Hope for your financial life and beyond

Finding the Qualities of Successful People in Yourself

The following guest post is from My Money Design, a personal finance blog that is all about developing your passion for success.

Andrew Jackson on $20 bill

MyMoneyDesign.com

When you think of famous celebrities or business figures, to what do you attribute to their success? Hard work? Talent? Or just the irrevocable notion that they got that way by being at the right place at the right time?

Sure we’d all like to believe that luck had everything to do with it. We also like to convince ourselves that we somehow missed the bus and could have been just as successful as these people if we had been in the right place as well. But that’s simply not true.

Developing the Qualities of Successful People

Although I’m no celebrity, I know that one of the best things I can do for myself is to emulate the qualities of successful people to get what I want. Everything I’ve ever gotten, I’ve earned through hard work and passion. I don’t owe chance anything for my accomplishments. I believe that success is less about being lucky and mostly all about creating your own luck.

Here’s another way I choose to look at it:

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The Crew at Modest Money Is Teaching Us a Big Lesson

 

Hidden Nuggets Series #38 – “…he who gives, with liberality…” – Romans 12:8

Logo from the personal finance blog Modest MoneyJeremy Biberdorf of ModestMoney.com is killing it. I know Jeremy only by his reputation in the personal finance blogosphere, a few casual emails and comments and the fact that he shares my content via Twitter. I’m thankful for his site though because he’s really helping personal finance bloggers out.

In case you are unaware, Jeremy has put together a Top Finance Blog List on his site. If you run a personal finance blog, you can submit it there and get listed/ranked versus other blogs based on your site’s traffic, social media reach and SEO quality. As of today there are 183 listed.

So why would he do this? I mean there are other well established lists out there at Wisebread and MoneyCrashers that do the same thing. Do we really need another one?

Well the obvious answer is that it helps drive traffic to and enhance his site. OK…I can buy that.

I’ve got a sense though there is a deeper issue here. There is something very generous about what he’s doing, allowing us to create a link on his well-established site. It feels “beyond-the-call-of duty-ish” – something he didn’t have to do, but maybe wanted to in order to help others out.

Whatever his reasoning, I still draw a big lesson from it. In the bigger picture for me, it reinforces the need to give and do so liberally. In my mind and my heart I know this concept. I simply tend to forget it.

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How to Be a Successful Landlord: 5 Key Areas to Focus On

how to be a successful landlordIf you are a frequent visitor to Luke1428 you know I have an affinity for rental real estate. I purchased my first property five years ago, mistakenly paying a bit too much for it. I didn’t know how to be a successful landlord then and let my excitement cloud my judgement. I simply wanted to get started…that was all I cared about.

I’ve learned many things since then and survived my share of dark moments. You may remember my post from last fall about the nightmare I went through during my first eviction. Ending up in front of the county judge to settle that dispute was frustrating but valuable all at the same time.

Nobody should become a landlord without doing some serious reading on the subject. That will help eliminate some mistakes you could easily make. But head knowledge can only take one so far. Some things are only learned through experience.

5 Tips on How to Be a Successful Landlord

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3 Big Victories, 3 Big Disappointments From My 2013

Times Square Ball

Adieu 2013

2013 is nothing more than a Times Square Ball drop from being in the books.

As excited as I am for 2014 to arrive, I’ve been thinking over the Christmas holidays of the incredible year 2013 was for myself and my family. As I’m sure yours was also, our year was filled with ups and downs. So today I’m going to conclude my writing for the year by sharing the biggest victories and disappointments I encountered this past year.

3 Big Victories

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The Futility of Being a Well Rounded Person

a well rounded personI used to think the best way to achieve big-time personal success was to be a well rounded person, with knowledge and skill spanning many different areas. I’d become the Cliff Clavin know-it-all type, the person who could be plugged into any situation to give advice or help facilitate a positive outcome.

By being a well rounded person, jack-of-all-trades type, I would become indispensable and people would flock to me for advice and counsel.

Isn’t this philosophy what our school systems promote through the curriculum track? A student with exceptional talent and designs on a career in science must still take general education classes in English and social studies, perhaps even a foreign language. Those classes serve some but not much purpose in relation to the students desired outcome, which is to meet the requirements for graduation.

This post isn’t about the challenges in the educational system. I’ve been involved in education for 15+ years, so I understand the value of having students touch the various fields of study. We would be doing them a disservice if they didn’t have some basic math or grammar skills by the time they finish school. But how much math does the average graduate really need to be functional in society, especially when it comes to managing their financial life?

They basically need to know how to add and subtract so they can balance a checkbook.

What I’m suggesting here is the notion of being a well rounded person only serves to generate mediocrity. Being a jack-of-all-trades means I’m a master at none. Who wants that? I’d rather work to become awesome in a few things instead of average at many, wouldn’t you?

A Well Rounded Person or Awesome Person?

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That Moment When You Question Your Goals

Baltimore Marathon

2013 Baltimore Marathon finishers medal

Mile 18.

I’m deep in the heart of the most difficult portion of the Baltimore Marathon. My pre-race plan has worked to perfection, with two hours and thirty minutes of patient, steady running behind me. Just ahead though, I’m about to face multiple lengthy inclines, the kind that cut into your pace and can punish a runner late in the race. My legs feel good but I’m not looking forward to these climbs.

Every runner has to endure moments like this. It comes with the territory. There is no way I’m stopping with my goal of a sub-four hour marathon clearly in reach. I’ve been intensively training for the last four months and I’m not letting all that effort go to waste.

