Passionate Pursuit of Purpose

Posts by JB Farrell

Relax and take a Knee

Posted by on Sep 26, 2017 in Leadership | 0 comments

Relax and take a Knee

The Genesis of the blog is from my following facebook post.

“Usually I skip the Anthem for NFL games. But Sunday Morning I was watching online. I looked at the Ravens players who were kneeling during the anthem…
I looked at them and became curious, They grew up in an America that I don’t fully understand.Their Experience of being an American is substantially different from mine.

Perhaps we should listen rather than shout. Seek to understand their concerns and see if we can’t find a way to make this an America that we all can be proud of.”

It not that I agree or disagree with taking a knee, I can appreciate and respect the opinions of many voices in this discussion.

I can appreciate our President’s opinion and those who share it. (We live in one of the most amazing countries in the world, we should be grateful we were born here)

I can appreciate the NFL owners, players union, and commissioner telling the president don’t tell us how to run our business

I can respect John Harbaugh forhe indicated that the Ravens’ decision to “express themselves” was theirs to make, and he said he didn’t know whether players would protest before Sunday’s home game against the AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers.

I can respect Mike Tomlin for not wanting to participate in politics and keeping his team in the tunnel

I can respect Ben Roethlisberger  for regretting that decision

I can love the image of Alejandro Villanueva standing with his hand over is heart

I can respect Richard Petty for telling his employees failure to stand would result in being fired.

I can love Jerry Jones and the Cowboy response

There are also some opinions and expressions I can’t respect:

  • If you wear the shirt of a dictator who systematically repressed his people and destroyed his country’s economy
  • You tell me there is no Police brutality
  • You tell me there is no such thing as racial discrimination (I have been both victim and beneficiary of it).
  • You can’t succeed in America because of (insert excuse here….  Your race, your gender, your sexual preference, your religion, your hair color, Your weight, your parents).

We are all allowed to have our opinions and they usually represent our feelings.  Your feeling are valid and your reality. Your opinions aren’t facts. Your opinions aren’t as important to others as they are to you. (most people don’t care about your opinion).

My opinion shall remain a mystery.  I shall seek to understand why those amazing Black athletes don’t feel represented in our nation.  I will encourage everyone I can to be the best person they can be….  No Excuses

 

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2 lessons from Frozen

Posted by on Jan 13, 2015 in Character Development, Faith, Finding Destiny, Leadership, Parenting | 1 comment

2 lessons from Frozen

WithFrozen 3 young girls I get to watch frozen on a regular basis. Of all of the Disney animated movies, this is the only one I will let the watch as often as they want. There are 2 themes I reinforce and teach them from this movie.

Don’t keep your gifts and talents hidden:

Each of us has a unique talent and skill set that if used properly will make this world a better place. Don’t let fear allow you to keep them hidden. You will be miserable. When you unlock and use your talents, you will find your destiny, and be happier.

Sometimes others will do things do encourage you to hide your talents. They could be well meaning teachers, parents, or friends, and they will try to steer you into a “safe” or “normal” life. “If you are to busy living the life someone else wants you live, who will live your life?”

You owe it to the world and yourself to pursue your passions and talents.

You talents can be used to help or hurt others:

She used her talent to help her sister have so much fun. Her anger and frustration almost destroyed her city. It almost killed her sister. It all depended on how she chose to use her talent.

A persuasive person can help others by helping them search and buy the perfect product that meets their needs, or they can con someone and take advantage of them using that same skill. The strongest kid in school can stand up for the oppressed or be an oppressor. We choose!

 

 

The beauty of that tower she created is awe inspiring. (Yes I know it is magic and not possible in the time she did it.) Your life will be a “swirling storm inside” until you unlock your true calling.

My most important job as a parent is to help my daughters find who God created them to be. I can’t let my desires for them or thoughts of what they should like affect my responsibility.

Your Life’s work should be a thing of beauty!

When you unlock your talents and passions you will find yourself dancing to work. You don’t have to live in misery. Don’t let others hold you back from the life you were created to live! 

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5 inexpensive tips to help sell your home

Posted by on Jun 12, 2014 in Personal Finance, Real estate | 0 comments

5 inexpensive tips to help sell your home

Miss Philippines, Binibining Pilipinas joins Santacruzan in ManilaSelling your home is like entering a Beauty Contest, and how you dress your home is a vital component.  Here are some simple steps to make your home the prettiest in the pageant.

1.Declutter:

When taking pictures or showing the property it is best if you home looks more like a photo in a magazine:

  • Hide the toaster (Countertops empty except for a few accents pieces
  • Half full (or half empty) closets and bookshelves.  (Let them think they have plenty of room for their stuff)
  • Get rid of the extra Furniture. (Furniture should leave lots of open space in the rooms)
  • Those precious collectibles… start packing some of them away. 

The goal is to make your home look like what we all dream our home looked like. Do your best to make it look like an airbrushed model on a magazine.

2.Paint:

Paint to your house, is like makeup on a beauty contestant.  It can hide imperfections and make your home look younger. Light neutral colors are best.  Use dark colors only as accent tones.  Lighter color paints open up a space.

3.Give your property a sidewalk Serenade:

  • Landscape and prune your property especially around the house.
  • Those trees with low branches, trim those branches back. Don’t let the branches hide your home or make your yard seem smaller. No need to take the tree out just trim the lower branches.
  • Trim the hedges (The smaller and cleaner they are the bigger your home and property will look)
  • Plant some flowers
  • Fresh mulch
  • Keep the grass cut; it makes your yard seem larger.

4.Smell pretty:

Light scent that gives fresh sense, the plug in ones are great. If you have a basement get a dehumidifier and reduce the musty smell that often comes from a basement. Send the dog and cat to a friends if possible. Yes, I know they are a part of your family, but they are not a part of your buyer’s family and that is what matters.

5.Clean:

Put a shine on everything you can. This is a continuance of the airbrushed model theory. Remove as many pimples as you can. Wax the floor, clean the windows and mirrors. No leaves overflowing the gutters, no oil and grease spots on your driveway floor.

These steps will help your buyer picture themselves living in the house. It will help your home be the queen of the home selling pageant.

Want to see what your home is worth?

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The spoils go to the persistent

Posted by on Mar 12, 2014 in Character Development, Finding Destiny, Leadership | 2 comments

The spoils go to the persistent

Dr Kelly Flanagan made the following comment in a recent post:

“I have been a witness to people who quit avoiding suffering and decide to carry it—venturing into the world full of courage, because they know they can bear the weight of it, because they know it won’t overwhelm them, because they know they can stand strong in the midst of it.”

Success doesn’t usually go to the most talented or the luckiest.  It usually goes to the one who was beat down, failed, was rejected…. And then they got back up at tried again this time a little smarter.  Every time they get knocked they get up again.Depositphotos_3337475_original

Four years ago my investing in rental real estate had almost bankrupted our family.  I had to negotiate out of a deal I had made.  I had made a commitment and it had led my family to the point… “where keeping that commitment would have meant taking food and shelter from my children.”

At that moment I could have quit, here are a list of excuses that would have convinced most it was a “smart decision to get out of rental properties:”

  • It is too hard to find good tenants; especially in that neighborhood.
  • Maintenance costs on older homes are to high
  • The economy is so bad tenants don’t have money to pay rent
  • You have to be rich to invest in real estate
  • With all the new rules it is impossible to borrow money to renovate a home

I didn’t make a list of excuses, I made a list of lessons learned.  Then I got better as a property manager. I became a better business man.  And I became a better husband and father. Using these lessons I focused on the properties we had left. I was determined to do it better.  Many of these hard lessons became the foundation of our current success.

2013 was our best year ever, and I still have lots of improvements to make to my systems and procedures.  Our success would not have happened if it wasn’t for those hard lessons and experiences we had 4 years ago.
Our rental income is now a substantial source of income for our family.  What once threatened to take food from my children, now allows me to stay at home with them 2 days each week.  We are on our way toward our long term family goals.

I could have let frustration, suffering, struggle, and pain stop me from being a property owner. I could have let those failures beat me up.  I choose to chalk-up the $50,000 loss to education expense.  I chose to persist and pursue my dream.

