3 Questions You Must Ask or You Could Lose It All...

heartset mindset skillset Aug 16, 2022

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  • The entrepreneurial journey is about so much more than just business stuff.
  • I go through an interesting conversation that I had with a "successful" entrepreneur who had a really difficult regret.
  • Instead of "How much to buy your business?" "How much would it cost to buy your family?" Meaning, Would the biggest success you can imagine in your business, justify you losing your family? 
  • The Entrepreneur's Trilogy™ is made up of:
    • Heartset
    • Mindset 
    • Skillset
  • Heartset and Mindset come first, PURPOSELY, because they feed into Skillset.
  • Don't just let your business consume you!
  • Concentrate on you, because you can only build your company to the extent that you can build yourself. 
  • To download the "Design Your Dream Life" PDF: CLICK HERE
  • Mentions:
  • Click here to get more free resources for entrepreneurs.
  • If you have any questions about this, about your business, or about working with me, email me: [email protected]  


"When I asked the question, “How much would you sell me your family for?” That's like legitimate stuff. Ask yourself this question: Am I really building this thing here and sacrificing the other areas?

My friend had a regret, and it was a nasty, nasty regret. Whatever age you are, wherever you are in the journey, don't just let the business consume you.

Hello and welcome to the SAVAGE Entrepreneur show. I think that as entrepreneurs it's so much more than just business shit. You know, we need to design our dream business that aligns with the values and goals of our dream life.

My name is Mike Savage, and I am your host. I’m really here to help you win this emotional and financial and oftentimes hard-hitting sport of entrepreneurship. It's not easy. I’ve been doing this a long time. I’ve built six companies over the past 30 years, a few multi-million-dollar businesses."

Where We're Going Today

"And so today I want to talk a little bit about an interesting story. The reason that this episode came to was I had a very interesting story with an entrepreneur, a quote, unquote, successful—very successful—entrepreneur.

The title of this is I want to buy your family. Now, Mike, where does something like that come from? I want to buy your family… Well, kind of interesting. Ask yourself the question: if I built an unbelievably successful business—you know success, money, all the things that you can just visualize and internalize the definition of success—and in the process you lost your family, you lost your kids, you didn't see your kids, didn't see your wife, you didn't see a husband, you lost your health.

So instead of like, what would I pay to buy your business? I’m just like curious, what would it cost if you were successful, unbelievably successful, but you lost some of these other things?

In my opinion, I’m not going to sit here and throw out the moral compass, but in my opinion, we only get one shot at this. We get to go through this journey called life and we only get to do it once. We don't get to kind of screw it up and come back and do it again some other time. So interesting. Think about that. Would the success in your business, the biggest success you could possibly imagine, justify you losing your family?

I’m going to tell you an interesting story, but more importantly I’m going to share with you three questions that, I think, as a go-getter, hard, tough, rock-solid, dreamer, entrepreneur, three questions that you really got to ask yourself or you can lose it all.

I’m going to share an interesting story, but I’ve seen this in multiple forms, over the course of my career. Maybe not as devastating or challenging as what I’m going to share with you, but I’ve seen this. I’ve seen people succeed in the greatest way in business, the greatest way: money, planes, helicopters, multiple homes, but they lose in the game called relationships and happiness and health."

Mr. $25 Million - A Story

"So, I’m going to tell you an interesting story. I’m going to title this, “Mr. $25 Million,” and this story begins with a phone call that I had. Actually, it was a Zoom call. Now, this guy I was on a Zoom call with, I had worked with him many, many years ago, in a previous life, in a completely different industry.

I knew this guy, got to know him, probably I think I want to say it maybe 15 years ago. And he ran a very successful business. He had a few partners, doing really well, his business was growing. And eventually he sold his company to a private equity group, and he walked away with 25 million bucks, he and his partners.

When I was talking to him, I’m complimenting him, he's in a new industry now doing something completely different, but when I was talking to him, he's like, yeah Mike, you know we killed it during that decade. It's like, man oh man we crushed it. We were firing on all cylinders. We had phenomenal team and great customers, and we were printing money. It was just unbelievable! And then the next thing he said shook me to the core.

