This won't be a long post. In fact, it is more like a gut check - one that we all need from time to time.
Are you being truthful to yourself? Are you?
Before you answer, stop and really think on this. Are you living the way you want and know you should be? Are you living by the principles you believe in? Are you compromising them in any way? Or more importantly, are you settling in any area of your life where you know you should not be?
Most people are living a lie in some area of their lives. It may be in a relationship, their work, or internally within themselves. Most of the time, they are complacent and settling in an area they know they should not be. They know what they should be doing or the choices that need to be made, but they avoid them and keep the lie going because it's easier to do that than face the truth and potential consequences - even when they know by doing so, they will be better off in the end.
Don't be one of these people. Face your lie(s) and breakthrough. Act. Do what you know you need to do and push forward.
Free yourself by telling yourself the truth and living in it.
Life is so precious. We forget that. While, for those of us that have accepted Christ as our savior, we are just passing through on our way to our eternity with our maker, this life still is a wonderful, incredible gift that we have been given. And it goes by very fast. A blink of an eye and someone is there, then gone.
Mark Eaton was a guest on Misfit. I did an interview with him about a year ago, but the audio came out bad and I was never able to release it. I had reached out about scheduling another interview, but Mark and I had not been able to pin down a time. If you don't know Mark, he was a top former Pro-Basketball player with the Utah Jazz - a future Hall of Famer, who had retired and had taken the lessons learned on the court and applied them to business. He was a top rated speaker and consultant who was really becoming big in the space. He died just over a week ago from a bike crash. He lived in Park City Utah and had gone out for a nice summer ride for some exercise. Somehow, he ended up crashing his bike and was found by a car driving by. He was rushed to the hospital but didn't make it.
As a competitive Ironman triathlete, I spend a lot of time on the bike and know how just one wrong move or someone not paying attention while driving can cause severe injury or death. Just like that, Mark was gone and he had a lot more to share and give to the world.
I share Mark's story because it is a great reminder of how precious things are. It is sad to see someone's life end before we think it should (although we must trust in God's plans) and it should spur us to think deeper about how much we need to cherish our lives and those around us. And it should bring us closer in our relationship to our maker and learn how to use the talents given to us to be what we were born to be to the world. We must not go through life without giving our best to the world to make it a better, more meaningful place. I know Mark's impact will live on and you can learn more about his teachings at https://www.7ft4.com/
Cherish it. Cherish it all, because we never know when our time in this short life is up as we pass through.
When is the last time you sat back and contemplated this wonderful world and life in which we live?
When was the last time you listed all the things you were grateful for? Or the blessings you have and/or been given?
As I watched the sun come up over Mauna Kea as I stood inline to start my Ironman race on the Big Island of Hawaii this last weekend, I could not help but think of the beauty all around me and in our lives.
Here are 10 beautiful things about life...
It's time to become Un-Common. Most people live their lives in a comfort zone and don't ever realize their potential. This is common and they are common, but this is a call for all reading to throw off the status quo and become the Un-Common among the common. It is a call for you to stand out and to be better. It is a call for you to push yourself and answer those questions deep down that have been nagging at you about who you are and who you should be.
The Un-Common person is someone who creates high standards and lives into them. They are someone who is never finished and never "makes it." No matter what level of success they reach in every area of their life, they know there is another level possible and it is this possibility that drives them, energizes them, and gives them un-relenting, un-matched passion for life. But, they are also confidently humble. They know they are Un-Common, but they also know that to be Un-Common is something that everyone else is capable of being in their own way and are excited to help others tap into this potential.
To be Un-Common is to go above and beyond and stretch your limits. It is not only striving and becoming the best, but also redefining what it means to be "the best." It is an ethos, a mentality, and a lifestyle. And it is asking the questions, "What am I willing to do? What limit can I breakthrough next? Are there really any limits?"
Lastly, and most importantly, the Un-Common know that the biggest battle they will fight are the limits in their own mind. And they go to war every day to defeat the enemy of self-doubt, complacency, and self-imposed limitation. They are committed for life, hungry, and never give in.
So, how about it? Are you ready to become Un-Common? The Un-Common don't start out being the best, they work their way there over time. Pick one thing today that will break you out of comfort or push you beyond you limits. Do it. And then once you've done it and proved to yourself it is possible, start asking what is possible? Are there really any limits? Then go.
