Be strong! Be courageous! Do not be afraid of them! For the Lord your God will be with you.
- Deuteronomy 31:6 -
In today’s business environment, it can be difficult to know if you’re on the path that will bring you success in life. In fact, today’s career paths look very different than those of our predecessors. Gone are the days when an employee will stay with a company for 30 or 40 years. According to Forbes, the average worker stays at each of his or her jobs for only 4.4 years. Those changes add up to almost 20 different jobs over the course of a lifetime!
With so many changes and fluctuations, how are we supposed to know when our path is heading in the right direction? How do we know if we’ve made the right choice in our business ventures or personal careers?
I am no stranger to doubt, especially when it comes to my decisions. I have faced a lot of risks over the course of my career—many of which came with sleepless nights and empty bank accounts. But one thing that I learned over the years is to put faith in my own personal path to success and happiness. We cannot control what the future will look like. But what we can control is how we live our lives every day.
When I look back on my decisions, including the risky ones, there is usually a driving force behind them. For example, in some jobs, I simply wasn’t being challenged enough. In others, I knew the work I was doing wasn’t a great fit for my personality and my goals. There was something—maybe it was instinct, maybe it was something more powerful—urging me to look elsewhere for opportunities. Those intuitions are very important to trust. Often, our subconscious thoughts, desires and passions drive our decisions before we ever realize we’re making them.
What’s important in each of these decisions is the time you take to reflect on your life, your efforts and your goals. Have you put everything into your current position, but you’re still not happy? Are you working as hard as possible and exploring all options for growth that are in front of you? If you are leaving no stone unturned—meaning you’ve capitalized on a current position as much as you possible can—and you’re not happy or content, look elsewhere. Trust that your mind and your heart are leading you to a more fulfilling position.
I started NBA after a series of very important, very thoughtful decisions. I prayed over my career and the choices that I was making to shape that career. Every time I was faced with a fork in the road, I reflected on my efforts, my family, our goals and my personal abilities. And I trusted in my path. Looking back, nobody is perfect and I made some mistakes. But all of those mistakes led me through periods of great personal growth, and through those mistakes I grew as an individual and a business leader.
So trust in your path. Embrace your position and put all you’ve got into your work. If it’s not making you a better person, explore new options. Your risks will be rewarded.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
- 2 Timothy 2:15 -
When I look around NBA, there is one thing that unites all employees—from marketing to administration to sales—and one thing I’m proud of about this business: belief. Each employee at NBA believes in what we are doing as a business and the service that we’re providing to our customers. This belief goes above individual personalities and skills and strengths, which are incredibly important to the success of an organization. But employees in this business don’t feel like they’re just selling any product. Our employees believe that the service we’re providing to our customers is helping them improve their lives. They’re empowered to influence our customers and help them gain control of their finances.
It’s an incredible thing to look around a company of hundreds of people and know that each and every person is here because they see the same vision that I see. When I started NBA years ago, I knew what I wanted this company to do: to provide a realistic payment scheduling service for individuals who need help getting their debt under control. That was the product. But attached to the product came the belief and understanding of the stress that financial debt can cause families. Waking up every day, knowing that your credit cards are maxed out, that you can’t take a day off work because you rely on every single dollar that comes into your bank account to pay bills and make ends meet—it’s a terrible feeling. I know it because I’ve been there. I had $30,000 of credit card debt staring at me every morning for years. I worked really, really hard to get rid of that debt, and the freedom that I felt when I achieved it is unlike any other accomplishment in my life. That belief—that controlling finances can help put families back in charge of their lives—is what unites everyone at NBA.
There are many people in the sales industry that think a good salesperson can sell anything—regardless of whether or not they believe in the actual product itself. But I simply don’t agree. This company has incredible people on our team, but I’m certain that if they each did not personally understand and see the big picture of what NBA is doing for millions of Americans, this company would not be successful. We are not in the business of convincing people to use our products. We are in the business of equipping our customers with the right tools they need to regain financial stability and control.
