Intelligence Test

Dad had an 8th Grade formal education and was one of the most intelligent men I have ever known.

He was from an era of the strong, silent type — and, when teased about being so quiet, he frequently said, “I learn more by listening.”

Today, listening seems to be a lost art form — and, we have several generations of fools.

Well, yes, that is blunt. Lest I be accused of being judgemental, let me rephrase — because, People have the God-given right to be the unique creations they are. Their behavior, though, is open to analysis. In other words, “I will not judge the People — yet, I can evaluate their Behaviors.”

Test For Foolishness

My worldview is based on the Three-E Formula — Enlighten, Empower, and Encourage. Yet, there are the Three Evil E’s  — Ego, Expectations, and Emotions.

To test anyone for foolishness, just tell them a Story — it doesn’t matter the subject. Share with them something about which you are passionate. And — see how often you are interrupted.

I’ll bet good money you will get interrupted 9 times out of 10 — because, People do not have the willpower to keep their Ego, Expectations, and Emotions under control.

Ego

Yes — it is important that we boldly approach our day.
No — it is not right to think the world revolves around us.

People interrupting our good Stories will always have (in their mind) a better Story than ours — they are a Legend in their own Minds.

Expectations

Talk too slow, and People will try to finish your sentences.
Talk too fast, and People will look for other entertainment.

You see — those People have (in their mind) better things to do than listen to you share a Chapter from your Life. They expect you to fawn over them.

Emotions

Give too much to some People — they think you’re trying to manipulate.
Withhold your commentary and good advice — People will call you God.

Immature individuals are just like Toddlers — they whine, they pout, they cry, they throw things, they yell, and they make the ugliest faces — oh, and, when we laugh at their antics, they EXPLODE.

Test For Intelligence

When I asked Dad why he didn’t talk more, this was his reply, “Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent.”

My frustration with that quote is — Dad was very wise. In fact, he had accumulated much Knowledge. Every day he applied – what he knew – to gain an Understanding of many things and People. The progression of Knowledge into Understanding resulted in a Wisdom unsurpassed by the educated idiots of our day.

Yes — I include myself in that category of People who wanted to be known by their credentials: CPA, CITP, CGMA and all kinds of other Certified somethings.

That was yesterday. Now, I simply want to be measured by the Value that I contribute to the Whole Wide World.

I’ll — happily — let you be the judge of that.

What Is

“I am amused that you continue to ask for me to explain — what is not and never was.”

That was my response to an attorney, who wanted me to explain the unexplainable. He had taken a course of action, which transformed the simple into the complex. In fact, the potential exists that he has endangered a Family by encouraging them to, unintentionally, break the law.

How often do we fall into the trap of letting our thoughts and energies be consumed by the not of what is?

In other words, how much of our day is wasted by thinking about what is behind us — or, what is outside of our control? That’s the purest and craziest definition of — what is not and never was.

If we’re standing in the light of what is right, there is absolutely no reason to explain the darkness of another person’s wrong. To do so changes our thinking from, what is — to, what is not.

This Is What Is

1.) Law provides order to what otherwise results in chaos. Every structure of dynamic goodness functions within the parameters of principle.

2.) Activities of growth and purpose occur in the Present — moment to moment — because of a thoughtful plan for the Future.

3.) We are Captains of our own Destiny, who sail the seas of the unknown and find our greatest happiness in the Journey of enriching the lives we touch.

That’s plenty to keep us busy.

Understanding the core principles of right and wrong is one thing. Living a life of principle is another. Sometimes, we do what we know not — and, then, forget to do what we know. Eventually, we sync knowledge with action, to discover a higher dimension — of thought and being.

Focusing our attention on one thing at a time can best be remembered with this mantra — “Whatever our hands find to do, let’s do it with all our might.” And — if those efforts are constant and consistent with a purposeful plan, the result will be a Reality of our Dreams.

Believing in a future beyond our imaginations unshackles us from the safe harbor of what is known. In fact, belief in a Higher Power becomes the wind in our sails. As with all destinations, Ports-of-Call come and go. What endures, forever, are the impressions made on the souls aboard — and, beyond.

Forget about the small minds chained to the chaos of — what is not and never was.

