Pure Genius

The definition of genius by Albert Einstein is more apt today than then.

Genius is making complex ideas simple.

Genius - Complex To Simple

Technology is adding complexity to our existence exponentially at warp speed. However, recent encounters with the architects of some of that brilliance have reminded me of another Einstein gem.

If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.

And, that my friends, brings us to the opportunity du jour. When technicians want to hide behind their dysfunctional “code” and make excuses, the time has come to examine that stinkin’ thinkin’.

Yes, or No

Genius Explain It Simply

The “problem” (opportunity in disguise) that we face are those individuals who believe there are three choices to any situation:

  • Yes
  • No
  • Maybe

However, the Universe and computer Code doesn’t work that way. It simply obeys the progression of an event through two channels: (Choices) Yes, or No — (Numerals) 0, or 1

There is absolutely no wiggle room of:

  • Try
  • Maybe
  • Someday

Does the Serenity Prayer come to mind?

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Yes, life is really that simple:

  • Fix
  • Not

The absolute beauty of this inherent Universal Principle is we have a guarantee to move forward through life — without the fear of going in circles, round-and-round the Mulberry Bush.

Genius

Genius comes from the Latin word of the same name, meaning “guardian deity or spirit which watches over each person from birth” or “innate ability.”

Genius - A Creative Wizardry

We are all — each and every one of us — a genius. We are unique to the Universe, one-of-a-kind, broke-the-mold, temporary as a snowflake, beautiful in design, a creation engineered to be able to deliver that “wizardry” of creative value to everyone in our sphere of influence.

Action requires that we are able and willing. So, the only question remaining, “Will we — make the complex simple?”

Pure Genius

I believe we will — if we apply “pure” genius, which is Love.

“What’s love got to do with it?!”

Everything — because, it’s hard to always clearly state our intent and, then, commit our actions to a life of Yes, or No. So much easier is the way of Try, Maybe, and Someday.

Love, the greatest gift, is a chosen, purposeful effort — often done in the face of fear — to nurture our own growth and the growth of others.

Every moment of every day, we must decide whether an action will benefit:

  • Me
  • You

For the narcissists among us, their choice is easy — they always choose ME. For the rest of us, we struggle to believe — it is more blessed to give than to receive.

More times than not, though, we remember Karma is 100% accurate in delivering what is earned — and we do the right thing. We think, plan, and do — while considering what is best for YOU.

I wish you well in your wizardry — and I am available to enlighten, empower, and encourage. It’s the pure genius of our thoughts, planning, and actions which will provide the way for all to enjoy heaven on earth.

Genius Has Its Limits

Lucky

Recently, someone frustrated with their life blurted, “You’re so lucky!”

I almost responded with, “Those who work the hardest are the luckiest.”

Instead, I simply replied with, “Yes, but if you only knew my story, you might think differently.” I went on to mention, “You’ve heard the proverbial theory of gathering people around a table to share their problems. After looking around the table, everyone grabs back their own.”

She replied with, “I’m so envious of you. You’ve been in love, got married, had children, and enjoyed success in business. My mother has used you as an example of who I should be.”

That individual was consumed with the drama of their existence and was not interested in my Story. So, I’ll share it with you.

Believing Is Seeing

Yes, that’s a word play on the old expression, “Seeing is believing.” However, our eyes can deceive us — or, maybe, better stated, “We can believe in what isn’t there if deception, or preconception, is involved.”

Magic has taken deception to an art form. “Smoke and Mirrors” is a common phrase to describe the sleight of hand. Even in the realm of professionals, we have lawyers doing the same thing in a courtroom.

Societal propaganda has taken preconception to the realm of fantasy. According to the 24/7 bombardment, the rich and famous are the ideal. The agenda to be a celebrity has trampled on the concept of freedom to choose.

On the other hand, “Believing Is Seeing” encapsulates the worldview of making the best of every situation. Even though there may be no evidence of goodness, every opportunity has seeds necessary for our new learning.

Research

Speaking of evidence, research has documented the skills of lucky people. Richard Wiseman, the Professor of Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, in the United Kingdom, discovered four main principles:

  • maximizing chance opportunities
  • listening to your intuition
  • expecting good fortune
  • turning bad luck to good

Strategies employed to increase – by 80% – the happiness and luck of ordinary people are:

  • meditation to enhance intuition
  • relaxation
  • visualizing good fortune
  • talking to at least one new person every week

As the good professor explains, “That’s why lucky people appear to have an uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time and enjoy more than their fair share of lucky breaks.”

Third Grade

I needed eyeglasses in the third grade to see the chalkboard at the front of the classroom and got them as a sophomore in high school. Texas was funny that way — they wanted me to see the highway when I was taking Driver’s Education.

The reason I can remember the third grade is that was the first time I brought home anything other than A’s on my report cards. I’m pretty sure those two B’s would only have been deserving of a reprimand from my mother. That C, however, was cause for a “Come to Jesus” session, with her.

It was so bad, I, to this day, vividly, remember going into our small bathroom at Big Timber, kneeling down, and asking God for His help. I was going to need it — I couldn’t see the chalkboard, and I didn’t know what to do.

I remember praying for wisdom. Solomon was a hero of mine. I figured if it worked for him, it might work for me. Sure enough — all A’s from that point forward.

Seeds of Opportunity: I learned to listen and discovered the benefit of having a “friend” in a very High Place.

