Tag Archives: business

My Story, Chapter 5

Continued….

…Fast forward a few years…..After our firm lost 90% of our income from the one factory going direct nationwide, I struggled a few years finding what the next step was and despite the fact that I was working full time I didn’t take any salary the first year after we lost the big chunk of income. I was working and acting on faith. I had saved and invested for the past few years and I’m glad that I did because I was able to live off that while I rebuilt the business. My father had retired and I was running the business full time.

I had to search and find companies and products that I could represent and sell that would start to replace that income. It was a scary and exciting time. It was easier perhaps, because I had few responsibilities. There were some ups and downs in the business and in the economy but life was good for a single guy.

I had a great group of friends from college with which I still hung out. We called ourselves the Dudes. Now, after college, life and work sometimes got in the way. However, we still found time for roadtrips, parties, and other fun things. I have lots of good memories of laughs, practical jokes, talking, hanging out, traveling.

So one summer, our next fun thing was the Jimmy Buffett concert. I didn’t even like Jimmy Buffett but it was a chance to hang out with my friends and to have some fun in the sun……in a parking lot somewhere outside of Pittsburgh. So we packed into my white mini-van and drove. We sat in the parking lot and tail-gated. Frankly I don’t think that I even went in to watch the concert……

So we were partying, having fun…. Just as you do when you tailgate, we were walking around, mingling, and others were coming around to our spot. There I saw Jill again. (Jill was a friend from college who was always nice to talk with … I knew some of the people she dated and she knew some of the people I dated during college)..For the past 2 years, Jill was away at graduate school in North Carolina. Now back in town, she was with her sisters at the concert.

The concert came and went. A few weeks later my buddy from Maryland asked the Dudes to a hotel in Pennsylvania while they were in town for a wedding. For whatever reason, I faxed Jill to let her know we were going there and she was welcome to meet us. (before texting and email, faxing was an easy way to communicate-AOL was still in the early stages) At that point I still thought of Jill as a friend and I wanted to include her with my other close friends.

Jill came and we all had a good time. The next day everyone went their separate ways. Jill and I decided to go have lunch at Wendy’s. I don’t know what was in the Frosty that day but we laughed and had a good time. I made dumb jokes and she laughed. Something had clicked from the evening before. Somewhere in there we decided that we were fond of each and we began to date.

It was a different feeling, it was an attraction, sure, but it was also a head and heart sort of thing. I recall saying to myself, “She’s pretty, smart, funny. We’re good friends, I respect her, I have a great time with her, we can talk about things, we have great families.” I hadn’t seen it before that moment but we were a great fit. We liked spending time with each other and trusted one another. We could talk about anything. There were feelings there. From what started as an immature relationship as friends in college grew to that of young adults taking on life together.

I never looked back after that point. In my younger years I had been fickle and immature with some relationships. But when I thought about dating Jill, I thought, “Yes, this works, this makes sense, this feels right.” The relationship hit all cylinders; my mind, heart and body. I no longer considered dating others and no longer became distracted.

I continued to work in the business and tried to find the right fit for a company to represent. I found another company with a great product but it turned out the owner was taking all the profits and buying boats, etc. and didn’t bother to pay the bills. It’s tough for a manufacturing company to run when you don’t pay for the machinery. That company closed and I again had to start over. I found another company with really good people but their product line was limited and they started having quality issues. Soon because of customer feedback and quality issues, I split with them. It all started to work away at my credibility, since I was switching product lines.

I learned a lot about people, perserverance and life during that time. Many people stuck with me because of my dad, some because of me, some because of the product and / or service. Others took off in a heartbeat after years of working together and after giving them lots of free consulting and help.

I confess that I took some of these things personally, and my ego was bigger then, so it was tough. Plus I suddenly was earning much less despite working long hours, traveling many miles, and driving a white minivan. (A mini-van wasn’t great for a single guy in his mid-twenties!)

Cool, neat, little things happened to us when we were together….for instance one time we got bumped from a flight while we were flying to Florida. We got free first class tickets to anywhere in the continental U.S. So we picked the farthest point that sounded great – San Diego. We traveled to San Diego and experienced lots of great things – with trips to L.A. and Mexico. We again had cool experiences together there. San Diego grew on us.

Jill and I dated for a while but we didn’t want to wait too long to be married. We also didn’t really want all the big ‘fuss’ for our wedding. You see, the year we decided to get married, there were 15 other weddings…..we were invited to all 15. Jill and I were in about 7 of them, including her two sisters. It was crazy! Just think, we spent at least $50 (usually more) for a wedding, plus hotel and travel. That was an expensive year! Most of those weddings were crammed into September-December.

