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A Financial Plan for Black America

There's not a whole lot that just disturbs me. I'm pretty laid back (no lie detectors here on my blog, right?), but when I saw this story tweeted the day before yesterday, it shocked me - even woke me up and wouldn't let me get back to sleep. And I believe in getting good sleep.

But no. My peace was gone. I couldn't roll around on my bed drooling into my pillow after reading how Black Americans are twenty-times poorer than White Americans according to the last Census. As I read the article, my mind starting racing. I knew things were bad, but this bad? How could this be? Why could this be? What can be done about it? This was crazy. The median white family has twenty times the net worth of the median black family. I'm being repetitive, but let that sink in for a second.

Now come back...

I saw them talking about this on "Morning Joe" or one of those other "news and opinion" programs my folks like to watch. They (OF COURSE!) had a black person on there to talk about it. It was Melissa Harris-Perry. She seems like a fine writer and contributor...but...in about two minutes, the dialogue turned to the subject of jobs. Jobs. Jobs? This ain't about jobs, people! This ain't about income. This is about wealth! Net wealth, to be more specific, what's left after you've paid off all those people sending you bills. This is generational stuff we're dealing with here.

(You'll notice it's only poor people who talk about income. Rich people talk about worth.)

I thought about posting a question on my Facebook page asking people what they thought about the article and possible solutions. I was going to address the topic to black people only so I could read all the responses and plan to do the opposite. I thought that might be unnecessarily divisive, so I passed on that idea. I also thought it might be tough for a lot of black folks, my folks, to read these statistics without complaining about systemic racism and such. Systemic and individual racism still exist in this country. No doubt about it. Racism has impacted my own wallet in ways I may never know.

However, when talking about wealth and income disparity, the less endowed often fall back on complaining - and complaining isn't a plan. So, here's where we are. We need to do something differently and we need to do something now. Here are some of my ideas. Please let me know yours, because, as one of my old friends likes to say: "This is some bull spit!"

1. Black Americans need to stop talking about jobs. We need to be building careers and, better still, businesses. Business and entrepreneurship may be our solution. Working is better (maybe?) than not working, but vastly inferior to owning something. By and large, we own nothing. We don't own the means of getting something. I think this is the first front in the war. I hear black women say they want their man to have a job. How about having a company? A career?

2. Black Americans need to get married and stay married. We destroy wealth, income, savings and stability with the way we (fail to) manage our relationships. Not only are we destroying what we have worked for, but we make it harder to come back up. Too many separate accounts, too much money going to employ child support office workers, two electric bills, too many people renting and not able to afford to own homes.

3. Black Americans need to stop investing so much time and energy into trinkets. I can't remember the last time I saw a white person behind the wheel when I'm being passed by an Escalade on chrome rims. I'm sure there are some driving them. If I think out loud about the wealthiest people I know - mostly white and Jewish - here's what they drive: pre-owned Lexus E-Series, Subaru, new Cadillac sedan, pre-owned Lexus (old-style body SUV), Prius. Just so you know, at least two of those men are worth well in excess of $25 million. The one who drives the Caddy is worth over $200 million. On the other hand, I have known too many people with the new Benz and no garage to park it in. We must stop gaining a sense of worth from Air Jordans and put that money into college funds.

4. Black Americans need to invest and maybe even over-invest in insurance. Along with home ownership, this is the biggest issue regarding generational wealth. Minorities often have to start over from scratch with each successive generation. If we're not going to have businesses and real estate to pass to our children, we should at least try to make sure they don't have to dip into savings to put us in the ground. That's all I'm saying.

5. Black Americans need to turn off the television and pick up more books. We need ideas. Hard work alone isn't going to get us where we need to be. I think it was Napoleon Hill who said great wealth - when it comes quickly - is never the result of hard work, but of hard thought. Or something like that. I'm mangling the guys quote probably. The point is still made. We need to know less, a lot less, about what Ice and Coco are up to. We need to know more, a lot more, about what's driving these astronomical gold prices and how we can get in on that action.

