The Financial Matrix

The Financial Matrix, like the fictitious Matrix in the film, is a system of governmental money control designed to keep people in bondage to debt (control the flow of capital & you control the masses & a culture of borrowing).

This seven minute video peels back a few layers of the onion and, more importantly, offers real-time solutions.

The Financial Matrix 2

 

The Financial Matrix

Red or Blue

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LLR Corporate Subscription overview

LLR Corporate Development

The LLR Corporate Development Program (overview)

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Effective, Fervent Prayer

You’ve heard it said that “Leaders are readers”. The leaders I know are also pray-ers. Do you pray for your organization? For your leaders>? For the successful implementation of your policies, procedures & projects?

Wise men seek the Lord’s council as well as His blessing by praying to know His will. Before taking the business “battlefield” – try spending some time on your knees, seeking His wisdom for your next move.
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From Blackaby.net, July 9th, 2018

The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
James 5:16b

God promises all believers that if we live righteously and pray fervently, our prayers will be effective and produce significant results. How do we treat a promise like this? We might argue, “But I do pray, and nothing happens!”  Our problem is that we do not hold ourselves accountable to the Scripture. God’s Word says that prayer ought to accomplish Effective+Fervent Prayermuch. If our prayer life is not accomplishing much, what should we do? If we are praying but seeing no results, should we conclude that this promise is untrue? Should we excuse this Scripture as impractical and unrealistic? Or should we examine ourselves to see if we meet its conditions?

James says that fervent prayer avails much. Could it be that we are not as fervent in our praying as we should be? Fervent prayer means we do not quit easily. Fervent prayer means we purposefully spend sufficient time in intercession. Fervent prayer means we cry out to the Father, sometimes in tears, with our heart and soul. Fervent prayer comes as the Holy Spirit assists us in praying with groanings too deep for words (Rom. 8:26).

According to James, our righteousness will ensure effective prayer. God’s standard of righteousness is different from ours, for He looks beyond our actions, even beyond our thoughts, directly to our hearts. How then should we hold ourselves accountable if our prayers are accomplishing little? If nothing happens when we pray, the problem is not with God. The problem is with us, for God’s word is absolutely reliable. If we adhere to what God requires, He will lead us to pray for things that align with His purposes, and God will answer our prayers in a mighty way.

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4 Essentials When Bringing New People on a Team

Very apropos, as I’m bringing on a new team member this week & scheduling another four members this month – and we’ve already started these processes:
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By LifeWay Leadership | By Eric Geiger

Growing up in the New Orleans area meant my mom became really skilled at cooking gumbo. It is amazing. While the roux is the part of the gumbo that impacts its taste the most, each new ingredient alters the taste. Add shrimp or crab and the taste changes. Throw in okra or a bell  pepper and the taste is altered.

In many ways, a team is similar to gumbo. Just like the roux, the culture of the team—the New Team Membersconviction and values that guide the team—impacts the team the most. But just as each additional ingredient impacts the whole pot, each new person who joins the team alters the entire team as well.

At times I have mistakenly approached onboarding new team members too casually in my leadership, assuming that the healthy team would easily ingest a new team member who was aligned in mission and values and skilled for the assignment. But bringing people onto an existing team requires intentionality and care. Here are four essentials in doing so:

  1. Remind Others on the Team to Pursue.

The leader who brings the person to the team is typically the first one to pursue the new team member, the one to share vision and values, the first one to establish a relationship, which will be important for working together. But a new team member is not only joining the leader; the new team member is joining the team. A healthy team will pursue relational connections with new team members, but the leader should encourage the team to do so.

  1. Assign New & Existing Team Members to Solve a Problem Together.

Solving problems together builds trust and unity more than trust falls and retreats. When a new person joins the team, assign a problem to the new person and others on the team to solve together.

  1. Invite New & Existing Team Members to Pursue a Goal Together.

Similar to solving problems together, pursuing a shared goal together will unite a new team member to those who have already been on the team. Because the existing team has been together, the new member is going to hear inside jokes, past stories, and important tales from the group’s history. If there is not a new goal, that is all the person will hear. So going after a new goal together helps the new person understand there is a place for him or her.

