Tag Archives: Daily Motivation

DON’T GIVE UP…JUST KEEP SWIMMING!!!


In light of the upcoming release of Pixar Film’s “Finding Dory,” I sat down this past weekend and re-watched “Finding Nemo” and began to think (because I do that sometimes)  about not giving up and pushing through. The gist of the movie was a father Marlin, a clown fish, who refused to give up looking for his son Nemo, captured by a scuba diver after disobeying him by swimming beyond the reef. Marlin’s quest led him all the way to Australia and along the way, he met some interesting characters one of which was Dory. Dory claimed to have seen the boat that carried Nemo away and she and Marlin gave chase. Marlin followed Dory in one direction, then another, and another, until she couldn’t remember why he was following her to begin with. Dory suffered from short-term memory loss. Can you imagine how frustrating it must have been for Marlin to follow someone who lacked direction? Although Dory wasn’t much help in terms of direction, she was ultimately there for support and encouragement. She kept Marlin on track. When he wanted to quit, turn around and go home, those famous words of hers still resonate with many: “When life gets you down you know what you’ve gotta do?”

ūüé∂JUST KEEP SWIMMING. JUST KEEP SWIMMING.ūüé∂

When you feel like quitting because the obstacles before you seem insurmountable, here are a few tips to keep you on track:

  1. FIND AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER: Make sure your accountability partner is someone who encourages you, not someone who criticizes, judges or tears you down. Your accountability partner is stronger than you in the areas where you are weak. It can be a spouse/partner, a significant other, family member, co-worker, mentor or friend. When you feel like throwing in the towel, there’s nothing like a “Rah Rah Sis Boom Bah” from your accountability partner to get you back on track.
  2. TURN TO YOUR FAITH/MEDITATE: Whether you are deeply spiritual, deeply religious, deeply spiritual and religious or none of the above, turn to your faith. Turn to something. Whether you believe in a higher power or not, staying rooted in or strengthening your faith/what you believe in can help you press on. Deep meditation can also help regain focus and reinforce goals.
  3. EXERCISE: Remember exercising releases endorphins which can alter your mood. Exercising may not be your thing, but find an activity that elevates your heart rate. Cardio is key. A jog or a brisk stroll through your neighborhood can provide the boost you need to jumpstart your dwindling energy. You’d be amazed at how therapeutic opening the blinds, and letting a little sunshine inside your home or stepping outside to breathe in a bit of fresh air makes you feel better.
  4. SOCIALIZE/NETWORK: Your schedule may not always allow you to get out in the mix of others, and you may be a bit of an introvert, but social media can help.  I love the interaction I have with connections I’ve made on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and my new favorite, LinkedIn. No, I’m far from an introvert. I love to read on social media about others reaching their goals/accomplishments, creating new ones or even reading just to escape for a laugh or two. Either way, virtual interaction can be a great motivator.

When I was fulfilling the education requirements for my AFC Certification, I wanted to quit… many times. Overwhelmed with a demanding class schedule, problems on the home front, trying to maintain the update of my social media outlets, and the general pressures of life had me leaning towards giving up. At one point I thought about shirking my way through the semester, barely passing my classes with just the minimum required grade. But in the back of my mind, doing so would have left me disappointed in myself because I knew I could have done better. Determination kept me going. Each time I entertained the idea of quitting, I thought of how far I had come and kept my ultimate goal in mind. Before I knew it,  I was half way through the semester. I kept pressing forward. I kept pressing forward until it was time for final exams and I pulled down A’s in both classes.

So the message here is quite simple. DON’T QUIT! Is it clich√©? Of course it is! And as clich√© as it is, the message is still effective today as it ever was.
DON’T QUIT!!! KEEP GOING!!!

