Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Lousy leaders

Michael Hyatt once tweeted " These top-ten characteristics of lousy leaders are all traits to avoid - or unlearn if you already have trouble with them."

The top - ten characteristics are as follows with slight excerpts not necessarily full renditions and some of my own commentary in how any of this relates to me.

1. They don't have enough confidence to lead at their level. Someone who has no faith in their decisions.

This is me. I don't have enough confidence in myself and my capabilities. Why? That's a million dollar question there. There are certain things in life that I have full faith in and when someone questions those abilities I get really hot over it and very defensive. However, those are instances generally when I am working for someone else and have a play book to follow. When the game is personal, that's when things get a bit shaky and I am unsure of the foundation I laid under my feet. I seem to have friends that are more confident in my abilities then I do in myself. Obviously if I inspire other's to have confidence in me then I should have more confidence in myself. So then what's my issue and how do I go about fixing it?

2. They're arrogant, assuming they always know what's best. It takes confidence to lead. It also takes humility. Many leaders think they're confident when they're just pigheaded and proud.

Are these people Leo's by chance? All kidding aside I know a few.

3. They're disorganized.

I am very organized, I got that going for me.

4. Their words and actions erode trust, even with their supporters. You can't count on them as a direct report.

I have many people that seem to feel they can count on me, I'd really like to figure out what words and actions I use that creates this trust. Having that knowledge is like a currency in and of it self.

5. They over - promise and under - deliver. This one affects more than just politicians. People leading up in an organization often do this because they are trying to impress those above them, failing to realize that by under - delivering they are shooting themselves in the foot. And people at the top fall into the trap by overusing promises as a way to ensure team loyalty.

I have a tendency to try to impress people. I like to feel important. I don't think that I am important - or important enough, so I do or say things to feel important. I tend to do this by over promising on things that I can do for someone else. Knowing ones limitations is something that is key in any leader and something I need to come to better terms with myself.

I realized recently that I can not fail. I have too many people counting on me to fail. I also realized something critical, I realized that part of my over promising isn't because I can't do something it's due to my lacking in confidence in myself No. 1. That lack in confidence in myself creates fear of failing at something before I have even tried.

I decided recently to go with the concrete decision of why not. Every time I feel fear creeping up on me I will ask myself why not. Honestly what is the worst that could happen if I tried. If I try and I fail, well at least I tried. And that is the key - it is better to regret what I have done then to wonder what if I tried.

6. They don't articulate a clear vision. No one wants to follow in the dark. It's impossible to motivate people who feel in a fog.

I have an ability to articulate someone else's vision more then I can my own. This again comes back to No. 1, a lacking in confidence in my own vision - in my own self. I seek validation and have a want to feel important and fear sharing my visions which comes with someone else critiquing my ideas. Someone with more confidence wouldn't care about the criticism because they would be sure of their vision. Do we see a pattern here?

7. They don't enroll others in their initiatives. No.7 is related to No. 6. Some leaders expect people will follow them just because of their position. Wrong. If a leader can't enroll others, failure looms.

I don't expect anyone to follow me, in fact I am quite shocked when people automatically follow me and often wonder what it was that I did to inspire such actions.

8. They are not transparent. Openness encourages honesty.

I think my problem here lies more in that I am too honest and open.

9. They're blind to what's happening in their own organizations. Insulation is fine for the walls of your house, but not for leadership. To lead requires visibility. Without it, you'll find yourself blindsided and making major blunders.

10. They don't hold people accountable - especially themselves. If a leader avoids responsibility and won't hold their team accountable, they'll shipwreck the organization. Accountability is essential.

I admit to letting myself off the hook too much. Responsibility and accountability are key factors and things that need more practice.

Pick your crisis and you'll usually find one of these ten traits of lousy leadership in action, often many of them all at once. Bad leadership traits go together.

If you see any of these in your leadership, now's the time to deal with it. Your dreams and goals are too important to undermine. It's hard enough to succeed as a leader without being your own worst enemy.

