Power and Control, Mastering Ethical Influence with Wendy Lipton-Dibner

USO 033 | Ethical InfluenceThe moment you start doing things other people tell you to do is the moment you put a shackle on yourself. After quitting her job, Wendy Lipton-Dibner started doing her thing and made honesty her moral foundation. Wendy shares how ethical influence can be a huge factor in attracting people who will eventually share her positive and honest outlook.

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Power and Control, Mastering Ethical Influence with Wendy Lipton-Dibner

 

It’s great to be with you again today on the podcast where we talk about how you could really build a business that will work harder for you than you have to work for it. A business that’s not just a glorified job but it’s really an asset. Every week I come back to you with fantastic friends of mine, people that have done really cool stuff, and I know that you’ll be able to learn from them. Sometimes, from time to time, I’ll just have something I want to share and will do a little monologue. If this is your first time to the program, I welcome you. If you’ve been here dozens and dozens of times, I welcome you back. I just had a funny talk from somebody who actually wanted to hire me to work with him, and he said, “I just binged all your podcast and that’s why you’re getting the phone call.” You’ll never know who’s listening out there. Make sure that whatever you do is a good representation of what you really stand for because you’ll never know who’s listening, who’s watching and who might be your world’s greatest new customer or new partner. 

USO 033 | Ethical Influence

Ethical Influence: Wendy Lipton-Dibner – founder of Professional Impact Incorporated.

Today’s guest is one of my dear friends. Her name is Wendy Lipton-Dibner. She’s the Founder of Professional Impact Incorporated. It must have been seven years ago that I met Wendy at an event in Southern California. Wendy, at least the way she was described to me, was the person who was going to be evaluating the speakers. This was one of my first speaking gigs talking to small business owners and I was probably really unprepared. I was aware of this incredibly professional, incredibly polished person that was going to be ranking me or something and see if I was going to get voted off the island. There was Wendy, and although she let me know that I had some room for improvement, which was a little hard on the ego but I knew it anyway, what I got from her was a kindness and a level of professionalism, and I thought I need to be listening to her. We didn’t see each other for a little while and we found each other again at another event. That time, both of our spouses were there and the four of us did some things together. Everybody fell in love with everybody else and it’s just been a terrific friendship ever since then. Wendy, welcome to The Unshackled Owner podcast. I’m so delighted that you’re here.

Aaron, you couldn’t be half as delighted as I am. We’re going to have so much fun. I’m really honored to be a part of this. I love what you’re doing with this for entrepreneurs. It’s just spectacular.

Thank you. What you do is so complementary because I’m giving people some overarching, some chunks like this is how you own a company, and of course, you have great experience with that. With that you do with moving people to action and this whole idea of making an impact, it’s all about impact, is what’s critical today. Everything out there right now is about being millennials, especially are mission-driven, buyers want to know why they’re buying from you, not just that you have the best price. I don’t know anybody who’s doing a better job at this, especially teaching small companies. There are a lot of people that are up by enterprise level, but the small business which makes up most of the jobs and most of the GDP, I don’t think they have a better teacher than you. What you’re doing is great. Let’s just get into this and let people know about you. You didn’t start off as a world-class speaker training enterprise level and medical and all these huge companies. You didn’t start off with that. Where did you start out? Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

I grew up in New York. I was born in Pennsylvania. I started out wanting to be Barbra Streisand. She sang in a movie. The first time I heard her I was eleven years old. I just burst into tears and I thought, “How does one person’s voice, that I’ve never met, make me cry? How do I do that?” What I’ve been doing ever since, except instead of singing, we’re rocking people’s worlds with entrepreneurial stuff. It’s all good.

You heard Barbra Streisand as an eleven-year old. Did you pursue theater or music or something for a while before you started speaking? I want to talk about your story, your journey. Was it Funny Girl? Is that the movie?

Yeah, it was.

If you people are too young to have seen Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl, you’re missing out. Go to Netflix or go find it, I don’t know who’s got Funny Girl. You’ve got to watch it. It is a fantastic movie based on a true story of Fanny Brice who really was a Ziegfeld Follies girl back in the teens or twenties.

