Monthly Archives: June 2014

The existential crisis (and the other kind)


For some, crises are existential. The subsistence farmer, the parent without access to medical care, the person living in a makeshift shelter–this crisis might be the last one they ever encounter. Deal with this crisis or cease to exist.

As a result, crisis management became a cultural emergency, something we all focused on. High alert, drop everything, this is do or die, because if we don’t get through this, it’s over.

Now, of course, for those lucky enough to live in a well-off part of the world, insulated from disaster, few crises are actually this black and white—they merely feel that way.

The project might be in jeopardy, but you’re not.


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How Financial Spring Cleaning Can Lead to a Richer Long-Term Outlook

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3 Areas to Consider for Increased Savings

One lesson the average American should have learned from the recent financial crisis and gradual recovery is that putting more money into savings is, in general, good.

“When things are fine, most of us are prone to commit less of our money to savings; when the economy is down, however, we realize that having money is far more important than spending it on things we don’t need,” says Gorton, a veteran Certified Public Accountant and Certified Financial Planner™, and head of Gorton Financial Group, (

The personal savings rate in July 2005 hit an all-time low at just 2 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But in May 2009, near the beginning of the recession, the average American’s savings rate hit a high of 8 percent.

“That rate dwindled as the economy recovered, which is unfortunate because you can do more with accumulated money, including benefit from investments yielding compound interest, which means that interest also earns interest in an investment,” says Gorton, who suggests practical ways to trim spending in the short term in order to get your financial house in order and accumulate more money in the long term.

•  Car buying says plenty about how a consumer views their money. For most Americans, the question is whether to buy new or used. The moment you drive a brand new car off the lot after the purchase, the car’s value drastically drops. Many of the benefits you may enjoy in buying a new car can be had with a certified pre-owned car: low miles, good-as-new functionality and, usually, that new-car smell. And, a given model will have a history, so you can avoid cars that have been recalled. Buying a certified pre-owned car will save you several thousands of dollars versus buying new.

•  Summer vacation is an important lifestyle enhancer for many couples, but consider replacing the $400-per-night hotel with a condo rented through a private owner, especially if your vacation will last for an extended period. A condo rental should cost you in the ballpark of $200 per night, which totals $2,800 savings for two weeks.

•  Your home is probably your most significant asset if you’re like most Americans. But with that grand house on the hill comes plenty of costs, many of which you may not need. As with a luxury car, rethinking the amount of luxury for a home can save you big on taxes, insurance and maintenance. The cost of maintaining a large home can be put toward lifestyle activities, such as travel and hobbies.

“Of course, these are all simply suggestions; money plays a major role in how we achieve happiness, and I’ve found through years of working with clients, a few tweaks here and there frequently yields greater satisfaction with their money,” Gorton says. “You don’t have to be on autopilot with your expenses.”

About Jeff Gorton, CPA, CFP®

Jeff Gorton is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Financial Planner™ specializing in individual tax and retirement planning as head of Gorton Financial Group, ( He is also an Investment Advisor Representative under Alphastar Capital Management, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor, and has a life and health insurance license. Gorton works with individuals and their families to create and protect their financial legacies. He specializes in working with retirees in the areas of tax planning, benefits, retirement planning, estate planning and safe money techniques. He received his BBA in Accounting from the University of Oklahoma. Gorton previously worked for 10 years as the Chief Financial Officer for a large retail organization, overseeing their accounting, benefits and 401(k) retirement plans.


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Should You Look for the Right Job or the Right Company?

If you are an aspiring young professional – or are advising one – what do you believe is more important: to get into the right job or to get into the right company?

The “right job” is one that will pay well, offer substantive work, put you under the direction of a good boss, and provide prospects for advancement. The “right company” is one that is well known, highly respected – perhaps even cool, offer good training, and where people and other employers will value you based on your association with the brand.

Of course, you want both. And there is a spectrum of just how great or awful the job is and just how prestigious or obscure the organization is. There is obviously no right answer, but I’m asking you to consider where you find yourself directionally.

