MOTIVATE YOURSELF!!!

“Liven up yourself in the morning time y’all…. Liven up yourself, Cuz I said so.” ~Bob Marley

If you’re familiar with Bob Marley and the song “Liven Up Yourself,” you know his interpretation is slightly different from what most are accustomed to. Its underlying meaning however, remains constant. It’s time to get up. It’s time to wake up.

IT’S TIME TO MOTIVATE YOURSELF!!!

When I decided to commit myself to helping others by promoting Financial Literacy, there were people around me who were skeptical. People close to me. People I actually knew. There were naysayers and I sensed a general lack of interest from those I believed could benefit from the knowledge and experience I had. It had/has nothing to do with “feelings of superiority,” I was simply excited to share with others what took me most of my adult life to learn. It was crushing to not have the support from people I truly believed I could count on, but that didn’t stop me. I AM MOTIVATED to do what I do. I “liven up” myself daily and am constantly reminded of my purpose. I wake up every day determined to learn something new that I can share with those who wish to receive it. As someone reminded me in one of my Periscope sessions, when the student is ready, the teacher will come. Powerful.

I teach Financial Literacy to our youth. I teach Financial Literacy to adults…. And you know the beauty of it all? THEY GET ME. The ability to connect to people no matter where they are on their financial journey is motivation for me.

Motivation comes from knowing you’re on the right track. Motivation comes from knowing what you are doing is positive. Motivation comes from the excitement of seeing your purpose manifesting itself. Walking in my purpose is enough to keep me going.

So stop seeking validation from others. Stop waiting for someone to pat you on the back and tell you “Good Job,” or “Well Done.” Never mind what others are saying…

You’re too busy being great.

~The Financial Hack ©2015

 

 

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ABOUT LAST NIGHT… 

HERE’S THE REPLAY LINK TO LAST NIGHT’S SCOPE “SESH”

https://www.periscope.tv/w/aW6uPDFheWpWWUFkcExLcHJ8MVlxeG96WURWdmtKdsV4Vt7DrhBljltbBi-yv0ImbZzrRXOYwp-6bOqvxu0x
~The Financial Hack ©2015

LET’S TALK THE “B” WORD… BUDGETING!

budget

Oh no… The dreaded “B” word. BUDGETING. Some people are offended by it. For others, it comes naturally like eating and sleeping or walking and talking. There was once a time, well a few times actually, when you would never hear me utter the words, “That’s not in the budget,” but I find myself saying it quite often now and for good cause. Here are a few reasons why incorporating the “B” word into your daily lexicon isn’t such a bad thing after all.

  1. BUDGETING HELPS YOU ESTABLISH CLEAR GOALS: Is it your goal to start paying off financial debt? Is it to start your own business? What about a vacation in Belize this year? How about establishing an emergency fund or as I like to call it, a “shit happens account?” Do you plan to invest more this year?  What about saving for your child’s college education, or perhaps saving for a down payment on a home? Budgeting makes these goals possible.
  2. BUDGETING GIVES EVERY DOLLAR A PURPOSE: By budgeting, you tell each dollar where to go, therefore giving you control over your money. There’s no guessing how much money you can save this month or how much you can save from this pay check, that sale, etc. IT’S RIGHT THERE ON PAPER… AND IT’S DONE EACH MONTH. Budgeting keeps you on task. Think of it as a map to your financial freedom. That’s part of the purpose right? You can’t reach an unknown destination without following a map or guide to point you and keep you moving in the right direction.
  3. BUDGETING HELPS BUILD HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS REGARDING MONEY: Spouses and partners who budget may feel more as equals in the relationship as opposed to one person being responsible for how the monthly income is spent. THE COUPLE THAT BUDGETS TOGETHER STAYS TOGETHER. Keep in mind the majority of marriages/partnerships end not because of infidelity, but because of money issues. Having a monthly “sit down” to discuss your finances is a good way to keep the lines of communication open and flowing. Not only can this method be beneficial to spouses/partners, but to parents and their children. Allow your child(ren) to have some input regarding the monthly budget (although they don’t of course get the final say.) By doing so, you are teaching them financial literacy at an early age and allowing them some level of autonomy regarding the household finances at the same time.
  4. BUDGETING HELPS IDENTIFY “TROUBLE” AREAS AND/OR BLINDSPOTS: Perhaps you’re spending too much money on entertainment or realize you have more discretionary income than you thought you did. Perhaps after reviewing your budget from last month, you’re not saving enough money to reach a financial goal. Budgeting can easily help you identify those trouble areas/blindspots so you can make any necessary adjustments.
  5. BUDGETING HELPS YOU FORM HEALTHY HABITS IN OTHER AREAS OF YOUR LIFE: Once you get into the habit of budgeting your money each month, other habits will begin to form as well. Perhaps you weren’t very organized until you started budgeting monthly. Now that you are, you may begin to notice yourself writing “To Do” lists, decluttering and organizing your space therefore decluttering your life. You may notice a shift in your mindset where subjects or topics that were once important to you, no longer hold its value in your thought process. You may even find yourself spending less time with friends/acquaintances you once had. Budgeting can manifest itself in the form of “reprogramming” the mind. I may be “reaching” here for some, but in the grand scheme of things for those who have experienced a change in your “financial mindset,” you may or have experienced this change in mindset and can truly relate. Change is good.
Keep in mind, for your budget to work, you’ve got to put it to work. It won’t be easy in the beginning, but stick to it. Stay the course. Some behaviors will have to be learned, others, unlearned and in some cases, totally forgotten. To create a budget and not follow it through is surely a lesson in futility, but I know that’s not you. NO WAY! You haven’t come this far to stop and turn around. There’s nowhere to go but up from here.
Click on the “Worksheets” tab of my website to download the Monthly Cash Flow/Zero-Based Budget Worksheets to get you started, or you can click the link below.
~The Financial Hack (copyright 2015)

