wanted sodas and that wasn’t readily available, or they didn’t want to leave where they were and go up to the shack, or they didn’t want to pay the price. My garbage pail filled with ice and sodas was a very successful business. Then I parlayed that fortune into shoveling sidewalks in the winter and mowing lawns in the summer. If Inc. Magazine and Fast Company magazine were around then, there would have been a front-page article on me because I was probably making $6 or $7 a week.

We have similar backgrounds because I started literally doing the same thing you did, which was shoveling snow and then washing cars and then selling Christmas cards door to door. Although living in a Jewish neighborhood that was very hard but I didn’t know that. Then I took a job selling ice cream on the beach until I realized that the boxes were so heavy and all the ice cream melted. That didn’t work out for me either.

The truth is we learn. There’s a guy named Walton and he started a little company called Walmart. He learned the hard way too. When he opened up his stores, he would always have free little pony rides and always had these watermelons. He opened his stores very often in the summertime. He learned the hard way that in the summertime, watermelons explode and ponies poop. Between the ponies pooping and the watermelon exploding, Sam Walton learned his lessons. The reason I say that my early ventures were really the launch pad for my success is that I realized then, and it hasn’t changed now, that when you find a legitimate need and a reasonable solution, you can’t lose. From sodas to people not wanting to have to go out and shovel the snow or, in your case, wash the cars or in my case, mow the lawns, you can do well. My latest business model or inventions or co-ventures and investments always look for the same simple, stupid thing. I wish I could have something more profound for you because I believe when you find the need and solve for it, all the rest is commentary in business. When I say commentary, there’s a lot of hard work. When I work with clients in the areas of strategic planning, envisioning and then work all the way down through marketing, languaging, sales, organization development, conflict resolution, negotiating, those are a lot of cool things but really find the need and fill it.

I have a feeling that that’s the theme of your entire career. Let’s follow that career. Clearly, you grew up and you went to school and after school you took a job, I would assume. What happened? Where was the transition from taking a job to starting a company? 

When I was a kid, I had a couple of jobs here and there. I pretty much had one job after college and that was it. Then I’ve been an entrepreneur ever since. I’m as they say functionally un-hireable, psychologically ill-equipped to work for someone else. I really haven’t had a whole bunch of jobs. Of course no matter what you’re doing, you’re always serving someone else whether it’s an employer or a client. I haven’t really been shackled to a cubicle. I can’t really talk to that except for what I’ve observed.

What about the first business venture that you’ve either began or joined as a partner or as an owner or as a co-owner?

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Preventing Brand Slaughter: The government and the military in particular was the largest procurer of goods and services on this planet.

Because the job I had, we were the largest advertisers in Southern California spending more money than anyone with radio, television, double truck on in the newspaper every day, I learned a bit about marketing and this and that. We got pregnant in 1979. That lifestyle which was the wild and crazy days with cocaine and cigarettes and alcohol, I knew I needed to leave all that if I was going to be a serious dad, and I was. I left that. I started a consulting firm in marketing because I was known. I had long hair and a long beard and I put out the shingles so to speak and I did the marketing. I knew that was a conventional thing. I knew they needed marketing. I knew about marketing, outside-the-box stuff, and that was groovy. Shortly after that, I knew I wanted to create a business, not just a service, something I could build and sell. I found a need and I filled it. The need was outstanding. I knew and found that the government and the military, in particular, was the largest procurer of goods and services on this planet, the US government. I knew that they had money set aside for small, women, minority-owned businesses. I also saw the problem that if you were a small business of any of those categories, how do you knock on the doors to the military and say, “Mitch is the name, O-rings is the game.” How do you do that?