He said, “Mike, my only regret was that I didn't see my kids during those 10 years.”

Now there's a trade-off.

Now if you have the ability to have it all, and believe me, I believe that you can have it all. I believe that you can have the successful business and the successful family and the successful health— I believe you can have it all, and that's what I try to share. That's what I believe in.

But this guy made a decision, didn't he?

He made a decision that said, I am going to crush it in business and the only regret I have is I didn't see my kids during those 10 years.

Now everybody is cut from a different cloth. We all are who we are.

You got to think about this and I’m going to get a little cerebral on you here: we are who we are, we are where we are, because of the things that have gone into our mind. Now what do I mean by that? Well, basically, we are where we are because of all the combination of every decision we've made since birth. Now the decisions are made based on the stuff that's gone into our mind.

If we were taught at a young age that risk and challenge and independence is a good thing, we may make a completely different decision than if we were sort of taught to… hey, you know what? Stay in the house. Be careful. Hunker down. Don't go and take a risk. And that kind of—and I’m not saying one is better than the other. It kind of is what it is.

We all had different circumstances growing up. In those first 18 years, there was an unbelievable influence in where we are today.

Now, Mr. 25 Million, his moral compass was such that, it's okay for me to miss out on a decade of my children to make sure that my business kicks ass. Now, I was cut from a different cloth. As I said earlier, my goal was, if I’m going to have a big business, I want to make sure that that doesn't influence my ability to spend time with my family. I coached 42 different sports teams. This isn't to brag. This is just I had a plan on day one. I had a vision, and that vision was I wanted to be an integral part of my kids’ lives growing up.

And maybe it's because when I was growing up, my dad really wasn't part of my social life. He didn't coach any of my sports teams. He wasn't, he was kind of doing his own thing. And it's not bad. It just it is what it is.

But Mr. 25 Million said to me, he used the word that I think is the most painful word in the English language: regret.

He said I regret that I did not see my kids over that 10-year period. It is what it is, and as we go through, and as I share with you today, the three questions that I think are absolutely essential for you to ask, doesn't matter where you are in the entrepreneurial journey. You may be on your tenth company, you may be at your first company. Doesn't matter.

It also doesn't matter what has gone on in the past. The past has happened, you can't change it. It kind of is what it is."

Free Download: "Design My Dream Life"

"But if you're interested, I did create this book called “Design My Dream Life". If you're watching this on video, you can scan the QR code or you can go to the, you can download the book for free."

The Entrepreneur's Trilogy™


"Now, I want to kind of talk a little philosophically. This is my philosophy on entrepreneurship. And I think that there's so many of these experts and gurus and people that are professing marketing is the only thing you need to know. It's like you know what? Time out.

Business is important, and there's a lot of stuff that we need to know when we're growing companies. Everything from our product portfolio, sales, marketing, operations, human resources, culture, vision, dream, finances. There's a whole shit ton of things that we need to know as we're going, as we're building our company. But if that's the only thing that is occupying our mind and our brain, we can get a little bit messed up.

So, I say that we star, we star as entrepreneurs, star in three movies simultaneously, and those movies are Heartset, Mindset, and Skillset. And we are right in the middle of this movie. We're the star. We're the CEO. Each one of these movies are interdependent on the other one.

I’m going to explain sort of the foundation, then I’m going to get into the three questions and why the three questions."


"But the first movie is called Heartset. Heartset is first and foremost, our health. Because health, and I’m not talking just physical health, physical and mental health. Health is that one thing that we all take for granted until it's taken away. And I am sure that you've had people in your life that are kicking ass and taking names one day, and then they find out that they have pancreatic cancer the next day and they've got six months to live.

I have a buddy who I used to; we were in an organization together called Vistage. His name was Kevin Gosnell. At 46 years old he was given a death sentence. He found out that he had ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. He lived 16 months after he found that out. 46 years old. We were good friends. He had a wife and three kids. Health, bar none, is so damn important.

And I’m not going to get onto my soapbox about health. If you want to learn about health and the things that I do to take care of my mind and my body, there's plenty of other training that I have. And my wife Donna is a nutritionist and a certified health coach, so I got all these influences in my life, and I’ve kind of learned.

And surprise, surprise! Mike's a rather energetic, high-energy guy; and I think a lot of it has to do with the philosophy on taking care of this thing—we don't get to trade in our body. When it breaks down, and it really sucks, you don't get to trade it in and get a new one. Now, technology's come a long way we get to repair shit like shoulders and knees and hearts and things like that, but we don't get to trade this guy in. So, health being first and foremost in movie Hearset.

And then the second piece to me is relationships. The relationships are really the most important things in our lives, and if you don't believe it try taking every single person that you care about and love and imagine if they were gone. That's a tough one. It's people and it's relationships that make this journey in life so grand.

Our health, our relationships, and then ultimately, our happiness. Are you happy right now? Genuinely juiced and genuinely happy? That's why this is first and foremost, the most important movie of all. If we are here and we have our health and we have great relationships and we're happy, we've won. Game over. That's why I believe that this is the single most important movie of the Entrepreneur’s Trilogy™."


"Now, if you're looking to get to that next level, you're looking to go to another level, whether it be personally, financially, emotionally, spiritually, business-wise; you got to think about this thing that sits on our shoulders. It needs to be warped and manipulated and transitioned and different stuff has to go in.

Because we are who we are, we are where we are, because of all the stuff that's gone into our brain since birth. Now, I had some interesting discoveries during my teenage years, and I grew up in a middle-class family, a nice house and a yard and stuff like that.

But at age 17, 18… I don't know how old I was, I get introduced to a dude named Zig Ziglar. What he did, he started putting stuff into my brain that I had never heard from my parents.

So, our mind, the things that go into our brain, this is movie number two. And again, we're the star. We got to be careful what we put in. If you put in the good, the clean, the pure, the powerful, and the positive into your brain, good stuff's going to come out.

Again, movie number two is Mindset. Our mind, our motivation—what are our dreams? What are our goals? What's our vision? Is it written down? Is it crystallized? Is it something that we look at and focus on every day? And the goals—hello entrepreneurs! The goals in your life are not just business goals. They're not just, what is the next level I can take my business to? It's not, how much money can I sell my company for? You know what?

Those are all admirable goals, but if you don't have goals in your other areas, if you don't have goals in your health and you don't have goals in your relationship, you don't have goals in your happiness, you don't have goals as it relates to contribution and personal development, guess what? You're going to be shallow, man. It's one of those areas that's really tough. If it's all about business, business, business, and nothing else matters, you know what? You may be successful, and you probably will be, and I think it's great. And you probably could sell your business for 25 million, 100 million, a billion, whatever it might be. You might have all that, but.

But! Those are the questions, the but question, what would I lose? And if you can have it all, and that's what I believe, don't just go business hardcore. Take the big picture. And I got a book called Dream BIG and CRUSH Your Goals, you can download that, but it goes through each one of the different areas in our lives. But our mind, our motivation, our goals, and ultimately our movement.

Do we get off our asses and take action? Because that is the secret sauce. The secret sauce is not 100% right. If you're waiting to get anything 100% right, you know what? You're never going to get there. 90% right and on time is better than 100% right and late. Which I’m basically saying is, take action. Got to get off your butt. You got to do stuff. And again, this is the entrepreneurial mind.

If you want to go and take your business and your life to the next level, you got to take action. You got to collect as much data as you can, and then you got to act. Movie number two is Mindset."


"In the third movie, this is where everyone focuses. This is where all the experts are, this is where all the gurus are, there's all marketing people, people you see online people with all these courses that you can take. They focus only on the business, and I think it's great because business is essential. To me, it's movie number three.

