All posts by Crystal Schwindt

“Rage of White Men” v 2nd Amendment Rights

II just read where a CNN article essentially blamed mass shootings since 1982 on the “rage of white men”.

Now, I’m not an overly statistical person, so I’m not even gonna front about that.  I’m also not an overly complacent or accepting person of and for all that seems to be wrong with our country these days.  Here’s what I AM, though:

1.  Tired of so many people just wanting to find a person or group to blame for our own inability to be accountable to and responsible for our own choices, decisions, and actions.

2.  People who just want to go around spewing negativity and falsehoods in a quest to further their own agenda and/or virtues.

3.  Those who are happy to complain about what others aren’t doing… doing too much of… not doing something “right”… but fail to have their own proverbial house in order first.

The issues of our country belong to ALL of us!  Yes, every single one of us.  Oh, yes.  You, too.

I know, I can hear the moaning and groaning.  Maybe even cussing and name-calling right now.  The thing is, however, there are FEW who are actually TRYING to stay neutral while STILL clinging to their own beliefs and values.  (And, yes, it IS possible.  I know because I do it all the time.)

Be a part of the SOLUTION and stop just being a part of the problem.  And, by the way, if you’re one of those who are, right now, saying, “Well, Crystal, I’m not part of the problem because (in this instance) I don’t own guns.  I’m not whacked out in the  head.  I don’t feel entitled — especially to the point where I’d go take from another — and work hard for everything I have.  I mind my own business.”  Look, that’s all great stuff, I guess, but let me enlighten you.

If you’re not part of the solution,
you ARE part of the problem.

It’s like seeing somebody get mugged but not intervening to help in some way.  You’re not the one who did it.  You didn’t suggest or cause it.  But you also did nothing to stop it, assist, or get help.

You may feel helpless in some kind of way.  I can see that.  You may think that one person can’t do much.  You may fear that if you intervene (especially in a potentially dangerous or life-threatening situation), you may be the one who finds themselves taking a permanent nap — leaving your own family and friends alone, without you.  I do understand that.  And, certainly, as a single mother when my son was younger, there were many times that I had those very thoughts when I’d notice things that brought out the “mama bear” in me.  Then I’d remember that — especially with the technology we have today — I don’t always have to put myself (or my child) in harm’s way to help another.

Truth guns 2nd amendmentIn this specific instance, I’m kinda guessing because there’s a lot of talk about gun control AGAIN, but I have yet to really hear a valid argument for it.  Outrage, I know… by some of you.  Let’s really look at this, though, because in some ways, the very thing many are fighting for are the very things that make us sitting ducks.

 

This man, I understand, acquired his firearms, ammunition, and accessories completely by legal means.  That’s not the case in many instances.  To me, that doesn’t mean it’s time to confiscate and ban guns; it means we need to re-evaluate the process for legally acquiring those things.  And, I hate to break the news to you, but for those who acquire guns illegally… you’re never going to stop it… because they don’t care about your gun laws, and they’re going to get what they want one way or another — as was so appropriately made painstakingly clear to me some time back by a law enforcement officer.

See, we as a people want to keep placing restrictions on the people who do “everything right” because of the few who do some things horrifically wrong.  And the Las Vegas incident was obviously horrifically wrong… as have been other mass shootings in our country’s history.  (In my personal opinion, ANY shooting that’s NOT a matter of self-defense is horrifically wrong.  It doesn’t matter whether it’s the loss of one life, 50 lives, 500 lives, or more.  Things like shootings, stabbings, and so on are 100% in the control of those controlling the weapon.)

As with most everything our country is afflicted with right now, the “gun” issue isn’t a “white man rage” issue.  It’s not the fault of ANY group or class of people (clearly taking terrorist groups and such out of the equation; that’s not what we’re talking about here); it’s a PEOPLE issue.

No weapon — not guns, bombs, knives, etc. — are harmless in-and-of themselves.  A gun on a shelf is no threat.  A bomb with no detonation is no threat.  A knife in a pocket is no threat.  The list goes on.  Until that weapon (And, by the way, there are common HOUSEHOLD items that can be used as weapons, too.  Are we going to ban all of them also??) is placed in the hands of somebody who — for whatever reason — feels it’s an okay thing to use it for their own purpose, it’s of no threat.

When we become so ruled by the fear that the belief that the only way to eliminate the fear is to eradicate the ITEM, we give away a piece of our freedom.  You want to take away my right to own a firearm and protect myself, my family, my home… because you “fear” some elusive “bad guy” might get a gun and use it in a bad way??  Well, when you do, you’ve now taken away my right to protect myself against the “bad guy” because…

NEWS FLASH:  the “bad guy” doesn’t care that it’s illegal to own a firearm, and, if “he” wants to get one, he’s gonna — in some way, shape, or form.  “Bad guys”, as a general rule, have no senses of honor in regards to only going after other “bad guys”.  They know who the “weak” are, and they prey upon them.  It’s what they do.  And, if you take away my right and ability to protect myself, you’ve now made me disproportionately weak and vulnerable against “him”.

This guy in Las Vegas.  He, I’m sure, thought himself to be powerful.  He had all those guns and ammunition.  He had some cool accessories for his guns.  He had a serious height advantage.  I tell you, however, he’s one of the biggest cowards who’s ever lived.  He preyed upon a group of people who were basically sitting ducks.  Not only had they done nothing to him personally, they were at such a huge disadvantage to his own level of “power” that there wasn’t even a challenge in the quest.  It’s like a hunter going after caged prey.

My heart bleeds for those who endured this tragedy.  For those who lost loved ones, and for those who survived and will forever have their lives changed as a result of how that may affect their ability to function normally for the rest of their lives.  No question.

But you know what?

Nobody wondered.  Nobody questioned.  Nobody got involved.  And (I’m guessing, although in this instance it wouldn’t have likely done any good — just given the circumstance of the situation.) nobody had their own protection.  They were sitting ducks in a barrel with a madman standing over them with a gun.  The proverbial mean kid looming over the ant hill with a magnifying glass on a sunny day.

