Posted by: Rickey Alterman | September 23, 2013

How To Win In A Losing Game

We all are asked at some time in our lives, what do you want to be? My dream was to be a secret agent. Why? Well because of the gadgets, cars, girls, guns, boats and planes. Jet setting off to the worlds exotic places. Ah, I can smell the salt air feel the sun on my face hear the birds and see coconut trees on the beach. Then there is the night life, the casinos with the starlets and the tuxedos with bow ties and the dapper savoir-faire attitude about the whole island mystic.

What is my point and why am I rambling on? Here it is. Why don’t they ask what kind of lifestyle do you want to have. The reason is this. They don’t have a way to direct you to that lifestyle. We live in a world that teaches us to go to school, get into debt and find a good job with benefits. How is that possible in a world where the rules have changed but the status quo has not. Here is what I mean.  The industrial age that was has been replaced by the information age. The jobs in factories that the education system was created for mostly exists in foreign countries where the bottom line is about cheap labor to create more profit. Remember what Ross Perot said about the sucking sound?

Don’t get me wrong, we want a traditional education in some circumstances. I want the best surgeons working on me in case of my health or the best lawyers pleading my case. I’m not bashing traditional education in all circumstances. Other than that, a self directed education makes more sense in the information age. Self directed! “Whats that”? you may ask. Author Oliver DeMille describes in his book A Thomas Jefferson Education  the traditional method of education before the industrial age. He lists the 7 Keys of Great Teaching:

  1. Classics, Not Textbooks
  2. Mentors, Not Professors
  3. Inspire, Not Require
  4. Structure Time, Not Content
  5. Simplicity, Not Complexity
  6. Quality, Not Conformity
  7. You, Not Them

How is it that the universities have a massive profit margin yet the prices keep going up? The largest is the University of Phoenix, which is owned by the Apollo Group, a publicly traded company. In 2010 nearly half a million students were enrolled in its degree programs.

As the sector has grown, so has the criticism. This culminated in a report published by a Senate committee. It found that for-profit colleges received $32 billion from the US government in student aid in the 2009-10 academic year. They also charge far higher tuition fees than comparable state universities. Yet they spend much less per student on instruction.

What this all means is that the students who ultimately pay these businesses for education start out their young lives in debt. But that’s not really the rub. The jobs that they are being taught to do they will rarely get into. That is still not the rub. Most of them think if they go back to school and get more education in the field they already can’t get a job in will give them an edge in the market place. All the while delivering pizza or working in some other thankless job with their BA degree and massive student loan debt.

The old days of getting a job for 20-30 years and retiring is gone. The median number of years that wage and salary workers had been with their current employer is currently 4.6 years, according to an Economic News Release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What this means is that even with all that education, the diplomas won’t  give us job security. There is going to be gaps in our working career, but that doesn’t stop the demand for payment on the school debt.

Does this mean doom and gloom? No is the answer. Remember that secret agent I wanted to be? My mind was overwhelmed as a child with the thought of the secret agent occupation and the vision of that lifestyle. Now that I have a few more candles on my cake, I may no longer want to be the secret agent, but I have never given up on that lifestyle as my dream.  Never giving up on your DREAM, that is the key.Find someone that has the lifestyle you desire, and do what they did. You will get the results they have. Robert Kiyosaki Author of  Business of the 21st Century said the only way to get ahead is with a home based business. The tax laws are created for business owners. It’s not how much you make, its how much you keep that counts. Our future economy will be driven by Entrepreneurs.

I hope I’ve given you some food for thought. If you really want to dig into some ideas on how to change the direction your going then here is a good start. The Next Millionaires by Paul Zane Pilzer. Ask yourself if I don’t change something where will I be five years from now?

Matthew 7:7 seek and you shall find.

Posted by: Rickey Alterman | September 19, 2013

We Are Our Thoughts

We all are the living examples of the habits we have acquired from birth to the present.  We see people we may admire or respect and imitate some gesture or other nuance we think is a good trait to emulate.  We have indoctrinated these perceived traits into our personalities to better accommodate our feelings of self worth. We are many personalities combined in a single individual. A culmination, if you will, of past experiences we have deemed appropriate to represent who we are.

Our position in life is the result of the actions we take based on the information we have at this point in our lives. If we want different results we need new information. Here’s the problem; we are in the information age. In a moment I can find out about anything I desire. But where is it coming from? Is it opinion? We all have an opinion based on what we think we know. If the information fits our current perspective then we think of it as true. This is one of the limitations of our thinking. The problem arises when we accept logic or hearsay as fact. Chris Brady, author of Launching a Leadership Revolution says, “We don’t know what we don’t know. We forgot a lot of what we did know, and what we think we do know mostly isn’t so.” This is so true.

The point I’m trying to make here is that we need to look at the results. If we truly want to have different results we need to define what those are. The second habit from the book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey states, “Start with the end in mind”. Once we have this picture of the result we want, the next step is to find someone who has those results. “Has is the key word here. It’s not who says how to get the results. If you don’t have the results then your opinion doesn’t count.

