Blog - Sports, Winning, and Finance

Michael Cancelliere, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

                                         Advantage Consulting Services, LTD.

By Bill Keeney, Financial Advisor with NAVIGON Financial Group, Inc.

7 Lessons from the Lineman    

Mike Cancelliere moved to Cleveland over 30 years ago and today is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Advantage Consulting Services, LTD.  Advantage Consulting Services was designed to identify the best solutions to several important areas of concern for an employer. At their direction, Advantage will help employers evaluate key employee benefits programs, measure it against their industry’s norms, and help them decide where to go from there.     



      The life of a football lineman:  Opening massive holes for his running backs to exploit with their talent, holding of pass rushers from his quarterback, and doing his job well, a Lineman in football sets up his team for success.  Football is a game that is full of superstar quarterbacks, amazing running backs and acrobatic wide receivers.  These players score the touchdowns and are the face of multi-million or billion dollar franchises.   Ask any coach, at any level, the game begins, ends, and won at the line of scrimmage by linemen.  Mike Cancelliere is one of those linemen, a trait that he has carried through-out his life. 

      Mike played every sport he could.  From an early age, Mike played organized little league baseball and any other sport that was in season; football, basketball, hockey, etc.   Mike desired to compete.  As Mike matured he focused more on Football.  He started in high school and later at Trinity College as an offensive guard and outside linebacker on defense.  He built friendships and comradery from those teams that he cherishes.  He still keeps in touch with his friends from those teams.



      As a 22 years old, Mike did receive scholastic accolades from multiple honor societies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, but winning to Mike was sport.  You won or you lost.  His favorite part of the game, any sport, was the team.  He equated team championships and winning to the farmer.  You cannot put one thing in front of the other.  You win in the preparation.  When you are in the off-season, you have to train, prepare, and put in the work.  In the preseason, you prepare and work.  When you get to the game, you have fun.  That is the biggest lesson for Mike.  “You never always go undefeated.”  Mike thought he might and should play on Sundays, but he reached the reality that there was always somebody stronger and faster. 

      Mike converted his competitive desire from sports seamlessly into business.  He became an observer, and stopped playing sports.  At 32 years of age, Mike and his wife were parenting as Mike was building businesses.   At 52, which is a big leap of time, Mike stated that his definition of winning did not change much from age 32. 



      Winning in business Mike says, “I can smell a lot of chicken manure.”  He can listen to people and understand their motives.  Mike builds relationships with people first, before he conducted his business.  Through the years, Mike stated his best advice to himself and others is:

  1. “I had humility driven into my head.”Mike’s parents drove humility into his head that humility was your most important trait, “Knowing you had to wait in line. You are nothing special. The world is a giant place, and you are just another player in the world.”

  2. Apply Risk taking and self-confidence.  Putting more self confidence in your head when you are younger.

  3. Apply your own sense of sniff and common sense.

  4. You cannot rush experience, so you need to apply your risk and pursue some things.  You must learn from that normal progression.

  5. Concentrate on what works for you.  You make your reality.

  6. You cannot control what others will think or do.  You have yourself and the immediate people around you to please.

  7. Exercise: Do it.  If you get out of bed and run every day, that is the hardest thing you will do all day.


If we heed Mike’s advice to himself and translate to our financial decisions, we have an opportunity to build our own winning financial estate. 

Do the work. 

1. Plan, save, and be patient. 

2.  Execute our plan now: do not wait. 

3.  Do what makes sense to us and what we understand. 

4.  We will become more sophisticated investors over time; allow someone to help us. 

5.  Understand what we are attempting to accomplish.

6.  The market will fluctuate, and we cannot control it.  We control only our risk level. 

7. We should always pay ourselves first.  This is the hardest thing we will have to do all month.  

Find a Linemen, a trusted advisor, to help you navigate your path.

     Paraphrasing a close friend of Mike Cancelliere in a statement that seems to capsulize Mike’s success:

“What is the big deal Mike, you are just a stinkin’ Lineman, remember you are just a stinkin’ lineman.”  


      In the NFL, the majority of sports teams draft linemen as their number one choice.  In winning, championship NFL team have a commonality of dominate offensive and defensive lines.  They win the game in the trenches.  In finance and in business, if you have the lineman blowing open holes, you can allow the specialist to do what they do best in the open field.  As in business and finance, once you build your offensive and defensive lines in finance, you provide your available cash to exploit the opportunities that come to you in your life.  If you know your actions will have limited risk on your financial foundation, you free your fears and control your business decisions.

    Mike Cancelliere is just a stinkin’ lineman.  He has built his businesses through service, dedication, team building, and allowed specialist to shine. 

We can build our own success in business and in life. 

Be a stinkin’ lineman!

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