Archive for April, 2009

Recession-proof Bank Deposits – Guaranteed

April 27, 2009

We all watched the news in amazement on January 15th when Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger skillfully splashed US Airways Flight 1549 down in the Hudson River right there in New York City.  All 155 passengers and crew members survived in the process.  Captain “Sully” had a simple, yet compelling explanation in his interview with CBS news anchor Katie Couric:  “One way of looking at this might be that, for 42 years, I’ve been making small, regular deposits in this bank of experience: education and training. And on January 15th the balance was sufficient so that I could make a very large withdrawal.”

I’m always shocked when I talk to someone who is losing their job and then realize that they’ve gotten no new knowledge or training since getting that position 20 years ago.  How could that possibly happen?  In working with a laid off $230,000 accounting professional recently he said, “Dan, for 26 years I’ve had my head down and pencil up.” 

Inflation and declining stock values have eaten up a whole lot of people’s financial investments already this year.  But here’s a no-lose proposition for you.  Deposits made in your own personal development can never be eroded or taken away.  If you read a book, attend a seminar or participate in a network discussion, that information and knowledge can never be downsized, outsourced, fired or uninstalled.  It’s yours forever and can quickly give you a reservoir that will make you a top contender for a job or put you in a position to launch your own business.  When your opportunity shows up you’ll be able to make your own large withdrawal and easily outshine the competition.

So here’s a question:  What if over the last ten years you had invested just $1500 a year in buying great books, going to two seminars a year, starting your own mastermind group, and spending 20 minutes a day on idea sharing sites like 48Days.net?  How would your life be different today?  How many new options do you think would be available to you?

So here’s an idea – if you have $250 this month I’d suggest you go to a seminar or buy some books rather than investing in that GM stock you’re broker’s been suggesting. 

You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read. – Charles “Tremendous” Jones

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Have a “Curious Child?”

April 26, 2009

William and Mary had three children, two girls named Kristi and Libby and a son they nicknamed Trey.  Since William was a successful Seattle attorney and Mary was a school teacher they thought a career in law would be an appropriate pursuit for their only son as well.

Imagine their pleasure when Trey scored 1590 out of a possible 1600 on the SAT.  His parents were thrilled when he was accepted into Harvard in 1973.  But Trey had a hard time finding a clear focus for his studies and spent most of his time playing around on the schools computers. 

According to Trey’s parents they were “sick when he told us he planned to leave college to take advantage of a window of opportunity he believed would be long gone by the time he graduated from Harvard.”  Much to the dismay of his parents, he dropped out of school forever in 1975.

In the father’s recent book, Showing Up for Life, Trey’s dad explains the lesson he learned as a father:  “Perhaps there’s a lesson in this for parents of other curious children who, from the start, require the freedom to meet life on their own terms:  It is that there is no statute of limitations on the dreams you have for your children.  And there is no way to predict how much delight you might feel when those dreams are realized in a far different way than you could have imagined.” 

Incidentally, Trey was chosen as a nickname because this son was the fourth William in the family tree.  You may know him by his adult name, Bill Gates.

Acedia — Feeling Down

April 26, 2009

I have always loved words that are rich with meaning.  Recently I was having lunch with a long-time friend who used the word “acedia” in describing his current sense of being in a dry spot in his life.

Acedia comes from an old Greek word describing a state of listlessness, of not caring or not being connected to anything in a meaningful way.  The person may experience sleeplessness, headaches, generalized pain, boredom and an overall diminishing of strength and resilience.  It typically implies a kind of weariness of the soul and can quickly lead to an unhealthy inactivity or slothfulness if not addressed. 

The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church defines acedia as “a state of restlessness and inability either to work or to pray”.  Unfortunately, in our culture, we know the wisdom of washing our hands before eating even if we can’t see the germs we are washing away.  But we don’t share the same conviction about spiritual hygiene, often doing little to cleanse and refresh our spirits, and then feel trapped when acedia appears. 

If you find yourself experiencing acedia you need to take action.  Doing nothing will likely lead to a deeper sense of worthlessness, spiritual dryness or even depression.  Break the cycle by reviewing your personal mission statement and deciding how you can make deposits of success in each of these areas this week:  physically, spiritually, socially, personal development, in family, career and finances.

I “hope” this helps

April 11, 2009

We’ve all been hearing a lot about the word “hope” recently.  Some people think it’s an unrealistic approach to the realities of what’s happening.  I agree that hope without a plan is empty.  I was discussing this with one of my pastor friends and he stated that he thought it was cruel to suggest “hope” to someone without offering a plan of action. 

  • What does having “hope” really mean? The dictionary defines “hope” as “looking forward with reasonable confidence.”  And how do we get confidence – by having a clear plan of action.
  • What is our strongest resource in tough times? My Wednesday morning guys said that “to suffer alone is the worst kind of fate.”  But it’s too late to begin reaching out when you’re going under.
  • What can you offer to others who are struggling? Make sure that you are the kind of friend now that you want others to be to you when you’re going through your own tough times.

Nashville loses trusted voice of Dan Miller

April 10, 2009

No – I’m doing just fine – really.  Yesterday morning’s Tennessean headlined the news that our 30-year NBC affiliate news anchor here in Nashville had died of a heart attack.  And he just happened to have the same name as I do.  Today’s paper has the headline:  Nashville loses trusted voice of Dan Miller.  That Dan was a very trusted and respected personality here in Nashville. 

I must admit I have read through all the kind things being said about Dan Miller.  Don’t we all wonder what will be said about us when we’re gone?  In Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen Covey says we all want to:  Live, Love, Learn and Leave a Legacy.  I trust that I am doing each of those well.

What would people be saying about you if yesterday you had a heart attack and died unexpectedly?  How would those closest to you remember their last encounter?  How would your boss or employees be describing you?  How would the waitress who forgot to leave the onions off your hamburger remember you?  What about that mechanic who tried but failed to fix the rattle in your car? 

We don’t create a “legacy” by planning the last year of our lives.  No, we are creating our “legacy” right now – every day, by every single act we do, every word we say, and every thought we allow to grow in our minds.  Put your own name in the headline above and imagine how you would be remembered today.

We are not rational people!

April 4, 2009

I love to see the ideas that develop and grow here.  People often ask me what kind of personal skills make someone a candidate to have their own business.  And when I start listing the things I think are helpful, I find that I touch on many things that seem to be contradictory. 

Is it better to be an extrovert or an introvert?  A dreamer or a realist?  A thinker or a doer?  A socializer or a loner?  Is it more valuable to have imagination or practical skills?  To be  left-brained or right-brained?  Dominant or reserved?  Analytical or expressive?  Change-loving or schedule conforming?  Super intelligent or just normal?  Gorgeous or average? 

I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no “right” or “predicable” pattern that leads to successful business operation.  I think most of us defy rational explanation or categories.  The businessperson is someone using both sides of their brains.  The right side pours out dreams, passions and fantasies and the left side takes that and creates patterns and systems to allow results that benefit everyone and magically produce money as well.  You can have the soul of an artist – and your business is a shaped release of that art.  You can be a logical precisionist and your business brings life to those otherwise boring and useless details. 

Welcome to the world of entrepreneurship – there are no obstacles, no barriers.  No wrong personal attributes, backgrounds, or education – just opportunity for all!