It's time to become Un-Common.
Academic qualifications are important and so is financial education. They're both in important and schools are forgetting one of them. - Robert Kiyosaki
We do not teach financial education in traditional schooling, other than maybe an elective class that is very basic. I believe this is one of the worst injustices of our school system. Personal and business finance are critical to succeeding the real world and we hardly talk about it. Part of me wonders if it is done on purpose, because it is so glaringly obvious that it is needed and yet, it is give little attention. Or maybe, it is because our school model is made to churn out employees who live off a W2 and those in power don't think they need to know finance.
Setting aside the cynicism, regardless of school, you should make it a priority to self-educate on personal and business finance. To help you get started, here are 3 money habits you should adopt starting today.
Understand Your Cash Flow
"Cash flow" is just a term to define where you money goes. First, you start with how much you make. If you are an employee, you cannot just take your salary. You have to look at your "take home pay" after taxes are taken out. Once you know that number, that is the amount you have to spend on supporting your life and needs/wants. From there, take inventory of your expenses and list them out. If they are less than your "take home," congrats you have a surplus. If your expenses are more than your take home, then you have a deficit. Obviously you want a surplus and it seems like common sense, but most people rarely if ever go through a basic cashflow and budgeting exercise, even as simple as this. As a habit, you should review your cash flow monthly and have a written budget of your take home income and expenses and watch it over time to make sure you keep a surplus. And you should do everything you can to increase your take home and lower expenses where it makes sense. Once you have a surplus going, that brings us to the second habit you put into practice.
Six (6) Months Expenses Saved
The second habit I personally do and advocate is the save 6 months expenses and keep it in an interest bearing account that at least keeps up with inflation. Why 6 months? It's pretty simple. If something bad happens, you will have enough to carry you through for a good while and not have to stress. Most advocate 3 months, but in really bad times, it can take longer to get back on your feet if you lose a job or like many during Covid, their business. A 6-month cushion would get most through the rough times. The hard part is finding an interest bearing account that can either keep up with or beat inflation. Right now, it is almost impossible to find an account or even a CD that pays enough to beat inflation. But, if you don't have 6 months saved, focus on that and then once you are there, you can search things TIPS, 1 Year CD rates, High Interest Checking, or even look at things GetLinus which pays 4% or more.
One important note is that if you have high interest debt like credit cards, etc., focus on paying that off first and then save for your 6 months. The only debt you should have is things like mortgage and car loans at the lowest possible rates you can get.
Start Your Financial Self-Education NOW
While you are doing the above to get yourself on solid ground, start your third habit, educating yourself in finance. As you learn and grow and get more of a surplus, you can then invest it and begin to really see the benefits. For example, the day I wrote this, I sold an Iron Condor trade on the Nasdaq 100 index which made me $500. I entered the trade around 11am and exited around 3pm. Not bad for a few hours while I was doing other work.
If that sounds like Greek to you, I understand. When I first started out, I had no idea what any of this stuff was, how it worked, or how to do it. But, years later after continuous financial self-education I do and use it to my advantage. I have learned to create income in the stock market, real estate, through private placements and small business funding, and of course by building and growing my businesses. In fact, the tax laws are written to benefit business owners and investors, not a W2 employee. They are written this way because those areas are where jobs are created and a W2 is the highest form of income the government can get.
Back to my cynicism - maybe that is the reason we don't teach financial education in government run schools, because those that get educated, pay a lot less in taxes and are don't become W2 employees. But, that is not you - at least I certainly hope not, and after reading this, I hope you are inspired to self-educate and learn the amazing benefits that await you from financial education. Get started NOW!
Les Brown is one of my favorite speakers. He delivery of great wisdom is un-matched. I urge you to listen to this message from Les on success and why you've "gotta be hungry" in your life and how you can truly level up. Enjoy!
Success takes a lot of things. Hard and smart work. Dedication. Discipline. Consistency. Persistence. Endurance. The ability to seize opportunity when it presents itself. I could keep going and make a list for pages all the things that go into creating success, and at some point, it takes a little bit of luck too.
But there is one thing that underpins it all. This one thing is what determines your success and it is a skill that you develop and get better and better at.