Andrea Coleman (The Financial Hack) ©2016

 

Advertisements

MOTIVATION MONDAY: Take time for self

The lagoon at the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park and Reserve was absolutely stunning! Photo Cred: The Financial Hack
Recently, I took a much needed vacation after a grueling semester of what seemed to be endless reading, weekly assignment deadlines, quizzes and exams. One would think returning to school 14 years after receiving an MBA would be a piece of cake but a piece of cake it was not. I was overwhelmed in the beginning but gradually fell into a pattern of keeping my schedule eventually devoting the majority of my weekends to study. Returning to school was a huge sacrifice for me, but one well worth it in the end.

 

I decided months prior, I would travel somewhere, anywhere, because my birthday coincided with the end of the semester and what better way to celebrate Phase 1 of my Accredited Financial Counselor Certification and my birthday than taking a trip. I decided on the Dominican Republic. The history is rich and the beaches are beautiful. What was significant about this trip was I traveled alone, and in doing so, I had time to think, to ponder my life, its direction and my purpose. I can’t do that in the city. Too much “white noise.” The irony of it all was I had to travel out of the country to “find myself.” I know. It sounds cheesy and so cliche’, but it’s the truth.

Look at that smile! Don’t I look happy?
Spending time alone while away allowed me to look deep within. I discovered what I want in life, what truly makes me happy, and the stillness provided much needed direction. Not that I hadn’t pondered these things before, but there’s a certain comfort that comes with walking alone on the beach, the sand between your toes, the crescendo of the breaking waves and the breeze gently caressing your cheek allowing your mind to expand and your thoughts to flow freely. It seemed to be an epiphany, the “Ahh Ha” moment Oprah Winfrey makes mention of. Suddenly everything became clear to me. And then all was calm. I’m confident I returned from my trip not a “different” person, but a “better” person, if that makes any sense.

Obviously, it isn’t necessary to travel out of the country to take time for self, so until you’re in a position to do so, here are a few suggestions that may help:

  1. Consider a “staycay.” Tell your husband/wife (s)he’s on “Mommy/Daddy Duty” for the weekend/day/night or drop the kids off with your mother/mother-in-law and run away from home. Check into a nice local hotel for the weekend in your city or if possible, opt for a change of scenery by driving to a neighboring city. Austin, TX is my “go to” city. No television, no phone. Just you (and room service if possible.)
  2. Create a space in your home free from all distractions. This could be a closet or a small room in your home. Create a tranquil environment with candles and the soothing sounds of soundgarden/spa music. Draw the blinds, close the door, relax, free your mind and find your center.
  3. Meditation/Yoga. I’ve always admired how people are able to close their eyes and block out everything, no matter where they are. It takes serious concentration and mental ability. Yoga is also a great way to a healthy mind, body and spirit.
  4. Appreciate beauty. When was the last time you visited your local arboretum or took a long stroll around the park? Consider a hike at your local reserve. The beauty and appreciation of nature can have extensive healing powers.

Employing some or all of these tips can help you relax, re-center, and recharge. Each requires very little effort or money and is worth your peace of mind. And trust me, when you have peace of mind, you’re free.

~Andrea Coleman (The Financial Hack) ©2016

Follow me on Twitter @IAmCoachAndrea

 

 

Spirit Airlines: A “Spirit Breaker?”

Let me give you the skinny about Spirit Airlines…. From my perspective.

I recently returned from a trip to the Dominican Republic via Spirit Airlines. Yep you read correctly, SPIRIT AIRLINES. The words Spirit Airlines is usually followed by groans, grunts and frowns from many, but I must say, my experience wasn’t as bad as I anticipated. Let me give you the Cliff Note version of “Spirit Airlines for Dummies.”

