Passionate Pursuit of Purpose

Posts by JB Farrell

Wrap your sweatshirt around my waist and pull! (Finding your Center)

Posted by on Apr 24, 2013 in Character Development, Finding Destiny, Leadership | 0 comments

Wrap your sweatshirt around my waist and pull! (Finding your Center)

When I was in college I had the opportunity to dance with the Purdue repertory Dance company.  It was primarily a modern dance company.  Modern dance is a form of dance that is based on the concept of your Center. Meaning all movement starts and is an extension of the core structure of our bodies.  An understanding of how our spine, pelvis, and the small muscles, ligaments and tendons operate and function allow us to create ever greater movements.

Partnering with my favorite Dance partner

Partnering with my favorite Dance partner

The most powerful movements starts with very small muscles

These movements utilize the entirety of our body. They create dance that exudes a passion and emotion rarely found in forms of dance that don’t start from the core of our body.  Beginning my dance life as an adult rather than a child meant I had to unlearn years of moving from my head and shoulders and not my center. My first teacher was vital in this training.

This amazing dance teacher would drag me around the dance floor with her sweatshirt wrapped around my waist.  So I could feel what it was like to move from my pelvis instead of my head or shoulders.  Her investment in my life changed the way I have moved ever since. He helped in finding my center has helped reduce my back pain and be a more graceful dancer.  Holly helped change my life and I am forever grateful.

How this applies in everyday life

To live a fulfilling life of passionate purpose and destiny we need to be centered on core values and principles.  These provide the starting place where all our pursuits, interactions, and plans are derived. This core becomes our Center.

 Many people choose to go through life as windblown tumbleweeds. Allowing outside circumstances to determine where they go. They only react to their environment, instead of having a determined course of action in adverse circumstances.

Knowing our center enables us to respond and face the winds of adversity with purpose.

The more we develop and practice these core values and principles, the more power and strength we have to affect things outside of ourselves.  Like a well-trained dancer who misses a step or loses their balance knowing their Center will enable them to recover without an audience knowing.   Our core values and principles are the anchor when the winds and waves of adversity come our way.

Let others help you find your Center

Finding and developing these core muscles or core values will happen at a faster pace and with greater clarity if we have spouses, friends, coaches, parents, and pastor’s to help us find them and strengthen them.  We can’t use other peoples’ core values (nor would we want to).  We want to utilize their experience and questions to learn what our Center is.

Who is helping you find your center?

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How to Select your Insurance Company.

Posted by on Apr 17, 2013 in Perfect questions, Personal Finance | 2 comments

How to Select your Insurance Company.

insurancelogosHow insurance conceptually works.

The insurance companies collect premiums in advance to cover certain risks.  The risks covered and the liability limits are defined in the declaration of coverage.  With these collected premiums the insurance company then pays current claims and other expenses (such as advertising).  The remaining balance of premiums is invested and held in reserve for future claims.

Basic Insurance Company Income Statement:

Income
Revenue from Premiums _____________
Income from investment of Reserves _____________
Total Revenue ________________
Expenses

Customer Acquisition

_____________
Payment of Claims _____________
Overhead _____________
Total Expenses ________________

 

 

Insurance companies fall into two main groups:

  1. For Profit (These have owners who expect a return for their investment): State Farm, Allstate, Progressive, Geico,
  2. Cooperatives, or Mutuals (These don’t have owners, the policy holders are the stakeholders): USAA, Nationwide, Hastings, most Farm Bureaus

Theoretically the Mutual companies should be of greater value to customer, as the customer are the owners.  However, profits are only one component of the various factors that determine total value to the insured.  I am not for or against either type of insurance company and you can find great value in either type of corporate structure.

Now we will go through each line of the income statement and discuss the strategies implemented by those insurance companies

Premiums:
Several companies utilize a core marketing strategy that focuses on the lowest price for their policies.  Progressive utilizes this strategy the most.  They encourage you to compare rates (although it is not a simple process). Usually they are the lowest priced option (perhaps you are getting what you pay for?). This is a great marketing strategy, hoping the consumer views it an apples to apples comparison.

Not all apples taste the same.  Just like there are several attributes to creating a great tasting and nutritious apple.  There are other attributes that reveal the total cost of your insurance not just your upfront premium.

Investment returns on reserves
As a general rule the investment returns are relatively similar for different companies.  However, are those returns utilized to provide more value to the customer, paying shareholders, or paying one of the other expenses discussed below.

Note: Warren Buffet uses insurance reserves to fund many of his investments through Berkshire Hathaway (owner of Geico and several other insurance companies).

Customer acquisition costs
Traditionally all insurance companies would work through insurance agents. However, that has changed over the last couple of decades. Several companies now offer you the option to buy directly from them via the internet or over the phone.

Agents:
There are two types of agents Independent and captive.  A captive agent sells the products of one company.  All State, Farmers, and State Farm are good examples of this strategy.  Independent agents represent several companies in each category of insurance they provide.

Components of Acquisition costs:

  • Agents or staffs to handle direct sales
  • Advertising (all those ads at our favorite sporting events are not free)
  • The more they spend on advertising the less they can spend somewhere else

Claims expense
This entails all components of paying a claim such as:

  • Cost of the adjustor
  • Cost of the staff to process claims
  • Fraud (some people file fraudulent claims some companies can be more susceptible to this which raises their costs)
  • Legal defense fees (when those attorney’s you see on TV sue to get more money)

    One of my Favorite Insurance companies

    One of my Favorite Insurance companies

So far in my life I have experience 5 different companies insurance claims process.  I was very satisfied with several of them.  However, my experience with Progressive was awful.  They paid me wholesale value for my car, and were very nasty and rude throughout the process.  In comparison my experiences with All State and Hastings were phenomenal.  They made frustrating situation as easy as possible for me.

Some companies focus on low premiums prices to attract customers, then they fight to not have to pay their customers when there is a claim.  A little research on the internet will go a long way in helping you determine how the claims experience is for different companies.  Most purchasers fail to examine this component of their coverage.  This is the difference between a cheap blah tasting apple and that succulent full flavored apple.