  1. Establish Early Wins.

When someone joins the team, have the conversation with the new team member about what the priorities should be the first few months. While there is nothing magical about the length of the “first 90 days,” leaders use that phrase for a reason—starting well is important.
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Eric Geiger serves as one of the Vice Presidents at LifeWay Christian Resources, leading the Resources Division. This blog post first appeared at EricGeiger.com.

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From the Front, or Alongside?

Sometimes you read things that simply don’t jive.

And, while I’m attending a simulcast of the GLS in August – they don’t always have hard-core, “in-the-trenches”, practical leadership speakers. And with Bill Hybels out of the picture, I’d reassess if I were them – – and message & model the precise . . . exact . . .workable leadership profile that not only Lead from the Frontsounds good; but works in the real world.

Case in point:

Alongside only is too namby-pamby – -sort of a “let’s all hold hands & take every step forward . . . together” (may as well sing ‘Kumbaya’ while you’re at it).

People need to be led – until they are capable & competent enough to lead on their own:

. . . but that’s the point of developing strong leaders.

Get after it!

2016_New Tri-Logo

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Donuts . . . & Perspective

“And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?”
~ Matthew 7:3

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This is Why You’re Not Happy

#WinFromWithin | #MakeItCount

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Become the Creative you’ve Always Wanted to be by Embracing these Seven Habits

by Louis Chew

The most commonly held belief about creativity is that it’s elusive, esoteric and unique only to the anointed few.

The ancient Greeks believed that creativity was a divine attendant spirit that came to human beings from some distant and unknowable source, for distant and unknowable reasons. They called these spirits daemons. The Romans had a similar idea as well, but called the spirit a genius.

Centuries later, not much has changed. The only difference is that we no longer attribute creativity to divine spirits, but to special individuals. We think that it’s only Beethoven, Picasso and Mozart who have creative genius.

Except that’s not true.

Today, we deconstruct and analyze even the most elusive of processes. We come to understand that there are specific behaviors and mindsets which anyone can use to Creativityreach a desired result.

Here are the seven behaviors of highly creative people.

  1. Steal like an artist

There is a truth that the aspiring creative must first recognize. We need only turn to Austin Kleon’s book, Steal Like an Artist, to learn this:

“What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original.”

One must realize that the idea and inspiration for a piece of work comes from many sources at once. Every new idea is just a mashup or a remix of previous ideas. It’s why, quoting Jonathan Lethem, Kleon writes that “when people call something ‘original,’ nine out of ten times they just don’t know the references or the original sources involved.”

The good artist emulates the style of another as closely as he can. The great artist selects elements from others’ work and incorporates them into his own mix of influences. He does so tastefully, knowing that the right fusion will create something that is uniquely his, although not completely original.

So learn to steal like an artist—the entire world is up for grabs.

  1. Always be researching

To find something worth stealing, one must look in the right places.

Input facilitates output. There’s no getting around that. The quality of the information one consumes determines the quality of work one will produce. In a world where noise often drowns out the signal, finding the best ideas can often be difficult.

There are two ways to get around this. The first is what Kleon calls branching, which is useful for exploring variations of an idea.

“Chew on one thinker. Study everything there is to know about that thinker. Then find three people that thinker loved, and find out everything about them. Repeat this as many times as you can. Climb up the tree as far as you can go.”

That’s not the only method of sieving out valuable ideas. Originality stems from creating something that has never been seen before. Which is why bestselling author Ryan Holiday turns to the classics whenever he is in doubt.

Classic pieces are ‘classic’ for a reason. They’ve survived the test of time. The philosophy of Stoicism goes back to the ancient Greeks, but Holiday showed how those ideas are relevant today in his books Ego Is The Enemy and The Obstacle Is The Way. He didn’t come up with those ideas; he applied them.

It’s not enough to just observe your surroundings. The creative actively seek out the best ideas from all places. They’re always researching.

  1. Enter new domains

As we gain more experience and expertise in our work, we become more entrenched in a particular way of viewing the world. It makes us more efficient as we eliminate part of the thinking process, but the downside is that we become less receptive to new ideas and less responsive to changes.

