There was an error in this gadget

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Own Your Dreams

An excerpt from
Own Your Dreams
by John Maxwell What is your dream?

How will you achieve it?

The first question may be difficult to answer. You may have many dreams. Yet, there must be one that stands out above all others...one that inspires you, energizes you, and empowers you to do everything you can to achieve it.

The second question is the reason most people never realize their dreams. They have no strategy in place for attaining it, no knowledge of what is needed and must be sometimes sacrificed to have the dream come true.

Will you achieve your dreams in your lifetime?

I'm certain that you desire to. I'm sure you hope you will. But will you actually do it? What odds would you give yourself? One in five? One in a hundred? One in a million? How can you tell whether your chances are good or whether your dream will always remain exactly that—a dream?

Most people have no idea how to achieve their dreams. What they possess is a vague notion that there is something they would like to do someday or someone they would like to become. But they don't know how to get from here to there. If that describes you, then you'll be glad to know that there really is hope.

Friday, November 9, 2012


 Vintage Essays By Judy Williamson, Director of the Napoleon Hill World Learning Center at Purdue University Calumnet


 Change is a process that most people do not like to undertake. Whether it’s a change in jobs, homes, relationships, memberships, etc., in almost all areas people complain about the change process. Instead of embracing the new that is approaching on the horizon, people lament the old that is slipping away. You might think of it as the dawn and the sunset. Both occurrences are beautiful and serve to enhance each other. Yet alone, a lifetime of sunsets would not be the same as a lifetime that experiences both.
Looking at change from a different perspective, it would be a happier and easier process if we looked at what we are gaining rather than what we are losing. Think of it as the yin and the yang of the universe. Without change we would become stagnant. Stagnant water stinks. It is not drinkable, and no one wants to swim in it. Animals avoid it and people do too.
Conversely, living water is water that flows and refreshes itself and its boundaries. It invites us to its shores as we watch and listen to the process. It invigorates us rather than depresses us. Change can be that way too if we allow ourselves to see it from the angle of newness.
Being part of the here and now requires us to embrace change. A change in routine, diet, exercise, or in whatever else has become stagnant in our lives, can change our world. It does not have to be monumental to make a difference in our lives, but we do have to begin the process. It could be as simple as a thirty minute walk during the day that can be the start of further change.
Why not challenge yourself to the change process if you feel you are stuck in a stagnant life? Find a small change to make that is non-threatening at first, and then do it. Like the snowball that gathers speed and size as it rolls downhill, I just bet you will find that everything about change is not negative. And, there is much more of the positive that you will like to explore in this process when you take that first bold step toward gifting yourself with more of life!
Be Your Very Best Always,
Judy Williamson

Thursday, June 7, 2012

It's Not Where You Start—It's How You Finish



An excerpt from
Achieve Any Goal
by Brian Tracy  
 

When I was eighteen, I left high school without graduating. My first job was as a dishwasher in the back of a small hotel. From there, I moved on to washing cars and then washing floors with a janitorial service. For the next few years, I drifted and worked at various laboring jobs, earning my living by the sweat of my brow. I worked in sawmills and factories. I worked on farms and ranches. I worked in the tall timber with a chain saw and dug wells when the logging season ended.

I worked as a construction laborer on tall buildings and as a seaman on a Norwegian freighter in the North Atlantic. Often I slept in my car or in cheap rooming houses. When I was twenty-three, I worked as an itinerant farm laborer during the harvest, sleeping on the hay in the farmer's barn and eating with the farmer's family. I was uneducated and unskilled, and at the end of the harvest, I was unemployed once more.

When I could no longer find a laboring job, I got a job in straight commission sales, cold-calling office-to-office and door-to-door. I would often work all day long to make a single sale so that I could pay for my rooming house and have a place to sleep that night. This was not a great start at life.