I asked this same question to thousands of aspiring young professionals in our careers survey and to a cross section of the senior most business leaders across the land. The results:

  • Among young professionals, two-thirds believe it’s more important to get into the right job and a third into the right organization.
  • Among top business leaders, it’s an even 50-50 split.

The fact is this is a challenging question if you’re starting out in your career.

I’ve long had the view that a core principle in career management is to “go blue chip” early. My thinking is similar to wanting to go to the “best” college or university you can – you will always have that as part of your association and that it will create more options from which to choose over the course of your life. And you will have the opportunity to build relationships and friendships with more people who will go onto great things in their lives which will be beneficial to your success. I’ve also had the belief that if you get your foot in the door at a good organization and add value, work hard, and have a great attitude opportunities will open up for you to move internally.

However, this may be far easier said than done. You need to make a living and you want to develop skills that will establish your foundation. You may find yourself wrestling with this conundrum if, for example, you are offered a minimum wage internship or have the chance to start in a potentially dead-end position in a prestigious company. If this is the case, my advice is to ask some specific questions – politely of course – such as: “Over the past 3 years, how many interns have you had and how many of those were offered full time roles? What is your company’s track record of moving young people laterally from one group to another? How does that actually work?” If the company’s practice and culture is to start in the mail room (literally or figuratively) and move from there (as in the case of talent agencies or at companies such as UPS where almost everyone starts as a driver), that should give you confidence to take the leap. If they cannot give you real examples of how someone starting in the back office moved into a revenue producing role or they have no process for internal mobility then take care.

Alternatively, if you have received a good offer but at a questionable company ask yourself and others you trust a different set of questions: Would you be proud to be associated with this brand? How will you feel going to parties or reunions and talking about what you do? Have people moved from this company to others that you admire? Will the job push you to learn valuable new skills? How will this role help you figure out if this is the right kind of job for you going forward?

In both cases, you can do an analysis on LinkedIn of people from that company to see how they’ve moved internally or where they went afterwards. This will give you real data to inform your view. As with all decisions that you have to make managing your career there are few black and white choices. It’s all about making judgment calls.

Photo: alphaspirit / Shutterstock


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Micro marketing and the called bluff


Just ten years ago, what difference could you possibly be expected to make?

How could you make music without getting picked by a record label, or help the local community garden more than showing up on Saturday to pull weeds? How could anyone expect you to change a conversation, or raise enough cash or move the needle more than a little?

Today, armed with Mailchimp and Indiegogo and Vimeo and Meetup and a dozen other nearly free tools, you can make quite a ruckus.

You can organize a hundred or a thousand people and get them in sync with a weekly newsletter. You can tailor goods or services or a cause to a small group of people that really want to hear about it and really want to spread the word. You can self publish to your thousand true fans, you can host an event or a dozen events, you can enable your work to become famous to the crowd that matters.

Pick yourself.

If you care enough.


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Feedly and Evernote Go Down As Attackers Demand Ransom

Update 16:31 GMT: Feedly has updated its blog and said that normal service will be restored in a “few more hours”. Full post: “We’re making some changes to our infrastructure that will allow us to bring feedly back online. However, these things take some time to put into place and it may still be a few more hours before service is restored. Thank you so much for your patience and for sticking with us. Remember, none of your data was compromised or lost in this attack.”

Original story

Feedly is currently suffering a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack, it announced earlier this morning on its blog.

You may have noticed that you can’t access the website or load any of your feeds via the app. Feedly explained in a short message two hours ago that the DDoS perpetrator is holding Feedly to ransom and asking for money to stop the attack, Feedly has refused to comply.

CEO of Feedly, Edwin Khodabakchian, said in a short statement: “Criminals are attacking feedly with a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS). The attacker is trying to extort us money to make it stop. We refused to give in and are working with our network providers to mitigate the attack as best as we can.”

