What Is

The Wind In Our Sails“I am amused that you continue to ask for me to explain — what is not and never was.”

That was my response to an attorney, who wanted me to explain the unexplainable. He had taken a course of action, which transformed the simple into the complex. In fact, the potential exists that he has endangered a Family by encouraging them to, unintentionally, break the law.

How often do we fall into the trap of letting our thoughts and energies be consumed by the not of what is?

In other words, how much of our day is wasted by thinking about what is behind us — or, what is outside of our control? That’s the purest and craziest definition of — what is not and never was.

If we’re standing in the light of what is right, there is absolutely no reason to explain the darkness of another person’s wrong. To do so changes our thinking from, what is — to, what is not.

This is what is:

1.) Law provides order to what otherwise results in chaos. Every structure of dynamic goodness functions within the parameters of principle.

2.) Activities of growth and purpose occur in the Present — moment to moment — because of a thoughtful plan for the Future.

3.) We are Captains of our own Destiny, who sail the seas of the unknown and find our greatest happiness in the Journey of enriching the lives we touch.

That’s plenty to keep us busy.

Understanding the core principles of right and wrong is one thing. Living a life of principle is another. Sometimes, we do what we know not and, then, forget to do what we know. Eventually, we sync knowledge with action, to discover a higher dimension — of thought and being.

Focusing our attention on one thing at a time can best be remembered with this mantra — “Whatever our hands find to do, let’s do it with our might.” And — if those efforts are constant and consistent with a purposeful plan, the result will be a reality of our dreams.

Believing in a future beyond our imaginations unshackles us from the safe harbor of what is known. In fact, belief in a Higher Power becomes the wind in our sails. As with all destinations, Ports of Call come and go. What endures, forever, are the impressions made on the souls aboard — and, beyond.

Forget about the small minds chained to the chaos of — what is not and never was.

Remember the power of Understanding, Focusing, and Believing in — What Is.

www.kimfoardcpa.com

Spectrum of Life

Spectrum of Life

In the simplest of terms, a spectrum is the range of possibilities.

From here to there, the rainbow is a spectrum of color and a reminder of the enduring hope inherent within the human spirit.

Imagine the arc of a rainbow divided into thirds. From the left to part way up is the first third, the center portion is the second third, and the remainder to the right is the final third. If asked to discard one (or more) of the thirds, which do you choose?

Seems absurd to ask, doesn’t it?

Yet, how many people do you know who are content with the spectrum of their life?

There are always three parts to the story of each life. We have no choice to the number of Acts in this Play, which makes no provision for rehearsals, or encores. We do have choices in the script. In fact, we are the writer, director, producer, and actor of this Play of Life.

Act I ~ Honoring the Past

Act II ~ Respecting the Present

Act III ~ Trusting the Future

In listening to people for more than half a century, my discovery is that many of us get stuck in a single Act.

For those with a rich family heritage, the Past is a comfortable place from which to boast. For others, empire building is an obsession for every moment of the Present. For those poor souls enduring the hand of fate, only the Future offers solace.

The result of one-act Plays is the same as a Rainbow missing any of its parts: limited range of color and story.

Act I ~ Honoring the Past

We are social creatures designed for community. No one can be an island, or god unto themselves. In fact, we only exist because two people decided to Tango. Then, there were many others from the moment of birth to this very point in time, who bent our twig and shaped us into who we are.

Act II ~ Respecting the Present

Blink and you’ve missed it. What was is gone and what was to be is, now, this very moment. Because of its preciousness, many remark that it is a Gift. Right here, right now, it’s great to be alive. This is where we make our decisions and do our good work. We are on stage for the entire world to see and enjoy.

Act III ~ Trusting the Future

Fresh and clean, tomorrow waits patiently for us to embrace the joy of the undiscovered. To do so, we must boldly take the next step forward into the unknown. That uncertainty will separate the fearful from the faithful. Heroes are chiseled into legends through their effort to do what others say is impossible.

Now, the questions become:

“What storylines will flow through the script of your life?”