My success in real estate hasn’t come because of luck, talent, or inheritance.  Success came because I persisted after setbacks and failures. Letting my failures and setbacks teach me.

What is your success story? When have you been beaten down but kept going to find success?

 

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How to increase your minimum wage!

Posted by on Feb 11, 2014 in Character Development, Finding Destiny, Perfect questions, Personal Finance | 1 comment

How to increase your minimum wage!

First the impact of raising the minimum wage for everyone:

1.    You will have fewer jobs:now hiring

Most minimum wage jobs are basic entry level jobs. These jobs require little training or specialized skills.

Which means; when the labor costs gets to a certain level; companies can often develop a machine to replace that job.  (PS the machine rarely takes breaks, doesn’t need days off, no health insurance). Some jobs will be replaced by automated systems and machines.  Fewer jobs for those with little training or skills.

How many baggers do you see at your grocery store these days?  How often do you self-scan your items? How often do you hear an automated response when you call a company?  Companies found a way to design away the jobs.

How many Cashiers does Amazon have?

2.    People have less incentive to improve themselves.

If your minimum wage is $11 to $15 per hour some people will be satisfied with that income level and not do technical training that makes them more valuable to society.

Every day we each rely on millions of people to make our lives more convenient and enjoyable.  Many of these people you will never see, and yet their contribution to our lives is vital.  The more skills and education people have the more they can contribute to the rest of us.

So, please go out and be the best “you” you can be, it will bless the rest of us.

3.    Your burger will get more expensive:

That increase in labor cost has to be passed onto the consumers.  It will increase inflation.  Prices of products increase and this will especially hurt those most sensitive to these price changes.  Those most sensitive to price changes are often the same who the minimum wage increase is designed to help.

The cost of living will rise and people will again scream for another increase to the minimum wage. The cycle and situation will remain the same…

So, What is the solution?

Minimum wage jobs are not designed to be a career.  They are a starting point not the finish line.

Here are 3 idea for increasing your minimum wage:

    • Education:  This doesn’t have to be a traditional college so here are some other options
      • Technical school, there are great programs for becoming a better you in several fields.
      • Apprenticeship, some of these are formal, or you can also find that talented local person who will train you in an informal process through experience.\
      • Military: most jobs in the military don’t involve carrying a rifle every day. They train you with real world skills that will transfer to your life after the military
    • Entrepreneurship: this is finding a need and filling it by providing a product or service.  Instead of looking for a job look for a way to serve others. If you looking for a way to get started try Dan Miller’s 48 low cost business ideas.(Affiliate LInk)
  • Persistence: If there is a position you want, keep pursuing it.  Then once you get it, keep pursuing and working hard.

“When you do more than you get paid for eventually you’ll be paid for more than you do.”- Zig Ziglar

Comment below: tell us what other ways people can increase their minimum wage?

 

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Doing your taxes is as easy as managing your fantasy football team?

Posted by on Jan 23, 2014 in Perfect questions, Personal Finance | 4 comments

Doing your taxes is as easy as managing your fantasy football team?

1040One of the DIY tax programs describes doing your own taxes “as easy as managing your Fantasy football team.”  This may or may not be true depending on 3 factors:

1.    How good of a Fantasy Manager are you?

2.    How complicated your Tax situation is?

3.    How much time you plan on investing in your tax education?

How good are you?

I play in 3 fantasy leagues and I am a mediocre manager.  I spend probably 1 to 2 hours per week during the season reading news.  Then I listen to sports radio and watch 3 to 5 games each week.

During the 15 week season, I spend about 12 hours each week on football related education.  Not including listening to sports radio while driving.  I suspect the better managers spend even more time.  And the worst, ignore their teams, have guys on byes in the starting roster and finish last, and probably spend almost no time.

It is probably not a linear relationship and there is a lot of luck.  However, the more time you spend the greater your chances of winning your league.

How Complex are your taxes?

If you have no kids, don’t own your home, and your only income is from a w-2 job… File your own.  Your difficulty level does compare to “installing a light bulb, or being a bad fantasy manager.”  Easy peazy!

It is amazing how often smart people miss things deductions on their tax return.  Or deduct things that could get them in hot water with the IRS.   Just because you are smart at your specialty, doesn’t mean you will prepare your taxes correctly.  It seems our government enjoys changing the tax rules and adding lots of new ones.

How much time are you going to spend learning about taxes?

I spend about 180 hours per year on my football education.  Thanks to that I am a mediocre fantasy manager.  I spend around 1500 hours each year learning and preparing taxes.  I am a very good preparer, and constantly getting better.  Let a professional’s experience work for you.

Yes I know this article may seem self-serving, and it is because I want to serve you.  I want your taxes done correctly.  I want to see you become wealthier each year.

Last year over 55% of my clients paid less than $95 to have a professional prepare their taxes.  Let me help you file your return with confidence.   Learn more about my tax preparation services here!

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The Looming Bitcoin collapse

Posted by on Dec 10, 2013 in Perfect questions, Personal Finance | 0 comments

The Looming Bitcoin collapse

“Bitcoin is the currency of the future.”  “The first first ever fully decentralised payment network on the planet (and still the strongest), moving billions of dollars of value every day with no fees.”  “There has never been anything like this before.”  This is the rhetoric of Bitcoin evangelists. Is it true?

Are these worth a years salary?

Are these worth a years salary?

I remember hearing about “the new economy” and how internet companies would change the world and make investor rich (Dot com bubble).  In the 1630’s, one tulip bulb in Holland became worth an entire years earning for a wealthy merchant.  Human history is littered with obscene and unrealistic valuations for various currencies, commodities, or securities.

Money is a tool used to simplify a transaction between 2 or more parties.  It is a recognized store of value.   It can have intrinsic value such as Gold or silver, or it can be a fiat currency.  Almost all currencies today are Fiat currency and are backed by a government that has a vested interest in the long term value of that currency.  Bitcoin has none of this (read what Alan Greenspan thinks here).

Fiat currencies usually deflate in value over time, (causing inflation in the prices to purchase goods and services with those currencies).  Slow, controlled, and consistent inflation over time has some economic advantages.  However, sometimes currencies depreciate rapidly causing hyperinflation.

Zimbabwe $100,000,000,000,000 Now worth nothing.

Zimbabwe $100,000,000,000,000 Now worth nothing.

Hyperinflation is a very real risk of Fiat currencies. In Zimbabwe everyone was trillionaires.  Although now those trillion dollar notes are worth nothing (except as a collector item).  Zimbabwe no longer has its own currency, it uses U.S. Dollars.  (Currencies that went to zero)

Bitcoin is a virtual fiat currency.  There is a growing group of people who use it as money.  Some vendors are even beginning to accept it as payment for goods and services.   The value of a bitcoin has exploded over the last few months and seems to be growing at an accelerating rate.

  • Why is this happening?

  • Why do people feel the need to use this currency?

Markets are driven by 5 things: 3 are actual and 2 are perceived:

  1. Supply: how much of the product is available.
  2. Demand: How much people want of a product
  3. Price: impacts demand and how much is supplied
  4. Fear:  people hate to lose what they have.
  5. Greed:  People want to make money without having to invest something in return.

What is driving Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is being driven by fear and greed.  The interesting thing is fear and greed are both driving the price up.
Some people buy Bitcoin because they fear their national currency (or several national currencies) will become worthless.  Which is a valid fear based on the national debt loads of several western nations.

Is Bitcoin the right investment if you fear your national currency becoming worthless?

Some are buying it to make money because it is the wave of the future.  Some believe the price will go up for a long time as everyone converts to it.  They want to buy early and become a Bitcoin millionaire.

Why the bubble will burst?

It has no intrinsic value.  You can’t eat it or use it to produce something.  It is not regulated and backed by a government that regulates the creation of the currency.

When the factory workers and the school teachers start buying them; I could see the value of a Bitcoin reaching $50,000.   Everyone will tell me how wrong I am.

Then…  History will repeat itself.  The Bitcoin will disappear except for case studies and history books.  It will be of no value.  But do not fear, in the day and age of the worldwide marketplace… another bubble shall take its place.  That bubble will be driven by fear and greed too.

