Who Will Play Your Music?

Michael Jones, a gifted pianist, author, speaker and educator tells the story of how he went from being a consultant to a famous pianist. One day someone heard Mr. Jones playing the piano in a Toronto hotel lobby, something he did as a hobby while he traveled. The man approached him and asked Mr. Jones an important question:

The man asked, “Do you work at the hotel?” I said, “Oh, no, no, no. I’m a consultant. I’m busy trying to change the world.” To my disappointment, he didn’t seem at all impressed by that. Then he asked, “How many other people do this kind of consulting work that you do?” I said, “Well, probably 20 or 30, I would guess, in the Toronto area.” And then he looked at me, and at that moment what I most recall about the meeting was how clear and sober his eyes appeared, from how he seemed a few minutes before. He said, “Who’s going to play that music if you don’t play it yourself?”

I felt that question drop in a way that I had not heard a question drop inside of me before. I realized it was a question for which I had no answer. . . Then he stood up, a little uneasy, and steadied himself by putting his hand on my shoulder, and said, “This is your gift — don’t waste it.” Meanwhile I sat on the piano bench, stunned by the question and the sense that it had just changed my life. Who will play my music? I asked myself.

So  – Who will play your “music” if you don’t?   Who will write the book?  Who will paint the picture?  Who will inspire the children?  Who will help the poor?  Who will build the church?  Who will change the lives?  Who will fulfill your destiny if you don’t?

Are there others who can do what you are doing now, while something only you can do remains undone?

Michael Jones concluded that no one would play his music if he didn’t. He overcame his fear, as he tells it, of going broke, being ignored or failing and went on to sell two million copies of his piano recordings.

Follow YOUR dream!

What would it take for us to just deal with what is?

What would it take for us to just deal with what is?

Yitzhak Perlman, the great violinist, was playing in New York . Yitzhak Perlman was crippled by polio as a young child, so the bottom part of his body doesn’t work well and he wears these very prominent leg braces and comes on in crutches, in a very painful, slow way, hauling himself across the stage. Then he sits down and, very carefully, unbuckles the leg braces and lays them down, puts down his crutches, and then picks up his violin. So, this night the audience had watched him slowly, painfully, walk across the stage; and he began to play.  About a third of the way through the piece  suddenly, there was a loud noise in the hall that signaled that one of his four strings on his violin had just snapped.

Everyone expected that they would be watching Yitzhak Perlman put back the leg braces, walk slowly across the stage, and find a new violin. But this is what happened. Yitzhak Perlman closed his eyes for a moment. Yitzhak Perlman paused. And then he signaled for the conductor to begin again. And he began from where they had left off. And here’s the description of his playing, from Jack Riemer in the Houston Chronicle:

“He played with such passion, and such power, and such purity, as people had never heard before. Of course, everyone knew that it was impossible to play this symphonic work with three strings. I know that. You know that. But that night, Yitzhak Perlman did not know that. You could see him modulating, changing, recomposing the piece in his head. At one point, it sounded like he was de-tuning the strings to get new sounds from them that they had never made before. When he finished, there was an awe-filed silence in the room. And then people rose and cheered. Everyone was screaming and cheering and doing everything we could to show how much we appreciated what he had just done. He smiled. He wiped the sweat from his brow. He raised his bow to us. And then he said, not boastfully, but in a quiet and pensive and reverent tone,

“‘You know, sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left.'”

Sometimes, it is our task to find out how much music we can make with what we have left. So what would it take to deal with what is?

 Margaret Wheatley  wrote:

 “ What would it take to be motivated, to be energetic, to be happy; to take delight in the work we are doing that isn’t based on outcomes and isn’t based on needing to see a particular result?

When Someone Deeply Listens to You

When someone deeply listens to you

it is like holding out a dented cup

you’ve had since childhood

and watching it fill up with

cold, fresh water.

When it balances on top of the brim,

you are understood.

When it overflows and touches your skin,

you are loved.


When someone deeply listens to you,

the room where you stay starts a new life

and the place where you wrote

your first poem

begins to glow in your mind’s eye.

It is as if gold has been discovered!

When someone deeply listens to you,

your bare feet are on the earth

and a beloved land that seemed distant

is now at home within you.


—John Fox

Maintaining Your Balance in Rocky Times

The following is an article written by By J. Marc Vorchheimer, CFP®, a fellow member of ACA – the Alliance of Cambridge Advisors.   

