Wednesday, November 22, 2017

What are you thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving



It is time to take time to give thanks for all our blessings. What are you thankful for? Here are 7 things I am thankful for:

1.     My Health. What do we really have without our health?
2.     My Faith. What is the real reason to live without our faith?
3.     My Family. Can we really live enjoy life without our families?
4.     My Friends. Can we fully live a joyful life without friends?
5.     My Partners and Customers. Can we prosper without them?
6.     My Resources. Who can we really help and serve without resources?
7.     My Ability to Learn and Grow. Can we thrive without it?


Be blessed and be a blessing to others
Carlos Fontana
Author of the book PRICELESS, Co-author of the book Follow to Lead

"Those that take swift action will always leave those that don't breathing the dust"
"The future belongs to those who can see and pursue opportunities before they are obvious"
“Managers influence numbers, leaders influence people by inspiring them to pursue excellence”



Tuesday, November 21, 2017

7 REASONS TO BE FINANCIALLY FREE

Main Reasons to Be Financially Free


Financial literacy is the key to financial security and financial freedom. Financial freedom is not for everyone; it is only for those who believe in it and have the guts to pursue it for the right reasons. Without the right reasons to seek financial truth we are bound to fall for any quick scheme and stay in financial mediocrity, struggling financially for the rest of our lives. Here are 7 real or right reasons to pursue financial freedom.

1.     Choose lifestyle. Without financial freedom we are bound to live a lifestyle chosen by someone else. Financial freedom allows us to think and live in the right places and in the right locations.
How about having the choice to visit the wonderful places the world has to offer?

2.     Have financial security.  Security means different things for different people. Financial security comes from having the right assets that generate income.
How about leaving the illusion of job security or leaving the rat race for rats?

3.     Make the right investments. Without financial freedom we cannot make the right investments for the right reasons. Things like investing in ourselves, in our passions, and in the causes dear to our hearts.
How about having the choice to invest in your unique mission in life?

4.     Focus on health. With financial freedom we can allocate time and resources into physical, intellectual, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Wealth is a lot more than money. Wealth also includes full health, free time, and healthy relationships. How long and how well would you live if you could invest in your whole health?

5.     Have the right time allocation. Financial freedom allows us to spend the time with those we care the most about – our family, friends, associates, the underprivileged.
Is your time and energy going to your priorities or your obligations?

6.     Have more fun.  Financial freedom allows you to pursue creative leisure. Creative leisure is the ability to have fun, learn, and work at the same time. People get in and stay in financial bondage when they pursue entertainment as a relief for self-imposed stressful lives.
Imagine how much creative leisure could you have in your life?

7.     Help others.  True joy in life comes from helping and serving others. It takes time, energy, and resources to do that.
What is preventing you from volunteering for the right organizations with the right causes?


Be blessed and be a blessing to others
Carlos Fontana
Author of the book PRICELESS, Co-author of the book Follow to Lead

"Those that take swift action will always leave those that don't breathing the dust"
"The future belongs to those who can see and pursue opportunities before they are obvious"

“Managers influence numbers, leaders influence people by inspiring them to pursue excellence”

Monday, November 20, 2017

Are You Prepared?

How to prepare for the next economic downturn

Economic cycles come and go and the next one is certain to come. So how do we prosper during and beyond the next down cycle? The answer is to prepare. Sounds simple yet few do it! How does one go about preparing for future prosperity? The time is to start preparation today!

Here are 7 specific actions that are critical to success no matter where you are today.

Financial Literacy.
How do we set ourselves up financially to withstand any financial downturn? Educate yourself financially. It is obviously implied here that we get rid of debt of all kinds as fast as we can. Here are four action we can take.
1.     Build an emergency fund. Just like the name says, it is for emergency only! This is money set aside in case of worst case scenario where items 2 and 3 below are depleted.
2.     Survival preparation. Do you have the necessary things to go through unpredictable events? Will be basic necessities of life be met?
3.     Boost savings. Will your savings allow you to go through the downturn? How long will the savings last? Think in terms of years or decades.
4.     Invest in the right assets. How will your investments perform during and after the downturn? What assets perform well during downturns?

Entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurs are survivor by nature. Entrepreneurs love challenges and thrive during new economic times.
5.     Invest in yourself. The best investment we can make is in ourselves. Invest in your continuous education. Plug into the right education system and keep building up knowledge. Apply the knowledge gained to build skills like leadership skills to start or expand the right business.
6.     Start the right business. Business ownership is critical to creating and preserving wealth. The right business are those that focus on leveraging a business system and developing others.
7.     Serve others. Expand network of people you help and serve. Build strong and lasting relationship with the right people.

Be blessed and be a blessing to others
Carlos Fontana
Author of the book PRICELESS, Co-author of the book Follow to Lead

"Those that take swift action will always leave those that don't breathing the dust"
"The future belongs to those who can see and pursue opportunities before they are obvious"
“Managers influence numbers, leaders influence people by inspiring them to pursue excellence”



Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Are You Struggling Financially?

Are You Struggling Financially?

Do you know why? The chief reason is the lack of financial literacy or the lack of knowledge about money. The financial system is rigged against the individual. How can we win a game we don’t know the rules to play and win the game? Here is why we are struggling:
1. Taxes. One third of the income goes to taxes (federal, state, local, sales, etc.).
2. Interest on debt. One third of the income goes to servicing the debt (house, car, cards, stores, etc.).
3. Inflation. Inflation is eating up the last third left to live on. Wages do not keep up with inflation (last 15 years wages have remained flat while inflation has gone up 40%).
No wonder most people are falling off a cliff with their personal finance. What is one to do under such dark picture? The answer is to become financial literate and an entrepreneur owing the right business. Making more money is not the answer. Don’t believe? Look at people that win the lottery or the retired professional ball players. For most of them money became a curse and not the solution.
What is your financial plan? Most people are counting on winning the lottery, getting an inheritance, or winning a lawsuit to get out of the financial mess they find themselves in. Chances are you will be struck by a lightning before straightening your finances.
The right question to ask is - do I have the right tools and the right coaching to become financially secure or financially free?
The only way to change our financial future is to change the financial decisions we make. Our financial picture will continue to be what it is until we change what it is. Think – if it is up to be it is up to me. Oh, one important thing – you must know where it is that you want to be. The penalty for not defining where you want to be is that you will never get where you want to go. I hope I got you thinking your financial future.
Let me know if you need help to get where it is that you want to go.
Be blessed and be a blessing to others. Carlos Fontana

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Information or Misinformation

The Misinformation Age



We left the information age and are living in the misinformation age. Misinformation is available everywhere and few of us can even recognize it. The right information is extremely valuable and the key not only to success but also to leaving a lasting legacy. Everything worthwhile pursuing starts with getting the right information. Misinformation is full of untruths, keeping us in dark places and struggling to make ends meet. The right information will always lead us to the right destination. If the right information is so critical, then how does one go about acquiring it and applying it in our day to day lives? Here is the process, the sequence for going from the right information to leaving a lasting legacy.


Information>Thinking>Actions>Results>Habits>Character>Legacy

1.      Right information. The best investment we can make is in acquiring the right information. Yes, the right information is not an expense, it is an investment. There is no other investment that provides as high a return as an investment in the right information. The right information can only come from the right sources; proven and tested sources. The right information leads to the right thinking.

2.      Right thinking. The right thinking comes from studying and fully understanding the value of the right information. Take the time to reflect, the time to process the information and its implications in everything you are involved with. Learn to think like great and successful thinkers. Faulty thinking comes from using misinformation. Right thinking is absolutely critical to taking the right actions.

3.      Right actions. The right actions come from the application of the knowledge gained from studying and analyzing the right information and thinking. The right actions are the responses to the right thinking. The wrong actions are the reactions to the wrong thinking. The word of advice here is that it requires faith and courage to take the right course of actions. The right actions can only lead to the right results.

4.      Right results. The right actions can only lead to the right results. There is a delay in seeing the right results from the right actions due to the time delay and the compounding effect from the right actions. The right results boost our self-esteem, build confidence and start to build our competence and capabilities. A string of great results is habit forming, and it becomes is critical to building our character and our reputation. As we fully comprehend the impact of the right results, coming from the application of a proven process, we start forming the right habits.