Are you buying Bitcoins?

 

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Create your Personal Vision and Mission Statement

Posted by on Nov 26, 2013 in Character Development, Finding Destiny, Leadership, Personal Finance | 0 comments

Create your Personal Vision and Mission Statement

What is a vision statement?

Your vision statement is the flowery, abstract, concepts and goals you want to see happen in your life or business.  It is the dream. I will use poeticrevival.com’s vision statement as an example.  Poetic Revival is a faith based poetry site and their vision statement is:

“To see the Glory of God spread like a wildfire over drought stricken land; where the heat from fiery flames awaken dormant seeds, to grow with new life from the ashes.”

This vision statement paints a picture; you can see a raging wildfire exploding across the forest.  The fire turns the thick forest into a black smoldering wasteland scene.  Then we see the green shoots of new life begin to grow from the ashes of the seeming wasteland.Dream big enough

It is a great picture, that gives us a vision of what Poetic Revival wants to happen in the world… but it doesn’t tell us how we are going to accomplish our vision.

What is a mission statement?

A Mission statement tells the actions you will take and the tools you will use to accomplish your vision. It expresses the “what” and the “how” you will utilize to see the dream happen.  Once again let us look at Poetic Revival and their mission statement.

“Bring Revival through spoken word, poetry, verse.  Using web, print, audio, and visual avenues to expand minds, encourage hearts and inspire change.”

  • What they are bringing:   “Revival through spoken word, poetry, verse.”
  • How they will deliver it:   “Using web, print, audio, and visual avenues”

How to create your vision statements:

Picture your funeral… see each group of people that is in your life.   Your spouse, your family, your co-workers, your church, your communities, your customers….  What did you do with your limited time on Earth?

  1. What do you want each of those groups to say about you?
  2. What mark do you want to leave on this world when you are gone?
  3. How are you going to make the world a better place?

In your answers to these questions you will begin to find your vision.

Creating your mission statement:

Evaluate the following three areas:

  1. Skills and talents (what are you good at?)
  2. Opportunities (who do you know, where do you have credibility, what can you do?)
  3. Passions (what gets your motor running, what you love doing?)

The collision of these 3 areas is where your current mission should be focused.   If you are there it is time to create a plan to move to those areas.   That is where you will most likely find your most success. 

Your current mission is not a forever thing.  As you move up your mountain of success you may see other opportunities open, develop new skills, or find new passions to purse.  Then you should revisit your vision and mission. 

Do you want help developing vision and mission statements then create a plan to pursue?  I am here to walk you through the process of find your mountain of success.  Fill out the form below to find out more and jump-start your life with life coaching!

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Should You have a Personal Vision Statement?

Posted by on Nov 23, 2013 in Character Development, Finding Destiny, Leadership | 2 comments

Should You have a Personal Vision Statement?

Woman rock climbingThe vast majority of us desire to reach a pinnacle of success.  This usually requires years of hard work and climbing to reach your desired high point. If you “started with the end in mind” what do you want to accomplish before your life is over?

I want you to picture yourself at the bottom of a cliff face.  You want to reach the top, so you start climbing.  After several hours you have reached a small cave in the cliff face.  You rest for the night and keep pushing higher.  You are caught in violent rainstorms with driving wind, but nothing will stop you.

The drive for success keeps pushing you higher.  The goal of reaching the peak drives you on.  Others who started the journey with you are so far behind you can’t even see them anymore.   After weeks the cliff face begins to finally mellow out.  The storm clouds are now below you. You can see your pinnacle!

As the dawn rises you look across the canyon and see all the other cliff faces you could have chosen to climb.  In the beginning you just started climbing the cliff face in front of you.  Never pausing to look around at what other cliffs you could have climbed.

After years of effort you reach your pinnacle and realize….  You climbed the wrong cliff.  You are not where you want to be.  You are on the wrong side of the canyon.

Many people climb the mountain of success only to realize at the end of their life they climbed the wrong mountain.

Having well-developed vision and mission statements can be a guide. Your vision statement can ensure you are on the right pathway of success. You life will probably change and you get to revisit your vision and mission.  Then you get to adjust them to your life changes.

You Vision and Mission statements can be a foundation for success in your life.  You will know why you are climbing and what you hope to have at your pinnacle.

Are you climbing the right cliff?

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Start poorly and learn fast

Posted by on Nov 21, 2013 in Character Development, Finding Destiny, Personal Finance | 2 comments

Start poorly and learn fast

This is a response to Robyn Smith’s article where she mentioned “anything worth doing is worth doing poorly.”  Often we don’t really learn how to do something well until we start doing it.Opportunity

Before I started investing in stocks I spent 1 year researching and doing mock portfolios.   I read books, watched CNBC.  I read financials and research reports.  None of that really prepared me for actually investing my hard earned money into the Stock market.

I learned more in the first 6 month of investing with my money, than I did in my entire year of research.  There was nothing to prepare me for the emotional aspects of investing in the market.  I reacted so different when it was my money on the line.

I have been in and out of the market for about 12 years since my initial foray.  I am a much better investor.  I have a greater understanding of how markets work.  Over my first year of investing I spent (lost) about $1,500.  If I had never started, I would have never had this understanding.

Just Start Already

I started poorly, but learned vital principles that have saved and made me (and my parents) some substantial sums of money since.  (Full disclosure: one of the key things I learned is; invest first in assets where you have more control over the risks)

If you really have a passion for something… Start doing it. I recommend the book “Start” by Jon Acuff if you are looking for additional reasons to Start.  It is great for helping you start no matter where you are currently in your life.

Once you start, constantly learn and grow. Don’t stop just because it gets hard, or you lose a little money.  Those initial losses are sometimes the cost of your education.  The profits come after you have learned those lessons.  Take what you have learned to move toward greatness.

Question:

What has held you back from Starting?

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What is an hour of you time worth?

Posted by on Nov 4, 2013 in Character Development, Leadership, Personal Finance | 4 comments

What is an hour of you time worth?

 

Do you know what happened to your 168 hours last week

Do you know what happened to your 168 hours last week

If you had one hour to live; how much would you pay for another hour? 

This is a continuation of a previous  article “Are Money and Time equal.”  I am painfully aware that I am not using my time as wisely as I could.  I hope this exploration will encourage you and me to value our time properly.

Generally humans are terrible assessors of risk. (Ways we get the odds wrong).  In the same way most of us are terrible at valuing our time.   We think we save money by “doing it ourselves.”  Often we end up paying ourselves a slave wage to save that money.

I used to change my own oil.  I used a Motorcraft filter and Motorcraft synthetic blend motor oil.  I would go to the store pick up the oil, travel to my father’s, get his tools out, and change the oil.  It cost me $28-$34 in materials, plus my time, and my mileage.  The whole process took about 2 hours.

My office is next door to a Ford Dealership.  During tax season, I had them change the oil for me.  They walked to my office picked up the vehicle.  They used the same materials I did.  They charge me $33 to $37 to change the oil.

So how much was I paying myself to change my oil?  I was paid somewhere between $0.00 and $9 for 2 hours of my time.

At best that is $4.50 per hour.

It is easy to value time in that example, but how valuable is an hour with your wife?  Children? Or others you care about?

There is a story about a little boy whose father worked very hard.  The father was always focused on making money.  The boy asked his father “How much do you make an hour?”  The father replies $50/hr.  The son goes into his room breaks into his piggy bank, seeing he only has $25 he asks his mom for $25.  At first she says no, but the boy keeps persisting until she relents.

With $50 in hand the boy goes to his father.  He then asks his father “Can I buy an hour of your time?  I have $50.”   The father is crushed.

The father realizes in that moment money and time are not equal.

You can never buy more time with the ones you love.  Those hours can’t be priced.  Yet, if all you did was spend time with them would you value that time at all?  We need balance!

We all have various areas of our life that require our time.  Are we budgeting our 168 hours each week in a way that reflects the importance of those areas in our life?

We often budget our money (which we can always get more money).  But do we budget our time?  Our time is a finite commodity.

What does your typical allocation of weekly hours look like?

