Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Self Fish

When I ask people why they enjoy fishing, they tell me about how they enjoy being out there on the water and just getting away.  But the thing they enjoy most is catching the game!!  The challenge of getting a bite on their line and the battle of bringing the fish in.  The fisherman walks away with a Victory and Dinner.  With that being said, why don’t we “Self Fish”?  Why not throw out a line and see what’s in us.  See what we like and don’t like about ourselves.  We may find a new hobby or create new goals.  Self Fishing will allow you to walk away with Victory and a meal (wisdom).  Self Fishing will break down the boundaries of why you make certain decisions.  In my last book Single Again, I made a comment about single people not wanting to be alone.  And I will restate it here, why would anyone else want to spend time with you if you don’t want to spend time with YOU? 

I know you are saying this Self Fishing thing sounds good, but how do you start?  I am glad you asked!!  First, get a sheet of paper and fold it in half the long way. Open the paper and on the top left-hand side, write the word “Enjoy”.  On the top right-hand side, write the word “Goals”.  Under the Enjoy side, write down the things you enjoy.  For me it would be writing, vacations, good food….and so on.  Write at least 10 things.  Then on the Goals side, write down goals you have.  It could be paying off credit cards, getting a college degree, paying off a car, buying a house, publishing a book or whatever your goals may be.  CONGRATULATIONS, you are Self Fishing!!  To go ever further, what you enjoy and your goals should relate.  Think about it!!  If you enjoy writing, then publishing a book could be a goal.  If you enjoy having no bills, paying off your car or credit card should be a goal.  They relate!!  You have just started the process of setting goals.  I am not trying to teach a class but you are learning more than just about you.  You are learning the process of getting where you want to go.  You don’t have to stop there!!  You can choose subjects such as Jobs, Businesses or Books and have an Enjoy and Goals column.  If you do some Self Fishing every few weeks, you will learn about you and what you can accomplish.  It’s OK to Self Fish!! 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Think Small

I know what I am about to say may contradict what you have heard about starting a business, but it will help some of you in the long run.  Many people say Think Big when it comes to starting a business.  I agree with that concept a little.  Yes you should Think Big, but Think Small when it comes to application.  Don’t forget about the Think Big vision, but progress to it.  This gives you something to aim for.  Be mindful of your resources when it comes to application.  You don’t want to take out a $20,000 loan for your first business and then get in the business and realize you don’t like what you are doing.  And to make matters worse, the business is not making a profit.  Some say that all depends on planning, and I agree planning is important but it’s not everything.  There are plenty of people that have written excellent business plans yet the business didn’t do well. 

My view is Think Small when it comes to application. Think of ways to reduce the cost of starting the business.  Try to use the money you have available.  If that is not enough, get loans from friends and family, but be sure you are putting in your money first (hopefully most of it).  Why would anyone want to invest in your business if you aren’t even investing in it?  If you want to start a clothing store, why not sell your clothes to friends, at shows and conventions as a vendor first.  See how your product sells.  See what sells the best before you take out a loan to get a storefront and pack on overhead to your business.  See if you can stay afloat without the overhead of a lease first.  Yes, Think Small!!  This way, if you don’t like the business or there are changes you need to make (usually there are), there will be little loss.  Some professionals would call this a calculated risk.  I call this a Smart risk.  Please understand that no business will survive without some type of risk.  Why not minimize the risk?  That way if you lose, you lose small and gain wisdom.  But if you win, you win in profit and gain wisdom to go even further.  In all businesses, you will have to grow as you go.  I say “Grow through it.”  Just like college teaches you, so does experience.  Experience 101!!  So Think Big, but apply Small then graduate to the “Think Big” vision.   

