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.

Trust Fund Babies

I must confess my sin. For more than thirty-five years, as a CPA very good at what I do, I assisted in building little empires.

Having grown up poor, the intent was pure. I wanted those, for whom I served, to have the best that money can buy. What I discovered was that my Grandpa Foard was right, “Too much money will make people go crazy.”

There is never enough money. The more stuff people accumulate — the more unhappy they become. Which then fuels the fire for them chasing after even more of what is making them miserable.

Temper Tantrums

During those 35+ years of doing a great job for the Trust Fund Babies, I noticed something — those were the, only, individuals in the ranks of the thousands of clients I served, who would throw a fit. You know, a good ol’ two-year-old temper tantrum — the aisle blocking, head turning, hushed murmuring, and clerk cringing — type of hissy-fit.

Why did they do it? Because they are spoiled. Clueless to the bone, they are chock full of arrogance and ignorance. If they knew half as much about what they think they know, they’d know twice as much as they really do.

They were born on third base, thinking they hit a triple — and, then, they will lie through their teeth as they try to convince you it was a Home Run.

The Reality

The grandparents, of the Trust Fund Babies, worked hard to build something — special. Then, generally, Mom and Dad were expected to maintain what Grandma and Grandpa built. Unknown to little Junior, as he struggles to deal with what has shown up on his silver platter, he is the Janitor’s son. And, by the time we move to the fourth generation of this Family, everything has reset.

The wealth that Mom and Dad inherited from Grandma and Grandpa was slowly chiseled down in size — because they were playing not to lose, rather than working hard to build something special, of their own. Junior has no idea how the Empire was built (because Grandpa is gone and Dad has neglected to teach) — and, Junior has even less knowledge of how anything operates. If something breaks it remains broken.

So, at the end of the third generation, the Ranch (or, the main-street Business) is on the Auction Block. If by some stroke of luck the remaining wealth passes to the fourth generation, it will soon be squandered. At that moment, a Universal Principle kicks in.

If you want to eat, you must work.

What appeared to be a life of luxury to the poor kids of the world, became an affliction and a limitation for the Trust Fund Babies.

History Repeats

Fifty years ago, as a twelve-year-old kid, I thought it harsh that the mistakes of parents carried over to the children and grandchildren. Why must they suffer for the bad choices their elders made?

I believe it’s because of another one of those darn ol’ Universal Principles. For example, Gravity — it’s real, it’s unseen, and it’s hard to explain. However, it works the same way every time. We can take comfort in that Universal Principle and depend on its consistency. Or, for those who doubt the effectiveness — and, take a flying leap off a tall building — they will learn the hard way.

Personal Note

After those 35+ years of holding the hands and wiping the snotty noses of way too many Juniors, I burned out. After two years, of what I call, “My trip through the desert,” one day, my son, Ryan, had questions. In fact, I remember the day, well — January 11, 2018.

He came to the closed bedroom door, knocked lightly, and said that he had a question. So, I went with him to his office area, stood behind him, as he pulled up a QuickBooks screen and wiggled his mouse over the real estate where his Question resided. I answered that question and went back to the bedroom.

A few minutes, later, another tap on the door and another question. Same song, second verse: I went with him to his office area, stood behind him, as he pulled up a QuickBooks screen and wiggled his mouse over the real estate where his Question resided. I answered that question and went back to the bedroom.

A few minutes later, another tap on the door and another question. Well, by now, I’m thinking, “OK – Ryan has lots of questions. I might as well just stand there with him and answer them all.”

Sure enough, seven hours later, after a review of the mistakes on the two prior years of Tax Returns and detailed Depreciation Schedules prepared by the best CPA Ryan could find, the tumblers of the lock on my mind turned and I realized, “I’m the best — CPA in the Country.”

I’ve heard people talk about being Born Again — and, always, wondered what that was all about. Now, I know. I wasn’t “back” — as Arnold might say. I felt like a brand new person. Later, as I searched for something of which to compare the feeling, the best I can do is, “I feel like I’m in the fourth grade, again!”

Once — and, For All Time

So, why did I recently agree to one more Consulting engagement to provide services for the benefit of a Trust Fund Baby? Answer — Old habits, similar to bad beliefs, die hard.

This particular specimen of a Trust Fund Baby is 75 years old and is still as clueless as he was at age 25 — when Grandpa’s money was used to buy him a Ranch. He was put on the Ranch and offered an opportunity on a silver platter. Now – that I think about it – Junior is just like a Post Turtle.

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!

Junior could not articulate the specific Objectives he wanted me to resolve, he had no idea how to Measure our progress, and he offered little feedback about the Value he was receiving. What begins twisted, ends twisted.

After two months of a six-month commitment to provide services, I had grown tired of being a valet for his ego. I suggested that my “work” was done and he had no further responsibility to honor our Agreement. Junior insisted that I stay — he needed to use me, some more.

