In a time when unemployment in stubbornly high (counting those that left the labor market) and job prospects are slim, you might think that employees would be less likely to quit their jobs. If you thought that, like I did, you’d be wrong. In fact, according to Forbes and the BLS, the number of people quitting their jobs is higher now than at any point in the last 4 years.

In March, 2.475 million American quit their jobs. This has been steadily increasing recently from a low in late 2009 (just after the financial collapse finally bottomed out) from a monthly rate of 1.7 million quits per month.

Just think about that for a second. Even in the darkest days in the aftermath of the biggest financial meltdown since the Great Depression, 1.7 million Americans each month were willing to tell their bosses to “take this job and shove it.”

This begs the question, “Why are so many people quitting their jobs?” If you do a quick search, you’ll see a plethora of articles outlining the top reasons people quit. You’ll likely notice that among all of the top reasons, almost none of them are related to the company or job itself. Employees are quitting at such staggering rates, even with slim job prospects, because of the leadership (or lack thereof) in the company.

People don’t quit their job; they quit their boss.

What is the lack of leadership costing employers? According to studies on employee turnover, the average cost to replace a single employee is approximately 20% of that worker’s salary. Losing just one employee with a $40,000/yr salary (U.S. median income), will cost an employer $8,000 to find, hire, and train a replacement. In the end, it’s not leadership development that’s expensive, but leadership deficiency.

Many companies seem to think that providing continuing education centered on technical aspects of the job equates to leadership development. What many companies need to understand is that, while job specific proficiency is critical, it’s undermined by poor leadership and interpersonal skills.

This is where a specific, ongoing leadership development program comes in. Note that I mentioned ongoing. One-off seminars and retreats do not get the job done. Understanding leadership vs. management and skills such as how to cast a vision and get buy-in, conflict resolution, public speaking, change management, etc. all require ongoing training and development. They are not developed in a weekend at a conference or hanging from ropes.

With this understanding, LIFE Leadership put together a 6-month corporate leadership education program based off the Inc. Magazine internationally recognized leadership expertise of the company’s founders, Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady. The program is comprised of (4) audios and (1) book per month and covers a variety of topics ranging from interpersonal skills to the visionary process and building social capital. As for pricing, LIFE Leadership decided to undercut the established leadership development market by an order of magnitude. Costing only $50 per month, per employee with a 30-day money-back guarantee on all of their products, they’re aiming right at the jugular of the leadership development industry behemoths like John Maxwell and Tony Robbins. To be sure, LIFE Leadership is gobbling up market share. In just the first two years of business they put up over $120 million dollars in sales. I expect that they’ll continue to disrupt the marketplace and put up impressive numbers as they sign on corporate customers with their new program. Time will tell if my prediction is correct.

If you want to dig into more about their corporate leadership series, see below for one of their sales fliers. Sale of the LIFE Leadership program is not available to the general public on their website. If you want to learn more, leave a comment with your contact information (I won’t post it publicly) and we can chat.

God Bless,

Clint Fix

Download (PDF, 536KB)

student-loan-debtTo continue progressing as a society, we need to continuously question and re-evaluate widely held assumptions. One such assumption that is due for re-evaluation is this: college is the best route to success. This assumption is so widely held that the masses don’t give it a second thought. Indeed, it has become a sacred cow. Let’s take a candid look at the current state of affairs regarding higher education and discuss a viable alternative.

Before continuing, I want to address those of you that are already in defense mode. Remember, any true academic and deep thinker questions their assumptions; even those they hold most deeply. If that is you, let’s continue.

Higher Education’s Report Card

Is college really the ticket to success that it used to be? Times have changed. What used to be true may no longer be. I’m not suggesting that college isn’t right for some people. I have a mechanical engineering degree from Kettering University (formerly GMI-EMI). It is a very useful degree from a great university. I’m proud of it. However, statistics show that for many, it may not be worth the investment of time and money when compared to certain alternatives.

So how does the report card look for higher education?

Let’s first discuss the investment students are choosing to make. The majority of high school graduates are making the choice to pursue a higher education. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2012 over 60% of high school graduates enrolled in a college or university. Those that choose to go to college for a 4-year program are signing up to spend $22,092 per year ($32,617 for a private university) on average.

