The Power of Music

By NickNo Comments
80px Note orange.svg The Power of Music
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I just dusted off the old APO emblazened portable CD case with several great musical choices from back in the day. 

One of the most challenging aspects of dealing with a job loss is keeping a positive outlook and staying motivated.  For me, few things keep me upbeat than firing up some tunage.  Yes, I might look silly by drivers next to me singing only to myself in my car, but I find it a lot of fun.  It keeps me happy and it keeps my energy level up. 

Do something to keep you happy and moving.  Newton's Law of Inertia is at work here.  An object (or person) who is in motion tends to stay in motion. An object (or person) at rest tends to stay at rest.  Don't allow yourself the opportunity to stop.  It is when you aren't moving that fear and self-doubt creep into your life. 

Get out there and make it happen!

 The Power of Music
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Financial Education Messages

The Power of Networking

By NickNo Comments

When I came to Omaha at the end of 2010, I soon discovered how important it was for me to get in front of clients.  Those who know me well, know just how hard it is for me to do so.  I'm a natural introvert so I can easily be drained and can feel very uncomfortable in large events, particularly with entrenched groups.  So the first thing I knew I needed was a way to go out and systematically meet people quickly.  I had recently read a book on marketing.  In it, the author quoted research that indicated that it takes 9 impressions on a prospect to facilitate a buying decision and that generally, we only pay attention 1/3 of a time.  Therefore, we must touch a prospect 27 times to make them a customer.  I, therefore, designed my "27 Contacts" client aquisition program.  It was a cafeteria plan of methods and techniques to put my name and company in front of them.  I tracked all of the clients and their impressions on a spreadsheet.  Within 6 months, the spreadsheet was well over 200 names. 

As of today, I have systematically created thousands of impressions on hundreds of clients/partners; and, by treating them well, I have created hundreds of potential advocates for my job search and those of my former team.  In addition, I can bring my list of contacts with me to my next firm or to use them in my own business if I go that direction exclusively.

By engaging my list of contacts I have already gotten 2 interviews and a couple of lunch meetings established, as well as dozens of others passing my name around Omaha.  Nearly every one of my former team members is also interviewing.  It is my hope that all of us will be gainfully employed again in short order.

Will my method of systematizing my contact touches work for everyone? No.  But for the millions out there who are intimidated by big business development or networking events, my approach might help you a great deal, whether it is for finding a new position or for rainmaking. 

One of the best and most efficient ways to build your Value Proposition or to share it with others is through the power of Networking

Good luck and get out there!

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Financial Education Messages

All in All It’s Just Another Bend in the Road

By NickNo Comments

Hello Friends,

As many of you have heard, the board of directors at my company has decided to close our office in Omaha.  Despite making substantial improvements in service and personnel, the mending of some past relationships and a 60% cut in office losses in the past year without resorting to layoffs, the Board threw in the tower on the office.  As a business owner I can't blame them.  If one of the offices I was responsible for had lost money in each of the previous 10 years, I would have lost patience too.  I appreciate the opportunity that these folks in Omaha gave me and I harbor no ill will to them.

I, again, am put into a position that I must practice what I preach–to validate what I believe the most–that success comes to you the more you help others.  I will attempt to use this forum to discuss what I am doing on a daily basis as I conduct my search.  I hope it impresses upon my readers how important it is to believe in yourself and in your actions.  It's also there to motivate me to keep moving.  I have learned through personal experience that it is in idleness that self-doubt and despair lie.  I intend to not be a victim of it again.

This is the 3rd time I have been a victim of a layoff.  The first 2 times, I only had to worry about myself.  This case is all together different.  As manager of an office that is closing, I feel an obligation to the members of my team-about half of which I brought on in the first place. 

In the past several days, I have worked hard to find "lifeboats" for the great people who made up my staff.  Several of them have already had interviews with my former competitors.  I would consider it an accomplishment if my employees have all found opportunities elsewhere by the close of business of my last day–tomorrow.