Moving All Over Creation

Those six years of grade school at Big Timber, Montana, was the longest period of time at any one school. Dad worked on ranches owned by Trust Fund Babies. As a result, after he had been used and abused, when he was no longer part of their grand plan, we were asked to leave.

Within a month of starting first grade at Lavina, we were on the move to a ranch at Big Timber, MT. We were there for six years. Then, we began an adventure in the foreign country of East Texas. It was a four-year stint of horizon broadening.

My junior year of high school provided the opportunity to be the new kid on three different playgrounds: Long View, TX; New Underwood, SD; and, Lavina, MT. Since I graduated from high school at Lavina, I can proudly proclaim that I started and finished school there.

Seeds of Opportunity: I learned to be the new kid on a playground and still have friends scattered coast-to-coast.

Cowboy Dreams

All of those years of good grades resulted in a full-ride four-year scholarship to any university in Montana. I turned that down to pursue my dream of being a cowboy.

Fifteen months later, I knew I didn’t have the same love of horses and cows as my dad. Although, those years of living the notion, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” came in handy. This poor kid had a new dream of going to college.

In the course of managing my fledgling business as a twenty-something entrepreneur, the counsel of an older client friend cut short my whining. He exclaimed, “Kim, your problem is not that you were born poor. Your problem is that you were born with ambition. Many are born poor and stay that way. You want something else.”

Seeds of Opportunity: I learned to never, ever look a gift horse in the mouth and to appreciate the investment to earn an education.

The CPA Exam

Having started work for a CPA firm in the middle of my junior year of college, I thought, “How hard can it be to pass that silly CPA exam? I’m educated and experienced — that ought to be enough.” Wrong!

After two years and four attempts, the victory was mine. So, naturally, I believed those Partners of the CPA firm, for whom I still worked, that they would honor their promise to consider me as a partner. Wrong!

For four years, I had made them lots of money and opened a satellite office. So, in their mind and stated opinion, “Let’s keep the relationship as it is and you can keep on doing what you’ve always done.” Wrong!

My dream had been and was even more vividly clear — I was going to be my own Boss and serve the agricultural community in a better way than they ever imagined.

Seeds of Opportunity: I learned to be a good employee (and a better employer) and the importance of believing in Dreams. 

Husband and Father

For twenty-four years, the Community viewed us as the perfect couple — and then eventually the perfect family. Having “found” a Higher Power in the third-grade, those vows, “Til death do us part” meant something to me.

Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?” whether love was ever a reciprocal emotion. I had conceived, believed, and achieved a Family unit, so as for my worldview — yes, love was offered to wife and children.

Added to the mix of responsibilities during this season of life was the role of “Good Son” providing a retirement for parents, who because of fate and hate (of savings) found themselves without the support of the Cult.

Seeds of Opportunity: I learned to give without expecting anything in return and developed empathy for those abused by narcissists.

Comfortable Rut

Contrary to the Country song, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Hard work and “good luck” found me comfortable in a rut — which, by the way, the definition is: a grave with the ends kicked out.

I’ve always believed we travel through life on the two legs of Family and Work. Family gives purpose to our Work — Work provides opportunities for our Family.

After the divorce, one leg was crippled — so, I hopped… and hopped, for thirteen years, until my birthday, October 26, 2015. I was sixty years old and burned out — sick to death of Tax Returns and third-generation Juniors.

For 35+ years, I had helped Grandpa build his little empire, which he turned over to Dad (my generation) to maintain (work of a janitor), which then showed up on a silver platter for little third-generation Junior to waste.

Junior was born on third-base and will lie to convince you that he hit a home run. Arrogance and ignorance are a volatile mixture — when thrown in the face of education and experience.

Seeds of Opportunity: I learned what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger and giving IT all away provides a path to true freedom.

One Lucky Guy

So, she’s absolutely right — I am one lucky guy. My journey is not much different than your own, or hers. The only possible difference is I have chosen to make the best of whatever the situation.

Although trained in probabilities as a CPA, my mind is open to the possibilities of good fortune — Seeds of Opportunity.

Grab Another Plate

Having just returned from the QuickBooks Connect technology conference in San Jose, CA, I am more mindful of possibilities.

As a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), I was trained in probabilities — however, life is best encountered and enjoyed in the realm of possibilities.

At any conference, many times we learn as much outside the formal sessions as we do sitting in them. A presenter’s opinion is relevant to a specific topic — yet, the surprises usually come at the lunch table.

For our physical nourishment, yes, the provisions were spectacular. Even better were the conversations, which offered food for thought — to stimulate mind, heart, and soul.

Grab Another Plate - Feast

Two Sets of Seven

Two sentences of seven words each are the Alpha and Omega of Success.

  • All We Do Begins With A Thought
  • Start With Nothing and Build Something Special

The in-between journey is a multi-faceted Story, requiring a step-by-step and brick-by-brick endeavor. Many are the whiners and few are the shiners. Because, it is easier to complain about what is wrong, rather than create the opportunities leading to a life of our dreams — Heaven on Earth.

Every single one of us will experience the spectrum of life — ups and downs, highs and lows, triumphs and defeats. We all wake up to the same world each morning. The difference is in what we do with the 24 hours.

The secret to pushing through all events and past the naysayers we encounter each day are these two acronyms — ATM GAP.

At That Moment — Grab Another Plate

Challenges

Moving along through the buffet line of life, we have two choices — take what is offered, or move on past. Moment by moment we make decisions, which determine what accumulates on our plates.

If we forgo an item of opportunity, we might never see it again. However, if we choose unwisely, we have burdened our plate with something unsavory.