The Day My Life Changed

Then one day, I took out a piece of paper and wrote down an outrageous goal for myself. It was to earn $1,000 per month in door-to-door and office-to-office selling. I folded up the piece of paper, put it away, and never found it again.

But thirty days later, my entire life had changed. During that time, I discovered a technique for closing sales that tripled my income from the very first day. Meanwhile, the owner of my company sold out to an entrepreneur who had just moved into town. Exactly thirty days after I had written down my goal, the new owner took me aside and offered me $1,000 per month to head up the sales force and teach the other salespeople what I was doing that enabled me to sell so much more than anyone else. I accepted his offer, and from that day forward, my life was never the same.

Within eighteen months, I had moved from that job to another and then to another. I went from personal selling to becoming a sales manager with people selling for me. In a new business, I recruited and built a ninety-five-person sales force. I went literally from worrying about my next meal to walking around with a pocket full of $20 bills.

I began teaching my salespeople how to write out their goals and how to sell more effectively. In almost no time at all, they increased their incomes as much as tenfold. Today, many of them are millionaires and multimillionaires.

Life Goes Up and Down

I have to admit that since those days in my mid-twenties, my life has not been a smooth series of upward steps. It has included many ups and downs, marked by occasional successes and temporary failures. I have traveled, lived, and worked in more than ninety countries, learning French, German, and Spanish along the way and working in twenty-two different fields.

As the result of inexperience and sometimes sheer stupidity, I have spent or lost everything I made and had to start over again—several times. Whenever this happened, I would begin by sitting down with a piece of paper and laying out a new set of goals for myself.

After several years of hit-and-miss goal setting and goal achieving, I finally decided to collect everything I had learned into a single system. By assembling these ideas and strategies in one place, I developed a goal-setting methodology and process, with a beginning, middle, and end, and began to follow it every day.

Within one year, my life had changed once more. In January of that year, I was living in a rented apartment with rented furniture. I was $35,000 in debt and driving a used car that wasn't paid for. By December, I was living in my own $100,000 condominium. I owned a new Mercedes, had paid off all my debts, and had $50,000 in the bank.

Then I really got serious about success. I realized that goal setting was incredibly powerful. I invested hundreds and then thousands of hours reading and researching goal setting and goal achieving, synthesizing the best ideas I could find into a complete process that worked with incredible effectiveness.

Anyone Can Do It

What I found was that these ideas work everywhere, for everyone, in virtually every country, no matter what your education, experience, or background may be when you begin.

Best of all, these ideas have made it possible for me and many thousands of others to take complete control over our lives. The regular and systematic practice of goal setting has taken us from poverty to prosperity, from frustration to fulfillment, from underachievement to success and satisfaction. This system will do the same for you. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Power of Attitude

An excerpt from
The Power of Attitude

by Mac Anderson 

In many ways, we're alike; however, one little difference almost always makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude.

William James, over a century ago, said, "The greatest discovery of this generation is that a human being can alter their life by altering their attitude." I believe this with all my heart, and over the years have seen it happen countless times. What most people fail to realize is that your attitude not only impacts your happiness and your success, it also can impact the happiness and success of all the people around you...your family, your friends, and your peers at work. Attitudes truly are contagious, and from time to time we need to ask ourselves..."is mine worth catching?"

There is no way to overstate the importance of a positive attitude in your life. However, no one can underestimate the difficulty in maintaining it. It's not easy, and it's a very personal thing, but it can be done.

The Power of Attitude was written with that in mind. I only can share with you what works for me in developing and maintaining a positive approach to life. My goal is that some of the ideas and stories I'll share will inspire you to live the life of your dreams and to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

It's my hope that this book will be a useful tool in helping you:

• Manage your energy levels
• Keep your soul alive
• Take new paths
• Reduce stress
• Develop the "Human Touch"
• Attack your fears
• Live in awe
• Savor small successes
• Burn brightly without burning out
• Hang on when the storms blow through

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

An Empty Pickle Jar

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty pickle jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.


The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "yes."

