Saturday, April 30, 2016

Your Best Response is Action

It usually starts with some kind of smug remark from the peanut gallery.  You know this group of naysayers well.  "You can't do that," they all say.  What made them experts?  You can waste your time debating with them or you can take action.  They can't argue with results.  Stun them.  Silence them.  Disperse them.  You have the power to stop the negative water cooler talk with one simple word – action.  Just do it.  Have a great day.

Friday, April 29, 2016

A Word About Patience

Remember how long it took for summer vacation to arrive when you were in school?  Or how time seemed to stop just before Christmas?  I know this feeling well.  But I don't want to wish anything away just to get to the finish line.  The journey is really what life is about.  I'm reminding myself of that today while living the final chapters of my next book.  Believe me, my patience is being tested.  Perhaps it's another lesson I need to learn.  I'm trusting the journey.  Thanks for staying on the road with me.  Have a great day.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Live by Example

If a picture is worth a thousand words, consider how many pictures you're presenting the world today by your actions.  Are the examples you offer on the front cover of your life good enough to attract others?  My own story contains many chapters about falling down but it doesn't end there.  My focus is on getting back up.  If one person can learn to live a happier, more fulfilled life because he or she noticed something you did, no matter how small or insignificant you feel it may be, then perhaps you will understand the value of your contributions.  Just remember, everything you say pales in comparison to everything you do.  Choose your words carefully – choose your actions more carefully.  And if you need a good starting point, begin with your thoughts.  The voices inside my head are consistent.  Every morning they yell, "Get up, get back on your feet!"  That where my actions come from.  I call it living by example.  How about you?  Have a great day.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

When Death is Your Opposing Pitcher

He's usually called in during the late innings of the game.  We all have to face him.  The only one I know who beat him walks on water.  What about the rest of us?  I'm going to write more on this topic because I believe too many of us are dealing with this sinister character prematurely.  It really should be the other way around.  We've made so many advances in medicine yet we seem to be getting sicker instead of healthier.  It's time to turn our game around and cheat death.

The will to win must be present if you're going to have any chance of extending your innings.  Learn how to foul off death's best pitches.  Look within. How are those arteries doing?  What about your cholesterol?  Can your heart survive the curve ball?  Death knows how to tempt you with that slider.  I'm talking about all those foods you know are killing you.  You only get three strikes and you're out.  It's up to you to stay in the game.  It's Spring and now is the time to prepare yourself for a new season.  Change your menu and keep death out of the game.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Sink or Swim in a Sea of Dreams

My wife saw the dream first.  It was a different sort of dream.  She shared it with me.  My blinders were on.  Maybe that had something to do with fear.  Fear is like the weeds in your garden that take your eyes off your potential.  You can allow the weeds to thrive or you can get busy.  Action is required.  The first time my wife shared her garden dream it seemed too far away and my body was already weary from my trials.  The only way I could get there was to let go of all the anchors causing me to sink in the quicksand.  I was gasping for air.  She offered me a big stick and encouraged me to get back on my feet.  "We can do this together," she said.  Her dream became visible in her sparkling blue eyes.  I admired her self-confidence.  That's the moment when I believed.  I believed that two people who share a dream, no matter how far-fetched, can achieve that dream even when the rest of the world may be blind.  I'm living that dream now.  No more anchors.  No more fear.  It's refreshing to swim in a sea of dreams.  Have a great day.

