Two Faces in the Mirror

mirrorRichard Branson, the already successful Branson, has had to close down businesses that were sucking money down drains with no end in sight. Arguably, he made bad decisions and bad investments. If he lives long enough and stays active, he’ll do so again. Long after the big crash that almost did him in, the freshly, super-successful Trump has been involved with failed real estate projects in Vegas and in Mexico, been sued or threatened suit by investors, and more recently his licensing and speaking deal with the company using the Trump University brand has bitten him in the ass. Presuming another decade of active entrepreneurialism, these won’t be the last sour real estate projects or the last ass bite.

Disney has, recently, bought companies it later, quietly killed. Put out John Carter From Mars and The Lone Ranger.  Completely screwed up its California Adventure theme park and has spent hundreds of millions of dollars re-tooling it. Examine almost any shiny success, and on its flip side, you’ll find grimy failure. How do you feel about that fact?

Zig told the story of the cat hat stepped on the hot burner, then not only wouldn’t ever jump on the stove again, but wouldn’t even come in the kitchen. This is  how most people feel about and react to failure, particularly embarrassing and humiliating or expensive failure. If they experience it once, they never want to go in the kitchen again. One punch in the nose is all it takes. The truth of success scares the shinola out of most people.

There are also, always, the exceptionally successful individuals who are, in various ways, failures personally. Houdini failed at almost nothing, except control of his own ego, which very directly caused his premature and unnecessary death. There’s a T-shirt being sold, with picture of Bill Clinton, that reads: “Remember when YOUR biggest problem in Washington DC was MY stain on a blue dress?” It’s funny, but it also speaks sadly of the stain on a smart and talented man.

My friend Gene Landrum has written intelligently and eloquently about the dysfunction of the extraordinary achiever, and if you haven’t read any of his works, start with Profiles of Greatness.  Most exceptionally successful people are not even close to “superior” – in fact, most are horribly flawed, but manage to rise above their own foibles.

My own history includes a private graveyard of business failures and disappointing projects, most given the swift sword, a few dying slowly and agonizingly;  financial embarrassments;  and some number of people with permanent negative opinions about me. I am not universally beloved nor consistently and certainly successful.

To hit some business highlights, going backwards, there has been mail-order ice cream (which sounds funnier than it is), a high-priced be-an-expert academy that failed to launch, a comprehensive how-to course for inventors no inventor wanted, a retail store: the Self-Improvement Center ahead of its time. Just these added together, a million bucks, give or take, down the drain, a bit noisily.

There was, way back when, both a corporate Chapter 11 turned 13 and a personal bankruptcy. There are four business experiments underway now and I’m confident at least some will become tax losses buried in the back yard. Of more micro nature, were I to try and list and briefly describe all the mis-steps, mistakes, misadventures and misfortunes, it’d be best to do it like an old-fashioned encyclopedia, with a thick volume for each letter of the alphabet, the entire set consuming several shelves. And I’m not done making messes. I say: success is cooked up in a messy kitchen.

If your success game plan features being right 100% of the time and never making mistakes or your fragile ego demands never getting egg on its face, you’ll be playing the game for only a short time, timidly, and without distinction, or you’ll rise high and fast only to fall just as fast and crash as hard as can be.  The ironic fact is, the game is won by losers.  If you aren’t floundering or outright failing at something, you probably aren’t doing much of anything. When you look in the mirror, if you don’t see a winner and a loser, the guy or gal you do see isn’t playing the big game.

You have heard the cliché: success breeds success. It does. But what you don’t often hear is the other, equal truth, that failure is the other parent of almost all success.  The goal of success can never be to avoid failure, but to manage it, minimize its harm, extract its lessons, leverage it in every way possible, rise above it, and know that it will be forgotten and made irrelevant in time.

Everybody knows that Babe Ruth struck out more than he hit home runs. Most superstar athletes perform similarly. Michael Jordan missed more than 9,000 shots in his pro career. 26 times, he had the game winning shot in his hands, missed, lost. He said, “I have failed over and over and over again in my life – and that is why I succeed.” By his own words, he acknowledges seeing two faces in the mirror.

How I Always Vote (and You Should Too)

Chris here with a quick update from beautiful Walt Disney World…

Yesterday, here in the USA, we held our presidential elections.

I know people were glued to CNN watching the results roll in to figure out what it means for their future. Concerned that if the ‘wrong’ candidate wins – it’ll spell certain financial doom and gloom.

Guess what? I’m wasn’t one of them…nor was my business partner and great friend, Yanik Silver.


Quite simply because we’ve figured out how to write our own ticket regardless of what’s going on with the nutty economy, crazy tax increases, the next person in the White House or any external factor!

It starts from figuring out how to create profits on demand (just like turning a tap). Then that gives you freedom to do what you want and when you want. And it expands to how you live your life and what meaning you bring to others.

This is what Yanik calls his “Maverick Philosophy for Entrepreneurs”.  It’s a way to make more, have more fun and give back more.  It’s his ‘Maverick Manifesto’…and it’s all about always casting your vote for freedom (and not at the polls).

Want to see what we’re talking about?

Check out the free 60+ minute video by clicking right here.

For the last few months, I’ve partnered up with Yanik and we’ve been quietly working behind the scenes on a mammoth new undertaking (and brand new company).  This video is the cornerstone of the ‘Maverick Business Insider’ philosophy.

Regardless if you’re in a brick-and-mortar biz, network marketing, information publishing or any other type of business, this totally free video will definitely resonate.  I’m not sure how long we’ll leave it posted at that page, so definitely watch it while you can.

Talk to you soon,

Chris Zavadowski 🙂

P.S. – Yes, I know, I know, the word “Maverick” has been stomped on with the election but it makes sense here because YOU get to write your own rules.

