Benevolent Leader

In serving the public for 35+ years as a CPA, I’ve worked with many leaders. Some were wanna-bees; some were dictators; some were regular bosses; very few were benevolent.

The launch of WordPress 5.0 has opened my eyes to understand more about Matt Mullenweg — creator of WordPress and founder of Automattic.

WordPress, “We don’t make software for free, we make it for freedom.”

Automattic, “We are passionate about making the web a better place.”

More Than Meets The Eye

In the realm of Technology and especially in the niche of Design, there is an acronym WYSIWYG — What You See Is What You Get. Matt Mullenweg has taken that to a new level of YEGWYDS — You Even Get What You Don’t See.

Until today, as I’ve done the Google Searches to discover more about this fellow, I had no idea as to his scope, depth, and influence.

What I can do, though, is share my personal experience with a benevolent leader. This story begins in July 2018, when I experienced frustration to the point of having Capital One stop the processing on a credit card purchase.

In my opinion, a company Process was dysfunctional — and, to add insult to injury, I felt that same company was disrespectful to People. As you know, I’m a big believer in POPPeople Over Process.

Well, come to find out, I was preaching to the choir.

Congratulations (In an Email)

Matt,

Congratulations on the very successful launch of WordPress 5.0 — and a tremendous Presentation at WordCamp US 2018.

As you remember, I was frustrated with Automattic because of Jetpack, until out of the blue YOU called. I’m still in awe that a Leader cares so much about those in his Realm to listen and understand.

There was outreach by one of your Employees to work with me to resolve the Jetpack error messages that I was receiving from the Google Mobile-Friendly Test. Silly me — I rejected the offer. My belief and faith in Jetpack and its People had been shaken.

Although, from that moment forward, I noticed a shift in tone. Earlier, my “issue” was not so much a Plugin that didn’t work (for me), it was the disrespect from a representative that turned me off. (HISTORY)

Today, with Jetpack installed, absolutely “no loading issues” — only Success. (CLICK)

Then, more recently was my frustration with Gutenberg and responses I received from Automattic happiness engineers. That was immediately resolved by Gary Pendergast. (HISTORY)

As a Builder, I share the history to document a foundation for my belief that you are Building Something Special. The histories, above, are proof that my experience is much more than a one-off, luck-of-the-draw, random series of events. These are demonstrative facets of purpose, design, and implementation inspired and encouraged by YOU.

Last week, while interviewed in a Podcast, you made a comment about being “a benevolent leader.” We both know it is impossible to “manage by committee.” In the history of all great scientists and artists, there was only one of them. Only when they put beaker to flame, or brush to canvas, did the discoveries and masterpieces appear. That’s the magic of one person with belief in creating Value.

Yesterday, I thought your response to Mr. Blonde Goatee was Sherlock Holmes brilliant, “My dear Watson it’s quite elementary. The interpretation of WE is found in the context of its use.”

Great leaders inspire others to follow. You do that.

Quite often at the completion of a Post composed and published with Gutenberg, I find myself exclaiming, “Wow — I did that!”

That my friend is the sign of a truly great Leader — when those in your sphere of influence say, “We did that ourselves!”

When we say that, it’s because of your Vision and Values.

Thank you for being that kind of Leader.

Best,

Kim

Character Matters

When was the last time you had the CEO of a multi-billion dollar Company call you up to listen to your concerns? I can answer that for me, “Never.” Until one July day, out of the blue, I get a call from Matt Mullenweg.

For me, that memory will be priceless, forever. At the time, I knew something special was happening. Only, today, do I understand a little more about the honor bestowed on me — by a man with humility — a Benevolent Leader.

According to Matt, “This release is named in homage to the pioneering Cuban jazz musician Bebo Valdés.” — WordPress 5.0 “Bebo

Since the phrase “Benevolent Leader” is a mouthful — and probably beyond acceptance in everyday use by Matt — he will affectionately be known to me as “Bene.”

Legacy

In the vernacular of today, legacy has come to be equated with money and the bequest of little empires to heirs. What might surprise you is that the word originally was used to denote an envoy or ambassador.

For those tying their hopes and dreams to material possessions, good luck with that. We’re physical, temporal beings stuck to a spinning orb in the vastness of the universe and history bears record that empires come and go.

So, what is a legacy — and how do we create one?

The answer to the what and how comes immediately after the why.

Passion At The Core

Why do you do what you do?

Short, silly question — yet, an important one. To make it personal for each of us, maybe, this is better phraseology, “What is the passion at the core of everything I do?”

Wrap your arms around the answer and, then, we’re ready to begin creating a legacy.

Two x Seven

Builders know about a board size of 2″ x 6″ and the secret to our success in building a legacy is found in the 2 x 7. Two sentences of seven words, each.

All We Do Begins With A Thought.

Start With Nothing and Build Something Special.

LEGACY

Each letter is one step forward to building something special.

Largess has a reference to the same secondary definition as legacy, “gift, something acquired without compensation.” However, the primary descriptor of largess, “liberality in bestowing gifts; extremely liberal and generous of spirit.”