5.      Right habits. Good habits are hard to make and easy to break. Bad habits are easy to make and hard to break. Habits either make us or they break us. Bad habits are natural to us while good habits must be intentional. We have the natural propensity towards the wrong habits. The world provides all we need to acquire the wrong habits. It take discipline to stay the course, to follow the right principles, take the right actions, recognize and value the right results, if we have a shot at creating the right habits. We become known for the results we produce, the fruits of our labor. The right habits create our character and our reputation.

6.      Right character. Character is who we really are and reputation is who the world thinks we are. Focus on your character and the reputation will take care of itself. Reputation is fragile and that is why the right character is critical. We live in a negative and misinformed world. People of character are expected to be believed, and when they are not, they let time prove them right. People with the right character and so few and that is why they leave lasting legacies. Abe Lincoln and Gandhi are two that come to mind.

7.      Lasting legacy. Who does not want to leave a legacy for centuries to come? We all do. Yet, few understand the process to get to a rich legacy. Few are willing to get the right information, few are willing to take the time to think properly, few  have the courage to take the right actions even if unpopular, few are willing to act long enough to get the right results, even fewer are willing to build a great character, and the very few that do, end up leaving a lasting legacy. I hope you are one to those individuals who will leave a lasting legacy. The world needs more people like you.

Thank you for reading and reflecting on today’s nuggets.          

Be blessed and be a blessing to others
Carlos Fontana
Author of the book Priceless, Co-author of the book Follow to Lead

"Those that take swift action will always leave those that don't breathing the dust"
"The future belongs to those who can see and pursue opportunities before they are obvious"
“Managers influence numbers, leaders influence people by inspiring them to pursue excellence”



Sunday, March 5, 2017

We can never have enough of Toscana

7 Days in Toscana – Italy

Toscana is fascinating, exhilarating, exciting, energizing, rejuvenating, motivating, and inspiring. Toscana is truly PRICELESS to anyone who takes the time to enjoy one of the greatest treasures Italy offers to the world!


If you want to create not 7, but 70 times 7 memories, then visit Toscana. Spending these 7 days in Toscana was just a preamble for spending the month of October there in the future.


Here are the 7 highlights from the unforgettable 7 days in Toscana:


1.    People
You can find all kinds of people in Italy, just like in any other part of the world. Yes, you can find from nice and polite young people to grumpy old men sitting around the parks complaining about life and government. Italians are very friendly and helpful in providing information to strangers. I love to hear and pronounce their names. The names in Italians sound really sweet to our ears. Here are some of the names of people I met: Giulio, Alessandro, Irene, Paolo, Pietro, Giovanni, i Roberta.


2.    Food
Italy is at the top of the world when it comes to enjoying a meal. I am bias towards the foods starting with p:  Paste, Pizze, Pomodori, Presciutti, Pane, Polente i Polli. My favorite this time was the polenta con cinghiale. Black olives gave a special touch to this typical northern Italian food. Eating in Italy is truly a Priceless experience. Of course, everything tastes better with a glad of red wine.


3.    Land
The lands and landscapes are fascinating and high quality nourishment for the eyes, the mind and the soul. Montagne, valli i pianure, pieni di vigneti, olive, pini, rosmarino i alloro. On a walk down the mountain to the city, I stopped to talk with a 90 year old man, pruning his olive trees. Exchanging words with the Nonno reminded of my own grandfather pruning grapevines. The views from those mountains are breathtaking and the air is fresh with the aroma the abundant bay leaf trees. I could not help, and often stop to pluck an alloro leaf, crush it with my fingers and smell it.

4.    Language
Italians don’t just speak, they also sing while talking. There is so much beauty in this romantic language. If you know Italian you can notice not only the different accents but also the different dialects spoken by Italians from different provinces of Italy. Of course, I had to buy 7 books in Italian so I can further improve this beautiful language.


