If You Don’t Know Where You’re Going, You Could End Up Anywhere

Alice in Wonderland (2010 film)
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And Seriously, is that so bad?

Life isn’t about setting a goal and being so laser focused on it that you never stray from the Path.

I don’t mind ending up anywhere, anywhere might be more interesting than either here or there.

I was just reading about a stay at home Mom who had become very successful in her business, but she is giving it all up

for the family  that she stayed at home for in the first place! See, she realized that she just never got to spend any real quality

time with her husband or her kids so for her  that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow  just doesn’t shine as brightly

as the two bundles of joy she had given birth to.

I’m not saying that you should give up on your dreams and aspirations, oh I would never even suggest such a thing!

What I am saying is that the road is your life.  You’ve  heard it before,  it’s the journey not the destination.

So enough about you, lets talk about me…

As a child, I thought I would be a doctor when I grew up.

As a teenager I thought I would be a writer when I grew up.

As a twentysomething single mother of two I thought I’d do something with computers when I grew up.

As a thirtysomething wife and mother of three I finally got my Bachelors and planned to be paid more than my age when I grew up.

In my early 40’s I found myself a musician’s wife and thought that I’d just travel a lot and say “I’m with the band” when I grew up .

In my late 40’s I thought I would become the next MLM success story when I grew up

And as I prepare to hit that half century mark, I can honestly say – I still don’t know what i want to be when I grow up, but man I have had so much fun and met so many nice people  while I’ve been trying to figure it out.

I can’t wait to see what’s next!

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Harness Your Thoughts – You Are What You Think You Are


This is an excerpt from an eBook  I wrote a few years back, enjoy. It was inspired and informed by James Allen’s “As A Man Thinketh”

You are what you think you are – rich, poor, slovenly, useful, use-less, shrewd, stupid, knowledgeable. However, if you think too hard about it, you may just realize that you have no idea what this means.

If we are what we think we are, then why can’t I think of myself as the person that has Jennifer Anniston’s body, Oprah Winfrey’s money, and a friends list as long as Tila Tequila’s – and make it all reality?

Well actually you can be and have all of that and more, if only you would take the time to manage your thoughts. Everything that you want to see, do, and be is in reality and actuality quite possible through thinking “aright”. Unfortunately, most of us are not masters of our own minds and are content to let our thoughts drift like so much flotsam and jetsam. Were we to harness and control our thoughts, not only would we become self-aware, but we would create an unstoppable success train!

Your Mind is a garden and if you do not cultivate it then someone or something will (and not in a good way, believe me).

This means that if you don’t plant the seeds yourself then you will most likely end up with a garden full of weeds.

Truly successful men and women know this: “Just as a gardener cultivates his plot, keeping it free from weeds, and growing the flowers and fruits which he requires, so may a man tend the garden of his mind, weeding out all the wrong, useless, and impure thoughts, and cultivating toward perfection the flowers and fruits of right, useful, and pure thoughts. By pursuing this process, a man sooner or later discovers that he is the master-gardener of his soul, the director of his life. He also reveals, within himself, the laws of thought, and understands, with ever-increasing accuracy, how the thought-forces and mind elements operate in the shaping of his character, circumstances, and destiny.

To control your thoughts means also to not be contrary in your thoughts. Metaphysicians teach us that we must prepare for the thing that we hope for – so we cannot hope for the best of times, all the while preparing for the worst. Nor can we anticipate an avalanche of abundance with one part of our minds, while our fingers Google debt consolidation loan options, or bankruptcy lawyers.

This contrariness causes blockage in the channels we use to turn thoughts into substantive things. You are what you think you are, and in the end, you will get only that which you think you deserve.

In “As a Man Thinketh” we are given three examples of contrariness in thought. The first is a man who lives in poverty and “is extremely anxious that his surroundings and home comforts should be improved, yet all the time he shirks his work, and considers he is justified in trying to deceive his employer on the ground of the insufficiency of his wages. Such a man does not understand the simplest rudiments of those principles which are the basis of true prosperity, and is not only totally unfitted to rise out of his wretchedness, but is actually attracting to himself a still deeper wretchedness by dwelling in, and acting out, indolent, deceptive, and unmanly thoughts.”

The second example is that of a rich man who is eating himself to death and “wants to gratify his taste for rich and unnatural viands and have his health as well. Such a man is totally unfit to have health, because he has not yet learned the first principles of a healthy life.