YOU get to be the person that decides how to play the ‘game’ and that’s being a renegade…someone who’s NOT going to cower in the corner while the media tells us the sky is falling.

If you’d like to join us and experience it first-hand, you’ll want to watch this powerful video today.   Click here.

A Personal Favor for My Dad

Rich Zavadowski and Chris ZavadowskiChris here with a very personal update and favor for my Dad…

(FYI – a new article series and video training are in the works, so consider this post the calm before the next content storm. ) 🙂

Long-time subscribers may remember that years ago my Mom (Mary Ann) battled breast cancer.  Although it was difficult at the time, I pulled back the curtain to share that struggle with you in my email newsletter (back before blogs even existed).

With a great dose of humanity and understanding, my subscribers flooded her inbox with prayers, support and kind words that brought many smiles and helped her face the surgeries, treatment and the unknown.

Fortunately, she won that battle and has been cancer-free for 5+ years!  To celebrate, we held giveaways for you, tied in our sales events with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure charity foundation and much more.  I’m deeply grateful for the support you all gave her.

Now jumping ahead years later…

You may have realized that I’ve been “quieter” on the blog and with my emails for much of this year.  There’s a good reason for that.  And it’s time let you know why…

Toward the beginning of this year my Dad, Rich Zavadowski (one of my close friends, and also the creator of the “Government Contract Secrets” course my company publishes), became very ill…so bad that he had to stay home from work.

I’ll spare you all of the details, but the result was he looked like a pale ghost, with zero appetite or energy.

While the dozens of tests started to point toward a lymphoma, his lymph node biopsy continued to baffle the local pathologists and labs.  It took almost three months of chasing down doctors and labs (totally unacceptable when you’re dealing with someone’s life!) until we got everything over to the National Institutes of Health (NIH)…specifically the National Cancer Institute.

Then within days this top notch facility finally nailed things down and handed my Dad a confirmed diagnosis: Stage IV Peripheral T-cell Lymphoma, unspecified. 🙁

Basically his cancer was as advanced as it could be (appearing in his blood, lymph nodes, bone marrow and metastasized on his leg and a couple ribs).  While lymphoma is the fifth most common cancer among men and women in the USA (approximately 74,340 new cases in 2008 alone), the type my Dad has is very rare.

Because so few people have this, there’s not enough data in the medical community to suggest the ‘best’ treatment for this (heck, there’s not even a standard treatment for this).


If you know anyone with ANY type of cancer…get them to an NCI “Comprehensive Cancer Center“ — because as we’ve quickly come to learn, the quality of care and expertise in the cancer field is all over the map. There isn’t always one right treatment…but there are wrong ways to treat (our initial doctor had recommended a surgery and treatment that were TOTALLY unnecessary…and could have killed him!). When someone’s life is involved, don’t settle for only the local doc’s opinion…get an expert to weigh in.


National Cancer Institute

Well, after a few trying days and thinking long and hard about the options, my Dad decided to be part of a clinical trial (called a “protocol”) run by NIH’s NCI (a world-class, amazing facility that gets patients flying in from all over the place).

While it’s a much more aggressive treatment, with increased side effects and risks, it’s also something they are testing specifically for t-cell lymphomas.  It involves 5 days of steady chemotherapy…repeated every 3 weeks over a period of about 4 months.

Anyway, I promised him at the beginning of this journey that I’d be there for every doctor’s visit, test, treatment and more.   So that’s why I’ve been a little quieter this year — I’ve been helping Dad and Mom go through all of this, along with organizing all the test results, appointments and more.  (And MAJOR credit goes to Mom — Mary Ann — who helps him through this 24×7.  She’s an unsung hero in all of this!)

It’s times like these when you truly realize what a blessing having an online business is!

Now the National Cancer Institute estimates in January 2004 alone, there were 10.8 million Americans alive with a history of cancer.  And this year, 1,437,180 new cases are expected.  Survival rates have increased as detection *and* treatment methods have improved, but we’ve still got a long way to go.

Chances are you or a loved one have been touched by cancer, so you know first-hand how emotional and scary this journey is for an entire family.

That’s where YOU (and my personal favor) come in…

My Dad is going through chemotherapy as we speak, and soon he’ll receive follow-up test results showing how well treatment has worked so far.  (Regardless of the outcome, he still has several more months of getting knocked on his ass by the chemo.)

Just like I did with my Mom years ago, I’d like to ask you to leave a comment on this blog with an inspirational thought or ‘get well’ message for my Dad, Rich Zavadowski.

I’m going to print the comments off and put them in a “Happy Thoughts” binder I’ve created for him to chronicle the outpouring of support (and emails) we’ve been receiving from family and friends online.  Your kind words posted here will go directly into this special book for him.

With cancer and the drugs he’s on, there are some very tense, depressing days, so when he’s a little down or needs a “pick me up” to get his head back in the right place, he can just turn to any page and see how much positive energy is coming his way.  It’ll help give him strength for when he beats this cancer and returns back to a normal life!

Thanks in advance for this favor — and stay tuned for some new surprises coming to the blog as a big thank you!

Chris 🙂

P.S. – Let’s not Dad is now a part of the “solution” for cancer – he’s on the cutting edge of research helping them learn more about this crazy disease. And some day down the road when they cure it, he’ll have played his part in that.  You go, Dad. 🙂

P.P.S. — If you feel comfortable doing it, please leave him a positive note below on this blog post as he continues to battle this.  It would mean the world to him (and my Mom and me).

He’s facing a very aggressive, rare cancer and can use all the positive energy, prayers and good thoughts you can send.  We all know a smile and good thought can go a long way…and the right thoughts can change a life for the better!

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