Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Part 1: Make Your Standards > America's Standards

"Each generation will reap what the former generation has sown." ~Proverb

A few months ago we saw an ugly America.

The election season was almost depressing to watch.

It brought out the worst of this country. It brought out the worst in everyone. But sadly, the 2016 election is simply an epitome of a problem that NO ONE is talking about. And, along with me, you're probably guilty...

We're guilty of lowering our standards. 

But before we dive into that, a Public Service Inquiry:

When did it become our civic duty to do things just a little bit worse than the generation before us? Or maybe there's a bigger question at hand... When did it become socially acceptable to continually lower the bar?

That's the culprit, right?  The decline of standards?  We keep lowering the bar and thus keep paving the path for a moral and social decline for our kids and our kids' kids.

Again, I'm guilty of it, so I'm certainly not pointing fingers if you're guilty, too. Sometimes it may just be a core value we compromised for a split second. But I think it's obvious, those split seconds have accumulated into a societal blunder. Examples?

When did it become not OK to respect our elders? I'm sure you've noticed that respect has flip-flopped so drastically that teenage behavior blatantly disrespects the older population.

Let's read some dating articles in women's magazines: They are begging for chivalry to make a return.  When did it become ok to not date with gentlemanly behavior?

Disobedience or disruptive behavior in a classroom used to mean student discipline- at the very least, a name on the board.  When did it become OK to blame the teacher?

Look at Tinder. Now we're dating and meeting people before knowing the slightest bit about the other person. Oh, did I sugar coat that? I meant sleeping with people before knowing the slightest bit about them. Where did our individual standards go?

Why do we live in a free country where most memes make more sense than our politicians?

There are 300 Million people in our country, and the top two choices for PRESIDENT OF THE
UNITED STATES were a liar and an egomaniac. These 2 clowns laid the platform a for a hateful pillow-fight where the only weapons used are 'proof' as to why the other candidate is 'more worser.' Oh, Donald Trump talked badly about women? Yeah, well Bill Clinton got adultery sex in the Oval an all trailer park battle of who is a just a bit rapier. How sad that our most powerful position has more name calling and back stabbing than an 8th grade class president election?

The sad part is that we don't have answers to any of this. So in lieu of digging for answers, we place blame. And who is up next?  Ah, yes...Step forward, Millennials. Your elders need target practice.

If this country was a giant High Jump competition, we're doing it wrong. IF someone jumps over the bar at 3-foot, 6-inches, then we are supposed to raise the bar to 3'7". A higher bar equals higher standards. Higher standards demand everyone works harder to achieve new heights and strives to meet new challenges.

Instead. When someone jumps over 3'6", society muddles together over $6 coffee and makes a case to lower the bar to 3'5" because people might actually have to work for 3'6".

So where does it stop? How low do we go?

YOU may or may not be able to lead higher bars for the general public, but you can start by setting higher standards for yourself and how people treat you. Higher standards means loftier goals and ultimately a better, more refined you.

Part 1 (the ugly overview) is over & out. Stay tuned for Part 2. Start thinking about the 'Better You.'

~Coach Jake

P.S. Are you ready to start raising the bar for yourself?  Check out or email to find out how.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Budgeting Makes Perfect Cents

"Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a big ship." ~Benjamin Franklin

I know! Maximal Me Coaching took a few months off to revamp training and seminar programs, but now I'm back in 2016 and better than ever.

Let's talk about your money for a minute. Do you have a budget? Do you need a budget? Are you frustrated because the numbers never add up?    If  you answered 'yes' to any of these, I'm here to simplify the process so you have a system that meets your lifestyle in the best way possible.

So take a deep breath, and let's start over.

When I was single and in my 20's, my budget consisted of 7 line-items on a spreadsheet that gave me a decent guess at my surplus at the end of the month.  The truth is that my money wasn't a concern, so my budget wasn't either. kids spend all my money, so I'm stuck wondering how toddlers can be so fiscally irresponsible.

I truly don't believe I ever had a grasp on my budget and expenditures until my first daughter turned 1, and I was finding myself puzzled at the end of the month.  That's when I decided to do conduct a BRUTAL-TRUTH-STUDY of my money.

Here's what I did: Everyday for 3 weeks, I wrote down every expenditure I had, whether it was cash, credit, or debit. At Day 21, I was shocked.