Those people who complain about a plate of scarcity let opportunities slip by. Those people who complain about a plate of undesirables chose those brussels sprouts — which, now, take up space and crowd out the desserts.

In the vernacular, we might classify the above actions, or lack of action, as “mistakes” (mis-takes). We simply mistook an item unfit for consumption, or we didn’t take an opportunity available to us.

Grab Another Plate - Colors

Beyond the things that we do to ourselves are these four challenges, which confront us all — and the plates in our hands.

  • Theft
  • Betrayal
  • Benevolence
  • Fate

We can have the most beautifully constructed mobile feast and, then, someone decides they will take what is ours. Let them have it — ATM GAP.

At That Moment — Grab Another Plate

We can carefully select the choicest of morsels, with the intent of sharing them and, then, someone stabs us in the back. Let them have it — ATM GAP.

At That Moment — Grab Another Plate

We can prepare and look forward to enjoying the goodness on our plate to, then, discover a poor unfortunate soul. Let them have it — ATM GAP.

At That Moment — Grab Another Plate

We can diligently harvest the banquet table to, then, be surprised when our plate bends, or breaks. Let the hand of Fate have it — ATM GAP.

At That Moment — Grab Another Plate

Banquet of Life

The richest individual is not the one with the greatest wealth — it is the person most happy with what they have.

Yes, we all enjoy the proverbial Thanksgiving feast of abundance. Yet, there are times when the horn of plenty is less than full. It, really, doesn’t matter — if we focus on what is.

In the darkest of hours, there is always a glimmer of hope — and in the most trying of times, there are seeds of opportunity.

Success is a State of Mind.

Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.

Napoleon Hill

So, my friends, when misfortune has overtaken you, or you have become burdened by your choices, please, remember ATM GAP.

At Those Moments — bridge the gap of disappointment, take a leap of faith, and — Grab Another Plate.

Leverage or Lifestyle

Notorious for bragging about their lifestyle are the Montana ranchers — while they use the leverage of debt as a crutch to hobble down to oblivion.

There is a better way.

Million or Penny a Day?

What would you rather have — a million dollars, today, or a penny doubled for a month?

A Penny Doubled

Your answer will be an academic letter grade of your comprehension of the magical concept of “compounding” — either a grade of A (passing) or F (failing). The good news, today, is you’ve discovered this presentation — and can save (literally) yourself millions of dollars in Interest (expense).

You can enjoy fancy trips with your Family — rather than financing those vacations for your neighborhood Banker.

I hope you said, “Give me that penny doubled for thirty-one days.” Because that answer is worth an additional amount of $9,737,418.24.

“How can that be?!” you ask.

“Compounding,” I reply.

Now, that you know the most important aspect of this financial principle, “What will you do?”

Good Debt & Bad Debt

Okay, this is a little like Good Cop — Bad Cop. Insomuch that we can only really appreciate the good after experiencing the bad. Odds are good that everyone has done “it” in our Twenty’s — enjoyed using a Credit Card until the Bill came.

Then, we stared at that Total wondering, “How the heck can all those little amounts add up to such a big one?!” In the world of Finance, that big Total is known as the Principal.

Now, the fun begins (for the Bankers) — because for every dollar of Principal, from the beginning of that original thought, “I just can’t live without…” and a swipe of the plastic, Interest is calculated. The challenge then becomes, “How fast can we pay that Debt back?”

If the swipe of that Credit Card was to purchase something which made YOU more productive, that is Good Debt. If, however, you simply caved into fleshly desires and temptations, then, you have experienced Bad Debt.

And — all Debt is worse than Income Taxes. Interest accrues from the moment of indebtedness until payment is made. Year after year Bankers are like predators circling a carcass — they will demand their Interest be paid in good years and bad. We only pay Income Taxes in the good years.

History Lessons

Those who refuse to learn from History are forced to repeat it. That, my friends, is another Universal Principle — we will keep getting opportunities to learn until we understand the lesson inherent in the experience.

For an entire generation, we have been sold a Bill of Goods known widely as Quantitative Easing. That’s a fancy term for Free Money. And, oh how the Bankers have pushed that money at People. Maybe, even you. Did you take it? Because if you did, YOU need (and want) a Plan to get rid of that Debt.

Leverage or Lifestyle

“Why?!” you plaintively ask.

“Because I have vivid memories of a 19% interest rate in 1985,” is my reply.

The interest rate on Home mortgages for us twenty-somethings was 15%.

What’s the difference between 5% and 15%?

You’ll find it hard to believe — but, here’s the reality. And, I can explain it a couple different ways. First we’ll start with the Monthly payment on a modest house of $250,000 in today’s Billings, Montana, real estate market. Then, we’ll take a look at what Rates do to Prices.

The only two resources available to human kind are Time and Money. As we consider the investment of these resources, we also need to know Rate of return — Risk, or Reward. Before this current generation of “creative economics” and “funny money,” historically, interest Rates are a measurement of Risk. Does the phrase Credit Score come to mind?

Knowing the Principal, Term Certain, and Interest Rate we are ready to examine some Examples of a typical young couple in love — with their first house.

Examples

$250,000 at 5% for 20 years — Monthly Payment is $1,649.89. (CLICK)

$250,000 at 15% for 20 years — Monthly Payment is $3,291.97. (CLICK)

But, you exclaim, “We can only afford $1,649.89 per month!”

Okay, let’s see what that does to the Price of houses on the Market.

