29 Things I Learned About Creating Wealth

Don’t confuse me with Suzy Orman. I’m an academic entrepreneur and coach and mom and a bit lazy but I do love creating wealth. Here are some random-but-important lessons I’ve learned along the way. You can share what you know by responding and make it better for everyone.

1. I am already wealthy. So are you. Even King Solomon did not have indoor plumbing, running hot water or coffee.

2. Creating wealth is a noble enterprise; it’s not the same as getting wealth.

3. Saving and investing each month is a healthy discipline.

4. You can be careful with your money and be high maintenance at the same time. (It just takes creativity!)

5. What you say about money affects your wealth.

6. Being truly happy for people who have even more than you do helps everyone.

7. Without extra cash, you can’t have much of an impact on the world.

8. Hiring people to help you helps them and the whole community.

9. Money is not evil.

10. I largely determine how much I get paid. You do the same.

11. Downtime is extremely valuable to me.

12. Money is replaceable; time is not.

13. Investing in yourself ALWAYS pays you back.

14. Choosing poverty is not necessarily a virtue.

15. Good health is a valuable form of wealth.

16. I constantly increase the value of my contribution to the world. Don’t you?

17. There is plenty of wealth on this planet for everyone.

18. Money favors speedy decisions.

19. A person can’t make and keep more money than she thinks she deserves.

20. Being calm and relaxed about your finances helps you build your wealth.

21. Everyone likes to buy stuff.

22. If you charge too little for your services, people are more likely to find fault with you.

23. There is always a market for Cartier.

24. Money flows toward confidence.

25. Knowledge is incredibly valuable.

26. If you don’t invest in yourself, then how can you expect others to do so?

27. It’s not about the numbers in your bank account; it’s how you feel about what you have.

28. Money is only one form of wealth.

29. Creating wealth is like playing a game.

What have you learned about creating wealth? Please share!


Overcommunication: An Overlooked Success Secret

Today I’m letting you in on a big communication secret. It’s overcommunication.

What I mean by overcommunication is going beyond what appears to be necessary to get your clear message across. It means being more intentional and thoughtful in what you say and how you say it.

Here’s an example.

Normal communication: I’m not sure if I can make it to your party next Saturday, I’ll let you know.

(Truth: There is no way I’m going to that party because I want to rest on Saturday and this person is not someone I want to spend that much time with anyway.)

Overcommunication: I appreciate your inviting me, but I have other plans for next Saturday.

Overcommunication doesn’t mean you don’t make mistakes, it means you become more clear, and then so does everyone else around you.

It means being more truthful.

Most people simply don’t bother to even think about overcommunication. I know I never did until just over a year ago.

I have made many mistakes in trying to be clear, rather than sticking with my tendency to want to be liked. Nevertheless, being crystal clear has helped me and it’s helped my clients be more powerful as well.

Early this year one client got clear on making some big structural changes in her life, and shortly thereafter got not 1, but 2 job offers.

Overcommunication is something that’s made a huge difference in the way people respond to me. That’s because my message is a lot more clear. It doesn’t mean that absolutely everyone I encounter thinks I’m fabulous (the morons!) 😉

Overcommunication can become your second nature when you let go of wanting everyone else to like you.

Donald Trump advocates overcommunication. So does Seth Godin.

Another good thing about overcommunication is that you don’t have to get up extra early to practice this, nor does it cost you a cent. And yet the benefits of overcommunication include abundance, peace and an incredible level of authentic self-confidence.

Here are some tips to get you started on overcommunication.

1. Be clear with yourself.

Do you really want something, say a new job, or is it  more true that it’s time to upgrade your job and you should want a new job?

Do you want to be on that committee, or did you feel manipulated into agreeing to serve?

It’s go to review what you really want and what you really like in your life. That helps you overcommunicate with ease.

2. Watch your language.

Is is more true that you can’t attend that seminar, or that you don’t want to?

Is it true that you can’t exercise, or that you don’t feel like it?

Is it true that you have to pick up your kids from soccer, or that you want to because you’re so glad they’re getting that exercise?

3. You don’t have to explain your choices.

Being clear about what you want is not the same thing as expecting everyone else to be so very happy for you.

Overcommunication often involves making sure people got your point. You can ask them to repeat what they think you said. That’s a time-honored communication tip.

What you don’t have to ask, or even imply, is “Is that all right with you?”

