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Shoe or De-Shoe?

December 9, 2013 — Leave a comment

shoesTis the season for fun festivities, parties, and family gatherings. Don’t you just love them? But with all of this fun and frivolity comes a unique dilemma as indicated in the title above – shoe or de-shoe?

We live in a part of this fair nation where stickers abound, “goat-heads” are prolific, and scorpions are common house guests. So when visiting a friend or family member, I will typically de-shoe upon entering their home to save from re-distributing unwelcome hobos who have attached themselves to the soles of my shoes. That way, at least for me, I’m thinking of the future well-being of the family that resides in said household and doing my part to save them from needless pain and suffering – in the middle of the night – when they least expect it – and they find themselves attacked by one of our nasty residents-in-harming.

No lie, those nasty stickery, goat-head fellers have spines on them that have been known to penetrate and flatten bicycle tires & tubes thereby causing many a near-fatal crash of the cyclist, embed themselves in vehicular tires so as to obtain a free ride to other locales where they wait in silence to unleash their deadly ploys, and cling to various pieces of clothing where one would never expect to discover any variety of sticker only to catch the wearer off-guard as they peel off the dangerous layer and then be attacked by the spiny-orbed death package awaiting its revenge.

Have you ever stepped on a Lego building block in your bare feet in the middle of the night? Oh, that’s just a smidgen of the deadly pain that results from stepping full-force on to one of these South-Western banditos. Do you remember the images of the older WW2 movies with the under-water scenes of unassuming mines just waiting to attach to an unsuspecting sub and blow it to smithereens? Well, now you’re getting an idea of what these bad boys are cap-able of.

Adding to the tension of the holiday party at a friend-you-barely-know’s house in these parts is the constant fear of the other nasty waiting for just the right moment to make his appearance – the scorpion. Duhn-duhn-duhn! You have your shoes off at the party to avoid taking in the deadly goat-head and then this equally deadly, prehistoric-looking, like something from late-night horror movies look-alike arrives and walks around just looking for an unsuspecting foot.

So, you can see my dilemma – when visiting during the holidays do I shoe or de-shoe? And when hosting one of those parties, do I ask my guests to de-shoe or allow them to remain protected and assume all risk, as host, that they won’t be hiding the next foot-deflating grass burr in my carpet?

How do you handle these situations – shoe or de-shoe?

CoinsAnother of my favorite posts from people I follow. Enjoy!

Four Financial Mistakes Businesses Make and How to Avoid Them

Ask any business owner, and they’ll tell you. One of the best ways to gain knowledge and skills is by making big, fat, whopping mistakes. Lessons learned are what make us stronger, smarter and resilient.

However, there are some goof-ups that do more than teach a lesson. They can kill a business. Luckily, every one of them can be avoided. As Dave teaches in EntreLeadership Master Series, there are several ways to bulletproof your business and find financial peace at the same time. Here are few of the preventative measures every business owner needs to take.

1. Do the Accounting.
At heart, we’re all brave warriors who work long hours, fight the competition, and make any sacrifice to succeed. That is … until it comes to accounting. Then, most of us would rather have a tooth drilled without Novocain.

Unfortunately, it’s about the biggest business mistake you can make. As the Bible says, “Be diligent to know the state of your flocks and attend to your herds.” (Proverbs 27:23 NKJV)

Dave, too, dislikes accounting. But he loves the control and awareness it gives him. “I don’t care how much you hate diving into the numbers, business owners who don’t stay on top of their accounting fail and close up shop.”

2. Pay Your Taxes
If there is anyone, and we mean anyone, you do not want to mess with, it’s the tax man. He will always get paid, even when you don’t. You should have a monthly tax-savings account, where you can set aside 25% of your profits to pay your quarterly IRS estimates. Treat the money in that account as untouchable. The same holds true for payroll/sales taxes. Don’t borrow from them to operate, because you’ll never catch up. Add severe penalties and interest, and you can count yourself gone.

3. Avoid the Toys
Once your company begins making a decent profit, it’s easy to fall into the trap of needing the latest gadget or electronic gizmo—all in the name of increased productivity, profit or client approval.

The most successful businesses don’t buy nicer things and toys without surplus funds. They never go into debt for them. “No deal was every made or lost based on the couch in the reception area,” Dave says. “That is ego.”