“Which directions will provide the variety of paths to your discoveries?”

“How many productions will provide the resources for financing your dreams?”

And, the most important question of all:

“Are you ready to share with the world all of YOU?”

The one who is good and bad, beautiful and ugly, precocious and cautious, the one-of-a-kind, broke-the-mold, unique creation of YOU is the only one who can present the Acts and Spectrum of your life!

www.kimfoard.com

Successful Failures

Ask the average person if they want to fail and the answer is, generally, an emphatic, “No way!”

Please, take just a moment to grab a piece of paper and pen. On the paper draw a Dot representative of YOU. Now, write the two words Failure and Success on your paper.

Did you write Success above YOU and Failure below YOU?

Or, is your diagram more like a fork in the road, with Failure to the left and Success to the right?

Or, maybe your drawing is that of a straight-line, with YOU stuck in the middle between Failure and Success?

Many of us have experienced the frustration of paralysis analysis. Do we go up, or down? Do we go left, or right? Or, maybe we’re just stuck: not wanting to slip backwards into Failure; yet, fearful of the steps, forward, toward Success.

Query any successful individual about their journey and, inevitably, you’ll hear stories about “trips through the desert.” Only, through the obstacles, disappointments, mistakes, and (Yes!) failures did they learn the lessons resulting in, eventual, success.

There are choices, we make, about the roads we travel. Character does matter. Those who choose the high-road of service will experience the benefits of a marvelous destination. The view is better from the top.

Although … the destination matters less than the journey. In fact, when enjoying a life of abundance, we never do fully arrive. Learn, grow, stretch, and climb as far as we can and, guaranteed, there will be new vistas to explore.

Examples are everywhere of individuals failing their way to success: Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, Michael Jordan, Walt Disney, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, and many, many, others. There is a common theme to their success.

Edison: One day, an assistant asked him why he didn’t give up. After all, he failed over a thousand times. Edison replied that he had not failed once. He had discovered over 1000 things that don’t work.

Jordan: I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And, that is why I succeed.

The, only, way to success is through failure.

Are people laughing at you, because of their judgment of your failure? Smile right back, because they can’t do what you will accomplish. Somewhere, beyond the lessons learned, is something important to you. Push forward, take the next step, and you will arrive.

When you do (what others claim to be impossible), then what? What is success? Is it a destination, or is it a journey? One of the better definitions, by Earl Nightingale: Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.

Now, we have the secret to why so many are stuck in paralysis analysis. They’re trying to decide which way to turn, when all they really need to do is: Dream big, have belief, take the first step, and then the one after that.

Those who do sacrifice the compulsion to talk for an investment in action. One of their beliefs is that short-term pain is the price to enjoy the value of long-term pleasure.

The pleasure will not be in arriving. It will be in the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. And, when that dream morphs into reality (through the journey of many steps), a successful person lifts their eyes to the horizon of new opportunity.

They smile, again, as they take the first step toward the next failure waiting on the road to another success.

Let’s boldly run in the direction of our dreams. Between here and there will be many failures of our efforts. Beyond the failures is success. In time, we proudly wear the badge engraved with our status: Successful Failure.

Forever, we march forward in progressive realization of a worthy ideal.

www.kimfoard.com

Pro Verbs

Pro VerbsWhen push comes to shove, what do you do?

The first natural reaction is to Freeze, while a response is chosen to Fight, or take Flight.

The decision to Fight is made with an affirmative answer to this question, “Big enough to matter and small enough to win?”

The decision to take Flight is, generally, made within the context of, “Run away to live another day.”

At the moment you’re scared silly, who cares the most about your life? Remember, the rest of us are busy slaying our own dragons and enjoying periods of calm between bouts. Does anyone else really care about your anxiety attacks?

People turn to the professionals. Surely, they have a magic wand to calm frayed nerves and to keep the monsters at bay. Nope. Sorry. Contract professionals are hired guns. They are paid to be very good in specific areas of expertise. They are not magicians.

