Uncategorized

Jump off the Cliff

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The two white guys are not me.

The last couple of days have have been revelatory.

In recent weeks I’ve been discovering that the man I want to become, is going to need some help. I need to be surrounded by people who are better than me. I need to be pouring myself into things that are more meaningful than just earning enough money for myself.

I’m never usually the type to make rash decisions. I usually prefer to spend weeks planning and plotting the possible consequences of each move. This, of course, can lead to stagnation and a lot of missed opportunities. I am really feeling strongly that I need to expand/Adapt or die (internally). Growth has always been my leading principle and although my second job is pretty easy, I think it may be time to spread my wings and seek more challenges.

On July 4th, I ran the Peachtree road Race (PTRR). The PTRR is a 10k run (6.2 miles) that winds down one of Atlanta’s busiest streets. During this race, just by sheer coincidence, I got the opportunity to run with a friend who has been training for this race heavily. He slowed down for me of course, so we could chat, and I found myself able to do much more than I previously envisioned that I could. This made me realize that I must lean into relationships that challenge me. That the feeling I have of not being “the smartest person in the room” is probably one I need to seek more and more of.

I know that I need to seek and pour into these relationships to step my game up.

A couple of weeks ago I got the opportunity to volunteer with a local church to help at a vacation bible school. Seeing how easy it was to put smiles on the face of children and help give them positive role models was deeply rewarding. I want to pour more of my life into helping and shaping the future.

 

Neither of these things are going to be as easy to do if I’m working two jobs that eat up 2 weekends out of every month.

I am at a crossroads regarding my life and how I want to move forward. For most of my adult life, I’ve worked more than one job. This has usually not been a problem for me. I’ve been able to navigate around social commitments  and make the most of the time I do have free.

My second job requires me to work another weekend, on top of the weekend that I already work for my primary job. If I want the growth that I think is available to me its going to require me to have more time to pour into relationships. To build, strengthen, and create relationships that will also demand things from me. These muscles have to used in order for them to grow.

I’m realizing I’m going to have to have faith to make the moves I hope to make and see a difference in my life.

Fly or Fall.

OFO

 

 

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Different Path, Self-Therapy, Things I like.

“The Best Thing I’ve done all Week..”

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This week I got the opportunity to volunteer at a local church during vacation bible school. This was an all week vacation bible school that allowed parents a break and was targeted at both at-risk youth and neighborhood children.

I was only able to volunteer two days out of the five day camp but a couple hours into the first day I was texting a friend and telling her that this was the “best thing I had done all week”.  I meant it. I had spent the previous part of the week working at two different hospitals,  and while I enjoyed helping patients via my day to day activities, I felt a totally different type of reward from this.

The kids ranged in age from 4 year olds to 4th graders. And I loved them all.

We had bad kids (who weren’t really bad) but who had parents who didn’t reinforce boundaries or teach discipline and it really put my life into perspective. The bad kids were the kids that I was drawn to, because often they are victims of circumstance. Their parents were not prepared – financially, emotionally, or mentally for the responsiblity of having children. As a result the children suffer. They are stuck in a situation outside of their choosing and having to learn the rules for societies and success that their parents may never have entered.

It all got me to to thinking about my current focus. A little less than a month ago I stumbled upon a discovery that will save me a good sum of money every month, with no extra work, but just by making a couple adjustments to my student loan payment plan. That one adjustment will save me near the amount of money that I was hoping to gain from buying an investment property and be able to leave my second job.

I read a bible verse today that brought me up short.

Lord, help me to realize how brief my time on earth will be. Help me to know that I am here but for a moment more. My whole lifetime is no longer than my hand! Proud man! Frail as Breath! A shadow! And all his busy rushing ends in nothing. He heaps up riches for someone else to spend. And so, Lord, my only hope is in you.” – Psalm 39: 4-7

 

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The last couple of days have had me reflecting more and more about my purpose and legacy. One of the reasons for my creating a huge board of exciting life goals for this year was the realization that saving money wasn’t going to significantly increase my happiness and in fact, too much saving was making me miserable.

Thinking about how I’m investing my time now and ways that I can invest more time into the areas of my life bring me more happiness is the overall goal. If I can invest my time into children and change the trajectory of even one child then I’m sure I’d gain more satisfaction from that than owning another property. I’m also certain that If God wants me to own another investment property he will make a way for it to happen.