When I walk into a place and see somebody with a firearm holstered, I don’t feel concern or worry.  When I walk into an establishment with a sign that says, “Open and concealed carry patrons welcome here”, I don’t feel concern or worry.  Why?  Because odds are in my favor that…

A.  Those people aren’t mentally unstable and

B.  If somebody who is mentally unstable tries something, my odds of walking out alive are dramatically increased.

I don’t know that we’ll ever find a fail-proof way of preventing things like this from happening because we, as a society, continue to accept and promote violence, violent scenes that bombard us and our children every day — through news, TV, movies, and so on.  Only when we, as a people, decide things like this will no longer be tolerated will it stop — although likely not before more blood is shed and more lives are lost because a battle will most assuredly have to ensue before the offenders and would-be offenders understand and accept the “new world” order.  That they’re NOT allowed to do things like this.

It’s not a race thing… political thing… gun thing… religion thing… gender thing…  It’s a people thing.

Are YOU, personally,
going to be a part of the problem…
or a part of the solution?

Choose now because if you think it’s going to get better before it gets worse, I’d have to disagree with you.  (Luke 22:36)

Share Your Thoughts CTA

 

Hurricane Harvey: What’s the Value of a Life?

If Hurricane Harvey hit your area, what would you say the value of your life would be?

A truck is flipped over after Hurricane Harvey landed in the Coast Bend area on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in Port Aransas, Texas. (Although this isn’t the documented “life lost”, it appears this dog was a casualty of the storm as well.)

Have you ever thought about it… the value of a human life… or any life, for that matter?

I write this today because I’m sometimes relegated to shaking my head as I watch the news, read articles, and so on. Today and this topic is one of those times.

Hurricane Harvey is hitting Texas hard right now. There’s much damage and torrential rain… with, at this point, more to come. The last anticipation I’m aware of was the greater concern that the storm has a high propensity for losing some impact while inland, but then could turn back to the gulf where it may regain strength, travel a bit more east and hit the coastlines of neighboring states. Still, that’s not what prompted me to shake my head or write this post.

See, as I watched the news just prior to the storm making landfall, there was coverage of areas where a voluntary evacuation had begun. This made perfect sense to me, given the level of strength still anticipated and damage felt to be rendered upon impact.

The newscaster in this particular instance was on-the-ground speaking with a few local residents about how they were feeling, whether or not they were or planned to evacuate, and so on. Then… it happened.

Man, if you ever wonder about how much common sense there is left in this world, you’ve but to only turn on the news and watch a live interview with “common people”. Lol

There was a woman who was briefly interviewed. Although I made no note of her name, place, or even her (I presume small) business, her comments and reasoning did NOT escape me… but rather reminded me of similar events when Hurricane Katrina was heading inland and evacuations had begun in LA.

The journalist asked her whether or not she was going to evacuate, to which she flatly stated no.

Seemingly a tad bit shocked, he then asked why, to which she replied something to the effect that she needed to stay and protect her business from being looted.

Okay, THIS is where my head-shaking began. 🙂

He then asked her if anything could be said or done to change her mind, given the upgrades in categories and damage anticipated. Her reply, “Probably not.”

So, as I (again) reflected on the events surrounding Hurricane Katrina, I began to contemplate how very little common sense this woman had. Did she even realize how LITTLE sense she was making? And further, I wanted to ask if she really felt her own life was worth so little that she’d put it in harm’s way of a storm capable of massive damage (when she clearly had the means and opportunity to do so) JUST to “protect” her business from looters — especially given that she should have insurance for such things and, likely, those looters (should it occur) may very well meet their own injury or demise by staying behind TO loot.

The current death toll from Hurricane Harvey?  One… so far, although city officials where the storm hit hardest are quoted in news reports of telling those who didn’t heed the (mandatory) evacuation to mark their arms with Sharpies — presumably so rescuers could more readily identify them.

What do you say about this?

How would you rate the value of your own life in a similar situation?

Companies That Pay Americans the Least

low-wage-companies

Which companies pay Americans the least and why?

Okay, so, this one is kind of a tough one because businesses are in business to make money (unless they’re a non-profit, of course), and we all get that — or at least I hope and pray we do because there’d be no reason to be a business owner otherwise.  That said, I’m not a personal fan of the “push” for $15/hr minimum wage.  More on that in a minute.  I’m also no fan of the cost of living being so high that average Americans struggle to survive, let alone thrive when they’re paid less.

Here’s the reality of both sides of this proverbial coin:

Workers (most with entitlement syndrome, admittedly — who honestly should be clean smacked by their mama or daddy for that) want and fight for $15/hr.  That’s all well-n-good except, let’s keep it real folks, there are many jobs that, frankly, require little-to-no skill and fail to meet the litmus test of warranting that kind of pay.  Plus, in a culture and society where most everybody also wants to scream and hollar about how much everything costs, some of the businesses/employers these very workers are yelling most loudly about really cannot operate with any decent profit margin (if any at all) if they do this.  So the vicious circle begins.

Workers want $15/hr minimum wage –> Governments (State and/or Federal) enact this, requiring employers to pay no less –>  Employers are unable to remain profitable while paying employees so much while still keeping their prices at current levels, so one of two scenarios takes place:

  1.  Employers raise prices, passing those costs on to consumers  –>  Consumers are unable to buy the goods at the new, higher prices, so they stop buying  –>  The business fails, leaving all their workers unemployed… with NO income
  2. Employers realize there’s no way for them to support this new wage and actually stay in business  –>  They release their workers, leaving them unemployed with NO income  –>  They seek out automated sources to manage the bulk of their operations

Oh, and if you think not, #2 is already happening.  Self-checkouts at your local grocery store — which I refuse to use because I see no reason to scan and bag my own stuff while paying the same price as everybody else AND put a fellow working-class American out of a job (eventually).  Automated ordering kiosks at fast-food restaurants — but no change in prices.  Automated machinery in restaurants (of all kinds), taking the place of a live human being.

THIS is a cycle, people, and there is no viable end…

save for our own control of living costs, taxation, supply and demand, etc.