It’s her story of how she fought against all odds. It’s actually really fitting today considering what’s in the news, what so many women are going through in Hollywood and beyond. It really should come back out now. You’ve got to watch it all the way to the end. You’ve got to see the scene where she’s on this boat, that’s all I’m going to say. That was it; it set me up for the rest of my life that nobody was going to rain on my parade. It was just amazing.

She was on the boat and everybody was telling her what she had to do, and she said, “No, I’m going to do what I want to do.” That’s the song you were talking about, that’s the scene where she ends up on the boat. You go watch the freaking movie, Funny Girl with Barbra Streisand. Were you Wendy Lipton for many years? Is that the deal?

I was. Lipton is actually my mother’s maiden name. I’ve been a bunch of names based on her marriages, but I finally chose her maiden name as a tribute to her. We lost her in the 90s. I wanted to be sure that the Lipton legacy went into everything I did. To your question, yes, I started out in music and theater but my grandmother, my mother’s mother, came after me while I was in college. I was in my freshman-sophomore year and she said, “There’s no future in theater. You need to get a real job.” P.S. when Ronal Reagan was elected president, I called my grandmother. I’m like, “Tell me again that there’s no future in theater.” I took on whatever I could find and I ended up doing a double major in theater and sociology, which I found out if you major in sociology the only thing you can really do is go to graduate school.

When I was getting ready to graduate, my grandmother made a bet with me and she said, “I want you to go to grad school. Once you apply if you get accepted, I’ll pay for it. If you don’t get accepted, I’ll pay for you to go to Broadway.” I called her bluff. I went and I applied to the top schools in the United States. I figured they would never accept me because I was coming from a theater background at a state school, and Duke University called my bluff so I had to go. It was the best thing that could have possibly happened. I was trained in social research. I got an understanding of what are the social factors that move groups and individuals to action. I fell in love with the process and that’s really where it began in the middle of researching a massive hospital. I was doing research in organizational development, this kind of stuff. One of our research studies, the one about the hospital, led to an invitation to present our results at the US Senate. That’s really where it all began, Aaron, right there in front of those senators.

You went to school, maybe even a little grudgingly. After graduate school, you started learning how to research, which has been a hallmark of your career as you’re always researching and researching. I know you had this integrity moment before the senate. You’re testifying at this, I don’t know if the full house of the senate or if it was in a committee, but you were presenting to a bunch of senators, and they wanted you to present the research differently in a way that would suite the suits. Is that true? 

USO 033 | Ethical Influence

Ethical Influence: “If you torture the data enough, they’ll confess to anything.”

Yes. The minute that we were invited, a half a dozen attorneys showed up in my little cubicle and said, “We’re going to help you write this report,” and they did. Everything I wrote, they changed. Nothing was a lie, it just was icky. It wasn’t ethical. It read to make the hospitals look better. There’s an old saying in research, “If you torture the data enough, they’ll confess to anything.” We went to Washington and on the day that I was supposed to present this thing, I’m facing this enormous hall of men. I was the only woman in the room and I was scared. I was 20, 21 and I panicked. I ran to the ladies’ room. I got sick. It was just really one of my best moments of my life. Then I stood up to read this thing and I couldn’t make myself do it. As you know, it was a horrible moment for me and something inside me just popped. I just couldn’t do it so I held up the report as if I was reading, but I didn’t read it word for word. Instead I just reported our data because it was awesome and there was no reason not to. Ultimately, our research helped those senators make a decision that has since impacted millions of lives but on that day, it was a real turning point for me. It was the day that I discovered that one human being can make a massive social impact if we just stick to our ethics, if we lead the right team, if we put ourselves in the right place at the right time and follow the right strategies. That’s what happened that day. It was also the day, Aaron, that I discovered that I’m really not cut out to be an employee.

You don’t want to be told what to do. 

I quit my job. I launched my first business.

I hope that you’re listening to this. Wendy told that story and it’s a big story of being in front of the senate, which most people are not going to get to go testify before the senate, they’re not going to have their job on the line where there are some huge hospital groups trying to tell a young person, “You’re going to say it like this,” and not the way that you exactly discovered it. Wendy’s point about your ethics is so important; we’re talking about becoming unshackled. One of the quickest ways to handcuff yourself or to put on shackles is to do things just for the easy buck. You’ll give a little bit because you really need this deal. You’re willing to sell out just a tiny little bit because there’s a whole big payoff down the road if you’re willing to amend the truth a little bit. They weren’t lying, they just weren’t accurately reporting.

