The Power of Presence

 

Joking around with a few of my friends, my frat brother said to the group, “Oh you know Trent has mastered Law 16”, referring to the 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene, “Use absence to increase respect and honor.” Now, I’ve read the book some time ago and very familiar with this “Law”. But as I laughed, and began to think about it, I was struck with an analogy of this law that I couldn’t resist to explain.

Law 16: Use absence to increase Respect and Honor, 1 of the 48 Laws explained in detail by Greene is a unique one as it’s one of the few that I do naturally. Not necessarily because I’m looking to attain or acquire power, but I’m simply just a private person. I’ve always paraphrased this law by saying ‘Give people a chance to miss you, if you’re too available then your time won’t be respected.’ However, you go about it, the message is relatively the same. As my frat brother went on and on about giving his explanation of this law, I interjected: “Hey, that Law aligns with a fundamental nugget of Bible scripture.”  This immediately grabbed his attention as He and I frequently give personal testimonies or break downs of the Biblical text. “Go find the person and what He said…”  And the Challenge was on.

Shortly after he said, “A man can receive no respect in his own home”.  CORRECT! I exclaimed. But, who said this line (though paraphrased.).   He gave a few names, and I finally gave the final hint “It’s in red text.” Suddenly he replied “Jesus.”  But how could one compare a seemingly trivial law with a short line from the synoptic gospels.

Well in Mark 6, titled as “A Prophet without Honor” gives us the Scene of when Jesus returned to His hometown. And in the first few verses there’s murmurs from friends, and loved ones asking “isn’t this the carpenter”, “where is this Wisdom coming from”, in short truly questioning who and what Jesus, is IN THE MIDST of Him performing miracles. (Talk about lack of faith) This reminded me of how often those places we call ‘home’ and our Closest friends can be our greatest enemies. As we attempt to grow and experience new levels of life, they want to constantly remind us where we came from, and how low we used to be, and all the bad things we did together. Jesus was in a unique position to take them higher, and they were more concerned at the justification of His power. He shortly says after this “A Prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives, and in his own home.” Almost identical to the Law presented by us earlier in this text…. How sad it must be that even the savior of the world, was not respected, or honored during his time at home. In the physical sense, this aligns so greatly with that of the 16th Law.  However, there came to me a thought: “There’s even more here…”

Let’s look again at what we’ve went over.  “Use Absence to Increase Respect and Honor.” Hmm, as I thought on this over and over, I realized there was an even deeper meaning I could tie with Jesus and His life: The crucifixion. Jesus had to become absent of the body, to receive the true respect and honor he deserved. Mom used to say “You’ll never know what you had, until you lose it,” or, “You’ll miss me when I’m gone.”  I can’t help but to think that Christ was looking at these unbelievers with disbelief (pun intended) that even after these parables, divine teachings, and supernatural miracles they took His presence for granted. And in the case of the Sanhedrin they simply didn’t want to believe it at all. The Jews, people who looked like Him, and believed like Him, were the very ones that persecuted Him unto death. Because they took comfort and security in the ‘ways things had always been’ and the power structure in place they rejected any notion that this prophet, this Messiah had professed. Even the morbid march to Golgotha mirrored some of our present-day struggles.  As you begin to grow into who you were called to be, you can’t help but hear those around you mock you, tell you your dreams are outrageous, and how you’ve forgotten where you came from. Just like they did Jesus.

Alas, it was in the final moments of the late Friday when Jesus gave up the ghost and became temporarily ‘absent of the body’ that the temple veil tore, and the Earth shook and quaked. Immediately, the cries went from persecution to realization that “Surely He was the son of God.” But wait, you mean after 33 years of a miraculous life, fulfilling Bible-based prophecy, witnessing miracles, it took Jesus LEAVING earth for Him to get the respect His very name deserves? Wild…

Doesn’t matter how much you do for and around those that are most comfortable with your presence. When they become accustomed to it, they don’t and won’t always respect it. It’s good that we get out and go away at times, so maybe just maybe our time and presence can be fully appreciated. Sure, we can generate pages of exceptions to this concept, but in the most general sense too much of anything sparks complaints from even the most grateful. I mean think about the ‘omnipresence’ of God, always there both in the past and in the present both when we do good, and even when we find joy in doing wrong; reaffirming that there is most certainly power in presence, and just maybe, moreover, a lack thereof.

