Conscious Taxes

It's the year 2036.

It's tax time again, and EVERYONE'S excited about it. You've been looking forward to this for almost 8 months because this is the first year in the history of the world that YOU get to decide where your tax dollars go.

Your decisions will have a direct impact on the immediate world around you, and after many decades of failed politics, poor economic policies, the people have finally wrested control over their communities and ecosystems. Politicians finally serve the people.

The Conscious Tax App

You register and sign into the Conscious Tax App for the first time, and you see all the money you were taxed for the previous year on the welcome screen:

$9,311.00

With this amount, you can invest in any program, policy, or plan you would like, as long as it's given back to the community.  The #1 law regarding taxes is that you CANNOT keep it for yourself, although you can direct it to institutions and programs that serve your interests.

You can give some to the local military or police, infrastructure to keep roads safe, education and schools, healthcare, social security, or even that local politician that works so hard to make sure plans are implemented wisely.

You click a button that leads you to all local proposals, such as a new commuter train system, housing renovations, getting rid of pesky potholes, upgrading local schools and improving agriculture standards.

Every proposal submitted includes:

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[icon_list style="color: green"][icon_list_item type="check"]Purpose (what problem does this solve?)[/icon_list_item]

[icon_list_item type="check"]Plan costs[/icon_list_item]

[icon_list_item type="check"]Benefits, which includes benefits to local ecosystem and surrounding cities[/icon_list_item]

[icon_list_item type="check"]Timeframe[/icon_list_item]

[icon_list_item type="check"]Negative outcomes (what negative consequences could result from this?)[/icon_list_item]

[icon_list_item type="check"]The current funding progress (plans will be initiated once funding is complete - people vote with their dollars)[/icon_list_item]

[icon_list_item type="check"]There's also a list of consequences (some speculative, some based on previous maintenance costs) associated with a plan if it's NOT funded fully. (Such a list might include no electricity for 2 months, projected 12% increase in criminal activity, 8% rise in higher drop out rates in school, etc.)[/icon_list_item]

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So, what will you do with your tax money?

Responsibility

It's a bigger responsibility, making decisions that not only impact your household, but your entire community. And what if every decision involving every tax dollar was transparent? Others can see where your tax dollars go, and you can see where theirs go. Everybody's values would be on display.

Would you support schools and education, building towards a long term vision of your community? Or do you use your money to fund immediate needs, like road and bridge infrastructure? Should you fund that arts program for youth? Or do you allocate funds to that innovative pure water project that might NOT work?

How do you respond if you're championing a cause that isn't getting the necessary attention (or funding) you think it deserves? Wouldn't you get MORE involved? Wouldn't you attempt to make something happen?

Wouldn't 'conscious taxes' make everybody a de facto politician, making people responsible for swaying and influencing others to vote for the 'best' worldview imaginable?

How would YOU create the best ecosystem humanly possible? A place where all community members have the potential to thrive, without institutional barriers.

I see a world where public debate and discourse would increase. Civic engagement would shoot through the roof. Wall flowers would hit the dance floor.

Reality

The truth is, many people are disengaged from politics and policy making.

The truth is, nobody can pinpoint or know for sure where their tax dollars go - it's all based on what government tells us.

The truth is that a very small percentage of the population is involved in any form of civic engagement, let alone public debate - which is mostly left for the politicians and scholars.

Here, take a look at where your tax dollars are likely to end up:

bvs_taxesgo_1

bvs_taxesgo_2

This doesn't include Wall St. bailouts, senator's salary's and pension plans, nor all the wasteful spending that goes into a bureaucratic behemoth such as Washington D.C.

The question is, where do YOU want your money to go? To the military, and ongoing wars? Despite having the largest military in the WORLD, the United States spends an amount equal to the next closest 8 countries COMBINED.

0053_defense-comparison-crop

Is this really the best use of our money? Maybe you think so, but I don't. I'd be fine if you decided to throw your all your tax dollars at the military. I'd like to choose where my money goes, and focus on taking care of many of the social problems we continue to experience.

Are your tax dollars really in better hands with the government? Wouldn't it be nice to see the connection of YOUR actual dollars to the BENEFITS you're meant to receive?

Instead of having a disengaged populace, don't you think the level of awareness regarding local problems/solutions would raise in communities with tax spending in the hands of people? Perhaps political corruption would cease as a result.

I don't have any answers, just a bunch of questions.

With a little imagination, innovation, and "conscious taxes", I'm sure we can do much, much better even if it's in 2036. I hope much sooner.

Perhaps one day we can log-in to the Conscious Tax App, and start directing the future of our communities and country.

I can dream.

Paul


Economic Empowerment

[dropcap type="2"]C[/dropcap]hapter 1 of Alien Aesop is now LIVE. This week I'm going to share some details about my "day job" and some projects I'm currently working on because it's not only instructive, but relevant to everything else I'm doing.

Today's topic of "economic empowerment" is so appropriate given my goal to have $50,000 in the bank by this time next year.Without further ado...

My Work

I currently work in the Economic Empowerment division of Rubicon Programs. Our job is to help folks transform from struggling economically to being economically empowered. What is 'economic empowerment'? Let's define both terms using the dictionary.

Economy:

economy |iˈkänəmē|

noun ( pl. economies )

1 the wealth and resources of a country or region, esp. in terms of the production and consumption of goods and services.

• a particular system or stage of an economy: a free-market economy | the less-developed economies.

