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When clients hit 35, most will encounter this problem. The period of rapid salary growth ends. Promotions become few and far between. The levers to dramatically improve your career becomes harder to pull and often don’t work. It’s almost as if you need to work towards retirement and wait for the goodwill of the company. Many clients sacrifice the social glue they built over a decade to move to another company and … encounter the same problem.

Unfortunately, many professionals are ignored, miss out on promotions, or feel they are on the wrong path and not living up to their potential. This results in feeling frustrated and under-appreciated. We have tested strategy tools and blueprints that allow our clients to stop being ignored, get promoted or start their own business, and find a greater career and personal fulfillment, and a higher level of contribution.

The MasterPlan Coaching Program is a personal group-mentoring program where we work personally with you to help you develop and start implementing YOUR MasterPlan. This coaching program is designed to help clients with the guided implementation of our most popular Insider program, the MasterPlan program. In the MasterPlan program, we cover the critical skills and strategies we developed for our most successful executive coaching clients and give you a blueprint to significantly alter your career.

Imagine the power of getting personalized guidance and coaching aligned with your unique situation, as you are developing your MasterPlan and start guided implementation.

We are putting together a small cohort of group coaching clients. This program makes coaching with us accessible to a broader group of clients.

As one client recently said:

If Michael had been my mentor from high school, I would be a President by now. Click To Tweet

More about the program:

Duration: 6 months. The tentative start date is March 1, 2022.

Objectives of the program:

  • More clarity on the Massive Transformation Purpose (MTP aka vision)
  • Develop a MasterPlan/the critical path/blueprint for your career and life
  • Start a guided implementation of your MasterPlan with our coaching
  • 6 months challenge towards the result YOU want to accomplish, with milestones and accountability
  • Identifying the skills gaps. For example, leadership skills, problem-solving skills, networking, communication skills, etc.
  • Prepare a plan to close the skills gap
  • Help you understand and break down limiting beliefs, limited mindsets, old patterns, and bad habits that may be holding you stuck
  • Dealing with personal circumstances and how to have a balance between career/business growth and personal life/taking care of your health/family/community
  • Positioning you as a leader within your organization
  • A support system and an opportunity to establish a life-long network, and potentially friendships with other accomplished professionals in your peer group
  • Assigned accountability partners to ensure enough support and accountability, as well as an opportunity to form deeper relationships with other participants, who are all our accomplished and driven clients

It’s an opportunity for an elevation in your position, getting consistent guidance and support on your journey, gaining clarity on the vision, learning from other accomplished professionals, and building a life-long network, and potential friendships.

This is a pilot program. We may never run this program again so if you feel it is the right program for you this may be your only chance to be a part of it.

This program was co-designed with some of our closest clients. Here are paraphrased descriptions of this program from our clients that you may find helpful …

  • “It’s a group of people that want to create some very large change in their life. They either do know what it is or don’t know what it is. They don’t want to waste tons of time figuring out things without guidance and mentorship. There’s a bunch of learnings that are out there and coaching that can help them avoid making the wrong moves for them. And then once they are somewhat clear on where they want to head towards, of course, there’ll be nuances they go about learning, helping them avoid the pitfalls that often they would have fallen into along that change.”
  • “It’s not going to be a program for too junior of a person… Looking at our career as if it’s four quarters of a sports game. And starting at the age 25 to 35, that’s the first quarter. And age 35 to 45, that’s the second quarter. 45 is halftime… and 55 is the end of the 3rd quarter and 65 is game over. Now, that sounds a little harsh, but just looking over 10-year spans, this is probably a program for somebody who’s approaching that halftime. Still has a third quarter, fourth quarter. How we can use the experience gained from the first half of the game to be able to really create a high magnitude impact in the 3rd and 4th quarters of the game.”
  • “A way to get structure, encouragement, and action towards your big life’s goals.”
  • “Learn and apply MasterPlan Program tools to launch something big in the next decade. You’ll identify your purpose; pick your unique 10 filters to evaluate every opportunity; identify your role models; and make big progress in your Phase 1. Plus you’ll get support from FC partners and motivated, mid-career Insiders who are also launching something big.”


This program is priced at $22,500.

Discount option: We are offering a discounted price for clients who are willing to support us with a video testimonial if they find the program valuable. The discounted price is $14,997.