4. Make Cash King
Anyone who has listened to Dave for more than two seconds on the radio knows he is the number-one enemy of debt. But that’s just for home, right? Actually, no. Dave believes that businesses can operate successfully without borrowing as well. His company, plus many others both big and small, runs every day without borrowing. Debt magnifies your mistakes, kills your cash, and puts your business’ very survival at risk. It should be avoided at all costs.

These steps are just a few of the many principles needed to successfully run a business. Make time to keep your financial house in order, and you will always reap the rewards.

A Promising Future

February 8, 2013 — Leave a comment

pink ladyFavorite Post – Coach Joe Gibbs

Given his unique rise to the top of two different sports NFL Football and NASCAR racing, Coach Gibbs is often asked to speak and share his personal testimony with crowds. Men especially want to know what it takes to be “successful” and “relevant.” The Game Plan, created by Coach Joe, helps men to find true success and relevance in their own lives. However, it is less about Joe, than it is about who men are, why they were created and what they can really do with their lives. The following is post he wrote a few months ago. Enjoy!

There are many hundreds of methods out there for maximizing your potential in life, in business, in all kinds of areas. Some are sound, some are not, some are absolutely wonderful (like Game Plan for Life, of course). But even the best can’t help but be incomplete in spots. And none of us are able to follow them perfectly, even then.

So while we are wise to gather information and set our goals, to make our plans and chart our progress, we will meet days when not everything comes together. We will encounter challenges that weren’t covered in the literature. We will feel the need to make adjustments and wonder why we hadn’t noticed this sooner.

But that’s okay—because our trust is not in methods and strategies. Though we are certainly responsible for how we handle ourselves, we are not in total charge of where our future is headed. It is no cop-out, after listening and learning and being diligent to pursue best practices, to say, “I cry out to God Most High, who fulfills his purpose for me” (Psalm 57:2).

Any success plan that isn’t submitted to God is destined for failure. Any man who thinks he can make it on his own hunches will find out otherwise, the hard way. But when we trust God to do his work in us, he can take even our missteps and turn them into positive gain. He will fulfill his purpose for you.

Pray this prayer: Lord, I worry too much. I push myself hard, but it still leaves so much that seems undone. I need to rest in the knowledge that you are more than capable of accomplishing your will in me.

head shot Lisa Barber
Lisa Barber joined Dave Ramsey’s Financial Coaching Team in 2001. Since then, she has coached thousands of families and individuals in the areas of personal finance and small business, including cash flow management, debt reduction, and crisis counseling, by providing practical knowledge to empower them and give them hope. The following is a post she wrote for Dave’s Financial Counselors. Where she writes about counselors, you can insert the word “friend” and have the same impact with your widow friends. Enjoy!


Three Questions Every Widow Faces

Dealing with tragedy and unexpected life events is part of the job for a counselor. You should always expect the unexpected when dealing with your clients.

One of the toughest situations you may face is meeting with a new widow. Whether her husband passed away a week ago or a year ago, this isn’t the time to make hasty decisions out of a false sense of urgency.

With their emotional level understandably high, many widows have a lot of misunderstandings and fears about what they need to be doing financially.

Here are some of the main situations I encounter when talking to widows. Note that the same advice can be given to widowers. But since my experience is mainly with widows, I’ll focus on them.

  1. If the husband died with debt, are they responsible for it? It’s the responsibility of the estate to satisfy any debts. Coach your client about basic estate planning specific to their state and help them find a good estate planning attorney in the community. You help them with the basics and let the attorney work through them with any complex legal issues related to the estate.
  2. When should they deal with insurance, investments and retirement? First thing, reassure and affirm a grieving widow that it’s okay to wait to make any financial move until she’s confident. Be the voice of reason in the middle of many potential family members who might be telling her to “act now”—which will only lead to rushed, poor decisions.
  3. What about a widow who feels overwhelmed? No matter what level of financial skill a widow has, many of them will question their competence at some point. They no longer have that built-in accountability partner, and they feel scared and weary. But I’m always encouraged by the strength and determination I see from widows during the coaching process. She’s equipped, but she just doesn’t know it yet! As her coach, you can help her find the skills that will help her land on her feet.

