How to Make Business Decisions Based on Your Mission and Vision: Entrepreneurial Advice with Patrick Donohoe

Yitzi Weiner
Jan 11, 2019 · 11 min read
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“Long-term success requires you to be crystal clear with what your mission and vision are. It also requires the ability to use those things as a guide to make the best decisions.”

I had the pleasure of interviewing Patrick Donohoe, the President and CEO of Paradigm Life, an insurance and financial services business whose mission is to inspire people to take control of their financial life and pursue financial independence. Founded in 2007, Paradigm Life has advised clients in all 50 states and in every province in Canada on reliable financial strategies that reinforce their mission. As a result, Patrick was named one of the nations “Top 100 Most Influential Advisors” by Investopedia.

What is your backstory?

I had my first professional “awakening” in 2002 when a friend adamantly encouraged me to read Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. The book changed my entire life and made me realize that I didn’t want to pursue the standard path of corporate America. Almost everything I read in Rich Dad, Poor Dad was a complete contradiction of what I was taught and told to do with my life. It was a lightning bolt to my life.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?

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What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

In 2015, I created The Cash Flow Wealth Summit with two of Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Advisors, Tom Wheelwright and Andy Tanner. The Cash Flow Wealth Summit is a one-of-a-kind, two-day online event that features an elite faculty of 40 high-profile experts from around the world, all lecturing on a variety of wealth-based topics. Unlike other events, this summit is available to anyone anywhere in the world. We just wrapped up our fourth annual conference, and have already started plans for 2019’s event.

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Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?

Those that fought and challenged the status quo and, in some instances, sacrificed their life for it.

Which literature do you draw inspiration from?

I like to read books that make you think deeply — usually topics on philosophy, psychology, and human behavior. Examples are all of Steven Pressfield’s books — short, concise, and powerful. Letting Go by David Hawkins, Biocentrism by Robert Lanza, Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely, and books by Deepak Chopra always make you think.

How do you think your writing makes an impact in the world?

I write about topics, ideas, and strategies that are not mainstream and are often considered to be against the grain. In my opinion, the grain isn’t working and there is very little valuable advice on what Americans should do differently with their life, both financially and in general.

What advice would you give to someone considering becoming an author like you?

Do it! Don’t be afraid to share your passion, commitment, and dedication with others. You may go on to inspire those same three qualities in people you’ll never personally meet. Push yourself to overcome the notion that the world wouldn’t benefit from what you know.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I am a partner in an organization called The Prosperity Economics Movement (PEM). The mission of PEM is to empower financial advisors to learn the whole truth about money and apply sound financial principles to the advice they give to their individual clients.

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What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started,” and why?

  1. I am in the relationship business, not the financial business. Had I known what I know now when I started Paradigm Life, my focus of study would have been much different. All the numbers and math on earth won’t save you if you don’t have the ability to expertly communicate your vision and get others to believe in it. Relationships and trust are crucial in this process.
  2. The importance of leadership. Management isn’t leadership, but leadership without management usually ends up in failure. True leaders don’t lead from the top. They lead from the ground, working hand-in-hand with their teams.
  3. Establish core values and make your decisions through them, not through your instincts. Doing this helps override emotional responses and decisions. Not only for yourself, but for your team as well. As my company grew, the dynamic of different personalities, opinions, and perspectives converged. When challenges arose in whatever capacity — marketing, sales, HR, etc. — nobody wanted to be the one to blame. So, meetings and dialogue got heated. People got offended. People felt wronged. When you put differing opinions up against one another you will no doubt have conflict. And there is rarely progress when you have unhealthy conflict. Core values are static, unchangeable principles that provide a common ground to situations like these. One of the values my team has is to operate with a team and family spirit. I describe this as having eachothers’ backs and working together. When conflict arises, the principle of team and family spirit allows for open dialogue and healthy debate, not a blame game.
  4. Value the principle of focus. Long-term success requires you to be crystal clear with what your mission and vision are. It also requires the ability to use those things as a guide to make the best decisions. If a decision aligns with mission and vision, do it. If not, say no. This also applies to teams. We have a structured business rhythm where we operate in three four-month cycles. These cycles are short enough to be motivated immediately and long enough to make a difference. We start each cycle by agreeing on certain company initiatives and goals. Then each department creates their goals that support the overarching ones. Normally, each team member has three KPI (key performance indicator) goals and two professional development goals. Incentive compensation is tied to these goals and paid out when the cycle ends. The company stays focused and so does each member of the team.
  5. A foundation to business success is the culture you operate within. Several years ago I read something that impacted me greatly. At the time, I had ill feelings towards certain members of my team. These attitude made me not want to come into the office sometimes. The book made the case for how families are impacted by the office environment they work in. The idea was that people spend most of their professional life away from their families and loved ones. If the office environment is unhealthy, toxic and people aren’t valued, that affects their personality and subsequently how they treat their family. The author tied suicide, drug addiction, alcoholism, and divorce to how the individual was treated in their professional life. That did it for me. We parted ways with over a dozen people over a six-month period of time.

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with?

  • Simon Sinek
  • Dan Ariely
  • Deepak Chopra
  • Thomas Sowell

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