Blog
The One-Minute Money Mentor for Women: 21 Strategies for Financial Empowerment

10 (More) Ways To Be More Likable–PART 2

This is simply a call to come to grips with the fact that whatever you desire in life will be achieved through people. Consequently, you must be mindful of behaviors and character traits that attract people and those that repel them.

ISRAEL PRINCE AND GROUP

10 Ways To Be More Likable–PART 1

We can always study more, obtain one more degree or certification, become a specialist in a new discipline, and make other attempts to increase our competency. Being skilled in whatever endeavor we pursue is a basic requirement if we want to succeed. However, practical knowledge may get you in the door, but good people skills are essential in moving you forward. And, they often determine the extent of your financial rewards.

Whether you are a teacher, a brain surgeon, an independent consultant, a law enforcement officer, or a homemaker, solid people skills will be one of the most empowering tools in your financial arsenal. Operating from a platform of poor people skills is an unprofitable path. It’s no secret that everyone prefers to do business and socialize with people they know, like, and trust. Let’s look at some practical ways you can become more likable.  As you review this list, consider which skills you need to hone and which ones you can be grateful that the grace of God has prevailed in that area of your life.

  • Smile.  A smile will brighten your day as well as that of those you encounter. Smiling is a universal language that never requires an interpreter.  Of course, it’s no effort to smile when things are going well, but sometimes we need to smile even when things are not going well. Don’t wait for joy to generate your smile; let your smile generate your joy. Never forget that feelings follow behavior; you will feel better when you smile. So just do it! Why not start right now?
  • Remember common courtesies. Say “Thank you,” “Please,” and “I’m sorry” to people in your personal and professional environments. Request rather than command or demand what you desire.
  • Listen: Be intentionally silent for periods of times during a conversation and make eye contact, nod, and listen. Ask clarifying questions as appropriate without accusing or prying. Show genuine interest in other people. Be conscious of the number of times you say “I” during your conversations. Don’t allow the conversation to be all about you.
  • Respect other people’s right to believe, act or dress differently. No need to be adamant about non-eternal matters or those that do not affect the quality of your life. Keep your disdain and critical judgments to yourself. Do you really think that expressing them will change someone?
  • Don’t interrupt. Even if the person is long-winded. If you feel you need to interject a point, raise your index finger slightly as if to ask for permission to speak. If that doesn’t work, just try to jump into the conversation at the end of a thought.
  • Be quick to serve others. Jesus cautioned His disciples, “The greatest among you must be a servant” (Matthew 23:11 NLT). Extend yourself to others as if you were serving God Himself—because you are! You will surely reap a positive reward.
  • Be humble. Humility is not an affected demeanor; it is a mind-set. Don’t brag about your position, possessions, people you know, or places you’ve traveled. Doing so is a glaring indication of where you derive your self-worth from. Humility tops the chart as the most admired character trait; pride and arrogance are the most detestable.
  • Resist envy. If a family member, friend, co-worker, or acquaintance makes a notable achievement or acquires something of value, just congratulate her; don’t compete or “hate.” And for goodness’ sake, don’t mention another person who has exceeded her achievement. It will surely be perceived as your subtle attempt to level the playing field. You may as well plaster a sign on your forehead that reads, “Envy Alert!”
  • Make every effort to remember people’s names. A person’s name can be the sweetest and most important sound in any language. Recently I saw someone from our former church. By the grace of God, I remembered his name. He beamed as if I’d given him something valuable. Indeed, I had: significance.
  • Always make the other person feel valued and appreciated. Do it sincerely and without hidden motives. Phoniness is more discernable than you think. Simply acknowledge or praise people’s small and large acts of service and accomplishments—especially your employees and family members.

We will look at additional ways to be more likable and to win with people in the next post… Stay tuned!

(This is an excerpt from my book, THE ONE-MINUTE MONEY MENTOR FOR WOMEN.)

From Family Disunity to Unity –NOW!

