Nov 182013
 
Knowing your 'Why' = mission = legacy

Why

Missions

Legacy

 

Connecting the dots between such important topics is the hallmark and core of synergistic thinking. Covey spoke about this in the early ’90s via Habit 6, and there are other authors, thinkers, and speakers who also clearly understand the value of this kind of approach to analysis. Names which come to mind: Buckminster Fuller, Peter Senge, Oliver DeMille, & Stephen Palmer.

Additionally, being in the midst of a new ‘great conversation’ adds even more impetus; it’s challenging to resolve deep seated problems while approaching them in ‘silos’.

Being about halfway into the fantastic book, ‘Start With Why‘ , and having heard an audio track of a talk by Mr. DeMille re: uncovering one’s inner genius through the tools (technology) of defining mission(s), led me to better frame the capstone resolution 13 from a world class book which I read in late 2011, ‘Resolved’.  This resolution simply calls for the reader to focus on leaving a legacy.

In a previous post, I delved further into a review of that particular talk by Mr. DeMille; this post ties it together with Mr. Sinek & Mr. Woodwards’ books. Notice how all of these overlap?  Ah, it’s that synergy word!

I challenge the reader and those who blog (if you happen to be both of these, even better!), to think about missions, what his/her ‘why’ truly is, and how defining a legacy, regardless of one’s age, is so very important. Traditional, conventional wisdom encourages day to day, week to week, and at best, quarterly thinking. Reframing this way, will expand the mindset and move you out of your familiar zone

‘What’ you’re doing, and ‘how’ you’re doing it both remain important, however, the ‘why’ makes all the difference.

Knowing what legacy you plan to leave to your friends, family, local community, church/charity, & nation will serve as a major anchor to connect your bow line to, as you move towards realizing your vision and fulfilling your life’s purpose.

Lastly, having a mission(s) gives one something to chase well behind mere money. Passion should precede income at all times. And, there are so many fundamental challenges being discussed in the ‘great conversation’ which can be framed by defining a foundational mission and putting a solutions mindset to work.

It’s been said that leadership is the highest paying profession. All of these are inputs into true leadership – will you rise to the challenge?

Sep 162013
 
Trail riders

Educate the ignorant.

Spread prosperity.

Heal families.

Promote freedom.

What do these have in common?  They are all defined missions. And, I’ve been blessed to have begun to build the rest of my years around each of them – additionally, they are purpose driven ways to lead and live a significant life.

A ‘trail rider’ can be defined as one who may sometimes have to follow, as Frost taught us, the ‘road less traveled’. He (she) may have to invest time and sacrifice some events in the here and now for far greater reward later.  Another definition is that of a leader who is willing to serve, and serve, and serve …. and to help with shifting the dialogue from that of a problems to a solutions based mindset.

Yet, with the state of Western civilization, North America, and the U.S. itself in decline, there’s no doubt whatsoever that more trail riders are very much in demand so the supply will increase to meet the deep challenges that face us. It won’t be the politicians of either the red, blue, or any other color/shade that will meet these head on: it will be the regular citizenry that joins the ranks of the trail riders.

How can someone make this crucial decision and have it not be a ‘try’?  There are some hurdles to jump over, however, with the stakes as high as they are, these are worth far more than their weight in gold when weighed on a scale against the alternative. What is the alternative? A nation, let alone a continent, or numerous countries across the globe, that is/are far less free, or entirely un-free. [ * By the by,  this entire post is inspired from a live talk (and a subsequent audio recording of it) by freedom, Constitution, and leadership education expert, Oliver DeMille. ]

The hurdles – what are they?  Each of them simply require a shift of priorities. Everyone has plenty of time to focus on these, however, it will be a far smaller percentage who do each. Let’s review them on a high level, and at some point in the future, there’ll be a new blog post or two to revisit this critical topic.

First / 1st /  A

Spread Entrepreneurship

THE most important.

Mr. DeMille has studied historical cycles going all the way back to the ancient Egyptians, and in the peak civilizations from early antiquity to the present information/connected age, many citizens were owners; they were building assets, and did not depend on a third party for their livelihood.

And, think about it: Why depend on a single stream of revenue (income) in such a turbulent time as the present?

Second / 2nd / B

Read like the American Founders

Also very very important.

