Wow, this is a word for today right? Courage, I sure feel like I could use some. For many of us it may feel like we could use some courage just to get out of bed in the morning. So much easier to pull up the covers and forget the world for a day, a week or for months.

When I formed my list of words to explore during this time of COVID – 19 courage wasn’t one I jotted down and I am not sure why. Just an oversight I suppose. Today the word courage puts images in our head of the firefighter running into the burning building or the first responders of 9/11. But this is not what the word originally meant.

Brené Brown talks about courage. The original definition was, ”To tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.” In Latin Courage meant “of the heart.”

Courage means you are going to have to get vulnerable and admitting and telling people you need help. Courage is the ability to admit you are afraid. I’ll tell you straight up, I am afraid and I worry about what is to come.

Tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.

Note – If you have not had the pleasure of experiencing Brené Brown she is worth taking the time to get to know wether it is via YouTube, her books or podcasts. If you can’t find her shoot me a note and I will get you some links.


This is a utility word. To persist means to continue to do something, to continue to try. If you persist you have not given up. As the fatigue of the isolation, the uncertainty and the tension sets in really all we can do is to continue to persist.

Early in my career in the insurance business I was told, “Plan your work and work your plan.” There is always the temptation to just give up. Take it one day at a time and persist. In another post, in fact the first post, I focused on the word “help.” Sometimes what we need to enable us to persist is to ask for help. Help because we need some encouragement to go on.

Start by doing one thing that you can do everyday. Don’t try to do everything because that is overwhelming. Persist in doing one thing. Stay focused and persist. If you need the encouragement to persist in something you know you need to be doing you can call me.

206-605-4695 Talk/Text – Forward Together


Scrolling through social media yesterday I paused to take in a video compilation of Stephen Curry. The video focused on Curry’s movement on the court when he did not have the ball. He’s fun to watch when he’s dropping bombs outside of the 3 Point line, it is a thing of beauty. Even more beautiful is that movement when he does not have the ball. He never stops and after passIng the ball off he’s gliding to an open spot ready to receive the ball back.

Face it, we all want the ball and right now it feels like the ball is not in our hands with no chance of getting it passed to us. Crazy times. We can just decide to stand around and wait or we can create some movement. Movement can take many forms. It can be working on relationships, learning something new, encouraging others or just catching up on tasks long put off.

Movement might also keep us sane. Even if the ball isn’t in our hands right now it is the movement of this moment that will better our chances to emerge from this time ready to face the next challenges.

This is true for our personal and professional and professional lives. It is a great skill to have.

Enjoy the video!


This word might just be harder to understand than completing the New York Times Sunday Crossword Puzzle. I woke up this morning with this sense that I wanted my life to have meaning. I wanted my family and friends to know they have meaning. But what does that mean. Do you see my dilemma?

My mother says she feels hot and I need to figure out what she means. Words have different meanings so we need to figure out in which context those words are used.

I started out thinking about how I wanted to live my life out in a meaningful way. When I looked up the definition of meaning the definitions wandered in and out of nuance. It can be related to intent, purpose or significance, other words to explore.

In this time of trouble many will be unable to provide for their families. Does this diminish their meaning in this world?

The greatest philosophers in this world have wrestled with the concept of meaning. If I had to boil it down to one idea it is this, in order for anyone’s life to have meaning they need at least one other person. That is the start of a life that has meaning.

Valuation Skills Course Invitation

March 25, 2020

Note – At the end of this post there is a course update for April 20, 2020 – Also make sure to download the course syllabus.

If you are a Financial Professional and if you have been looking to learn something new and relevant while we all work through the challenges ahead, I might just have something for you.

Business owners are going through some acute pain right now here in the Pacific Northwest and everywhere else in the United States. I am watching several businesses that have had to shut their doors, lay off employees and adapt to give the business a chance to come back at some point. It is not easy to watch and as a small business owner myself I am also facing the loss of income. We are all facing many unknowns.

Announcing a Valuation Skills Course for Financial Professionals

My partner, Peter Viliesis and I know that Business Owner Planning cannot start without first knowing the Value of the Business. If you the Financial Professional can help your business owner clients and prospects understand the role of valuation and how it can help lead to better decisions then you are going to create more successful outcomes.

But you might not know where to start because you have not spent much time in the discipline of valuation. With that in mind we are in the process of developing a short course for you and we are accelerating the rollout because of current events.

The course will consist of several short instructional videos, a 5 to 10 page printable PDF Guide to Valuation and a homework assignment. We are not charging for this, this is our way of paying it forward. It will enhance the course if you purchase one book for less than $20. It is “What’s Your Business Worth?” – Michael Carter.

At the end of the course you will be able to have a conversation with Business Owners about how knowing the value of their business will help them make better decisions in the pursuit of their goals. You will also be able to get them started on the road to better planning.

More information will be sent to you when you sign up. The syllabus is below. Let’s stay in touch. Complete the information below and then look for the course login information in your inbox.

If you were referred by someone please put their name in the message section. This section is also for questions or comments.

Course Update – April 20, 2020

The course is taking on a life of its own and material will be added beyond the scope of what we originally planned. This has given us a chance to learn better how to communicate the content better. It will continue to be delivered in short lessons so you can more easily digest it.

In addition to the lessons there is now a Resource Page.

Some of the course material will be created in response to questions and observations in your feedback to us. This makes the course better. Thank you to those who have already participated in this way.

Peter and I have been asked if we do joint work and the answer is yes. We believe Partnership is the best way to deliver the solutions to business owners, now more than ever.

Financial Professionals – Encouragement and a Challenge

I would like to offer a word of encouragement to all Financial Professionals. I also want to offer a word of challenge.

If there was a way to measure the amount of fear in the world it probably would register at all time high levels. Most people I am talking to are a combination of numb and scared. As financial professionals many of us are in the same boat. So much is uncertain because of the combination of not knowing how severe the health and financial impacts will be along with the unknown length of time this will last.

At the other end of all of this we all need to be at our best because our clients will need us to be better than we ever have been. So I want to encourage you take advantage of this moment. Most of us will have some extra time to make yourself better and plan for what you will be doing to help people recover. If your skills and knowledge have getting a little stale now is the time to sharpen the blade. If you’ve been meaning to learn something new now is the time to add to your knowledge, really learn it!

Think about what your clients will need coming out of this. Everyone of us must be different and better because everything has changed. Our message needs to change, our process needs to change and our vulnerability needs to change.

Okay I know that wasn’t much of an encouragement in the way we typically think. But it’s all I have right now.

Here is the challenge. Since people and businesses are going to need us at our best we are going to need to identify the professionals around us who are really good at something we are not. The solutions will come from Teams/Partnerships of financial professionals. We can’t fake it. This is our time to fix what has been broken in financial services. 

So figure out the range of services and products you want to offer and then build that team in anticipation of what will be needed to help people as we emerge from this crisis. Our clients are going to be different. Will we be different in the way they need us to be different?