6. Black Americans need to volunteer more and even work together. As business owners, can we stop trying to take over the world alone so often? I respect your dream to own a salon. Maybe we can partner up and build a chain across the entire region? You say your mama's chicken and biscuits are the best ever? If the world can support a fast food Chinese restaurant, I ought to be able to get some chittlins and greens through the drive-thru somewhere. Even lions hunt together.

What else? Talk back to me. Email me. Tweet me. I'm really trying to put together some solutions here. This thing has me beside myself...but only because we all know it's true. The situation is even worse for single black women. But that's for another day...

(By the way, I know I'm guilty of making this a black-white issue. Latinos aren't doing much better. In some categories, they are doing worse.)

Mark Anthony McCray helps people live on PURPOSE, achieve higher PERFORMANCE and experience true PROSPERITY. Be sure to subscribe to this blog so you don't miss a thing and forward this to a friend if you found it helpful. All material © Copyright, Mark Anthony McCray unless otherwise noted!

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"Trouble In My Home"

By Crystal Monae - Our Special Guest Blogger

When you can not get around, over, or through a rough patch in a marriage or relationship in general, it could be for many reasons.  One of the most common impediments is the inability to go through it together. Either both people want out after there is no quick resolution or one person holds on while the other one checks out. We are a microwave, get-rich-quick, make it happen now, and selfish generation. You pray to God and you expect Him to work a miracle quick, fast, and in a hurry. You hand God your list (He/She is selfish, arrogant, lazy, rude, demanding, not understanding, insecure, easily offended, too thrifty, spends too much money, doesn’t stroke me the right way with my ego or in the bedroom) and then you say to God work it out for me.

We have to remember that it took God time to do a work with us.  

Don’t you remember Him nudging you, beckoning you, and all the while still loving you? Did you say, "Yes Lord!" right away? No. You ran. You fought. You hid. You bargained. You straddled. You did all of those things until you realized that God loved you, accepted you, and that He was not going any where. That is what your spouse wants - to know that you love them, that you accept them, and that you are not going any where.

Now you are asking me, "Why don’t they know that already?" Well, have you built a fortress around you and in return, have they have built an igloo around them? You know what I mean.  It’s really icy in your home or should I say in your crib because both of you are caged inside acting like babies. And it goes further. No one is talking or you give short answers, no affection or no I want you looks, and no one is putting any validating words of love out there because you stopped saying I love you a long time ago (probably when the sex was canceled).

Now you are saying, "I would, but he/she is so defensive?" Well, are you offensive? Are both of you not playing on the same team, with the same goals, and the same mission?  Hmmm....so you pray harder but God is silent. He is not changing them. The silent treatment and withdrawal are by no means improving the situation, because now you have asked Satan to come play with you all in your crib and Satan says, "Now this is my kind of party! Let me see all the ways I can divide what was once whole and keep both of them from kingdom living.  This is definitely a 2-for-1 special. If there are kids involved I can destroy them too by ruining their self-esteem, their confidence in their parents, and their confidence in God."

Up goes the heat, up goes the Satanic influence, and the relationship seems unbearable. I said it seems unbearable, only because your spiritual eyes have gone dim and you are too weak to tell Satan it is time for him to go. Pain has evolved into hurt, so you decide that it is time for you to go and let Satan cheer, because you simply can not handle the heartache any longer and you have lost your joy.

The joy of the Lord is your strength. 

Picture your family whole and joyous. Envisioning the promise will propel you into destiny. When you give up while God is telling you to stay, what it all boils down to is that you don’t trust God. Now don’t let me loose you here, because I know that you are saying, "I trust God" and that is probably true to some degree. You trust God with you, but you don’t trust God to do a work in your significant other. You want them changed in a twinkling of an eye, even though it took you much longer to simply get saved.

To your natural eye it looks nasty and hopeless. Ah but grace, truth, and time must be invited in. Love is patient. Love is kind. Work through the pain together. Find out the etiology of the pain together.