The professor then produced two glasses of chocolate milk from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.

The students laughed.

The Moral of the Story - The professor waited for the laughter to subside....

"Now," said the professor, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things...your family, your children, your health, your friends, your favorite passions. Things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full."

"The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your home, your car."

"The sand is everything else...The small stuff. If you put the sand into the jar first, there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are critical to your happiness."

"Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house or fix the disposal."

"Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities, the rest is just sand."


This story is a wonderful reminder to focus on what is most important in our lives.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How home closing costs can add up

 Home buyers are often advised to set aside one-to-three per cent of the purchase price of their house for closing costs.  These fees are explained during the home buying process, but it is helpful to ask questions so you fully understand how these costs can affect  your budget.

Legal fees: On average you should budget $600 to $900 for legal fees and an additional $200 to $400 for disbursements, which includes registering the mortgage, completing a tax certificate, and doing a title search on the property.  On top of that you may pay administrative fees for postage, faxing and photocopying.
Shop around. Some law offices specialize in handling mortgage disbursements and offer cheaper rates.  Ask your bank or mortgage broker which law firm they recommend and then call at least 3 other lawyers for quotes.  A few phone calls can save you hundreds of dollars.  I paid $810 for legal fees and disbursements - the next best quote was over $1,000.

Related: Never buy a house without a home inspection

Property tax adjustment: If you buy an existing home, the previous owners have paid property taxes to the City.  On closing, you will be required to reimburse them for the taxes they have prepaid for the year. 
For example if the previous owners paid $2,000 in property taxes for the year and you took possession of their home on June 30, you will be required to pay the owner half the pre-paid taxes, or $1,000.

Interest adjustment Date: Depending on the date chosen by your lender as the interest adjustment (the date the mortgage starts) you may be required to pay interest from the closing date until your interest adjustment date.  The maximum amount would be one month’s interest at the rate of your mortgage.
For example, our mortgage was advanced when we took possession of our home on August 15.  We owed an interest-only payment from the advance date until September 1, which was our interest adjustment date.  Our first full mortgage payment came out on October 1.

While it may sound like you get some reprieve by skipping a monthly mortgage payment, most people want to start eliminating this debt as quickly as possible.

Land Transfer Tax: In general, if you buy land or an interest in land in Ontario, you must pay Ontario's land transfer tax, whether or not the transfer is registered at one of Ontario's land registry office.
Land includes any buildings, buildings to be constructed, and fixtures (such as light fixtures, built-in appliances and cabinetry). The land transfer tax payable is normally based on the amount paid for the land. If you are a first-time homebuyer, you may be eligible for a refund of all or part of the tax.


Calculation of Land Transfer Tax
  • 0.5% of the value of the consideration up to and including $55,000,
  • 1% of the value of the consideration which exceeds $55,000 up to and including $250,000, and
  • 1.5% of the value of the consideration which exceeds $250,000, and
  • 2% of the amount by which the value of the consideration exceeds $400,000 for land that contains at least one and not more than two single family residences.
  • On July 1, 2010, Ontario introduced a federally administered Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) that applies to most purchases and transactions. The HST applies to newly constructed homes, but does not apply to resale homes. Buyers of new homes will receive a rebate of up to $24,000 regardless of the price of the new home.
Title Insurance: Title insurance does not replace the role of the lawyer. It simply provides an added level of protection for the purchaser(s). Ontario lawyers still must search title and certify the status of title before a title insurance policy can be issued.  For a one-time premium ($150 - $299), the policy protects the purchaser(s) and mortgage lender against losses suffered from matters set out below as well as other matters more specifically outlined in the policy:
  • defects that would have been revealed by an up-to-date survey
  • survey errors or illegibility of survey
  • encroachments (before or after closing)
  • contravention of municipal zoning by-laws
  • unmarketability of title
  • defects in the title
  • invalidity or unenforceability of the mortgage on title
  • liens
  • easements (other than usual easements for utilities, etc.)
  • contravention of subdivision, development and other agreements
  • priority of certain construction liens
  • priority of unregistered easements and rights of way
  • fraud or forgery (prior to and after closing)
  • solicitor error, omission or fraud
  • unpaid property taxes or local improvement charges by a prior owner