My other (personal) issue with this is simply…

If a company is making a profit of millions or billions, paying their “average” (mostly part-time) employee $7 – $9.50/hr, the CEO should NOT be getting paid millions or billions.  Yes, they should get “more”.  They bear a big burden company-wide.  I’m  not disputing that.  Still, their pay should be more reasonable, some of the profits should be reinvested into the business to keep it competitive in the marketplace, and the rest (presuming they feel uneasy about guaranteeing a higher wage throughout the year) should be redistributed to the employees in the form of a profit-sharing plan.  I don’t think there’s a rational employee who wouldn’t feel good about such an arrangement.  They know the business has to be profitable.  They know it has to remain competitive for them to remain employed.  Most would even understand getting NO “bonus” every year (quarter, six months, or whatever frequency is chosen) if the company itself is having a down-turn.  Sharing profits with employees when they ARE available, however…  In MY opinion, one of the smartest, loyalty-building, productivity-focused things a business can do.  I’m just sayin’.

5 Habits to Cultivate for Ultra Wealth

Habits of Wealth

1.  READ EVERYDAY

85% of millionaires read two or more books a month, and they choose books that help them grow, including topics like careers, biographies of successful people, self-help, health, current events, psychology, and leadership.  -Corley’s study

Wealthy people love to learn because it helps them expand their knowledge-base and hone their skill sets.  Even reading a mere 20-30 minutes a day will set you apart from the majority of people supposedly in pursuit of wealth.

2.  PURSUE THINGS THAT INTEREST YOU

You’ve probably heard, “Perform a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”  That’s so true… and wealthy people have turned it into a fine art!

Ask yourself, “What’s my passion?  What excites me?  What would I (almost) do for free?”  Doing something that drives you that much will not only inspire you, but you’ll jump out of bed each morning, looking forward to the “work” you must do.

3.  USE YOUR DREAMS TO SET YOUR GOALS

You know it.  You’ve been told it a million times:  Write down your goals.  The question is…  Where’s the best place to figure out the goals that will propel you into action?  The answer:  Your dreams.

Take the dreams of your life, envision them as clearly as possible, and, preferably, write this vision down.  Then, reverse-engineer it to begin setting the goals you must achieve for this dream to become reality.

4.  WRITE (AND KEEP) TO-DO LISTS

Look, this is both for the sake of organization, as well as the psychological aspect of the fact that your brain likes checklists.  Nearly all personalities do.

Before going to bed each night, write the top 5 to 10 things you MUST achieve the next day.  Then, review today’s list and cross off all the things you got done!  The sense of satisfaction and accomplishment will amaze you, and you’ll find yourself trying harder to get things done — maybe even more of them. 🙂

Be sure you’re breaking down even long-term goals to to-do lists.  They’ll help keep you focused.  It is the daily small things that move you forward, afterall.

5.  GET AND STAY FOCUSED

Millionaires watch less than an hour of TV each day, and 63% spend less than an hour a day on the internet engaged in activities like Facebook or YouTube videos.  “This freed up time for them to pursue their dreams, goals, read, learn, exercise, and network.” -Corley’s study

Obamacare News

Are you keeping up with the Obamacare News?

If not, you may be soon – or, should we say you may want to.

The Impact of Obamacare pamphlet
REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi/Files

As you may already know, 2015 marks the beginning of the enforcement of Obamacare… tax penalties and all.  Oh, there were plenty of people who screamed, hollered, and stomped their feet when Obamacare (aka the Affordable Healthcare Act) was in the planning and lobbying stages.  How do you suppose those same people are gonna to feel when they see the hit they may take on their taxes to be filed between now and April 15th for not having the very healthcare we were told Obamacare was supposed to provide for those who were unable to afford it, either through their employer or on their own, as an independent, private consumer??

I don’t know about you, but I already know people who are starting to file their 2014 tax returns – only to find out that penalty can be fairly hefty.  Some of these people actually TRIED to be diligent.  They tried to work enough hours at their job to qualify for the employer’s group plan.  They investigated the costs of the government-provided health insurance at the “Healthcare Marketplace”.  Heck, they even sought out the devil (aka insurance companies) to see what was available for individual, private consumers.  Bottom line:  Some of them couldn’t afford any of those options!  But wasn’t this supposed to be the “Affordable” Healthcare Act???

Just yesterday I got a text from a friend of mine.  It read,

“Holy sh*t!  Looks like I owe almost a grand in taxes this year.  WTF?”

Now, that isn’t all due to Obamacare, but a chunk of it is.  He didn’t have health insurance at his place of employment last year because he flat didn’t qualify.  It was fairly new employment, and, although he was full-time, he’d not crossed the threshold to participate in the employer-provided group health insurance plan.  I remember at the time, he’d checked the Healthcare Marketplace.  All those options were too expensive, too.  (Isn’t that an oxy-moron?  The health insurance provided by the “Affordable” Healthcare Act were too expensive??)

Do you suppose he’s the only one gonna have a fit when their tax returns are calculated and they see the end result of a forced healthcare system tied to a penalty from the IRS?  I doubt it.  While the actual results are obviously yet to be “seen”, I’d venture to say that those who will be hit hardest are gonna to be those in the socio-economic class(es) that were screaming loudest in favor of the Act when it was first in the making.  (It’s funny sometimes how such drastic short-sightedness can be brought into clear focus when the enforcement of such things begins to happen.)

SIDENOTE:  By the way, how is it even LEGAL that citizens be assessed a tax penalty for something totally unrelated to the payment and/or collection of their taxes???  And do you realize that the IRS isn’t even a part of the United States government?  Nope.  They’re a stand-alone organization.  WTF, indeed!

I was never a fan of this legislation, although I’m a HUGE fan of the IDEA behind the legislation; I just believe such legislation doesn’t really suit the purpose or the very citizens it’s said to help.

In my opinion, it’s like banks:  You erroneously (Hey, work with me, here; we’re giving people the benefit of the doubt.) over-draw your checking account and because you did that, the bank’s “courtesy” overdraft protection plan kicks in.  This is to prevent your check from being returned to the retailer/creditor and, presumably, incurring their fees for returned checks (usually $30, right?).  However, because you had to “ask” the bank to cover your IOU (aka check), the bank now assesses you an additional fee (usually between $15 and $30) per day, until you not only pay the overage amount, but all fees assessed up to that point.  Now, here’s where it gets good.  You already didn’t have enough money, right?  (Again, work with me.)  So let’s charge you more money (like, substantially more money) per day until you return your money back to our bank, along with self-directed fees being assessed against your account.