Love your spouse into restoration.

Know how to love. Find out their love language. Show them the love of God which is so strong that it can not, will not be denied. Who knows, the biggest lesson may be for both of you and not the one who you believe needs a big change. God may want to know if you will stand still for a season or two or three until you come out on the other side.

Will you return a blessing and say it was just too much for me to handle? Will you give up on God?  Well my sweet, I must tell you that God will not put more on you than you can bear. We usually give up right when God is about to turn the tide, right when you are about to receive your breakthrough and gain a powerful testimony of God’s faithfulness.

Personally, I have received my greatest rewards when I stayed with God to the bitter end.

If God says stay, you better stay. If God says go, you better go.

"Why Every (Wo)Man NEEDS a Goliath in Their Life"

We've become a generation of people who shy away from a fight. These days it is perfectly acceptable to be anything, do anything, believe anything as long as you're peaceful about it. Sometimes, however, each of us needs a good tussle. It's in the battle that we grow to another level. The fight in the valley is what stands between us and our next level.

I believe God sometimes answers our prayers for promotion by sending us a mean, obnoxious, ill-tempered giant to stand in our way and mock us - our Goliath.

Let's take a quick look at some verses from the 17th Chapter of 1 Samuel wherein the story of David and Goliath is told:

"The Philistines stood on the mountain on one side while Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with the valley between them. Then a champion came out from the armies of the Philistines named Goliath, from Gath..." ~1 Samuel 17:3-4

We can see already that the battle is going to go down in the valley. Wow! So much symbolism there. Now, we know from reading the previous chapter that David has already been anointed, however, at this point, he is still serving in fairly menial tasks. His oldest brother mocks him later in the passage asking David whether he has some sheep he needs to go check on. David has a great future, a great promise, but he's still a nobody! You'll see as you study that the king and his general don't even know who he is after he's won the battle.

But David's promotion was coming right around the bend!

Maybe your promotion is right around the corner, too? Maybe you've been serving faithfully, but in obscurity all the while knowing the Lord has His hands on you for something greater?

My point of view is just as God used David's fight with the Champion of Gath to propel David into his future, your promotion may depend upon your engaging in the fight. Goliath mocked Isreal morning and night for 40 days until they were sick of hearing him. How long has your Goliath stood in front of you DARING YOU TO FIGHT?!

Do you really want to walk in your purpose?
Do you really want to be all God has made you to be?
Do you really want freedom for your family?
Do you really want the friendships and marriage you say you want?
Do you really want the prosperity that transforms your life and your children's lives?

If you want God's best, you're going to have to fight! And in His Providence, God has made sure you've got a real, fearsome, giant enemy opposing you! Praise God!

Here are some important lessons I learned from reading about David and Goliath (in no specific order):

1. Your enemy will mock you by calling you something other than you are. Goliath called Israel's army "servants of Saul" but David called them "the armies of the living God." Know who you are!

2. Defeating Goliath may be the key to the relationships, wealth and purpose you've been seeking. David was promised a wife, riches, freedom for his family and never returned to his father's house after the victory. In the next chapter, he meets Jonathan. What blessings are on the other side of your victory?

3. To the faithless, your enemy will be fearful. But, when David finally heard the challenge, all we see him talking about is what the reward for victory will be. That's why I have come to believe in writing out the vision and even using vision boards. Sometimes we have to keep the promise of pleasure in front of us in order to persevere through the pain.

4. I wonder to myself whether a (wo)man is even "living" unless he's in the battle. What can you call what David's brothers were doing? Cowardice is not even within the Biblical definition of "man" anywhere you look. Can we continue to live lives filled with fear? There is always something to run from for the fearful.

5. Most important, it's in the battle that we get to know ourselves and our God. David would never be the same. No one would ever look at him the same. His story still inspires to this day. We come to know God's greatness in those moments wherein His gives us victory where defeat seemed inevitable. Since the Lord already knows the victory is won, the real lesson is ours to learn. We talk about faith, but who needs God-sized faith to watch TV all day?