Lastly we have a crooked employer who places large profits above the well being of his employees. He is “altogether unfitted for prosperity, and when he finds himself bankrupt, both as regards reputation and riches, he blames circumstances, not knowing that he is the sole author of his condition.”

So we see that “man is the causer (though nearly always unconsciously) of his circumstances, and that, whilst aiming at a good end, he is continually frustrating its accomplishment by encouraging thoughts and desires which cannot possibly harmonize with that end.”

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The Elephant in the Room| How I Crossed My Racial Divide

guesswhoscomingtodinnerBack in 1997 when my teenage son began dating the blonde haired, blue-eyed girl next door, my reaction can almost be called hypocritical. After all, hadn’t I spent the years after my divorce specifically dating only Caucasian males?

Well perhaps it was this specificity in my past choices, which led me to believe (as many still do) that just as lesbians and gay men “choose” to be homosexual, so do teenagers “choose” to date outside of their race.  I was distraught over my son’s choice because I felt that in choosing to date a white girl, he was rejecting his  Black mother, and all of the other Black women in his family tree.

So, what did I do? Well what could I do?  You know from my previous posts that I love my children just the way that God gave them to me – unconditionally. And, for  that reason, I would never allow them to feel less than loved by me.  When my son was 5, he said to me “Mommy, how come you’re white and we’re black”.  Hmmm,  even at 5 my boy had deep thoughts ; as you well know, I am not white, but I am less brown than my children are and I mention this only to illustrate that kids don’t start seeing color and differences until we point them out.

When it comes to people, our childrens’  likes and dislikes are based on their feelings about those people, and race and ethnicity don’t even come into play for them. That is until we start to point it out. I think that my reaction to his choice of girlfriend freaked my son out because I am the last of the hippie chicks, the love everybody equally generation, the don’t judge a person by what’s on the outside school of thought.

And there I was being a big fat hypocrite when my son did exactly as he was taught and didn’t judge the book by it’s cover!

12 years later I am older, wiser and more accepting. I know now that you love who you love, and like Michael Jackson so eloquently stated “it don’t matter if you’re Black or White” . I know that my childrens choices when it comes to their partners is not a rejection of me or their race. I believe that if we leave them be, our children will obliterate the racial divide – if we let them.

Unfortunately, I saw on Mamapedia that there are parents who are now entering the struggle.  I have a friend who is white and her  teenage daughter likes  a Black  child in her grade. They are unofficially dating, I don’t have a problem with it, but my friend does, even though she has never mentioned it to me.  I feel like there is a big old elephant in the room every time we are together, that there is something we should talk about but don’t. We discuss husbands, diets, raising kids – you name it. But I see the elephant out of the corner of my eye, and I so want to mention him.

I know in my heart, that she will come around on her own, 12 years from now she will probably laugh about this and wonder why the situation upset her so much. You see when our children date outside of their race it’s not about us, and if we will remove ourselves from the equation we would not be upset about the color of the other person and we would be free to judge them on “the content of their character”,  just the same way we judge anyone who dares to date our child.

I think it’s telling that this interracial relationship is totally accepted by her child’s peers. The future looks bright after all.

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When Paying Off Debt – Don’t Try To Eat The Whole Elephant

ccToday we are blessed with the ability to have just about anything we want quite quickly. If we get lost on a road trip, a GPS system will give us the correct directions instantly (failing that you can text your location and destination to Google and they will text directions back to you); we don’t just have restaurants we have “fast food” restaurants, and even conventional restaurants now allow fast ordering and pickup via the internet; can’t remember the name of that actor in National Lampoon’s vacation? Google it. Need to visit your money, pay a bill, trade some stock, or buy clothes for the kids? You don’t even have to get off the couch, just log on to your bank, favorite online store etc.

But what has the ability to get things done right now done to all of us? It’s given us the false belief that we can do everything FAST!  You can lose 10lbs this week, speak Italian by Monday, have a gourmet meal on the table in 30 minutes or less, and take a couple of hours off work to  change the contours of your body or thickness of your lips.  So then why shouldn’t you  be able to get out of debt quick, fast, and in a hurry?  I read somewhere recently that if you borrow against tomorrow, you will always be broke. Well think of your debt situation as you having borrowed against tomorrow – and now the day after tomorrow is here and you’ve still got the debt, but that windfall you borrowed against  just never happened.