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What the sub-prime crisis taught me

Posted by on Oct 29, 2013 in Finding Destiny, Leadership, Personal Finance | 0 comments

What the sub-prime crisis taught me
foreclosure

Tragedy or Opportunity?

From great tragedy comes great opportunity.  For the last few years we have all heard the sad stories that came from the sub-prime lending bubble.  When this combination of greed and ignorance imploded, it created an amazing opportunity.

Houses went on sale, at the same time interest rates were falling to record lows.  This was a once in a lifetime event in real estate; unseen since the great depression. Those who recognized it, and were positioned to take advantage of it, have thrived. I recognized it, but was not in a great position to take advantage of it.  I lacked 3 major components that would have positioned me to better exploit this opportunity.

Here are those 3 components and what I have learned.

In 2007 as home prices were coming down I began buying.  My first purchase was 3 triplexes in a poverty stricken section of Louisville.  I acquired two additional properties in 2007, and kept purchasing homes over the next 18 months.  

My first problem: Location

There are 2 aspects of location:

First was my location. I was living in Singapore and my properties were in Kentucky and Indiana.  I had a variety of assistance from others, including a “property manager”(more on this later), and partners.  I was only able to be onsite about twice a year and lacked the right person to watch my property.  It is hard to manage assets from 10,000 miles away.

Proximity to your investment is good

Location of the properties:  there is the famous line that 3 most important things in real estate is location, location and location.  While I would disagree, it is an important component in your evaluation. I overpaid for those 3 triplexes because of their location, not because of the buildings.  They were great buildings in a challenged area of Louisville.  I struggled to find tenants worth having.  These 3 properties would almost bankrupt me as I learned the next component.  

Good neighborhoods attract good tenants

Experience:

I had very limited experience in owning residential rental real estate.  So, I hired a “property manager.”   Just because someone calls themselves a “property manager” doesn’t mean they are.  To this day I have not found a good property manager who will work in that part of Louisville.

Rent would fail to be paid due to poor tenant selection. It seemed we evicted tenants every week.  I paid the lawyer to do the eviction.  Eviction process took 2 months (getting no rent). Then I had to pay to clean up and market the apartment again.  It is better to have a unit be empty than have a bad tenant.

Bad tenants are rarely profitable

I had bought way to many properties (we had 12 at the peak), to fast.  This amplified the cost of my ignorance and lack of experience.  Remodeling costs were higher, tenant occupancy lower, and rents lower than anticipated.  Only infusion of cash from my wife and I kept the venture together.

When entering into uncharted waters start small (or your inexperience could sink you faster than a lead brick in water).

The last component I lacked was: Capital.

During college and early working years, I spent a substantial part of my income on eating out, expensive liquor, and two brand new vehicles.  This included about $20,000 dollars of credit card debt, that was in collections when I finished my undergrad degree.  I had just finished getting out of that mess in 2007.

I had very little capital to invest in this opportunity.  This was a good thing as I would have probably leveraged it to a level that would have bankrupted us.  When I married in 2008 my wife brought capital into the marriage and a great income.  This enabled us to purchase several properties with cash.  (Her parents and culture taught her about not spending more than you make, I had to learn it the hard way.)

Spend less than you make!

Even though I lacked these 3 components, the opportunities were so amazing.  We have been successful! It took 4 years of struggle but now our rental income is one of the main reasons I get to be the primary care-giver for our 3 beautiful girls.

 

What was your response to the sub-prime crisis?

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Sometimes You Have To

Posted by on Sep 26, 2013 in Character Development, Finding Destiny, Leadership | 0 comments

Sometimes You Have To

I spent the last few weeks finishing work on a real estate renovation project.  I was supposed to have this finished by the end of August.  I had promised the tenants, who were moving in, that it would be done by September 7th.   Two weeks after they moved in the work was done.

I was Exhausted!

I was Exhausted!

Spending 3 weeks working on this project put me behind in doing several things I wanted to do.  Such as writing blog posts and working on consulting projects.  It also drained me; I was so exhausted I started feeling like a Zombie.

Why was I exhausted?

I am not in the construction business.  While I enjoy components of it, I am a real estate investor.  I hire talented contractors to do the work right and quickly.  When a contractor disappeared on me I “had” to do several aspects of the work that were supposed to already be done. 

(It was my management failure that allowed this work to get so far behind in the first place.)

There aren’t many things in life we really “have” to do.  We choose to do them because we fear a particular consequence of not doing them.  I “had” to do this work (even though I don’t enjoy it) because integrity is a core value in my life.

I made a promise.

I failed to keep this promise, so I did all I could to remedy the situation as best I could.  I was emotionally drained.  I am still recovering from the time spent on that work.

What I learned

Doing work you aren’t passionate about is exhausting.   I didn’t hate the work, I just knew there were more important things that I should be doing.  That frustration was a mental burden that decreased my overall energy.

There are times we should do things that we may not enjoy.  Sometimes because of responsibility or core values we “have” to do.   I have a plan to improve my process so I will not be caught in a situation like this again.

There are many people who do things they hate for decades (like a job they hate “Just to pay the bills”).  They clothe their continuing toil in phrases that sound good.  Phrases like “I have to work here for the benefits” or “Nobody is hiring” or “I am too old to change jobs.”

 

Do you do want you want to do or what you “have to do?”

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Good deed for the day

Posted by on Jul 9, 2013 in Character Development, Customer Service, Finding Destiny, Leadership, Personal Finance | 2 comments

Good deed for the day

Good DeedThe other day I helped a friend of mine help a friend of his. As we were carrying in the elderly neighbor’s new hot water heater, my friend said “You have done your good deed for the day.”

What is a good deed?

His implication; it was good because I didn’t receive anything in return for it. I wasn’t paid. I spent my gas, time, and energy without any tangible benefit to me.

I had spent all day, cleaning and showing a house to potential tenants. It is a really nice home extremely close to the University of Louisville. I enjoyed living there as a student, the home is nicer than when I lived in it. Now students get to derive the same benefits I enjoyed while living there. Were those activities good deeds?

If we are paid for an activity is it no longer a good deed?

In January one of my daughters contracted strep throat. She couldn’t even keep water down. She was extremely dehydrated and had a fever. After four hours in the emergency room she was doing much better.

Was that a good deed the doctor and nurses performed? I was glad to give them some silly green pieces of paper for what they did. It was a very good deed for my family.

Some will say “Yeah, but that is medical; it is different”

So here a few people who have done good deeds for me in the last couple weeks (most of them received green certificates of appreciation) For more info on green certificates of appreciation I recommend reading “Thou Shall Prosper

  • Plumber unclogging a toilet at one of our properties
  • The other 7 people who showed up the monthly Small biz meeting
  • My wife who prepared dinner 3 times this week
  • The cooks, servers, and managers at the restaurants, where I dined
  • The contractors helping me renovate a home
  • The people at the utility companies that provide me electricity, internet, water, and fire for cooking
  • The road crews repairing the roads in West Lafayette so I have a smoother ride to church and daycare
  • The people who make the disposable cups I use to hold coffee
  • Bill Gates for having the vision to create Microsoft and the slew of programs I use
  • People at WordPress who created the CMS that allows me to post these articles with ease

As you can see there have probably been millions of people who have done good deeds from which I benefited from over the last couple of weeks. Each of us specializing allows all of us to benefit. Unless you are a drug dealer, thief, etc.; your specialization is valuable and a good deed.  It provides benefits for those who consume your product or service.

Almost all of us are doing good deeds when we work. I don’t have to do something for free for it to be my good deed for the day. My days are filled with doing good deeds. Whether spending time with my wife and children, preparing the books for a business, managing our rentals, or writing these articles.  “It is all good”  Be proud of your good deeds today!!!

Who has done a good deed for you today?

 

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Do you have a sandcastle marriage?

Posted by on Jun 30, 2013 in Faith, Finding Destiny, Parenting, Personal Finance | 0 comments

Do you have a sandcastle marriage?

SandCastlePicture a beautiful sandcastle. Hours spent crafting intricate towers and walls.  Elements in the sand glisten as the sun sets. In the “perfect” location, Ocean front property. This beach is amazing, gentle sand, clear water, and void of human clutter. It is perfection…

Until…

The tide begins to rise. The sky turns dark with angry clouds. The wind begins screaming like a toddler tantrum. The waves become larger and larger… then with a violent crushing force… The sandcastle is obliterated. There is no trace of those hours of work. The beauty of it is gone.

