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Who Was Thankful For You This Year?

 Who Was Thankful For You This Year?

Is Thanksgiving a day of the year, a state of mind, a way of life or the start of the retail shopping season?  Did you give thanks yesterday for only those blessings you have been given lately or do you give thanks for them all year around?  When you give thanks, do you thank the Lord for putting someone else in your life that had a significant impact in your life?  Have you made any significant impact in anyone else’s life?  Do you think you were on someone’s list of what they were thankful for this past year?

There are many things we all should be thankful for.  Consider if you were born in another part of the world?  Say Europe, Africa, South America or Asia?  What if you were born at a different point in time?  Say 1655 AM1 (Anno Mundi “year of the world” or 2349 BC “Before Christ”; approximately one year before the flood), 32 AD (when Jesus Christ was 32 years old, 1492 AD (Christopher Columbus finds the new world) or 1929 AD (the start of the USA Great Depression).

You were born to live at this point of time in your current location of the world for a reason.  What that reason is, only you can decide.  What you do or don’t do with your time while here, only you can determine.  If you are living your life and doing things with a focus to only improve your current situation, then you may need to broaden your scope of thinking and step into a lifestyle that includes doing things for others in need and next year you may be on a few more thankfulness lists.

When giving thanks for your blessings or when helping others to improve their situation in life, consider these LifeLongU™ Life Categories:

Career – What can you give thanks for in your career and how can you help another’s career blossom?

Financial – Are you being a good steward with what the Lord has blessed you with?  Have you given thanks for those blessings? Are you giving some back to Him?  Are you being a Good Samaritan and helping others in need?

Spiritual – Have you given thanks for being born into a Christian country and that you have the right and ability to worship and praise God openly and share his word with others?  Are you thankful for being able to freely study His word, the Bible?  How are you doing with your studies?

Relationships – We are all in many types of relationships; have you given thanks for having those relationships?  Are your managing them properly? Are you thankful for those that went before you which helped to pave the road for you to get to where you are today?

Leisure – Freedom to use our time as we see fit with either work or play is a large blessing we should never take for granted.  Have you given thanks for it?  Are you using your time wisely?  Get out and enjoy the world you live in and be thankful for it.

Philanthropy – Have you given thanks for your ability to give to others of your time, money or things?  Have others thanked you for your being there when they needed you?  It is rewarding to help others and nice to hear from others that you were able to help them.  In all things, give thanks, which is also giving.

We all have challenges in our everyday lives and may feel that they are too much for us to bear.  But many of these challenges can be viewed as opportunities by others to help you.  By allowing others to help you, you also help them.  In the upcoming years of my life, I look forward to helping others with some of their challenges and allowing myself to be helped by others.  By this mutual giving and receiving of help we can both be thankful.

We can do so much more with the blessings the Lord has giving us if we only think outside of our box.  Just to remind us what “our box” is…it’s the way we see our surroundings, the way we think about things and the way we act or take action in the world in which we live.  It’s a big big place and if we step out of our comfort zone, our box, we can certainly do more in years to come that others will be thankful for too.  I believe it is our responsibility to see our box for what it is, a grouping of self-imposed walls we put around ourselves that keep us feeling safe in our environment.  To reach our true potential we need to step out of that box and help those that we currently share the world with and they may add you to their list of things to be thankful for next year.

Why not set a goal for Thanksgiving Day, 2015 to be on at least one or more lists that others are giving thanks for.

 

Gary Kiecker

LifeLongU

LLU_New_Logo_Final_1We appreciate your comments and welcome any thoughts or questions regarding this blog or on future topics.

 

 

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Living “The Life” of 100 Years, (Part 3, Yearning)

Living “The Life” of 100 Years

Part 3 – Yearning Years

They say that hindsight is 20/20 meaning that when we look back in our life, we see much more clearly what we should have done at different points over our life; positive or negative as that may be.  More times than not, I think we tend to focus too much on decisions we made that we believe were incorrect at the time we made them and if we would have chosen a different path our current situation in life would be different.  Much better of course!