Monday, April 25, 2016

How Your Automobile Can Serve as a Vehicle for Debt Relief

I'm celebrating the 200,000 mile mark on my odometer today and it's the second time I've reached this milestone.  Keeping my paid-off family vehicles on the road is an important part of my plan to live debt free.  The two mechanics responsible for this are Tony "Zoom Truggy" Montegna of Ramona, California, my hometown for twenty-two years, and Adam of ADA Auto Sales and Service of Williamsburg, my new hood.  Tony replaced the tranny in my '96 Honda with a rebuilt one just before I departed California four years ago and he told me there was a chance the rebuilt unit might not last.  That was 70,000 miles ago and the Honda is still going strong.  Adam changes the oil in my car every 5,000 miles and that's about it for maintenance.  Family car #3 was originally purchased new as a business vehicle in 2005 when we launched our Zoom Autos Magazine business.  Ford Motors was willing to take a chance on us financing our first five fleet vehicles but we needed six.  I volunteered to purchase my Ford Focus using personal funds.  Our beloved "Zoom Car" will reach 200,000 miles within the next twelve months.  It's a great relief to not have car payments and this goes a long way on the road to financial independence.

I would like to thank my sister and brother-in-law who engineered the car trade that helped two families.  We were searching for a reliable used car for our daughter who was headed to college and my nephew was interested in improving his tennis game.  We were a good match since we both happen to be left-handed.  Adam continued progressing with the help of the amazing Faila tennis family and we transplanted our Honda to Iowa.  I was shocked the day our car started at -34º wind chill factor.

If you're searching for a vehicle that can bring you debt relief,  look no further than your garage.  It's not necessary to keep buying a new car every few years.  Instead, find a reliable mechanic and keep your oldie but goodie on the road.  Once you pay your car off, keep putting your allotted payments into a savings account and pay cash for your next used vehicle when it comes time to retire your family driver.  Have a great day.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Your Keys to Personal Excellence

Personal excellence is sometimes confused with perfectionism.  We all know people who won't share their music in public because it's not perfect.  Or publish books because there are too many flaws.  Perfectionism is a disease.  Left untreated, quality of life diminishes.  The solution is to pursue personal excellence, not perfectionism.  Concentrate your energy on the will to win, the desire to succeed and the urge to reach your full potential.  These are the keys.  Will you use them?  Once you unlock the door, you will never want to look back.  Go for it.  Have a great day.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Fall in Love with the Process and You Can Achieve Countless Successful Outcomes

What is it in life you truly desire?  Is it elusive?  If so, maybe you're so focused on that out-of-reach carrot that you forgot to enjoy the discovery process.  This is where the joy is.  It's the hunt.  It involves all five senses.  It's the people around you who inspire you to get out of bed every morning and savor the journey.  You know deep down that as soon as you get your hands on whatever it is you're chasing, you're going to reset your goal and chase the next carrot.  Or, you can concentrate your energy on the trail.  There are rewards at every step.  Take your eyes off the carrot today and look around you.  Isn't it beautiful?

My tennis team-mates are getting really excited about the possibilities ahead.  We're playoff bound.  For some, that may be the carrot.  For me, it's the daily challenge to develop my game and be a little better today than I was yesterday.  The real joy is in today's match.  Life is a series of moments that are meant to be savored like fine wine.  I've fallen in love with the process.  Carrot chasing takes the joy out of today's salad.  Besides, I'd rather plant a carrot and nurture it then chase it at the expense of giving up today's joy.  Have a great day.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Blue Zones – Your Happy Place to Meet Happy People

I joined the Blue Zones Project today.  My wife will most likely be next.  Our lives are already in alignment with this movement and today's signing is simply a formality.  It's a community of happy people who desire to improve their well being.  There's no fee for joining and you get an opportunity to connect with others who share your values.  Check out what the Blue Zones Project is all about and give this program a try.  Click here for the link.  Have a great day.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Starting Over

Your life matters.  The people you influence matter.  You are doing things only you are uniquely qualified to do.  Sometimes you may not feel like you're making a difference because something or someone is putting up a roadblock.  When this happens, the best solution may be to start over.  The good news about starting over is that you're rebuilding with all the knowledge you retain from your previous errors.  The process is more efficient the second time around.  Keep your eyes on the finish line.  Don't let anyone or anything stop you.  My hope for you today is that you're living a life you're proud of, even if you decided to use some mulligans.  I'm thankful for all the Mulligans in my life.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Salute to the Trail Blazers