Education is the key which opens many doors, for ourselves and others. We don’t know what we don’t know — until we open our minds to the vastness of the universe. We learn by doing and the fun is in the doing. So, let’s have fun learning.

Goodness minus an “o” and the “ness” at the end directs our attention to the Source. We are simply the conduits to deliver those heavenly gifts to those in our sphere of influence. And, nobody else can deliver with our individual and unique style.

Action is the prerequisite for results leading to success. Similar to faith without works is stagnation, thoughts without actions are daydreams. A universal principle: people in motion will stay in motion until acted upon by an outside force.

Compassion flows from the Light side of the two forces influencing our thoughts and actions. Darkness is extinguished by a single flicker of Light. For those without hope, a kind word can bring cheer and a loving embrace will end their tears.

Youthfulness is a choice. We are encouraged to be childlike – not childish. The irresponsible are burdens to society. However, we seek to see the world through innocent eyes. We choose to believe in the magic of Fascination and Curiosity.

Changing Lives

Legacy is much more than the genealogy of lineage or the accumulation of stuff. Far beyond the constraints of a single Family, we enjoy the vast opportunity to change lives for the better around the whole wide world.

We do that by making sure we have much to give. And, we do that by building a Legacy. By implementing the LEGACY steps, we will grow and expand our knowledge and resources.

Rather than waiting for someone to tip over someday, we can immediately go to work in focusing on the why, what, and how to serve others. That’s where we experience the real joys — highs and lows — of life.

Beginning & End

As we have discovered, legacy is not something we get — it is the manifestation of what we give. It begins with a thought and ends at the construct of something very specialLOVE.

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.

I wish you well in your creations — and I am available to enlighten, empower, and encourage. I will always be your envoy or ambassador, representing the One who provides for us to enjoy heaven on earth.

Legacy Coach: Kim Foard, CPA

Relentless Pursuit

Begin creating something of value and watch what happens. The dark forces of the Universe and people of that disposition will gather their armies in a relentless pursuit to attack YOU — and your creation.

Why?

Because it’s much easier to destroy than to build. Those individuals who won’t build anything special of their own don’t want you to, either.

The War of Art

One of the best explanations for this phenomenon is offered by author Steven Pressfield in his book The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle.

He describes how the attacks will come from others — as well as from ourselves. Unless we’re afflicted with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder, generally, we feel unworthy to create.

Our thoughts, usually, are, “What do I have to offer to others?”

Then, about the time, we discover our passionate purpose and offer gifts of great value — a new creation never before thought, or done — we will hear the naysayers find fault. Our insecurities take control and we shrink back into our comfortable shell — that comfortable rut (grave with the ends kicked out) and routine of everyday drudgery.

Freedom To Be

As long as we allow our lives to be dictated by the whims of society, we will be living just like everyone else. We will fit in with the masses, or be beaten down into servitude — by those with an agenda for our lives and resources.

Or — we can choose to be free – to be – a creative force in the Universe.

The funny thing about freedom is that it is not free. We must decide who, or what, we will serve. There are really, only, two choices: Good, or Evil; Light, or Darkness; Creation, or Destruction.

Once we have discovered the purpose for our existence, the fun begins.

We learn by doing and the fun is in the doing;
— so, let’s have fun learning.

You might ask, “Learn what?”

My response is, “Everything!”

The more we learn, the more we know;
The more we know, the more we sow;
The more we sow, the more we grow.

Isn’t life grand?!

Stand Guard

Because the attacks on our creations will always come from outside, we must be vigilant to protect the mind, heart, body, and soul.

All we do begins with a thought.

The greatest threat to ourselves and what we choose to create will be the influences we let into our mind. It is impossible to thwart the assault — a thought will penetrate our consciousness. Our response will determine if it has a fertile bed to sprout, mature, and become malignant.

At that moment of consciousness, we can choose to refocus on our purpose — and replace evil with good. The difference is a world of our creation — or, not. We can enjoy Heaven on Earth.

Individual Responsibility

The framers of the United States Declaration of Independence clearly understood the importance of freedom and individual responsibility — to choose and, then, be accountable for the consequences.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

There is no guarantee, or definition, of happiness in that statement.

Each of us — individually — are free to determine what happiness is.

My hope is that YOU will engage with a relentless pursuit — to build something special 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.

Slap It Back

If you think the World is out to get you, you’ll make that come true.

If you believe in making a dent in the World, that’s what you will achieve.

Same YOU and same World. What’s the difference?

Attitude

Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.
~ Henry Ford

It all begins with The Want To.

What do “Y-O-U” want?

If you’re ever in need of a conversation starter, just look right into the eyes of another person and ask this question, “What is the passion at the core of everything you do?”

One of two things is guaranteed to happen: Immediate animation, as the person begins to share that passion with you. Or, a deer-in-the-headlights look, with a really long, awkward, pause, as the individual painfully looks for a way to escape.

Escape from what — their own life?! All we want is to understand what makes them tick — that which empowers them to take a licking and keep on ticking.

Can YOU answer the questions, above, quickly, boldly, and confidently?