$125,296.40 at 15% for 20 years — Monthly Payment is $1,649.89. (CLICK)

So, if you have invested blood, sweat, and tears into Home ownership, then, be happy to live in your current home for many years, be ready to have a negative equity position for many years, or have a Plan to become debt free.

This societal notion of “free money” does not work — being “debt free” is a goal worthy of your Time and Money.

Bankers

I hope you noticed the total amount of Interest paid over the life of the loan for that $250,000 home, for a period of 20 years (please, review the last page of the Amortization Schedules).

$250,000 at 5% for 20 years — Interest paid by you is $145,973.60. (CLICK)

$250,000 at 15% for 20 years — Interest paid by you is $540,172.80. (CLICK)

Yes, that’s right — and we older kids did it — pay for that beautiful Home three times: once for Principal and twice for Interest.

Now, we made this better with 15-years of payments. $379,814.60 (CLICK)

Or, much worse (by advice of Bankers) with 30-years. $887,999.60 (CLICK)

So, it is possible to help ourselves and take fancy trips with our Families, to the tune of $160,358.20*, by paying $207.00** more per month.
[*$540,072.80 – 379,814.60 and **$3,498.97 – 3,291.97]

Or, if you are bound and determined to let a Banker do your thinking, you will pay an additional $347,826.80*, by “saving” $130.86 per month.
[*$887,999.60 – 540,172.80 and **$3,291.97 – 3,161.11]

I beg of you, please, “Do your own thinking!”

Help Yourself

When interest rates are 15%, the average Citizen cannot afford $250,000 houses. The price will come down to something in the neighborhood of $85,000 to $125,000.

Because this is another Universal Principle — there is an inverse relationship between Interest Rates and the Price of what Debt purchases.

The magical thing about numbers is they are proportional — 1/3 of $250,000 is $83,333.33 and a monthly payment of $1,097.32 [$3,291.97 / 3]. (CLICK)

Wherever you find yourself on the spectrum of debt, use these examples to make decisions, today, to help yourself in Building Your Dynamic Future.

Will interest rates go all the way back up to 15%?

I don’t know, for sure — but having lived through Mortgage rates of 15% and having paid Business loan rates of 19%, I’ll offer this, “They did it before — and it is possible for them (Bankers) to do it, again.”

In the “olden days” there were two purchase options to prevent people from becoming indebted: Savings and Layaway. Yes, it is possible to stay in vogue with societal trends by saving for the purchase of a consumable — or by placing the item out of sight and out of mind, with the Merchant, while making monthly payments (of Principal only) to acquire it.

Leverage

Debt is (AKA) also known as leverage.

Leverage or Lifestyle - Pry

The reason “why” is that debt will let us “pry” our way into deals bigger than what we are capable of doing on our own — from the Cash in our own back pocket.

Again, if we are using Good Debt for a good reason — to become more productive in life and business — then, we will create new wealth.

Remember, though, a debt must be paid back with after-tax dollars. For those in a 40% Income Tax Bracket, this means they pay back debt with 60 cent dollars.

In other words to pay back $1,000 of debt, they need to earn Wages or Profit of $1,666.67 [solution: $1,000 / .60] and they will pay $666.67 in Taxes [solution: $1,666.67 x .40] to, then, have $1,000 to pay back the Banker plus the market rate of interest (Prime + Banker Profit).

Debt is (via Bankers) a cruel taskmaster — you will be a slave to a Banker.

Lifestyle

Remember my story about the Montana ranchers?

For 35+ years, I’ve teased them about their lifestyle.

“I’m sure glad you didn’t waltz in here with your crowbar,” I’ll say.

Puzzled, perplexed, and border-line offended they respond with, “What do you mean?!”

“Well,” I’ll continue, “When you encounter a big rock at the bottom of a posthole, you go to the toolshed and get the crowbar. You leverage the rock out of the hole and, then, put the crowbar back where it belongs — away in the toolshed.”

“Why, then, do you believe living in constant fear of having all your stuff repossessed is good for you?”

I have yet to receive a positive answer to that question. I’ve listened to them swear a blue streak of profanity — at me and the world. But, there have been very few Debtors change their beliefs and actions.

Sad, because I’ve watched good people lose farms, ranches, and mainstreet businesses — simply because they refused to hear and use Common Sense.

If you want a new, debt-free, lifestyle, contact me and we’ll take the steps forward to building a bright dynamic future for YOU — and your Family.

Leadership

Money does not a leadership problem fix.

In fact, a problem is simply an opportunity in disguise.

We grow — when confronted with the impossible. It is that defining moment of decision. Many will quit. A few will do what others say can’t be done.

Leaders

Leaders will accomplish what has never been attempted, before.

Those who do are the leaders among us. Those who talk are not necessarily the followers. Talk is cheap and those who blather, generally, complain about all of their problems. Unknowingly and unwittingly, they are complaining about themselves.

For the entirety of human existence, the accumulation of wealth has been the measure of empires. The Golden Rule has been disenfranchised into a barbaric slogan, “Those who have the Gold make the Rules.”

Rules and regulations do not an Empire make. In fact, Empires come and go — because, their leaders abdicate the responsibility to set an example. We — the People — learn by doing.

Passion

Leadership is not a cult-like mission of forcing others into compliance. Leadership is a deep-felt passion of guiding everyone to the best individual choices.

Say what?! Doesn’t a leader, by default, need followers?