A sandcastle marriage seems great when there are clear skies and calm seas. Everyone will tell you how beautiful it is. BUT when the storms of life, the baggage of the past, frustrations of the current day, and stress of 2 people becoming 1 appear, the greatness fades. That beautiful sandcastle marriage is shattered by the crashing waves of life.

Some foundations of a Sandcastle marriage:

  • Infatuation (a powerful feeling that can fool even the best of us)
  • Lust (desire to derive personal pleasure, satisfaction, or status from that sexy, powerful, or wealthy person)
  • Baggage (lots of intimate experiences with others outside the covenant of marriage or other unhealthy dating relationships)
  • Selfishness (My spouse is going to do all these things for me)
  • Co-dependency (Need to fix someone else’s problem, making it your problem. Enabling the other person in the process)
  • Unresolved emotional issues (most of us have things in our past that could use resolution, perhaps with the assistance of a counselor or physiologist)

None of these provide a foundation for marriage. A long-term successful marriage has a strong foundation. When the storms of life come blasting in; it may damage aspects of the marriage relationship for a season, but the foundation is solid. The couple can easier stand back up and rebuild together on that solid foundation.

Some foundations for a life-long marriage

  • Love (a choice one makes, love is not a feeling. Hollywood wants us to believe love is a magical feeling but in reality it is a choice. Infatuation and lust are the feelings often mistaken for love)
  • Purity (I can only talk about this one from the other side as I wasn’t pure before marriage. I know what it is like to have your mind constantly bombarded with past baggage. Baggage that comes crashing in on your mind with waves of guilt and shame.)
  • Honesty and trust (speaking the truth with gentleness, being trustworthy and trusting)
  • Communication (Set aside times to communicate about your life together, Daily is best)
  • Vision and goals (What is your shared vision? You can’t have separate visions for your life or your foundation will crack)
  • Dedication and loyalty (Divorce is not an option. Be dedicated to finding a solution. Speak well of each other to others and to each other)
  • I am sure several of you have some other foundation blocks you could add. Please share them in the comments below.

None of us are perfect with all of these points. Sometimes our marriage foundations have cracks in them. Be quick to address and work together to fix them. While harder to repair, they are so worth taking the time to repair. There is an exponential power released when a married couple comes together with 1 vision and set of goals.

Storms and challenges in life will come your way. Your marriage will be threatened, attacked, and beat up at times. As Dr. Thomas Stanley (author of The Millionaire Next Door and The Millionaire Mind) found in his research, the vast majority of millionaires have long-term happy marriages. Children who grow up in homes with both parents are more successful.  Married people have a longer life expectancy. The benefits of making a marriage work far and away exceed the costs.

It is better to build the solid foundation before marriage, but not required. Maybe your marriage seems to be a sandcastle right now. All is not lost.  You can start working on your foundation today.

Question:

What are some other foundation blocks for a good marriage?

 

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Is your money Lazy? (The power of compounding)

Posted by on Jun 27, 2013 in Finding Destiny, Perfect questions, Personal Finance | 2 comments

Is your money Lazy? (The power of compounding)

In Wealth creation pt 1 we discussed the accumulation of bricks of abundance.  In The Power of a Seed we discussed how planting our seed (Asset) produces a harvest.

Compounding: the concept of reinvesting our harvest.  How reinvesting your returns from investments grows your assets.

Here is an example of the basic concept.
You spend $1000 on a bond that  pays 10%/year

Year Year Interest Total Interest Balance
1 $ 100.00 $ 100.00 $ 1,100.00
2 $ 110.00 $ 210.00 $ 1,210.00
3 $ 121.00 $ 331.00 $ 1,331.00
4 $ 133.10 $ 464.10 $ 1,464.10
5 $ 146.41 $ 610.51 $ 1,610.51
6 $ 161.05 $ 771.56 $ 1,771.56
7 $ 177.16 $ 948.72 $ 1,948.72
8 $ 194.87 $ 1,143.59 $ 2,143.59
9 $ 214.36 $ 1,357.95 $ 2,357.95
10 $ 235.79 $ 1,593.74 $ 2,593.74
11 $ 259.37 $ 1,853.12 $ 2,853.12
12 $ 285.31 $ 2,138.43 $ 3,138.43
13 $ 313.84 $ 2,452.27 $ 3,452.27
14 $ 345.23 $ 2,797.50 $ 3,797.50
15 $ 379.75 $ 3,177.25 $ 4,177.25
16 $ 417.72 $ 3,594.97 $ 4,594.97
17 $ 459.50 $ 4,054.47 $ 5,054.47
18 $ 505.45 $ 4,559.92 $ 5,559.92
19 $ 555.99 $ 5,115.91 $ 6,115.91
20 $ 611.59 $ 5,727.50 $ 6,727.50

In 20 years your $1,000 has increased to over $6,700 and you will earn $670 in the next year.  In year one notice it was only $100.  That movement from $100 to $670 is compounding in action.

If you consumed(spent) that $100 each year, you would only earn $100 each year.

In our next example let’s say we invest an average American car payment each month in addition to that initial $1,000 investment. (We are using $350 for car payment as the average ranges from $300 to $550 per month)

Year Year Deposits Year Interest Total Deposits Total Interest Balance
1 $ 4,200.00 $ 324.19 $ 5,200.00 $ 324.19 $ 5,524.19
2 $ 4,200.00 $ 776.61 $ 9,400.00 $ 1,100.79 $ 10,500.79
3 $ 4,200.00 $ 1,274.27 $ 13,600.00 $ 2,375.06 $ 15,975.06
4 $ 4,200.00 $ 1,821.69 $ 17,800.00 $ 4,196.76 $ 21,996.76
5 $ 4,200.00 $ 2,423.86 $ 22,000.00 $ 6,620.62 $ 28,620.62
6 $ 4,200.00 $ 3,086.25 $ 26,200.00 $ 9,706.87 $ 35,906.87
7 $ 4,200.00 $ 3,814.87 $ 30,400.00 $ 13,521.74 $ 43,921.74
8 $ 4,200.00 $ 4,616.36 $ 34,600.00 $ 18,138.11 $ 52,738.11
9 $ 4,200.00 $ 5,498.00 $ 38,800.00 $ 23,636.10 $ 62,436.10
10 $ 4,200.00 $ 6,467.80 $ 43,000.00 $ 30,103.90 $ 73,103.90
11 $ 4,200.00 $ 7,534.58 $ 47,200.00 $ 37,638.48 $ 84,838.48
12 $ 4,200.00 $ 8,708.04 $ 51,400.00 $ 46,346.52 $ 97,746.52
13 $ 4,200.00 $ 9,998.84 $ 55,600.00 $ 56,345.36 $ 111,945.36
14 $ 4,200.00 $ 11,418.72 $ 59,800.00 $ 67,764.08 $ 127,564.08
15 $ 4,200.00 $ 12,980.60 $ 64,000.00 $ 80,744.67 $ 144,744.67
16 $ 4,200.00 $ 14,698.66 $ 68,200.00 $ 95,443.33 $ 163,643.33
17 $ 4,200.00 $ 16,588.52 $ 72,400.00 $ 112,031.85 $ 184,431.85
18 $ 4,200.00 $ 18,667.37 $ 76,600.00 $ 130,699.22 $ 207,299.22
19 $ 4,200.00 $ 20,954.11 $ 80,800.00 $ 151,653.33 $ 232,453.33
20 $ 4,200.00 $ 23,469.52 $ 85,000.00 $ 175,122.85 $ 260,122.85

In this example over 20 years we have invested $85,000 and the current value is over $260,000. Your investment of just $4,200/per year has become a potential income of $23,500 per year.

Here we are compounding our investment by continually adding to it from other sources.  This is the idea behind saving for retirement. You can create your own custom calculation here.  It is a great way to determine how you can get to your desired saving when you enter into retirement.