Overhead
This includes things like buildings, utilities, some staff, and regulatory compliance.  A well-managed company can keep these costs down.  These enables them to provide more value to you.

Conclusions:

  1. Next time you pick an insurance company look at the entire picture.
  2. Ignore cute lizards, cavemen, and annoying spokespeople.
  3. Research the customer opinions on their claims process.
  4. Determine their corporate structure.

I choose to mostly work with independent agents (although I have several properties insured through a captive agent with Kentucky Farm).  I also prefer to work with well-managed mutual companies (such as Kentucky Farm and Hastings).

Question:

Are you an agent… Give me your opinion in the comments below.

What are your experiences?  Tell us about it.  Help the rest of us make a more informed decision.

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The Power of Your Seed (What is an Asset?)

Posted by on Apr 16, 2013 in Character Development, Personal Finance | 0 comments

The Power of Your Seed (What is an Asset?)

What is an Asset?

Definition of Asset: “An asset is a resource controlled by the enterprise as a result of past events and from which future economic benefits are expected to flow to the enterprise.”(IASB) 

In other words an asset is something that currently and will continue to produce revenue.  As you remember from Wealth creation part 1; we learned the first rule of wealth creation is to have an accumulation of surplus each year.  Those accumulated surpluses can then be used to purchase assets or seeds. 

Why is this important?

When a farmer plants their seed in the ground, it produces a harvest (revenue).  So why can’t we just consume our seed, why can’t we buy more of the things we want.   “I earned that surplus, so why can’t I use it for that new car, new T.V. or trip to the Caribbean? ”  If you consume your seed you have nothing to plant.  If you have nothing to plant you can’t get a harvest.

When we use our surplus to buy assets we create a new source of revenue!! So now, not only do we have our normal revenue; we have additional revenue being produced by these new assets. Later we will discuss different types of assets.  You can view a sample Income statement hereThe income statement lists some of the types of revenue that come from different types of assets.

The four steps of Seed Power:

  1. Your Surplus purchases a seed
  2. We nurture the seed as it grows.
  3. When the time is right we Harvest
  4. We spend, give, and reinvest our harvest.

Your Surplus!

Your Seed

Water and Nurture Your Seed

 

Your Sunflower harvest 1000 - 2000 new Seeds!

Your Sunflower harvest: 1000 – 2000 new Seeds!

You planted one seed and get to harvest 1000 to 2000 new seeds.  Think about the exponential power of your seed if you plant the 1000 seeds.  In this example, your asset requires additional effort and resources to produce your harvest.  You would need to sell some of your seed to pay for the costs of planting, nurturing and harvesting your seed.

Different types of assets require different amounts of effort and resources to produce a harvest.  A stock that pays a dividend requires almost no effort on your part.  While a buying a snowplow to clear snow in the winter time requires a lot of effort.  I will discuss these differences between passive and active income in later articles.

If you begin to use your income to buy assets and those assets create more income…. Think of your money working for you.  You can go on vacation while your assets work and keep income flowing into your pocket.  It is possible to not have to work and yet still have income.  FREEDOM

Each dollar you receive has the potential to be a seed.  Each dollar you have has the potential to work for you. When you consume that seed it is gone…

What are you consuming that could be a seed instead?

How much income are you receiving from your assets each year?

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What is the price of salvation?

Posted by on Apr 11, 2013 in Faith, Finding Destiny | 0 comments

What is the price of salvation?

Often people refer to salvation being free… and yet is it really free?  It is so true that you can’t buy salvation, and yet it can cost you everything you ever had or wanted. 

Salvation cost Christ pain, suffering, and ultimately His life. 

What did my salvation cost me:

My Marine career, cost me all of my self-righteousness, it cost me my ideas about race and culture, it cost me my dream of being a small town policeman, it cost me my angry scowl,  and it cost me headaches from worries and fears. 

Although, perhaps cost isn’t the correct term it was more like a bartering or making a trade.

My salvation was like trading a rusty old bike with flat tires for a Ford F-350 dual cab 4×4 diesel pickup truck.Your choice

Here is what I traded: 

  • I traded my unsuccessful Marine career for an education in business which inspires me. 
  • I traded my self-righteous standard that I failed to live up to, for His righteousness which empowers me to live a life free of self-condemnation. 
  • I traded my racist thoughts for deep friendships with many from other ethnic groups and an amazing and beautiful Asian wife.
  • I gave a dream of boring future in a small town for a life full of travel and adventures that fills my life with joy. 
  • I traded my angry scowl for laughter and joy beyond compare. 
  • I traded my worries and fears for His peace that pass all understanding.  
  • I traded my sin and eternal damnation for an eternal life with my CreatorThe Cross

It cost me everything that weighed me down. It cost me everything I thought I wanted.  I have received more than I could have even dreamed possible. Life is better than I could have ever hoped.  It was the best choice I have ever made.

It cost Christ everything, and it will cost us everything we think we want. The eternal reward both in heaven and on Earth is beyond our wildest fantasies.  I believe there is nothing greater than living the life you were created and designed to live.  I believe you can only find your entire purpose through knowing your Creator (The Lord Jesus Christ)

What did your salvation cost you?

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Jhaqueil Reagan: Was it luck?

Posted by on Apr 4, 2013 in Character Development, Finding Destiny | 3 comments

Jhaqueil Reagan: Was it luck?

Most of us of heard his story.  If you have not, you can read it here.  The basic story is; on a cold snowy day he got up early and walked to an interview for a minimum wage job at a thrift store.  On his way he met  Art Bouvier and asked him if he was walking in the right direction.  Mr. Bouvier gave him directions and told him he should take a bus because he still had a long way to go.  It was cold, icy, and snowy morning and most people were starting their day late due to the poor weather conditions.

After Mr. Bouvier was done clearing the snow at his business, he got in his car and left. On his drive he saw Jhaqueil, still walking towards his interview.  Mr. Bouvier stopped asked him why he wasn’t on the bus.  Jhaqueil informed him that he didn’t have money for the bus.  Mr. Bouvier drove him to the interview and asked for Jhaqueil’s phone number. Mr. Bouvier was going to offer him a job after his interview for the other job (although he kept this a secret).