The time commitment to get a 4-year degree is substantial. Each school and program is different, but at Kettering you can expect a time commitment equal to or more than a full-time job. To graduate with a 4-year degree at Kettering you’re required to complete 160 credit hours. Each class is four credit hours. For each four credit class you’re looking at four hours of class per week, not including lab time. To finish a degree at Kettering in four years, a student has to take 20 credit hours per semester. In other words, class time alone is 20-25 hours per week. On top of that you have to include homework and study time. I’m sure there are wide variations with other programs at different universities, but you get my point: getting a 4-year degree takes a lot of time.

What are the results?

First off, upon graduation, these students are burdened with, on average, over $26,000 of student loan debt. To make it worse, in 2011, 53% of bachelor degree holders under the age of 25 were jobless or underemployed! The starting wage for men and women that graduated in 2011 was $21.68 and $18.80 respectively. Overall, the median income for those with a 4-year degree is $43,143.

So is spending 4 years and $88,000 while going into debt $26,000 worth the results of working 40+ hours a week for someone else for 45-50 years for a median income of $43,143? For some, yes. However, I don’t believe college is nearly as good of a plan as society portrays. Thankfully, there are many alternatives. I want to offer you one that I know well.

An Alternative 4-year plan

Before I dive into the detail of the alternative, it’s important to highlight a couple of thoughts.

  1. Judge the alternative with the same filter you use to judge college. In other words, look at the results based on those who completed the program, not those who are in process or dropped out.
  2. Like getting a 4-year degree, results with the alternative will take consistent effort, over time, with an investment of money. Like college, many will not finish for a myriad of reasons/excuses. The alternative is not easy, but it is worth it.
  3. The workload and time frame for the alternative can vary widely, as can attaining a 4-year degree. For sake of a comparison, the alternative is laid out as closely to a typical 4-year program as possible.
  4. The analogy between the alternative and college is not perfect.

The alternative is LIFE Leadership. LIFE offers both a valuable leadership education and viable career path. For purposes of this comparison, I won’t go into the “majors” LIFE offers. I want to discuss LIFE as a career path.

A 4-year plan with LIFE:

life leadership trans

Before beginning on the path LIFE offers, there are some pre-requisites you must have:

  1. A Big Dream. LIFE is not easy (the company or real life). To make it through the program, you’re going to need a big dream to motivate you when the path gets rough.
  2. Integrity. Liars and charlatans will not succeed.
  3. Teachability. There’s no point in enrolling with LIFE if you already think you know everything.

LIFE’s learning structure is incredibly simple. It revolves around three main parts: reading, listening and associating.

A “full-time” student takes advantage of all three parts by being on all of the subscriptions LIFE offers along with LIFE Training. All together, on a monthly basis, a “full-time” LIFE student receives 19 audio CDs, unlimited access to LIFE Library (an extensive suite of personal and leadership development videos and audios), three books, and five events (four Open Meetings and one LIFE Live monthly seminar). Tri-yearly a successful student will attend LIFE’s Major Leadership Convention. The total cost of “tuition” for a year: $3,651. That’s less than one class cost me at Kettering! These are the basics in LIFE Leadership and are analogous to text books, online lectures, and class time.

A LIFE student that’s set up for success follows the following daily, weekly, and monthly recommendations:

Daily:

  • Read a minimum of 15 minutes per day. 1 hour per day recommended.
  • Listen to a minimum of 3 audios per day. 4 or more recommended.

Weekly

  • Attend a local LIFE open meeting (typically on Tuesday evenings).

Monthly

  • Attend a local LIFE Live Seminar (typically on a Saturday evening).

Any good college or university will recommend participation in an internship or co-op program so that the student can apply the knowledge learned in the classroom. LIFE’s “internship” runs simultaneously with the learning curriculum so that the knowledge can go from theory to application as soon as possible. A successful mentor is always available to help the student course correct and move forward. The best part about the “internship”: it’s paid!

The goal of LIFE’s “internship” is to teach students how to build communities of people that are inspired to improve their lives and the lives of those around them through learning and applying life changing information in the areas of faith, family, finances, fitness, freedom, friendship, following, and fun. Talk about a worthy endeavor! The workload recommended for the “internship” is to simply share LIFE Leadership with 15 people on a monthly basis.

