Category Archives: LEAN for Your Life

Bounce Back Financially

Is it tomorrow already?

The third piece of the total wellness puzzle is financial resilience.  Financial resilience is a carefully created ability to bounce back from financial challenges.  The desired end state, as with all resilience, is balance.  Like a balanced diet or spiritual balance, financial balance is attainable and healthy.

The first step is getting to know your money.  Where it comes from and where it goes.  Remember that you work hard for your money and your money needs to work as hard (if not harder) for you.  It’s that simple.  If you don’t know where it’s going, then it’s not working for you.

So the challenge for today is to take a few minutes to see where your money goes.  If your bank doesn’t have that online feature or you have multiple banks, then a great, free site to track spending is Mint.com.  Give it a shot and come back Thursday for what happens next.

Feel free to share any AHA! Moments in the comments.

Three Puzzle Pieces


I promised that we’d talk about personal resilience today.  Around the Army it’s become kind of a buzzword, but Resilience is actually a buzzword that I like.  It’s an ability to weather the storm, so to speak and a fundamental life skill.

Yes.  I said skill.  For some, it’s like athletic ability.  They’re born with it.  For others, it is more like musical ability and must be cultivated – learned and developed by conscious effort.  For others, it’s a hybrid of both innate and cultivated ability.  In certain situations the latter group can roll with the flow while other triggers cause them to fall apart completely.

In order to improve your ability to bounce back, press forward or how ever you look at being resilient, there are three pieces to the puzzle.  These are going to be recurring themes as we work together in the future.  Physical, Emotional and Financial Health.

Physical resilience comes from taking care of your body.  Exercise, proper diet, sunshine!  Your body begins as a finely tuned machine but over time, much like a car that isn’t properly maintained, it becomes out of tune.  Then we spend on health care, quick fixes, fad diets – you name it.  When really the keys are: quality input – know what you’re eating.  My personal rule is that I don’t buy anything with ingredients I can’t pronounce.  Keep moving.  Something as simple as a walk or playing with your kids is enough.  Personally, I am learning to love yoga.  It’s energizing and relaxing at the same time.  The poses make me feel powerful.  Eat well and move.  Simple.

Emotional resilience is a little tougher.  Taking care of yourself is the key.  Again, moving.  Again, keeping track of what you put in your body for fuel.  But also, knowing what makes you feel good.  For me, creativity, service to others and my family keep me grounded and feeling well. What works for you?

Tomorrow, we’ll talk Financial Resilience.  Make today amazing!

 

The Three R’s

We all learned the three R’s in school: Reading, Writing and ‘Rithmetic. The drills, the great and not-so-great stories read (raise your hand if you still miss Sally, Dick and Jane?), and oh the endless sentence diagramming!

Now I want you to think about a different three R’s. Resilience, Re-energize, and Re-connect. Whether you’re reading my blog for business tips or for personal growth advice, these three words are critical to your path.

For your Business:

Resilience means the ability to weather a storm. It saddens me when road construction for an extended period causes small businesses to close or when customers change but businesses serving them do not adapt and do not survive. Resilience comes from knowing your strengths as well as your weaknesses. Developing your strengths and overcoming weaknesses. Managing expectations as well as cash flow. Do you make a good first impression? What about a good last impression? Why do your regular customers stay regular? Do you know? Did you ask or are you assuming? How are you developing your talent? Yourself as a leader?

Re-energize your business. Is it still fun? Do you look forward to going to work every day? What would make it fun? Are profits lagging? Why? Who among your competition is successful? What do they do differently in terms of product or service?

Re-connect to your roots. Can you still do the jobs you were doing when you started the business? When was the last time you walked the floor? Talked with customers and suppliers? Had a staff meeting? Had fun with your team?

On a personal level, the three R’s can be more challenging. Resilience is the most difficult to accomplish and might be preceded by the other two. In order to have the strength – and I mean mental, physical, spiritual and financial – to weather life’s storms, you need to be able to sustain your energy both physically and mentally as well as stay connected to your values and the people most important to you.

This seems like a daunting task, but tomorrow we’ll talk about where to begin on a personal level to master the 3 R’s just like we did in school. One lesson at a time.

How Obsessions Get Unhealthy

Healthy habits are a great thing until they get out of control.  Learn about my unhealthy obsession with my debt snowball.

I recently, thankfully, went back to work full-time.  My working full time is a great thing mentally and financially for our family.  I painstakingly and repeatedly analyzed our financial situation and developed our own personal debt snowball.  I can look at this beautiful Excel sheet and see the exact month and year that we will be debt free.  Imagine!

Therein is the problem.  Knowing that date, my type-A self wants it to be faster.  So, because I have developed the ability to tactfully say “you need to get a job” by phrasing it as “you need to find more ways to bring money into your home”, that phrase has become my obsession.  I want to bring money into our home (increase our income) so we can pay that debt down sooner.

Ways to bring money into your home, in truth, don’t actually have to increase income, they just need to make better use of the dollars you have.  They could include more money, but using coupons more, comparison shopping, breaking bad money habits would all apply.

When it comes to coupons, I have a love hate relationship with them.  I love having one I can use, but hate digging through newspapers and websites to find them.  I also don’t have many options for grocery shopping within about 15 miles.  Am I wrong to think that driving 30 minutes plus for groceries probably negates any money I’d save?  I use rebates when I can, those are easy.  But, in general I find coupons a pain in the ass.  I also try to avoid the over-processed, pre-packaged, nutritionally vacant foods that most coupons are for.

So what is the answer?    Do I divert my thoughts from the debt snowball by having a little fun and enjoying life – maybe pushing back that debt snowball debt free date in the process?  Or do I seek sources of more passive income.  I mean a second job would be horrible for the family and family time.  Something flexible?  Consulting?  Freelance?  MLM Sales?  (Then find a company that my values align with or that I actually like the products for which isn’t hard but…  is that me?)

If I challenged you to increase your income 20%, which would you choose?