With Passion, Purpose, and Pride,

Trent J ACEO

Trump, Clinton & Digital Disruption – December 2016

 And on this episode of How to Get Away with Becoming President in America, we find out who will become the President-Elect of the United States. We know it’s no secret that this 2016 Presidential Race has been nothing short of a popular reality TV show. Featuring characters from every walk of life, and scenes that even the most imaginative writer or producer could have brought to our television screens. However, for me, I was consumed more and almost totally unrelated perspective: DATA. Beginning in 2012, BIG DATA Politics became an extremely useful tool in how to strategically campaign, develop ads, and gather information about and from voters, and down to understanding what demographic was ‘swaying’ in their direction. Moreover, the Obama campaign was one of the first to leverage social media issuing politics into the Digital Era. What does this mean really?

Over the past few years, our economic system has experienced what has been coined as “Digital Disruption.”  I personally define it as the inevitable interruption of a Business, Process, or Industry by a more robust, more affordable, and more easily accessible Business or Business Practice. Quite honestly, it’s a rapidly growing phenomenon, and even more difficult to explain to Business or Technology experts.

So as I was dreaming about what kind of ERP or Cloud Platform CNN was using for it’s predictive analytics, I had an idea that fell into my lap about using the recent 2016 election to explain the Digital Disruption Phenomena. It’s quite simple actually, and below I’ll explain with 6 main players.

Scene 1:  “The As-Is”

An honest look in the mirror……

  • The Obama Administration – President Barack Obama and his administration (inclusive of congress and supreme justice) are the base in this Digital equation. They represent the status quo and ‘the way things are.’ Most people are generally happy with their jobs, and things are going along as they always have. From delivering new IT solutions, to navigating performance achievement there’s a clear answer and process for everything and everyone knows their role. However, there are obvious experts in the strong areas, filibusters and apathy in the weak areas, and an aging worker population. Despite the overall success a change is swiftly coming.
  • The ‘Polls’ – The polls represent the on premise existing practice and solutions. They are what everyone relies on to benchmark how well or how poor the organization is doing. In existence since anyone can remember, the solution is well known and though people complain about the accuracy, most are accustomed and will accept the margin of errors they encounter each and every day.
  • Hard Red/Hard Blue States – These are the people within the organization that not interested in any type of significant change. They’ve been rewarded promptly and largely. These seasoned professionals tend not to sway too far from the core beliefs of the majority and take pride in their loyalty to what made this organization so great. They can recite for you the company’s core values on request. Unfortunately, these are also the people that complain about training, and haven’t acquired a new skill in ages. This is likely the majority of your organization.
  • Battleground States – These bright and brilliant individuals are the ones you just never know how to gauge or predict. Normally the younger and minority in the room, they are hungry for immediate change, but can’t quite convince the electorate to go one way or another. This part of the organization is suffering the most from the external existence of Digital Disruption. They are actively engaged in numerous digital outlets, have colleagues working in the various industries taking advantage, and are constantly causing friction in agreeing on a meeting.

Scene 2:  “The To-Be”

A decision between two evils…

Hillary Clinton & Campaign – Represents the continuance of the ‘good ole days’. Although new face, and new ideas at the high level things won’t change much. Upgrades to the current system with just a few new features. There is a loud majority that are content with things continuing to steadily progress without a lot of drastic change. Though a new leader may come into play with the campaign, people are supportive as they believe things won’t be shifted much and prefer to keep their day job. These individuals in the organization represent new promotes, or even outside experienced hires that don’t seek to shake up the organization but more so assimilate adapt and settle in.

Donald Trump & Campaign – Represents Digital Disruption in every sense of the word. Despite all the knowledge, all the technology, all the human capital the change is coming whether you like it or not. This introduces fear to some, and excitement for others. No real person is a true ‘expert’ on how to handle this change, and how to plan for it. As much as we try to forecast, analyze, and criticize the alternative method to a new digital business, it’s literally unpredictable.

Scene 3:  So Now What?

Dealing with the reality of Digital Disruption…

 Now the recent election probably sparks totally different feelings, emotions, and questions than what’s been summarized above, but I figured I’d juxtapose the two to ease the discussion. Despite which area of the aforementioned scenes that you may fall into there’s no escaping the rapid technology advancement that has come with Digital Business. People are generating unimaginable amounts of data via a host of devices, and in this information age to not properly collect, structure, analyze, and provide business that cater to the insights would be irresponsible and a sure way to become victim of the disruption. This new wave of technology and business will require us to think even more so out of the box than ever before. Customizing user experience at every level of interaction is requiring that whole organizations focus more on the digital realities than their own core values. Digital is the business of the future. Your company just needs to identify how it’s going to uniquely take advantage and keep up with the exponential growth. There’s no getting ready for it, the Digital Age is here!

