What I learned from Robert Herjavec

Is there a price for this intense dedication to success? Of course there is. Everything in life has a price, which probably separates winners from losers in business, sports and life itself." (p. 177)

Robert Herjavec’s book “Driven” is a very easy read.  I couldn’t put the book down and I felt I could relate to the man on a personal level.  Especially the title.  I would characterize myself as “driven” with the drive to keep going and find a better way to succeed.  To succeed at what you may ask?  Well, I’ll share that at the end of the post.  For now, lets get into the book.

“It all begins with belief.  Without belief in yourself and your goal, you may as well stay on square one – or better still, step aside and let someone else take your place.” (p. 46)

The hardest part each of us has is to believe in ourselves.  We all get amazing ideas and have dreams that we wish could come true.  The main barrier between us and our dreams is execution but the biggest barrier we have is our inner voice.  That voice that tells us we can’t do it and if we can’t manage that inner voice, we will never get off the ground.

I get that voice all the time – what I do is move my focus away from my work to a leisure activity or hobby such as writing, reading or hitting the ice for a game of hockey.

“… the importance of volume and diversification in business.” (p.101)

Herjavec shares his story about waiting tables as a young man for two restaurants.   One was a trendy upscale one in uptown Toronto and the other was a chain, St. Huberts.  He said that while most would think that the tips from the trendy restaurant would far outweigh those of the lower class chain, it was the opposite that was true.  Infact he made more money based on volume of smaller tips at St. Hubert than he at the trendy restaurant.  As well, having 2 incomes is better than 1.

I have always believed in multiple streams of income.  I live that philosophy  every day of my life.  Its not enough for me to work on 1 project but to have multiple projects on the go.  For instance, I have a business developing mobile games (check out http://www.jojoandtoto.com and http://www.projectmkd.com for some of my titles).  As well, I speak on a variety of topics from motivational to technology and I teach college students to code.  For me, its always been about having more than one income in my life and it won’t ever stop.  Infact, I have a few more ideas in the pipeline that I will share in the future.

“Army leadership is all about making sacrifices for the greater good, which means whatever objective their country is aiming towards.” (p. 128)

This was my favourite jewel in the book.  It really changed my thinking and I didn’t look at my businesses the same way again.  Herjavec went for Army Ranger training and was put through days of vigorous training.  The same training that test to see if you have what it takes to be a ranger.  It was training that is done for civilians to learn leadership skills.  Herjavec asked what it takes for a person to actually pass this extensive training and the above quote was the response he received.

When you pursue your dream, your focus can’t be on you, it has to be on those that will benefit from your dream.  Your family?  Your readers? Your customers?  Your audience? Darren Lacroix says that it ain’t about you, it’s about your audience.

When I write for this site, my goal is always to think about what you will get out of it.  How can you benefit from my lessons learned in reading this book.  When I published my children’s book, I wanted kids to believe in themselves and love themselves.  In your dream or goal, look for the bigger picture like the Army Rangers do.

“Is there a price for this intense dedication to success? Of course there is.  Everything in life has a price, which probably separates winners from losers in business, sports and life itself.” (p. 177)

This is my second favourite jewel.  It serves as a reminder for why I get up in the morning.  I work today for a better tomorrow.  It also ties back to the first point about believing in yourself without belief, this dedication means nothing.  You will give up quickly.  There will always be pain and you need to find a way to manage the pain and keep going.  Ask yourself, what your outlets are?  What do you do that brings joy to your life?  Is your dream or goal something you’re passionate about or is it about making money?  Theres nothing wrong with making money but as, Marshall Sylver says, money is a by-product of passion.

“Stuff’s gotta work.  More than that, it has to perform up to specified levels.” (p. 207)

This was a huge reminder for me as I had to learn this lesson the hard way many times over.  I wish I had read this long ago.  When I published my children’s storybook game “The Adventures of JoJo and ToTo“, I started by just drawing images with magic marker and a pencil.  Now I’m not an artist but I just wanted to my idea to come to fruition.  In some ways, that was a good thing, but at the same time, my app wasn’t up to prime time.  It wasn’t ready for the world to accept.  The result, people would download it but not load it a second time or delete it right away.  It was a tough lesson I had to learn the hard way – that things have to perform at specified levels and they have to work!

“… a successful sale depends not as much on how well you communicate the content of your pitch as how good you make people feel.” (p. 216)

I’m an engineer by trade, my whole life centred around writing code to make the most interesting things.  When I became an entrepreneur, my whole focus shifted from being in a closed world building things (though I still love and continue doing that), to thinking about how I could communicate my ideas to others.  I studied a lot of sales training from various people such as Brian Tracy among others.  Though I have heard this point in different ways, this is the best way I have ever heard it articulated.  That how my prospect feels about what I am proposing is the most important thing.  One of the ways I utilized this was in one of the courses I teach.  I teach iPhone app development at the college level and I use a very difficult programming language to do so called Objective-C.  In the past, students felt it was difficult to keep up with my lessons (we would build an app from scratch to achieve some learning objective – a task that may take between 1 and 3 classes depending on the complexity of the app).  My students suggested that I create videos of the lessons I do and so I tried that and published them to my Youtube channel.  It was an immediate hit.  Students still came to class to watch my teach the lessons but would go home and try to build the app themselves.  It was the same technique that I would use when I was learning to make apps myself.  Because I made my students feel valued from listening to them, they were very open to my mistakes in learning how to record and publish and were sold on the idea of still coming to class even though everything was online.  Its a major problem that professors have which the idea of publishing lectures online.  Most feel what would be the point in students showing up when they can watch the recap at home.  It turned out to be a win-win.

“It was more money than I had ever imagined earning in my entire life.  I turned it down.  I feared that if I accepted their first offer, they might grow suspicious.  I had nothing to hide, but neither did I want AT&T to believe I was anxious…” (p. 247)


Negotiating is hard.  Theres no doubt about it.  Having to go in and “fight” for what you want.  Not coming off as a mean person or not getting ripped off.  All kinds of emotions come into play when negotiating.  This was one lesson I wish I had learned long ago.  Interestingly enough, AT&T did raise their offer and he earned even more money, just by waiting to see how much they would go by.

My friend Yasir is an expert negotiator.  He’s learned to become one as a professional real estate agent.  One of the things he taught me was that you should go into a negotiation with 3 goals in mind that you are willing to accept.  The minimum you’re willing to accept, the maximum you want and the middle or just right.  Knowing your high, your low and your middle can prevent you from being taken for a ride.

Because of Yasir’s lesson and Herjavec’s advice, I was able to negotiate out a winning situation for both myself and the other party when I had a dispute after purchasing a car years ago.  It also helps me in negotiating contracts with software vendors who are to do work for me.  Most of the time its been a win-win and other times its been a pain in the rear.  But overall its a lesson thats helped me immensely.

There are so many lessons here to be learned and these are a drop in the bucket.  So I highly recommend you go out and get this book.  You can click on the link below to get it on Amazon.

Before I go, I mentioned that I had a goal.  That goal is to become a self made multi-millionaire.  I have had this dream for years now and kept it to myself.  It wasn’t until I listened to a CD from Marshall Sylver in which he said that if you announce your dream to the world then you’re putting yourself on notice to get that dream done and you’ll work your hardest to get that dream done.  So there I said it and I expect all of you to hold me accountable to it.  Expect a future post on his book “Passion Profit and Power“.

Until next time go out there and make your dreams come true!

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