Half Year Check Up

Can you believe how quickly 2013 is flying by? It seems like just yesterday we were ringing in the New Year! Now here we are, halfway through the year.

I talked a lot about setting goals back in January. Hopefully you took the time to write down everything you wanted to accomplish this year. If not, don’t worry! It’s NOT too late!

You may think it’s a little odd to be talking about goals and New Year’s Resolutions in June. But, I’ve seen too many people get off track and then never reach their goals. And I don’t want that to be you. That’s why today we are refreshing your vision, refocusing, and maybe even taking a second swing at your 2013 goals.

These 4 keys will keep you on track:

Take a look at the list of goals you made in January and evaluate where you are right now. This is a time to take an honest look at what you have accomplished so far, and what is still not done.

It’s very important to celebrate your accomplishments along the way! If your goal was to cut your fancy coffee budget in half, so you went from £20/week to £10/week, then celebrate that accomplishment! Did you reach your goal of increasing your income by 50%? Great job! Celebrate that! Say you have a goal to lose 50 pounds this year, and you have lost 20. You are well on your way! (HINT: Even if you have not reached the goal yet, celebrate your progress! This will spur you on to complete your list!)

Prioritize your list. What is still on your list that you must accomplish before 2013 ends?

If you had a list of 10 big goals that would take you all year to accomplish, it’s unrealistic to think that you will accomplish all 10 of them in only 6 months. In fact, if you set out to do all 10 of them, you are setting yourself up for failure. That’s why it’s so important to prioritize your goals.

Take action! You can hope, plan, and prioritize all you want, but unless you take action, you will not accomplish anything. However, when you make a solid decision — when you set a goal — and take action, you will succeed!

Keep your eyes on the prize. What is your vision? Let your vision push you forward! Remember WHY you’re doing what you’re doing. When the going gets tough or you don’t feel like sticking to your goals, keep your vision in the forefront of your mind.

Set reminders for yourself. Put a sticky note in your car or on the refrigerator, write it on your bathroom mirror, put a picture on your phone to remind you of your goals. This will encourage you and motivate you to take continual action.
Whether this message comes as encouragement to stay on the right track, a reminder to get back on track, or a much needed wake-up call, I hope these tips help you move toward your goals!

I believe in you, and I can’t wait to hear your recap at the end of the year, where you successfully accomplished everything you set out to do in 2013!

Can you think of 5 people who could benefit from an extra nudge back onto the right track? It could be your friends, family, church members, or even colleagues. Go ahead and forward this message to them! (You can send via email, or just post this link on Facebook and Twitter!)

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Tips for Financial Independence

Hi It’s the middle of the week again and it’s time to get down to business, right? Today I want to discuss what might be your most feared topic, budgeting.

It seems like such a simple way to save money and get out debt. But if budgeting was easy, don’t you think more people would be financially independent? I’m not asking for a medal here for being the first to talk to you about personal budgeting (at least I hope I’m not the first). I can, however, equip you on some easy ways to create your budget.

If you have been reading My Daily Thoughts for a while, it’s been six months since we discussed personal budgets. In other words, it might be time to reassess your budget again as well!

The first thing I suggest to any and every one when going over personal finances is to get a hard copy of your bank statement from the last 30 days! Along with your bank statement, try to write down everything you spent cash on. You don’t have to remember every single item, but try to write down as much as you can.

I always suggest hard copies because there is a mental disconnect between looking at numbers on a computer screen. You need to be physically holding those numbers!

With both of these handwritten pieces, follow the steps below:

1. Take out a handful of highlighters, and start assigning colors to different transactions. For example: Green for bills, pink for food, yellow for fun money, purple for misc.

2. After you have highlighted everything start adding up each category so you can visually see how much you are spending on food or “fun”. At the end of this exercise you should have 4 or 5 different numbers that represent your spending habits for the past 30 days.

3. You might be surprised at your personal spending habits, so now it is time to assess where you can cut down. Do you need to be spending hundreds of pounds on eating out?

This is usually where I get a lot of questions or people start defending their spending habits. “Andrew, eating organic is a necessity for me.” That is great for you! But do you need to eat all organic AND your £5 latte every day?

Your personal budget is just that, your personal budget. Only you know what is a luxury and what is a necessity in your life. Just realize in our society we have built up many so-called luxury items to be a necessity.

Remember: Always weigh your ego against your bank account. Is this transaction a purchase for my ego? Is going out to eat and getting drinks so frequently worth putting you behind on your bills? Is having the newest iPhone worth it? A few items might be worth it — but the second you start defending every luxury item on your bank statement is a sign your ego is butting in.

