How I saved time, effort and money today…

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OK – I’ve gotta share this with you as I am really excited. Those of you who know me, know that I am forever on the search for systems that will make running our businesses easier and more profitable. Well…tonight, I just took advantage of one of these types of systems.

Most school owners have some form of financial systems in place to record all of their accounting / book keeping needs. I always did. For years, I’ve been using Intuit’s Quickbooks Software – if memory serves me correctly, I think I bought Quickbooks 98 way back when and have been using their software ever since. It’s pretty easy, and most importantly, my accountant has always been able to come to my office once per month to close our books the right way using it.

This was all well and good…HOWEVER, I no longer have a physical “OFFICE” anymore! Once we sold our martial arts school, my office became our house (actually, most days I can be found at our public library in one of the study rooms – it’s perfect…if I could just convince the librarians to allow me to set up a coffee maker, it would be perfect!) and in order for my accountant to close our books, I had to burn the file to a cd and either send it to her or deliver it to her – during the time she was working on it however, I was unable to use my accounting software! This was clearly a problem. So…

After doing just a little bit of research, I’ve decided to take advantage of Quickbooks Online Edition and I have to tell you, that it’s worth looking into for everybody. Here are the reasons I like it:

  1. I have access to my financials from anyplace I can log on to the internet
  2. My accountant can login from her office without needing ANYTHING from me!
  3. I just linked my online banking to this program and now all of my transactions (that I used to pay my accountant to enter for me) are automatically input FOR FREE! (well, I do pay a monthly fee for the whole service…but it’s a lot less than I paid my accountant to enter this stuff for me!)
  4. I just linked my credit card to this program and now all of my purchases are automatically input for FREE as well – one of my least favorite things to do is enter my credit card statement into Quickbooks – so this is especially cool!

So why I am writing about this on a blog? Good question! I am convinced that most business owners are usually so busy working in their businesses, that they rarely, if ever, take the time to “find a better tool” that will save them time, effort, and money. My friends, this is that kind of tool.

Click here to Check Out This Software!

I hope you find it as helpful as I did!

Massive Success!

Jason M. Silverman

Top Students: Does Self Discipline Trump IQ in Children and Teens?

Parents have already started using the Dr. Robyns’ Powerful Parenting Blog! Some have begun to make comments (it’s a little scary for them when they first start using the technology so please reassure them that making comments and asking question is encouraged!) and others have sent me emails directly with their questions.

**This article is published in a revised format on Dr Robyn’s Blog for Powerful Parents. It demonstrates just one more way that POWerful Words is beneficial for their children. The connection between character development and academic performance is both real and important. Since you are teaching self discipline this month, be sure to direct your parents to this article on the powerful parenting blog so that they can see how your staff is helping their children to do better in school through the Powerful Words curriculum! You are benefiting your students in many more ways than just the physical. Great job in over-delivering!

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Yesterday I received the following question about children’s self discipline vs smarts from Mary in Charlotte, North Carolina:

“I have a quick question–since the Powerful Word this month is Self Discipline, my husband got into this discussion about our son (age 14) and daughter (age 11) who have very different study habits. We were just wondering, can kids with great self discipline do better in school than kids who are the smartest?”

Hi Mary-

Here’s a quick answer to your quick question!

People often point the finger at unprepared teachers, boring lesson plans, inadequate books, and overpopulated classes when it comes to student underachievement.

Interestingly, research has actually shown that:

  • Self discipline predicts academic performance more robustly than did IQ.
  • Self discipline has also predicted which students would improve their grades over the school year.
  • American children, in particular, have trouble making choices that require them to sacrifice short term gratification for long-term gain, such as academic success.
  • Compared with more impulsive peers, highly self disciplined 8th graders earned higher GPAs and achievement test scores, were more likely to gain admission to selective high schools, had fewer school absences, spent more time on homework, watched less TV, and started their homework earlier in the day.
  • Highly self disciplined adolescents outperformed their more impulsive peers on every academic performance variable in one study, including report-card grades, standardized achievement test schools, admission to a competitive high school, and attendance.

As you can see, the Powerful Word, self discipline, has long lasting and important effects! So encourage your children to attend those character-based Power Chats with open ears!

