Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Richest Man in Babylon

The Richest Man in Babylon is said to have changed many people's financial status. It was written in 1926, and it is very interesting. I plan to read it until I fall asleep this evening. It is the first step in my personal development activity. I also was listening to Jim Rohn talk about financial freedom. He said to spend no more than 70% of your pay, save 10%, invest 10%, and give 10% to charity. If you can't start with 70,10,10,10, do 97,1,1,1 until you build to 70,10,10,10.

At least I feel I have a plan. The most important statement so far is "a part of all I earn is mine to keep." I've been keeping better tabs on my money, and I've had more left over at the end of the month than before when I just spent what I thought I could afford. Now I plan to earmark 70% to my bills and 30% to invest.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Good Friends and the Good Life

I have 2 special friends that I really enjoy being with. We've been a trio since 2000, and we get together whenever we can. Unfortunately, our paths seem to be moving in different directions, so we don't see each other as often as we'd like. But, this evening, we had dinner and shopped and had a great time catching up. We had an excellent meal at Longhorn's Steak House, where we exchanged Christmas gifts, and then followed it up with a shopping trip to Barnes & Noble. We left there at 10:55. It was really a nice last-minute decision that we all were grateful for.

We went to Barnes & Noble because I wanted to get a couple of zippered book covers that I could use to keep the books I'm reading in with pens, highlighters, and something to take notes. I have some small 3-ring binders, and I thought I'd print some lined paper to keep with the books. I'd take notes and then put the notes in the binder.

The notes could be ideas for speeches and some seminars I'd like to give. I'm really excited about learning more and teaching about leadership. I mentioned in yesterday's blog about the books I've received so far that I ordered from Well the last one came today -- The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason. I'm planning to read it first. I started Rohn's Seven Strategies for Wealth and Happiness and Ziglar's Biscuits, Fleas and Pump Handles, but Clason's will be the first one I'll concentrate on.

I got to visit with my grandson today. I haven't seen him since Christmas. Tomorrow (8 minutes from now) he'll be 3 years old. He's just the cutest thing. I built a Lego house with him and gave him a bath in the kitchen sink after he and his mom (my beautiful daughter) washed the dishes together. It was so cute to see him standing on a chair next to her handing her dishes so she could rinse them for the dishwasher. He got a drum set from his other grandmother (Nana) for his birthday. He was pretty excited about it. I bought a game and some books for him.

I can't wait to read The Richest Man in Babylon. I'll have to tell you all about it.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Once More. This Time With Feeling!

I'm so excited! I signed up with the 1-Year Personal Development Plan, and the first email arrived today!

The materials filled a huge notebook. I haven't had a chance to check it all out yet. I just hope it's not the homework for just this week!

Because I couldn't get anyone to do the 1-year plan with me, I originally decided to postpone it for a year, so I ordered something to read instead. But, I got one more email that convinced me that this is the time to make dramatic changes to my life. Now the books I ordered from have been trickling in:
  • Biscuits, Fleas, & Pump Handles by Zig Ziglar
  • The Seasons of Life by Jim Rohn
  • The Aspiring Millionaire by Bill Bailey
  • Twelve Pilars by Jim Rohn and Chris Widener (I believe this is the basis of the 1-year plan)
  • Seven Strategies for Wealth and Happiness by Jim Rohn
I've started a couple of them, and they are very compelling. I'll have to steal time where I can so I can read these books as well as do the Plan. So, I've decided to give up TV, except for Tuesday nights, 7-8 and 9-10, unless they are re-runs. I'm investing my time and money to make the most of me. According to Darren Hardy, I won't recognize myself at the end of this year.


I've been hitching rides with friends after work because my son has a job after one year of searching, and we only have one car. Don't feel sorry for me. I've thoroughly enjoyed having someone to ride with and talk to. As a matter of fact, I've had the opportunity to get to know a couple of really great ladies.

In addition, I attended 4 Feng Shui Treasure Mapping sessions that a dear and long-time friend taught. Even though I make a treasure map every January since 2006, I learned a lot. The classes were really enjoyable. I met so many great people there and saw old friends I never expected to see there. Kindred spirits!

Treasure mapping is the same thing as making a vision board. It's a collage or a visual list of goals, dreams, and wishes. The twist is we use the Feng Shui bagua map as the basis and guide. And on Saturday night, she taught Feng Shui for the home. It's really interesting that she and I started studying Feng Shui about the same time. I think it was about 6 years ago.