God uses Goliath to build our faith for future battles.

So, here's your action item to take from this blog: Instead of avoiding the battle like Saul's armies did for too long, know that "the Lord does not deliver by sword or spear" and ask Him which weapons to use. Then, rush into the battle!

Just like we see with the reaction of Saul's army, your victory will encourage others to fight, too...and maybe that's part of what it's all about anyway?


Do You Even Matter?

I was challenged by a good friend about the whole "Live BIG. Die Empty." concept where I'm always talking about having vision, setting big goals and living in your purpose. It was a friendly challenge. Nothing too heated but it went along the lines of "What about all the "regular" people? Some of you folks act like people aren't valuable if they aren't doing something great! The world needs 9-to-5'ers, too. You act like regular folks are nobodies!"

Here are my thoughts on it. I believe every single person has a purpose beyond mere existence. Simple as that. I don't know that everyone has to rival Donald Trump, become as influential as Oprah or speak as eloquently as Charles Swindoll to be valuable. Probably not. There is greatness available to us all in every station of life.

I draw a lot of my inspiration from this from the book of Jeremiah wherein God shows Jeremiah how he had been uniquely crafted for the Lord's special purpose BEFORE there was even a manifestation of Jeremiah in the world! I love this passage. Read it for yourself! (I've linked it and will spare you all the details on this page.)

I like the Parable of the Talents for this because some people read about Jeremiah and say "Well, that might be true for him, but I'm not called like that!" Perhaps. Perhaps not. But let's look at the parable for a moment:

"For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey." ~Matthew 25:14-15 (NASB)

Here's what I like about this passage and what I say to people who wonder whether they matter: No servant got ZERO talents. Each one had an expectation from the Master to be fruitful. Each one received according to their capacity and...by the way...being fruitful with their "talent" was a command and an expectation! Read the story. The Master wasn't offering a friendly suggestion. He demanded/demands a return on His investment!

No matter who you are, you weren't given ZERO to work with either. You've probably been given quite a bit, actually, and the Lord requires a return on His investment in you. So...yes...you matter and so does what you do with your life.

Be sure to subscribe to this blog so you don't miss a thing and forward this to a friend if you found it helpful.  Comments?  Please share them below!


Mark Anthony McCray - Speaker, Consultant, Writer, Trainer & Accelerator

With the knowledge, skills and experience that he has acquired as a trained MBA, entrepreneur, lay instructor and ministry staffer, Mark Anthony McCray is now a trusted trainer, ministry partner and business advisor.

As a professional speaker, writer and workshop facilitator, he helps churches, faith-based groups, professional organizations, youth groups and individuals achieve greater success in their personal and professional lives.

His most popular topics include the following:

• How to Discover Your Purpose and Pursue Your Passions
• Get Some Balls, the Power of the Tongue and Principle of the Thermostat
• What Paul Has to Teach Us About Thinking Successfully
• Mark’s 18 Very Personal Rules for Financial Advancement
• Financial Secrets from the Richest Man Who Ever Lived
• Seedtime and Harvest: Lessons in Giving and Receiving
• How to Become Unstoppable
• How to Sell Yourself and Your Services like a Monster! (For Entrepreneurs)
• The Business of Proverbs (For Entrepreneurs)
• The Ten Commandments of Marketing (For Entrepreneurs)

Each keynote or workshop session can be customized with relevant examples, anecdotes and solutions to match your audience and your needs. Just ask!

Unapologetic about using the power and wisdom of God's word as a teacher, trainer and coach, Mark has helped thousands of people move their lives to a place of greater fruitfulness, purpose and fulfillment. Mark is CEO of First Capital Commercial Finance and, as a real estate investor and Commercial mortgage broker, has successfully structured tens of millions of dollars in private real estate investments.