As we age and daily face different challenges and opportunities in our lives, the number of decisions we make piles up for each of us.  The negative outcomes of those decisions around doing or not doing something correctly or incorrectly in our past may be seen as regrets; based entirely from our current singular viewpoint at this time.  Regrets or disappointments about our past choices are not something we want to look back on in our life. What regrets do you have so far in your life?  Are you making better decisions today about the many tomorrows you have coming up in your future? Are you using your past to make a better tomorrow for you and for your family?

The simple truth is that today is the day that you create your yesterday.  Tomorrow, you will look back at this very point in time which will be in your past. With this simple passing of time, the quiet rotation of the hour hand on a clock, those things you do today will soon be in your past and you will be looking back at them tomorrow.  Make sure tomorrow, you do not regret what you did or did not do today.   Make sure your today matters!  Deep isn’t it?  It should be, after all, this is “Your” life.

This blog “Yearning Years“ is part 3 of a three part series titled, Living “The Life” of 100 Years.  It follows part 1, “Learning Years” and part 2 “Earning Years” published earlier on www.LifeLongU.com .

The series is intended to show that over the course of our life, hopefully around 100 years or so, most of us live through three different phases.

The first phase is “Learning” and covers about the first 35 years of our life.  Here we learn how to take care of ourselves, our families, strengthen our body, sharpen our mind, ponder our soul and how best to interact with others.  In this phase we learn how to think and learn how to do many different things.

The second phase is “Earning” and covers the middle part of our 100 year life or about age 35 to 65 years or so.  In this phase, our life becomes more focused on earning by applying what we learned in our earlier years.  In this phase the better you apply what you have learned may impact your earning potential greatly.  Obviously, money is not everything, but we should earn to our true God-given potential and use those blessings for His intended purposes. Our learning never really stops in life, whether in school or in our daily lives, applying your knowledge or making educated decisions while taking action are what matters.  Learn from your mistakes.  Positive action is what moves us forward, increasing opportunities for growth of all kinds in our lives.  Amassed and unutilized knowledge can lead to arrogance and waste.

The third phase is “Yearning” and it covers the last portion of our life; those years after we leave the earning phase, typically after 65 years or retirement.  In this phase, if we learned well in our learning phase and applied what we learned during our earning phase, our yearning phase could be filled with many possibilities. The yearning phase is about fulfilling your true life purpose, completing those things you have not done and always wanted to do, about coming to understand that all things come to an end and how will you enjoy your final years.  It’s also about surrounding yourself with family, friends and memories.  Since you tend to have more discretionary time, it’s about giving back to others and sharing your wisdom, wealth and efforts.

This phase can also hold the most fear for us; although we each deal with it differently.  The thoughts of aging, not having adequate funds to do what we always wanted to do, the chance of poor health affecting our inability to do what we always wanted to do and the loneliness because of loss of loved ones, friends and family members all affect this phase. Some of these will most certainly happen to each of us and that is not something we want to dwell on, but is a fact of life.

Make sure that today matters.  Make sure that when your days are piled on top of each other, the combined total of what you did with them supplies you with what you want from life.  Take responsibility for your life.  Make sure that you have a plan for your life, that you use what you have learned and recognize that you may not know it all and may need help in some areas.  Make sure you take action and seek out those that want to help and get their help.  Don’t enter the “Yearning” phase filled with regrets but prepare to enter it with eagerness and truly Living “The Life” of 100 Years.

 

Gary J Kiecker

LifeLongU.com

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“The Big Cheese”, Leadership

 The Big Cheese, Leadership

Every organization has a leader, even the organizations you belong to. Every entity, every company, every City, County, State and Country has a leader.  The leader is the person who is responsible for the direction of the organization they lead.  The leader makes sure strategic direction has been defined for the organization, that precise future goals are set and resources are available to accomplish those goals.  The leader is the person out in front, “the big cheese”; they get everyone to march to the same step.  The leader is the one the rest of the organization sees as the one to follow and the one person the followers trust most to make good decisions improving the organization so it benefits its stakeholders, which includes the followers.

