The Mason Jar of Life

Written by Steve Mores

There are two sons of an alcoholic father. One struggles through life as a drunk. The other becomes a successful, ambitious businessman. When asked, “Why are you the way you are?” Both responded, “My father was an alcoholic.” It’s all about the decisions we make! How we deal with our past can either create constant depression or create wisdom through learning from it. It’s a choice!

In the animated movie The Lion King, although he may be completely crazy, Rafiki, the wise baboon, has many life lessons to teach Simba. In one scene where Rafiki is mentoring the adult Simba about how to deal with his past, Rafiki smacks Simba over the head with his cane. Simba reacts with “Ow! geez, what was that for?” and Rafiki replies, “It doesn’t matter, it’s in the past!” Comical, yes, and words to live by, absolutely! Rafiki continues: “The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.”

Lion King:

How we deal with the past in the present will profoundly affect how we run our businesses and the culture we create at work and home. It’s a choice!

We can get very distracted these days with social media, politics, the pandemic, gossip, and just all the minutiae around us. This may cause our priorities to get skewed.  

In the 1994 film Forrest Gump, the lead character Forrest Gump (played by Tom Hanks) said, “My mom always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”… If life is a box of chocolates, would it always be sweet? The past will prove differently, and maybe it’s not what we take out of the box rather what we put into our life’s jar.  


To that point, here is what I believe is the perfect analogy:  

This is a very important life lesson that a philosophy teacher taught his students. He entered the class, cleared off his desk, and placed an empty mason jar on top of the desk. He proceeded to fill up the jar with golf balls until he could fit no more. He looked at the classroom and asked his students if they agreed that the jar was full. Every student agreed that the jar was full.

The teacher then picked up a box of small pebbles and poured them into the jar with the golf balls. The pebbles filled the space between the golf balls. He asked a second time if the jar was full. Once again, they agreed that it was full.

Now the teacher picked up a bag of sand and poured it into the mason jar. The sand filled all the empty space between the golf balls and pebbles. He asked a third time if the jar was full. The students agreed it was technically full.

Finally, the teacher pulled out two beer bottles from under his desk and poured one into the jar filling the space between the sand. Now the students began to laugh, wondering how far this was going.

The teacher waited until the laughter stopped. “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life,” he started. “The golf balls represent the important things. Your family, children, health, friends, and passions. If everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles represent the other things in life that matter, such as your job, house, and car. The sand is everything else—the small stuff. If you put the sand in first, there is no room for pebbles or golf balls.

The same goes for life. If you spend all of your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the most important things. Pay attention to the important things in your life. Enjoy time with family. Go to dinner with your spouse. Play games with your kids. There will ALWAYS be time to clean the house or take yourself shopping.

Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. The rest is just sand. You are dismissed.”

Before the students left, one shouted out. “You never mentioned what the beer represents!”

The professor smiled and said, “Well, I’m glad you asked. The beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room to have a couple of beers with a friend.”

Teacher’s analogy:

To expand upon this analogy, the golf balls represent the things that should be a top priority in life: Faith, Family, Friends, Health, and Freedom. The pebbles represent important things, like our business, careers, and possessions, which all support the top priorities in one way or another. And the sand represents all the other small stuff that occupies our time: social media, politics, gossip, divisiveness, and the like. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be informed or have an opinion, as long as we respect others. Filling our jar with sand first will not leave any room for the most important things in life.  

Dwelling on the mistakes of the past can lead to depression. Learning lessons from the past creates wisdom. How we deal with the past and prioritize our present will either create anxiety or hope for the future. It’s a choice!


Steve Mores is the Divisional President at Dynamic Air Quality Solutions.

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service to see if there are Success Days in your area.

Rock & Roll Analogies

Written by Steve Mores

OK, let’s have some fun! After each song title, say the words “in my business,” and we can analogize from there. Sing along if you like!

Come Together (Beatles) in my business: Having a total team effort with everyone on the same page, working for the same cause, towards SMART goals that have been communicated and are understood by all.

Another Brick in the Wall (Pink Floyd) in my business: Albeit spinning the meaning, build your business brick by brick with a solid foundation to build upon. Each step of the way follows a plan with clearly stated processes and procedures that can be followed and duplicated.

You Can’t Always Get What You Want (Rolling Stones) in my business: Things will not always go your way or as expected. Stuff happens, obstacles get in the way, but we must adjust, adapt, and keep moving forward.

Born to Run (Bruce Springsteen) in my business: Standing still or just keeping pace with the competition is not a recipe for success. Being strategic, innovative, and creative with your products and services will pay dividends in the race for new business.

Take it Easy (Eagles) in my business: Although keeping a fast pace is good for business, you also need to take time for yourself and your family. That is our top priority and the main reason we are building our businesses in the first place. Take time away from business to relax and enjoy some family time and time for yourself.