Mark earned a BA in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin an MBA from Texas State University and his writings have been published in newspapers and magazines across the country. Contact Mark at (832) 566-2001 or email mark@livebigdieempty.com

You can begin to “Live Big and Die Empty”, too! Start by "Liking" this page http://www.facebook.com/LiveBigDieEmpty and then order my book and you're on your way!

Pre-order your copy of "Live Big. Die Empty" today for only $17.95 and get the guidance you need to take your life to a new level. Filled with powerful exercises and observations that will revolutionize the way you look at yourself and your life, you need this if your tired of living a small life. Pre-orders get an autographed copy and this special introductory pricing!



"Things Bitter Women Say" for $500", Alex!?"

(Rewritten and reposted from the original with all thanks for Melissa Rich for the changes!)

Bitterness is a "conscious decision". It doesn't happen "to" a person. A person "chooses" it. It takes root when emotional pain is not dealt with effectively. Holding on to past hurts and offenses will result in bitterness. This will eventually lead to the death of a thing if it even has the chance to attempt growth.

I am posting this article based on things REAL women have said. Attitudes and positions "decided" by them. Bitterness may be there but a wise person (can be a man or woman) knows enough to deal with it and keep quiet until he/she has cleared their heart and mind of that which causes them to return in time to an experience that no longer exists in the present, except in their own memory.

If we want healthy relationships, we need to be painfully honest with ourselves and deal with these old wounds.

1.  "He took advantage of me!"  There comes a time in EVERY person’s life where they need to take PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for their OWN choices. At some point you became a willing participant in your relationship drama.  Like I always say, "when in doubt, just stay upright and fully-clothed."  It is a "victim" mentality that continues to blame others and never accepts personal responsibility. Add to this, it is harmful to YOU because you will never be able to recognize or be part in a mature and healthy relationship. By talking like this you identify yourself as someone who is unable to learn from their own wrong choices.  It cant be "their fault" ALL the time. As a female friend reminded me, "if you're were wearing your nice panties, you didn't ‘fall’ at all!  You knew where the road you were on was headed!"

2.  "He was a waste of my time!"  Are you evaluating your own self yet?  Are you sure that you did not waste his time or his money? Everybody is getting SOMETHING out of every relationship they maintain.  Evaluate your own motives and the reason why you may have stayed with someone whom you suddenly decided was a waste of your time. Maybe you're getting the satisfaction of believing someone cares about you?  Maybe you're getting low-cost meals and movies?  Maybe you're just happy to be seen with SOMEBODY at the church social?  Either way, you got something if you were hanging around!  In reality, if you are taking "personal responsibility" you wasted your own time because you continued to hang with him AFTER you realized it wasn't working for you. It would be more beneficial to you to maybe look at it with a different perspective. Consider it a learning experience; about yourself, men and how you might consider more carefully next time. Again, how you look at it determines whether or not you are "growing" towards a more healthy choice or likely to perpetuate the same frustrating cycle. A cycle that "you" are choosing.

3.  "I love him but I don't respect him!"  If a man has to choose your love or respect, he would rather have your respect.  Believe that!  Take it from a "man"! I'm not saying your "love" is worthless, but it’s worth less than respect and admiration.  This is a problem for a lot of my sisters.  They say men shouldn't need respect.  "Why doesn't he just respect himself?"  "What does it matter what I think?"  "Is his ego really that fragile?"  Admiration is a NEED for a man and most will gravitate towards whoever is giving it.  Women are always shocked at how a man chooses the "other" woman who isn't as beautiful as his wife.  It's because it wasn't about looks.  She was doing something else for him/his ego!

4.  "I don't believe in dating."  Not to sound too frustrated but, do you honestly believe that I am supposed to walk up to you and immediately declare my intentions on courting you towards marriage? I don't even know if you know how to eat with your mouth closed?  Seriously?  Dating is the process by which "we" find out if "we" are "right" for one another. It is a REAL and EXTREMELY VALUABLE step in the path towards committing your LIFE to each other. My commitment to a woman in marriage is for EVER! I am being integral to make sure I make the RIGHT decision before it’s too late.