At first we were going to elope to the Outer Banks and come home married. But we decided not to do so, our families might have had hurt feelings, etc. So we decided to have a much smaller and elegant wedding. We wanted to pay for it all ourselves. I got a second job selling alarm systems. One large project paid for some of the reception, another paid for most of the honeymoon. Jill worked a second job and saved money for the wedding and other things. Our parents still wanted to help, so my parents helped by adding and upgrading the food. Jill’s parents helped with the wedding dress and photography.

Still, it felt good to pay for most of it ourselves. I was self-employed and I had decided to start attending the evening MBA program at Pitt. I enjoyed it but the classes after work were a bit tough, as were the payments. I did take out a loan for some of it and I tried to pay for some as I went.

After about a year, my new wife and I saved some money, used a small gift from my parents, and built a small Cape Cod. It was nice and simple. The upstairs and basement were left unfinished to save on dough. We were happy.

The thing about all of it was this- we were tight financially for some time. I actually had to ‘lean’ on my wife for 1-2 years as I rebuild the business, she often made more during the volatile time for me. Then I kept growing it.. She believed in me and I in her. Jill and her sisters were running a large child care center that eventually would have 80+kids.

(At this point I began to think about something that I’d see observe and feel for the rest of my life – it seemed that I was reaching out for a job, an opportunity, something that I was definitely capable of doing well – but I was pushed back. I think in some way I was being pushed or pulled back to where I was supposed to go. Maybe something inside of me or part of me was guiding me. Maybe it was God or something else. But so many times we all experience it – ‘that job would be great and I can do it ‘ then you apply and get smacked back royally. Maybe there’s a reason….almost like we’re being guided back onto the right path….)

I found some stability with my own business and really started to enjoy the MBA program. Many cool things were happening in our lives. Small things like the fact we got upgraded to a Penthouse suite with 3 bathrooms, a dining room with 10 chairs, full kitchen, den, living room, and skyline veranda in Toronto…..Big things like getting pregnant – we were expecting our first child!

Then I had a chance to move onto a totally different career. I got a job as an intelligence analyst. I felt like Jack Ryan from Tom Clancy’s series. I started working for the U.S. Department of Justice and I liked it for a while.

Leaving a cushy job – a good idea or bad idea?……..

My Story, Chapter 4

inspire

Continued…..

….so that fall I returned to college a new person….really I felt like a man for the first time ever. As I mentioned, people treated me differently. I had a new confidence and self-respect. I can tell you that my relationships, grades, and life were affected.

I went to the fitness center 4 or 5 times a week. I ate better. I worked in the office and carried a 90% load of schoolwork. My grades improved greatly. My professors noticed my change. I began to think differently.

My parents now went to Florida from January to April. They bought a small place there and had a great time – they deserved it. My dad played volleyball 4 or 5 days a week and softball once or twice a week. My mother and father rode there bikes around the park most of the day and they socialized. They looked and acted years younger.

Besides some basic challenges, the year went on well. My father had a minor set back the next year but recovered quickly. I continued to run the business mostly on my own, using my dad as a valuable consultant. I would bounce ideas and situations off of him and we’d work together. My father and I did travel together to some larger clients, some tradeshows and other business. I got to spend time with him as a boss, partner and for the first time friend. It was a great time and I am forever grateful for that time. As time went on, I began to inject more of my own ideas and personality into the business. I had much to learn.

The next year of college came and I continued to maintain the balance of work, school, and social life. I began to enjoy the bit of extra money that I started to gather. Life was good.

I began to really taste independence. When I say that, I mean it in a few ways….I tasted what it was like to earn money, to save money, and to invest it. I saw my money grow in my investments, so I understood the passive nature of investing.

By the nature of our business, we set up dealers, home centers, and distributors. They sold our products. We earned commission. That was pretty cool. We earned money whether we were golfing, driving, sleeping or whatever. Sure we had to offer support, service and coordinate deliveries….and yes set up new dealers, but it was cool when I understood that there was a recurring revenue of sorts happening there.

The other part of independence was that we were living one about 30 acres – about 10 acres of fields in front of the home and office, and the balance behind us in beautiful woods. There was a small hillside on the on side of the property so that we were in a nice little valley. Not far in the woods, we had a creek. You could sit in the office in mid-summer and open the windows to a great cool breeze. You could hear birds sing, hear the bubbling creek, and look out and see deer.

If you wanted to take a walk, go fishing, it was all possible. There was an independence so that we were not tied to a city building, hampered by a commute and traffic. We weren’t tied to one employer. We had the freedom of recurring income. The independence that all people experience when they first reach a certain level of income was there. Life was good.

Later in my life I got away from many of these things. I worked in the city and had a very long commute. I worked for controlling employers. I would spend years longing to get back to that independence – the feeling that I controlled my own life. I lost the recurring revenue and the almost passive nature of the income.  For many years, sometimes on purpose, sometimes because of circumstances around me, I lost independence. I can tell you this, it is much better, in so many ways, to be as independent as possible. I’ve had it and in some ways, I lost it.

