November 27, 2017

I love receiving cards and e-mails around Thanksgiving more than any other holiday.

And for those of you from outside of the United States, you don’t have to celebrate Thanksgiving to understand this post…not to worry.

In fact, when my book editor wrote to me this week—she’s Australian and lives in Portugal—and she told me that she celebrates Thanksgiving in a big way over there, I was even more convinced that this message was global!

The Pilgrims did come from Europe you know…

Thanksgiving is a time of year when everyone seems to take inventory of what’s important in their lives; and the words “grateful” and “thankful” grace almost every sentence…it is truly the best time of year.

But my observation is that the flurry of messages about gratefulness are quickly forgotten as things like holiday shopping (and everything else called “everyday life”) take precedence.

Not as much gratefulness for fellow human beings even the day after Thanksgiving when the Black Fridaystampede begins at Wal-Mart.

And so it goes from there…from BlackFriday madness to being angry with your spouse over minutia or yelling at a colleague for being less than perfect…and that’s just the first week after Thanksgiving.

Figuring that the “Thanksgiving glow” has now worn off for most of you (although I’m still sleepy from all the tryptophan myself), the timing of this post on the Sunday after Thanksgiving is intentional.

I can’t help but draw an analogy between making a New Year’s resolution to lose 10 pounds and a Thanksgiving declaration (resolution?) to “become more grateful.”

Most people are eating cheesecake byJanuary 15th…and most people forget that being grateful is a state of mind, not a resolution on a list of resolutions on Turkey Day.

Simply put, being grateful is a 365-day proposition as I’ve talked about in many previous posts such as  “Christmas cards in July” and “Rejecting people is a lot of work.”

I was just e-mailing with someone from my online family about being sure to “document” gratefulness and wins every day which was from that “Rejecting people…” post.

He shared with me how implementing “gratefulness” and “daily wins” into his life has made all the difference.

We agreed that days when we don’t write 3 things we’re grateful for in the morning (and write the 3 wins from the day at night) are days which end up being less productive and also not as rewarding.

That’s why an alarm goes off on my phone at 8:00 a.m. every morning…and another goes off at 8:00 p.m. every evening…and I write for five minutes twice a day.

I’d rather forget to pick up skim milk or drop off clothes at the dry cleaners than ignore those two reminders.

I want to also add another spin on gratefulness that was inspired by Dan Sullivan, the top coach in the world for entrepreneurs.

Dan makes the distinction between a “gratefulness cycle” and an “envy cycle.”

And I would like to share some additional thoughts on this distinction.


I’ve shared this story before but I hope you don’t mind if I tell it again…and many of you have never heard it.


And as I begin, think about the distinction between “gratefulness” and “envy”…that’s the theme.

In 2014 I was one of the keynote speakers at the GKIC Info-Summit (one of the leading conferences for information marketers and direct marketers alike which always features one of my heroes, Dan Kennedy).

When I received a standing ovation after my presentation, I was very surprised (and of course very grateful).

I couldn’t resist delivering a self-deprecating joke (which may have had more truth to it than I want to admit) given the fact that so many speakers at this particular conference speak and then sell products, services or both at the end of their presentations–and I did not.

I told them as they stood and applauded:

“Are you giving me a standing ovation because I delivered such incredible content or because I simply didn’t sell you anything tonight after my speech?” 

While I am a very effective direct marketer and dealmaker, “selling from the stage” is not even close to one of my core competencies.

In fact, my buddy Joe Polish (who has interviewed me many times) says this about me as it pertains to selling live on stage:

“Brian Kurtz is the Director of Sales Prevention.”


But no one can take away that standing ovation…it was a huge win that day and something I was grateful for the next morning as well…and I am to this day.

That is far from the end of this story.

The next morning my good friend Robin Robins took the stage at Info-Summit.

Robin is the top guru/trainer/coach for IT professionals in the world and one of the most amazing marketers I know.

She proceeded to deliver a killer presentation about how to create sponsorships for live events with power, integrity and maximum return…and then she “sold” (note quotation marks) a program for everyone so they could easily implement everything Robin had learned on the topic and what she taught that day.

Frankly, I saw it as more of a gift to the audience than something she was actually “selling.”

This goes back to a theme I talk about often, usually quoting Jay Abraham saying something like, “It’s your moral responsibility to give your audience what they need and what you have to offer!”

It seemed like she wasn’t even trying that hard…she was just being herself…and she sold more product than anyone at the conference by a wide margin.

I think it might have even been an all-time record for sales at Info-Summit…a conference known for crazy sales results from people who are known as the best salespeople from the stage.

People were lining up at the back table before she completed her presentation and before she even told them the price.

So what does this have to do with “gratefulness” vs. “envy?”

First of all, it would have been so easy for me to feel inferior to Robin, even envious.

Just 12 hours after I got a rousing standing ovation after speaking on the same stage she did, she sold materials to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Mine was a standing ovation while hers was a “running ovation” (to the back of the room for order forms, credit cards in hand).

But what I felt was anything but envy.