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Remember the Wonder Years TV show?  It was popular because it reminded all the baby boomers about their own lives growing up in the sixties and seventies.  I can relate.  There were plenty of interesting times.  Something odd struck me this morning.  I thought to myself, what's it going to be like in twenty years when I'm reflecting back on the wonder years of today?  I asked the girl I fell in love with to marry me and she said yes.  We've been offroading ever since our wedding day nearly 27 years ago.  And life keeps getting better, not because everything is going according to plan, but because the two of us are willing to navigate outside our own comfort zones.

If you are one of those trail blazers who won't let anything stop you from having your best life ever, even when situations or people may not fit in to your wonder years script, I salute you.  Thank you for leaving a trail for others.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Winds of Disaster, Opportunity and Change

Are you content with the direction of your life?  Whatever you do, please don't blame it on the wind.  A wise sailor knows the same wind blows on us all.  The fool calls it disaster while the expert calls it opportunity.   But it's still the same wind for both.  I decided long ago to experiment with the winds of change and ended up 1,800 miles east of the Pacific Ocean.  The winds of change here are abundant.  I'm having the time of my life.  I recall something one of my tennis mentors taught me, "the wind is your friend."  I may not see much of it on the indoor tennis courts here in Iowa but it's certainly blowing in all other areas of my life and I do believe it makes life much more exhilarating.

Wherever you find yourself today, remember to harness the wind and sail like no other.  And if you find yourself far away from where you started, be thankful for all the elements that propelled you, including the wind.  Have a great day.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Two Thumbs Up

My blog message today is brought to you by two thumbs up,  my backups when the WiFi goes offline in my home. The lesson here is to be ready when your primary plans fail. There's always an alternative.

I'm using my index finger to aid my thumbs on the cellphone keyboard with a technique called swiping. It's not as efficient as typing but it gets the job done in an emergency. Be creative.  Don't allow anything to get in the way of your goals.  Have a great day.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Healthy Heart Day Test Results Confirm Caveman Food Experiment a Success

I really like successful outcomes, especially when they relate to my own personal health.  Nine months ago I had no idea my food choices were killing me.  My blood pressure was in the stage II Hypertension range and my good cholesterol was MIA.  Yesterday's healthy heart screening confirmed I'm out of the danger zone – mission accomplished without any medicine.  My blood pressure reading of 118/62 and my TC/HDL ratio of 3.8 are both in the normal/ideal range.  Similar results are being duplicated by friends and family members willing to give the caveman food experiment a try.

If you're curious about the caveman food experiment, initiated by my cousin, Dr. John Mulligan, here's how he got me started.  He told me, "eat fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and beans for 45 days and take daily blood pressure readings.  Let's see what happens."  My blood pressure dropped into the normal range within 72 hours.  I lost nearly a pound a day during the first 30 days of the experiment.  My physician was shocked when I went in for a physical.  It's been nine months since I tried the food experiment and now I'm convinced this experiment is now being labeled as a permanent lifestyle change.  The healthy heart day test results confirm what I already believed to be true – risk can be reduced by modifying your food program.  My opinion is that if you eat like a caveman rather than your average American, you can improve your health and reduce your risk for heart disease.  Test this idea out on your own body for 45 days and see what happens.  Have a great day.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

How to Gain Willpower Points

Two people approached me yesterday with a concerned look on their face.  Each asked the same question, "Are you okay?"  These types of situations come up when your outside appearance changes dramatically in a short period of time.  I replied, "yes, I've lost 35 pounds since September and it's the byproduct of my food experiment designed to get my blood pressure and cholesterol in check by eliminating certain foods and concentrating on healthier food choices."  Each person told me they could never have the willpower to give up their favorite foods.  It came down to one thing – they simply weren't ready to change.