The skill? Making Decisions.
Everything is a choice, it is a decision. It is a choice to work hard and smart, dedicate yourself, stay disciplined, seize opportunity, etc. In many ways, our lives are the sum of the decisions, the choices, we make.
Every day we have to make a multitude of decisions and those decisions impact all areas of our lives and success.
Knowing this, do you think it would be important to get better at making decisions. Of course it would. But know this, it is a lifelong work. Getting better in this area of our lives never ends, so it is a lifelong commitment.
Where do you begin? Well, the first step I have already given you. It is awareness. Awareness to the fact that you can become better at decision making. And awareness is the catalyst to change.
Now that you are aware, here are 3 strategies you can take to start making better decisions in your life.
Separate Emotion from Logic
One of the first steps you must learn to do is separate emotion from logic. Most people make decisions purely on emotion and feeling. Well, I have news for you, feelings are not facts or truth. They are, however, very powerful drivers of our actions and impulses. You must learn to recognize emotions and stop in the moment to analyze the truth and fact of a situation as best as you can. Use logic to think through the decision and possible outcomes and be prepared to work through which outcome presents itself.
Decide and Then Correct if Needed
It's important to separate emotion and logic and think through decisions, but don't let that process paralyze you. In the end, you need to make the decision based on the best information and strategic thinking that you can - but you must make the decision. And remember, not deciding is a decision unto itself. No matter what decision you make, there will be outcomes and you will potentially need to make course corrections. Be prepared for this and don't shy away from it. Make the correction and move forward.
Don't Dwell on Things
Once you have made a decision, there will be outcomes. Many times, they will not be what you expected and even negative. Don't dwell on these outcomes or let them have a prolonged effect on you. You should take time to deal with them, but your must move forward. Harma Hartouni, a Misfit guest, who runs a massive, billion dollar real estate empire gave some great wisdom in this area. He says to "Have a 5 Minute Funeral." Take 5 mins or maybe a little longer to go through your emotional reaction to a decision, deal with it, and then put it behind you. That doesn't mean that you don't have empathy or understanding for the ramifications of the decision - especially with others involved. You must. But you almost move on from it and move forward.
Understanding how important decisions are to your life and success is the start. If you can put the 3 strategies above into practice, it will help you work on this skill and get better at it in your life and help you tremendously.
There is a lot that comes at us in life and business. We seem to have problems and things impacting us from all angles. Many times, we ALLOW these things to affect us and we waste a lot of time and energy on them without getting a resolution. We spend our precious thoughts and time worrying about these things.
There is a principle from a wise Stoic that gave a great approach to living a good life. His name was Epictetus. Born a slave in 55 AD, he was granted freedom due to his superior intellect and became a mentor to noblemen and emperors. His most important work was in The Discourses which influenced many leaders to come, including Marcus Aurelius. He boiled things down to a fundamental rule and truth which says, "There are certain things you can control and certain things you can’t control, and you must know the difference."
A lot of people have written about this over the years and expanded greatly on it and Epictetus' writings. Years ago, I was introduce to his principles and the 3 C's. I cannot take credit for the 3C's although I did adapt them and change them a little over the years. Here are my 3C's to handling the problems of life and living better.
Think about those for a second and how true they are. I love the simplicity of them.
There are things we can control in our lives and things we cannot. Why waste time on things you have no control over? Focus on what you can control and do it well.
For those things we cannot control, we can recognize them and their impact or potential impact on us, and cope with them. Not dwell on them. Simply cope with the fact they exist and there is nothing we can do about them and move on to the things we can control and impact.
Lastly, concentrate on what counts and matters. We cannot be distracted or derailed by the things we cannot control or have no sway over. Instead, we must ask ourselves what really matters and what makes the most difference that is in our control and concentrate out efforts there.
If you follow the 3C's, you will find that you will have less stress, be more productive, and ultimately live a better life. Start putting them into action today!
Last week, my long-time business partner, Erik Mueller, celebrated 25 years as an entrepreneur. I have been fortunate to have partnered with him for over 15 of those years. During that time, I have seen him grow tremendously into a great leader and CEO. I think we have learned a lot from each other along our journey and Erik shared some of his best thoughts from his 25 year entrepreneur career last week. Here is what he shared.
