New Beginnings-Starting up!

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” –Joe Sabah

Sorry for disappearing for a few days this past week!  I have been pretty tied up with a new and exciting adventure that I hope to be sharing with you as it progresses.  I have been presented, along with my wife, with the opportunity to run a business which has been in operation for quite a few years.  Things have been going pretty well for these many years, however there is a lot of room for improvement with a potential to grow which presents a wonderful challenge for the both of us.  It is sort fun to be faced with such a challenge and we are pretty excited and nervous as we are beginning to make the initial plans and will soon be operational.

In order to make the necessary progress there are a few changes that must take place.  For one, the personnel must be the right personnel and not just someone who is in need of a job.  They must be willing to make adjustments in order to go along with the standards that we are setting for the business, as well as be team players ready to make a few adjustments in order to turn things around.  So this means that some of the existing personnel will need to move on in order for the new to take hold.  It is never a pleasant matter when you have to let people go, but when you have people who have been there for many years and have “always done it that way”, they find it near impossible to accept a new way to operate and will become an obstacle to progress.

Choosing your team is one of the most important jobs that you have, as if your team is weak, you will be setting yourself up for failure. It really is not important the type of work you do, if your team members are not willing to work together, or they gossip and pull down the team spirit, they will be more of a problem than an asset and it is best to decide to part ways sooner rather than later.

So as you can see, I have been a bit busy lately and in need of making some important decisions.  I will keep you posted and look forward to having you back!

Fair Weather Friend?

Fair weather friends only want to come around when they need your sun to shine on their dark and gloomy days.– Author Unknown

Spring is here!  There is just something about it that brings excitement and a smile on my face!  The days are starting to get longer, and where I live, there are no longer mornings with low laying fog.  The trees are starting to bud and bring forth new life!  It is like being reborn in a sense.  The conditions bring about a feeling of being alive and it fills you with energy!

It always amazes me how we humans are so affected by what surrounds us and by our current physical condition.  It takes a special effort to maintain the same positive attitude on a rainy day than it does when the sun is shining.  We tend to equate a rainy as being “bad weather”, when in reality (if it is only rain) it is a good day, since we need that rain both to keep our gardens and the surrounding nature alive, and our water sources filled.

When you get down to it, we condition in our minds to what our surrounding may suggest to us, but the truth is you can make anything wonderful if  you can place your mind over matter.  This was a phrase used a lot in the ’60s and ’70s in reference to paranormal phenomena. And today we look to it more in line with the power of positive thinking,  The reality being, things will turn out as good or as bad as you make them out to be.

It still helps when you can enjoy a beautiful day out in the sunshine.  I get excited about the spring, the blooming flowers, the budding of the trees and the chance to walk with shorts, short sleeves and your hands free of an umbrella!  A wonderful day in the spring with all of its beauty is a reminder of just how wonderful life can be when we strive to make it that way regardless of our current conditions or surrounding, we just need to keep the faith!

So are you nature’ “fair weather friend” or can you rise above the surrounding conditions?

Look Before You Leap!

Look before you leap for as you sow, ye are like to reap.– Samuel Butler

It really pays to take the necessary time to consider every angle of a situation before taking the plunge!  I have made so many mistakes throughout my lifetime because I tend to be a person who has acted on inspiration rather than being logical.  Inspiration is a wonderful thing and it is important!  When you are inspired you have enthusiasm which can push you forward through difficult times, but it is not the all-in-all and cannot be depended upon when making decisions.

I have learned (and am still learning) the importance of taking a good long look at any new projects in order to count the cost.  When you do take a leap without looking, you are certain to learn lessons through potential mistakes, but you can be miles ahead if you are to go slow and consider all the angles and potential scenarios or ramifications.  There is a quote that often has spoken to me and it goes, “if you go slow you get there quicker or at least you get there!”  Another little saying is in regards to the fable of the hare and the tortoise which goes “the hare never made it but the tortoise did”.

You can think that you will get somewhere quicker if you rush in full speed ahead, but the fact is you may never reach your goal if you don’t study the road first and plan you trip.  I guess when I was younger, it didn’t seem so important to me to take the time and consider everything, I just wanted to get started and get going.  But now that I am mature…ahem, I cannot afford to make too many hurried mistakes, time could run out and leave me in a real fix.