It wasn't my car payment, house payment, or electricity bill that was killing was EVERYTHING I hadn't thought of- all of the small stuff. Every mid-morning snack, every bottled water, every pack of gum, every lunch out-to-eat, every happy hour. I was spending $400/month on pure miscellaneous, which, at the end of the day, made my budget worthless.

Food for Thought: There are roughly 240 working days in a year. If you buy an average Starbucks drink on half of those days, that's $480. 

So, now it's time for you to make a list. But you have to include all the normal stuff, and then all of the items you buy to help the day run smoothly...for now, we'll call them 'Reality Check' items.  Let's examine..
  • Car
  • House/Apt
  • Electricity
  • Cable/TV
  • Cell phone
  • Water Bill
  • Food from grocery
  • Insurance/car
  • Insurance/health
  • Coffee/Starbucks
  • Candy, chips, coke bought from vending machine
  • Alcohol purchases
  • Cigarettes/tobacco products
  • Snacks purchased while getting gas
  • 'Night-out' expenses, drinks, shots, 'a-round-for the table'
The next step is where the true budgeting comes into play. So first you need the difference (whether it's a positive or a negative number) of your income minus [List 1 + List 2].
Next, if you're budgeting, then you're actually planning, so what are you wanting to plan for?  a rainy day? new clothes?  car maintenance?

All of those are respectable areas that will require your attention at some point. The question remains: how much are you setting aside for all of your future expenses?  Does 5% of your income make sense? Even 10%?     Multiply your monthly income by .1 and include that amount as a line item...does that work?

These are questions only you can answer, but if you want to be a true steward of your finances, planning ahead is technically your third 'list.' Having foresight to make sure you're protected...and planning ahead so you're covered and ready for emergency expenses is a critical skill.

Every budget is different, so you may have to tinker with numbers and scenarios a few times. More importantly, you may have to make some sacrifices, but that's not a bad thing. It's the responsible thing. And if you do find a monthly plan that's feasible (at least on paper), try it for 3 months and then re-evaluate. 

Let's wrap it up with some tips and a summary:

  1. Aim for putting 10% of every paycheck into savings. It might take discipline to not touch this money.
  2. If you're serious about tackling your budget, then you'll need to be serious about all of your spending. Map, chart, and include all of the small things.
  3. Take retirement planning seriously. It takes decades to accumulate the wealth you'll need for a happy retirement. The process should begin in your 20's and 30's.
  4. Set goals and hold yourself accountable to your monthly plan.

Good luck- and be sure to save some money to reward yourself for all your accomplishments!

~Coach Jake

P.S. Need some help with your budget? Contact me at

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Call Your Own Timeouts

We need quiet time to examine our lives openly and honestly - spending quiet time alone gives your mind an opportunity to renew itself and create order. ~Susan L. Taylor

You always have a timeout left
I remember the night I booked my timeout. I had worked 63 hours that week, and executive leadership at work had reached a new low of nonsense. My lawnmower broke down. My motivation was questionable...for everything. Even my 4 year-old was particularly crabby towards me.

I was needing a timeout. A break.

So late one night, after my entire household was asleep, I booked a timeout.

Now, on paper, the Grand Canyon didn't make much sense. Miles of desert. Very little water. Brutal conditions. Not exactly remote tropical fabulous-ness. However, my mind was pleading for a sense of "off the grid."
Here's the best part: from the second I booked the flight, I found a new pulse that I hadn't felt in awhile. I was recharged...I had something to look forward to. It's always ok to admit that you're in a slump, or even nearing depression (and both of those are certainly good reasons to get away). In my case, I realized that family, fatherhood, and career had completely taken over my priorities list. And, rightly so. That's what they should do. But that didn't make it wrong to revisit individualism again. Perhaps even clear my head and regain focus.

So that's my simple message to you: Find our own timeout...then 'call' it. Maybe even schedule your timeouts. It doesn't have to be something major. It doesn't have to be expensive. Take the time to find some quiet or a passion that you temporarily lost while life and your new priorities crept into schedule. Do something you love. Do something that makes you- you.

Want a simple idea?  Select an upcoming Saturday or Sunday. At 8:00 am, turn off all of your devices...anything with a power button, including cell phones, tablets, computers, and televisions. Now make a list of things you want to accomplish. Mix your list up between productive tasks and mind-clearing activities. See if you can make it 12 hours with all your devices off. Savor the silence. You may or may not realize how many distractions a typical day is capable of bringing...but how many items on your list did you mark off?