As with any life event, I learned lessons. Among others, I learned the WORDS TO LIVE BY: Independence. Being free to act on your own, free to live where you want. I encourage you, define what independence means to you and what types of it are important to you.

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I really grew over a few years. I learned a lot. I took some risks. I made some mistakes. I had successes.

One of the companies was about 90% of our income. We were independent but when you looked at the finances of our business, we were very dependent on one company. It wasn’t by design but because that company had such a diverse nature of products and because of how the territory simply developed, we were tied to them.

One spring we got news that this company hired a new set of sales managers. We got the call that one was coming to our area and we had to set up some visits. We approached it with a great attitude but he was pretty tough to deal with. Even though he knew nothing of the industry, he came across as egotistical, typically interrupted people, and was not a pleasant guy to spend the guy with…..

….he came into town a few times that summer and he’d typically tick off clients wherever he visited. We’d ask for help solving problems but he never solved one of them. He often was late for appointments and was disrespectful to me and my father. Then one day he asked us to meet him somewhere far. So we got up at 5am, drove to see this guy and we got fired.

That year, that company let go of any and every representative like us across the country and they went with some in-house salaried people. (Within 12 months that company also let go that sales manager!) Things change. You must adapt!.

So we drove all the way home on that beautiful summer day. I could tell that my dad was very upset that suddenly the business had lost 90% of its cashflow and the legacy he wanted to leave was not going to be the same. We tried to enjoy the day and we discussed the exit strategy….we also began to think about what the next step would be………

….continued….

How to Start Your Own Business

I came across this on Early To Rise. Good stuff, good article. http://www.earlytorise.com/

“Profit is a reward for satisfying the desires of others. The more you satisfy those desires, the more you will profit.” – Harry Browne


How to Start Your Own Home Business

By Bob Bly

I’ve started small home business in my 20s as well as in my 50s. Were there any differences in the process based on my age alone? Yes, and if you’re an over-50 entrepreneur, it helps to keep them in mind.
To begin with, when I was younger, I had the boundless optimization that is bred by the naivety of youth. I hadn’t been through much hardship in my life, and so didn’t think anything bad could really happen to me, including the possibility of my business failing. Therefore I went boldly forward with few resources or contingencies in place.
At 50, I had, like many people, been through some very serious problems in my life, including my wife being diagnosed (mistakenly, it turned out) with terminal cancer. Therefore, I considered the pros and cons of my new business plan more carefully, and should things have turned sour, I would not have been badly hurt.
Even though I had only a few thousand dollars in my bank account when I was in my early 20s, I felt more able to take risks because I also had relatively few financial responsibilities: no family, no mortgage, and (living in Manhattan) no car payments. Plus, when you’re young, if your business tanks and you lose it all, you have plenty of time to make it back.
You’d think older entrepreneurs with their greater net worth would be more financially courageous, but the opposite is often true. If you’re 50, and your business bombs and draws down your retirement nest egg, you may not have time or earning power to make it back. Therefore, many 50+ entrepreneurs are afraid to take big financial risks.
Yet for many of the over-50 entrepreneurs who are willing to take financial risks, the money to start a business is there. If I wanted to launch a business with $100,000 start-up costs, I could do it without borrowing. Yet on the TV show Shark Tank, you see people giving away 10 to 50 percent of their entrepreneurial ventures to investors who in exchange pay them a sum in the high five or low six figures.
Younger entrepreneurs are often fueled by boundless – and some might say naïve – optimism. Optimism propels people to action, which is a good thing, but it can give them unrealistic expectations, which isn’t so good.
As an old dog entrepreneur, you have to learn new tricks, and it may take a lot of practice to break old habits. For instance, my children laugh that when I need a business phone number, I look in the Yellow Pages and not Google. When my youngest son saw that AARP sent me a free transistor radio as a premium, he laughed again: “No one listens to the radio on a radio,” he said.
One of the things I envy younger entrepreneurs is their seemingly infinite energy. Some of the more famous Internet marketers I know go at their online business 24/7. I work hard too, but once I hit 50, I saw that my own energy had limits.
Perhaps the biggest difference between younger and older entrepreneurs is this: in their quest to be rich, many young entrepreneurs will do any kind of business as long as they think it can make them quick and significant bucks.
When you are over 50, you are far less willing to do whatever it takes just for money. You want to do what you want to do, when you want to do it. You are reluctant to bow to the will of others just for the money. Your work has to bring you pleasure. You don’t like being told what to do.
So how do you choose a business opportunity that meshes well with your personality, interests, and desires?
Career coach Valerie Young has her clients write a short composition describing their ideal day. You can do the same to discover what your ideal day would look like.
Would you spend it sitting in the backyard alone with your laptop — or working shoulder to shoulder with a team? Do you want afternoons free for fishing and golf? Can you stick to a schedule or do you crave freedom and flexibility? Do you want to make crafts or spend the day with kids? Do you see yourself in an office or outdoors?
Then it’s a matter of finding a vocation that allows you to live, as closely as you can, your ideal day – every day of the year. To find that vocation, make a list of your interests, passions, aptitudes, and favorite activities. Are any of these things other people would pay you to do or make? Those are the realistic options, unless you are independently wealthy.
How wealthy you are determines the degree of freedom you have in choosing your new business, profession, or vocation. Take stock of your financial situation. How much money do you have? Is it enough to retire? If your business failed and you lost money, would you still have enough to retire? Can you do whatever you want? Or does the need for money trump the need for self-fulfillment?
The bottom line: as an after-50 entrepreneur, you want and deserve to have a business that lets you live the life you want to live. And with a little planning, it can all be yours