It’s as Abraham Maslow observed: He that is good with a hammer tends to think everything is a nail.

That’s a death sentence for any creative who hopes to do good work. It’s also the surest way for a company to go out of business within the next few years.

Consider the ubiquity of Google today. Search engines had existed long before Google came along, but were limited in use. Google changed that when it adopted a new approach for returning results, choosing to focus on quality rather than popularity.

The inspiration for this change? Academic publishing.

In the academic world, one can easily determine the quality and relevance of a paper by how often it is cited. The best research papers rise to the top, while the more limited ones fade into obscurity. It was an elegant idea which Larry Page was only too happy to introduce into Google’s search algorithm. It’s now known in the world of search engine optimization (SEO) as back-links.

Original and creative solutions don’t always come from reinventing the wheel. Rather, it comes from developing innovative applications, not imagine completely new concepts.

You can start by finding two completely different ideas and combining them.

  1. Be more prolific

Thomas Edison was famous for being relentless in experimenting. The sheer quantity of his experiments would eventually result in him holding the record for having the most patents—over 1090 in his name. Picasso painted over 20,000 works. Bach composed at least one work a week.

Most of these works never amounted to much. They were creations which the average man on the street would never have taken a second look at. It turns out that none of us can accurately predict which ideas will hit and which will miss.

The solution? Produce so much work that one piece will inevitably stick. If only one idea for every ten that you come up with is good, all it means is that you should be working on a hundred ideas to come up with ten good ones. The same goes for writing, composing, or painting.

It’s widely assumed that there’s a trade-off between quantity and quality—if you want to do better work, you have to do less of it—but this turns out to be false. Quantity breeds quality. The act of creating something, no matter how lousy, is practice for creating a better one.

And that’s why Steve Jobs rightly said, “real artists ship.”

  1. Give yourself permission to suck

Creating more work sounds like a good idea in theory, but it’s difficult in application. The single and most important reason is that we don’t give ourselves permission to suck.

Stephen Pressfield knows this too. In The War of Art, he names the fear that all creatives have—he calls it the Resistance.

“The amateur, on the other hand, over-identifies with his avocation, his artistic aspiration. He defines himself by it. He is a musician, a painter, a playwright. Resistance loves this. Resistance knows that the amateur composer will never write his symphony because he is overly invested in its success and over-terrified of its failure. The amateur takes it so seriously it paralyzes him.”

The problem is that we’ve been trained to tie our self-worth to our accomplishments. If that’s the case, who then, would willingly create a piece of work that would be used to judge him?

For this reason, Pressfield says that we must turn from amateur to professional. Only then can we produce truly creative work.

“Resistance wants us to stake our self-worth, our identity, our reason-for-being, on the response of others to our work. Resistance knows we can’t take this. No one can. The professional blows critics off. He doesn’t even hear them. Critics, he reminds himself, are the unwitting mouthpieces of Resistance.”

The way to creativity is to create a lot, and the way to create a lot is to give ourselves permission to suck. People will forget the mistakes and garbage we make but will remember our best works.

  1. Embrace constraints

There are many barriers that can prevent us from creating a good piece of work. But the essence of creativity is making do with what we have. In fact, Austin Kleon suggests that it is necessary:

“Nothing is more paralyzing than the idea of infinite possibilities. The best way to get over creative block is to simply place some constraints on yourself.”

He goes on to explain how having less helps us:

“One, getting really good at creative work requires a lot of time and attention, and that means cutting a lot of fluff out of your life so that you have that extra time and attention. And two, creativity in our work is often a matter of what we choose to leave out, rather than leave in—what is unspoken versus spoken, what isn’t shown versus what is, etc.”

Constraints are not the enemy. Many creatives understood that and went on to produce masterpieces because of constraints, not despite them.

Dr Seuss was challenged to write a children’s book with only 50 words. The result was Green Eggs and Ham, which went on to sell over 200 million copies. Having constraints was so vital to fueling creativity that Dr Seuss would set his own limits to work with for his other books. For example, The Cat In The Hat was written using only a first-grade vocabulary list.