Khodabakchian went on to explain that users’ data is safe and that you will be “able to re-access your Feedly as soon as the attack is neutralized.” He continued: “We are working in parallel with other victims of the same group and with law enforcement.”

Evernote, which integrates with Feedly, also suffered a similar attack early this morning, although service was quickly restored.

evernote down

Updates will be posted here should the situation change.


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Excuses stopping the reporting of a potential problem

workplaceviolenceinbody                Far too many times, when I hear an incident of workplace violence (WPV), there is always some talking heads in the media, personalities, psychologists, and others, including security and law enforcement, who are glad to tell you, ‘They just snapped with no warning’. Granted they say those because they make excellent sound bites, which is exactly what the general public and news casts demand (unfortunately).

                There are always warning signs of anyone who is about to go off and start harming people. And it doesn’t really matter whether it’s with their fists, pipe wrench, pencils or staplers, or knives and firearms! There will always be warning signs they are about to hurt someone.

There are numerous instances throughout the recent history of WPV where the shooter either ignored or didn’t shoot people who were right in front of them. In several cases the shooter looked them straight in the eye and continued walking by, or saying ‘I don’t want you’.


The Key:

We can either choose to act upon or ignore the warning signs. Which way we decide to act could determine whether someone will live or die. And in reporting the warning signs there are several things that stand in the way of reporting them to a supervisor or manager.



So what are some of those excuses that people give for not reporting the warning signs to the proper individual(s)? This is only a partial list. I’m sure you’ve heard many more than these. And before I list them, a quote;

He, who accepts evil, without protesting against it, is really cooperating with it.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

  • He is just going through a tough time
  • He’s not that kind
  • He’s got problems, who doesn’t?
  • I don’t want to get him in trouble.
  • I don’t want to get involved.
  • It’s not my problem
  • Why should I care what happens to him?
  • I hate this place, why should I warn them?
  • This company needs a wake-up call anyway.
  •  They won’t listen to me.


Connecting the Dots:

                I stated above that no one just ever snaps. There are always the warning signs. Unfortunately, it’s as much the companies fault as it is employees that these signs are ignored. In addition, to the excuses above, no one can or is willing to ‘connect the dots’. It is a simple exercise, especially when you know what to look, and train employees in.

And it’s not just that simple either. Supervisors, managers, human resources, security, top management, literally everyone needs to know not to ignore what an employee brings to them. And they need to ‘buy-in’ to the security and WPV prevention program 150%. And demonstrate that fact.


Another person’s view:

                Forensic psychologist Robert Fein, PhD, now a national security psychologist, “targeted violence is the end result of an understandable and often discernible process of thinking and behavior,” In other words, people don’t just “snap,” he says.

Specifically, studies found that attackers usually plan for days and months before committing a crime. In addition, while perpetrators don’t often threaten their targets directly, other people usually know enough to be concerned before a plan is carried out. “It seems increasingly clear that when bad things happen, there are people around the person who know enough to have concerns,”


Robert D. Sollars is a recognized authority on workplace violence prevention. He has proven himself in the security arena for more than 31 years, and 23 studying workplace violence issues. His forthcoming e-book ‘One is too Many: Recognizing & Preventing Workplace Violence’ will be out in June. You can read more about WPV/security at



The Drunken Downfall of Evangelical America’s Favorite Painter

Thomas Kinkade’s death shocked his legions of fans—not only had the Painter of Light died at 54, but the cause was alcohol and Valium. How did the evangelical darling fall so far?

The Painter of Light was pissed off.


It was November 20, 2010, less than two years before he died, and Thomas Kinkade was at the Denver Broncos’ stadium to unveil Mile High Thunder, his painting for the Tim Tebow Foundation. At 52, he was America’s most popular—and the art establishment’s most hated—living artist. Esteemed art critic Jerry Saltz once wrote that “Kinkade’s paintings are worthless schmaltz, and the lamestream media that love him are wrong.” But to his fans, Kinkade was everything.