I saw that problem and I had been consulting with a company that did something similar to this, but they weren’t really taking my advice to really exploit for that area. I said, “I’m going to do it myself.” They said, “You have a no compete clause down here.” I said, “Fine, then I’ll do it up north if you don’t want to do it. Otherwise, I’ll help you do it down here.” They said, “No. We know what we’re doing.” I did that. I got permission from the Pentagon, the first time ever to get permission to publish the Military’s inter-base telephone numbers. You’ve got a problem where small business doesn’t know how to get behind the doors to the decision makers and also that the military, the bases are calling each other but they don’t have each other’s phone numbers. I created the first ever inter-base, inter-agency telephone directory with the phone numbers. This is pre-internet. Then I had a Yellow Page section that showed, “We’re a small, woman-owned business, we’re minority-owned. This is what we do. This how we do it.” I just solved two problems at the same time. We expanded on a $100 investment to having offices in the fourteen Western States and many, many sales people with lots of money, until we sold it to Bertelsmann who came in from Germany and bought Doubleday Books, Bantam Books, Dell Books and RCA Records. They bought all those companies and our companies. I had to stay on for a while. When I said I had never had real jobs, I had to stay on with those bozos and it was tough as an entrepreneur, but I did and I got out. That was one of the early businesses that I created based around a need.

David, the first thing that I noticed about what you said when you started to describe the business is that you were looking for a business to create and then sell. Did you have that in mind when you started the business that you were going to build to sell?

No. I wish we did because if we would have sold it about fourteen months before we did, we would have made many more millions of dollars. As it turns out, at the time that we sold it, we were so lucky to get out of the business and not lose money. The business was doing well but loans were called in. Had we not sold it to Bertelsmann, we would have lost it and we would have been saddled with debt. We just didn’t know what we were doing. We were just really good at selling. It’s like our friend, Gerber. Michael Gerber talks about we weren’t entrepreneurs. We were technicians good at the area of filling a need and selling. What the hell did we know about running a large business? We didn’t. He says that we were working for a lunatic, ourselves, where we couldn’t quit or get fired because we were technicians under an entrepreneurial seizure. That was a great terminology he used to use. Then we learn and we grow because those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat in the future. Then I knew that any business I start, I have the exit strategy in mind.

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Preventing Brand Slaughter: We were technicians under an entrepreneurial seizure.

Listeners, you just heard David mention Michael Gerber. We did an amazing interview with Michael Gerber. Listen to that interview. It is packed with gold. David, if the David Corbin right now were to go back to the David Corbin starting that little business, what advice would you give yourself back then from today?

I’d sit myself down and I’d go, “Take inventory of what your business needs. Make a list of what the business needs in terms of core job function. Then get serious and rate yourself on a scale of one to ten on all of those core job functions. Where you’re an eight, nine or ten, pat yourself on the back and say, “Very cool.” Where you’re three, four or five, get serious. Set some goals to be from three to a six. Close those gaps. Feel good about yourself. Feel more confident. Feel more competent. Begin that spiral up, not down into the rabbit’s hole, but that spiral up into confidence, competence and really, really live a big life by learning and growing and developing and making good stuff happen.” That’s what I would say. I’d say, “Sit down. Here’s the deal. Do it. Come back to me. Show me where you closed the gap. Let’s celebrate together and let’s make this happen.” That’s what I would do.

You’re talking about having a coach, basically. If you were able to have had yourself of the future as a coach, the things you just said are fantastic guidance for anybody listening. That’s really what I was looking for. I appreciate you explaining that. It’s sometimes hard to know when you’re in the heat of it. I was in the same situation as you were. I started a software company and I felt like I took it as far as I can go, and then we basically sold it. If I could revisit myself of those years, I would have a whole different set of options that I didn’t have then. I would’ve said, “There’s something called the internet coming, so hold on for just another couple of years.” We didn’t know about stuff like that. That’s another thing. The sands shift when you’re in business and you have to be ready for that. We all know that from 2008, particularly if you were in the real estate business back then. The sand shifted very quickly and most people lost a lot of ground during that time, whether they were in the real estate business or not. What were you doing during that era?

I was also consulting. I didn’t have a big challenge. Prior to that, I had started a software company and I did take the wisdom of my learnings. I did have the end in mind with the software company and I did get out at the right time. We developed a software and it solved a huge problem that existed in optometry and ophthalmology, it was pretty cool. I knew at a certain point when we wanted to get out. As soon as we won this award, we were presented this great Innovation Award by Margaret Thatcher, Maya Angelou, Tom Peters, Secretary James Baker and all I knew, “It isn’t going to get any better than this.” It was then that I got out of the business. Around ‘08 and ’09 when real estate was tanking and stuff like that, I was doing consulting in a lot of different areas. One of my clients was a $3 billion firm in mortgage loan servicing and her business wasn’t really impacted that much, which is fascinating. She ended up selling that. I wasn’t put in harm’s way really from that whole debacle while I saw so many people going down. I had worked with Angelo Mozilo at Countrywide a few years before that. I was glad I wasn’t working with them because not only did they have trouble, but the dude was held culpable for a lot of bad stuff in that regard.