  1. GET AS MUCH FEEDBACK AS POSSIBLE: If someone is interested in trying out a new restaurant or visiting a particular city/country for example, what do most people do? They ask for feedback. They may ask what is the best hotel stay in a particular city or even the best restaurants. If you value their opinion, you’ll take their advice. My point: Ask questions. Before booking my flight I asked Facebook friends and Twitter associates to provide feedback as to their experience. It was overwhelmingly negative in general, many complaining of flight delays and hidden fees, shoddy service and anything else negative they could think of all of which I took into consideration. I also read several internet reviews. Some were good, some were terrible, and some were really terrible. On the other hand, some were indifferent. They didn’t sing the praises of Spirit Airlines, but they didn’t rip them to shreds either. I considered choosing another airline however, after looking at available flights through my http://www.CheapTickets.com package, no other airline got me to Punta Cana before 10:30pm and I couldn’t risk missing check-in to my hotel. Therefore comma, Spirit Airlines to the rescue!!!
  2. PRINT YOUR BOARDING PASSES IN ADVANCE:  Either do it at home, or pay $10 or more to print them at the airport. No thanks. I can find better ways to use that money. Boarding passes can be pre-printed 24-hours PRIOR to your flight’s departure. Do you prefer a window seat? Be prepared to pay for it. Is an aisle seat  more in line with your personality? The same thing applies.
  3. SAVE $$$ BY JOINING THE “BARE FARE” CLUB:    Now this is where things got a little tricky for me. By joining the “Bare Fare” Club, you pay $59.99 per year to get a discount on any checked luggage. You are only able to board the flight with ONE PERSONAL ITEM (diaper bags, oxygen tanks, etc., notwithstanding.) Keep in mind, you pay less if you pre-check your luggage. When I fly American, Delta, Virgin, Joe Blow Airlines, or whoever, I’m allowed the smallest of the smallest carry on suitcase and a personal item that can fit underneath the seat in front of me. Not on Spirit Airlines. In a nutshell the “Bare Fare” club is no “free” bag, no “free” drink. It’s just your ass plus gas and ONE personal item… POINT BLANK PERIOD. Thirsty? Better get something before you board. Oh, you want peanuts to tide you over? Cough up the dough. Weaning yourself from alcoholic beverages? You’d better have a debit/credit card handy. Now that you know the ins and outs, Welcome. You have now officially  been inducted into the “Bare Fare” Club.
  4. PRE CHECKING BAGS ONLINE SAVES YOU NO ADDITIONAL TIME AT THE AIRPORT: You’d better get to the airport at least TWO HOURS prior to departure. Even though I pre printed my boarding passes and pre-checked my itty-bitty teeny-tiny suitcase online, I thought there would be a dedicated line for the “chosen ones.” Fuh-get about it. I got no preferential treatment and had to wait in line as if I hadn’t spent 30 minutes at home deciding whether or not to join the secret society of the Bare Fare Club. The upside; there were plenty of self service terminals where people pre-printed their boarding passes and were standing in line to hand-off their luggage to the Customer Service Agents. Okay Spirit, I’ll give you a pass for execution. The TSA checkpoint moved fairly quickly as well, so it’s off to the gate. Let’s get to the fun part… “The Plane Boss, THE PLANE!”
  5. THE LEGROOM ISN’T AS BAD AS YOU THINK:  I’m about 5’8 1/2-5’9″ and I still had more than enough room to cross my legs. I can’t speak for the guy that sat behind me on the trip back who decided to give me a nice lower back massage with his knees. If you are 6′ or taller, you may harbor some Spirit Airlines flight resentment afterwards. I never used the almost non-existent tray table which appeared to be the size of my iPad 2 and thank God I sprang for the additional $10-$18 (depending on flight capacity) for a window seat. I would have been miserable had I not. I didn’t miss much because I make it a point to pop my Dramamine 30min prior to my flight, Beats headphones in and it’s Good Night Nurse until our flight descent. The flight was on time as scheduled, but hey, when 6am is probably you’re first flight out, how can you not be on time?

My return trip wasn’t so good. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either. I pre-printed my boarding passes and I discovered there IS an Airport God… at least in Punta Cana. There was a line dedicated for the Bare Fare Club “chosen ones” to check their bags. Here’s where the fun starts. The flight was scheduled to leave at 1:37pm and boarding was to begin at 12:52.The plane came in and sat there looking at me and the rest of the passengers in all of its splendor and glory for another 1 1/2 hours.