Mr. Bouvier ended up hiring him.  In the interview with the local news Jhaqueil mentions he was “just lucky.”

Was it Luck?Opportunity

It may have been fortunate; however it wasn’t “just” luck.  Jhaqueil moved toward an opportunity. Mr. Bouvier didn’t knock on his door while he was playing video games and offer him a job.

Can you think of an excuse as to why you didn’t go to that interview? Here is an incomplete list:

  • It is freezing outside
  • I don’t have ride there
  • It’s only a minimum wage job
  • It is to far to walk.
  • I probably won’t get the job anyway.
  • I don’t interview well

He didn’t get the job he interviewed for at the thrift store.  That door of opportunity closed on him.  His pursuit of that job led to the job with Mr. Bouvier.  Often our excuses, laziness, indecision, and procrastination keep us on the couch.  Then we miss opportunities we would have only found on our way to a different opportunity.

How many of you have ever used a Post-it note?  That consistently consumed product that is a standard in offices and homes all over the world was an opportunity that arose from a failure.  Dr. Spencer Silver was attempting to create a super sticky and powerful adhesive and failed.  He didn’t throw away this creation; he sought a new use.  (Read more of the story on Wikipedia)

“Moving toward an opportunity will open up more opportunities”

  • You able to see new things from this new perspective
  • You might meet new people
  • You create greater opportunity to learn something new

Your journey can open the door, for a opportunity you may not of seen, thought about, or knew about.  You may meet someone who has an opportunity for you just as Jhaqueil did. The key is to begin moving toward an opportunity.

Tell us of a time you were pursuing an opportunity and had a different/better opportunity open up?

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Are Goals Important?

Posted by on Apr 3, 2013 in Character Development, Finding Destiny, Leadership | 3 comments

Are Goals Important?

I want you to picture a football or soccer field.  Picture yourself as one of the 22 players dressed in their team uniforms.  The stands are filled with SCREAMING, facepainted fanatics.  The game is about ready to begin. You have butterflies in your stomach, and are looking for a place to throw-up.  The energy is palpable!!!  Football Field

Now, take away the end zones or goals.  There is no way to score points in this game.

  • How hard are you going to play if there is no goal? 
  • Would you spend hours practicing to get better?
  • How many people will pay to watch this game?
  • How is that energy now?

Most likely several of the players will stand around talking, a few kicking the ball.  It doesn’t matter what direction your team or you go in.  There isn’t a marker, target, or goal to get to.  “Who cares?”

Have you set goals in your Life?

Successful people sit down on a regular basis and decide what their end zone looks like.  They determine a direction. They determine what success looks like in their life.  Then they move toward it in a purposeful way.

Successful People have a goal

  • Goals give us a direction to move towards.
  • Goals allow us to lay out the steps to success in our life.
  • Goals that serve others will bring finances into our pockets
  • Goals will energize and motivate us.

Proactive vs Reactive

Maybe you have been milling around without a goal. You have been just floating through life reacting to circumstances. Goals give us basic parameters, for how to respond when surprises come our way.  People without goals are often just hoping for the best. With goals we are planning for the best.

Stop Blaming your Past Failures

Maybe your bad decisions in the past are holding you back. The great news is your past does not determine your future.  No matter what stage of life or what past failures look like.  You can lay out a plan for what your future can look like. You can choose to have a better tomorrow.

“Your past does not determine your future”

Failure is an event not a person. Often we learn the most from our failures.  If we will just learn the lessons and not allow the lessons to imprison us.  Your failures position you for future successes.

So tell us, what does your future look like?

 

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Personal Income Statement

Posted by on Mar 27, 2013 in Finding Destiny, Personal Finance | 0 comments

Personal Income Statement
X-ray

Give your finances a X-ray

What does your income statement look like?  Have you ever created one?  In this article you will see what an income statement look like then you can create one from your finances.  A financial statement is like an X-ray, MRI, and CT scan for your finances.

Business have to give their investors financial statements at least once per year.   The best investors read them like a roadmap that reveals the health of that company.  You are permanently invested in your financial situationDo you know where you are going?

Your financial statements will reveal your financial health

Revenue
Earnings (from job or self-employ) $__________
Interest $__________
Rental $__________
Royalties $__________
Dividends $__________
Business profit $__________
Total Revenue $___________
Expenses
 Taxes  $__________
 Food  $__________
 Housing/Utilities  $__________
 Transportation  $__________
 Clothing/personal care  $__________
 Education  $__________
 Insurance  $__________
 Entertainment  $__________
 Vacation  $__________
 Other  $__________
 Total Expenses  $__________
 Surplus/Deficit  $_____________

 The expense categories may be different for you.

Have you created a Personal Financial Statement?

What does your Financial Statement say about your finances?

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Greatest gift ever!

Posted by on Mar 26, 2013 in Character Development, Faith, Finding Destiny, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Greatest gift ever!
Buy it from Amazon

Buy it from Amazon

I remember Christmas of 1988, my parents bought me the Garth Brooks “no Fences” cassette tape. (for younger readers cassettes tapes are the predecessor to CD’s which were the predecessor to digital music) I was so ecstatic, I could have peed myself and not cared.  It felt as though I was literally walking on air. I remember jumping and seeming to never touch down.  At that moment it seemed as though “it was the greatest gift ever.”

That cassette has long since disappeared and I rarely listen to the songs from that album (I could still quote many of them though).  As I have grown older, my idea of the greatest gift has changed drastically from that cute little ten old rejoicing over a simple cassette tape.

My favorite gifts now have an intrinsic value far below that $10 cassette tape.  They are:

  • A collage my wife gave me for a birthday present

    The Great Smoky Mountains

    The Great Smoky Mountains

  • It is my daughter saying “love you daddy”
  • It is a shared meal with a good friend or even potential friend
  • It is a word of advice from wise counsel 
  • They are the beauty of Tennessee Mountains
  • It is the vastness of the stars
  • It is friends around a warm campfire
  • It is the quiet time talking with God

The greatest gifts aren’t things that rust or decay; they are relationships with people and quiet moments observing the beauty of the universe.  The gift of eternal life, bought and paid for by the Son of God.