I think the reason that certain people are able to land on their feet even when they have challenges is because those around them, the marketplace out there that knows them says, “That’s an honest person. That person went through an understandable challenge and they still were the same person in adversity as they were in abundance and in the good times.” It’s a big takeaway to make sure your integrity will be your greatest lifeline when you’re in a bad situation. If you’ve been a good person, if you’d done the right things, people will back you up. Isn’t that your experience, Wendy?

I love how you’re describing it. It’s absolutely true. My boss wasn’t happy with me that day, but at the end of the day, it didn’t matter because now here I am years later looking back on it, I can sleep well. At the end of the day, that’s what I thought I’d do.

Living in integrity combined with intelligence and research and education, all these things, it gives you a very solid platform to stand on and speak your truth. Whereas, if you’re always having to go, “I’m saying this now but somebody might find me out because I’m fudging a little bit,” that doesn’t make you as secure. I’ve watched you be very powerful, stand up in your strength in front of audiences and the people just rush to you because you’re able to present truth from a solid footing. I think that’s not super common in the world.

I know and I think that’s sad. Thank you for that. The more that I meet people trying so hard to really stand out and differentiate, “I’m just going to add a little something and nobody will ever know, it’s just a tiny little exaggeration,” in today’s world there are no secret. We’re all going to find out eventually so you might as well just be straight up, do your thing, no need to exaggerate, let’s just get it out there. The education piece, it wasn’t my education that made that moment happen. It was my upbringing. It was my family. It was the ways that I viewed myself in the world. I don’t care if you’ve never been to college. At the end of the day, it’s you that we’re looking to help us and to stand up and do your thing. Don’t get caught on the education thing at all.

Remember, 80% of the world’s billionaires never finished college. It’s self-education. Also you’ll attract a greater quality of person when they see that you’re honest and that you do what you say you’re going to do. I want to jump now to that. You left your job and you started your first business, which for somebody who’s such a move-people-to-action-and-impact-big-platform speaker, all the things that you’ve done, you started with a hair salon, is that right?

I did. It was so amazing. Here I was, coming from this big ivory tower school and all that.

How old are you, 26, 25 or something like that?

This was in 1983. I was born in ’57, so you do the math however old I was.

Twenty-six.

This was in Fort Worth, Texas and this is where I met my husband Hal, in fact, but I didn’t know him yet. What happened was I quit my job and I did what any good unemployed young person does. I went and got drunk, which was not me since I had just done a big research study on alcoholism. It only took me two glasses of wine and I was pretty gone and I started writing on napkins. The long and short of that story is I stayed up all night and the next day I brought a napkin design and a hand-typed on an old-fashioned typewriter proposal to a bank. I told them I wanted to start a social laboratory to prove that businesses can make more money when we take our eyes off of the money and focus on impact. If it hadn’t been for that, the attorneys would have never come into my office because for them it was all about the money. That’s really where it all started.

USO 033 | Ethical Influence

Ethical Influence: I exited in three years at 60x and went on to open business number two.

The reason I chose a hair salon was because I knew nothing about it. I knew nothing about the business. I knew nothing about how to run a business. I had never read a business book. I knew nothing. I thought if I walked in there and only did what science said should work, I really geeked out and I said, “Let’s just do this thing and see what happens.” They loved the idea. They wrote me a check for $50,000 in 1983, which is a lot of money. I went to a beauty school and I hired twelve kids straight out of school who also knew nothing about business and we opened the doors. For three months we sat there empty and talked a lot about impact and what we should do when people came. Long story short, I exited in three years at 60x and went on to open business number two. It was pretty amazing.

I know you’ve said focus on impact, but let’s give the listeners a couple of ideas. There you are, you go from, “I don’t know anything about cutting hair,” and you didn’t go to hair salon school or beauty school, you hired a bunch of youngsters who were just out of school who had some level of skill but no business knowledge at all. You had a place, a location, you said you were quiet for a while but then you 60x it. What were a few of the things that you figured out early on that would differentiate you from the other hair salons out there? I know that you’re going to tell a few of the tactics that you used, but I want to know how did you come up with some of the tactics that you used so you could tell us what they were about. Why did you think to do those things and how could those ideas translate today?