[Ed. Note. Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter, information marketer, and the author of 80 books including Start Your Own Home Business After 50 (Quill Driver Books, 2013).]

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HOW TO SET AND ACHIEVE GOALS

Goals Goals, Goals, Goals

I thought this was a great article “as-is” and wanted to share – it is from Michael Port http://www.michaelport.com/

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These pillars are essential to success in any business, but especially important if you’re building your business on your own. They are:

1.      BUSINESS MODEL
2.      PLANNING, PROJECTS & SYSTEMS
3.      MARKETING
4.      MINDSET

In today’s lesson I’m going to give you specific exercises that will help determine your financial future. But first, I think it’s worthwhile to know why I created The Alliance – not because I want to sell it to you; but rather to start a conversation about what it really takes to learn what you need to know, AND build something remarkable (and profitable) with that knowledge.

I’ve been serving as an author, speaker, and mentor for service business owners for the better part of a decade and I’ve always been a bit skeptical of my industry. Over the past few years, I think it’s gone even farther off the tracks with inexperienced coaches offering mentoring programs, over-the-top hyped up events and too many silly and half-baked “3-easy-steps” type of advice.

I know that service professionals are in need of a lot more than a weekend event or a teleseminar lasting a few weeks. It’s great to get energized but it shatters your confidence when you come home and all the hype fades away.

Don’t get me wrong, inspiration and passion play a huge role in creating the life of your dreams. After all, I am “the guy to call when you’re tired of thinking small.” In fact, I wrote the book on it: The Think Big Manifesto.

But you also need real, concrete, actionable plans to serve as a vehicle for your passion if you want to succeed. I’ve taught thousands, tens of thousands actually, how to get more clients and the truth is; there is an unending source of tactical information out there but only those who are truly serious and committed to a long-term plan create remarkable (AKA: real marketable) businesses.

I wanted to do something about it. It’s one thing to sit around being annoyed by what I saw as the lack of real business-building programs but another to do something about it.

Anyone can tear something down; building something better in its place takes courage and commitment. If I was really going to be true to what I teach, I needed to create the solution.

I believe that I’ve done it in The Alliance. If you are serious, I mean very serious about creating the business and life that you really want then consider applying. It’s not for everyone. It’ll be hard work and I’ll challenge you. But it may be for you. If it is, that means I’m meant to serve you and I’ll do my best work with you.

In The Alliance, we always start with the most important habit an entrepreneur must develop: GOAL SETTING and the ACHIEVEMENT of those goals. It’s a basic concept but fundamental to success. I suggest you start with the same now.

Of course, the future is uncertain. You cannot always predict a result but when you set goals you:

Engage the power of a decision. Your Ferrari will go nowhere until you decide to shift into first gear.

  • Begin      to filter out the noise. When you know what you want, you can begin to      ignore the things that don’t support the achievement of your goals.
  • Conscious      and subconscious mind begin to work in unison to achieve your specified      objectives.
  • Are      able to model others who have achieved what you want. Only by being clear      about what you want can you locate the best mentors to model what they do.      It’s one of the fastest ways to succeed.

Great leaders always deal with reality. If you know where you are then you can map out where you want to go and how you will get there. Start with the two most important questions:

What’s working best in your business?

What aspects of your business are in need of the most improvement?

Now, look at how you currently spend your time by filling in the blanks to the following statements:

Over the past 12-months,             % of my time has been spent working ON the marketing, sales and growth aspects of my business.


Over the past 12-months,            % of my time has been spent working IN the business with clients.


Over the past 12-months,            % of my time has been spent on personal pursuits (friends, family, hobbies, etc.)


Over the past 12-months, on a scale of 1-10, I would rate my efficiency as a ________

 


How would you like to spend your time?

Over the next 12-months,             % of my time will be spent working ON the marketing, sales and growth aspects of my business.


Over the next 12-months,            % of my time will be spent working IN the business with clients.


Over the next 12-months,            % of my time will be spent on personal pursuits (friends, family, hobbies, etc.)


Over the next 12-months, the #1 thing I need to do consistently to be as efficient as possible is…


And, finally, how much money are you going to make over the next twelve months?

 

Over the next 12-months, I would like to earn $ ________ in gross revenue.