2 careful management of available resources: even heat distribution and fuel economy.

ORIGIN late 15th cent. (in the sense ‘management of material resources’): from French économie, or via Latin from Greek oikonomia ‘household management,’ based on oikos ‘house’ + nemein ‘manage.’ Current senses date from the 17th cent.

Empowerment:

empower |emˈpou(-ə)r|

verb [ with obj. and infinitive ]

give (someone) the authority or power to do something: nobody was empowered to sign checks on her behalf.

• [ with obj. ] make (someone) stronger and more confident, esp. in controlling their life and claiming their rights: movements to empower the poor.

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Taking those two definitions and creatively merging them together I now define Economic Empowerment as:

Having the authority, power, and confidence to manage your resources to live life the way YOU choose.

Do you want to live life on your terms? Then you must learn to take control of your resources (finances, assets, health, and time) and manage them in a way that produces results and supports your goals. Doing this WELL is being economically empowered.

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How does Rubicon help someone become economically empowered? By offering a variety of services designed to get a participant on the road back to economic stability, and eventually to economic empowerment. These services include career coaching, housing coaching, legal services, financial coaching, and substance abuse services.

Career coaches help people discover their value and market that value to potential employers. Once work has been established, and someone has an income, then the housing and financial coaches get involved. If there are legal issues or drug problems that get in the way of reaching goals, then those services are rendered to participants.

Every coach and service provided at Rubicon is designed to help an individual eliminate any and all barriers to the ultimate goal of economic empowerment.

The most common barriers are:

[list type="pointerlist2"]

  • Mindset - The assumptions and beliefs that people have to approaching relationships, work, money, and health are NOT getting them the results they say they want. A new perspective and approach is warranted.
  • Attitude - If you have a bad attitude, then it can be very difficult for anyone to work with you. Whom would you rather deal with? A person with a bad attitude or a good one?
  • Legal Issues - Do you realize how difficult it is to find work with a criminal record? You may have the attitude that someone who commits crimes doesn't deserve to work, but do you see how that kind of thinking leads to more crime? People who are creating value in the world for others will decrease crime rates. People need to work.
  • Skills - Low or no skills is not something that can be fixed right away. It takes time, planning, and concentration to grow the right skill-set that is valuable to others.
  • Housing - This is obvious. If you don't have a place to call home, you think it's going to be easy to find and sustain work? How about the stress that this creates? People need housing.
  • Habits - We first make our habits, then our habits make us. Habits are behaviors that re-occur without consciously thinking about them. The only problem is that behaviors ALWAYS lead to results. If your current results are the opposite of what you're wanting, then you'd better train some new habits NOW or it's going to be a long, difficult life.
  • Transportation - If you don't have money or resources, how do you get to that job you want to apply for? How do you get to work? Transportation is a huge barrier for someone that have very little resources to spare.
  • Clothing - Ok, you got the interview, you have the job, and now they need you to look a certain way. You need the proper attire so you don't make a bad impression or sent home from the job.
  • Bad Credit - How do you get into an apartment with bad credit? How do you buy a car with budget-friendly financing options? Your purchasing choices diminish for every point you don't have on your credit score AND increases the likelihood of you paying more money in the end.

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This is a sample of some of the issues that many of our participants face. Some have a few of these barriers, and some have all of them. Whatever obstacles they face, our job is to help them eliminate them one by one.

This is goal setting & getting 101. You set a goal, and every goal has barriers to overcome. The more difficult the goal is, the more barriers that person will have to overcome. Climbing Mt. Everest is significantly more difficult than running up a hill. Running up a hill requires less preparation, less planning, less training, etc.

You're much more likely to accomplish your goals with a competent team behind you versus doing it on your own. Strategy, hustle, and accountability is what Rubicon offers to individuals. That's the difference.

Workshops

The Financial Opportunity Center (F.O.C.) Workshop is offered to eligible participants once a month. It's a two week workshop that addresses many of the barriers people will face on their path to economic empowerment. Sample workshop modules include personal branding, crafting a resume that gets you interviews, building assets with your current income, dressing for success, communication and empathy, consumer law, and so much more.

The idea is to arm them with the tools, resources, and information that will increase their odds of finding work, getting housing, job retention, and building a strong financial foundation.

Risk & Growth

I've been working at Rubicon for just over 9 weeks, and it's been an incredible learning experience. I don't know if I've ever experienced work that's been challenging, enjoyable, and where no two days are EVER alike. But the time has come to throw my ideas out there, and see if I can outdo my success in Seattle.

I'm currently working as a Re-Entry Career Coach. My job is to work with the formerly incarcerated and help them find and retain work. I'm also to facilitate certain parts of the workshops we conduct.

Recently it was decided to have two workshops running concurrently, the regular F.O.C. Workshop and a workshop geared towards the re-entry population. The Re-entry Workshop has the same goal of economic empowerment, but sprinkled with additional niche specific modules. It's also a little more intensive and in depth on certain topics.

Since I will be facilitating parts of the new workshop, there's opportunity to develop curriculum and improve the existing one. Thinking about this gets me excited, and I'm reminded of when I was researching Rubicon before I started working there and came across their values list. Innovation was on that list, and it's one of the reasons I felt good about continuing the process of working with them.

When ever I see the word INNOVATION, I envision a company or organization that is at least OPEN to improving and growing. I'm glad to report that they're doing more than just giving lip service. The place is constantly bustling with changes and improvements. So if I see a way to improve the existing curriculum or deliver it, then I'm encouraged to organize and present my ideas.

