I must confess I have an absolute passion for shoes. Even my tagline suggest this … “Successfully making deals in heels”. I wear heels everywhere, and I do mean everywhere. To the grocery store, to football games to walk the dogs — you get my drift. I was watching a TV show the other night and the topic was, “Are you spending less money than you make?” This thought had me pondering and re-evaluating my passion for hours after the show ended. Indeed I have over 100 pair of shoes, but would I say I spend more than I make just for this desire. I quickly answered “no” and the wheels starting turning. Although I have indulgence, I have to admit I have never (and I mean never) spent money that I never had. The show showcased individuals and couples whose spending habits were out of control; consumer debt has risen astronomically over the past few decades, and it has contributed to weakened marriages, rising bankruptcies, and foreclosures.
Paying cash for a car, real estate, or even furniture is considered to be not normal. After a self-check, it started me to thinking about how others struggle with the principle of spending less money than you make. One hundred years ago it was very hard to spend more money than you made, because credit was unbelievably hard to get, and it was considered shameful to borrow from someone else. Today, borrowing is a way of life. You are actually considered not normal if you don’t borrow money. So many people speak of it being easier to receive credit has made our lives better and given us more opportunities. I think that’s a boat load of crap. All it has done is given people the appearance that they are able to live a better lifestyle, but the added pressure paying numerous bills, living paycheck to paycheck, and fluctuating interest rates has most likely diminished the quality of life of so many people.
When it comes down to it, what makes you happy? Does having stuff make you a happier as a person? Being able to finance anything gives you the ability to have more stuff, but it does not make you happy. What makes us happy is maintaining healthy relationships with family and friends, being physically healthy, and working with a purpose in life. The size of your house, the brand of your car, and the technology of your television do not define who you are. Your personality, morals, and passions define who you are.
This may sound like I am getting overly philosophical about the topic on a TV show, but spending less than you make affects all aspects of your life. If you can sit down tonight and say to yourself, “I am going to take more personal responsibility with my finances”, you will immediately begin to see a change in the way you live, your attitude towards life, and the way you treat your loved ones. The problem is that most want to blame everyone else about why they’re struggling with money when all they have to do is look at themselves in the mirror to find the problem.
Are you ready to take responsibility of your finances? Let today be the day that you start taking control of your money and tell it how to behave.
By: Shonda Grier
ASG Investments, LLC
Over the weekend I got the chance to read a book entitled “The Present” by Spencer Johnson. It was a nice quick read with a wonderful message attached to it. The messages primary purpose was to give focus to the ways you take advantage of your present moments in life and do not let them slip away. Considering the tough times what many people are going through right now it’s very easy to focus on the negative events that have already occurred to only let the present time waste away as well.
So for those out there that might need a little inspirational reminder I thought this would be a nice one.
BE IN THE PRESENT
When you want to be happy and successful
Focus on what is right now
Use your Purpose to respond
to what is important NOW.
LEARN FROM THE PAST
When you want to make the present better than the past
Look at what happened in the past
Learn something valuable from it.
Do things differently in the Present
PLAN FOR THE FUTURE
When you want to make the future better than the present
See what a wonderful future would look like
Make plans to help it happen
Put your plan into action in the Present
Too often we sit and mope over things that have happened to us in the past and continue to wish that they would change. The fact is no one can rewrite history but we are all in charge of our future and we control that with the decision we make in the present. Mistakes will be made by all of us, they are a part of life that we must embrace. Remember the only bad mistake made is one we do not learn from and continue to make over and over again. What we need is a synchronized life… enjoy the past, use it for the present and plan for the future!
By: Antoine Grier
ASG Investments, LLC
Remember That Image is a Fundamental Key to Your Successful
Within the first three seconds of a new encounter, you are being evaluated … even if it is just a glance. In this short period of time, the other person forms an instant opinion about you based on your appearance, your body language, your demeanor, your mannerisms, and how you are dressed. People appraise your visual and behavioral appearance from head to toe. Within those three seconds, you make an indelible impression. You may intrigue some and disenchant others.
But once the first impression is made, it is virtually irreversible. When you meet someone face-to-face, 93% of how you are judged is based on non-verbal data - your appearance and your body language. Only 7% is influenced by the words that you speak. Whoever said that you can’t judge a book by its cover failed to note that people do! When your initial encounter is over the phone, 70% of how you are perceived is based on your tone of voice and 30% on your words. Clearly, it’s not what you say - it’s the way that you say it.
I’ve found that there is no sweeter sound than that of your own name. I make it a point to use my client’s name during our conversation within the first twelve words and the first few seconds. By doing so, I’m sending a message that I value that person, and I’m focused on him/her. Nothing gets people’s attention as effectively as calling them by their name.
With every new encounter, you are evaluated and yet another person’s impression of you is formed. These first impressions can be nearly impossible to reverse or undo, making those first encounters extremely important, for they set the tone for the all the relationships that follow. So, whether they are in your career or social life, it’s important to know how to create a good first impression.
I believe the process works like this:
· If you appear to be of comparable on a business or social level, you are considered suitable for further interaction.
· If you appear to be of higher business or social status, you are admired and cultivated as a valuable contact.