5.      Cities
The 7 cities visited were: Milano, Montecatini Terme, Firenze, Cinque Terre, Lucca, San Gimigniano i Siena. My two favorites were Siena and Firenze. Historical cities are full of stores for all kinds of shoppers. It is amazing how one can quickly fall into the buying mood and spend euros like it is a cheap currency. By the way, I found Italy to be inexpensive to Americans at this time in history. With the price of Starbucks coffee in USA one can get 3 coffees just about anywhere in Toscana. All the coffees and gelati are great. Seems like the Italians know how to keep the best for themselves and export the remaining to the world.


6.      History
If there is something for everyone in Toscana, can you imagine in the whole country of Italy? From architecture to art, and that includes food, it is a daily fascinating adventure to visit so many places with so much history visible to the common eye. Walking on those narrow streets, on stones that have been laid there for thousands years, gives one a sense of wonder on whom may have walked on those iron stones before. The chiese and cattedrali or duomi makes one think how shallow, or even ignorant, we have become over the course of history.

7.      Automobiles
Italians also love their automobiles. The range goes from the Fiat 500, the little car that brought more freedom to the Italian donne in the 1960’s. Home of the great auto brands that end with the letter i: Maserati, Ferrari, Bugatti i Lamborghini. Guess all the clunkers are taken out of circulation and recycled since I only saw a few roaming the streets.


Thank you for reading and reflecting on today’s nuggets.          

Be blessed and be a blessing to others
Carlos Fontana
Author of the book Priceless, Co-author of the book Follow to Lead

"Those that take swift action will always leave those that don't breathing the dust"

"The future belongs to those who can see and pursue opportunities before they are obvious"

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Failure does NOT have to be final

Failure does NOT have to be final

Quitting is final; improving and learning goes on forever. Failing our way to success is a truism. Failure is only final when we quit. We will be attempted to quit anything worthwhile pursuing. Quitters never win and winners never quit. 
Why do so many people fail and then quit? The chief reason dabblers fail and quit is that they do not have a clear purpose, vision, and mission to get their goals and dreams in life. Now more than ever, we are bombarded with one liners and messages of instant success. This microwave thinking is poisoning our minds and leading to final failures. It doesn't have to be that way. 
Success is simple and predictable, but it is not easy. Success only comes to those that are willing to do the hard work, the smart work, and to let the time compound their small victories into massive success. Success requires mental fitness and fortitude to endure what the average person is not willing to endure. Never forget that if you follow the crowd, if you do what the average person does, by following the crowd, you will get what they get, and that is not much, a survival state at best. 
One of the greatest businessmen of the last century, Sam Walton, is the perfect role model for us to learn from. Sam swam against the current. He found out where the competition was going and ran the other way, and boy he ran fast. No wonder he built what became the largest company in the world.
Let’s take a closer look at why winners win.

1.    Information.
Winners place great value in getting the right information.
Winners are always in search of better information from better sources.
Winners get their information from the right sources, other proven winners.

2.    Thinking
Winners learn proper thinking from those that think correctly.
Winners develop their correct thinking by plugging in the right information.
Winners know how critical it is to make the right decisions and stay the course.

3.    Advice
Winners value and follow the advice from their mentors.
Winners place urgency in the right learning and application of learning.
Winners get advice from those that have the results they are looking for.

4.    Process
Winners follow a proven and duplicatable process.
Winners develop the right habits that compound over time.
Winners consistently follow the pursuit of their goals and dreams.
5.    Practice
Winners have laser focus on improving the right skills.
Winners know that practicing the right skills leads to excellence.
Winners master their craft by relentlessly practicing the right skills.

6.    Adversity
Winners expect and deal with adversity head on.
Winners have strong mental fitness to deal with a negative world.
Winners swim against the current long enough until the current turns in their favor.
7.    System
Winners know the power of leveraging the correct system.
Winners become champions by mastering the right routines.
Winners know that the magic is in the system, not in themselves.
Winners know the compounding effect produced by the right system.

Thank you for reading and reflecting on today’s nuggets.          

Be blessed and be a blessing to others
Carlos Fontana
Author of the book Priceless, Co-author of the book Follow to Lead

"Those that take swift action will always leave those that don't breathing the dust"
"The future belongs to those who can see and pursue opportunities before they are obvious"

“Managers influence numbers, leaders influence people by inspiring them to pursue excellence”