Success Road
Direct download: sr039.mp3
Category:career -- posted at: 10:20pm CST

Direct download: sr038.mp3
Category:career -- posted at: 1:00am CST

Aaron_T._Walker

Our guest this week is Aaron Walker. He has started several businesses throughout the years, but his current endeavor is "View from the Top."

Aaron shares some fantastic things, including:

  • How he started is first business
  • How he retired several times, the first time at age 27
  • How he recovered from a tragedy
  • How he helps men grow themselves and their business through his mastermind groups

Aaron has generously shared several things for you to download:

  • Personal Assessment
  • What Do I Want?
  • Steps to a Productive Day

Just go to http://viewfromthetop.com/success

 

Direct download: sr037.mp3
Category:career -- posted at: 1:00am CST

Dan Black was on the podcast to talk about his book "The Leadership Mandate" back in episode 33. That was back when this podcast was Quality Living Made Simple. I'm actually going to replay that episode for you here in minute, but before I do, I wanted to let you know that Dan has written a new book that is now available. It's called "The Little Book of Personal Growth: Start Growing and Achieve your Potential."

You can get your copy on Amazon. Until August 3rd, it's available for $2.99, which is about half off. So hurry and grab your copy right away. You can also get a PDF copy of "The Leadership Mandate" for free if you forward your Amazon receipt to thelittlebookbonuses@gmail.com.

I think I will also throw in a bonus for you. If you also forward that Amazon receipt to me, I'll send you the PDF copy of my book, "Leave Nothing Undone: 13 Key Lessons from the Life of Joshua." My email is joshua@podcastguy.co.

You can get the book by going to joshuarivers.net/dan. That is also an affiliate link, so I'll get a few cents for you using that. It's also no extra cost for you, so it's a win-win!

Any way, here's the interview I did with Dan Black before. When we get back, I'll give a quick overview of what you can expect from his new book.

 

 

 

Direct download: sr036.mp3
Category:career -- posted at: 10:01am CST

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Jason Pockrandt joins us and shares his burden for fathers.

Here's Jason's Tedx Talk:

https://youtu.be/BbnxAHET72Y

Here's Jason's book, "Father-Daughter Conversations":

http://joshuarivers.net/father-daughter

 

Direct download: sr034-jason-pockrandt.mp3
Category:Family, Kids -- posted at: 12:17pm CST

Who are you?

 

Welcome to the Success Road podcast. Success is not a destination, it is a journey. My name is Joshua Rivers and we discover things that help us on this road of success. Sometimes there are little things that can make a big difference. Sometimes, we need to delve into bigger questions.

Throughout history, people have sought to answer several big questions:

  • Who am I?
  • Where did I come from?
  • Where am I going?
  • Why am I here?

Philosophers in many different countries and religions have pondered these questions and have come up with just as many opinions on what the answers are.

I’m not going to be so bold as to say that I have all the answers or have figured it all out, but I do believe that God has given us answers in the Bible. I do look at or listen to what others have to say, but I try to look in the Bible for the final say. If you’ve listened to this podcast for a while, it’s no secret that I’m a Christian and that God and the Bible play a big part in my life.

As a side note, an important part of reading and studying the Bible is to keep things in the context in which they are written and also not to read into the Bible any preconceived ideas.

Knowing where we come from and where we are going are both important. The Bible says that we will all go somewhere when we die, and we have to settle that while we are here. It clearly teaches that the way to Heaven is only through Jesus. This is important to know, but we aren’t focusing on that in this episode.

Knowing why you are here is also important. God has us here for a reason. Each of us has a purpose. Ultimately that is to give glory to God, but He also has specific things for us to do as individuals. Again – this is not the topic today.

I want to focus on the question, “Who am I?”

Twice a month, my church has a grief recovery group that I help lead. I’m not an expert, but I’ve learned a lot since we started last year. There is certainly more to it, but a large part of grief comes when a loved one dies.

If we look back to Creation, death did not exist. Death didn’t happen until Adam sinned. Death is the consequence of sin. Of course, Adam didn’t physically die as soon as he sinned – it took about 900 years. Same thing for us – we don’t always experience the consequences of our actions until much later.