Presenting ideas is a personal/professional challenge. If I don't make myself vulnerable to criticism and rejection, then I can never reach my full potential in work and in life. Risk is necessary for growth, and it's my own security that's always at risk whether it's the security of my comfort zone, economic security, or my reputation. When I decide to grow, I'm deciding to risk something.

This trek into the unknown requires vulnerability, and the unknown is where my best self resides - not the known. It's like that for you, too. Your best self is not known to you. You don't know her (or him), yet.

So it's time to take risks and put my best ideas out there. Sure, I use this blog to make myself vulnerable, but like anything, there are new levels of vulnerability that I will have to pass through to experience the fullness of life.

The Economic Empowerment Equation

I woke up the other day, out of a dream with three big ideas that will lead anyone to economic empowerment. For some time, I've been thinking about the context of the workshop and how to better articulate this to participants. The problem of economic empowerment and how people get there must've been lodged in my subconscious, and it finally presented a solution.

Anyway, this is what came to me...

EE EquationPersonal Power

Personal Power is the result of understanding who and what you are, and HOW you make things happen in the world. This is important because everything starts with you. It's about responsibility, integrity, keeping agreements, staying healthy, using your mind properly, and actualizing your full potential. It's about having vision and allowing that vision to inspire you each day.

If you don't understand who you are, how YOU operate, and how the world works, then it'll be an extremely difficult ride through life.

Get to know yourself and find out how to build your self-esteem FIRST. Learn your idiosyncrasies and put yourself in the best position to win. Rely on your strengths and develop your talents.

You were designed to actualize your potential because a half grown tree that bears no fruit is of no use to anyone.

Creating Value

Creating Value happens when you help someone change how people FEEL and that's why the symbol for creating value is the HEART. You can change how someone feels when you offer to CONNECT, ENTERTAIN, ORGANIZE, and SUPPORT. I recently wrote an article titled "How to be the MVP of your world" (the link will take you to the article). It's about how people create value for one another and was recently picked up by Google News.

If you become a master at creating value, you would never go without and EVERYONE creates value to some degree, but we can ALL improve, scale, or increase the quality of the value we deliver to one another.

I got this concept beat into my head over and over again by Jay Abraham. I first began reading and listening to him back in the late 90's and his ideas have deeply influenced my life and work.

Here's a short video of Jay giving a seminar in Japan. One woman took the advice from this one segment and earned $1.3 million dollars. Notice one word that comes up over and over again as he's explaining: CONNECT.

Building Assets

If you're exercising your Personal Power and Creating Value in the world, then the next step in economic empowerment is Building Assets. If you spend away everything you earn OR connect with someone one day and never follow-up with them OR you don't use your mind/body to its fullest potential then the process of building your assets and becoming wealthy cannot be achieved.

There are two types of assets: Tangible and Intangible. Tangible Assets (TA) are material resources, property, real estate, savings, stocks, bonds, businesses, art, collections and other investments. Intangible Assets (IA) are things like your health, special qualities about you, it could be a special skill or talent, specialized knowledge, your network, or a unique perspective or approach to life/business/relationships that no one else has.

(IA) creates (TA), then (TA) helps reinforce and develop more (IA).

As you're building assets, you will begin to accumulate wealth. Wealth is more than (TA) obviously. You could have billions of dollars worth of assets, but what good is all that if you're 40 years old and on your deathbed? Your health will always be your biggest asset and is one of the biggest indicators of how truly wealthy you are.

Updates

As I develop more ideas around my presentation for the workshops at work, I'll share them here. The concepts I'm working on are applicable to many people, not just a select few.

A couple of months ago I would've never written about economic empowerment, so the career path I've chosen for myself is having the effect on my life that was originally intended. I am also developing skills and strengths that will benefit me for decades to come, so I couldn't be happier about how this is all working out.

I've begun work on chapter 2 of Alien Aesop, so expect that in a week or two. Chapter 2 is gonna be a doozy :)

Here's to everyone's economic empowerment...

Paul "Poverty Killa" Campillo


Have Faith

Imagine...

You're a gardener and you live in a small village. A group of foreigners stroll into town one day to trade and barter with the locals.

As you walk from tent to tent, examining the merchants' offerings, a strange looking old man captures your attention. He's sitting in front of a table with small pouches of what appears to be seeds.

You walk over and ask him what he's got in the small pouches.

"These are magical seeds that will produce the toughest, strongest, most durable trees in the world. You can use these trees to build bridges and roads, heal physical ailments, make clothes, craft furniture, create cooking utensils, and construct musical instruments."

Then he adds, "But these seeds require you to have meditation master's level of concentration and the patience of a tortoise traveling thousands of miles."

"Many have bought seeds from me, but few have seen them come to fruition. You must follow my instructions exactly as I have told you. Only then will you realize the benefits of this wonderful tree."

Curious and full of ambition, you buy a pouch from the old man, and ask him for the instructions.

He pulls out a piece of paper and writes hastily the following words:

"Plant seeds. Water everyday. Have faith."

Sounds simple enough, but with an intriguing final instruction. Have faith? What does that mean exactly? You notice a few other villagers have bought his seeds, too.

Eager to get started, you go to open land to plant the seeds. After all, if these trees are everything the man says they will be, they must be a tremendous asset to the entire village.

