Monthly Archives: January 2015

No More Excuses

Photo credits: Alvera|Dreamestime.com
Photo credits: Alvera|Dreamestime.com

It is not unusual to hear people make excuses for not doing what is expected of them. There is a part of the human nature that wants to push the responsibility for our shortcomings away from us. You may have heard comments like: “I have always been overweight, it is in my genes” or “ It will be great to read books regularly but I am too busy”. Maybe you have not only heard such statements but you have made similar comments as well. The goal of this post is to encourage you to stop making excuses and also provide practical tips that can help you take charge of your life.

There are times you desire specific things and genuinely there are reasons why you cannot take steps in the direction you desire, but should it end there? A story of a young lady  I once heard comes to mind, she got pregnant in high school and had to drop out of school to have the baby. After having the baby, she had to get a job to support herself and the baby. Her job was selling meal tickets at her high school, but she really desired more than that. If you carefully consider this situation, she has a genuine reason for not being in school: she needs a job. What this young girl did in her situation is commendable, she did not settle for the status quo instead she worked around her schedule to make her dream come to pass. She started taking night classes, took her GED and passed. She proceeded to college and earned her Bachelor’s degree, after which she earned an advanced degree. She eventually got a job as a principal in the same school district where she sold meal tickets.

What changes can you make to your current schedule to accommodate your dreams? It might involve taking some time off social media or switching off the TV earlier than you normally would.  Look out for my next post as I delve into this topic more.

– Written by Bola Olayanju

Make It a Bull Year!

Every day, tourists and New York residents alike flock to the financial district in downtown Manhattan to view the “Charging Bull” – an iconic symbol of American capitalism. My daily work commute runs through this part of town and I am always intrigued by the number of people who stop by, regardless of time of day or weather condition, patiently standing in line, waiting for their turn to take pictures , resolutely intent on taking a piece of the bull with them.

There is often a healthy dose of optimism that greets a new year. We are bullish about the prospects for the year. Perhaps this is the year that a perfect combination of factors will lead us to financial paradise – the economy is growing at a fast clip, inflation is kept in check, there is political stability, our business idea takes off, we invest in that penny stock that generates super-sized returns and we get that promotion we’ve long been angling for!

If you have resolved to make 2015 a bull year – to own the year the same way those picture-takers in the financial district proudly take the bull home with them- you need to take action. Decide to take charge of factors within your control rather than merely hoping external factors are favorable. For me, a bull year is one in which

  • I live within my means, that is, my income exceeds my expenses
  • I live well – I meet all my financial obligations and enjoy a good quality of life
  • I take prudent action that fosters my family’s future financial well-being
  • I enjoy greater financial margin, a growing net worth, compared to prior years
  • I give freely to support people and causes that are near and dear to my heart

American author and poet, Henry David Thoreau said “if you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” In other words, it’s great to be bullish about 2015 from a financial standpoint but don’t just fold your arms and hope for the stars to magically align in your favor. Make this a bull year by changing your aptitude with respect to money.

Are you merely working for money or do you know how to make money work for you? There are time-tested principles that govern money management and wealth accumulation. The more you understand and apply these principles, the better your financial standing. This year, take steps to become more money savvy – read books, attend seminars, listen to podcasts, consult with a financial advisor. In the words of Robert Kiyosaki, “it’s not how much money you make, but how much money you keep, how hard it works for you, and how many generations you keep it for”. Sound fiscal aptitude makes your money grow and stick around much longer.

Money calls for responsible stewardship no matter how little or how much of it you currently possess. Do you have a money game plan for 2015? Without a plan, you are leaving your financial outcome to chance. Take time at this onset of the year to lay out what needs to happen for you to consider this a successful year financially. I have shared with you my personal definition of a bull year. What’s yours? Once you have laid out your plans, pursue them with vigor and enthusiasm. Do not merely hope this is a bullish year, seize the initiative and make 2015 a bull year!