MY FAMILY IS OFF THE CHART AWESOME!  Each Monday night, over 20 members of my family (siblings, nieces, cousins, and others) call in on a free conference call from across the country for a time of prayer and brief fellowship.  For our most recent call,  the Lord led me to ask each person to take 20-30 seconds to say what family means to each of us. What a LOVE FEAST! So much affirmation and unity. What a MIRACLE to watch each week how God has turned a contentious bunch into a loving group that can hardly wait until Monday nights.  Let’s just say that it hasn’t always been this way, y’all. But God!

If your family is struggling with disunity, I dare you to just get on a short call and start praying for the needs of each person. Somebody has to initiate the effort and keep it going.  Why not be that person? Here is what to do:

1) Get a free conference call number and password. https://www.freeconferencecall.com/
2) Establish a convenient day and time for the call. Be consistent.
3) Get the phone number of all potential participants and remind them (via group text) 15 min before the call to join the prayer.
4) Set a duration time limit (important); 15-30 minutes max; this keeps folks coming back.
5) Remind everyone to mute phones.
6) The leader should issue a spiritual challenge to the group; anything that keeps them God-focused (e.g. pray 5 minutes each day,  be a good role model on the job, etc.).
7) Pray for needs in the following categories: Spiritual, Relational, Emotional, Physical, and Financial–and whatever has been requested. Give others an opportunity to pray for each area, but ask them to keep it short (like a minute).

8) Don’t let ONE PERSON dominate.  I normally ask for 20-30 second testimonies and prayer requests because of the size of our group.

9) Be a little flexible and allow 5 minutes or so at the beginning for hellos and chit chat. I’m a stickler for getting focused on the actual praying, so I ask everyone who wants to chat to call in 5 min or so (6:55 pm) BEFORE THE START TIME. This allows the group to laugh, reminisce, etc until 7:05 pm. YUP, I’M THE DRILL SARGENT AND THE PRAYER LEADER. THAT’S CALLED LEADERSHIP.

10) Inform those who want to keep chatting to stay on the line after the dismissal prayer and talk to their hearts’ delight or until the system cuts them off, which it will do! Hey, it’s free!

Okay, I’ve taken the time, by Divine mandate, to explain how this all works. I’m on a writing lockdown to finish my next book, LEAD LIKE A WOMAN, in six weeks, so I’m believing God will multiply the time back to me. Somebody out there is supposed to do this for your family. Let me hear from you if you plan to TRUST God to do it thru you.

30 Days to a Stronger More Confident You

Self-Confidence vs. Supreme Confidence

How many times have you thought–or been told–that you need more self-confidence? Zillions, I’m sure. When I think back on all the effort I put into trying to become self-confident, I realize that it was an exercise in futility. Such a pursuit is also ungodly.  Let me explain. The word “confidence” means with (“con”)  faith/trust (“fid”).  Immediately, it becomes clear that self-confidence means “with faith or trust in self”.  The wisest man on earth gave a stern warning about this in Proverbs 28:26  (NIV) “He who trusts in himself is a fool…” It is indeed foolish to limit our pursuits to only those things that we have learned or experienced. This is not to say that we should not pursue education or excellence in all things, however, we ask for trouble when we rest our faith on them.

God wants us to rest on His word.  Entering that rest is the challenge that every problem presents to us today. It was the challenge that faced the Israelites who found themselves confronted with that super-sized human called Goliath.

Fourteen generations before the battle with Goliath, God gave Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, His word about how He would take care of him.  He promised, “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse…” (Genesis 12:3 NIV).  Later, when He extended this and a host of other promises to Abraham’s descendants, He inserted a key provision:

“This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised.  You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you” (Genesis 17:10-11 NIV).

Abraham believed God’s promises.  So did David.  David knew that his circumcision was a sign that he was an heir to the covenant.  Thus, he could not help becoming righteously indignant when he came to the scene of the battle to bring food supplies and saw all those circumcised Israelites running from the giant. Apparently, no one remembered that they had a covenant with God.  Thus, David felt compelled to ask that famous rhetorical question:  “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God” (1 Samuel 17:26 NIV)?