The Match

Recently, I was invited to participate in an open-court event. Rarely do I get invited by a beautiful woman to play games, so, naturally, I accepted. As I showed up to play, there were two women on the other side of the net. So, being a guy, I thought, “Double the fun!”

We volleyed back and forth to warm up. Everything was grins and giggles. Then, it’s time to begin. So, naturally, being a guy, I zinged one over the net.

And, that’s when the ship hit the sand…

What is it that YOU want from this email? To point out? To challenge? To encourage the why + what do I want thinking?

Now, my idea of tennis is, “When the ball comes to you, slap it back over.”

Nope, the beautiful one watched her friend catch the ball, study it for defects, and then cheered her for questioning my “intent” behind the serve.

I thought the idea was for us to have fun and improve our game.

Silly me!

My Response

Dumbfounded, I stared at that email wondering, “What the H-E-Double-Toothpicks just happened?” Then, I remembered, “This is just a game. Let’s have some fun with this. So, I grabbed another ball and slapped it on over.

I want nothing — from you. I was “sharing” my thoughts. After clicking Send on the email below, I discovered your recent Upload into our portal, Rohn Guide To Goal Setting. So, I downloaded a Copy, highlighted areas important to me, and uploaded my Copy back into the Portal.

I am pointing out that the theme of Jim is consistent with the diction of Kim.

I am challenging nothing, and nobody, (to a duel, or otherwise). I am stating my beliefs — boldly and confidently.

I am passionately offering my Three-E Formula — Enlighten, Empower, and Encourage — to the whole wide world. You are a beneficiary of that. I know for a fact: Some people will love it — and, others will hate it. That choice is theirs. Either way, I’ll continue to give — my Best.

Because I loved this graphic when I first saw it, I shared it with them, too.

When I Give

Three Types Of Players

There are those who take up space, rigid as a post, frozen in time, and watch the ball dribble right on by. There are others, like the two above, who catch the ball and stop the fun. And, finally, there are those who are determined to improve — themselves, their game, and the other participants.

There’s another way to state (in reverse) the available Options, above.

1.) Do it right ~ Have fun and slap the ball back over the net.
2.) Do it wrong ~ Catch the ball and examine it for defects.
3.) Do nothing ~ Absolute Void – Mother Nature hates that.

So, you see, my experience with the two women could have been worse.

With time to feel their way through the logic of my response, each of them replied graciously — and, the Game continues.

Conduits of Goodness

If you’re ever in need of a conversation starter, just look right into the eyes of another person and ask this question, “What is the passion at the core of everything you do?”

One of two things is guaranteed to happen: Immediate animation, as the person begins to share that passion with you. Or, a deer-in-the-headlights look, with a really long, awkward, pause, as the individual painfully looks for a way to escape.

Escape from what — their own life?! All we want is to understand what makes them tick — that which empowers them to take a licking and keep on ticking.

Boundaries

Recently, I was the beneficiary of these questions from a young man:

How do you set boundaries?

How do you keep your boundaries from being a box that you live in and one that keeps you from fulfilling your potential?

His questions, above, came several days after a conversation, which included me asking him the question, “What is the passion at the core of everything you do?” His response, “I do not know.”

Passion At The Core

Do you, know?

Can each of us answer these questions?

Why do I exist?

How can I make a difference in the lives of others?

What is the best way for delivering my value to the world?

For those who know (and, those who don’t) the answer is, “Become wonderful chunks of conduit — for the goodness from above to flow through us for the benefit of others.”

Wonderful Chunks Of Conduit

You know — conduit: a hollow tube for the transference and protection of something valuable.

Those without a connection to the source of goodness and void of a desire to share are, simply, an empty tube. In other words, they have no purpose and worthless boundaries. Tap on them and they ring hollow. Squeeze them and they collapse into a wrinkled mess.

Yet, imagine conduit connected to streams of living waters — bubbling, high-pressured, and dynamic at the source. At the destination are beneficiaries eagerly waiting to be served.

Service

Service — now, that’s a novel idea — Bended knee, Caring attitude, Humble heart, Patient spirit, Kind mind, Generous soul, and Helping hands. Yes, please.

So, it’s really quite simple to discover the Passion at the core.

Hint: It comes from the Source above.

As for boundaries, the secret is to say, “Yes, please,” to everything that makes us better conduits — and, “No, thanks,” to everything else.

In fact, we have complete freedom to manage our boundaries. Boundaries are, simply, the outside diameter dimensions of our conduit. Individually, we have the right and responsibility to expand them for the benefit of those in our sphere of influence.

In the physical realm of steel conduit, expansion requires cutting, grinding, torching, bending, and welding new pieces into what already exists, to make the core larger. In the emotional, mental, and spiritual realms, the process will feel about the same.

Living Streams

If we have a passion for what flows through us, we are constantly pushing at the boundaries of the Why, How, and What of our existence. In fact, we will be busily learning and growing to become, better, “Conduits — for the goodness from above to flow through us for the benefit of others.”

(Originally Published ~ January 28, 2012)

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.

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)

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.

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!