But perhaps the most famous example is Ernest Hemingway’s six-word story. Nobody is likely to forget For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn anytime soon.

  1. Develop your ritual

Creativity doesn’t come easily.

The process is frustrating. There’s hardly a good barometer with which we can use to measure our progress. It’s elusive. It’s why we give ourselves a pass whenever we can’t come up with good ideas or do any creative work.

But what does the architect, the lawyer, or the doctor do when they aren’t inspired? They still get down to work.

It’s essential then that we create a routine or ritual which we can rely on. Systems work, and prevent us from falling victim to our mood. The painter, Chuck Close was unequivocal on this point:

“Inspiration is for amateurs—the rest of us just show up and get to work. And the belief that things will grow out of the activity itself and that you will—through work—bump into other possibilities and kick open other doors that you would never have dreamt of if you were just sitting around looking for a great art [idea]. […]If you hang in there, you will get somewhere.”

Creativity is a process. There’s a system that one can apply methodically to generate good ideas. It’s not an esoteric field that is the sole domain of the genius. But one must do the work, no matter how difficult.

Just remember—if you hang in there, you will get somewhere.
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This post was originally published on Constant Renewal.

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8 Surprising Strategies for Unstoppable Focus

Beat distraction for good.
from Entrepreneur Magazine | The Oracles  a brain trust of high-level entrepreneurs

In today’s microwave society—where more data is created in one year than the last 5,000 years—it’s a herculean task to stay focused. Getting distracted may seem innocuous, but the consequences are disastrous over time: lost productivity, falling revenues, and a gnawing ever-present sense of missed opportunities.

These overachievers and members of The Oracles share their strategies to sharpen your focus, prolong your concentration, and beat distractions once and for all. Focus 3

  1. Think about urgency and regret.

You never know when your last day will be, so live from a place of urgency to usher your ideas and dreams into reality. Don’t wait for it to be your last day and regret that you didn’t create something meaningful.

Get clear on precisely what you want, then move past any doubts or fears through massive, urgent action. Doing this is a mental game for me: I keep score on how well I’ve done each day.
Lewis Howes, former pro athlete, lifestyle entrepreneur and NYT-bestselling author; subscribe to Lewis’s global top-100 podcast phenomenon, The School of Greatness on iTunes!

  1. Bunker down in a secret location.

As a business leader, the demands on my time in the office are immense. No matter my determination to do deep, focused work, I ultimately get interrupted or find myself eagerly solving the problem.

Organizations tend to defer decisions to the leader who’s in the vicinity and “on the clock.” So, my number one tactic for radical focus is spending one to two days a week out of the office, in a “secret location.” There, I get important thinking, writing, and other creative work done with zero distractions.

To maximize productivity, I mentally prepare for deep work with a focusing ritual that includes deep breathing and visualizing my desired end state. I chunk my work into 45-minute blocks and do some movement and yoga between those deep work sets.

Concentration and focus must be trained. By designating special time and space to do focused work, you’ll train your brain to do it better.
Mark Divine, retired U.S. Navy SEAL commander, NYT/WSJ bestselling author, founder of SEALFIT and Unbeatable Mind; follow SEALFIT on YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram

  1. Ask if it’s a ‘heck-yes’ opportunity.

Here’s the trap: The more successful you become, the more shiny opportunities offer themselves to you. These opportunities may be great, but not great for you right now. A great opportunity at the wrong time is just a distraction.

Always ask yourself, “Is this a heck-yes opportunity—right now?” Otherwise, default it automatically to “no.” This question keeps you out of the “grey area” where good opportunities become stressful commitments.

If you don’t have the willpower to say “no” to shiny distractions, form an “advisory board” consisting of two to three friends who know you well, understand your goals, and have a good business mind. Run every opportunity through them for input. This tactic also makes saying “no” easier—you just blame the decision on your “advisory board.” —Chris Harder, philanthropist, coach, founder, and CEO of For the Love of Money; follow Chris on Instagram

  1. Resist ‘doing it all.’

Remove everything from your life that’s unnecessary or simply a diversion. You’ll be left with a bunch of worthwhile things to accomplish. Now, here’s where most entrepreneurs mess up: They attack everything at once. Soon, they’re overwhelmed from juggling too many things and feel guilty for not giving adequate focus to anything.

