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John Maxwell Team

John Maxwell Team Certified Member

Priscilla Archangel is a John Maxwell Team Certified Coach, Teacher and Speaker.

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    Your Big Idea Worth Spreading

    Earlier this month I had the opportunity to attend the TEDx Detroit conference. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, and is a gathering of leading artists, entrepreneurs, educators, designers, thinkers and doers who share their “big idea” worth spreading. Meeting in locations all over the world (the x factor), this Detroit gathering included people who offered bright ideas in a variety of areas. Here is a sampling of the ideas presented.

    Elio MotorsPaul Elio of Elio Motors believes that mobility is one of the primary roadblocks to individuals getting a job and thereby overcoming poverty. So he designed a 2 seater vehicle (one seat behind the other) priced at $6,800 that gets 84 miles per gallon. While that price seems very reasonable, he went a step further and devised a financing plan whereby the purchaser uses an Elio Motors sponsored gas card, and each time they get gas, he charges them three times the actual amount. This overage is applied to the principal cost of the vehicle, making it self-financing.

    Alden Kane is a high school senior and student inventor. He’s committed to improving peoples’ lives by combining science and service, and believes that proprietary ideas are the future of science. And so he accepted a challenge to design a “wheelchair stroller” for a local mother. Sandwiching time to complete this between his academic and extracurricular activities, he came up with a novel solution to a common problem for millions of new parents who are confined to wheelchairs. Now he’s looking for angel investors, and a more user-friendly name for his invention.

    Sharina Jones was the beneficiary of Alden’s creative genius. A victim of a gunshot wound at age 7, she now teaches people to think beyond the chair, to live past their disabilities and to live a functional life. She sets the example as Miss Wheelchair Michigan in 2011, author of The Life of a Push Goddess, and founder of a charity that brought wheelchairs to Panama. She challenges others to change the lives of one person, a community or the world; and now has a means of carrying her new baby boy with her. Continue reading

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    Your Dream or Your Nightmare: Keys to Successful Small Business Development

    Google Images

    Google Images

    This is supposed to be your dream come true. Finally, your business is up and running. You’re breathing life into your big idea. You no longer have to answer to the boss because you are the boss. You’re working your business plan.  You’re finding your path to financial freedom. You know your target market and you’re finding new clients. You have positive feedback on your products and services. You’re developing new technology. You’re finding additional funding. You’ve finally found the right team to work with. You have the right workspace. You can feel the exciting energy when you walk into your business each morning. Continue reading

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    Insanity Check

    “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” This often quoted statement has been attributed to a variety of people (including Albert Einstein), but it provides a good motivation to begin your new year.

    With the beginning of 2015 many people are thinking about New Year’s resolutions. What do they want to accomplish this year? What do they want to do differently? Even for those who swear off such annual declarations (many of which are only kept for a month or two), most people still take the time to pause and consider what they want to experience in the New Year.  Whether or not you advocate setting resolutions, it is important to periodically assess your activities to make sure they’re properly focused to support accomplishing your objectives.

    Insanity CheckSo take an insanity check. This is the time to evaluate your personal, professional and organizational strategies and make the necessary adjustments to ensure not only progress, but attainment of your goals. In what areas are you sticking to the same plan, but expecting different results? What isn’t working…yet? Where are you or your organization struggling? Where are you and others frustrated? Here are several keys to your insanity check.

    Build Momentum

    The change initiatives you have started may take time to build momentum until you actually see visible progress. You’re laying the groundwork for improvement, building a foundation, and driving beliefs and values that will spill over into behavioral changes. You may be personally impatient, or stakeholders may be pushing you for quick results. But make sure your plan is solid and that you’re on track in following it. Stopping or pausing will undermine your momentum and you’ll almost literally have to start over. So keep pushing, and build momentum, your goal is in sight.


    Pull The Lever

    Identify the critical lever for change and focus on it. This critical lever is at the center of the problem, and supports and reinforces what is not working. Like a house of cards, if you pull it, everything that it supports will collapse, and that may be a good thing. Pulling the lever may require repositioning your team, changing your structure, developing a different strategy, or shifting your own leadership style.

    Manage Time

    Time is one of the most valuable resources you have, so use it wisely. Rather than succumb to the many demands on your time, control how you spend it by prioritizing those activities that add value to what you’re trying to accomplish. I admit that I can get caught up reading business books and articles that are really interesting, aren’t necessarily relevant to the project that I’m working on. , so I have to refocus myself as well. Determine what activities add the most value; find the ones that are really drivers of significant change, and adjust your time accordingly.

    Decide Now

    Deeply embedded problems require tough decisions. You must be willing to let go of people, processes, or products that you previously invested in, but now are not providing sufficient return. Further delaying these decisions means that you’re expending and wasting valuable time in areas that won’t payoff. You likely know what you have to do, but you’re avoiding the unpleasantness of doing it. Instead of focusing on the negative, focus on the positive outcomes.