This may seem pretty elementary to most of you, but unfortunately may problems, and in particular, financial problems are caused due to improper investigation.  These then cause trains on relationships with spouses and partners which then lead to even greater difficulties which may have not been taken into account.  So it pays to learn early on to look before leaping!

Do you look before you leap?

Staying Ahead And Out Of Debt!

It takes as much imagination to create debt as to create income. –Leonard Orr

I would say that the best way to stay ahead is to never get behind! That may sound pretty obvious and silly to many, but it is a simple truth! I just finished listening to a very interesting audio book by Dave Ramsey called “The Total Money Makeover” in which he counsels about how to get out of debt, and then how to accumulate wealth with an average income!

In the United States, “the American Way” has been pretty much paved with the debt, borrowing in order to have and living “the American Dream” without have the means to do so, by going more deeply in debt.  There is a verse in the Bible that I particularly like which goes, “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.”  Romans 13:8

I have tried to follow this principle through out my life and am thankful that I have not fallen into debt, except for one particular time with a credit card, and it quickly taught me that I never ever wanted to do that again!  From that time on, I have always paid in full my bills with any card, and have not bought anything unless I knew that I would have enough at the end of the month to pay for it.

I can’t say that I have gained any wealth, but I have lived well, and have not fallen into debt.  “The Total Money Makeover” by Ramsey is pretty thorough in sharing  tips on how to, not only get out of debt, but to even gain wealth and how to better prepare for retirement without holding on to the false hope that the federal government will come to your rescue through Social Security!

If you are fighting with debt and have fallen behind, I highly recommend that you check out this book by Dave, it could very well change your life!  You can find his site at www.daveramsey.com.  It is amazing just how well you can live by staying within your means!

How are you doing, are you staying ahead?

Personal Mission Statement-Do You Have One?

A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world.– Albert Camus

Whatever you do in life, whoever you may be and whatever your goals in life are, it is important that you prepare your “personal mission statement”.   If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything, and if you are not sure where you are headed then you will for certain get lost!

What do I mean by a “personal mission statement”?  Well, each of us as individuals have a great impact on the world that surrounds us.  We affect people at home, we influence people at work, we leave an impression on others in school…no man is an island.  A great sad reality today in the world we live in is; too many are influenced by the economic environment instead of a self-imposed ethic standard by which they would like to live.  Way too many of us will compromise what we believe or feel to be right, in order to gain and this is precisely what has led us into the current economic woes that we have all fallen victims to today!

Just as in business you have choices, hard choices such as, should we take a hit financially in order to right a wrong so as to satisfy the consumers..or should we leave things as they are and get what we can today at the dis-satisfaction of the customer?  When you decide to take the tough road of satisfying the customer, it costs you initially but most likely you will gain  long-term satisfaction and future and continued income.  If you choose the latter, you may earn more today, but fail on the long-term!

The same goes for your personal decisions and self-set standard.  If  you compromise your personal ethics in order to gain today, in the long-term you may end up losing big time in the long run!  You have to set what you would like to be known for, brand yourself in such a way that others will know what you stand for, and once you have done this, will have the customers that you want and need!  Sit down and write out your personal mission statement. Set your own standard and live by them, you will find that others will seek you out because of the value you have to offer!

Do you have a personal mission statement?

Umption, Gumption Get Up And Go!

“When you discover your mission, you will feel its demand. It will fill you with enthusiasm and a burning desire to get to work on it.”–W. Clement Stone

Are you excited about what you do?  Do you wake up in the morning with a burning desire to get out of bed and get started with the day because you just can’t wait to see what the day may bring? Well, you might not feel this way every day if you are human, because as the saying goes “every dog has it’s day”, however if you have a goal, a plan then most likely you will have an enthusiasm that will give you the rocket fuel you need to get through the “down days”!

We are all subject to discouragement, there will always be set-backs and times when things just don’t go as planned!  You have to remain focused so as not to allow these times to become a distraction from reaching the goals that you have set  for yourself!  Excitement and enthusiasm are very contagious, almost as much as are gloom, doom and discouragement!  It all starts up there in your noggin!  It is important that you keep your eyes on the positive outcome that you are shooting for rather than to get down and in the dumps once you hit a problem or difficulty!

People like excitement and so they enjoy being around others that are going somewhere and are able to emulate that enthusiasm which can be contagious!  Not everyone possesses this gift of enthusiasm as it comes more “natural” to be “realistic” and accept defeat, but it takes a real visionary to remain positive even in the midst of a storm!  I work with a fellow in Italy who has this gift and charisma! If you know Italy and just how difficult the government makes it to be successful through its tangled web of bureaucracy, then you would be amazed at anyone who can stay positive, especially in today’s economic climate!