Reading this article I have confirmed yet again something that I already knew - that I am my own worst enemy. I lack confidence, over promise, don't articulate my vision clearly, lack confidence in my vision, and I do not hold myself accountable or responsible enough.

Admitting your faults is one of the first steps to overcoming them. Now on to something a bit harder which is figuring out a plan to overcome these things.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

My Millionaire to-do list! Ya gotta start somewhere....

Million Dollar Club

Budgets are sexy blogger J.Money started a My millionaire to-do list.

He directed us to check out his “millionaire to-do list”

  1. Max out my 401(k)
  2. Max out my Roth IRA.
  3. Save/invest 1/2 of all future bonuses.
  4. Sell unwanted stuff on eBay/Craigslist.
  5. To be frugal, but not insanely frugal ;)
Then to create our own. As he says it doesn't have to be much just realistic so you can follow through with it.

I don't know about you, but I feel like his to-do list was pulled right out of my head. Of course we might not all have certain options open to us right now, but I don't think just because you find yourself in the position of not having access to certain things that it shouldn't be on your list.

Which brings me to his next direction which is to review your list every once in a while to remind yourself WHY your saving so much. One thing he didn't say, but that I think goes along with the reviewing of your list is to update your progress.

On the list that he wrote out he wrote next to each pledge that he wanted to do every year what doing that would mean and look like.

For example:

Maxing out his 401(k) would mean for him a total of $16,500 invested + $16,500 matched! 

He happens to be lucky enough to have a company that matches his contributions. Usually or at least from what I have come across most company's match up to a certain percentage most times it's around 4%.

So what does that mean for you, it means that depending on your budget there two different options that you have to get the most out of your money.

Your first option is if your company matches contributions and you can afford it max it out, by contributing $16,500 over the year, that is the amount the plan lets you sock away pretax every year. So I think to figure this out you would divide $16,500 into what you make over the year before taxes and change the answer from a decimal to a percentage which is what you should have taken out of your check for your 401(k).

Your second option is really two options for if your company matches a certain percentage.

If your company matches say 4%:

Option 2A: Arrange to have 4% of each check put into your 401(k).

It is really a no brainer or it should be that if your company matches up to a certain percentage that you should at least contribute that percentage to your 401(k) because other wise that is really money down the drain that you could have had in your 401(k). You want to take full advantage of what your company is willing to contribute.

I would recommend that you do the calculations to see how much you will save by contributing the same percentage as the company as your minimum. This is where the second part of your second option comes in.

Option2B: If after your calculations you find that by as a minimum contributing the same percentage the company does that your total contribution for the year totals less then the max aloud for the year ($16,500) change the percentage your contributing. Even if your company only matches 4% (yeah free money!) that doesn't mean you shouldn't contribute more then that percentage. This is only if you can afford to contribute more then the minimum percentage that is matched. If you can afford it figure out how much the difference of the 4% your already going to contribute grand total is from the max aloud contribution per year $16,500. Say it is $1,200 short of the max aloud, take that amount and the previous grand total you had and divide it from your total income over the year to get the new percentage you should contribute to max out your 401(k)

There you go which ever option you chose you just arranged to have your 401(k) maxed out.The money grows tax-deferred -- a terrific deal. And because your contributions are automatically withdrawn from your paycheck, 401(k) plans make saving easy.

Maxing out his Roth IRA would mean him having $5,000 invested –> stocks, funds

Note $5,000 is the max you can contribute to your Roth IRA every year which is with your after-tax money.

So when you make your list write next to each pledge what that would mean for you at the end of the year. This way you can add all your pledge $ up and use a tool such as the Millionaire Calculator  J.Money used from the CNN.Money website.

Then review it every once in a while to remind yourself WHY you’re saving so much.