Where’s the logic in that?

Oh, and if you wonder what happens if you don’t rush right in to try to rectify (pay) the situation (fees):  They’re just taken from any and all future deposits until the “debt” is taken care of.  “Have a nice day!  We thank you for doing business with us.”

Will anybody ever be smart or courageous enough to repeal Obamacare?  Not likely at this point.  Or, should I just say how sorry I feel for the next person who’s our esteemed President?  That person may win the election, but, boy, are they ever inheriting some of the worst legislation and governmental acts in history.  “We the people” will fully expect them to whip things back in shape in, oh, what would you say?  A few months should be enough time, right?  Again, I’m unsure that a few terms would be enough.

I’d love to know, as we head into the 2015 tax season…

What’s your Obamacare news?

The Cure for Writer’s Block

Okay, so, I’ve not been feeling very well.  It seems nearly everybody who I spend time around on a daily or even regular kind of basis is or has been fighting some kind of icky sickness stuff.

First I start feeling some icky, achy stuff.  Then I get some pressure in my head, like, behind my eyes.  You know what I mean?  Then yesterday I just couldn’t do it.  My actual HEAD hurt… so I honestly slept part of my afternoon away.

And, yes, admittedly, it’s kinda messed up my writing vibe.  I hate when that happens!

Today, I still feel a bit out of sorts, but couldn’t quite grasp what, if anything, I had to offer of value.  So, I did what every normal person does:  started checking e-mail and surfing my social media sites. lol

Much to my surprise, I found myself so taken by a couple of musical videos that the resounding thought was, “THIS is the perfect way to end a week!  They must be shared.”

The first one is just amazing.  When this song first came out (No, I’m not gonna tell you what or who it is.  You’ll know it as soon as you start it, though; it’s almost guaranteed.), I really wasn’t too sure I was gonna like it.  I was gonna turn the channel.  (Yes, I’m “one of those”.  A channel-hopper.  Let a song come on I don’t care for, a commercial that takes too long, a commentator who goes off on a tangent that fails to grab my attention…  Poof!  Gone.  In an instant.)  My son kept coaxing me to “just wait” because he was SURE I was going to like it.  For whatever reason, I still didn’t — until several weeks after it had been released.  I guess it grew on me.  This video, though, was a slam-dunk the first time I saw it.  Check it out!

See what I mean?  It’s not over, though, so just hang tight.

My next and final selection is also a very popular song and one that’s also quite inspirational.  Empowering.  This one I can say I instantly liked the first time I heard it.  Again, though, I’d not seen any kind of video to or with it.  (I just don’t do much TV or even internet surfing in that way.)  These guys brought this song to me through a whole new light.  In fact, I’m not sure I’ll ever think of it the same whenever I hear it.  See what you think.

Nothing short of incredible, right?

Okay, so I’ve been a bit cheesy.  It’s abnormal for me.  I already told you in a previous post about what a deep-thinker I am… and that’s true.  After a week like this one, though, and the way I’ve felt for the past few days… God just knew exactly what I needed and gave it right to me.

I hope you added longevity to your life today, as I have mine.  (Laughter and joyfulness has been proven to raise your vibration, improve your  health, and add years to your life.)

Oh, and, bonus:

They cured my writer’s block because I felt I just HAD to share them.

(Excuse me for being cheesy.  A word of caution if you’re a regular reader of my blog:  I’ve been told that my brain sometimes goes off in an entirely different direction sometimes.  I’m okay with it. 🙂 )

Hope you had a fantastic Friday!

Crystal Schwindt

www.crystalschwindt.com

P.S.  Another reason to like today?  It’s Financial Freedom Friday!  If you’re not a part, join here.  It’s free!

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Debunking Myths: Even YOU Have a Team!

The term “team” is typically used in reference to sports or direct sales and network marketing. In reality, though, nearly every person (especially adult) on the planet has Funny Kid and Dog Teama team. That being the case, when asked, you also have supervisory skills. 🙂  The only question is how good those skills are. Allow me to explain and put to rest the myth that if you’re not involved in sports or network marketing – or are involved in network marketing but have yet to attract people into your downline – you have no team… and no way to hone your leadership skills.

Sports is easy, right? Unless you’re involved in a solo kind of sport like individual tennis, skiing, and so forth (with no hope of playing at a level where bigger teams are formed, like the Olympics), defining your team and the hierarchy within the team is fairly simple. Probably not a lot of explanation needed on this one. You either have one or not. You’re either a part of one, or you’re not. So let’s look at what “team” means in other areas of life and how it’s applicable to your professional life, level of success, and leadership skills.

See, in network marketing, terminology like “team” is often used in reference to your downline, or those who are recruited and coded to you for the sake of commission overrides. Think of it like a real estate brokerage office: Everybody in that particular office is a member of that broker’s team. Got it? Then, outside of hourly employees (such as clerical staff), the broker receives a commission from the sale of every darn house sold by any and all of his or her real estate agents.

Now, if you weren’t already aware of that fact, hang with me for a few minutes before you allow your feathers to get all ruffled. This is actually as it should be, in my opinion – only the amount would be up for debate from my viewpoint.

A broker is entitled to this override for several reasons:

1. He or She is required to acquire and hold a higher license than a real estate agent. This license allows them to supervise other agents. That’s not all, though, because when I say “supervise”, I could also interchange “be held responsible or accountable” for other agents. So if an agent in their office creates a liability in a transaction or contract, the broker is ultimately held responsible for overseeing the activity of the agent. This means that, even though the agent acted, the broker may end up bearing the brunt of any issues or lawsuits because he/she is supposed to ensure the agent really knows what they’re doing and that it’s done correctly and properly. That alone is a big responsibility, from where I stand.

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “the greater the risk, the greater the potential reward”. I’d say that’s accurate in most instances… including this one.

2. It’s the broker who ultimately pays and is held accountable for paying for all the normal expenses of that office. Things like electricity, heating and air, phone landlines, and so on – even though the agents often have their own areas to meet clients and conduct business. That also means that his or her name is the one listed as being responsible (or liable, depending how you want to look at it) on any lease agreements.

So, see, when it comes to a pay structure, a brokerage is very similar to network marketing. The biggest difference I’m aware of, being that a brokerage is contained to or limited by one broker and the number of agents that can be “housed” in that office. In direct sales (aka network marketing), those limits typically do not exist. Let’s move outside the pay structure, though, so we can dispel this thought that if you don’t have a “team” in this conventional way of thinking, you (a) have no team and (b) have no leadership skills (or the opportunity to hone any).

Believe it or not, we’re all in sales, which is the profession we hear the term “team” used mostly. Every one of us. Yep, even you. The person who says they love sales and everything about sales… is involved in sales. The person who says they absolutely hate sales, everything related to sales, and every salesperson they ever met… is involved in sales themselves. How can I say that? Well, let’s look at the facts.

From the day you were born, you not only became aware of “sales” and the necessary skill of persuasion, you began to practice those skills. Who was it, as a toddler, who would either bat those pretty long eyelashes or baby blues in order to get Mom or Dad to give you what you wanted? Or, who was it who threw themselves in the middle of the floor, screaming, kicking, and yelling until Mom or Dad gave you your way? Granted, one is obviously better and exhibits more finesse than the other, but they’re both sales. “I want [this], and I need to “talk” Mom or Dad into giving it to me.”

As we age, we either get better or worse, but it’s still sales.

Then, if you’ve ever been asked on a date or asked somebody out on a date, you were practicing sales, right? I mean, you were either “buying” or you were “selling” (yourself) to the other person. Starting to make sense? This means that, even if you thought or have always been told you sucked at sales, there must’ve been a time… I’m jus sayin. 🙂

Take a minute and think about all the times you’ve practiced being a buyer and salesperson throughout your life thus far. Were you a good buyer? What about a good salesperson? Did you get better or worse as you aged?

If you’ll remember, I wrote a recent post where we discussed the fact that fear is a learned response to certain stimuli, and, as a learned response, it can also be un-learned, so to speak, if you choose to. Well, you weren’t born a salesperson; it just didn’t take you long to figure out that doing certain things were more apt to convince your “buyer” to do as you wanted, give you what you wanted, etc. If you really hone your sales skills on a professional level you learn, of course, that the art of selling is much more and, if done properly, you’re not selling people things they don’t want to buy (which may be the case as a toddler or young child); you’re actually educating the buyer and helping them make a decision about the purchase they’re already contemplating. Real sales (as I’ve been taught) is more asking than it is telling, which I’ve also found more people to be most receptive to. This way the “buyer” gets to feel totally in control of the process.

Are we good on this?

Great! Let’s integrate all this knowledge on the correlating myths as they relate to teams, team-building, and leadership.

Remember I said that even YOU have a team? Like, right now, YOU (most likely) have a team. It may be a team of one or hundreds of thousands, but you have a team.

In conventional employment, a team may be a department, a group of managers, a supervisor and a subordinate… Teams. There are upline and downline teams. There are horizontal teams. There are vertical teams. Conventional businesses and conventional teams.

Let’s say you’re not in a conventional business, though. Let’s say you have an online or offline network marketing business that you’re building. And let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that you have nobody who’s joined your current downline. So you think you don’t have a team… but you’re wrong, and thinking that way will actually sabotage what you’re striving to achieve. The reality is that you DO have a team; you’re just in the mode of preparing for them – or that team in particular, anyway.

Look at your life.

If you have a child or children, you have a team. If you have a girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or wife, you have a team. If you have a family (that you actually associate with lol), you have a team. If you have close friends who you hang out with, maybe “break bread” with, you have a team. And, I might add, you also have supervisory and leadership skills. Now, I can’t guarantee that this philosophy is going to fly if you try to put it on your resume, but I can tell you — as somebody who previously built a very loyal and stable network marketing team, as well as somebody who’s currently involved in the network marketing arena — the dynamics of these teams in your life and how you lead and work with them would certainly have a bearing to me if I was considering you for my team. These interactions and relationships are some of the most trying in life, so if you learn to lead gracefully and follow when necessary, you’ll have impeccable leadership skills when your new team finally finds you.

Here’s a Pepsi commercial to help illustrate the effectiveness of a small, yet powerful and un-covnentional team.. and what it can do for you!

(I don’t necessarily suggest you round up your posse and try THAT, but I did think it was funny.  You get the idea, right? 🙂 )

Here’s another example:  Let’s say you’re married and have umpteen-dozen children. In fact, you have your own softball, basketball, or football team. If you’re able to maintain a good relationship with your spouse and children while leading them effectively, by all means, click here and join my team. Seriously, right now. The conventional world may tell you that you have no real team-building or leadership skills, but I know better. The abilities and skills that you’ve acquired and honed so you can effectively manage and grow this part of your life truly isn’t that big of leap to what you’ll need to succeed in the same capacity in business, on a professional level. (Good thing we could care less about degrees and the like in my business. Lol)

Now, as you begin to shift your thinking in this way, you’ll also find that you begin to behave differently, too. And, as you begin to behave differently, you’ll find that you also begin to attract the team you desire into your life and business – whether conventional or not, online or off. You can’t help it.

So, stop being sad, thinking, “…but I don’t HAVE a team.”

I’ve just proven to you that you do. I’ve proven to you that you have supervisory and leadership skills that you may have never realized you have. What I’m NOT telling you is that you’re done learning, you have no need to improve or grow, or all you need to do is sit back and wait. That’s all false. You must do all those things, or you’ll find (in short order) you have a team that’s outgrown you – much the same way as one partner in a relationship may outgrow another. The learning and growing on your part is vital to the longevity and stability of your team – personal or professional. Just remember…

Even YOU have a team!

See you at the top,

Crystal Schwindt
www.crystalschwindt.com

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THIS is Life. What now??

Life Choices - Title Boxing Utah
Courtesy Emily Hill

If you know me at all, you know I tend to be a deep-thinker.  I see the universe in wide-open spaces and limitless possibilities vs. the boxes that other people and society as a whole wants to shove people, situations, circumstances, outcomes, and expectations into.  My standards and expectations are high – for myself and anybody who engages with me, pretty much on any level.  And, I have a knack for being able to take a time and space, step outside myself, and see it from various other perspectives.

