Happy New Year to everyone!  What a great time to get back into the swing of things!

I recently came across this quote by Arthur Ashe

“Start Where You Are, Use What You Have, Do What You Can”

…and it has been on my mind ever since…  What a brilliant summary of a working philosophy and proven formula!  If you don’t start NOW, then WHEN?

What more practical approach than to use what you already have NOW rather than put off and postpone and filibuster and delay and procrastinate until that “someday” when you “might” have what you think you need to get going?  What if that day never comes?  (It often doesn’t…)  and by the time you’re “ready”, technology has changed, phones are disconnected, people have moved on – all without “your permission”, “your approval”, or even “your knowledge”!

And what more can you do than that which you CAN do?

Pure wisdom.

By applying this concept, things get done!  You know that incredibly satisfying feeling of checking things off of your to-do list (you DO have one…  right???) as you accomplish them?  Or that deep content you experience inside as you see the fruits of your labor pay off?  How about the euphoria of re-purposing something “old and useless” into a perfectly logical working scenario simply by shifting focus from that “expendable” or “obsolete” point-of-view to a grander vision of “how can I extend the life and functionality of this?”  Doesn’t that simply feel good???  Instead of contributing to the landfill, you save money and time by thinking outside of “the box”…

I just put this adage to use this past week by clearing out unneeded items from our garage (ok, so it’s winter cleaning!) for donation, repurposing, reorganizing, streamlining, and integration.  Productivity certainly creates its own natural high!

I did the same with my studio making some big decisions in terms of what to keep, what to let go, what to reorganize as relates to ergonomics, efficiency, priority, and what to add in order to make my workflow more fluid, inspiring, and consistent.

There’s a lot to be said regarding making a decision, following through with it, and reaping the rewards.  I have found Arthur Ashe’s quote to be a golden key to unlock some very important doors and whole-heartedly recommend you try it for your own ends.  One of these doors is right here and can take you down so many positive paths that it’s simply awe-inspiring.  With a positive attitude and persistence in learning, doing, and adapting, there’s nothing that cannot be obtained or accomplished or transformed.

Here’s to you, your dreams, and a healthy & wealthy New Year to all!


Share again soon…

-Mark V

P.S.:  "Like" it...  "+" it...  "Tweet" it...  share it...  and leave me some comments!



Fancy word for the day:  “Reciprocity” – the act of reciprocating or mutual exchange.

Wouldn’t you agree that it’s nice to receive?  Would you also agree that it’s great to give too?  Sometimes, it’s a lot better.  How awkward does it feel to receive gifts, even if you didn’t ask for them, and “have nothing” with which to return the thought other than “thank you”?  How can you hope get if you never give?  Doesn’t that make you a taker?

That’s why it actually does feel better to give than to get.  And give of your own free volition – not out of “obligation”.  In fact, that’s why it’s a great practice to give generously much more than you receive – give more than you’re asked;  give more than is expected;  give more than you have to;  give because you can.

You’ll find something interesting in the process…  because of the wonderful law of reciprocity, you will get back in direct proportion what you give, and I’m not talking about having your gifts returned to you!  I’m talking about cause and effect – you know:  “As ye sow, so shall ye reap”…

So, what does all this mean?  It means that your returns are based on your effort.  Little effort, little returns.  Colossal effort, colossal returns.

I tell my students all the time that the one thing that they truly have working either for them or against them is their reputation.  Think about it:  if you happen to be stingy and cheap…  that’s the reputation that you are building whether or not you know it.  Is that a bad thing?  I guess that’s a subjective question…  I would argue that it’s better to have a reputation of being generous than a scrooge. 

But, doesn’t that open you up to “being taken advantage of”?  Perhaps.  If you let yourself fall into that trap or, for that matter, if that’s what you call it…  Isn’t it really about perspective and intent at the end of the day?  If your intent was to give freely because you expected nothing in return, is that a bad thing?  Does that make you a “sucker”?  Now, if you had no clue that you were “being taken for a ride”…  that’s different.  Learn to differentiate between being gullible and being generous.  Bottom line is simple:  give freely because you want to – not because you “have to”.  And have no expectations of any returns.  BUT…  you don’t have to have any expectations because, guess what?  Your reputation will speak for itself.  And…  you will find that people will want to reciprocate because of that.  The key word here is “effort”.  It’s not all about money.  Giving and receiving can involve infinitely more valuable stuff like time, love, appreciation, attention, care, sympathy, empathy, energy… 

But it works with money too.

