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Forming Those Big Goals

October 15, 2023 by  
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Mark, lower right, and the Ankara Champion basketball team in 1961

I’ve been talking a lot about my past in recent posts. I thought maybe you should hear my whole story—maybe shortened a bit—so you understand how my goal setting and persistence has really paid off over the years.

I was born in Portland, Oregon but have lived in quite a few US cities and even overseas. I attended high school for a little over two years in Turkey, then we moved back to the US where I graduated in 1962 from Ames High School in Iowa. Afterwards, I attended Utah State University on a basketball and track scholarship.

This was the time when my big goal setting really started. I went to college, dreaming of eventually being a professional basketball player but after spending most of my time on the bench, I decided I needed a plan B and pursued a Degree in Business, and I really took to it. After I graduated, rather than continue to chase my dream of playing professional basketball, I went on to further my education in business through post-graduate work at De Paul University in Chicago.

My business career began as a stockbroker with Goodbody & Company in 1969. I also worked as a stockbroker for Paine, Webber, Jackson & Curtis, and for Bosworth Sullivan, the latter for whom I managed an office in Salt Lake City, Utah from 1972 to 1974.

Although I did well those first handful of years in business, I knew I wanted more. I considered a political career for a little while and ran for Utah State Treasurer in 1975. I didn’t manage that, but I had another big goal I was working towards. I had decided that I wanted to be a millionaire.

Now that was a really big goal and one that made people wonder about me a little. But I did my research on how to make it happen and then started purchasing real estate. I bought cheap, dirt bag properties, fixed them up, and began making huge profits selling them in a hot market. In just four short years, I made over a million dollars. I’d reached my goal!

However, I didn’t stop there. But I will stop this post here and wait until next week to tell you what happened in my life after I hit that first big goal. Hint: I didn’t stop making big goals and just kept challenging myself. I encourage you to be the same way. Have big dreams, write them down, and don’t let anyone tell you it can’t be done.

Adventures We Survive

December 18, 2022 by  
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Recently, I was going through a stack of old files and came across some of my past writings. I was quite surprised to find notes from an interview I did 20 years ago that talked all about my success in business and other successes in my life. My overall thoughts were, “Wow, I did all that, little old me!”

In these files, there were some interesting thoughts and stories like these things I wrote about back then:

Someone once said that life is a series of adventures that we learn to survive. We live each day either dodging what life throws at us or watching and holding it until we can figure out a way to pass it off. But it’s not only what life throws at us that we must deal with, it’s also our own decisions and their consequences that we must learn to survive.

This is a story of how one man’s search for financial freedom and personal identity became a series of adventures that changed his idea of what success meant to him. (Yes, I am talking about myself.) It’s a story that illustrates how the journey is surely more important that the goal itself. It is a reminder that in life, we are often awakened from our comfortable lives and asked again to perform.

In October 2001, a trial began at the federal courts. The Federal Trade Commission had been building a case of fraud against the American Home Business Association and its founder, Mark O. Haroldsen. Yep, that was me, and, wow, that lawsuit hit me like a ton of bricks. The amazing thing was I wasn’t even running the business then, but they knew I had plenty of money.

Years later, we finally went to federal court where the FTC put on many, many witnesses to try to support that multimillion-dollar lawsuit. I didn’t put on a single witness. I testified for myself and told the court that my company did nothing wrong nor did I. The case went on and on and after the FTC had put everything out on their case, the judge went into his private chambers and came out a short time later, delivering his verdict.

The court found me and my company totally innocent of any wrongdoing and basically said that the FTC should never have even filled a case against me. Then he gave them a bit of a lecture.

That case took years and the mental pressure, worry, and costs took a huge toll on me. I wouldn’t want to go through that again, but I am proud to say that I stood my ground and stood up for myself and the company I founded. I’m proud of what I did back then, and I not only survived, I kept working and I kept thriving. I didn’t need to dodge that particular challenge because I built my business with integrity, and it really paid off!

Pay It Forward

March 13, 2022 by  
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This past week, my wife Kimberly and I drove around Salt Lake City to maybe see some houses or office buildings that we had not seen before. As you probably know, the mind craves novelty even when it’s as simple as driving through a new or rarely seen neighborhood.