What does this mean for the way we approach business? It means we work on developing relationships with our customers. We listen to their situation, understand where the struggle is, and use our knowledge of our products to find ways to help our customers. The relationships we forge as an internal team and the relationships we form with our customers are vital to the success of the company, and that’s something I’m proud of. It’s hard enough to be a business owner, but to build a business in which employees are unified by their belief in the products and services we provide? That’s a humbling, amazing accomplishment.
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.
- Proverbs 18:2 -
If you’re like me, you’ve been warned about the problems that come with assumptions since you were a child. Drawing conclusions about an idea, a project or a task without getting the full story often leaves the assumer up a creek without a paddle. When assumptions are drawn, there is no proof to fall back on. Of course, in a business sense, we can see how this becomes a problem. If business decisions are made based on assumptions, it can be increasingly difficult to go back to the source of the problem and fix it.
But to me, the real problem with assumptions is the vacuum it creates. In a work environment, making assumptions eliminates the opportunity for creative discussion. When you assume something, the full responsibility and weight of your decision falls solely on you. But when you discuss an idea as a team, there’s communication, and we can help one another see any potential problems, areas of weakness, or areas of opportunity that would have been otherwise missed.
In my life, there are not many areas in which making a decision completely by myself and for myself is a good idea. The same is true for business. Making decisions completely by yourself—without the counsel of many—is, in essence, making an assumption. You’re drawing conclusions about how your team will react, how your customers will respond, and how the decision impacts the company largely without including any of those parties into the decision-making process. The importance of including all of these parties in our decisions is the very reason why even the people who have been judged the most capable decision-makers in our society—judges, the president, executives—are surrounded by people and groups who act as sounding boards—like juries, the Cabinet, and boards of directors.
Take pride in finding a solid sounding board. My sounding board includes some of my longest business partners, and they’ve become trusted advisers not only in business matters, but often personal ones, too. It can be a great source of comfort to know that you have a team of people to turn to for big decisions and conversations—but sounding boards are helpful for small, seemingly innocuous decisions, too. That’s why we have them! To confirm that we’re seeing our obstacles and opportunities for what they are, not what we assume them to be.
Who is on your board?
Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety. - Proverbs 11:14 -
There is no easy way to grow a small business from the ground up. This is something that I can say with confidence: I have been there, and I have done that. NBA was not an organization that just manifested overnight. In fact, it took many years and a lot of hard work to reach the level where we are today.
And through those years and that work, there is something incredibly important that I learned: there is great value, and great wisdom, in the people you keep at your side.
When I was young, I did everything myself. I wore all the hats of a small business owner, and I didn’t bring a lot of people into my close space. I trusted few people. I was impatient. And I was blinded by my own ambition and drive to build a successful company…and it backfired. I made a lot of mistakes. I isolated myself.
I learned that in in business, there is safety in the counsel of many. When we grow as individuals and as professionals, it’s important to build a network of support around us. And within that network of support, we need to have people who are not afraid of voicing their opinions and providing us feedback. As I learned in my experiences, my own passion put blinders on my ability to see how narrowly I was thinking. But as I opened up myself to feedback, I started to see how some of my business decisions were impacting potential growth, and how some of my personal decisions were impacting my own happiness.
“Where no counsel is, the people fall.” How often do we see “lone rangers”—people who set out to accomplish a mission, but do so without relying on the feedback and input of others? I know tons of lone ranges. But I don’t know tons of successful lone rangers. Because at the end of the day, a lone ranger is only one mind. And no matter how many great ideas one mind has, it cannot compare to the power of many minds and many great ideas building off of one another. Where there is no feedback, no self-reflection, no parameters for understanding and growth, the people fall.
“But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” There is the saying of safety in numbers. And while this saying is often used to describe physical safety, I believe it applies to emotional and business and mental safety, too. When we have a support system of people who know us and know our goals and our ambition, it’s amazing to see how people want to help you succeed. It’s the vulnerability of opening oneself to feedback that is powerful. The ability to recognize the need for humility in all that we do: to check our egos and grow strong under the counsel of many.