With Passion, Purpose, and Pride,

Trent J ACEO

Incremental Wealth Part I

Incremental Wealth – July 2013

This past week, my memory verse was one that reassured me that one does not have to be ‘poor’ or go without in order to live a righteous life. The verse is: But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. – Deuteronomy 8:18

 

As I reflected over the scripture itself, I found myself being encouraged to use the talents in which God has gifted me to better myself, my family, and my community.  In the ACEO Success Acquisition model there are 4 pillars that serve as the principles for this aforementioned acquisition: Worship, Wisdom, Wellness, and Wealth respectively.  I’ve noticed I haven’t offered you all enough tips on how to avoid debt, become financially literate, and becoming financially independent. So I want to start off by providing some tips that have worked for me to get us started on this journey.

 

 

 

  • Save 10% of What You Earn.

As a Christian, I’ve always been taught to tithe. Though I can’t convince all of my readers to give their first 10% of their paycheck to a church, I do encourage this recommendation. By committing to putting away 10% each month, you begin to build a reserve. I started this around the time I was 13, and it’s amazing how creating this habit of ‘paying it forward’ first has improved not only my financial situation, but spiritual as well.

  • Don’t Charge an Amount NOT in your Bank Account.

I must admit, this is a principle that I’ve applied to my personal finances, and it’s served me quite well. I figure as long as you’re not purchasing a car, or a home, there’s really no reason to charge up a credit card to a balance that you can’t pay off immediately. By dragging payments out over months and months, you end up spending more money that you would paying with cash, or paying it off in the first month. Thus, when you are trying to decide whether to go out, or how much to spend, check your bank account first. If you don’t have it, don’t charge it.

  • Avoid Get Rich Schemes

If it’s too good to be true, it is. Simple!  There are hundreds, and thousands of “opportunities” if you will promising you great wealth, with minimal effort, and minimal initial investment. Learn how to discern between reasonable opportunities to increase your income, and those just meant to promise you quick wealth. Wealth is the knowledge by which to acquire abundant goods and services, not the amount of said goods and services that one possesses. That knowledge can only be obtained over time, and the wealth that comes with it can only be maintained with that knowledge.

  • If You Need to Borrow for a WANT, Go without It.

It gets under my skin when people borrow money for things they absolutely do not need. If it’s not relative to a roof over your head, bills being paid, or food then chances are you don’t need it. Learn how to control your variable expenses by kicking useless habits, and by spending money on wants when your needs are lacking. If you’re going to impose this debt on yourself, also impose a deadline between you are the borrower on when you will pay it back. Stick to it.

  • Don’t Spend a Check You Haven’t Received.

Bonuses, tax-returns, inheritances, expected lotteries. All examples of “boost income” scenarios in which people come-up quickly on an amount of income outside of their regular expected pay. These end up being those that can make or break the level of incremental wealth that you obtain in life. For these ‘unexpected’ or ‘boost incomes’ DO NOT spend every dime of it, before you even receive it. Use these as opportunities to quickly upgrade your financial situation. Invest 75% – 100% of these boosts. If the truth be told, you weren’t expecting what you’re receiving so by investing it, your day to day won’t change, however your long-term financial goal will be one step closer.

  • Decrease Variable Expenses.

This can be a tricky one. On my budget sheet that I use I have a section called variable expenses. This group of expenses includes but is not limited to: gas, groceries, and utilities. From month to month these will slightly vary based off of time at home, visiting friends, traveling, and the seasons. Train yourself to be able to live off less. You can’t do much about your rent month to month, but you can control how much of your utilities you use, the amount of grocery store trips you make, and being aware of how much gas you’re burning. Try to find ways to cut $5 – $10 off per bill cycle. It definitely adds up!

  • Take Advantage of Rewards Programs, & Coupons

My name is Trent J, and I am a couponer. I use apps, clipped coupons, Groupon, living social, Google offers, and have an Amazon Credit card that I receive great reward points on for my every day purchases. One thing that has shifted my perspective on my financial situation is learning how to invest in everything and spend on nothing. Every time money exchanges hands, I expect to be receiving something in return whether its reward points, money off another item, or buy in to other saving opportunities. Yes it is somewhat time consuming but a few minutes here and there, add up to incremental savings over time.

 

 

I hope these tips are helpful to you and your financial situation. As you know the principles of ACEO Global are Worship, Wisdom, Wellness, and Wealth.  Wealth is an essential part of balancing our your success and happiness balance. Enjoy and share with others!

 

 

With Passion, Purpose, & Pride

 

Trent J ACEO

@TrentJACEO