Evangelical Christians snapped up his bucolic garden scenes and cozy cottages with windows that glowed so much they seemed, as Joan Didion once wrote, “as if the interior of the structure might be on fire.” Kinkade painted “John 3:16,” along with the sign of the fish, the traditional Christian symbol for Jesus, in the signature of each of his sentimental works that now hang in around 20 million homes globally. He also published books and calendars that paired his paintings with verses from the Bible or inspirational aphorisms attributed to the artist himself: “The best things in life are yours for the choosing”; “Creativity has everything to do with the way you live”; “Your life has meaning and beauty, and you are not alone.”

Fans in Denver had been promised “a 30 minute inspirational presentation.” But what they got was an un-groomed, underdressed speaker who was none too pleased with the media’s coverage of his recent arrest for drunk driving.

“I sneeze in public, and I make a headline,” he sneered.

Then he complained about the media’s lack of attention to his charitable works: “America’s most-known, most-beloved artist shows up at Orange County Hospital. We threw an all-day kids event, we hosted art contests, we gave art packages to all the kids…I talked to them about journaling their life, about creating something every day that makes a statement…and we sent word out to every newspaper: ‘Come down! See this day of joy! This day of celebration!’ No one showed.  But make one wrong step in public and they put it on the front page.”

When he was finished, Kinkade asked the organizers to make sure that his hotel room was alcohol-free, and then he kept the owner of Colorado’s Kinkade gallery up late into the night reminiscing about his pre-estrangement life with Nanette, his wife of 30 years. In happier times, they’d written The Many Loves of Marriage together, and Kinkade was still hiding “N’s” in his paintings as a tribute to her, even though they’d been separated for close to a year. “I was in my Carmel house, just medicated with alcohol,” he’d told a longtime friend of the weeks following the split.

A month after the event, Kinkade was sentenced to 10 days in jail on the DUI charge. Sixteen months later, he was found unconscious and spent days in a coma. Doctors told him that if he didn’t get help, he would die. And two months after that, he did— on April 6, 2012, at the age of 54.

The family released a statement attributing his death to natural causes, and fans gathered at the 50 or so independently-owned Thomas Kinkade galleries nationwide to celebrate his career. Sales skyrocketed. Marty Brown, who owns a gallery in Lake Forest, California, said he sold a million dollars’ worth of Kinkade product in the two months following the artist’s death—about five times as much as he’d sold in the entire previous year.

Then the autopsy came.

Kinkade had died of “acute ethanol and diazepam intoxication”—alcohol and Valium. Drinking had also led to a slew of chronic ailments: hypertension, an enlarged heart and fatty liver, along with numerous blunt force injuries probably caused by frequent drunken falls. His toenails had been painted a glittery gold color, and there was also green paint under his fingernails.

Grieving over his death quickly gave way to a highly public legal war between his widow, Nanette, and his girlfriend, Amy Pinto-Walsh. Pinto-Walsh produced letters written in Kinkade’s blurry, alcohol-fueled scrawl that promised her his home, his paintings, and $10 million to establish a museum of his works. The estate requested a gag order to prevent Pinto-Walsh from releasing photos and information damaging to the Painter of Light’s brand, and the matter was quickly settled out of court.

But the damage was done: Thomas Kinkade, America’s most inspirational painter, had been exposed in death as a man who had lived a life wildly at odds with the values he espoused. Kinkade’s wife and children had inherited his business, but the company’s value was an extremely open question. Driving to work on her first day back in the office,Kristen Barthelman, the Thomas Kinkade Co.’s head of licensing, was worried. “I did not have any sense of optimism,” she remembers. The company’s revenues depended on licensing deals with companies like Disney and Hallmark, and Edstrom wondered whether they’d stay with the brand given the headlines swirling about Kinkade’s life. Then there was the question of the painter’s fans: Would his mostly conservative following stay loyal, or would the degeneracy of Kinkade’s last years mean the end of the art empire that had been his American Dream?