At 1:30, Spirit reps allowed us to start lining up to board. Guess who was first in line. I offered to let a lady and her friend get in front of me because they had a young child but I should have rethought that idea once the child awakened and refused to stop screaming. 

Enter foreshadowing. We finally took off at 2:45pm and much to everyone’s dismay that innocent sweet-looking child screamed from Punta Cana all the way to Ft. Lauderdale. Beats headphones really do cancel outside noise.

To make a long story short (too late) the connecting flight to Dallas was delayed 1 1/2 hours. The delay now puts me in Dallas at midnight instead of 10:30pm and for some odd reason I thought it would be a good idea to go to the office the next day. Ten o’clock is nearing as we quickly shuffle on board and upon takeoff right on cue, that cute innocent screaming child commences Act II. Man, I swear those Beats headphones really were worth the money I didn’t spend on them. Good Night Nurse!!! But just like the Ginsu Knife commercial, you get a free set of 20 steak knives just for flying Spirit. We land at 12:15am, deplane and everyone is looking like Charles Manson at the luggage carousel for an additional 30min waiting on our luggage. This cannot possibly be happening. It was. I finally snatch my teeny-tiny itty bitty suitcase from the carousel and my Spirit Airlines Experience was over. It wasn’t sexy or glamorous. Just over.

So after all of that story-telling, the burning question you’re wondering is “Would I fly Spirit Airlines again?” The short answer is “Yes.” I didn’t experience anything I haven’t experienced on any other airline (aside from the bag fees) but I’ve learned to pack light. Spirit Airlines I believe is good for a weekend getaway where everything you need will fit neatly into ONE small carry-on suitcase. I suggest taking early flight to avoid delays, buy snacks at the airport, and if travelling with small children, find a way to tranquilize them before boarding. Oh never mind, Just buy a pair of Beats headphones. They make EVERYTHING better. Oh, And that $50 voucher Spirit Airlines emailed me for my inconvenience the very next day didn’t hurt either. I’m headed to Miami after Labor Day. HAPPY TRAVELS!

Do you have a Spirit Airlines story to tell? Leave your comments below.

~The Financial Hack ©2016

 

SPRING IS HERE… TOP 5 CLEANUP “MUSTS” IN YOUR LIFE

Can you¬†believe it’s been over ONE MONTH¬†since I actually posted a blog on my website? Not the occasional PSA or motivational posting, but REALLY¬†SAT DOWN AND WROTE A BLOG POSTING? Wow! One month is too long. I do thank all of you that are on the email list and those who religiously visit my website if for nothing else but to check the “Quote of The Day.” Again, I cannot thank you all enough.

So let’s get to the topic at hand…. SPRING CLEANING. This blog won’t be your typical “spring cleaning” blog. Well kinda. It’ll be pretty standard, but I’ve got to¬†put my extra two cents into what spring cleaning also involves most this season (to me anyway) So here we go… The TOP 5 Cleanup MUSTS in your life:

