How Much Do You Invest?

How much do you invest in your life? How much time and money do you spend on life?

It has been said that Lebron James spends over seven figures on his physical health. Not astounding, considering the shape he’s in and the amount of money he makes. In the end, it’s a lot of money. His physical life must be important to him.

How about you?

First, don’t make the mistake of thinking that only the rich and famous can invest in their lives. Everything, is relative, for the rich and the poor. What matters is your commitment to life. This really is about mindset and what you choose to do. Every successful person knows this. What is ironic, at least in America, is we put little value on life. This is further compounded by our over-valuing of money, celebrity, physical appearance, career, and more. Don’t get me wrong, most talk a good game, but the numbers don’t lie. We’re advancing in areas that are, on the face, good. But we’re retreating in the areas of life that are vital.

Considering that life is a limited-time offer, you would think we’d “get after it.” Maybe we really have bought the ocean-front property in Wyoming. I hope you will consider investing more of your resources in your life. Maybe like:

If you need more clarity on the above examples, reach out to me.


The Deal on Money

I haven’t dedicated much space here on the subject of money. The deal on money for me is pretty straightforward:

  1. Give 10%, Invest 10% and live on the remaining 80%
  2. Don’t chase money

Number one is a guideline and number two is a non-negotiable.

The deal on money is also about the crazy stuff people will do to get it. And by the way, it applies to the poor and the rich. Equal opportunity stuff in every shape and form. For example, some pro athletes make multi-millions over a short period of time and many will end up broke a few years after retirement. All that chasing for what? Crazy.

Focus on creating great art and work. Money always follows that, sometimes in a wierd way, but eventually it will. Good financial wellbeing is found here.

The Process of Remaking a Man

Kid playing

As I noted earlier in the week, this post is coming to shed some light on a long journey. The journey about the process of remaking a man. That man would be me.

It's been quite a process, this remaking dance.

I was out running a few mornings back and was listening to the Rush song Subdivisions. The following lyric held my mind as body continued to move:

Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight
Somewhere out of a memory of lighted streets on quiet nights…

I'm still running and Coldplay's Viva La Vida appears on my iPod. This verse freezes me once again:

One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand

As I was heading home I remembered a former boss. I hated him. He wasn't very kind, would embarrass me publicly and easily looked passed me. But he kept me because I made him and the organization money. It was a bad situation to be knee-deep in. But I was, with things moving fast and no time to step back.

In 2005, a coup was set in motion and I was a willing agent. Made friends with the devil for short time and he got what was coming. I rejoiced at his removal. Never thought about his struggle or his family or his grappling with a job search. I thought justice had been served.

What the hell was I doing?

Close to a year later I was on the receiving end of what my former boss got. Just rewards you might think. Maybe so. In the end, my life would never be the same again. 

And here's why:

I've chronicled in this blog a lot about my journey. Sometimes in bits and pieces, sometimes in focused light. Maybe I've made this clear, but I needed to be remade. I needed a new operating system.

God gave me an operating system when I was much younger and I chose to add and take away. I guess I felt the pressure to do it my way. You know, feeling like God could use some help. A little more salt, please. The reality was rooted in my deep fear that in the end I was ultimately on my own. This was a lie I felt was true, due to the circumstances (family, society, career, business, whatever).

Ironically, I moved to a space where God could find me vulnerable with no exits. It was not my plan to do this I fully believe that my story is rooted in God wanting to catch me and transform me. That reality is bigger than entrepreneurship, writing a book, material success, and all the other bragging rights we often crave. What happened to me is not unlike what many a man and women have faced at one time or another.

Some have asked, and wondered without speaking, why my last seven years has been such a struggle, a desert. I wish I had an answer that could wrap everything in a box with red ribbon. My story is not that story. My story resembles people like Nebuchadnezzar, Paul, or maybe you. Men and women who have to go through a remake that is humbling, painful, frustrating, confusing, and in the end beautiful.

So I don't know if I will make money online, be a top 10 blog, write a best-selling book, or create the next "killer app." I am certain I becoming more of a man who's working on becoming what God intended. The other has its place. One thing is clear to me though, I am dancing with my Epic life instead of looking out there and wondering what it feels like.

Dancing is nice.


Are You Ready?