So, what’s the path forward? I’m not sure.

I’m tempted to think that the path forward is to

  1. Quit the second job.
  2. Become more efficient with my mornings (stick to a miracle morning 5x week)
  3. Volunteer with student (YBM’s) at Church or other volunteer organization.

But I’m not sure. I hope the road will make itself plain going forward.

FOF, OFO

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Real Estate, Self-Improvement

One Big Goal Down..

 

Great news!

Ya’ll remember that goal that I referenced in a earlier post? Well, the actual goal was just to sit for the exam. On 6/26/18 I found out that I actually passed the exam! I was elated! The people at my job made a big deal of it, which was nice.

I was happy that I didn’t fail.

It also started me to thinking about the rest of my goals on my board. The BCPS exam has been on my  goal list for almost 3 years. This was the first year that I was able to put real effort behind accomplishing the goal of knocking it out. Luckily for my confidence, I was able to achieve the outcome I desired. Now, I’m pondering the other huge goal that has been haunting me for the last two years.

The goal thats been haunting me for the last 3 years is my quest to buy my next rental property. This goal is daunting because from my rough calculations it would require quite a bit from me.

And isn’t this the point of goals? I know I need to grow, and in order for me to grow I’m going to tackle things that I’m not sure I can accomplish. So just like for this exam, I know I’m going to need to do 3 things to achieve this goal in this competitive market.

  1. Pray Consistently
  2. Break down the pieces that I need to have in place
    1. Market
    2. Important team members
      1. Real estate agent
      2. Lender
      3. Property Manager
      4. Contractor
  3. Create a system for screening deals in the market I choose
    1. Aggressively screen deals (at least 5-10 daily)
    2. Be ready to move when I do see a deal – making offers.
  4. Act!

Keep me honest as I try to move towards this goal!

Fly or Fall

OFO

 

P.s. One of the things that I have struggling with as well was figuring out how to reward myself with a job well done. I was having trouble at first, then I looked at the things that I needed and realized two things have been on the list for a while: A Laptop & some new clothes and shoes.

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Self-Improvement, Self-Therapy

[*The Appearance of] Integrity

Integrity

A couple of years ago I think I was listening to a sermon by Andy Stanley, where he was talking about the definition of “Integrity”.

I hadn’t taken time to really ever think of Integrity and had assigned it some definition related to virtue and being a person of upstanding person hood.

That is definitely one possible definition.

However, for some reason, this definition didn’t resonate with me. Probably because I’ve run into too many examples of human frailty parading itself as the epitome of moral idealism.  For me, the most interesting (and perhaps attainable) definition was that of wholeness.

Wholeness. Being undivided. Being one.

That to me, resonates, as both achievable for the average human being and yet more  challenging than one would sometimes suspect.

This had been a particular struggle for me. When I was younger I made some decisions that I wasn’t always proud of; sometimes I still struggle with shame and feelings of not being worthy. As a result I had some puzzle pieces of my life that weren’t given quite the same amount of sunlight that I gave to other parts of my life.

How do I integrate the parts of my life that I’m not super proud of? How do I love all parts of me. Even the young, foolish parts? The parts that have burdened me with regrets or responsibilities I couldn’t quite shoulder at the time? How do I move toward a whole Me?

Answering these questions has been the work of the last couple years. I’ve made some progress but I find that there are always new challenges on the road to integration.

One of the areas that I often wonder about is Social Media. How do I use social media to face my fears of being transparent? Do I exhibit my scars, or just expose them when asked? Is social media the place for my soul baring? Isn’t it just a curated presentation of our best selves?

..Just musing..

OFO

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Uncategorized

Doing it messy.

This is a short one.

One of the things I’ve been repeating to myself this year is that I want growth.

By any means necessary.

I’ve noticed this tendency to make minor changes then stop when things get REALLY difficult. I’ve noticed this with exercise, with writing, learning french, and even with my relationships.

So I’m trying to remember to bear down. To push through. To embrace the chaos and the feeling that I’m falling off a cliff into the unknown. To come to terms with the fact that with so many moving pieces I’m not able to control things. That I may feel lost, helpless, weak, or stupid.

That’s not a good enough reason to quit.

Carry on. Push harder. Imagine the microscopic changes that are happening that are preparing you to be better tomorrow. But you have to do what’s in front of you today.

