The Experts Up Close
Dr. Nido Qubein is president of High Point University, a speaker and author of more than two dozen books.
Connie Podesta is a licensed counselor, speaker, comedian and author of Life Would Be Easy If It Weren’t for Other People.
Niurka is a speaker, communication and influence expert and founder of Niurka Inc., a corporate training company.
Q. I developed a budget for my personal life but with prices going up for everything from groceries to airline tickets, how do I stay on track with the financial guidelines I have created for myself?
Niurka: There are two ways to achieve your financial goals: 1) create more money and 2) create wiser budget strategies.
Even in challenging times, opportunities always exist to create more money as long as you believe it’s possible. Your finances mirror your expectations and the value you create. If you expect merely to stay within a set budget, you could overlook opportunities for creating greater wealth. Ask yourself, “How can I be even more aware of the unlimited opportunities that surround me now?”
But no matter how much money you make, it’s definitely wise to budget your finances. To stay on track with your financial guidelines, distinguish between “needs” and “wants.” Decide what you value most in your life, and then make your purchases based on what’s most important to you – with every dollar you spend, you cast a vote. With every purchase, ask yourself, “Is this aligned with my highest values? How will this product or service benefit my life?” Think long term – if it will give you immediate pleasure, but sabotage your financial goals, is it really worth it? Invest only in products and services that you feel passionate about or truly need.
Simplify. Is it possible that reducing consumption could bring you even more joy while meeting your financial guidelines? How would it feel to find more fulfillment in your work and contributions than in your purchases? In giving we receive. Continually ask yourself, “How can I share my value in creative ways that support my financial objectives?”
Nido Qubein: Always pay yourself first. Skim some money off the top and hide it/invest it in something you believe in. Live on less. Differentiate between “I need this” and “I want this.” Most of the time, we just want and if we can delay instant gratification we can achieve wonderful results.
I teach a class at High Point University on life skills. I show my students the power of one dollar. A single dollar can go a long way. A dollar saved each day is $3,650 in 10 years plus all the return in interest it brings. Over a lifetime, a dollar saved and invested wisely can derive huge results, given the magic of compounding. So one doesn’t have to save a lot of money – a little bit at a time can add up to a lot over time! Besides, if you don’t develop these habits you’ll be broke. Not good.
Q. I know the key to achieving more in my life is directly linked to the thoughts I replay in my mind on a daily basis. What are some of your best mantras to be self-disciplined in my goal-setting for the upcoming year?
Niurka: Every cell in your body eavesdrops on your internal dialogue. Whatever you consistently tell yourself becomes true for you. Words have power! What you express, you impress. Reciting empowering mantras clears your mind of disempowering self-talk and directs your energy wisely toward your goals. Here are a few mantras I’ve used to maintain my commitment to my goals, even when life seems challenging.
With faith the size of a mustard seed, I can move mountains. That’s a big claim! Have you ever seen a mustard seed? It’s tiny! To have faith that minuscule leaves no room for doubt. Absence of doubt is key to achieving goals. Tell yourself: There’s always a way when I’m committed.
When you commit to achieve great things, you must often leave behind old beliefs and behaviors that no longer serve you. Many people are afraid of change or letting go of the past. This mantra helps me move beyond the past and embrace the magnificent future that awaits: Nothing great leaves my life without something better replacing it.
Most people re-create the same experience of reality in the midst of infinite possibilities. This mantra inspires me to create my life by design: I am in the eternal moment of choice and I have the freedom to choose.
The outside world may seem fixed or static, but in reality it is malleable based on your thoughts, words and actions. This mantra reminds me that I create my experience of reality. I am the Master Alchemist; the universe yields to the power of my intention.
And finally, my favorite mantra: When I change, the world around me changes – I have that much power!
Nido Qubein: My mother taught me the best lessons about life:
Who you spend time with is who you become.
What you choose is what you get.
Select your friends carefully and make your choices prudently.
Be selectively extravagant and prudently frugal.
Get rid of the un-wows in your life (the habits and behaviors that lead to nowhere good).
To be a great person, you must first walk hand in hand and side by side with great people.
Life is what you make it, so trod cautiously.
Connie Podesta: To be honest, I am not a big mantra person – that’s not to say it doesn’t work splendidly for many people. I am an action person. When negative thoughts come into my mind, I get moving. I walk, take a drive, work, exercise, go to a movie – I do something quickly! Keeping busy and active keeps my negative thoughts at bay and I always end up feeling so much better. If I did have a mantra, it would be: Do something! Do something now!