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Joe received the email below from one of our members:


In your years of coming up through the ranks, I imagine that you couldn’t know how you were going to get to the top, only that you were going to get there someday. I’m assuming it was no rosy path I’m also sure that you had managers and hierarchy (at times) that were poor leaders, not business savvy, and/or were directly affecting your performance and growth.  How did you manage that type of leadership, and what is your best advice when placed in that position? Can you share some wisdom on your approach to this, and the outcome that resulted?

Okay, this question challenged Joe to recall and focus on things that didn’t go well in his career, like poor leadership or a bad manager, and it’s not his nature to think back or dwell on a lot of bad stuff. Oh…don’t get me wrong; Joe’s had a TON of bad crap happen. If you’ve read his book, Drawing Circles, you’ll figure out that the book ISN’T really fiction, and you’ll agree that the stuff that happened to the main character (based on Joe) was somewhat horrific.

First and foremost, there was never a doubt in Joe’s mind that he’d succeed. When he was 17 and selling cars, he sure as hell didn’t know HOW he’d reach whatever “the top” is. By the time he turned 18 he had started selling those $39.00 accident policies down the street. It was then, that he received his first clue. That crazy bald guy that he wrote about in his first book, The CAP Equation, named Bud Cole, coerced him into buying the book, Think and Grow Rich. It was during his second or third reading of that book that he realized he could become anything that he really THOUGHT and BELIEVED he could become.

So, YES, he really didn’t know how the hell he was going to become financially free, but after reading that book (Think and grow Rich) that he knew that it was possible, and that many other people had overcome more incredible stuff before becoming wealthy. That was enough for Joe. Then after Joe read that first book, he read another, and another. In fact, he’s never stopped reading. He still reads every morning when he wakes up. Joe makes sure that he plants productive thoughts in the garden of his mind to begin every day. He does this because it establishes his energy—it makes him want to pick up the phone and call somebody and sell them something. He does this because it keeps him focused on the work that he needs to do. Joe plants these positive thoughts in his head because, when you expect good things to happen, it puts God and the Universe on your side, and it attracts the small victories you’ll need to get closer to accomplishing your goals.

Let’s take a moment to address the, “rosy path.”

Joe will tell, you, “No sir. It was no, “rosy path. It was more like an obstacle course in the heavy fog, littered with deep pits of quicksand filled with hungry crocodiles.”

Joe was young and impressionable, from a lower-middle income family, and he had NO formal education. He wasn’t your best bet for somebody that would become successful and eventually financially free. In addition, he had chosen an industry (100% commission, cold-call sales) where most people fail miserably. (90%+ failure rate over 1st 12 months)

But Joe had one edge over almost everyone else around him. He had simply made a decision to win. His plan was as naive as that. Joe had simply resolved to figure out how to say the right things, in the right way, to enough people so that I could make a living in commission sales. He knew, instinctively, that if he figured this out, he’d never have to punch a clock. He’d have complete control of his time and he could write his own paycheck—decide what he was worth in the marketplace.

Something funny happens when you say to yourself, “I WILL WIN.”

It changes everything for you. This kind of powerful affirmation helps you mentally burn the bridges that may lead you backwards towards those convenient excuses for not doing the work. When you cast off the boats you have to stay on the island and survive. You have no choice. This kind of thinking eliminates those BS reasons that we may otherwise use for not achieving something.

We’re not saying that it was pretty. It wasn’t. It probably won’t be pretty for you. You will make a lot of errors and you will get bloodied up like Joe and Tom have. But if you have simply made the decision IN ADVANCE to win at your chosen game, then you’ll get up, dust yourself off, and tweak what you are doing or saying.

The decision to WIN always overcomes whatever small things may be thrown in your path on your way to financial freedom. (Like a bad manager)

Let’s get to that, “poor leader” thing. Yes. There were times in Joe’s career that he was in a position to have to answer to a bad manager or poor leader. We’ll tell you what our position is on this and try to give you our best advice if you are in this position. 

Go Upline

If you are part of a sales organization, or any structured environment, there is usually a hierarchy. You should know who’s in your hierarchy and be willing to swim upstream to seek out mentorship from somebody you admire and trust. Hint, hint…If you can’t find anyone in your hierarchy that fits that description, you may be with the wrong company.

Join A (formal or informal) Peer Advisory Board

This is a big one and it’s actually pretty easy to do. In sales, entrepreneurial and leadership roles, the person in the role usually feels isolated in their daily activities, to some degree. If you identify people that you admire and you approach them correctly, they will usually agree to collaborate with you in terms of industry information, strategies and even specific tactics. We think you should start doing this even if your manager doesn’t suck. Simply identify 8 – 10 really talented and nice people and plan to talk with them or meet with them periodically. If you don’t have the time to do this, simply join a mentumm accelerator Tribe. 

Go to: 


Find great content online to study or if you’re really serious about changing your income and your life, consider getting a personal coach. find external sources of training online, in a book or through a group or personal coaching outlet.

So, the above three bullet points are designed to help you out-grow your bad manager and stay within your current role or position. However, if you do all of this, and things don’t improve for you, then you may want to consider the following actions…

Ask to be re-assigned 

Complain. Loudly. Yeah. Why in the world wouldn’t you? What have you got to lose? Listen, if you are going to take the personal initiative to do everything I outlined above, and things don’t improve for you (or your bad manager becomes even worse because you are out-shining him) then you are probably going to have to walk away anyway. You have nothing to lose. So, be vocal—ask to be “traded,” but do so politely.

Move to Another Area 

If you 100% LOVE your company or organization, but your manager sucks and they won’t re-assign you. Then consider moving. Of course, you have to be able to move. If you have kids, dogs and a spouse with a good job, it may be tough. However, you can’t stay in a bad situation that’s getting worse. That doesn’t make any good sense, and those that do so and just complain about it (and stew in their own juices) are kind of stupid and I can’t help them.


Yes. We said it. There are times in your career when the company you are with has Jumped the Shark, and if you don’t know what that means (and you SHOULD) then Google search it. Figure out what it means as applied to business and organizational culture. When you take the “L” out of Lover it’s “over.” Like Kenny Rogers taught us, “You gotta’ know when to hold em’ and know when to fold em’, know when to walk away, know when to run.” The reasons you won’t walk away from a bad, or even a mediocre scenario in your personal or professional life is either fear or laziness. Either way, if you choose to be lazy or scared (and it is a choice) you are screwed, so take action.

Joe Buzzello & Tom Healy
Author: Joe Buzzello & Tom Healy

Joe Buzzello & Tom Healy are the Co-Founders of mentumm and have a shared mission to help entrepreneurs grow faster and have a greater impact on the world.

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