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Daily Joys and Simple Pleasures

Daily Joys and Simple Pleasures

Your PERSONAL Dow Jones Average

What’s Your PERSONAL “Dow Jones” Average?

I remember the arguments with CFO, Gene Rager, as vividly as if they were yesterday.  He posited that labor was the only thing worth anything: of any monetary value whatsoever.  Every attempt I made to thwart his position was handily rebutted.

Labor hours in industrial measuring terms.  Or, in personal language.  Time.  The seconds of your personal passing clock.  These are the currency in question on the trading floor of your life.

People bat around the NYSE news, the “Dow Jones average,” and the latest news from the NASDAQ as if they were the ultimate governing principles of our  national life.  They are mighty important components in the global view (the macro). If you are an investor or your income is tied in any way to national financial performance, they are significant to your personal view, as well (the micro).

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Using the New York Stock exchange as a model I am going explore my personal “dow jones” average.  Today’s Dow finds its root in a set of folks based in fiscal journalism and statistics. It’s accepted anniversary is May 26, 1896.  The measure it is known as today has undergone scores of transitions in its 115 year history.  It can honestly be said that it has always been an assessment tool and a means to measure certain financial realities.  Certain realities, not ALL realities.  Today’s Dow tracks 30 stocks.  Thirty. (The composite average Dow tracks 65 companies).  In other terms, the Dow is like gathering 30 kids from representative kindergarten classes across the country and taking their temperature on a daily basis.  During the cold season the average would be rather dismal.  During the best days, free of allergens and contagion, the average would appear mighty healthy.  The average temperature may not reflect the actual health of all kindergarten age kids, but it would be a measure, an index.  ONE way among many of looking at this one thing.

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So – financial health of the country aside, I want to bring this measuring model into my own personal experience.  If Gene was right and my only true trading capital is my time…what are my indices saying about my performance these days?

In the context of a personal measure, the balance in my bank account becomes one of many measures of my performance.  Not THE measure, but a measure.  It is contrary to conventional wisdom to suggest that my success is not measured by how much money I make.  It is A measure.  It is not THE measure.

My personal measures certainly don’t date back 115 years like the Dow does.  My measures rose out of a period of time of absolute clarity in which I wrote my life mission statement.  I could call it, instead, my life measure statement.  THIS is my personal Dow Jones Index.  I apply it broadly, across the spectrum of the investments of my life (i.e. as the Dow does with an assorted spectrum of blue-chip stocks) and measure daily how I have done against the base line of what I identify as important.  You may be familiar with my measures: they have made their way around the world in speeches, memorial services, graduation and promotion announcements and the like.  My measures are featured in the visual leading this poster…poster 27003 from my friends at maryanneradmacher.com

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Those words provide me the capacity to measure what I believe is important.  Financial matters are one among many.  MANY.  I am not determined in ebb or flow by the contents of my bank account.  The touch economic challenges have knocked on my door, too.  Just like many readers are experiencing.  Just last week when I shared in conversation that economic times are rough I had this retort, “I would never have guessed that you weren’t just absolutely wealthy – you seem so happy!”  I value good fortune and am grateful for resources.  My happiness is not determined by my bank account.  My INDEX for measure can be found in the words on that poster.

Am I concerned for the health, specifically, the financial health of this country?  Yes.  Am I concerned for my own family’s financial health?  Yes I am.  Worry.  Anxiety.  Berating the decisions that have been made.  Woefully watching the actual Dow Jones or its more capricious friend, the NASDAQ, will not make me any more financial stable.  Doing what I am called to do with excellence, attention to detail and passion is what I am able to do at a personal level.  And when I apply my own Dow Jones index to measure the events of my day – it’s almost always a positive report.

What’s your index?  What elements of your life represent the average that you will measure?

 

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FROM my newest line, “God asked me…

to tell you this.”  You can see and order all these new pieces on my author site:

maryanneradmacher.net

 

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Overcoming Obstacles

“How do you DO it?” she demanded. Her tone was a mix of incredulity and anger.  I didn’t know what to say.  I remained silent, anticipating she would tip her hand a bit further with the opportunity.  Indeed, she did.

“You are going through H@% and yet you just keep on.  Every day I look at you expacting you to crash and burn and you just keep showing up.  Apparently cheerful.  You even seem happy.”  I couldn’t help but note that her tone was more like an accusation than an accolade. But I waded in.

“I AM happy.  If circumstances determined my state of being and my attitude, I would have been dead long ago.  I am not UNaware that my circumstances are unpleasant, to say the least.  But I know this for sure – all I can control in these tumultuous times is my attitude.  And I choose to embrace the day for the opportunities that it holds.  Even in the obstacles there is opportunity.”

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Hurumpf.  Or was it, “Humpf.”  She finished our conversation with something about denial being a river in Egypt.  And that was that.  Each time I had to walk past her door between by enterprises, she made a point of looking quickly away.  We didn’t have that conversation again, or any other.

My apparent optimism in the midst of what everyone understood to be personal and public turmoil was almost offensive to this woman.  She was given, herself, to fits of expressed anxiety and on days when anyone inquired after her health with, “How are you?” she took the inquiry to heart and answered with a complete list.  Usually of what was wrong.

A circumstance has its own story.  And it will tell its own story whether I call it an opportunity or an obstacle.  Just like a “DUE” date is its own requirement, a certain 24-hour period of time, whether I call it a deadline or a targeted completion date.  It works better for me if I call it a targeted completion date.  No surprise that it works better for me if I can manage to observe a thing as an opportunity rather than an obstacle.

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I expressed to a professional associate the other day that –

“To possess an imagination means another way is always possible.”  mar

And these folks, with what are generally considered uplifting quotes, agree with that view –

“We simply assume that the way we see things is the way they really are or the way they should be.  And our attitudes and behaviors grow out of these assumtions. ”  Stephen Covey

“Don’t let your history interfere with your destiny.  Let today be the day you stop being a victim of your circumstances and start taking actions towards the life you want.”  Steve Maraboli

“Say YES to the whole catastrophe.”  Joseph Campbell

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Rarely do you hear a speaker addressing a benchmark moment of their lives saying, “Yes, it was in the period of time when I was devastatingly rich, had the ideal mate and perfect children and the job that was completely satisfying and rewarding that I had the biggest lesson of my life.”  Not the usual story.  Those lessons come from (YOU choose) a) obstacles, b) opportunities.

Which will you embrace today and how will you learn from it?

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August’s Wake Up Call…

August is the gentle nudge at your shoulder in case you have been sleeping through your 2011 years of dreams and visions and aspirations.

“Wake up! C’mon,wake up,” is the voice of August stirring you in to a certain realization.  If 2011 is a bank balance (and time is truly our only valued commodity when you think about it) then you’ve spent more than you have left.

Wake up.

What are the stories that you have been repeating in your days?  Are they stories that propel your forward?  Are they stories that deepen your joy?  Are they stories that underscore what you CAN do or what you (think you) CANNOT do?

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August is the whispered invitation, “C’mon.  It’s never to late to start what you dreamed about doing on January 1.  Remember those earnest resolutions that promised THIS year would be different?  It can still be different.”

The calendar is simply a marking post.  A way that we measure time between one thing and another thing.  It is never too late to kick your resolve into gear and do just one thing toward your dream, your hope, your passion.  One little thing.  What is it?  Do it now.  Really. Just go do it.

And while you are at it…tell the story.  Speaking something out loud helps make it more real, and assists you as you begin to stay true to the story you are telling.  Hear that?  It’s August saying, “It’s never too late to begin.”

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