The simple cure? Have a top-priority item. (I use the Todoist app and keep a running list of my highest priority targets.) Pick only one thing, the most important thing to accomplish—even if it’s difficult or daunting. Stay focused until you check it off. Then move to the next.
Kenny Rueter, co-founder of Kajabi

  1. Find something to obsess about.

When you find something you love, focus comes naturally. When I started as a civil litigation lawyer, I excelled but hated it. Meanwhile, when friends of friends got into trouble with the law, they insisted I represent them—even though I had no criminal defense experience. I did a great job on each case because I was obsessed with the outcome and cared about my client’s life.

However, my partner at the time didn’t want me to pursue criminal defense, so I begrudgingly stayed in the civil field. Fortunately, I had another obsession: writing. I wrote kids’ yoga books and about my experiences with cars and racing. I simply wrote because I was obsessed with it, which compensated for my professional discontent.

Finally, when I started criminal defense full time in 2014, it became difficult to not focus on my cases. Colleagues and mentors said I cared too much about my clients and their cases. Then I came across the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College, which advocates this approach. My career has been a beautiful obsession since.
—Nafisé Nina Hodjat, founder and managing attorney of The SLS Firm

  1. Create a five-step customized strategy. 

Every entrepreneur’s methods for staying laser-focused is unique. I’ve incorporated these strategies for optimal performance.

First, make stress your friend. Stress is not your enemy; it’s a valuable tool if you harness its force. Your mental faculties are heightened when you’re pushed against a tough problem or deadline.

Second, develop a morning routine. Make it a habit to get up an hour earlier. Start your day with breathing exercises and meditation. Don’t allow the digital world to control the first hour of your day.

Third, break your work into 90-minute blocks. Forget the standard 9-to-5 mentality. Learn your body’s natural ultradian rhythms, and then schedule your most important and productive work in time blocks. Take 25-minute breaks at the end of each block.

Four, create recharging rituals for your body, emotions, and mind. A body ritual might be a brisk walk. An emotional ritual might be gratitude. A mental ritual might be turning off your phone.

Lastly, optimize your sleep. Sleep isn’t a necessary evil or distraction from work; it’s a vital, natural way to recharge. The standard “eight hours per night” is more of a guideline; I sleep six hours per day with a siesta power nap. This biphasic sleep pattern (six hours plus 25 minutes) is my ideal sweet spot.
Nik Halik, angel investor, entrepreneur, astronaut, extreme adventurer, CEO of 5 Day Weekend; follow Nik on social media

  1. Don’t chase two rabbits.

“The man who chases two rabbits catches neither.” — Chinese Proverb

Whatever you’re working on, be fully there. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself at home thinking about work, and at work thinking about home. You’ll work on the company’s vision, then feel like you’re neglecting the daily operations. You’ll be entrenched in the operations, then feel like you’re missing out on the newest “flavor of the month” to scale your business.

It’s not that you can’t multitask or that these tasks are mutually exclusive. You can excel in many things—just not simultaneously. The best way I focus is scheduling my areas of focus directly on my calendar. I schedule the time to work out, be with family, think, read, answer emails, and just be free. This may seem rigid. Ironically, this kind of structure actually creates greater freedom.
Tom Shieh, CEO of Crimcheck; connect with Tom on Facebook

  1. Create a fierce focus culture.

“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” — Mark Twain

In a world that follows the pack, if you want to build something special, fierce focus is not just what you do—it’s how your entire organization must think. This is the only way to avoid the trap of caving into the norm and losing the essence of your core difference.

Fierce focus is only achieved across an organization when each person understands their purpose in the organization and then sets clearly defined, measurable goals to achieve that purpose.

Every new idea or opportunity must be forced through that intense “focus filter.” If the project doesn’t contribute to your purpose, you simply shouldn’t do it. Peter Hernandez, president of The Western Region at Douglas Elliman; founder and president of Teles Properties

Want to share your insights like those above in a future column? If you’re an experienced entrepreneur, please get in touch here.

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