Also, don’t forget about long-term planning. Her will and estate planning documents need to be re-evaluated and rewritten. If children are involved, their future needs to be taken into consideration if something happens to her. These are difficult issues, but they must be discussed.

Finally, as a counselor, you have a unique opportunity to encourage a widow to do one extremely important thing: take care of herself!

That will mean different things to different people. It may mean for her to hire a babysitter once a week so she can get some things done around the house or simply take a walk.

Help her look to the future, seek out other counselors and mentors, and continue to grow mentally, emotionally and spiritually. If she has kids, remind her that the best way to take care of them is by taking care of herself first.

She knows you are looking out for her best interests, so help her see how, despite a tragic situation, she still has a bright, hopeful future.

Thanks, Lisa. Hopefully you gained some great insights from her post. Share a few of the ways you’ve helped widows/widowers or even an older couple in your local situation.

Lisa Barber

TargetThe following is a post from last year by Dave Ramsey on his EntreLeadership blog about goal setting. Enjoy.

Are Your Goals Realistic?

Take the Test
Ask any successful person, and they’ll agree. In order to succeed, you must have goals. They are what turns your dreams and visions into reality.

Seems simple, right? You just write down what you want, and you’re on your way to prosperity. Well, not exactly. In order for goals to work, they have to be realistic. Stating that you want to have more sales than Apple in 2013 won’t make it happen.

So how do you know if your goals for next year are attainable and not just some pie-in-the-sky dream? Take this test to find out. If you answer no to any of the following statements, it’s time to re-evaluate.

Are your goals in writing?
It’s awesome to dream, and you should never stop thinking about what can be. But to actually achieve milestones, you have to get your goals down on paper. It will help you stay on track and reach them.

Are your goals specific and measurable?
For goals to work, you need to zero in on exactly what you want to accomplish. For example, saying that you want to make a profit won’t cut it. Instead, how about, “I would like to make $500,000 in revenue this year”? It’s specific and includes an exact (measurable) dollar amount. Once you have your targets, create a plan with deadlines. Then break it all the way down to daily activities. While preparing your strategy, it will soon become clear whether or not your goals are obtainable.

Are your goals shared?
Once you’ve written down your goals, it’s time to get your team on board. Share your goals with your staff—called “casting your vision”—early and often, and watch them get fired up too. With everyone passionate about obtaining your dream, what may have seemed unrealistic this year could be totally obtainable in 2013.

Are your goals your own?
One of the easiest ways to fail while trying to reach your goals is if they are not your own. If your Aunt Edna wants you to be the most successful podiatrist in the tri-state area, it won’t happen unless that’s your dream too–even if you live in a place with some really bad feet. Why? Because as we all know, business is not for the weak of heart. It’s tough. And you won’t have the courage to fight through if you aren’t working toward your own goals.

As Dave and thousands of business owners across the country have proven, turning your dreams into reality can come true. And it all begins by setting realistic goals. So before the new year, take time to write down your goals. You’ll be amazed with the outcome.

HurdlesDarren Hardy is the visionary force behind SUCCESS magazine as its Publisher and Editorial Director.

As a leader in the personal development industry, Darren gets the unique privilege of sitting down with the leading experts on human performance and achievement, as well as many of today’s top CEOs, revolutionary entrepreneurs, superstar athletes, entertainers and Olympic champions, to learn their unique secrets to their extraordinary success.

Darren is also an accomplished entrepreneur, author, keynote speaker, private equity investor, corporate advisor and peak performance mentor.

Darren, through SUCCESS magazine, has influenced my life more than he will ever know. I mention them here often. Here’s a link to the first part of an article I read several months ago, but still refer to from time-to-time. Click on the link, then it’s up to you if you continue with the second part of the article.

burning handAs we continue in this first month of the new year, I wanted to share a post that stirred up something deep within me. As a pastor of several “seeker sensitive” churches, I have felt a desire to reach out to those either currently not attending any church, those who were former attenders, and those who are non-believers. It’s not that I don’t like people who attend church or sold-out followers of Jesus, some of them are some of my best and closest friends. But since I came to faith later in life, I have a fairly natural affinity for those not on the normal radar for most churches.

And then I read this article by Thom Schultz and wonder again. Take a few minutes to click on over and read Thom’s post and then come back and tell me if you agree or disagree or are somewhere in between.

Here’s another link to the same article.