Look, budgeting isn’t easy, but it really can be simple. And the pay out of being out of debt is beyond worth it. Also, if you’re teaching your children great budgeting tips now, can you imagine how that will benefit them later on? Make this Daily Thought your topic at the dinner table tonight! Leave your comments here and share the link with your friends.

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Get Rid of Stress

Today I want to share something with you that I believe can impact every area of your life, from work to finances to family and relationships. So let’s start here: The Times reported that over half the UK population are concerned about the level of stress in their everyday lives. 48% say stress has a negative impact on their personal and professional lives. 31% say they have difficulty managing work and family responsibilities because of stress.

That’s a lot of stress! How often do you feel stressed? Do you fit into the group that says their stress is affecting their personal and professional lives?

Stress is way too common in our society today. In fact, it seems to be a natural part of life. But , it doesn’t have to be part of your life. It doesn’t have to rule your life like it does to so many other people. It doesn’t have to destroy your relationships or hurt your health. Did you know 2 in 3 doctor visits are for stress-related illness? HELLO! No thank you!!!

We all have circumstances in our lives that can cause stress. It could be that you were just laid off and you’re not sure where your next paycheck is coming from. Or maybe you are going through some really hard, tough times with your spouse. You could have 3 teenagers in the house, and you’re wondering if they are argue with everything you say for the rest of their lives. But the bottom line is, stress is a choice. We have to decide if we will get stressed out, or if we will learn how to deal with the circumstances.

But see, our culture tells us that seeking help for problems such as these makes you weak, and that it’s something to be ashamed of. Are you kidding me?! , that could not be further from the truth!

Our society tells us to get rid of our stress through other ways – shopping, TV, food, drugs, alcohol, sex – anything that makes us feel good. But running away from stress does not make it go away. Pretending everything is okay will not fix anything! That actually causes more stress.

So what can you do about it? How do you de-stress? You can’t just hope things get better, or wish the stress would disappear. You can’t sit in front of the TV eating “comfort food” until things change – that will never happen! But unfortunately, that’s what most people are doing. You’ve got to attack the problem! You must find the source of the stress and make changes in order to decrease your stress.

It’s your choice. If you are dealing with stress in your finances right now, you have a choice to spend time and money on stupid things that might make you feel good for a little while, but will leave you with even more financial stress. Or you can choose to take a stand now against debt.

Or if you are like 55% of people who say they are stressed because they simply don’t have enough time to do the things they want to do, you could sit there and complain and wish you had more time. Or you could take time today to right some lists of priorities which will decrease your stress as you learn exactly how to design your life so you can finally do the things you really want to do.

It all comes down to this: Stress is a choice. You can stay stressed out, or you can find practical solutions. Which will you choose? We are here to help you eliminate stress in your personal and professional life. It’s time to get equipped to design your life instead of letting stress control you.

Stress is an epidemic, and it’s affecting people all around you and me. It is affecting people’s work, family, relationships, and personal lives. It is causing worry and anxiety, and making people less productive. It is even causing physical illness and psychological problems. And it’s time to put a stop to it! Let’s do what we can today, and spread this message around to our friends, family, and colleagues. I’m doing my part – will you do yours? Just forward this email, or post this link on Facebook and Twitter. I’d also really love to get your feedback on today’s Daily thoughts.

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Learn from Successful People

Have you ever wondered why some people are successful and others are not? Some believe it’s because they just got lucky, or because they have the right background or the right opportunities. But the reality is, it has nothing to do with your personality, where you grew up, how educated you are, or whether your family is successful or not.

You cannot sit there and tell me that people are successful because of their background or personality, because there are millionaires and billionaires who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, in the wrong families, surrounded by the wrong people, who didn’t go to college, and some even dropped out of high school! The only difference is how they choose to live their lives. They made a decision and followed it through with action.

You can make a decision and take action on that decision and take action on that decision, or you can sit there like 98% of the population and say, “It’s too hard to make money!” “It’s too hard to build a successful business!” “It’s too hard to get a promotion!”

It’s a fantasy to think that you are going to become wealthy overnight or build a successful business in 30 days. Unfortunately, that’s what a lot of people expect. They have this idea that they can skip the beginning stages and go straight for the part where they are making tons of money and having success.

But no matter what you do, you must master the basics of your industry and profession. There are basics to EVERYTHING! Marriage, parenting, your job, building a business, communicating with people, managing money, managing your time, having a fulfilling spiritual life. But if you do not master the basics, you will never truly succeed.

