Archive: January 2013

  • Press

    Getting Past Excuses

    aim higher start sooner

    If I started over, knowing what I know today, I would …

    Aim higher and start sooner.
    Mark Hopkins


    Mark went on to say, “Life’s curveballs and my conservative nature providedaily excuses for not doing what I am capable of.  But my experience has shown me that anyone can hit what they aim for, or very close to it.”

    Mark’s comment reminded me of a quote attributed to Michelangelo, “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”

    Defeat excuses:

    1. Develop deep experience. Experience provides perspective for aiming high. Mark said, “I’d get my Malcolm Gladwell 10,000 hours and go make a dream come true.” Gladwell says the key to success is practicing something for 10,000 hours.
    2. Follow your drive. “In order to bring my ‘A’ game I need to be working on something I am passionate about.”
    3. Build the team. “I would need an amazing team that was built on the kind of trust that only comes from knowing that we care about each other.”
    4. Connect with mentors. “I would need a mentor who can take the pie-in-the-sky vision that I am hesitant to even say out loud and, through experience and personal example, lead me to the point where I can see my team making it happen.”


    1. Don’t stick with one thing long enough.
    2. Follow expediency rather than passion.
    3. Focus exclusively on themselves.
    4. Think they know more than others.

    Get real:

    In my opinion, building the team and find mentors are the most neglected components of the road to success.

    Why do people fall below their potential?

    What makes aiming high more than pie-in-the-sky?

    I haven’t read Mark’s book, Shortcut to Prosperity, but the table of contents goes well beyond pie-in-the-sky thinking.

    (Source: Leadership Freak, Dan Rockwell, January 10, 2013)

  • Press

    How to Build Better Leaders

    How often is the status quo really what you want? Most of us find ourselves on a career path determined largely by the influential people in our lives — parents, friends, colleagues — and by a market space that we have become familiar with.

    If this process has resulted in a life experience that finds you jumping out of bed because you can’t wait to get to work, you are in the minority. A recent survey found that 60 percent of the 26,000 Americans they asked claimed that they would like to choose a new career.

    I’ve spent the last two years looking for and interviewing the other 40 percent, the people that are happy with where their careers have taken them. I isolated the happiest, most prosperous people in this group and looked for the common career paths and behaviors that help explain their success.

    I struck out on identifying the best career paths. It turns out that there are happy and prosperous people everywhere.

    What I did find, however, was a common set of habits that were exhibited by the most satisfied individuals. They tended to be people who enjoy learning and who had developed a high level of expertise within an area that they were passionate about. And whether they work in small or large organizations they utilize an entrepreneur’s approach to their work.

    In other words, they aren’t satisfied by the status quo, bring a high level of energy to their work, and attract highly competent people to help them explore new ideas for better serving the markets they are passionate about.

    What follows is a description of the 10 habits that I believe have enabled these individuals to experience highly satisfying and prosperous lives.

    Build Your Own Prosperity Cycle

    Pursuing prosperity means breaking trail rather than following the crowd and this approach requires self-confidence and an abundance of personal motivation. The Prosperity Cycle helps you build both by harnessing the energy generated by successive cycles of focused effort and exhilarating personal achievement.

    Exploit Your Natural Curiosity

    Successful entrepreneursas well as Intrapreneurs exploit opportunities that most others don’t see, using solutions based on insight that others don’t have. Where does the superior insight come from? From delving into the minutiae that determine the effectiveness of a solution. Indulging your natural curiosity makes it possible to effortlessly get deep enough in a subject of interest to build valuable insight.

    Know Thyself

    Prosperity is an existence that enables you to apply your passions, personal strengths and values to work that is personally satisfying and fun while providing the financialresources to experience your envisioned life. Taking the time to understand your unique strengths, values and passions is key to finding prosperity. Doing work that you love and are pre-wired to excel at usually leads to financial success as well.

    Build Creative Tension

    Creative tension is an extremely productive force created within anyone who has undertaken an honest assessment of their own current reality and compared it to a personal vision of the life of their dreams. Creative tension works in the background of our daily activities to motivate actions that help move us toward our personal vision.

    Learn from the Best People and Organizations

    Malcolm Gladwell nailed it when he said it takes 10,000 hours to develop a differentiating level of skill in anything. But it only works if you are learning the right skills from the right instructors. Confirm your life’s passion and accelerate your development of world-class skills by going to work for an organization that will teach you the essence of what it has invested hundreds of thousands of hours to understand.

    Earn an “I Can Do Anything Attitude”

    Being a pioneer is scary.Doing something that may or may not be successful is scary. But that is where you are going if you are pursuing prosperity. Gain the confidence that you need by looking behind the wizard’s curtain and learning the tricks that allow him to appear gifted. Then find the coach that will help you do the same.