* * * *

Before Thomas Kinkade was evangelical America’s favorite painter or 2012’s most high-profile case study on the dangers of alcohol abuse, he was a poor kid with a single mom in Placerville, California—a Rockwell-esque town, population 10,000, 40 miles east of Sacramento. Kinkade and his brother, Dr. Patrick Kinkade, now the head of the criminal justice department at Texas Christian University, called their home “the slum of Placerville.” Patrick remembers the tubs of peanut butter stamped “Property of El Dorado County” that their mother told them were gifts from a friend. But he also remembers the sense of optimism she provided. When the pre-teen boys returned home from school to find their furniture repossessed, she told them she’d gotten rid of it because she thought it would be more fun to “camp out” in their house. They believed her, and thought she was the coolest mom ever.

Their interactions with their father, an alcoholic who scraped by with odd jobs doing janitorial work and driving rental cars between airports, were mostly limited to occasional road trips.

“He was a loveable sad sack,” Patrick remembers. “For a lot of years he was sort of this character in our lives. Thom and I both certainly felt that we were more sophisticated than he was. He’d go off on these tangents, these flights of fancy about what he was going to do with his life—these bouts of expertise that he really had no expertise about. He’d be so into it, and Thom and I would just sit there and smile and nod knowing that all this was nonsense and that my dad really didn’t have the capacity to carry out that plan. He wanted to sail around the Sea of Cortez; he had this weird little boat that in no way was ready nor was he a sailor. He had a hat and a map.”

As an adult, Kinkade blended his father’s grandiosity with his own herculean work ethic and clarity of purpose. He was perpetually broke while he studied at UC Berkeley and Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design, but he’d still find $400 to drop in a single trip to Moe’s, a popular Berkeley used bookstore. He studied the master painters obsessively but never graduated from either school.

“In art school I was told so many times ‘Your art is all about you,’” he later remembered. “And something about that didn’t sit well with me. I began to realize my art’s not about me, it’s about you. It’s about that other person. It’s about letting something within you pour out in love to other people.”

In the 1980s, Kinkade thought the art world had become detached from the public—and he saw himself as the person to return it to an artist-as-servant model, where painters affirmed rather than challenged social values. His hero was Andy Warhol, who, he felt, had rescued art from insularity and infused it with iconography that meant something to ordinary people; what Warhol did with soup cans and Marilyn Monroe, Kinkade thought he could do with Eden-inspired garden scenes and Cotswolds cottages.

“The tragedy of my brother is he eventually fell to his own humanity. The triumph of my brother is that his art was never touched by that tragedy.”

A post-college road trip led to the publication of The Artist’s Guide to Sketching, which helped him land work painting backgrounds for an animated movie, 1983’s Fire and Ice. After that, he focused on his own studio pieces—large-scale, Bierstadt-inspired panoramas of the American West that found an audience among California collectors.

Soon he approached Ken Raasch, a California entrepreneur, with the idea of setting up a printmaking business.  He was already selling $5,000 worth of prints a month, he lied to Raasch (he wasn’t selling any). Though fraudulent inducement does not ordinarily augur well, it worked. With Kinkade’s feel-good paintings and Raasch’s acumen and $35,000 in startup capital, the business took off.

Kinkade’s charisma made him a live event star, and he was the first limited-edition artist to popularize the idea of highlighting prints—having craftsmen retouch reproductions with oil paints to make them look like originals. He was also among the first to offer the same limited edition print in different sizes. Advisers warned this would make them seem cheap, but instead it increased sales dramatically. And then he came up with the idea for a chain of small, mall-based galleries that sold only his work.

By the mid-1990s, Kinkade had become to the evangelical movement what Peter Max was to the psychedelic Sixties. As American homes expanded in size and contracted in originality, Kinkade’s stated mission was to fill as many of their walls as possible—and in the process, he filled more than anyone else ever had.

“We saw the power of art in a world that was changing,” Raasch explains of their Silicon Valley-based company that was unlike anything else in town. “What we believed in was the power of a still image to bring power and joy into people’s lives. We felt that what hung on the walls of people’s homes mattered.”