Imagine (John Lennon) in my business: Dream big and imagine the amazing possibilities that a well-run business has to offer. Don’t let the naysayers get in your way. If you think you can, you can. Dream big.

Living in the Past (Jethro Tull) in my business: Humbly remembering your past successes is a good thing that will keep you motivated. Yet dwelling on the past mistakes without learning from them can be depressing. Celebrate your successes and become wise from your mistakes.

I Can See for Miles (The Who) in my business: Having an annual plan with goals, along with a 5, 10, 15, and 20-year plans, will give you a road map to success. Seek mentors, learn from other successes and failures, read business-related books, and apply the knowledge. Implement and execute daily with your focus on the future.

Turn it on Again (Genesis) in my business: As the saying goes, “If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Failure should never overtake you when your determination to succeed is stronger. Keep it turned on!

Don’t Bring me Down (ELO) in my business: Don’t let others bring you down by telling you it can’t be done or that the risk is too high. Calculated risks are good for business and are needed to grow. “There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long-range risks of comfortable inaction.”  – John F. Kennedy 

Dirty Deeds (AC/DC) in my business: There is no room in any business for unethical or shady behavior. There is plenty of room to always keep the best interest of our clients in mind while offering valid solutions to discovered challenges.  

I Want You to Want Me (Cheap Trick) in my business: This is what I like to call the “I gotta guy” syndrome. 

Your service should be so extraordinary that your clients want to refer you to family and friends without being prompted or compensated. “You need someone in the trades? Well, I gotta guy!”  

Thank You (Led Zeppelin) in my business: There is always time to be grateful for what our businesses have afforded us, our families, and our team members. Sincerely show gratitude and thanks to your clients for trusting you to service them and to your team members when they go above and beyond expectations. 

Into the Great Wide Open (Tom Petty) in my business: There are many opportunities out there, and you must seize the moments. Make it happen and have fun in the process. 

Taking Care of Business (BTO) in my business: I had to throw this one in here since it is so obvious. It addresses all the above!

Don’t Stop Believing (Journey) and Dream On (Aerosmith) in my business: No analogy needed. ROCK ON! 


Steve Mores is the Divisional President at Dynamic Air Quality Solutions.

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service to see if there are Success Days in your area.

Winning at the Kitchen Table

Written by Michelle LaFrance

You’ve been invited to a seat at the kitchen table; however, dinner is not served. And to make matters even worse, your competition has been invited as well!

Selling at the kitchen table isn’t easy. Consider the fact that homeowners shopping for plumbing, a new HVAC system, or a remodeling project seem to have it built into their DNA to get three competitive quotes (some are even more enthusiastic and get four or five quotes). You can start to see that your time at the kitchen table is like an audition. Who will land the leading role?

It’s showtime! How you handle your time at the kitchen table is key. And just like a performer needs to read the audience, your ability to close the sale has everything to do with your ability to accurately read the prospect and understand the set of values that will be driving their buying decision.

There are two very important things to understand:

  1. What causes your prospect to say YES to you and your offer?
  2. What drives your prospect to say NO to you and your offer?

It’s the greatest discovery in the history of business. People buy based on a certain personality profile is key to winning at the kitchen table.



Pre-determined sales presentations only work with some people some of the time.

Some sales teams use an iPad that some people like, and some won’t.

Some sales teams use a pitch book, a series of set questions designed to gather data that can use in ‘the close .’ However, the answers to these questions may not have anything to do with your prospect’s actual buying behavior.

Any canned sales process that does not consider your prospect’s values will miss out on the very reason that people make buying decisions. On the contrary, when you address values, you’ll not only get the sale, you get a higher level of satisfaction, positive reviews, and referrals.



People’s criteria to make a buying decision are so different that you can think of it as speaking another language.

Consider this: Hippocrates, considered the father of medicine, identified four distinct personality types, each so different from the next that he learned to treat them differently medically based on their personality profile. He categorized people into categories that he called the Four Temperaments.

What does this tell you? It points to the fact that any canned presentation that doesn’t consider the four personality types will only work sometimes. It makes sense that to increase your effectiveness, you need to adjust your presentation to match your prospect’s personality type.

The good news is that the solution is easier than you may think. It all comes down to understanding your prospect’s values and knowing how to deliver the right message to the right person.



Learning about what motivates each personality type is easier than you think. The best advice is to stop thinking like you. Get out of your head what you think is needed to close the sales and place all your attention on your prospect because they tell you who they are and what they need from you.  

Values are important because they drive behavior and drive buying decisions. 

You can gather a great deal of data from a person’s behavior. You’ve noticed that people behave differently, right?  