5 DAILY HABITS OF SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE

success_key

Ever wanted to know how successful people spend their time? Here are a few of their habits:

 

1. WAKE EARLIER THAN MOST: Successful people get a head start on their day. 74 year old Earnestine Shepherd, Guinness Book of World Record’s oldest female body builder, wakes up every morning at 2:30am, eats 10 egg whites, drinks 16oz of water then proceeds on her morning 10mile jog. Research shows that the brain is at its sharpest 2 1/2 to 4 hours after waking. Rising as early as 4:30am, some may hit the gym, go for a run, engage in yoga/meditation or simply read the morning paper while enjoying a cup of coffee to jumpstart the day.

 

2. PLAN THEIR DAY: Successful people never attack their day without a plan. They write “to do” lists and prioritize them. Steve Jobs said in his commencement address at Stanford in 2005 that he spent 33 years asking the same question every morning; “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”
There’s no need for busyness every second of every day in the grand scheme of things, however by prioritizing what is important, the result is a higher level of productivity. The most powerful man in the free world, President Barack Obama despite his schedule, makes time to sit down for dinner with his family as well orchestrate “date nights” with First Lady Michelle.
 
3. WORK HARD.. BUT PLAY HARDER: Successful people work hard and play harder. Traveling and/or pursuing hobbies is a way some reward themselves for their hard work. Saint Tropez, Anguilla, Bora Bora, Aspen, Maui, Lake Como, and Mallorca are vacation hot spots for celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Madonna, Richard Branson, Michael Jordan, Uma Thurman, Quincy Jones and Paul McCartney to name a few. Former President George W. Bush enjoys painting, Tom Cruise, Will Smith and David Beckham enjoy fencing as a hobby, while Rod Stewart enjoys his model trains and railroads, Susan Sarandon enjoys ping pong, and although strange to some, Angelina Jolie enjoys collecting daggers.
 
4. ARE DEVOTED TO PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT: Successful people believe in continuous personal development. This could mean furthering education or knowledge base by pursuing advanced degrees, extensive reading, attending lecture events etc. To increase their net worth they must increase their personal worth. Warren Buffett spends 80% of his day reading.
 
5. GIVE BACK: Successful people “give back.” There’s no better feeling of celebrating success and wealth than by giving back to others. This could be through the giving of time and/or philanthropic endeavors. For example, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s College-Ready Education program aims to ensure that all students graduate from high school prepared to succeed in college, and their Postsecondary Success program aims to dramatically increase the number of young people who obtain a postsecondary degree or certificate with labor-market value. I myself intend to award laptop computers this school year to TWO STUDENTS through the Black Former Student Network (BFSN) of my Alma Mater, Texas A&M University. It always FEELS GOOD to give. I give not for recognition and praise but because I have been blessed to do so. I find it unnecessary to list my every act of kindness, because it’s personal in many cases. Plus what I do to “give back” to others is between me and the God I serve. In his book “Wealthy Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals,” author Tom Corley discovered 73% of wealthy people volunteer to various organizations, charities and/or foundations five or more hours each month.

