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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.   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? Ask yourself why?  Serious stop and ask “Why 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...

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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? 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: 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?” 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.  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. 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: Share with the right attitude You must have relationship and affirm that relationship 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...

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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. 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...

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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

  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: Creativity that improves company processes or products More motivated (cause the leader cares) Aware of personal problems that could effect productivity (leader then can provide resources to help them through the situation) Team members become more loyal Team members enjoy coming to work   What other ways do strong relationships help a...

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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:  Smile, it will disarm people and give them a warm impression of you  Offer a small gift, something as simple as a homemade cookie or piece of pie.  Your generosity will open the door for reciprocity  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...

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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. 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...

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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.

How 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: For Profit (These have owners who expect a return for their investment): State Farm, Allstate, Progressive, Geico, 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...

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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 here.  The income statement lists some of the types of revenue that come from different types of assets. The four steps of Seed Power: Your Surplus purchases a seed We nurture the seed as it grows. When the time is right we Harvest We spend, give, and reinvest our harvest.   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...

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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. 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 Creator 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...

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