My millionaire to-do list:

  1. Max out my 401(k): I don't have one currently, because I am unemployed. But it's on my list for when I get one.
  2. Max out my Roth IRA: I don't have one currently, because I am unemployed. But it's on my list for when I get one.
  3. Save/invest 1/2 of all future bonuses: Not currently employed so no bonuses as of the moment, but again I am looking towards the future.
  4. Sell unwanted stuff on eBay/Craigslist: I am currently doing this. I basically took an inventory of everything that I own and really looked at the items to determine if I really used them or if they were something I wasn't using anymore and thus clutter. I started doing this when our only vehicle died. I am unemployed and have no savings and although my partner is employed he doesn't have any savings either. My partner pretty much pays all the bills. I get some general assistance from the state: $200 a month. So with no savings and a need for a vehicle I became creative and started thinking of ways to get the money we needed for another used vehicle. Which is wear craigslist come into play. I took every item I wasn't using and put it up for sale. I have made about $65 so far, it's not much, but every penny counts.
  5. To be frugal, but not insanely frugal.: I am currently doing this one. I am doing anything from finding ways to stretch the grocery budget to using coupons and buying things on sale, have a rebate, have ECBs or RRs.
  6. Have $1,000 in an emergency fund.
  7. Save 6 months of expenses.
  8. Have a stockpile.
  9. Own a home free and clear (no mortgage.)
  10. Have no debt.
So these are some of MY financial goals and what I think I need. It may not get me to millionaire status, but as the title says ya gotta start somewhere.


****disclaimer: I am not a financial planner and have no training, everything is in my opinion and based on what I know. Do your own research, consult a professional, and do what works for you.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

scrubbing bubbles toilet bowl cleaning gel

One of the things in my bzzz kit was the scrubbing bubbles toilet cleaning gel. The toilet gel package contained One disposable dispenser and One gel holder (gel holder contains six gel discs).

This is my review of this product.

It's supposed to be easy to use, but it took me a little while to figure it out and I have heard from friends that they have had the same issue. It is certainly easy after you know what your doing after the first time.

The benefits of Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaning Gel as listed on their website and my opinions on their claims:

* Prevents the build-up of lime scale and toilet rings

My toilets water when it flushed doesn't rise up enough to swish along the gel disk which is what helps prevent toilet rings. When I flush the water rushes over it and down into the toilet.

* Continuously cleans and freshens with every flush

Again I don't know about other toilets, but with mine since the water just rushes over it and down into the toilet and doesn't rise up enough to swish around in the toilet I didn't see a marked difference.

* Eliminates odors as it cleans

Boy does it eliminate odor, I could smell the fresh clean scent every time I went into the bathroom. I loved the scent so much I would buy it just for that reason alone, it worked to make my bathroom smell fresh better than the auto air fresheners I generally use in there.

* Each disc lasts up to one week

You have to take claims as they are worded, they claim up to one week which really means it will last any where from 1 day to 1 week, but there are no specifics as far as how long it is supposed to work. I used the product for 30 days and on average a disk lasted 4 days.

* Leaves no residue behind

It does not leave any residue behind, one minute the disk is there the next it's not. I didn't even notice it diminishing in size, it just disappeared which makes me think the disk just stops being able to stick to the toilet and flops off.

* More hygienic than traditional clip-on bowl cleaners

The only other toilet cleaner I have used is the drop in the tank tablets and it compares as far as how hygienic the products are....the tank option you have to lift the tank lid up and with the disk you have to lift up the toilet seat. As far as what my understanding is of clip on bowl cleaners you have to lift the seat as well, so I would call it comparable.

* Safe for septic systems

I am not a professional so I can't comment on this claim.

The first day I tried the toilet bowl cleaning gel the disk came out like a star exactly how it is supposed to look.

The next two times I tried it the gel stuck to the dispenser and when it came off on the bowl it looked either like a lump or a cone shape. There are no real directions on how to store the product so I looked on their website and int he FAQs section it says if this happens it was not assembled correctly and to take it apart and put it back together. However seeing as that it came out right the first time I obviously put it together right, the product just has some type of storing issue.

****disclaimer: I am a bzzz agent. I received this product for free to review. I do not receive cash for my reviews. All reviews are my own and completely honest. I do receive my points for my time for submitting reviews.

