Identify Your Dealbreakers

One day in the not so distant future, you’ll have the credibility to be known as a subject matter expert or you’ll start getting noticed for your achievements. Everyone can set goals but achieving them is an entirely different animal, so people will start hitting you up to try to get you to help them with exciting, new opportunities.

I’m all for taking time to examine opportunities whenever they’re presented, but you need identify your dealbreakers so you can recognize the opportunities that are going to set you up for long-term success.

When I think of the people who have a good sense for what they’re not willing to compromise on, our guest – Chris J. Snook – is one of the first people who comes to mind. Chris is a Best-Selling Author (Digital Sense and Wealth Matters) and the Managing Partner of Launch Haus.

At Launch Haus, Chris drives innovation through a coordinated investment, incubation, and economic development platform which includes their Sandcastle Impact Fund, the Sandcastle Foundation platforms at the World Tokenomic Forum, and the Sandcastle Startups Challenge. Launch Haus supports startup communities, culture and founders across the globe with their Sandcastle Incubator, live events, and StartupDrugz Lifestyle Apparel.

Over his career, Chris has faced big-time highs and overcome real lows. He’s built businesses, sold businesses, served as a mentor, toured as a Public Speaker, and with the help of his wife – Brianne – funded and produced Fort Collins Startup Week.

Today, he’s sharing how he came to discover his dealbreakers to help you identify yours. So, let’s get after it!

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chris snook

Chris J. Snook

Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Launch Haus
FULL TRANSCRIPT

Welcome to Ignition Point – the show that’s here to help you take the leap, conquer your week, and achieve your goals. If you’re looking to amplify your mindset with a fresh perspective and spark your momentum – you’re in the right place.

Hey! What’s going on? I’m Steven Miller. Thanks for joining me for another Ignition Point – the show where we cover an influential speech or feature a Guest Keynote to get you fired up and ready to take on another winning week.

One day in the not so distant future, you’ll have the credibility to be known as a subject matter expert or you’ll start getting noticed for your achievements. When that day comes, more and more people will start hitting you up to share an “opportunity of a lifetime” with you.

Let’s pause there for a second. If someone ever actually presents something as an “opportunity of a lifetime,” that needs to shoot up a red flag or set off some kind of mental alarm. You’ve got better odds of winning the Powerball and Mega Millions on the same day than finding an “opportunity of a lifetime” that’s not taking advantage of you while living up to the hype.

Having said that, all these new opportunities are being thrown your way and you’ve got to figure out which – if any – you want to be a part of. Some won’t align with your vision, so those are out. There will be some that would demand too much of your time, pulling you away from other projects, so you’ll pass on those. You’ve narrowed the stack down, but you need a decision-making filter that can help you narrow down to a top three faster than having to watch a full season of The Voice or American Idol.

From the jump, you need identify your dealbreakers. Dealbreakers are situations, qualities, and or characteristics that rub you the wrong way. Essentially, they’re your personal list of qualifiers that help to determine what truly deserves your time and attention.

Today, I’m excited to be joined by Chris J. Snook, who knows exactly where he draws his line in the sand. Chris is a Best-Selling Author (Digital Sense and Wealth Matters) and the Managing Partner of Launch Haus.

At Launch Haus, Chris drives innovation through a coordinated investment, incubation, and economic development platform which includes their Sandcastle Impact Fund, the Sandcastle Foundation platforms at the World Tokenomic Forum, and the Sandcastle Startups Challenge. Launch Haus supports startup communities, culture and founders across the globe with their Sandcastle Incubator, live events, and StartupDrugz Lifestyle Apparel.

Over his career, Chris has faced big-time highs and overcome real lows. He’s built businesses, sold businesses, served as a mentor, toured as a Public Speaker, and with the help of his wife – Brianne – funded and produced Fort Collins Startup Week.

So, Let’s get after it! Here to share how he came to discover his dealbreakers and to help you identify yours, this is Chris J. Snook.