What is your greatest gift ever? 

Are you taking the time to enjoy those gifts?

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How you can change the weather.

Posted by on Mar 25, 2013 in Character Development, Finding Destiny, Leadership | 1 comment

How you can change the weather.

It is the first week of spring and this morning the snow was coming down.  My daughter climbed up on a stool to look out window at the falling snow.  “It is so pretty!” she exclaimed.  “Can I wear my boots?”

While most adults seem to complain about winter’s persistence, my daughter is excited by the beauty and opportunity the snow provides.  Think about the energy and emotion wasted by complaining about something that we have no control over.  Can you change the weather?

“It is so pretty!”

Enjoying the snow.

Enjoying the snow.

“Can I wear my boots?”

Maybe we can’t change the weather. We can change our attitude about it.

My wife and I own several rental properties. Over the last 6 years, we have been the victim of break-ins, had tenants who purposely damaged our property, and stole from us.  At one house we had the furnace stolen, hot water heater, even the kitchen sink.  I had a tenant who punched holes in the walls, and called the building inspector on us. Then she stole our appliances when she moved out.  How should I respond?

I could get mad at the injustice of it.  I could curse the thieves. What good does either of those do?  I am angry, blood pressure is through the roof, and I still have to deal with the problems.  If I don’t forgive those people, every time I go about fixing the damage they caused I will just get mad all over again. 

Expressing our Anger doesn’t solve the problem!

I focus on what I need to learn from the experience, such as exterior security doors, and a better tenant screening procedure.  Then I go to work getting the home ready for the next person who needs it.  Laughing about “they took everything including the kitchen sink.”

Why let snow ruin your week? Why let other people’s selfish actions ruin your day?  As Steven Covey writes in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, focus on your circle of influence instead of your circle of concern.  In other words… focus on things that you can change.

If you focus on things you can change, the weather won’t bother you and the past will be a history lesson. As Dan Miller says “I carry my sunshine on the inside.”

What impact will focusing on things you can change have in your life today?

 

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Should I keep a mortgage for the tax deduction?

Posted by on Mar 23, 2013 in Perfect questions, Personal Finance | 2 comments

Should I keep a mortgage for the tax deduction?

How big is the Mortgage interest deduction?Home

We often hear, “you should keep a mortgage on your home for the tax deduction.”  I am going to explore this statement, by using actual numbers from a tax return I prepared.

Ed and Daisy (names changed to protect innocent and guilty) are married with 3 children with an AGI of $99,318. They itemize deductions (pre 1986 referred to as long form) rather than take a standard deduction.  Below is a list of their itemized deductions.

Deductible medical expenses $0
State income tax paid $4,542
Real estate tax paid $583
Other personal property tax $383
Mortgage interest paid $7,010
Mortgage insurance premiums $520
Charitable contributions $223
Misc deductions $0
Total Itemized deductions $13,261

Ed and Daisy deducted $13,261 from their taxable income.  If they had not itemized, they would have only been able to take the standard deduction of $11,900.  Oh wait, they would have still had $11,900 deducted if they had not itemized!  So the real deduction gained from them itemizing was the difference between the standard deduction and their itemized deductions.

Itemized deduction $13,261
Standard deduction $11,900
Increase in deduction from Itemizing $1,361

So Ed and Daisy spent $7,010 on mortgage interest and only received a deduction of $1,361.  They are in the 15% tax bracket.  This means they saved $204 by itemizing.  They gave the bank $7,010 and saved $204 on their tax return.

Anyone who tells you to have a mortgage for the tax deduction doesn’t understand math.  I understand buying a home and using a mortgage to finance it.  I have a small mortgage on my home.  Don’t buy a home to save on taxes.

We buy a house to turn it into a home filled with love and laughter. Not to save on taxes.

 

 

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Are Big Houses and Fancy Cars a Sign of Wealth?

Posted by on Mar 19, 2013 in Character Development, Finding Destiny, Personal Finance | 0 comments

Are Big Houses and Fancy Cars a Sign of Wealth?

Just because you own expensive things, doesn’t mean you are wealthy.  It is easy to confuse things with wealth. Houses and new cars are expensive, and to get them requires access to money.  Just because someone has spent a lot of money doesn’t mean they are wealthy.  Often times the opposite is true, those who are the wealthiest often don’t appear all that different from middle class folks.

What are signs of wealth?

Most of us miss the signs of wealth, because they are different for each of us.  When we are wealthy we don’t have “a case of the Monday’s” or update our Facebook status to “TGIF” on Friday.  Being wealthy encompasses more than just money.  Wealth is the totality of our being fully alive.

Origin of Word:
1200–50; Middle English welth  (see well1 , -th1 ); modeled on health (dictionary.com)

It is about having abundance in every area of your life.  Abundance in your: relationships, finances, time, spirit, knowledge, character, and health.  What abundance is, however, can be different for each of us.

If you spent your life making vast sums of money, yet didn’t take care of your body and died early is that wealth?  If you chase your career, yet your marriage ends in divorce is that wealth?My Family in Hong Kong  If you spend all your time focused on your body; in the gym 3 hours a day, yet never feed your soul and spirit… is that wealth?

How I define my wealth:

  • I have several deep friendships and I am more in love with my wife each year.
  • When my assets are producing more than enough to meet my needs.
  • When I am free to travel and spend lots of time with my children.
  • I know my Savior more each day.
  • I never stop learning.
  • I am full of integrity, love, and act selflessly.
  • I am around 235lbs, and able to dance all day.

 So what does your Wealth look like?

What steps are you taking today to achieve your wealth?