The structure of the program:

  • 1st and 3rd week of the month – coaching and implementation sessions with FC partners focused on helping you implement the MasterPlan program (Michael and Kris are scheduled to lead this program). The objective of each session is to help ensure that each client is clear on what they need to do to make progress before the next session.
  • If you cannot attend a certain session in person you can submit your questions in advance and catch a replay in The MasterPlan Coaching Program private membership area.
  • 4 one-on-one 30 minutes strategy sessions with Kris to be used as needed for a deep dive throughout the program.
  • 2nd week of the month – Mastermind with program participants led by Kris (subject to sufficient interest from participants).
  • 2nd and 4th week of the month – Accountability calls with an assigned accountability partner.
  • Private community space on circle to get guidance and support between the sessions.
  • The MasterPlan program training is available in a private MasterPlan Coaching Program membership area.
  • Resources and templates.

We are aiming to start this program in March and filling in the remaining seats now. If you are inclined to embark on this journey with us email [email protected] If you would like to accelerate your application, you can make a payment here:

Discounted option. We are offering a discounted price for clients who are willing to support us with a video testimonial if they find the program valuable.

Alternatively, you can select a full price option.

Terms and conditions apply. If for any reason the seat can’t be allocated, we will initiate the refund within 3 business days.

There are times when everything goes wrong with your career plans. This happens often in life. It happened to me multiple times …

We work with many partners and executives and they sometimes break contact for a few months. When they resurface the most common reason provided is that things went chaotically off track and they needed time to stop everything, including their personal development, to fix the problem and regroup before resuming with their careers.

It happens to all of us. We can all recall times when things became so bad we felt like quitting and barely made it through. I can personally recall a few such times earlier in my life. And the common theme is that most clients feel blindsided when chaos occurs. They are shocked that it happened.

We are dealing with some chaotic times in our organization. What helps us manage this is operating under the assumption that the very worst that could happen will happen. We are not hoping to avoid the problems. We have a plan for when they eventually will likely happen. And they will happen. The exact problems may not be what we expected but we expect catastrophic problems.

This is a stark departure from the way the world is usually run and the way most clients run their careers. This is especially true for the majority of our clients who assume a platinum education, employer and residency will insulate them from any possible shock.

If a client makes a $250,000 salary with bonuses in the current year, clients just assume this will be their salary plus a 2% yearly increase for the next 30 years.

Clients spend to the hilt. We have clients who have canceled a monthly premium membership subscription to buy a home. A home is a worthy investment but it is unwise to invest in anything where the margin for a severe cash crisis is the cost of a monthly premium subscription.

Most clients do not have a contingency plan for health problems. What happens if you cannot work for 6 months? What happens if you lose your job? What happens if your company’s market share collapses?

Our operating philosophy is called “be prepared to play in extra time.” It is a football (soccer) analogy. Most football teams try to win the game during regular time and give up if the game goes to extra time. We believe things will be tough and we need to have a strategy to fight it out in extra time.

We expect to be playing in extra time.

There are important insights here. If a football game is 45 mins x 2 halves. That is 90 minutes. Extra time is 15 mins x 2 halves. That means we have to be prepared to be working 33% (30 min / 90min) longer and harder than anyone else.

It means we have to be fitter. We have to have more energy reserves. We need to set aside time to practice for this.

This is a mindset. Surprises are bad when they are surprises. They are not so bad when you expected the very worst things to happen. We discuss this much more in The MasterPlan Program, which I highly recommend Insiders revisit during this time of year.

Getting derailed in your 20s and early 30s is hard, but you will recover. Getting derailed in your late 30s and 40s results in many people getting completely stalled in their careers for the rest of their lives. In large part, because they never had the mindset to expect it. They never had the thinking and plans in place to see it through. They never looked for guidance and coaching to help them navigate out of it.

We run the companies very frugally. Frugality is a centerpiece of our operating philosophy. We invest in assets. We don’t spend on unnecessary expenses. We call this having a fortress balance sheet.

Every time you face a problem in life, it is linked to money.

A failed product launch makes you apprehensive about your job since you need the salary to pay for your mortgage, kids’ education, and your college debt. A fortress balance sheet is just that. It means having the financial resources and time to wait out any surprises.

The hard part is sticking to the plan. We use the term “stay in formation.”

If you ever work with us, you will hear these three phrases very often. Staying in formation means not panicking and worrying. It means not doing crazy and irresponsible things when things go wrong. My father sold his shares when the Russian stock market collapsed a few years ago. He did not stay in formation. He should have waited it out and I wish he would have asked for my advice or at least shared his plans.

