Happy Columbus Day!! As Americans, we honor the achievements of the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus, but I’m not sure why. Having done some research on him, he wasn’t a very nice guy. His life was filled with flaws and failure. He was sued and jailed on numerous occasions, established the Atlantic slave trade, killed, beat or enslaved thousands of people himself, and wasn’t even that great of a sailor because he landed on an island that was over 8000 miles from where he thought he was.  Even with all this, we still honor him with a National Holiday every year. So maybe there is hope for all of us that we too can be great despite our own faults. Here are a few of Columbus’ better traits than we can emulate to help us sail to our own success:

Be Fearless – not only did he dare to go where others wouldn’t – opening up transatlantic travel with several trips that many said were too dangerous – he didn’t fear rejection, having been turned down numerous times by numerous people to fund his voyage until Queen Isabella final acquiesced. Believe in yourself. If you don’t, who will?

Great Negotiator – He negotiated three ships, four voyages and thousands of dollars from Queen Isabella. He also negotiated with hundreds of sailors to crew his vessels, despite the danger to their own personal welfare.  Have a value proposition and be able to articulate it.

Brand Yourself – Not sure this is as much about branding yourself as having others promote your brand, but despite the fact that he never actually set foot on North America, (the closest he ever got was an island in the Bahamas), many to this day still believe that Columbus discovered America.  There is only one YOU and that YOU is perfect. Let everyone know.

Persevere – As mentioned, Columbus was turned down numerous times by numerous people, yet he was never deterred. He stayed the course and ultimate received what he wanted. If you truly know what you want – GO AFTER IT.

Goal planning – If nothing else, Columbus was a man of vision. He had a goal of opening up a trade route to India, even though his execution was a little off, it did eventually happen.  His goal led, and gave confidence to others, that they too could succeed.  Create a vision for yourself and set sail to obtain it.

Even though Columbus had his share of setbacks and character flaws, he had enough of what it takes to ultimately end up with his own day in October. I challenge you to own each day. Set a path and begin your voyage to success. It may take a few twists and turns along the way. But who knows – you may end up in a better place than the one you initially planned or even with a holiday in your name. Either way, take a chance to explore your own new world.



Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” I certainly hope you are achieving everything you set out to achieve this year. Whether you have or haven’t, it isn’t too early to start planning for next year to ensure that 2017 is even better than 2016.

To guarantee a successful year, you need to have a plan.  Here are some tips that might help you formulate yours:

Make it a Life Plan – When making your plan, make it more than just a business plan – make it a Life Plan. We don’t work in a vacuum. So when creating your plan, make sure to include all facets of your life.  Think about your goals and strategies around your family, your personal health, your community service and your recreation as well as your business. I am a big believer that if one aspect of our life is out of sync it tends to affect the other aspects. So make sure they are all in alignment.

Get it in Writing – Experts agree that we tend to hold ourselves more accountable if we write down our plan. Having it written down also gives us a reference guide for our daily, weekly and monthly activities throughout the year and keeps us on track.

Start with a Vision – If you consider your plan a map, a map is of no use if you don’t have your destination in mind. It is okay if that destination changes, but it is important to have a definite starting and ending point. When setting your goals, make an effort to stretch yourself and get out of your comfort zone.  Don’t go easy on yourself. Make sure to create a goal for each aspect of your life, For example, your goals might be $300k in income, a month vacation, an hour at the gym each day, pay for my kids college and $10k to your favorite charity.  Use these goals to keep you focused on why you are working so hard everyday.

Bit Size Morsels – Like eating the proverbial elephant, break your plan down into monthly, weekly, daily, even hourly activity and achievements.  Enough good hours lead to a good day. Enough good days lead to a successful week. Enough good weeks and you have a good month. Enough good months and you have a great year.

Share your Plan – Don’t be afraid to tell anyone and everyone your plan. This does two things: 1. It gets people on board to help you execute your plan – we all could use a little help in our lives. 2. It holds you accountable to your plan. Even if you don’t share it with a bunch of people, make sure to have at least an accountability partner to hold you to your plan.

If you take the time to plan, then you should plan on having a successful 2017.