I'm actually working on several goals right now.
  • Feng Shui consultant. I'm also learning more about Feng Shui so I can help people with adding peace and tranquility to their lives. I put lot of the Feng Shui principles in my home, and I absolutely love it. I'm so comfortable here. It's my haven. I don't know that I felt that way before.
  • Wedding coordinator/planner for my church. It's not the same as being a full-time wedding planner, but it's a start. I love doing it. It's strictly volunteer, so I'm not getting rid of my day job just yet. But I think after I retire, I'll be able to either hire on with someone as an assistant or maybe do it myself. A friend wants to do it with me. She just retired (unexpectedly), and she's looking for something fun to do.
  • Avon. Now, I sell Avon mainly to build a customer base for when I retire. And I'm my best customer ;O).
  • Travel more. Mainly cruises. Maybe I can set up destination weddings that include a cruise. Maybe a long weekend cruise that would include the bachelor parties, wedding rehearsal, and the actual wedding and reception. Hmmm. You heard it here first!
  • Teach seminars. I'm working on some material that I can use as a basis for my seminars. There are lots of civic groups I can speak to. Maybe even work on material for career days at local elementary schools. We are always getting emails at work about schools needing speakers.

In addition to these work-oriented goals, I'm working on my leadership skills through Toastmasters so I can achieve the level of Distinguished Toastmaster. I've been every officer in the club Executive Committee. Several times I held more than one office at the same time. To achieve DTM, I have to do things outside my club, one is a High Performance Project that involves setting up a committee who helps to pick out my project, we strategize about the best project and how to implement it, and I have to give 2 speeches about it. The next thing I have to do is mentor or start a new club. AND, I have to do something with the District leadership.

I have a few projects picked out, and I have a list of people I'd like to recruit for my High Performance project. I just need to figure out how to invite them to work with me so they can't refuse. :O) I'm going to try to be an Area Governor from July 1 to June 30. We have had some really awesome Area Governors lately, so I have some high standards to fulfill. In the past, our AGs were weak, and the only time I heard from them was when they had to turn in an AG report, which was twice a year.

For the past year, I've worked with our Division Governor, and I feel privileged to know him. He helped me when I committed to do a mini Toastmasters meeting for a neighborhood credit union, and I couldn't get any help from more than one of my fellow club members. Then he was with me when I spoke to a leadership group who invited me to speak. Someone in the first audience invited me to the second group. Then someone in that audience invited me to speak at their Retreat this coming March. This means I need to get my speech out and dust it off.

Because of the mini Toastmasters meeting, the group at the Credit Union has formed a Toastmasters club, and I'm one of the mentors. I have truly been blessed with being at the right place at the right time. And I've not been afraid to take a leap of faith hoping I'll land on something soft.

You can see I've got a full plate, but if I keep that danged TV turned off, I think I can get much more done. Before my son moved back to SA, I hardly watched TV at all, and I really got a lot more done. So, he's working evenings, and I have the house back to myself. I really enjoy listening to good inspiring music without lyrics while I work. Unfortunately, my CD wallet is at the office, so I'm here listening to my keys clack as I type. That's OK too.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

I've usually decided on my resolution(s) by now. I'm procrastinating, and I don't know why.

Let's see if we can narrow the possibilities.

I definitely want to lose weight, so my first resolution is to weigh 160 by Christmas by following the Weight Watchers plan and working out or walking at least 3 times a week.

I want to achieve DTM in Toastmasters, and to do that, I have to be a leader above the club level for a year. I will volunteer as Area Governor for the 2011-2012 term. I will finish mentoring the CU Speak Club, and follow the High Performance Program. I think my project will be either Busy Hands, bracelets, build the membership of our club (which may be the easiest), start a community garden at work, start a recycling program at work. We have a soda can and cardboard recycle program, but nothing for cans or soda bottles.

I want to put $1000 in the bank, which I think I can do this year. I also want to pay off my credit card. It may take more than a year to do that.

I can't think of a material thing I want. Maybe a Kindle or a GPS.

I'd like to find a Bible study class or some way to learn more about God and Jesus or the Holy Spirit. I believe the Holy Spirit and my guardian angel are with me all the time.

I think I'd like to do things like go bowling, make something ceramic, clean out the garage enough to get 2 cars in it.

We'll move the Nordic Track into the workout room and the body by jake to my daughter's. There are lots of books in the garage that we need to move to the library.

