Category Archives: Personal Growth
There’s a theme that I’ve heard in many talks and have read in many books that has presented itself in real life to me time and time again. It’s the theme of Broke Uncle Joe. We all have a Broke Uncle Joe. You may call him by another name, but you have one for sure. So who is Broke Uncle Joe?
None of us are perfect. Subconsciously knowing that we aren’t perfect we tend to seek advice from family, friends, co-workers, and others. We do it before making small decisions and even more frequently in larger ones. Some people may even do it because they care what people think of them. Here’s the problem in seeking advice from certain people… you have to be cautious not to take poor advice from people who have good intentions.
Your family members aren’t intentionally going to give you poor advice. They’re going to tell you what they think is best for you even if they have no clue about the subject matter that is involved in the decision. As well-intentioned as their advice may be, if they don’t have knowledge of the subject matter then it may just be poor advice.
So here is where Broke Uncle Joe comes into play…
Let’s say you are thinking about starting a new business. You go tell your Broke Uncle Joe what you’re thinking and he tells you not to do it. In fact, he warns you not to do it. He tells you that it’s a bad idea and that you’d be better off saving your money or spending it on something else. Here’s the thing about Uncle Joe though, he broke. He’s been an employee his entire life and knows nothing about starting a business. He’s resolved to the mindset of work til retirement instead of working for it. He lives paycheck to paycheck and depends on his employer to put food on his table.
So, why should you go to your Broke Uncle Joe and ask him his opinion? You shouldn’t, yet people do it ALL THE TIME except it’s not their uncle. It’s their friends. It’s their co-workers. It’s some of their family members. That’s their Uncle Joe.
Let’s say you are having marital problems. Would you think it’s wise to seek marital advice from a friend who is single or has been divorced multiple times? It doesn’t matter how many people you talk to who are similarly situated. Thomas Carlyle said it perfectly, “I do not believe in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.”
Wouldn’t it make much more sense to seek advice from someone who has what you want? If you’re having marital issues, wouldn’t it be wise to seek counsel from someone who has a thriving marriage? If you want to be a millionaire, wouldn’t it make sense to ask millionaires how they became so wealthy instead of asking your Broke Uncle Joe who isn’t?
So keep this all in mind when you seek advice from well-intentioned people.
“Whatever it takes is not the same as never quit.”
Countless motivational posters, videos, and speeches preach to people to “never quit.” You should “never quit” on your dreams. You should “never quit” on your goals. You should “never quit” on anything you want in life. Although it is important that you never quit, it doesn’t ensure that you’ll have monumental success and achieve greatness. It also doesn’t guarantee that you’ll achieve your goals and dreams. You can coast through life and never quit on your goals by doing the bare-minimum to achieve them and you just may possibly reach them especially if your goals are small.
Think about this example: Let’s say you are a door-to-door salesman selling vacuum cleaners (yes, people did that back in the day). You have a dream of being a millionaire because you want to be able to give more money to worthy causes, have no debt, own your house and cars out-right, have time and financial freedom, etc. Let’s also say that you have a resolution to “never quit.” You could “never quit” selling vacuums by going to one new house each month, knock on the door, and tell someone about your vacuum and technically you haven’t quit. You could do that once a year and still technically you wouldn’t have quit. So do you think you’d ever be a millionaire and achieve great success with just a “never quit” attitude? Probably not.
If you would like to reach your goals fast, achieve great success – more success than you could ever dream of achieving, then it’ll take more than a never quit mentality. It’ll take a “whatever it takes” mentality. When you have that mentality the light switch is flipped and then all of a sudden you go into overdrive. The goals you have are surpassed faster than you could’ve imaged and you’re now being forced to set new goals that you never dreamed of having. Your entire life changes.
Do WHATEVER IT TAKES. Having a never quit mentality isn’t enough.
“Average people compare themselves to others; successful people compare themselves to their potential.”
Something I’ve noticed over the last several years is that so many people count themselves out of something or tell themselves they can’t do something because they compare themselves to somebody else. People give up on their dreams because of it, which is a pretty depressing thought. I know people who know what they want and know how to get it, but they will tell themselves they can’t do it because they look at the success of some other person and will say something like, “I can’t be successful like them because I’m not as talented as they are” or any number of reasons. They compare themselves to someone else and count themselves out because they don’t believe they’ll be as good at what they want to do as someone else is. They rid themselves of joy and the success they could have in life.