· If you appear to be of lower business or social standing, you are tolerated but kept at arm’s length.
When you make the best possible first impression, you have your audience in the palm of your hand. When you make a poor first impression, you lose your audience’s attention, no matter how hard you scramble to recover it.
Anyone can learn to make a positive and lasting first impression. Doing so requires you to be able to modify any situation to suit the outcome to become a winner. It also, requires you to assess and identify your personality, physical appearance, lifestyle and goals. Those who do will have the advantage.
In my business environment, I plan every move with potential clients. I arrange the appointments, I prepare for the meetings, I rehearse for the presentations, but in spite of my best efforts, potential clients pop up in the most unexpected places and at the most bizarre times. For that reason alone, I leave nothing to chance. Every time I walk out of my office, I’m ready to make a powerful first impression. Are you?
To Your Success,
Navigating your own ROADMAP TO SUCCESS ….
I was speaking recently with a friend who lives in New York. I’ve known Karen many years. Like me, Karen was born and raised in the Washington, DC area. We were on the topic of empowerment and taking control of one’s life and going out there and making things happen. We’re true go-getters from the heart. We both agree that far too often we become dependent on others either because of laziness (i.e., lack of initiative on our part) or just the plain, old fear of failure. The conversation seemed to last for hours.
We’ve both learned over the years that no one is going to “hook you up”. If you want something, you have to be willing to put forth the effort and stop leaning on others.
Karen gave me an example of this by telling me about her nephew who was visiting Atlanta, Georgia. While driving around that big city her nephew got lost. So what was the first thing he did? You got it … he called his Aunt. Note: Again, Karen lives in New York and her nephew is miles away in another state!
Karen said the first time he called she helped her nephew out. Awhile later her nephew calls again for even more directions and Karen helps him out again. On the fifth call Karen finally advises her nephew of the obvious, “When you see the next gas station, pull in and buy yourself a map so you won’t have to keep calling me.”
I laughed when Karen told me this story. It exemplifies why so many people in life never seem to get anywhere. Let me highlight the obvious lessons here:
Lesson 1: Even when the answer to our problem is obvious (i.e., get a map) many of us don’t see it. Why? Because looking for answers from others has become a habit. We stop thinking for ourselves. We’re all guilty of his from time to time.
Lesson 2: If we keep telling people the answers they’ll never learn to “look” for them on their own. Remember the Chinese proverb about teaching a man how to fish as opposed to feeding him? You see where I’m headed with this …
On a much grander scheme, as we get older, we let others do the thinking for us. The media tells us what’s wrong with the world. Our family members tell us what we would be happy pursuing. The intellectuals tell us that you have to have a college degree to be successful. Our friends tell us how it’s impossible and maybe we should be more “realistic”. I could go on, but you get the idea.
All our lives we’ve been listening to others. We’ve been told if you do A, B, C and D, you will have a good life. Society tells us to follow the script…don’t deviate…just follow the script.
The problem is you can’t script life. Life is about adapting to situations. It’s about overcoming adversity and finding ways to make things happen. Success is not a straight line…you have to deviate when necessary. That’s where the powerful but very necessary crossroads come into play.
Success and prosperity are NO different…there are so many ways to achieve both.
It would be nice in life if we could pull over to the local “life station” and buy a map to get to our destination. But sorry folks you can’t.
It would be nice in life to be able to call up the all knowing Oracle and give you EXACT directions in life. But again you just can’t.
I’m convinced that the day you firmly decide in your mind to set your own course, will the very day you start creating you’re own roadmap to success.
So in essence, the tragedy in life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal, but the tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.
And yes, you will hit dead-ends and have to start again. You will go down the wrong way, and will have to turn around. You’ll probably get flat tires and your motivational engine will hiccup once in a while. You may even stall from time-to time, but whatever you do — DON’T STOP. Just remember you have to get off your South-side if you want to get to the North-side of life. Keep pushing folks you’ll make it.
To Your Success,
I wanted to take a minute to talk about New Year’s Resolutions; if you are like Shonda or I then you’re not too far removed from the traditional review of last year’s goals and the setting of new ones for the 2009 year. Mostly likely your goals had to do with family, health, money, career, fitness, travel; honestly the list could go on and on it really all depends on what you decide is IMPORTANT TO YOU for the New Year.
Well now my question is… how many of you have already started slacking on your goals? Are you back to the normal routine, back to smoking cigarettes or still waiting to “start” working out for the summer? Did you say you were going to make a career change and then decide to wait? See all too often when we set New Year goals we don’t stick to them, we find reasons not to start them or not keep to them, and before you know it… the year is gone and you are making the same resolutions again for the following year. You have even told yourself “This time I mean business!”
Well I am here to challenge you, I urge you to look at your goals again and see if you have “fallen off the path”. It is never too late to get focused again, and the year is still young. I challenge you to actually make this year different and not just another year where you end up setting the same goals again. I’ll be looking at mine tonight setting new benchmarks and following through on them stronger than ever, I am hoping you will do the same with yours!
Remember: “Success requires no explanation…failure permits no alibis” As always I look forward to hearing your comments to this blog!
ASG Investments, LLC