  • Have you ever had someone take the wheel from your sales presentation and start driving the process? This is a personality type.
  • Have you had the feeling of your prospect quietly examining you…like you’re being vetted? This is a personality type.
  • How about the person that welcomes you into their home, offers you something to eat, and wants to get to know you before you start addressing their issue? This is a personality type.
  • What about the person that wants the case studies, consumer reports, stats, datasheets, and everything else? Yes, this is a personality type too.


~Each of the above behaviors is just one way to identify the personality type you’re dealing with. Many behaviors will indicate who you are dealing with. 

 ~ Each personality type has a hidden set of values that need to be addressed for them to say YES to you.  

 ~Each of these personality types has a hidden fear when deciding who to do business with. Alleviate the fear and increase your odds of getting a YES.

 ~Each personality type has an internal ‘tripwire’ (something that turns them off) and will cause them to say NO to you and your offer.


 The more you learn about personality types, and what they value, the better you can successfully move through your sale process. You’ll be able to discern when to break out that iPad and when to leave it alone. You’ll know what to say in response to the set of questions in a way that will make sense to them.

Now…about the invitation to the kitchen table. When you learn to speak your prospect’s language, you can gain confidence in your ability to deliver the right message so that your company will be invited back to do that HVAC install, plumbing, or home remodeling project.

Bon appetite!


Michelle LaFrance is a Certified and Licensed BANKCODE Trainer.

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service to see if there are Success Days in your area.

Words to Provoke, Inspire, and Entertain

Written by Lynn Wise

The New Year is right around the corner. Looking back, we have had almost two years of uncertainty and chaos. Yet most service trades have and are prospering well. With this said, I decided to keep this light for a year-end article. 

Rather than write a few paragraphs on a business topic, I wanted to leave 2021 with some sayings from a favorite motivational speaker of mine. ©Larry Winget authored a great deskside book called The Gospel of Larry.  I highly recommend you pick up a copy and keep it on your desk, in your truck, by your bedside, or wherever you have a few minutes to reflect.  

The quotes from ©Larry Winget are long, but I have selected a few for you to read and reflect on 2021 or think about 2022 in different terms. 

 Here we go!


©Larry Winget

I don’t have any interest in taking care of people. My interest is in teaching people how to take care of themselves.   


On Life

Simple ideas for a better world: Smile more. Don’t litter. Buy things from little kids. Use your turn signals. Don’t talk in theaters. Say please and thank you.

Putting up with something is the same as endorsing it. Do you endorse rudeness, laziness, lousy service, insolence, stupidity? If not, stop putting up with it.

Life is about two things: The things you CAN control and the things you CAN’T control. Which are you spending your time on?

Don’t worry too much about making the right decision. Just make the decision, then make the decision right.


On Success

Wishful thinking is not a strategy for success.

Success comes from what you do, not from what you say you are going to do.

Before you can say yes to what you want, you have to say no to what you have.

The best way to get ahead is to move your behind.

Why be successful? It is very simple: because you can.


On Work

Focus on accomplishment, not activity. What you do isn’t as important as what you get done.

If it feels easy, maybe it’s because you aren’t doing it right. Some things are supposed to be hard.

Finding a job you love isn’t always possible, but falling in love with the job you have usually is.

Don’t tell me how busy you are. Show me what you’ve gotten done. Words don’t matter. Results do.


On Business

A simple business fact: Your value must exceed what your cost, or you will be replaced by someone who costs less and has more value.

Leadership is not about supporting your people; it’s about holding your people to a higher standard.

The biggest mistake you will ever make is thinking you can’t be replaced.

Good results cover up a multitude of sins.


On Money

Poor is a condition. Broke is a situation. Fix your situation before it becomes a condition.

If you were born poor, it’s not your fault. If you die poor, it is.

People don’t have money problems; they have priority problems. Get your priorities right, and your money will get right.

Get clear about what you own and what owns you.

These quotes are a few of my favorites from ©Larry Winget. The quick read has other categories such as Relationships, Parenting, and Stupidity. Grab a copy of The Gospel of Larry, you will reference it often.


I will leave you with two of my own:

  • Focus on the Rule, not the Exception to the Rule.
  • Say what you mean, mean what you say!

Happy Holidays and New Year! 

See you in 2022.


Lynn Wise is the Founder and CEO of Contractor in Charge.

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service to see if there are Success Days in your area.

It’s a Wonderful Life, but a Terrible Business

Written by Todd Liles 


George Bailey is perhaps the worst businessman in movies.

Just look at the honeymoon scene. George used his honeymoon savings to keep the people from taking their shares and selling them to Mr. Potter. It was a lovely scene in the movie, but he didn’t even get a signed receipt for the money. In fact, he told the lady not to sign anything. That’s charming, but there is no way he will remember the amount given and to whom.