Comparison is the thief of joy.
Here’s a perfect example from a personal experience. At the time I was introduced to AdvoCare I was about as lean as I had ever been and didn’t really have any weight to lose. I saw a lot of people having success in AdvoCare and I noticed that nearly all of them lost a considerable amount of weight. So I told myself, “I’ll never be successful in this business because I don’t have a great weight loss story.” I began to count myself out before I even started. I compared myself to others and chalked their success up to some incredible weight loss story. Luckily I broke out of that mindset and decided not to allow comparison to steal my joy. I did what I wanted to do and now I have been able to retire from the practice of law at the age of 35, both my wife and I are work from home parents, we have eliminated six figures of debt, and we have complete time freedom to do what we want and when we want.
So if you want something in life, put your blinders on. Don’t look to your left or right. Focus on the end goal and achieve it. It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing.
I know this sounds pretty gloomy, but your life is ending. That’s one thing we all know for sure. Death is inescapable. It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately… not necessarily death, but rather the time we have here on earth between conception and the day we breath our last breath. So I’ve been thinking about life actually and the limited time we spend living it. Time is precious, no doubt, and we never know when ours is going to end. We get one chance at life to do whatever we are going to do and with every passing moment we will never get that time back again. Unless you’re Dr. Strange or Superman, you can’t rewind time and have a do-over.
Knowing that my time is limited, I started thinking about how I’ve spent my 35 years on earth so far. I also asked myself, “If I die today, would I be able to look back at my life and be truly satisfied with how I spent my years here?” Right now the answer would be “no” and it may always be no, but that’s what will keep me striving for greatness.
I would love for everyone to be able to answer these questions for themselves:
If I die today, would I be able to look back at my life and be truly satisfied with how I spent my years here?
If the answer to the above question is “yes,” then WHY is it “yes?”
If the answer to the above question is “no,” then what can you do to live a life that you’d be satisfied with?
What kind of legacy to you want to leave?
Do you want to be remembered as a world-class spouse who became an example to other married couples, which strengthen the Sacrament of Marriage?
Do you want to be remembered as a world-class parent who sets the bar for other parents strive to hit?
Tell me if this doesn’t sober you up: Do you want your mark on this earth to be gravestone and some cloudy memories of you, which will die with the people you experienced those memories with?
“You can‘t leave footprints in the sands of time if you‘re sitting on your butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?”
The question is, what are you going to do with the time you’re given and with the rest of the sand in the hour glass. This is the BEST video that I have found which stresses this point. Take 5 minutes out of your day to watch it:
Quite frequently I am asked for book recommendations on leadership and personal growth and development. So I decided to compile this list of books that are in no particular order. In fact, my favorite books are listed at #4, #15, and #18. This list is not finished and will never be finished. As I continue to read I will continue to recommend the books that I like. I’ve done you the favor of listing the links to each book on Amazon.
I recommend this to everyone as the first book they should read when deciding to change their lives. It’s a great book that will leave you motivated and with a completely different mindset than before you started it. After reading this book I looked at everything in a brighter light and felt more control of my situation than I ever had before. We only have a certain number of days here on earth. The question is… what are you going to do with them?
2. The Traveler’s Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success– Andy Andrews
This is another great book for people looking to change their current situation. It’s a fictional book based on the apparent end-of-life travels of the character David Ponder. During his travel he meets famous historical characters that both you and I know and gains a very important life principle from each of them.
3. The Top 10 Distinctions Between Millionaires and the Middle Class– Keith Cameron Smith
This is a short, yet profound book. As I read it I felt very convicted on acting and thinking like a “middle class” citizen. When you read this book it will become clear to you that simply acting and thinking like a millionaire will help you become one.
4. How to Win Friends & Influence People– Dale Carnegie
I cannot say enough about this book! Applying the simple disciplines that Carnegie mentions in this book will have people leaving a discussion with you feeling better about themselves and life in general. People will WANT to be around you all the time because you’ll make them a better person.
This is a MUST read book if you are looking to become a greater leader. It’s the #1 book you need to read on leadership. This book has led to me being a HUGE John Maxwell fan. Out of all of the books that he has written, this is the first one you should buy!
This is the book that started it all for me. It changed my thinking and will do the same for you. It made me realize that EVERY thing that I did either moved me closer to my goals or farther away. It’s the book that made me begin reading personal development and leadership books in the first place.