Here’s an example 4-year plan for those willing to follow the above recommended learning and activity. Since I’m going to discuss income, please reference the Income Disclosure Statement and LIFE Compensation Plan. It’s important to note that the incomes that are discussed below are achieved with a workload far less than a normal 40 hour work week. In fact, many achieve them while working at a job full time. Unlike college, there is no need to go into debt and make a major lifestyle change to pursue our program “full-time.”

Freshman

The focus for a freshman in LIFE is twofold: to grow personally by listening and applying the information provided through LIFE Leadership and to learn the basics of building a LIFE community (8-step pattern, depth, Power Player).

A satisfactory passing grade is Student 6000. A Student 6000 makes an average of $1093 per month. As a reward for a job well done, the student will receive a free trip.

Sophomore

The focus remains the same for a sophomore with the addition of game planning, conflict resolution, and basic coaching.

A satisfactory passing grade is Leader. A Leader makes an average of $3,600 per month or $43,200 per year. That’s more the median income for those that hold a 4-year degree!

Junior

The focus for a junior adds orchestration and basic mentoring.

A satisfactory passing grade for a junior is Coordinator. A Coordinator gets paid an average of $5,060 per month. At this point you’re passing up many entry-level professional level incomes.

Senior

A senior’s focus shifts to mentorship and the development of other leaders, while still performing the skills learned in previous years.

A satisfactory passing grade to graduate LIFE’s 4-year program is Senior Coordinator. A Senior Coordinator makes an average of $15,177 per month or $182,124 per year! I challenge anyone to find many folks that graduate a 4-year college and walk into a job with that kind income.

A student can choose to go on to “grad school” to become a Life Coach and earn far more.

At this point it’s clear that there is a viable alternative to the traditional 4-year college plan. The results couldn’t be any more distinct. The traditional path is incredibly expensive, typically requires going into debt and at the end only pays a mediocre wage. Enrolling in and sticking to the 4-year plan I outlined with LIFE offers someone a true leadership education for a fraction of the cost of college with the added benefit of a career path that provides a substantial passive, residual income.

Times have changed. LIFE takes advantage of the change. Will you take advantage of the opportunity offered through LIFE?

God Bless,

Clint Fix

I thought I would take a break from my normal posts and show you some pictures from one of my favorite hikes. Kait and I ventured over to Grand Junction over Memorial Day weekend to spend some time with friends and family. Monday morning my good friend JJ, his friend Tarah and I decided to hike up Mt. Garfield. It’s a grueling, but very rewarding hike. We wanted to beat the heat, so we got to trail-head at 7am and here’s the sign that we’re greeted with:

hiking 6
What this sign doesn’t tell you is that a good chunk of the 2000′ is within the first 3/4 of a mile! 

Here’s a view of the beginning of the trail that was taken as we were coming down a different trail:

hiking 9

If you look closely you’ll see people hiking up the top of the dirt ridge. The first chunk of the trail is only a few feet wide and is covered in loose dirt and rocks. It makes for an interesting hike.

About a mile into the hike you’re greeted with this awesome little green park. You can climb up onto the rocks where the following picture is taken and get a really cool view of Grand Valley. You can also get a good idea of how much further you have to go. The trail goes all the way up to the point in the middle-left of the picture:

hiking 5

 

After leaving the green grassy area you get to start hiking along the bottom of a cliff face where there’s loose dirt and a steep drop off. It’s not as bad as it sounds/looks, but it can be a bit scary for someone doing it their first time. Here’s JJ and Tarah posing on that part with the green grassy area in the background.

 

hiking 10

 

Once you make it past that part you get a beautiful view of Palisade and Grand Junction. The mountain in the background is the Mesa.

 

hiking 4

 

Not too far after where the last picture was taken, you get to the top! The view from up there is amazing! The picture below is facing southwest towards the Colorado National Monument.

 

hiking 3

 

In the rocks at the top Tarah found a carving that serves as a great reminder that the beauty that we saw was designed by a loving God.

 

hiking 7

 

Since it was getting pretty hot out by this time, we decided that we better start heading back down. We didn’t take many pictures on the way down, but Tarah did make me stop and flex!

hiking 2

 

We ended up choosing a fork in the trail on the way down that is a bit steeper, but less traveled. That meant that it wouldn’t be as loose and slippery.