  1. TACKLE LARGER PROJECTS FIRST: If cleaning out your closet is the biggest chore for you, start there first…. AND DON’T STOP UNTIL YOU’RE FINISHED. Survey your closet. Look at every article of clothing and every pair of shoes. If you haven’t worn it within the past year, get rid of it. Donate it to your local charity/thrift store, or have a garage sale (my personal favorite.) Garage sales can be quite lucrative especially if you have items that are in excellent condition, have never been worn and/or still have the tags on them. If you are simply not ready to part with those items just yet, put them into boxes, plastic storage bins, etc. If you don’t come back to those items within the upcoming year, GET RID OF THEM. You don’t need them.
  2. DECLUTTER YOUR SPACE: As I always say, declutter your home, declutter your life. The same holds true for your office, your car or anywhere you spend a great deal of time. It’s ironic I can’t work on a desk riddled with papers strewn about, yet¬†I’m a paper hoarder. Don’t ask me why or how it happened, I just am. I¬†spent three days sorting through letters, receipts and paperwork AT HOME some dating back to 2008,¬†shredding what was unimportant and filing what was. You will find¬†when you’re better organized, completing tasks aren’t such a chore. I haven’t¬†begun to start on the files in¬†the drawers at my¬†office. Never fear, Thursday is the target day. If your car is riddled with papers, trash, toys, empty water bottles, soda cans etc, get rid of it. That is a source of irritation for me. I never ride with trash in my car. A tip to dispose of your trash when you’re driving is to find a small plastic bag (I keep the small bags I get from Barnes & Noble) and I put it on the gear shift of my car. This way, if I finish a cup of Starbucks, a bottle of water, etc., I put it in the bag and empty it when it’s full. If your children travel with toys, try to transport the smallest¬†of toys and find a canvas bin, or even a box to store them in. They’ll make your life much easier.
  3. CLEAN YOUR HOME IN WAVES: I have 4/3.5/2. My suggestion is to clean your home in waves. I wouldn’t dare try to clean the 4500+ square feet¬†I have in one sitting. Forget about it. Not gonna happen. That’s bananas! Again attack the toughest projects FIRST.¬†For me that would be my bedroom, bathroom and closet first, move to the kitchen, the great room, guest bath, study… you get the picture. Perhaps for you, the kitchen is where you’d start. It doesn’t matter in what room you start, start where you spend the bulk of your time. Your level of satisfaction and sense of accomplishment will be much greater.
  4. CHANGE YOUR HABITS/ROUTINE: If you’re usually LATE everywhere you go, LATE meeting deadlines, LATE responding to emails/text messages, change that behavior. Make it a point to arrive 15-20minutes early. Promptly respond to important text messages/emails (or at least acknowledge the message has been received.) You’ll be surprised yourself…. and many others in the process. Don’t do it once or twice, make it a habit. I’ve read it takes 21 days to form a habit. In my opinion, it depends on the habit and the behavior towards the habit that determines the amount of time to change. I firmly believe if the behavior is something you truly wish to change, it shouldn’t take long to adapt. It’s all about your mindset. You may also want to change up your routine. Use this change of season as a time to take up a new hobby. Exercising, running, mentoring, taking an enrichment class, reading more, becoming involved in your child’s school, increasing your community service, you name it… YOU CAN DO IT!!!
  5. EVALUATE FRIENDSHIPS/RELATIONSHIPS: This to me is by far THE MOST IMPORTANT of the five “musts” of spring cleaning. Spring indicates a change of seasons. Just as seasons change, people and relationships change as well. Is it time to let some friends go? Cut ties in some relationships? Only you can answer those questions. My mother always told me to ask myself if¬†the friendships in my life were one-sided. In my opinion, a true friend is concerned about your well-being. A true friend looks out for you, and a true friend always has your back. If the opposite applies, you have to ask yourself if this person is truly a friend. If your relationship is bringing you more¬†misery than joy, perhaps it’s time to have a “sit down” with the one you love. Whether it’s a friend or¬†a significant other,¬†have a conversation, voice your concern(s) and¬†hopefully the end result will be a win/win situation.¬†If not, it may be necessary to¬†plan some¬†funerals, bury some friendships/relationships and begin the healing process.
I hope these five suggestions will help you in your Spring Cleaning process. GOOD LUCK… AND MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!
~The Financial Hack (Copyright 2016)

When your body talks to you…. LISTEN!!!

I’m dying. At least that’s what I felt like yesterday when I woke up. My throat was swollen, it was difficult to swallow, my nose was running and my head felt as though it would explode at any minute. Of course I wasn’t dying, it just felt like it.

I slug I to the kitchen thinking “Coffee will make everything better.” Who was I fooling? I got dressed, went to the office thinking my allergies, sinuses, and hay fever were going at it for the championship title but here comes the one, two knockout punch from a surprise opponent… the flu? No way!