This is for YOUR good as well. A God-fearing man of integrity will choose very wisely before he makes a life-long covenant. He intends to KEEP his word. How can I determine if you are someone I want to commit my entire life to when I don't even know you? Men are tactile, we are practical. We hear God’s voice but we are still very practical in how we go about the process. You can try to force us to be something else, but you will continue to be alone and wondering why. Ladies, trying to help you here.

5.  "I won't settle."  A lot of people say this and they do not appear to have as high a standard for themselves as they do for the one they have set their hopes on. You don't have to worry about settling because he will not likely choose someone who does not see his value; that would be "settling" in "his" mind. It is possible that he "likes" you but he doesn't dare tell you that you are lacking in some areas as well. He is being kind but also realistic. You might not be the prize you think you are.  Sure,  you're great.  But your breath is bad in the mornings (and some afternoons), you've got a nasty attitude sometimes and maybe you weight more than you should and though he is very interested in you, he is scurried to express that point. Have you set your mind on this "ideal" so that you cant even see the person?  Are you even looking at "him" as an "individual" or are you trying to "match" him to some "ideal" in your mind. Until you look at the situation with real and present perspective, you are in danger of missing what could be perfect for you.

These attitudes are not going to help you land a good man. They are going to deter them. When a "good" man comes along, he will run soon as he recognizes that you are viewing him through your old pain. He doesn't want your old life or the mess that you chose to bring with you thus far. He wants something fresh between the two of you. He wants a relationship with "YOU" not you and all the other men you have been hurt by.
don't be so quick to react, face yourself and get real.

Consider what I am saying for your own well-being. If you remain bitter, chances are, you will get someone who is also carrying baggage and it will NOT work for you either. Unfortunately, if you are not being honest with yourself, you will continue to attract a man based on your unconscious fears and will find that he is just like the others. That is because you will not attract something different until YOU change something about yourself and how you view relationships and men. A bitter woman will likely not attract a healthy and stable man because he is looking for a healthy and stable woman.


9 Questions to Help Discover Your Purpose

When some people hear people like me talk about discovering their purpose and walking in it, all they get is FRUSTRATED!! They become frustrated because they either don't think they have a special, God-given purpose or they simply don't know how to discover it. I can relate to that. I've been there.

I can't give a definitive response to the question "What is my purpose?" for anyone besides myself. I believe the answer comes from getting in touch with God and how He's made you and for what purpose He's made you. However, here are some questions I've found that can help you get a little closer to the answer. Ask yourself these questions...

1. What have I always been good at?
2. What or whose needs do I care about the most?
3. What arouses the most passion (joy, anger, happiness, frustration) in me?
4. Who do I admire most?
5. What makes me feel most fulfilled?
6. What do I love to do the most?
7. What have I felt "called" to do?
8. What am I doing when I feel like God is co-laboring with me?
9. What do I most want to be remembered for?

I encourage you to go through those questions with a pen and sheet of paper in front of you and then take your response to God in prayer. For some of you, it will bring clarity to what you already know. For others - if approached with honesty - this exercise will bring some things about yourself to the surface that you've never seen before.

Please share this with someone you know who may be looking for a little bit of direction this day...and please, please, please remember to join my "Live BIG! Die Empty." Facebook page. I want to stay connected with you!



Have You Ever Written a Values Statement?

Have you ever sat down and written down a Statement of Values? Successful corporations do this all the time. They are often posted around the halls of their facilities. It's just a fancy way of thinking and expressing what you stand for as a person.

I think everyone should take a moment to remind himself or herself what's important. For me, success is living in such a way that I will one day hear God say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant." Therefore, I endeavor to live each day according to the following principles:

I serve my God with passion and commitment.

I show everyone respect. In everything, I do unto others as I would have them do unto me. I live at peace with all men whenever possible.

I know with God all things are possible and that He causes all things to work together for my good because I love Him and am called according to His purpose. I never limit Him by lowering my expectations.