4. Even when you overcommunicate, the universe does not revolve around you.

Hate to break the news, but….we are all connected to each other at some deep level. Overcommunication does not free you from consequences.

Everything you do, I do, affects other people. But the thing is, trying to fulfill other people’s agendas is not necessarily helpful to them. And it certainly doesn’t help if you’re doing something that you resent.

Being truthful is ultimately the best thing you can do for everyone in your life. Overcommunication helps you get that truth across to others.

What to Do When You Get More Bad News

Contrary to what you might think, the first thing you do when you get bad news is not to try to find the positive side.

No one goes too long without getting some bad news. One thing that really helps is taking such good care of yourself that you have reserves of energy to deal with the bad news when it arrives at your doorstep.

1. Acknowledge that it hurts.

When I got the bad news that my pregnancy had miscarried six years ago, the teacher of one of my kids said something that was unexpectedly helpful. She said, in her kindergarten-teacher sweet voice, “Sometimes life stinks!” I found that comforting.

Sometimes people in their not knowing what to do, and I know I’ve done this, too, is to put the happy face on too soon.

Repressing your grief will only cause it to come back later and bite you. You know that.

You even acknowledge the pain when you know it’s at least partially your responsibility. If an investment you chose goes south, that stinks. It doesn’t matter whose fault it it. It simply is.

2. This is time for extreme self care.

If stress is a killer, self-care is the antidote.

This may be a time to let go of a commitment, at least temporarily.

It’s definitely a time to rest and reflect, to process that grief.

At some point you want to call a compassionate friend; you probably don’t want to talk to someone who’s going to spin the bad news into an epic drama.

3. This is not the time for stories or self flagellation.

Everybody makes mistakes.

Do not allow the thought “This always happens to me” into your head. Don’t even ask why right now.

We are all here to learn, and perhaps there is a great lesson for you. Allow that to emerge later.

4. Do not turn on the television.

Immersing yourself in the fake drama of entertainment is tempting because you don’t feel your pain while you’re watching your soap-opera heroine deal with her own. It can be too easy to anesthetize the grief, rather than to process it.

5. Writing down your feelings helps to process them.

Not everyone takes to journal writing, but it is a place to situate what you’re feeling. You could even write down the things you fear will happen as a result of this bad news.

Consider writing some gentle ideas about love and healing.

6. Go outside and look at the sky.

Being outside is somehow comforting.

Taking some time to feel the pain is the only way to process it and get back to living. That’s why in some cultures there are rituals for the family members of a recently deceased person — it’s a ritual to process grief without having to make decisions about it.

If you’ve gotten bad news, take a time out. Then, if you want, you begin to heal.

The Power of 7 Tiny Changes

I love tiny changes.  

They’re so doable, and can have such a big and immediate impact.

They’re really big with my clients, too. Yesterday one, we’ll call her Monica, was telling me about some teeny tiny changes she had made while taking my Choose Clarity and Confidence e-course last December.

She said, “I finally bought some accessories for the bathroom. For years I’ve been telling myself that I could live without them, so I never allowed myself to buy them.”

Fortunately, she had a bunch of coupons from Bed, Bath & Beyond so she purchased several items for a small amount of money. And 3 months later, she’s still happy with her bathroom. After buying the accessories, she was more inspired to organize her make-up and stuff. So one tiny change led to another, and now she gets to enjoy her lovely bathroom.

And you know what, she’s also gotten a lot of unexpected new business lately. Not bad!

We did some Tiny Changes in Passion Fruit Writing, but the most powerful thing of all about tiny changes is that you keep doing them. And they’re fun!

So, consider these tiny changes.

1. Upgrade your key chain.

A couple of days ago I noticed how pathetic my key chain for my house is. I have a lovely handmade key chain I bought in Venezuela for my office keys, and I enjoy seeing it every day. How many times do we have to look at our keys? So…that’s my tiny change for this week-end.

2. Buy a plant.

I bought a small orchid at Whole Foods at the end of December. It’s still blooming.

3. Buy a used not-fine-literature novel and read it in a coffee shop.

That suggestion comes from another client of mine. I’m going to find out what book she bought and see if I want to read it.

4. Visit Goodwill.

You never know. I found a set of great-looking furniture for my patio last week-end. If only the weather would warm up so I can use it! I also saw a set of golf clubs and a vacuum cleaner.

If you’re too cluttered, leave some stuff instead of buying more.