 

DO YOU posses any, some or ALL of these habits? If so, welcome to the “Successful Persons” club. Keep up the good work. We’re expecting great things from you.
~The Financial Hack (2015)

CONFESSIONS OF A GOALDigger Pt. 1

  
Circa 2013: My FIRST 1/2 Marathon Race Medal from the DRC Half (Nov 2013). This medal was 13 HALF marathons and one FULL marathon ago. It all ended in May 2015 after a visit from a sports doctor revealed I had CMP (Chondromalacia Patella) which simply means over my 20+ years of constant exercise and 18months of marathon running, I managed to wear down the cartilage in both knees (mostly my right knee) causing excruciating pain if overused. Anti-inflammatory medication is necessary and can takes weeks to heal. I retired my running shoes three days before my 44th birthday.

******

I was depressed for a couple of months knowing that which I had grown to love, I could no longer do. The air in my lungs on those cold morning runs alone. My thoughts free floating and as light as my stride. Yep. Those days are gone, but the memories remain. I accomplished some tremendous goals while running although I didn’t accomplish them all. One goal I set was to run a half marathon in all 50 states. At the time of my retirement, I had only run in three (TX, OK, IL) however all three were in an 18 month period. Wow. I accumulated all those medals in a year and a half! One of my BIGGEST accomplishments as a runner was running a full marathon (26.2mi) within 6mos of beginning my running career. That was a goal I set for myself. I ran two 5K races four half marathon races and went straight for a full marathon. Some asked me how did I do it when some people train for months at a time. I just knew I could do it. The race itself took me 5 hours to complete, but making good time was not my goal. FINISHING was. Running pushed me to set and achieve goals I never thought I would or could do. This spoke volumes in my life then and now. I can do what I set my mind to… AND YOU CAN TOO! I may not be an active runner anymore, but running will always be in me and a part of me.

 ~The Financial Hack ©2015

ALL THAT… FOR NOTHING

overthinker

Sometimes I have a tendency to “overthink.” Overthinkers tend to create problems that don’t exist which at times can cause undue stress, strain and anxiety on oneself. This can be manifested in your behavior or in some cases, your body. If you’re in tune with your body, you know when it’s in distress. Let me explain further.

After last night’s Periscope Session ended (Knowing Where Your Money Is Going,) my lower back IMMEDIATELY began aching. It wasn’t that rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, pinch nerve kind of pain, but that “you’re stressing yourself out and this is ONE way I’m going to show you” kind.  I knew where the stress was coming from however, I didn’t immediately address it. I was so drained. I was bothered. I felt defeated. I didn’t even call Mista to say goodnight as we normally do. I sent a text instead. I just wanted to crash out. The problem is, I couldn’t sleep. I woke up the first time. It was almost 2am. I hadn’t been asleep three hours. The second time? UGH OH! Here comes the anxiety. I knew it because an hour later, I woke up in a state of panic. I hadn’t had one of those episodes since my “drowning in debt days,” but somehow I managed to fall asleep once again. My alarm went off at 5am. I tried to lift my head and it felt like a ton of bricks. “Please no,” I said as the pain pulsated from temple to temple. A sinus headache? How can this be when my humidifier is right next to the bed?

I knew what this was all about. As I lay there, I began thinking (because I do that sometimes,) “Why are you stressing about the scope session?” The “Overthinking Perfectionist” in me  didn’t believe the Scope Session went well. Why some of you may ask? I wasn’t getting the positive feedback I normally receive. If you are familiar with Periscope, you know giving “hearts” lets the “Scoper” know someone agrees with what you are saying or likes what you have to say, or likes you period. In a nutshell, hearts can be used to measure a person’s “likeability.” Likeability? What the hell? I’m not on Periscope for followers to “like” me per se. Don’t misunderstand me. Likeability certainly helps. My goal however, is to present information that I pray other people can take, use and benefit from. Perhaps, I stepped on some toes last night, or maybe, just maybe, those that were tuned in were actually LISTENING to what I was saying.