Despite all the things that are going wrong because of COVID, especially for our start-ups, our view is things are unfolding better than we expected since we expected much worse at this point and planned for much worse.

In our view, all these obstacles may even work to our advantage since they could reduce the noise in the sectors our start-ups operate in.

Staying in formation is about sticking to the strategy because it is the right thing to do. Staying in formation does not mean asking the opinions of 10 friends who are not invested in the business and don’t understand the strategy, and changing the plans to follow the most popular advice.

Staying in formation is very hard. You need to have a contrarian view. You need to trust your earlier thinking and trust your implementation. It means disagreeing with people.

It’s possible that because I grew up during the collapse of the Former Soviet Union, having contingencies and contingencies for contingencies is the norm for me. Yet, it is your life. Even if you live in the wealthiest city in the wealthiest country in the world, you need to be ready for anything.

Especially for our community. Most of you are attracted to high-profile roles. So are your peers. Everyone is chasing too few roles. Sometimes you will get them, sometimes you will not.

And it is guaranteed as you age, your firm will decide newer, fresher minds will be needed. You will be out. Even the greatest strategy partner eventually becomes a strategy partner emeritus. And that is one of the reasons we are introducing a high support coaching program for those clients who want to work with us to start purpose-driven authority-based online businesses. If you are interested, click here to be notified and email [email protected] if you are specifically interested to apply for a spot to work with us to launch or build your authority-based online business so we can have you on the radar for a few spots we will have for the upcoming cohort.

Regardless of whether you see yourself ultimately building an authority-based business or continuing your career in the corporate world, if you model your life to be ready for the worst things, they are not so bad when it happens. It starts with not blaming yourself when bad things happen to you. It starts with not assuming someone else was at fault when things go wrong. Blaming does not serve you well. You can only live life forward.

Much in life is outside of your control. Build a fortress balance sheet. Be prepared to play in extra time and always stay in formation.

Take care,

CEO, FIRMSconsulting

P.S. I hope you will find this message helpful. Email us at [email protected] and let us know what do you struggle with the most in your career or business. I read every reply to our emails to the FIRMSconsulting community. And my team is here to support you on your journey. Please note that due to holidays there will be a delay with reply.
P.S.S. And as you are building your skills with FIRMSconsulting content, or any other resources, please also focus on building a skill set that will serve you for the rest of your life, versus only focusing on achieving a short-term goal.


We’ve almost rounded the sun once more. Less than 2 weeks left in 2021! And I turned 40 on top of it. Feels like an end of a chapter and the beginning of the next. This year was hard. If you weren’t hard enough on yourself, I’m sure you felt judged by many people for how you’ve decided to deal with the pandemic, and how you thought about protecting your family, healthcare, closings/openings, the economy, the kind of leader you are, and many other things.

I wanted to say…

… thank you for your support during this year.

We have the most amazing people within our community who went out of their way to support me and the FIRMSconsulting team during this year, and during the entire pandemic. When masks were in short supply one of our incredible members made sure the entire FC team had enough masks. We have a prelaunch team that helps us polish the books before it is released to the broader community. We have amazing members doing all kinds of supportive acts of kindness to ensure the success and wellbeing of the company. And I am so grateful for each and every one of you.

As you know, we don’t get everything right. I wish I built a bigger team earlier. I wish we could have been more consistent this year with emails to our community. I wish I could have gotten out in our community more. I wish I could have seen my family more. I wish I could have finished a bunch of big projects that are still unfinished going into 2022. And I judge myself for this kind of stuff. You probably do too.

But what I also know is people within our community are a very rare bunch. We are leaders, we take responsibility for our clients, teams, and families, we do our best, we demand more from ourselves than anyone has the right to demand of us. We take action when other people don’t have the courage to act… because leaders go first.

When people do judge you remember that:

1. You will always be judged if you are a leader. The only way to avoid criticism is to say nothing, do nothing and be nothing. But there are also a lot of people out there that will support you and cheer you on. I am one of them. Every member of the FIRMSconsulting team is one of them. And as you gain momentum you will start noticing more support.

In my own career and business, it hurts my heart to see negative comments about our work because we put so much effort and hundreds of thousands of dollars (even millions of dollars and more for people who know how to use the materials) of value into our Insider membership, SLIDES membership, books, and programs, which are available at a price unequivocally below the value offered.

So, for example, every time I would see a review saying nasty, untruthful things about a book that I knew was changing the lives of many people around the world, it would really hurt my heart because fewer people would get the book as a result of that comment. But then, as momentum grew and more people have seen the results from the books, I started receiving multiple messages per week from around the world on how our books impacted someone’s business or career. Here are some messages I just received.