This is true in sports as well. A lot of people who are in professional sports have that same viewpoint, “I just won the Heisman Trophy. It’s time to take my bows and exit stage right while I still have my endorsements.” I totally agree with you about the timing of things. What’s also interesting to me is when you look back on a career and you see it in a linear way instead of the basic and present time when you’re in the middle of it. There’s so much more you could add to the story about what happened and what you went through. Can you add a little bit more to the story of that software company? Did you get a partner? You said your expertise was in marketing and sales, not in software or ophthalmology. Did that expertise come from another person? Tell me how you met that person and how you built that company.

Do you remember The Learning Annex?

Of course.

They had classes all around the country. I was teaching a class at the time. Right about then, I was partners with Brian Tracy. We were business partners for about five years. I was told, “David, you should get out from behind the curtains and instead of running businesses and whatnot, you should speak.” I was like, “I’m not going to do that.” Eventually, I was convinced to do that. I went to Toastmasters and worked my way through a terrible phobia about speaking in front of ten people or twenty people. In fact Brian used to say after I was going to Toastmasters, “When I first met Dave Corbin, he couldn’t lead silent prayer in a phone booth and now he can.” I’m teaching a class for The Learning Annex and apparently, this woman who was going to attend didn’t, so her husband attended in her stead. He was an eye doctor. He rolled in in his wheelchair. He’d never walked in his life. He had polio since a baby. I taught the class and afterwards he had some questions. We hit it off and he shared with me a problem in optometry. He goes, “Patients come in and if they don’t buy glasses from us, we’re in trouble. We can’t earn money on an eye exam. We have to sell frames and lenses and lens enhancements and fashion-forward frames. The problem is that patients come in to see their doctor. They don’t come in to be sold. Doctors don’t want to sell because they’re doctors. It’s a problem.” I went, “What if we were to look at it differently? What if we were to look at solving for problems? What if we were to look at clinical integrity as not allowing a patient to leave with a problem felt and a problem not expressed and solved?” He was like, “Yeah, what if?”

Together we developed some software, which is medical. It was touchscreen and medical history and then lifestyle survey. By the time the doctor saw the patient, the patient had already filled this out. The doctors got a report going, “Mitch, this is great. You indicated you have a problem with glare when you were out fishing or when you were in your kid’s socks, we can solve that with anti-reflective lenses or photochromic lenses.” We solved for problems. I met the guy while teaching a class. We met for lunch a couple of times. Within seven months, we had the software and hardware created and we were in business just like that.

That is fate. At the same time, that’s applied brilliance both yours and his. Clearly, he was painfully aware of the problem and you saw the solution very quickly. Let’s take some of what you just said and see if we can create a little bit of a plan for people listening to the show. The plan would be very straightforward. Look at the problems your clients are having or look at the problems other people’s clients are having and what possible solutions exist. Even if you don’t know how to solve them, naming the problems alone will potentially lead you to the person or the way to solve those problems. What would you think about that as a formula? Does that work for you?

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Preventing Brand Slaughter: Illuminate: Harnessing the Power of Negative Thinking

It does. My gig is all about that song, the dancing bear, “You’ve got to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.” My whole gig is don’t eliminate the negative, illuminate the negative. Put the light on it. I know this guy who wrote a book called Illuminate: Harnessing the Power of Negative Thinking. When I wrote that book, it was all based around keep your peripheral vision open for what’s not working in different areas, what’s not working in your life, what’s not working in other people’s lives. Don’t become a Negative Nellie but keep your reticular activator, your peripheral vision, looking for situations that could use some enhancement. When you make that list with your clients or with your friend’s clients or your client’s clients, you might rate it on a scale of ten on how difficult would it be to enhance that. Then you look at some of those and then you go, “What would I really dig of that list? What could be cool for me?” Then you look at the list and go, “Where do I’ve got some requisite skills and experiences? If the universe was leading me to solve a problem, which of these problems might the universe have in mind for me in particular to be working on to solve for?”