Grand Canyon: That's me!
Smaller Scale idea? Take 15 minutes out of everyday where you remove yourself from the chaos and simply collect your thoughts. Write your thoughts down in a journal or blog, especially your genius ideas.
I challenge you to challenge yourself and continue living. If you do it right, you'll find a zest and a zeal to bring back to reality when you're ready to come back. Take a selfie while you're there!

Happy hunting,

Coach Jake

P.S. Ask me how Coaching Programs can help your Time Management and scheduling thrive.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What the A.C.T. & S.A.T. Forgot to Tell You...

"True terror is to wake up one  morning and discover that your high school class is running the country." ~Kurt Vonnegut

I was struck by an interesting question last week that caught me off guard: "She's half-way through her Senior year of high school, what should she be focusing on for college?"

I was caught off-guard not because it's a bad's actually a brilliant question...I'm just guessing that it's usually answered incorrectly. You see, what you need to survive in college, isn't found in a text book. It's actually a set of acquired skills that are rarely even mentioned. And it's sad. Lost in all this talk about Common Core and the next standardized test, the real survival skills are forgotten.

I worked in university admissions for 6 years, so I was able to observe a pretty good list of reasons why students dropped out of college...and it usually wasn't because they weren't smart enough.

So, Alex Trebek, I'll take: "7 Things the ACT & SAT Forgot to Teach You...for $42,000."

1. The Ability and Poise to Say "No"

It will take your child about 20 seconds on campus to realize there are 101,000 distractions. Drinking. Athletics. Parties. Social Clubs. Greek Life. name a few. So when it's Thursday night and your huge exam is Friday at 8am, can you say "no" when everyone else is headed to a party? Saying "no" when it means the most is an art form.

2. Reading for Long Periods of Time

It sounds silly at first. But remember: You're 18 years-old with the attention span of a monkey with A.D.D. You're sitting there in the midst of all the distractions and invites. Can you stay focused long enough to read and retain the material in front of you for 60 minutes? 90 minutes?

3. Working in Groups

Much of college is about survival, and sometimes surviving means you get a group and you hit the library until you hit a milestone. Collaboration on homework. Group Think. Group presentations. You'd be surprised and saddened by the number of people who can't interact with small crowds.

4. Living with No Extra Credit

Extra Credit in high school is sometimes given out more frequently than lunchroom pizza or milk in small cartons. Write an extra essay- 30 extra points. Do an extra project- bonus points.  The buffer allowed for a bad test score every now and then and kept your grades in good standing regardless of what you were learning. In college? Not so much.  The grade you earned the first time is the grade that will effect your average. Professors will ask you- why should I give extra credit when you didn't study the first time?

5. Entitlement Stays Home with Mommy & Daddy

This one might be the hardest. If you believe college is going to hold your hand and owe you something...then you're going to get used to a lot of F's and WF's (withdraw while failing). You need a strong work ethic, motivation, and a pile of stick-to-it-iveness. No one is going to hand you anything- you have to be ready to go earn it yourself.

6. Time Management

Often branded a corporate term, personal Time Management is just as important as pizza and Ramen noodles for college survival. Your course work...Study groups...Part time job...Significant other. And all the social events already mentioned. Having a system for scheduling and balancing it all is critical to success. That has to start in high school, and I highly recommend employing the help of a system like a day planner or digital calendar.

7. Critical Thinking

Your child can read. Your child can write. But can he or she think for himself/herself? Do you have a child who can take a situation and some data to objectively analyze a problem? Can he think outside the box when a common formula doesn't quite fit? Can she find a solution when all the factors aren't apparent?  Challenge your child. Make thinking outside the box a weekly task. Critical Thinking is more than a college's a life skill.

Care for a bonus? (no Extra Credit, though)...

8. Surviving on Little or No Sleep

When Mommy and Daddy are facilitating the physiological needs, the balance and scheduling can often get taken for granted. So when you find the need to study until 10pm, rush to Waffle House for a bite to eat, then hit a couple parties until're still forced to remember that it's only Tuesday and you have a full day tomorrow. It gets even better when the cycle goes, wash, rinse, & repeat. The solution isn't keeping a high school student up late on weekdays, but every now and then, a chore or task when your kid is a little tired and groggy isn't a bad idea.

Does this list include every skill a student with college ambitions should embrace?? Of course not. But it's a solid start, especially for you parents with 8th and 9th graders. And if you parents are wondering if your student will be "college-ready," you should remember to value and boost the life skill-sets as much as is traditionally done with knowledge.

