Review of ‘Put Your Dream To The Test’

Review of ‘Put Your Dream To The Test: 10 Questions to Help You See It and Seize It‘ by John C. Maxwell

Everyone has dreams, not the kind when you are sleeping but the kind where you want to do something, have something or be someone that you are not. I have had dreams: be a soccer player, make video games or be an officer in the Military to name a few. This book helps you hone in on your dream and asks tough questions to help you look at your realistic chances of success. This was a good motivational text and helped me get more realistic with what I want to achieve.

Some big takeaways

“Set a clear vision for your dream.” This for me struck a tone because I’m still figuring out my vision. It’s difficult to achieve something when you don’t have a clear goal in mind of what you want. I do set goals for myself but a vision is bigger. That is something I will have to ponder for a while longer. The next takeaway is all about growing past your limits.

“Stay within your strengths, move outside your comfort zone.” This point resonated with me because I have found that when I don’t like to do something, time drags on. However, when I do something I enjoy, it’s like I need to spend all day doing that activity. Now just take that one step further and move out of your comfort zone. If I can push myself one step farther every time, then I can accomplish my goal. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

The last point I want to highlight comes from the end of the book. “It is never too late to help others.” When you help others, you help yourself. I see this when I’m helping a client with a technical issue or when I’m helping family or friends. Nothing gives my life more meaning than when I’m helping someone else. Serving others changes your entire day. When you are consistent, that is when the change is infectious to others.

I do recommend this read. “Put your dream to the Test” was a good use of my time as it asks hard questions. If you take it seriously, this can point you in the correct direction with your dream for your success.

You can purchase the book here from Dr. Maxwell’s website.

Check out my previous book review here:

Review of ‘Ownership Thinking’

Review of Ownership Thinking: How to End Entitlement and Create a Culture of Accountability, Purpose, and Profit by Brad Hams

As I read Ownership Thinking, I couldn’t help but think of some consistent concepts that keep getting repeated: open communication, including others and listening to their opinions, entitlements are the worst and it all boils down to revenue. This book, and presumably the late Brad’s consulting group, tells leaders that in order to get their team members to bring in more revenue, leaders must include the team more on how they and the company  can improve. I took away a few great concepts I want share below.

Quick Concepts

People prefer accountability. This rings true to me on a deep level. I know that I need to be working towards something, I need a goal. Reading Ownership Thinking reiterates that I need myself and anyone I work with to consider the big picture from time to time and think of ways to improve. I then suggest the improvements to the team and move forward with a plan. Second, the best incentive plans are self funding. I want to reward myself and others, but not at the expense of everyone on the team. Self funding makes sense in my mind, work hard, get rewarded. If you or the team fall short, then no reward. Third, I need to take an entry-level accounting class. Quite frankly, the profit and loss statements and revenue charts are above my head right now and that is an area that I can improve in. Just add that to the list.

Overall, I recommend Ownership Thinking.  I was sad to learn that Brad had passed away but I’m thankful he embellished this book with his wisdom. The last piece I’ll end with is the ‘Adult Contract’. Expanding just a bit, ‘Adults don’t argue with reality’. Adults learn what they can, listen and make a decision. When you recognize you can improve in an area take the steps to make it happen.  Thank you Brad for writing Ownership Thinking.

You can purchase the book here from the book’s website: http://www.ownershipthinking.com/bradsbook.html

Check out my previous book review here.

Review of ‘Smart Money Smart Kids’

Review of Smart Money Smart Kids by Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze

What is just as important as personally being smart with money? Why it’s teaching your kids to be smart with money. What good is being able to bless your kids if they live in your basement while in their 20’s and 30’s? That is what this book is about. Smart Money Smart Kids shows how to raise money smart kids in a world where rampant debt is normal.

The first part of the book brings home some common sense money and parenting truths.  Money comes from work, the kids will learn from your example and have grace with your kids. As I read through the stories I thought “This is too simple.” Of course money comes from work and everyone knows kids learn by example. Then I realized that saying is one thing, doing is another. Moreover, how can I live a model of being money smart and teach that to my kids?

Next, the book rolls into practicing the principles with your kids. The authors assume you are already good with money and work on a budget. It showcases a mini-envelope system that kids can learn from. Saving, spending and giving. With these three foundations, kids can learn to be wise with the money they have.