25 Years later, and I am working from HOME again… WTF?
As you all know, I have a strange sense of humor.
My letter of resignation to WorldTravel Partners (Now BCD Travel), had my final day of work as March 31st and my first day of being an Entrepreneur was April Fool’s Day, 1996.
It was a few weeks before they were really sure I had quit.
It feels like yesterday, but I definitely have some scars to prove it’s been a long, hard and rewarding journey.
I lived in fear for many years as I grew as a leader. I wanted to make sure everyone was happy all of the time, I sacrificed everything for the customers and staff. My relationships with my wife and child were tested continuously through the first 10 years as I poured everything into growing a business from scratch.
Knowing what I know now, would I go back and do things differently? NO.
Everything I did, right or wrong, put me where I am today, and I couldn’t be happier.
Did I learn some valuable lessons? Heck YES!
There are 5 critical things I learned and got right as I evolved over the past 25 years and I would like to share these things.
#1) Ask For Help
So many people have lifted me up along the way. I would not be where I am today without the help of others.
#2) Put others first
I worked for clients for free, I asked a lot of questions, I sacrificed my salary, I dropped everything when someone needed my help, I worked for days on end to meet a deadline, I paid others before I paid myself (breaking the cardinal rule) and made sure the customers and employees always knew I heard them and would do whatever it took to meet their expectations.
#3) Happy Employees = Happy Customers (Everyone Wins)
“The customer is always right” is a myth and a dangerous attitude to have.
Having happy employees means being a leader and saying NO to customers and opportunities some times. The customer wants what is best for the customer, but that is not always the same as what is best for the company as a whole. Good employees sense what is right and wrong and when their input and advice is ignored, it creates a toxic environment and this reflects in their work and interactions with the clients.
#4) Hire well
Continuing the theme of Happy Employees, a few years ago, we were struggling as a business with very high growth and we were hiring anyone we could find to fill a seat for a number of years.
Eventually, we decided to make Trish our full-time HR person and invested in consultants to teach us world-class interviewing, hiring and onboarding skills. This changed our business overnight for the better. Most companies our size don’t have dedicated HR, but I think it’s probably the most important role for any company of any size.
We found that bad players brought everyone down, and killed culture and respect in the organization. We now take our time to find the perfect fit of skills, personality and desire.
#5) Don’t Freak Out
Bad things are going to happen. Things are going to get worse. Someone’s going to get pissed off.
Nothing makes a situation worse than losing your cool. You can’t think when you are freaked out.
We’ve always joked that our #1 RULE is don’t freak out and our #2 rule is don’t freak out… and these two rules have served us well though the Dot Com bubble burst, 911 tragedy, the financial crisis/recession and Covid-19.
The next 25?
I don’t think I could be any more pleased than I am right now.
Are we growing as fast as I would like? NO, are we doing everything I want to do? NO.
I am proud of what “I” built? What makes really proud is that “I” didn’t build it, I just started it. This team, my friends, my family built this company and continue to make it great.
That’s probably the most important lesson I have learned.
Thank you ALL for your time and commitment to each other and the customers we serve. You make me a better, happier person.
There is a secret to success passed down through history. It has been right in front of you your whole life. In fact, you have either used it to your advantage or disadvantage over the years.
I can tell you this - this success secret has impacted your in some form or fashion throughout your life.
What is the secret?
That which your focus on expands in your life...
The Bible stated is as "That which you gaze upon, you will become." Also in the Proverbs it was stated "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he."
Confucius said, "The more man meditates upon good thoughts the better will be his world and the world at large."
And Tony Robbins has said, "Where your focus goes, energy flows."
I can continue to point out this theme throughout history, but I think you understand. What you focus on expands in your life and success.
So, the question becomes, What are you focused on? What if you started every day by asking that question of yourself? And based on the question, what if you could then choose what you are going to focus on in your life that will make your life better? Or the same in business or your work? What can you choose to focus on that will help your success in business or your work the most?
The big epiphany for me was not the realization that "Which you focus on expands in your life and success," but the fact that you can choose your thoughts to focus on. And if you can choose your thoughts to focus on, you can have a bigger control over your success and results in your life. So, choose your thoughts. Choose them wisely. And focus, focus, focus.
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