“Getting your money’s worth” is also a form of reciprocity.  Investing in an education is (or should be) an equal exchange of money for knowledge and wisdom and the tools to accomplish your desired goals and objectives.  It should really be an investment in yourself.  I highly recommend THIS as an incredible investment in yourself and your future.  You’ll be amazed at how much your life can change for the better once you decide to follow-through and take action to allow for this positive change.

Enjoy today’s article?  Kindly, Tweet the word, Like it, and +1 it too!  And leave me some comments below after clicking the "Read More" button on the bottom to the right.  Remember:  the more you give, the more you receive…


See you at the top,

-Mark V

The Ripple Effect


Have you ever stopped to think just how far your actions will carry into “the ethers” or just how many people they may affect?

It’s easy for us to just be stuck within ourselves, within our personal problems and personal headspace, or within our own little moment and not realize that EVERYTHING WE DO – EVERYTHING…  has a consequence. 

Action = Reaction right?  Cause:  Effect.  If THIS, then THAT.  Welcome to Planet Earth!

So how many of you have contemplated the profound responsibility that this is?

Zig Ziglar put this concept very eloquently in his “cat-kicking story/analogy” in See You At The Top, another motivational book/audiobook I strongly recommend owning and re-reading/re-listening to frequently.    He describes the series of domino events that transpire after an upset manager fails to take responsibility for his late arrival to work (after telling his employees that he will set a good example for them by doing similar things with them) and takes it out on his subordinate who in turn takes it out on his secretary who takes it out on her assistant who takes it out on her son at home who ends up kicking the innocent cat!  Wow!  Talk about a ripple effect!

This clearly illustrates the magnitude of one’s actions and how they affect those around him or her.  So…  understanding this onus, doesn’t it really bring the point home as to just how important it is to live day-to-day life with a great attitude and disposition rather than a negative one?

Ever been around someone who is such a downer that you just feel your energy and mood sink like a couple of cement blocks off a pier?  It’s really hard to maintain a positive attitude in the presence of someone like that (although it IS excellent practice to see just how far you’ve come with your focus and optimism!).  You know you’ve really crossed the threshold and into the next level if you have it in you to bring such a person UP to your vibration rather than shifting down into theirs! 

So, how exactly do you “stay positive” and promulgate good ripples? 

You can start by focusing on all the countless GOOD THINGS IN YOUR LIFE!  You know:  gratitude!

Like what?  How about that you’re alive!  That you can read.  That you can think.  That you can decide to change into the person you want to be.  That somebody somewhere loves you and cares about you.  And countless other things that we all tend to take for granted!!!  Until they’re GONE.

Nobody likes a whiner.  Everybody likes a WINNER.  You can be a winner if you simply make a shift in your attitude and start to focus on all of the truly miraculous and fantastically awesome good things in your life.  People will notice, and you’ll find that it’s contagious.  Everyone likes to be around someone who makes them happy and allows them to be themselves.  Maybe it’s time you became that someone…

Learn about such things and so much more by checking this out – it’s all about teamwork, and this is one of the best teams you will find.

So, don’t cast stones unless you’re ready for their ripples…


More soon…

-Mark V



One of my favorite bands by the name of DEVO (remember them?) has a song that has stuck with me throughout the years – a song called Patterns”.  The lyrics are very poignant the more you take them to heart, and of course it helps that the tune is as catchy as most of their other works.

Ever notice that really, all of life is just an endless series of patterns?  Everywhere you look there is some form of a pattern whether it’s a spider web, a hardwood floor design, window blinds, tire treads, watchband, clock, clouds, leaves, weekdays, etc., etc., etc., ad-infinitum.

Our behaviors are no exclusions.  We’ve all heard the old phrase, “Humans are creatures of habit”, right?  After all…  there is “security in familiarity”, no?  Fear is a primal condition that I blogged about here. 

Well…  it’s just another pattern of conditioning.

If we as the human race so easily settle for a familiar pattern, even when it’s not remotely helping us, then wouldn’t it stand to reason that we could adapt and train ourselves to break that pattern and focus on a more beneficial one instead?

But how do we do that???

