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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Watch this video completely before you read the rest of this blog post:

What did you think of the video?  How did you react to it?  More importantly, why did you react to it the way you did?

Most likely you reacted because of an assumption: you either ASSUMED the video was about something or you ASSUMED the video appeared to be about something that it wasn't. You waited for the "punch" line.

Assumptions are the JOY of our existence.  

Assumptions add spice to life.  A joke would not be a joke if it were not for assumptions.  The jolts we get from the "punch" line happens because we assume one thing and wham! We get another.  Cliff-hangers in movies are built on assumptions.  We are able to drive down the road in complete confidence because we can assume with 100% faith that every other driver will obey the rules around the yellow lines in the middle of the road.  When they don't, what happens? You got it, an "accident."  We never get in an "in-purpose" car wreck.

Assumptions are also the BANE of our existence.  

The wife assumes her husband will value the same thing as she does.  The husband assumes his wife will value the same thing as he does.  Conflict ensues.  No I am not talking about whether you like your eggs sunny-side up and your spouse likes them scrambled.  I am talking about values around things like money, family, fidelity, children, education, leisure, and career.  

Think about your conflicts in the past twelve months.  How many of them come down to not being clear on values?  Truth is, you probably had conversations about values when you first were "courting."  "Do you want kids some day?"  "Where would you like to retire?"  Truth also is there are probably values you skipped over because although you didn't agree, you were in love.  AND those values may have shifted.

People Change!  

Do you value the same music you listened to in high school?  If you are like me (any most others) your answer is probably "No." I loved Pink Floyd when I was in  my senior year in high school, freshman and sophomore year in college. I was not just a fan - I was a fanatic. Opera was horrid. A month ago I went to the second of Wagner's ring series.  I haven't listened to Floyd in over a year.

Are you holding onto the same values in your relationship?  How is it hurting you?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What is a penny worth?

Only time will tell. Coaching clients often struggle with money in some way or another. The most common struggle is saving money.

Let me tell you, a little saved money over a long period of time will go far in helping you create a cash stash or retirement fund.

A few months ago I went to a Primerica presentation with a colleague, Robert Walker. I am not a Primerica rep, I don’t get a kickback for writing this or anything – I really respect their work and the help Robert has provided many of my clients.  During the presentation, the speaker asked if we had a choice, would we want either a check for $20,000.00 today or a penny every day doubled for the next 30 days. You know, 1 cent today, 2 cents tomorrow, 4 cents the next day, etc. Most people chose the check.  I knew the penny doubled everyday must have been the better choice. What shocked me was how much better.

The speaker showed the power of time on the whiteboard as he wrote out the following chart:

Day 1: $.01 
Day 2: $.02 
Day 3: $.04 
Day 4: $.08 
Day 5: $.16 
Day 6: $.32 
Day 7: $.64 
Day 8: $1.28 
Day 9:$2.56 
Day 10: $5.12 
Day 11: $10.24 
Day 12: $20.48 
Day 13: $40.96 
Day 14: $81.92 
Day 15: $163.84 
Day 16: $327.68 
Day 17: $655.36 
Day 18: $1,310.72 
Day 19: $2,621.44 
Day 20: $5,242.88 
Day 21: $10,485.76
Day 22: $20,971.52 
Day 23: $41,943.04 
Day 24: $83,886.08 
Day 25: $167,772.16 
Day 26: $335,544.32
Day 27: $671,088.64 
Day 28: $1,342,177.28 
Day 29: $2,684,354.56 
Day 30: $5,368,709.12

This is a great illustration of the time value of money – think of what will happen to your money over time if the interest is 2% greater than the rate of inflation. The key is to start young. Actually the key is to start!

How are you saving for retirement or creating a stash cash fund for emergencies?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Last night I received an urgent call from a coaching client. His voicemail sounded a bit frantic, so, although I typically call clients back withing 24 hours (included in my coaching services), I called him back right away – even thought it was Saturday at 10:00 pm.

“Hi Joe,” I said. “What’s up?”
“I did it Scott. I did it. I can’t believe I did it but I did it.”
“That sounds like a song from ‘My Fair Lady’ – what did you do, exactly?”
“I quit my job.”

Joe came to me two months ago for help in growing his carpentry business. A solo entrepreneur, Joe had been unemployed. Suddenly. He tapped his unemployment and struggled to find a job. But instead of just sitting around and feeling sorry for himself and his predicament, he took action. What did he have to lose after all?

Then in the midst of his modest entrepreneurial efforts – he called me for help. I know it sounds a little like Dr. Mcoy from Star Trek, but Joe literally said to me on his first call, “I’m a carpenter Scott, not a business man!” We started to work together.

At almost the same time, he found a part time job at the QuickMart selling slurpies and gas. (Gasoline that is – I don’t want to imply in any way that slurpies give you gas).

Now his business is going full steam – he is working, working, working. And he is still at the QuickMart. He has no time to WORK ON his business – he is so busy WORKING IN his business. This is the #1 mistake most business owners make, BTW. No accounting system, no marketing plan, no business plan. Giving invoices to people in Excel worksheets – or worse yet paper! Everything piling up. QuickBooks? He hasn’t even purchased the software. Still using a gmail for email – no no domain name – no corporate identity. And the QuickMart. No time.

So giving three weeks notice was a big deal for Joe.

Turns out, Joe is also an “admitted people pleaser” – he says, “I can’t say no to anybody for fear that they won’t like me.”

I often say to people that you can’t separate business coaching from personal coaching. Why? Because YOU are the source of your success. I don’t care how great your business plan or market plan is – if YOU don’t have it together, you will never get your business to sustain in any way that means anything.

Because I not only have a Masters degree in Business but a solid background in the counseling profession, it was natural for Joe and I to work on his “people pleasing.”

So giving three weeks notice was a REALLY big deal for Joe.

Are you unemployed?  

What are you doing? Sitting around feeling sorry for yourself? Or are you challenging yourself while you are looking around for work? You could be training for a triathalon, getting your DTM in Toastmasters, writing a book, launching a new career, starting a new business (whether a trade, service – or even a sales rep for an MLM like Juice Plus -- $50 bucks is all you need to get going with that business).

If you were hungry and you only had one fishing pole and you just went to the same pond – different spots – to try to catch the same type of fish with the same lure – you might go hungry. This is – unfortunately what many unemployed folks do. Sitting on the side of the pond lamenting how they are hungry. Truth is what they are saying is that they are hungry because they are holding out for a trout. They could get another pole with a DIFFERENT lure and go for bass. They could set traps for rabbits. They could plant a vegetable garden. They could buy a bow and arrow and go hunintg. But no, they just sit on the side of the bank and go hungry.

If people like Joe are quitting jobs, there is still plenty of work to go around.

Are you sitting on the side of the bank?