In that analysis, you see this could be cool. Then I use the power of hallucination but I don’t mean with drugs. People today call it visualization. I go, “You put yourself in your thinking chair, that chair that you only use for thinking and contemplation. It tells your entire body, ‘Now we’re going deep, we’re going into creativity.’” Go into your thinking chair and envision yourself solving that problem, seeing the problem solved, seeing people for whom you’ve solved the problem, smiling, high-fiving you, fist-bumping and just see the bank accounts getting bigger and bigger and bigger, the zeroes getting bigger and bigger and bigger to the right of the investment. When you envision that, you start, “This could be cool.” You might find in that envisioning process, “No. Go through the next one.” It’s not that it’s formulaic but it’s formulaic.

Not to get too metaphysical on you, but in many cases, I have found that by simply understanding that there is a problem and seeking the solution, the old saying, “The universe conspires to create and for you to follow.” For those the people who maybe are in pain and say, “I just lost a job or I just lost the business,” think about it from a different perspective. Your pain or the pain potentially is leading you to the solution to other people’s problems. This is part of what you just said, David. You said exactly that as it applied to this particular business. I love the way you think.

I’ve got to give you an example of that that happened before this conversation. I bought into a business that is so awesome. I so enjoyed the people that have it, Inga and Evija. What they do is they make wallets and bags out of recycled materials. They go to Salvation Army and Goodwill. They buy the fabric, they bring it back, they wash it, they have patterns and they cut it. They make the coolest wallets, they make the coolest bags. Then they put iron-on stuff with messages on it. One is a cat with a light behind it. It sees its reflection and it goes, ” I am Batman.” Another one that’s got the Buddha and it says, “Try not to be a dick.” I love the products, I love the process, I love the people. I’m a partner in the business now. We are thinking, “We’re going to really boost this business up.” We are talking about a number of ways of doing it and they had a great idea, “What if we got fabric, a coat from somebody really famous like Michael Jackson? We could prove that it came from him,” and they made an exclusive line of bags and wallets out of that. They’re certified.

You look at life experiences. My only real birth brother, Howie, passed away. I was saddened by that. He’s my brother. I went through that whole process. I’m talking to Evija and Inga. We were doing a Skype call and I realized, “My goodness.” They said, “What?” I said, “I can see if we had a coat or a garment, a sport jacket for my brother and we made bags, my family would love to have a little piece of Howie with them.” They went, “It’s a great idea.” Out of the pain of my brother’s passing I see, “Here’s a problem. My family, they have stories, they have memories, but they don’t necessarily have a material or something from him, material literally and figuratively. How cool might that be?” I’m not looking to exploit the passing of my brother. I’m looking to solve for the problem of my sister and my family members who are grieving so deeply for that. There’s that. That’s a specific that just happened. I synapsed to that because I just had that.

Let me respond by saying that I believe that you’re not being crazy metaphysical. I believe that is being very physical and real and practical, in addition to the metaphysics don’t get me wrong, that the universe is indeed conspiring to help us. I believe that everything comes to instruct, not obstruct. When my brother passed on, one of our colleagues, Ken Courtright, said, “Congratulations on his being upgraded.” I love that phrase. He’s upgraded. I believe anytime you lose a job, congratulations, you’re being upgraded. Anytime there’s a setback, I say, “Congratulations.” You recognize the setback for what it is, which is an opportunity to move forward. Nothing ever comes to obstruct. It always comes to instruct. When you get a head cold, congratulations, the universe put you on your ass because you need to be slowed down either physically, emotionally, spiritually or whatever. If you’re smart, you get in bed, you do your chills, you blow your nose, but you’re always asking yourself, “What’s the opportunity here?”

We’ve arrived at that place in our conversation where the Buddha you mentioned earlier starts to really shine through. As you know, nothing ever happens the wrong way. My belief is that everything that happens, happens for a reason. If you feel bad about something that happened, then it just means you haven’t found the reason yet. I could think back of all the terrible things that happened, and we all have those. Somehow after every one of them, there was something wonderful and life-changing in most cases, or there was an opportunity for something wonderful and life-changing that I didn’t take advantage of. Do you feel the same way?