And so everyday, you tend to the seeds you planted. One week passes. Then another. Then a month passes, then another and another.

And soon, it is the end of the year. And nothing has happened.

But you keep in mind that final instruction. "Have faith."

So you continue to water it on the days it doesn't rain.

Weeks pass. Months pass. Still nothing. Year two is done.

The neighbors who also bought seeds come to you. "You're still taking care of those seeds? The old man is tricking you. It's all a con."

You think about what they say, and consider it carefully.

What if he was just deceiving me? What if I'm just fooling myself and wasting my time?

But you remember this statement from him:

"But these seeds require you to have meditation master's level of concentration and the patience of a tortoise traveling thousands of miles."

So you decide to stick with it. And everyday, no matter what, you go to where you planted the seeds and continue to water it. Some people snicker, especially the people who have stopped tending to theirs. Others praise you for your commitment and dedication, but deep down they doubt anything will happen.

But regardless of what they think, good or bad, you will continue to water those seeds. Even if it's until your very last breath.

Two years have passed. Still nothing.

Now three years have gone by, not a thing.

Year four comes and goes without a hint, but you still persist. You've made it a part of your daily practice and it's a ritual now.

And in the fourth month of the fifth year something happens. A tiny sprout. A perceptible green leaf.

You wonder if your eyes are playing tricks on you, and if someone put it there to get you excited. You touch it and it feels so real. You are ecstatic but decide not to tell anyone...yet.

The next day, more leaves spring from the ground. And then you know that it's really happening. And then you think, even if it takes another five or even ten years to watch these trees grow, it will have been worth my efforts.

But then something so unexpected happens. You just can't believe it. One month after seeing the first, tiny green leaf, an abundance of stalks have grown to fifteen feet.

It's miraculous. They are growing so fast. The entire village is now in disbelief.

Two months later they are at fifty feet.

Three months after the first leaf sprouted and now the trees are nearly one-hundred feet into the sky, towering over the small village.

Soon the trees reached their peak, and the villagers celebrated and honored the one gardener who persisted, demonstrated faith, and never, ever gave up.

Oh, and the name of that tree? It's called Chinese Bamboo.

chinese bamboo


Unmotivated, Distracted, and Passionless - Now What?

[dropcap type="2"]W[/dropcap]eek 4 is complete. This week, being unmotivated, distractions, and my waning passion. But first, SCOREBOARD:

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Total Earnings

Driving: $137.00

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Bank Account

$184.22

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Bank Statement 8-29-12
Bank Statement 8-29-12

Unmotivated

What do you do when you stop caring? Really, what do you do? Do you keep working at your job even though you know, deep down, that it's dulling your senses and killing any life you have left? Do you stay in a relationship just for the kids, even though you feel more and more depressed as time goes on?

Or do you just drop it, say thank you, and move on to something greater?

It's not an easy question to answer, there's just too many variables involved. But this is where I find myself, even at the beginning of my long quest.

No, I haven't given up on my goal of $50,000 in the bank by August 1, 2013. Not even close. And no, I'm not depressed or lost my zeal for life. Far from it.

But I am questioning my way of getting to this goal, because as I plod along on Value Detectives, I'm realizing that I don't necessarily want to do web design and internet marketing for just anyone. I actually learned these skills out of necessity to get my own sites going, but when others (who are even less clear than I am) get involved in the process, it can feel like the workload has doubled.

Surprising revelation, I know.

Can I make money at this? Sure, and I've done that. But I find myself NOT trying hard enough to get my own site and business going, and that is concerning me.

I could list numerous reasons why, but we'll just say that I'm not super stoked or passionate about convincing people that they have a huge hole in their marketing, when most are pretty clueless about the entire subject of marketing, particularly marketing online (from my experience, anayway).

And this bothers me. It bothers me because I go back and forth between providing this valuable, much needed service for others on the one hand, and on the other, I say to myself, "Why do this for others when I could be doing this for myself and my own projects?!"

I would be more than happy providing this service for people who's projects I actually CARE ABOUT. But to do it for just any ol' body is not making me jump for joy. (As I write this, there's definitely a clue for me to really get within this paragraph)

It's conflicting, and I realize that on some deeper level, I'm not congruent and in sync. My mind is split, and my actions express what I feel deep inside. In those moments, when I'm conflicted, Value Detectives is laborious at best, and energy sucking at its worse.

And this conflicting behavior leads to a lack of productivity and inaction, and an increase in distractions...

Distractions

When you work for yourself and from your own home, there are pros and cons. The worst part are the distractions, and for every distraction, there's a reason why behind it.

I know a few reasons why I get distracted, but lets's list some of these, though not in any particular order:
[list type="numlist"]

  1. I'm Alone

    Working from home sucks because you have little interaction with others. The neighbors must think I'm a hermit or a recluse, until they see my car gone for the two-three days a week that I need to work for that other company or get groceries so I can survive.

     

    It's important for me to distinguish being alone (physical) and loneliness (emotional). Being alone doesn't bother me, and I'm used to it. It doesn't necessarily give me an advantage over having a smart team around, but there are some advantages.

     

    Loneliness is something that creeps into my psyche from time to time, and I'm ok with that. It's rare, but when it does come, it comes with a wallop.

     

    The point is, when I'm alone it's so much easier look at email, answer a phone call, read a text message, and click on anything that appears interesting, because it's as close to human contact that I can get at that moment.