The Founders were highly educated ( not trained, not schooled; educated. ) — they were far from perfect men, and their signature document, The Constitution, had about 3-4 loopholes, however, one thing that cannot be disputed by even their most vocarious critics? How much they read. They were well studied in the great conversation:  ideas in all genres, from history, economics, science, faith/The Bible, literature, and far more.

is 2013 a far different era than 1764-1789?  Of course. However, listen to Mr. DeMille’s amazing recording ‘The Four Lost American Ideals” to put the rest that citizens from today can ( and will ) make the difference.

Third / 3rd / C

Know the fine print – from laws, bills/legislation, court cases, budgets, treaties.

Very valuable — lest you ‘outsource’ your gov’t to faux experts who do this for you, and NOT in your best interests.

The founding generations treated their youth far different – they held them to high standards which created succeeding generations that were prepared for citizen leadership from a very early age. In the book, ‘LeaderShift’, page 110, read of Samuel Williams from 1794, and compare it to the stories in the mass media and culture of 2013.  What a difference, and not for the better.

Also, keep in mind that budgets are not just for ‘green eyeshaders’ – they are moral documents, since the currency we spend on our government’s every agency/dept/program should reflect what we, the people, deem to be valuable. If we let those aforementioned ‘faux’ experts determine what’s right, what’s valuable, et al., are we not abdicating our solemn responsibility as a citizen?

Mr. DeMille summed up his walk throughout history by documenting which of the above 3 fall first, as freedom retreats from a society, and the number of trail riders doesn’t grow.  Which one?  Fine print. Then, being a voracious reader, then lastly, entrepreneurship and the values & principles that go along with it.

We can’t let that happen. Putting service before self can be summed up in many different ways, one of which is to promote freedom; another is to educate the ignorant on topics like this ( think: were you taught this in any of your years of schooling? ); still another is to heal families by offering them the education and the tools of financial fitness which show them that having multiple streams of income, esp. those from owning something, can regenerate family life. And, each of the above will lead to sustained prosperity when each organically grow and encompass more households.

Will you accept this challenge?

I have. It’s been one of the very best decisions I’ve ever made & I look forward to helping write the story of how this ends with the pen in my hand. Freedom needs trail riders, just as fish need water. Thank you for reading, and as always, comments are welcomed.  Best of the best!

Aug 292013
 
By the hour, by the task, by the relationship, or by ROI

I’ve had the privilege to expand my formerly fixed pie mindset into that of a lifelong student with an ever growing pie mindset due to being on the ‘path less traveled’ which I’ve been walking down these past 3+ years.

In this time, I’ve read north of 100 books, listened to somewhere between 500 and 1,000 audio recordings, watched over 50 DVDs, read hundreds of blog posts, and been to between 100 and 200 different events where I am surrounded by creators/builders/eagles/climbers. All of these, summed up, has completely been transformational. Not an overstatement in the least!

As part of the above, one particular book, amongst many, serves as the inspiration/foundation stone for this post – that being ‘Cashflow Quadrant’. It was one of the first dozen books I read when I discovered what true education really was ( = liber/liberty/how to think ), and I constantly recommend it in the present, and will do so into the indefinite future:  It is THAT crucial — a must read.  In fact, I believe it should be required reading in all high schools, regardless of if public, charter, private, Christian, or one of the many home school curriculums.

Taking a high level view of the acres of material in this book leads back to the title of this post. There are four/4 quadrants —  each of them will appeal to people based on their core values, their personality traits/temperaments, and their willingness to be a student (read: humble, honeable, hungry).  Each of these can also be attached to one of the short descriptors;  let’s unpack them one by one, then will close off this post with a summation.

By the Hour

E > Someone who ‘lands’, chooses, or is shuttled here through the ‘system’ and/or programming most usually thinks in chunks — hour(s). Extended further out: days, weeks, with a mindset of “hump day”, or Friday is more important than any other day of the week. This is due to an ingrained mindset where he/she measures things in such time increments which are short term in focus and perhaps also in vision.  Often, someone in this quadrant will say he/she “has no time”, or is “very busy”. Chalk this up to a priorities/urgencies root issue, and the age old difficulty in being unable to do anything about the time v. money 1:1 exchange.