Too many entrepreneurs only focus on this, and they end up crumbling. Crumbling! And I see it time and time again where their business might not be going well, or it may be going well, but other areas are not going well. So, it's like, there's this massive level of imbalance. This is what I call the heartbeat of business. Every business. This is the fundamental first things that we need to do as entrepreneurs.

First off, we need to have a product or service, right? What is your product or service? Number two, we need to have an ideal client. A target market. Everybody's not your customer. Newsflash! But our product, our ideal client, our target market, and our strategic marketing plan. This is what I call the heartbeat of business. This is essential. It is essential that we get this right.

I see so many that are going in different directions, and they think that just because you got a heartbeat, you're a customer; or I’ve got four dozen products and I’ve got four dozen ideal clients. It becomes very difficult. And then strategic marketing is like, well you know what? I can mess up the first two, but then as long as I do some Facebook ads and some Google ads, like guess what? If you don't get the first two things right, it really doesn't matter about the Facebook ads. You got to get the pieces of it right.

And then the reality is running a company is not just about these three things. Running a company becomes complicated, it becomes complex. The more you build—my biggest company, I had 50 employees. So when you when you go through this evolution of building a business, there are so many different components from cash flow and operations and finance and human resources and strategic plans and investors and banks. And it becomes very, very complex, and there's a lot of stuff.

But when I get back to it, when I talk about the fundamentals, Heartset, Mindset, and Skillset, when I ask the question, how much would you sell me your family for? That's like legitimate stuff. Ask yourself this question: Am I really building this thing here and sacrificing the other areas? My friend had a regret, and it was a nasty, nasty regret.

Again, I was fortunate that I was able to have the background and the motivation and the desire to be ultimately present for my kids despite the fact when my kids were in those young years, or five to teenage years, whatever it was. Yeah, I had a big business, but guess what? I did not let that become everything. I made sure that I was part of my kids’ lives, because now they're off into the world. One's out of college, one's still in college, but they're gone. They're on their own, and I don't have the word regret. I did all the things that I wanted to.

So, I’m sharing this with you: if you're a young entrepreneur, whatever age you are, wherever you are in the journey, don't just let the business consume you. I’ve seen this time and time again. I’ve been on the phone with clients. I’ve been at events. I’ve been at speeches, and I have had people coming up to me and like they're in tears because they're trying so desperately hard to build their business. And I’m like, you know what? The most important thing you can do is forget about your freaking business.

Concentrate on you, because you can only build your company to the extent that you can build yourself. You've got to make sure that the foundation is there. You can't go and put a beautiful house on a shitty foundation, and the foundation is in the first two movies. Heartset and Mindset—if we don't get these two movies right, the rest of it doesn't matter. Because you can learn all the tactics of building company—you can learn the strategies of building a company, but these two movies: your health, your relationships, and your happiness…paramount.

And then, if you're trying to get to that next level: your mind, your motivation, and your movement, action. Like you need to put different stuff in. If you're trying to build your business, get a coach. Get a mentor. Get a guide. You don't have to pay a lot of money. You can learn stuff online. You can use SCORE, Service Corps of Retired Executives. It's a division of the Small Business Administration.

There are people that can help, but you got to put that different stuff in, because these two movies drive the third movie. They really do. It's not the opposite.

Here's a question: I will be happy, when? Well, I’m going to be happy once my business reaches a certain level and I sell it. I’m going to be happy when I land that next client. I’m going to be happy when I’ve got four million dollars in the bank. I’m going to be happy when I’m cash flow positive. I’m going to be happy when

NO, forget about I’m going to be happy when! Be happy now! Be grateful now. I’ve got a training on gratitude and morning routine, but my point is growing the business and succeeding in business and then failing these other areas—again my moral compass, we may not be the same, you may think, you know what? It's all about building the business. I don't really care about relationships with friends and family, and I don't care. Good.

You know what? We're not going to get along. And that's okay, you know, I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. And you're going to be able to build your business and sell your business, but if you have a regret about, man I really wish I spent more time with my significant other. I really wish I spent more time with my parents or my children or my friends. I really wish I went on more vacations. That stinks. It really does. And there is a path out. But the first two movies, Heartset and Mindset are essential to succeeding at Skillset."