I am a man of integrity and I do what I say I will do.

I realize that I am only a steward of God's riches; I hold them with open hands. I forgive my brothers and sisters seventy-times seven times approaching them privately if they have sinned against me.

I know I have a royal heritage and that God has called me to great things. He has come so that I might have life and that more abundantly.

I do not accept anything less than excellence from myself. I do not leave well enough alone.

I am a leader who leads by serving.

I believe life is a gift from God. I am thankful for it and help other people enjoy God's gifts with me.

12 Ways to Shake Things Up

Feeling like you've hit a wall? Here are some things you can do right now to shake up your day!

1. Meet someone new today. Even if you have to talk to a stranger, do it.
2. Drive to work a different way tomorrow or drive home a different way today. Get up earlier if you have to.
3. Do 30 Jumping Jacks right now. Add 10 push-ups if you can.
4. Play some classic rock music as loud as you can. Dance if you're brave.
5. Go sit in your car and yell until someone thinks you're crazy.
6. Do something nice for someone...make sure they don't expect it.
7. Read a magazine you don't normally read.
8. Pick up the dictionary and learn a new word. Make sure it's a big one!
9. Smile more. Start right now as you're reading this.
10. Write a poem.
11. Call your mom.
12. Eat a food you've never eaten and buy it at a store you've never shopped.

What are some others? Got any suggestions to share? Are you bold enough to do something different today????


Yesterday is over. Don’t let it beat you twice.

"Even though you may want to move forward in your life, you may have one foot on the brakes. In order to be free, we must learn how to let go. Release the hurt. Release the fear. Refuse to entertain your old pain. The energy it takes to hang onto the past is holding you back from a new life. What is it you would let go of today?" ~ Mary Morrissey

How true! So often we are using energy that could be used to propel us forward to brood over what’s already passed and can’t be changed. This is what Mary Morrissey calls keeping one foot on the brakes. I have been guilty of this in the past. This quality has been among my biggest vices. In the past, I have been a brooder. Past tense. My confession now is I "live forward" as my Pastor likes to say. Yesterday, good or bad, is over.

All you have is today. Yesterday is over.

Everybody has days they would rather forget. Even the best of us have moments, days, and even weeks that absolutely kick our butts. I have decided the best way to limit the negative impact of a bad season is to acknowledge it, grieve over it and then move on as quickly as possible. Whatever you do, you can’t use up the energy that you need to succeed on licking your wounds for too long.

One technique I have used to help myself manage disappointment is to set aside time for it in advance. Occasionally, I remind myself that disappointing things are going to happen but I must keep moving. I must keep moving! So, what I have done is budget myself a set amount of time say, three minutes, for example, to pout, sulk, feel bad and otherwise mourn how much the day sucks. When my three minutes are over, my pouting is over and I’m back to work like nothing ever happened. For some, it’s better to start with a longer time period. Thirty minutes might be more appropriate for you while an hour is probably too long.

Either way, you can’t deal with loss effectively by acting like it didn’t happen.

For you, no matter where you are right now, yesterday is over. The last opponent may have beaten you. Don’t let them beat you twice. You may not have hit your goals during today’s workday. You can get up and go for it again tomorrow. Spend your energy focusing on how you are going to win the next round in the fight and live in the moment to the best of your ability.

Looking for more guidance? Order your copy of "10 #MonsterTips: How to Sell More and Earn More NOW!!!" at my Online Store.

Mark Anthony McCray is Founder of "Live BIG. Die Empty." a movement designed to help people live life more prosperously and on purpose. Write or call 832-566-2001 for more information and follow Mark on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/MARKMCCRAY and http://www.twitter.com/LiveBIGDieEmpty If you're interested in learning more about Mark Anthony McCray and having him speak to your group, here's a complete bio: MEET MARK ANTHONY McCRAY!


Develop the Characteristics, Attitudes and Aptitudes of the Most Successful People

This is from an article I wrote years ago and dusted back off to remind myself of these principles. I can't find the original, so this is from my notes and I have provided my own thoughts on each character trait.

