Be Your Truth.

How Renaissance Entrepreneurs are Wired: A Conversation with Joe Abraham

I recently caught up with Joe Abraham, author of Entrepreneurial DNA and founder of BOSI Global, an operating partner for high-growth companies.  Joe has a deep understanding of how Entrepreneurs are wired, which is why I chose his methodology as an important piece for identifying the Renaissance Entrepreneur.

The follow is a transcript of a recent conversation we had where we talk about what sets apart the Renaissance Entrepreneurs from other entrepreneurs:

Paul:  What is the Renaissance Entrepreneur?

The BOSI Quadrant

Joe:  What we’re finding more and more is that what you define as the Renaissance Entrepreneur (RE) ends up being a “right quadrant” entrepreneur. Typically “O” (Opportunist) or “I” (Innovator) DNA.  They’re not in this just to earn a paycheck, they’re not in this just to be their own boss, they are on a much greater mission, and they don’t really care how they get there. They really see business as a vehicle to either get them to their goal of financial freedom, or it’s a vehicle to help them change the world. The Opportunists see it as an opportunity to make pile of cash and attain financial freedom. The Innovator sees it as a way to change the world with what they have come up with. But in both cases, they don’t care how they get there-they want to be as creative as possible on the way there, so they aren’t as obsessed with what happens today, what happens tomorrow and what’s the micro detail control factor.  They don’t concern themselves with how much of the process they control and how much of it is going to be them to feed their ego. It’s more like “Look, I’d rather hand off some of this operations stuff to someone else–I’d rather find creative ways to get to my goals, than the old school way of show up to an office and sit there from 8 a.m. to 10 o’clock at night.” We call them a “Renaissance Entrepreneur” because they are not treating their business like a job. Left quadrant entrepreneurs on the other hand, especially S’s (Specialists) really turn their businesses into glorified jobs- they show up at 8 o’clock in the morning, they leave at 5 o’clock at night, they do all the work, they see every customer, they have to know every customer, visit every customer, sign every track, they have to know the QuickBooks system inside and out. They get so obsessed into the doing that they end up essentially with a job. Meanwhile, the renaissance entrepreneur is like “The last thing I want is a job–I want this business to work for me, I want people running it I want to enjoy my life.  I don’t want to be doing this 5 years or 10 years from now.”

Paul:  They have other interests, they have other things they identify with that they enjoy, they love learning, and they maybe have a garage full of things that represent different hobbies that they’ve played with. Whereas the left quadrant, the left side is more likely to do this one thing, identify with it, not a ton of hobbies – just one or two things they enjoy.

Joe:  Yeah, this is my identity if I’m on the left side of the quadrant.  On the right side of the quadrant, the business is really just a way to accomplish something really big. And so it’s just a perspective: Renaissance Entrepreneur, or the right quadrant entrepreneur is just happier, they are much more easy going when challenges and setbacks happen. They don’t take business so seriously that everything is wrapped up about their identity or wrapped up in what happened today.  We all know the reality is businesses have their ups and downs and we find that Renaissance Entrepreneurs are much more nimble; they are much more pliable, and they get through those challenges much better as long as they clearly understand their weaknesses. There is a dark side of the Renaissance Entrepreneur, however, the dark side of the renaissance entrepreneur with no guard rails or a renaissance entrepreneur who actually thinks they have mostly Builder DNA. These RE’s don’t ask for help, they try and do it all themselves, and they usually blow up the ship along the way.

Paul:  And from the coaching standpoint, there are some of these things like the “hot and coldness” of creativity where they get a whole flurry of creative ideas and then they struggle to be productive.  It’s important that they have an understanding that those flurries of ideas got them where they are–not the down time where they beat themselves up.

Joe:  And then when they really start to measure how long it’s going to take to implement the idea, that’s what’s draining to the O or I entrepreneur, and that’s when, if they are a Renaissance Entrepreneur, they will say “who can I trust or who can I hand off to implement this for me?” so I can stay in creative mode or I can stay in an acquisition of new ideas mode. Every O and I knows that the minute you start focusing on the implementation and how every detail works, you’re outside your sweet spot.