    Move your people to positions where they can add more value, or provide a bridge for them to transition outside the organization where they can find a better suited opportunity. If they’re not delivering, they typically know it and are feeling some level of stress related to that. Avoiding the obvious issue only makes the pain worse over time.

    Your team or customers will tell you the processes that aren’t working (if you don’t already know it). Set an aggressive and almost impossibly quick timetable by which they need to be fixed or eliminated. Others will thank you for it and be relieved that you finally addressed the problem.

    Unprofitable products or services draw resources from the rest of the organization and literally pull others down with it. Think of a rose bush that through careful pruning of dead or unfruitful branches enables the remainder of the bush to receive the necessary nutrients to bloom beautifully. Such products and services may have a legacy with the organization, or be a favorite of some leader, but culling them quickly will add value to the remainder of the organization.

    Remember…working harder on a bad plan doesn’t make the plan good. Doing the right thing at the wrong time won’t achieve the desired results. Smart moves at the right time are key to getting what you want.

    Picture courtesy of Google Images

    Copyright 2014 Priscilla Archangel

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    An Abundance Mindset

    In Peter Diamandis’ book, Abundance, he tells the story of the discovery of aluminum. According to the tale, around 2,000 years ago, a goldsmith brought an unusual dinner plate to the court of the Emperor Tiberius. It was made from a shiny, lightweight, bright new metal that was the color of silver. The goldsmith said that he had used a secret formula to extract this new metal from clay. Tiberius was very interested in it because he had a massive amount of gold and silver as a result of his many conquests across Europe. He believed that if this goldsmith helped others to extract this rare new metal from mere clay, it could substantially decrease the value of his fortune. Rather than risk that happening, he had the goldsmith beheaded.

    Aluminum did not reappear until around 1825 when once again, a complex process for extracting the metal was discovered. Since then, technology has improved the process so much that the price has been drastically reduced and it is easily available. You see, aluminum itself isn’t rare; it’s the third most plentiful element on earth and represents 8.3% of the weight of the world. There’s an abundance of aluminum, but it was initially scarce due to the difficulty in accessing it.

     

    Google Image

    Google Image

    Abundance Vs. Scarcity

    The Emperor Tiberius had a scarcity mindset. He feared loss of position and power from this precious new metal that he knew little about. Individuals with a scarcity mindset focus on lack and insufficiency and therefore make decisions based on what’s best for themselves, even at the expense of others.


    Had he known the abundance of aluminum as compared to gold (all the gold that has ever been mined would only fill about one-third of the Washington Monument), he might have made a different decision, and somehow harnessed the power of aluminum for his benefit. Individuals with an abundance mindset focus on having an extremely plentiful supply, more than enough to go around.

    This mindset of abundance versus scarcity plays out in other ways in our lives. As we face challenges and opportunities in our work, our mindset will dictate the approach we take and impact the results we achieve. It will dictate whether we are inclusive in our approach to problems in a way that invites cross-functional perspectives, and solicits inputs from others who may not normally be involved in particular issues. Abundance thinking invites new ideas and possibilities. It provides a foundation for innovation and creativity based on a positive outlook for the future; and is the basis for solving many of the difficulties we face today. This mindset drives our behaviors.

    WeWork

    A modern day example of behaviors that support an abundance mindset is WeWork, a four year old company that provides co-working office space, primarily targeted at startups and younger companies who want (and need) heavy interaction. They lease large blocks of office space and subdivide it into smaller parcels; then charge monthly memberships to businesses who want to work, network and share ideas in a collaborative environment. All office services are provided and planned activities enable them to pitch ideas, gain business from one another, and share advice. The founders, Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey, each grew up in communal living (in Israel and Eugene, OR respectively) and thus saw the value of a shared and collaborative environment.

    With 31 locations, 15,000+ members and estimated gross earnings of $150 million this year, they have a current valuation of $1.5 billion, with plans to grow 3 to 4 times that size over the next year. In short, there’s a heavy demand (and a waiting list) for this type of working environment. And the companies that rent this space recognize that collaborating and sharing increases their value.

    Your Abundance

    As we consider our U.S. Thanksgiving celebrations over the past week, hopefully this has been a time of reflecting on the abundance in our lives. It also provides an opportunity to enhance our perspective on where we exhibit abundance or scarcity in our mindset and behaviors. It’s not simply about accumulation of financial reserves, friends, or material goods. It’s the way we approach life and behave.

    Abundance is driven by a mindset of considering future possibilities.

           Scarcity is driven by mindset of complacency with the current state.

    Abundance suggests sharing because there will always be enough to go around.

           Scarcity suggests hoarding what you have.