One of my favorite things to talk about when it comes to mastering the basics is Michael Jordan. He was phenomenal!

He did not have a great start in his basketball career. He was cut from his high school team. He was overlooked for not being good enough. But he persisted! He practiced, and he got good enough to make it to the NBA. Today he is one of the most famous basketball players in the world! Kids all over the world (myself included) wanted to fly through the air like Michael Jordan, but they couldn’t even dribble, pass, or shoot!

I want you to think about how many free throws Michael Jordan has shot in his lifetime. How many layups has he done? How many dribbling and passing drills has he done? You can’t even count them!

How do you think he got so good at basketball? How do you think he is able to slam dunk the ball? He first had to know how to dribble, pass, and shoot. He had to master the basics before he was ever qualified to fly through the air and slam dunk the ball.

But most people want to put on their favourite sports top, tie their shoes, and get out on the court and fly through the air. That’s where they’re missing it. You must have the right foundational skills before you can even think about doing the hard stuff or the “fun” stuff.

You can’t just know what the basics are. You can’t just know how to do them. You can’t just do them once or twice. You have to MASTER the basics!

And here’s the bottom line – EVERYONE has to start from the beginning and build up. Everyone has to pay their dues. Everyone starts with the basics. The millionaires and billionaires in your industry did not get to skip the basics. They started with the exact same basics you are starting on! But they made a decision, and they followed that decision up with action. And where did it start? The basics.

So today, no matter what you do or what industry you are in, make a decision to master the basics. I promise it will pay off! Do not get bored in the basics. Do not settle for “good enough”. It’s time to truly master the basics!

It would be a great idea to share this letter with your colleagues or business partners today. This will help get everyone on the same page and solidify the need for people in your company or team to master the basics in order to help the organization grow. It would also be a good conversation to have with your friends and family, because as I mentioned earlier, there are basics in everything from business and career, to family, finances, and relationships. Simply print this email and pass it around, forward the email, or post this link on Facebook and Twitter.

FINALLY, some good news about the economy!

You’ve probably heard plenty of negative news about the economy, and you don’t need to hear any more of it. But when is the last time you heard good news about the state of the economy? When is the last time you were handed good, solid solutions for making more money, annihilating your debt, growing your business, getting ahead in your career, and living the life you’ve always dreamed of? You won’t find it on the news, but you will find it here.

Don’t let People’s Jealousy Stop You

As you embark on this journey of success, whether it’s succeeding as a parent or a spouse, or succeeding financially or in business, or even how much you can contribute to society, there will be people who will be jealous. I know you have probably heard that before, but I think it’s really important for us to take a deeper look at that today.

Jealousy is something that has come up against you and me our entire lives. And guess what – it will continue to come up against us for the rest of our lives.

Whenever you decide to go and do something unique, different, or meaningful; when you decide that the status quo is just not for you; whenever you decide you don’t want a mediocre family, an average marriage, a ‘normal’ lifestyle, there are people who will hate you for that!

But you have to understand that it has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with them.

This reminds me of a story I heard once. If you have a bucket full of crabs, there’s always one that’s trying to get out. It’s trying to climb and reach for the top. And you’ll never guess what happens… The rest of the crabs in the bucket actually pull him back down!

You may have people in your life who are trying to pull you down, as you are reaching for a great marriage or a successful business or a promotion at work or even annihilating your debt. No matter what you are trying to do, there will always be those crabby people who will try to pull you back down to what they call reality.

Here’s an example from my own life: I’ve recently made up my mind about food and GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and the crazy, horrible chemicals that are being put into our food supply that are actually causing terrible diseases. The more I’m learning about it, the more upset I’ve gotten, and I have made some major changes in my everyday life. I’ve always fed my family very healthy, fresh food. We don’t do cans or pre-packaged anything. But when I decided to totally go all in on eating GMO-free, totally organic food, I’ve been ridiculed and made fun of.

You could be in a similar situation right now. Maybe you have decided to start a garden so you can grow your own organic food. You’ve decided to go gluten-free, GMO-free, totally healthy for you and your family. You’ve made the decision that you’re not going in the unhealthy, disease-filled direction most people are going in.

When you make a decision to go against the grain, just know there will be people who will not understand what you’re doing. They will misjudge, criticize, and be jealous of you. But that is not on you! That is their problem.

