Saturday, May 17, 2008

Fake Phone Call?

Kim Komando Friday featured this website as her cool site of the day yesterday.

Help with Confidence

My wife is many things including a Life Coach. Check out her website at which has all her contact information.

One of the toughest occupations is sales. Dealing with more people saying no than yes takes a special degree of confidence.

That's why I wanted to share with you this post from the DumbLittleMan Blog:

Ways of Overcoming Low Self Confidence In Decision Making

Posted: 16 May 2008 03:04 PM CDT

Written on 5/16/2008 by Evelyn Lim, a writer of self help articles on Attracting Abundance.

If you suffer from low confidence and feel insecure about your own abilities, you may find it difficult to make even the simplest of decisions. Even the horrid choice of choosing where to go for dinner sends you into a frenzy. Insecurity occurs for several reasons. Perhaps at a young age your parents striped your ability to make any choices by choosing everything you ate, everything you wore, etc.

Now that you are grown and in the workforce, you find yourself suddenly having to make a lot more decisions. With little or no previous experience, it is no wonder that you start to fumble. Anxiety and worry are your constant companions during the decision making process. While trying to decide on your options, you spend hours playing out the possible scenarios of failure. You are nervous about what others may say and think, swearing that you can already hear the sounds of snickering in your head.

Needless to say, the feeling of not being able to make a decision sucks! And it all stems from not having enough self confidence. Here are some consequences of having low self confidence in decision making:
  • Paralysis In Taking Needed Actions: In some cases, fear can overwhelm and even paralyze you to inaction. Hence, you prefer to remain as you are to avoid making the wrong decisions. Yet in so doing, you feel lousy. Stuck and defeated you are trapped in no-decision land!

  • No Trust In Decisions Made: Even if you finally do make a choice, it is very possible that because of your low self-confidence, you have no trust that your decision was the best for the circumstance. Once again, you break out in sweat, worrying excessively.

  • Refusal to Take Charge: When it comes to the bigger decisions that you need to make, you may well prefer to abdicate the responsibility to someone else. You feel more assured because in your opinion, someone else can make a better assessment of the situation. Your reasoning: if you are less intelligent, less outgoing and less capable, shouldn't you let the better man decide for you? Better yet, let your parents continue to decide for you even if it comes to making a choice in your career path!?! When things do not then proceed well, or you are not loving the life that has been planned and decided for you, it would be all too easy to put the blame on them and others.

  • Shrinking Life Options: With low confidence in your abilities, it is inevitable that you find your options in life shrinking dramatically. You not only create limitations in what you can currently do, but are also more liable to miss out on numerous opportunities that may otherwise have been available to you.

    In your current job, you think that this is as far as you can go. Others may find you capable but you choose to impose limits to your own growth and potential. Additionally, with no belief in your capabilities and resourcefulness, you find it hard to take up new challenges or to explore new frontiers.
So let's discuss how you can begin to overcome your inadequacies. Changing your attitude from a negative to a positive one will be most helpful. Only when you can break free, can a whole new world open up to you. You fall in love with life because you are no longer tied down by your insecurities, fears and negative beliefs.

Here are 6 ways to help you overcome your low self confidence in decision making:
  1. Affirm Your Abilities Frequently: Try to recall instances that you have done well. The fact that you have ever done well is proof that you are capable of producing the same in the future.

    Also determine what you are good at, and do more of these activities. It is important that you spend time nurturing and encouraging yourself. Give yourself a pat in the back, for even the littlest decisions that you make. When you do this frequently enough, you can gear yourself up to making bigger decisions in time.

  2. Remove Limiting Beliefs and Fears: Ask yourself if it is really true that you are no good or have little abilities? If you do have limiting thoughts, recognize that you do have a choice in your thoughts and thoughts can be changed.

    If your limiting beliefs came about because you have never been allowed to make decisions as a child, then it is time to take charge. Your parents may have wanted to shelter you from making the wrong choices when you were young but you need to learn to be responsible for your own life from now!

  3. Take Action. Your very first instincts may have been to hold back or to procrastinate over making a decision. Your mind becomes frozen, as it gets caught up in a web of convoluted negative thoughts. In some situations, putting things in motion can get you started on the path towards making the right decisions. You can take action by finding out what it is you need to know, to make a better decision. When you take action, choices, that once look cloudy, can become clearer in what is involved!
    “Don't wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.” - Mark Victor Hansen
  4. Upgrade Yourself: Without a doubt, if you find yourself lacking in knowledge and skills to make the right decisions, consider upgrading yourself. Education does not end when formal school ends; it is a lifelong process. So pick up what you need to learn in order to make better decisions in your field.

  5. Support Your Decisions With Values and Visions: Depending on what it is you need to decide on, fall back on your values, desires and any supporting reasons. Hence it is important that you clarify what these important aspects about your life are first. They help to provide the much needed guidance needed to steer through the many life decisions thrown onto your path. If you have not sorted them out yet this far, it is no wonder you have been experiencing difficulties in making decisions.