Maintaining Your Balance in Rocky Times

By J. Marc Vorchheimer, CFP® Spring Valley, NY

In today’s economic environment, it’s easy to get discouraged. So much of what we believed with certainty just a few months ago is now up for debate or just plain false. Huge financial institutions have disappeared overnight, home values have plummeted, and some distressing financial scandals have been exposed. People are extremely cautious and apprehensive about what the future (and present) will bring.

Here are some strategies to help assure your peace of mind and maintain a balanced perspective during these turbulent times:

1. Appreciate what you have. Take stock of all you have rather than what you are lacking or worried about. Focus on the fact that you have a functioning mind and body, clothing and shelter, and personal possessions that are important to you.

2. Rethink your personal and financial goals. Review your personal goals and determine whether they are consistent with your perspective in the “new world” we live in. There may be matters that are more important to you now that your life may seem more uncertain. For example, perhaps you can make doing something selfless for someone else a higher priority than it was previously.

3. Develop and maintain a sound financial strategy. If you do not have a sound strategy to reach your financial goals, now is the perfect time to create a financial plan. If you are fortunate enough to have a plan in place, stick to it. After all, a good plan is something designed to weather a wide variety of financial conditions. (Otherwise, it was never a sound plan in the first place.) In addition, your financial goals may also have changed. For example, you may want to reduce your immediate living expenses so you can still meet your current retirement goals or increase the size of your emergency reserves fund. If your goals have changed, then you probably need to adjust your strategy as well.

4. Tune out negative press as much as possible. We are in control of what we listen to and read. Avoid exposure to negative and discouraging media reports. Don’t spend too much time browsing the Internet searching for economic predictions or the number of laid-off employees. Instead of trying to change what you cannot control, focus on what you can do about your situation. For instance, keep a log of your work-related accomplishments, which will help if you need to update your resume. Even better, use the information to create a report to your boss so he or she will know the contributions you’ve been making.

5. Spend time with family and friends. Be grateful for family and friends and spend some extra time with them. Make it quality time by keeping the conversation focused on the positives in your life. Of course, it’s fine if you also need to discuss your concerns and fears. When we feel alone, whatever bothers us feels bigger than if we are together with loved ones with whom we can share our feelings. People who are close to you and care about you will usually listen to your worries, which in itself is a relief. Just be sure to turn the conversation back in a more positive direction as soon as you can.

6. Be creative and cheerful. Try to think outside the box. Maybe it’s time to develop a new hobby or skill. It doesn’t have to be costly or very sophisticated. It should be fun and something you look forward to. Choose an activity that will give your mind a break from our stressful world. And support those around you with a bright and friendly demeanor. Your positive energy will likely put a smile on someone else’s face—which is the one you get to see anyway.

Mastery – By Stewart Emery

By Stewart Emery
MASTERY in one’s career and consciousness growth simply requires that we constantly produce results beyond and out of the ordinary. Mastery is a product of consistently going beyond our limits. For most people, it starts with technical excellence in a chosen field and a commitment to that excellence. If you are willing to commit yourself to excellence, to surround yourself with things that represent this and miracles, your life will change. (When we speak of miracles, we speak of events or experiences in the real world, which are beyond the ordinary).

It’s remarkable how much mediocrity we live with, surrounding ourselves with daily reminders that the average is the acceptable. Our world suffers from terminal normality.

Take a moment to assess all of the things around you that promote your being “average.” These are the things that keep you powerless to go beyond a “limit” you arbitrarily set for yourself.

The first step to mastery is the removal of everything in your environment that represents mediocrity, removing those things that are limiting. One way is to surround yourself with friends who ask more of you than you do. Didn’t some of your best teachers, coaches, parents, etc.?

Another step on the path to mastery is the removal of resentment toward masters. Develop compassion for yourself so that you can be in the presence of masters and grow from the experience. Rather than comparing yourself and resenting people who have mastery, remain open and receptive; let the experience be like the planting of a seed within you that, with nourishment, will grow into your own individual mastery.

You see, we are all ordinary. But a master, rather than condemning himself for his “ordinariness,” will embrace and use it as a foundation for building the extraordinary.

Rather than using it as an excuse for inactivity, he will use it as a vehicle for correcting, which is essential in the process of attaining mastery. You must be able to correct yourself without invalidating or condemning yourself, to accept results and improve upon them. Correct, don’t protect. Correction is essential to power and mastery.

