September 4, 2014

With the upcoming “Titans of Direct Response” event only two weeks away, so many people have asked to be added to this list…I assume in search of direct marketing wisdom…or maybe they were just being polite…:-)

But today I want to expand on something I’ve written about in the past…not directly related to direct marketing success but still critical because if you are hanging around with the “wrong crowd” you just can’t do your best work.

I mentioned my friend Sean Stephenson last week (who had a terrible accident, really a near-death experience) and I heard this week he has turned the corner.

In his own words:

“My recovery is accelerating and I’m coming back fearless!”

I’m thinking our healing thoughts from last week helped…so thank you!

When I was visiting with Sean a couple of weeks ago and talking about “The Importance of Loving Everyone,” we got into a conversation about how it’s way more difficult to “write someone off” than to accept them with all of their warts…

Running around telling everyone that I give “100-0” (i.e. I never expect anything in return when I contribute to others) is still the way I prefer to live…but now that I have written publically about this in various ways, I’ve been getting the question:

“What does it take, Brian, for you to finally give up on someone?”

I had to think long and hard about that one.

I came up with four things that seem to be consistent when I have written someone off…and I have to admit, we are talking about less than the amount of people I can count on both hands over 56 years…

1) They lied…and it could have been something big or small, but it was usually big…

But I also remember people that lied to me and fessed up so they didn’t get written off after all…

2) They are so arrogant they didn’t see how little they were contributing…not simply to me but to the world.

Now there is sometimes a fine line between “arrogance” and “confidence” and because I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, I am unfortunately one of those people who usually makes the distinction later rather than earlier.

3) They totally exhaust me because they ONLY take and never give which usually stems from the arrogance in #2 above. I then get to a point where there is no longer even any “psychic benefit” to putting out in the way I tend to put out.

That is, while I wasn’t expecting anything in return from them directly, I saw a pattern of behavior that was hurtful to others (and not just me).

4) They are always the victim…

My favorite quote from materials published at one of my favorite sites,

“The only consistent feature of all your dissatisfying relationships is you.”

It is so hard to be around people who don’t take responsibility for their actions.

But enough about writing people off – although I do appreciate everyone’s questions about that topic.

Let’s talk about how to really love everyone…within reason…

The more I talk with the smartest people in my life, it’s obvious that being content with everyone and everything in your life starts with one word:


Here’s the best prescription I know for staying positive, not falling into long term funks and not writing off people too quickly:

Following the prompts from the “Five Minute Journal” (a wonderful little book), do this every morning:

1) Write down three things you are grateful for…
2) Write down three things that will make today great
3) Write down an affirmation or two: I am __________   & ____________.

And every evening, before going to bed, follow the advice of super coach Dan Sullivan:

Write down your three wins for the day.

Not what you could have done better…not where you fell short…not what “almost happened”…but simply “three wins” with no conditions.

Some of you may be saying that there are days when that is impossible…you just can’t find ANY wins.

I say you are not looking hard enough.

The story I like to tell centers around my father-in-law who had a massive stroke in April of 2013…and by the time my wife and I arrived in Florida to see him, he was unconscious and he never regained consciousness before passing away a few days later.

During the three days he was in Hospice…where I sat and watched him take his final breaths…I came up with three wins every one of those days.

I was incredibly sad…my father-in-law was a business mentor of mine and a wonderful, generous man…and despite the fact that I was sleeping with his daughter for 29 years, he really loved me too. 🙂

And while he passed away in front of me, it was still about “wins”…the situations and stories I recalled while sitting there for three days about what it takes to be an amazing provider for my family, a husband and father who puts family first, a tough but fair businessman.

I figured if I could get wins from days like that, there are NO days without wins.

I encourage you to come from gratefulness all the time and you will then find it very hard to be disappointed.

Knowing I was writing this post today, here is what I wrote in my journal this morning:

I am grateful for:

1) Having a growing list of people who seem to open and read my stuff (maybe not after today)! 🙂
2) Being able to put together an event like “The Titans of Direct Response” to honor my mentor Marty Edelston…and all the speakers said yes to speak!
3) Being cancer free for 6 years as of yesterday!

What would make today great?

1) You reading this…
2) Connecting personally with at least a dozen new people
3) Getting through a tough workout at the gym (I did!)

I am…

…a writer
…a serial direct marketer
…a contributor

Now you try…and if you start doing this every day yourself, THAT will be one of my wins before I go to sleep tonight! 🙂

Until Next week,


P.S. Sometimes I am not sure if writing stuff like this vs. writing about my adventures as a “serial direct marketer” is the way to go…but I would like you to know more about me beyond my incredible skill to predict the winner of EVERY direct marketing test I have ever done…

…after I have the results of course! 🙂

Give me your thoughts on what is most useful to you…I love writing these weekly posts and I want you to keep reading and responding.

About the author 

Brian Kurtz

  1. Brian,

    Your words really had an impact on me. (And I’m certain on many others as well)

    In particular, your concept of taking full responsibility for your life really resonates. It’s something I have always attempted to do – with varying results of course.

    And if there is a Hall of Fame for quotes, I hereby nominate:

    “The only consistent feature of all your dissatisfying relationships is you.”

    That quote is both a mirror and a compass.

    Great post!


  2. Awesome post Brian 😊 I took care of my Mom while she fought Stage 4 cancer and she was on hospice. I learned to appreciate the little wins everyday and simple things like my Mom being able to eat solid food some days. Your story touched my heart. I hope you continue to share wisdom like this post. May God continue to bless you and watch over you 😊 Congrats on being cancer free too 👍🏾

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