For a moment, forget about following and let’s focus on leading. Leaders believe in the power of one. They understand life is best experienced from the inside, out. They are true to themselves, by constantly improving the character at their core.

Leaders make absolutely sure they have much to give. What they offer to the whole wide world is the Three-E Formula to Enlighten, Empower, and Encourage.

Enlighten

We don’t know what we don’t know. Leaders share the best of what they have learned with all who are accepting. The story of their journey is the inspiration for broadened horizons and myriad options of choice. Leaders communicate their saga — and, they color that vision of abundance with broad strokes and vivid detail.

Empower

Knowing what to do and doing it are two, entirely, different things. Leaders offer the tools to build something special. We all want and need something different. Leaders are the ultimate teachers through explanation and demonstration, then asking for imitation, offering correction, and expecting repetition.

Encourage

The best teachers have humbly learned from the School of Hard Knocks. They can share many lessons learned the hard way and know, for an absolute fact, their Students need a few of the same experiences. Leaders patiently wait for new lessons to be learned, all the while supporting that effort.

The Legacy

True leaders always have a following. Hundreds, maybe even many thousands, are watching the silent example of their heroes. Actions speak so much louder than words. A life of sterling character generously offered to others — through consistent choices to build mutually beneficial dynamic relationships — is the legacy of leaders.

The choice is free, for us to make.

The results are priceless, for future generations.

Let’s accept the challenge of leadership.

Pet Dragon

The Stuff of Fairy Tales

Well, I did it again.

After listening to the fears, concerns, and apprehensions of a woman whining about the dangers before her, I rode in on my white horse – with sword in hand – and stuck that fire-breathing beast. He tipped right over into a heap of problem solved.

And, then, oh, wow! — the ship hit the sand.

Come to find out, that was her Pet Dragon.

Once upon a time…

My Proposal

I’ve been thinking.

Rather than I charge you a Price for Value — how ’bout we just exchange Value.

On the horizon, I can see opportunities requiring more of a Process focus: QuickBooks, Bill.com, TSheets, Applications (etc.) — worthy Projects for which I do not want the responsibility.

And, if you have opportunities for People coaching, consulting, etc. for whom you might want help — I am interested in assisting YOU. (Because my new focus and purpose is: POP)

So, as Time marches forward, maybe, we can be available Resources — for each other.

In the interim, we can connect remotely and set the parameters for a mutually beneficial professional relationship.

What are your Thoughts?

Her Response (Word-for-Word, I Kid You Not)

Hey Kim

I think I would like to pay you for your services – at least initially until we get better acquainted with our skill sets and what we desire to do. I am just getting my feet back under me this week – having been out all week last week. But I’ve been thinking about our conversation and how we might work together. I feel like I don’t have many answers in that regard. Would a standing Thursday 9 a.m., 1-2 hour meeting work for you? I’m thinking every other week as opposed to every week and if that were the case, probably 2 hours would be better than one. That being said, I could do this Thursday but not next. Then if I just get it on the calendar, I should be able to make that work.

Do you think you could guide me through working on value pricing/niche development within my business and learning to focus on the types of things you focus on, i.e., helping people get what they want, POP, value as opposed to compliance work? I’m asking if you feel this is skill set you have an could help me work on modeling my business more appropriately. If you feel this is a conflict – as we’re trying to “work in the same space” – I totally can understand that. However, I think there is enough work to go around – but appreciate your thoughts as well.

I have expertise on the QuickBooks side and integrations, etc., for sure and don’t know that I want to give that up. Maybe that’s where my niche is to focus. Maybe Carla Caldwell – gal I told you about who does what I’m asking you to do – is my coach, but you help guide me through organizing all this. I’m sort of lost when I think about all of it.

You asked me to price the service you’d provide. I will be brave and throw out a number. I was thinking $200 for a 2 hour session is too low and $400 seems to high. Maybe we’re in the middle at $300 for each 1-2 hour session? Not committing to 2 full hours – just what we need that time to get our work done?

Thanks Kim. Talk to you soon!

Silly Me

Excellent!

Yes — I accept your Proposal.

This is my Understanding:
• You will pay for my Coaching and Consulting Services.
• We will connect every-other Thursday, at 9:00 AM, for no more than 2 Hours.
• We will begin each remote Coaching and Consulting Session with your Thoughts and Questions.
• My focus will be on sharing concepts relative to Value Pricing, Psychology of Coaching, and Practical Application to Your Niche.
• We are not Competitors — We will Complement one another.
• After all, it is impossible to be competitors — because, we are unique Artists and one-of-a-kind Value Creators.
• For those individuals seeking QuickBooks type processes, with accompanying App integrations, I will provide an introduction to You.
• I will establish a Google Drive portal for the sharing of Resources — which will assist in keeping us Organized.
• I will prepare — and, submit for your approval — a Contract for Coaching and Consulting Services.
• Acceptance of the Coaching and Consulting Contract will be accomplished by the payment of a $100 ‘Commitment’ Fee.
• The fee for my Coaching and Consulting Services will be $300 per Session.

To prepare for our first remote Session, tomorrow, Thursday, August 9th, at 9:00 AM, I suggest the following:
• Read the article: I AM — do the exercise of finishing the I am… Statement — and, be ready to Share with me.
• From your Thoughts and Questions list, pick one item of greatest importance to You — and, be ready to Share with me.
• To select that first item, You might find it beneficial to choose an issue, which you know will ‘feel good’ — as you take the First Step toward your desired Goals.