Just a quick note: I’m so glad that your family is benefiting so much from the curriculum. We’re all very impressed that you and your spouse are engaging in discussions about the powerful word of the month. Congratulations on making character development a family affair!

Keep your questions and comments coming! Thanks, Mary!

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I did it! Teaching Children the Rewards of Self Discipline

You and your clients know several tips on helping children learn self discipline since you read it in the Dear Dr. Robyn column in your Powerful Words package this month. But I thought I would expand on one of the tips (number 4) in the following article on children and self discipline, in particular: “Help your children recognize the rewards of self discipline.”

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I did it! Teaching Children the Rewards of Self Discipline

By Dr. Robyn J.A. Silverman

**Note: This article appears in an altered form for parents on Dr. Robyn’s Blog for Powerful Parents.

The rewards for self discipline go well beyond gold stars. The rewards of self discipline are both external and internal.

An external self discipline reward is one that is provided by someone else. For example, when a child uses self discipline to study for a test, the external reward might be a high grade. If a child disciplines herself to practice gymnastics, swimming, or martial arts, the reward might be a trophy, ribbon, or new belt rank. These rewards signify that other people noticed her gains.

An internal reward is one that manifests from inside. Only the child can muster up this reward. For example, when a child disciplines herself to work complete an art project, her internal reward might be a feeling of accomplishment, pride, or relief. When a child uses self discipline to prepare for auditions at her all-star cheerleading academy or for a belt test at her martial arts academy and she does well, her internal reward might be a feeling of value, achievement, or self worth.

We want to help children understand both types of rewards. Both can be motivating and they are often intertwined. A trophy or medal can be interlinked with feelings of pride and a high grade can be linked to feelings of accomplishment. But this is not always the case.

As the number of external rewards increases, the feelings of pride and accomplishment do not always increase. Be careful! Parents who give too many outside rewards such as toys, treats, or money, may find that their value decreases over time. Similarly, instructors who provide too much “empty praise” or “over” give symbols of achievement when they are not truly earned (belt rank, higher ranked class, ribbons, stars), again, may find that they lose their meaning after a while. Nothing can buy a feeling of pride.

Since your students look to you for a reaction—show them that you’re proud of their commitment, effort, perseverance, and determination rather than just the trophy, grade, or medal. I remember talking to someone about this once and our discussion had to do with the following;

 

“Let’s say that a child usually runs a mile in say, 10 minutes. He enters a race. He’s determined. He practices. He runs the mile in his fastest time, 9 minutes and 30 seconds. And he comes in flat last and receives a certificate of participation. Are you proud? Disappointed? Now, the same child enters another race. He doesn’t practice and he’s not that determined. He doesn’t put in much effort. He runs the race in 11 minutes and 50 seconds. He comes in first place and wins the blue ribbon. Are you proud? Disappointed? Let’s put in a third scenario now—the same child enters a last race. He has his eye on the trophy. He trains and he is determined. He believes that winning is the most important part of competing. He runs the race in 9 minutes flat. He wins the whole thing. What we come to find out is that he has switched his competitor’s running shoes with ones that are a size too big and he is taking performance enhancing drugs. Are you proud? Disappointed?

Are we teaching the child to simply be “the best” in comparison to others or to do “his best” no matter what the circumstances? Do we teach the child to continually improve his personal best through self discipline and perseverance, gage effort by looking to his neighbor, or go “for the gold” at all costs just because it’s shiny?

Don’t get me wrong–there is absolutely nothing wrong with earning an external reward through effort, perseverance, and self discipline. I kept many of my own gymnastics, swimming, diving, horseback-riding, dramatic, and academic awards until my mother told me to clear them out of her basement a year ago. Just make sure to highlight that the external is a symbol of your child’s positive character. Otherwise, the external reward often gets far too much attention.

That being said; help your child to recognize the internal reward that comes with achievement. For example,

  • Instead of saying “good job on getting a high score on that test,” (external reward) say, “You must be very proud of the effort you put in to prepare for your test. (Internal reward) Congratulations—it certainly paid off! How do you feel?” or
  • “Congratulations on running your fastest mile! You really showed great perseverance when you kept going even though the other runners were in front of you. How does it feel to accomplish such a tough goal? What do you think that says about your character?”
  • You really showed us all what determination looks like! You must have some fire in your belly! How does it feel to work so hard and achieve your goal?