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8 things I learned from Monty Python “Quest for the Holy Grail”

Posted by on Mar 13, 2013 in humor, Uncategorized | 0 comments

8 things I learned from Monty Python “Quest for the Holy Grail”

Quest for the grail

    1. African Swallows are non-migratory birds. 
      1. However if they weren’t it is theoretically possible they could bring coconuts to England.
    2. If you build a Trojan rabbit don’t forget to be inside when you gift the rabbit.
      1. The second stage of the plan is extremely difficult if you aren’t inside.
    3. If you build your castle in a swamp and it sinks, don’t build in the same place.
      1. Sometime when you try and fail you should not try in the exact same manner.
    4. “Camelot is a rather silly place.”
      1. Why waste time there?
    5. Do more than say “I feel happy, I want to go for a walk!”
      1. Get up and walk if what you are saying is true.
    6. Strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords is no basis for a system of government.
      1. It does make for a great campfire story though.
    7. Let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who. This is supposed to be a happy occasion.
      1. Don’t let minor details get in the way of more important opportunities.
    8. A good religion has armaments that can defeat evil deities or rabbits.
      1. What is the point of a powerless religion?

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The One Thing I cannot live without

Posted by on Feb 26, 2013 in Character Development, Faith, Finding Destiny | 4 comments

The One Thing I cannot live without

On the radio they were talking about the one thing people couldn’t live without, and I heard things like slippers, coffee, and other self-involved crap.  So what can’t I live without?

There are lots of things I would prefer not to live without, but for what….  Would I rather die, than live without. 

What is the one thing I cannot live without?

I am going to skip the things that our physical body requires in order that life exists.  I am going to skip God (as I believe He is the creator of life therefore the question would be redundant).

It is about relationship not the coffee.

It is about relationship not the coffee.

So my one thing….  Relationships

I am referring to all of them, the good, the bad, the strange, and the boring.  It is the diversity of our humanity.  It is how we each view our world from a unique perspective.  How we are each motivated by different passions, experiences and ideas.

Relationships are where I feel the most joy and the most pain.  Trust, communication, and companionship are so vital to my existence.  I do not know what the point of life would be without those traits.

I enjoy walks alone, and moments watching the immense beauty of nature.  There are times I need to be alone to recharge, hang out with God, or even yell at God. Still I cannot imagine a world of being alone all time.  I don’t think we were created to be alone.

When I was young, my insecurities led me down a sad path.  I tried to be like others, or like others wanted me to be.  I was untrue to who I truly wanted to be.  Hiding the unique individual I was created to be.

As age and relationship with my savior destroyed my insecurities; I became free to find friends and acquaintances different from me.  In order to communicate with someone they did not need to believe exactly how I believe.  They could be of a different religion, political affiliation, race, or even like sports teams different from me.  They could enjoy things I found stupid, boring, or maybe even offensive.

In these new relationships I saw the world in a different light.  I saw the beauty of our diversity.

Serving tea on our Wedding

Serving tea on our Wedding

So what can I not live without?  It is you, especially the real you.  The person you hide from us because of insecurity or fear we will reject you.  Not one of us knows everything, we need each other for our lives to be complete.

 

 

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Wealth Creation (part 1)

Posted by on Feb 22, 2013 in Character Development, Finding Destiny, Personal Finance | 2 comments

Wealth Creation (part 1)

 

What is the difference between wealth and income?

Wealth: the accumulation of excess assets and resources

Revenue: Earning from an asset

Wealth is accumulation of revenue you have kept and not consumed.  Just because a person has high revenues (earnings/income) does not make them wealthy. The ranks of professional athletes, entertainers, and lottery winners, are filled with examples of people who had extremely high incomes, but were never wealthy and when their high revenues ceased, they became worth less than zero. 

So how does one become wealthy?

Wealth or lack thereof is derived from the following equation:  revenue minus expenditure equals income or loss. 

Income graphic 

So each year we have a surplus of revenue over expenses we accumulate a brick of abundance to create a reservoir of wealth in your life. Each year of deficit (when expenses exceed revenues) we take some of those bricks of abundance away.  In America today many of us borrow bricks of abundance from the future bricks of abundance we expect to get later, leading to an accumulation of deficits (better known as debt).gold bars

Our first rule of wealth creation is: “Earn more income than you consume each year”

 What are you doing to increase your revenue and/or decrease your expenses?

Coming soon wealth creation pt.2 to learn about how Accumulation surpluses and deficit affect your wealth

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Peering through the veil of a small-town window

Posted by on Feb 15, 2013 in Faith, Finding Destiny | 0 comments

Peering through the veil of a small-town window

This post is a little bit poetic and inspired from a quote of Steven Pressfield’s from his book “Do the work”.

Dream big enough

 

Our world is so small
A few days will get you almost anywhere.
Yet there are those who never leave.
Bound in their “I can’t”
Those words always true
“I can’t” never failing
Sure there are places we can’t see…….yet
One day the depths of Mariana will be charted
Mars will be surveyed and explored
Technology lost uncovered.
Us working together to discover

Will you play silly games with Indian orphans?

Will you play silly games with Indian orphans?

 
If I dream big enough,
If I “live the dream”
Could the unseen be seen
If my “I can’t” became “How?”
What is my “how?”
Can a city be changed?
Can a nation be born?
Can I remove reason?
Will logic disappear?
Will the finless turtle swim?
The “Why not’s.” remain unheard.
I shall, and my end will come

Will you visit African orphans?

Will you visit African orphans?

With Every effort made
That I might see my future
A life was not in vain.

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Reckless (What does it mean?)

Posted by on Feb 12, 2013 in Faith, Finding Destiny | 0 comments

Reckless (What does it mean?)

Jeremy CampThis post is in reference Jeremy Camp’s new single listen to it here (Reckless). It is what, I think about when I hear the song.

Definition: having or showing no regard for danger or consequences; heedless; rash: a reckless driver ; a reckless attempt (dictionary.com)

This is not going against the wise counsel of those who love you.  It is not going off half-cocked driven by emotion.  It is not going on a mission trip for the adventure of it.

So what does it mean to be reckless:

  • It is taking brownies to the neighbor whose dog leaves presents in your yard.
  • It is sharing God’s love to a full movie theater at the end of a movie.
  • It is praying for blessings on the driver who just cut you off.
  • It is fasting so that God will move on someone else’s behalf.
  • It is telling those friends you used to party with, why you are different, what God did in your life (despite it being so awkward).
  • It is buying a used car, instead of a brand new one, so you can give more each month to those orphans in the Andaman Islands (link).
  • It is dancing and praising, even when the storms of life hit so hard you can barely stand.