What happened was, to be clear, within twelve months we broke industry records in the beauty industry. We didn’t just do it, we really did it. How it happened was because I didn’t know anything about business and I was determined not to, I went to what I did know which was creativity, science, and being really good to people. By science, I mean what makes people do what they do? What we did was we talked about people. Every time somebody tried to tell me, “You should be doing X,” I went and did Y because it wasn’t about what people said, it was about what people wanted from me. My number one goal and what I told everybody in the shop was that our job was to find out what people want and give it to them. In order to do that, we had to ask questions, we had to talk to them, we had to generate genuine conversations with people.

Aaron, to fast track this now, when you look at the day that we first met, one of the things I said to you was speaking is not about speaking. It’s about having a conversation from the stage. It was the same thing. It’s about looking at people and finding out how were they responding to us and are they being touched. Just like Barbra Streisand that first day, are we engaging emotion and are we moving them in a way that they have to do more, be more, buy more? Whatever it is, we’re talking straight to their emotions and then building it from there. That’s what we did.

Give us an example. If you were talking to somebody right now and they’re an electrician or a plumber or a landscape architect, what would be a few questions we could start to ask people to begin that conversation? I think a lot of people don’t know how to do that. They have no idea with that so they just say, “I fix toilets, I put in wiring or I design yards.” They don’t know how to have the conversation. How can they start?

You want specific tactics or general strategy?

Just general. We can’t give them everything. You’ve written some great books on this so they can really read the details. When they leave this podcast, I want them to be able to say, “As this circumstance pops up today, I could ask a different question that I never thought to ask before.” 

Bottom line, remember something that we’ve all known for a long time. People only move to action to avoid pain or to get something they want. We’ve known that for a long time. Now the question is how do we find out what they think their pain is? How do we ask questions of them so that we’re not the ones telling anything, they are? The whole basis of my sales system is that we don’t tell people stuff, we ask them stuff and they talk us into selling them something.

You said that and I thought I know that but I don’t think about it all the time. That’s great. She said you ask questions, you just ask people what they want, what their pain is, and they’ll actually tell you. Then you figure out, “What can I do to relieve that pain?”

No. You seek out what they want and then if you’ve got it, great. If you don’t, you refer them to someone who does.

Just like Miracle on 34th Street. There’s another movie where Santa Claus says, “We don’t have it at Macy’s. Go to Gimbels. They have it for a better price.” All of a sudden Macy’s couldn’t hold back the crowd. Everybody wanted to come do business with the honest company even though at first the suits thought it was a bad idea to refer people. Ask them what they want and then give it to them if you’ve got it, and don’t give it to them if you don’t have it. Just say, “I’ll refer you to somebody. I’m not a mercenary. I want to help you get what you want.” 

What a novel concept. Be good to people. 

Mark this episode because we’re really changing lives here, but it’s true.

USO 033 | Ethical Influence

Ethical Influence: I’m not taking sides. I’m just saying what the truth is because it’s all money-driven.

We’re surrounded by a 24-hour news entertainment industry. You’ve got the news that’s on the three, ABC, CBS and NBC, which are controlled by rules that originally came up with the FCC. They had to give an hour of free unbiased news was their job, but then when cable happened, CNN and Fox and CNBC and all of those guys, that’s all ad-driven, that’s all entertainment. We may be going to CNN to watch the news, but we have to remember that CNN and Fox both have their own agenda and they’re seeking a certain customer and they’re getting advertiser revenue to feed that group. You’re probably not going to see a lot of NRA commercials on CNN, but you would see them on Fox. You’re not going to see a lot of Bernie Sanders stuff on Fox, you’re not going to see anything that’s real socially conscious on Fox. I’m not taking sides. I’m just saying what the truth is because it’s all money-driven. What that’s done is create all this negative energy across the country and really across the world because it’s no longer about doing the right thing, it’s about doing the expedient thing to get money. When we do things just to get money without trying to do the right thing for the customer, you may get a sale but you won’t get a fan, not for very long. 