• 1.  We recognize that we are stuck in an unhealthy pattern.

• 2.  We acknowledge that we desire to change that unhealthy pattern into a

        healthy one.

• 3.  We TAKE MASSIVE ACTION (a favorite motto of Empower Network and

       Big Idea Mastermind).

What kind of action?

How about replacing the bad habit with a good one?  For example:  If you don’t get enough exercise, you start by taking a fresh walk around your neighborhood just to get your circulation going, to take a break from the pattern of what you were just doing a minute ago (paying bills, reading, studying, composing, etc.).

And keep it light at first like a walk around a block or two so that you’re not overwhelmed by pain or fatigue which can absolutely negate the positive intentions and snap you right back into your comfortable pattern of laziness and NOT doing what’s good for you because it happens to “feel better” than change…

Another example is taking care of some unrelated business from what you are currently doing so as to give your mind a rest and “change-it-up” a little bit like wash the dishes (or put them into your dishwasher) if you were just on the computer or take care of another household to-do so that your brain can refocus on something completely different and relax from the previous concentration. 

You’ll be amazed at how well this technique helps you to maintain balance and “reset” your mind to come back to your previous endeavor with a fresh perspective.

Speaking of fresh perspectives…  if you’re interested in developing a new pattern in your life – a routine that can benefit you immeasurably if you apply it, check this out.  It could be one of the best patterns you’ve ever discovered if you follow-through and take it seriously…

So, now that you have a little more food for thought, how about you pass it down the table and tell your friends about this blog?  Go ahead and “+1” it, “Like” it, Tweet it, and feed those around you. 

And don’t forget to leave me some comments below by clicking the

“READ MORE” button and sharing your thoughts!


Back to my other patterns for now…

-Mark V



I just listened to a very genuine and inspiring monologue by Tony Rush, a top-earner with Empower Network and am very grateful to him for the gems of wisdom received…

One of the simplest and most profound revelations was regarding focus.

My blog title today, “FOCUS, PEOPLE!”, was a favorite quote my wife would use in her stage-managing days in college to get her actors to concentrate and keep from getting distracted.

Most of us think of it in terms of the obvious:  “Focus on your dreams” or “Focus on the task at hand”…  Have we ever thought of another angle?  How about, to quote Steve Jobs, “Focus is about saying no”?

Tony put it brilliantly:  “Focus is saying no to the 100 other good ideas.”


 “Say no to the noise.” 

I love that one (probably due to my audio bias – pun intended, of course!)

When we allow ourselves to follow every “great” opportunity that comes along, we get diffused from the clarity needed to follow-through with the original plan – the original intent.  What good is it to do “a little something on everything” rather than “everything on one thing”?  Seems to come back to that old cliché, “Jack of all trades;  master of none”…

Another wisdom received from this speech was the importance of prioritization.

Obvious, right?  Well, what might not be as obvious is to make sure to do the income-producing things first so that they get accomplished and your business goes steadily forward.  THEN… take what time you need to better yourself and expand your mind with inspirational audios and books.  With such a balance, your business does not get inadvertently pushed back because of non-income-producing things. 

Clarity comes with concentrating on the reasonable and realistic daily to-do’s which are the stepping stones towards your long-term goal/vision.  By focusing on the daily must-do’s of your business, your business can move forward.

“What did you do for your business today?”  Tony brought this point home very well by asking “What are you actually DOING?”  This nicely ties back to a favorite quote of mine from a friend years ago:  “Action – Not – Distraction”.

It’s amazing how everything ties back into everything else when you take a moment and step back to look at the bigger picture – how the parts really do make up the whole…

The catch is not to let the parts make up the HOLE as in:  TIME SINK…  spinning one’s wheels and letting one get distracted by countless possible daily time-sinks like email, web-surfing, etc.  This is where having a clear and organized daily routine makes sense, again, starting with the income-producing activities such as advertising and lead-generation first, THEN the personal growth stuff which can easily take MUCH longer than the pragmatic stuff.

In any case…  THANKS, TONY!  Much appreciated wisdom.

If anyone reading this is interested in learning and earning more through a system that has proven itself, check this out and become a member of our positive team.  It’s a great place to be…

Gain any wisdom or ideas from today’s blog?  Then “+1” it, “Like” it, Tweet it, and tell the world!  As always, feel free to leave some comments below…


-Mark V

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