 

hiking 8

 

Overall, it was an awesome hike! I definitely recommend taking a few hours and doing this hike. You will enjoy it! Make sure you take plenty of water along too! We saw lots of people on the trail in all sorts of non-hiking clothing like jeans with small water bottles. It would not be fun to hike this like that.

God Bless,

Clint Fix

 

Orrin Woodward, New York Times best-selling author of ‘Launching a Leadership Revolution’ and Oliver DeMille, best known for his book ‘A Thomas Jefferson Education’ and the movement by the same name, have an uncanny ability to construct simple solutions to seemingly complex problems. In ‘LeaderShift,’ they focus that ability on problems plaguing the United States. The result is a simple set of solutions woven into a thought-provoking parable designed to be reach beyond the sphere of those that study history and politics out of their own ambition and into the lives of everyday Americans that are concerned about the future of our country.

LeadershiftI know most book reviews give a summary of the basic plot of the book, but I’m going to skip this part. While the story is both funny and compelling, my purpose in reading the book was to discover Woodward and DeMille’s proposed solutions to America’s problems. The reason I was/am so interested in hearing their opinion is that I know that they are both devoted students of history, economics, and human nature. Before reading Leadershift, I was hoping that it would be different than the majority of the books discussing America’s problems in that it would focus on the root of our problems, not the symptoms while, at the same time, being completely non-partisan. They delivered.

The solutions they offered, 28 in all, are refreshingly simple. I’m not going to list them all here. You’ll have to get the book and read it if you want them. However, most of them rest on a few simple premises. First, Woodward and DeMille argue that unless we have limited government, we will have limited freedom. Second, that no government is limited if its taxing powers or money printing ability are unlimited. Third, taxes are only effectively limited when a hard limit to taxation is set and checks and balances are created between the local, state, and federal level.

As a student of history and economics myself, albeit a relatively new student, I was pleasantly surprised at the boldness of the proposed solutions. A few of them, however, didn’t settle well with me at first.  I would be surprised if you immediately agree with all of them. Agreeing is not the point though. The point is to get you thinking and hopefully inspire you to dig further into the topic of freedom.

If you’re anything like me, by the end of LeaderShift, you’ll be chomping at the bit for more. Those of us that already like reading into politics, history, and economics will probably want more depth. Take heart though, LeaderShift is the first of three books. Think of it as the primer for a much larger discussion on freedom in America. In the mean time, go the LeaderShift website and get some of the free downloads, follow Orrin’s blog and sign up for newsletters from The Center for Social Leadership for more discussion around the topics introduced in LeaderShift.

Overall, if you are truly concerned about the future of freedom in the United States (or anywhere else), pick up a copy of LeaderShift. Read it, digest it, argue with it, discuss it, and share it. Don’t stop with LeaderShift though. It is not the end-all, be-all of books on freedom. However, it is a significant addition to the Great Conversation and one that I strongly recommend everyone read.

Here is a fantastic interview with Orrin and Oliver discussing LeaderShift.


Update 4/26: It looks like LeaderShift hit the New York Times Best Seller list at #12.

Update 4/30: It looks like LeaderShift hit #2 on the Wall Street Journal Non-Fiction Hardcover best-seller list.

Update 5/2: Leadershift not only hit the New York Time Best Sellers list, but has climbed to #9.

God Bless,

Clint Fix

Note: This article is mainly written for those that are LIFE members; however the information and principles can be adapted for building any sort of community, business, etc.

social_networking

I decided to take a bit of time to write down what I’ve found to be the most effective way to meet new people and continually grow my names list. If you’ve been building your LIFE community for any length of time you have likely run into someone that’s new to the area and “doesn’t know anyone.” Maybe you feel that way yourself. I know, because when I moved to Colorado Springs, I felt like I didn’t know anyone. I’ve also ran into many people in Colorado Springs that are new to the area. Neither situation need be an excuse for inaction in growing your community.

Thankfully we all have access to the Life Training system. I’m going to lay out some specific techniques for meeting new people, but know that it is all based off of what I’ve learned from the training system. Here are a few CDs and a book that you’ll want to dig into to understand the principles behind what I’m about to teach.

Another principle that helped me become effective with meeting new people comes from Chris Mattis. In one of his CDs (I can’t remember which one) he mentions that people have a much higher level of trust the second time we see them, even if it is only a little while after the first time. If one of you can remember which CD it is, let me know in the comments and I’ll update this.