You talk about research. You know the study. I did a study of over a thousand companies; every industry from healthcare to hair care. I walked in and looked at what were their priorities, and of course they were all interested in money because by definition, business is about exchanging money for goods. Number one, focus is making money. What I found is they were spending more money to make up for the problems they caused because they were focused on money. When we turned it around and got everything in terms of what do we do in this department to make a measureable difference in people’s lives? The end result was that we increase revenues by more than 200% in less than 30 days, and sustained it and grew it over anywhere from one to five years, depending on how far we follow them. Bottom line, this isn’t just a mindset, this is strategy. When you focus on impact, making a measureable difference through your marketing, your products and your services, you will make more money.

You can’t help it because people fall in love with you. You and I are both Disney fans. We love Disney. When I go to Disney, they charge me what seems like a lot of money to get in the door, $118 or whatever it is for a day pass to go into the Magic Kingdom. Everything that I run into all day long just makes me delighted, just makes me happy. Everywhere I look, there’s something beautiful to see. Every sound I hear is, other than maybe a child who’s been there just a little too long, but all the music that’s coming over the loud speakers, all the parades, the fireworks show, it’s all designed to make a great impact. They’re fulfilling on their promise at every turn. You wonder why did a swamp in Central Florida become the number one tourist destination in the world? Why did all these other companies grew up around them just to get a little bit of the scraps from Disney’s table? It’s because everybody’s trying to make money, but Disney’s not just making money, they’re creating or more than raving like rabid fans. 

Again, it’s because of life-changing things that happen there. Understand that from my perspective, impact is only impact when we produce measureable results for people. When I do Move People To Action I add a bonus day and on that bonus day, we all go to Disney. We look at how are the ways that Disney moves people to action? You watch people walk out with bags and bags and bags filled of stuff that they bought but there is not one place in that park where you will see anyone selling anything. What they’ve done is created this emotional roller coaster ride where you feel sad, you feel happy, you feel scared, you feel mad, you feel excited, everything weird that you’ve ever felt or never felt, you can’t help but feel it at Disney and they do that on purpose and it is effective.

You desperately need to take a piece of that with you. Then you get home and you’re going, “What am I going to do with this sweatshirt with Dumbo on it? I don’t want to wear that.” I tell you what, when you put it on there and you feel like part of the club, you feel part of the cast, then it feels fantastic. I don’t think it’s bad. I’m a pin collector. I do their pin trading thing. I go home and I have a big board on my office wall with hundreds and hundreds of pins. I like to look at them and take them off because I want to remember what I loved about it. At Laughlin, we have an incredibly high renewal rate of our clients and I believe it’s because we’re not trying to sell them anything. The credo at our place is that when our employee’s on the phone with our prospect or our customer, they’re not thinking, “This is a prospect. This is a customer. This is a pain in the butt.” They’re thinking, “I, as a Laughlin team member, I’m a fortress builder. My job is to help build a fortress around this person’s personal and business assets. I want them to be safe. I want to figure out what can I do to build a fortress for them, put another layer of bricks up to keep them safe.” When you’re focused on, “How can I help the customer?” even if the customer never learns that we talk about being fortress builders in our meetings, they still feel it somehow. 

I’ve met so many people who’ve been to your events and who’ve worked directly with you, and nobody ever talks about being sold. They never say, “Wendy sold me this crazy expensive thing,” or, “I went to this event. It was expensive and it was a waste of my money.” It’s always about not how they learned a new skill but like how their life changed, how their perspective changed. What brought you to the point that said, “That’s the effect I’m going to give to the people that work with me?”

That was because of the senate. This has been my whole career. Understand, I’ve built ten businesses this way of my own and over 3,000 small and large business customers with this. The one thing I can tell you is that the strategy of measureable difference is what makes the difference. It really does affect everything you create, everything you do, everything you say to people, the products, the marketing, your team, the people that you choose. It’s about how can we take this? Remember back in the 80s when I got started, it was not sexy to focus on impact. That didn’t start until I think the millennials. We had to hide it. We had to pretend it was sales training and all that kind of stuff.

USO 033 | Ethical Influence

Ethical Influence: When you get to that micro-level, you have to shift things around in order to make sure you can keep track of that.