Hidden costs can make it difficult to stick to a budget, especially for a first time home buyer.  Be sure to ask your Broker in advance for a detailed description of all your closing costs so they are factored into your overall budget.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Charging the Human Battery

An excerpt from
Charging the Human Battery
by Mac Anderson

The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday morning. Perhaps it's the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, or maybe it's the unbounded joy of not having to be at work. Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable.

A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the garage with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other. What began as a typical Saturday morning turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to time. Let me tell you about it:

I turned the dial up into the phone portion of the band on my ham radio in order to listen to a Saturday morning swap net. Along the way, I came across an older sounding chap, with a tremendous signal and a golden voice. You know the kind; he sounded like he should be in the broadcasting business. He was telling whomever he was talking with something about "a thousand marbles." I was intrigued and stopped to listen to what he had to say.

"Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you're busy with your job. I'm sure they pay you well but it's a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. It's too bad you missed your daughter's dance recital," he continued; "Let me tell you something that has helped me keep my own priorities." And that's when he began to explain his theory of a "thousand marbles."

"You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years.

Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3,900, which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime. Now, stick with me, Tom, I'm getting to the important part.

It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail," he went on, "and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy. So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round up 1,000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside a large, clear plastic container right here in the shack next to my gear.

Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away. I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life.

There's nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight.

Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure that if I make it until next Saturday then I have been given a little extra time. And the one thing we can all use is a little more time.

It was nice to meet you Tom. I hope you spend more time with your family, and I hope to meet you again here on the band. This is a 75 year old man, K9NZQ, clear and going QRT, good morning!"

You could have heard a pin drop on the band when this fellow signed off. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to work on the antenna that morning, and then I was going to meet up with a few hams to work on the next club newsletter.

Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss. "C'mon honey, I'm taking you and the kids to breakfast."

"What brought this on?" she asked with a smile.

"Oh, nothing special, it's just been a long time since we spent a Saturday together with the kids. And hey, can we stop at a toy store while we're out? I need to buy some marbles."

Monday, February 20, 2012

The most powerful message I've ever heard

An excerpt from
The Strangest Secret
by Earl Nightingale

George Bernard Shaw said, "People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, they make them."

Well, it's pretty apparent, isn't it? And every person who discovered this believed (for a while) that he was the first one to work it out. We become what we think about.

Conversely, the person who has no goal, who doesn't know where he's going, and whose thoughts must therefore be thoughts of confusion, anxiety and worry - his life becomes one of frustration, fear, anxiety and worry. And if he thinks about nothing... he becomes nothing.

How does it work? Why do we become what we think about? Well, I'll tell you how it works, as far as we know. To do this, I want to tell you about a situation that parallels the human mind.

Suppose a farmer has some land, and it's good, fertile land. The land gives the farmer a choice; he may plant in that land whatever he chooses. The land doesn't care. It's up to the farmer to make the decision.

We're comparing the human mind with the land because the mind, like the land, doesn't care what you plant in it. It will return what you plant, but it doesn't care what you plant.

Now, let's say that the farmer has two seeds in his hand- one is a seed of corn, the other is nightshade, a deadly poison. He digs two little holes in the earth and he plants both seeds - one corn, the other nightshade. He covers up the holes, waters and takes care of the land...and what will happen? Invariably, the land will return what was planted.

As it's written in the Bible, "As ye sow, so shall ye reap."

Remember the land doesn't care. It will return poison in just as wonderful abundance as it will corn. So up come the two plants - one corn, one poison.

The human mind is far more fertile, far more incredible and mysterious than the land, but it works the same way. It doesn't care what we plant...success...or failure. A concrete, worthwhile goal...or confusion, misunderstanding, fear, anxiety and so on. But what we plant must return to us.

You see, the human mind is the last great unexplored continent on earth. It contains riches beyond our wildest dreams. It will return anything we want to plant.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Top 10 kitchen renovation tips

















By Karen Cole Banack and Melody Duron

From the cabinets to the appliances, find out how to ensure a successful renovation.

Renovating your kitchen will add ease to your lifestyle and value to your home. Here are the 10 most important things to consider when you're updating your kitchen.

1 Use quality materials.
Quality drawer slides and hinges mean cabinet doors will stay closed and drawers won't stick. Stay away from drawers that are stapled together or made of particleboard. For cabinet interiors, wood veneer is more durable than melamine, laminate, MDF or particleboard.

2 Determine cabinet heights.
If you have eight-foot ceilings, choose cabinets that go to the ceiling. They offer more storage, enabling you to use extra wall space for artwork or open shelves. If your ceilings are higher than eight feet, leave 15 to 18 inches above the cabinets.

3 Decide whether to paint or stain.
Though stained-wood cabinetry is forgiving, most finishes date quickly and aren't easily altered. Brush-painted cabinets can lend a unique personality.

4 Select an elegant countertop
White Carrara marble (honed or acid washed and sealed) and stained wood adds elegance and warmth. We also like honed Kirk stone slate, soapstone and Wiarton limestone, and plastic laminate with a wood edge for a sophisticated look.

5 Install an island that works.
Beware of placing a bulky cube in the middle of the room. We like islands that have an open, airy look. Ideally, an island should be unencumbered by appliances, but if you want it to house a dishwasher-sink combo or a cook top, try to maintain the light look of a leggy harvest table.

6 Don't overdo the details.
Design accents such as pediments over stoves and plaster moldings on cabinet fronts can represent decorative excess. Remember that the style of your kitchen should be compatible with the rest of your home.

7 Avoid maintenance nightmares.
Natural surfaces with inherent texture -- slate, terra cotta, brick and tumbled marble -- are more difficult to clean but camouflage the odd crumb. Smooth surfaces in light colours, such as white laminate counters or ceramic floors, are easy to clean but show everything. And as much as we love stainless steel, it's not easy to keep smudge-free.

8 Stick to basic appliances.
Instead of lots of appliances and gadgets, consider selecting a few reliable basics. For example, a commercial-quality stainless-steel range makes an interesting focal point and takes up less space than separate wall ovens and a cook top.

9 Incorporate an adjacent dining room.
A clever design, plus the appropriate lighting and furniture, will let you adapt the room's atmosphere to suit any occasion. Consider a banquette design combined with slip covered chairs for an efficient use of space.

10 Add interest.
Your kitchen should reflect you, not look like a showroom. Before designing the space, search for a piece of unique furniture and use it in your design -- a room full of floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall kitchen cabinets looks boring and uninspired.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Love, romance and financial compatibility for couples

This month, even though Valentine's Day might make us think of love and romance, it's not a bad idea to bring up finance. Minimizing conflicts over money is a smart step to take as you begin to plan a future together, whether or not it involves wedlock.

If you're getting serious, now's the time to talk frankly about your finances. Be open about matters that might cause conflict in the future, such as significant debts from student loans or credit cards. Discuss reviewing your credit reports together to avoid unpleasant surprises, like finding out later about collections or bankruptcy.
Set short- and long-term financial goals. Figure out how much money each of you intends to spend on "fun" and how much to set aside for important goals, such as buying a home.

Thinking about opening joint accounts? Weigh the risks and responsibilities. If one co-owner of a credit card goes on a spending spree, the other person may be held responsible for the bill. Irresponsible use of a jointly owned credit card by one partner gets reported on both credit histories, and that could hurt the other person's score—and future likelihood of getting a good loan or credit card.

Getting these discussions out of the way early on might help you avoid potential pitfalls later that have derailed many promising relationships. Here's to love — and stellar credit!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

"Customer service is not a department...it's an attitude."

This 3-minute video is a crash course on customer service! It's a simple, but powerful explanation about making your customers feel loved.

video

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Right to Lead

An excerpt from
The Right to Lead
by John Maxwell
What Gives a Man or Woman the Right to Lead?

It certainly isn't gained by election or appointment. Having position, title, rank or degrees doesn't qualify anyone to lead other people. And the ability doesn't come automatically from age or experience, either.

No, it would be accurate to say that no one can be given the right to lead. The right to lead can only be earned. And that takes time.

The Kind of Leader Others Want to Follow

The key to becoming an effective leader is not to focus on making other people follow, but on making yourself the kind of person they want to follow. You must become someone others can trust to take them where they want to go.

As you prepare yourself to become a better leader, use the following guidelines to help you grow:

1. Let go of your ego.

The truly great leaders are not in leadership for personal gain. They lead in order to serve other people. Perhaps that is why Lawrence D. Bell remarked, "Show me a man who cannot bother to do little things, and I'll show you a man who cannot be trusted to do big things."

2. Become a good follower first.

Rare is the effective leader who didn't learn to become a good follower first. That is why a leadership institution such as the United States Military Academy teaches its officers to become effective followers first—and why West Point has produced more leaders than the Harvard Business School.

3. Build positive relationships.

Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. That means it is by nature relational. Today's generation of leaders seem particularly aware of this because title and position mean so little to them. They know intuitively that people go along with people they get along with.

4. Work with excellence.

No one respects and follows mediocrity. Leaders who earn the right to lead give their all to what they do. They bring into play not only their skills and talents, but also great passion and hard work. They perform on the highest level of which they are capable.

5. Rely on discipline, not emotion.

Leadership is often easy during the good times. It's when everything seems to be against you—when you're out of energy, and you don't want to lead—that you earn your place as a leader. During every season of life, leaders face crucial moments when they must choose between gearing up or giving up. To make it through those times, rely on the rock of discipline, not the shifting sand of emotion.

6. Make added value your goal.

When you look at the leaders whose names are revered long after they have finished leading, you find that they were men and women who helped people to live better lives and reach their potential. That is the highest calling of leadership—and its highest value.

7. Give your power away.

One of the ironies of leadership is that you become a better leader by sharing whatever power you have, not by saving it all for yourself. You're meant to be a river, not a reservoir. If you use your power to empower others, your leadership will extend far beyond your grasp.
~~~
In The Right to Lead, you will hear from and read about people who have done these same things and earned the right to lead others. Because of the courage they found and the character they displayed, other people recognized their admirable qualities and felt compelled to follow them.

The followers who looked to these leaders learned from them, and so can we. As you explore their worlds and words, remember that it takes time to become worthy of followers. Leadership isn't learned or earned in a moment.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Road To Happiness

An excerpt from
The Road To Happiness
by Mac Anderson and BJ Gallagher 

A thankful spirit is a healthy spirit. As the twists and turns of life lead to feelings of being out of control, sometimes our attitude is all that we have control over...the following reflection may help you develop a thankful attitude. Sometimes life is all about how we look at it!

I am thankful for...

• the mess to clean after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends.

• the taxes I pay because it means that I am employed.

• a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.

• my shadow who watches me work because it means I am out in the sunshine.

• the spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking.

• all of the complaining I hear about our government because it means we have freedom of speech.

• my huge heating bill because it means I am warm.

• the lady behind me in church who sings off key because it means that I can hear.

• the alarm that goes off early in the morning hours because it means that I am alive.

• the piles of laundry and ironing because it means my loved ones are nearby.

• weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means I have been productive.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The 100/0 Principle

An excerpt from
The 100/0 Principle
by Al Ritter 

What is the most effective way to create and sustain great relationships with others? It's The 100/0 Principle: You take full responsibility (the 100) for the relationship, expecting nothing (the 0) in return.

Implementing The 100/0 Principle is not natural for most of us. It takes real commitment to the relationship and a good dose of self-discipline to think, act and give 100 percent.

The 100/0 Principle applies to those people in your life where the relationships are too important to react automatically or judgmentally. Each of us must determine the relationships to which this principle should apply. For most of us, it applies to work associates, customers, suppliers, family and friends.

STEP 1 - Determine what you can do to make the relationship work...then do it. Demonstrate respect and kindness to the other person, whether he/she deserves it or not.

STEP 2 - Do not expect anything in return. Zero, zip, nada.

STEP 3 - Do not allow anything the other person says or does (no matter how annoying!) to affect you. In other words, don't take the bait.

STEP 4 - Be persistent with your graciousness and kindness. Often we give up too soon, especially when others don't respond in kind. Remember to expect nothing in return.

At times (usually few), the relationship can remain challenging, even toxic, despite your 100 percent commitment and self-discipline. When this occurs, you need to avoid being the "Knower" and shift to being the "Learner." Avoid Knower statements/ thoughts like "that won't work," "I'm right, you are wrong," "I know it and you don't," "I'll teach you," "that's just the way it is," "I need to tell you what I know," etc.

Instead use Learner statements/thoughts like "Let me find out what is going on and try to understand the situation," "I could be wrong," "I wonder if there is anything of value here," "I wonder if..." etc. In other words, as a Learner, be curious!

Principle Paradox

This may strike you as strange, but here's the paradox: When you take authentic responsibility for a relationship, more often than not the other person quickly chooses to take responsibility as well. Consequently, the 100/0 relationship quickly transforms into something approaching 100/100. When that occurs, true breakthroughs happen for the individuals involved, their teams, their organizations and their families.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Stress is a choice

An excerpt from
Stress is a Choice
by David Zerfoss

Several years ago while listening to my pastor give a Sunday sermon, he spoke about how life is made up of a series of choices. It made me realize that my hectic professional and personal life was of my choosing. Therefore, a life of stress had become my choice.

Many of us hurry through life going from one place to the next, focused on conquering the next mountain, making the next deal, running the next errand, and believing we will never have enough time to do all the things we need to get done. Yet, there is all the time in the world if we just realize that we are the creators of this life we choose to live. That's right. Life is a series of choices and being free from stress is one of those choices.

Whether your business life is overly complicated or your personal life (or both), you have chosen this current system of chaos. The world is a tantalizing swirl of getting the next "fix," tempting us to fit more and more things, people and processes into our lives, personally and professionally. And because we are so busy being busy, it's easy to be lured into the fray, with our lengthy to-do lists. Yet, the greatest achievements have often come from the simplest of ideas and in the simplest forms.

To experience a simplified life, we first have to learn to slow down long enough to see through all the clutter. We need to realize that we are powerful magnets that attracted this life to ourselves—no matter what—good or bad.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Finding Joy

An excerpt from
Finding Joy
by Mac Anderson 

Life can be complicated, but happiness...is simple. Of course, we try our best to make it complicated, but if we look closely, it's really very simple. And that's what this little book is all about...Simple Secrets to a Happy Life!

My goal is to have you sit down in a quiet place, and to slowly soak up every single page. Don't hurry, just take a deep breath, read each thought, and reflect on how it might apply to your life. Think about what is...and what could be, if your mind and heart is open to change.

But here is the real key to making this book all it can be...keep it close, and read it often. Because in a perfect world we read something once, record it in our brain, and never need to read it again.

Well, I don't know about you, but my world is far from perfect. I have doubts, fears and disappointments in my life, and I need doses of inspiration to bring me back to where I should be...to re-direct me to what's really important in life.

And this little book, if you'll let it, can be that source of inspiration! In just a few minutes it can put a smile on your face and in your heart when you need it most.