David was asking, “How could this man who has no covenant with God even think about conquering us?” Sadly, in fleeing from the giant, the Israelites proved that they had no confidence in that covenant.  Can you relate to their action? How confident are you that God will keep his promise to bless, protect and prosper those who are in right standing with him?  If we continue to run from the giants in our lives, we will never see the power of God manifested.

When we believe God’s promises, we do not have to tolerate any giant in our life.  We are heirs to the same covenant that God gave to Abraham.  “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise”(Galatians 3:29 NIV). How long have you tolerated limiting beliefs?  Do you believe that “…God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV (emphasis added))?  Or, have you chosen to let unbelief reign in your life and keep you from pursuing your goals or from having meaningful, trusting relationships.

Learning and Resting

Too many of God’s children think that the Bible is not really for today, that many of its promises are antiquated.  They are sadly mistaken. David rested on a promise of protection that was fourteen generations old and it is still good today.  The word of God endures forever; there are no expiration dates on His promises.  We must be diligent to hide them in our heart.  For every project that I embark upon, I print out and memorize or refer often to passages from the bible that remind me that apart from God I can do nothing and that He is faithful to complete whatever work He starts in me. For me, such Scriptures take the focus, the weight, and the responsibility from me and put it on Him. That’s  “Supreme Confidence”

It is not enough, however, to simply memorize Scripture.  There is a difference between learning the word and resting on it.  Rest implies that we have ceased our negative thoughts and speculations. Our minds have stopped the doubting, stopped rehearsing the “what if” scenarios, and stopped being influenced by present realities.  In the Appendix, there is a listing of insecurity-banishing Scriptures that are sure to address an insecurity that has plagued your life. As you meditate on them, you will soon realize that there is no insecurity that is outside of God’s ability to heal.  Nothing is too hard for Him.  He said so. “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me (Jeremiah 32:27 NIV)?

Confidence Challenge

Write out and memorize the following personalized paraphrased version of the Scripture below noting the emphasized words.

“And God is able to make all grace abound toward me, so that I,

in all things at all times, having all that I need, will abound in

every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV (emphasis added))?

Make a conscious decision to rest on it in the upcoming weeks.  Share it with a friend.

CONFRONT YOUR SELFISH ATTITUDE

“You deserve a break today.” “Look out for Number One.”, “What’s in it for me (WIIFM)?” These popular expressions and slogans represent the attitude of our age. How did we get to the point where the masses are so focused on self-gratification, self-improvement, self-enlightenment, self-indulgence, and other areas with self at the center, while fewer and fewer are concerned with the needs and well-being of others? Granted we were all born into a fallen world and therefore have some degree of inherent self-centeredness. However, we cannot roll over and accept this as our permanent reality; it’s time to confront our selfish attitude.

The truth of the matter is that we were taught to be selfish. Now, who was the culprit, the teacher in your life? Was it the workaholic or absentee parent who set a few spending or other limits on you because he or she felt guilty for not spending time with you? The indulgent parents who wanted to make sure you experienced every privilege that was denied them during their childhood? The absence of selfless role models? Or, was it a post-childhood event such as a deep emotional hurt that left you reeling and resolved to never love so selflessly again? Or, perhaps you are so overwhelmed with your own day to day survival that you have no energy left to think about anyone else’s needs?