My dear friend and entrepreneur surprises me with his upbeat attitude and umption and gumption, even in the face of what most of us would see as a disaster and  be tempted to turn tail and run!  But, let me tell you, this fellow despite the difficulties, the lack of formal education in his realm of business, he has been very successful and this is  thanks, in large part, to his positive and enthusiastic disposition!  I know for a fact that he doesn’t always feel like being positive, but the fact that he is able to turn a negative situation into a positive outcome has been proof to me that staying positive is very important and can mean the difference between success and failure!

Do you have umption and gumption and get up and go?

Are You A Funnel Or A Cork?

“A leader’s role is to raise people’s aspirations for what they can become and to release their energies so they will try to get there.” David R. Gergen

Many people have the misconception that a leader is a person that knows everything, tells everything, and is someone who is always at minimum tens steps ahead of everyone else, and for this reason they are the leader!  But leaders are those who first of all are capable (and smart enough) to assemble a winning combination of people who are suited for the job and can teach them the joys of teamwork.

Anyone can run around and boss everyone around and tell others what to do, but who wants to do that when if you could develop the inner talent of those you work with and inspire in them to reach decisions within their realm of expertise!  If you want to always “call the shots” and be the “big cheese” and make sure everyone knows who the boss is, what you will eventually realize, if not sooner, then later is that you are becoming a cork and the bottleneck to progress!

In every business, be it large or small, there are so many things that need to be taken care of.  Surely at the beginning stages as you are forming a team, you will need to get more involved, but if you do not begin early on to use the art of delegation and teaching others to make those petty decisions, you will find yourself with a big problem.  Everything is waiting on you, and nothing is getting done because you have not taken the time to inspire in others how to make wise decisions.

If you have carefully selected your team members and are happy with who you have chosen, then it is time to become a funnel.  What is a funnel?  Someone who can take in a large amount of ideas and suggestions and begin the process to bring it down to a workable solution. It is important to be open to others observations and ideas and to encourage them to think things out and make the right questions in order to arrive to the proper solutions! You are simply there to give the thumbs up when they have reached the right decision.

You don’t have to have all of the answers, you just need to know where the ship is heading, work together with your team to find the best way to guide the ship in the right direction.  That to me is sign of real leadership!

Are you a funnel or a cork?

How To Stay Alive…Keep The Vision!

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he. Proverbs 29:18  The Bible

So much can be said for the person who has a plan and is able to stay on track with their plan as they usually end up getting to their destination!  If you were to just set out on a trip not knowing where you were going, you would have no idea if you ever got there!  This may sound silly, but it is the sad reality of a great many people, they have no idea where they are going!  There is a quote that goes, “if you shoot at nothing, you are sure to hit it!”  But there is no satisfaction in that at all!

It may sound “too predictable” to some and even “boring”, but the fact is, if you have a goal, a vision or plan, it can actually add a lot of excitement to your life.  It is always best to have short-term and long-term plans so that you can see if you are making progress towards arriving at the completion of your goal or not.  If you plan out your day by making a “to do” list, and you check off this list as the days goes on, it can be a source of inspiration!  I know that for myself, as I get things taken care of  throughout the day, I feel alive and as though I am accomplishing something!  Especially when I can check off the things on my “to do” list that are particularly unpleasant!  In fact, it is usually those things that are unpleasant that are best to take care of right off the bat, as they tend to be the what leads to procrastination!

When I get those difficult things tackled at the beginning of the day, the other things that remain on the list, that are not as difficult, are so easy to tend to!  I feel really good after I get things done and don’t feel so guilty at the end of the day to get that much-needed “chill time”!  I even feel as though I deserve it!  There is just something stimulating about getting things taken care of, but the trick is usually the getting started part. But once you get started you are pretty much half done and you begin to feel more alive and on top of the world!

It is a daily fight to keep the vision since there are so many distractions in the course of the day.  Things will come up that seem to be so important, and you can get side-tracked by them and… boom, once again you end up off track and behind on your plan!  It takes a concerted effort to stay focused, but it is absolutely necessary if you want to make it to your destination.  Not only is it reinvigorating, it will also be financially rewarding as you will see that by doing so it will lead to greater success!

Do you plan your work and work your plan?