First I was too hot, then I was too cold. Next I was too cold, then I was too hot. Chills. Back and forth like a tennis match. This can’t be good. After the “hacking” started and my Sister screamed “Get Out!” from her desk outside my office door, I knew I needed to leave, but I closed my eyes instead. Forty-five minutes later I’m awakened by that metallic taste in my mouth, you know, like you’ve been licking pennies. Yep, it’s time to go. My clothes hurt. All over

I got home, ate some soup, downed some orange juice, drank a shot of NyQuil and climbed into bed. That was the best decision I’ve made all week and it was only Tuesday.

I was sick. You get the picture.

I knew this would happen eventually. I stretched myself too thin. I was doing too much and I wasn’t taking care of my body causing additional stress. The result? Immediate shutdown. I should have seen it coming. Last week, I didn’t get to bed before 3am on two consecutive nights doing classwork. And just the night before “the shutdown,” I was up after 3am even though I finished my assignments a little after 1am. I knew this would happen. The question was when.

Being back in school has placed tremendous stress on me as it’s been 14years since I received my MBA. Couple that with working, community service and having a life, I’m not sure what I was expecting. You’ve seen/read these tips before but I can’t stress them enough:

1. Make sure you’re eating a balanced diet. My eating habits have been horrible since my classes started last month. I blew my budget for January relying on Panda Express, McDonalds, Jack N The Box and Wingstop for my nutritional needs. I know. Way to go. Claps all around. My multivitamin couldn’t compete with all the “junk” I was eating.

2. Make sure you’re exercising regularly. My exercise regimen has been relatively non-existent since the doctor told me last year I could no longer continue my marathon career. Not only was I running for endurance, but lifting for strength. I used to have six pack abs. Now it looks like an ever so slight kangaroo pouch. (This will never do honey.)

3. Make sure you’re getting adequate rest. I already knew those late nights spending time with textbooks, chapter notes and financial calculators would catch up to me. I’ve said it aloud several times, “If I don’t get enough sleep, I get sick.” Well look at me now.

When your body is already in distress, adding a teaspoon of an unhealthy diet, a pinch of a lack of exercise and a cup of inadequate sleep is a recipe for disaster. 

Listen to your body when it’s talking to you. Yes, you have an empire to build, yes you have goals. Having a “can’t stop, won’t stop attitude” is fine, but stay in tune with your body. It’ll give you small cues when it needs rest. If you fail to yield to those cues, a crash is bound to happen. Don’t ignore those recurring headaches, or that lower back pain. Your body is telling you to slow down. If necessary, take a day off and just “relax.” I’m still learning to do that. After these last couple of days, I’ll try harder. 

This morning after sleeping a good 14hours, I thought about going to the office but thought, “Nah, you’re not 100 percent.” Have I not learned my lesson? This was a no-brainer. So I got my coffee, OJ and soup and am back where I was yesterday… In bed. But now, like this…. 

 
I’m being productive running my empire from the comforts of my bed, yet still resting. And you know something? I feel so much better.

Maybe I’ll move to the couch… Nah!

~The Financial Hack ©2015

Hello My Name Is…. AND I’M A PROCRASTINATOR

procrastination

NOTE: This should have been posted as yesterday’s “Motivation Monday,” but because of my persistent procrastination, I’m posting it today. Read on to find out what the triggered my “call to action.”

It has taken me 15 minutes to get started writing this post. Let me tell you what I’ve done during that time.

  1. Sent a Tweet.
  2. Responded To a Tweet
  3. Sent a couple of Text Messages
  4. Put a clear coat of polish on my nails
  5. Searched Google images
  6. (You get the picture.)

I did everything I could do to avoid this posting. Procrastinating is something I have always done and had yet to master, to my detriment of course. I always work well under pressure, but is it necessary to put undue stress on myself as a result? Of course the answer is a resounding “No!”