People handle grief in many ways. Grief may bring remorse, regret, and even despair and depression. One leading cause of people reacting in a way that brings them down this road is misplaced or missing identity.

They don’t really know who they are.

Sometimes, when a spouse dies, the remaining person is no longer married. Especially for someone who had been married for 40, 50, or 60 years, their identity had been as either husband or wife. That identity brings with it certain responsibilities and feeling. With that identity stripped away, what is left? It’s a completely different role for them. They look in the mirror and don’t recognize the person looking back at them. They don’t know who they are anymore.

This feeling scares many people and they don’t know how to handle it. This leads them to discouragement and depression. They have the tendency to disconnect from the world around them, which actually worsens their feelings.

A similar thing happens at retirement.

I was listening to a podcast on retirement. While they usually focus on the financial aspect of retirement – saving and investing – they also talk about other aspects of retirement. The two hosts are financial advisors, so they work with a lot of people through this transition in life. They have observed that there are some that don’t live long after retirement. And it’s not due to poor health or old age.

It’s because they worked for 40 -50 years and suddenly stopped. Their identity was wrapped up in what they did for a living. After retiring, they wake up in the morning and are faced with basically nothing to do. They lose their purpose for getting up and doing things. At first, it was great – it felt like an extended vacation. But then it settled in as reality.

The hosts of that podcast encourage people to plan ahead for this by getting involved in different things in the community or in their church. This helps give them a new purpose during the retirement years.

This however, doesn’t resolve the identity issue. They merely switch their identity from full-time worker to part-time worker or volunteer. Who they are runs deeper than that.

Who you are runs deeper than what you do.

Who you are runs deeper than the relationships you have with friends and family.

Who you are runs deeper than your skin color, race, or gender.

So, who are you then?

What is your identity?

Where do you get that identity?

Your identity should come from God.

If you have trusted Him as your personal Savior, He promises never to leave you nor forsake you.

Also, God will never change – He is always the same.

If our identity is in another person, our job, or anything else, your identity will fluctuate. Jobs get eliminated. People move away, die, or make mistakes. When these change, and your identity is tied to them, you begin to lose your identity.

If your identity is in God, your identity will remain stable regardless of the circumstances around you.

Remember when Jesus was walking on the water? His disciples were in the middle of the Sea of Galilee when a storm broke out. Jesus walked toward them on the water. When the disciples realized who He was, Peter asked if he could come out to him. Peter walked out on the water with Christ. As long as Peter kept his eyes on Christ, the storm and circumstance around him didn’t affect his ability to stay on top of the water. It wasn’t until he took his eyes off Christ and focused on the storm around him that he began to sink.

If we keep our identity in Christ, the storms and circumstances around us won’t take us down.

As the saying goes, even though this is a simple concept, it’s not necessarily easy implement. We are human and have the tendency to become self-involved and self-focused. We need to intentionally give our lives to God.

In closing, here’s a passage from Romans:

28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.

34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:28-38

 

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This year, my wife and I have some definite financial goals and we have a plan that we are following.

Debt-free

The biggest financial goal we have is to become completely debt-free.

Yes, that includes our house!

Let me share a little bit about our journey, and then share some things you can take away from it.

Our Journey

My wife and I were introduced to Dave Ramsey back in 2004. Well, we weren't introduced personally - just introduced to his book: "Financial Freedom." We had been married less than a year at that time and we had a little bit of debt: I had a credit card (which I had maxed out between a laptop computer, engagement ring, and honeymoon) and my wife had a car payment.

I was terrible with finances. I mentioned that maxed-out credit card. At one time before we got married, I had gone to an ATM to withdraw $40 from that credit card, deposited the money in my checking account, and then paid that same credit card $40. Did I mention that I was terrible with finances?

My wife, on the other hand, was pretty good with finances. She did have a car payment, but she had money in savings and managed her money pretty well. She is a big reason we are having financial success now.