And this is what gives me additional support to be spending this Christmas and New Year working on new books for you guys.

2. Many people who judge you are uninformed, and to be frank, don’t really care. They often have feeling significant as a major need in their lives and by judging you, belittling your efforts, even though just for a little while, they feel a little more important, a little more significant in their own lives.

Coming back to people who would be posting nasty comments online, often hiding behind anonymity. Think about the type of person who would do that. With so little time that we have on this earth who would decide to invest their precious time belittling someone else’s work?

The people who judge you are usually casual observers who know nothing about you and, frankly, don’t care about you. They are advancing their own agendas such as trying to feel a little more important, a little more significant by belittling and judging someone else. Those are NOT professional or informed assessments.

So please keep in mind that most belittling, judging, and trolling you’ll ever receive as a leader is not worth paying attention to. It’s not coming from pros.

Use it as free advice to see if there is any value there. Some judgment, some criticism has the potential to make you better, sharper, and more advanced. If not, feel compassion for those people. They are miserable, often significance-driven people who are not contributing to the world at the level they could if that is how they choose to spend their limited time on earth.

Google any great leader and you will find a ton of nasty, soul crashing comments about them online. Don’t let judgment stop you from contributing at the highest level you can.

You have supported my efforts, and our team’s efforts this year. I am very grateful.

People always judge me and my team online for something – too long books, not long enough books, hard to find you online you don’t market enough, you have too much marketing, you are female and why should we listen to you then, too direct in your feedback to clients, not direct enough in your feedback to clients, too expensive, not expensive enough, too much free stuff, not enough free stuff.

But you guys have always supported me, and I never forget it.

From our recent Strategy. Part 1 launch that naturally (not because of a giant ad budget) went to number 1 bestseller status on Amazon…

… or reviews (we read every review for books, podcasts, and apps) for the Strategy Skills podcast that this week hit the 200th episode …

I’ve felt your support, attention, and appreciation. Even on the days I got nasty reviews and comments for my work and my team’s work from trolls. Even on the days I’m too hard on myself.

So, thank you.
I am incredibly grateful for you all. And I wish you a warm and happy holiday season.

Before you go, here’s what I would like to know this week: What needs to happen in 2022 for you to feel you had an extraordinary year for your life, career, and business, that you were the kind of leader you could really be proud of? 

Email [email protected] and let us know. I will read every reply.

Take care,

CEO, FIRMSconsulting

P.S. We hope you will find this message helpful. Email [email protected] and let us know what needs to happen in 2022 for you to feel you had an extraordinary year for your career and business, or even generally for your life. I will read every reply. And as you are building your skills with FIRMSconsulting Insider materials, SLIDES, our booksadvice sessions coaching, The Consulting Sales Rainmaker coaching program, The Published Author program, or any other resources, please also focus on building a skill set that will serve you for the rest of your life, versus only focusing on achieving a short-term goal.

Career and Pregnancy

Here is some advice about leadership. I recently spoke to a female client in a coaching program who is pregnant. So, obviously, I told her congratulations, but her reaction was unusual because she was sad about it. She wondered whether her pregnancy would affect her career—she manages a division of 300 people. My advice to her was that the company is not worried about your pregnancy — they’re worried about her ability to manage it. And if she manages it, everything’s going to be fine.

Your manager wants you to manage your pregnancy so that it’s no disruption to the business. No disruption doesn’t mean that you need to come into the office every day. No disruption to the business means that the outcomes you would have achieved by doing 10 tasks don’t change. But the way you do those 10 tasks can change. Now, she took that advice, and she stayed at home two days out of the week, and of course COVID came along, which made it much easier for her to do that.

When you go through anything in your life, always remember that nobody wants to talk about your problem, in this case her pregnancy, because they don’t have time. What they want for you is to manage it. If you are facing a change in your life that forces you to stop operating in a traditional way, that’s okay, provided you can get the job done. No disruption to the business does not mean things don’t have to change. You can work from home if it suits you, you can work part time if it suits you—provided the company is still getting the value they expect from you as contractually agreed by all parties. Remember that you can do whatever is best for you. You don’t have to look at what other people are doing. It’s your career, it’s your life. You need to manage it. You can be a leader, but you don’t have to fit the stereotype of what a typical leader is.

This is an excerpt from Monday Morning 8 a.m. newsletter, issue #4.

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