We spend a lot of time talking to people about debt. Whether it’s in person or online, we never get tired of telling people that debt is toxic. Regardless of where you are in life, you’ll never be able to get where you want to go if you’re saddled by debt.
One of the reasons that debt causes problems for millions of people is because of its ability to continue growing. We’ve talked to many people who feel like debt has put them in the situation of trying to dig their way out of a sand hole. While they’ll occasionally make progress, they regularly slip and end up in a worse position than where they previously were.
Although these statements about debt may seem to paint a picture that’s all doom and gloom, that doesn’t have to be the case. Instead, we just want to emphasize how serious of a problem debt is for people from all walks of life. Even though it’s easy to tell yourself that you only have a little debt or that you have it “under control,” that’s rarely the case. Sooner or later, people begin to feel the true weight of their debt.
Now that we’ve put the true negative impact of debt in the proper light, the good news is you can take control of your debt. The key to debt elimination is making this task your top priority. Once you commit to eliminating all of your debt as soon as possible, you’ll find that your attitude towards debt starts to change in a big way.
One of the ways your attitude will change is you’re no longer OK with accepting that debt is going to control your life for the foreseeable future. Instead, you want to start getting rid of debt as soon as possible. And one of the best ways to do that is with the help of biweekly payments.
How NBA’s Biweekly Payments Can Help You Eliminate Debt Faster
As their name implies, the way that biweekly payments work is that you pay half of your current monthly payment ever other week. What this means if that over the course of a year, you’ll make a total of 26 payments. Since each payment is half of your total payment amount, this schedule results in 13 full payments a year.
While that may not seem like a big deal, the compound effect of making an extra payment on an annual basis is actually quite significant. While we make it dead simple to stick to this schedule, the fact that you’re getting ahead allows you to minimize interest and ultimately pay less for the total amount of your loan since you’re not accruing additional interest.
So if you’re ready to take control of your debt and eliminate it as fast as possible, biweekly payments are the tool that will help you accomplish this goal. Learn how to get started today.
Do you feel that your quality of life would be better if you weren’t consistently worrying about the state of your financial health? If that thought goes through your mind on a regular basis, you’re far from being alone. For a large percentage of adults in the United States, financial concerns are their top source of stress. This form of worrying is such a significant issue that it can literally lead to divorce or health problems.
While the odds of a single event eliminating all of your financial problems is highly unlikely, there are ways that you can begin building wealth for yourself and your family. In fact, the process of building wealth is far simpler than many people realize. However, that statement doesn’t mean that building wealth is easy. What it means is since there are only a few proven methods for building wealth, that’s where you should focus all of your attention.
So with the goal of identifying the keys to building wealth and then fully focusing your attention on them, let’s take a look at the four ways to build wealth:
Start Spending Less
One guaranteed way to never build wealth is to always spend more than you make. So if you want to start taking control of your finances and ultimately building wealth, you need to identify exactly where your money is going every month. Once you have this awareness, you’ll be able to start cutting unnecessary expenses.
Start Earning More
Although getting your spending under control is a very powerful strategy for improving your finances, that specific tactic can only go so far in the pursuit of building wealth. For most people, reaching their desired level of wealth also requires earning more. Luckily, we live in a time when that’s arguably easier to do than ever before. Not only do we have all sorts of technology at our disposal, but there are numerous ways to increase income. Teaching, starting a business, flipping assets, moonlighting or simply asking for a raise are all examples of ways that you can start earning more.
Get Rid of Debt
Debt is the mortal enemy of wealth. If you’re in debt,getting rid of it should be your top priority!
The reason the last section was so short is that if you have a cloud of debt hanging over you, saving or making investments in a way that will build wealth simply isn’t a possibility. But once you’ve freed yourself from the chains of debt, you can begin investing and building real wealth for yourself. While educating yourself about investing is very smart, it’s also highly recommended to enlist professional help as you begin moving down this path.
Although it usually takes some time to get yourself in a position where you can really start building wealth, focusing all of your attention on the four steps we covered above is the best way to get there.