During those early years in our marriage, we worked to pay off those debts, quickly paying off the credit card, followed by paying off the car a year or two later. We were also putting money into savings.

We started to get a little lax in our spending as my wife went to school to become an LPN. She also became pregnant with our son. I always knew that my wife was special, but this pregnancy proved it. She had a rare condition where morning sickness wasn't just in the morning - and it wasn't just during the first trimester. She was sick all the time and all through the pregnancy - including during labor. We were told that only 2-3% of women experience this (yea!).

So with the pregnancy complications while going to school, we depleted our savings and began charging on a credit card. Oh, and we got a new car with a matching payment.

And then came my daughter. This was like pregnancy #1, but about three times worse. Luckily, the credit card now had a higher limit.

By the time my daughter was born in 2009, we had over $20,000 in debt between medical bills, the car payment, and the credit card. This was in addition to the $90,000 mortgage we had.

My wife graduated college, got her LPN, and started making a little more money. We started making up ground. We were able to pay off the car in 2010 (about 2 years early), as well as the medical bills. The credit card was dwindling.

We had moved from Illinois to Michigan in 2009, and then back to Oklahoma in 2010. My wife's parents allowed us to stay at they're house for a very low amount (thanks, Dad!), allowing us to finish off the credit card and put a good chuck into savings.

We bought our current house in May 2011!

This presented us with an issue. We still had our house in Illinois. We were renting it out, but the market was still in decline there. We lost the renter and ended up going into short sale.

We found our credit card again and charged about $3,000 - mostly on one Black Friday!

Then we found Dave Ramsey again. I had never listened to his radio show before that, but I would hear it on my way to work. My wife and I started to get intense. Gazelle intense.

We paid off the credit card again, leaving us with just our new mortgage. We built up a 3 month emergency fund as well. My wife was back in school again, this time working toward getting her RN - but we were doing it debt-free this time.

At the end of January 2016, we are looking at about $30,000 left. We plan to continue our intensity, and should have it completely paid off this year.

Action steps

We started by following Dave Ramsey's baby-steps:

  1. $1,000 emergency fund
  2. Pay off all debt
  3. Fully-funded emergency fund
  4. Invest 15% in retirement
  5. Fund children's college
  6. Pay off mortgage
  7. Build wealth

Full disclosure: we don't follow his plan to a T. We have also listened to others' advice and adapted. Dave's plan, though, is the primary foundation.

As Dave will tell you, your biggest wealth-building tool  is your income. And the best way to maximize that tool is by reducing expenses. Getting rid of debt is one of the biggest ways to drop your expenses.

Imagine what you could do if you didn't have lingering medical bills, credit cards, and car payments. Some people will agree on the credit cards and medical bills, but will still say something like, "But we'll always have a car payment."

That is not true!

Our last car payment was in 2010. In 2013, we paid $5,000 cash for a minivan after my car died. Literally. It wouldn't start when I was at work. I got a ride home that night. My wife and I came back a few days later and I was finally able to start it. I was able to drive it 4 miles to the salvage yard and it died again as I turned into the parking lot. I coasted the car into a parking space and turned over the title for $200.

If you plan properly and learn to be content (in other words, don't feel like you have to have the newest and shiniest things), you don't have to have a car payment.

It takes discipline and accountability. It takes budgeting and paying attention. It takes being able to say no - to yourself and others.

It helps to have a reward

My wife and I have set a reward for paying off our house. It is a family trip to Disney World.

Dave Ramsey signing our "Pay Off That House" board
Dave Ramsey signing our "Pay Off That House" board

My kids are 9 and 6 right now. And they would love to visit Disney World. And we would love to take them. But we have to pay off the house first.

We set this goal in 2013 and we told our kids. They were excited about Disney world, but not excited about the timeline. To a kid, a week is a long time; a couple years is an eternity.

We got them involved by helping to color in squares on a board we developed. Much like people use a picture of a thermometer to show the progress toward a goal, we created a rough blueprint of our house with squares representing $500 each. When all the squares are filled in, the house is paid off.

With them helping to color in the squares, and the visual reminder of our progress, it helps to keep us all motivated.

 

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