Where would you follow your leader?  Are you following your leader?  Do you know what your leader stands for?  Do they work to benefit themselves or the organizations stakeholders?  How many different leaders are you following?

Over the years many different types of individuals have held leadership positions.  Some seek it out while others have it thrust upon them.  Some individuals rise to the occasion and do a fantastic job leading their organizations, while others, do not.

In my opinion a good leader should have the following traits:

  • Is a person with integrity; you either have it or you do not;
  • Believes in the Bible; adding nothing and taking nothing out;
  • Honors the value and concept of developing trust within the organization they lead;
  • Knows that many others are following and watches out where they step;
  • Is disciplined; saying yes or no can be very difficult when weighing different outcomes;
  • Believes in being a user of knowledge not simply one that wants to know it all;
  • Learns from their mistakes, admits them and moves along; we all make them;
  • Is a good neighbor and treats everyone like the leader themselves would want to be treated;
  • Builds strong teams to assist with the leadership responsibility;
  • Is someone that leads to a desired destination or gets out of the way;

Being a leader is not for everyone.  It’s a hard path to follow, especially when you are leading thousands of followers with many eyes on your every move.  But even when leading small groups, if you lack many of the traits listed above you may find it very difficult to be a successful leader and to stay in a prime leadership role.  Sometimes it may be better to support a good leader, rather than lead yourself and in these instances, again remember the traits listed above, they work well for us all, even when supporting a good leader.

Here are several great quotes by an amazing leader, Abraham Lincoln:

“Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm”;

“Be with a leader when he is right, stay with him when he is still right, but leave him when he is wrong”;

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power”;

 “I walk slowly, but I never walk backward”.

 

If you are going to be a leader, “The Big Cheese”, be one, but be a good one.

 

 

Gary J Kiecker

LifeLongU.com

 

 

 

 

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Living “The Life” of 100 Years, (Part 2, Earning)

Living “The Life” of 100 Years

Part 2, Earning Years

 

Last week I posted part one “Learning Years” of a three part series called Living “The Life” of 100 Years. This week we continue with “Earning Years”, the next 35 years of our 100 year life.

Have you ever considered living a lifetime of 100 years?  What does it really take to do such a life feat?  What type of planning should be involved?  You may think you will never live that long, but what if you do?  What if the Lord blesses you with long life?  Will you be ready for your golden years, mentally, physically, spiritually, financially?  Have you been using your knowledge to improve your earnings in life so far, or have you simply taken a job to collect a paycheck and allow life to happen to you?

We tend to spend a lot of our time predominately focused on generating income and accumulating wealth since it is the time when most of us are at our peak earning years, from 35 to just around 70.  As we enter the “Earning Years” phase many of us have completed a desired level of schooling, have an education in our intended field of interest along with a fair amount of work experience in an industry we have sought out or ended up in.  In any case, as we move through our 30’s and 40’s, we have a value to offer the job market, and the job market has an amount it will reward us with.  Hopefully, the job market reward is equal to or higher than our own calculated value.

In today’s job market, which has become global, we now have a lot of competition from around our own geographic area as well as around the world.  Jobs that have been around for many years may be gone, may have relocated or the skills needed to do them have dramatically changed and may continue to change.  While we are in our “Earning Years”, we need to continue our learning and educating ourselves with new skills that keep us competitive and make us more desirable in the job market, or risk the value we bring to the job market and therefore risk a decrease in our earnings.  This tends to happen as we age.  The younger individuals entering the job market simply have more modern skills needed by business, while the older generation’s skills, although impressive, become less valuable because the job market now needs the more modern skills learned and offered by a younger generation.  Consequently, as we age, we may find our earning power decrease in value because of new skills required (which we may not have learned or bothered to add to our skills inventory) and also because there will be more unemployed individuals applying for those fewer jobs of old.  It becomes pure supply and demand; fewer jobs with more qualified applicants willing to settle for less value drives down the amount the job market offers for a position, and you end up making less.