If you're struggling with willpower, dig deep to find a reason why you want to change.  For me, my desire to be around my loved ones is all I need to give me willpower.  This is how you gain willpower points.  Have a great day.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Be Careful What You Think

Your self-talk can make you or break you.  How many times have you said to yourself, "I can't do that" or "I'm not a (fill in the blank)"?  These statements may be the barriers holding you back from being who you really are.  There are already enough dream killers in the world.  You need to be your own cheerleader.  It starts with positive voices in your head.  If you're not feeling confident about something, try reciting this:

"Every morning when I wake up I'm going to keep improving at (fill in the blank) until I master it."

This technique has served me well on the road to financial independence and a healthy lifestyle.  I'm now applying it to home improvement projects and new recipes in the kitchen.  Every day the list of things I think I'm not is shrinking.  How about you?  Are you ready for a new mindset?  Have a great day.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Don't Be Fooled by False Expiration Dates on Your Dreams

If you believe the expiration date on your dream is like an overdue library book you forgot to return, this story is for you.  It's not too late to pay the fine, extend the return date, and discover what's inside that book you forgot about.  Don't let anyone fool you into believing your dream is dead because you missed the original expiration date.  So what if you're a little late.  Here are some questions to ponder.
  1. Why do you think you can't renew your original expiration date?
  2. What will happen to your life if you fail to try again with your dream?
  3. Is your expiration date an excuse to take the easy way out and give up?
I know one thing about negative people.  They are negative because they believe there's no hope.  Someone stole their candy and they would rather cry about it than take it back.  If they can convince you your dream is expired then they can keep crying because you are proving their point.  But if they can't stop you and you renew your dream no matter how old you are or how difficult the pursuit, you can show them old dreams never die.  Just take a deep breath and try again.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

5 Habits That Influence Your Health

Keeping things simple works for me.  I have five habits that help me stay on cruise control, especially during challenging times and situations.  Let me know if they help you influence your health, your greatest asset.
  1. You are what you eat.  Why not eat the foods that provide you with the optimum energy?  Make it a habit to eat fruits, veggies, nuts, beans and seeds daily at every meal.  Try it for 30 days and see what happens.
  2. Pay attention to the higher power in your life.  I call it prayer and the way I practice this habit is by listening.  Set aside 15 minutes of quiet time every day and watch your health soar.
  3. Be thrifty.  Overspending causes financial stress and it can kill you.  Dump your debts, one at a time by spending less than you earn.  Make this a habit for life.
  4. Exercise 30 minutes per day.  It can be as simple as walking.  Get moving.  Your body needs it.
  5. Love.  Make it a habit to keep in touch with the people most important in your life.  Reach out to one person you love every day.
That's how easy it is to influence your health.  It's simple and it works.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Why Letting Go is a Winning Strategy

Consider every person you meet as an opportunity to learn something.  I'd like to share something with you today that I've learned from the naysayers, the ones who look at you with that puzzled expression when you tell them you're trying a new approach to an old problem, like changing up your food program so you can eliminate issues such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.  It's the negative people who tell you there isn't a chance in hell you can win.  Maybe that's because they're living in hell and can't see any positive solutions from their viewpoint.  These people cling to you with their negativity and if you don't let go you eventually cave in to their thinking.  The solution is to let go and walk away.  If they see you walking on water as you disappear into the sunset, don't be surprised if they say, "hey look at him, he's walking on water because he can't swim."  Just keep walking.  I promise, you will be better off.  Have a great day.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Why Passion and Fear Don't Mix Well

Anything in life worth pursuing is risky.  I believe the greater the risk, the greater the reward.  Consider for a moment what it is in your life you're pursuing that sets your soul on fire.  Ask yourself, "how much energy do I allocate to these things I'm most passionate about?"  If you're not waking up in the morning ready to go all out in the direction of your dream life, maybe you need to address your concerns about fear.  Fear is the toxic waste in your life that contaminates your thoughts.  Passion is the antifreeze in your veins that keeps your heart pumping.