Now, to really see the amazing power of compounding; let’s change your percentage return.  Instead of mutual funds or bonds, what if we are investing in something with more potential.  Maybe it is an investment, where we combine our money with our energy.  Creating returns of 50% or more.  It is the Power of Seed in action.

What if you average 50%per year on your money and you reinvest that?  Maybe it is flipping houses, flipping cars, making jewelry or clothing.  What is your passion?  If you turned off the T.V. and used your time and talent what could you make?

Let’s take that $1,000 and invest in a “riskier” asset. (In these types of activities the main risks are risk you can control.  This means the risk depends on how wise the investor is).  Could you use $1,000 and find a way to make $500 this year?

Year Year Interest Total Interest Balance
1 $ 500.00 $ 500.00 $ 1,500.00
2 $ 750.00 $ 1,250.00 $ 2,250.00
3 $ 1,125.00 $ 2,375.00 $ 3,375.00
4 $ 1,687.50 $ 4,062.50 $ 5,062.50
5 $ 2,531.25 $ 6,593.75 $ 7,593.75
6 $ 3,796.88 $ 10,390.63 $ 11,390.63
7 $ 5,695.31 $ 16,085.94 $ 17,085.94
8 $ 8,542.97 $ 24,628.91 $ 25,628.91
9 $ 12,814.45 $ 37,443.36 $ 38,443.36
10 $ 19,221.68 $ 56,665.04 $ 57,665.04
11 $ 28,832.52 $ 85,497.56 $ 86,497.56
12 $ 43,248.78 $ 128,746.34 $ 129,746.34
13 $ 64,873.17 $ 193,619.51 $ 194,619.51
14 $ 97,309.75 $ 290,929.26 $ 291,929.26
15 $ 145,964.63 $ 436,893.89 $ 437,893.89
16 $ 218,946.95 $ 655,840.84 $ 656,840.84
17 $ 328,420.42 $ 984,261.25 $ 985,261.25
18 $ 492,630.63 $ 1,476,891.88 $ 1,477,891.88
19 $ 738,945.94 $ 2,215,837.82 $ 2,216,837.82
20 $ 1,108,418.91 $ 3,324,256.73 $ 3,325,256.73

Your $1000 becomes 3.3 million in 20 years…  most likely at some point in this you will need to bring on the energy/time of another person or more.  This is basically concept of how Michael Dell started.  Building computers in his garage and expanding until he was one of the largest computer manufactures in the world.

Tell your Money to get a JOB

A business doesn’t grow in a straight line like our example.   It will have ups and downs.  One business or idea may reach a saturation point.  At that point to earn the large returns; we may have to take the new earnings and find alternative investments or new businesses.

Compounding is the basis of the concept “it takes money to earn money.”  Once you have accumulated those bricks of abundance, your money can work in addition to you working.  Your money doesn’t have to be lazy.  It can have a J-O-B.

What J-O-B does your money have?

Is your money lazy?

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#YOLO (so do it right)

Posted by on Jun 12, 2013 in Character Development, Finding Destiny, Leadership | 0 comments

#YOLO (so do it right)

First for those who aren’t aware, YOLO is an acronym for “You Only Live Once.”  It is often used as an excuse for people to act like a moron.

Why I used it:  we do only have one life to live on earth so perhaps it would be wise to try and do it right. 

Experience and making mistakes is a vital part of the learning process.  And yet it is often possible for us to learn from the mistakes and experience of others.  This gives us the ability to skip some lessons and move on to greater challenges and opportunities.

“Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in abundance of counselors there is victory.” (Hebrew proverb 11:14)

 

Discerning wise counsel?

Discerning wise counsel?

This proverb insinuates that these are wise counselors and not foolish ones.  So how do we determine if the counsel we are receiving is wise?  Here are 3 questions that will help us discern between wise and foolish counsel.  So we can do our life right!

Do they have experience in this area?

There is a story about a multi-millionaire business man who brought in several other successful businessmen for an opportunity with amazing potential.  The first question the leader asked was, “Who here has never failed in business?”  Two men raised there hands.  He asked them to leave.

In this new venture it would look like they would fail.  The leader only wanted those on his team who had been crushed by failure.  Why? These men were all currently successful, so if they had failed before it meant; They had picked themselves up and gone for it again. When it looked as though this venture would fail the leader wanted men who would push even harder for success.

If you can, find the counsel of someone who has been through what you are facing.  It is much easier to start walking on the path another cut.  Often you will get there faster than they did.  Then you can use their ending point as a launching point for a new adventure.

Do they want the best for you?

A young lady at a licentious party could easily receive a multitude of counsel to remove her clothing.  The question she should ask “Are those providing this counsel thinking of my best interest?” Or “do they simply want to satisfy their own servacive desires?”  (Servacive = Self-serving).

Wise counsel should be focused on what is best for you.  When I prepare your tax return my focus is on 2 things.  First, Making sure you pay everything you owe the IRS, but not a penny more.  Second, helping you understand the possible tax implications of future decisions.  

My focus is completely on you and you can trust the heart of my counsel on your tax situation.  However, I am viewing your situation from one perspective.  This leads into…..

Did you get a diversity of opinions?

If you are buying a home, you can get wise counsel from a Real estate agent.  However, stopping there would be unwise.  Your Realtor has only one perspective and only get paid if you by the home.

We could also get advice from a lender, a contractor, and perhaps a home inspector (although be careful using one recommended by your realtor).  I would also get counsel from people who live near where you are moving.  Counsel from family members whom have purchased homes.  Read blogs or books on things to look for when purchasing a home.

Each of these voices will have important things for you to harvest.  They will probably have some worthless opinions too.  The key is to get a diversity of opinions.  This enables you to see a more complete picture.  

The more complete the picture the wiser your decision will be.

You only have one life to live so let’s do it the best we can.  Let’s get a multitude of counsel from experienced people, who have our best interest in mind, with a diversity of backgrounds.  #YOLO

Who are your main sources of counsel?

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Have a fire plan (Daddy’s love)

Posted by on Jun 11, 2013 in Faith, Parenting | 2 comments

Have a fire plan (Daddy’s love)

This article will be different. It is born of an emotional story of a father who died trying to rescue his 3 year old and 18 month old daughters.  At the time of writing this article, the ages of my first 2 daughters is very similar to the ages of those young girls.  When I read it I picture my Ruth and Abigail.  Read the story here.

First you will read a simple poem.  It is an emotional outlet for the pain I feel as I picture that 3 year old in her room screaming for her daddy.  Next is a section about a father’s love.  Then lastly I discuss lessons we can learn from this tragedy.

A father found holding the baby,
A daughter silent in her room
No more tears will they shed
Lives taken much to soon

What is a father to do?
When he has done all
Nothing more to give
He answered the call

Human flesh facing the limit
Nothing more he could bring
Wishing he could find a way
As the flames begin to sing

No regard for himself
Daughters his only concern
Courage born of love
Our lesson to learn

I would gladly trade my life for theirs.

(My Daughters)
I would gladly trade my life for theirs.

Tears flow as I write this poem inspired by such loss.  I have daughters of a similar age.  I too would run back in the flames without a second thought.  Even if there was nothing I could do.  So deep, is a real father’s love.

If you didn’t have the opportunity to experience this love from an earthly Father, there is hope.  It is from that same heart of love; Father God sent His only son to die so that you might have eternal life.  Your heavenly Father, who created you, loves you greater than any earthly father ever could.

Our lesson to learn;

First this is not a meant to be judgment in any form toward anyone who inspired this story.  It is a tragedy and the wife and mother needs our prayers that her broken heart will be healed.   Pray that she finds a future with hope and doesn’t blame herself.  It was not anyone’s fault.   It just sucks.

We can learn some lessons; that perhaps will prevent and reduce the occurrence of such tragedy in the future.

  • Create a family fire plan. (Here is a great resource for doing this)
    1. Especially what happens when we are sleeping.
    2. What parent will take what child?
    3. Where is the primary exit?
    4. Where will we meet?
    5. Having a plan will allow your brain to focus your adrenaline rush.  Without a plan it is very easy for the adrenaline to turn into panic and cause bad decisions.
  • Have working smoke detectors in your bedrooms and test them.
  • If your home has knob and tube wiring replace it.  This stuff is ancient and extremely dangerous.
  • Know common causes here is a list of the 10 most common causes of household fires.