  • It is living a life selflessly, serving others, fully living in your destiny and calling.

What do being reckless mean to you?

You can find Jeremy’s new album here(Amazon), or at Jeremy’s  site.

 

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Everybody pays rent (Size Matters)

Posted by on Feb 10, 2013 in Finding Destiny, Personal Finance | 0 comments

Everybody pays rent (Size Matters)

I hear your thoughts already; “I live with my parents,“I mooch off of a friend,” “I live with a boyfriend/girlfriend,” or “I own my home.”

A For Rent sign in the window of a residenceFirst lets address the first 3 excuses.  Here are some of the currencies you are paying with:

  • Goodwill (eventually this usually runs out if their isn’t some reciprocation)
  • Chores or other Services (Your currency is barter)
  • Companionship (We are social creatures and many of us don’t like living alone)

What about “I own my home?”

What are the various costs of maintaining and owning your home?

First with a mortgage payment (The principal portion would not be rent, but the interest portion is really rent by another name)

“But I don’t owe anything on my home!”

Rent a homeowner pays:

  • Repairs and upkeep
    •  See how long your home is livable, if you do not replace your roof.
    • Choose not to clean your carpets and see how many friends enjoy being in your home.
    • Size matters (the larger the home the more things have to be maintained)
  • Insurance
    • It is wise to insure something of this much value.
    • Size matters (The larger and more expensive the property is to replace.  The higher your premium will be)
  • Utilities
    • Not applicable to Amish (although the larger the place; the more wood or other heat source has to be used to keep the home warm)
    • Size matters (a larger home requires more energy to heat or cool)
  • Property Taxes
    • Don’t pay these and you will find out who really owns the land.
    • Size matters (the larger and more valuable the property the more you have to pay.

Notice the theme?  Size matters, when you are purchasing a home all of the ancillary costs increase as the size and value of your home increase.house

This is not a rant against home ownership.  I hope each of you is on a path to live in a beautiful house, filled with love, peace, and family.

Often times people buy their “dream home“…. Only to be enslaved by the required rent payments.  Let your home be a financial blessing, and not an anchor.  Buy something easily within your means and you will have time and money to enjoy the things money can’t buy.

What percentage of your income goes toward rent? 

What can you do to decrease that percentage?

If you paid less rent could your pursue your dream more easily?

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That Hurt

Posted by on Feb 8, 2013 in Character Development | 0 comments

That Hurt

About a week ago,  I was installing an exterior sign at our accounting office.  I was about 14 feet in the air, drilling screws into the overhang.  It was cold Saturday morning, the ground had a little snow on it.  This turned the already slick asphalt surface into an even slipper surface.

I had just moved my ladder to be closer to where I wanted to hang the sign.  As I climbed and began to adjust myself to start drilling and…..          the ladder began to move, sliding down the overhang.  The bottom of the ladder was sliding out and I was along for the ride (all the way to the asphalt).  Before you could blink your eyes, I hits the ground still holding the ladder and a drill.   That hurt (really hurt)

Scene of HURT

Scene of HURT

As I sat up full of adrenaline. Yet not fully functioning as I began to survey the situation.  After a few minutes I tried to stand up.  Attempting to use my left arm but as I put pressure on my left arm.  I realized “that arm is broke.”  A passerby helped me to my feet and the world began to get very blurry.  So I sat down for a few minutes till the concussion symptoms passed.

Next was the painful removal of the right hand glove (that thumb hurt).  The removal revealed my crushed thumb and the blood dripping from it.  I put things away, locked up, and drove to the emergency room.

It was the most trauma I had ever experienced at one time:

  • My first concussion
  • First major broken bone (left arm)
  • A crushed right thumb
  • Bruised right knee
  • A broken toe on my right foot

Should these injuries cause me to fear going up a ladder?

Should I avoid ever using a ladder again because of this pain?

I could let the fear of a future fall keep me from climbing a ladder again.  Or I could use this fall as a learning experience to avoid a similar accident in the future.

What did I learn:

  • Sealed asphalt is slick
  • Make sure your ladder is as perpendicular to the ground as safely possible
  • Use a ladder with feet on the bottom when on a potentially slippery suface
  • If possible have a 2nd person there to stand on the bottom of the ladder to keep it from sliding out.

This spring I will paint the exterior of my home.  A wiser and more experienced man will climb those ladders.  Allowing wisdom to conquer fear.

How often do we let a painful experience keep us from enjoying the fullness that life has to offer?

Is a broken heart or painful divorce keeping you from being open to love?

What is it you don’t do (but would like to) because of a painful experience?

Are your actions being led by wisdom or fear?

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Locked behind an unlocked door

Posted by on Feb 5, 2013 in Character Development, Finding Destiny | 1 comment

Locked behind an unlocked door
Sharky

Sharky

I once had a pitweiler by the name of Sharky.  He was a dog full of life who loved to run and chase anything whether it be insect, bird, mammal, or human.   When you left you had to make sure he wasn’t near the door, or your departure to your desired destination would surely be delayed.

The latch on the front screen door broke one day.  A simple push would easily open the door.  When Sharky was younger, he once jumped through a screen to get outside.   Sharky would stare out the door. So sure was locked. His sad eyes revealing an insatiable longing for freedom.  A dog designed and created for the purpose of guarding property relegated to waiting for those few moments when he is could run on a leash.

Are you staring at the door to your Destiny?

Maybe you tried to enter Destiny’s door and it was locked.    Now you remain imprisoned behind the unlocked door.  “It was locked earlier, so it must still be locked”.   Maybe we tried several times and failed each time.

Passionate Persistence is required to fulfill your destiny.

Abe LincolnAbraham Lincoln ran for public office 7 times before his run for the presidency and failed to get elected each time until his Presidential election.  His drive to stay persistent and keep trying led to him becoming the president that led our nation through some of its darkest days.

“Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% percent perspiration.” (Edison)

Is it time for you to stop complaining about your locked door, and give that dream one more try (maybe 2 or 100 tries)?  Thomas Edison worked for many years and failed many thousands of times.  Then finally he created a light bulb that worked. (Edison light bulb)

 

Perhaps the passion filled life you yearn for is just beyond that door and all you have to do is push it one more time.

