2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,700 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Published in: on December 31, 2011 at 8:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Resolution Time – What’s the Difference Between a Goal and a Dream?

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by Dave Miller

It’s time for the age old tradition of making your New Year’s resolution. Do you really think it’s going to be different this year? Well it can be if you think about what you are doing.

What is a resolution?

It’s basically a decision, stating the solution. So if the resolution is merely the decision to state the solution then we need to look at the solution. We state what we want  to be. This brings us to the area of goals and dreams.

Goals vs. Dreams

Dreams are fantasy that we would love but realistically will never have unless God drops them into your lap. They tend to be unfocused and non-specific. To turn a dream into a goal you must on decide on a few things – how much, and by when, etc.

Goals are realistic and achievable. Goals are specific. Here is a list of values present in goals but absent in dreams:

  1. Goals are attainable
  2. They have a timeline
  3. You can break them into action steps
  4. They are specific

Turning Dreams into Goals.

A dream is a goal without legs. It is a wonderful thing to have, can be the guiding passion of your life, but unless you clarify it and give it the legs to move toward you, getting there is going to be very much a matter of luck.

To convert a dream into a goal you must make it tangible, provide the details, make it so clear that you can see it, feel it, know what you will feel like when you get there. Review the checklist.

Say it, Publicize it, Write it Down

Write down your goals to make you really concentrate rather than it being just a passing thought. Say it out loud. Say it to a friend. Get a mentor or accountability partner.

Post it on facebook.

I’m not joking. It works. After Matt Lapp posted on facebook that he is doing the Tough Mudder I brooded about it for a while. Then I signed up, and though I still could have hidden it from other people, instead I posted it on facebook. Now there is no backing out without public humiliation. Now that’s motivation. After talking to Matt he affirmed what I just stated saying he knew too that by posting it he would be held accountable.

Some people are not comfortable publicizing something. If that’s the case then skip facebook but make sure you have some other method of accountability. And remember, the more public it is the more motivation you have.


You can do all you want but action is the key. And not just doing as little as possible to meet the quota. It takes hustle. You really need to put your heart into it or it will be a faded thought before the second week of January.

Make action steps. Things to be done this year and break it done to things to be done this month. Break down the weeks. Finally make a daily list.


So, am I going to make a New Year’s resolution? You bet I am. I’m going to get fit enough to run that Though Mudder. Will I stop with that resolution? No, I have a list of goals (some are a work in progress) that I’m working towards. Right now I’m breaking those goals down to what I need to accomplish by Jan 13th and also Jan 31st.

Bring on the New Year!

Related Posts:
The Transition  – Master Plan, part one
Stupid Excuses to Avoid Action, Master Plan, part two

Officer Bruch Says, “Don’t Talk To The Police”.

by Dave Miller

This is in response to the video yesterday of the fast talking attorney telling you to plead the fifth. He tells the classroom to tell all their clients to keep their mouths shut, to plead the fifth. Then half way through the class he turns it over to Officer Bruch for his rebuttal.

Officer Bruch makes the case that he is smarter and better trained than you. He is a professional with all the trick of the trade under his hat. He will win if you talk. Therefore plead the fifth, even if you are innocent.

Officer Bruch’s response. Click here.

If you don’t have the time to hear Officer Bruch out then at least watch this (short clip).

Published in: on December 29, 2011 at 6:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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You Have Committed a Crime – You Just Don’t Know It

by Dave Miller

Did you know you can be convicted of a crime you didn’t commit?

If a police officer wants to ask a few innocent questions about a crime you didn’t commit, is there any harm in talking to an officer? In the clip that follows the police officer was asked if there was ever a time that he talked to a suspect that after the person talked that he thought the person innocent because of what he said. His answer was “no”.

It is well worth any individual’s time to watch this video. The time spent watching this video is minute compared to the cost of a speeding ticket or the time behind bars.

So take the time to enjoy this fast talking, animated attorney talk to his fresh law students. He is fun, exciting and isn’t afraid to say “God bless America”

Here is the clip

Tomorrow I’ll post the police officers rebuttal, well rather, his response. Until then, plead the fifth.

Published in: on December 28, 2011 at 9:42 am  Comments (1)  
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Anne’s Christmas message to you.

  Christmas, 2011

by Anne Miller

Joy to the world and to all of you.

We are all doing well. Fat, flourishing, and in each other’s faces. In good ways and bad. Family life is jolly and messy. How old do you say children have to be before they quit poking each other at the table and generally being ever so much more concerned about themselves than anyone else? How old do you say parents have to be before their love and humility is larger than their wanting things tidy and convenient? I suppose one may as well ask at what age life gets quietly manageable and consistently pleasant. Merrily down the stream and all that, you know. And that would be a foolish question indeed. “Man is born to trouble” says Job, “as the sparks fly upward.”

But that doesn’t mean all of life is trouble. Virgil is 4 months old and quite the sweetest little baby in town. Reminds me of a quote “There is only one beautiful child in all the world and every mother has it.” He sleeps through the night sometimes, but I can’t depend on it yet. The other children love him, but are not yet at the age where they can find the answers when he has problems. He likes my answers well enough but it can get quite interesting when the other children would like some answers, too!

  Lucian just turned two. He’s a sunny little man, strutting around trying to pronounce every word there is. Tractors are his one true love. I’m amazed at how at how boys are attracted to boy stuff like magic. It’s a blast. He developed a whine after Virgil was born and has to this day not regained his equilibrium. And then there’s potty training due any day now. Oh, boy. Another one of life’s pleasures.

