Passionate Pursuit of Purpose

Leadership

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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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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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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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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