Where in your life have you failed, but persisted and then found success? 

What did you learn in your failure that helped you succeed?

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What is your Price?

Posted by on Feb 2, 2013 in Character Development, Finding Destiny, Perfect questions | 3 comments

What is your Price?

What are your morals worth?

What type of woman do you think I am?

What type of woman do you think I am?

A wealthy man walks over to this extremely beautiful woman.  The man asks her if she would have sex with him for $1,000,000.00?  She quickly answers “yes”. Then he asks her if she would have sex with him for $2.00?  She promptly slaps him across the face and asks “What type of woman do you think I am?” He replies “we already determined that, now we are just negotiating on price.

 

What is the price of your integrity?

While in college I worked at a variety of bars as a bouncer.  In every location I became the one who checked ID’s at the door.  I was paid to protect the owners liquor license by keeping those under the age of 21 from entering the premise.

ID please!

ID please!

Bouncers are notoriously corrupt, often a $20 bill will allow you to cut the line. $20 to $50 will get you in underage. Engaging a bouncer in licentious behavior will get you and your under underage friends in the door.  I tended to be the exception.

The girls I dated that were under 21 knew they wouldn’t get into the bar where I was working.  My friends knew they could NOT come in, if they were underage.   I never did get repeat bribes. I accepted their money as a tip.  Then, explained that they were still unable to enter the establishment.

Perhaps, They just wanted to tip me for doing such a good job?

What is the price of friendship?

I remember as a kid I stole a baseball card from a friend (it was worth $0.10).  I did it because I could.  I took advantage of his trust in me.  I still regret that action to this day.   If I ever see him again, I will confess.  Then, pay him for that 1989 score card of Kevin Bass(plus interest).

“I took advantage of his trust in me.”

That persistent feeling constantly encourages me to always value relationships over material things.  If my friend and I are unsure who purchased a particular item, I quickly defer ownership.  A $12 tool isn’t worth a priceless friendship.

  • What are your morals (or core values)

  • Are they for sale?

  • At what price are you willing to change your morals?

 

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Whimper or Scream

Posted by on Jan 25, 2013 in Character Development, Finding Destiny | 0 comments

Whimper or Scream
Cry like you mean it.

Cry like you mean it.

A few nights ago my 18 month old daughter began to whimper.

She was recovering from strep throat and jet lag. It was 1:30am on a cold winter night.  Her cry was the half-hearted kind that while waking me didn’t move me from my warm bed.  A more intense cry would have moved me to action.  However, her weak cry soon faded.  Ten minutes later she was quiet and I was back asleep without ever leaving my warm bed.

How often do we talk about what we want?

  • Maybe even whimper and complain about how we wish….
  • Maybe we even apply for that job. 
  • Research that opportunity on the web.
  • Maybe even write an outline of some ideas. 
  • Maybe even talk it over with a good friend. 

We are all excited, motivated, ready to pursue are dream.   Then…..

Then comes the hard part…

Never let another stop you from your goal.

Never let another stop you from your goal.

Implementing our dream, this is where our words and imagination become action.  Dreams and Ideas are useless till we take action.  When you do you will face obstacles such as:

  • Ridicule from others (Dreamers who take action will always be critized by those to afraid to pursue their dreams)
  • Setbacks will happen (things won’t always go as planned)
  • life will get in the way (you must prioritize time to work on your dream)
  • You (fear will rise like a beast from within attacking your dream)

It is often at this point your goal falls into the cavern of failed dreams.  It is a dark place that will often not see the light of day until the dreamer faces their mortality.  The number one regret of those on their deathbed is I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” (From The top 5 regrets of the dying)

“If you don’t care about your dream neither will anyone else.”

In a football game the hardest yard to get is the last one.

  • 4th and goal from the 1 yard line
  • That yard is the difference between nothing and 7 points.
  • You get zero points for the other 99 yards on the football field.

So, let push harder.  It is not the time to go out with a whimper stuck on the 1 yard line.  Let’s score and see our dreams become reality.  “That Last yard is where your reward dwells”

What is your dream you have pursued with a whimper, that you should be chasing with yell?

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“Those Things Just don’t Fix Themselves”

Posted by on Jan 21, 2013 in Character Development, Leadership | 4 comments

“Those Things Just don’t Fix Themselves”

An Unfilling Adventure

A couple of years ago, I had a filling in a tooth fall out. I planned on getting it fixed someday. However, my dread of the dentist and a hatred of power tools in my mouth encouraged me to perpetually postpone my dentist visit.

A few months ago the tooth became extremely sensitive. Instead of viewing this as a sign for immediate attention, I quit chewing on that side of the mouth and stop drinking cold beverages.  It got worse…. A few weeks later it was so painful, my head hurt and I struggled getting to sleep.   In December I got to experience my first root canal.  It is an experience that I encourage you to avoid.

May those nerve endings rest in peace

May those nerve endings rest in peace

 

The Painful Lesson

  • If I would have gone the the dentist when the filling fell out, I wouldn’t have needed a root canal
  • As a dentist friend of mine said “those things don’t just fix themselves.”
  • Address small problems early before they explode into big problems.

How often to do we postpone that uncomfortable situation, postpone that small inconvenience, with the hope it will eventually go away.  As my dentist friend said “those things don’t just fix themselves.” 

This touches many areas of our lives:

Marriage:

  • Telling our spouse we aren’t feeling loved and how our spouse could change that
  • Developing our family budget together

Health:

  • That workout that we will always start tomorrow.
  • Reducing our intake of sugary food and drinks.

Business:

  • Addressing our clients consist late payments and or growing amount owed
  • The employee whose 10 minute break keeps getting longer

Financial:

  • Saving for retirement
  • Getting on a budget
  • Investing

What have you postponed that is causing you more pain?

 

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Dancing, Programing, and Failing

Posted by on Nov 16, 2012 in Character Development, Finding Destiny, Uncategorized | 3 comments

Dancing, Programing, and Failing

A tale of two classesDance Company

I spent about 6 and half years getting my undergraduate degree.  When I started my goal was to learn and experience new things. Determining the things I enjoyed and those which were better left for someone else to accomplish. During these years, I used my electives as an opportunity to experiment with subjects I didn’t know much about in hope to broaden and define my interests.  During my 2nd year I took two electives that have had a profound impact on the man I have become.

