Why do I want to start an email newsletter?

It’s not like I don’t have anything better to do with my time. Or that I am trying to please anybody else but my God and my own joy of writing.

Am I being seduced by some of my heroes who write newsletters – like Tim Ferriss or Kevin Rose – for the wrong reasons? Or are they changing my paradigm and giving the energy I’m already expending more impact?

I can’t say I really know what the right decision is; but since I am totally inspired, it’s been on my mind, and the idea of reaching more people that I care about gives me the warm and fuzzies…I’m going to give it a go.

I do need to figure out the laziest and most effective way to do it, however. My duties as a dad, husband, salesperson, nonprofit director, advisor, and entrepreneur (and I’m sure I’m forgetting a few job titles) are already hogging what time I have left; and if it’s difficult or doesn’t make me smile, this project won’t last.

I’m gonna have to install a “Subscribe” button to this blog. I crave minimalism and was initially against this, but I think I can make it look clutter-free but attention-grabbing.

Next, I’m gonna search for a method to aggregate my blog posts for the week, and put it into a user-friendly format. I’m not aiming for a gorgeous or complex layout here; I’m aiming for efficiency, sustainability, enjoyment, actionability, and personableness.

Thank goodness I’m not blogging about design or fashion.

And finally, I’m going to want to automate as much as possible. This will include creating a consistent template that I can just plug and play; give as much of the administrative work to my awesome virtual assistant as possible; and aim for easy and aim for joy.

Let’s see how this goes!

Flip-Flop: Changing my mind about allowance

I’m going to create a series of blog posts called “Flip-Flop” where I share long-held beliefs I’ve changed my mind about after getting older, after new experiences, after conversations with people, and/or after repeated failed attempts at being successful operating on those original beliefs. 

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I was listening to a Tim Ferriss Show interview with Pete Adeney aka Mr. Money Mustache – and he shared that he (1) doesn’t give his son an allowance – he doesn’t want him to think that money comes from out of nowhere; (2) pays him for riding his bike – an incentive to get fresh air and exercise; and (3) created a “Bank of Dad” – where he gives his son interest for money that is saved versus spent.
I disagree with #1, want to modify #2, and will incorporate #3.

I understand the thought process behind #1, however my upbringing and faith direct this matter. I do want my kids to know that money is worked hard for and earned – for sure, and that’s why I have a career and multiple companies to model for them; but I also want them to know that they are provided for and more…just like my Heavenly Father wants us to trust Him – and that they don’t need to stress or worry.

Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!” (Luke 12:24)

The world has enough problems for a kid (they grow up so fast and are surrounded by confusing and negative stimuli), and most relationships are torn because of money (not enough of it, less time is spent with family to make it, etc.). I want to eliminate the money issue from their list of heavy and ever-growing challenges that come with life.

Their basic needs are met – clothes, food, shelter, education – and their weekly allowance lets them take care of their wants and it’s an opportunity to practice – consistently and without fail – good habits on how to manage their funds.

We currently pay them $10 a week, and their money is split as follows:

  1. The first 10% of the money is tithing – money that goes to God ($1)
  2. The next 40% goes towards savings – to emergencies and very large future purchases like a car ($4)
  3. The remaining 50% goes towards spending ($5)

Money that is given as a gift (birthday, Lunar New Year) doesn’t count – it’s their bonus.

The goal of 50% is to program their mind to live below their means, and that it’s truly possible to enjoy life with discipline.

As for #2, I am inspired by it – but instead of exercise (my kids love being out and exercising already), I’d like to teach them about entrepreneurship, and thinking of a smarter way to earn money. My wife has been teaching my kids how to make soap and laundry detergent – and that might be their first “lemonade stand” style business – where we can teach them how to cost ingredients, source them from the best quality and priced supplies, package and design them for optimal reception, marketing, sales, management, etc.

More details on that as we move along, but I think that’s an awesome project and teaching opportunity.

I spoke with my wife about #3 and we’re totally on board with creating a “Bank of Mom & Dad” and giving them interest for money they decide to save versus spend. I think it’ll help them understand that their dollars are “green employees” that will work for them if they save and deploy them in the right place, to think twice about what they buy and how much it’ll truly make them happy and for how long, and to live on less.

