My wife and I have been committed to taking part in marriage counseling for six of the seven years that we have been married. Without any doubt, I can say we wouldn’t have the quality of relationship we have without that mutual, long term commitment to growth. My marriage has been rocky, like most marriages, but we have kept if off the rocks with diligent and regular professional help.
My wife and I “counselor shopped” by interviewing four different marriage and family therapists that were referred to us through our circle of friends. So, not only were they recommended, we also scheduled a 15 minute interview with each one to see if we both felt like that person was a good fit. This process, by the way, is accommodated by the industry, but not advertized. You have to ask for it.
I highly advise you take the time to find the right therapist and interview them. It’s your opportunity to ask them questions. I ask very relevant questions like, “How long have you been married?” “What are your spiritual views?” “How do you keep on top of new cutting edge theory?” “How long have you been in practice?” “What parenting books do you like the most?” “What marriage books do you like the most?” You will be paying this individual a lot of good money and you need to fully trust them. Make sure they are worthy of both.
We scheduled heavily in the beginning, once a week. That moved the conversation up a notch right off the bat. Once we addressed some issues and felt like we had reached some objectives, we backed off to once a month. We still continue to go once a month. If something big comes up we don’t hesitate to shove another session one in.
There is just something about having a wise and professional moderator there for some of the heavier discussions. We can also leave something that is stuck and unwind it while we are there. It is a place where we can show mutual commitment to one another where all things remain safe to discuss. I can’t recommend marriage counseling enough.
By going to marriage counseling, you are not admitting that your marriage is broken. You are admitting that you are willing to do whatever it takes to have quality in your marriage. I think that even the best of marriages would benefit from counseling. That’s just my opinion. If you don’t agree—all is good. I just think there are many marriages that might be saved or bettered if more felt the same way I do.
As the ONO company’s opportunities continue to expand and grow, I am doing more business with other Family First Entrepreneurs. It’s very interesting to notice the shift among us to be focused on survival over abundance. Now believe me, I get the survival deal. ONO is growing, but my other two businesses are struggling in this economy and they are acting as motivational anchors. Cash flow is down and capital is hard to come by.
The strategy I have employed in my businesses is to focus on survival while leaving the door wide open to abundance. I make sure that my family’s basic necessities are met, as first priority, but I also leave room for time and energy devoted to my home run ball. I stay pumped, knowing I’m cooking a feast while serving pork and beans as appetizers. Without the feast, my motivation to do either, well, pretty much disappears.
Here are a few things I do to keep my eye on the ball.
1. My creative juices flow when I am hatching the next phase or strategy to take my big plan to the next level. I keep these juices flowing by having people around me to bounce new ideas off of. I can last for days from the energy boost I get after an engaging brainstorming session. I then use that energy to push through the action to make it real. Many plans can be moved forward with one hard push. Keep yourself motivated and excited by surrounding yourself with positive, supportive people.
2. Set aside time devoted to survival and abundance in appropriate ratios. Right now I am working on basics of survival about 70% of the time, but I still keep 30% devoted to the big picture. You should do the same. Set times daily to be working toward your home run ball. It’s both motivating and profitable.
3. Maintain a healthy balance of work and family. Don’t let your work time creep into your family time. Instead, use the ones you love as a motivational factor will keep your work time efficient. Family is my number one motivator. I work so that I can create more time to spend with my family. I know that my work time is limited so I make sure that time is not given up to nonproductive activities.
4. When survival is at stake, sometimes you have to be content with sharing the profit. Be willing to joint venture or partner in order to take away some of the capitol and time pressures. If your idea is good enough, someone will be willing to devote time and money to the cause for a piece of the action.
A core skill of great entrepreneurs is the ability to have multiple balls in the air. Most of the time, one venture is providing for the basic necessities, while the other has a chance to sail over the left field fence. If you are finding yourself in survival mode right now, carve out even 30 minutes a day and devote it to something abundant. That energy will amplify and it will have an overall positive effect regardless of results. Go for it, but remember, always keep family first.
Here is another short excerpt from ONO. Learn to make peace with your failures and accomplishments and use your last moments of every day to prepare yourself for the first moments of the next.
I love evenings. My business day is done. The kids are in bed. It is quiet and peaceful. My wife, Sue, is following her nighttime routine and taking some time for herself.
I have an evening routine as well. I watch about an hour of one of my favorite TV programs; I record them beforehand so I can go down to the basement and watch one a night. It’s the way I unwind. Then I go upstairs. As I walk by Jaken’s room, I ask myself, “Have I done everything I could to be there for my little man today?” I reflect on my answer, review my shortcomings as well as my successes, whisper, “I love you, Jaken,” and move on down the hall to the master bedroom.