So… we’re back to you and your choice. What do you do?

Within the question is the answer.

Let’s take a look at the simplicity:

You
Do
What
… ever, to create the life You want.

You become the Professional, the one who cares the most about your dreams, your goals, your vision, for YOU.

Once your arms are tightly wrapped around the reality that the world is what You make of it, the Pro is ready for Action.

Ready, Fire, Aim?

As a professional, you know better. Activity without purpose is dangerous. You are, definitely, Ready. Is your immediate Target crystal clear in your sights? If so, squeeze.

Will you miss the mark, at times? Yes. Will you FAIL (First Action In Learning)? Yes. Will you, eventually, waltz into a reality beyond your wildest imaginations? Yes!

There are few guarantees in life. This is one.

If you become a PRO in caring the most about the passion at the core of you and DO your best to share that with all in your sphere of influence, YOU will enjoy an abundant life.

You will be a person of action, a living example of a Verb: The part of speech that expresses existence, action, or occurrence in most languages.

In other words, YOU will be a Pro-Verb: A word or construction (creation) that takes the place of a verb or verb phrase, such as do in the sentence, “She likes ice cream and I do, too.”

YOU will become a PRO-fessional DO-er: someone skilled and confident in the daily practice of life. As you give your best in service to others, fear retreats and faith advances.

When push comes to shove, remember, you’re in good company. There’s a whole book dedicated to the brave men and women passionately committed to this discovery:

Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline,
to help them understand the insights of the wise.
Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives,
to help them do what is right, just, and fair.

You guessed it. The name of that book…

Proverbs

www.kimfoard.com

Shepherd Heart

Shepherd HeartThe surest way to enjoy the Future we want is to create it.

Otherwise, we’ll be living the dream of someone else.

Since we, individually, are as unique and temporary as snowflakes, it is impossible for the dream of one person to be the passionate desire of anyone else.

How powerful is passionate desire?

Recently, a story was published in the Billings Gazette of a devastating barn fire. The loss of possessions is always sad; the loss of life is tragic. The barn was full of ewe sheep and their lambs. The night of the fire, Sam and Nellie (the sheepdogs) were diligently doing their patrols outside the barn.

The next day, Sam looked all over for his sheep. He looked all over the place and cried and howled. You couldn’t believe the mournful way he howled that day. It broke our hearts. And in the middle of the afternoon, he laid down and died.

There’s a moral within this Story for each of us: Dreams, Goals, and our Purpose in life must include a dimension beyond the Stuff. Otherwise, if our possessions are lost, we’ll tip over and die, too. Animals operate on instinct. Humans are the only creatures of thought.

Whatever we Think about is, eventually, what we will Do.

The common belief is, “We came into this world with nothing and we’ll leave with nothing.”

That statement is partially correct; insomuch, that, there are no luggage-racks on hearses. Yet, we arrive naked and crying into this existence with the most valuable asset and greatest potential for building a legacy: A Mind.

Start with Nothing, Build Something

There are two ways to do that:

1.) Focus all of your early efforts on your own Business. Start with one Customer and carefully manage those early earnings by minimizing expenses and maximizing savings, until the Business can provide (extra) Time and Money for Personal pursuits.

2.) Establish yourself as a Get-‘er-Done person with a quality Company, which pays for performance, while you Learn and Save. Then, the path of Success might be to continue that Journey (of more Time and Money for Personal pursuits), or the Seed Money will be available to Start your own Company.

Either way, there is only one person responsible for your life: YOU.

I struggled with that for a long time, too. I thought if I worked hard and played by all of the rules, someday, somehow, somebody would notice and make me rich and famous. Doesn’t work that way. Individually: The world is what we make of it. Stated differently, in the first-person tense: If It Is To Be, It Is Up To Me.

Recommendations:

1.) Write down, exactly, what you want your Future to be.

2.) Prepare your Mind and make Plans for your Future. When possible, grab your SmartPhone and Search on topics of interest. In other words, do the Research & Development required to move you one step closer to your Dream.

3.) When appropriate, share the image of your Future with others. That can only be done after you Commit to the Future of your choice. By sharing, you empower others to make choices which dovetail with yours. Those who care about you will hold you accountable to your Vision.

Money is important; those who say it isn’t will lie about other things, too. Financial resources are necessary to provide opportunities. In the same way that tools provide the opportunity for a craftsman to create, money is the leverage to build something special.

As mortals working within the physical realm, we can be proactive in asking this question of all within our sphere of influence, “How can I help you achieve your goals?” After carefully listening to their answer, we have the opportunity to respond with these very bold statements.

“I can do that. By serving your interests, I expect this to be a mutually rewarding long-term relationship.”

Beyond the monetary negotiations is the real reward, which waits, for those with the heart of a shepherd.

www.kimfoard.com

Count the Cost

Count the CostIn every decision we make, two resources are at risk: Time and Money.

One, or both, will either be consumed, or invested.

The management of each is within our control.

We choose whether to spend, or invest.

We either choose, or the world will choose for us.

In fact, even when we choose, the world is prepared to laugh at us. That’s OK if we have put forth the effort to become all of which we are capable. The laughter of others, then, is simply their opinion of our effort. Success is the peace of mind in knowing we did our best.

Our best is only possible with Planning, Preparation, Practice and Performance. In any endeavor, these components form a circle of learning and growth.

All We Do Begins With A Thought

These seven magic words (above) ending in a seven letter word (THOUGHT), with U in the center, are the Alpha and Omega of the Four P’s.

In the beginning, is a Thought; the bigger and bolder, the better. Because, that initial thought becomes a target, a Goal if you will, worthy of what we choose to Do. The Four P Horsemen of Planning, Preparation, Practice and Performance will carry our effort through to a result and the appropriate Celebration of accomplishment, at the end.

This is the natural progression of a single Thought:

1.) Goal
2.) Planning
3.) Preparation
4.) Practice
5.) Performance
6.) Celebration

All We Do Begins With A Thought

From the moment we have a Thought, all the way through the process of what we Do, there will be a Cost to every choice we make, guaranteed.

From the Good Book, comes this encouragement:

But, don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, “There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!”

In every decision we make, two resources are at risk: Time and Money.

Of the two, Time is the most precious. Those who consider themselves Idea People, with runaway thoughts, fail to recognize the Cost for their flavor of the moment. If they are thinking about This, it is impossible to think about That.

There’s a Price we pay for, absolutely, everything.

As the progression of activity moves forward through each stage, from Thought, to Planning, Preparation, Practice and Performance, there is either an actual monetary Price, or an opportunity Cost of forgone alternative options. Even, the occasion of joyful Celebration requires the resources of Time and Money for the opportunity to tie ribbons and bows around the accomplishment.

Guess what, though? With accomplishment, come even bigger dreams. They will arrive in the form of more and different thoughts about new opportunities, heretofore, unseen. The cycle of learning and growth repeats.

All We Do Begins With A Thought

Please, count the cost.

www.kimfoard.com

Rich Conversation

Imago ShuttleThe world is our stage and we travel across it on the two legs of Family and Work. When each leg is strong and healthy, we stride; when one is weak, we gimp; and when both are weak, we crawl.

The secret to healthy and strong legs of Family and Work: Relationships. The magic elixir for dynamic and vibrant relationships: Rich Conversation.

All we do begins with a thought.

Many think a conversation is defined as, “I’ll talk; you listen.” A few know that conversation is an art form of creative reciprocity.

Narcissists in the first group are infatuated with themselves and their Role Power. Expressionists in the second group are focused on service to others through the synergy of Relationship Power.

Those caught up in the stratosphere of their Role Power operate from the premise that they have all the answers. As a result, they feel quite justified in doing things to others. Their approach is the “easy” one of Process, since they do what they want, when they want and how they want. It is measurable, quantifiable and miserable.

The purveyors of Relationship Power practice in the realm of intangibles. Because they believe People are more important than Process, each day is a new adventure of doing for others. Their journey is the “hard” one of accepting the reality that the only constant in life is change. People change. What they want changes; How they want it changes; and, “Why?” is an oft asked question.

Are we courageous enough to say “Yes!” to the discovery of another person? Do we have the strength to leave our comfort zone of the well-known rut and routine to accept the uncertainty of a new adventure? Can we imagine ourselves strapped into the Captain’s chair of a space shuttle with our hand on the throttle calmly announcing, “I’m-A-Go.”

Imago Relationships

Partners cross a bridge into each other’s worlds, motivated not only by the Receiver’s desire to “hear and understand” but also to meet the Sender’s need to be “heard and understood”; with a commitment to slow down our lives and devote specific uninterrupted time to our relationships. Ultimately saying to the other, “I respect your otherness; I want to learn from it. And, I want to share mine with you.”

Discovering two distinct worlds: Whenever two people are involved, there are always two realities. These realities will always be different in small and large ways, no matter what. And, the reality of the other person can be understood, accepted, valued, and even loved; yet, it cannot be made identical to our own.

Clear communication is a window into the world of your partner; truly being heard is a powerful aphrodisiac.

Without change, there is no growth; we are confined to the fate of remaining stuck in our unhappiness.

Change is the catalyst for healing.

Finally, we learn to see our partners for themselves, with their own private world of personal meaning, their own ideas and dreams, and not merely as extensions of ourselves, or as we wish they were. Our approach becomes, “I want to know how you think.”

A conscious relationship is a spiritual path which leads us home again, to joy and aliveness, to the feeling of oneness we started out with. We learn to express love as a behavior daily, in large and small ways: in other words, in stretching to give our partner what they need, we learn to love. The transformation of our relationships may not be accomplished easily or quickly; we are setting off on a lifelong journey.

As we pack our mental suitcase, let’s celebrate in leaving the limitations of “process” behind and lift our eyes to an unlimited future of “people” exploration, which is just waiting to be discovered in a shuttle christened “Rich Conversation“!

www.kimfoard.com

Tight Fences

Six Wire FenceIn Montana, we have an expression and a tradition: “Good fences make for good neighbors.”

Those individuals intent upon building a ranch empire will jest, “I don’t want to own the entire state; just what my neighbor has.”

Much more than keeping those types out, the focus of this article is about fencing ourselves in.

Fence me in?!

Literally, I can hear and feel the push-back. The idea of taking personal responsibility for ourselves is a novel thought. For several generations, we’ve had exposure to the 24/7 propaganda: “If it feels good, do it.”

As a result, our “fences” are in disarray; the wires are loose, staples are missing, posts are rotted, and we find ourselves trampling on each other.

There is a better way. It begins with us, individually, from the inside, out. We discover and define ourselves. Then, we build dynamic relationships with others. Regardless of the enterprise, life is all about the people.

Think about the best six-strand, barb-wire, fence you have ever seen. That was a “stretch.” Wasn’t it? There aren’t many six-wire fences. Many ranch managers will build five-wire fences. The hobby-farmers settle for four. And, the rhinestone-cowboys cheat with three. A six-wire fence is a little bit higher, with spaces between the wires narrower, and the boundaries a whole lot tighter!

Nothing goes over, through, or under a six-wire fence. Permission to pass is offered at the gates. With good braces at the corners and every opening, the gates are designed for ease of operation. In our great state of Montana, neighbors are few and far between. When they’re in the mood to visit, we want to graciously provide the way. We know they will respectfully close the gates upon passing through.

Pretty simple.

Yet, some might be wondering, “What do tight Montana fences have to do with life?”

Everything.

Forget about the neighbors for a minute. Let’s focus on ourselves. Harder to do; I know. It’s so much easier to see what others are doing “wrong” and mettle in their business. Since their affairs are beyond our control, let’s re-focus on what is within our sphere of influence. We will find that at the tips of our fingers and looking back at us from our favorite mirror.

Yep, there we are.

Now, ask these questions:

Who am I?

What do I believe?

Where am I going?

Why do I think the way I do?

When will I commit to the future I want?

How many of my friends will help me grow?

The answers to those questions will define YOU and your current condition. Capture that image vividly in your mind’s eye. Close your eyes and save it to the hard-disk of your mind. Open your eyes. Now, go, quickly, to build a six-wire fence around the wonderful creation of YOU.

Barb WireWipe the sweat from your brow, clean the blood from the cuts on your arms, and dab the tears from your eyes as you look (maybe, for the very first time) at YOU. For everyone who makes the effort to build that tight fence, we all see the same thing: Gardens of goodness and Patches of weeds.

After we tidy up the areas of neglect, we feel a sense of peace and tranquility. We thoroughly enjoy what is ours and we generously offer our best to others. In time, we realize that to serve more people in a better way, we must continue to grow.

Fenced PasturesThe best way to do that is to close our eyes, again, and dream: Big dreams, vivid dreams in full color, even those beyond our wildest imagination.

Anything is possible.

Forget the past; it doesn’t matter. Ignore the nagging worry about the future; right here, right now, it’s great to be alive. Position yourself in the center of that marvelous territory (the one protected by the new six-wire fenced boundary) of YOU — and, dream!

Are you there, yet? If so, write down what you just imagined. It’s much more than a fantasy, or a dream. If you can sketch the rough outline and, then, draw a detailed blueprint of that place to which you just went, it can be built.

By standing in the image of that new country of YOU, you will be able to see the steps to take ~ from where you are, to where you want to be!

www.kimfoard.com

Real Deal

TomorrowMuch more than an audition for opening night of the playbill, Life, this is the Real Deal.

So real, in fact, I want to share insight from my children. To be precise, they are young adults, who are taking Relationship Strategies to increasingly higher levels for the benefit of all.

They are priceless gifts. Yet, at times, they will also purchase tangible expressions of reminders for me. This last Father’s Day, my son presented “Easy 88“, a bronze of a cowboy making a great ride on a bull. A few days ago, a beautiful bouquet of flowers arrived from my daughter in acknowledgment of birthday “Fifty-Five“.

Within the last couple of years, she has also given me Words, inspiring words:

Family ~ Forever, For Always and No Matter What

Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes to us at midnight all clean and perfect and puts itself in our hands. And hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.

In regards to Lessons Learned from yesterday, the most important one can be expressed by a single word:

Forgiveness ~ Let go of the notion that there can be a better, or different, yesterday.

The purest definition of a “Rut”: a grave, with the ends kicked out.

When we replay the past in our minds, over and over, a rut forms: a pattern of thinking. Really, those familiar grooves are the equivalent of a broken record: ’round and ’round the same track, while expecting new music. Does insanity come to mind?!

A common theme in my Family is music; always has been, always will be.

It is the best way to convey messages for us to remember.

Better Get To Livin’

Song Information
By: Dolly Parton & Kent Wells
Original Appearance: Backwoods Barbie

People always comin’ up to me and askin’
“Dolly, what’s your secret?
With all you do, your attitude
Just seems to be so good
How do you keep it?”
Well I’m not the Dalai Lama, but I’ll try
To offer up a few words of advice

Chorus:

You better get to livin’, givin’
Don’t forget to throw in a little forgivin’
And lovin’ on the way
You better get to knowin’, showin’
A little bit more concerned about where you’re goin’
Just a word unto the wise
You better get to livin’

A girlfriend came to my house
Started cryin’ on my shoulder Sunday evening
She was spinnin’ such a sad tale
I could not believe the yarn that she was weavin’
So negative the words she had to say
I said if I had a violin I’d play

I said you’d better get to livin’, givin’
Be willing and forgivin’
Cause all healing has to start with you
You better stop whining, pining
Get your dreams in line
And then just shine, design, refine
Until they come true
And you better get to livin’

Your life’s a wreck, your house is mess
And your wardrobe way outdated
All your plans just keep on falling through
Overweight and under paid, under appreciated
I’m no guru, but I’ll tell you
This I know is true

You better get to livin’, givin’
A little more thought about bein’
A little more willin’ to make a better way
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Keep your chin up
Just hang tough
And if it gets too rough
Fall on your knees and pray
And do that every day
Then you’ll get to livin’

The day we’re born we start to die
Don’t waste one minute of this life
Get to livin’
Share your dreams and share your laughter
Make some points for the great hereafter

Better start carin’
Better start sharin’
Better start tryin’
Better start smiling
And you better get to livin’

If we do it right, the livin’ that Dolly encourages is more like playing, than working. As with all things in Life, though, there is a fine line. On the one hand, we must acknowledge this is serious business, because at the end of our Play, all of the props go back in the box. On the other hand, we learn the most when we are playing and having fun.

And, that, my friend, is the point: We are to learn, grow, care, share, and love.

There’s a story about a southern farmer who goes out into his field early one morning to catch his mule for the day’s work ahead. To his dismay that mule was nowhere in sight. As the farmer headed back to the house, he passed an old, abandoned, hand-dug well. Sure enough. At the bottom of that well was Clyde.

Since the farmer was poor, he had no money to hire the equipment necessary to lift that much weight from that far down. He was rich in friends, though. So he asked his neighbors to bring their shovels. As sad as it was to lose Clyde, the right thing to do was to fill in that deathtrap.

From the mounds of dirt excavated when the well was originally dug, the farmers began the serious business of burying Clyde and making sure nothing else was ever harmed by the long ignored danger of a pit.

Making the best of a bad situation, they shoveled quickly. As they were finishing up their work and upon hearing something, they paused to look up. To their amazement, they watched Clyde jump out of the well.

You see, while they were shoveling dirt down the hole onto Clyde’s back, he simply shook it off and stepped up.

The gifts from my Son and Daughter are much more than plaques and bronzes, They are the evidence of their success in “shaking it off and stepping up”. Through no fault of theirs, they have experienced The Pit and the Bad Hands of cards dealt to them.

With courage, poise, determination, and grace they have chosen to shake it off and step up, time and time, again. The bull and bouquet speak volumes about their character.

From the mouths of babes and the examples of our young people, we learn to: Preserve a childlike sweetness and innocence, while growing out of our childishness.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

One thing I have always understood: Family and Work are the two legs carrying me across the stages of life.

I believe purpose in life is discovered by acknowledging a power greater than ourselves; accomplishment is possible by being a conduit for timeless and priceless gifts. The greatest gift is a chosen, purposeful effort, often done in the face of fear, to nurture our own growth and the growth of others!

Let’s get to livin’!

www.kimfoard.com

Price We Pay

The Magic FormulaBy eliminating variables, we arrive at one thing certain.

This is a story of three entrepreneurs: Eric the electrician, George the geek, and Lorna the landlord. The mystery for us to solve: Although unrelated by blood and marriage, how can they all have the same big sister, Iris, who requires their support?

Lucky for us; we have The Magic Formula as a guide to the answer. It is available by clicking the image above, or this Link. Much more than a guide, the Magic flows from an awareness of our resource choices: Time and Money.

Eric is an industrious fellow, who has a passion for service. He has completed years of formal training; has worked his way through the ranks of Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master Electrician; and, now wants to live the dream of being his own Boss. Captain of his own ship, Master of his own destiny, a Servant of the people: taking care of his very own Customers.

Since Eric has all of the tools and seed money necessary for starting his Company, there is no need for a Banker, as a partner. Based on the household budget, he knows that his family needs $40,000 per year, after taxes.

As a self-employed individual, he will pay both halves (Employer plus Employee) of Social Security and Medicare taxes, for a combined rate of 15.3% on all net profit of his business. Much trickier are Federal and State income taxes, which are calculated on a progressive scale. At the lower brackets of income and with benefit of tax credits under current law, income taxes are of minimal concern. He anticipates an effective total tax rate of 20%.

In business, Overhead is a gracious way of saying: There is a price for Eric’s dream. Technically, Overhead is the delivery system of value from provider to consumer. For the joy of having that magnetic sign on the side of his truck and walking into his shop each morning to switch on the lights, at a minimum, Eric will pay $60,000 each year.

Now we’re ready to do 4th Grade math. We will simply Add, Subtract, Multiply and Divide.

Because taxes take 20% of Eric’s total Net Profit “pie”, his after tax $40,000 must be 80% of that same pie. Thus, we Divide $40,000 by .80 to know that Eric needs $50,000 of Net Income for the year. To prove that this target is accurate, we double-check the numbers: First, we Multiply $50,000 by .20 to find that, indeed, Taxes are $10,000; then, we Subtract $10,000 from $50,000 to breathe a sigh of relief in knowing Eric has $40,000 for his family.

Before Eric even gets to Net Profit, he must first make Sales to Customers of $60,000 each year, just to cover his Overhead and “keep his lights on”. Therefore, we Add the amount of Net Income ($50,000) to Overhead ($60,000); Eric knows exactly his sales target for the year, which is also a representative value of his time to provide quality services: $110,000.

Remember that needy sister, Iris? Your suspicion is right. Her nickname is IRS, the Internal Revenue Service; the one in need of that $10,000, above!

Now, the fun really begins, because we are to the point of this story: Who pays taxes? Is it, really, Companies and Businesses, as the Governor of the State of Montana believes? What happens when Big Sister decides she “needs” twice the amount of support and will use new tactics to take it?

Let’s answer these questions by reviewing the components of The Magic Formula. Does Eric need $40,000 for his family? Yes. Is the effective tax rate under current law approximately 20% for those in Eric’s income bracket? Yes. Does every business have expenses of Overhead in delivering value to the marketplace? Yes. Since these are all accurate variables, we find ourselves with the ultimate question: From where does the money come? Answer: Customers.

Who are customers? That would be: You and Me.

We pay Eric for the value he provides to us: the value of understanding the dynamics of electricity and how to bring it into our homes for the benefit of our families. He, in turn, shares portions of this Price with Vendors, Government and his Family.

At this point in our story, some may ask the question: “Why doesn’t Eric just keep on working for his current Employer?” For those individuals who are unemployed, the answer is obvious. For the ones still employed, the answer is two-part:

1.) Eric has discovered a better way to light up the lives of Customers, which his current employer is unwilling to accept.

2.) Because of the Universal Financial Principle above, Eric’s base compensation from any company is limited to, approximately, one-third of what he produces for an employer; Taxes and Overhead take the rest.

Prices are not arbitrarily set by businesses. Every business wants to be competitive in the marketplace and they know Price is one measurement of Value, subject to the perception and judgment of Customers.

Now, what happens when big sister, Iris, wants more? Not just a little more, a lot more!  In fact, she wants to double her consumption. Let’s do the math.

Eric still needs $40,000 for his Family and he still has Overhead to pay. So, by using the structure of The Magic Formula, we can solve for the amount of Taxes and the new Price his customers will pay. $40,000 divided by .60 is $66,666 (Net Income) multiplied by .40 is $26,666 (Taxes), which leaves $40,000 for Eric and his family. If all of Eric’s business expenses (Overhead) remain at the $60,000 amount, his Customers will need to pay $126,666 for the value of his services.

From $110,000 to $126,666, we (Customers) pay $16,666, more!

Remember the rest of our cast of characters: George and Lorna? George provides computer services to Eric; and, Lorna provides the building space for his shop. What do you think George and Lorna will be doing to the price of the value they offer to the marketplace?

If they want to stay in business, they will be doing what Eric was forced to do: raise their prices, too. George and Lorna are part of the $60,000 in Overhead that Eric needs to pay each year. When that $60,000 amount increases, who pays? Yes, once again, the answer is: We the People!

This is for certain: We pay a price for everything.

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