FOF,

OFO

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Self-Improvement, Self-Therapy

Too much Me.

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Dominican Republic

The pursuit of Happiness. A inalienable right in America.

For most of my adult life, I’ve been on a safari for the perfect cocktail of life events, people, and places to create a life that would bolus happiness straight into my veins.

Because I started the son of immigrant parents, I tried to fix the glaring holes first. I remember the pain of wanting certain experiences and knowing that I wouldn’t even ask because my parents were already under financial pressure.

Staring at Bruce Lee and David Carradine and wishing that I could learn martial arts and be safe and able to protect the people I loved. I remember seeing the looks in my parents eyes when they had to say no to my repeated requests.

These feelings morphed into a focus on fixing my financial status and chasing financial freedom. I spent a good portion of my 20s chasing overtime, looking for investments, and saving for rainy days. Even today, I can feel the panic approaching if my bank account drops too much in too short a time period. These feelings were/are not wrong. They were survival skills. They are the fuel for my ambition. They have kept me pushing at times when I didn’t want to continue.

However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed the falling utility and joy that I’ve found in material success.  Past a certain point, each dollar saved has had less and less of an impact on my happiness. In my early thirties I started to allow myself to demand more utility from my money, and try to use my money to create the experiences and life that I dream of.

I started to realize that money in the bank is practically useless with regards to my happiness.

For a long time, I’d confused the need for safety/financial stability and happiness. It wasn’t’ until I came face to face with my unhappiness and started to ask myself “why so sad batman?” that I was able to unearth some of the issues surrounding money that were affecting me.

But you’ve heard that from me before.

What I’ve newly realized is that too much thinking about the future and the worries that come bundled with trying to plan the un-plannable can lead to unnecessary anxiety.

I’m coming to see that sometimes the best thing I can do for myself is just let go and chase the illogical. To reach for the thing that turns me on.

I’m also starting to see that focusing too much on what I want can be a recipe for disaster. Thinking too much about why “I” must have “my” way is terrible for overall happiness. I’m learning to let go of my desire to be in control and to have my way.

Too much introspection is dangerous. Too much self-focus can lead to unhappiness. Instead .. in these moments I’m learning to see if I can find a way to give some of myself away. To help someone else.

“Who can I be of service to” is the question I must remind myself to ask when I start being to navel-gazey.

FOF,

OFO

 

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Different Path, Self-Improvement

Bigger than Financial Freedom..

 

F U Money. Wake up and Cake up Money. Freedom Money.

For a good portion of my adult life I’ve been focused on getting to the mythical but oft-talked about land of financial freedom. I’ve consumed blog posts, books, and gone to seminars that are all aimed at getting me to a place where I can live life not ever having to worry about money and cashing checks from investments would be my biggest job responsibility.

I’m not the only one it seems.

There are a lot of personal finance blogs that cater to the idea of financial freedom and helping you to achieve it. I love them all. I love reading about how people who came from not-much are able to focus and create a life of abundance. One of my favorite pastimes is scrolling through the personal finance blogosphere during commutes or downtime.

My financial journey has been an interesting one in that it has shifted and transformed as I’ve gotten older. I started with an extreme focus on expense tracking and organization. Then I started to seek opportunities to improve cash flow by searching for assets worth acquiring. The last couple of years has been somewhat frustrating as opportunities to find

So I read this amazing post from George Tako on Medium..

This post was paradigm shifting for me. It really helped me to come to terms with the emptiness that laid behind my determination to live a life where I imagined living by the beach, drinking Pina coladas and watching checks roll in. Because, first of all, I don’t like Pina Coladas.

Second, do I really want to stop working? No.

The whole point of becoming financially independent was so that I could then, go on to discover the work that I love to do. smh. This is backwards thinking. Why not figure out how to incorporate more and more of the work I love to do into my life now. Why not figure out ways that I can help others and make money today. If I can’t solve this problem today then I must keep attacking this problem until I get to a solution that adds value to both my life and the people I’m serving.

I’m trying to make the shift from wanting the material wealth to wanting the internal changes that acquiring wealth would require from me. I think I want to be a better person. Who knew?

I am a self-improvement addict. I don’t need more money – I just need courage and the self-awareness to keep growing.

I hope to continually craft a work-life that speaks to my soul.

Fly or Fall

OFO

 

[picture from San Francisco Marina Playground]

View story at Medium.com

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