Entering into a dialogue that brings the internal reward to the forefront will help the child connect the good feelings to the effort—rather than to the external rewards– which will come and go and lose importance as time marches onward. We certainly don’t want children going after goals just so that they can collect trophies (in what ever form they might be) that may simply collect dust. Trophies are meaningless without the strength of character, pain of sacrifice, and pride of achievement that it took to accomplish the goal.

Ultimately, highlighting what it took to achieve the goal rather than the external reward will help your children recognize what it takes to be successful and they’ll want to do it again and again.

Have a strong end to your February!

Instructors, coaches, and teachers! Something new! Do you “Digg” (like) the article you read here on The official Powerful Words Blog? If so, please press on the “Digg” icon at the bottom of the article or any other article you like. Thanks! It will help us to know which articles are most helpful and it may also help to put these articles into the limelight– which means more positive exposure for all of your schools. Again, thank you in advance!

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Sometimes doing GOOD helps you to do WELL!

Greetings All,

We’ve got a blizzard going on in New England right now! I really do love seeing how beautiful everything looks when draped in a white blanket of snow…I might think differently tomorrow when I have to dig out our cars.

Many of you know that Dr. Robyn and I believe that giving back is an important part of our lives. In addition to many other charitable events and donations that we take part in, every year, we make a nice donation to the North Shore Animal League in New York the place where we we adopted our fantastic Sheppard / Finnish Spitz mix Casey from 7 years ago. He’s pictured below…pretty darn cute, don’t ya think? It makes us happy to know that we are able to help them help many other animals who are also in need.

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Well, I was speaking with one of my best friends the other night…Platinum Level Member Christopher Herrman of Alpha Martial Arts in Seattle when he shared something with me that made me proud to be his friend. I asked him to write a little bit about what he told me so that I can share it with all of our readers…so here it is…

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Hi Jason,

I started volunteering at the Seattle Animal Shelter (SAS) in September of 2007 after completing an orientation and 2 training courses. I walk dogs every Tuesday morning from 9:00-11:30am (rain or shine) and it’s a great experience. I had been looking for a volunteer opportunity that suited me and my schedule and this has worked out better than I had anticipated!

In addition to spending time with the dogs, exercising and socializing them, volunteering at the SAS has given me time to think. For 2 1/2 hours every week I have time to think about my business, my relationships, and anything else that comes to mind. The time away from my school has improved my business and helped balance my life.

To me, a big part of being a Black Belt is giving back — not just to my students, but to my community as well. This is the first time I have consistently volunteered and it is an incredibly rewarding experience. I would encourage anyone who has an interest in volunteering to find an opportunity that suits them and go for it!

Sincerely,

Chris Herrman

 Chris Herrman and 

I think it’s great that while Chris is out there doing good for the world, he’s also helping his business to do well. I find it brilliant that he realizes that the time spent away from his business helping others, actually helps him to find the balance so necessary for success. Chris you’re an inspiration! You Rock!

Have a fantastic weekend folks!

Best regards,

Jason M. Silverman

Self Discipline Downfalls: Three POWerful Ps of Failed Goals

**This article is published in a revised fashion on Dr. Robyn’s Blog for POWerful Parents in support of POWerful Words Character Development Family Schools! Please feel free to link your prospecting and membership websites to that blog as it supports the word of the month and character education for children and families.

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“Use Self Discipline to execute your plan or find that the lack of it will execute your dreams.” –Dr. Robyn J.A. Silverman–February Self Discipline Quote of the Month

As it’s now February and we are taking inventory on how well we’ve done so far on our New Year’s Resolutions, the February POWerful quote of the month struck a cord with some parents at some of your top Personal Development Centers using Powerful Words (Note: This quote appeared on the POWerful Words Self Discipline banner).