Please don’t ignore this subject because it is scary or uncomfortable.   If you create a plan it should alleviate fears.  Do a risk assessment based on the common causes work to reduce them.  Talking about this is loving those you care about.  

Most likely you will never face a serious fire in your home; But lets be prepared because the risk of being unprepared can be deadly.

What is your fire plan?

How is the wiring in your home?

Do you have  working smoke detectors in your home?

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Prison has great benefits (It’s not you It’s Me)

Posted by on Jun 6, 2013 in Finding Destiny | 0 comments

Prison has great benefits (It’s not you It’s Me)
Do you feel imprisoned at your job?

Do you feel imprisoned at your job?

I was preparing a tax return and the client asked me if I could work for the IRS.  I said, “I could, but why would I want too?”  His response “They have great benefits.”

I quickly replied, “Prison has better benefits.”

Prison benefits:

  • Free housing
  • Free food
  • Free exercise equipment
  • Free medical care
  • Free cable
  • Free education

When I first graduated college I had a “great” job at Ford Motor in Dearborn Michigan.  I have been a Ford fan ever since I can remember.  12 of the 18 vehicles I have purchased have been Fords.  I was getting to work for my favorite car company!!!

The pay was great for a fresh grad. The benefits were even better.  I really liked how the upper management would focus on things they could fix (Which is why they didn’t go bankrupt and get a bailout).

But….  I hated my job.  After just 5 weeks I was so frustrated driving to work one morning; realizing  I just didn’t want to be there.  After an attempt by some awesome finance managers to transfer me to a more fulfilling position (halted by bureaucratic HR people); I resigned after just 3 months and 1 day on the job.

I still like Ford, and believe it is a well-run company.  I just didn’t fit in that environment.  I had to let them know “It is not you, it is me.”  I am not one who will let golden handcuffs keep me in a job I hate.

Some people like Golden Handcuffs.

Some people like Golden Handcuffs.

 

That experience was a great step in defining what type of organization I work with the best.  It was not a bad experience, quite on the contrary it was wonderful.  It taught me about me.  It is a major contributing factor as to why, I know I won’t enjoy working for the IRS.

The benefits of a job do not matter to me when making a decision where to work.  This doesn’t mean they should not matter to you.  Our first responsibility is to be responsible adults and provide for our family’s needs. I make choices to forgo certain luxuries at this stage of life, so I can be free from the grey walls of a prison.”

Are great benefits “golden handcuffs” keeping you in a job you detest?

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Just Working to pay the Bills (Does your life have meaning?)

Posted by on Jun 3, 2013 in Character Development, Finding Destiny | 2 comments

Just Working to pay the Bills (Does your life have meaning?)

I started chatting with a friend whom I had not talked in years. Their answer my query “How are things going?” was “Just working to pay the bills. You know how it is.” I quickly replied “I don’t really work much anymore; I just do what I love most of the time.”  Their reply “why don’t you work?”

Why don’t I work?

I refuse to spend the majority of my week doing something I don’t enjoy.  I refuse to do the same thing every day.   I will spend my time pursuing my passions and doing the things I love.

What do I do if I don’t work?

Business Consulting/Accounting: I love being able to see how businesses are doing and help the owner find a way to be more successful.  I love creating strategies for success

Taxes: I love helping people keep as much of their money from the greedy government as legally possible.

Coaching: We are all created for a purpose, we can all use help finding that purpose. I enjoy helping others create a plan do their purpose, then prepare for their purpose, then DO their purpose.

Real estate: I love dirt and I love buildings.  I enjoy being involved in the transformation of a building.

Spending time with my family:  I love the flexibility to be the parent who stays home when our daughter can’t go to daycare.  I enjoy getting my daughters ready for daycare in the morning.  I enjoy being able to occasionally prepare dinner for my family.

Surrounded by the most beautiful ladies in the world!

Surrounded by the most beautiful ladies in the world!

 

Writing, Speaking, Teaching:  I love expressing my thoughts whether composing a poem, teaching middle school students at church, writing  blog post, or speaking to a group. I want to get better at each of those.  So, I make writing and creating presentations a priority in my life.

In each of these things there are times when I get frustrated.  They even have parts that I don’t like doing.  However, I don’t dread Monday.  I don’t view the weekend with great awe.

I enjoy my life everyday!

I am “Living the Dream!!!”  “If I was any better I would be in Heaven!!!”  If any of you ask my how I am doing you have probably heard one of these responses.  In that moment I may feel that way or I may be proclaiming it by faith.  Either way it is the truth of my life.

What if You don’t enjoy your life every day?

Is it time to stop running in circles?

Is it time to stop running in circles?

Ask yourself why?  Serious stop and askWhy don’t I enjoy my life every day?”  ….  Do you have some reasons?  Now what can you do to change that situation?

The most powerful thing in your situation you can change is you.  Your attitude and your actions are the one thing you have complete control over.  Perhaps you just have a bad attitude?

Next and somewhat related step, ask yourself what you like about your life?  Maybe you should sit down and write a list of why you like your job, your relationships, your home, your family.

Now do the same thing what is it you don’t enjoy about your life?  Is it work?  What is it about your job you don’t like?  Why do you dread Monday morning?  Side-note: If this list is full of things that you can’t control such as: the government, other people, wall street, fox news, sports teams, weather, your genes, other drivers, then you probably aren’t ever going to be happy until your list changes.

These 3 actions are the beginning of finding a life you love and were meant to live.  This is the first step toward a life where the lines between work and play are hard to define.  If you are “just working to pay the bills,” take action today, to create a more meaningful life.

Question:

What does a meaningful life look like for you? (comment below and let us know)

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Are Money and Time equal?

Posted by on May 29, 2013 in Character Development, Finding Destiny, Leadership, Personal Finance | 0 comments

Are Money and Time equal?

We often here the phrase used that “time is money,” (Is this true?)

Many of us work jobs or have worked jobs where we were paid for the time we put in.  We clocked hours and were paid, no matter how much or how little we did.  So most of us have at least traded our time for money; but does that mean our time is equal to money?  Are they the same thing?

Can you use this to buy more time?

Can you use this to buy more time?

What is money?

Money is a tool or store of value that we use to exchange for goods, services, or gifts.  Money can be made of a rare and valuable asset, such as gold or silver coins.  It can also be backed by those valuable assets.  Until 1971 you could trade your U.S. Dollars for a fixed amount of gold and/or silver.

Most money today, has very little intrinsic value.  It is called fiat money meaning it has value because of a decree by the issuing nation.

Attributes of Money:

  • Can be traded for a good or service we desire
  • No intrinsic value (in most cases today)
  • It is easy to create more
  • It can be accumulated for future use
  • Infinite possibility

What is time?

Time is a unit of measure that scientists struggle to understand.  We all know it exists, and yet we don’t understand why or how.  If you want to learn more here is a complex article and blog about the topic (click here)

Attributes of Time:

Do you know what happened to your 168 hours last week

Do you know what happened to your 168 hours last week?

  • Can be traded for money, goods, or services
  • Its individual determines how much they value their own time
  • Each of us has a limited time of existence on earth
  • We cannot store time (once it passes it can never be used again). We can only use a moment in the moment.  Once that moment has passed we can never use it again.
  • While time may be infinite, we only have a finite amount

Can we trade money for time?

We can trade our time for money, but no matter how much money you have you can’t buy more time (with the exception of healthcare treatments that can prolong your life).    You can’t use your money to redo a past time in your life.  Once you have spent time, that expenditure is permanent.  No refunds, no exchanges!!!

 

With No Refunds, No Exchanges, what are you doing to spend your time wisely?

What is more valuable to you? Money or Time?

 

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3 methods to Giving Critical Feedback (without Destroying the Relationship)

Posted by on May 22, 2013 in Character Development, Faith, Finding Destiny, Leadership | 2 comments

3 methods to Giving Critical Feedback (without Destroying the Relationship)

When I was 19 years old I was madly in lust with this sexy 17 year old high school dropout.  She was my first real girlfriend and I thought I was in love.  After a few weeks I bought an engagement ring and was ready to propose.