     

    Of course it's not human contact, but it at least FEELS closer to it than what I was. Also, when you're alone, working as a one-person team, there's no real accountability....

  1. No Real Accountability

    Who's going to say, "Hey! Did you produce 'such and such'? Nobody. I'm accountable to myself, and that can be good and bad.

     

    When deadlines are set, and they're not met, what are the ramifications? What are the consequences? What's going to happen if this doesn't get done? It's all on me, and it's easy to block out and justify why something doesn't get done.

     

    I do it all the time. And that's just a lack of discipline...

  1. Lack Of Discipline

    It's easy to run on auto-pilot and default mode. It's easy to get caught up in Youtube, the politics of the day, Facebook friends' updates, click on pics of hot chics, read email of other people's agendas (what else is email, anyway?), look at the latest sports news, chat with friends, etc.

     

    It's just a lack of discipline, which could mean a few things. Either I'm doing the "wrong" thing, which could mean I don't care about this activity or project enough. So why am I even doing this?

     

    Or, maybe I'm not clear on what the next step is, so I click on anything (an article or an email link) that will give me a focus for the time being.

     

    Or, maybe I am clear on next steps to take, but I don't think I'm skilled enough to do a particular activity or  so I sit there stuck. Imperfection is just another form of fear, and maybe I need to take my own advice.

     

    I'm sure there are more reasons for undisciplined behavior, but these are mine.

[/list]

Obviously distractions aren't getting me anywhere, but as I look at the reasons WHY I'm distracted, then I really have to re-examine the path I'm taking, as well as the activities I'm willing to do to get where I want to go.

Money follows value. And people act, in any given moment, based on what we value most in that moment. Any action taken by anybody in the world in this very moment represents what they TRULY value. No exceptions.

And as I click on another Youtube video, this reflects what I value the most in that moment. And that means something needs to change, stat!

Realization: The value I provide to others must include activities which I value doing AND must also include problems that I am passionate (highly value) about solving.

Passion

I simply mistook my capabilities and skills as my passion. In reality, I'm not passionate about doing web design and marketing FOR MOST PEOPLE. It's enjoyable, but it can also be very frustrating, especially when all involved are going in different directions.

When I'm working on a project with someone else, especially a design project, then I can expect a lot of miscommunication and I usually end up with more work than I originally set out to do. Working with the right people is crucial to my sanity, and goes a long way in the quality of work I produce.

For me to be firing on all cylinders, I need to be doing what I really ENJOY doing (which involves something I'm highly skilled at and something I'm talented in), AND I have to be working on a problem that I'm extremely EXCITED about solving for others.

You may have heard the mantra, do what you love and the money will follow, especially since a book with that same title was written. And you may have also heard that doing what you love will NOT bring in the moolah, so don't focus solely on what you're passionate about, because the market doesn't care about what you love to do (and they don't).

It's not an "either/or" situation for me, and as I tend to conclude, the answer is usually a mixture of BOTH.

I think people ought to do what they love and enjoy their work and lives as much as humanly possible, and integrate that with what they're talented and highly skilled in. Yes!

But I think the missing piece of the equation to the "do what you love" motto is applying those skills, talents, and unique abilities to a PROBLEM you're also passionate about solving.

Passionate Doing x Passionate Problem Solving = Following Your Bliss

Motivated, But More Importantly, Inspired

And as I reflect upon what I just wrote, I see that I have NOT brought the two elements together in my everyday experience properly. And that's why I fizzle and slow down on my main project before a month's work has been put in.

Following my bliss is essentially doing what I love to do and applying that to a problem I'm passionate about solving or alleviating. Not just solving for self, but for other people as well.

I've done this before. I think we all have to some degree, and it seems, for significant results, spectacular even, we must marry the two. Of course, it's easier said than done, BUT, it does give me a north star. And as I write this, it gives me a greater sense of clarity on my next steps.

But, can you imagine not doing this AT ALL?

You're NOT using the unique talents you were born with -- AT ALL?. You're NOT doing what you REALLY, REALLY enjoy doing -- AT ALL?. You're NOT working on problems you're passionate or deeply care about solving, but instead work on problems that bore you, dull you, and turn you off?

Yes, you may be highly skilled at doing something, but if the other elements are missing (caring deeply about something, expressing your true talents, etc.), then how are you benefiting? How will you reach your true potential? How can you feel invigorated and TRULY ALIVE?

Guess you'll just have to wait for the weekend to experience that, huh?

Dreams

Value Detectives is still part of the plan, but not how I originally envisioned it. I will need to angle it so that I am working with the people I want to work with (still to be defined), solving THE problem I care about the MOST, and focusing on applying my unique abilities to the work, so I'm not bored or even frustrated.

My main strategy is now clear.

Marry my talents, skills, and unique abilities with a problem I deeply care about solving. And that will become my ultimate business.

It will propel me to refine and define myself more precisely. It will bring the best out of me because I will have a specific message to give people, rather than having the 3-5 elevator pitches I have on hand depending on who I'm talking to.

It will also keep me driven and inspired, instead of the whole, "I need to work for the money" mentality. Granted, I still do a bit of that, but I am learning not to compromise my core integrity and sell out on my dreams.

And NO, the $50,000 dollars is not a dream of mine. I just see it as a means to do greater things, as well as an awesome indicator that I am giving tremendous value to the people of the world.