These days many young leaders are promoted to greater positions of power quicker than ever.  It is not unusual for someone in their early forties to hold a senior leadership post in a major organization.  I've often wondered can they truly be ready for so much power.  Though some are, sadly many are not.  Why?  More than likely they've never had a constellation of advisers/mentors, and/or they've never had someone whose walked a few miles teach them about power, ethics and courage. 

As I've evaluated my own path, I've tried to remember that you must handle the small before you can handle the big.  In my past I once had an HR representative declare that they would teach a series of leadership classes (more management than anything).  I found that somewhat ironic since she couldn't handle returning phone calls in a timely manner. 

And so it goes, we crave power and all the trimmings, but we forget about the span and the impact.  

When It’s Too Late to Change

I'm an optimist, a dreamer, more than I should be some have said. As I spend more time on this planet, one thing is for sure, there is a point in time when it's too late to change. 

This doesn't make me a pessimist. We're all in the dye-casting business. Slowly.

Think of all of your small and large decisions over life's road. Each one creating permanence. Rather daunting I know, but the beauty of it is we have been given the freedom and responsibility to decide whether we go ahead or go back. Very few of us will ever have a gun to our head demanding we ignore our physical health or to tell that little lie that will tilt things in our favor.

We've read of the those coming to the end of their days regretting much of what was before. The sober reality that no matter what they say or do, nothing can be altered. Funny thing how our culture is great at taking in information, while doing nothing with it. Any time you encounter someone whose story is entering the final act should make you review deeply your own course. The desire for distractions and easy paths will disconnect your best intentions every time.

Here are some things to be very careful with as you seek to make your life regret-free:

  • Money
  • Power
  • Longing
  • Work
  • Dissatisfaction

Maybe there is more to add here. But one thing is certain, there is a time when it's too late to change. Count your days and you'll get a better understanding.

You Don’t Want What the One-Percent Have


With all due respect to the Occupy Wall Streetcrowd, you don't want what the one-percent have.  Our country is so fixated on material wealth.  Ironic, since it's that same type of wealth responsible for our ills (at least the majority).  Material wealth is not the problem.  Material wealth can be a good thing if you know how to manage it.  Sadly, most do not.  As the old saying goes, "we have seen the enemy, and the enemy is us."

If we stopped for a moment and took a look at the well-being of the one-percent, we might be shocked at what their true wealth is.

I am not advocating poverty.  I don't want any family to do without.  But I do want you to be wealthy beyond measure with your relationship with your family. with God, with your physical health, and more.

The one-percent are to be pitied, not envied.

The Idea and Reality of Self-Employment


I never became self-employed because of some ache to be my own boss or the next producer of a killer app.  Far from it, I had a mission and corporate America had no interest or desire to fund it.

Most people I know who are great at entrepreneur pursuits have a mission.  I mean they have this burning in them that won't go away.  Even after trying to kill it, they continue onto the unknown, scary and sometimes insane world that is the mission.

So in the end self-employment is merely a vehicle.

This past week two big things came down the pike for me.  First, Steve Jobs stepped down as CEO of Apple and Andy Frank thanked me for some unintentional advice.  Andy's thank you was the bigger of the two.  Andy is working on his "thing" and was lamenting the process of incorporating.  I told him that only a mission could make it worth the price paid.  It was like holding up a mirror to my own face.  A gut check with gusto.

I am on a mission.

For clarity, let me explain my thoughts on the difference between the idea and the reality of self-employment:

  1. Everyone's self-employed.  The gal working at the bank, the guy serving the latte and the partners waiting for their first round of funding.  If you haven't noticed we live in a self-directed world. It's scary ironic that more don't get this.
  2. What you do for money can and will vary.  The world of going to one place and doing one job are gone.  It's our freaking obsession with comfort that has us unwilling to give up that life.  Our work and life will morph and contract in different ways.  This is especially true in an ever-changing global economy.
  3. Infatuation with output is killing us.  We see the car, the press release on the millions in funding and we want it!  Funny how we choose to ignore the near-collapse experiences of most entrepreneurs.  Quite frankly, I don't think I could trust someone who hasn't lost big.  Losing big is, or should be, a refining fire.
  4. Self-employment should produce humility.  That's all that needs to be said.
  5. Our (America) economic woes would be lessened, if not cured, by putting more emphasis on helping entrepreneurs versus the bloated manipulators.  Ever notice how many of the big boys manipulate things like lay-offs, write-offs and revenue to produce a shiny result for a group of people they hate.  That's not growth, that's Vegas. 