    Recognize and Quickly Analyze Opportunities

    Successful entrepreneurs have learned to see and analyze the opportunities that stream by all of us every day. And they do it in real time. I call this being an entrepreneurial actuary. The trick to doing it is to embrace your inner rebel by throwing conventional thinking out the window so that opportunities can be seen and then learning to quickly estimate market sizes and the rough costs of products and services that address the need.

    Genuinely Care About Other People

    Pursuing prosperity is a team sport because not much worth achieving can be accomplished by yourself. Care about others because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it builds a very rare commodity — trust. Teams built on a foundation of trust have much higher levels of productivity and are more fun to work in. Read the book for details on a concept I call carefrontation and how it leads to personal growth for everyone involved.

    Partner Wisely and Broadly

    Your choice regarding a life partner or business partner can put you on the fast track to achieving your personal vision or make it a virtual impossibility. The right partner is an enabler who helps you to hone your vision, offset your weaknesses and gives you the confidence that you might just get this damn thing done. The wrong partner’s attitude and negative forays into the irrelevant will suck the energy from the room and your mojo with it.

    Find a Mentor, or Three

    An experienced mentor can take the pie-in-the-sky vision that you are hesitant to even say out loud and, through experience and personal example, lead you to the point where you can see yourself making it happen.In addition, build a database of guides who don’t need to know you as well as a mentor, but can effortlessly provide advice within specific areas of expertise.

    Can a motivated individual develop these habits? Of course she can. Every one of the people I talked to managed to do it. And they had to figure it out on their own. In all of them it started with a decision to make a change. And that change led to the next, and the next, and the next. In fact I think a lot of their satisfaction comes from the fact that their quest is never over — it’s just the end of one learning cycle and the beginning of another. The happy accident in all of this is that many of their prosperity cycles come with financial rewards from employers and consumers eager to make use of their better ideas. What’s your next quest?

    The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of BusinessNewsDaily.

    By: Mark Hopkins, BusinessNewsDaily Contributor

    (Source: BusinessNewsDaily, Jan 8, 2013)

  • Press

    Interview on WBFO, Buffalo’s NPR News Station: Entrepreneurial advice offered to career seekers

    Accompanying the New Year are many resolutions with pledges to quit smoking, lose weight and exercise more. For those looking for a career boost, one self-help advocate has released a book with you in mind.

    With a release date of New Year’s Day, author Mark Hopkins has published “Shortcut to Prosperity: 10 Entrepreneurial Habits and a Roadmap for an Exceptional Career.”

    “The way you start the ‘Prosperity Cycle’ is make a decision to do something and with a New Year’s resolution I can’t think of a better place to start that works with my world,” Hopkins told WBFO News.

    “In my experience that decision to actually do something comes from one of two places: either a motivating personal hardship, somebody who has had some really bad stuff happen to them, and who hasn’t, and is mad as heck and wants to do something about it; or somebody who has a personal vision that is so compelling they can’t wait to make progress toward it. So I would say in the New Year make a decision to do something.”

    With two daughters on the verge of choosing career paths, Hopkins began to reflect on the lessons he has learned over a successful professional life.

    “Originally I set out to do it (write the book) for somebody just starting out in their career, but turns out that people turn on and come to this point where they say ‘Where am I going? What do I love to do?'”

    According to his publicist, Hopkins built and sold a $75 million medical instruments company, started a private equity firm, and initiated a foundation that supports non-profits.

    Engineering degrees from Cornell and Stanford also jump off his resume.

    “College is a great foundation. I talk about it in the book that it’s a wonderful place to start and you build from there,” said Hopkins, but he’s quick to point out that many of his professional lessons were “not something that I ever got in college and I don’t expect people are getting it today.”

    “It’s definitely the school of hard knocks.”

    Some may have the luxury to dream of alternative career paths, but it may be a workforce necessity for many. While the unemployment rate hovers at eight percent, the “UNDER-employment rate” rests at 16 percent, a bulging subset of Americans to whom Hopkins would love to offers his advice.

    “Build creative tension. Creative tension is an extremely productive force created within anyone who takes the time to do an honest assessment of where they are now, what their current reality is, and compare it to their personal vision of the life of their dreams,” Hopkins said.

    “This creative tension works in the background. There’s only two ways to relieve that tension: give up on your dreams or move toward them.”

    The book’s title projects a quick-fix image:  “Shortcut to Prosperity: 10 Entrepreneurial Habits and a Roadmap for an Exceptional Career.”

    Hopkins, to his credit, acknowledges his shortcuts are anything but quick.