Over the next 12-months, I would like to keep my expenses below $ ________.


Over the next 12-months, I would like to earn $ ________ in profit from my efforts (gross revenue minus expenses).

That’s it for today. Remember to think big and embrace abundance. If you need to go back and do this exercise of thinking bigger about who you are and what you offer the world, do so now.

Know that the only true scarcity is your resistance to embracing your own true self, your hopes and dreams, your capacity to think big.

When you resist yourself you create false scarcity: I’m not enough. I’m not as good as . . . [pick a name]. It’s too hard. There’s no time. I can’t start because I don’t know how it will end. When you focus on what you are not, what you do not have, and what you do not (and often cannot) know, you focus on a self-induced scarcity.

Each of us is naturally abundant. To exist is abundant. Look inside and see the glory of who you are–more than good enough.

I’ll be back soon with a deep and inspirational message on how to get your mind right. You’ll need it so that you’re able to handle all of the success that comes from the goals you’ve set.

Keep thinking big,

Michael Port

Independence, Freedom, Life

snowbunniesA quick story……

As you may have guessed I have been self-employed before and I enjoyed it. Even when I worked at two banks, I had lots of self-autonomy and acted as if I was running my own business or profit center…….

….I believe that we all should have freedom to be with our family or friends as we choose, to do things as we want, to make as much as we want, to spend quality time with those we want to, to be creative, to exercise and do healthy things, and so on…..

I really relish what working for oneself has to offer – whether it is inside a larger corporation or actually self-employed. I gravitate to these sorts of things….I wish more people knew what it felt like too…..

In any case, we all know that the Internet is full of so many gurus, gadgets and ‘opportunities’ that appear to offer freedom, income, etc. etc. I confess that I’ve tried a blog and business before. I had a CD-set of information, advice and references that I sold. I had podcasts. I sold books written by others on the same subjects. I’ve tried things and failed. I’ve also had a few successes.

I think many of us would like to work from home, or be able to do something like that. I believe that it is possible.

So, my point is, that I’ve come upon a couple interesting things. Really just two. I have spent thousands and thousands of dollars on many others. I have found many useful items, many scams, and things in between. Many items were actually good but perhaps something not what I wanted to do. There are many items out there that one can actually make money or do. It is about committment.

Anyhow, I’m in the process of checking out these few things. If they seem to be reasonable, realistic, and worthwhile, I’ll tell you. Then you can check them out and see if you think it is worth it.

I respect the fact that you read this blog, I respect that visited this once or maybe visit each day. I promise that I won’t abuse your trust and the relationship that we have. This blog is primarily  here to share good ideas, information and have fun. Deep down I believe that if I find something that is really good, it will still fulfill these things.

Until then. Enjoy and take care.

For more, click here

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http://www.onewebstrategy.com

Words To Live By: Clarity

clarity1-300x292Clarity

(This is one of a part of a series of WORDS TO LIVE BY. This series grew out of a workbook I first made for my young daughters and discussed at the dinner table. These Words include values, good ideas, and Words to aspire to….and learn from….enjoy!)

from definition.com

clar·i·ty- /ˈklærɪti/ Show Spelled [klar-i-tee] Show IPA

noun 1. clearness or lucidity as to perception or understanding; freedom from indistinctness or ambiguity.

2. the state or quality of being clear or transparent to the eye; pellucidity: the clarity of pure water.