The causes of selfishness are endless; however, they do not justify our continuing to be the central focus of our lives. God expects each of his children “to deny” themselves and to devote their lives to unselfish service to others. Selfishness dies hard but it is a stronghold that you must break to experience the peace and joy that give life meaning. You’re going to need a lot of support on this negative attitude because your justifications for being the way you are will sabotage your desire to change. Nevertheless, you must fight it, so give this plan a try:

  • Be accountable to someone and give him or her permission to monitor your progress.
  • Look for an immediate opportunity to share your time or talent with a worthy cause. You need to get up close and personal so that you can empathize with the plight of others. I had only a remote awareness of abject poverty in America until I went on a field trip to the Appalachian Mountains with World Vision USA, the premier Christian humanitarian organization. There I met women who told us how they had prayed for something as basic a mop to clean her floors—right in America, the land of plenty. It broke my heart. The impact would not have been the same if I had simply read about her and sent a donation. Seeing a need firsthand nurtures your empathy and sparks a spirit of generosity.
  • Give away something that you really like and would prefer to keep. (This is a good challenge for your children also.) The goal here is to begin to break your emotional attachment to “stuff” each day. Don’t keep storing up more and more for yourself. Remember the tragic end of the rich farmer Jesus told about in his parable (see Luke 12:16-21).  He did not consider sharing his overflowing harvest with others but rather boasted that he would simply build bigger barns and eat, drink, and be merry. God took his life that same day.
  • Engage in anonymous benevolence. Leave a needy person such as a senior citizen, student, or single parent a cash gift in an envelope. Do not put your name on it and do not tell anyone you did so. No, you can’t deduct this on your income tax return but God promises to return it so you can expect him to do so in due season. “He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, And He will pay back what he has given” (Proverbs 19:17).

Let me caution that this call to selflessness is not a call to abandon your self-care. You must be on guard against going to the extreme by sacrificing for others to the point where you not only jeopardize your health and mental well being but become resentful for doing so. This is not God’s best. Saying no may occasionally be the appropriate response to a request. The important thing is to make the decision out of a pure heart of love and wisdom.

Prayer

Father, I thank you for every resource and advantage that you have given me. Help me to always remember that these blessings are to be shared with others for your glory and not to be consumed totally upon myself. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Adapted from Choose Your Attitude, Change Your Life, Deborah Smith Pegues (Harvest House Publishers).

How to Handle Overwhelm

Seems lately that my schedule has been a zoo… and so is everyone else’s. Some people are not handling it well… losing it… exploding on others, etc. Don’t despair; God knows how you feel. Why Jesus himself declared that he was “overwhelmed” in the Garden of Gethsemane (which I visited in April 2019):

“Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.
Stay here and keep watch with me.” (Matthew 26:38).

WOW…EVEN THE SON OF GOD WAS OVERWHELMED. But, notice what he did:

1) Sought support from his friends (disciples); (okay, so they dozed… but still, they were present). Their spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak.

2) Sought God’s strength. I do this by singing praises when life tries to overwhelm me. My favorite stress relief song is “I Still Have Joy” by Gospel singer Ron Kenoly. TAKE A LISTEN HERE:

I SING IT OUT LOUD! REALLY LOUD–DEPENDING ON THE STRESS LEVEL. REMEMBER THAT FAITH COMES BY HEARING; SOMETIMES YOU NEED TO HEAR YOURSELF DECLARING YOUR VICTORY.

3) Asked God to eliminate the problem… (HE ASKED THREE TIMES!), but finally submitted to the will of God; knowing that EVERYTHING WORKS TOGETHER FOR THE GOOD FOR THOSE WHO LOVE GOD AND ARE CALLED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE. A great strategy is to get excited about the “good” that will come out of the present adversity. “Lord, I thank you for this opportunity to GROW.”

In sum, here a few things that I do to combat overwhelm:

1) ALL OF THE ABOVE!
2) Determine my top priority for the next 30-60 minutes–and only focus on that!!! Put the other stuff aside.
3) Silence my phone (some of you can’t stand a ringing phone; get over it!).
4) Perform a quick physical exercise: Stretch 60 seconds; do 100 jumping jacks on the trampoline, or ride my exercycle for three-five minutes.
5) FOCUS… SING… FOCUS… SING… FOCUS.
6)Take 5-10 long, deep breaths and s-l-o-w-l-y inhale for 10 seconds thru the nose and exhale 10 seconds via mouth with teeth together; I inhale “PEACE” and exhale “STRESS”.

Try these strategies and you’re sure to experience the peace that surpasses your understanding!