One of the best resources you have available for learning how to do this is your moving on upline. Chances are if they have a couple of big teams that they’ve gotten good at some form of what I’m going to share with you. Make sure to run things by them and get their wisdom!

Before I head into the details of what I do, here are a few rules of thumb that I like to stick to when I’m meeting new people.

1. Relax. Don’t be too anxious.

2. The goal is to make a friend, not get a number so you can build your business.

3. In conversation, if someone asks what you do, it is not an invitation to bury them in details and chase them down. Come up with a simple answer or question like Marc Militello does on the CD listed above. Turn the conversation back to the other person. If they keep asking more about it, say something simple like, “Now isn’t really the time and place, but why don’t you give me your number and we can meet up at a better time and discuss it.” There are many things you can say here. Remember, it’s not the exact words as much as it is your posture.

4. You have nothing to lose when meeting new people. Even if they ultimately don’t ever become a customer or member in LIFE, you may just make a great new friend. In fact, it has happened to Kait and me a few times.

Ok, let’s get into some of the specifics of how to meet some new people. There are basically two different ways that I routinely meet new people. I’ll order them based on the frequency in which they produce plans.

The first and main way that Kait and I meet new people and grow our names list is just by being a friendly customer. We are out-and-about a lot. Lately, we’ve found ourselves in jewelry stores quite a bit because I like watches and want to find one that I really like. In the process we’ve met a handful of people, a couple of which have become members in LIFE. Want to know the secret? It’s simple: be a good customer! You’re not there to recruit them or tell them about LIFE. I’m interested in watches, so I ask about watches. In the process of trying some different watches on I might throw in a question like, “So how long have you been working in jewelry?” There is not any specific technique to this. You’re not playing 20 questions. You’re not trying to steer the conversation. You’re merely engaging in small talk and discussion about whatever you’re looking at. In this example it happened to be watches. If I’m done looking, I’ll thank the person for their time and ask if they have a card. If you know you’re at a store of some sort that doesn’t utilize business cards, simply remember their name. That’s it. Just be a nice, friendly customer that hopefully brightened their day and put a smile on their face.

Now, I get cards like that a lot. I don’t call all of them. But when I do, here’s how I’ll get in touch with them to book a plan. Usually, I’ll call them the next day or two after I met them, otherwise they may have completely forgotten all about you. Call the number on their card or the store number if they didn’t have a card and you remembered their name. Ask for them. If they’re not working, try again a different time/day. Once I have them on the phone I do a few things. First, I remind them of who I am and when I was in. Second, I sincerely compliment them on something they did. Third, I ask if they’re open to doing anything different. Fourth, I book a plan and get their personal number. Here’s an example:

Them: “Hi, this is Fred.”

Me: “Hi Fred! This is Clint. I was in your store yesterday looking at that sweet Invicta watch with my wife and newborn.”

Them: “Yeah! I remember! How are you? What can I do for you?”

Me: “I’m doing great! There are actually a couple reasons I wanted to get in touch with you. First, I just wanted to thank you for your service. You are one of the most helpful and knowledgeable people I’ve met in a jewelry store. I could tell that you put in considerable time into learning your product and picking out the best fit for what a customer wants!

Them: “Thank you!”

Me: “You’re welcome. That actually leads to the other reason I wanted to get in touch with you. It’s rare that I run into people like yourself and I was going to kick myself if I didn’t at least call and ask, do you keep your options open for doing anything different?

Them: “Well yeah, what do you do?”

Me: “I work with a leadership development company. We’re expanding right now and looking for some sharp people. I can’t promise anything, but why don’t we grab a coffee, discuss some of the details and see if it’s a fit?”

Them: “Yeah, that sounds great!”

From there, book a time and place like any other plan and make sure to get their personal number. If they aren’t open to doing anything different say something simple like “Ok cool. I just had to ask! Again, I appreciate all your help and wish you the best. Have a great day!”

I promise you that if you get good at this, you will never have to worry about not having a growing names list. In the process you’ll meet many great people, some of which will join your community and others that won’t, but will still become great friends. Just have fun with it!

