“If you’re in business for just the money—you’re about half paid.”
R.L. Hammond (1921-2004)
My dad was an insurance agent in San Diego County in the 1970-80’s. He lived a life of serving others and his country in WWII. He taught and tutored me in much of what I know and do in business today.
The following practices/ideas of his are sure to ratchet up your business acumen:
- BE KIND TO EVERYONE—“It doesn’t cost anything to show kindness to others, Scott,” he would say. Be nice. Play nice. A smile and a small kindness go a long way.
- HAVE A FIRM HANDSHAKE/SHAKE HANDS AND GREET PEOPLE- People love to feel important (because they are!). An appropriate handshake and a greeting really affirm others and establishes rapport-quickly. Give the gift of appropriate touch.
- TELL GREAT STORIES—People live in stories…We all relate to a good tale and learn more from a compelling story than a lecture. Stories bring relevance to our topic and to our relationships.
- BE A GOOD LISTENER—This tells people you affirm them and value them. Empathy is a powerful relationship builder and establishes credibility, reliability, and shows you really care.
- BE AN ABOVE AVERAGE SPEAKER—Learn the art of public speaking. Good speakers know how and what to communicate and when. You can learn to speak well if you apply yourself to the disciplines and use the tools available to you. “Go to a Toastmaster Meeting”, he would tell me.
- HAVE AN AWESOME SENSE OF HUMOR—Laugh sometimes. Have fun with people and stop the somberness that permeates some business cultures. Be appropriately playful with people who like to play and laugh, and cultivate the ability to really laugh at life.
- DEVELOP LIFELONG RELATIONSHIPS—Be the person who reaches out and calls and takes the initiative in your relationships. Be that person who spends the time and effort to get to know and serve others. Givers really do gain!
- GIVE ENCOURAGEMENT…FREELY—Be that person who can freely affirm, encourage, and genuinely build others up in a truly authentic fashion. Heck—tell those you love how you feel.
- BE A GIVER—Share your life, world, resources, experiences, gifts, and time as freely as you feel able and willing. Be that person who “walks the talk” in your actions and your words. Give to others expecting nothing in return—you will be blessed.
- BE SPECTACULAR ON THE PHONE—Learn to use the phone like no one else. Make purposeful and powerful calls that build rapport and relationship. Learn to network using the phone to make great calls and reach out to those you hope to build alliances with. Know how to relate to people via the phone on a regular basis.
10.5. BE YOU—Just be yourself not a second rate version of someone else. Trust yourself, be yourself and others will resonate with the “authentic you”. There is only one of YOU—be the best you possible and you will succeed in life, business, and awesome relationships!
Is Your Legacy Defined by Dollar Signs?
“Man’s highest happiness is found in the bestowal of benefits on those he loves; love finds it’s most natural and spontaneous expression in giving. The man who has nothing to give cannot fill his place as a husband or father, as a citizen, or a man. It is in the use of material things that a man finds full life for his body, develops his mind, and unfolds his soul. It is therefore of supreme importance to him that he should be rich.”
- Wallace Wattles
People are often under the misconception that money brings happiness and if they had more money, they would be that much happier. But does money really define who you are? Is your legacy made or broken because of the amount of money you have?
How does one achieve more money?
Money comes from your growth and your success. Money will not give you higher self-esteem, but higher self-esteem can lead to more money. Once you are successful, the money will then follow. Think of a high school diploma. You don’t get the diploma first do you? You have to go through the work first and the diploma is recognition for what you have accomplished.
How can money ruin a person?
We have all heard of those people who win the lottery and end up with nothing. Why does this happen? They were given the high school diploma first. They did not have to fail and succeed over and over again to achieve their diploma. There was no work involved. They were given something they didn’t know how to handle properly. You must work for your success and for your money. There is nothing given for free in this life.
You have the choice
In the end, happiness is a decision. You decide if you are happy and what makes you happy. Money will, at times, make you feel great. You can buy whatever you want whenever you want. If you think piles and piles of money is your happiness, then so be it. But money will not make you who you are and it does not decide who is happy and who isn’t.
What will your legacy if you were to stop living today? What would people say about you? Would they say, “Hey, David passed away today. You know, the guy with x amount of dollars in his pocket?” or will they say, “Hey, David passed away today. You know the guy who worked hard and gave so much to people. He cared a lot about everyone. I bet his family is devastated.” You make the choice and hold your fate in your hands.