Since the “Earning Years” is a bell curve rising in the third and fourth decades of our life, and falling in the sixth and seventh, it is very important to plan during this feast of earnings time.  If you fail to focus on putting away some of your gains during this phase, your “Yearning Years” may be filled with a lot of regret.

Working in your career is only one way to earn.  Can you think of any others?  Individuals that are truly successful in this phase of their life learn to multiply their earning potential by adding additional streams of income.  Some have a second or even a third job, some develop a hobby and learn to make extra income from it, some purchase real estate and learn the fix, flip and rental business, others may simply start a small business and still others may find extra money to invest in someone else’s start-up or ongoing successful enterprise.

One key element to be aware of with developing any of these additional streams of income is your time.  If you work a second or third job, obviously, you need to be there in order to get paid.  There are only so many hours in a day and assuming you need to sleep, your earnings will be limited by the amount of time you can effectively work at adding value.  Likewise with a hobby, you need to do the work, unless you can turn it into a small business; and by small business, I mean create a product or service that makes you more than just an hourly wage.  Your small business needs to create income for you (the owner) without you working in it all day, every day.

If you intend to develop additional streams of income and want to work less and make more you will need to focus on products and services that add value to a customer, and allow profit for you (the owner).   Focus on businesses that have the potential to create wealth for you in multiple ways.

Take real estate rental property for instance…you purchase a property, fix it up and rent it out.  Assume in this simple example you have a positive cash flow situation, a long-term low maintenance renter and a strong housing market. Over time, the rents collected pay off the mortgage on the property; increasing your equity (which is value to you) leaving you with a little extra cash each month (which is value to you) and the property appreciates in market value (which again, is value to you).  With an example like this, market timing and deal structure are very important as well as the amount of time you have to consistently work to maintain this income stream.  This is one example of creating an income stream that can generate wealth in several different ways while you still work your career or job.

A different example can be a small business.  If you start and build a small business, you may find that certain small businesses can provide you with a salary which replaces your current job; it may also supply many benefits and perks that replace existing expenses you may now be paying for out of your current jobs paycheck; if successfully run, it can provide additional profits to you (the owner) besides your normal paycheck; and again if successfully run, it may provide you with more time to do other things during your day besides work;  or you may be able to sell the business, it’s equipment, buildings and other assets at some point for a large cash payout to do with as you choose.  Small business is a good way for many individuals to grow their earnings and wealth doing nothing more than getting up and working everyday…isn’t that what you are doing anyway?

The United States of America is still a land of opportunity.  You can live here, work, receive a competitive wage for the value you provide and live a better than average life (when compared to the world at large).  You can own multiple pieces of property that can over time increase your earnings and wealth.  You can start, own, run and sell a small business that will also increase your earnings and wealth.

But to do this, it takes planning.  It takes some additional resources that you may not be comfortable or knowledgeable in using.  It takes others that have those skills to advise, coach and mentor you.  It takes you to want to maximize your “Earning Years” now, knowing that they will decrease over the years to come.

If you think it may be too late to start a business, consider what can happen over a short span of time:

Twitter is 8 years old, Market Cap Value of over $24 Billion

Facebook is 10 years old, Market Cap Value of over $207 Billion

LinkedIn is 12 years old, Market Cap Value of over $29 Billion

Google is 16 years old, Market Cap Value of over $373 Billion

Sitting down and constructing a life plan at this point in your life will be very helpful to you and your future.  A life plan and the right professional coach will help you learn to earn more in your “Earning Years” phase and provide a more disciplined structure for staying focused as well as persisting through difficult times.

Are you in your “Earning Years” phase?  How much are you earning?  How many income streams do you have coming in?  What is your potential to add more?  Why haven’t you done this already?  Where will you be 10 years from now (don’t forget about Facebook and Twitter, both are under 10 years old)?  Let’s not have any regrets as we age…

Next week we conclude this three part series, Living “The Life” of 100 years with part three, “Yearning Years”.

 

Gary J Kiecker

LifeLongU™