3 Questions You Must Ask

"Now, I’m going to close out with this: the three questions that I think you need to ask. I’m not going to say you must ask, you should ask. Because I think these three questions will allow you to reflect on why the hell you're doing what you're doing. Because when it is 100% GO, GO, GO; and I get it, I’ve been there. I lived there. I built a bunch of companies. I know what it's like when you're in that mode. It doesn't matter where you're at. You could be doing $100k, you could do $100 million.

I used to be a member of a CEO organization and all the people that were part of this mastermind were running businesses anywhere from 20 to 100 million dollars, and we’re sitting around a table and everybody's struggling with the same stuff. Business-wise. Some people had beauty in the other areas and some people had beauty in their happiness and their relationships and their health. Some people were putting in the good, the clean, the pure, the powerful, and the positive into their brain. Others were not. It was all about business, and believe me, I get it. I know what it's like to run a business. Three questions."

#1: Why are you an entrepreneur?

"First question: why are you an entrepreneur? And think deep about that. You had the guts, and I applaud you for having the guts and the toughness to take a risk, and either leave a job or never even get a job. You did something, it's like I’m going to be independent, but why? Is it for the money? Is it for the passion? Is it for the independence? Why do you want to be an entrepreneur? Why are you an entrepreneur? Because you love what you do? You're following this passion? Which is great. I think following a passion is amazing.

The challenge with just following the passion though, if you don't learn the fundamental skills of running a company, your passion is only going to get you to a certain point. But reflect on that. Why are you an entrepreneur? Everybody has a different path. Everybody has a different reason. You may be a nerd like I was. I was a nerd getting out of college, and I’m like hey I got a couple degrees in engineering, I think I’m going to go engineer some stuff. I just wanted to prove to myself that I could make a product and I could engineer it. I could get it manufactured. I could take it to the market and the market would say hey that's pretty good shit, Mike, and they buy it. That could be your passion, but it can also be all-consuming.

I have a client that is really, really struggling with all aspects of this journey, because there was a lack of attention on the relationship side, and then the business side didn't go very well, and then all of a sudden you got this spiral. And I’m not going to sit here and say it's easy. It's not easy. It is brutally difficult to balance. And I think balance is sort of insane thing, but if you're happy and you have great relationships and you've got great health, you've got that foundation, when those three pieces aren't working all the rest of the stuff is kind of tough."

#2: What does your dream life look like?

"So, the second question is, what does your dream life look like? Now when people say what do you do? Like okay, I help entrepreneurs design and execute on their dream business as it aligns with the values and goals of their dream life. If you build a business and that business does not align with where you want to be personally, guess what? You can lose.

If your business becomes all-consuming and you really in your heart of hearts want to spend time more time with your parents or your siblings or your children or your friends or your spouse or your significant other, whatever it may be, if your business swallows you and you miss out on this other stuff, it's not a win. It's not a win.

And too many people think it is the win. Yes, we want to balance this out. Yes, we want to win at business. I flat out understand the competitive nature. I want to go for it. I want to get it. I want to get there. But does your business align with the values and goals of your dream life?

So, what does your dream life look like? Now think about that. Design it.

Because it's virtually impossible in life to accomplish something—now people do well I got super successful or I won the lottery or my parents died and left me a shit ton of money—whatever it may be, but what does your dream life look like? Because if your business doesn't align with that, you're going to find conflicts."

#2: What does your dream business look like?

"And then in similar fashion, what does your dream business look like?

  • What do you want to be doing?
  • How much money do you want to be making?
  • What kind of employees do you want?
  • What kind of impact do you want to make in the world?

It could be a charitable foundation, whatever it is. What do you want it to look like? When you design the dream business, make sure that you're taking both pieces into account. Oftentimes, we go off and we develop a business plan or a strategic plan every single year, we develop those business goals. What about the personal goals? What about the life goals? What about the health goals? What about the relationship goals? There's a lot of other stuff that surrounds this beautiful thing called the entrepreneurial journey.