Celebrating Our 40th Wedding Anniversary in the Holy Land

We said “I do” on April 14, 1979.  We still do…  It’s been a good ride, not without a few bumps, but a rewarding experience where Darnell and I have grown in the grace of God. A long-term, happy marriage is a union of two people who have made a commitment to march to the drumbeat of God’s Word and to make it–and Him–their guide and top priority. Check out our quick video at: https://www.facebook.com/dspegues/videos/10215914945838992/

We are both eternally grateful for what God has done in making our marriage, though not perfect, a model of what can be when He is at the center of it. So rather than a big party to celebrate this milestone year, we decided to visit the land of our Savior.

Led by experienced archeologist and learned theologian, Dr. Prince Maurice Parker, we toured and trekked  Northern and Southern Israel as places and events in the Bible came alive. We will never be the same.

The Garden of Gethsemane and the Tomb were perhaps among the most memorable parts of the trip for me. To think of Jesus’ agony made us both want to renew our commitment to a complete surrender of our lives. What shall we (or you) render unto God for all of His benefits?  If you have not visited the Holy Land yet, we highly recommend that you do so.

Gethsemane

The Tomb

The Temple

Us (Temple in the background)

The One-Minute Money Mentor for Women: 21 Strategies for Financial Empowerment

EXAMINING YOUR BELIEFS ABOUT MONEY—PART 2

Let’s continue the focus from Part 1, “EXAMINING YOUR BELIEFS ABOUT MONEY.”  We must courageously “peel the onion” and understand how our core beliefs define our financial behavior.  Consider these two beliefs that can hinder your ability to create abundance.

Negative Belief #4: “If I become wealthy, people will hound me for money.”

I hear the fear of saying no in this mindset.  Listen up!  God is not calling us to meet every need that presents itself. When individuals ask for money, I recommend that you simply get their story—directly or indirectly. Find out if your assistance will help or hurt them in the long run.

I’ve been guilty of enabling and thwarting the spiritual growth of people by not allowing them to reap the consequences of their irresponsible decisions. God may lead you to decline a request because He has a better plan for that person.

Replacement Belief: I always find great pleasure in helping those in need, and I will also exercise the courage to say no when it is the wise and appropriate response.

Negative Belief #5: “Wealthy people are not happy.”

Have you ever noticed that wealthy people usually have the same types of issues as regular people—interpersonal conflicts, physical ailments, deaths and tragedies, and emotional fears? Because rich people’s wealth gives them a higher public profile, we often attribute their woes to their money. It’s not the money; it’s called life. Don’t allow the erroneous assumption that wealthy people are not happy to serve as an excuse not to maximize your financial potential.

Replacement Belief: As a person with abundance, I will be as happy as I choose to be. The ball is in my court to stay connected to rewarding relationships and activities and to use my resources for good.

Bottom line? If you are a principled person before you come into abundance, you can resolve by the grace of God to maintain your standards.

God does not want the abundance he gives us to be a burden, but rather a blessing. The only way to achieve this is to embrace God’s will and His way of directing how you manage the resources He entrusts to us.

Money Mentor book cover

EXAMINING YOUR BELIEFS ABOUT MONEY — PART 1

Have you examined your belief system lately? When it comes to finances, our beliefs determine how much money we will earn, spend, save, and share. That’s why it’s critical that we examine our core beliefs to see which ones work against us and which empower us—but most important, which ones align with the Scriptures and which do not.

Let’s look at some common negative beliefs people hold in the area of finances.

Negative Belief 1: “Wealthy people are materialistic and ungodly.”

Not all of them! God’s reason for granting wealth is revealed in Deuteronomy 8:18: “You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant” (NKJV, emphasis added). God’s reason for giving wealth: to establish His will on earth.

Replacement Belief: My wealth will enable me to do more and give more to improve the quality of other people’s lives.

Negative Belief #2: “If I have abundance, my family and friends might envy me.”