Scrubbing bubble extend-a-clean mega shower foamer

One of the things in my bzzz kit was the Scrubbing bubble extend-a-clean mega shower foamer, the following is my review of that product.

Shower before:

Really dirty shower bench

The shower was sprayed down and let to sit as directed.

The ledge after cleaning:

The bench after cleaning:

The shower doors after cleaning, you could still see specs of cleaning product left over that didn't come off with just the spray of the shower.

Close up of the stuff left over from just a spray off of water from the shower:

The bench seat in the shower after being sprayed down needed to be scrubbed a little to get all the dirt off, but look how clean it is now:

You can see the soap scum more clearly on the metal surfaces in the pictures, when I tried photographing the surround of the shower all I got was a flash, but any where in the shower that there was soap scum before the cleaning still remained after the cleaning. It did clean the basic dirt and grime, but did nothing for the soap scum.

***disclaimer: I am a bzzz agent. I received this product for free to review. I do not get cash for submitting my reviews and all my reviews are my own opinions and completely honest. I do receive my points for my time in submitting reviews.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cover Girl

Check out the MyCOVERGIRL tab on Cover girls Facebook page. Join My Cover girl and make your own ad for your Cover girl home page. You will have chances to win prizes and products.

This month of March it's Lash talk. I answered their survey for what I like in my mascara. Here I will review their Professional super thick lash mascara.

cover girl thick lash

This is one of the cheapest mascaras at just over $5.I liked that it was thick and did what I wanted it to. I even liked the smaller wand, which I don't normally. Normally I like large curved wands that seem to seperate lashes better. The only thing that I didn't like was that it seemed to take a while to dry. I had to keep my eyes open and do my best not to blink (do you know how hard it is to not blink when your trying not to, it's hard). Even though it took a while to dry I think it's worth it for the cost. With the economy anything that allows me to be the fashionista I am while still being frugal is tops in my book.

**Disclaimer, I am a BZZZ Agent and have joined the Cover girl 50th Aniversary Campaign. I did NOT receive this or any product free for this review, I paid for the product myself. I will receive MyPoints only for posting the link to their Cover girl Facebook page, not for the review of their product.

homesteading and sustainable living sites

There are hundreds of homesteading sustainable living sites, I am reviewing a few.

Mother Earth News It isn't in my opinion very user friendly. Although it has sections such as Do-It yourself, Real food, and Green homes I feel the sections are too broad. I believe they need sub sections such as in the Real food category I would sub categorize by type of meal. As it stands when you click on Real food you see a couple articles with pictures and have to click a link below those first few to browse all articles. When browsing articles there is a list with a small description next to each titled article. You must comb through the list reading titles to try and find what it is you are looking for. There is a search tool, however one term you choose to search for may be contained in many articles some of which may have nothing to do with what it is you are truly searching for.

Mother Earth News is a magazine so there are pop ups asking if you want to buy a subscription to their magazine. For me it popped up every so many clicks.

My favorite part of the site is the Land for sale section. You can search for acres of land for sale based on the state you are searching for property in. I would long term love to have a main home on at least 10 acres of land. I would also like a vacation home up north on some acres on a lake that can be boated on and fished from. You are supposed to be able to sort the list after you chose a state by price or county. When I tried sorting by price it sorted it by the most expensive, I would have liked to sort it by either the highest to lowest or the other way around. When I tried to sort by county it reloaded the page, but it was not sorted by county...I did try multiple times to see if it would sort by that category and got no result from it.

Homestead has a few articles on the front page of their website, but the meat of their site is found when you click on the index. The index brings you to their library where there is a list of sections such as food, lifestyle, land. Once you click on the category you want you get another list of articles on that subject. There is not a lot of articles listed, however the ones that they do have are very informative. The only thing I found that I did not like is that when you click on the article you want to read it opens in (for me I use firefox) another tab.

Urban homestead is about a family that is homesteading and living a self sustaining lifestyle in the most unlikely of places, the city. This site is about how they do that. Although there are some interesting articles that leave you saying hmmm there weren't a lot of articles that I found worth reading.