Monday, April 2, 2012

Get Past the Past

We all have things in our past but we can’t let our past stop our future.  If you want to go forward, then keep looking forward.  If you want to stay in the past, keep looking at the past.  It may seem too simple but you will go where you keep your eyes focused the most.  There have been plenty of times in my life when I have let my past limit me.  The shame of the past has tied up my dreams and held them hostage.  I then fell into the “you’re not good enough” syndrome.  But like T.D Jakes once said “It doesn’t matter how you started but how you finish.”  The truth be told, everyone has a past!! No one walking this earth lives without a past or they wouldn’t have a right now.  With that being said, let the past go and aim for the future because you are not alone. 

What do you want to achieve?  Who do you want to be?  God did not put you here to get stuck because of your past.  He allowed your past to be learning tools for your future.  Any storm you have faced or will face, I guarantee God can use.  And yes, there will be more storms in your life!!  But go into every storm knowing there is somewhere God wants you to be or some lesson God wants you to learn, and He is using the storm to speed up the process.  Life is full of lessons, the question is “Are we learning the lessons?”  If you have something in your past that you are ashamed of, first admit to yourself that you did it.  Second, go to a mirror and look yourself directly in the eyeball and say “I’m sorry.”  Now, tell yourself “It’s time to move on and YOU WILL achieve everything that your heart places in your path.”  Goals are meant to be accomplished, not things that wind up on an “I wish I would have” list.  Get out of your own way and push forward leaving your past in the past.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I’m Not the Best But I’m Good Enough

I have learned that just because you aren’t the best at something doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it.  There are plenty of singers out there that aren’t the best singers but they have the courage to try.  If being the most qualified was most important, I should not be where I am in life.  When I graduated from college, I had far from the highest grade point average in my class (probably one of the lowest).  And by no means was I the smartest in my field.  With that being said, I should not have the job I have, be an author or have the experiences I have had.  I am not saying you shouldn’t try your best in school, but I am saying just because you didn’t do well in school doesn’t mean you will be a failure in life.  There is a verse in the bible I live by. “The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, the stronger warrior doesn’t always win the battle… the most skillful don’t always make the most money and the most educated aren’t always the most successful.” (Ecclesiastes 9:1)   This inspires me every time I recite it!! (I’m getting inspired now!!)  It gives me the strength to try even if I am not the best at something.  I have seen God send oceans of mercy and grace my way through this journey.

 I once heard Dr. Kim W. Brown say he may not have made the best grades in college but he did graduate.  (Did you notice the “Dr.” at the beginning of his name?)  Think about how many people went to college with you, but didn’t finish.  It is a blessing to finish even if you didn’t make the best grades.  You finished!! Finishing opens doors that most likely wouldn’t be opened if you didn’t try and endure the course ahead.  I am a stronger believer in trying.  You never know what awaits you at the end of the yellow brick road.  Don’t worry about not being the most qualified.  Just because you aren’t the most qualified, your courage may get that great paying job you’re scared to apply for.  Think of how many other people feel that they aren’t qualified, but you can be the one bold enough to take the leap of faith and put in your application.  If you are starting a new business, a new ministry or planning that trip you have always wanted to go on, go for it!!  You may not be the best but you are good enough.  Why not take a deep breath and TRY!!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Cracks and Foot Holes

When you look up the definition of “climb”, it means to go upward using your feet and hands.  It’s amazing a mountain climber has to use all of his resources to climb a mountain.  He uses his feet, his hands and even his sight.  So why do we think we only need knowledge to reach our goals!! If we are climbing to achieve goals in our life, shouldn’t we use all our resources to reach those goals?  Yes it takes intelligence but it also takes other resources. To climb the mountain of your dreams, it will take courage, relationships, wisdom, faith, hope, confidence, optimism, endurance, passion and many other things.  John Maxwell has a book entitled “Talent is Never Enough” and the title alone is so true.  He discusses how a person can have great talent but still not achieving his goals.  He explains how it takes things like being on time and a good attitude.  If you are a reader, this is a good book to add to your library.  I always thought if I had enough money I could start a business and be successful.  Well I have learned it takes more than money.  Matter of fact, money is the least of what it takes.  You have to have a vision accompanied by the drive to go after the vision and the endurance to complete the vision.  You have to have the courage to believe in your own opinion when others disagree.