Remember the power of Understanding, Focusing, and Believing in — What Is.

Must Be A 10

10 Things to Have in an Executive Business Coach

I’ll share the website of another Coaching Enterprise — because, I want YOU to make the comparison. Y’all know I’m competitive — so, I’m hoping YOU can mark all 10 in my favor.

If not, give me a call — M 406.855.8384.

Highlights from the Article

  1. Good business coaches have a proven record that they will be eager to share with you.
  2. A great business coach has experience both as a business owner and as a business coach.
  3. You’ll want to find a business coach that is relevant and specific — to your chosen area of growth.
  4. Business coaching requires custom strategies. Pass on any coach that treats their business like a coaching mill.
  5. A great business coach will challenge you outside of your comfort zone and make you look at challenges in new ways.
  6. Seek out a business coach that is well-connected, so in turn, you become equally well-connected.
  7. Your business coach should be highly motivated and focused on YOU achieving your goals and aspirations.
  8. Your mentor should love teaching because it means giving back, and it should be obvious in their approach to coaching.
  9. You don’t have to be best friends with your business coach, but you should have a friendly rapport.
  10. The most critical piece — there must be a process to be followed, a regimen. In other words, a committed and disciplined approach to Success.

Highlights from my Life

  1. Beginning in December 1981 through October 2015 this was my Mission Statement, “We Are Committed To Excellence In Providing Accounting and Financial Services To Our Friends Who Pursue Success.” For those 34 years, hundreds of Clients can attest that, together, we built little empires.
  2. Now, the Mission Statement is, “My mission is to guide YOU to personal and business success, according to the vision that YOU establish for us.”
  3. I’m a Builder — so, if YOU want to Build Something Special, I can help with the foundation, deck, framing, trusses, roofing, windows, doors, sheetrock, tape, texture, and trim (figuratively speaking).
  4. There’s only one of YOU — so, by default, your learning will be according to your style and timing. Since communication is what the listener does, I will actively listen to understand what YOU want and need of me.
  5. If two people agree on everything all of the time, one of them is unnecessary. We will challenge each other and experience mutually rewarding individual growth.
  6. Thirty-five plus years of Building Dynamic Relationships by using the Three-E Formula of Enlighten, Empower, and Encourage provides plenty of opportunities for YOU to make connections with my Friends.
  7. YOU are the reason for my existence. I’m simply a chunk of conduit for the goodness from above, to flow through me, for the benefit of YOU.
  8. Coach John Wooden was a Teacher before he was a Coach. Later in life — after many National Championships — he simply wanted to be known as a Teacher. I share that Story with you — because, that’s the legacy I seek.
  9. Guaranteed there will be rapport — because only friends do business with each other. I have discovered, over a period of 35+ years serving the public, that half of the world will love us — the other half, not so much.
  10. That ‘other half’ (in Number 9, above) usually left the friendship because they grew tired of the consistent, disciplined, determination for us to grow and move forward toward our goals.

That’s my Story — and, I’m sticking to it.

Now, the Choice is yours — stay stuck in a rut (which by definition is: a grave with the ends kicked out) or move forward into a world of your dreams.

Remember, I’m a Builder.

We can do this, together.

80/20 Crutch

80/20 Crutch
Excuse to Hobble

When you hear someone quote the 80/20 Rule, brace yourself. Because — you’re about to hear an excuse for their inattention to detail.

Sometimes I’m a Slow Study when it comes to catching on to someone’s shenanigans. Maybe, it’s because I look for the best in a person and want to believe what they say.

Recently, it took two months to realize a Coach was a Hoax. Everything he said sounded, really, good. Eventually, though, his actions spoke louder than his words. So, I had a choice to make: continue to overlook the lies, deceit, and lack of attention to detail (including me and his other Scholars) — or, do the right thing.

All — or, Nothing

My dad (James Burnett Foard) was named after a fellow (Jim Burnett), who lived by this creed, “I am bound to live up to the light I have. I must stand with anyone who stands right, stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.”

Evidently, my Grandfather knew what he was doing — because my Dad lived by the same creed and fulfilled its intent 100%. There was no 80/20 with my Dad — or, anything he set his hand to. With him, it was All — or, Nothing.

Can You Imagine?