There's a lot of stuff there and I am your biggest fan. Just the fact that you went out there and said you know what? I’m going to roll the dice. I’m betting on me. I’m going to go after this, and I love it. I don't care if you're just starting out or you're running a billion-dollar corporation. I love it. Anyone that has the guts to go out and say you know what? I’m starting my own business. I’m going to go make a difference. I’m going to be in control of my destiny. That's flat-out gold. Love it.

So, here's the three questions: Why am I an entrepreneur? Question one. It might reveal a few things. What does my dream life look like? And, what does my dream business look like?"

Life: Take ONE!

"Now, here is a flat-out undeniable truth about this journey we're on: we don't get to come back. There's an end date for all of us. This is your life, take one. Make it the best life that you can possibly make it. And I’m promising you, I’m telling you, I learned the hard way: it's not all about business. I made some mistakes. We all do. We all screw up, but there is an undeniable truth that we don't get to do this twice.

We don't get to come back, you know, here's the movie. They put all the actors and actresses out and they say, “Take one!” And then they screw that up and they go, “Take two!” There's no take two for us. We don't get take two. We only get take one. So if you're going through this journey and you're miserable as shit, you got to change. If you're going through this journey, and you really aspire to be happy, you got to change. If you want to have great health and great relationships, you got to change. And there's ways of doing it all, but if you're so consumed and swallowed by your business that you're not thinking about these other things… ouch. All I can say is ouch."

"Design My Dream Life": Details

"Again, I’m going to share with you that, if you're interested, one of the things that I do initially with all of my clients is I challenge them to really spend some time designing and visualizing what their dream life would look like. My dream life would be I’m living here. I’m living in this kind of neighborhood. I’m living in this kind of house. I’m doing these things with my parents and my kids, and I’m I’ve got this kind of health, and I’m living here and I’m living there and whatever it may be. Design your life. You've got a much better chance of succeeding.

I’m not saying that you can't have this magical dream life and it's just sort of… hey, I never thought about it, Mike. I didn't, never gave it a second thought. You know what? It happens. But you got a better chance when you have a blueprint. The time to have the map is before you go into the forest and get lost. Once you get into the forest and get lost, well… you're a little late there. So, this document, and again if you're watching this on video you can scan the QR code, if you're listening to this on my podcast you can go to The information will also be in the show notes, but download this free document, Design My Dream Life, and just give it a look. Just look at it.

It'll create some questions in your in your mind. It's like, you know what, damn, I didn't really think about it that way. If you want to be the entrepreneur that has it all, design it. If you ever built a house, they don't just go out there and start slapping shit together. There's a plan. There's drawings. There’s step by step. Dig a hole, put in a foundation, put up the framework, it's a plan. And if you plan, you got a much better chance of succeeding."

Final Message

"I want to thank you thank you from the bottom of my heart for listening. Hopefully you found some golden nuggets here today. If you're watching this on YouTube, I would be delighted if you subscribed to my YouTube page, and if you have comments about today's video, if you think I’m on, if you think I’m off, cool. I’m not for everybody, but I do have a philosophy and I believe that it really is health, relationships, and happiness first.

And if you're listening to this on the podcast, I’d love for you to subscribe to my podcast, and if you want to shoot me an email please do. Send it to [email protected]. I want to thank you and wish you an amazing day.

I want to, more importantly, wish you an amazing entrepreneurial journey. It's not easy. This is a roller coaster. This is highs and lows, ups and downs. I say it's an emotional and financial roller coaster, building and running a business. Starting a business from scratch. Having an idea and having a passion. It is challenging. It's challenging to all of us.

That's why I love the entrepreneurial spirit and the entrepreneurial community. When we are able to hang out with people that play the game better or differently than we do, we have a better chance to get to that next level.

So have an amazing day. Dream big! Continue to battle. Continue to dream. Continue to fight. Bring other people into your sphere. And I want to just wish you one hell of an amazing day. I’ll see you soon."

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