3 Things You & I Can Learn From The 2010 Lakers

27 04 2010

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First, let me say this: I’m a life-long Lakers fan. It was my father’s favorite team in the 80’s when Magic, Worthy, and Kareem were running the Showtime fast break.

Yup, life-long… er… w-well with the exception of the

Chicago Bulls dynasty runs but I digress.

The Los Angeles Lakers of this past NBA season

have been a complete enigma to their fans.

It’s been filled with moments of nirvana…

…with echoes of … umm twisted genius…

…(Or could that be omens of impending implosion?)…

Jump-ball

But even with their occasional inconsistency binges, there are at least 3 valuable things we can all learn from their recent season and current playoffs run to defend their title. So let’s tip-off shall we?

#1 Success is a moving target

Ask Jordan, ask Ali, ask Tom Brady.  Ask any former champion just how hard it is to get BACK on top after you’ve already been there. The Lakers are still the defending champions after winning the title last June, but what can their struggles this year teach us?

Well, for starters Success is a moving target. When I get out of debt, in order to maintain my debt freedom, I will have to continue doing what got me out of debt! The fact is I’ll NEVER be at a place where I can just say “Ah, I’ve made it, I can STOP now!” And this applies not just to money but any area in which you hope to maintain any real level of success.

#2 The larger the letdown , the less likely the loyalty

All Lakers fans are bandwagoners, ALL OF THEM, except maybe Jack Nicholson… and possibly Lakers Owner Jerry Buss. Even I have had my moments. (See second paragraph of this post.) After the last 2 losses in the first round of this year’s playoffs, even die-hard “fans” have begun to question if the Lakers can ascend the heights of hoopdom again this year. Suddenly, Naysayers abound!

The point here is that being a true fan is supposed to be an act of Loyalty. Not just the type of Hollywood “fan” that shows up court side on Christmas day, or shows up on camera just as the announcers happen to be talking about their next blockbuster, or the ones who can remember when Kobe dropped 81 points. The kind of loyalty I’m talking about is akin to the type of fan that remembers the Nick Van Exel, Eddie Jones, and Cedric Ceballos led Lakers of the late 90’s that preceded the 3-peat Shaq & Kobe special… and still LOVED them because they were Lakers.

Make sure you’re showing THAT kind of loyalty to the things that matter. You can do this by tithing, giving to charities, and paying yourself first by saving for emergencies and putting something away for retirement. Love YOURSELF!

#3 Never put all of your eggs in one hoop bucket basket

I’m talking to you, Kobe. I know ALL about your greatness in playoffs past, and I’m looking forward to your continued assault on the All-time scoring leader list next season.  But for right now, beginning with Game 5 of your 1st round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, I DON’T need to see you chucking up every flailing desperation shot attempt on every possession down the court. If ever this quote applied, it surely applies to your valiant effort so far this post season:

“We’re all in the gutter, but some of us are still looking at the stars.” – Oscar Wilde

Your ambition in spite of the doubts and injuries is simply awe-inspiring, but at the same time, MY GOSH MAN it’s also terror inducing!

The lesson I’m learning here is to make sure you spread the wealth.

If you let all of you hopes ride on just one pony, what happens when that pony pulls a hamstring? Conversely, Just because you’re the leader doesn’t mean that your other teammates aren’t expected to perform their roles, so allow them to do their jobs too!

The same applies to your money. You never want to spend it all in one place. You have categories that each need to be addressed: Food, Clothing, Shelter, Transportation. I can’t just go out and spend my entire paycheck on Clothing and Gas. (Unless I plan to sleep in my car and drink petrol since I’m neglecting my need for Shelter and Food!) Got it? Good, now spread it around.

Well I hope this has been insightful for you whether you follow the NBA or not! These types of life lessons can be gleaned from just about any other activity in the exact same way.

Live Invincibly,

@W

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Hi-Def Resolutions: The New Secret To Making That Resolution Stick This Time

4 01 2010

Let’s pretend it’s July4th… are you still keeping that resolution?

There is a mental trick you can apply to almost any goal that will boost your morale when you feel like falling off the wagon: Stop living for ‘today’ and pretend you are 6 months in the future. Imagine that you’re already 6 solid months into doing the very thing you’re starting today.

Momentum is a funny thing because it’s formed only by perception. If you feel like you’re making progress in something, then you really are making progress. Makes no difference what others say, or the results they are looking for. If you think it’s getting done, then it is!