(Building and Loan Scene: Chaos)


His wife was also complicit in this act. She was the one that brought the money out and handed it to George.

(Building and Loan Scene: Wife handing over money)


Instead of firing his incompetent uncle, he puts him in charge of an $8,000 deposit. In a moment of absolute buffoonery, his uncle gives the money to Mr. Potter!!

(Bank Scene: Uncle handing over money)


He is not the best family man. In service to the community, he puts his family in a terrible situation.

After his uncle hands over the business saving bank deposit to enemy #1, George is broken. He takes out his troubles on his family.

(Home scene: Girl crying at piano)


He goes out drinking; Gets in a fight.

(Bar scene: Punched in Bar)


Crashes his car.

(Crash scene: Car in a tree)


And he is going to end it all by jumping off a bridge. All of this is on Christmas Eve, mind you.

(Bridge Scene: Edge of the bridge)


Yes, George is selfless. So, we give him plenty of breaks for his bad business decisions. Yes, George has helped many people in his community. In fact, the community needs George Bailey. The community is better for having George. That is made plain and simple when Clarence the Angle shows him his impact on Bedford Falls.

(Major Scene in Bedford Falls: Running through town)


What is not clear is this “Is George better because of his community?”

While the romantic answer is “Yes, of course!” The reality says, “Not really.” By the end of the movie, all of George’s friends give him money to help keep him out of trouble.

(End scene: Money on table.)


And that scene makes me cry. Yes, it’s touching. But, do you think this one moment will be the last moment of trouble in George’s life?

Unless George learns how to have a Wonderful Business, he will repeat his troubles time and time again. He will pull his children into the unrewarding chains of the Building and Loan. Like his father before him, George will die of a stress-induced stroke.

Here’s the part that worries me the most about this movie . . . it’s not a movie.

It’s real life.

Sadly, it’s the life that many contractors live day by day. Many of you are serving your community and not of service to yourself or your family. Many of you have made similar mistakes as George.

So, when I give my next piece of advice to George, feel free to pass it on to the person that may need to hear it.


How to Have a Wonderful Business

George, I’m your Business Guardian Angel. My name is Todd. I’m an angel first class. I earned my wings helping businesspeople Have a Wonderful Life and a Wonderful Business.

Clarence came here to help you see the value of your life. I’m here to help you change your life by improving your business.

I have five simple rules for you to follow, George.

Rule #1: Get a business coach

George, you learned how to run a business from your father. He was a wonderful man, but he didn’t know business. He taught you poorly.

No, no, George! Business coaches are not like Mr. Potter. Mr. Potter was a miserable old soul. Good business coaches serve everyone. Mr. Potter was only self-serving.

Rule #2: Earn a profit of 15% to 20%

George, you need to pay yourself more money than what you do. And, your business needs to earn a respectable 15% to 20% profit at the end of the year.

George! You think that profits are evil. Why is that, George?

Do you think it is better to struggle every night wondering if you will make it through the next day?

George, if you went out of business, who would serve Bedford Falls?

See George; profits aren’t evil. Profits allow you to weather the storms, George. They allow you to fight against Mr. Potter. They keep you in service to your community.

Rule #3: Surround yourself with the best talent

Let’s talk about your Uncle George.

Oh. Do you know that it’s a problem?!

Then, George, why do you let him handle such important tasks?

You can keep him at the Building and Loan if you like, George. But don’t you think there might be other jobs he would be more suited for? Jobs that he would enjoy more. Jobs that wouldn’t set him up for failure.

Yes, George. That’s right. Keeping your uncle here is unkind.

Rule #4: Relax and enjoy your life

Work is not your entire life, George. Relax and enjoy your life.

Do you remember when you wanted to travel the world? 

You can still do that, George! And, you should do that, George.

You’ve been treating your business like a prison. Oh, my dear boy. It’s not a prison! No, your business is a magical transportation machine. It can take you anywhere you want to go, George!!

And, you need to go, George. You really need to go. It’s time to relax. It’s time to enjoy a little of this wonderful life! It’s time to see the world, George.

Rule #5: Make it happen in 12 months

Here is my last rule, George. And it’s the most important rule of all. Listen closely, George!

Make it happen in 12 months!

Yes, yes, yes, yes, you can.

You can make it happen in 12 months, and you must make it happen in 12 months, George!

Listen closely, my boy. Your time is running out. You will either make these changes this year or….. 

George! Do you know why you must make these changes!?

Then go, George! Go do it now! Don’t wait, my boy!!


Question: Do you have a Wonderful Life and Business? 

Are you ready to make a change?


Todd Liles is the CEO of Service Excellence.

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service to see if there are Success Days in your area.