February 20, 2019

Be First, Be Better or Cheat (Rather, Don't Cheat)

Be First, Be Better or Cheat (rather, don’t cheat)

Several weeks ago, I was watching different movie clips on YouTube and came across a scene from the movie “Margin Call” that has stuck with me since. In particular, it is a scene where Jeremy Irons, who is playing the role as a CEO of an investment bank, is speaking at an emergency board meeting at what appears to be the potential initiation of the market crash of 2007-2008. As they are discussing what to do, he makes the following statement to his board of directors, “Be First, Be Better or Cheat and I don’t Cheat!”. Now in this context, he was speaking about being the first to have a fire sale of all the toxic assets the firm was holding, thus starting the market crash. But after hearing that, I asked myself, could this advice be a set of rules to implement into my own personal ideas and actions for 2019. As I thought about it more, I believe there are several takeaways we can all potentially benefit from by being First, being Better or Cheating (not).

Be First:

Being “First”, as the title implies, can have many meanings or describe different tasks or actions within your individual situation. I would suggest in many ways it really means the same to all of us. I challenge you to set a precedent this year to embrace being “First” in different ideas. Be “First” to hold yourself accountable. Be “First” to make that phone call to a client, to a prospect, to a COI or even a loved one with whom you have been out of touch. Be “First” to say thank you and show appreciation to someone. Be “First” to listen to learn a new way of doing things, be it product or process. The idea is to take action and do it now. The hardest part is usually taking action and many times success is accomplished by simply being “First”.

Be Better:

Being “Better”, like being first, can have different meanings as well. I believe being “Better” has a lot to do with being first. Ask yourself, “What are some of the things I can be Better at in 2019”? Maybe it’s being Better at family, business, health, education, etc., the list goes on.Whatever it is, challenge yourself to be Better. It’s a simple question to ask yourself, what can I be better at in 2019 and then what is my “first step” to accomplish this? I’m sure many of you have already asked yourself this question and have a good idea of what the answer is.

Cheat (rather don’t cheat):

I know, this one is a little deceiving at first glance but it certainly has its place here in this idea of being First and being Better. Again,ask yourself the question, what does it mean to “not cheat”? In the context of your business, I believe it means to “not cheat” anyone out of your attention and expertise in your field of knowledge. And while your business definitely deserves a lot of your attention, never let the“business” cheat you out of balance with family. Whether it be your family at home or your family at work, both are very important contributors to your success. And lastly, never cheat yourself out of learning something new everyday. Learn a new product, a new process, start that new industry designation you’ve been talking about for years now; Whatever it may be, don’t cheat yourself out of business and personal growth.


Simply put, be First at being Better in 2019. These three ideas are great in theory but have no power without self-accountability. I challenge everyone to hold themselves accountable to all three principals in 2019. Even if you fall short, you will still be farther along from where you started. I have no doubt that each of you will be Better as a result.