With this thought in mind let’s jump 6 months ahead and envision fireworks displays, sparklers and flags lining the streets. Now tell yourself that you are incredibly proud of the way you’ve been able to keep from (insert your goal here) these last 6 months! See you’re already half-way home to keeping that resolution for all of 2010! And that percieved momentum will help you move a long way towards ACTUALLY keeping it together till July 4th really swings around.

In many regards this is an extension of the advice I gave in my very last post “Finish FIRST So You Don’t Come In Last!” The same trick is at work here.

Seeing beyond where you are can directly impact your end result. Can you see it yet? Then, Happy 4th of July!

Live Invincibly,

@W 

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Success Is A Moving Target

4 12 2009

My wife just got finished pouring into me a few moments ago. The Holy Spirit was speaking out of her mouth in such an undeniable way that it humbles me to think of it. I was empty I’ve BEEN on empty for what feels like weeks now. Overwhelmed, unmotivated and trapped by my lesser self. I was slowly and surely losing a sense of who I was and all that I’d accomplished in the past few years.

4 months…. it’s amazing what 4 short, but painfully necessary months has done to my overall mindset. See while she was speaking into me, it hit home on me that today marks 4 months of me being jobless. I’ve spent a FULL 1/3 of 2009 on my couch. Soon as it occurred to me I just started crying.

4 months of feeling like this is nearly enough to dull every sharp edge I thought I had. Which is why I suppose my wife sensed it was time to express the things she did tonight. She reminded me that I now lay claim to one of the fastest growing blogs (traffic wise) on the entire internet. Here are a few tweets … from the past month or so as proof.

“Traffic report: 10 days ago ranked 17m+, 4 days ago 7m+, today ranked 3,136,590… thanks for reading! https://invincibleliving.wordpress.com 1:41 PM Oct 20th from web”
“Thanks to YOU we broke thru the top 1 million sites in the WORLD (traffic-wise) as of last night we’re ranked 998,624! Can’t stop here… 9:55 AM Nov 11th from web”

In mid-October when I first started monitoring the traffic growth of the blog, we were ranked in the upper 21 millions. Twenty-one MILLION websites were generating more traffic than us here at Invincible Living! As of today we are ranked 606,738 out of ALL sites on the internet according to Alexa Page Rank. In the span of a month and a half we’ve done VERY well, far past my expectations in fact. (please, please hold your applause lol)

She also reminded me that I’m the same man that used to cycle from Leesburg to Tysons Corner twice a week to my job. (36 miles ONE way – or the equivalent of one marathon each direction!)

She continued on to remind me that after spending my whole life not being able to hold my breath longer than a minute, I comfortably held my breath for nearly 4 minutes on 5 different occasions last month after reading this post by Tim Ferris over at 4-hour Work Week blog.

Lastly, for the sake of this post, she also reminded me that I increased my freestyle swim stroke by 60% (!!!) again thanks to Tim Ferris and this post!

Her point in listing these accomplishments – all of which I’ve netted just since July, is that I’m am an EXPERT at quickly and efficiently acquiring tools and skills that help me not only meet, but FAR exceed any type of physical challenge that is thrown at me. But those physical wins seldom translate to other areas of my life. I can make it from my doorstep to Tysons corner in 1hr 45min, but when I try to take on a task that requires me to lock in mentally without any sort of physical challenge to accompany it, I tend to fail.

It’s not that I’m not mentally tough, because clearly it takes mental toughness to do each of the things I listed, but it takes even more so to vanquish those physical tasks in the relatively easy way that I often do. But when physical acuity is not in the mix, things fall apart on me.

It’s now a goal of mine to identify and understand that missing link that produces those stellar results.

To be fair, I already know that I’m a HUGE procrastinator…. and in an epiphany I JUST stumbled onto part of the answer to my question. For me procrastination is all in my HEAD! If my body is engaged in the work, I tend not to procrastinate. But if I have a list of 10 tasks I need to complete and they can all be accomplished by sitting in front of a computer, I get distracted easily and end up pulled in 50 different directions. I can train for a month in the pool to shave seconds off of my stroke… but I have 10 items that have been sitting waiting to be posted to craigslist since October! I even wrote this full POST about selling things, but nope I STILL haven’t put them up online! And I’m online ALL DAY! See what I’m up against here? It really is all in my head!

My wife reintroduced me to the VALUE of work again tonight. Everything we (read: YOU) do within a given day is WORK. You are either working on improving your situation and bettering yourself, or working on undoing any progress you’ve made already. You’re either working on things that help you grow and mature, or you’re working on settling.

Success is a moving target and it’s constantly changing shape, position and distance relative to where you are and what you’re doing.

Soooo… what are you working on?