My friend and I will go on a cruise the end of April to Honduras and Belize. I'm excited about that. It'll be so much fun!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 Holds So Many Possibilities

This blog will be my place to keep track of my personal development. Until now, it's been more of a rambling than anything. So, I plan to break it into segments for Reading, Listening, Learning, Loving, Working, Playing, Planning, and whatever else helps me develop personally.

Reading is obvious. It'll contain tidbits of what I've read.
Listening will be what I heard in Automobile University.
Learning will be what I learned during the day. You know when you think "I learned something new today."
Loving will be about family and friends.
Working will be what has happened in my free-lance and day jobs.
Playing will be my time relaxing, hopefully with friends.
Planning will be my hopes for the future.
Any of these categories can include God, family, friends, work, fun, and finances.

This year I hope to be more observant, more giving, more loving, more frugal, more spiritual, healthier, wealthier, and wiser.

Reading -- I have lots of things to read, so I will change my routine to include time for reading. This shouldn't be too difficult, at least for the next month.

I got several good books for Christmas, and I bought a couple to help with my resolutions. It's important that I have a good, comfortable place to read. My son fixed the TV in the workout room so I'll have something to watch while working out. I'm excited!

Listening -- I'm listening to a series with Jim Rohn and Zig Ziglar that has been pretty inspiring. Zig talks about enrolling in automobile university where you listen to tapes and CDs while traveling, and I plan to do that. I have a friend who has gone through just about everything the library has on CD doing just that. One of the CDs was so interesting I brought it into the house and listened to it while I was cleaning house Friday. I've listened to these before in my office, but I don't get as much out of them with the distractions of having to work(!), so the car is a better choice. It's also easier to rewind if I want to hear something again. Thanks to my dear friend for lending these CDs to me.

Loving - I spent a couple hours Wednesday night writing thank you notes for the gifts I received for Christmas. Then I actually made a list of what I received. If you've ever done that, it's an eye opener. I found how truly blessed I am because of all the gifts bestowed upon me. The list includes 23 people! And some gave me more than one gift! I'm humbled and suddenly I don't feel like I deserve what I've been given, which, I guess, makes them gifts.

Playing -- I'm putting together a puzzle that will help build my skills of observation and attention to details. I have to pay attention to the colors as well as the shapes. Since it's a puzzle of a Monarch butterfly, there aren't a lot of colors. To put it together will be fun and frustrating. Once I’m finished putting it together, I have something to mount it to and glue to keep it together.

Planning -- For the past month, I've planned to be more observant. How does one begin to be more observant? What makes one more observant than another? Why does my son see things in detail when I don't even see the big things? Is it something you're born with, or is it something you can learn? I've really thought about that, and I came to the conclusion that it started with that admonitions to stop staring. Don't let him catch you staring. I realized that when I see something that's really interesting, I look away. Instead of checking out the details of something, I look away. Good looking guys, car accidents, interesting things - if it involves a person, I look away. There has to be a healthy medium between staring and looking away. I hope to be able to develop that in the year to come. I've started by trying to notice more details when I'm reading.

When I was a child, my mom used to say that whatever you do on New Year's Day, you'll do the rest of the year. I really don't know if that's true, but to make sure, I NEVER cleaned house on New Year's Day. I think this year, I'm even going to do that differently. To tell you the truth, I'm tired of being in a messy house. My house is so messy because I'm so tired when I get home, and with the free-lance work I do, I'm stuck at my computer all evening for several nights in a row. Then before I know it, the house is overwhelmingly messy.

Planning -- I put together a vision board every year to help me focus and decide on my goals. While looking for images for my 2011 vision board, I found some really interesting articles in the magazines I was searching through. I found something about changing careers or preparing for retirement, gardening, Social Security, and saving money.

Health -- My walking buddy and I plan to walk as often as possible. We started last Thursday by walking one mile after work. It wasn't as much as we used to do, but we've been off track for at least a month, and anything is better than nothing. I've actually walked more. I walked to another building and back Monday (about a mile, I think), .7 mi after work Tuesday, and in addition to the walk after work Thursday, I walked a small circle to weigh in and get lunch at the cafeteria.

My son starts working tomorrow (YEA!), and I can start doing what I want. I'll change where I sit in the living room to include a lamp that's easier to reach so I'll be able to read more spontaneously than now. I figure I'll be more active. I think I'll try to walk to the grocery store at least once a week. The library and Dollar Tree are both within walking distance. I'm actually pretty excited about this change in my life.