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Oct 25, 2009

As Within, So Without

Aristotle said that the ultimate aim or purpose or human life is to achieve your own happiness. You are the very happiest when what you are doing on the outside is congruent with your values on the inside. When you are living in complete alignment with that which you consider to be good, right, and true, you will automatically feel happy and positive about yourself and your world.

Know What You Really Want
Stephen Covey once said, "Be sure that, as you scramble up the ladder of success, it is leaning against the right building." Many people work hard to achieve goals that they think they want only to find, at the end of the day, they get no joy or satisfaction from their accomplishments. They ask, "Is this all there is?" This occurs when the outer accomplishment is not in harmony with your inner values. Don't let this happen to you.

Trust Your Intuition
Self-trust is the foundation of greatness. Self-trust comes from listening to your intuition, to your "still, small voice" within. Men and women begin to become great when they begin to listen to their inner voices and absolutely trust that they are being guided to a higher power each step of the way. Living in alignment with your true values is the royal road to self-confidence, self-respect, and personal pride. In fact, almost every human problem can be resolved by returning to values.

Watch Your Behavior
How can you tell what your values really are? The answer is simple. You always demonstrate your true values in your actions and especially your actions under pressure. Whenever you are forced to choose between one behavior and another you will always act consistent with what is most important and valuable to you at that moment. Values, in fact, are organized in a hierarchy. You have a series of values, some of them very intense and important and some of them weaker and less important. One of the most important exercises you can engage in to determine who you really are and what you really want is to organize your values by priority. Once you are clear about the relative important of your values, you can then organize your outer life so that it is in alignment with them.

Determine Your Hearts Desire
The spiritual teacher Emmet Fox wrote about the importance of discovering your "hearts desire." What is your hearts desire? As a friend of mine asks, "What do you want to be famous for?" What words would you like people to use to describe you when you are not there? What would you like someone to say about you at your funeral? What kind of reputation do you have today? What kind of reputation would you like to have sometime in the future?

Your Past is Not Your Future
Many people had difficult experiences growing up. They fell on hard times and became associated with the wrong people. Some were convicted and sent to prison for crimes. But at a certain point in life, they decided to change. They thought seriously about what kind of person they wanted to be known as, and thought of, in the future. They decided to change their lives by changing the values that they lived by. By making these decisions and sticking to them, they changed their lives. Remember, it doesn't matter where you're coming from; all that really matters is where you're going.

Oct 18, 2009

How to Charm Anyone

Psychologists tell us that the core of personality is self-esteem. This has best been defined as "how much you like yourself." Your self-esteem is the sum total of how important and valuable you feel you are at any moment.

The Secret of Charm
The deepest craving of human nature is the need to feel valued and valuable. The secret of charm is therefore simple: make others feel important.

Five Ways to be Charming
  • Acceptance. The greatest gift you can give other people is the attitude of "unconditional positive regard." That is you accept them in their entirety, without limitation. You never criticize or find fault. You are totally accepting of everything about them. This is the starting point of being charming.
  • Appreciation. Whenever you express appreciation to others for something they have done, small or large, their self-esteem increases. They feel more competent and capable. Their self-image improves and their self-respect soars. And how do you trigger this wonderful feeling in others? It is simple. You say "thank you" on every occasion, for any large or small reason.
  • Approval. It is said that "babies cry for it, men die for it." Throughout life, all humans have a deep subconscious need for approval of their actions and accomplishments. No amount of approval ever satisfies for long. The need is ongoing, like the need for food and rest. People who continually seek opportunities to express approval are welcome wherever they go. Perhaps the best definition of approval is "praise." Just remember, whenever you praise other people for something they have done, their self-esteem is elevated.
  • Admiration. As Abraham Lincoln said, "Everybody likes a compliment." When you give people a genuine, sincere compliment about a trait, possession, or accomplishment, they automatically feel better about themselves. They feel acknowledged and recognized. They feel valuable and important. They like themselves more, and they like you more. Compliment a person on an article of clothing. Compliment someone on a trait, like punctuality or persistence. Compliment for small things as well as large.
  • Attention. This is perhaps the most important quality of all. It is the most powerful behavior for building self-esteem and is the key to instant charm. The more closely you pay attention to other people, the more valuable and important they will feel they are, and the more they will like you.

Oct 11, 2009

Five Factors That Banks Look For

There are five factors that banks look for before making a loan to you, or any businessperson. These are called the "five C's" of lending or borrowing. You must be prepared to demonstrate all five when you approach a bank for a loan.

1. Collateral.
First, banks look for collateral. What assets are you going to put up to cover the loan? Collateral is something that can be sold for cash fairly quickly to repay the bank in case your business is not successful.

2. Character.
Banks look for character. What is your previous track record with regard to loans? What kind of character do you have, in terms of honesty and dependability? Who knows you? Who will vouch for you?

3. Credit Rating.
Banks look at your current credit rating. How much money have you borrowed and repaid in the past? How good is your credit history today? Your credit rating is a very precious thing that follows you wherever you go. I have known many people whose entire adult lives have been ruined because they have been sloppy or indifferent with their credit. They have failed to make credit card payments, utility payments, or rent payments when they were due. In one or more of these cases, they have been reported to a national credit bureau. This negative credit rating has then dogged them for as long as 10 years, wherever they went, anywhere in the country. Don't let this happen to you.

4. Capital.
Banks want to know the amount of capital you have. How much of your own money are you willing to invest? This is a measure of how deeply committed you are to the success of the enterprise.

5. Confidence.
The last factor that banks use to determine whether to lend you money is their level of confidence in you. In the final analysis, the individual banker must have confidence that you are the kind of person who is going to succeed in the business that he or she is lending you money to start of build.

Banking Relationships Mature over Time
Borrowing money from banks is a progressive series of financial transactions that develop over time. When you first attempt to borrow money, most banks will want $5 worth of collateral, personal investments, and other assets for every $1 that they will lend you. They will also want personal guarantees that extend beyond bankruptcy, should you declare it. But after a bank has several years of experience with you and comes to know and trust you, its lending requirements decline, step by step.

Oct 4, 2009

The Four Principles of Marketing Strategy

There are four principles to effective marketing strategy. Each of these principles must be thought through carefully and then continually revisited as the business grows and changes. Any changes in any one of these areas can have an enormous impact on the sales of profitability of the business.

Principle One: Specialization
You must decide in exactly which area of your product or service market you are going to specialize. You cannot be all things to all customers. Too many businesses make the mistake of trying to offer too many products or services to too many types of customers at too many prices in too many ways. This is not the way to wealth.

Principle Two: Differentiation
This is perhaps the most important strategic marketing principle of all. All business success requires a differentiation of some kind. All business success requires that you be both different from and better than you competitors in some clear, distinct way.

Who is your competition? Why doesn't your ideal customer buy from you? Why does your ideal customer buy from your competitor? What value does your ideal customer see in buying from your competitor that he or she does not see in buying from you? What could you do to offset this perception?

The only hope you have in acquiring customers is to focus most of your time and attention on determining exactly who they are, where they are, and what you have to do to get them to buy from you rather than from someone else.

Principle Three: Segment Your Market
If you offer more than one product or service, you will have to divide your potential customers into separate market segments.

You will then have to identify the characteristics and qualities of prospective customers in each of these segments in order to advertise and sell to them effectively.

Principle Four: Concentration
Once you have applied the principles of specialization, differentiation, and segmentation to your products and services, and to your customers and markets, you now have to concentrate your limited resources.

You have to focus your time, energy, and money on those prospective customers that you have identified who are the most likely to buy from you the soonest.