Live Invincibly,

@W





You Will Fail @ *Blank* If You Don’t…

24 11 2009

Let’s play a little game! For each word below, repeat the phrase in the title of this post, then read the word, and then think about how that complete phrase applies to something in YOUR life.

For example: “You will fail at _____ if you don’t Communicate.” *A.  Marriage

*A. Is rhetorical, there is no right/wrong answer, only examples that may apply to the associated word.

Try not to move on to the next word until you’ve mentally answered the current word. Also, when reading a new word, try repeating the entire phrase “You will fail at ______ if you don’t…”

Got it? Good, now let’s get started…

You will fail at _____ if you don’t:

Believe

Work

Move

Communicate

Hustle

Act

Care

Motivate

Play

Exercise

Risk

Calculate

Heal

Budget

Compete

Run

Survive

Rise

Ask

Study

Assert

Prioritize

Sweat

Own

Shine

Dream

Change

Rest

Pray

Persevere

Give

Read

Obey

Learn

Perform

Mature

Let’s face it, we could continue this game forever right? The basic point of this post was to basically offer you a mind check. If you feel you’re lagging in a certain area, or procrastinating on moving forward with something you want or need to do, I hope this was of help to you.

If you came up with some other words that resonated with you more than the ones I listed, please let me know in the comments section, I’d love to know what they are!

Thanks for playing along and…

Live Invincibly,

@W





Broke But Not Broken

16 11 2009

broke

Gosh, we’ve been through a whole-heckuv-alot since we’ve started our journey to get out of debt. Of the $100,000+ in non-mortgage debt we started with, $65,000 has been paid off in the last 2 years and 1 month. I don’t have time to tell it all, and there are things I may NEVER get to tell about our experience cause my wife won’t let me. There have been many momentum swings up and down and many motivation shifts from good to bad, better, best and worst again. And most of what I’m talking about has absolutely nothing to do with the dollars and cents side, but the emotional side instead. But through it all, I’ve never had a week like the one I just came out of.

I just really feel the need to share a moment of transparency, honesty, and vulnerability with you in this post. Is that alright?

This week I learned there is a HUGE difference between doing something out of habit vs. doing something out of conviction.

This week I was consumed by a level of depression that left me with virtually nothing to work with. No energy, no desire – not even for things I genuinely love to do. I felt deserted by my purpose, truly afraid for maybe the first real time since we started knocking out crazy amounts of debt way back in October 2007.

THAT was a fear like I’d never known. In October of that year I was a brand new husband 3 months into a fantastic marriage (still is…) faced with a financial situation we simply couldn’t find a way out of. There I was the new head of a household, and already felt like an utter failure because I couldn’t just ‘pay the problem away’. How can you call yourself a provider for you family when you can’t even provide the simplest form of security for your wife? THAT is the kind of fear I faced before we were introduced to Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover and Financial Peace University.

Fast forward to today and as a family we are so many things we never knew we’d become. And today in numerous ways I was given reminders of that fact:

At our FPU class today, we decided to do one-on-one checkups with each family individually just to see where they are and where we can help them be better. During those checkups we were told by each family how much our time and effort and passion have meant to them. They praised us for being quality leaders and people willing to lead against the tidal wave our society is being swept into. I never knew how powerful that all was to others until I heard it today in the depths of what I was feeling.

Then, at the Wal-Mart while I was in the car waiting my wife had a full conversation with the checkout lady about the envelopes she pulled out to pay for her items. When the lady said “I could never do something like that, I can barely pay my current bills!” My wife took it as an opportunity to encourage the lady to take a fresh look at turning her finances around. My wife basically said this: “I used to say we could never do it either, but now we’re DOING never!”

Then when we got home, our neighbor upstairs – who also recently joined the Financial Peace class with his wife –  knocked on our door with the Disney movie “UP” for us to check out… Big deal you might say, but I can’t even BEGIN to tell you how far our relationship as neighbors has come in the 5 months they’ve lived above us! While he was there, we gave him their FPU kit that had been donated by a church member. They’ve come a LONG way in just the few weeks they’ve been involved. I wish I could tell the story, but one day that will be their story to tell! PRAISE GOD!

I walked into this week’s class in full possession of the habit required to teach them how to get out of debt, build wealth and give… but I had lost the conviction. I had come to a place where my wins were coming only on a vicarious basis. I was motivated seeing them win, but no longer seeing those same types of wins in our personal journey.

So much has changed in the last 2 years… and it’s changed even more in light of the fact that I’ve been unemployed since the beginning of August.

But again, I just praise God that even though we’ve been Broke ($) we’ve never been Broken! Not even with the things we faced this week. We’ve still got another $45,000 left of debt to erase, and countless hearts to teach this stuff to.