The second main way that I meet people is very similar to the first, but with one main tweak. In this case, instead of calling them after I leave the store, I go back into the store and contact them face to face. This one works very well and is based off of the concept shared by Chris Mattis that I mentioned above. The first time I meet someone when I’m out-and-about I don’t try to get their number. I’m just a friendly, smiling customer. After I leave the store, I may go to a different one, to my car, whatever. But usually I leave the store for at least a few minutes. After that, I’ll head back into wherever I met the person and walk up to them and say something like the following,

Me: “Hey Fred! I was going to kick myself if I didn’t come back in here to ask you a question.”

Them: “What’s that?”

Me: “Well, you have been one of the most helpful people I’ve ever worked with. You listened to what I said I wanted and helped me find something that would fit rather than what you liked. I appreciate that. It’s rare that I run into people like yourself. I work with a leadership development company and we’re looking for some sharp people, so I have to ask – are you open to doing anything different?”

Them: “Yeah!”

Me: “Well I can’t promise anything, but give me your number and I’ll give you a call sometime and we can get a coffee and discuss some of the details.”

Hopefully you’re catching the principles behind what I’m doing with these methods. The wording may change based on the situation, but the principles won’t. I just took the principles taught in the CDs and books above and found some wording that works and that I’m comfortable with. It took me a lot of practice to be able to do it with posture and without thinking about every word that I say. It will take some time for you too.

Understand that this post is not meant to be a replacement to the information in those CDs. If you go out and try to use techniques with people to get their numbers without the right heart and principles, you will fall on your face. Be genuine. Be friendly. Focus on the other person. Brighten their day. If you do those things you may find someone that wants to be a part of your community. Even better, you may find someone that becomes a lifelong friend.

I’m sure some of you reading this have some great stories or methods on how you meet new people. I’d love to hear about them. Share them down below in the comments!

I hope this helps!

God Bless,

Clint Fix

Click on a picture to view full size!

Dr. Os Guinness: “A Free People’s Suicide”

Os Guinness, in the above speech, reviews the recipe for freedom as laid out by our founding fathers, what changed that caused us to lose sight of founding principles and the solution needed to return America to its former greatness. It is a magnificent speech that should be shared with everyone you know!

I want to highlight the solution that Dr. Guinness gives us in his speech and how you can play a part. He tells us that three things are needed to restore the U.S.

First, he tells us that we need strong leadership. He describes the type of leader we need as people who “stand out with a deeply American vision of what could be for all Americans.”

Second, Dr. Guinness believes that we need a restoration of civic education, or what once was called a classical liberal education. This is a type of education that digs into what America is about and what is required of us as citizens. Many people are quick to demand their rights, but are quick to dismiss their duties. To remain free, we need to educate both the next generation and immigrants about American values, what made us a great, and the actions that are required as a citizen to keep us free.

Last, we are told that we need a re-opening of a civil-public life from people of all faiths. To understand this one, make sure to watch the speech.

What excites me about Dr. Guinness’s speech is the optimism he has for restoring our great country. I am optimistic as well because I happen to be associated with a community of people that are focused on acting out the solutions that Dr. Guinness presented to us. LIFE, a business founded by incredible leaders and men of character, has a mission to build leaders that are above the partisan divide; leaders that have a deep passion for our country and a vision for what could be for all Americans. We are filling that vacuum of leadership of which Dr. Guinness speaks. Through LIFE’s educational material, we are restoring civic education. One person at a time, we are building a massive community of people that have a hunger to learn, courage to stand on principle and, by God’s grace, restore America to its former glory. I hope you join the battle of freedom.

As always, leave your thoughts below!

God Bless,

Clint Fix

Clint Fix LIFE

In 2004 I realized that the lifestyle I was leading would eventually lead to permanent health problems or even premature death. I was obese and had been for as long as I could remember. With the help of a stack of books on nutrition and exercise and some friends who were in excellent shape, I began a journey to overhaul my health. I set some goals and began the painstaking process of losing weight the healthy way (after trying out the crash diet thing.) Over the course of a few years I lost 85lbs and dropped my body fat to less than 10%. I achieved my goals. I thought I had it all under control. For a few years I thought I was “maintaining,” but in reality, I was slowly packing the pounds back on. I was still working out, but less consistently. I was still eating right…most of the time. By the time I realized what was happening my body fat percentage was peaking over 15% and I had packed on enough fat that I no longer fit in my clothes. What happened to me? The same thing that happens to us all in every area of our lives. I tried to coast on my past efforts. I didn’t have the next goal set. I wasn’t focused on moving forward. As a result I slacked in my effort and in my education on the subject. In the end, I learned a very important lesson:

If you’re not moving forward, you are going backwards.