At the end of the day, what we were doing was working with people to make sure that whatever their individual job was or whatever their small business was or whatever their dream was, they were first figuring out, “How am I going to keep track of how people’s lives are changed because they did business with us?” When you get to that micro-level, you have to shift things around in order to make sure you can keep track of that. I would argue that your success with Unshackled Owner as well as with Laughlin is not just about feeling. It’s about what are the owners now free to do because you were in their life that they couldn’t have done otherwise? That’s the measureable impact there.

If you were going to say you built all these ten businesses and you’ve disguised it all along but you always were trying to make a big impact and do the right thing based on your senate experience. When was the moment in your career when you thought, “This isn’t a fluke. This has really happened and this is duplicatable. I’m seeing that I’m able to do this over and over again. I think I found some secret sauce.” Was there ever a moment like that?

Yeah, there really was. It was the first time that I saw another company that was about as different than me as it could get. It was a trucking company that it hired my company to go in and help their truckers who were delivering groceries and trying to get them on better places. It couldn’t be as far from what I did as that was. It was the moment that their sales went through the roof and their people, the recidivism rate, the amount of the  turnover, all of that changed. Everything shifted. Their days off for sickness went away. Just crazy stuff happened in that place and it was all measureable. That’s when I realized it doesn’t have to be me doing it, it can just be me teaching it.

I’m here with Wendy Lipton-Dibner, the Founder of Professional Impact, the woman who has moved thousands and thousands and thousands of people to action. When I talk about moving to action it’s to do good in the world, to make money, to feel good about the things that you’re doing. She’s a master teacher and a master doer and a successful entrepreneur in her own right many times over. I want you to look her up on the web. I want you to reach out to her. Wendy, I just love listening to you talk. It’s almost like I get smarter and I get refocused when I’m with you.

Thank you. I think we bring the best out in each other. I think we ask great questions back and forth.

Thanks. This is the part where I call it the Golden Keys because the idea is to get unshackled and we always talk about big concepts, but then I like to give people just some things they can go back and do on their own or think about or hit some little moment where they go, “That was interesting.” The first question is, is there a book either that you’ve written that would help people to do what you’re doing or a book that you recommend the people that you think would really help them? Is there a book that you would recommend?

Yeah, absolutely. I’m going to recommend Focus on Impact. It’s the book that outlines an exact path to be able to do what I’ve done if you’re a solopreneur or a small business. It takes it away from the enterprise and straight to small business, so it’s Focus on Impact.

It’s your book and can they find that on Amazon?

Absolutely.

It is a terrific book. I’ve got two copies of it and I’ve referenced it many times. I read it when she first came out with it. It really is a very good book that will give you a direct path to what you want to do. Is there a quote that you love or a song lyric? Something that maybe you got up on the wall or that you tend to pull out of your pocket a lot.

One of my first businesses was an MLM franchise that I backed into, I never knew what I was going to do, which was Success Motivation Institute. I became the number one person at Success Motivation Institute, the biggest franchise. I was going to stop and it was all because of the conversation I had with the incredible Paul Myers who had this thing that he said all the time which was, “Anything we vividly imagine and ardently desire, sincerely believe and enthusiastically act upon, must inevitably come to pass.” That one quote just changed my life.

Looking back over your time, there are things in all of our careers that we go, “I wish I hadn’t done that.” I know that all of our steps are good and bad choices that we make on the way lead us to where we are this moment. If we’re happy, and you’re in a happy marriage, you’re healthy, you’ve got a vibrant business, you’re loved and respected. Obviously you’ve made tons of good steps. Is there anything you would love to go and if you could do it over again, you would do something differently?

Yes. How do I count the ways? You don’t build ten businesses and not end up with a lot of scars. The very first thing that really did me in was in my third business. My third business took off bigger than I ever imagined, faster than I ever imagined. I was making more money in one day than I ever imagined I’d make in my entire life and I got a little cocky. All I could think about was, “If I can make this much money in one day, what could I do if I had two days?” All I could think about was money, which of course you’ve heard my story about money. I’ve got so focused on money that the first thing I did is what everybody does when you focus on money. I started to look at, “How can I cut back on expenses? How can I try and trim things here in a way that would save us money so we’d make more money without me having to work so hard?” One of the things I did was I started writing my own contracts. “What do I need a lawyer for? I know what to do, right?”