  6. Don't Take Yourself Too Seriously: So what if you make a mistake? Ask yourself: What is the worst that can happen even if I fail? If the consequence appears trivial, then why not just take up the challenge of making the decision?

    Making mistakes is really part of learning. You cannot truly learn and grow without having gone through failures and mistakes. What is important is that you pick yourself up after that and ask yourself what you have learned in the process. Instead of blaming or berating yourself, choose to learn from these situations, so that you can make better decisions next time.
    “A man's errors are his portals of discovery.” - James Joyce (Irish novelist, 1882-1941)
    Practice Makes Perfect. Start small if you have to. Building self confidence is not an overnight thing especially if you have been having age old habits of disbeliefs in your own capabilities. Decide what it is that you want and the values that you hold dear. Be guided by them.
Work on removing your fears. As you keep at building your self confidence, you will begin to build more and more trust in yourself. From negativity and doubt, you will begin to experience a new sense of empowerment. You are now building a life that you can lay claim to. Making bigger and bigger decisions for yourself just becomes easier!
“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” - Golda Meir (Israeli Founder and Prime Minister. 1898-1978)
- Evelyn

How to get Engaged

Tomorrow morning I'll be at Hall's Guest House at 7am helping set up for the Wild Bride Bridal Fair sponsored by one of my radio stations.

Which brings me to this from the Art of Manliness Blog.

Great advice that I wish I had followed...

Asking a Woman’s Father For Her Hand In Marriage

Posted: 15 May 2008 11:20 PM CDT

So you’ve stopped hanging out with women and started dating them. Consequently, you’ve found a woman who had become your best friend, and you know she is the one. Things have been serious for quite some time now and you’re ready to take your relationship to the next level: marriage.

One tradition that has been slowly fading away from Western society is asking a woman’s father for her hand in marriage. Many argue that the whole idea smacks of sexism and chauvinism and harks back to times when women were treated like chattel.

Whatever. I think it’s just respectful to ask your future bride’s father for his blessing as you start down the path towards matrimony. It lets your girlfriend’s father know that you’re sincere in your intentions and a true gentleman. It’s an important tradition, a rite of passage, and a bonding experience between you and your future father-in-law. Plus, most women we asked think it’s a sweet gesture.

But it’s no easy task; the experience can make any man a nervous wreck. I remember when I had the talk with my father-in-law; I was sweating bullets. Hopefully, the guidelines that follow will help ease the stress and make the experience bearable if not enjoyable.

1. Talk to your girlfriend first. Before you go and sit down and talk man-to-man with your potential father-in-law, make sure you and your girlfriend are on the same page as far as the whole marriage thing goes. Is she ready to commit? Does she even want to get married? If so, how soon does she want to get hitched? You don’t want to get your girlfriend’s father’s blessing to marry his daughter, just to have his daughter turn you down when you propose.

2. Try to meet him before you ask. If it’s possible, try to meet your girlfriend’s parents a few times before you decide you want to marry her. While my wife and I were dating, I had the opportunity to visit her parents on several occasions. I got to know them rather well before we got engaged. It made sitting down with her dad and discussing my wish to marry his daughter a bit easier because we had already established a relationship. Again, not all situations will allow this, but if you can, do it.

3. Sit down with him man-to-man. There are several ways you can go about this, and I think it all depends on what kind of man your girlfriend’s father is. Consider taking him out to dinner or going to a bar or coffee shop. Breaking bread with him might make the situation a bit more comfortable. If that’s not a possibility, during a visit just ask if you can speak to him in private. If her dad lives far away, try to time the conversation for a trip home which has already been planned, perhaps during the holidays. If this is not possible, it’s okay to conduct the talk over the phone.

4. Start out expressing your feelings for his daughter. I think the best way to start off the conversation is to express to the father your love and admiration for his daughter. Tell him how much she means to you. Mention some specific qualities that you love about her. He raised her, so you are really complimenting him at the same time.

5. Explain your wish to marry his daughter. Now it’s time to cut to the chase. Explain your wish to marry his daughter. Assure him that you understand the seriousness of the commitment and that being able to spend the rest of your life with his daughter would make you the happiest man in the world.

7. Promise him that you’ll take care of his daughter for the rest of her life. Put yourself in this man’s shoes. He’s been the man in her life since she was baby. He’s taken care of her since she was in diapers and only wants the best for her. He wants to know that he’s handing off his little girl to someone that will take just as good care of her as he has. Make the commitment that you’ll always honor, respect, and cherish his daughter.

8. Respectfully ask for his blessing. Now, just request his blessing and support in you asking for his daughter’s hand in marriage.

If your girlfriend’s father has died, wasn’t around when she was growing up, or is simply a jerk that his daughter avoids contact with, ask the mother.

Download Your Free Guide to Being a Gentleman in 2008.

Become a person of Truth

Another great article that was in my email this week:

5 Reasons People Don't Take You Seriously and How to Fix It

Posted: 12 May 2008 11:14 AM CDT

Written on 5/12/2008 by David B. Bohl, the author of Slow Down Fast.

Ever wonder how some people manage to command a room simply by entering it?

Do you sometimes feel like you get mowed down by other people's big ideas, priorities and needs?

Is it exceedingly difficult for you to get people to cooperate and follow your lead?

While some people seem blessed with strong character from birth, the rest of us flounder, stagnate, learn to acquire a taste for shoe leather. Why is this? It may be because people aren't taking you seriously enough. And the reason is that, most likely, you don't take yourself seriously enough.

How others see us begins with how we see ourselves. We project this self-perception into every action and every word we speak. Here are five reasons people aren't taking you seriously and how to fix it.
  1. Not being true to your word: Do you make promises only to realize later that you can't keep them? Do you excitedly tell your friends and family what you plan to do, i.e. look for a new job, clean the garage, go on an amazing vacation... but then somehow it never seems to happen?

    Set a new rule for yourself: stop telling people what you're going to do. Instead, tell them what you already did. Not only will this save you from future embarrassment (for example, when people ask you "whatever happened with your plan to...") but it will keep you motivated to accomplish what you set out to. People who get things done get taken more seriously. They're also granted more responsibility.

  2. Poor follow-through: Be honest here. Do you often start up new projects in your work and life, but find that they never get past the initial launch phase? It's no wonder people are having trouble viewing you in a serious light.

    What's happening here is that there's no follow-through and no goal setting system in place. You may think that only over-achieving nerds set goals. (Allow me to point out that 'nerd' is enjoying a new, positive connotation these days.) Let's face it: the ONLY way things will get done is if you create a step-by-step plan and then follow through with that plan. Can you use some practice in setting and attaining goals?

  3. Not learning to separate work and play: Seems like everywhere we look, boundaries are being overstepped: employees cozying up to their bosses over drinks, business owners taking clients out for a round of golf and an earful about their dating life. It's great to share personal interests and information with those in our professional circle. And yes, we all can relate to some level of dysfunction with our families and loved ones. But the truth remains that the more people know about you, the less they're able to see you in a professional light. Better to reserve the details of our private lives to trusted friends instead of coworkers and colleagues who might take us less seriously - and therefore pass us up for future opportunities - because of it.

  4. Making excuses instead of making it happen: Think about all the time we waste telling people why we couldn't accomplish what we said we'd do. Now think about how much more productive you'd be if, instead of moaning and making excuses... you just went ahead and did it. Making excuses is a procrastination art form. Next time you're about to blame your inaction on someone or something else, ask yourself: why am I playing an avoidance game? What's really preventing me from buckling down and just getting it done? How much more seriously might people take me if I were more effective? Who do I need to talk to to initiate this change in myself?

  5. Hanging with the wrong crowd: Sometimes people don't take us seriously when they see us hanging around with people who are too casual or flippant about life. It's true; as much as we want to believe that "we're all adults here," not everyone practices healthy living habits or behaves in a responsible manner. Look around at the people who you spend time with. Are they of sound moral fiber and solid constitution? Or are you secretly embarrassed by their behavior and questioning of their decisions a lot of the time?

    Sometimes it can be tough to break away from people who don't enhance our lives or embrace the same values as we do. But remember that there is a world full of people out there. If you're serious about being taken seriously... find a new friend, or group of friends, who can help you move toward this goal.
Have you or your ideas been brushed off? Why did it happen and what did you do to get heard?


Friday, May 16, 2008

Time for some more Shameless Promotion

I need to brag. Not about me, but something that I'm connected to.

Nearly a year ago, I added another job title to my responsibilities at the radio stations I work for.

I even have a business card with this title on it, along with other cards that I use depending on which hat I'm wearing. That title is:

"Director of Long Form Programming" for WGL -AM/FM.

What it means is I get to be in charge of the programming on that radio station that is longer than a commercial, and different from the regular music programming we play on that station.

Specifically, I oversee the line up of Sports, Farm and Talk Shows that we have added to the station.

And today I want to brag about what I believe is some of the best stuff to listen to on Saturday mornings. Ever since my days of working in Detroit, I have been a talk radio fan.

Ricky Kemery is the host of the WGL Garden Show Saturday Mornings from 7 to 8am. Nobody in this town can come close to the knowledge and personality that Ricky has when it comes to lawn and garden stuff.

Ricky Kemery is the Allen County Horticulture Educator with the Purdue Cooperative Extension service. Ricky graduated from Purdue University with a B.S. in Landscape Horticulture and Design. He obtained his M.S. in Ornamental Horticulture from Purdue in 1995. Ricky develops education programs and provides research-based information about Horticulture to area citizens in a wide variety of ways, and also is responsible for helping the commercial horticulture industry in the Ft. Wayne area.