To assist the members of my team, I crafted the following email: (Note contact information was removed)

Hello _____

It is with deep regret that I must inform you that the Board of Directors of GSI has decided to close the doors to our Omaha location.  Though in the past year we had made significant headway in improving profitability, mending relationships, improving service and bringing on good personnel, in the face of slowly diminishing backlog, the Board decided to no longer invest in our operation.  We appreciate the 30+ years we had in Omaha.

Going forward, I ask you to please utilize your network to find a home for our quality people.  I wholeheartedly endorse every one of them.  Some of them may be provided an opportunity at another GSI office so you might want to speak with them quickly.  They are:

                Doug Carey                  Construction Services Manager               

                Jeffrey Seymour, P.E.  Environmental Engineer

                 Chuck Keppard          Senior Engineering Technician                   

                Paul Frederick             Senior Engineering Technician                   

                Amy Jorgensen           Office Administrator                                     

                Jimmy Ball                   Environmental Technician                           

                               

As for me, most of you know that I came to Omaha from Chicago less than a year and a half ago.  Although my personal network here is small, my wife and I are determined to make it work here.  If any of you are interested in speaking with me or know of opportunity for a sales minded engineer who loves managing teams and improving businesses, I hope you will keep me in mind.  You can find me via LinkedIn or contact me via email or on my cell phone. 

Thank you for the opportunity to work with you and thank you for your friendship.

 

Best regards,

 

Nick Wolff

 

This is an example of how I am trying to help others.  If I can find a home for my staff, I think it would go a long way to having them remembering me well.  What if all of our companies took such steps to help out their former partners?  I am confident that this will come back to me.  It may be next week or 10 years from now, but the reward will come.  The universe loves balance.  The more positive notions you put out, the more positivity returns to you.

Tomorrow I intend to discuss how 16 months of relationship building locally is translating into opportunities before my eyes.  Behold the magic of being a good person!

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Financial Education Messages

Financial Game Spotlight of the Day: Financial Football

By NickNo Comments

Financial Football – This game is the product of the people at practicalmoneyskills.com. An online question and answer format on economic and personal finance topics. There are 3 levels to the game serving learners from ages 11 to 18+. The player advances by answering questions of varying difficulty correctly. Be careful, however, because incorrect answers can make you lose yardarge or turn the ball over. Most recently, my Chicago Bears beat th Green Bay Packers by the score of 30 – 0. Each your heart our Aaron Rodgers.

 Financial Game Spotlight of the Day: Financial Football
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Financial Education Messages

Overview of Our Business Education Program

By NickNo Comments

Hello Folks,

Please review this trifold which summarizes our business education program.

Business Education Overview

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Financial Education Messages

Overview of Our Financial Education Program

By NickNo Comments

Hello Folks,

Please review this trifold which summarizes our financial education program.

Personal Financial Education Overview

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Financial Education Messages

Mine! A Tale of Parental Weakness

By NickNo Comments
 Mine! A Tale of Parental Weakness
Image via Wikipedia

I am sorry to say that my son sometimes gets his way when he shouldn’t. 

This morning was a particularly hard day for me.  It has been one of those days when my threshold for tolerating child drama is terribly low.  My son is in the habit of hoarding all the toys so my daughter doesn’t have any to play with.  Whenever she picks up a new toy, my son says, “Mine!  Give it back!”  My daughter, being a little more congenial at her age than her older brother, will often just smile and give the toy to him.  But if my daughter refuses and my son is disappointed, he often throws a tantrum.  Many times, I will just tell him that your sister is welcome to play with the toy and you should just go back to play with the one you had been playing with prior to you realizing that someone else was playing too.  But there are days like today, when I do not want to fight with my son; and I allow my son to run roughshod over my daughter.  I know it is not right.  I know I am indulging my son; and, I also know that if I do this too much I am teaching my son habits which are not productive in the long term. 

The world frowns on individuals or groups who work to take what others have or to use a “scorched earth” policy to share misery if they are disappointed.  It is horrible to enshrine envy as a virtue, but I believe it is altogether evil to combine it with force.  There are many societal phenomena occurring today that are guided by the misguided and toxic combination of envy and force.  Those who believe in such notions are no better than my 2 year old boy.