One parent, whose family is currently doing a “POWerful Challenge” (her personal challenge is to lose 50 pounds) emailed, “I jotted down your quote this month and it’s on the refrigerator. I want to remember it when I am thinking about breaking my diet plan. My son, Nathan, is working on improving his grades in school and getting an A on his next math test. We all want it to work but I’m already seeing the excuses dropping from our lips when it’s time to get to work…What are some of the things we should look out for that can prevent our kids or ourselves from reaching the goals we set out to reach this year? And how can I explain these pitfalls to my child?” (Carole- Austin, TX)

Dr. Robyn’s 3 POWerful Ps of Failure

Self Discipline helps us greatly in goal-setting and goal-getting. It puts us in control. As instructors, teachers, and coaches, we’ve seen self discipline in action and we’ve seen when it has slipped. Once we allow self discipline to slip, there is great fallout. Parents get frustrated, children quit, instructors lose a great client and gain a big headache. Yes; once we allow self discipline to lapse, there are 3 POWerful Ps of Failure ready to take the reins.

Procrastination: Put off for tomorrow what could be done today!

We are all guilty of falling into the trap of procrastination. When explaining procrastination to very young children, I use a concrete term since again, they are concrete thinkers. I say it is a monster called “Mr. Delay” who tells you to wait another day…and another day..and another day before getting to work. Helping children to prioritize and set a plan so that goal-getting takes place at a certain time each day or each week can help to squash procrastination. When are they practicing their skills? When are they committing to come to class? Good plans lead to routines, good routines lead to habits, and good habits lead to success.

Pushback: Resist change—Also known as, “I don’t wanna!”

When we charge towards our goals, things change. It’s human nature to want to stay at our comfort level in our Archie Bunker chair with our feet up. We want to achieve our goal, but we want everything to stay the same. When working with children who are dealing with push-back, you can help them to understand that it’s OK to feel uncomfortable when we are going after something we really want—in the end, it will be worth it—and you can bring them back to why they wanted to achieve the goal in the first place. Do they remember the excitement of when they first joined your school? Do they remember what compelled them to commit to the goal when they suggested it? Help them to re-commit.

Projection: Blame it on the Dog!

As an educator, this is one of my favorites. Projection means placing the onus and the blame on someone else when a goal is not achieved. You may have heard, “Dad forgot to put my homework in my bag,” or “the teacher only explained it once that is why I didn’t get an A.” When explaining this concept to children, you can use concrete terms by asking them to picture a slide projector from school or showing them the film projector at a movie theater. The projector doesn’t put the picture on itself; it puts it on a screen. When we blame someone else when we do not achieve a goal, we are being like the projector. The person or thing we blame is the “screen.” The people who achieve their goals are people who take responsibility to get things done on their own and take the responsibility when they forget to do so as well. When we project blame onto someone else, we give them the power to decide the outcome of our goals and dreams. Who is in control here? Point projection out to your students so that they can take back the control of their goals.

Self Discipline is a powerful force in goal-setting and goal-getting. On your quest to achieve your New Year’s Resolution this year or your POWerful Challenge this month, I wish you and your students the self discipline to stay in the driver’s seat.

You have the power! Take the reins!

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How Keeping Notes Can Save Your Butt

Greetings All,

Happy Tuesday!  It’s been a while since I’ve been able to post on this blog – I’ve been crazy busy with my Best Year Ever Tele-Coaching Program, which by the way, is producing AMAZING RESULTS for all of the participants!

In any case, most of you know that we recently sold our Martial Arts Academy in Massachusetts so that we can dedicate 100% of our energy to helping the POWerful Words Family to grow and prosper.  Now that the school has been sold, we are dealing with some of the annoying fallout that happens when you do business.  The most obnoxious of all these issues is the fact that my old landlord has decided that she sees no reason to return my last month’s rent and additional month security deposit to us.  While it’s not all the money in the world, I find it disgusting that while we’re trying to help the world by building better character, I’m stuck dealing with somebody that has none!

Now I don’t share this to “air our dirty laundry”, I aim to provide a helpful lesson that might come in handy to you someday!

I was on the phone with my attorney today preparing to take the next legal step in getting our money back when it occurred to me that we were in very good shape due to one specific reason…My brilliant wife took detailed notes about everything that happened – here are some of the things she had documented:

  1. Every communication that we had made requesting the funds
  2. The response or lack of response from our ex-landlord
  3. A copy of the lease with highlighted fields showing what we paid
  4. A copy of the letter we sent to the Attorney General’s Office
  5. a copy of the demand letter that was sent to the landlord
  6. the return receipt signed by the landlord when she received our demand letter
Taking Notes Saves Time, Effort and Your Sanity!