Kinkade, who referred to his pieces as “silent messengers in the home,” was unapologetic about his almost clinical efforts to make his work uplifting. “Every element in my paintings, from the patch of sun in the foreground to the mists on a distant horizon, is an effort to summon back those perfect moments that hang in our minds as pictures of harmony,” he once wrote in Lightposts for Living. “My deepest desire is that my work will help people aspire to the life those kinds of images evoke.” In more private moments, according to one former employee, he sometimes referred to his paintings as “a 30-second vacation in a double-wide.”

The Thomas Kinkade Co. went public on the NASDAQ in 1994 and moved to the NYSE in 1998. In 2004, Kinkade borrowed money to take it private. A decline in sales, litigation over the failure of many of the independent galleries, and the bankruptcy of a subsidiary followed, but the company survived—and Kinkade remained, by far, America’s best-selling artist with a smaller, but still rabid, fan base.

The company persevered, but Kinkade himself did not fare as well. He controlled his fondness for alcohol and strip clubs adequately when his wife was with him, but things spiraled out of control when he was on the road. By the mid-2000s, Kinkade’s family was pushing him into inpatient rehab as stories about his alcoholism started to make the news. The last five years of his life were characterized by the pattern of ups and downs familiar to many addicts.

“Thom believed that he should be able to control it, and that contributed to his downfall,” his brother remembers. “He had six months of sobriety and he was doing all these wonderful things. He was calling me and telling me: ‘Feeling good! Losing weight! Doing great!’ And then suddenly, you get a message: ‘Thom’s had a beer.’ Two days later, he’s into vodka. Seven days later, he’d dead.”


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36a00d8341bffb053ef016300a580a8970d-300wiby Shanka Herath –

Family isn’t always blood.  They’re the people in your life who appreciate having you in theirs – the ones who encourage you to improve in healthy and exciting ways, and who not only embrace who you are now, but also embrace and embody who you want to be.  These people – your real family – are the ones who truly matter.

Here are twenty tips to help you find and foster these special relationships.



Spend time with nice people who are smart, driven and likeminded.  Relationships should help you, not hurt you.  Surround yourself with people who reflect the person you want to be.  Choose friends who you are proud to know, people you admire, who love and respect you – people who make your day a little brighter simply by being in it.  Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.  When you free yourself from negative people, you free yourself to be YOU – and being YOU is the only way to truly live.


The sad truth is that there are some people who will only be there for you as long as you have something they need.  When you no longer serve a purpose to them, they will leave.  The good news is, if you tough it out, you’ll eventually weed these people out of your life and be left with some great people you can count on.  We rarely lose friends and lovers, we just gradually figure out who our real ones are.  So when people walk away from you, let them go.   Your destiny is never tied to anyone who leaves you.  It doesn’t mean they are bad people; it just means that their part in your story is over.


When you look at a person, any person, remember that everyone has a story.  Everyone hasgone through something that has changed them, and forced them to grow.  Every passing face on the street represents a story every bit as compelling and complicated as yours.  We meet no ordinary people in our lives.  If you give them a chance, everyone has something amazing to offer.  So appreciate the possibility of new relationships as you naturally let go of old ones that no longer work.  Trust your judgment.  Embrace new relationships, knowing that you are entering into unfamiliar territory.  Be ready to learn, be ready for a challenge, and be ready to meet someone that might just change your life forever.


Treat everyone with kindness and respect, even those who are rude to you – not because they are nice, but because you are.  There are no boundaries or classes that define a group of people that deserve to be respected.  Treat everyone with the same level of respect you would give to your grandfather and the same level of patience you would have with your baby brother.  People will notice your kindness.


In most cases it’s impossible to change them anyway, and it’s rude to try.  So save yourself from needless stress.  Instead of trying to change others, give them your support and lead by example.


Having an appreciation for how amazing the people around you are leads to good places – productive, fulfilling, peaceful places.  So be happy for those who are making progress.  Cheer for their victories.  Be thankful for their blessings, openly.  What goes around comes around, and sooner or later the people you’re cheering for will start cheering for you.


