Money

Today’s word in the 100 Day Challenge is MONEY.

It is very important for you to teach your kids the importance of this word. I learned the hard way. I was ignorant about and careless with money. I was spiraling. Thankfully, with education and a wonderful wife, I was able to get a grasp on how important financial knowledge really is.

Today, I encourage people to get knowledge. My university of choice is Financial Peace University, a nine-week course taught by financial expert Dave Ramsey.

Ramsey says there are seven basic steps for winning with money. I will share the first two with you. These steps will set you on the path to financial freedom.

Step one is to get a simple emergency fund. That is $1,000 ($500 if you earn less than $20,000 per year). You need this because life happens. Cars will need repaired, appliances will stop working, you know how it is.

Step two is to get rid of your debt. Treat debt like a snake on your doorstep. Don’t welcome it in.

Today’s Winning Thought: Those basic principles, and a few others will give you financial peace.

Mistakes

MISTAKES is the next word in the 100 Day Challenge.

I have made plenty of mistakes in my life. I have probably even repeated some. Thankfully, I have also learned from many of them.

That is partly what my book Sight Words is about. I wanted people to learn from my mistakes, and learn the lessons I have learned.

You will make mistakes. Learn from them and do not allow them to define you. Make sure the young people in your life know that. When you share with them, put particular emphasis on these things.

Money. Learn how to manage it and the pitfalls for failing to do so.

Driving. A mistake in a car can be fatal. You might not get a second chance. Be focused and responsible.

Drugs. Learn from others. Recklessness here, or even experimenting one time, can be fatal. Using drugs for the wrong reason is a quick ticket to misery or death.

Today’s Winning Thought: A mistake is an opportunity to begin again. Make mistakes, yours and those of others, work for you, not against you.

Mentor

MENTOR is the next word in the 100 Day Challenge.

This is Monday morning. I miss my Monday morning breakfast meetings with my friend, George. We met every Monday morning for several years. He was a great friend and mentor. He was very busy, but he still took time to meet with me for 30 to 45 minutes every Monday morning. And I am better because of it.

George is the only one with whom I had a weekly meeting appointment, but he was not my only mentor.

There were a few other gentlemen who I learned from. I watched these guys, how they moved, how they spoke, how they led. Eventually I began to seek their advice. Combined, they have contributed heavily to the person I am today. I will be forever grateful. I hope someday, I can be a fraction of the encouragement to someone that they have been to me.

We all need a mentor. I am 63 years old and I am not finished learning. Find someone you trust. Seek their advice. If you are older, like me, be ready, willing and able to share your wisdom and knowledge with others.

Today’s Winning Thought: Find a good mentor. It is an investment of time you will not regret.

Margin

Today’s word in the 100 Day Challenge is MARGIN.

Make sure you get this word right, and that you teach it to young people you know. It is especially important when it pertains to money.

Margin is all about the borders. There are borders with money. Start with living within them. Spend less that you make. Save something consistently.

Financial expert Dave Ramsey suggests seven steps to financial freedom beginning with an emergency fund. That means setting aside $1,000 for emergencies. That is your margin when your car needs repaired unexpectedly, or one of your home appliances stops. Your emergency fund will let you take care of the repair or replacement without having to use a credit card or go into debt. That is margin. We need margin in our lives. Margin is good.

Today’s Winning Thought: You will never regret having enough margin in your life.

Loyalty

Today’s word in the 100 Day Challenge is LOYALTY.

I am reading Coach John Wooden’s book Pyramid of Success: Building Blocks for a Better Life.

These principles, 25 in all, are not just for athletes, they will work anywhere. They have worked for many years and are still being shared today.

The pyramid, which was designed with building blocks of personal qualities, has these four words as the cornerstone of the foundation: Industriousness, Enthusiasm, Faith and Patience.

Loyalty is also one of the principles taught by the legendary coach. It is so important that Coach Wooden put it on the bottom row, as part of the foundation. About Loyalty, Wooden wrote, “Loyalty to yourself and to all those depending upon you. Keep your self-respect.”

It is critical to know that you can count on others and that they can count on you. As coach writes, “I have often cautioned people that we can become great in the eyes of others, but we’ll never become successful when we compromise our character and show disloyalty toward friends and teammates. The reverse is also true: No individual or team will become great without loyalty.”

Today’s Winning Thought: “You don’t learn loyalty in a day. You learn it day by day.” — Jeffrey Gitomer

Little

The next word in the 100 Day Challenge is LITTLE.

Little means petty, not much, small amount.

I read again this week the passage of scripture in the gospel of John (6:5-13) about Jesus feeding 5,000. Jesus asked Philip where they should buy bread for the people to eat. Another of the disciples said, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many.” There was no human solution. Only a miraculous act. He was testing Philip to strengthen his faith.