-Written by Bunmi Olayanju

Photo credits: Dreamstime

Your Biggest Investment…

Marek Uliaz | Dreamtime

Photo credit: Marek Uliaz | Dreamtime

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. – Abraham Lincoln

Can you imagine the frustration that can come with trying to get a task done with a dull tool? Not only will it take a longer time to complete the task, but it might not be well done either.  Think about it, can you improve your efficiency by investing in yourself? So many times we are so busy trying to get things done that we really do not make time to invest in ourselves.

The biggest investment you can make is to invest in yourself, investing in the whole you: your spirit, soul and body.

1. Taking care of your body: No matter how motivated you are, you can’t do more than you are physically able to. Do you have any activity in your daily routine that drives your energy up? It might be something as simple as parking as far away as possible from the building and walking a specific distance daily. Or spending a few minutes in the gym daily. Do you pay attention to what you feed your body with? My goal is to point your attention to a very important part of you that needs to be taken care of. Make time in your daily routine to build a stronger and more energized body.

2. Enrich your mind:  So many times I hear people say they do not have time to seat down and read a book. Thankfully, there are so many ways  to enrich your mind today without  necessarily making big changes to your daily schedule. Listening to audiobooks during your daily commute is one of such, you have to commute anyway so why not make the best of it. I recently read a book, The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, a book I highly recommend, it suggests creating an habit of reading 10 pages of a book/day. Apart from reading books, attending workshops and conferences, or seminars are steps that can be taken to enrich your mind. Think about little changes you can make in your schedule that can help you create an habit of learning consistently.

3. Nourish your spirit: I intentionally made this my last point because I consider it the most important. I embraced my faith in God at a very early age, so I am quite familiar with biblical principles. In recent years, I have been reading a lot of success and personal development books, my amazing discovery was that all these books refer to biblical principles as principles that form a bedrock for a successful life. It only confirms the truth I have embraced for over 20 years. Take a few minutes to read my post on what I consider an essential relationship for everyone, click here.

Do you experience emptiness inside  and can’t figure out why? You sometime think accomplishing one milestone/ goal will take care of it but it never does. I will like to encourage you start a relationship with God today, you have everything to gain and nothing to loose (If you have not done so already, please click the link here to read more). Once a good foundation for spiritual growth has been laid, you can start building on this foundation by spending quality time praying, studying the bible and associating with people of  faith. Invest in building a strong spirit and you will see the impact in every other area of your life. You will enjoy guidance when you need it most, peace in your heart irrespective of what is going on around you.

You can greatly enhance your productivity by investing in yourself, be intentional about it and you will find this to be the biggest investment possible.

Dream Big … Take Action

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The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step — Chinese Proverb

It is the beginning of a new year and your mind is filled with dreams and aspiration  for the year. So what’s next? Having desires for the year is just the beginning, what you do with those dreams/aspirations will determine if they will ever become a reality. Below are a few  tips  I have found very valuable.

1. Clearly define your goals: Clearly define your goals by asking yourself these questions: i) What do I want to accomplish? ii) By when do I want to accomplish them? Write your answers down and look at it regularly . Last year, one of my goals was to increase my fitness level by running regularly. Prior to 2014, I worked out regularly but was never a runner. I set a goal to run a 10k race by November of 2014. This goal is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely, a clearly defined goal should be.

2. Take action: Take the first step, and at your own pace establish a routine that works best with your schedule. For my fitness goal last year my first step was to seek advice. I spoke with two friends that were runners about my goals. I received guidance on how to get started, especially the gears I should buy and pitfalls to avoid. I started running with an experienced runner, she became my personal coach, I found the relationship extremely valuable to accomplishing my fitness goal. I developed a running routine that fitted well into my daily schedule.

3. Be disciplined and committed: Irrespective of what you plan to accomplish, the importance of self-discipline cannot be over-emphasized.  There will be many days you won’t feel like following your established routines, your sense of commitment to your goals  will come handy on such days. Sometimes you will try and fail, that is okay, start again. There were many days I didn’t feel like getting up to run, there were days  I could not run as far as I wanted but I refused to give up. Today, the joy of  accomplishing the goal makes the sacrifice really worth it.

You can make your dreams a reality…so go for it!

(photo credit: Dreamstime)