So, the lesson for today, boys and girls (aside from ensuring that you marry a brilliant and highly detailed spouse) is to make sure that you ceate and maintain a file for each important business transaction you take part in.  Don’t forget to take notes and keep them in the file as well because the lightest ink is always better than the sharpest memory.

You know, it was funny, the lawyer was shocked at how complete our information was…this is sure to make everybody’s life easier, the case much simpler to present in court,  and it’ll even save us some $$ in legal fees.  Ya gotta love it!

Hope you have a fantastic day!

Jason M. Silverman

Using Self Discipline to Get Organized

This article is posted in an altered form on Dr. Robyn’s blog for Powerful Parents as a service to Powerful Words schools and families.

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Does this look like your desk?

In my recent post, Being a Role Model: Am I self disciplined?, I must have hit a nerve. Several people wrote in and told me that the self discipline questions prompted them to take a good hard look at their own ability to discipline themselves. Question #2, “How much time do you waste looking for something you lost (or don’t know where to find) each week?” was a particular ringer. Issues of organization, or lack there of, applies to all of us.

Nobody’s perfect. The questions, even as I wrote them, sparked a response in me. I was preparing to write an article for the South Shore Senior News on Body Image (due out in March) and, I confess, I couldn’t find some of my notes. I eventually found them—but at what cost? I wasted 45 minutes of my time and felt frustrated and annoyed at my carelessness.

So, this weekend, Jason and I decided to get organized. It was time. After all, the Powerful Word of the month is self discipline—we don’t want to just write about it; we want to live it! We cleaned our home from top to bottom, including delving into the dreaded closets that housed much of the clutter that we hadn’t dealt with in months. We went through what seemed to look like mountains of paper. We donated towels and sheets that hadn’t left the linen closet since we moved in. We recycled boxes and bottles that had been pushed aside. By the end of the day, we were exhausted but we had to admit, we felt, well, lighter.

As teachers, instructors, and coaches, we need to have everything at our fingertips. Prospects and clients certainly don’t want to wait around while we locate the appropriate information for them. We also need to set an example for the students we teach. Talking about self discipline while having your desk or office in complete disarray might not have the impact you desire.

Would you like to get started too—but not sure where to begin? Julie Morgenstern,“The Queen of Organizing,” and the author of Time Management from the Inside Out and Organizing from the Inside Out, has a formula to help get rid of clutter.

JULIE’S ORGANIZING FORMULA

  • Sort: Identify what’s important to you and group similar items

  • Purge: Decide what you can live without and get rid of it (e.g. donations, sales, storage, garbage).

  • Assign: Decide where the items you keep will go. Remember, make it logical, accessible and safe.

  • Containerize: Make sure they’re sturdy, easy to handle, the right size, and that they look good. The art of containerizing is to do it last, not first.

  • Equalize: Spend 15 minutes a day to maintain what you’ve done

It can be difficult to purge old items. You may wonder to yourself; “will I need it?” It’s this type of question that can stop us in our tracks and halt progress. But really; if you haven’t used it in a year (or 2 or 3), the likelihood is pretty low.

There is one thought that goes through my mind when I am getting rid of clothes, linens, and other household items and I am feeling unsure about parting with them: Do I want it enough to deny access to someone else who actually NEEDS this item and will USE this item? I picture the person in that coat, scarf, or pair of shoes, being able to stay warmer this winter or walk into a new job feeling proud of a “new-to-her” outfit. Those thoughts make me realize that the item no longer belongs in my closet—hanging there without purpose—it belongs to someone else. Our own self discipline (and in this case, generosity, charity, and citizenship) can help others. This is an important point to help children understand.

One last thought. When my Dad passed away in May of 2006, we were all devastated. But what made the loss even harder was the task of having to go through an avalanche of disorganized papers, books, pictures, and office items that had never been sorted, purged, assigned, containerized, or equalized. I’m not bringing this up to be morbid–I just know my Dad would have hated to see us laboring over the mess he left. It has given me just one more reason to discipline myself and get organized. The old adage isn’t always accurate “if I don’t do it, no one else will,” because in many cases, when we leave a mess, someone, eventually, will have to clean it up.

Here’s to making one small change this month that can help you…and may just help others too!

Have a POWerful Month!

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