7. The Science of Getting Rich– Wallace D. Wattles
If you have ever thought to yourself, “I don’t need anymore money. I make enough” or “I’m comfortable with my wealth right now,” then you need to read this book. You’re in for a BIG shock! When I first began reading it I thought, “Man, this guy is greedy and this book is just all about greed”… THEN I was awakened to the truth of what God wants for us and for others. Wattles uses Scripture to explain how The Lord wants us to earn as much income as we can.
This book involves a very hard concept for most to grasp. Jon Acuff explains the mindset and actions you need before leaving your current job (whether you like your job or not) and starting your dream job. If you are considering beginning your dream job, you have to read this book!
9. The Top 10 Distinctions Between Entrepreneurs and Employees– Keith Cameron Smith
After reading Top 10 Distinctions Between Millionaires & The Middle Class, I began reading every book Smith wrote including this one. This is a quick read, but don’t think because it is short that t is any less impactful than other books on this list. Make sure this is one you get!
10. The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective– Andy Andrews
There are too many great things I can say about this book. Andy Andrews describes his time as homeless living under a bridge and then meeting a man by the name of Jones who changed his life forever by being a “Noticer.”
11. The Greatest Salesman in the World– Og Mandino
This book will BLOW YOUR MIND at the end of it. It’s like one of those movies that is really good the whole way through and then you get to the end and your thought is “WHOA!” Trust me on this… you NEED to read this book.
Just when you thought Jones from “The Noticer” was out of sight, he’s back again to change more lives. This book is geared toward raising your children not just to be great children, but to become great adults. Andy is a master of teaching people how to raise children into successful adult leaders in society. Whether you have children now or may have children one day, you need to read this book as soon as possible to understand how to use “standards” to foster your child’s growth into an amazing adult.
This is the sequel to “The Traveler’s Gift.” David Ponder is back to help save the world this time and has the help of all the great leaders this world has ever seen. This book is another mind changing motivational book that will make you spring into action.
14. Think and Grow Rich– Napoleon Hill
Talk about changing your thinking… that’s EXACTLY what this book is about. Hill explains how just changing your thinking can make you rich. I highly suggest this book to everyone who sits around wondering how they can get out of that financial hole and increase their wealth.
15. Killing Sacred Cows: Overcoming the Financial Myths That Are Destroying Your Prosperity– Garrett B. Gunderson
This is probably my most favorite book on the list. Please see my two posts on this book to get a great idea of the value it adds:
- Killing Sacred Cows Review (Possibly the best book I’ve ever read!)
- Killing Sacred Cows – Myth #1 (The Finite Pie)
This book will help you think intelligently about earning income. There are several ways to earn money… some are wise and some are not. Kiyosaki explains which ways are the wise ways to earn income and why they are.
17. Rich Dad’s CASHFLOW Quadrant: Rich Dad’s Guide to Financial Freedom– Robert Kiyosaki
This book dives a little deeper into the 4 quadrants you choose to be in as an income earner. It’ll help solidify your decision to be in the “I” quadrant as fast as possible.
18. The Servant: A Simple Story About the True Essence of Leadership-James C. Hunter
As I mentioned above, this is one of my favorite books on leadership. It takes place at a monasterial retreat and the main character learns from a very successful leader, who also happens to be a monk, all that he needs to turn his situation around not just with his business, but also with his marriage and family life.
19. The Heart of Leadership: Becoming a Leader People Want to Follow– Mark Miller
This book has some of the same concepts as The Servant. It lays out exactly WHAT you need to be a successful leader and the most important leadership quality. It’s a very easy, yet impactful read.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Over the last year there has been a major issue on my heart that I haven’t known quite how to share until now. Most of my friends know that I grew up in the Catholic Church, attended Catholic grade school, and even a Catholic college. Then, I fell away from the Church because even after all that Catholic schooling I didn’t know what I didn’t know. (*mainly because I have a very hard time paying attention for a time span longer than few minutes – thank God I found Spark)
I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
Over several years I took the time to challenge my faith – every bit of it. I challenged why the Church taught what it taught and asked as many “why” questions as I could. Throughout that process I heavily educated myself on not just the Catholic Church’s teachings, but also on the teachings and beliefs of other faiths including many Protestant ones. Through that process I’ve become much more in-tune with the teachings of the Catholic Church and am stronger in my faith than I’ve ever been. I thank my beautiful wife for constantly challenging me to be even stronger in it.