I do. I’ve written nine books. One of them that’s in process right now, I own the title and the trademark on it and it’s called From WTF To OMG (W A Bit Of LOL). So much in life starts out with, “What the Fahrvergnügen is going on here?” Then you realize, “That’s why that happened. I can’t believe I didn’t see that.” We go from WTF to OMG with some LOL. There’s never been a time when your WTF happens that there wasn’t a great, great, great lesson in it. Imagine that when something happens you immediately go, “I’ll bet you there’s a pony somewhere in this pile of poop. There’s got to be. What might, could, should, ought it be?” That’s when you start facing it. When you face it and then follow it, you can fix it or affix it into a ledger of good stuff.

When my partner and I came up with an idea for a software program, it was based on a ruling from the IRS. We both quit our jobs, we built the software and we did all the work to start the company. Then the IRS relaxed their ruling. We were out of business before we started. David, it was a, Thank God they did that, because it would’ve been a small business compared to the business that emerged from solving that problem. It happens in life all the time. My sister’s house burnt down and she was, “All this hard work.” I said, “Sweetheart, you can’t believe the beautiful house you’re going to build from the insurance money that comes from that.” Three months later, there she was in her new house and she said, “I never realized it until you said that.” Here again, it’s that circle of life coming around where the experiences teach us the lessons that we wish we had when we were younger, David. I know for me, I’m still not 100% there yet. I still get disappointed when the poo-poo hits the fan, but it’s so obvious when the solutions come rolling through. I know you see that as well. Let’s move this conversation forward just a bit here. Tell me more about what you’re doing right now and, in particular, what ideas you have that small business owners can use to either grow their business or find problems to solve or solutions to problems they’re experiencing?

Two questions, what am I doing today and what ideas might I share? From the beginning of our conversation until right now, it’s all about solving problems, expecting the best, learning from situations, being tuned in, tapped on and turned on in many ways. I own businesses and I mentor. I love working one-on-one mentoring individuals. I know it’s not a business per se, it’s nothing I can sell per se, but I love it. I’m at the stage in life that I only want to do what I want to do, which is to serve others in the way I want to serve them. I love doing my mentoring. I don’t do group mentoring, I do one-on-one. I just love doing that. Then I own my businesses. Years ago, we saw that hospitals were not very healing environments at least aesthetically and environmentally and acoustically. We created a business called Aesthetic Audio Systems where we put healing music in the public space. That creates a sacred space so that in women’s imaging, the music was designed to relax. In women’s imaging where you might be there for an hour or five hours, that music is designed to compress time and space perception. In the staff areas, we put in a little sonic caffeine at 10:30 and 3:30. I started that with a couple of partners, some very famous people in music and developed the Mozart effect. We started the business and we’ve been in profit every year since; that’s about thirteen years already. I’m not selling that business so fast. These are the businesses that I invest in. I do the mentoring and I have my businesses and stuff.

As far as lessons go, the greatest lessons I can ever share with entrepreneurs, and this is my passion because I believe very strongly in the entrepreneur and the unencumbered entrepreneur, is to get serious, to get real and to get naked. I don’t mean to strip off your clothes but I mean get naked of ego and ask yourself, “In this business, what are the core functions that it needs and how do I match up to those needs?” I say you close the gap, performance gap analysis, and really build onto that law of control where we feel really good about ourselves to the extent we’re in control of our destiny, and get serious about your business. Build your business. Number one, take inventory. If your business had a voice, listen to it as it says to you, “These things need to be done.” Step number two, “How do I rate myself on a scale of one to ten in order to be able to pull this off?” Step number three, set a goal to close the gap. Step number four, in the areas that you just simply don’t want to learn, learn enough so that you could delineate and not abdicate. Step number five, smile. That’s it. It’s so simple, it’s absurd. When my clients do that and they come back and go, “It just works,” and then we get into the area of brand slaughter, you’re either building your brand or killing it, making sure that you’re living in integrity with your brand. The last thing is the key word live. Are you living? Are you eating the right foods? Are you getting the right amount of sleep? Are you drinking the right water? Are you thinking the right thoughts? Be unencumbered of that stuff. It’s tough enough to be an entrepreneur. When you’re encumbered with extra weight, or maybe the weight is good but your health is not there, or maybe you look healthy but you’ve got inflammation, I’m all about being unencumbered and really honoring the body temple so that you can do great stuff.