Being a parent is hard work.  Some days it is harder to be a parent than other days.  But parenting carries the weight of enormous responsibility.  My daughter has every right to play with the toys that her mother and I provided for both of my children to enjoy.  My son needs to learn that lesson and soon.  But when my son throws a tantrum, I, in a weak moment, am inclined to let him have his way because I want the drama to end—because it is easier.  How often do our leaders give in to the special interest group over the welfare of the larger constituency simply because the leaders want the drama to go away?  This is largely the strategy of these groups.  They know that so many of us will behave just like my daughter who just put up with the poor behavior of others.  Like exasperated parents, who are also concerned about keeping their livelihood, which is subject to the whims of public opinion, our leaders are never encouraged to do what is best.  They are encouraged to do what is easy.  

But we parents do not that the luxury of doing what is easy.  We must be willing to draw a line in the sand—to set a standard for our kids to aspire to.  Will sometimes we fail to reach that standard? Yes. That is the price of high expectations. 

It is our actions as parents which either put our children on the path to prosperous adulthood or on the path of continual, embittered adolescence.

 Mine! A Tale of Parental Weakness
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Financial Education Messages

Prudence, Fear and Irony

By NickNo Comments
4186728 Prudence, Fear and Irony
Cover of Alanis Morissette

In the 1990’s, an upstart pop singer Alanis Morisette released a song entitled Ironic.  The song ran through a litany of unfortunate occurrences that really were more indicative of bad luck than irony.  Irony is the phenomenon of taking actions intended to bring about one outcome which end up producing the opposite outcome.  Some people speculate that this is the greater meaning of the song Ironic, in that it is a song about irony in which nothing in the song is ironic.  I have my doubts.  I had the benefit of hearing a great talk, by a leadership expert, Jeremie Kubicek, about the concept of self-preservation in the current economy and how when it comes to personal finance our own fear and the actions we take in response to it can bring about our own financial self-destruction.

There is a strange thing about how our lives evolve from youth into adulthood.  In some ways we are different and in other ways we never change.  So much of our youth is driven by self-image in relation to others.  In our attempts to fit in, we adopt the cultural rules and the norms of others.  We submit ourselves to excessive pressures due to supporting self-imposed cultural expectations, putting energy in maintaining a delusion that we are the embodiment of those expectations.  As we grow up, we usually care less and less what other people think, but we often mistakenly assume equally burdensome expectations of oneself or obligations often in the form of debt, duty and lifestyle.  So although the reason for the pressures has changed, the pressures have not.  Unfortunately, although only a change of perspective can relieve us of the burdens of our own expectations.  Some burdens of our obligations have much sharper teeth.  If you burden yourself with debt, for instance, there are legal ramifications for abandoning them. 

The problem with all flavors of burden is that they exert huge burdens on the psyche, which are transmitted to everyone around us, particularly in times of great stress.  It takes energy to maintain a delusion.  Either I am trying to convince myself that I am what others think I should be, what I think I should be, or I may face the consequences of not being able to meet my obligations.  Fear and worry put us in a fight or flight mode, where it becomes easier to withdraw.  This damages our relationships with others, shuts down our higher thinking processes, makes the quality of our work less and usually endangers the very things we are trying to build walls around to protect.  Irony indeed.

2880286209 6c063c8b55 m Prudence, Fear and Irony
Image by nikoretro via Flickr

The economic downturn of the past few years has made many of us uncertain and scared.  I, myself, lost much and endangered much more.  Humans are not built to keep their spirits in bottles.  Fear entices us to do just that.  It is only through self-examination that you can find the things that you are afraid of losing.  Know that if your fear pushes you to build walls of protection around you, you are destined to lose those things.  You must fight back with all your power against that reaction.  I actually had to endure my biggest fear to lose my fear of it.  It’s a strangely liberating experience and drove me to write about money topics.