There is no maintaining. Momentum may carry you forward for a time, but you will inevitably slip backwards. Discipline is not a choice; either we discipline ourselves now or outside forces will discipline us later. If I hadn’t done the hard work of disciplining myself with regards to my health, eventually I would have lost the freedom to eat certain foods and may have been forced to take certain medications. I use the example of my weight loss journey, but the principle is the same in every part of life. It’s my experience that if we aren’t continually focused on the hard work of improving ourselves in the most important facets of our lives, life is eventually going to get much harder.

To live a significant and successful life, I believe there are a handful of areas where it’s valuable to engage in a program to help us continually learn and grow so that we don’t slip backwards:

Faith
Relationships (marriage, parenting, and friendship)
Finances
Fitness
Leadership (people skills, conflict resolution, vision, etc)
Freedom (history and economics)

Obviously there are many other areas that you may want to work on, but the areas listed will impact every area of your life. There are many different avenues for getting education in these areas so I’ll highlight some principles and questions which I recommend that you use to weigh the different programs that are available.

1. Do the people that are teaching have the results that you want in the area in which they are teaching?

Anybody can spout theories, but if you want to get better in a certain area, find someone who has results in that area.

2. Are they currently active in the area they are teaching or are they speaking on past results?

This is an important question, especially for areas like leadership and finances. Just because someone did something once a decade ago doesn’t mean that it’s applicable right now and in this economy.

3. Is the information and teaching packaged in a format that makes engaging with it easy?

While a college course or a leadership institute may have fantastic information, usually the format requires large blocks of dedicated time which is a hindrance to most. Look for programs which allow you to plug into the information in the cracks of wasted time that we all have throughout the day: while commuting in the car, working out, cleaning the house, etc. Audio learning is is one of my favorite formats because you can listen to it repeatedly and cement it in your mind. Humans learn best through small bits of information repeated over time.

4. Does the program give you access to one-on-one coaching from someone that has the results you’re looking for?

We are all very good at deceiving ourselves. Having an outside perceptive to lovingly point out blind spots and help us correct our thinking is a non-negotiable if you want to lead a significant life. All the greatest people throughout history had mentors. Even one of the best basketball players ever, Michael Jordan, had a basketball coach.

5. Does the program have a community that you can associate with?

Building relationships with people who are on a similar journey is critical for your success. The encouragement and accountability of a community can be the difference between success and failure in any self-improvement journey.

6. Is it continuous?

One-off seminars and classroom teaching has its place, but neither one will create the consistency needed for changing the habits that are holding us back. Look for a program that is on-going. Most of us have been taught the things we need to do, but we forget easily. We need continuous reminders. On-going training programs should not only teach new information, but remind us of the things we’ve forgotten.

Obviously there are other factors to take into account, but this should narrow the choices considerably. The program that I personally plug into is the one crafted by a company called LIFE. It was founded in 2011 by Orrin Woodward, Chris Brady, Tim Marks, Bill Lewis, George Guzzardo, Claude Hamilton, and Dan Hawkins. Check out some of the LIFE reviews and testimonials.

Making the decision to embark on a good personal development program will change your life. Most people are trying to coast on their knowledge from formal schooling, much like I tried to coast in my health after achieving my goal. We know how that turned out. If you want to stand out from the crowd plug into a program with a specific intent to continue learning and getting better.

God Bless,

Clint Fix

“What do you want to do when you grow up?” We’ve all heard this question, or perhaps even asked it numerous times, but have you ever considered what the question is asking? Typically, the question is really asking, “What do you want to do for a job?” A large portion of our society automatically assumes that you should pick something you want to do, go to college to learn how to do what you’ve picked, then go get a job in your chosen field.

To question this wisdom is near heresy, but that’s what I’m doing to do. Why? Because the results from the “go to school, get good grades, get a safe, secure job” advice are in, and they don’t look good.

Before I dive into the meat of the post, here’s a quick disclaimer: I am not against employment. There are many important roles. My reason for posting this post is to (hopefully) put a crack in the conventional wisdom that, whether consciously or unconsciously, seeks to push our youth into college and employment. This post is aimed at those that DO NOT have a passion for their job, which seems to be the vast majority of people.