Daniel is the leader and dad behind the dad-parenting blog www.daddydirection.com. Check out his blog for more parenting and dad specific techniques.
10 THINGS MORE IMPORTANT THAN MONEY $$
Remember, there are many things in life that are far more important than the size of your investment portfolio or the size of your latest paycheck.
Too often in our capitalistic society, we place too much emphasis on financial achievement and too little on the importance of living a purpose driven life.
- Family… your spouse, your parents, and her kids should come first. Just simply providing for them does not make your family, your number one priority. There is far more you can do for them with quality and quantity time. Love is spelled…. TIME.
- Friends… the older some of us get, the less time we have for our friends. Some people get too busy climbing the success ladder and may not even make time for friends. Big mistake. So many things in our society are disposable, and sadly, friends too often fall into that category. Take time to invest in your friendships, both old and new. How hard is it to schedule a Starbucks coffee, pick up the phone, or write an e-mail?
- Your health… stress, poor diet, lack of exercise, poor relationships with you and your family… all of these can adversely affect your health. Getting caught up in your career and working endless hours can also lead to neglect of one’s health. Workaholism can be deadly. The lack of discipline in making exercise, sleep, a good diet, and a healthy lifestyle can be dangerous if not deadly as well. You get one body, take care of it and treat it with the respect it deserves.
- Kids… investing in your kids is absolutely one of the best investments you can make. Understanding how to relate to, love, care for, and communicate with your kids is vital to becoming a more fulfilled and complete person. Our future is our children. What kind of legacy are you leaving behind? Relationships that are fully orbed or just a fat portfolio?
- Education… being a lifelong learner is a lifelong process. It’s not about being enrolled in the school or a fancy college or receiving a piece of paper. It is, however, about being someone who is hungry to learn, willing to change, and ready to embrace new ways of looking at life and the universe. As long as you have your mental capacities, you can keep learning and building on what you already know. Your mind is a terrible thing to waste.
- Having fun… people get so caught up in society’s money game that wealth becomes an addiction, an obsession, and the purpose for their existence. How many wealthy people aren’t healthy people who spend far too much time and energy chasing promotions, money, and possessions. We can end up with lots of toys and turn out to be pretty unhappy people… big mistake.
- Solving social problems… how can you be a voice in society for those who do not have the ability to speak for themselves? Whether it’s poverty, divorce, suicide, teenage pregnancy, name your issue… you can have a voice and be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Your community is full of opportunities for you to volunteer, donate time or money, and get involved.
- Your neighbors… give the neighbors a chance. Don’t write them off because they aren’t the same age, race, or occupation as you. What’s the sense of neglecting neighbors, since they can be sources of friendship, if given a chance? Part of our connection to the greater society is defined by our neighborhoods, which are full of neighbors— who could be friends we haven’t met yet.
- Appreciating/valuing what you have… right now make a list of 10 things that you really appreciate. What is on your list? Despite our overall affluence, we still lament material things we lack rather than appreciating and valuing the material and nonmaterial things we do have. Don’t forget relationships.
- Your reputation… a good name is to be had above riches. It takes a lifetime to build a reputation, but only moments to lose it. We chase after many things in life, and we often de-value and under-invest in relationships which should have our focus and priority. How many men have thrown it all away in a quick but twisted attempt at some forbidden fruit?
WHY WE STRUGGLE
Do not be an indentured servant to your business, employees, and customers. Avoid the traps that if allowed to run amuck will conspire to tighten the chains of business bondage and kill your spirit.
1. TUNNEL VISION: Habits determine destiny. A lot of business owners are former technicians now masquerading as owners. They think they’re owners, but they don’t act the part. As once-accomplished technicians, they have a hard time letting go of such expertise and familiarity. They remain trapped in a technical tunnel vision comfort zone and mindset. Technical expertise is not enough when it some to managing a growing and thriving business. That takes an involvement in the big picture and in the strategy and in the leadership skills necessary to run a business successfully for the long haul.