The final step is to follow, copy, listen, and learn from the person that has the desired result you’re looking for in your life. Should they be willing to tutor, mentor or coach you, then you are truly blessed. This will save you the most valuable asset you have; time. If they cannot make this possible, perhaps they have put their success into print or some guidelines to be followed. Success principals are like ingredients for cookie dough. Regardless of the order of the ingredients, you’re going to get cookie dough. If you use success principals, you will always get success. The results are always the same. How you use them is of no consequence.

This saying is one of my favorites,

Methods are many;
Principles are few;
Methods can change;
Principles never do.

To sum this all up I would say that we all need some kind of new information to move us from who we are to who we’re called to be. All of us have a deep seated passion to be great. To be recognized and leave a legacy. For myself I want my life to have meaning that will survive beyond the lasting of my headstone. I would certainly want to be known for more than a slab of granite with  two dates and a dash.  If I have not lived for greatness I am guilty of robbing everyone of the knowing the best me I could be.

Posted by: Rickey Alterman | September 5, 2013

Need to contemplate

Orrin Woodward’s top 10 habits

Many people are born leaders, yet the ability to lead is actually an art and an amazing collection of skills which can be learned and sharpened. The following top ten daily habits will help you and/or your clients grow as a leader personally, professionally, and spiritually.

The Thinker picture

1. Spend 30 minutes each morning looking for “cracks” in the major
areas of your life. 

Your depth of character is key to
determining your success as a leader. It is easy for us to say that we are “in
integrity,” but your actions are the real indicators of strength of character.

Spend 30 minutes each morning looking at the major areas of your life: career, marriage, family, community, and spirituality. Write down any instances where you see “cracks” (you have cut corners, something is inconsistent, you have not kept your word, you have been dishonest, etc.) Do all in your power to repair those cracks by apologizing and dealing with the consequences of your actions. After facing up to past actions, begin a plan that will rebuild you and prevent you from making further mistakes.

2. Show up and be ten minutes early for every appointment.

Great leaders show up for every appointment, and they are always on time. Each day, practice not only showing up but being ten minutes early for each and every appointment. “The early bird gets the worm” has never been so true than when it applies to becoming a great leader that others want to follow.

3. Be dedicated to a high level of learning.

Great leaders are highly competent, because they are dedicated to a high level of learning, growth, and improvement. Spend 15-30 minutes each day devoted to learning something new. Do not settle for knowing “how” to do something. Dig deeper by asking the question “why” and then, go find the answer. Search the internet, interview an expert, or take a day trip to find the answer to a question that is on your mind or the minds of those who follow you. 

4. Be simple and crystal clear in all communication.

As a leader, your communication should be simple, clean, and clear as a bell. Examine both written and verbal communication for simplicity and clarity. Use as few words as possible, and eliminate jargon and “big words” from your vocabulary. Express yourself in a way that your listeners can understand.

5. Surround yourself with great people.

One of the secrets of a great leader is great people. Hire the right staff, surround yourself with a strong inner circle, and spend time daily with people who have a variety of gifts. With the support of a strong circle of men, women and children, you will be ready for anything that comes your way.

6. Develop a sense of commitment and responsibility. 

People do not follow leaders who are not committed and responsible. Commitment and responsibility can be measured by the hours you spend and how you spend them, the money you spend and how you spend it, and by what you do for others. Spend 15 minutes each day analyzing your time, your checkbook, and your volunteer work. Look closely at how much time you spend with family and friends as compared to work, how you spend your money, and how you give back to the community. You may be very surprised at what you find.

7. Develop a positive attitude by altering your mind.

It is very possible to alter your attitude by altering your mind. Saturate yourself daily with motivational literature, positive people, and inspiring music/art. By conditioning your mind to be more positive on a daily basis, you will find that winning will be a daily reward of your life.

8. Accept responsibility.

Great leaders never play the role of a victim. They recognize that part of being a great leader is being ultimately responsible for all successes and failures. On a daily basis, analyze your current projects, and ask yourself “Have I done all that needs to be done? What have I not done that I should?” Once you have analyzed each project, if you find a weakness, go the extra mile by working extra hours, hiring an outside expert, or getting really creative to repair the weakness or to turn it into a success!

9. Make self-discipline a part of your lifestyle.

What do you need to develop self-discipline? Following a better diet or exercise routine? Getting up one hour earlier? Being rigorous with your spending? Learning something new every day? Eliminate excuse-making from your life, and begin to develop habits that will invite self-discipline to become the foundation of your life. Hire a coach to support you during the development of a routine of self-discipline, and remove rewards until the job is done!

10. Develop courage by facing fear.

By a show of courage, you will inspire others to follow and to walk in your footsteps. Spend 15-30 minutes each day doing something simply for the sake of developing courage: speak to an audience, make a difficult phone call, learn a new skill, write an article or a top ten, or visit someone you have always wanted to meet. As Eleanor Roosevelt acknowledged: “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”