Think about this. The passage says there were 5,000 men. That did not include any women and children. The total was likely greater than 5,000. What the boy offered went a long way. In fact, it was more than enough. When they had all had enough to eat they gathered the leftovers and filled 12 baskets.

Don’t assume what is or is not possible. Don’t let what you cannot do keep you from doing what you can do. A boy gave what little he had and it made a huge difference. It is one of the most spectacular miracles ever recorded in the Gospels.

Former college basketball coach George Raveling said, “All great things begin as a small thing.” What small thing can you offer someone today that might change their life?

Today’s Winning Thought: Start thinking about that now, because you are going to have opportunities to make a difference for someone. It might be nothing more than an encouraging word or card, but I would venture that something you can offer might be a defining moment in their life.

Lose

Next word in the 100 Day Challenge is LOSE.

Yesterday I wrote about learning, and how you can learn from losing. Morgan Wooten, a legendary high school basketball coach, who coached at DeMatha Catholic High School in Maryland for 46 years, said you learn more from losing than winning. You learn how to keep going.

Michael Jordan said it this way: “I’ve missed more than 3,000 shots in may career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I have trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

A baseball player can get a hit only three times out of every 10 at bats and still make it to the Hall of Fame. Do the math. He missed seven times. You are not going to win every game, every debate or every sale. Just don’t let it be because you were not prepared or gave little or no effort.

Do not allow a loss to define you. Let it refine you. Let it strengthen you.

Today’s Winning Thought: Play to win, don’t play to keep from losing.

Learn

Today’s word in the 100 Day Challenge is LEARN. Tomorrow’s word is LOSE. You can learn a lot from losing. You can learn from winning too. But, as John Maxwell writes in his book Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn, “Losing gives us an opportunity to learn, but many people do not really seize it. And when they don’t, it really hurts.”

Do not miss opportunities to learn. They are out there, everywhere you look and everywhere you are. From people you know and from people you don’t know. But you are the key person. It starts with you. You have to want to learn. You have to be intentional.

If you do not know where to start, I would encourage you to read. My life did not change for the better and I did not start really learning until I started reading. Don’t leave what you read with the book or article. Act on it. Apply it.

I always end these posts with a winning thought. Today, I am adding a challenge. Today, I want you to learn something, anything. It might be something small or seemingly insignificant. Learn something today.

Today’s Winning Thought: Knowledge is power. But it is really more than that. It is a catalyst for progress.

Lessons

LESSONS is todays word in the 100 Day Challenge.

A lesson is something learned at one time. In the book, I listed 61 lessons. There are undoubtedly many more than that. Here are a few that I believe will make life easier. If there is one you agree with, do not keep it to yourself. Share it with someone you know. Think specifically of a young person. In no particular order, here are some life lessons I have learned and try to live by.

If you are a parent of a young child, do not be afraid to let him or her fail. It will make them stronger adults, if they do not waste those failures. The goal is to let the failure refine them, not define them.

Make reading an absolute priority.

Learn how to handle money. Another priority.

Understand personal accountability and live that way.

Pay extra attention when you are driving.

Have all the facts you need before making a decision.

Never take anything or anyone for granted.

Never lose hope.

Do not be afraid to ask for advice from people who are wiser than you. That is not a weakness in your personal character.

Expect that life will not always be fair.

Expect that nothing will be handed to you.

Do more than is expected of you.

Love people. Use things.

Have margin in your life.

The are many more. Add these to your own list, and look for opportunities to share them with your kids, your students, your team, your staff.

Today’s Winning Thought: “Never allow a mistake to become another one.” — Red Cashion, retired National Football League referee

Live

The next word in the 100 Day Challenge is LIVE.

There are so many great life lessons to be found in sports. Here is one I learned the other day.

A college basketball coach told her team after a close loss that she wanted to feel like the players really wanted to win. She told them they just need to “go get it.” Go get the rebound, go get the loose ball, go get the win. That speech started a nice winning streak.

What do you want? More sales? More knowledge? Better grades? Better health? Better relationships? How bad do you want it? GO GET IT.

You can grow and thrive by living life three words at a time.

Go get it.

Do simple better.

Settle for more.

Never lose hope.

Raise your expectations.

Adapt. Adopt. Abandon.

Go all in.

Win the day.

Don’t waste disappointment.

Don’t waste failure.

Chase the lion.

Chase the lion? It is the title of a book written by Mark Batterson. The title and the phrase comes from one of the 31,102 verses in the Bible. It is a verse you might not be familiar with. Read 2 Samuel 23:20. “On a snowy day, he (Benaiah) chased a lion down into a snowy pit and killed it.”

Batterson writes, “Lion chasers don’t run away; they run to the roar. They don’t see a 500-pound problem; they seize opportunity by the mane.”

God has called us to play offense with our lives. Live life to the fullest.

Today’s Winning Thought: “GO GET IT!” — Keitha Adams, Wichita State University Head Women’s Basketball Coach