In this crazy world that’s trying to make you like everyone else, find the courage to keep being your awesome self.  And when they laugh at you for being different, laugh back at them for being the same.  Spend more time with those who make you smile and less time with those who you feel pressured to impress.  Be your imperfectly perfect self around them.  We are not perfect for everyone, we are only perfect for those select few people that really take the time to get to know us and love us for who we really are.  And to those select few, being our imperfectly perfect self is what they love about us.


Don’t live your life with hate in your heart. You will end up hurting yourself more than the people you hate.  Forgiveness is not saying, “What you did to me is okay.”  It is saying, “I’m not going to let what you did to me ruin my happiness forever.”  Forgiveness is the remedy.  It doesn’t mean you’re erasing the past, or forgetting what happened.  It means you’re letting go of the resentment and pain, and instead choosing to learn from the incident and move on with your life.  Remember, the less time you spend hating the people who hurt you, the more time you’ll have to love the people who love you.


Sometimes those little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts.  You can’t be everything to everyone, but you can be everything to a few people.  Decide who these people are in your life and treat them like royalty.


As we grow up, we realize it becomes less important to have more friends and more important to have real ones.  Remember, life is kind of like a party.  You invite a lot of people, some leave early, some stay all night, some laugh with you, some laugh at you, and some show up really late.  But in the end, after the fun, there are a few who stay to help you clean up the mess.  And most of the time, they aren’t even the ones who made the mess.  These people are your real friends in life.  They are the ones who matter most.


True love and real friendship aren’t about being inseparable. These relationships are about two people being true to each other even when they are separated.  When it comes to relationships, remaining faithful is never an option, but a priority.  Loyalty is everything.


In human relationships distance is not measured in miles, but in affection.  Two people can be right next to each other, yet miles apart.  So don’t ignore someone you care about, because lack of concern hurts more than angry words.  Stay in touch with those who matter to you.  Not because it’s convenient, but because they’re worth the extra effort.  Remember, you don’t need a certain number of friends, just a number of friends you can be certain of.  Paying attention to these people is a priority.


If you say you’re going to do something, DO IT!  If you say you’re going to be somewhere, BE THERE!  If you say you feel something, MEAN IT!  If you can’t, won’t, and don’t, then DON’T LIE.  It’s always better to tell people the truth up front.  Don’t play games with people’s heads and hearts.  Don’t tell half-truths and expect people to trust you when the full truth comes out; half-truths are no better than lies.  Remember, love and friendship don’t hurt.  Lying, cheating and screwing with people’s feelings and emotions hurts.  Never mess with someone’s feelings just because you’re unsure of yours.  Always be open and honest.


Don’t expect what you are not willing to give.  Start practicing the golden rule.  If you want love, give love.  If you want friends, be friendly.  If you want money, provide value.  It works.  It really is this simple.


Give the people in your life the information they need, rather than expecting them to know the unknowable.  Information is the grease that keeps the engine of communication functioning.  Start communicating clearly.  Don’t try to read other people’s minds, and don’t make other people try to read yours.  Most problems, big and small, within a family, friendship, or business relationships, start with bad communication.


Do not judge others by your own past.  They are living a different life than you are.  What might be good for one person may not be good for another.  What might be bad for one person might change another person’s life for the better.  Allow people to make their own mistakes and their own decisions.


Less advice is often the best advice.  People don’t need lots of advice, they need a listening ear and some positive reinforcement.  What they want to know is often already somewhere inside of them.  They just need time to think, be and breathe, and continue to explore the undirected journeys that will eventually help them find their direction.


Someone else doesn’t have to be wrong for you to be right.  There are many roads to what’s right.  And most of the time it just doesn’t matter that much.


No one has the right to judge you.  They might have heard your stories, but they didn’t feel what you were going through.  No matter what you do, there will always be someone who thinks differently.  So concentrate on doing what you know in your heart is right.  What most people think and say about you isn’t all that important.  What is important is how you feel about yourself.