5. Bake something.

The act of creating is so rewarding, even if it’s as simple as baking chocolate chip cookies. If you’re on a diet, you could make a rich fruit salad, a super salad, or sorbet. (My buddy Sally’s been whipping up different fruit sorbets lately. She has a Kitchen-aid attachment for this.) I’m going to make gingerbread waffles tomorrow. YUM!

6. Clean out a closet.

Even though I just cleaned out my main closet a couple of weeks ago, I’m doing it again this week-end. Fortunately, that won’t take long and it’s so nice to look into an organized closet. I also tape up old vision boards in mine – just for fun. You can also put up art postcards in a closet.

7. Write a letter.

It’s especially nice to write notes on pretty stationery or post cards. Again, crafty Sally knows how to make post cards out of photographs and that’s so far out of my range. But, I do collect pretty stationery and post cards from museums. People LOVE getting a friendly note in the mail, don’t you?

What tiny changes are you making this week-end? Inquiring minds want to know. 😉

What Happens When You Take A Leap of Faith?

Sometimes it works out really well.

Other times,  not so well.

Most of the time, we talk ourselves out of taking that leap of faith. And we stay stuck.

Sometimes, there is just no way around it. Times when you’re almost forced to make that leap, although actually forcing someone to do something would then make it NOT a leap of faith.

Consider these times.

When you decide to marry someone.

Roughly half of all marriages end in divorce. Does that mean you should never get married. Some people have decided that yes, the divorce rate “proves” that marriage is out of date. So they live together.

For others, it just means we’re living long enough and have enough freedom to fail more often than in the past.

When you start your own business or foundation.

Starting any sort of venture requires a huge leap of faith because most likely it will fail. Does that mean no one should ever start a new enterprise?

Does the fact that most (I think 80%) restaurants fail  during their first year mean we should never open new restaurants?

However, when someone in their 50’s starts a new business, it has a much higher success rate than for younger entrepreneurs!

When you ask someone on a date.

I have no idea what the rejection rate is on this one. But it’s up there. What if we all decided never to ask a person on a date?

When you make a speech.

Most of your audience will not be listening to you. You may have to watch them texting, snoozing or staring out the window. Does that mean you should never make a presentation? Or the only people who should make presentations are those who really know what they’re doing? (Is there anyone in that category?)

When you buy an information product, like an e-course.

There are so many sham operations on the internet. How can you trust one provider over another? How do you know if this one will really work for you?

Here’s my take on taking leaps.

I believe in marriage, even though I’m divorced.

I’m grateful for people who start new restaurants, new organizations, new ways to help people (like microloans.)

I’m grateful for all the guys, even though there weren’t THAT many, who’ve asked me out on dates.

I encourage everyone to hone their presentation skills. The power of public speaking is there for you and I’ve seen the lives of my clients transform when they become strong speakers.

I am SO GRATEFUL to Christine Kane, who offered me a opportunity to transform my own life, when I signed up for her e-seminar two years ago. I had no idea if it would work, fortunately she guaranteed my happiness with the product.

I really had no idea that I could enjoy life as much as I do these days. Even my kids comment on how much happier mom is.

That’s why I developed Passion Fruit Living, the e-seminar. And I hope that the next time it’s available, next month, you’ll take a leap of faith and invest in yourself by trying it.

You Can Bounce Back Faster Than Ever!

Isn’t that the life skill?

To bounce back faster each time?

I just found out that someone has a purchase contract on MY house. No, not a house that I own, but I house I wanted to buy, at a very low price. This time, I was sad for only 5 minutes. That’s a record bounce for me and I was impressed.

Here’s what I think makes you bounce back faster:

1. You get enough sleep and you eat well.

I can’t tell you how many clients struggle with the simple issue of sleep. They often have a lot of GREAT things in their lives so that’s something we work on a lot. A few simply have to learn how to say “no” faster and more often. You’d be surprised how much brainpower goes into helping a busy, dynamic go-getter get enough shut eye!

When I was married, anytime I got annoyed with something, or someone, my husband would ask me when I had eaten last.

That used to make me so mad! Because he was right! Low blood sugar and sleep deprivation are FOR SURE going to make you react more negatively to more things.

2. Get exercise 4 or 5 times a week.

I know I’ve written this a dozen times already, but it’s the truth. Exercise is the best therapy for mood management. You don’t have to do an Iron Man competition. Walking 45 minutes 5 times a week is good.

This is easier if you’re eating and sleeping properly. And exercise certainly helps you sleep more soundly!