What practices do you employ around family and finances? 

What are you unfit to do?

I was reading Tim Ferriss‘ interview with Dan Carlin in the book “Tools of Titans” (epic book by an epic human, guys – get it), and he said something that stuck with me all morning:

“Don’t be afraid to do something you’re not qualified to do.”

It made me think (and that’s a dangerous thing lol). If I spent my entire life only doing things I was credentialed to do, I would’ve:

  • Remained unmarried because I am not a relationship expert – and have many failed dates and a failed first marriage to validate that.
  • Continued pushing a broom for pay, because I am a college drop out and would’ve been shut out by “bachelors degree required” job listings.
  • Had no kids because I am a child, and not a child psychologist. 
  • Put my aspirations to build and run companies into the trash because I don’t have an MBA or degree to give partners, vendors, or customers any sense of trust. 

The list goes on, for sure. But isn’t living a life you’re qualified to have a scary, unexciting, unfulfilling, and undesirable thing?

Good thing I’m annoyingly curious and stubborn in this aspect, lol, because I’ve done some pretty ignant things before, like:

  • Starting a restaurant with friends who had absolutely no experience; and dropping out of college – my sure shot insurance policy – to scratch that itch. We generated a profit within months and sold it three years later at a profit.
  • Convincing Fransmart – the world’s largest and most reputable franchise development company – to take a chance on employing and training someone who had no degree nor any franchising experience. I built a successful 10-year career out of it and continue to work there.
  • Giving love another shot and marrying the love of my life. 
  • Becoming a dad to two adopted kids and completing the family I never thought I’d have.

The most incredible, life-changing things that have ever happened to me were unplanned and I totally wasn’t prepared or knowledgeable enough at the time; and I’d bet that you are the same.

What are you not fit to do…but want to? Remember that amateurs built the Ark and that professionals built the Titanic…and do it. 

I HATE being interrupted. But…

I love long blocks of time to mediate (after 30 days I’ve graduated to 20 minutes a session!); to be creative (reading and writing); to get franchise deals done; to strategize for my companies; to empty my phone and email inboxes; and to mark off the rest of my list of “things best enjoyed batched.”

This is why I wake up at 4a in the morning to start my day. I want to be left alone.

But it’s one thing to be unbothered so that you can be efficient and productive. And it’s another thing to be interrupted so that your life can change.

While I love getting stuff done – looking back at my history, I noticed that all of my life-changing and defining moments happened when I was going about my day and POW! I get knocked off the train tracks of my well-laid plans, and my status quo is a destructive mess and unrecognizable at times.

I think of stories in the Bible where God interrupted His disciples’and greatest ambassadors’ current work (Peter was fishing, Matthew was collecting taxes, David was tending to his flock, etc.), and they could’ve never planned His entry into their lives.

But those unplanned events changed history and have reached the world. 
Here are two events that completely destroyed my plans…and I am better for them.

  • I was on my very last semester of college at California State University Long Beach (go 49ers!) before graduating, when an opportunity to own a restaurant – an industry I knew nothing about – presented itself and I dropped out of school to pursue it. Because of that, it led to an amazing career experience, my passion for restaurants, 10 years at Fransmart, traveling the world doing what I love, my company Halal Or Nothing, and my countless consulting opportunities.
  • I had a goal of getting married at 27 – which I did achieve – but a terrible incident happened that led to me getting a divorce. Because of that, it led me to re-dedicating my life to Christ, growing my beautiful family, and finding what it means to truly love.

The next time you plan your calendar or your life in general, leave some room for and anticipate interruptions. You really don’t want to live your life as planned – your limited knowledge of the future and universe will prevent you from letting go of what is, so that you can have what could be. 

And try not to be upset that things aren’t going your way (something I am still working on). Learn to take these interruptions productively by yourself “What is the universe trying to teach me?” And be excited that you are on your way to embracing change, strengthening your resilience muscle, and readying yourself for opportunity.