I stopped listening to my dream killers long ago.  And the loudest voice was inside my head.  It's fear based.  It has its own shadow and it's always present.  The amazing thing about shadows is that you can't even see them when you focus your vision on the light.  Decide today you want to bask in the sunshine of your passions.  Allow your skin to feel the warmth.  When others see your tan they will know are willing to go where your passion leads you and that you're not afraid.  Have a great day.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Eliminate Debt Clouds From Your Financial Forecast

If debt clouds are looming on the horizon, odds are you will be under water when the storm comes in.  I believe the key is to understand how these clouds form and learn how to keep them out of your life.  Your desire to spend more than you earn gives these clouds a chance to form.  Curb your spending and you end up with sunny skies.  If you're really serious about a better financial forecast for your future, I recommend you try the envelope method.  It works.  You can call it your financial storm relief fund.  Here goes:

  1. You need an envelope.  Write something on the outside that describes what it's for, like "emergency fund," "storm relief fund," or "step #1 to financial freedom."
  2. Spend the next 30 to 60 days of your life filling the envelope with cash.  Your goal should be to reach $1,000.  Do not raid the envelope under any circumstances unless you are experiencing a real financial emergency.
  3. Lock up your credit cards.  You no longer need them.  Your envelope is your new umbrella to protect you when the next storm hits.
  4. Replenish the envelope after every emergency.
  5. Redirect the money you once spent on credit card debt to an investment account.  Leave it alone.  Watch it grow.  
Congratulations!  You have just improved your chances for a sunny financial future, free of debt clouds.  Please share this story with a friend.  Have a great day filled with plenty of sunshine.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

What's Your Story?

Like it or not, you're living your story, one day at a time, one chapter at a time.  There was a time when I resisted what was scribbled on my pages because I really didn't like the plot.  Then I discovered something – my lines were being handed to me by a force much greater than me.  By choosing to follow along the way an actor follows a script, I find peace and harmony, even though the main character in my story gets kicked around like a rag doll.  There's a lesson in every story we're willing to share, no matter how painful or difficult. 

I challenge you to live your life with boldness.  Take risks.  Go out on a limb.  Don't wait for your story to be published in an obituary.  Share your life now and be proud of your challenges – they are the secret sauce in the climax and make your story unique.  Have a great day.

Friday, April 8, 2016

A Little Piece of Your Heart, Please

A little piece of your heart today will change a life.  You may not notice right away.  Your kindness may not be noticeable for years.  Kindness works like tiny seeds planted in souls of the people who cross paths with you.  Keep planting those seeds.  Some day you will discover an amazing garden.  All that is needed is a little piece of your heart, please.  Have a great day.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

What's in Your Imagination?

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” ~Albert Einstein

Your dreams are important.  Take five minutes out of your day today and close your eyes, pretending you're creating a movie trailer about the next five years of your life.  This should get your heart pumping.  What do you see in your future?  When you're done imagining, get out a notebook and write down everything.  This is your script and you are the actor hired to play yourself.  You don't have to memorize the lines because you already know in your heart how to live your dreams.  Whatever you do, don't ever sell out your dreams to others.  The only person capable of stopping your future is you.  All you need to do today is use some imagination.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

What Does Your Roadmap to Success Look Like?