The truth is that how quickly you get out of debt will depend on a couple of things:

  1. How far down the rabbit hole did you let yourself go? $2000 in credit card debt or $250,000 including a car and a mortgage (yes you should probably pay your mortgage off  if you plan to stay in your house).
  2. How much are you willing to give up ( from that Aruba vacation to eating out to t-bone steaks from the grocery store)?
  3. How much  income can you throw at your debt?
  4. How strong is your desire to be debt free – I mean do you want to be debt free or do you just want to get back to being able to using your credit cards and not hiding your car?

Getting out of debt can be hard work if you do not have the right tools – if you have 3 or more large sums to pay off then chances are you have creditors calling and offering their “special payment plan” , please understand that often these plans will leave you exactly where you are for another 10 to 15 years! In my last post  “How To Survive & Maybe Even Thrive In Our Down Economy” I discussed my aversion to credit counseling services – the main one being that they don’t get you out of debt very quickly (ok, yes I am addicted to fast) and the monthly payment you get stuck with just isn’t worth it in many cases, I also promised my Mamapedia readers some debt reduction tools.

When you begin the work of getting out of debt, don’t try to eat the whole elephant, you can’t really pay off anything if you are paying off everything all at once. Try the snowball method where you start with the little things – your $400 department store card, followed by the $1000 Amex, and then the $5000 Home Depot  bill.  Back to those tools I mentioned ( the links below are all to documents on Keith Chuvala’s FPU page), if you can afford it I suggest David Ramsey’s ” Financial Peace ” or his Total Money Makeover or any book on creating a budget  and managing your debt. The first thing any financial planner worth their salt will tell you is that you have to pay yourself first, which doesn’t mean that you take $200 from your paycheck and go shoe shopping. What it means is that  you should save and/or invest a portion of your income every pay day. David Ramsey suggests saving $1000 before you even consider starting your debt reduction plan because if you don’t have any savings then small emergencies will derail your efforts topay down your debt.

The next thing that you should do is determine what you take home and what you  spend each month, the three spread sheets on this page will help you to document this information and then create a quick and dirty budget.  There are many worksheets on Keith’s website that wil help you with everything from how to save to paying off debt, by far my favorite is the Debt Snowball Calculator, using this calculator I realized that I could actually pay of my 30-year refinanced-too-many-times-to count  mortgage befoe my youngest gets out of college – to me that is awesome!

OK this post ran a little longer than I planned, I hope that I’ve given everyone who’s having issues with debt a few tips and tools for getting out of debt once and for all. Also, if you leave a comment and are among the first 10 people to  link to the post on Twitter( put @deniseporter so I know that you did) I will gift you with a copy of  “The Total Money Makeover”.

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6 Ways to Use “The Golden Rule” When Networking & Prospecting

{{w|Kindergarten}} on the Ministry of Agricult...
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I remember kindergarten like it was yesterday, don’t you? I was petrified, didn’t know why my father had abandoned me by leaving me with a bunch of strangers.Eventually I made a lot of friends, learned to love my teacher (she was my aunt, it was a small town in a small country), figured out that I had to either stay away from the bullies or befriend them. And like 5 year old children in kindergarten classes around the world, I learned The Golden Rule: Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You. We even sang a song about it just to really get it into our heads-:)

That first day of kindergarten feeling of absolute fear is one that we all experience from time to time in; whether it’s at a networking event of some sort, a business meeting, or just picking up the phone to call on prospective network marketing associates.  Why are you fearful when placed in a situation where you must present your business opportunity, product or service to a stranger? Think about it, do you think that your business opportunity is a scam? Do you believe that your products and services are overpriced or don’t work as advertised? Of course you don’t, so quit wearing disbelief  like a cheap suit and those fears will dissipate.

How can you utilize the Golden Rule in your business and life? I love the movie “Beaches” , I especially love this line from Bette Midler because it really describes a specific networking style

“Well enough about me, lets talk about you, what do you think about me?”