THE WEEKLY MONOLOGUE WITH CHRIS J. SNOOK

One of the things that we've learned about goal setting and goal achieving – more importantly – because everyone can set goals, but achieving goals is a whole different thing – is that it’s a very lawful process.

The universe operates by laws, much like there's a law of gravity that treats you and I the same. Whether we're good people or bad people, if we step off of a building, we're falling down. And laws of success are very similar. They treat us equally whether we're a liar or a cheater or whether we're the most honest person in the world; if we play within the rules of those laws, we will get those results.

When it comes to dealbreakers, there's a lot of different ways you could probably arrive at that. I usually start by just telling people, imagine everything that they could think that they want to achieve, have, own, do, experience in their life; and the genie comes out of the bottle and says, “here you go. You're going to have it.”

And let's assume that you feel like you totally deserve it, so that it doesn't feel like you got it cheaply. And you just feel like it's your time. Your ship has finally come in and here you go, here's all the rewards.

And then, there's a set of requirements in order to have this. “I need you to do X, Y, Z... A, B, C.”

What would be one of the things in, “X, Y, Z, A, B, C,” that would make your stomach churn and make you really torn because doing it wouldn't feel right?

And your brain is trying to figure out, "well... Is… Maybe… If I just...” If it's doing that – literally that interruptive – that's a dealbreaker.

If you think long and hard about it, there's really probably only going to be one or two things that are dealbreakers. You might start out with a list of five or six or seven, but when you really distill them down, it's usually going to be one or two things that are just, “I don't care what it is. I don't care how big the check is. I don't care how pretty the person is. I don't care."

Whatever the thing is that I say I want so badly, if I have to do that for it, it's not happening.

That's a dealbreaker.

To try and explain it more real world, I loved playing football in college and through high school. I loved the collisions. There was a part of me – sick as it may sound – that actually enjoyed hitting people and being hit. I liked it. As unhealthy as that is, right?

I don't want my son playing football, but I'm very glad I played, which sounds weird, right? And I enjoyed that side of it. And I think if you play football, you enjoy the collision. Just like if you're in business, you like selling people, right? You like people buying your product and using it and that's part of the deal.

Like, I wanted to hit people as hard as I could, but I wanted them to get up. I never was that guy that was out there trying to end people's careers. There were people on the field that were. I played against them. I played with some of them.

I looked at it as two people – just like boxers – like two people that are literally taking each other to a physical limit, but the whole point is that both of you walk away.

So – for instance – I'm not a wall street trader, but I don't have any challenges with people who are traders and I don't have a challenge when I trade stuff – whether it's crypto or whatever – because I understand it's a zero-sum game and I understand I'm playing against other people for whom it's a zero-sum game. Meaning, my profitable trade is someone else's loss.

That's okay because both people understand the rules of the game and they've signed up for it.

What's not okay, is someone who thinks they're getting the American Dream, and thinks they're buying a house, when actually what they are is a glorified tenant that's going to be underwater for the rest of their life; and was used to prop up a Wall Street game where traders were zero-summing.

That I can't stomach. That I cannot do. That I think is wrong.

If you step on the field and you know you’re in college football or in the NFL – and that you could blow out a knee and the other guy knows that – and you're out there to just to basically bang into each other, and have a good time, and go all out physically, and you're doing that without trying to end someone's career – that's fine in my book.

These are my rules. These are my dealbreakers.

In business – financially – most people are a child. They don't understand how the system works, so they don't even know they're a child. They might be a grown-ass adult in their 50s, investing and doing what they're told by their CPA or by whomever. The reality is, they're playing a grown up's game.

So, I can't do something in a grownups game that's going to take advantage of an unaware child. Once you're very clear on that and you're unapologetic about that to yourself and to anyone else, knowing what that is gives you freedom. Because as soon as you're clear what your dealbreakers are, life becomes a lot easier. Then everything's game because if it's not your deal breaker, you'll consider it.