An Employee’s Lifestyle

Since most people don’t think that there is any alternative to working until retirement/death, they never even question how much of their life that they are spending to make a buck. The reality is that most people spend a tremendous amount of their life doing something that they really don’t have a passion for just to make some money.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ American Time Use Survey, the average employed American spends just over nine hours a day working and commuting, followed by sleeping at just under eight hours. Check out the graphic below to see how the average employed American’s spends their time.

American Time Use Survey

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Credit: Lam Thuy Vo / NPR

The normal retirement age in the U.S. is 67. To be conservative, let’s assume that the normal person starts working full-time at 22 years of age. That’s 45 years! Based on the above time study, that means that the average employee will, assuming a 5 day work week, spend 107,640 hours working, 125,651 hours sleeping, and 96,725 hours doing essential things like grooming, cleaning, eating, grocery shopping, etc, which leaves just 64,184 hours of leisure (or time with your kids/family) left. Here’s how it breaks down:

Average Employee Time Use

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to work the best hours of the best years of my life for a paycheck, especially when the paycheck is rather weak.

The BLS also publishes median incomes by age. What you’ll see here is that for all that work, the effort does not pay off at the end.

Income Over Age

Graphs like that make me wonder why retirement was ever called the golden years. It looks to me like they’re the tin-foil years at best.

Seeing information like this really just confirms the feeling of hopelessness that most of the working populous feels; the feeling of not being able to get ahead.

The good news is that this doesn’t have to be your reality. There are many ways out. The principles to follow that will get you onto the correct path are as simple as asking the question I started this post with in a different manner. Instead of picking our ‘Do’ first, we need to define the lifestyle that we want to have. How much of that leisure/family time do you want? How would you like your income to be at 35? 55? 75? Ask yourself, “What do I want my lifestyle to be like?” The next part is to find someone that has the lifestyle that you’d like. This step is perhaps the hardest, but is worth the effort. The last step is simply to ‘do’ what the person from the previous step coaches you to do. The best thing I’ve found to help people through all three steps is LIFE.

You will most likely find that to get results that are far different than the picture painted above, the coaching you’ll receive will have a foundation in three very important principles of wealth creation:

  1. Delayed Gratification
  2. Long Term Vision
  3. Utilization of the power of compounding

If you follow those principles, find the right mentors and do the work required, you will live a life that most will never experience. You DO NOT have to work for someone else the rest of your life. You DO NOT have to work until you die to make ends meet. Freedom is yours for the taking.

You have the power to define your lifestyle, so start today!

God Bless,

Clint Fix

I decided to do a detailed review of the Mental Fitness Challenge put out by LIFE.

I’ll highlight each part of the MFC (in no particular order) and give my thoughts. If you’re taking the Mental Fitness Challenge, I’d love to hear your feedback on it so far. As I get feedback, I’ll incorporate it into my review.

The Mental Fitness Challenge is a success system designed around the 13 Resolutions as laid out in Orrin Woodward’s book, Resolved – 13 Resolutions for LIFE. The 13 resolutions, broken down into three categories are,

Private Achievements

1. I resolve to discover my God-given purpose.

2. I resolved to choose character over reputation anytime they conflict.

3. I resolve to have an attitude of gratitude.

4. I resolve to align my conscious (ant) with my subconscious (elephant) mind towards my vision.

Public Achievements

5. I resolve to develop and implement a game plan in each area of my life.

6. I resolve to keep score in the game of life.

7. I resolve to develop the art and science of friendship.

8. I resolve to develop financial intelligence.

Leadership Achievements

9. I resolve to develop the art and science of leadership.

10. I resolve to develop the art and science of conflict resolution.

11. I resolve to develop systems thinking.

12. I resolve to develop Adversity Quotient.

13. I resolve to leave a legacy by fulfilling my purpose and vision through living the 13 Resolutions.

Each week focus is put on one of the resolutions starting with the first and finally making it through all 13. Check out my review of Resolved: 13 Resolutions for LIFE.

The Components of the Mental Fitness Challenge

Self-Assessment Test

The self-assessment test included in the MFC is composed of 130 questions (10 for each resolution) in random order where you rank yourself between 1 and 10 (10 – totally describes me, 1 – doesn’t describe me at all). The results are then plotted on a circular graph. An anonymous test result is shown below:

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