As the "Plant Medic" Ricky (with the help of Master Gardener volunteers) answers over 5,000 gardening phone calls yearly from citizens in the area. In addition, Ricky also helps citizens by diagnosing insect and disease problems for over 1,000 samples of trees, flowers and shrubs at the Extension office. Click Here for more.

Then at 8am, we have Your Business Matters, hosted by local Business owner and attorney Bob Nicholson. Bob has been able to get some of the most fascinating guests and get them to open up with their stories and struggles. Usually his guests are from this area, but earlier this year he was able to score an interview with Jerry Greenfield of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream fame which you can listen to by clicking here.

At 9am, we have local businessman turned Realtor, Paul Saalfield hosting the WGL Real Estate Show. Years ago Paul did a radio show on photography as the owner of Stellhorn One Hour Photo, and each week he shares valuable tips and information.

Right after Paul, at 10am, we have Elder Law Attorney Otto Bonahoom hosting the Elder Hour. When I returned to WGL 5 years ago, Otto was just wrapping up a multi year run of hosting the Elder Hour exclusively on our radio station and with a little persuasion, he is back each week with a lively discussion on issues related to the Elderly.

Then our newest star on the radio is Julia Anders who with her husband Matt own Comfort Keepers. It's nice to have a female perspective after all the guys are done talking and each week Julia has a fresh topic on her show we call Heart to Heart every Saturday from 11am until noon.

Finally, kudos to Shannon McNett-Silcox, who took over the hosting duties for the Chamber Show when Phil Laux retired from the Fort Wayne Chamber Presidency. The Chamber Show features an insightful interview with a different member of the local business community that is also a member of the Chamber and airs from noon to 12:30 Saturdays.

Everyone of these shows are hosted by radio amateurs who are true professionals in their own right. All of them, with the exception of Ricky, Paul and Otto have been doing this for only a year or less and everyone of them have overcome that stage fright that hits you when the show begins for the first time and you realize that for the next 45 minutes, You Are On The Air!

Check them out this weekend, and every weekend. Call in with your comments and questions.

The phone number is 260-969-1250. WGL AM is 1250am in Fort Wayne, Indiana. WGL-FM is at 102.9 fm in Huntington, Indiana. And you can always listen on-line at

De-Clutter your Insides

A great article, sent to my email, that I will re-read tonight:

7 Ways to Eliminate Emotional Clutter

Posted: 12 May 2008 07:26 PM CDT

Written on 5/12/2008 by Shilpan Patel of Success Soul.

Imagine that you are making a futile effort to find a piece of mail stuck in a large pile of clutter on your desk. You are spending an enormous amount of time and stress to find what seems lost in the dreary clutter. It's exasperating and extremely unproductive.

Well, our emotions work the same way. Our emotional clutter absconds the life purpose, depriving us from connecting with our inner self. The deftness lies in building awareness to confront elements of emotional clutter and sort out what is important and what goes into the trash. If you can learn to make this separation in your life, you will begin to notice a new calmness as you go through your days.
  1. Eliminate physical clutter: Clutter is an intense form of procrastination, both physical and emotional. Physical clutter plagues many people in the illusionary chase of possessions. Physical clutter is a symptom in the form of outgrowth of inner chaos that exists in our life. By managing physical clutter, we send signals to our subconscious about our intrepid resolve to eliminate our emotional clutter.

  2. Healing Action: Resolve to go through all the mail, documents, magazines, and bills. Sort out to keep what matters now and toss the rest of it or give it away to someone who can benefit from it.

    Second, resolve to use what you have now before making any attempt to buy more of the same.

    Third, control your desire for the social acceptance and spending. The common myth of equating money with social acceptance can deteriorate into your physical and emotional clutter by having an ostensible desire to keep up with the Joneses. This habit creates an endless maze of financial troubles leading to emotional clutter. Learn to be frugal and pride in who you are and not in what you wear or possess.

  3. Letting go of worries: Worries are like worms; they fetch countless more worries. Soon, our mind gets fogged with negativity that amplifies a minor problem into a major by directing our focus towards it. It becomes a perpetual bad habit that inhibits our mind and spreads like a cancer.

    Healing action: The best way to eliminate emotional clutter is by "clearing" meditation at the end of the day; focus on the positive changes that you want to manifest in your life and direct your focus towards it by meditation. I've personally felt profoundly relaxed and energized by meditating daily to attract the positivity in my life.

  4. Low self-image: If you are self-critical about your social acceptance, your skills or your body image, you have low self-esteem. Low self-esteem attracts emotional clutter and drains your energy and desire to succeed.

    Healing action: Develop a journal to write down the facts about your life that may have attributed to the low self-esteem. Those thoughts that trigger emotional trauma from the past ruin your present moment. Express those feelings in the journal and also write courses of action to bury those thoughts in the coffin. I've seen a rise in my self-confidence due to this exercise.

  5. Going to bed with unfinished business: Have you had days, when despite working hard, you felt a lack of accomplishment? This sense of misery creates emotional clutter by self-pity and thoughts of despair. We deprive ourselves of a good night sleep by obsessive focus on the unfinished business. As a result, we toss and turn in the bed and wake up next day feeling miserable.