I bend over Tucker’s crib, brush his soft cheek with my fingertips and marvel at how peaceful I feel when I’m watching my baby sleep. Then, as I’m doing the mindless tasks of tooth-brushing and clothes changing, I think about my day with Sue, and I ask myself whether I’ve done everything I could to be there for her. I reflect on my answer, find Sue, and talk with her. I am deeply committed to my marriage and this time with Sue is precious to me. I use it to make amends if I need to, to tell her how much I appreciate her and to let her know how much I love her.
Then I lie down, and, before I grab whatever book I’m currently reading, I think about my business day. As I’ve done with Jaken and Sue, I review the done, not-done, could-have-done-differently, and need-to-do-tomorrow aspects of my business activities. I do this checkup as quickly as I do the personal ones. I just touch base, and I do it in an easy-on-myself manner.
If I find mistakes, I don’t beat myself up about them. I make peace with the rough spots in my business day, and I move on. Shame and regret are best used to move you to action, not to fester or keep you stuck. These evening reflections and the sleep time that follows them help me stay in a place of serenity.
Why do I reflect on the important aspects of my day? Because that’s what successful people, do. Whether they have one or several plans in motion, they frequently check in with themselves to see how things are going. Successful parents and spouses do it, and so do successful entrepreneurs. These goal-oriented, result-focused men and women use the last waking minutes of their day to get ready for the first waking minutes of their next day.
The times we are in are changing so rapidly that there are tons of new business opportunities available to Family First Entrepreneurs. With the ability to bridge the gaps, on a world wide basis, via the internet and having access to social marketing, as an affordable marketing vehicle, timing has never been better.
If you find yourself feeling unsure of your employment stability or needing a solution for more cash in today's economy—watch this video and broaden your perspective. Read books like ONO and 4 Hour Work Week to fill your mind with usable information. Move on to books like Good to Great, and The Tipping Point. Knowledge will be your ally.
Here is another short excerpt from ONO. Remember, wisdom comes with time and experience, however, you can accelerate this process.
As you move into your entrepreneurial career, the biggest ignorant mistake that you could possibly make would be to assume you have all of the wisdom and knowledge you need to succeed. Why? Because it limits your potential. Remember, moving toward ONO means constantly being in a state of growth, which includes your entire being, not just your bank account. It allows you to take control of your destiny, and makes your potential infinite.
I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to constantly be an active participant in creating your own wisdom.
Your brain is like a muscle, and like all the muscles in your body, it will not get into shape unless you work it. Now, if you work your abdominal muscles the right way long enough, you will eventually have a great six-pack to show for it. In the same way, if you work your brain, you will gain wisdom.
Brain exercise can include reading thought-provoking books, attending seminars in arenas that intrigue you, and having deep conversations with people who know more and think differently than you.
Remember, too, “If your lips are flappin’ you’re not learnin’.” In human interaction, the wisest one is often the one listening, not the one speaking.
Developing wisdom takes time and concentration and the process works best in an environment free of distractions where you can think clearly. It is so easy to get sidetracked in the course of your busy life. At home, you have family distractions. At work, you have coworkers and deadlines. Even the entrepreneurial world you have constant distractions. You hear, “Try this,” “Invest in my product,” “Our way is the only way,” or “Make millions in no time at all.” By making time for wisdom-building, you learn to sift out the valuable information from the clutter, and to adapt the gems to help you reach your goals.
When I need a mental recharging session, I go to the one place where I can rid myself of distractions, keep my thoughts focused, and keep my brain stimulated. I get in my car and hit the road.
The road trips I take by myself provide such an awesome atmosphere for thought. It is some of my only quiet time. I'm away from the kids. I'm away from my wife. I'm away from business dealings, my computer, and with one push of a button, I am also away from my cell phone. What I'm able to do is just sit quietly and think.
The best way for me to get into a brainstorming session is to start by listening to audio information on many different topics. I'll get a CD on foreclosures, and then another on public speaking, and then another on the stock market, or whatever topic I’m interested in at the time. Recordings like these are so much more than new information to me. They are a springboard for my imagination. They provide a catalyst for some very productive and creative thought. In fact, parts of this book were written while driving across the high desert.
We all need to separate from our daily routines, to periodically take a “time out” and be quiet. We need to find places where we can escape and focus, where we can think and get outside the confines and demands of our offices. When you find your place, you will be amazed how much more clearly and productively you think and what good decisions you make. Free yourself to learn, brainstorm, and explore.