By the Task

S > Here is a quadrant where one also tends to be shuttled or programmed to put up stakes, although there is a definitive difference b/w it & its cousin, ‘E’. A person(s) here now thinks more along the lines of – how much can I earn (income) for task “X”, “Y” ?  Example is the trading of time for an appointment which requires the other party to pay ( e.g., Doctors, dentists, accountants, certain types of coaches/counselors, stylists, consultants, lawyers ). So, to extend, it is in the best interests of the person to squeeze as many clients-customers into a given time period as possible. The outlook here can usually be longer than a day or a week, although a person here can oft-times employ others, so he/she may also be marking off in his/her head the time between ‘now’ & when payroll is due.

 

We’ve now traversed the metaphorical wall/chasm between sides of the squared quad. What is the difference between them, one who has yet to read this landmark book may inquire?  Quite straightforward:  One’s incoming information, and subsequent thinking (and actions/application of the former two). Another way to say it:  You are no longer depend”E”nt nor are you a member of independent”S” Inc. (so to say)

 

By the Relationship

B >  The least understood corner real estate, yet within lies the most profound answers to many of life’s perplexing issues/questions. Such as?  :  Why can’t I ever seem to get ahead? — Why don’t I think I have enough time in the day to do everything I must get done? ( yet, the day is just as long as it was millennia ago ) — Why is there more week/month than what is in my paycheck ( net income ) ?  Just who are the folks who own (not manage!) those ‘chains’ = franchises that I spend all of my waking time or currency in?

When you quite likely have made your way into this quadrant, since a very small number will be born here, you will find that your thinking requires a reboot. And, furthermore, that much of what you learned before quite likely will need to be unlearned over time. To “B”, you are no longer the magic elixir. You’ve instead discovered interdependent life — its all about Resolution 11: Systems (Holism) & working in concert with a proven, duplicatable system. This system often takes the form of a recurring inflow of life changing information or, in some cases, it is a reference manual/guide/book that you can use over + over + over again to get the same result.

How does relationship(s) tie in?  This way:  Since you are interdependent, you are interlinked in many cases with others in common purpose. The others will either ensure your financial security through their prosperity; and/or they will be your extended term clients/customers as you have earned their unshakeable trust and loyalty; and/or, lastly, you are seeking to grow your tribe and expand your network, so you must know people skills and sharpen the human relations art & science abilities that are not nearly as well taught as an “E” or an “S”‘er. Folks here also have a strong understanding of financial fitness & are coming to the realization that you don’t retire — unless the word is re-defined to mean that you are retiring from your obligations.

This leads to the final corner >

By ROI

I > This is rarified “air”, as the % of those occupying the ground in this bottom right real estate are most always those who spent a good deal of time as a “B”, and they’ve earned their stripes and have become truly free:  In both time and in money. So, they can now put their money on the line in great big chunks, and become real investors. No, if you are “investing” in a corporate-industrial age retirement vehicle such as a 401(k) nor an industrial age one like a defined benefit pension plan.

In those two latter examples, you are not spending money, however, you have not leveraged money to get an ROI on money. The leverage here is purely monetary as opposed to a system from its cousin to the north, the ‘B’. Instead, this is building or creating of an asset(s) that kicks off cash flow. The book describes the levels of investors far better than I could attempt to dissect, so dear readers, please be sure to read, or re-read, this seminal book, then pay it forward to your friends, family, and especially, the younger generations.

In this quadrant, to cap it off – you are receiving so much inflow of currency from your dependent ‘E’ & independent ‘S’ neighbors across the wall, that your well being is set. You are a living breathing example of the maxim of financial fitness that its NOT where the $ starts, but rather, where it ends up that COUNTS.

 

In wrapping up, please be willing to always change. It is hard, however, beating one’s head against cement and expecting cement to crumble!  If you have those questions above, or simply are a student and wish to gain wisdom and knowledge to then turn around to apply & then pay forward to another, you have found (A) one of the best books ever written, and (B) a post here in the blogosphere which has attempted to explain it all from a slightly different perspective than others likely have already. ( since this book has sold so many copies, I know there are tons of links online talking about it! )

Be the best you can be. Live. Learn. Grow, And may you find & earn your dreams.

Oct 212012
 

Today, I want to address a topic that can be sensitive to many, especially living in the economic times that we do here in the US, and that is the crucial difference between investment & expense(s).

This post will not go in depth into the textbook definitions, nor will it serve as a step by step guide, however, my goal is to just blow up a few myths and bad, or even obsolete, information re: these, and ideally, help you think deeply when it comes to your money.