  Naomi is four and has started reading. She likes school work (in very small doses) and drawing and coloring and cutting. Our sunroom floor can regularly be found under mounds of paper, tape and snips of ribbon that I’ve donated to the cause. It’s sweet how very old, very boring Christmas ribbon can make them so happy. “Messes are fun to clean up”, I tell myself.

Maria is five and is still the dominant older sister with better ideas than anyone else (including her parents). She spends a lot of time reading, and is getting to the point of doing a good job with the work, I give her cleaning up, sweeping, helping with Lucian, etc. Yes! I’m no longer alone!

Dave is still doing fiberglass but is expecting some significant changes in the new year. He’s planning on hiring another guy in the shop in order to work on getting more sales and also to have more time for the really fun stuff – real estate. He’s done quite a bit as a Realtor the past months and is having a ball. How many people can earn money doing what they enjoy? We feel blessed.

As for me, it’s pretty much business as usual. Fight-splitter, tickle-maker, sippy-filler, hug-getter, that’s me. I’m trying to savor the “little years” of our children, sometimes with better success than other times. I’ve discovered four children are a lot more than three. Mothering, for me, is definitely uphill work. But it’s good work – God’s work. And with His mercy, redemption, and strength, it is full of hope and laughter. Or at least speckled with it.

And may your Christmas be bright!

Anne & all

Related Post written by Anne: A Gross Day at Wal-Mart

Scrooge or Lazy – What Will You Be Next Week?

by Dave Miller


Christmas is fast approaching. The New Year is right behind it. If you don’t perk up it will hit you upside the head and you won’t recover till Jan.

What will you do in the last 10 days of the year?

I’ve noted a few areas of concern in my life and hope they can help you combat any year-end stagnation:

Winding Down

It’s very easy to look at the next few weeks as a winding down period. Somehow we justify a half speed attitude because the year and its goals are about petered out. We look at it as a great time to relax and then hit it real hard next year.

At the very least some serious planning should be done yet this year. It’s like eating one more Christmas cookie while telling yourself you’ll get serious about losing it next year. Don’t wind down to the point of floating through the rest of the year unenthusiastically.


I have a few projects in the shop that I keep pushing into the New Year and not getting them done right now. I asked myself why. I discovered it was a way to have false security in the future. We are having a great year and so I start to question what next year will hold. Billing the job this year doesn’t seem like it will change much in the numbers for the year but would really give us a nice boost in the first 2 to 3 weeks of next year.

Maybe it’s a faith or confidence thing. Somehow I feel a sense of security knowing that I can do that work in January. What I’ve come to realize is that it’s okay having plenty of work in January but it’s pure foolishness pushing it into next year when it can be done this year.

Being Aggressive Enough

This really echoes the last two items but it is an area where I find myself slacking. In a sales approach I’ve discovered myself slowing down. Somehow I have all of next year for next year’s goals. I’m doing two things to combat this:

  1. Make very specific goals for the last week of the year.
  2. Have a plan formulated for the month of January

I know many people make goals at the beginning of the year. This is good. I recommend it. But I also highly recommend that the goal be broken into very specific action steps. Things to accomplish by today, this week, or by the end of the month. Or better yet, all of those time frames and more.


Am I advocating being a Scrooge and not enjoying the reason for the season? Nope. I’m checking to see if I’ve used the season as an excuse to be unenthusiastic about progress.

What will I do now that I have thought about it? I have a choice. Will I let the reasons to relax overtake the reasons to push for success? No, I will not sit by idle. As I wrote this article it prompted me to start a project I was unwisely sandbagging for January. I just called my father to come by and do some consultation on the building of this new mold. The project is now started and we are better off that for it.

You also have a choice. What will you do?

More posts on planning and taking action:





End of Year Checklist. (Business owners only)

by Dave Miller

The end of 2011 is fast approaching. Yet there are so many things to finish before the year fades. As a business person I make goals to accomplish, whether mentally or actually writing them down, then December arrives and I think of the things not yet done. I take a good hard look at a few things around this time of the year.

These are things that need to be done in this calendar year or they lose value or importance by next year. I raise questions like how will my tax return look next year and what can I do to improve my situation if I do something this year yet?

E Adrian Van Zelfden wrote an excellent article that every business owner should review it this year yet. Click here.

Here are some of the highlights on the list (for me anyway).

  • How to handle year-end, Christmas bonuses or gifts
  • Year end deposits, purchases and paychecks
  • Business meal expenses and travel expenses
  • Inventory
  • Bookkeeping tricks and traps
  • Credit card statements
  • Insurance

The list is thorough but not exhaustive. Print it. Read it. Add your own items.

December 31 2011 will be here in two weeks. Get done what needs doing before then.

Here is the link again.

Published in: on December 17, 2011 at 11:55 am  Leave a Comment  
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Profiting by thinking of long term

John Schaub recently did an interview for the Herald-Tribune in Sarasota FL. I have previously blogged about John Schaub and his book Building Wealth One House at a Time. Here is a link to the blog I posted a year and a half ago. Click here.

John is a residential real estate investor that has my respect and admiration. He’s low-key but effective. I’ve talked to him on the phone and you’d have thought I was talking to my uncle. He freely shared his advice.

Follow his advice and you are bound to succeed.

Here is a link to the interview. Click here

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