Excitedly I called one of my best friends to tell him the “good news.”  He was a friend whom I trusted and respected a great deal.  When I asked him his thoughts, he wisely responded with a question “Are you moving a little to fast?”

Ask a Question

Ask a Question

That simple question saved me from making a tremendous mistake.  I was not ready, I was not in love, and getting married would have been awful for both of us.  The same friend would end being the best man in my wedding 10 years later.

He could have said a lot of things.  Told me I was an idiot, crazy, jumping off a cliff with nothing but rocks below, however he chose to ask a question.  Asking a question is one method to giving critical feedback without destroying your relationship.

In the bible there is a story about King David after he had committed adultery and murdered the woman’s husband to cover up his sin.  The prophet Nathan came to bring correction; to a man whom with a word could have Nathan killed.

So Nathan tells David a story of a rich man and a poor man.  The rich man had many sheep and cows, but the poor man had one lamb that he loved very much.  A visitor came to the rich man and the rich man took the poor man’s lamb and fed it to his visitor. 

Tell a story

Tell a story

Then Nathan asked a question of David, “what should happen to this rich man?” David indignantly replied “As the Lord liveth this man should die.” Nathan replied to David “you are the man!”  Read the entire story here

Here we notice that Nathan used a story to seriously judge King David’s actions.  His story opened the King’s eyes to the complete wickedness of his actions.  Storytelling is the second method of correction.

Sandwich the critique with Praise

Sandwich the critique with Praise

The third method is the sandwich method.  In this method you sandwich the criticism with praise.  You praise something that your friend did (this allows them to put their guard down).  Then you give them the Criticism.  Lastly you leave on a positive note by praising something else they did.

No matter which of these three methods you use, you must genuinely care about the person to have a chance of success.  Here are three attributes that are vital:

  1. Share with the right attitude
  2. You must have relationship and affirm that relationship
  3. Criticize actions not people

So next time you go to give criticism remember the three attributes and use one of the three methods (Asking a question, telling a story, or sandwich). As you implement these I believe it will help your friendships and relationship to grow to deeper levels and lead to greater success for all involved.

Would you like your friends to give you more feedback?  Read “Faithful are the wounds of a friend”.

Do you have people in your life that will give you feedback?  Who are they?  Can you increase that number?

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Faithful are the Wounds of a Friend

Posted by on May 21, 2013 in Character Development, Faith, Finding Destiny, Leadership | 0 comments

Faithful are the Wounds of a Friend

This ancient Hebrew proverb can have profound impact on the success of your life.   Good friends have the ability to see things in our life that need correction.  Often we are unable to see these things ourselves.  Good friends who care about you are will to point these out.

A real friend corrects you not to hurt you, but to help you be more successful

Picture a house with only one door to get in the house.  Now you are standing behind the home and can’t see that door.  You need in the house, so you start to go in through a window.  Your friend can see the front of the home and encourages you to use the door.  Immaturity will reply to that friend, “there is no door.”  We all see things from one perspective.  Your friend can show you options to achieve your goal that you may not see.  Friend can point out pitfalls we may not see.

Friends help us see things from a different point of view.

Friends complete our life picture

3 Keys to receiving faithful wounds from friends!

1.    Develop real Friendships

To receive faithful criticism, we first need close friendships.  Zig Ziglar would often say  “If you go out looking for friends, you’re going to find they are very scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.”  If you put Zig’s quote into practice you will find friends.  Once you have friends invest in those relationships.


2.    Give them permission!

Give your good friends permission to give you honest feedback about your life.  Not every person should be given this permission, as some will abuse you out of their own pain or insecurity.  Your friends who should be given this permission often won’t speak up unless you ask for their feedback.  So it is vital that you give them permission.

3.    Gratitude

Thank your friends for caring and sharing their thoughts.  Even if you disagree, thank them.  Your friends will not always be correct.  However, if you show gratitude it will encourage them to give you more feedback in the future.

In the end your friends can’t live your life for you so the final decision is your responsibility.  If we want to achieve high levels of success in our life, critical feedback is vital.  We need relationships with others. People who see things from a different view point. This allows us to have a more complete picture.  A more complete picture allows us to make better decisions.

Also read  3 Methods to giving critical feedback!!!

Has criticism from a friend kept you from a bad decision (Tell us about it below)?

Have you ignored the advice of a friend and regretted that decision (tell us about it below)?

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The incident of the spilled coffee

Posted by on May 16, 2013 in Character Development, Leadership | 0 comments

The incident of the spilled coffee

 

Is Spilled coffee a big deal?

Is Spilled coffee a big deal?

Several years ago I worked with a man who had some slight handicaps. He had been a severe car accident in his teens and was in a coma for several weeks.  He functioned quite well, however he had some slight coordination, memory, and speech issues. 

One day we both arrived and clocked in right around the same time.  I was ready to get to work and rushed toward the long walk to our work stations not waiting for him to join me.

He wanted to walk with me and began trying to run toward me with the cup of coffee he had purchased on his way to work.  As he ran in his slightly uncoordinated way, his brand new cup of coffee fell out of his hand seeped into the gravel driveway. He quickly picked up his now empty cup with a twinge of disappointment and continued hurried toward me.

Immediately a crashing wave of guilt attempted to drown me, as I realized that if I would have waited 20 seconds his coffee wouldn’t be all over the ground.This may seem inconsequential, however I was a manager in the organization with a desire to be a leader and I was so focused on starting a task, I had missed an opportunity to strengthen a relationship.  20 seconds…. And I would have had a constructive 2 minute walk with someone who respected and was inspired by my work.  20 seconds…. And I could have encouraged him and found out how things were going in his life.

Tasks are an opportunity to have a shared experience of accomplishing a goal together.

As a leader few tasks are more important than our relationships and encouraging those around us.  (This is not an excuse to spend the first 15 minutes of your day talking about the gossip from the previous night’s reality show.)  It is having an awareness of those around us and emphasizing relationships as we accomplish our goals. 

Here are some ways building those relationships can increase productivity:

  1. Creativity that improves company processes or products
  2. More motivated (cause the leader cares)
  3. Aware of personal problems that could effect productivity (leader then can provide resources to help them through the situation)
  4. Team members become more loyal
  5. Team members enjoy coming to work

 

What other ways do strong relationships help a business?

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Keeping your Siding Egg Free!

Posted by on May 14, 2013 in Character Development, Finding Destiny | 1 comment

Keeping your Siding Egg Free!

I’m around 8 years old and a new neighbor moves in next door.  I don’t remember ever talking to her personally but I do recall my parents talking to me about her.  Their statements were the echoes of her complaints about our going into her back yard to retrieve our balls.  Her fence was the home run fence.

I vaguely remember knocking on the door and receiving a dour response, it just seemed I was always in trouble.  I do recall her trying to keep one of our precious balls and it was a few weeks later she complained to my parents about some yellowish substance on her siding.  While I cannot with certainty disclose what substance it was, I can give you some keys to avoid having your siding covered in egg.

My friends and I weren’t mean or nasty kids, we just liked to play as most 8 year old boys do.  I am thoroughly convinced the mean old lady next door could have avoided much of her annoyance and definitely decreased the risk of egg ending up on her siding by doing a handful of things:Your generosity will open the door for reciprocity

  1.  Smile, it will disarm people and give them a warm impression of you
  2.  Offer a small gift, something as simple as a homemade cookie or piece of pie.  Your generosity will open the door for reciprocity 
  3. Initiate interaction, simple acknowledgment of their existence via a wave, or a short greeting will often give them a positive view of you

I am sure that these three steps would not only have kept the egg off her siding but could have produced other benefits. Around that same age, I helped a different neighbor rake their leaves (just because he talked to me when I rode my bike by his house).  

Possible benefits

  • Groceries brought in for her.
  • Her backyard not used as the home run fence.
  • Weeds pulled from her flower beds
  • And many more

Your kindness or lack thereof will oft be reciprocated.  This is especially true when dealing with immature people (such as children).   Your kindness could even keep egg from randomly finding its way onto your siding.

How have you ever experienced kindness bring reciprocity in your life?

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