I'm curious to learn what your definition of success is.  For me, the definition continues to evolve over time.  I used to think success meant not failing.  That puts too many limitations on your possibilities.  I believe success is plotting a course, accepting the failures as necessary detours, and moving forward, savoring every single moment that presents itself, planned or unplanned.  Life is an adventure.  Choose the road that challenges you to be the best version of yourself you can be and rev up your engine.  Be sensitive to the people around you who may have a different pace.  Share the road as much as you can with your loved ones and be willing to let go when they decide they want to follow a different map.  Shoot me an email or a text message if you would like to share what your roadmap to success looks like, or leave a comment at the end of today's message.  Happy travels.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Word of the Day – Endurance

Make endurance your buzz word today.  Take it with you wherever you go.  Hold on to it no matter how tired you may be, how much stress you may have in your life or how challenging your conditions appear to be.  Endurance is what you need when everything else is depleted.  It's the choice to take one more step when your body says you're all done.  Don't ever give up.  You can do this.  Have a great day.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Power of Dreams

You have all the resources you need to purchase your ticket to paradise.  Never allow others to convince you this isn't true.  They already sold out but you don't have to.  Inside your soul is your potential for greatness and it wants to come out and shine.  All that is necessary is for one dream.  Go ahead.  Dream it.  Live it.  And inspire others to do the same.  Have a great day.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Chip Away at Your Impediments

Got impediments?  I'm referring to anything that gets in your way while you're in steadfast pursuit of your goals.  Depending on your attitude, these impediments may be permanent roadblocks or just temporary obstacles.  The strongest people I know are the ones who believe there's always a way over, under, around or through the stumbling block.  My favorite approach is the chisel method.  It's time consuming.  The idea is to chip away at one bite-size piece of the obstacle at a time.  This works in any area of your life where you encounter hindrances, like your health or your financial fitness.  Here's how you can have success:

  • Decide how much of the obstacle you can handle in one twenty-four hour period (or less if you don't have enough time in your day for chiseling).  
  • Chisel for the amount of time you designate and don't slack off.  If all you have each day is ten minutes, so be it.  Even ten minutes a day will give you one hour every six days.  
  • As your impediment shrinks, your will to win will get stronger.  You will look for creative ways to add more time to the challenge in front of you.
  • Congratulate yourself once the impediment is removed.
  • Find the next impediment and make it your pet project until it's complete.
I used this method to lose weight.  At first I didn't even know how massive the problem was (I'm talking about my oversized belly)  All I knew was that I was going to chisel until all the body fat was gone.  Ice cream?  I chiseled it right out of the freezer.  Cheese?  I only kept the holes in my Swiss cheese.  Everything else got chiseled.  Michelangelo would be proud of my chiseling efforts.  All my health impediments are gone because I just kept chiseling.  Try it.  You can tackle any debt you are carrying including your mortgage by chiseling.  Chip away a little bit every day.  You can do it.  Have a great day.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

What's Your Definition of Happiness?

Today's story is inspired by an article I read yesterday about the happiest small towns in America.  My hometown showed up #25 on the list and I wasn't surprised.  There are a lot of happy people here.  The results were based on two variables – home ownership and marital status.  The more I thought about the study the more intrigued I was about the variables.  Are they the best measure of your happiness?  Do they really matter?

My definition of happiness isn't based on possessions or people.  It's more a state of mind.  It's a choice to be happy no matter my circumstances, job status or dwelling.  How about you?  What's your definition of happiness?  Have a happy day.

Friday, April 1, 2016

How to Make a Lasting Impression

Want to make a lasting impression?  Consider this question, "what do you want to do with your life?"  Your answer may help you raise the bar in your interactions with others.  Some people laugh when I share my answer.  They think I'm not serious.  These are the ones that don't know me.  The truth is I'm serious and I'm committed.  I want to change the world.  That's what I want to do with my life.  It begins with making a lasting impression on each person I meet.  It's that thirty second elevator speech that shows the other person I care about them and want to be a part of their world, a world that can be better with some minor adjustments that come from a journey filled with learning from previous mistakes, trials and opportunities to change.

Please allow me to refine the question..."what do you want to do with your life that will help improve the lives of the people around you?"  Share your answer with the people you meet.  Show them what's in it for them.  Become a better servant.  Be willing to share your flaws.  Be yourself.  If you can find one way to improve the lives of others, you will be remembered.  Got it?  Have a great day.