Why do some people procrastinate? I can’t speak for others, but I can tell you why I do. I suffer from Type “A” personality. No, I’m not an A-hole, but when I complete tasks, I want them to be perfect. Flawless. Almost effortless. I’m one of those people who gets agitated because of a misspelled a word I catch AFTER posting on my website, posting a tweet, or sending a text message for that matter. In a perfect world, I wouldn’t make these kinds of simple mistakes. In MY world? Forget about it. The result, is wasted time, stress and anxiety. I’m used to it, so I should have adapted by now and should also be able to deal with it right? Yes and No.

Case in point….

As you know (if you don’t, I’m telling you now,) I’m taking classes to become an AFC (Accredited Financial Counselor.) Keep in mind. I received my last degree, an MBA, in 2002. That was 14 years ago this month. Distance/Online courses are NOTHING, I repeat, NOTHING like they were over a decade ago. Back then email is what kept everyone connected. No FaceTime, Skype, Lynk, Google Plus or any other methods for face to face communication. Matter of fact, there were no smartphones back then either. Technology has come a mighty long way, but I digress. A couple of days after being registered for my classes, it was important to sign up with a school id and password. I’ll do it tomorrow became the next day and after about 4days (and an email from the Program Coordinator,) I set it up. Now that that “chore” is completed, it’s on to the syllabus for both classes right? Wrong. I’ve got time. I can look at it tomorrow. Oh wait, the weekend is here, I’ll get everything done Sunday. This is the self talk of a “Professed Procrastinator.” HUGE MISTAKE on my part.

Allowing an entire week to pass cost me TWO CONSECUTIVE NIGHTS OF STAYING UP PAST 3am. After reading through the syllabi, I discovered assignments/exams are due by 1pm in the afternoon, NOT the normal midnight that I was accustomed to. OH NO… What have I done? I’ll tell you. I screwed up by procrastinating. Here’s a glimpse of my initial reaction….


Once I saw the work required, I immediately got my ass in gear. One of the professors gave us a “crap ton” of assignments to complete. The practice assignments were even brutal. Word of advice… Never underestimate a professor who is teaching a class and also working on a Doctoral Degree at the same time.

From that moment on, I was OVER IT!!! Over procrastination. Over waiting until the last minute to complete my assignments, blog postings, anything that required time constraints be placed on them. My “struggle glasses” were past over it refusing to stay on my face, somehow punishing me for the sin of procrastination.


At the end of the day, I am pleased to say, I completed ALL the assignments including the extra credit for BOTH classes. It only cost me two nights of decent sleep. Having a Type “A” personality can come in handy especially when it motivates us to excel. And when it comes to exceling, it doesn’t take much for the “Type “A”

So how does procrastination tie in to personal finance? IT DOESN’T. Just felt like sharing. Well, I could tie in a lesson to it, but not on this posting. It’s random. What I will say is procrastination and poor planning IS NOT a habit successful people employ. Successful people create “To Do” Lists and STAY ON TASK. I too create “To Do” Lists. The problem is, the lists would be much shorter if I wasn’t constantly moving tasks I procrastinated doing from the previous day/days to the current day. You get what I’m saying.

Never again will I do this. I have created a schedule where I block off time during the week to complete important tasks whether it’s my class assignments, reading, writing blogs etc. It’s somewhat robotic, but for me it’s a necessity to keep me on task. This schedule allows me to balance school, community service, maintaining my website/social media, my social life, and just life in general. I can now remain consistent, stay on task, and most importantly, keep my weekends. I’ll work hard during the week… The weekend however belongs to me.

Have you found yourself in this situation? I hope this posting helped you understand procrastination and what you can do to avoid it. Does procrastination leave you feeling powerless, stressed and anxious? If so, how did you overcome it? Leave your feedback below. I’d love to hear from you.

~The Financial Hack ©2016

 

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

 

 

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)

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