First, high high level.  What is an expense?  I define it as something that you exchange your money for that doesn’t offer any long term value, return (ROI), or which grows your wealth or reduces your debt burden.  Let’s briefly cover each of these:

1. Long term value. Many excellent authors/business owners/entrepreneurs have made crystal clear that money is NOT something you simply trade in exchange for a good or object; it is much more – money should create memories, and most definitely, bring something back to you that doesn’t simply last for a day, a week, or a month. What you get back must have value that carries on a least a year, and even better, a decade or more.

2. Return ( ROI ). Rate of return, for the purposes of this post, is simply summed up as —  did/will you receive something of value back, over an adult time frame, for what you spent your money on?  ROI is not necessarily just measured in financial terms (such as if you were able to pay down debt quicker by buying a financial pack to apply principles that you were never taught); it can also be measured intangibly: Did you sign up any new clients in your consulting business due to that seminar on people skills you attended?  Have you been able to get on the career path/track that you wanted after pursuing more credentialist based (professional track) education?

3. Reduction of debt / Growth in wealth. Growing one’s wealth/assets runs inversely to lowering one’s debt(s)/liabilities. And, keep in mind, a mortgaged home is a LIABILITY, not an asset, unless you have rented it out and are receiving recurring rental income. From that perspective, expenses need to be reduced, including paying off consumer debt, and eventually investing in ‘hard’ assets, like bullion metals, later on down the line. Growing one’s wealth requires buying back time, having a systems based model, understanding the power of compounding (of interest, of invested monies, et al.), & delaying expense based gratification until you can truly pay or whatever you want in cash based equivalent(s).

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Now, let’s move on to investments. Investment is not what you may think!  Let’s start w/ understanding that investment in one’s mind most definitely counts just as much as investment in something paper-based ( like stocks, mutual funds, bonds, or REITs ). The vehicle of a 401(k) or its functional equivalent has only been around for 30+ years, yet it seems like it, or the becoming obsolete pension plan gets mentioned most when this word is discussed in the mainstream of society.

Don’t get me wrong:  these are all investments, however, how much stronger is your mental fitness if you just put 10% of your W-2 income into a 401(k)?   Will you be closer to true wealth?  Unlimited time & money choices?   Perhaps a step or two, or ten, yet think bigger and more metaphorical (in depth):  what about directing some of these monies into your mind?   That’s a key threshold to cross when it comes to understanding even better the critical distinction b/w expenses and investment.

Here are some examples of investment now that we’ve set this foundation in place:

1.  Building a library.  Whether its a virtual (read: e-book) library, meaning you invest in an e-reader/tablet & download books online or via app, or the other way, where you buy paperbacks or subscribe to receive them monthly, this is a perfect starter example for someone who wants to invest in the mind.  We’re all worth minimum wage from the neck down; all the great leaders of history, from Napoleon, to Teddy Roosevelt, to Thomas Jefferson — they read. A LOT. Books matter. They expand your horizons, expose you to lessons you can learn from by living someone elses’ experiences, and you can apply what you read to your life immediately.

2.  Audio Learning.  Subscribing to, or buying audio material – whether books, podcast downloads, mp3’s, CDs from seminars – they all count. Audio is an excellent complement to reading, as it engages different areas of  your brain, and rounds out further the investment in your mental fitness.

3. Attending Seminars / Streaming webinars. Association with other climbers, those who are on the success curve of life, and whom understand the critical importance of ‘You, Inc’ investing, know that being around others who are growing from the inside out, who value personal change, will put monies into this category.

4. DVD / web videos ( YouTube ).  Another option as technology continues to evolve is to purchase, subscribe, or click on a link to have vids sent to you to watch. Visual learning on your own time is still another investment vehicle that will pay great dividends on your leadership development/self help journey.

5. The final one I’ll list is a BIG one. I would strongly and unequivocally urge everyone to do this:  Start a business. Own something, an asset that is yours, which will generate income that is not subject to a third party and will allow you to direct monies away from expenses and into the above options I listed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

To put a capper on this post:  I wholeheartedly believe that entrepreneurship and self-directed learning, investment understood in a much different way than what is the “CW” , and outside the realm of pure ‘credentialist’ institutions, is a crucial element to being able to maintain freedom (see my earlier blog posts) & to strengthen your financial standing in our internet/connected/information age world. The industrial age is gone, regardless of what the politicians are saying in this election cycle; the sooner you invest in ‘You, Inc’, and turbo-boost your mental fitness, the better off you will be.

All the very best & God Bless.