I’m recharged and ready to try once again to…

Live Invincibly,

@W





Allow Me to Re-Introduce Myself…

4 09 2009

Hello

So who am I today? That’s the question I’ve been dealing with for the past month

2 years ago, I was a novice. A newcomer to the concept of debt elimination. I had no idea it would be my ‘golden ticket’. I had no idea I would be changed so drastically. And just like one newly converted, I ran with the message telling it near and far.

1 year ago, I was a seasoned vet. Thriving in my newfound calling, and loving the ‘success’ we were having with the Ramsey plan personally ($30k paid off that year!), professionally (2 job promotions that year alone!), and publicly (The blog soared to new heights, and we helped more families than we ever imagined!)

But today I stand at a crossroads. Sure the ‘wins’ keep coming. We’ve knocked out $60k in debt to date, and we’ve moved from being “@Risk” to near “Invincible” but life threw us a major curveball last month when I lost my job. It makes it hard to practice what I’ve become known for preaching lol. And for all the accomplishments and momentum and energy we had produced, it now feels like we’re starting over from the beginning.

So I’m still left asking myself, who am I today? After all, yesterday’s trophies don’t help you win tomorrow’s game. See, although we paid off half of our debt in just 2 years, we still have the other half left to extinguish. And though we were chugging along full speed ahead, we’ve since had to cut the engines and come to a virtual stop due to this new obstacle lying across our railroad tracks.

Well, today I’m convinced that our new plight has opened the door to a completely new audience. And I’m also convinced that this new audience – the unemployed – are much more likely to receive my advice with open arms.

Apparently, killing off $60k in debt in 2 years wasn’t impressive enough for some. So now for an encore I intend to see if we can still close out all of our remaining debt in the next 2 years or less! That means landing a higher paying job, and also transforming this blog into a viable source of income for our household as well. The only basis I have for believing we can do it is what I’ve already seen us do.

But alas, I digress. I started this post by asking who am I today. But in truth the question should be what am I today?

I’m an instrument. A vessel. Always have been, always will be. It’s a pleasure to meet you!

Live Invincibly,

@W

Photo courtesy of tactical_panda




You’re Fired…

5 08 2009

3222283853_eb6acc31b2

Photo courtesy of Rob, Rich Tim and Paul gone pro at last!

First, welcome to my new blog! Many of you know me from my previous blog @Risk Living, but here I intend to mark the start of a new chapter in life. The last blog was all about us getting out of debt, and while that is a major part of my life and my purpose there’s much more to explore. In order to live invincibly you need way more than a bunch of zeros in the debt column of your budget! With that in mind this blog will focus on a number of areas: Self-Improvement, Personal Finance, Work/Life Balance, Health/Wellness and Spiritual Insights among other things.

Now, let’s get in to the title of this first post… Ironically, as I’m typing this it is setting in on me that the day I started my previous blog, it was one of the most amazing days of my life! It was the day I was promoted for the third time in less than a year-and-a-half and also the day I reached my career goal of becoming a manager. You can read about it here.

Today though, is still amazing but in a slightly different way. See, today I was fired from my job. Yes, the same job I was so amazed with in that first post. But to tell you the truth, it is in part a relief, in part a shock, and more than anything confirmation that bigger and better things are around the corner for me.

There are many things I could say about how things went down, but in doing so the point would be lost. I started this new blog because change happens. And somewhere along the way over on my other blog I noticed a change in myself. The difference is as simple as the titles of both blogs… @Risk Living vs. Invincible Living.

My philosophy is that we were never destined to STAY at risk. The ultimate goal for my wife and I is to become invincible! To be at risk is a temporary thing, but to become invincible, ah well at that point NOTHING can phase you!

And that is what I find so ironic about what I experienced today. So many things could have phased me but they didn’t. I could have been upset at the fact that I cycled 30 miles to work today to essentially be sent packing but instead I treated the ride back home as a victory lap. I could have been upset about the seemingly impeccable timing of this dismissal (in just over a month my wife and I will be teaching Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University for 13 weeks) but instead I’m choosing to think that it adds to my authenticity as a teacher much in the same way as rappers think an arrest lends them street cred lol. Or most of all, I could be mad at the fact that the very day I announce Invincible Living I suddenly find myself MORE AT RISK THAN EVER! I just don’t think it gets more ironic than THAT! lol

But I’m not mad or upset at any of those things. I’m taking this opportunity to at least try to practice what I preach. And in the end that’s all I really want this blog to be about in the first place. I invite you to join me as I try to put it all together and…

Live Invincibly,

@W