I certainly love what you said, David, and I do that to the best of my abilities every single day. Thank you for making it as simple and as clear as you have. You have nine books and I would love to just sit down and do nothing but read all nine of them. Which of your books would you recommend to my audience that they start with? What maybe are the top three books of all that you’ve written you feel would be best for us to start with?

Whereas we love our children equally, I can tell you that for the entrepreneur, I love the idea of them reading Illuminate, which is in its tenth anniversary. It’s on Amazon. I can’t believe it’s in its tenth year anniversary. It’s the seminal model of face it, follow it and fix it. It’s a lovely story and it’s a 90-minute read. I promise that it’s a game changer. Illuminate is there. I bought the rights back from my publisher, Wiley, so I could make it available in paperback and inexpensive, and it is. Number two would be the book that Forbes Magazine just did a great article on and they were so complimentary, and that’s Preventing BrandSlaughter. It’s a story on how to literally live your brand on a regular basis and making sure that everyone does so you’re in brand integrity and not committing brand slaughter in the first, second or third degree. The third book is RE-SANITY: Truths About Food, Drugs and Healthful Living In An Insane World. Those are the three that I would recommend. They are so important to me that I cared enough to write a book about it. All three of them have transformed my life. I am an illuminator and I’m paid as a Chief Illumination Officer by huge companies to help them to learn how to face, follow and fix issues. I like to believe I live my brand, and I do, in talking about being a healthy entrepreneur, in running my weekly 5K boot camp and eating the right foods and literally whooping this cold. Instead of it being seven days, I think I’ve pretty much got it whooped after two. Re-SANITY is all about eating, thinking, drinking the right stuff to honor spirit and honor our body temple.

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Preventing Brand Slaughter: Preventing BrandSlaughter: How to Preserve, Support, and Grow Your Brand Asset Value

I know I’m going to go to Amazon and get those books. Listeners, if you don’t, I have a feeling that you’re going to miss out on quite a lot. David, I have a question for you. Who, in all of space and time, would you like to have one hour to enjoy a walk in the park, a quick lunch or an intense conversation with?

It’s a tough choice for me between Benjamin Franklin and Leonardo da Vinci because I was just in the Senate chambers in Washington, DC and I didn’t see a whole lot of Benjamin Franklin’s principles at work there. I would have to say Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo was so remarkable in so many different areas, as was Franklin, but I would love to call for more wisdom. I read about him and I’ve learned so much. I would love to learn some of the fine details amongst his ability to visualize, conceptualize and then create. Could you imagine just walking down the lane with da Vinci and saying, “How did you come up with that again? What’s the story behind the story on that?” That would be pretty cool.

I would be standing there right next to you as we walk down the path and I’d say, “Leonardo, can you show us how you do it? Teach us how.” He’d probably say, “No. I don’t know how I do it. It just happens.” That’s his unconscious competence. I don’t think he would be able to teach it. What do you think?

This is a gift that I came into this world with, is I’ve been able to work with individuals and discern their genius and unpack the methodology to their genius. I learn from it that way and I help them to teach others that way. When this woman came to me, some of my people were mentoring her and they said, “David, we can’t move the needle. Would you take her on?” When I did, I come to find out that she went through the killing fields of Pol Pot in war-torn Cambodia. Her methodology from five years old on was SBCIA. With something she was confronted with, I noticed it was SBCIA: Stop, breathe, center yourself, take inventory of your assets and resources available, and then take action. She was like, “That’s what I’ve been doing my whole life.” I think I got these delusions of grandeur that if I was hanging out with Leo da Vinci, that I’d be able to unpack his genius so that he could see it and do it more regularly and he could teach others to do it. How’s that for a weird sense of delusion?

First of all, I’d love to be a fly on the wall when you did that. I just would love to see you do it. Number two, I would even love it more if I could watch you do it with old Leo. That would be amazing.

It’s crazy but it’s something that I do with all my clients. I sometimes kiss the back of my hand going, “That was good,” realizing that, “It’s not me. I’m channeling it. It’s coming through me.” We’re all connected and it’s coming through.

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