It becomes less noisy because what you'll find is – the sooner that you know what your deal breaker is, the sooner you can start eliminating people and opportunities and deals from your life because – typically – a lot of these things will have that deal breaker somewhere embedded into it. And as great as they'll look – once you know what your deal breaker is – you'll no longer justify how to ignore it.

All of a sudden you'll be like, "well, can't do that, can't do that, can't do that, can't do that, can't do that, can't do that. I'm not going to do that, not going to do that, not going to do that. Boom! Okay, this one doesn't have my deal breaker, so I'll consider that."

So, your universe of noise becomes less when you're clear on what your deal breaker is.

Identifying things and dealing with them in real time is fine too. Like sometimes you don't see your deal breaker right up front. The key is just to live with yourself; not spending time on something once it violates a core value. If it violates a core value, get out! There's a trillion ways to make money, but you can't get back your self-worth as easily.

Like I said, it'll distill down to one or two things when you really nettle it all down. For me, I can't do anything in business that I identify harms human beings. Specifically, where someone is being exploited or used; but it's not as obvious. I'll give you an example.

In 2002, at the time I was half a million dollars in debt from another business that had never gotten off the ground that I had started. And so, I needed to make money. The place that was taking off was real estate and – obviously – mortgages at that time.

I had learned how to sell. I learned how to recruit people and I had learned how to train people and I was like, “well, I'm going to go apply it over here. This looks like an opportunity.”

Within the first 90 days I had made more money than I had made in the prior decade, and I was paying off debt.

Long story short, essentially, someone came in and they were worried that they had mispriced a loan and they were worried about getting fired. They asked me to double check it, and it was one of these situations where they had defaulted on all their credit cards and everything else; and I was like, "how's this person getting a loan?"

I remember saying, "no, you've done it right. They get the loan." And I remember driving home – it was a Friday – I remember driving home, and I woke up Monday, and I didn't go in.

I didn't – at that point – understand all the different things Wall Street was doing, I just knew it didn't make sense. If this is happening at scale, I don't want to be part of it. And I literally never went back.

It was just the idea that it didn't feel right, and me making money off of it didn't feel right. So, I stopped, and I was still three hundred and something thousand dollars in debt, and had I continued I could’ve probably been out of debt, but I did it on my terms doing different things.

Five, six years later, it became obvious that that kind of stuff was being done at scale and those companies all went bankrupt. No one went to jail, unfortunately on the on that side – which is unfortunate – but the reality is that it was bad.

But what you can do, is you can go:

“I'm human. I'm pissed right now. I'm angry because X, Y, and Z.”

“I shouldn't have done this. I shouldn't have done that. Damnit! …Okay, part of the game.”

Just like, "damnit, I blew out my knee," or "I sprained my ankle because I didn't see that blocker," or "I didn't see whatever."

“Okay, great... I've got a bad ankle. I can't do things that I could do with a good ankle. That doesn't mean I can't play. It means I have to address the ankle. I've got to ice it. I've got to tape it. I've got to rest it. Maybe I've got to get on crutches. I'm addressing it. How do I play from here?”

Because in this game, you do have to keep playing.

STRATEGY FOR SUCCESS

I’m all for an optimistic outlook and taking the time to examine opportunities whenever they’re presented, but you need to know what line you’re not willing to cross. What may seem like a golden opportunity with just one dealbreaker-level drawback isn’t worth compromising on your core values. There’s no success in life worth selling your soul for.

It’s just as dangerous to be open minded and 100% accepting of every opportunity as it is to be completely close minded. By taking the time to identify your dealbreakers, you’re bringing your moral compass into the decision-making process. Just as Chris had said, knowing where that breaking point is helps you to no longer justify ignoring it. That conscious awareness for your non-negotiables enhances your work-life and your personal-life.

Nothing feels better than achieving your goals with a clear conscience, but there’s an added bonus you get out of knowing your dealbreakers. That benefit is compatibility, and it’s another great reason why you should care about identifying your dealbreakers.