Synonyms 1. intelligibility, exactness, simplicity.
Clarity is something I think, as a whole, society, us, most of us, lack.
What do I mean?
Are you really clear about what you want in life?
Are you clear about your desires, dreams, goals?
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For instance – I know many people, including myself, often talk about earning more and having a home business or something independent. We know we want more money, more independence. We know we want some sort of money set aside for a nice retirement, but then we stop there.
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Clarity provides an idea, goal, understanding, transparency that we need.
If you can sit down and clearly write out your goal/plan/intention/idea, if you are clear what you want, all parties benefit.
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How many times have you felt uncertain, uneasy about something?
You just don’t feel right about it – often because you’re unclear about it, undecided, on the fence, etc.
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I’ve had situations where I was in a bad financial jamb. I was cooked for the forseeable future.
For a long time I just tried to ignore or avoid the problem.
I felt uneasy, upset, stressed, confused, etc.
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Then one day I told myself I’d sit down for 5 minutes and review all my statements and paperwork. Just 5 minutes.
Even though my situation didn’t improve, reviewing the problem – becoming clear what the situation was, did help.
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Then I took a piece of notebook paper and wrote a very simple plan to move ahead.
I assure you that the plan was not complicated, high-tech, creative, or brilliant.
But I was now clear on the problem, and clear on action steps that I could take.
I felt a lot better. A simple step helped!
I confess that my wife told me I seemed happier. I saw a friend that day and he said I seemed more relieved (He knew my situation).
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My wife and I have had challenges in life and we approach them differently for all sorts of reasons. Like any relationship, we had to communicate our expectations and come to some sort of agreement.
Many times, relationships are stressed because people don’t communicate, they don’t share expectations, and they aren’t clear with each other.
Now my wife and I sit down and spend just a few minutes on our budget, expectations for the week, for the next few months, for our common goals – we work together to get clear on our life.
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It is a simple step that we didn’t take before and it added to our financial problems.
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When you’re working, going to school, doing anything worthwhile (even not-worthwhile), being clear about what you want makes such a big difference.
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  • How many people do you want to reach today with your message?
  • How do you want to contribute to the world/society/family/life?
  • How much income do you want to earn this year/5 years/10 years?
  • What kind of work do you want to do?
    How many pages do you want to write?
  • What things do you want to improve upon in _______?
  • WHat does freedom/independence/the ideal life really mean to you?
    What is the ideal day life for you?
  • What do you want people to ‘feel’ when you talk to them?
  • What is important to you – GET CLEAR!
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We so often go through the motions, get lost in the noise, listen to society.
Our inner voice is so much better, so much more powerful.
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You may believe in something else, but I believe in some sort of Creator.
I believe that the power or Source or whatever you want to call it is not just “out there” but it is IN US.
We are part of this Source/Creator/God.
If we get quiet, listen to ourselves, and get clear on what WE want, and let our inner voice guide us, rather than someone else, I believe that we can act with guidance from the Source/Creator/God – it is almost divine guidance.
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It doesn’t need to take long either. Just take a few minutes and get clear on one thing….right now.
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Below are some more thoughts on Clarity……
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Think about the recently famous Felix Baumgartner’s Supersonic Jump from the Stratoshpere (on October 14th, 2012). Have you seen it or heard about it? If not – it’s OK – I wrote a post about it here on this site.

The reason why thoughts of that jump filled my mind is because Felix Baumgartner accomplished a very clear goal he set for himself about 5 years ago… it took him that long to train for it… but his intentions were crystal clear even though that goal 5 years ago might have seemed a little unrealistic.

I know it took him 5 years to accomplish it but you’d be surprised what you can accomplish in 30 days.

Just as an example, when I got laser focused on my blogging almost 60 days ago now, my blog traffic went from daily visitors in the teens and twenties to hundreds .

I sometimes listen, watch, and read stuff from a marketing guy named David Wood.  David Wood spends close to 2 hours on the subject of clarity in this one podcast (and much much more) and how to set goals in such a way that they become so crystal clear that you can actually feel them as being accomplished.

Also, here is a video by Tony Robbins where he emphasizes how important clarity is to accomplishing goals.

What Tony Robbins says in that video is right on the money…

“Life Will pay whatever price you ask of it.”

Without clarity, you cannot accomplish any goal that you set for yourself.

You too, can have clarity, implement these methods in your business and start making the income that you deserve.
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Here is more from another website worth sharing.. http://thinksimplenow.com

TITLE – FIND CLARITY IN ONE DAY

Do you ever get so busy with the details of your life and the countless things you need to complete, that you end up feeling exhausted and disconnected?

The result: Your mind becomes clouded and unable to focus and you start to make poor decisions regarding your priorities. You end up working hard instead of working smart.

What do you do when this happens? Do you take the time to step out of the situation to regroup? Or do you continue with what you’re doing, all the while feeling that you’re running out of time, besides you still have a massive list of tasks to complete.  In the past, my natural inclination was to do the latter and, in the end, I would be left feeling burnt out with my spirits down.

Lately I’ve been running around preparing for several major changes in my life.  I’ve felt my mind becoming consumed by the problems revolving around these changes.  My eating schedule became irregular and my decisions felt clouded.   When my clarity started to fizzle, I found myself making decisions and judgments based on emotions rather than on logic or intuition arising out of clarity.

The following is a simple technique I’ve used to reconnect myself to what’s most important: my inner self.  In doing so, Clarity came.

Clarity Day

I’ve always been attracted to the idea of a Spiritual Day or a Clarity Day, in which you spend the whole day disconnected from the information world and the many distractions of modern life, and start to connect within yourself.

If this sounds too mystical, don’t get caught up with the words, they are just linguistic symbols to communicate ideas.   When you really get into such a day, it can become a source of great bliss and understanding of one’s self.  During these times, we can experience tremendous personal growth, peace, and satisfaction.

This is also the perfect chance to clear out the noise and mental clutter that collects in our inner space from the hectic demands of our life.  Through better understanding of ourselves and our surroundings, we gain more than clarity, we gain self confidence.

Similar to Self Dates or Alone Time, on a Clarity Day your goal is to spend an enjoyable day on your own and away from everyday distractions.  Aim for minimal planning, so that you spend the day following your heart and enjoying the spontaneous expressions of the present moment.

Here’s an example of how I spent this past Saturday, when I deeply needed clarity and to connect with myself:

  • Basics – From 8am to 8pm. I was doing everything on my own, without friends or family. All distractions such as cell phones, home phones, computers, and TVs, were turned off.
  • Salon – I’ve always enjoyed getting my hair done. My favorite salon straightens my hair at each appointment. I sat there with my eyes closed and enjoyed being there. The girls kept asking me if I needed a magazine, and I would say “No thanks. I’m happy just sitting here.”
  • Walk – I walked out of the downtown Salon and drifted randomly uphill to the Capital Hill neighborhood. The day was so beautiful. I enjoyed looking up at the sky and passing by families of tourists and Saturday shoppers.
  • Café – I found a comfortable corner seat by the large windows at a local café. I pulled out my book and my journal. Periodically, I would sit back with my book in my lap and enjoy watching people. People are so interesting, and if you try, you can sense what people are feeling. I had a fantastic seat for people watching and deeply enjoyed the experience.
  • Meet a Stanger – I started talking with an interesting new friend who sat next to me. We talked about happiness, art, and creativity. It was very simulating and felt good to connect with another human being; they add meaning and dimension to your life.
  • Read – I read Stillness Speaks by Eckhart Tolle. A short but enlightening read. It is full of bite sized wisdom to help find the stillness within you.
  • Meditation – 35 minute guided meditation. When I opened my eyes after the meditation, I felt like I was seeing the world with new eyes. I felt calm and happy. I followed this up by lying down on my yoga mat and visualizing all of the things I am grateful for. I got up feeling incredibly centered and present.
  • Journaling – with my new found clarity, I wrote out my thoughts and feelings. In doing this, it gave me a chance to organize my thoughts (which were the source of my problems), along with options for dealing with them. I’ve learned that recording emotional events and personal realizations in a journal can be a fulfilling experience. Especially when you read the entries several years later.

I stepped out of the day in a peaceful state and had regained my clarity. I felt like my spirit had been recharged. It also became clear that my problems are only as big as I perceive them to be, in my mind.

– See more at: http://thinksimplenow.com/clarity/find-clarity-in-one-day/#sthash.qhx6V3oK.dpuf

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MORE FROM THE CHANGEBLOG.COM below…..

Henry David Thoreau famously wrote that most people (‘the mass of men’) live lives of quiet desperation.  Most of us probably wouldn’t describe our daily experience as ‘desperation,’ but there may be an uncomfortable feeling that we are drifting along, not having a clear aim, not having achieved what we dreamed about in the past and yet not knowing quite why.

Usually, this feeling is not painful enough to drive us into making any real changes, so the danger is that we can drift along like this indefinitely. Many people who have made significant advances in life have had periods of intense discomfort which have forced them to go inside, reflect and become more aware.

For most of us, there are things we can do to become clearer about where we are, what we want and how to get there. These practices may be less radical that sudden upheavals and painful experiences, but they can be uncomfortable – learning new things usually is – and a gentle persistence will be an important attitude to adopt if you attempt them seriously.

Meditation

The kind of meditation the Buddha is said to have taught is most closely reflected in Vippassana or ‘insight’  meditation. The technique is extremely simple: no special apparatus or prior knowledge is needed, just a quiet place and a period of time. All you have to do it sit comfortably with a straight back and observe your breath. Nothing more. In time, the practice is intended to bring about clarity and insight into the nature of the self, and that of reality.

Some years ago, I attended one of S. N. Goenka’s famous ten day Vippassana retreats. The Goenka organization is a worldwide group dedicated to teaching the practice of insight meditation.  The retreats are tough – many hours of meditation, only two small meals per day, basic communal facilities such as dorms, and a strict code of silence. Attendees are not allowed phones, books, journals or any other form of intellectual stimulation.

The Goenka courses are excellent in the sense that they force you to meditate – there are quite literally no distractions, and one is forced to face up to the many obvious – and subtle – ways in which we try to avoid a practice which is so alien to our restless mind and which forces us to face some uncomfortable realities. But for those not quite ready to take the plunge, there are plenty of online courses available, such as those offered by Wildmind. It is also usually possible to find a local meditation centre offering guided evening sessions.

Mindfulness

Meditation is a way of focusing on the present moment in a very intense kind of way; the practice of mindfulness is a way of being present throughout the day. It just means watching yourself, being a silent witness to your own feelings, thoughts and reactions, in order to gain clarity about everything you do, feel or think. We usually move through life in a fairly unconscious state, responding to circumstances in a conditioned way, unconscious repetition of learned behaviors.

Becoming more mindful is not easy –  it requires a great deal of practice but will, in time, lead to a great deal of clarity and insight into what drives us. With this knowledge, we can make better choices and exert more control over how we respond to situations and hence what we experience.

Two books I particularly recommended are Awareness by Anthony de Mello and Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Gunaratana. De Mello’s book is full of anecdotes and stories which underline the importance and the (sometimes surprising) consequences of being more ‘awake .’

Our connection with the natural world

Although we might sometimes be tempted to see ‘nature’ as ‘something out there,’ separate from our experience, we are, of course, very much a part of the environment, and we naturally feel more centered and clear when we are close to our natural environment. We haven’t been living in houses and apartments for very long, and city living is a particularly new innovation which can be very stressful.

It is helpful to find time regularly to spend time in a more natural environment. This doesn’t have to mean trekking through the jungle – even walking through a park or a garden can bring great benefits. In Hong Kong, where I have lived for many years, it can be extremely difficult to find the time and the opportunity to get out into nature, but it is possible, and making a conscious effort to do so enables me to maintain more balance and perspective. If I can do it here in Hong Kong, I think almost anyone can!

More at http://www.empowernetwork.com/onewebstrategy/vision/?id=onewebstrategy

Is happiness the secret of success?

HERE IS A GREAT ARTICLE BY SHAWN ACHOR OF CNN THAT IS WORTHY OF SHARING. I HOPE YOU ENJOY IT, USE IT, AND GET HAPPY!

Is happiness the secret of success? – CNN.com

By Shawn Achor, Special to CNN –—          

Is happiness the secret of success?

Editor’s note: Shawn Achor is the author of the Happiness Advantage. He spent 12 years researching at Harvard, and is now CEO of Good Think Inc.

(CNN) — Scientifically, can happiness be an advantage?

Some people think if you are happy, you are blind to reality. But when we research it, happiness actually raises every single business and educational societal misconceptions about

When we study people, scientists are often interested in what the average is. If we study what is merely average, we will remain merely average.

Many people think happiness is genetic. That’s only half the story, because the average person does not fight their genes. When we stop studying the average and begin researching positive outliers — people who are above average for a positive dimension like optimism or intelligence — a wildly different picture emerges. Our daily decisions and habits have a huge impact upon both our levels of happiness and success.

Scientifically, happiness is a choice. It is a choice about where your single processor brain will devote its finite resources as you process the world. If you scan for the negative first, your brain literally has no resources left over to see the things you are grateful for or the meaning embedded in your work. But if you scan the world for the positive, you start to reap an amazing advantage.

Now that there is research validity to these claims, the working world is starting to take notice. In January, I wrote the cover story for the Harvard Business Review magazine on “Happiness Leads to Profits.” Based on my article called “Positive Intelligence” and my research in The Happiness Advantage, I outlined our researched conclusion: the single greatest advantage in the modern economy is a happy and engaged workforce.

A decade of research in the business world proves that happiness raises nearly every business and

educational outcome: raising sales by 37%, productivity by 31%, and accuracy on tasks by 19%, as well as a myriad of health and quality-of-life improvements.

Given the unprecedented level of unhappiness at companies and the direct link between happiness and business outcomes, the question is NOT whether happiness should matter to companies. Given this research, it clearly should. The first question is: What can I do in my own life to reap the advantage of happiness?

See also: Ambition could make you rich, but not happy (on cnn.com)

Training your brain to be positive at work is just like training your muscles at the gym. Sounds simple, right? Well, think about how easy it is to make yourself go to the gym. The key with any new resolution is to make it a habit. New research on neuroplasticity — the ability of the brain to change even as an adult — reveals that moderate actions can rewire the brain as you create “life habits.”

In The Happiness Advantage, I challenge readers to do one brief positive exercise every day for 21 days. Only through behavioral change can information become transformation.

  • Write down three new things you are grateful for each day;
  • Write for two minutes a day describing one positive experience you had over the past 24 hours;

–   Exercise for 10 minutes a day;

  • Meditate for two minutes, focusing on your breath going in and out;

• Write one quick email first thing in the morning thanking or praising someone in your social support network (family member, friend, old teacher).

But does it work? In the midst of the worst tax season in history I did a three-hour intervention at auditing and tax accounting firm KPMG, describing how to reap the happiness advantage by creating one of these positive habits. Four months later, there was a 24% improvement in job and life satisfaction. Not only is change possible, this is one of the first long-term ROI (return on investment) studies proving that happiness leads to long-term quantifiable positive change.

In a study I performed on 1,600 Harvard students in 2007, I found that there was a 0.7 correlation between perceived social support and happiness. This is higher than the connection between smoking and cancer. So if in the modern world we give up our social networks to work away from friends and follow celebrities on Twitter, we are trading off with our happiness and health.

Following up, I switched around the questions and asked how much social support employees provided (instead of received). The results were off the charts. Those high on provision of social support are 10 times more engaged at work and have a 40% higher likelihood of promotion over the next four years. In other words, giving at the office gets you more than receiving.

The greatest cultural myth in modern society is that we cannot change. My research proves that you can not only become more positive, but if you prioritize happiness in the present, you can reap an extraordinary advantage.

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