Life Currency

In my post last week on the new net-worth, I challenged you to look at net-worth in a different way.  I even went as far as to say your life depends on it (in so many ways).

An important thing to keep in-mind is the currency each of us is given in the following 8 areas.  Call it life currency:

Wheel of Life 
The currency is with you all of the time, if you haven't declared bankruptcy in any of the areas yet.  The irony is you can invest this currency in any way you like.  You can be foolish or wise, greedy or giving the choice is yours.

So what if you you awoke tomorrow and no one was interested in your career currency or your money currency?  How would your fair?  Could you find any currency in your family account or your physical account?

My words could fly in the face of what you hold dear (like your career or social).  And in many facets, you won't get any encouragement from your investment house (as in the money variety) or family.  You might get objections like "what about your retirement" or "how are you going to support your wife and kids?"  Hopefully, you noticed that I've never advocated you ignore those.  I am asking you to do just the opposite.  

Pay close attention to each of the 8 areas. 

The idea here is to adopt integration-every day.  Starting small and moving to the big and great.



Is Your Life a Misdemeanor or a Felony?

Scales of Justice 
This post will require you to forget the normal definitions and feelings about crime.  My play on words for this post require the following context:

    Misdemeanors will only create an insignificant interaction with legal authorities.  You might even get off with a warning.  In the end, your act was more of a blip or blur.

    Felonies, on the other hand are serious actions and cause disrupption.  Authorities will do all they can to see that something big happens.  Proper attention is given and depending on seriousness of the action, in might create widespread interest.

I'm going to give you a compare and contrast illustration from a few areas of life to help:

  • Money -A misdemeanor would be throwing a few dollars into a savings account every now and then.  A felony would be creating a plan to get out of debt, that would map out small experiments/steps to accomplish the goal.
  • Physical – A misdemeanor would be taking your dog for a walk in the warmer months, but not in the cooler seasons.  A felony would be creating a plan to get your heart rate up to 70% max, that includes small experiments/steps around biking.
  • Social – A misdemeanor would be saying hello to a neighbor when you see them in the morning or afternoon.  A felony would be creating a plan to introduce yourself to someone you've never met in 3 areas of your company, that would incorporate small experiments/steps of networking with a manager or co-worker.

The big take-away is, blips and blurrs are forgotten and lead to a wasted life.  On the other hand, serious actions and disrupptions are remembered and lead to a life well-lived.  Which do you prefer?


The New Net-Worth

Measuring net-worth is a pretty linear process for many people/businesses.  Just subtract your liabilities from your assets, and voila you have your net-worth. Right?

Where I live (USA), we all are dealing with a new paradigm.  Some of us know it, some of us are denying it and some of us are just wondering in the desert.  Regardless of where you fall on that list, change has come. Our lives are different and I sense it's permanent.

It's interesting to me how old habits die hard.  Many are still rather obsessed about money and career.  Still partying on the Titanic I guess.  But what if money and career are only a part of your net-worth?  Sort of like two rooms in your house versus the entire dwelling.

In our work we advise people to see their net worth in way that is representative of their entire life…8 areas specifically.  The illustration below will reveal what those eight areas are:

Wheel of Life 
If I asked you to calculate your net-worth based on the wheel, how much would you be worth?  Are you in the black or in the red?  How prepared are you for the harsh winds of change?  And by the way, there are some who make six-figures who are actually very poor.  It is tragic.

I think you've probably figured out that my post is not designed to get you to abandon money and career.  But it is designed to get you to put things in their proper place.  A place where you begin to integrate the 8 areas in a deliberate way.

Yes, it is tough work.

The take-away here is found in that new paradigm.  If you think focusing only on career and money is a sound strategy, then I have some bad news for you.  It worked (or so we deluded ourselves into believing) during the days of continual prosperity.  But the truth is, it never worked and it certainly won't work now.  We have now entered into an age where the danger of ignoring/neglecting our total life will produce catastrophic results.  Maybe you've lost your job of 20 years and you never took the time to pay attention to your mental health, so managing the stress of job loss is crippling.  Maybe your marriage has crumbled around you and your wondering why you didn't spend time listening to your spouse's needs.  You get my point.

Turn around while you can, things have changed.  If you're wondering how this work is accomplished, then stay tuned.  We'll be working with our strategic partner Take Time for Life to present an experience that will show how managing your life (totally) can be done.