2. BUSYNESS: Too many business owners confuse activity with accomplishment. They confuse busyness with results, hard work with working smarter, perspiration with purpose, and efficiency (doing things right) with effectiveness (doing the right things). Instead of working smarter, many hold tight to the delusion that working harder and harder is the solution. They keep trying to shift into higher and higher gears. The more the business grows, the harder they work, the more imprisoned they become. Truth is no matter how much energy you expend, the wrong strategies will inevitably lead to poor results—less freedom and more headaches. It’s like trying to catch fish in a pond with your bare hands. No matter how many hours you work or how deep you wade, a poor strategy leads to poor results—no fish dinner!
3. DOPEY DOER-SHIP: Instead of leadership, many business owners excel at doer-ship. They micromanage, like to touch and control everything. They trust no one but themselves. They believe no one does it as well as them. They seldom delegate, if at all. They mistake activity for leadership. Instead of thinking and leading like owners, they think and behave like employees. Instead of reflecting and planning, they excel at sweating and doing. They act like they have a job instead of owning a business. To lead effectively, you must trust others. Failing to develop leadership skill can cost you dearly.
4. INADEQUATE OR MISSING SYSTEMS: Most business owners don’t know how to re-engineer their operation to be more systems-dependent and professionally equipped with plans, policies, and procedures. They don’t create and document the specific processes outlining repeatable ways to do things right. They don’t write down the policies and procedures it takes to create a well-organized, smoothly running, easy-to-manage operation. Without defining and documenting the work that needs to be done, you can’t delegate effectively and in so doing, gradually remove yourself from your technician role. Tragically, you may unknowingly, reactively, and accidentally create an owner-centered and owner-dependent business. Until systems run your business, you’ll
always feel a little out of control and you’ll be trapped, and that’s never good.
5. ESCALATING COMPLEXITY: All business owners struggle against escalating complexity. Some lose the battle. As growth brings them an increasing number of customers, transactions, and problems they eventually reach a limit, a tipping point. Then the next little straw crushes them. Of course growing pains are unavoidable but if left unchecked they can make predictability nearly impossible. The good news is that with decent leadership and good systems, complexity can be restrained so your growth issues won’t overwhelm you.
6. MISSING MEASUREMENT AND POOR SCOREKEEPING: It’s easy to screw up when it comes to keeping score. Many business owners fail to install the most telling and helpful measurement devices. They don’t check on the status of “the money” often enough or they don’t understand the data they get, let alone know what do as a result of either bad news or good news. To end the struggle you have to keep track of helpful indicators. The money for sure, but other things too, like the degree of customer satisfaction, time spent working, and stress levels, especially yours. Master measurement and scorekeeping and you can predict the future more accurately. Then everything can get better, much better. And that’s a good thing.
7. LOUSY COMMUNICATION: Communication matters. Most business owners are not communication experts, especially in the beginning. High schools and colleges do not offer courses in how to communicate by talking. They should because there’s not much that matters quite as much, but they don’t. So it’s incumbent upon you to figure out how to speak effectively, how to use words to persuade others to do more of what you want, to willing want to follow your lead. You can find effective communication models described in many books and seminars. Read a book or two. Enroll in a seminar. Do it soon. It’ll be time and money well spent.
8. CRAPPY CASH FLOW: Happiness in business is positive cash flow—the money that comes from strong sales, from collecting what’s owed, and from controlling costs and payables. Planning your marketing and promotional activities so they produce intended results, adjusting systems to accommodate growth, and anticipating future money needs, this is the pure work of business itself. Do this well and become a cash flow wizard.
Freedom is what you want…lots and lots of freedom…and money…and contentment too. To make that happen simply follow the done business recipe. Embrace the seven commitments, work the thirteen commitments, and resolve the reasons why we struggle. Piece of cake!
Thanks to Dr. Richard Borough
Experimentation has shown that two different sides are hemispheres of the brain responsible for different manners of thinking.
Most individuals have distinct preference for one of these two styles of thinking.
Some however are whole brained, and equally adept at both .
In general, schools tend to favor left brain modes of thinking while downplaying the right brained ones.
Left brain scholastic subjects focus on logical thinking, analysis, and accuracy.
Right brained subjects on the other hand, focus on aesthetics, feeling, and creativity.
Left brain thinking focuses on the following:
- looks at parts
Right brain thinking focuses on the following:
- looks at the whole picture/creative
In order to be more whole brained,we need to give equal weight to the arts, creativity and the skills of imagination in the synthesis.