    Healing Action: No matter how day went, take a relaxing shower and letting go the feelings of unease with the flowing water. Write down things to accomplish for the next day before going to sleep and loose you in the tranquility of music. You'll let go the exasperation and feel calm before going to bed.

  6. Conserve energy: Be mindful of time spent on the phone with friends who banish your Positivity with their negativity or time spent on checking emails that drain your energy. These negative influences can exacerbate your emotional trash and hold you back from focusing on the positive change that you are about to bring in your life.

    Healing action: Be honest and express your sincere desire to your friends for the positive changes you seek. If that costs you a friendship, so be it. Forge new friendship that resonates from your inner feelings. You will find a boost in your energy level and positive perspective about life as a result.
    Gluttony is an emotional escape, a sign something is eating us. -Peter de Vries (1910-1993) American editor and novelist.
  7. Eating too much: If you are engaged in mindless eating or lack of, you are trying to resist emotional clutter by directing focus on the food or lack of; what resists persists. It drains our energy to resist what we don't want to confront emotionally.

    Healing action: Develop a "check-in" process by seeking external support from a friend or a family member. Discuss with them what bothers you emotionally and talk about your eating and activity that day or day before. If you have a blog or website, add a "Checking-In" tab and list your plan of action with details of exercise and meals that you plan on eating. By seeking external support, you'll lift your desire to confront the evil and thus focus more on the meaningful change in your life.

  8. Difficult relationship: If you are feeling defensive with inexplicable altercations with your partner or feeling constantly criticized by your partner in public, you will attract an abundance of emotional clutter with thoughts of feebleness, despair and exasperation. This behavior may turn inward and make you disconnect with your partner by not having good communication or a sex life. All of these can make you feel punched square in the stomach with intense emotional trauma.

    Healing Action: Have an honest and candid conversation with your partner about how you feel. Develop a feeling journal to write down your feelings as they arise. During an altercation, you did not have the deftness to feel those feelings and move through the pain. The hurt went underground and formed emotional clutter. With the feeling journal, you have tool at your dispense to identity the hurt feelings and eradicate them to eliminate emotional clutter. Let your partner read the feeling journal and respond to your feelings. By opening communication, you tend to improve relationship for the fulfilling, happy life.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Education for Living

My Dad who passed away 10 years ago after a very full life, used to lecture me all during my high school years about what he considered a big regret in his life, not getting a degree.

Well, I ignored his advice, sort of. When I was 16 I was working at a radio station, and knew that this was what I wanted to do with my life. And the way to advance in radio was experience, not a degree.

Now this was 30 years ago and the opportunities have changed in the radio business. These days, there are fewer on air jobs to be had. My high school had their own station which I helped launch and that's what gave me my first job on my resume, which led to others.

Education can come in many forms. These days, my youngest Abby, my stepdaughter is home after a fantastic freshman year at Purdue. Also in school is my son Josh, who has gone to Indiana State, Rose Hullman and is currently in Maine finishing up his degree next year at the College of the Atlantic.

What did I do as far as post high school education?

Classes in Computers from Ivy Tech, in 1980. Classes in Computer Software 15 years later. Seminars in Detroit, Fort Wayne, Philadelphia, Miami, and Columbus, Ohio over the years.
Dale Carnegie classes too. But most important, was I took responsibility for my own learning and have viewed the various experiences and connections as ways to add to my education.

My two daughters Rachael and Tiffany both started college but left before getting a degree. They are both doing well, and whatever limitations they might have because of not getting their degree, they have and will overcome. Or they will get a degree.

Some of the most famous and successful people in the world are not working in the field they studied.

Overall, I urge folks to do what it takes to follow their dreams. Take the classes, get the knowledge, get the experience, and keep learning until you take your last breath.

And if you are looking at college, take a look at this article that came in my email this week:

8 College Courses That Will Make You Rich

Posted: 13 May 2008 07:24 AM CDT

Written on 5/13/2008 by Robert, owner of

Is it common knowledge that school doesn't prepare you well for the real world?

Sure, you can get a good degree, find a well-paying job, work until you're in your 60s, and then retire to enjoy the life you've deferred for 40+ years. However, that may not prove to be a successful life, a secure life, a financially sound life. A lot will depend on your outlook and your goals but know this: School doesn't prepare you well for achieving wealth or becoming an entrepreneur and it downright fails at teaching you how to be rich.

Nevertheless, school is here to stay. For now. Thus, it helps to identify which classes are the most relevant and helpful for those of us looking to become rich entrepreneurs. There are, in fact, several courses that contain critical information and instruction that, if used correctly, will put you on your path to riches.