Usually, I will rewatch my Scope Session before bed and critique my presentation, but I didn’t do that last night. I had already made up in my mind the presentation was “craptastic” therefore resulting in a “craptastic” Scope Session. 

What a “craptastic” way of thinking.

Self-talk is so important. It can make or break you. When you are confident in your abilities, you have to trust and believe in them regardless of the feedback you may or may not receive from others. Simply put, had I watched my scope session as I normally do, I’m positive I wouldn’t have awakened this morning feeling like I wrestled with a grizzly bear in my sleep.  

I’ve always said over the years no matter what I was engaged in be it my “marathoning” days, making people laugh on YouTube, teaching my students, or giving back to the community, “If I can touch the life of ONE person, I’m doing what I’m supposed to do.”

This morning, as I scrolled through my Twitter mentions (I like to go back and individually thank those who share my Scope Sessions,) one person I thanked in particular said, and I quote, “I am loving your work. So many people need this.”

There it is… The affirmation from God that confirmed what I already knew. I did what I was supposed to do. 

To you Shawn S…. Thank you.

~The Financial Hack ©2015

TO WATCH LAST NIGHT’S PERISCOPE SESSION CLICK HERE:

https://www.periscope.tv/w/aVwDxDFheWpWWUFkcExLcHJ8MWxER0xZYXpuUnpKbaAmVbLid6XwrHJHRInjOIrrzOmAtfcLil5XptfvwXew

 

 

2016 IS HERE: THOU SHALT NOT WASTETH TIMETH!!!

  
January 1st. The start of a new year. A new beginning. 2015 is in the past. Blah blah blah. You’ve heard it. I certainly have, and now that we’ve had our New Year 2016 pep talk, IT’S TIME TO GET TO WORK!

THOU SHALT NOT WASTETH TIMETH!!!

In the “Financial Fitness Boot Camp” postings on my website as well as in our Periscope chats, I’ve stressed the importance of financial independence and freedom. It is my prayer that those that are “in this to win this” will fully commit to their financial journey and not just “come along for the ride.” Achieving and maintaining financial independence is an ongoing process. You’ll hear the “F” word… A LOT. FINANCES is the purpose of this entire blog. I’ve actually dropped FIVE “F” bombs already. You’ll hear the “D” word just as much. DISCIPLINE is not to be taken with a grain of salt…Not with what we (yes WE), are about to do. To obtain and maintain financial independence (there’s the “F” word again) and peace, discipline has to be a part of the equation. When I speak of discipline, I’m not just speaking of financial discipline, (well mostly I am), but discipline in ALL areas of your life. Discipline can be incorporated into your daily routine. Forming habits such as becoming more productive, exercising daily, becoming better organized or using your time wisely to name a few, can be attributed to employing discipline.

You’ll hear me say the “P”  word too. PLANNING of course. How can you execute any project without a plan? Simple tasks require planning. Maybe not sophisticated planning, but planning to some extent is still needed nonetheless. Reaching financial independence requires a plan… A BIG PLAN! And let’s certainly not forget the “B” and “S” words. That’s right, BUDGETING and SAVING. Those are the “Queen Mothers” of words that not too many people like to hear when it comes to their finances which may be in shambles. The truth HURTS.

Now that your finances have been “verbally assaulted,” Welcome to Financial Fitness Boot Camp.

So you see, the purpose of this blog really wasn’t to give you an overview of what to expect in the weeks, months or possibly years to come. You can peruse the website for that. This blog posting served the following purpose:

FINANCE (MONEY): In relation to THIS BLOG POSTING, time is money. My money. Point blank period.

DISCIPLINE: Writing this blog posting on New Year’s Day even though there are a million other things I could be doing instead? That’s discipline. Enough said.

PLANNING: Although I didn’t know exactly what I would say or how I would say it because I like to freestyle and let the thoughts come to me as they flow oh so eloquently while I speak poetically as my fingertips tickle the keyboard…. (insert chuckle here), this was a planned post.

BUDGETING AND SAVING: I had to “budget” my time in NOT being so long-winded which I have a tendency to do and “saving” some of my “financial rhetoric” for future posts.

As you can see, I love using analogies when writing. 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

~The Financial Hack ©2015