Saturday, November 28, 2009

Love, Reciprocity, and Knowledge... Keys to Get Ahead...

The book of the week was Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. I can't remember the last time a book has motivated to change my lifestyle so much. This book was recommended by a friend of mine and has given me a new appreciation for the relationships in my life.

The main idea of the book is to develop as many lifelong relationship as possible. Getting away from the casual acquaintance and start real solid relationships with depth and value. Additionally, each relationship you create should involve love, reciprocity, and knowledge. You need to love for the person you are in a relationship with (this is not a romantic love, but a genuine care of well-being for the other person.) You need to show reciprocity because you will only get as much as you give. And quite frankly, the moment you stop worrying about what you will get in return and start caring about how you can truly give, you will have everything you desire and more (you can still ask friends for what you want, you just shouldn't base your relationship off what you will ultimately get). Lastly, you need to share knowledge in each relationship. This will be the foundation of many great relationships in your life. You know something stuff they don't know, and they know some stuff you don't know so share your knowledge with each other and advance each other's lives.

One idea I found incredibly useful in this book was that there are two parts to utilizing relationships to reach your goals. The first part is giving, like I said earlier, you need to give everything you have to people in your relationships. This will take a lot of time and energy, but it will be well worth it. It may include getting a friend an internship, or mentoring someone, or being a regular listener. Can you imagine what you would do for the person that got you your dream job, or introduced you to your "hero"? You would probably go to the ends of the Earth to give that person whatever they asked of you. And that brings me to the second part... Asking people in your relationships for what you need. If you want something and you know someone that can give it to you then you need to ask them for it. If one of you relationships has connections to you hero, ask them to introduce you. Too often people just don't want to ask, they feel embarrassed or they feel like they don't want to "owe someone." Well that's non-sense, if you have effectively created a solid relationship then you shouldn't have any problem asking someone for a favor. And so what if you "owe someone?" Personally, I love to help people... anything a friend of mine needs I will do my best to get it to them. In fact, this whole blog is dedicated to helping people. I have a sincere desire to help people get more money and be more successful. I am sharing my knowledge with the world and I am available to any of my readers for questions they might have.

A quote from the book that particularly hit me was this: "Love, Reciprocity, and Knowledge are not like bank accounts that grow smaller as you use them. Creativity begets creativity, money begets more money, knowledge begets more knowledge.... And most importantly, giving begets giving"

I am going to attempt to kindle as many of my acquaintances into solid relationships as possible. I know that when I start doing this a lot of people will shy away and many won't respond, but the few that will may turn into very successful relationships. The more people I have strong relationships with, the more people I will be able to help in a personal way. I challenge you to start building your own lifelong community of colleagues, contacts, friends and mentors. Pick up this book, everyone can take away great tips and ideas to incorporate in their own lives. It has very powerful ideas that will change the way you look at the relationships you have. The results will fill your life with everlasting success and happiness.Ferrazzi has an amazing story and you will most definitely another one of his books here in the not to distant future! If you have any questions on the book don't hesitate to ask. I would be more than happy to help anyone that wants it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Asking the Right Questions and Starting to Act!

The book of the week was QBQ! by John G. Miller. Fascinating little read... QBQ Stands for question behind the question. It focuses on what questions are really important and gets away from questions that issue blame or help you put off what should be done. Something I found quite interesting about this book was it was just over a hundred pages yet it had nearly 40 chapters. Each chapter in the book was a small story that showed what happens when the right questions are asked.

Miller really knows how to tell a story. The book in incredibly easy to read and hard to put down. Some examples of "bad" questions are:

-"Why don't customers follow instructions?"
-"Who made the mistake?"
-"Why doesn't anyone else do as much work as me?"
-"Why don't I get paid more?"

Some better questions to ask yourself would be:

-"How can I serve the customer better?"
-"What can I do today to be more effective?"
-"How can I be a more effective coach?"
-"What can I do to be more productive?"