As parents, it makes sense to teach our children the concept of prudence, which is the art of delaying action until we’ve completed our due diligence.  But prudence is very different from fear.  The first is the analytical higher level thinking process of decision making.  The latter is the emotional reactions of our reptilian brain.  By discussing the difference between the two and by discussing the pressures of youth and adulthood and the consequences of taking on obligations, we can raise our kids to deal with our fears in constructive ways. 

Fear is there to make us aware of danger, not to make us afraid of it. Now that’s irony.

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Financial Education Messages

Financial Freedom: Redefine What is Impossible

By NickNo Comments

My son is 2 years old.  It’s a fascinating time in a young person’s life.  It is amazing how much a child develops from month to month.  Just today, my son and I were at a local restaurant that had a play room which featured a large jungle gym.  We’ve been to this place before and there is a section of the jungle gym where the bars are spaced further apart than in other places.  He had not been able to climb this area by himself a couple of weeks ago.  Today, I had the feeling that he was going to be able to do it. 

I encouraged him to go to that difficult part of the jungle gym.  Although he was excited (as he always is), I could tell that he was a little intimidated.  When we take on a task in which we had met with failure in the past, we all experience intimidation and fear.  None of us like to experience setbacks and the embarrassment, sometimes external and often internal, that accompanies it.  But it is important to remember that you are never quite the same person who struggled and failed before.  You are older and wiser than you were during the last attempt.  We learn far more from our setbacks than from our victories.  Sometimes, it is just the force of sheer will to continue to attempt despite the history and despite the objections of the nay-sayers.  Thomas Edison developed the incandescent light bulb after thousands of failed attempts.  Some thought the invention was impossible.  But through the persistence and hard work, his invention brought light to millions and combined with his other innovations provided him with riches.

300px Thomas edison gl%C3%BChbirne Financial Freedom: Redefine What is Impossible
 
Image via Wikipedia

My son began to climb the bars and soon arrived at the same place where he had had difficulty two weeks before.  He tried to climb as he always had and was unsuccessful.  He became frustrated and asked for my help where I had helped him before, but I told him no.  I told him I think he could climb it without my help.  “You can do it! I know you can!”  I also pointed to a place that I thought he might be able to use as a foothold which would give him the leverage to push himself up.  The first time I pointed this out to him, he seemed puzzled, but he soon had his foot there; and then, with difficulty, he eventually was able to push himself up to the next rung.  Surprised and happy, he had a big smile.  He joyfully yelled out, “I did it!”.  And I, smiling the proud smile only a father can have, yelled out, “Yes you did! Good job!” 

 Financial Freedom: Redefine What is Impossible
Image via Wikipedia

Soon after World War II, the United States started to design better, faster and more powerful aircraft.  As the planes became faster, they began approaching what was then called the “sound barrier”.  Pilots approaching the sound barrier experienced shaking associated with turbulence that many feared would destroy the plane.  Some scientists were convinced that the speed of sound was the speed limit of things flying through the air.  In 1947, test pilot, Chuck Yeager, broke the sound barrier.  Soon after dozens of pilots began to break the sound barrier until it no longer was referred to as a barrier, it was simply the speed of sound.  History is filled with such moments when what was the impossible suddenly becomes possible and when those who follow can perform the same feats with ease.

My son soon climbed the bars again.  This time he was no longer frustrated.  He knew what he had to do.  The impossible was now possible for him and he would not be denied.  Watching your child succeed is probably the most fulfilling joy in the world to a parent.  I look forward to a lifetime of victories.

Your experience and the experience of your children may be that it is impossible to become financially free.  It’s not.  It doesn’t matter your background, your history, your challenges or your current income.  Greatness lies within you and within them.  Nourish your child’s belief in himself or herself.  Learn with your children so you can help them to the extent that you can. 

Remember the impossible is only impossible until someone does it.

 Financial Freedom: Redefine What is Impossible
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Financial Education Messages

New Logo

By NickNo Comments

I would be interested in your feedback on my new logo. 

 

 New Logo

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