    Abundance mindsets look for creative opportunities to integrate with the work of others.

           Scarcity mindsets believe there is little opportunity for improvement on their work.

    Abundance thinkers focus on adding value to others first, and thus add value to themselves.

           Scarcity thinkers focus on promoting oneself first, and thus overlook the value of others.

    So be abundant in your mindset.

     

    References:

    Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler. www.Abundancethebook.com

    Read the story of WeWork in Forbes Magazine here.

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    Get It To Give It

    The vast majority of people are working to get more money. With the state of the economy, the amount of debt at a national and individual level, mortgage/rent payments, car loans, school tuition, medical bills, food, credit card debt, and the desire to “keep up with the Joneses”, it all contributes to a need to get more money.  Ask someone what they would do if they were given a million dollars and they would generally give you a long list of bills to pay off, goals to save for, or things to buy for themselves or their family members. Whether your net worth is a negative number (with lots of digits) or a positive number (with lots of digits), almost everyone is working to get more money.

     <1%

    So that’s the 99% of us.  What would the 1% do? Or maybe it’s the .0001%?

    The October 8, 2012 issue of Forbes profiled the 400 richest people in America, worth anywhere from $1.1 billion (a three way tie between Dan Snyder, Paul Singer, and Denise York) to $66 billion (Bill Gates). I was admittedly fascinated with the diverse sources of their wealth, along with their personal stories, because the focus of many of the articles was their philanthropy. Rather than just watch their wealth increase, they were using their money to make a positive impact on society and the world. 

    Treasure Chest with Gold Light Exuding From ItFor example, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was established in 2000 as a continuation of Bill’s philanthropic efforts started in 1994, and their goal is to spend all their money in the foundation within 25 years of their demise. Warren Buffett gave approximately $31 billion to their foundation in 2006 with the stipulation that it be spent within 10 years of his death. And hopefully you’ve heard of the Giving Pledge started by Warren Buffett and the Gateses. Since June 2010, over 90 billionaires have signed the Pledge to give away half of their fortune to the charities of their choice by the time of their death.  But Chuck Feeney is a role model. Feeney used to be on the Forbes 400 (although it was later found to be an error), because though he has earned $7.5 billion over his lifetime, he’s given so much away that he only has about $2 million left.

     


    Secret Giver

    Feeney, now 81, made his fortune by founding the Duty Free Shoppers almost three decades ago. But rather than just amass his fortune, he secretly transferred his ownership stake into the Atlantic Philanthropies. While Forbes Magazine thought he was a billionaire, he instead had given his assets to his charity. Feeney has given to charitable causes on five continents, often anonymously.  Charities have to compete for the money and present a plan of action with objectives to be met. If they fail to meet those objectives, their funding is in jeopardy. He frequently requires that his giving be matched by other wealthy people, local governments, or charities.  He focuses on getting the highest value for his donations, and hates waste of all types. Feeney did much of this in secret, seeking anonymity and shunning the spotlight. Only in recent years has he allowed a biography to be written, and permitted others to understand what he’s trying to accomplish. His philosophy is “Don’t wait to give your money away when you’re old, or even worse, dead. Instead, make substantial donations while you still have the energy, connections and influence to make waves.” Click here to read the article.)  

    Feeney and a number of other billionaires profiled in the magazine feel that giving is a duty and an obligation. David Rubenstein (private equity billionaire) summed it up with the following.

    “How much can you give to your children before you completely spoil and ruin them? Very few people who inherit gigantic sums have gone on to change the world for the better.  Generally the people who’ve changed the world for the better are people who made it on their own and ultimately didn’t want to just distribute wealth to somebody else. If you can give away as much money as you can while you’re alive, you’ll realize the benefits that I just mentioned. You’ll feel much better about yourself—and your children will feel much better about you.”(Click here to read the article.)

     Your Turn to Give

    So right now, though you may be in awe of Feeney and others, you (like me) probably can’t relate to them because you haven’t yet made your first billion dollars. Well maybe there’s something else you have to give to others…something you have a knack for attracting or acquiring in abundance that has little value when hoarded for yourself; something that causes others to look upon you with respect and amazement; something that was earned through hard work and focusing on your passion. This “thing” will be different for everyone, but generally encompasses your time, talents or treasures. These are the most valuable of your assets, often intangible but observable in the results they produce.

    The question is whether you gather it merely for your own value so that others can note your accumulation of it; or whether you gather it to benefit others. You see, we all can be billionaires in some way, just by having an abundance of something valuable that others would desire to have. Just as the billionaires in this edition of Forbes have developed their various passions to accumulate wealth, so those of us in a lesser financial situation can pursue our passions for the benefit of others.  We can “get it to give it”. 

    So no need to wait until to accumulate your first billion. Start now to make a difference in the lives of those around you.

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