Acceptance of the Coaching and Consulting Contract will be accomplished by making an Online Payment from the QBO Invoice that I will transmit to You.

If any questions, or concerns, please, contact me immediately.

Seen One — Seen ’em All

We’ve all seen a Contract. Every professional has their boilerplate version. I had to revamp my four pages to fit the parameters of a $300 Coaching Session. I will confess, this whole episode was beginning to feel odd. I was going along to get along. Yet, the intent was pure — this was a ‘friend’ whom I wanted to help.

As the reader of this comedic drama, all of your warning bells, sirens, and whistles are probably going off right about now. Me, at this point, I’m still clueless.

Except, I took great care to make the money part of the Contact crystal clear.

YOU are committing to pay SAGETALK

a one time non-refundable sum of $100 + payments of $300
per 2-Hour Sessions for access to – and use of – the SAGETALK Program.
The first $300 payment will be due upon receipt by YOU of a QBO Invoice.

Yes, I know, “Communication is what the listener does.” But, I had given this my best effort.

Session Number 1

We had fun!

Two hours of non-stop banter, questions, stories, teasing — and, otherwise good-natured fun. Or, anyways, as much FUN as two CPAs can muster.

And, yes, we did a LOT of great work, too.

Confusion

Prior to our first session, the Contract and Invoice for $100 (the Commitment fee) had been emailed and Payment received. As promised, after the Session, I emailed a QuickBooks Online invoice for $300.

This was her response (Word-for-Word, I Kid You Not):

Hi Kim
I paid this. I didn’t realize that the $100 was over and above the $300 per session. I thought the $100 was just an I’m serious about this and want to get started. I thought this invoice might be for $200. Thoughts are appreciated. Thank you. (Maybe I didn’t read well enough!)

Maybe

Those people, who refuse to make a decision, end up high-centering on the fork-in-the-road. Look at the word closer: ma-Y-be.

See the fork-in-the-road? The people who are fond of maybe are reluctant to choose — left, or right, at Oak Street.

To encourage us, always, to make a decision, look at ma-Y-be, again.

Ma = Cry Baby
Be = A Creator
Y = Choose to Be

Lesson Learned

My original mistake was giving up on my sincere premise of giving to a Friend. At the moment money was involved — Price for Services — there was a business transaction and professional relationship.

Because of my first mistake, clearly defined expectations were impossible. As a result, there was no possibility, or probability, of success.

What begins twisted ends twisted.

I wanted to share with a Friend —and, a Client simply wanted a business transaction and professional relationship.

So, thank goodness for the Termination Clause:

SAGETALK may terminate this Agreement at any time in its discretion, upon notice to YOU. Paragraph 3.1. below shall survive termination of this Agreement, binding YOU to Confidentiality in perpetuity.

I immediately initiated an online transaction with Wells Fargo for the $400 to be refunded by Paper Check. I had failed to meet her expectations.

Our two hour Tango high-centered on the fork-in-the-road with my acquiescence to follow the lead of someone who does not understand Value Pricing. That’s why she suggested a relationship at the very beginning.

Value Pricing

She asked for an understanding of Value Pricing. For two hours I told her about the concept — yet, I have a process to show, anyone, how it’s done.

• I will deliver Results to exceed your Expectations by (at least) a factor of 3.
• Because I offer a money-back Guarantee, price negotiation is irrelevant.
• I will provide Value (x 3) far beyond whatever Price you decide upon.
• You choose the Price, clearly define Objectives, & set Expectations.
• I will choose the Time, during which we will work Together.

Silly me, I more than bent my own rules — I broke them. There is a better way. I have designed three Steps to prequalify anyone wanting to do Business with me.

Pet Dragon Resolution

There are Questions in each of the three Steps (each more intense than the preceding) testing for Commitment (the exact opposite of her Pet Dragon: NO Commitment.

Why didn’t I lead her through these Steps?

Come to find out, I had a rascally Pet Dragon hiding in my own dang forest: People PLEASER.

He has been dispatched to Dragon heaven.

… and, everyone else lived happily forever, after.

Seeds of Opportunity

When adversity, failure, and heartache are part of my day, the first reaction is not, “Oh, great! What a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow.”

Yet, the definition of opportunity is:

When the situation is right for you to do something you’re interested in doing, you have the opportunity to do it. The word comes from the Latin phrase, ob portum veniens “coming toward a port” which refers to a favorable wind blowing ships into the harbor. Think of an opportunity as something a good wind blew your way.

When problems raise their ugly, fire-breathing, dragon heads, I’d much rather gather up the black balloons, invite some whiners, crawl off into a cave to lick my wounds, and throw a grand ‘Pity Party’ — all for me.

Timeless Principles

Recently, however, I fumbled into an old audiobook download in my Audible library, by Napoleon Hill, of Think and Grow Rich fame. When I use ‘old‘ as an adjective, it’s because the season of his major thoughts and famous books was from the late 1920’s through the late 1930’s.

Although, in keeping with the principle of, “There’s nothing new under the sun,” I’ll mention that the concepts presented by Napoleon Hill are timeless. Read through his biography and notice how many times he, in the eyes of the bystander ‘failed.’ Yet, he — like Thomas Edison — simply, believed he had found one more way that doesn’t work and had discovered a stepping stone to future success.

All of the great Thinkers share this one noble premise, “Success is a State of Mind.”

Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.

