Ask the Right Questions

After weighing various schemes [for fighting the 1992 Gulf War]
for more than four hours, I realized I’d asked the question the wrong way.
General H. Norman Schowartzkopp

Assuming we understand the issue or already know the answer are probably the biggest culprits leading to the wrong questions. I’m amazed at how often I assume I know what the problem is—and I’m wrong! For example, years ago we moved when my son was in high school. I assumed he was having a difficult time making friends because he didn’t invite anyone to our house and my question of how I could support him fell on deaf ears. Eventually we had a steady stream of kids coming. Years later he told me he was intentionally being very cautious about not getting personally involved with new potential friends until he figured out who their friends were and had an understanding of the bigger picture. Smart kid!

Are you asking the right questions? When something is important to you but you still find yourself not moving forward, make a list of assumption about the obstacles—time, money, life demands, other people’s perceptions or comments, training or educational requirements, etc. Preview them one-by-one to determine if they are real or perceived. If they are real, ask yourself how you can get around them. Or take the perspective of a successful, competent person looking at the list and ask, What would she do? Other people benefit from talking to a coach, counselor or another person who is not affected by the outcomes to get a different perspective by asking different questions. Bottom line, asking the right questions about your assumptions can help move you forward.

Money Saving Tip

saving moneyMake sure you refrigerator and freezer doors are sealed tightly. Try closing a dollar bill or piece of paper in each door and see if you can pull it out. If so, try adjusting the door hinges with a screwdriver. If needed, a new rubber seal (gasket) it will pay for itself with lower electricity bills.

 

What made you smile today?

What made you proud of your money choices today?


Sticky Dance Floors

Is it a glass ceiling or a sticky dance floor?
Lynne Copp

Historically women have been held back by policies and prejudice in government, business, education, religion and the military. Gender discrimination still exists, so the glass ceiling has not been completely shattered, but what about the sticky dance floor?

Many women don’t want to play the corporate game and choose to leave but what if you’re staying? If you’re stuck and want to move up or move on ask yourself:

  • Do I speak up to let the right people know I’m interested in advancing? The right people will vary depending on the situation and the people involved.
  • Do I take the initiative to indicate that I’m really serious, for example, get additional training, volunteer for assignments, learn more about parts of the company or business?
  • Do I take care of everyone else, including my boss? Caretakers are not typically seen as leaders. Often a woman will make her boss look so good she becomes indispensable and the boss can’t conceive of promoting and losing her.
  • Do I act extreme—either timid, mild mannered and quiet or aggressive, abrasive and impatient?

If you’re stuck on a sticky dance floor, consider how you can wax that floor by acting differently so you can glide into new positions with new challenges.

Money Saving Tip

saving moneyEvery time you apply for a credit card and get rejected for lack of a credit history it can negatively affect your credit report. By providing just a few hundred dollars of collateral you can get a secured credit card. BUT credit card companies see a red flag when you use more than 30% of your available credit so if you charge $150 on a secured $200 credit card it will also negatively affect your credit score.

What made you smile today?

What made you proud of your money choices today?


Stay Connected

Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick.
Your friends and family will. Stay in touch.
Regina Brett

Studies have shown that as we have become more electronically connected, we are often losing touch. A client told me her boss was irate that he couldn’t get in touch with her while she was at the gym at 10:00 on a Saturday morning. Another client was upset with her irresponsible assistant who hadn’t responded to an email that was sent at 6:00 pm and it was already 9:00 pm.

The bottom line is that we are often too exhausted to make the phone call, stop for lunch with a friend or visit with friends or family let alone organize social events or initiate new relationships.

Each situation is a bit different, but chances are we all have a bit more control than we realize.

  • Unless a crisis is happening, schedule times in the evening and on weekends when the phone and computer are literally turned off.
  • Let others know when you prefer to be accessible or unavailable. If you always answer the phone with a cheery, “No problem. What can I do to help you?” people will think that it’s okay to contact you 24/7.
  • Make plans with friends that would be hard to back out of so you don’t stay late at work every night.

Money Saving Tip

saving moneyGet three to six quotes when shopping for insurance. Be particularly careful when comparing online quotes. Use them as starting points to get educated but then talk to a representative in person. Always ask: What should I be aware of when I’m comparing your company’s insurance and costs with another company’s? It results in a good education and provides more information to ask the next person you call. Always call back with additional questions.

What made you smile today?

What made you proud of your money choices today?


Yesterday Influences Today

The one with the primary responsibility to the individual’s future is that individual.
Christian Science Monitor 

How has your today been influenced by what you did yesterday? Yesterday I was too busy to invite someone to come to a concert with me and use an extra ticket. Today I ended up going to the concert alone and wasting the other ticket. I missed sharing the experience and the opportunity to spend some time with a friend. I felt guilty that the extra ticket was wasted and the money to buy it was wasted as well.

On a more positive note, yesterday when I finished my work for the day, I went through my notes and calendar to make a to-do list for today. This morning I was able to jump into my work and wasn’t distracted by having to remember dozens of things or looking for a phone number or piece of paper with notes on it. I was able to proactively plan a number of small items to get them accomplished very efficiently in thirty minutes.

What can you do today that will make tomorrow a better day for you? When we take responsibility today, we affect our tomorrow and determine our future.

Money Saving Tip

saving moneyBefore you buy anything on sale, ask yourself—do I want this or do I need this? What would be the consequence of not buying it? How long will I have to work to pay for it? What are three other things I could do with this money? Am I willing to sacrifice those things to buy this item?

 

What made you smile today?

What made you proud of your money choices today?


Power of Failure

I believe in the power of failure.
Jon Carroll

Success is great and we all need it in moderation. Too much success and not enough failure or challenge to balance it can cause problems. For example, I was working with a brilliant man named Ron who was in his early thirties and had been consistently successful both academically and in sports.

When he entered the corporate world his rise was predictably swift and his future was bright. When we first met he had no questions, no areas where he felt he could improve and was quite confident that he was headed to corporate headquarters and his future was set. However, while his peers and those employees who reported to him respected him they felt overlooked and undervalued by Ron so they weren’t his biggest fans.

When his immediate boss was transferred and the new boss came in with a new agenda and new people who were loyal to him, things changed. Although the new boss didn’t replace Ron, he changed the rules to limit Ron’s access, influence and the scope of his responsibilities. Ron felt like he had been punched in the stomach and saw his future going down the drain.

His mentor, a senior executive, was not intervening and for the first time Ron felt vulnerable and afraid. He had no skills to navigate this new situation and assumed the only way to deal with it was to leave. However, he ended up staying and learning some new ways to approach his boss in order to work through some of the issues. Now he is more humble, works better with his team and is better prepared to face other difficult situations.

Money Saving Tip

saving moneyBe nice. Be firm. Be ready to take on the hassle of calling companies. An hour or two on the phone may be worth hundreds of dollars! Companies want to keep their customers, so if you see a credit card, cell phone or cable offer that is better than yours, call your vendor and ask them to match it or lose you.

 

What made you smile today?

What made you proud of your money choices today?