One of the most painful things in life is losing yourself in the process of loving others too much, and forgetting that you are special too.  When was the last time someone told you that they loved you just the way you are, and that what you think and how you feel matters?  When was the last time someone told you that you did a good job, or took you someplace, simply because they know you feel happy when you’re there?  When was the last time that ‘someone’ was YOU?



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8 Must-Know Tips to Grow Your Business

By: Berny Dohrmann

As the chairman of one of the world’s largest business support organizations, I’ve encountered countless prospective entrepreneurs trying to put their ideas into action by launching a business.  My experiences have given me a unique insight into what makes and breaks a business in today’s market.

Here are eight essential tips for shaping a good idea into a great business:

1. “You can’t build a business like a hobby project.”

Entrepreneurship should never be a casual endeavor. Building a thriving business in today’s market means devoting yourself fully to the mission you intend to accomplish via the company.

Setting your business aside for any length of time can lead it down a slippery slope you may not be able to crawl back up from. Keep yourself organized; set clear goals you can accomplish, and dedicate yourself to making sure your ideas come to fruition.

2. “Wrong sequence ends in business failure.”

One of the biggest hurdles to business growth is the lack of a detailed planning system. No matter how big your idea is, expecting overnight success can cloud you to the practical considerations that can quickly grow larger than your ability to deal with them. Move your business forward one step at a time, and more importantly, know where you’re going before you try to get there.

3. “Advertising is naked without PR.”

Flashy ads are no substitute for a well-thought out communications strategy.  In the age of information, every business needs a sensible way to spread its ideas and brand to clients and consumers ready to buy.  An idea is useless without a suitable voice to present it to the world. Build your advertisement strategy around the people best suited to get you to the next step of your objective.

4. “Never say NO to growth.”

In today’s market, you can’t afford to miss the opportunities that can get you from one step to the next. While defining a plan for growth and future investment is necessary to guide your business decisions, nothing should ever be set in stone.

5. “The difference between wealth and income is how many people you benefit.”

All the growth in the world means little if you do nothing to benefit those who helped you get there. Your team and periphery support network need to be included in the rewards in direct correlation with the effort they put into the business’s success. While numbers need to be your first concern when it comes to sustaining yourself and your ideas in the market, make sure you measure your success by more than just a bottom line.

6. “As you grow IT, IT will grow you.”

Don’t get tunnel vision when it comes to everyday business. In today’s business world, every connection you make can be a game-changing opportunity. Never walk away from the chance to shake hands with a potential partner no matter their value to you and your business at the moment. Grow your network every chance you get.

7. “Nothing will grow you more than growing your dreams.”

While it’s important to consider all of your decisions through a filter of practicality, you should never be convinced you can’t achieve what you’ve set out to do. Businesses never fail because a dream is wrong; they fail because they choose the wrong path to achieve it. Remember that the more work you put into getting somewhere only makes the achievement more meaningful in the end.

8. “Competition slows everything down.”

If your definition of progress includes hurting other companies along the way, you’re not on the fastest lane to success. Although the market environment may appear inherently competitive at first glance, a collaborative perspective on business can make everyone’s ideas a reality faster than they could through isolation and bitter fights for market share. Look at your competitors as potential partners and find a way forward for everyone involved.

About Berny Dohrmann

Berny Dohrmann is chairman and founder of CEO Space International, (, one of the world’s largest support organizations for business owners. The inventor of Super Teaching, a Title I technology that accelerates retention for public schools, he is frequently a guest speaker on that topic to various nations, VIP conferences and television programs. As a member of the Dohrmann family, which operated the largest global resort-outfitting firm as Dohrmann Hotel Supply for several generations, he grew up with several business mentors, including Napoleon Hill, Earl Nightingale, Walt Disney, Warner Earnhardt, Bucky Fuller, Dr. Edward Deming and Jack Kennedy.


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