I am actually living a portion of my dream now, it just needs some expansion. I really enjoy writing, but next year, I want to be on a train, speeding through Europe, working on my next book.

Next Steps

For the week, I will:

[list type="checklist"]

  • Figure out and really nail down my offer for Value Detectives (What I'm willing to give, who I'm willing to give it to, and for how much) -- September 5, 2012
  • Work on video script for Wake Up Smiling (outline is almost complete)
  • Finish reading The $100 Startup -- Still September 5, 2012
  • Figure out the Kindle platform and get Butt-Naked Abundance on Amazon

[/list]

That's it for now. Take care of yourself and have a great week.


The Long Road Back (Plus A Simple Plan)

[dropcap type="2"]B[/dropcap]efore I get going, just know that this is an unusually long post. And while most of this represents my thought process for getting to my goal, a lot of it may seem very basic to you. Laying the the proper foundation is critical to me this go round, not just "knowing" what it is. Anyway, here's the scoreboard for the week:

[box type="blank" class="bg-blue rounded-10"]
[columns width="1/2"]

Total Earnings

Driving: $688.39

[/columns]

[columns width="1/2" last="true"]

Bank Account

$216.99

[/columns]
[/box]
If you're wondering why my bank account is smaller than what I earned, it's because I paid my condo dues for the month + other expenses. As an aside, I have no plans to reveal how I spend every single cent, but I'm sure you realize that I have very little wiggle room.

Bank Statement 8-8-2012
Bank Statement 8-8-2012

The $50,000 Breakdown

My goal is $50,000 in the bank. Of course, I will need to earn more for living and business expenses. After thinking about it, I figure $80,000 is a good number to shoot for. $50,000 in the bank. $30,000 for living and business expenses. Bueno.

Breaking down the $80,000 comes to $6,666.67 per month (Bible thumpers and the superstitious, please ignore all the sixes), which is about $222.22 per day.  I'm not going to start off earning that much, because it may take awhile to lay the proper foundation, but my plan must compensate for that later on.

Am I Really Committed??

When I see that number, the $222.22 per day, everyday for a full year, I see a goal that demands consistency from me.  It seems that the core essence of any goal contains the seed qualities that are required to meet it successfully.

Since the goal has at its very core "consistency", then my effort must be consistent to match it.  This doesn't mean that my efforts are any "harder" or "easier", it just means that they're consistent.

And consistent means commitment. And that's a critical point for me. I believe making my situation and goal public is indicative of my renewed commitment. Living within my own bubble was not getting it done.

The Probability Test

And there's another factor at play here: belief.  I have to believe I can accomplish my goal, so knowing this, I ran it through my "Probability Test".

The Probability Test measures how certain I feel about accomplishing a specific goal, which also reveals the probability of a a specific event happening in my life.

As a side note, do you know where the origin of "probable" comes from?  Take a look:

[box type="1"]ORIGIN late Middle English (in the sense ‘worthy of belief’): via Old French from Latin probabilis, from probare ‘to test, demonstrate.’[/box]

I thought that was interesting...

So here's the Probability Test.  Take your goal, or any statement or affirmation, and ask the following questions, using your statement or goal:

Do I hope I will have $50,000 in the bank from my efforts despite never having accomplished this before?

Do I believe....?

Do I know....?

The continuum looks like this, with the likelihood of events happening increasing as the feeling of certainty increases:

Hope (Possible) ---->  Believe (Probable) ----> Know (Done Deal)

Doing this test requires an acute awareness AND naked honesty.  Long story short, I felt strong in between BELIEVE and KNOW, and even though I felt something in HOPE, my feelings were stronger in the BELIEVE range, leaning toward KNOW.  If my feeling was more in between HOPE and BELIEVE, then I'd probably adjust my goal a bit.

Of course, I do this in a matter of moments, so it's not as drawn out as I lay it out here.  It's just a way to check in with my heart and make sure all systems are go.

So now that my goal is set, I chose to re-examine my strengths, knowledge, skills, and life experience.

Who Am I?

No need to go into this all here, we could be here forever, but let me touch on a few things. If you haven't done any of the many personality assessment tests, the "why you do what you do" tests, or even an astrology reading, then you could be missing some pretty cool insights into YOU.

You don't have to believe it all, just take it as an outside observation and consider it.

Anyway, without getting into my life experience, and how it colors everything I do, I thought I'd at least go over some of these tests and see if I could gain some additional insight.

Meyers-Briggs Personality Test: INFP

[box type="1"]INFPs are effective in occupations involving a lot of intellectual work that is focused on humanities and social science, spirit and soul, inspirational activities, and requiring creativity. Social workers, psychologists, life coaches, addiction rehab counselors, mental and community care staff, children education, teaching, and also creative script writing are just some of the examples of suitable occupations for INFPs. They also succeed at academia thanks to their intellectual strength.[/box]

You can take a free test here: www.humanmetrics.com/.

DISC Profile (See Image)

Paul Campillo's DISC Profile
Paul Campillo's DISC Profile

To learn more about the DISC Profile, you can go to www.discprofile.com/.

KOLBE Index

Measures "conation" or your Modus Operandi (See Image)

Paul Campillo's Kolbe A Index
Paul Campillo's Kolbe A Index

To learn more about Kolbe and their tests, you can go to www.kolbe.com.

My Strengths Finder 2.0 results

In order of strengths: Relator, Empathy, Learner, Connectedness, and Futuristic

To learn more about Strengths Finder 2.0, you can go to strengths.gallup.com.