  1. Never, ever , ever begin or end a conversation by talking about yourself, your opportunity, or your product. Your conversation should be about the person that you are speaking with. You want your prospect to walk away from your conversation with the feeling that YOU really care about HIM. So FOCUS on HIM, do not interject yourself into any part of the conversation.
  2. Ask questions that  require  more than a Yes/No answer. For example: How did you get started in your business? What do you enjoy most about being a stay at home Mom? Wow That’s a great suit, where did you get it?
  3. Try to go at least 3 deep on each question (but only if the conversation lags, don’t cut them off to ask the next question). So for the firs questions above your three deep may look like this:
    • How did you get started in your business?
    • What do you enjoy most about what you do?
    • What’s your least favorite part of what you do?
    • What advice would you give to someone just getting started in your business? (note that these questions also work as followups to to the stay at home Mom question: what advice would you give to someone who wants to quit working and stay at home with her children?)
  4. If your prospect gives short answers , then ask questions that take a part of their answer and extend the conversation. Prospect:  “I love being here when my kids get home from school” You:”When your kids get home from school?” Prospect: “Yeah, they used to come home to an empty house, and now I’m here to help with homework, run them around to soccer, and ballet classes” You: “Soccer and ballet classes? “
  5. Ask not what your prospect can do for you, instead ask what you can do for your prospect. As network marketers we tend to want to cut right to the chase, put our opportunity on the table and if they don’t enroll we say “NEXT”.  But remember your prospective associate? Sure you may have something they need, but maybe right now they cannot  A) see it or   B)afford it. That does’t mean that they won’t see it, afford it and get into it with you in the future, but in the meantime you need to find out what you can do for them by asking the question “What can I do for you?” or “How can I identify a good prospect for your business?”
  6. That last one kind of threw you for a loop didn’t it? You’re thinking “What?!? Why would I want to find prospects for someone else?” OK, let’s revisit the olden Golden Rule and the Law of Reciprocity – it is a universal law that we get back what we give out. Give of yourself  with no expectation of a return on your investment , and simply because you enjoy helping people to be happy and successful, and the universe will bless you – this I can attest to.

Who can I help today?

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Your Reality Bites – How to Deal With Bill Collectors & Other Blood Suckers

dino debt collector
Image by niznoz via Flickr

Did you read my previous post  “Your Boss is Not Your Daddy” ? Read it again, I’ll wait. Well can I call it or what? You’ve been laid off and have no fall back position. To top things off, now that you are a payment or two behind on the car or the mortgage or a credit card – your phone rings constantly and it’s not recruiters with lucrative job offers. What can you do besides cower in a closet or turn the ringer off (i mean if you turn the ringer off you may just miss that lone recruiter with the lucrative job offer).

So what’s this all about? Well, I’ve been there more than once, I have walked through the fire for you and I am here to tell you that you have to face your fears or the calls will never stop. Now I’m not going to give you financial advice, there are smarter people than me for that; but I am going to give you some tips that I hope will help you to get out of that funky space that hiding from debt-collection calls puts you in.

  1. Answer the phone! If you don’t answer the phone they will continue to call and believe me you don’t want to prolong this experience. Florence Scovel Shinn says when we are prepared to face the lion in our path, he magically disappears.
  2. Be nice! Like your Mom probably told you countless times – you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.You attract what you are and if you answer the phone with a growl, the lion will roar. Remember that the person on the other end
    • is just like you
    • might even be deeper in debt than you
    • is probably reading from a script and will be critiqued at the end of the call by someone listening to that recording that is being done for quality assurance purposes
  3. Explain your situation calmly and let them know that you want to pay your bill as much as they want you to pay your bill. Often this will lead to them offering you a deal of some sort like eliminating the interest and late charges and letting you pay 50% or less of what you owe. Deals like that are nice if you have the wherewithal to pay, but even if you don’t there may be a hardship program that you qualify for.
  4. If they are nasty and ask personal questions or try to make you angry – hang up. Why make yourself sick and cloud your Karma by arguing with them? Just say nicely “Thanks for the call, I’m going to hang up now, have a great day OK?”
  5. Learn your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act; one of your rights  is that you can send a letter to the collection agency and the original debtor that says “for petes sake please stop calling me!” Here’s and example (remember to send it certified mail and get a receipt):
Tired of all these bills bills bills
Image by banoootah_qtr via Flickr

Dear Mr Bill Collector Sir,

I am exercising a right granted to me by the Fair Debt Collection Act. I am currently unemployed and cannot  pay the $240.00 per month required to keep this account current . I can pay $20 per month, but given my present circumstances that’s all I can afford .  I have no other property to use to pay this debt, and I cannot borrow anymore than i already have from family and friends.
Please cease all communication with me.

Broke in Boise

Use this letter as an example only and make sure that you look into what your other rights under the THE FAIR DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES ACT are.  Do you have some tips for dealing with bill collectors? Please share!

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