    “I talk about natural curiosity and utilizing that to get really deep into something. I reference Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000 Hours” where once you’ve figured out what you’re prosperous about, you’re going to have to put in the hours to get down that learning curve, to get to the point where you have the insights that the world is crying out for. But once you get there, it’s a really special place.”

    (Source:, Jay Moran, Jan 2, 2013)

  • Press

    Hopkins Secrets to a Successful Entrepreneur

    The concept of career has changed and no longer includes great pensions, luxurious retirement and handsome gifts provided by the company. Today, the tightening job market and shifting economy plays a role of its own in the success prospects of different Millenials.

    Venture Capitalist Mark Hopkins and author of “Shortcut to Prosperity: 10 Entrepreneurial Habits and a Roadmap for an Exceptional Career” has reminded us of the importance of a reality check for all entrepreneurs in a landscape where the employment scene is constantly changing whether in the mailroom or among the level of mid managers.

    “For someone in their first or second job, it’s not unusual to be questioning what you’re doing, where your path is headed or what success and prosperity even means for you,” he says. “Personal entrepreneurship is the answer. For anyone embarking on their career, entrepreneurial examples are instructive, these risk-takers live and breathe risk in the relentless pursuit of success.”, as reported by the Forbes.

    Hopkins here shares with us some of the trade secrets from successful entrepreneurs over the globe.

    The first secret: Identify where your field is. Make the most of opportunities. More importantly, identify the end game. This is where most entrepreneurs excel. Commitment and unshakable passions have no other substitute to an entrepreneur. One must fully understand their passions; know where their skills are identifying their personal visions. “It takes a lot of soul-searching to identify what you’re truly passionate about,”, he says.

    One’s ultimate power is found is when one’s vision of his or her ideal future has been established.

    “From here on out you is either working towards that goal or you’re giving up on success,” he says. “It really is that simple.”

    The Second Secret: If you want to be successful as an entrepreneur you need to aim to go big. There is no other substitute for this. The “I can do it “attitude is very essential for every aspiring entrepreneur.

    Being a pioneer is scary,” he says. “Taking risks that may or may not be successful is scary, but for entrepreneurs, that’s where you need to be to make it. And from those risks, “he says, “comes hard-won lessons and, in turn, confidence.”

    Conveying one’s confidence is another essential factor for every entrepreneur. “If you’ve put in the work and won the successes to earn that confidence, you’ll be well-regarded—and walking the path to success.”, says Hopkins. “I don’t care if you’re in a big organization or a small one, the people who are going to get noticed and advance are the intrapreneurs,” Hopkins says. If there’s a process or a workflow that you think could be fine-tuned or overhauled, he suggests asking your manager to allow you to test it out. “If you position yourself and embrace the pioneering, risk-taking spirit of an entrepreneur, you’re going to be noticed.”

    The Third Secret: Form your allies. This is very important, because as an entrepreneur, your whole life depends upon the way you network.

    “Call it building a rolodex or call it relationship building, but what it really comes down to is the fact that every person you interact with counts towards achieving your ultimate goal,” he says, “You’re meeting and collecting your allies along the way.”

    However, this does not mean that the task ends with collecting cards.

    “The secret is in really truly caring about the individuals that you meet,” Hopkins says. He points to Millennials, who will hold between 15 to 20 jobs during the course of their career. “Along the way you will meet people who complement your strengths, who can support your weaknesses, or who you just really click with,” he says. “Keep track of them, help them keep track of you,for you never know when your paths will cross again or you’ll be able to help each other find success.”

    (Source:, December 14, 2012)

  • Mark reminds us how important it is to spend your time doing something you’re passionate about, and how easy it can be to turn that passion into prosperity.

    Mike Fries, President and CEO, Liberty Global

  • Shortcut to Prosperity captured many habits that I learned over the course of my career. I would have loved to have this book twenty years ago, as it would have helped accelerate the development of my entrepreneurial capabilities.

    Dan Caruso, Founder and CEO, Zayo Group

  • I have spent my career preparing young people to succeed in an increasingly challenging global economy. Shortcut to Prosperity does a wonderful job compiling a timeless set of recommendations that will give readers a huge head start.

    John Box, PhD, senior vice president, education (retired), Junior Achievement Worldwide

  • Success is personal. Mark Hopkins has created a powerful approach to identify and achieve your version of prosperity.

    Mo Siegel, cofounder and former CEO, Celestial Seasonings

  • Whether you want to move up the corporate ladder or make it on your own, Shortcut to Prosperity is your success bible.

    Tommy Spaulding, author of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller It’s Not Just Who You Know

Shortcut to Prosperity Book

Available at:  Barnes & Noble