During my questioning phase I spoke with many Protestant friends and I heard on many occasions that they knew “Catholics” that weren’t living very holy lives and apparently had a poor reputation, which led my Protestant friends away from the Catholic Church. Needless to say, that was not a very comforting thing to hear. It especially wasn’t comforting because I knew exactly what they were talking about because I was at one time part of that problem.
I think everyone experiences the questions of “What church do you go to?” or “Are you a Christian?” at some point in their lives. I know I had been asked those questions numerous times. Now, I was not the model Catholic by any means and I wouldn’t even say a model man, but because I grew up Catholic and went to Catholic school I would always tell people I was Catholic. I claimed my Catholic faith like a badge of honor even when I wasn’t attending mass regularly, didn’t know what the Church taught, and when I was living a very unholy life. Ergo… my contribution to part of the problem I mentioned earlier.
This was the big issue with me and the big issue that I see a lot of today: I was turning people away from the Church because of the way I lived. I was a terrible witness and wish I had never told people I was Catholic on the many occasions that I had because I was a poor example of one. Well, just like when smokers quit smoking they begin to notice how terrible cigarettes smell and how unpleasant they are, when I re-dedicated myself to the Church I began to notice so many other people living the same way I was living. Now I see other “Catholics” claiming their Catholic upbringing like a badge of honor all the time and especially lately even with regard to the 5 non-negotiables (1. Abortion and subsets in that category including contraception, and in vitro fertilization/fertility treatments; 2. Euthanasia; 3. Same-sex “marriage,”; 4. Human cloning; and 5. Embryonic stem cell research). While there are MANY things you can disagree with in the Catholic Church, as a Catholic, those 5 things you cannot.
Here are a couple recent examples: First, I think everyone heard of the highly publicized Brittany Maynard physician-assisted suicide (euthanasia) case. If you didn’t then you most likely don’t have internet, a phone, television, etc. because it was everywhere. I posted a blog post about how euthanasia is intrinsically evil then posted it to Facebook and I had a ton of Catholic friends that argued with me saying that she should be happy and not have to suffer any pain.
The most recent example are all of my Catholic friends that have supported same-sex “marriage” by shouting victories in Facebook statuses claiming their support of it and even changing their Facebook profile pictures to depict a rainbow (which somehow now is a symbol for gay pride as opposed to a sign of a covenant from God). I believe this support was driven by compassion rather than a knowledge of and disregard of the Church’s teachings.
Some people believe that because Catholics don’t approve of same-sex “marriage” that they hate homosexuals. That is incorrect. This may surprise many people, but the Catholic Church actually teaches about same sex attraction. There is no hate in its teachings:
CCC 2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
That’s the kind of stuff I’m talking about. (Quick side note… God did not teach us to not judge. In fact, He taught us HOW to judge). Catholics can disagree with MANY of the Church’s teachings, but NOT one of the 5 non-negotiables. Those are not open to your opinion, argument, etc. Not only can you not participate in OR even support them, as Catholics you have an obligation to vote against them and the political candidates that approve of them.
It was very heartbreaking to see so many of my Catholic friends supporting same-sex “marriage” just because they want their homosexual friends to be “happy.” It’s heartbreaking mainly because that shows that many of my Catholic friends are not in-tune with their faith anymore or even worse never were – much like where I was. We as a society must realize that God did not tell us that we are here for our pleasure and to do whatever makes us happy. Nor did He put us here to show support for sin. We are created for much more.
So here is my request, if you are openly supporting any of the 5 non-negotiables, PLEASE do not be the type of Catholic I once was and send mixed messages about the Church. The bride of Christ, the Catholic Church, is unexplainably beautiful. When my wife and I discovered its true beauty we fell in a deeper love with Christ than ever before. I feel terrible for once associating my poor actions with the Church in the past and for turning people away from it. I only share this and make this request because I don’t want someone else to feel the shame I felt by doing so. I encourage everyone to grow deeper in their faith and be open to challenging it and to receive the challenging responses with an open mind.
A while ago I posted several Jim Rohn quotes. You can never have too many of those. Another influential leader is one you’ve probably heard about, John Maxwell. He’s written countless books on leadership. He’s an author, speaker, pastor, and one of the foremost trainers on leadership that there is. He was named the #1 leadership and management expert in the world by Inc. Magazine. His books have helped reshape my life and he has some of the best leadership quotes I’ve ever read. So here is a list of some of my favorites that I have compiled: