Desires and Fulfillment

Difference between Want and Want To
Since desire is never satisfied, why is our society focused on the thing — rather than the being, doing, and growing into a priceless dynamic creation of value to others?

For more than fifty years, the focus has been on the want — rather than the want to.

In fact, the mantra has been, “I want, what I want, when I want it.”

Ego has become a god unto itself.

The propaganda of appeasing the appetite for careers, houses, and money has dulled our inner sense of fulfillment and happiness.

Let’s take a look at the difference between the want and the want to — of service.

Do we want a career? Or, do we want to grow and teach?

Do we want a fancy house? Or, do we want to provide a sanctuary of love, which protects and nourishes our families?

Do we want money? Or, do we want to enrich the lives of others, until the marketplace returns priceless rewards?

We all know this fact, “Wants are optional.”

There is another universal principle, “Needs can, only, be fulfilled through relationship.”

Go ahead, test the hypothesis.  Think of a pure need — sustenance for your wellbeing — and the discovery is relationship with another will be the solution to a problem. The other will be family, friend, neighbor, community, church, and probably even Nature herself.

It is impossible to satiate desire — because, we want what we don’t have.

Furthermore, the higher Power of the universe refuses to give us what we want.

We attract to ourselves the harvest — of what we deserve — from the seeds we have planted. Like attracts like and we receive more of who we already are — until, we decide to change.

Lack will attract scarcity — Richness will attract abundance.

The ultimate question, then, becomes, “Do we want? Or, do we want to — serve?”

www.kimfoardcpa.com

Stewardship

StewardshipThe difference between rich and poor is not money. It is the ability to manage the resources available. Many have inherited great amounts of wealth to die broke. Others were born into little and leave behind a legacy.

In the annals of history and the stories of today, Captains of industry are less influential than the Stewards of relationships. In other words, the Empire is less important than the Builders. Regardless of what is built, it is temporary and limited in effect. Those who touch hearts and souls, today, influence the future for many generations.

As we consider our “ships” of families, friends, and communities, why is our role of “steward” important; and, who, really, is the ultimate beneficiary?

Let’s take a look at what stewardship is.

Historically, stewardship was the responsibility given to household servants to bring food and drinks to a castle dining hall. The term was then expanded to indicate a household employee’s responsibility for managing household or domestic affairs. Stewardship later became the responsibility for taking care of passengers’ domestic needs on a ship, train and airplane, or managing the service provided to diners in a restaurant. The term continues to be used in these specific ways, but it is also used in a more general way to refer to a responsibility to take care of something owned by someone else.

At the moment we fully embrace the reality of our temporary existence, our view of life changes. In the simplest of terms, our focus shifts from Stuff, to People!

Our thinking changes to embrace the concept of: Service over Self. To do so, we abandon any desire to have power over another. We take inventory of our gifts and work to multiply their effectiveness by mentoring, nurturing, and sharing in authentic ways the best of all that we have been given.

Specifically, great Stewards:

Share Information
Are Accessible
Keep Their Hands Engaged
Stand For Something
Banish Superficial Distractions
Make Everything Better
Coach, Mentor, and Serve

To share, we must first of all possess something of value. We have all been entrusted with unique gifts and have a fiduciary responsibility to enhance them into more powerful tools.

People don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care. We must be willing to move to where others are to guide them to where they want to go.

The mind cannot forget what the hands have learned. To fully understand the process, we must engage the hands to enlighten, empower, and encourage the mind.

We learn to walk by falling down. Those most appreciative of standing are those who have been beaten down and, yet, refuse to submit their ideals to the vulgarity of others.

The outward appearance is less important than the inward character. Rather than become copies of societal propaganda, it is imperative to enhance the unique image of who we are.

There is always a better way. What got us here will not take us to where we need to go. Good, Better, Best: Never let us rest; ‘Til our good is better and our better, best.

The greatest enduring gift of love is a chosen, purposeful effort, often done in the face of fear, to nurture our own growth and the growth of others.

In summary, stewardship is a dynamic focus on home, abundance, and the responsibility to give of ourselves to receive the best of all that the universe has to offer!

www.kimfoard.com

Different Levels

Different LevelsArriving home from school, the little girl was deep in thought. The frustration with the day was written all over her face.

As she found a listening ear, the story began to unfold. One of her 4th Grade classmates had an opposing view on an important subject. By explaining the two beliefs, the little girl seemed to find the answer to her dilemma.

With acceptance in her voice, she understood and announced, “People are just on different levels!”

All natural growth occurs through levels of maturation. Whether children into adults, seedlings into plants, or entrepreneurs into companies, there is a logical order: from the bottom, up; and, from the inside, out.

This hierarchy of levels begins with a foundation. All that follows is supported from that beginning.

After thirty years in business and within a span of seven days, I was reminded of the “Levels”.

Two stories, two story-tellers, two very different views, about one CPA:

Level 1:

“A bit of constructive criticism for future successful customer interaction: Don’t assume that your potential clients know exactly what your product is.

You are good at forwarding prepared documents. Might I suggest a single page with bullet points of the steps and actions that your products entail. I wouldn’t purchase a floor machine unless I knew what the pad pressure delivered to the scrubbing pads is, as the wrong machine may deliver undesired results or reduce productivity.

I would want to see a specifications sheet, just as I asked many time from you of your products.”

Level 2:

“I am a young man who has decided to come back to my hometown to manage and run our family ranch. I worked as a counselor for the last 4 years and was very content with my life and career.

As life happens, due to circumstances, I was brought back to my childhood roots and knew that my family needed me. I was not key on the idea at first but then I was introduced to our family’s accountant and he helped me look at the country life in a whole different way.

Since I have known Kim the last four years he has helped me and my family rebuild our financial status. We have purchased more efficient machinery, doubled our commercial Angus line of beef, and in the works is a pivot sprinkler system.

I remember when I met Kim he told me “You Dream it I will help bring your dream to reality”. He has been so helpful in every aspect a person could imagine, very knowledgeable, very dependable and you can access him anytime.

Kim has helped me grow into a business orientated person. He has the tools if you have the ambition and drive. Thanks Kim..”

How can two views about one person be so different?!

Answer: The young man at Level 1 has a Product based view; the young entrepreneur at Level 2 has a Service based view.

The mentality of some people is so limited that they are Product bound; unless they can understand the “tangible”, any inherent benefit is limited. Other people think at higher levels; they acknowledge and want the perceived value from the “intangible” of quality Service.

Gravity, for example, is a very powerful and valuable intangible. It is a real force to the extent of its Cause-and-Effect results. We have a choice to recognize its value by living within the reality of its influence. Depending on the height of the object on which they stand, those who choose to ignore this intangible presence might only get to do so once.

Individually, we are unique. As individuals, we will always perceive the world differently. The secret to success is beyond the labels of levels. It is discovered by enlightening, empowering, and encouraging the desires of People to grow and build.

We learn by doing and the fun is in the doing. As we, individually, choose our next step on the journey to a higher level, let’s have fun learning!

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

Post Turtles

Post Turtle

Pedestals, Ivory Towers, and White Horses

A country doctor is suturing a laceration on the hand of an old Montana rancher.

Rancher: “At least this hurt comes from building something. Just imagine the pain of a post turtle.” 

Doctor: “Oh? What is a post turtle?” 

Rancher: “Well, when you’re driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top. That’s a post turtle. You know he didn’t get there by himself; he doesn’t belong there; he can’t get anything done while he’s up there; and, without help to get down, he’s stranded!”

How often do we get stuck?

Do we ever consider: “Why?” Is it because we allowed someone to place us on a pedestal, in an ivory tower, or on a white horse? It is one thing to work hard to earn our place in the world; it is quite another to be placed somewhere. Even more dangerous than the physical geography is the mental fantasy. It can be our mind playing tricks on us; or, the imaginations of another.

From our earliest memories we are indoctrinated with the propaganda that, to be somebody, we must rise above. Movies, novels and childhood stories revolve around the themes of a princess in an ivory tower attracting the knight in shining armor who gallops in on his white stallion.

What goes up must come down. Down to the reality that the greatest joys in life are found by serving; not swooning. Life is all about attitude; not altitude. Love is defined by giving; not getting. Let’s all get down, to the business and pleasure of accepting others for who they, really, are; not who we want them to be.

While the grandeur of heights is intoxicating, the grounded efforts of servants produce harvests of abundance. Those who are the greatest, purposefully, take the lowest rank. They are recognized as true leaders by their efforts to serve.

They are the ones who know where they are; how they got there; why they are there; what they are doing there; and, who have absolutely no fear of falling down. When they stumble, it is to learn a new lesson on their way to another opportunity, of service!

www.kimfoard.com

What We Want

What We WantAs a door-to-door Cutco® knife salesman in my freshman year of college, I learned that people buy what they want; not, what they need.

When asked for several knives to sharpen, one couple would present broken blades so dull soft butter was a challenge. While giving me hearty nods of approval that they were in need of knives and enjoying the presentation of tricks performed with the sharp knives from my sales kit, they would politely say, “No. No, thanks. We don’t want what you’re selling.”

The couple in the next house would struggle to find any dull knives in the sets of fine cutlery displayed in their kitchen. As they apologized for not being able to play along, I would make a little conversation, reluctantly begin the show, and then quickly navigate my way through the script. Without even asking for the order, my focus was on an exit strategy. They would reach over, touch my arm and exclaim, “Yes! We want to buy the biggest set.”

Only years later, when studying one of the greatest salesmen, Zig Ziglar, did I learn, “You can get everything you want in life, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

This is my story.

The days of my childhood were spent horseback in a sea of cowhides with a Dad who knew the way to confidence was by doing what others said was impossible. The evenings were spent in epic tales of adventure with a Mom who knew the portal to opportunity was by learning from the stories of others.

After high school, I turned down scholarships to pursue my dream of being a cowboy. Fifteen months later, I knew I didn’t have the same love of horses and cows as my dad. Yet, all of those years living the notion, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” came in handy for a poor kid with a new dream of going to college. In the course of managing my fledgling business as a twenty-something entrepreneur, the counsel of an older Client cut short my whining as he said, “Kim, your problem is not that you were born poor. Your problem is that you were born with ambition. Many are born poor and stay that way. You want something else.”

Another facet of the “something else” was eventually discovered twenty years later in a book written by Ronald J. Baker, Professional’s Guide to Value Pricing (with CD), Edition 3, published by Aspen Law & Business, 2001.

By starting with one client in a little Montana town of 2,500 population, appropriately named Roundup, the cowboy in me was enjoying the gathering of a small herd of loyal clients. They understood from the very beginning: I was in the business of selling dollars. I didn’t understand Value Pricing. I did understand the importance of finding 5 to 10 times my fee in benefit for them. In the early years, there was an Exit Conference with every single client to explain what had been done. That made quite an impression and they would say, “No one has ever cared enough to spend time with me, like this.” Spend time? Heck, no! I was investing time with them. I wanted a long-term relationship.

Then, one day, time had taken its toll on a ranch family and they were in the process of transitioning the next generation into the accounting function. I remember vividly the excitement of working with the new twenty-something CFO, as we set up QuickBooks® and enjoyed a day’s worth of coaching and visiting.

In the course of adding families, processes, and infrastructure to the ranch operation (right in the middle of a seven year drought), there was a Net Operating Loss to be carried-back: Many thousands of dollars of benefit for a thousand dollar fee. To my surprise, I received a call from the new CFO, who had questions about the bill.

Remember, this was before Value Pricing, Fixed Price Agreements, Retainers, and crystal-clear Communication at the beginning of every project.

Sure enough, he was right. There was a line on his bill, and every other client’s bill, that read:

Photocopies and Assembly ­— $75.00

Made perfect sense to a bean-counter. We have overhead. After a few years in business, we have a history of expense. We can project that cost into the next year and we can reasonably estimate the number of projects for a given year. So, we do the math. $75.00 was a good number. All clients paid the same on any project and it, definitely, was a Fixed Cost, to me. Not to the client. He wanted to negotiate that amount, downward.

In fact, he had counted the number of pages, and fasteners, applied the going Office Supply Store rate for those commodities, and arrived at his number of $7.50. In his mind, he had been overcharged by a factor of 10. Ah, that “Perfect 10.” Yet, this time it was viewed as being in my favor, not the client’s, and it was causing harm to our relationship.

He thought I was cheating him. I thought he was behaving stupidly. We were, both, on to something!

The value provided to the family for the last twenty years didn’t matter at that moment. In essence, he was a “new client” and deserved my respect. So, we began at the beginning.

Having read enough of “Professional’s Guide to Value Pricing” to think differently and having found the CD in the back of the book with templates, I approached this “new beginning” with fervor. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain — a relationship hung in the balance.

There must be a better way to build relationships than: Work Hard ~ Send Bill. For twenty years, I had done what I had been trained to do by my accounting mentors. It worked, most of the time: 95% of the clients understood the value and were willing to be surprised by the bill. For a competitive perfectionist, that other 5% was the challenge; and, at that moment, I had one very irate customer on my hands, and my mind.

Change nothing; Nothing changes.
Insanity is repeating the old and expecting something new.
Easy is hard; Hard is easy.
We get what we allow.

It was time for a change.
The insanity was tiring.
A new path was needed.
I had created this mess.

A single line on a bill was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

One more witticism became the mantra of the day, “Fake it until you make it!” At the time, all I had was a page of script titled Questions You Should Ask The Customer During The Fixed Price Agreement Meeting and a burning desire to find a better way.

Through the years, those questions have been customized and internalized until they are at the center of every new beginning and potential client relationship.

The conversation is structured around:

  • Why do you believe a great Partnership might be possible?
  • Which attributes of Character are most important to you?
  • How can we ensure dynamic Communication?
  • What is the passion at the core of your Commitments?
  • What growth plans do you have?
  • How do you define quality service?
  • Is a results focused Service Guarantee important to you?
  • What do you consider as timely response to your requests of me?
  • Why are you changing professionals?
  • What specific objectives do you want to achieve?
  • How will you measure our progress and accomplishment?
  • Are you Able To Pay for guaranteed exceptional value?
  • Are you Willing To Pay a retainer in advance and the balance upon completion?

Forget about Perfect 10s; these are the Lucky 13!

As accountants, we will eventually need, and want, to answer this question:

  • Are we Relationship Builders, or Paper Shufflers?

Paper, as a commodity, is cheaper by the case.

Relationships are priceless.

For those who want to debate whether the glass is half-full, or half-empty, trading in commodities might be an excellent career choice. For those of us who wonder why so much attention is given to half of anything, “Creating and Capturing Value” is quite a noble profession.

Wholeness comes from tapping into the Universal Principle of abundance. Our real potential is unlimited. Yet, this isn’t about us.

Communication is what the listener does. Are we listening to our clients? Do we really hear and understand what our customers want?

Oh, sure, they will grudgingly accept bills for the compliance work they need to have done. When they understand how much we care about them, demonstrated by how we actively listen to their dreams, they are open to new ideas. As they consider all of the many menu choices available to them (with a clear pricing structure designed to express the value of each one) and ultimately commit to partnering with us, the want is palpable.

Yes, that new CFO in charge of the family ranching heritage understood the Value in the Price (when I covered up the detail of the bill) and wanted me to understand that he wanted more of that simplicity. Why did it take me so long to get the horse in front of the carriage? Answer: Good judgment comes from experience; Experience comes from bad judgment.

Disciples of Value Pricing never hear “The check’s in the mail.” In fact, because the checks are in the drawer, we manage risk, schedule our days, attract quality clients, stumble into opportunities, enjoy open communication, reap financial rewards, and tie Ribbons & Bows around each and every project on our way to building relationships.

I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.

In our world of technological advances, “www” has become the gateway to infinite possibilities. If we will decide “What We Want” and, then, offer that with passion to others, the result is guaranteed to be a “Win Win Win”: for Customers; for Us; and, for the Whole Wide World!

www.kimfoard.com