So as you embark on a whole new journey to success, it will provoke jealousy and judgment from other people. But it’s worth it! Because even if you decide not to do something special or unique or different, there will still be people who will misjudge you and be jealous of you! That’s just part of life.

Don’t you dare let somebody else’s jealousy stop you from going after what is in your heart to do! Don’t use their judgment as a reason to shrink back or quit. Those people have been put in your life to strengthen your resolve and to push you closer to your destiny.

You and I are people who are not supposed to shrink back. You are part of an entire community of people who have made decisions to do something different, to be authentic, to be set apart, to go after their dreams. So even when you are being judged and criticized, know that you are not alone!

My friend, you were designed to be unique and authentic. You were designed to achieve your goals, whether that means living a healthy lifestyle, having a successful marriage, giving millions of pounds away to help people in need, making millions of pounds, or taking luxurious vacations. So press forward and stand firm in your decision for success!

I have to tell you, , I have seen so many people who have been crippled by the fear of other people’s judgment and jealousy. Do not let that be you, or anyone else you know! We’ve got to stop that in its tracks! And we can start by simply sharing this letter with our friends, family, and colleagues. I’m doing what I can to spread this message. Won’t you help me? Just forward this email, or post this link on Facebook and Twitter. Together, you and I can make a difference!

Have a blessed day 🙂


Don’t Let Life Get You Down

Today I want to ask, what do you do when feeling down? Life doesn’t always run smoothly and at some point in your life you will probably become overwhelmed, depressed or even angry despite your best efforts.

Many people turn to a countless number of addictions like shopping (yeah, it acts just like any other addiction people), drinking, smoking and sex. And we all know those end in disaster!

However, in today’s society there is another quick fix. For a lot of life’s problems, there is now a pill for that. 1 out of 10 People age 12 and older are taking antidepressants. However, less than 20% of those people seek professional therapy or counseling.

Oh, you’re stressed out? Here’s a pill. Oh you’re depressed, here you go. We turn to drugs as an easy fix for the issues that we don’t want to deal with!

Antidepressants, valium and ADHD medications are now being called the emotional equivalent of plastic surgery. Only the side effects are worse for you in the long run. Here’s why.

And it isn’t just about the listed side effects on your pill bottle (although some of those are equally as disturbing). The big problem is that quick fixing your life with pills is not a true solution. It doesn’t teach you anything. It doesn’t help you work through the problem.

In fact in most cases it just postpones the root of your issues! You are just treating the symptoms of a much bigger problem. Medications will numb you out and make you blind to problems that in reality, you just need to face!

When you are numbed out on medications it affects your relationships, your ability to make decisions and your desire to succeed. You might think the mental break is nice, until the next thing you know a decade has gone by and you’re still “fighting” anxiety.

A man without a vision will perish. These pills steal your vision!

I’m not saying all prescriptions are bad, but studies show that 1 in 4 cases of depression are misdiagnosed. Maybe I just need to be the one to prescribe a different medication for you. Try one these before running off for your easy fix:

1. Journaling. I realize not all of you hold the same beliefs I do, but spending time increasing my spiritual well-being has huge benefits. I’m proof of that. Whether it was talking to God, praying, or reading my Bible I am constantly finding new insights, encouragements and life lessons! Growing up, my faith was the only thing that got me through at times.

But no matter what you believe in, having some alone time to clear your head(or some one-on-one time with whom you believe), journal, and get to the root of yours issues will always yield endless fruit in your spiritual and mental health.

So whatever it is on your brain – write it down! Form that vision for your life in writing and think about what specifically might be holding you back from achieving that vision.

2. Lean on people. Do you have a spouse or a best friend that has known you for a while? It is okay to ask for help, even if it is emotional. The biggest benefit to having deep, caring relationships is that you have people there to support you and talk you through life’s hardest obstacles!

If you don’t have these types of relationships, it is probably time to work on that! Caring relationships are a two way street, meaning you have to be there for others as well. Think about people in your life that you wrote off because they were going through hard times(I don’t want to call her, all she does is cry about her ex husband). You may have just missed a great opportunity to form a real, unconditional friendship.

3. Find a mentor. Look for someone who has been through what you are going through! Seek guidance! In business I tell people to find someone who has what you want and do what they do. It’s the same principal for your emotional life as well.

I know people who were having problems but they searched for and found an older couple to counsel and mentor them. They had seen it all! Not only were they there to support them through tough times, but they were living proof that there was a way past it all.