Paul:  Yeah, and it’s not a new idea anymore, right?  A new idea is always more exciting, it’s that “what’s the next thing?” that really excites them.

Joe:  So if somebody reading this and identifies themselves as a Renaissance Entrepreneur, they’ve scratched their heads in the past thinking “yeah, all my peers want to do it by the book, and they are so analytical, and they just want everything cookie cutter, and I’m more out of the box–I want things to be different, creative, unique and game changing.”  If this is you, then you probably are a Renaissance Entrepreneur–you don’t have an office full of people slogging away making widgets all day long, and you don’t enjoy sitting there watching them make widgets. If this is you, then you’ve got to stop going to the events everybody else goes to.  You’ve got to stop hiring consultants that everyone else is hiring.  You’ve got to start getting around people who understand who you are and know how to coach you through those things and help you build your business the way it should be built. The risk you run is hiring that next marketing firm or that next business coach or that next employee who doesn’t understand the Renaissance Entrepreneur and ends up implementing things that are going to drive you insane.

Paul:  Agreed, and much of the business philosophy out there like The E-myth and Traction, and stuff like that just won’t work with the Renaissance Entrepreneur.

Joe:  Yes!  All those systems-focused ideas and many of the other operating systems are essentially built for the Specialist and S’s are very comfortable with those and can get some great results, but they are not built for the Renaissance Entrepreneur.

***If you are interested in knowing about your Entrepreneurial DNA, Entrepreneurial DNA for a free 10-questions assessment.

Balancing Business and Life

Life Balance Houston CoachIt has occurred to me when working with clients that many of us have the tendency to think of life balance in terms of daily or weekly perfection, and if we don’t do all of the habits or tasks within a given time period, we are “out of balance.”

There tends to be guilt while at work and away from family, and guilt while with family and not working.  Or maybe even the self-criticisms of not exercising enough, or eating too much, or whatever.

I have two thoughts on this.

1)  Let yourself off the hook a little more.  Most of us cause ourselves more emotional anguish beating ourselves up for what we haven’t done rather than just accepting that we didn’t do it.  Chill.

2)  Think of life balance more as the way science defines equilibrium.  Equilibrium is the point through which a system passes-not a perfect balancing act on a daily basis.  Maybe you miss a couple of workouts because a friend had a family member pass away.  Maybe you don’t see your friends much for a couple weeks because you are starting a new project you are excited about.

Broadening the length of time you evaluate your life balance may find yourself feeling good about how balanced you are, and giving yourself a little compassion isn’t going to drive your business off a cliff.

Circular Things

“The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.” –Albert Einstein

Transformational Coach HoustonWe have evidence that the universe is hostile because we know what it feels like when things don’t go the way we want them to.  The question is:  where does the pain come from?

It comes from ourselves.

When the outcome is negative, we beat ourselves up.  “I should have known better.”  “I’m stupid.”  We wait for ourselves around every corner with a big stick to beat ourselves up for making a mistake because that is what’s comfortable.  We’re used to it.

So do we fear the outcome, or do we fear what we do to ourselves when things go awry?

When we believe that the world is hostile, we are always vigilant. We are waiting for the other shoe to drop.  We are tensely anticipating the next attack or bad situation.  We tell ourselves stories about other people:  “He probably thinks I’m a loser.”  “She’s disappointed with my work performance.”  “They think I’m a terrible person.”

In our defense (to our own negative thoughts), we react, we attack or we run away from people and situations and cause conflict.

We create a hostile universe for ourselves.

If we dropped our stories about other people, the world would be friendlier.  If we put down the stick, we would learn to have compassion for ourselves.

Don’t believe everything you hear – this includes your own thoughts.  Question them and get rid of what is stressful.  The universe will suddenly become more and more friendly.



Brave vs. Selfish

suicide houstonWhen someone ends his/her own life because they are facing a great amount of physical suffering, we totally get it. We are compassionate. Many of us say to ourselves, “if I knew I were going to die a slow and painful death, I’d just end it now.” Hollywood shows us images of brave heroes who take their own life rather than be captured by torturers.

Yet somehow, when the pain is emotional, we call them cowards. We judge a person who sees no end in sight to the pain they are feeling.