So recently, when visiting my parents, I caught myself stepping outside and observing us all (and especially them) as I began to ponder life.  What does it mean?  How’s it really meant to be lived?  Why are so many people feeling unfulfilled and disillusioned?  And, most importantly, what can I personally do about it?

Here’s the deal:

I grew up in what would probably be defined as a middle-income family.  A very blended (mom, step-moms [yes, plural, ugh…], dad, step-dad, sister, step-sisters [on both sides of the equation], a step-brother [who I never really came to know because he chose to stop coming around and has never changed course], another step-brother [who just became a part of my life a few years ago – shout out to Neal :)], and a half-brother) family.  Monetarily okay but certainly with boundaries.

As you may imagine, there can be a fair amount of emotional baggage that builds up over time with such a “rich” (lol) and dynamic, um, upbringing, shall we say.  Truthfully, I became aware of some of this baggage at a fairly young age and learned how to use it to motivate myself toward more positive things.  This isn’t something I necessarily recommend, because, over time, the harboring of all the negativity can take serious tolls if not dealt with, which I did, but it can certainly work quite well “for the moment”.

It’s mostly because of those adversities, however, that I became a stronger, more motivated, and very determined person, I believe.

See, when you’re faced with “life”, you have choices.  We all have choices.  Even when you think you don’t, you really do; just look more closely.  (Even when you decide to not decide something, you’ve still made a decision.  Get it?)  Making those choices and decisions set you on certain paths.  It doesn’t mean you can never change your trajectory; it only means that until you choose to change your trajectory, “this” is the course you’re on.  So when faced with adversity, choose, right?  I mean, choose what you are or aren’t going to do about it.

Choose whether or not you’re going to allow the situation and circumstance to define you or if you’re going to leverage it to move you in a more positive and productive direction.  For me, I’ve always chosen the latter.  Don’t misunderstand, though, the majority of the human population will choose the first – including my own family.

This means that I’ve also always been the “outsider”.  The “black sheep”, if you will.  I’ve been hated on… by my own family (and countless others who don’t even know me)… because I’m different – and people in general tend to fear and feel uncomfortable in the presence of or when faced with that which they don’t understand.  I’m okay with it. 🙂

Am I a “bad” person?  No, not at all, in my opinion.  In fact, I think I’m one of the “better” kinds of people.  I’m honest… to a default, I’ve been told (which can sometimes be painful, for both me and the person I’m being honest with lol).  I’m extremely loyal… to those who earn it.  (I’ve said – on more than one occasion – I AM the person who will “go down with the ship”, simply because I believe in something and will not falter just because it’s not the most popular belief or stance.)  I only expect of others what I expect of myself – despite how high those standards may be.  When you have my friendship and love, you have the absolute best parts of me.

Conversely, I (like most people) have an alternate side.  It’s not one I keep hidden.  In fact, I’m pretty open about it and freely warn people of it.  For all the “good” I am and can be, I’m not typically the person you want to “cross” either.   Oh, I don’t do mean, malicious things to people; I simply have a divine capacity to call upon those adversities and derive a strength that allows me to push forward and beyond others who want to be mean and malicious to me.

Do I “get even”?  Not really.  Life, in all its glory, has taught me that that kind of anger and vengefulness can hurt others, of course, but I feel ultimately destroys the person who holds it more.  In fact, I tend to view those people and situations by dealing with whatever the situation is within myself, then forgiving and releasing the other person.  (Bear in mind:  Forgiveness is for YOU, not the other person.  The Bible calls me to forgive, but my duty stops there.  What the other person does isn’t for me to determine or concern myself with.  Their life is their life to live and deal with.)  Now, when warranted, I will do my part in correcting “wrongs”, though.  I refuse to be trampled upon and shoved aside.  It’s a matter of respect – for myself and that which I feel every person is entitled… until and unless they prove themselves to be unworthy of mine.  My term:  value.  Simply put.

So what does all this have to do with stepping outside myself and observing my parents?

Only everything.

There wasn’t really anything “special” about this day, and this outside observance wasn’t really anything I intentionally set out to do.  It’s just kinda like, all-of-a-sudden I was watching a movie instead of participating in the moment.  I watched them move.  I saw how they interacted with one another.  I listened intently to their words, and the tones and inflections of those words.  And, despite all their pride and grandeur that I remember from years gone by, I saw something deeper in those few moments.  And I had to ask myself some very tough questions… thus some very tough decisions to come, as a result.

See, growing up, my mom was “home” with us kids.  I was raised by my mom and bonus dad, but my bonus dad always had his own business.  As far back as I consciously recall, anyway.  He worked a lot.  I hardly remember a time he wasn’t working – whether it was in his business, around the house, in the garage or yard, etc.  And my mom…  Well, she’s always been the “sacrificial lamb”, per se.  You know, the one who will always do without things she wants, needs, and desires so others can have their way, wants, etc.  (Yes, there are times she’s let slip how hurt she’s felt about some of those things – because people tend to take advantage more than they tend to reciprocate.)

My parents are now older.  In their 70s.  Still self-sufficient, thank you, Jesus… and fairly good health – with the occasional “scare”, but that can happen to any of us at any given moment.

So while I watched, listened, and allowed my entire being to take in all the sensory possibilities of this time, all I could think is…

THIS is life???

And the resounding answer in my head said, “No, there’s no WAY “THIS” could be what LIFE is supposed to be.”

Are you really suppose to dedicate over 2/3 of your living years to working, giving, providing… all for the betterment of others… just so you can reach that last 1/3 and worry about medical bills, having enough money to meet your monthly obligations, wanting what you want and feeling like you’ve earned it but still being unable to have or get it without “selling your soul”??  Again, the voice in my head said (louder this time), “No!”

The next question became, “What are YOU going to do about it?”

Right?  Because everything is a choice, right?  I mean, even in this situation, there are a multitude of choices.

  • I can say, “No” and only concern myself with the fact that their reality isn’t going to be my reality and what I’m going to do to be certain it’s not.
  • I can say, “No” and think about my own son and how I ensure he never feels how I was feeling in that moment.
  • I can say, “No” and wonder what all my other siblings are going to do (or help do) about it.
  • Or, I can say, “No” and decide what I’M going to do about it. All of it.