Millionaires come in all shapes and sizes. Despite what many have been led to believe, there is no one “look” that the financially successful have. However, even though there is no specific profile into which all successful entrepreneurs fit, there are common characteristics they all seem to share:

An eye for opportunity. This is the essence of entrepreneurship: seeing a need and rushing to fill it. Often, the best ideas come from our own experiences. For example, once upon a time, someone thought to himself or herself that it would be great if they could pay for their gas at the pump. The rest is history.

An appetite for hard work. Entrepreneurs are the people who sometimes seem to rest to work while others might work to rest. They don’t spend a lot of time in community events or watching television. In the early stages of their business, they work almost maniacally. Sometimes it does not seem to be work to them because they enjoy what they are doing so much.

Self-discipline. Years ago, Dr. Dana Carson, gave me one of the best definitions of self-discipline I have heard. He defines discipline as the commitment to do what one must do as opposed to what one wants to do. Well said. As I have heard said elsewhere, “great men make sacrifices while others make excuses.” That which is easy to do is also easy not to do.

Independence. Entrepreneurship can be intensely lonely and isolating. If you are the kind of person who craves a sense of belonging and acceptance, starting your own business might not be for you. Starting a business can plunge an entrepreneur into a life of late nights, busy weekends, and solitude. An entrepreneur must be willing to walk alone and even appear the fool for a time.

Self-confidence. Entrepreneurs must have an intense belief in what they are doing. This is the quality that helps them build a team, sell partners on their ideas, convince others to help them, find customers, and attract investors. People are attracted to confidence and enthusiasm. Belief can be contagious.

Adaptability. Nothing ever goes as planned. A lasting entrepreneur has to be able to plan thoroughly, but scrap those plans and start over if the market doesn’t accept their ideas as he or she thought that it would. Adaptability also requires courage. It can be hard to change everything that you’ve planned for a long time. Successful entrepreneurs do the hard things.

Good Judgment. This is the ability to gather facts, analyze them, and make sound decisions. There are two ways to learn good judgment: by making and learning from your own mistakes or by learning from others’. Learning from others’ mistakes as much as possible hurts a lot less and gives you the chance to gather a broader base of knowledge and experiences to help you down your road to success.

Ability to tolerate stress. This quality is not just the ability to put up with intense pressures. That’s not enough. An entrepreneur must be able to continue to think clearly and function effectively in the midst of the stormy situations. The late Wilson Harrell, self-made multi-millionaire and author of "For Entrepreneurs Only" believed the ability to cope with pressure, which he calls Entrepreneurial Terror, is the single most important ingredient of entrepreneurial success. Amar Bhide, Professor of Entrepreneurship at Harvard University, says the problems that entrepreneurs face everyday would overwhelm most managers and cause them to be gripped by panic. I believe him. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart.

The need to achieve. A lot of people desire to be successful in business. Desire is easy to find in people. Everybody wants something. In my line of work, people who desire their own business constantly approach me. On the other hand, rarely do I come across people who are determined to own their own business. There is a big difference. Determined people act, sleep, eat, think, walk, and talk differently. They inject an increased sense of purpose into everything that they do. Determination beats desire.

Keen Self-awareness. Successful entrepreneurs know their strengths and weakness. They understand how these qualities affect their abilities to succeed in business. Then they attempt to put themselves in the best position to succeed while exposing their weaknesses as little as possible. It may take time to develop such a keen sense of oneself, but I believe people find more success and satisfaction once they do so.

Did I miss anything? What would you add to this list? Do you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur?  If you need help developing your business skills, check out The Sales Monster and get your copy today! 

Mark Anthony McCray helps people live on PURPOSE, achieve higher PERFORMANCE and experience true PROSPERITY. Be sure to subscribe to this blog so you don't miss a thing and forward this to a friend if you found it helpful. All material © Copyright, Mark Anthony McCray unless otherwise noted!

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