If you're in college, about to start college, or looking to take some classes, here is a list of college courses that could help make you rich. (I focused on college because (a) college provides the most variety in course selection, and (b) college is generally the time when individuals realize what they want to do with their lives.)
  • Accounting
    Although this list is in no particular order, I think Accounting is, by far, the most important course to take if you want to succeed financially. Today's "credit crunch" illustrates that there are too many people who do not understand a balance sheet. Someone who walks into Best Buy and pays for a 47-inch plasma television with a credit card does not comprehend the difference between an asset and a liability.

    Learning the difference between assets and liabilities, as well as concepts like inventory and cash flow, is essential if you intend on keeping your finances in order. Moreover, these concepts are crucial if you want to start your own business. The health of a business is reflected in its balance sheet and financial statement. As those numbers go, so does the business. Accounting will help you understand that cash flow is what helps a business succeed, and it is what helps you as an individual succeed.

  • Marketing
    If you intend on making money from selling something (which, incidentally, is how any business makes money), then you need to learn how to find the right product. Marketing, in and of itself, is not selling. However, it helps you learn how to promote certain products and services. By taking Marketing, you can understand the process involved in figuring out what consumers want, focusing on a product that satisfies those desires, and the attempt at moving consumers toward that product.

    Too often, products fail because their creators didn't bother to learn whether a market existed for that product. This process involves research and time, but, in the end, it can save a business thousands, if not millions, of dollars. As an entrepreneur, it can also save you valuable time and money. Find the market first, and then develop the product.

  • Economics
    I regret never taking Economics in college. Understanding the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services is essential if you want to take a big picture approach to business and investing. The current state of the U.S. economy is a combination of various factors (i.e., consumer over-spending, speculative real estate investing, fragile lending practices, a weakening dollar, low supply of oil, etc.).

    If you understand how the economy got to the point where it is today, it helps you identify where your money should be. You can pick out the right investments and turn away from the bad ones. You can identify which direction your business should go in, including whether to take advantage of certain trends or cut out excess inventory.

    Economics is a vital ingredient in a person's financial education. The world is now a global marketplace, and the supply and demand of goods and services operate at that level.

  • Finance
    It's tax season, and several people you know are probably receiving refund checks in the mail from the Internal Revenue Service. If you're excited about receiving a refund check, you probably never took a finance course. Receiving a refund is a way for you to lose money. The government withheld money from your paychecks and held that money for a year without paying you any interest. It's like giving someone an interest-free loan. Thus, your money sat in the government's hand and lost value during that time.

    Finance helps you understand how the time value of money works and how various investment vehicles operate. One of the keys to becoming rich is comprehending how money works when it's not in your hands. A finance course (preferably one geared towards entrepreneurship) will teach you what you need to know to reach this level of understanding. There might be some math involved, but it won't kill you. It'll just make you a stronger and more savvy investor.

  • Any American History Course
    History can be boring. But if you look at history from a different viewpoint, it can open doors for you. The most valuable aspect of history is its ability to convey to us the mistakes of others. Studying history helps you learn from others mistakes so that, hopefully, you won't commit the same mistakes.

    American history is filled with mishaps, wrong turns, and terrible decision-making, both at the national political level and at the business level. Look at these errors, and figure out how a better decision could have been made. Then, apply that realization to today's world and to your own trajectory. How can you apply what you learned from these mistakes to your own entrepreneurial experiences?

  • Writing and Composition
    Succeeding as an entrepreneur requires that you be able to express yourself and your ideas. Whether it involves pitching an idea to an investor, writing a press release, or composing a business plan, entrepreneurs need to communicate. More often than not, this communication is done in writing. Basic composition and grammar skills can do wonders for your ability to convey your ideas and your mindset.

    Just glance around at the number of blogs across the Internet and you will see a lot of bad writing. It's an instant turnoff and preempts any evaluation of the content of your writing. Good writing, on the other hand, draws in a reader, and it gives you a shot at selling someone on your content. In other words, it helps you get in the door.

  • Any Literature Course
    Literature, like history, contains valuable lessons that emanate from years of experience and wisdom. Why not draw on these sources of information? There is no limit to the topics covered by novels. Ernest Hemingway's books are full of inspirational messages. Oscar Wilde provides brilliant business advice. Henry David Thoreau is the master of teaching self-reliance. These books and others provide timeless principles of personal development and, just as important, wealth creation.

  • Management
    One of the problems with "bosses" is that they don't know how to manage people. If you want to own and run a business, you need to manage that business effectively and efficiently. This process requires dealing and communicating with people and delegating tasks and decisions to employees. An understanding of management concepts and learning different techniques and skills will not only make you likable, but they will also help you make more money.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Junk Food Alley

Before you know it, it will be Festival Season in the city of three muddy rivers, Fort Wayne, Indiana.

And the Mother of all the Festivals is our 10 day extravaganza in July we call the Three Rivers Festival.

40 years old this year and with an up and down history, 3RF is now in the hands of Shannon White and his staff along with hordes of volunteers.

I recall when the main area for activity was the block long stretch of Columbia Street known as the Landing. Today 3RF is scattered all over town, with the main focus downtown at Headwaters Park.