Backwoods Home is another magazine website. On the front of their website they have the articles from their current issue as well as their most popular articles. There is an article index on the left side of the web page. The two categories I like the most that I thought had the best more informative articles were self reliance and making saving money.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

saturday soiree home made laundry soap


Tools used to shred the soap, it has three different parts to shred the soap, so I tried all three to make three batches. The point was to find the best way or easiest way to make the laundry soap.


first shred on the cheese grater


second - middle shred


third shred


now to boil the soap to melt it down


I marked the buckets where the water fill was supposed to be, it was much easier then trying to use a 4 cup measuring cup for gallons of water.


my stir-ing stick was also used as a measuring point for the water inside the buckets.


three buckets filled with water and ready for the melted soap to be poured in.


my little helper stirring the batch


it was work doing three batches but she still stopped to smile for me, how cute

Mine didn't turn out how the recipe says it turned out for others, mine looked like soapy water, so if it doesn't turn out slimy for you don't worry, it still works. I made these buckets in May of last year and still have 1 bucket left. I have not seen any difference in how clean the clothes are, it works just like regular store bought detergent but it is way cheaper. I use 1/2 cups of the liquid only and it works just as good, I have had no problems with this what so ever.

I got this recipe from cutting corners/tips and tricks section of sample life

This is the what taxicheermom had to say about what she did, how it worked for her and the recipe:

I’ve been experimenting with making lots of cleaning supplies at home, but this one is by far the craziest - and the most successful. Basically, I made a giant bucket of slime that works incredibly well as laundry detergent at a cost of about three cents a load. For comparison’s sake, a jumbo container of Tide at Amazon.com costs $28.99 for 96 loads, or a cost of $0.30 a load. Thus, with each load of this stuff, I’m saving more than a quarter. Even better - I got to make a giant bucket of slime in the kitchen and my wife approved of it.

Here’s what you need:
- 1 bar of soap (whatever kind you like; I used Lever 2000 because we have tons of bars of it from a case we bought a while back)
- 1 box of washing soda (look for it in the laundry detergent aisle at your local department store - it comes in an Arm & Hammer box and will contain enough for six batches of this stuff)
- 1 box of borax (this is not necessary, but I’ve found it really kicks the cleaning up a notch - one box of borax will contain more than enough for tons of batches of this homemade detergent - if you decide to use this, be careful)
- A five gallon bucket with a lid (or a bucket that will hold more than 15 liters - ask around - these aren’t too tough to acquire)
- Three gallons of tap water
- A big spoon to stir the mixture with
- A measuring cup
- A knife

Step One: Put about four cups of water into a pan on your stove and turn the heat up on high until it’s almost boiling. While you’re waiting, whip out a knife and start shaving strips off of the bar of soap into the water, whittling it down. Keep the heat below a boil and keep shaving the soap. Eventually, you’ll shave up the whole bar, then stir the hot water until the soap is dissolved and you have some highly soapy water.

Step Two: Put three gallons of hot water (11 liters or so) into the five gallon bucket - the easiest way is to fill up three gallon milk jugs worth of it. Then mix in the hot soapy water from step one, stir it for a while, then add a cup of the washing soda. Keep stirring it for another minute or two, then add a half cup of borax if you are using borax. Stir for another couple of minutes, then let the stuff sit overnight to cool.

And you’re done. When you wake up in the morning, you’ll have a bucket of gelatinous slime that’s a paler shade of the soap that you used (in our case, it’s a very pale greenish blue). One measuring cup full of this slime will be roughly what you need to do a load of laundry - and the ingredients are basically the same as laundry detergent. Thus, out of three gallons, you’ll get about 48 loads of laundry. If you do this six times, you’ll have used six bars of soap ($0.99 each), one box of washing soda ($2.49 at our store), and about half a box of borax ($2.49 at our store, so $1.25) and make 288 loads of laundry. This comes up to a cost of right around three cents a gallon, or a savings of $70.

and I am linking to a Saturday party