Using Your Magic Carpet – Your Right to Fly

A friend of mine reminded me of this poem, titled Magic Carpet,  by Shel Silverstein –  

Magic Carpet

 You have a magic carpet
That will whiz you through the air,
To Spain or Maine or Africa
If you just tell it where.
So will you let it take you
Where you’ve never been before,
Or will you buy some drapes to match
And use it On your Floor?

shel silverstein

We have all been given the gifts that will allow us to go anywhere we want to go.  How we choose to use them is up to us.



Life is Good – Optimism Prevails at FPA 2009

I just returned from the 2009 FPA Conference in San Diego and I have to say that the overall message of the conference was Optimism. 

I’ll be posting several blogs about my experience there, but I want to start off with a report on our first keynote speaker, Bert Jacobs, co-founder of Life is Good – the T-shirt, Hat and Apparel company. Bert’s presentation was overflowing with optimism and he “Wowed” the audience. Bert and his brother run the company that did $120 million last year – selling optimism and positive feelings and then giving much of what they earn back to the community, primarily to children’s charities.

His key points included:

• Life is good.

• We all need more optimism in our lives

• We need to be more open, less closed and more childlike in how we view the world

• People crave simplicity

• Sharing your blessings is important.

• People want to work somewhere that actually contributes positively to the world.

I was most impressed with two things –

• The clear mission that he has for his company and a desire to not stray from that mission. They have a way they want to run the company and they stick to it. They refuse to do things that might make them more money if it moves them away from their mission.

• Their commitment to helping kids. They have adopted several charities that focus on children facing life-threatening diseases and they work harder every year to increase their contirbution to them. Life is Good! Visit thier website at http://www.lifeisgood.com .

“A Richer Life” Issues Grant to The Suicide Resource Center of Larmer County

One of the key values of A Richer Life Financial Planning is a commitment to philanthropy – by sharing our blessings with the community.

As part of this commitment, we recently donated money to the Suicide Resource Center of Larimer County to assist them in the good work they do.

According to their website:

“The Suicide Resource Center of Larimer County was founded in 1989, in response to the high number of suicide deaths in Larimer County. Since our beginning, we have worked to prevent suicide by raising awareness and educating the community, and have reached out to support families whose lives have been devastated by suicide. Since we were founded, Larimer County’s suicide rate has dropped from being one of the highest in Colorado to being below the state average. However, the battle to save the lives of those suffering from depression or bipolar disorder is far from over. Although we have made progress relative to other counties in Colorado, our rates remain higher than the national average. 

You can read more about the Suicide Resource Center at their website:  http://www.suicideresourcecenter.org/  .

Every Man is The Architect of His Own Fortune

“Every Man is The Architect of His Own Fortune”
                             Sallust (86-34 BC), a Roman historian

It’s amazing to me where some of the basic concepts of Financial Planning and financial success come from – and how old the ideas are.

This quote is from before Jesus was born and illustrates one of the key aspects of a successful financial life – recognizing that we are each the architect of our own fortune.  Once you do that, you accept responsibility for all of your fortunes and misfortunes in life.  And once you take responsibility, the road to success becomes immensely easier.

Easy-to-Use (and free) Expense Tracking – Mint.com

I have found that one of the key factors in successful financial life management is knowing where your money comes from and where it goes. This information makes it much easier to create a good plan and to identify and fix any cash flow issues.

I have tried and used a lot of systems – from Microsoft Money and Quicken to my own personally-developed spreadsheet. I support the use of any system that works for you and allows you to understand where your money comes from and goes.

Recently I started using Mint.com and I recommend that you consider it for your income and expense tracking.

Mint automatically pulls information from all of your different accounts, so there’s no need for you to update anything manually. All expenditures made are individually picked up by Mint.com – as they are posted – whether they are from checks, debit-cards or credit cards. It also downloads all deposits made to your account.

Mint.com tries to categorize income and expenses as they come, but you will want to review the categorizations periodically to make sure that the categories it assigns are correct. Once you assign a category to a vendor, Mint.com rembembers and continues to assign that category.

It also allows you to “split” transactions – so it you go to Walmart and buy groceries and a car battery, you can record the appropriate amounts under groceries and car expenses. It may take you a while to get it just right for your needs, but it’s really not very hard.

Best of all, this is free. Your finances are tracked for you at no cost.

In short
    Mint lets you see all all of your accounts in one place (including investment accounts).
    Mint tracks your income and spending, making it easy to spot trends.It costs nothing, and they don’t send you any spam.


    I suggest you take a look at Mint by visiting www.mint.com  .