Any movement that gets your heart pumping is wonderful.

3. Practice daily (hourly?) gratitude.

Life isn’t fair.

And we are the lucky ones.

You know that, it’s just easy to forget, especially if you hang out with complainers.

Develop the habit of writing a list every day of things for which you’re grateful.

(Even though I know this, my coach is “making” me not only write my list, but “verbally” as in “say it out loud, Laura” all the things I’m grateful for.) I hate it when she’s right like that.

One of my clients recently got her husband to write a gratitude list. I’m sure she was at the top of that one — or else! 😉

4. Remind yourself of past times when things worked out for the best, much to your surprise.

I was never going to be divorced (Catholics aren’t supposed to, you know.) But here I am, happy with my life, doing things my way and having more fun than I’ve had in a very long time.

For the record, it’s not that my husband was the source of my unhappiness, it just took that painful divorce to get my attention enough to question my modus operandi. Some of us are hard-headed like that.

Lance Armstrong says getting cancer is the best thing that’s ever happened to him. Imagine.

5. Consider that there’s an alternative interpretation of what’s just happened.

Maybe your boss isn’t about to fire you; she’s simply sleep-deprived herself.

Maybe it’s not about you.

Maybe you’re reading too much into this.

Maybe it doesn’t really matter, anyway.

Whether it’s self care or choosing the best attitude or interpretation of things, it’s all about habits. You don’t get fit in a day, but a little exercise everyday makes you strong quickly!

Bonus Bounce: I make it a “Be Extra Nice to Self” day.

When it’s a really tough thing to swallow, I declare that for the next few hours or the next day, I will be especially nice to myself. Usually that means a nap. And usually I feel better pretty quickly.

What helps you bounce back faster?

How Can You Be Even More Amazing?

To tell the truth, which I always think I do, I’m not sure about the answer to this one.

Electrolux says that if you buy their refrigerator, freezer and wine cellar, you are sure to be even more amazing.

They might be on to something. One thing I have learned is that your environment and your self care deeply affect your amazingness.

Since it’s fun to be amazing, I’m throwing out some suggestions. Please add your own. Then  we can all be even more amazing together.

5 ways to be even more amazing:

1. Drink OJ from a martini glass.

My coach finds this amazing. She always finds a way to bring this up, even though we’re discussing much more serious matters, like how I can legally punish our toy poodle for eating my mouth guard.

What I find amazing is that I inherited these martini glasses from my totally teetotaler paternal grandmother.

I think she would be like Sally’s mom, who used to drink wine in a coffee cup so her mother wouldn’t know. And Sally’s mom was in her sixties when she did this. If you’re not from the South, you probably don’t get this.

I think my grandmother called them sorbet servers. We prefer to call them martini glasses and used them for juice up until a few days ago. Now we actually own authentic juice glasses. I think, though, the juice tastes better in my martini glasses.

That picture is of the criminal mastermind who ate my mouth guard I bought to keep from grinding my teeth at night. Maybe I should try hypnotism.

2. Stop stressing about work.

Notice I didn’t say to reduce your work-related stress, just stop it. I did this pretty much 3 years ago, but that was really enforced in my coaching program last year. I can get annoyed at students, but I don’t worry about what to do to entertain them. I don’t worry if they’re really learning or not.

It’s just not worth it. So do whatever you need to do so that you feel relaxed about your job.

3, Stop overworking.

You know how we get into these conversations about being “crazy busy”? Don’t you ever feel that we’re competing to see who has more to do? I used to be the champion of this.

My secret to beating anyone at the “crazy busy” contest was this: I homeschooled, taught at ECU, and took graduate classes online toward my doctorate and had 3 freshly-prepared meals on the table daily.

These days I love it when people ask if I’m “working hard”? I say, “no, not at all.” That’s fun.

4. Go get a makeover.

Nothing drastic. Just go have your makeup done. I’m waiting for the official arrival of spring, but I do this twice a year.

5. Fix one thing in your room that’s bothering you.

I worked on my room a lot this week. It no longer looks like temporary housing. But there’s something rather embarrassing about my bed.

I have this lovely mahogany four-poster bed. On one of the posts, there is the sticky remains from when one of the kids put a large sticker on it. I need that sticky-removal stuff so I’m going to Lowe’s this afternoon.

That sticky thing has been on there forever. But I keep overlooking it. Then when I notice, it’s nutty!

What do you do to be even more amazing?