Reflection:

I’ve heard Dave Ramsey say before that “The Ramsey’s will never borrow money.” What an audacious pair it takes to say that. Not just for Dave and his wife but his kids as well. That is reflected in this book. First no car debt, second no college debt and third no wedding debt or any other kind of monetary obligation. The book dives into multiple options on how to stay debt free with your children.

“The Powersjo family will never borrow money.” As I meditate on this I realize it’s only possible to keep a family debt free with planning and intentional money management. Summarizing, it’s up to me and my wife to teach them. Of course, I highly recommend the book. It’s an easy read, makes sense and gives parents plenty of tools to teach their kids to be wise with money.

People can purchase this book here on the official website:  https://www.smartmoneysmartkids.com/

You can read my previous book review here.

Review of ‘IT WORKED FOR ME’

Review of IT WORKED FOR ME by Colin Powell with Tony Koltz

The reason I picked up this book, It worked for me, is I remembered, as a teenager, Colin Powell was the Secretary of State under President George W. Bush.  I knew he was a US Army general and that he served under a republican administration.  However, this was all I knew of him.  I was pleased to find out more information about him personally, his career, where he has served and his leadership philosophies. That is what this book brings to the table.

I have some military experience in my life, so the stories he presented and his leadership style was very familiar to me. I caught myself reflecting on my own habits and the practices of my superiors. One of his stories talked about having to get silly military training complete for his unit and complete the mission at hand. This is even more common in today’s military. His philosophy was to get the small tasks done first to move onto the mission and keep his superiors happy while defending our nation.

Reflection:

Diving into that last thought I can think of two responses. Either we need to fix the silly requirements so we don’t need to do them again or comply and move past the frivolous task. I believe it comes down to time and that both of these responses can be accomplished.  If there is time before the mission, project or quarterly plan, leaders should be able to throw up a red flag to fix the larger issue at hand. If we are on a tight schedule then move to complete the task then carry out the mission. Once the dust settles give the feedback to you leaders that the task needs to change.

Don’t forget to add in your recommendation on how to change it for the better.

A couple of other key points from the book: be where you are most effective as a leader. Colin Powell made sure to hire in people that had strengths that would complement his weaknesses. Turn minor corrections into positive learning experiences. I personally enjoy this one, I detest yelling and demeaning in the military without a valid purpose. If you want a drone to follow you, buy one and program it yourself. If you want an effective worker, team member, or soldier treat them like a human with a certain amount of respect.

Wrap up:

The last bit that I really enjoyed was learning about the different administrations Colin Powell served in and the people he met. He talks about his time with Princess Diana, President Reagan and various people of the press. It’s those little insights that help round out the picture for me. Instead of just the former Secretary of State, Colin Powell becomes more personable.  I’m glad I took the time to look back at his experiences and leadership style.

The book can be bought here on Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Worked-Me-Life-Leadership/dp/0062135139 

Check out my last book review here.

Great By Choice Book Review

Great By Choice Book Review

First off, I want to thank ConnectWise for sending me this book, Great By Choice. The company I worked for became a customer of theirs and I was the lead engineer implementing their product. Then ConnectWise saw it fit to send me this book and it was a good read. So thank you to that whole team.

Did I enjoy the read? Yes, ‘Great By Choice’ from Jim Collins and Morten Hansen is a summary on a study of 14 companies and answers the question: ‘why did 7 of these companies become great and the others failed?’  Two points that stuck out to me was leaders need fanatic discipline and the ‘20 mile march wins’

Discipline is something that I wish I had more of. I can be financially frugal but when it comes to being productive with my side project I can get lazy. Fanatic discipline sets high goals and does whatever necessary to achieve them. It also does not allow the pressures from outside to shift the goals or knock them astray. One new thing I am doing is keeping track of the days that I work on my side project and trying to hit more days worked than not. It gives me a good check in the mirror, ‘am I working at a 10X level?’ Spoiler Alert: I’m not yet, but I hope to reach that level. 

‘The 20 mile march’ has some great stories tied to it. I won’t ruin them, I’m also sure the information is out there already, but the stories really bring home the point that you need to be steady with your work. Twenty miles at time, rain or shine, no more and no less. That is what gets you consistency and produces results. I can see this in my own projects as I commit to blogging, working on my side project and other personal or professional goals. Thank you for reading and I hope to post more content soon. 

You can find a summary of the book here: https://www.jimcollins.com/books/great-by-choice.html

The book is for sale on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Great-Choice-Uncertainty-Luck-Why-Despite/dp/0062120999

ConnectWise is located here: https://www.connectwise.com/

Check out my last book review here.