Two Very Different Worldviews

I know you’ve heard the story about the two boys on Christmas morning. One boy is taken to the barn by his Dad and surprised with a pony. The young fellow is upset — because, he wanted a motorcycle. The other boy, when the stable door is opened, is greeted by a large pile of sh!t. Excitedly, he jumps right in and announces to his Dad, “Somewhere in this large pile of manure must be a big horse!”

Or, in the words of Napoleon Hill,

Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.

Odds are good our young entrepreneur didn’t find a horse in the dung heap. Yet, his Dad probably commended him for his attitude and effort. And, then, introduced him to a steed beyond the boy’s imagination.

All We Do Begins With A Thought

When we’re confronted by a Problem, can we immediately turn our minds from thinking, “Oh, darn!” — to believing there is a hidden Opportunity?

If we’re struggling a little, we can listen to this encouragement.

Regardless of what you think about Garth Brooks — or, his lifestyle choices — there is undeniably a resonance with the lyrics of that song for each of us.

There have been times in each of our lives when we thought we knew best. Other times, when we asked, “Why me Lord?” And, many times when we endured the laughter of the judgemental enjoying the pain of our mistakes.

One Man’s Mistake Is Another Man’s Harvest

Were they, really, mistakes, or seeds of opportunity?

Think about it. If you’re a gardener, you know seeds are necessary to grow anything. To have a harvest, seeds must be planted and nurtured. It’s a small leap of faith to see that we are given seeds — for our personal growth. What we do with them is our choice.

Speaking of gifts, here’s another thought. If flesh and blood, imperfect specimens of earthly Fathers have an aching desire to give the best to their children, it’s pretty easy to imagine a Higher Power having our best interests at heart.

The Man In The Arena

Speaking of heart, here are the words of a hero, Teddy Roosevelt.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Cold and timid souls will delight when we stumble. They will envy our success — and, the galactically stupid of them will, literally, swear at us, as we offer to help them in their journey.

At the very best, 50% of the world will love us — and, the other 50% not so much. If we boldly share our beliefs and courageously defend them, guaranteed, we will make enemies of those with different beliefs. Because — birds of a feather do flock together.

It is not the end of the world when we face adversity, failure, and heartache. It is, simply, the end of one, very long, bad day.

Framing Is What Builders Do

Because success is a state (or, frame) of mind, all we need to do is ‘re-state‘ — or ‘re-frame‘ — the situation from a Problem to an Opportunity.

And, “No,” this Story is not about defining Success by how much Money can be accumulated in a bank account. Remember, you are a unique creation — and, quite capable of defining Success in your way and on your terms.

Later in the life of Napoleon Hill, he had this to say,

Only by working harmoniously in co-operation with other individuals or groups of individuals and thus creating value and benefit for them will one create sustainable achievement for oneself.

We do that by planting the seeds of opportunity harvested from adversity, failure, and heartache. Then, we tend them with the greatest gift (love), which is a chosen, purposeful effort — often done in the face of fear — to nurture our own growth and the growth of others.

Why and How

The secret to getting things done is to ask, “Who is going to do What by When?”

An even greater mystery to doing the right things is to know, “Why and How!”

There’s a story about a Montana rancher that goes something like this —

Post Turtle

A country doctor is suturing a cut on the hand of a Montana rancher.

Rancher: “At least this hurt comes from building something. Just imagine the pain of a post turtle.”

Doctor: “Oh? What is a post turtle?”

Rancher: “Well, when you’re driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top. That’s a post turtle. You know he didn’t get there by himself; he doesn’t belong there; he can’t get anything done while he’s up there; and, without help to get down, he’s stranded!”

How often do we get stuck?

Pedestals, Ivory Towers, and White Horses

Do we ever consider: “Why?” Is it because we allowed someone to place us on a pedestal, in an ivory tower, or on a white horse? It’s one thing to work hard to earn our place in the world — it’s quite another to be placed somewhere. Even more dangerous than the physical geography is the mental fantasy. It can be our mind playing tricks on us — or, the imaginations of another person projected onto us.

From our earliest memories we are indoctrinated with the propaganda that, to be somebody, we must rise above. Movies, novels and childhood stories revolve around the themes of a princess in an ivory tower attracting the knight in shining armor who gallops in on his trusty white steed.

Joy Is In The Doing

What goes up must come down. Down to the reality that the greatest joys in life are found by serving — not swooning. Life is all about attitude — not altitude. Love is defined as giving — not getting. Let’s all get down, to the business and pleasure of accepting others for who they, really, are — not who we want them to be.

While the grandeur of heights is intoxicating, the grounded efforts of servants produce harvests of abundance. Those who are the greatest, purposefully, take the lowest rank. They are recognized as true leaders by their efforts to serve.

They are the ones who know Why they are here; How they got here; What they are doing here; and, Who have absolutely no fear of falling down. When they stumble, it is to learn a new lesson on their way to another opportunity — of service.

Truth and Consequence

For every cause, there is an effect.

For every pebble, there is a ripple.

For every action, there is a reaction.

For every effort, there is a result.

For every choice, there is a consequence.

The question becomes, “What is Truth?”

In the simplest of terms, “The seed planted yields a harvest in kind.”

Judgment of Others

Don’t do it. Those who do will receive the same. What is given is received. The caveat, though, is not to waste what is precious on an individual who is content with filth.

Goodness is not appreciated by those wallowing in a rut. They will attack anything and everyone representative of a better way.

Effective Requests

Persistence is the secret. To do is to ASK.

Ask to receive — Seek to find — Knock to have the door of opportunity swing wide open. Children know to ask for what they want and need. Parents joyfully respond with good gifts to those requests.