Educators must form and develop new forms of assessment that honor right brained talents and skills as well.
We are all wired differently and possess different gifts in life. We simply need to honor our differences better than we do now.
Our value system is certainly tipped toward left brain thinking… what you doing today to be more whole brained in your approach?
These are all great words and should be used effectively in your phone time, speaking, e-mails, and marketing communications.
The fifth and most important “tool” is a genuine relationship with God, both as an individual and as a family.
Writing about our relationship with God is extremely difficult. So let’s start with what it is not.
It is not:
- About attending church
- About giving money
- About being” good “
- About being religious
- About being condemning, condescending, or arrogant about one’s faith
- About religious activity, service, or lifestyle
What it is about could take up several pages of a blog.
But we’ll start with the following:
- Knowing and understanding God’s Word–the Bible–reading and meditating on it regularly
- Understanding and having a genuine salvation/saving relationship with God by faith in Christ
- Being a person who prays on a regular basis, who has two-way conversations with God
- Being a person who’s quick to repent, be humble, and truly make things right, admitting it when wrong
- Being a person who’s willing to serve others, even at their own expense
- Living an obedient life, not out of obligation, but out of thankfulness and deep gratitude for all God has done
- Allowing God’s full expression in me, in my thoughts, my deeds, my words, my motivation, my attitude, my resources, and so much more
- Being a person who puts my walk with God as my number one priority in life, through prayer, Bible study, praise, worship, sharing my faith, serving my church and community and fellow humans.
- Obeying God in the small stuff… being sensitive to details and doing the right thing even when no one is looking.
- Relaxing, taking deep breaths, simply appreciating the life and the love God has given me, realizing I can not add to this love. I can only respond to it by living in the moment, and being the obedient son He’s asked that I be
- Utilizing the gifts and the resources He’s given me in the way that He leads me to do so
- Having a heart attitude and disposition that seeks to glorify God in every aspect of my life
Much of this has to do with what I call a “heart attitude”, the core belief system that governs all behaviors, words, deeds, and attitudes.
It stems from the realization of all that God has done for me, is doing, and will do in the future. It comes from a heart of deep gratitude, which seeks to please, not repay, or pay penance, to the God who loves me and has given his all for my life and eternity.
It’s just this… fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and faithfulness, and self-control… against such there is no law.” These are the heart attitudes which demonstrate Christ’s likeness. They only come with a genuine long-term walk with him.
Be careful to understand that not speaking about perfection… we are all human,, fallible, frail, weak, and prone to making all manner of mistakes. The giant difference is having a heart of repentance. It’s quick to humble, turn, pray, and make course corrections when we discover we have sinned against God or people. We need to be good repenters.
This doesn’t mean that everything is a bed of roses, in fact Christians suffer as much or more than others. The difference here is:” God works all things together for good for those who love him and for those who are called according to his purpose.” This means that even the worst challenges, problems, and disasters are actually blessings in disguise for trust God to work it all together for good. When a person can live this way, and a faith walk with God, all of life takes on a brand-new adventure and excitement, knowing that no matter what happens, I’m going to become closer and more like my Father in each and every situation.
This is the foundation for a great life,, marriage and family. it makes for a stability, a joy, and the love that permeates a family and a marriage with the sweetness and a sanity that is rare and precious.
To call this Walk with God a “tool” is to misrepresent and underestimate what’s being written here.
This Walk with God is the life-giving, dominant feature of the dedicated Christian family and individual. With God at the vanguard of our lives, life really becomes worth living.
Law or grace?
That is the question…
How do you deal with your children and those around you when you’re angry, frustrated, tired, and burned out?…
- YELL and raise your voice ?
- Play the martyr and do the silent treatment?
- Cuss and swear and scream?
- Dole out corporal punishment in the name of training ,control, and authority…
In other words, how to we use our authority?
When I talk about fathering, I think of how God the Father deals with me. And then I realize his kindness, patience, and love and see how short I fall as I deal with others…
God doesn’t always use a stick to beat us when we make mistakes… so why are we as fathers so quick to undress and apply the stick of punishment to those around us, especially our kids.
It’s okay to be angry, and it’s okay to not like injustice, disobedience, immaturity, and some of the zany things kids do in their selfishness.