If you were in a burning building, and your two choices were stay in a room and burn or jump out the window, would you sit quietly and burn to death, or would take the dive?

This is what suicide is. From this person’s perspective, they see no way out. They do not believe their pain will end.

You do not have to agree with or like the fact that someone close to you took his/her own life, but unless you learn to accept and respect the decision, you will only perpetuate the pain they tried to stop. It is not your burden to carry.

In 2005, I spoke to my brother on the phone several hours before he took his life. He did not tell me what he had planned to do, and I was shocked by how happy he sounded. I hadn’t heard him that easy-going and upbeat for years. I thought he was getting back on track.

Looking back, I realized that the reason he was so happy was because his decision was made. He was being liberated from his prison of pain.

After the anger and sadness, I learned to accept his decision. Who am I to call him a coward? To call him selfish?

Find the gift in everything that comes. Life happens through you, not to you.

**If you are in Houston and you or a person you know has thought about suicide, I highly recommend the tremendous work of Jennifer Chapple.

photo credit:

What Richard Sherman and Jin from ‘Lost’ have in Common

The Richard Sherman interview this past weekend has sparked a lot of controversy.  Okay, maybe not controversy, but a whole lot of judgment.  “He has no class.”  “He’s a thug.”

That might be true.  But the coach in me (trained to “suspend judgment”) had me doing a little research, and I was reminded of the first season of Lost.  I admit I’m not much of a TV watcher, but every now and again, a series hooks me and even though Lost had me hooked through half of season 2 and I stopped watching it, the first several episodes really stuck with me.

Jin LostThe thing that stood out the most for me about the first season of Lost was how it manipulated the viewer into judging the characters. New characters were presented in a way that had us labeling them as good or bad…until we got to know the back story of where they came from.

Jin, for example, looked like an abusive jerk in the first episodes, and perhaps some also judged him as coming from a different culture and not speaking the language. You later find out how much shame he carried from how poor he grew up. How he fell in love with a woman who’s corrupt father manipulated him into doing terrible things that went against his values. The viewer learns to have empathy for him wanting a better life, and sees him as being trapped in an impossible situation. He becomes a good guy.

The reason I loved this type of thing so much as a coach is that it pointed out how quickly we judge others when we only see a small piece of the big picture. I know I’ve done it. And I know you’re nodding your head (and if you’re not, you really should think a little harder).

With this perspective of judgment, I’d like you to watch this video of Richard Sherman, and let me know if it changes your perspective of who you think he is:


I don’t see the same Richard Sherman from yesterday’s interview.  Do you?

Confide Coaching Wins Houston Business Award


Confide Coaching Receives 2013 Houston Award

Houston Award Program Honors the Achievement

HOUSTON December 11, 2013 — Confide Coaching has been selected for the 2013 Houston Award in the Life Coaches category by the Houston Award Program.

Each year, the Houston Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Houston area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2013 Houston Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Houston Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Houston Award Program

The Houston Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Houston area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Houston Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Houston Award Program

Houston Award Program Email:

A Word on Forgiveness


Houston Life Coach Forgiveness


Make your life better by learning to forgive.  Make your life extraordinary by realizing there was nothing to forgive in the first place.

Try this on:  “Everyone is doing the best they can all the time, no exceptions…”  Where’s the resistance?



Time Travel is Exhausting

“I never think of the future-it comes soon enough.”                           —  Albert Einstein

business coach houstonThere are two types of time travel that we do every day.

When we react strongly to an argument or what someone said or did (or didn’t do), we are usually bringing baggage from our past into the present moment.  The words that were used were perhaps the same critical words we heard from a parent or other kids on the playground growing up.  Or perhaps we perceived that

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Are you a “Scanner?” I first read “Refuse to Choose” by Barbara Sher (not an affiliate link) I was incredibly relieved.  I had always thought something was wrong with me because I had so many interests, and I would be completely enthralled with one thing for awhile and then give it up in a moment and jump into something else.  Society (not to mention family) seemed to disapprove of this behavior, and it always had me wishing I only loved one thing so I could define my future.

As it turns out, I’m not “ADD” as many people liked to call it.  I’m totally normal.  In other moments in history, these personality types were not considered “lost souls” who couldn’t make up their minds.  They were called

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