Think of the most important decision you’ve ever made. Maybe, it was the decision to get married. Maybe, it was that mutual decision to have children. Maybe, it was a flying leap of faith to start your own business.

Can you imagine applying the 80/20 Rule to those events?!

I don’t know of any individual who believes they can be partly married. How about a little bit pregnant? Or, an Employer providing a paycheck to someone who is no longer an Employee — but, is now, an Independent Contractor?

Those scenarios are laughable – aren’t they?

Oh, I’m having way too much fun with this. Imagine the skydiver who at 10,000 feet wants to apply the 80/20 Rule to their situation. Nope, doesn’t work. They are either in a perfectly good airplane or out of it hurtling toward the earth.

In Summary

For those lacking the moral fortitude to apply the concept of Commitment to their lives, they will forever live in mediocrity.

As for you and me, we’re going to give our all.

80/20 Rule

Recently, I was teasing a colleague about the lack of a Waiting Room when he connects with Scholars using Zoom.

His reply, “Well, I’m a believer in the 80/20 Rule — focus on the 80% that matters and get to the other 20% someday.”

Since I have teased him quite a bit in the past, I heard, “Kim, I’m getting tired of your nit-picking. But – to humor you, I’ll be polite and quote the 80/20 Rule.”

There was something about his tone that immediately had me agreeing with him.

Yet, you – who know me well – know there’s more to this Story.

With A Little Thinking

In the shower, the next morning, it dawned on me (pardon the pun) that the 80/20 Rule does not work with People. Because — we never get a second chance to make a good first impression.

And — if a Person chooses to walk with us through this Journey of Life, then, they deserve 100% of the best we have to offer. In my opinion, it’s ALL — or, NOTHING. To know I’m only worth 80% of someone’s attention and effort is hard on the psyche and soul.

People Over Process (POP)

Where does the 80/20 Rule apply – and, work just fine? Answer: Process. Yes, we People are more effective and efficient with the structure of Process. Every system from minute to massive has processes. And – that’s a good thing.

Yet – People change and grow on a daily basis.

So – Does the same old Process still work (well) if the People have changed?

Yes, it’s a Rhetorical Question. The answer is: NO.

The net result and continued productivity probably is about 80% – if, we’re lucky, on a good day. Yet, management is relatively happy — because, they have the wheels turning and tend to ignore any opportunity for improvement. The 80/20 Rule has been applied and acts as a governor (used on machinery) to keep everything and everybody between the ditches.

You know, I just can’t help myself. The definition of a ‘governor‘ is quite fitting in the scenario, above, “a device for maintaining uniform speed regardless of changes of load, as by regulating the supply of fuel or working fluid.”

Really?

Do we, really, want to be regulated and held back from our true potential? I can only speak for myself — and, again, the answer is a resounding, “No! Heck, No! What part of NO don’t you understand!”

In Summary

A picture is, always, worth at least a 1,000 Words.

No 80/20 Rule In Relationships

Gentle Strength

Do You?

Gentle Strength

Do you want to be heard?

~ Speak softly.

Do you want to be strong?

~ Offer gentleness.

Do you want to influence?

~ Be authentic.

Imagine a mountain stream of flowing, rushing, bubbling, fresh water. In that stream is a large boulder.

Observe it and these three truths become obvious — It is silent » It is solid » and, It deftly parts the water.

The same is true of the human condition — Whoever is the most certain wins.

Competitive greatness is not an evil premise. If everyone improves through the effort of each individual to grow into a better person, there is a cumulative mutual benefit.

To Gain There Will Be Pain

With pain comes the opportunity for offense. When hurt, how do we react? Do our emotions run wild, resulting in a primitive reaction of — Freeze, Flight, or Fight? Or, do we use that first moment, when we’re frozen in disbelief, to purposefully choose our response?

Can we speak softly to simply state our beliefs?

Can we wrap gentleness around a definitive position?

Can we be authentic and true to the passion at our core?

If

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling

There is a caveat to softly, gently, and authentically communicating our beliefs to others. It produces mutual benefit, only, when we are analogous to streams of living waters. An inlet and an outlet are required for living water. What about those individuals who are more analogous to a swamp?