But what gives you and me the right when we are tired and frustrated to dole out law in the spirit of anger. Our Lord never modeled that type of authoritarianism. He did everything in love, including correction, chastisement, teaching, and encouragement.
You and I as men need to relearn authority. We need to not get caught up in the disciplinarian model and playing the heavy, which is so common in our society. We need to learn the authority of Jesus, based in love, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, and self-control.
We need to relearn the father heart of God, and how that applies to our leadership and authority over those for whom we have responsibility. We must be intentional and incremental in learning this model, as it will transform our parenting, and indeed, our lives.
So, the next time you’re faced with someone’s shortcomings, or your own, for that matter, what’s going to be different?
Will it be grace or law?
You may assume another family members know your needs, feelings, and opinions without you telling them.
But… relying on mind reading may result in…
- Loneliness….or hurt…
Here are some guidelines for expressing yourself clearly…
- Describe your feelings… share your feelings with” I” statements. They build trust and relationships and they give you ownership of what’s being said…” I feel-______”
Say what you mean in a simple, direct way. I’ve found that honesty is always the best policy. People seem to resonate with honesty and being straight up with them. Be specific, rather than general. Resist the temptation to be a pleaser, always trying to tell people what you think they want to hear. This is a big mistake.
Here’s some tips to use…
- Describe how other people’s behavior affects you without blaming. ” You” statements can stifle communication and create an accusatory atmosphere.
- Be aware of your nonverbal communication. Your body language gives you away every time. Be attentive to your face, tone of voice, and body language, because they communicate… far more than your words.
- Finding time. Perhaps the most important way to express yourself is to make time to communicate with your family. Making a conscience effort to carve out time to talk with each individual, and together as a family, is key to the relational health of your family. A family environment can provide a safe place for its members to share feelings, thoughts, ideas, theories, dreams, and hopes.
It is often family that is left out…during busy, hectic times, it’s especially important to plan a few minutes when everyone can be together, or when you can be alone with a family member without interruption. Be sure to save a difficult problem-solving conversation for times when you’re not totally tired or fatigued.
Many of us are verbal learners and need to process our issues and problems through talking. If you have kids or your spouse who is thusly wired, you would do well in heeding the advice above. People who learned this at a young age will be more likely to cope with stress as adults. Being able to discuss and vent angry feelings can keep those feelings from creating more severe problems such as alcohol or drug abuse, violence, mental illness, stress, depression, or other emotional problems.
Take the time and make the time to communicate today. This is an investment in your children that far outweighs money or possessions…
If not you, who?
If not now, when?
The art of listening….
One of a humans greatest need is psychological survival, to be understood, affirmed, validated, and appreciated.
In other words, we need to be heard. It isn’t always easy, and we live in a busy world, and many of us spend our days in a time crunch.
But the experts agree, when we take time to listen we improve relationships, promote an atmosphere of cooperation and encourage creative thinking, and even save money by avoiding costly errors caused by miscommunication.
Active listening does not come naturally. Stephen Covey notes that when someone speaks, our initial reaction is to evaluate and scrutinize them… the opposite of what we should do.
Instead, we should focus on empathetic listening with the intent to understand and we must does this with the goal of helping…
There are four phases of empathetic listening, according to Covey…
- the first is to mimic content, repeating exactly what the speaker has said
- the second stage is to rephrase the content to what was said in our own words
- third, you may reflect feelings or make a non-judgmental statement about the speaker’s emotions, empathizing with what or how he feels
- the fourth stage is a combination of the second and third stages, to rephrase content and reflect feelings
Sometimes you don’t want to hear what’s being said, choosing to be annoyed instead of understanding the other person’s view… this only damages a relationship. We’d make a better choice of moving forward, forgiving the offense and the offender, and resolving the problem.
Listening must come from the hear. If it is not sincere it will show regardless of what you say… nonverbal gestures will expose true feelings. When this happens, make it a point to remain focused on what the speaker is saying, actively participating in and practicing the stages of empathetic listening… the art of listening lies in understanding that to be an effective father, leader, spouse, or any other role we must not only care about what others have to say, but also how they feel… just remember your kids need your full attention, your patience, and a listening ear… so listen well when they speak. It will make you an even better father than you already are …