We — older kids — can do the same.

The Golden Rule

“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.”

Narrow Gates

No Pain–No Gain. Easy is Hard–Hard is Easy. Follow the crowd and complain about the destination — or, lead the way and discover new frontiers.

Trees and Fruit

As the twig is bent, so the tree grows. Eventually, though, mature trees are known by what they produce. Good trees produce good fruit. Worthless trees produce nothing. In the same way that trees display their value, people express their worth by what they do.

Actions trump words.

Wise Students

Talk is cheap. Only those who do the homework assignments pass the exams.

Education is the enlightenment to know what to do. Experience is the empowerment to do the right thing. The combination of the two is an encouragement to learn by doing and to have fun learning.

Solid Foundations

Storms will come. Those who listen and do are the equivalent of a home built on a rock. Those who hear and reject are the equivalent of a tent pitched on the sand.

Rock vs. Sand — it’s Obvious which will Stand.

In Summary

Truth is everywhere. It begs and pleads to be discovered. On bended knee, it offers rewards to those who will listen and receive. The journey is not one of passivity — it is one of active engagement.

This courtship requires a, daily, best effort experience in the arena of life to gain an education from the consequences of our choices.

Inspirators

We are well past the Point of No Return and headed into uncharted territory. Literally, all of the graphs and maps of the past are of little value as we navigate into this new frontier of uncertainty and opportunity.

Beyond the time for leaders — this is a time for Inspirators.

Inspirators provide a breath of fresh air while inspiring the next bold Step, forward, to Success.

Each Day We Have A Choice

1.) Give in and give up to Resignation and Despair — or,

2.) Set a course of discovery with Fascination and Curiosity.

Break Down To Build Up

I ~ Ideas, beliefs, and thoughts are the very fuel for the engine of the Inspirator. Not just any old idea will do, either. An Inspirator will collect, process, and file the stories of others until they find one concept that can change the lives of many. They give the rest of their life to make a difference in the lives of many.

N ~ Novel approaches to old problems and new opportunities are the Trademarks of the Inspirator. They refuse to be bound by the insanity of doing the same old things to achieve the same old results. Inspirators break molds to create, heretofore, unknown beauty.

S ~ Singular focus on a target results in a laser-like power to melt away the distractions and objections standing between mediocrity and greatness. Although they are dogged in determination, Inspirators are flexible in philosophy. They adhere to the proven — right up to the moment of innovation.

P ~ Passion is at the core of every breath an Inspirator takes. They inhale the chaos contaminating their world and exhale solutions. First, they listen — then, they generously share in word and deed what is necessary to make a difference. Much more than a desire “To do and die,” theirs is a passion to “Live and guide.”

I ~ Inherent faith, hope, and love of a Power greater than themselves is the catalyst for every successful launch of new endeavors by the Inspirator. They accept the physician’s creed of primum non nocere, (first, to do no harm) as a reminder of physical limitations. Inspirators understand the Latin phrase is “a hallowed expression of hope, intention, humility, and recognition that human acts with good intentions may have unwanted consequences.”

R ~ Radiate one small speck of light and darkness is destroyed. Inspirators understand the premise — from the inside, out. They are conduits of goodness for the benefit of all. They purposefully manage their wake to ensure that the ripples from their actions lift others to the beaches of new opportunities.

A ~ A, B, C’s — always maintain an aura of excitement for the Inspirator. Those simple letters are a reminder of the importance of a strong foundation of Education. They are also the trinity for the Experience of building dynamic relationships. Attitude, Boundaries, and Commitment are the cornerstones of life — because, life is all about the people.

T ~ Teaching, coaching, and mentoring are the ways Inspirators transform the “Why” of their existence into the “How” of guiding others to “What” their students want and need. Theirs is not a one-way street of pompous dictation. Inspirators learn, grow and develop from the feedback, insight and creative challenges of other viewpoints.

O ~ Open to constructive criticism is the greatest attribute of an Inspirator. It will be one of the last character traits accepted and practiced. It is the difference between good and great. Inspirators find optimism is easy — acceptance of negatives is hard. No one enjoys receiving honest suggestions for improvement. Inspirators, eventually, accept the importance of understanding the real impact they have on others.

R ~ Releasing the past, letting go of hurts, and offering forgiveness brings the Inspirator to the present belief, “Right here, right now, it’s great to be alive.” They are enlightened, empowered, and encouraged to manage everything within their control for the express purpose of building bright futures for everyone within their sphere of influence.

S ~ Serving is a present tense — action — verb. It is what Inspirators do. While freely giving of their life in service, Inspirators are not doormats to be used and abused. They know and will defend to their last breath the Universal Principle — giving is the secret to receiving.

Fun Is In The Doing

Those claiming to be “leaders” are a dime-a-dozen. In fact, leadership has become nothing more than a synonym for narcissism. Listen to those touting themselves as leaders and you will hear a chorus of accolades about their own greatness. Pedestals are dangerous — for those on them and for those below.

In fact, life is not about the empires — empires come and go. Life is about the doing — and, the fun is in the doing. Actions speak louder than words and bright lights make, absolutely, no noise.

The difference between leaders and Inspirators is the difference between words and Deeds. Please, tune out the static shrill of self-professing leaders and follow the example of an Inspirator — to become one.

Your life and the lives of many will be positively changed to make a difference in this Universe — and, beyond!

(Originally published on April 9, 2011)