 If there is something you want to go after, don’t think you aren’t smart enough or you don’t have enough money.  It will take more than that to be successful in what you are pursuing.  Instead, use the resources you do have!!  Use your creativity, your relationships, your ability to learn and your ability to sell.  I know you are wondering where “sell” came from.  But yes, your ability to sell!!  You have to be able to sell your idea to yourself before you can sell it to anyone else.  If you aren’t convinced, you won’t be able to convince anyone else.  So you are a salesperson!!  Use your resources just like climbers do knowing that it take more than just one thing.  By doing this, you will climb your mountain of dreams one crack and foot hole at a time all the way to the top.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Reusable Experiences

I have had experiences in my life that I have been ashamed of.  Since things didn’t go as planned, I felt like I should keep the experience to myself and hide it.  Now I understand that all experiences can work for your benefit.  I mentioned in my book, Life is a Motivational Speech, that “There are no mistakes in life only lessons.”  I have learned that the same things that you are ashamed of could empower you. In 2010, I had a business renting office space that was not financial successful.  When I closed the business, I partly felt like a failure.  But as I began to reflect on the business, I realized the business had stretched me!!  I had a lot of new experiences, learned new wisdom and met new people along the way.  The business didn’t do well financially but it was one of the most successful businesses I have had in terms of wisdom.  I learned so much!!  I learned that a good business is based on relationships.  Networking with other people and businesses will help your business.  I learned not to put so much money out at the beginning, but getting the business started first and gaining some revenue is most important.  I also learned that helping other organizations and businesses will help your business. 

I know you are wondering “if you learned all of this, why didn’t the business prosper?”  By the time I realized this new found wisdom, the company didn’t have any more money.  I spent most of the money on appearance and paying a high lease.  Toward the end of the business, I had changed directions in which the business was going but didn’t have the finances to support the new direction.  And it was a good direction!! I could have gone for broke and took out a loan, but at that point I felt like I had enough experience to apply the wisdom to another business venture. 
If you are in the process of closing your business, don’t think of it as a failure.  First, it took COURAGE to chase the dream in the first place and that courage is what keeps entrepreneurs going.  Second, you have gained wisdom that you would not have gained if you didn’t TRY.  My prayer each day is “God make me wiser when I go to sleep tonight than I was when I woke up this morning.”  Reuse your experiences and gain new wisdom.  More valuable than money is wisdom because wisdom can give you the power to get money and more.  Keep pursuing your dreams and learn wisdom from all your experiences.       

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Changing Courses and Changing Books

I have had people in and out of my life through this journey. But one thing I have learned is your friends will change as the stages of your life change. I see people as books!! When you were in school, your books changed as your courses changed. You needed a math book for your math course and a literature book for your literature course. The same is with the courses of your life. The people in your life change depending on the course of your life you are in. You will have your college friends from the college course of your life and you will have friends for your adult (out your mother's house with a job) course of your life. You may have partied until the break of dawn with your friends when you were in college. But when you have to go to a full-time job in the morning, partying to the break of dawn may not be an option if you want to do well in your job/business and advance in it.

The people from the college course in life may feel like you have changed and you can't party like you use to. And you have changed!! You grew up and got started in your career or started taking your business seriously. A lesson I learned is to always look at the "source" of the criticism being made to you. It may be from someone who has not changed since college and has no dreams or goals. Don't look now, your course has changed and you need new books!! You have to acquire new friends (books) who have careers and businesses. These are the people you will learn from. These are the people that will challenge you and encourage you to go further. In order to grow and advance in life, you must be teachable. Be able to admit you don't know everything and are willing to learn. So take a second to tell yourself "You don't know everything!!" I know it was hard but you have opened yourself to being able to learn something new. As you grow and go through the courses of your life, more changes will occur and new books (people) will be required.