As a former psychology major, I’ve always been intrigued by our mind. What is it about the circumstances of the moment that trigger unusual, creative or bizarre thoughts? We think of things at the strangest of times. And as I began a slow and arduous climb in mile 19, I experienced this phenomenon, thinking of something I hadn’t dwelt on in a long time.

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A Trick to Stay Motivated

Hidden Nugget Series #11 – “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”  Galatians 6:9

stay motivatedTwo weeks from today several significant milestones will take place in the Luke1428 household. On Friday, Oct. 11th, I’ll be flying to Maryland to compete in the Baltimore Marathon over the weekend. That event will bring to an end my arduous 5-month training schedule that has seen its share of nagging injuries, post-run ice packs and more diet restrictions than I care to think about. (Can I please just have a soda?!)

That same day Mrs. Luke1428 will turn in her final grad school assignment in what has been a three-year vocational transition from teaching high school math to becoming a full-fledged CPA at a private accounting firm. We’ve already celebrated the completion of her CPA requirements and this last class wraps up her quest to secure an MBA as well. I’ve written extensively in my monthly updates how mentally and emotionally challenging this has been for the entire family. I really can’t believe we’ve made it to the end of our long, dark tunnel.

Anything of value worth seeking brings some kind of hardship. Invariably the intense pursuit makes it incredibly difficult to keep moving forward day in and day out. The end looms so far in the distance. Weariness sets in. Discouragement soon follows. And then the questions begin.

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Be Fearless

“The Lord is on my side. I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Psalm 118:6

I’m honored today to be a guest contributor at a new blog dedicated to the courage it requires to face personal financial struggles. Todd and John from FearlessMen.com have branched out with a new site called FearlessDollar. I’m there today with several other bloggers providing some insights and helping them jump start their new project.

When we choose to get radical with our personal finances fear becomes our greatest challenger. It binds us up and locks us down. We become completely immobilized as the multitude of fears line up at our front door.

dark tunnel

Are you ready to confront your fears?

Fear of the unknown.

Fear of change.

Fear of a new money management process.

Fear of ridicule from others who think we are crazy.

Fear of the future.

Fear our past will repeat itself.

Fear of our ability to complete the mission.

Because fear represents the greatest challenge, it needs to become our greatest opportunity. Confronting and overcoming our fears moves us emotionally and spiritually forward in ways we could not possibly dream about.

Please click here to head on over the FearlessDollar.com to give Todd and John a shout out on their new venture.

And be fearless today. It’s time to confront what’s in the dark tunnel.

What was the greatest fear you faced upon decided to tackle your personal finance issues?

Image at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Next Post: The Boy vs. the Blog: Exercises in Giving

Prior Post: How to Get Out of Debt

Celebrating Victory: Reward Yourself For Life’s Achievements

reward yourselfI love celebrations! Especially when it involves my family or myself, either being the intended target or getting to help put the celebration on in some way. Call me selfish, call me self-absorbed but celebrations and finding ways to reward yourself are infinitely better when you have a personal stake in it.

Like the time my wife surprised me for my 25th birthday. We went out for dinner with another couple and came back to our apartment to have some coffee and play cards. I opened the front door to the dark apartment and was greeted with lights flipping on, the popping of balloons (which I thought were gunshots) and shouts of “Surprise!” from a dozen or so of our friends from church. The momentary shock contorted my face and caused me to curl my body into the fetal position. I posed like Lee Harvey Oswald being struck by Jack Ruby’s bullet.

Parties are great for significant birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and weddings. But we shouldn’t limit their usage to just those occasions. Perhaps the best time to throw a victory celebration is when you have achieved some personal goal in your life. The Luke1428 household reached a milestone last month that we’ve been working on for three years and boy, did we have a blast celebrating it this past Saturday night.

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July Goals Update: This Arduous Affair Is Finally Over!

Clock midnightCalls after midnight are never good and raise blood pressure levels immediately. Calls between 11 p.m. and midnight still pose some high risk. So when the phone rang at 11:35 Monday night, I sprang from my sleep anticipating the worst.

Oh no…it’s my wife on the other end. She is at church youth camp (with my 12-year old daughter) serving as a chaperone. This can’t be good.

“Hello” I said nervously, dreading what’s coming next. Boating accident? Broken arm from falling out of a bunk bed? Food poisoning? My mind races, preparing for the bad news.

“Everything’s fine,” she says. (Phew. Exhale.) “I wanted to call and say I just received an email from the Georgia Secretary of State saying my CPA license has been approved.”

If it hadn’t been 11:35 I would have screamed for joy!

Someday we will write about this crazy three year journey we have been on. For right now, I’m just thankful to God that goal is behind us. Way to go dear…You Rock!

Here’s my goal update for July:

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When Life Makes It Easier, Push It!

Boy Running in natureNews flash…Life is hard!

Not the most groundbreaking news for this Monday post. Honestly, it’s not even news at all. Our lives are filled with so many challenges we don’t even know where to start counting them.

There are instances however, where a window of opportunity opens, allowing the journey to become easier. Sadly, we often are caught up in our own challenges and struggles. So we fail to recognize the moment and it passes us by, useless and wasted. I was reminded of this again on a recent marathon training run.

A runner faces three types of terrain grades while on the course – flat, uphill or downhill. Runners love the flats as it allows us to get into a steady rhythm and pace. We tolerate the uphill portions of our run, slowly grinding them out, laboring step after step. The downhills are dualistic in nature, presenting the runner with two contrasting methods of approach:

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