Notice anything about the second set of questions? They start with How and What instead of Why or Who or When. They focus on "I" instead of them, they, or someone else. And most importantly they focus on action. To get ahead in this world there is only one person that can be changed, and that's YOU. If you focus on asking questions dedicated toward making yourself better you will be much better off than someone that is asking questions about procrastination or complaining.

Some of the stories in this book were very entertaining. One story that really incorporated the skills I try to push into people's lives through this blog goes like this: A man stopped at Rock Bottom restaurant in downtown Minneapolis. The place was packed and a boy holding a bunch of plates noticed the man hadn't been helped yet, so he took it upon himself to help the man. He asked what the man wanted and the man said he just wanted a salad and a couple of rolls. The boy said it would be right out. And then the man asked if he could get a Diet Coke as well. The boy said they didn't serve Diet Coke, just Pepsi products. The man was fine with this and carried about his lunch. After a little bit of time the man was greeted with an ice cold Diet Coke. The man said "I thought you didn't carry Diet Coke." The boy said "We don't, but they have it at the convenience store across the street". The man asked who went and got it because the boy was way too busy and boy replied "My Manager."

There are so many great things about this story. Most people would have said "Why should I have to get a Diet Coke when we have Pepsi?" or "Why should I serve that man, he isn't sitting in my area?" or "Why are we so short staffed?" The boy didn't say any of those things, he just acted. He did what it took to make the customer happy, true customer service. Aside from the outstanding customer service from the boy, I also want to mention the manager. The manager is a true leader. He let his employees make the decision and then he acted. This is a fantastic sign of a successful organization.

I really think this book is great for anyone. I think everybody could use a few lessons in personal accountability. Once someone learns to stop blaming everyone else, they really start acting and things start getting done. If you have any questions on the book don't hesitate to ask. I would be more than happy to help anyone that wants it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Running to Riches...

The book this week was The Money Marathon by Ed Douglas, suggested to me by Jim Wiederholt. It was a good personal finance book written by a retired bank CEO from Chillicothe, Missouri. The book is very concise and straight forward. It is very easy to sit down and read in an afternoon. Douglas relates personal finance to running marathons. Therefore, most anecdotes in the book are running related. I am not a runner, but it's not rocket-science, so most of the comparisons are very easy to understand.

The book is subtitled 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom, so each of the chapters correspond to a step. These steps are:

1. Raise one's income

2. Control Expenses

3. Save Regularly

4. Invest for the Future

5. Stay Out of Debt

6. Adequate Protection (Insurance)

7. Make Your Money Work for You (If the previous steps are followed money will grow for you)

I agree with the basic idea of this book, however, personally, I like to be a bit more aggressive toward my accumulation of wealth. Douglas repeatedly shows how $2000 can turn into $1 Million in 50 years. I think 50 years is a bit too long. Getting rich slowly has it's place and it is perfect for many of you. The faster you want to get rich the more risk you will be taking on. If you use Douglas' 7 steps outlined in this book you can be certain you will reach your goals.

I found the author's running stories at the beginning of each chapter very entertaining. The book was relatively short, so I don't want to dive into it too much. I know I have quite the readership in Missouri, so I suggest you support a local author and check out this book. If you are a runner, I am sure you will really enjoy the stories Douglas uses. If you have any questions on the book don't hesitate to ask. I would be more than happy to help anyone that wants it.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Be The Next Edison, Carnegie, Schwab... By Thinking and Growing Rich!

The book for this week was Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. This book is phenomenal.... From the writing to the ideas, the book is pure genius. It is easy to walk away from this book and know that you can affect your financial status just by using the power of your mind.

The book is broken into 13 steps toward riches, however, I am going to smash them all together within this review. The thirteen steps are really all based around the idea of desire and persistence to get your mind to do what you want it to. The mind is an amazing thing! If you truly focus and imagine an outcome, your mind will work subconsciously to make that outcome happen. If you see yourself making $250,000 a year by the time your are 30 years old by working in real estate renting out multifamily homes, you write it down, think about it all the time and even imagine yourself with that income, you will achieve it. You mind will work for you. You have to give it a very specific goal though. You cannot say you will be making $250,000 a year, and nothing else. Your mind won't know how to make that happen for you. It can't make a money tree grow in your front yard. You need to make SMART goals for yourself Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Fold them all together and you have yourself a perfect goal. When this is done your mind will help you adapt to the certain circumstances you find yourself in, so everything you do results in a baby step toward your greater goal.

The other main idea that will help you achieve your wealth is... persistence. Hill uses several Great's anecdotes to guide the reader through this book. One person's stories I found especially helpful were Thomas Edison. Both amazing men and they both used the power of their mind to get their riches. Edison knew what he wanted and he didn't let any hiccup slow him down. He visualized his goals and he eventually achieved them. In fact, Edison is said to have failed 10,000 times. He called them temporary defeats. Just because something doesn't turn out the way we intend does not mean we are not meant to do it. If Edison had this mindset we wouldn't have the light bulb or his massive empire- GE. Once you set your goal, visualize them and never ever ever let you hold yourself back. Use the power of your mind to get what you want.

Another great idea Hill had in this awesome book was taking inventory in yourself. I am going to list the 28 questions Napoleon Hill uses in his book. This year, instead of doing phony New Year's Resolutions, take inventory in yourself. See where you are in every aspect of your life, write down your goals, your wants, answer all these questions and then post them up where you can see them everyday. Make you goals REALLY BIG and read them everyday! Here are your self inventory questions:
  1. "Have I attained the goal that I established as my objective for the year?
  2. Have I delivered service of the best possible quality of which I was capable, or could I have improved this service?
  3. Have I delivered service in the greatest possible quantity of which I was capable?
  4. Has the spirit of my conduct been harmonious and cooperative at all times?
  5. Have I permitted the habit of procrastination to decrease my efficiency, and if so, to what extent?
  6. Have I improved my personality? And if so, in what ways?
  7. Have I been persistent in following my plans to completion?
  8. Have I reached decisions promptly and definitively on all occasions?
  9. Have I permitted any one or more of the 6 basic fears to decrease my efficiency? (Fears of Poverty, Criticism, Ill Health, Loss of Someone's Love, Old Age, and Death).
  10. Have I been over-cautious or undercautious?
  11. Has my relationships with my colleagues at work been pleasant or unpleasant? If unpleasant, has the fault been partially or fully mine?
  12. Have I dissipated any of my energy due to lack of concentration or effort?
  13. Have I been open minded and tolerant in connection with all subjects?
  14. In what way have I improved my ability to provide service?
  15. Have I been intemperate (overindulgent) in any habits?
  16. Have I expressed, openly or secretly, any form of egotism?
  17. Has my conduct toward my colleagues been such that it has induced them to respect me?
  18. Have any opinions and decisions been based on guesswork, or accuracy of analysis and thought?
  19. Have I followed the habit of budgeting my time, my expenses and my income, and have I been conservative in these budgets?
  20. How much time have I devoted to unprofitable efforts which I might have used to better advantage?
  21. How might I re-budget my time and change my habits so I will become more efficient during the coming year?
  22. Have I been guilty of any conduct that was not approved by my conscience?
  23. In what ways have I provided more service and better service than I was paid for?
  24. Have I been unfair to anyone, if so, in what way?
  25. If I had been the purchaser of my services for the past year, would I have been satisfied?
  26. Have the actual purchasers been satisfied?
  27. Am I in the right vocation? Why/Why not?
  28. What is my present rating on the fundamental principles of success?"
This book was dense with fantastic information, I recommend everyone get it for themselves and for a friend. The leather backed book makes a great gift- Thanks Steven! I want to leave you with a poem that can be found within the book... This poet definitely gets it!

"I bargained with Life for a penny,
And Life would pay no more,
However I begged at evening
When I counted my scanty store.

"For Life is a just employer,
He gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
Why, you must bear the task.

"I worked for a menial's hire,
Only to learn, dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have willingly paid."

Ask Life for what you want and you will surely receive it. If you have any questions on the book don't hesitate to ask. I would be more than happy to help anyone that wants it.