Self-Assessment Summary

Having looked at these test results again, I do see a pattern, one of which is, ironically, that I'm good at seeing PATTERNS. I know, circular. And I've always had this desire to do things differently (I'm telling you, it's hard-wired in), which is also reflected in my DISC and KOLBE results.

I've allowed that characteristic to hinder me in many ways, but now I must turn it into a powerful ally. It also frees me to explore new possibilities. The only problem is, earning money is usually EASIER for people who stick to simplicity and WHAT'S BEEN DONE BEFORE. Creating new business models is usually not a good idea.

And a big thing for me is this LOVE for LEARNING, and seeing how everything connects in unique ways. Man, I could learn and connect ideas together all day, and do it for and with other people. I definitely believe this is a skill that I can monetize ASAP (probably because I've done it before #duh).

I also love to brainstorm, I could probably do that all day, too. But how to get paid from that??

Anyway, let's move on to how I (or anyone else) can generate income.

How We Make Money

Let's talk Cashflow Quadrant.  According to Robert Kiyosaki, there are four ways to bring in the loot.  Here are the four:

cashflow qaudrant
Robert Kiyosaki's Cashflow Quadrant

[box type="blank" class="border-dashed2"]

Sidenote: The difference between an an entrepreneur and a self-employed person is that a business frees you because of systems, whereas the self-employed still do the bulk of the work.

Business earns money whether you're there or not (most of the time), unlike the E or the S quadrants. And the I quadrant, or investor, is barely in the picture when it comes to "working", but is compensated extremely well.
[/box]

So, I'm already doing the E or employee thing. It's not bringing in much, but I see that I must re-graduate (since I've done it before) up to the S or self-employed again. Doing the B is not as easy, although I've done B activities, such as designing websites, writing a book that is downloadable, etc.

So, my strategy here is obvious. Move from E to S immediately. Then work B into the mix for leverage. Without leverage, I will always have to show up to earn anything, which is going to slow me down significantly.

There's another way to view this:
[list type="pointerlist2"]

  • Consulting/Coaching = 1 : 1
  • Training/Teaching = 1 : MANY (Better leverage)
  • Ultimate Leverage = Work really hard ONCE : Almost unlimited ROI

[/list]Imagine your favorite music artist coming and playing for your family. It would probably cost you a small fortune, but that's still 1 : 1.

Now imagine them performing in concert. That's 1 : MANY.

Now imagine them with CD's, T-shirts, coffee mugs, etc. Now we're talking ULTIMATE LEVERAGE.

What Now?

From what I've written, it's clear that I have to start my consulting/coaching biz ASAP. I can do it in a few areas, one being life coaching (doesn't excite me as much as it used to) or digital marketing for small businesses (much better).

Life coaching is something I'm good at, but I would have to rebrand it somehow. I think once it went so mainstream and everybody became one, I lost interest. Just a personality quirk of mine, I suppose. But it is fun with the right clients, so this is something I can brainstorm and flesh out a bit more.

I already have a website up that I can easily add coaching services to at wakeupsmiling.com. In the meantime, I can continue to blog over there until I can figure out what to offer folks.

I've also written a book, Butt-Naked Abundance, but it's not ready for primetime. As I explained to someone recently, the book's concepts are raw, like cocoa leaves. Lots of potential to turn it into something powerful like cocaine. But I want it to be like crack when I re-release it, and I will need outside help to make that happen.

For the digital marketing services, I already started building a website for that at www.value-detectives.com (it's still in progress, so don't pay too much attention to the content).

It would be mainly business to business services (B2B). I can offer website design for small businesses, shooting video commercials for them, reworking their website message to boost conversions, improving their tracking and metrics, and figuring out an integrated strategy with them so their marketing efforts aren't so disjointed.

The digital marketing biz is very appealing because of the potential effects from small efforts. If I can help a local entrepreneur solve a problem that generates a strong ROI, then that effect impacts more than the business owner. It affects their staff and employees, their vendors and suppliers, the community, and their families.

Those are my initial thoughts, but now I must act.

Next Steps

[list type="checklist"]

  • Complete Value Detectives homepage by August 19th, 2012
  • Complete reading The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau (There's some great exercises in there)
  • Brainstorm potential ideas and services to offer for Wake Up Smiling

[/list]

This list will be updated week to week. Anyway, hope y'all had a wonderful week, and here's to growth for all of us.

If you have ideas, I'd love to hear your thoughts, comments, and feedback.


I Am Poor

[dropcap type="2"]I[/dropcap]f you know me, then this post may surprise you, if it doesn't shock you. If you don't know me, then you may think I'm crazy, a sensationalist, desperate, or just seeking attention. And that's fine by me.

This post signifies a turning point in my life. It contains a humiliating admission, and hope for the future. It reveals a serious challenge that I'm currently facing in my life, at this very moment. And it also contains potential for significant growth.

What you're about to read will expose a side of me that has never been shared before. It will make me vulnerable to my friends, family, and the general public (basically, anyone who decides to read this blog).

Let's get on with it, shall we?

A Humbling Admission

I'm broke. I'm poor. I have $236 left to my name. Add to that a monstrous debt, and it's as bad as it gets. My home is in foreclosure right now, and I have until November 2, 2012 to come up with a solution, or I am out. Here's my current bank statement as proof:

paul's bank statement August 1
My bank statement as of August 1, 2012

On top of this, I currently have a part-time job as a driver for a local company where my net income, per month, is about $900. Yes, I'm not paying my mortgage, but I still have my condo dues, which ballooned to $500 a month since I skipped 5 months. But as of RIGHT NOW, at my current level of income, I'll never catch up at this rate.