Before we go any further, I feel like I have to mention that while we are talking about how dealbreakers and compatibility apply to your relationship with opportunities, I know you typically relate these to your interpersonal relationships. From my point of view, it applies to both of these areas because your life goals, while separate from your relationship goals, should be planned out with equal importance.

Consider this, if you want to have a certain lifestyle, you need to have dealbreakers that guide your journey to achieving that lifestyle. If you correctly identify the dealbreakers, they’ll guide you to compatible opportunities in the pursuit of those goals.

It’s no different in relationships. Let’s say you’re dating and you’re looking for certain qualities in a partner. If you identify your dealbreakers – like inauthenticity, poor punctuality, bad etiquette, or lying, to name a few – and you meet someone who demonstrates positive qualities and is free of your dealbreakers, you’re instantly more compatible.

So, whether it’s in a personal relationship or the relationship with your opportunities, compatibility is the measure of your natural alignment in core values and how they correspond to the long-term potential for success in the relationship.

Now – in the opportunity-based context – you can get a leg up by learning from other peoples’ experiences. Some of my closest friends have said their dealbreakers include being micromanaged, a lack of leadership transparency, feeling disrespected, and a lack of upward mobility. Interestingly, when I spoke to my friends about this, none of them mentioned the most common dealbreaker. According to an employee survey conducted by Paychex, 59% of Employees said that doing thankless work or feeling underappreciated was their biggest dealbreaker.

You know you’ve found your dealbreaker when your stomach is in knots just thinking about it. It’s where the ends will never justify the means.

My dealbreakers are tied to the treatment of others. For instance, there’s no dollar amount that could convince me to participate in an environment where there’s organizational inequality or toxicity within the team.

So, if an opportunity came along where the organization’s internal behavior felt like there was a sense of superiority or entitlement from the top down, I wouldn’t be able to get on board because I believe that while leaders are meant to take on greater responsibilities, that doesn’t mean that as leaders they are any better than the people who work lower on the totem pole than them.

Or if I was offered work where I’d get a six-figure paycheck, but I’d have to work with pervasively negative people, I would have to pass up the financial benefit. That’s because I know that that type of pervasive, toxic negativity can rub off on me, bring me down, and negatively impact other parts of my life.

That said, it’s not like you’re always going to see the presence of a dealbreaker when an opportunity is presented.

You may have to experience them firsthand to recognize them, but to Chris’s closing point, in the game of life – you have to find a way to keep playing.

When you encounter your dealbreaker, you have to assess the situation and figure out a remedy. That can be negotiating the dealbreaker away with your team or choosing to walk away to find a new opportunity. The choice is yours to make in that moment, but the right choice should keep you moving forward toward achieving your goals.

So starting right now, identify your dealbreakers so you can use your moral compass to recognize the opportunities that are going to set you up for long-term success.

Your self-worth is priceless, so don’t compromise on your core values just because an opportunity looks great. Patience is power.

I’d like to give a big thank you to Chris Snook for contributing to this week’s show.

If you’re open minded and interested in hearing more of Chris’s ideas on thinking about the macro context of market forces and the personalized context of how you can apply your own investment and business strategy, head on over to chrisjsnook.com/wealthmatterstome, where you can subscribe to receive early access to Chris’s forthcoming newsletter and podcast.

That’s chrisjsnook.com/wealthmatterstome.

If you’re interested in connecting with Chris or learning more about all he’s involved with, go check out this episode’s Show Notes at DecisiveLeap.com/IgnitionPoint for access to all of Chris’s social links and other helpful resources mentioned throughout this episode.

Ignition Point is all about making a positive impact, and your feedback helps Ignition Point to keep moving forward.

So, send me an email to [email protected] or write a review for the show on Apple Podcasts to let me know what you think of the show.

Don’t burn your opportunities for a temporary comfort.

Stay motivated and keep moving forward.

If you put in the hard work right now – one day – you could be the one motivating the world with your story.

I’ll look forward to speaking with you next time on another Ignition Point.

Now get on out there and win the week!

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