Happy College Prepping,

Coach Jake

P.S. Ask me how Maximal Me Coaching Programs can help prepare your college student.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Life Coaching Tool #1: The Circle of Perspective Life Coaching is excited to launch a series of Life Coaching tools that you can easily complete  to evaluate different areas of you're life. You'll essentially be your own coach.

The Circle of Perspective, also known as the 'Wheel of Life', is a quick exercise to give yourself a snapshot of areas in your life that might need attention.

First, draw the circle shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Wheel of Perspective

Next,  label each 'pie' section with one of the following: Career, Relationships, Spirituality (or Mental Fitness), Health & Fitness, Financially, and then one for Overall Well Being.

Give each segment a score or graded based on how you view that segment in your life. 10 is Excellent. Couldn't be Happier. 0 (zero) is Completely Disastisfied/unhappy. Write each number in the section.

Figure 2: Filling in Your Wheel
Now you will be filling in the ‘spokes’ and creating your wheel. Draw a line connecting the spokes based on your score from Step #3 (This will create a smaller triangle), and then color or shade in the piece. See Figure 2. If you gave that segment a 10, color in the whole piece. If you gave it a 5, draw a line half way in the piece connecting the spokes

Reflection:  Take a minute to process your scores for each section. This is a snapshot of your Wheel of Life and Circle of Perspective. What are your initial thoughts?  If this was a real wheel, how would you be able to smoothly roll forward?  Where can we focus your Life Coaching?

Let your wheel soak in, then create an action plan for your lowest scoring segments!

Happy Coaching!

~Coach Jake

P.S. Interested in seeing more Life Coaching tools or taking your life to the next level? Check out or email me and ask me how!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Check Out Thumbtack

Just a quit plug... Do you have a service to offer the community or are you looking for some solid vendors?  Check out!

You can find my Life Coaching profile on Thumbtack here: Maximal Me Life Coaching on Thumback

If you have a business or service, Thumbtack brings you potential client leads right to your phone.

~Coach Jake

Saturday, January 17, 2015

How to Score...Goals

My New Years resolutions:

1. Stop Making Lists
B. Be more consistent
7. Learn to Count

Despite most of them falling into a black hole by January 15, New Years resolutions are never, ever a bad thing. What's puzzling is the odd trend of waiting until the new year to actually set a goal. Not a lot of people know this, so please keep it a secret: You can set a goal and act upon it at ANY time during the year.

Shhhhhhhhhh. I know. Crazy, right? Don't tell anyone.

Before I can tell you how to achieve every thing you want, let's first examine why most New Years resolutions are dead by February and why most goals never get off the ground. Goals die because:

1. We record the goal in our heads only.

An idea pops into our head...and, Oh it's a brilliant one! Sadly, we just keep it there. It remains a hovering thought with no tender, loving care. Write goals down. Keep them in the forefront of your plans and revisit them often.

2. We create the vision and forget the plan.

I want a new job making $10k more than what I am making now.  That's a solid goal, but what are the steps you're going to take to make it happen? What resources can help you along the way? Answer these questions as part of your plan of action.

3. We have no timetables or milestones.

What good is a goal if you don't have a date for desired completion? When a particular task has a deadline, we tend to pay more attention to it. Milestones can be useful for breaking a large task into smaller ones. If you want to do 100 push-ups by June, why not aim for 40 by March and then 80 by May?

4. Celebrate your victories.

If you're not celebrating and rewarding yourself for your wins in life,  then you're doing it wrong. A tangible reward can only serve as motivation for completing a task. The size of the reward can even match the size of the goal...from taking yourself to get a Dairy Queen Blizzard to taking that 7-day cruise you've always wanted.

If you think a more structured system would help you, or you just like acronyms, try the S.M.A.R.T. Goal approach.

Specific- Be precise so you can evaluate your success.
Measurable- The who, what, and where of your goal.
Achievable- They have to be reasonable for you to reach.
Realistic- Do you have the ability and commitment to reach them?
Time Bound- A timeline will finalize your goal’s structure.

Need a place to start? Choose 2 short-term (1-3 months) goals and 1 long-term (4-12 months) goal and then create your plans. Document your milestones and your desired celebrations, and then track them to completion. [This process is acceptable from January through December.]

I want to see you score...Goals. Happy Goal Setting,

Coach Jake

P.S. Ask me how Life Coaching Programs hold us both accountable to your goals and dreams. Request a goal tracking template from