If you don't know me, then this doesn't have quite the same impact, except for the revelation and insight, and a bit of voyeurism into another person's personal life.

But if you know me, then this may jolt you, and cause any number of emotions to arise. The more you know me, or think you know me, the more you'll be scratching your head. You may think, "You're too smart!", or, "You had me fooled", and maybe, "WTF??"

No, I don't do drugs. I haven't smoked weed since '97. No, I'm not an alcoholic, I drink wine occasionally and can't stand beer smell. No, I don't gamble. That would make my plight even more destitute than what it is. I rarely go shopping for clothes. I don't buy cars and I don't travel like I used to.

I've just been earning less and less because I've been giving less and less to society.

Judge me anyway you like. I'm fine with it. I'm not apathetic or desensitized from this, but I have completely accepted what I've done, the results I've produced, and failed to produce.

If there has been a wrong done, it's been made by me. If there's someone to blame, it is I. I'm here, I stand before my peers naked, and say, "I am responsible."

And I confess that there's much more 'wrong doing' that I have committed. There's more to this story than just the numbers. The numbers perhaps tell the story of a talented, skillful, and educated man (although I dropped out of school four times, I still consider myself quite educated), AND the faulty thinking behind his actions. The numbers reveal a problem that I believe afflicts many, many people today, even though I cannot speak for them, however I do speak for me.

And this "wrong" I have perpetrated, is a failure to use what I have been given. I have not utilized, to the best of my ability, my God-given gifts and talents, my unique perspective and personality, my strengths, knowledge, and skills to benefit others in my most recent past -- most recent past being the past four years of my life.

Was I just being lazy? Stupid? Fearful? Stubborn? Selfish? Ignorant? Comfortable? Arrogant? Yes, all of it, and more. You may think I'm being too hard on myself, or perhaps I have some other motive by sharing this, but I am not asking for your pity or your condemnation, because there's another side to this as well.

This is not a sympathy post. This is not my way of trying to gain your empathy and understanding. I'm also not blaming the economy, the "system", racism, or any other abstract concepts that people use to justify their circumstances. I'm not blaming the past, my parents, or any of the thousands of people who have crossed my path. No.

But I do have a reason for putting it all out there. And since I'm being totally upfront and honest, I can say without a doubt that I would NOT be sharing this if I wasn't optimistic about my future. If I didn't have a little more than hope in my heart, I would not be open about my current state of affairs.

There is light at the far end of the tunnel. I am not in utter despair, quite the contrary. And if you stick with me throughout this entire process, I believe you will be deeply rewarded. And any epic journey requires major challenges to overcome, and a goal to accomplish.

The Goal

There is light at the end of the tunnel, but that light has to be sparked by me, can only be lit by me, and forged by my own optimism and vision. It's a goal that must be set by me, and me alone. No entity is sitting out there waiting to give me a fat reward for being a good human being.

So here's what I'm going to do. I've never had $10,000 in my bank account. Ever. But despite never having that, it's still not a big enough goal for me, at least not right now. But to see $50,000 in my bank account would be a tremendous accomplishment, and it's also something I believe I can achieve.

So, this is my public declaration:

I will have $50,000 in my bank account by August 1, 2013.

And if you stick with me, I promise to share the details of how I reach this goal. Every significant detail will be divulged. I won't hold anything back.

How You Benefit

I'm documenting all of this because of you, the nameless and faceless reader. I believe that by sharing my account with you, by taking you on my journey back to abundance, you will learn the lessons I learn. I've thought deeply about the importance of this story, if I were to triumph, and how it will affect others. I'm not making my life public for stupid, or even shallow reasons. There's always a "why" behind my actions.

And if I don't make it, if I don't reach my goal, if I don't make it to the championship and win, then I still hope you would have gained something from my experiences. Maybe you learned what NOT to do, or a new approach to challenges you're facing, but I'm sure if you ride this out with me, you will get something.

And as this story unfolds, you'll see how I create opportunities for myself, how I lose them, and others I will just flat out reject because of my values. This isn't about making money at any cost. I still carry a strong sense of idealism and know who I am, and am not interested in compromising what I consider sacred to me.

But all in all, I hope you get the sense that I'm being real with you. As authentic and revealing as I can be about a very private subject in our society -- money.

And as for me, I get to prove my own concepts. I just wrote a book called Butt-Naked Abundance, which, as it turns out, was a message I wrote to myself.

If you're interested in reading it, you can find it here at Butt-Naked Abundance.

What's next?

From here on out, I will post once a week to this blog, that will at least carry these two bare minimum of updates:

[list type="numlist"]

  1. How much money I made that week and how it came to me, and...

  2. How much money is currently in my bank account.

[/list]

If I add anything else to my posts then I'm sure it will have some value to you.

And if you made it this far, thank you. I hope you stick around to see how this plays out.

Here's what you can do for me. If you know of anybody who may benefit from this series of blog posts, please pass this on to them. Share this with everyone you think can benefit.

You can also subscribe to my blog or click on the RSS feed to get updates. You can follow me on Twitter @paulcampillo.

Feel free to post your comments below. More coming soon.