Because I have this baggage that became my strength enabling me to dig deep within myself and create a massive change whenever and wherever I want, right?  (By the way, we all have this.  YOU have this.  You may not know it.  You may think you’ve lost it.  Let me assure you:  It’s there.  It’s still there.  And even if you think that “fire” in the pit of your stomach and core of your being is gone… it’s not.  Any time you choose to dig deep, you’ll find it.  Just call upon it, and it will rise up, assisting you to create and manifest whatever you want in life.  Sorry, I digress. Lol)

Now, this “decision” was already in full swing when I learned a few other pieces to the puzzle that only serve to fuel the fire:

  1. My MOM is ready to finally see and acknowledge some of her OWN worth and the fact that she’s just as entitled to live and do things that make HER happy as she’s done for others all these years. (I mentioned to her our company’s next live event in a few months in Nashville and told her she should go with me.  [She’s a country-and-western, Elvis-lovin’ nut. J ]  At first she balked.  Then, about 30 minutes later, she called me back asking about the details and said she “just might” need to do that.)
  2. My BONUS DAD had gone BACK to work to supplement his income, and I learned that, despite the pain of a recurring sciatic nerve issue, he’s been getting up every morning and going to work. THAT is NOT life.  Not by my definition anyway.

So, it’s with a new resolve that the next chapter of my life begins.

It’s a situation they’re unable to resolve on their own.  It’s a situation that I will also benefit from as I resolve theirs (because as I become focused and work toward fulfilling what I feel THEIR life should offer them, I can’t HELP but improve my own – Do you see that?  It’s not my motivation, but it’s certainly a by-product.), thus making them happier because they’ll never have to worry about “me” (not that they’ve ever really had to – I’ve always been the self-sufficient child. Lol ).

See, sometimes we view life’s adversities in a negative light, but I want to challenge your perspective on that today.  I’ve likely had more adversity in my life than most… and, yet, far less than others who have overcome their circumstances.  There are many things I’ve endured in my life that you, dear reader, will likely never know… unless you come to know me personally – simply because, although I remember and keep those times ever-present in my mind, I choose to not dwell there.

You, too, have a choice:

  • Allow your adversities to determine who you are, where you’re going, who you’ll become, what you’ll achieve, the life you’ll live, the life you’ll part from, what you’ll leave behind, and who will miss you or…
  • Repackage those adversities and leverage them to grow your determination and resolve to meet new heights, live a higher quality of life, provide more value and happiness to others, and live in the full greatness you were always meant to.

Why?  Because…

THIS is life!

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How to be Successful: Lean Into Your Fear

Man on Tightrope Over Skyline
Courtesy of Coen Tan – http://coentan.com/

Ask any entrepreneur and they’ll tell you that one of the most critical success factors is the ability to lean into your fear. What does that even mean, though?

Certainly there are as many definitions of what it means to be successful as there are people who actually give thought to it. Why? Because success is very subjective. What it means to you could be entirely different from what it means to me.

Couple that with the definition of fear, which is also pretty darn subjective, right? I mean, we humans fear all kinds of things: fear of flying, fear of people, and, heck, even fear itself… as well as nearly everything else under the sun.

Somehow when we put these two words together, they take on minds and bodies of their own. There’s even a fear of success! Crazy, right??

I’ve read, by the way, that fear is taught, not inherent… for the most part. “They” (whomever the “powers that be” are in the scientific realms that study this stuff) say that we’re only born with two fears: the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises.

Personally, this makes sense to me because you spend roughly nine months incubating in a safe, warm, cramped, muffled environment only to find yourself released one day into a seemingly loud, cold, and very big place that’s completely foreign to you. If I had to guess, I’d say the “loud” thing is due to the fact that, while in the womb, everything you hear – from the sound of your own mother’s heartbeat and voice to the roar of thunder to the slam of a door – is muffled by distance, liquid, etc. And that fear of falling thing (which I find to be akin to the fear of flying – If you fly, you could fall, right? That could be a long way down.) comes into play because, again, you’re incubated in a relatively small compartment where you’re sealed on all sides, yet get to move however you want with no risk of ever falling. So, when you’re born, everything you knew to be safe is gone – hence fear.

Bottom line: If fear is taught… it can be un-taught, don’t you think?
Alright. Now let’s begin to apply this to becoming a “successmaker”.

Since we all pretty much have definite thoughts and reactions to success and fear, yet they’re almost polar opposites, and each cancels out or prevents the other from catching traction in your life, how do we use this knowledge to our advantage? You lean into your fear – provided your quest is to be successful. If it’s not, well, you needn’t do anything except allow your fears to control your life. For the rest of us…

1.  Spend some time first figuring out what defines success to you. Be clear and specific about it. Is it money or acquiring money (because, ironically, that’s NOT the case for everybody – even some people who have lots of money)? Is it to be the best mom or dad you can be? Is it to Pen and Paperachieve a sense of fulfillment with your Creator and find peace in that relationship? There’s something. Figure it out, and write it down.

2.  Spend some time figuring out what you fear most. This may take a bit more time because humans are funny creatures who tend to mask their fears with other emotions or justifications. Your fear of commitment may stem from a feeling of abandonment way back in your early childhood. I’m just sayin’.

For instance, I have a significant hydrophobia (or fear of water). This doesn’t mean, like, bath water, but, like big bodies of water – pools, lakes, rivers, oceans, etc. I can tell you with 100% certainty that this fear was learned as a result of a sunny summer afternoon with my sister at the pool – who thought it’d be “cute” to take her little sister who couldn’t tread water down to the diving area and “drop her off”. So see, this experience as a young child ruined swimming and water sports for me from that point on.

Write yours down.

3.  Here’s where the painful and most productive work takes place. CHOOSE which is stronger: your will and desire to succeed or the fear of “whatever” you feel. (Some people even have a fear of people, believe it or not! That’s a real thing, apparently.) If you decide the fear is stronger, do nothing. Stop reading. Stop this short exercise. Put down your pen and paper, laptop, or other device. You need not expend one more ounce of energy to achieve your end result and defined level of success. If your desire for success is stronger, however, read on.