How people respond to your abundance will largely be determined by how you handle it. If you brag about it, flaunt it, or demonstrate a superior attitude, they will surely be turned off. By the way, why are you anticipating being envied? Could it be that you are projecting your fear onto others because that’s how you would respond to a friend’s wealth? (Ouch!)

Replacement Belief: God will enable me to handle abundance in a way that inspires others to embrace me and to follow my example.

Negative Belief #3: “I’m afraid money will change who I am.”

Greed, dishonesty, pride, and other financial vices don’t appear out of thin air. God hates pride, and we need to learn to quickly identify and reject it, because it is one of the fastest routes to destruction.

Replacement Belief: The grace of God empowers me to consistently exercise godly behavior as I manage the resources He entrusts to me.

By identifying limiting core beliefs and replacing them with empowering, God-centered beliefs, we will become more willing to explore unchartered territories and experience a new level of  God’s blessings for our finances.

sign that reads, you are here

Acknowledge Your Reality

YOU ARE HERE! The familiar sign at the entrance of malls and other large public venues is a stark reminder, a life lesson, a reality check like none other—especially when applied to your finances. You must first determine where you stand before you can move forward with a plan to achieve your financial goals.   Determining where you are is a lot more productive than putting your head in the sand about that growing stack of bills, your looming retirement, or other major event requiring financial resources.  Granted, it can be scary and depressing to come face-to-face with overwhelming financial obligations and the glaring lack of income to meet them but ignoring them will only make matters worse.

Meet Sherry. She had been a pampered princess most of her married life—until her husband contracted a terminal illness and passed away. He had tried to give her a heads-up on the various financial issues she and their two minor children would face, but she had refused to engage in any conversations about his imminent death. When the fateful day came, she was devastated by the loss of her loving companion and loyal security blanket. She had little insight into the cost of running their household and the business he owned. Further, she had convinced herself that since she was a creative person, she did not have a “head for figures.” She spent several months in denial—depressed, dodging creditors, and refusing to open the unending stack of bills that arrived daily. Finally, she called her friend Joan over to help her find her way out of the mire. Joan led her through the preparation of a “You are here” exercise that all women would be wise to prepare or review on a regular basis. You see, it was during the process of organizing Sherry’s bills to see where she stood that she and her friend Joan discovered a huge royalty check (in the stack of unopened mail) from a recording company for whom Sherry had written a hit song several years earlier. The amount was enough to make a significant impact on her outstanding bills.

Do you need to acknowledge your reality, to determine where you stand? The task is simple but can be time-consuming.  You must prepare two basic statements. The first one is the Balance Sheet. It is a snapshot of what you own (assets) and what you owe (liabilities) at a specific point in time—right now, today. Just list and total the estimated value of your assets (cash, jewelry, house, car, cash value of whole life insurance policy, etc.). Next, list and total all your outstanding debts (credit cards, car note, mortgage, etc.).  That’s it; no fancy computer program or app; plain paper will be just fine, thank you! Now, the difference between your Assets and Liabilities is called Net Worth. If you have more Liabilities than Assets, you have Negative Net Worth. Don’t let this affect your self-worth. You are going to prepare a plan to get you to positive and excess financial worth.

Now that you know where you stand, it’s time to get a handle on what you earn or receive and where it goes. It’s time to prepare a Statement of Cash Receipts and Disbursements. Unlike the Balance Sheet, which is a snapshot of where you stand at a certain point in time, this statement will disclose how much you receive and spend over a certain period of time. Usually, the period is for a month for cash planning purposes.  Preparing this statement is not complicated, but can be time-consuming to determine.  You will simply list all sources of monthly income and expenditures. Are you falling short of cash?

Take your “reality” statements to God and ask Him to show you how to create more income (create a side business),  curtail unnecessary expenditures (e.g., take your lunch four days a week), and save all excess funds. It takes knowledge, discipline, and an unwavering commitment to walk in financial peace.  Believe that you will get there by God’s help and the support of those who are already walking in financial freedom. You can do this!