The Answer

The answer is inherent in a riddle:

Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools,
or you will become as foolish as they are.

Be sure to answer the foolish arguments of fools,
or they will become wise in their own estimation.

What?! Yes

Don’t follow their illogical rabbit trails through the briars.

Do state positions of belief — softly, gently, and authentically.

What is the surest way to discover if someone is a fool? If the individual listens, they are wise. If they are quick to interrupt and be disrespectful of any position contrary to their own, they are a fool.

Hard is easy — Easy is hard

Regardless of the condition of others, we can only change ourselves into better individuals. It is so very easy to be shrill, brash, and wishy-washy. It is so very hard to communicate with our Butler’s voice, in our Servant apron, and from our True heart — while grounded in gentle strength.

Free Advice

Free Advice

Through the years, I’ve given lots of free advice. I’m beginning to realize that’s been a very bad character trait.

» Advice — the wise don’t need it and the fools won’t heed it.
» Free — the perception of something worth nothing.

So, this week, when I said “No, thanks,” to an opportunity of continuing in my tradition of offering free advice, the response was enlightening. Well, I was enlightened. The person making the request was shocked. They were shocked that I would, could, should, and did say, “No.”

We Get What We Allow

Engaging in a mutually beneficial relationship (two-way street of offering and receiving) is different from demanding a response (one-way street of taking).

We get what we allow. For years, my immaturity was assuaged by giving free advice. The act of giving appeared noble and it made me feel like a hero. After all, Trusted Business Advisor, at one time, was the moniker of the CPA profession.

There is a very fine line, though, between an act of commerce and codependency. Commerce recognizes “Yes and No” as the two sides of the same coin. Codependency is defined as doing for others what they could, should, and would do for themselves, if we simply said “No.”

In fact, this most recent request for free advice was related to purely business matters. The resources for the answers to this new series of questions had already been given in response to an earlier request.

While my earlier gift of free advice was taken with no expression of appreciation, my offer to provide Advisory Services for a fee was berated and ignored.

Never give Advice —
The wise don’t need it,
and the fools won’t 
heed it.

The individual asking for advice has every right to express their choice to do nothing by saying, “No, thanks.” Freely offered and freely rejected. That’s the way commerce works. Change nothing — Nothing changes.

However, a price is paid for everything. To choose This, we forego That. Every thought and every action involves some measure of time or money. Asking anything of anybody involves either an act of commerce (exchange of money) or sacrifice (offering of time).

Respect

Regardless of the relationship, giving respect to the person responding to our request is a valuable courtesy and currency.

Asking is more than OK — It is our responsibility to ASK.

The issue is — There is a price to be paid. Are we willing to participate in the payment of the price (commerce), or do we expect something for nothing (sacrifice)?

As for me, I’ll continue to engage in commerce and sacrifice.

I will choose, though, which it is.

In The Game

There is only one way to, really, learn anything — and, that is: hands-on.

It is impossible for the mind to forget what the hands have learned.

Why, then, do we believe someone else has the answers to our questions? And, why do we defer our good judgment to others?

We Are Unique

No one else has our combination of Heredity and Environment. Only we, individually, can encourage our growth.

To do that, it is imperative we get — and, stay — in the game.

Do you know the difference between an Amateur and a Professional? Well, the Amateur practices until they can do something right — the Professional practices until it is impossible for them to do anything wrong.

In fact, the Professional, always, practices. Why?

Amateur vs. Professional

1.) Talk is cheap. Knowing something and doing it are two, entirely, different approaches. Those who can: practice — those who can’t: preach. Those who spin their stories of yesterday will be left in the dust of those who are getting it done, today. What got us here will not take us to where we need to go. The principle is, “A little less talk and a lot more action.” Amateurs will tell you how to do something — Professionals will show you.

2.) No pain — No gain. Easy is hard — Hard is easy. Shortcuts are the surest way to oblivion. There is an order to the Universe. It is obvious when we acknowledge that every worthwhile endeavor begins with a rock-solid foundation. The beginning of every construction project is ugly — it starts with an excavation, a hole in the ground. It requires a whole lot of digging and pounding. Amateurs want the glory of a finish — Professionals seek to serve from beginning to end.