Still with me? AWESOME! I’m still here, too. Lol

4. Make a decision right now to “lean into your fear”. This means: consciously plan a way to meet your fear head-on, work through it, and overcome it. Now, odds are, you’re gonna have to engage in so-called fearful activities a few times; just stick with it.

Taking my fear of water issue, for example…

When my son was fairly young, he LOVED water. He was probably part fish.

I saw this early on and decided to open opportunities to explore this love – despite my own fears. To this, though, safety and precautions had to be implemented, right? So, off to the YMCA we go… at 6 months of age… until he was about 8 or 9. Swimming lessons. I knew that if we were at a pool or something (because I wasn’t about to allow MY fear to ruin HIS love) and he found himself in trouble, beyond a shadow of a doubt – fear or not, outcome good or bad – I’d go in after him. Now, maybe I’d surprise myself (like other heroic stories) and “miraculously” save us both, but I wanted to stack the odds as much in our favor as possible.

As he grew, though, he wanted ME to engage in swimming and water sports with him – even to the point that HE determined he’d “teach” me to swim… just so we could enjoy this time together! My heart ached.

So, I “leaned into my fear”, took a deep breath, picked up the phone, and scheduled some private swimming lessons for myself. I didn’t tell him about them but went while he was in school and such. (Telling him would ruin the surprise.) Then, one day a few months later when he asked me to get into the pool with him, I said, “Okay.” He was so surprised and excited. I’ll never forget that day… his expression…

Don’t misunderstand. I’m NOT a world-class swimmer, and I still do NOT like big bodies of water. (Let’s say I have a deep respect for them and what can happen in them; that sounds good.) I AM a bit contradictory about it now, though, because the idea of a cruise actually sounds appealing to me (I’ve not quite been able to secede to the “pleasure over potential pain” in this activity yet.). I did go para-sailing with my son once (tandem, just me and him), and actually found that I like that a lot – as long as I never hit the water. Lol And, various water sports look like a bunch of fun to me, like jet skis and stuff. (I only boat on shallow-water river type excursions and when my bonus dad is driving because everybody else – seemingly – thinks, again, that it’s “cute” to scare the girl who’s already terrified. I’ve learned, so I just don’t do it.)

Lucky for me… my fear of water doesn’t prevent me from achieving my definition of success. If my definition involved becoming a marine biologist or something like that, there could be a much greater issue. Get it?

So, where the proverbial “rubber meets the road” is the spot where your definition and desire for becoming a “successmaker” clashes with your fear. THAT is where you lean into it.

Let’s scale it back a bit and choose a very simple example.

If you’ve found yourself in Sales but have a significant fear of the phone – essentially, calling people – you have two choices:

• Allow your fear to dictate and find another career choice where you may achieve a lesser degree of success

Or…

• Lean into your fear.  If you detest the idea of calling your clients, following up on potential sales, etc., maybe your choice is to do that which you fear most first every day. That way the seeming burden is lifted, and you feel freer the entire rest of the day. And, if you’re hardcore, maybe you give up your sales job for a bit, go to work in a call center to overcome your fear and hone your phone skills, then return to a career in sales better equipped to deal with your fear or have none of it at all.

Make sense? Great!

Now you’re armed with the knowledge that, ultimately, the sum of all fears is rooted in your mind. So…

You also know how to be successful by leaning into your fear.

Go get ‘em!

What Do You Think

Briggs Meyers Personality Tests: Are They Accurate?

If you’ve ever taken a personality test, you’ve probably rolled your eyes in disdain and thought to yourself,

“What a crock!”

Am I right?  I’ve taken several in my lifetime and have, for the most part, always read the results thinking, “Eh, that’s kinda like me.”  This time, however, I think I’ve found the Holy Grail of Briggs Meyers 16 personality tests — and the BEST part?  It’s FREE to take!

Mike Dillard, a mentor of mine, (If you’re familiar at all with the world of network marketing and/or online businesses, you’ve likely heard his name. 🙂 ) recommended I take it, as a course of finding clarity in who I am (I’d already done a lot of soul-searching in my life, so this wasn’t a far-fetched leap.), why I do the things I do or have the reactions I have, the kinds of relationships that will suit me best, the top career choices for me, and, truly, a whole lot more.  Now, I’m coachable, so I did as instructed… still a bit, like, “Okay, whatever.”  When done, however, I have to say, Mike was right on point!

The premise behind these kinds of tests is that we all have a variety of personality types, to varying degrees, within us.  What’s the norm, though, is that one trait is very dominant, while the others (although still present) are somewhat removed, thus allowing us to be identified by a specific type or combination of types.  The same is true of this particular personality test.  This one kinda forced me to look at a few things I knew was happening but didn’t fully understand the motivation behind what was happening.

For example, I KNOW I’m very principally-based.  By default, things like honesty, trust, communication, and respect are paramount in my world.  Well, I’d always sort of written off my entrepreneurial bug as an “authority issue” (which I’ll openly lay claim to, regardless lol), also became clear to me that, more often than not, is a matter of losing respect for a manager or upline who had broken one of these major links with me — most likely never being able to re-establish it.  I pondered it for a bit… then agree 100%, as I reflect on previous jobs, managers, who worked well and who didn’t, who started off as great and why they didn’t end up that way, etc.

So, I FULLY endorse and encourage you to take this simple 10-15 minute test for yourself by clicking here.

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Another example would be that I’d always “known” I was, mmmmm, let’s say different, okay?  And, honestly, I came to terms with this as a child and am perfectly fine with having a fairly unique perspective, personality, will, and so on.  Until taking this test, I didn’t know exactly how different.  See, according to my results, I’m an INTJ.  As such, I have “one of the rarest and most strategically capable personality types”, with only 2% of the population sharing my time.  It doesn’t stop there, though, because… as a woman, I’m even more rare:  Only .8% of the female population share my personality type combination.  Who knew???  Depending whether the glass is “half full” or “half empty”, I suppose this could be seen as a blessing or curse.  I, personally, choose to think of myself as extra special.  What about you?

(Oh yeah… more and more companies are incorporating this kind of testing into their application and interviewing processes.  Shouldn’t you know the results before they do???)

Find out your OWN Briggs-Meyers 16 personality results

— and don’t forget to share the party with your friends. 🙂

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