Listen, , I am for you. And I am for your success! And I truly believe that all of the insta-prescriptions doctors hand out like sweets will not only keep you from success. Wouldn’t it be great if you weren’t another statistic? Wouldn’t it be even better if you could stop a loved one or your own child from becoming one of those statistics?

You can forward this email, and post this link on Facebook and Twitter! Let people know you are there for them! I would also really love to get your feedback on today’s Daily Thought. Please leave me your comments.

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1 Skill that Saves Time & Gives Promotion

What I want to talk to you about today is really important if you want to grow in your career. This one thing actually has the potential to position you for either massive advancement or huge problems, depending on whether or not you master this skill. (So I would highly recommend applying the principles I’m about to share with you.)

It’s safe to say that most people would call themselves good listeners. Most people think they have mastered the art of listening. But I have to tell you – that’s just not true. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that most people completely miss the mark when it comes to truly listening.

No matter who a person is or what their personality type is, every single human being on this earth wants to be heard. Nothing makes someone feel more honored and validated than being heard.

You’re probably saying, “Okay Andrew, that’s great. But what does that have to do with my career?” Are you kidding? it has EVERYTHING to do with your career! It has everything to do with your personal and professional relationships. It has everything to do with your family, your finances, your business, your LIFE!

See, true leadership requires you to become genuinely interested in other people. It’s not about just being ‘nice’ to people so you can get what you want out of them. (That’s manipulation, and that will never lead to success.) It’s about truly honoring people.

Think about that conversation you had with your spouse this morning, or your best friend, or even your colleague or boss. As they were talking, were you thinking about what your next statement would be? Were you thinking about what you have to do later today? If there was anything else running through your head as you were listening, you were not truly listening! You were not honoring that person.

We are ALL guilty of this. We have become such a multitasking society that we even multitask in our thinking! As we are “listening” to someone else talk, we are thinking about what we’re going to say next, the 15 things on our to-do list for the day, and what we’re going to cook for dinner tonight – simultaneously!

This happens all the time, because that’s what our culture has conditioned us to do. It’s not your fault. HOWEVER, now that you are aware of this widespread problem, it’s up to you to correct it.

Think about how many times you have been in a conversation with someone, and they said something and you heard them, but you actually have no idea what they just said. How many times have you said, “Huh?” because you missed what they said (maybe even multiple times)? How many times have you walked away from a conversation, and completely forgot what was just agreed upon?

I know sometimes it may seem like a lot of work to give someone your undivided attention. The truth is, it is more work to NOT listen. When you don’t listen, you actually create problems. And it takes more energy and time to solve those problems.

Picture this: You are having a conversation with your boss. He gives you a list of items he would like you to prepare for a meeting at 2:00 this afternoon, as well as a list of people he needs you to follow up with before then. As he is giving you the list, you are formulating a plan for how you will accomplish these things before your 2:00 meeting. As soon as the conversation is over, you walk back to your desk to get started. You make it halfway through your task list, but you can’t, for the life of you, remember the last few items.

Do you see what I mean? Because you jumped ahead and began thinking about how you were going to accomplish the things on the list instead of simply listening to what your boss was saying, you created a problem that must now be solved. You now have to go back to your boss and ask him to repeat himself. This is a waste of your time and his, which creates frustration and shows that you are not trustworthy or dependable. This significantly lowers your value.

It also destroys your opportunity for promotion in your business or career. If there were opportunities for promotion in your company, would you know it? (Newsflash: There are ALWAYS opportunities for promotion!) Are you listening for the needs around your office? Do you catch the offhand remarks from your boss, who is stressed because a certain task is continuously dropped? Hello! That is your chance to fill a need, which makes you extremely valuable. If you do not have your ears tuned to hear the needs that are expressed every day in your workplace, you are missing opportunities!

So today, focus on truly listening to other people. When others are speaking, give them your undivided attention. Clear your mind and really focus on what they are saying. Resist the urge to chime in and give your opinion. You will be amazed by how much more you will hear! And you will begin to see more opportunities, more promotion, and more harmony in your business, career, and relationships.

Listening is obviously not a skill we pick up naturally. It is one we must practice in order to master it. But can you imagine if you learned this skill as a child? Can you imagine if everyone in your school, office, or family knew this skill? Wow! What a different culture this would be!

Let’s do what we can today to help our family, friends, and colleagues become a culture of honor. Simply print this letter out and pass it around at work today, and read and discuss it with your family. You can also forward this email, and post this link on Facebook and Twitter! I would also really love to get your feedback on today’s Daily Thought. Please leave me your comments here!

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