All I could think about was how grateful I was to be in Robin’s inner circle–someone she considers a peer—and someone she would share her wisdom with for the asking.

I couldn’t wait to give her a hug and tell her how proud I was to be her friend.

And how much I learned by watching her do what she did with such mastery.

Money may be how we keep score…but frankly, being aligned with the best, watching them excel and showing why they are the best, and then being able to learn from them, is what makes us rich.

I know that some of the other speakers (and folks in the audience who sell from the stage as part of their livelihood) were more envious of Robin’s windfall (i.e. the money) then they would ever like to admit.

Rather than being grateful that they were given a PhD in how to sell from the stage with total class, they felt competitive.

I could tell that some of them were even pissed off.

In fact, I was sitting next to a guy who was mumbling under his breath some version of “I could have done that” or “She’s not that good” etc.

However, anyone who went to being grateful for Robin’s crash course in selling (which she did with such grace) were rewarded in a much bigger way.

I know it sounds corny…but train yourself to try on/think about gratefulness whenever envy starts to creep into your consciousness.


And let me take this one step further…from the stage at Info Summit to meeting rooms all over the world.


I spend close to $100,000 a year on my own “education”—I guess you can call it “tuition” –and I’m pretty happy both of my kids are now out of college so it’s finally my turn.

I just hope I’m not doing this because my Mom still thinks I should get an M.B.A. to take my career to the next level.

However, my “tuition” has little to do with getting an advanced degree or anything that looks like an academic M.B.A…it is way more valuable.

That is, I am an active member of at least six (6) Mastermind Groups and/or coaching groups at any one time–some I pay a lot of money to join and some I just have to bring my own gluten free bagel to a breakfast meeting.

It doesn’t matter what each one costs since all of the groups are comprised of the most successful business people, heart-centered entrepreneurs and cause-related game changers you will find anywhere…no imposters allowed…and almost all of the members are “givers” (as opposed to “takers” or “matchers”).

The two mastermind groups I have created are in this same image.

“How to keep your right arm” will explain more about those important distinctions (Givers/Takers/Matchers)…distinctions that are critical to make sure you surround yourself with others who understand gratefulness over envy.

It would be so easy to be envious sitting in rooms with game-changers and rock stars all the time, many of whom are millionaires and hugely successful based on any criteria, financial success being one of many.

I can also say (proudly) that I am very often the dumbest guy in the room–or at least I am a “100% student.”

These rooms also have an unstated rule that I have imposed of “no inferiority complexes allowed.”

You would be astounded with the stories of “inferiority” from people who have the most impressive resumes and C.V.’s too–stories I have heard while hosting over 150 “Boardroom Dinners” (which will be a topic of a future post).​ I imposed my rule at those dinners too.


It doesn’t matter how accomplished you are…anyone can fall into this envy trap.


And if you are feeling any envy at all while sitting in a mastermind, at a dinner or anywhere, a requirement is to change your mindset quickly and turn your envy to gratefulness so you are not wasting your time or your money being there.

One trick to snap yourself out of it is to realize you are not in a room of smart people but rather you are in a room of people (all peers) just getting smarter.

I can’t think of anywhere better to hang out. Don’t let feelings of envy ruin it.

With this mindset shift and having that shift in these kinds of rooms, gratefulness replacing envy translates to wins…and you are off to the races.

Getting a little corny again, it is all about being the best “you”—and to only associate with the best “them”–and then be grateful that you can contribute to any room that will have you.

Especially if it’s a room about achievement and success.

Or to use another Dan Sullivan distinction, especially if it’s a room that has an abundance mindset rather than a scarcity mindset.

A couple of my favorite quotes that together will punctuate:

From Marty Edelston:

“You only go through life once so you might as well be the world’s best.” 

From Eleanor Roosevelt:

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” 

Being the world’s best and not falling into an envy cycle starts with being grateful…every day…and maybe twice on Thanksgiving.






P.S. While I truly am the “Director of Sales Prevention,” one of the things I am most grateful for (all year round!) is my Titans Master Class which I enthusiastically desire to sell seats into to make it as good as it can be and to share it with as many people as I can who fit the criteria.

Titans Master Class is a hand-picked group of next generation superstars–direct response marketers, copywriters and entrepreneurs–all working together to make each other more successful (with no envy).

The group is a result of experience and observation–being a member and guest at dozens of mastermind groups over many years–and then pulling out the best from all of them to create Titans Master Class.

We meet live for 2 and a half days twice a year, I include one-on-one “office hours” during the year, we have a secure portal with all past presentations and the most useful content for members, a private Facebook group so everyone can share their best practices and resources throughout the year, and we also have group calls with special guests and/or select topics.

Our next meeting will be in Cleveland, Ohio in April and guests will include the aforementioned Dan Kennedy and Robin Robins…with many others to be announced soon.

Current members are some of the sharpest students of multi-channel direct response you will find anywhere.

If you think you might like to interview for a seat (every new member must have a one-on-one interview with me), go to learn a little more and to fill out an application for an interview.

About the author 

Brian Kurtz

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