Right next to the Headwaters, is the (Junk) Food Alley where you can get deep fried Oreo's and other tasty heart stopping treats. (Sorry Shannon.)

Well, in line with the usual line up, I found another treat for the Food Alley:


Did you even know there is another side to Google besides the .com side?

I discovered this recently, the not-for-profit side of Google. Click here and explore!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Quick, yank the cord out of the wall!

Every once in awhile, I will compose an email and then push the send button prematurely. Often there's not much you can do if your email has typos or other stuff that needs cleaned up.

Working on a laptop computer, I will flip the switch to turn off my wireless connection if I can catch it in time.

There is a better way, and that along with what to do if you do send out a crappy email are explained in this from (which came in my email):

Unsend! Unsend! Unsend!

There's almost nothing worse than realizing you sent an email blast—with typos, no less—to the wrong contact list. In a post at his blog, Seth Godin discusses how an external media partner committed this email marketing sin when it blanketed his readers with a seemingly random message. Ouch.

The problem with the message was twofold:

  1. It went to people who had opted-in only for a Seth Godin teleseminar several months earlier.
  2. It began with the placeholder salutation "dear first name."

What does someone who cares about permission marketing do when he breaks two of the most basic email marketing rules? In this case, he writes an open letter to Godin and his readers: "I can't undo the damage, but I can apologize and can make sure that you and your readers know that it was not intentional," says the offending emailer.

So as not to exacerbate the issue with a follow-up email—and potentially annoy those who didn't receive the wayward message in the first place—Godin decided to post the explanation at his blog with a note regarding his indirect responsibility. "All I can do is apologize," writes Godin. "I'll try to work harder to make sure that people I work with get this through and through. Sorry."

The Po!nt: Be fanatical about double-checking every aspect of an email blast. If you do make a mistake, a prominent display of mea culpa is the best way to smooth things over and re-earn reader trust. "Stuff happens," says Godin. "At least it wasn't on purpose."

Source: Ouch! Read the full post here.

The End

Whew, Finally.... just click here, one last time.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Denny Crane?

Season 3 is out on DVD.

Season 4 just got moved to Wednesdays.

Will there be a season 5?

The Health Benefits of a Smile

As you may know, Harvey Mackay writes a weekly email.

Here's last weeks:

The world always looks brighter from behind a smile

Dr. C. Ward Crampton, former director of physical training in the New York public schools, always urged his patients to exercise. That was way back in the first half of the 20th century, when he practiced. He specifically prescribed what he called his "miracle exercise."

Dr. Crampton's miracle exercise does not require special clothing or equipment. You don't have to get down on the floor or go through a series of contortions that will leave you breathless. You can stand or sit down. It works well if you do it in front of a mirror, or better still, with someone. Here it is:

  • Raise the corners of your mouth an inch, take a deep breath and hold it for 10 seconds.
  • You are smiling. If you have people watching you, they'll probably start smiling too.
  • Now release your breath in short exhalations. You're now laughing. Unless those other people are curmudgeons, they'll undoubtedly start laughing too.

This simple muscular action of inhaling, while raising the corners of your mouth and exhaling in rhythmic, short bursts, causes the diaphragm to bounce up and down. It pats the liver on the back, and pleasantly vibrates the stomach. The heart, which rests above the diaphragm, begins to pump at a slightly faster rate, sending blood coursing throughout the body.

The effect, Dr. Crampton explained, is a general feeling of well-being. More important than this, however, is the effect on others who observe you going through this exercise. They feel better, too. This triggers happy emotions within you, and the stage is set for any number of pleasant personal and business relationships. All this from one simple little exercise!

I learned years ago that one of the most powerful things you can do to sell successfully is to smile at prospects. Never underestimate the value of a smile. It should be standard equipment for all people. You shouldn't come to work without a smile. And be sure to take it home with you at the end of the workday!

Smiling is the universal language. People like smiles a lot more than frowns. Many careers have been enhanced because of the presence of a bright smile. Who can match Tiger Woods' million-dollar smile, or for that matter, his endorsements? The entertainment and sports business are full of examples—Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney, Bette Midler, Julia Roberts, Michael Jordan, Halle Berry or maybe the greatest smile ever, that of Magic Johnson.

I remember reading an article in Newsday some years back that Holiday Inn management was looking for 500 people to fill positions for a new facility. Hotel managers interviewed 5,000 candidates and excluded all candidates who smiled fewer than four times during their interviews. And this applied to people competing for jobs in all categories.

With a name like Mackay, a lot of people mistakenly think I'm Irish, but have you ever noticed how many Irish blessings and sayings have the word smile in them? "May all your days be filled with four-leaf clovers and rainbows, smiles and laughter, and dreams come true."

Readers of this column know that I am a big fan of Dale Carnegie, the master of making friends. I carry a poem from one of his books with me and often share it when I am speaking to groups. It's called "The Value of a Smile," and I hope you learn as much from it as I have.