 CPT 175 “Intro to Visual Basic”

I desired to get a basic understanding of computer programming.   It was a great time to take this course as two friends of mine from church were also taking the course. Both of them had a talent for computer programming, so I had a built in tutors.  I finished the first assignment with Caleb’s and Andrew’s help and was thoroughly amazed by the amount of work it took to get a computer to do a simple task.  The course quickly became more complicated I felt overwhelmed and frustrated.  It was a life changing realization that this field was not the place for me, after 6 weeks I was so far behind I quit the course and began to focus on other things.  I would never again try to spend a minute on computer programming. Anything I ever need that requires those set of skills would be outsourced to Andrew, Caleb, or someone with similar skills.

 DANC 101 “Intro to Modern Dance”

I had begun dancing some on my own and found it enjoyable.  I wanted to enhance my technique and skill as they seemed to be lacking.  I am not a natural when it comes to following dance steps; dance for me has always been more of an outward expression of feelings and emotion expressed through movement.  My teacher was amazing she

naomi jb dance

worked with me to teach me how to properly move my body, she spent weeks undoing years of unnatural habits I had developed.   While I was a slow learner she saw something in me that was not easily observed from my failings in talent.  She saw the emotion and passion I had when I danced and encouraged me to join the Purdue Repertory Dance Company.

Over the last 3 years of my college life I would spend many hours dancing and performing.  I was consistently once of the slowest learners and constantly struggled with complex choreography.  However, the dance professors saw the skills of stage presence, improvisation, and ability to partner well with other dancers.  They focused on using these talents in the dance pieces I performed in, while working with me to develop underlying technique and footwork.  Those are some of my greatest memories from college and were by far the most enjoyable classes during my college career.

Both of these courses were vital to my development

I don’t believe one was more important than the other.  One revealed the importance of developing and expressing my creative side.  The other revealed my disdain for highly detailed tasks that didn’t have engagement with people.  These courses help develop a more complete picture of who I was created to be.  This happened because I got out of my comfort zone and took two unrequired and strange courses. In the process, it developed a greater understanding of my personality, strengths, and weaknesses.

Questions for thought and comment:
  • What have you done to step out of your comfort zone and try something new?
  • Is there something you want to try but have been afraid to because you are scared you will fail?
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The American Dream

Posted by on Nov 6, 2012 in Character Development, Finding Destiny, Perfect questions | 0 comments

The American Dream

The American dream

When did the American dream become a 5,000 square foot home with a cedar privacy fence, 2.5 kids, 2 cars, a boat, 3 jet skis, 7 flat screen TV’s, to watch Netflix and the 978 channels? 

When did we confuse the pursuit of things for the pursuit of Happiness?

Perhaps it has always been this way, and just the things you need to find happiness have gotten bigger and more expensive.”  We seem to work harder so we can have more things that enhance our leisure time. Working harder at a job we hate stresses us out more, so we need to buy something else on credit to enhance our vacation time. The end result, we have to work even harder and longer to pay that new something off.

We are like a dog chasing its tail or a hamster running on a wheel.  We keep running… but don’t seem to move forward so we try to run faster, never pausing to look at our life from the eagle perspective until life has passed us by and it is to late.

This has been said before, and should probably be said more often, “how many people on their death beds wished they had spent more time at work, or more time watching TV?”  What if the American dream is the freedom to live wherever you want in our nation? What if the American dream is the ability to pursue your passion?  What if the American dream is create a life you love?  Is the pursuit of things keeping you from your dream?

What is your dream?

Perhaps it is time to get off the hamster wheel, and figure out where you want to go.  It is time to create a plan to achieve your dream.  Each of you can probably find 1,000 excuses to not pursue your dream, and if you continue listening to them you will never take that first step.  Grandma Moses (world renowned artist) didn’t start painting till she was in her 70’s.  Colonel Sanders didn’t start franchising his chicken recipe till he was 65.

Revive your dreams, refine your dreams, plan to achieve your dreams, and start pursuing your own American dream today.  Here are some steps to defining your Dream or Vision

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Having a Screw Loose

Posted by on Oct 29, 2012 in Character Development | 0 comments

Having a Screw Loose

Do you have a screw loose?

 

I had repair work done on one of our vehicles the other day, and they had to remove the exhaust system in order to perform the work.   I picked up the van and headed home, as I got about a mile away from the dealership I went over some railroad tracks and when I accelerated I noticed a noise from the exhaust.  It also seemed as though the van’s get up and go had got up and left.   I returned to the dealership and found; they had not tightened a bolt on the exhaust manifold and it had fallen out.  This little $3 bolt not being tight had caused the van to operate at only about 60% of its capacity and caused a loud noise, that informed anyone near of my van’s existence.

The impact of that little screw led me to ponder what screws were loose in my life and business?  What little things that could easily be fixed were causing my life to not operate at peak efficiency?

  • Do we in our rush not make our spouse or children feel important?
  • Does that unorganized desk keep my productivity a little lower?
  • Is that extra cookie or chocolate leading to a few extra pounds leave me lower on energy every day?
  • Does the lack of a budget leave you wondering where your money went at the end of the month?

When I first moved into our current home, the back door didn’t have weather stripping and on one particular windy winter day I stood by that door and felt cold air blowing across my face.  I had completely renovated the home insulating all the exterior walls.  It was amazing how a ¼ inch crack could allow so much cold air to come rushing in. 99.999999987% of my home was air tight, and yet that little crack drastically reduced the effectiveness of all that other hard work.

What are the cracks and screws we are overlooking in our lives?  Sometimes in our hectic day we miss these little things that steal our time, energy, peace, and finances.  Perhaps it is time to bring in a friend, mentor, pastor, coach or consultant who can help identify these cracks and loose screws.   Your life and business deserve to operate at peak efficiency.

Please comment and share what are the areas in your life that have had loose screw and/or cracks?  How did you fix them?

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