USO 033 | Ethical Influence

Ethical Influence: I was being hired to do all these speaking engagements. I was making $150,000 for a one-hour keynote. It was crazy.

I was being hired to do all these speaking engagements. I was making $150,000 for a one-hour keynote. It was crazy. I started writing my own speaking agreements and selling a bunch of stuff. At the end of the day, everything was awesome and I had my calendar booked out for the entire year. I’d never had anything like that in my life; traveling first class. I thought, “I’ve got this money. I’m going to build the business further and I’m going to open four offices all over the country. I’m going to get a bunch of sales people and I’m going to pay them to sell me.” I started going nuts. I started staying in five-star hotels and doing all the stuff because I had an image to maintain. At the end of the whole thing, we had all these contracts ready to go, I’m spending more money, I’m getting huge, huge, huge benefits and things to my bonuses, to my sales people. Then all of a sudden, we went to war. It was the first Gulf War, and the very next day after we went to war, my phone started to ring with people cancelling their training contracts.

What I didn’t know is that in times of war, the first thing enterprise companies do is they cut back on training and advertising so that they can wait and see what the economy is going to do. Of course, I fell into that hole. Because I didn’t have great agreements, all the money they promised me went away. There was no deposit, no nothing. I had already put all of that money on credit cards knowing it was coming the next year. There was no way out of this. There was no retribution, no way to get back anything that I had spent and I ultimately ended up in bankruptcy, firing my employees. I can’t tell you what it was like having to fire all of those amazing people. It was awful.

What’s the takeaway? Don’t spend money before you collect it. 

Yeah. Use an attorney and don’t think you can do everything because you can’t and you shouldn’t. Hire the experts.

That’s right, hire the experts. That’s the whole idea of being unshackled. Wendy, how can people reach you? I think you might have something you want to offer to people. How can they reach you and what’s your parting wisdom for our folks here at the Unshackled Owner podcast? 

Yes, I want to give some gifts here. First of all, if you want to learn more just in general about Focus on Impact, there are free videos you can get at TheActionMovement.com. Nothing’s being sold there. It’s just to help you get into the mindset of all of this. I have a special gift that I want to give for your listeners only, Aaron. As you know, I do this event once a year where I teach everything about what it takes to make money by making a difference.

It’s a terrific event. Everybody loves it. 

Thank you. I love this event. If you would like to learn more about it and decide that you would like to come, you can go to MovePeopleToAction.com. If you decide to come, if you choose general admission and enter coupon code AARON, then you get a free tuition. You will be charged $97 for all of the materials, a 100-plus page resource guide and all that kind of stuff, but your tuition is free which means you save $3,900 all because I love my dear friend, Aaron. I really do hope that it suits you and you’ll join me because I’d love to meet you in person.

This is down in Orlando, Florida and you have that bonus day where you go into the Disney Magic Kingdom. That’s fantastic, Wendy. Thank you so much. That is freaking awesome. Any final parting words as we close out for today?

One of the things that I was trying to choose from in terms of things that went wrong along the way is that I lost my mom when she was 59. One of the things that her last year on this planet with us taught me is how much regret she had about the impact she hadn’t made. On the day that she died, I couldn’t stop thinking about how sad she was and I realized in that moment that what she had told me all my life was really true and here it is. Life is far too short for us to settle for less than we truly want in our business or our lives. Wake up every single morning, focus on impact, move people to action and make a difference in every life you touch.

That’s Wendy Lipton-Dibner with all kinds of value, all kinds of great comments and great philosophy and great training. This is why we come here to this program. This is why I love that you join me on The Unshackled Owner podcast because I’ve been lucky enough in my life to meet and become friends with such terrific people like Wendy. There’s so much depth and so much value that comes from following great formulas. Those formulas are tried and true and they work. The things that Wendy has done to move people to action have worked for several decades now. The things that I teach with The Unshackled Owner in the training are formulas that have worked over and over again to build successful companies. You don’t have to do this by yourself, so keep coming back and learning the lessons and learning the names and going to the websites and the Facebook profiles, and get to know these people. Find the ones that resonate with you and take the steps that are going to lead you to the life that you want, the life where you can finally become an unshackled owner. I’ll see you again next week. Bye.

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