"It costs nothing, but creates much. It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give. It happens in a flash and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None are so rich they can get along without it, and none so poor but are richer for its benefits.

"It creates happiness in the home, fosters goodwill in a business, and is the countersign of friends. It is rest to the weary, daylight to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and natures best antidote for trouble.

"Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed or stolen, for it is something that is no earthly good to anyone 'til it is given away. And if in the hurly-burly bustle of today's business world, some of the people you meet should be too tired to give you a smile, may we ask you to leave one of yours?

"For nobody needs a smile so much, as those who have none left to give."

Mackey's Moral: The most powerful single thing you can do to influence others is to smile at them.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Happy Mom's Day to one and all...

This was one of Kim Komando's Video of the Day Videos last week. You can get these by subscribing to any of her free newsletters. There's a link on the right side of this page.

Not so empty nesters

Happy Mom's Day!

Yesterday Kathy, Abby and I went to IHOP for a family B-fast. At this very moment Kathy, (my wife) is at work, like she usually is on Sundays, and Abby is still asleep.

Abby has been home now for 2 weeks, after completing her first year at Purdue. Saturday I discovered these tips for empty nest parents who have a college kid home for the summer months, like we do:

Five Ways to Cope When Your Child Returns to the Nest

Posted: 09 May 2008 11:05 AM CDT

Written on 5/09/2008 by Alex Blackwell, who writes about creating success and happiness for the rest of your life at The Next 45 Years.

Final exams at Kansas University begin next week. My daughter, Caitlin, has been working very hard and will successfully complete her freshmen year in very good academic standing. Caitlin has learned a lot about being on her own and other important life skills, too.

However, she has already informed her mother and me that her car will be packed and she will be ready to pull out of Lawrence, Kansas and head back home as soon as she completes her last exam. While Mary Beth and I are looking forward to spending the summer with our daughter, we just hope her return to the nest will be equally successful.

In anticipation of her return home, my wife and I have been discussing how to embrace this change to our routine. We want the next few months to be happy and productive ones for the sake of the entire family. We have settled on these five ways to cope when our daughter comes home, again. I hope you will find these useful too:
  1. Establish Some Ground Rules. The first place to start is with establishing, and communicating, the fact that the house rules have not gone away even though Caitlin has been away from the house for the past 10 months. Things like curfew times, noise levels, keeping up with assigned household chores and friends coming over will all be redefined and enforced.

    Being part of a family is a privilege. The ability to enjoy a comfortable home, food in the fridge, cable television and a computer with a fast Internet connection all come with responsibilities. The most fundamental of these responsibilities is to be accountable and to follow the family-approved rules. No one is exempt for these and there are no exceptions.

  2. Set Boundaries. I have resigned myself to the fact that the peace and quiet Mary Beth and have enjoyed since last August will be interrupted over the summer months. This is not an indictment or criticism about Caitlin’s behavior; it’s just being honest to say our house has a lot more energy in it when our daughter is here.

  3. With that said, my wife and I still have a right to privacy and to our personal space. It’s important for all of us to have some personal space to retreat to when the need arises.

  4. Caitlin’s Contributions. In addition to respecting the house rules, there is also an expectation our daughter will contribute to the family in other ways, too. Helping with dinner, getting Emily, our younger daughter, to and from where she needs to go, and pitching in with the laundry will all be expected contributions.

    When children return home, they should not be considered as invited guests, but as fully engaged and productive members of the family. Their contributions, however, are not limited to how they can help their parents; their presence, spirit and love are all valuable contributions as well.

  5. Cultivate an Adult Relationship. It’s very fulfilling watching our children grow up and grow in to becoming mature and responsible adults. An expectation Catlin may have this summer is to be treated as an adult – I can’t wait to meet her expectation.

    We invest so much time and effort in our children when they are young. This investment yields very, very favorable returns when we get to experience them as adults. The years of reading bedtime stories and believing in Santa Claus are indeed magical. The time spent talking about who should win the next presidential election over a cold beer can be just as delightful. Gradually, and without much notice, our children become our friends.

    I’m looking forward to finding out more about the reasons behind Caitlin’s choice for president. I’m looking forward to nurturing an adult relationship with my daughter this summer.

  6. Create an Exit Strategy. As the August days begin to get shorter, so will our time with Caitlin. With every homecoming, there is also a farewell. When my daughter pulls up into the driveway in a couple of weeks, no one will be thinking about the day she will need to back out and head for Lawrence. It will be important to drop-in reminders of the inevitable departure along the way.

    Within a few days of her return home, we will quickly develop a new routine and grow accustomed to her new-found presence in the house. We will also need to help transition her back to her college life.

    Shopping for new items for her apartment, gradually giving her more autonomy as the summer wanes into the fall, and planning the Thanksgiving holiday details when we will unite as a family again, are all things we can do to help with the transition from the nest and back into her independence.
Thomas Wolfe may suggest “you can’t go home again,” but you can welcome your child home again and begin building a new relationship that can be sustained for the rest of your lives together.