Kimberly chose to drive down a street where we used to live. We decided we’d like to meet the people living at our old house. When we knocked, a young, good-looking guy came to the door. We told him we used to live there, and we’d like to take a little look around. Before we went into the house, however, Kimberly said, “Hey, Mark, why don’t you go to the car and give him one of your books?” 

I did, and when I gave it to the young man, he looked surprised and said, “I know your name.” He quickly retreated into the house and brought out a book called Pay It Forward, co-authored by Brian Tracy and several other experts, including himself.

What a coincidence! I have known Brian Tracy for years. He was a top-notch motivational speaker at some of my seminars. Not only was he super successful and a superb writer and speaker, but he was also a super nice guy.

The young co-author we meet was Daryl L. Kemsley. His section in the book was “Driven By a New Purpose”. In it he writes about taking “Three Steps Forward” which I thought could be very helpful for a lot of people. I’d suggest that you get the book and read about his three steps:

Step 1. Sacrifice helps you embrace what you deserve in life and business. 

Step 2. The principles of building a business are consistent.

Step 3. When you listen for it, you will find the people that need you the most.

Pay It Forward is an excellent little book and Brain presents a lot of great subjects in his chapter, “Create Your Own Future” including:

  • Think About the Future
  • Become a Millionaire
  • Create a Five-Year Fantasy
  • Imagine No Limitations
  • Practice Blue Sky Thinking
  • Refuse to Compromise Your Dreams

That is to name just a few of what he writes about that can be so helpful to a person’s life. I sure remember when he spoke at our seminars and how the audience loved what he had to share. You could tell they knew it would be very, very helpful to in their lives. Go out and find the book and buy it. You won’t be sorry. 

Actions and Practices in Self-Esteem

March 21, 2021 by  
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Having healthy self-esteem is a critical part of all of our lives. It is one of those attributes that can help us rise very high in business, within our social circles, and in terms of our happiness and self-confidence.

I was looking through a bunch of my old papers and came across some notes I made years ago while I was looking into a related thing that is so important to our lives—that being confidence. I want to share with you some of those notes that helped me better understand the importance of healthy versus low self-esteem, it’s role in my confidence level, and how I could build more of both in myself.

The sources of healthy self-esteem are mostly internal. In our brains we work on and build what we think of ourselves, and if we approach it correctly, we tend to have lots of confidence and work on bringing our self-esteem to higher levels.

No, you don’t need to achieve perfection overnight, but you can get so much from just small improvements designed to lift low self-esteem. We all need to be aware of the operations of our consciousness as your mind is the best tool for survival. You should be aware of everything and live in the present moment, seeing first, then knowing, then acting.

So, you may ask, what are these actions are we talking about? Well, here are some of them:

1. Have an active mind.

2. Be in the moment.

3. Reach toward relevant facts.

4. Know where I am relative to my goals.

5. Always be open to new knowledge.

6. See and correct mistakes.

7. Make commitments to learning and growth.

In addition, there are a few practices that can boost self-esteem. Here is a list of practices that I wrote down and regularly work on that seem to boost my self-esteem. These practices have helped lead to some great success in my business and personal life.

1. The practice of self-acceptance. (It’s sad that most of us are very hard on ourselves, even harder than we are on other people, and, of course, that self-judgment is quietly tucked in our minds and quietly reduces our self-esteem.)

2. The practice of self-responsibility.

3. The practice of self-acceptance.

4. The practice of living purposefully.

5. The practice of self-assertiveness.

6. The practice of personal integrity.

When self-esteem is low, we are usually motivated by fear. Fear is how we act. There is fear of being exposed, fear of failure, dreading the unknown, and change. Higher self-esteem looks for new frontiers, looks for opportunity, and looks for new and bigger challenges. Sadly, without a good level of self-esteem, we suffer with lots of anxiety and insecurity.

These guidelines were and are very helpful to me in building and maintaining my self-esteem. This is quite important to me now in my retirement years. I am also only a few years away from hitting that big 80 number. I’ve been keeping my tennis game up so I need to keep working on keeping my self-esteem up too! Hope these guidelines and suggestions are helpful to you!