However, after four months of enduring his silliness, “Oh, Wow! — did he pop a cork when I asked him, “Why?”

Why do you want to withhold information and keep me in the dark?

The sniveling little pup did a Trump on me, too, while yelling into the phone (so loudly he was cutting out and I asked him to repeat his foul language), “You’re fired!”

What a blessing!

I think I’ve passed — in flying colors — the final exam in the high-level coursework of Trust Fund Babies.

Oh, by the way, this Consulting engagement was to assist in the transition of Junior off the Ranch. Because of the two clowns for Realtors he had chosen, I finally asked, “After their neglect of an important issue (to the tune of $150,000), why do you continue to believe their nonsense?”

Lesson Learned

Around the 25-year mark, in the 35+ years of my crusade to save the world as a CPA, I noticed something. I felt dirty. As I served the Trust Fund Babies, there was no appreciation or recognition of the Value my efforts produced for them. They were paying me and I was doing things for the money. There’s a name for those kinds of people — Hookers.

Confession without repentance is counterfeit spirituality. As you are my witness, I fully and completely give up the old way to enjoy my rebirth.

Die Broke

The scholars among us will take great offense at the concept of not leaving children and grandchildren a monetary inheritance. They will even pretend to have God on their side of the argument and quote an old Proverb.

Good people leave an inheritance to their grandchildren, but the sinner’s wealth passes to the godly.

Well, here’s the Real Deal — I don’t see a single reference to Money in the line, before the comma, about good people. Do you?

I know – for a fact – that my Grandchildren will receive an inheritance from me. No, it will not be because my Lindsey and Ryan were anxious for me to tip over — so they might win the Lottery of wealth untold.

The inheritance that my Children will pass on to my Grandchildren will be everything they have learned from me. I have diligently provided opportunities for Lindsey and Ryan to learn everything they need, to be successful in this life — and, beyond.

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.

The CARE Credential

Alphabet Soup

At one time, I was quite proud of all the initials behind my name —

  • CPA ~ Certified Public Accountant
  • CITP ~ Certified Information Technology Professional
  • CGMA ~ Chartered Global Management Accountant
  • AMM ~ And Many More…

Yes, they demonstrated the discipline and commitment to play the game of achieving recognition in the eyes of academia.

Yet, no one other than I knew, fully, the extent to which sacrifice was made to achieve these designations.

And, the humorous point of this whole exercise, in bragging rights, is how times have changed. Now, another meaning for the acronym of CPA — in the realm of Digital Marketing — is Cost Per Acquisition.

Student, or Trailblazer?

When we play the game of Credentials, we are simply going where others have gone, before. Or, we seek the approval and acceptance of those in authority — with the power to grant acknowledgment or dash the dreams of the inspired.

For those who have matured beyond being overly concerned about what others think, they are the Trailblazers going where no one has dared go before — sometimes, to places where even angels fear to tread. However, they will make the discoveries crucial to the progress of humankind.

People don’t care about what we know — until, they know how much we care.

CARE Defined

This is one Credential for which the world begs to be in front of every thought.

Compassionate
Aware
Responsive
Empathetic

Compassionate

The contrarians among us might find the use of a C-word — like Compassionate — too sissified, for their taste. In that case, I challenge them to choose from one of these: Cooperative, Competent, Committed, and Confident. Pardon the pun, but, Contrarians must care about someone other than themselves — the focus is outward, not inward. This is a Spiritual endeavor.

Aware

In the busyness of business, how often do we purposefully pause to breathe — to stop and smell the roses — to be Aware of the opportunities for service? The funny thing about offering assistance is how much we benefit from the effort. Whatever we choose to give is returned many times over — probably not from the beneficiary in receipt of the goodness we share. But — Karma is 100% accurate in delivering what is earned. This is a Mental endeavor.

Responsive

There is an ancient Proverb, “Faith without works is dead.” We may believe we are compassionate and aware of the needs of others — yet, only with Responsive action is the benefit delivered. All we Do begins with a Thought. There is intrinsic magic in the thinking — there is discernable value in the doing. Maybe, IT has never been done before — and, maybe the world will laugh in the beginning. Yet, the reward is worth the effort. This is a Physical endeavor.

Empathetic

My friends are quite familiar with the Three-E Formula defined as: Enlighten, Empower, and Encourage. You probably have a similar mantra, which is your Empathetic cry. We are, after all, engaged in a Crusade to ensure that the goodness from above flows through us for the benefit of the whole wide world. As conduits of goodness — similar to lighthouses for the protection of vessels — we can silently do our work. This is an Emotional endeavor.

Our Choice

We can place alphabet soup Credentials behind our names — or, we can anchor CARE in front of our thoughts.

I hope you will join with me in leaving behind the Three Evil E’s of Ego, Expectations, and Emotions — which are attached to limiting Credentials.

So, that we can boldly state our belief in The CARE Credential — as we courageously lift up those in our sphere of influence.