The Experts Up Close
Denis Waitley is a productivity consultant on human achievement and a best-selling author of Seeds of Greatness. Waitley has coached astronauts, Super Bowl champions and Olympic athletes.
Jim Rohn is a legendary motivational speaker, business philosopher and has numerous best-selling audio programs and books including The Five Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle.
Chris Widener is a radio host, motivational speaker and the best-selling author of The Angel Inside and The Art of Influence.
Q: What is a small change I can make in my life that could result in a big change for my financial future?
Denis Waitley: The most important change you can make is in your attitude. Wealth flows to breakthrough ideas and an abundance mentality. Pessimism and a scarcity mentality look backward and support the status quo. Change your mindset from a problem economy to an opportunity economy. All wealth has been created by solving problems with concepts that save people time and money, and that make life easier during trying times. Many of the most successful growth companies like Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and Federal Express were founded during down cycles.
Q: What is the best balance to strike between taking risks to grow my business and playing it safe?
Jim Rohn: I think the distinction to be made here is between simply taking risks and taking calculated risks. Calculated risks are when you’ve done the research, your “homework,” and you’ve got an understanding of the risk you are taking. Simply taking risks would be foolish and negligent. Warren Buffett says that one of his investing philosophies is to never invest in something he doesn’t understand. Wouldn’t the same apply to your business?
Chris Widener: There is a big difference between taking risks and being risky. Here are some tips for making sure you take risks without placing yourself in a risky situation:
Surround yourself with wise counselors who can help you consider the opportunities that present themselves to you. We should all have many people in our lives who know more than us, who have gone before us and have more experience than us. Taking advantage of their wisdom will save us a lot of trouble and help us consider things we wouldn’t have otherwise seen.
Don’t risk it all at once. Just as in investing, we should diversify when taking risks. Yes, we should regularly take risks, but we shouldn’t place all our eggs in one basket. The amount of risk you take depends on your life situation, of course, and your wise counselors can help you decide what is appropriate for your situation.
Q: I want to give back more to the people in my life who matter most—family and friends. What are some everyday ways to give back?
D.W.: The greatest gift you can give another person is to be there in person when it counts. Spontaneously invite friends or family members for lunch. Don’t wait for holidays. Attend your children’s practices as well as big games, recitals, plays and events.
Give your children “roots and wings” instead of “loot and things.” In this timestarved world, we attempt to purchase our children’s affection, which is a guilt trip to justify our lack of quality time together. Spend more time with them and less money on them.
Take the time to send handwritten notes to those you care about. Text messages, voice mails and e-mails are convenient, but expedient. Be different. Send a card or note by regular mail. Put a love note in the briefcase, purse, backpack, lunchbox or book at least once a month as a reminder of your affection.
Live a legacy, rather than leave a legacy. What you give to your family and friends as values is much more important than valuables you accumulate in your estate. Don’t spend your life putting points on the board hoping that your last will and testament will be your legacy to loved ones. Make every day a L.O.V.E. letter to those you really care about: Listen, Overlook little flaws, Voice praise and make a constant Effort to spend the time.
Q: How can I assess when to disassociate myself from people who are too toxic or too negative?
J.R.: Take a look at each of the people you spend major time with, and ask yourself if that time is positive and constructive or negative and destructive. Ask yourself:
What have they got me doing?
What have they got me thinking?
What have they got me feeling?
What have they got me saying?
And, ultimately, is that OK?
One final question: Are my current associations helping me grow in the direction I want to go? If the answer is no, then you’ve got to work to disassociate yourself from those relationships and people.
Q: In what ways can I harness the power of gratitude, and what are the benefits of doing so?
C.W.: One of the best things we can do to improve the quality of our lives is to be grateful and develop an attitude of thankfulness. Spending some time thinking about how good you have it will shape and mold your attitude and develop healthy thought patterns that will make you more thankful. Here’s how:
Look down the socioeconomic chain instead of up. Focusing our thoughts on the things we don’t have, while being a motivator, can also be a source of envy and greed. Remembering those who have less than us causes us to be thankful for what we have.
Donate money to others on a regular basis.
Simplify. When we simplify, we realize how we can make do on so much less. It makes us thankful for all the extras.