3.) Pink elephants are absurd. Any single negative in an equation forces a negative result. When told, “Don’t think about pink elephants,” what do we do? Bad habits die hard. They don’t go of their own volition — a stake must be driven through the heart of the beast. That stake is sustained, positive, decisive, and committed actions toward the new desire. Mastery of the self is an artistic expression. Amateurs are tethered to the past — Professionals use that vine to swing into the future.

Those who claim to know it all — and, therefore, take it upon themselves to think that they know what is best for us — are dangerous. Arrogance and ignorance are a volatile combination. Regardless of what someone might know up to this present moment, there is always the opportunity to learn more. If… they stay in the game.

The Game

The game always changes. It is the only constant in life. Those on the sidelines are stuck — frozen in that moment of time — when they chose to stop there. Those on the court continue to learn, to get better, to improve, to innovate, and to grow as individuals and teammates. They do common things in uncommon ways — they take the scientific to an art form.

All, because of their love for the game — of Life!

Better Business Plan

Blueprint For Success

A seasoned carpenter shared this secret to success: “You must begin — and, begin again.”

For the dreamers among us, the question is: “Where do I begin?”

The purpose of this article is to provide the parameters for a quick analysis of an idea to determine its possibility, and probability, of actionable success. As with any legitimate construction project, we build it on paper, first.

This is our blueprint.

Considerations

Owner Compensation
The concept of beginning here is novel for a Business Plan. Yet, this number will keep our attitude right and provide the Retained Earnings for business expansion. Success principle — Begin with the End in Mind.

Debt Service
Unless adequate funds are available for startup, the early years will include a Banker for a partner. The goal is to buy them out quickly to retain their share of profits, which are paid by our business as Interest.

Taxes
Self-employment, Federal income, and State income taxes must be paid timely. Because of severe penalties (plus interest) for non-compliance, governmental entities are terrible sources of financing.

Overhead
This is the delivery system for providing value to the marketplace. It is everything from the storefront brick-and-mortar (or online presence) to all indirect expenses. It is the price we pay to have a Company.

Direct Costs
Each project and customer will want, and need, something different. The flexibility to “Wow!” them requires additional expenditures. For construction projects, this includes Materials.

Productive Units
All of the above is accomplished by understanding the finite number of units available for distribution. For service enterprises, this will be a reservoir of Hours; for a products company, this will be the capacity of the Shop; and, for an inventory business, this will be the Goods.

Guidance

Formulas:

Net Income = (Owner + Banker) / (100% – Tax Rate)
Value to Customers = Net Income + Overhead
Sales Price = Value to Customers + Direct Costs

Example Variables:

Owner Compensation: $80,000 ~ [For the Family, after taxes]
Debt Service: $40,000 ~ [Loans of $200,000, with 5 Year maturity]
Tax Rate: 40% ~ [S/E 15.3%, FD 20%, ST 4.7%]
Overhead: $144,000 ~ [Ads, Insurance, Rent, Utilities, Etc.]

Solution:

(Owner $80,000 + Banker $40,000) / (100% – 40% Tax Rate)
Is same as: $120,000 / .60 = $200,000 Net Income
$200,000 Net Income + $144,000 Overhead = $344,000 Value

For those providing Services to the marketplace, the final step is to divide Productive Units into the Customer Value. Full-time employment is 2,000 hours per year. Entrepreneurs will work much more than that — with only a percentage actually billable to Customers.

If our Startup Enterprise team can be 86% productive (after allowance for duties of internal and external management) each Employee has an annual reservoir of 1,720 billable hours.

$344,000 Value to Customers / 1,720 Hours = $200 per Hour: Price for Value

Those providing Products, or Inventory, for sale to customers, will factor in the Direct Costs. In fact, they will consider the number of meals (if a restaurant), or suits (if a boutique), as their Productive Units and establish their Pricing, accordingly.

Purpose

Now, step apart from the crowd and consider the most important variable of all:

“What is my passion – the one unique thing about me – for which the world waits?”

The rest of the story from our successful builder, quoted at the beginning of this article, “Find something you love to do and do a lot of it.”

If we are able and willing to tap into that passion and grasp the foundational principles of a Blueprint, we are simply minutes away from A Better Business Plan — and, a new beginning!