time kills deals, and 7 other points on making it happen

Within the last few months, I bought a house, sold my condo, and signed a bunch of creative contracts. It’s reminded me how much I love the art of the deal. The dance of instinct, will, and faith. The thrilling velocity that comes after, “I’m in!” When you enter into the deal making phase — from real estate to intellectual property, from gigs to partnerships, it’s like heading into a dark tunnel. The Deal Tunnel. It’s narrowing (and harrowing), it’s mysterious, and everyone’s opinions are echoing. It’s the light shining ahead that keeps you lucid and strong — and moving forward.

Once you get into the Deal Tunnel you need to get out of it as swiftly as possible. Seal it. “Will you marry me?” “Yes!”; “Do you want to build this thing together?” “Yes!” Ride the momentum of Yes! and nail down the details while everyone is in love and sharp.


  1. Do NOT enter the Deal Tunnel if you are unsure that you want to make a deal. Deliberation, doubt, enthusiasm, and overall assessment must happen before you enter into any kind of negotiation. Here it is: Do you want it or not? If the answer is yes, then proceed…

  2. People’s true colors come up in the deal-making process. If you don’t like what you see in terms of behavior, back out of the Deal Tunnel quickly.

  3. Do not mistineterpret legitimate restrictions that your deal partners may be dealing with as their behavior or personality traits. There are legalities and formalities that can be insurmountable in deals, do not take them personally. That said…

  4. Legalities and formalities can often be surmounted. Exceptions happen when people choose to be exceptional.

  5. TIME KILLS DEALS. If the people involved are dragging their feet or buying time, BEWARE. For me, the ol’ drag and slag is a red flag, and it’s likely wise to walk. Are you in or are you out?

  6. Race the clock and love every minute of it. Set deadlines for deal closing and do whatever it takes to meet them. Make the call. Make the promise. Pay for the express rate. Tell the cab driver to hit it! and if you’re stuck in traffic, get out and run the final three blocks to get there on time.

  7. At all times in the Deal Tunnel, keep this in your heart: I WANT THIS TO WORK OUT. When you’re in that place of pure desire, you’re empowered to get creative, and be flexible for the bigger vision.

  8. At all times in the Deal Tunnel, keep this in mind: I won’t die if I don’t get this. When you’re in that place of expanded detachment, you will embody your values, speak clearly, and fly if the strings get cut.

It can be a long road to Yes. When you arrive — really be there. And put your Yes on the map.