Read Excerpts from the book…
Founder and CEO of Pay Your Family First
Spokesperson for National CPAs Financial Literacy Commission
Co-author of Outwitting the Devil, Three Feet From Gold and Rich Dad Poor Dad
Each and every one of us is where we are in our lives today because of the decisions and choices we have made along the way. I am reminded of the expression, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” Realizing if we want something different out of life, we need to start making different choices.
In The Five Degree Principle, Shannon Cassidy provides you with a blueprint to support your learning to “choose” a better life. It serves as a practical guide on how you can change your attitudes and perspectives, to quickly move you closer to your goals, one small step at a time. Moreover, Shannon does an outstanding job in reducing complexities to simple, practical techniques that will liberate you from indecision and empower you to take control of your destiny. You’ll feel your self-confidence skyrocket along the way.
The book’s main character, Lauren, rides a very realistic (and often very familiar) roller coaster of highs and lows in both her personal and professional life. At first, accepting her employer’s offer to work with an executive coach was both threatening and intimidating. Though skeptical, Lauren starts seeing improvements, learns how to refocus her lens on life and makes shifts to move from a victim/blame mindset to a victor mindset. The coach’s invaluable insights help her turn the corner. The story exemplifies a shift from inaction due to fear…to acting in spite of fear…and overcoming self-limiting beliefs.
I encourage you to take a step. Try some of Shannon’s five degree principles in your own life. You’re closer to what you’re aiming for than you think.
“If the career you have chosen has some unexpected inconvenience, console yourself by reflecting that no career is without them.”
— Jane Fonda, American Actress and Fitness Buff
Mistakes, fumbles, errors and screw-ups are part of playing the game of life and work. If you’re going to fail is not the question. Everyone makes missteps and experiences mini-failure. How you rebound, guided by your attitude, and what actions you take are what matters most.
Lauren makes a common mistake. In haste, she emails the wrong person the wrong message. These things happen when we don’t slow ourselves down long enough to think. Managing pace and anticipating the unexpected is a skill Lauren is developing…slowly.
Lauren was pensive and feeling ambivalent about her situation as she drove into the city. She resolved to allot her forty-minute commute time to reviewing her current situation and challenges and how to face the day before her. The quiet evening with phone shut off, conversing and playing with her kids did her a world of good. Even the catharsis of writing in her journal seemed to help her sleep soundly through the night. “A good night’s sleep surely makes a difference in my attitude. A well-rested mind helps me realize how much I’ve been given. I know my life is not a complete failure.”
Determined to be cheerful and project this positive attitude, Lauren was upbeat as she entered the building. “Morning, James!” Everyone at DEG — and all the other building tenants — were acquainted with security guard James Whitaker’s big smile and cheery greeting at the entrance security desk. There was just a certain something about that man that could instantly make people happy.
Lately Lauren seemed so down in the dumps. Her jovial greeting took him aback. “You’re the first one in today from the management team, Ms. Colton,” James offered with a wink. “How are those beautiful kids?”
Lauren felt overcome by a deeper bond with Jamesrather suddenly. “They’re great, thanks for asking, James. Kelly seems to have a little crush, but the young man seems to run hot and cold. Some days he ignores her, some days he lights her up. Growing pains, right James?”
“Ah, yes indeed, Ms. Colton.” James broke into a hearty laugh. “Life is full of meaningful lessons. Everyone must learn them. Plus it helps to see the good in these trials. It makes it worth the pain.” Lauren looked back at James for a moment. She tried to put aside the thoughts of Richard and Bob that were rushing through her mind. “You’re sure right about that. Enjoy the day, James.”
“Sure will,” he replied, “you do the same.”
Lauren popped off the elevator, grabbing a quick peak out the DEG office lobby window at the historic city of Philadelphia and the sun’s reflection on the Delaware River. One look at that awesome view reminded her to be grateful for all the good in her life. She glanced at the stylish Cartier watch Bob gave her right before he left. Sometimes the watch depressed her, but this time, she could somehow just admire its simplistic sweeping elegance.
Notice and appreciate the sources of wisdom in your life.
Lauren adjusted her heavy laptop shoulder bag and straightened her pencil skirt, purposefully striding down the hallway. Today was a day to put her intentions on savoring and enjoyment, not to dwell on negatives. She smiled proudly as she thought about the talented pool of diverse individuals she’d hired and brought together, ruminating briefly on their accomplishments as a group and as individuals. Despite this recent missed-promotion setback, there was a lot to feel fortunate for, both at work and at home.
She swung open her office door so quickly, papers flew off of her desk. Without blinking or thinking, she fired up her laptop and read the Wall Street Journal headlines.
Trusted colleague Sohan Budrick popped his head into her door. “Good morning. How was your night?”
“Hey, Sohan,” she said brightly. “My night was awesome! I refused to work, turned off my phone and just hung out with the kids. It felt so liberating to just do what I wanted. Not what I typically do at night: work. You know?”
“It’s great you’re taking better care of your physical and emotional well-being. In the end, it will serve you well and you’ll accomplish more in your day. I’m off to brew up some green tea. Want to join me?” Sohan was a yoga devotee whose lifestyle was far too healthy for anyone in venture capital.
“Thanks for the offer. I need to get a couple of things done before Richard’s staff meeting, but I’ll definitely take a rain check.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” Sohan offered warmly.
As she hovered over the credenza, she watched 51 new email messages upload since she’d checked her iPhone before leaving her house. One from her pal Paul Nolan was marked urgent.
“Hey. Sorry to hear about yesterday. You’re a much more talented financier than Peter. What happened? Drop me a line when you get the chance.”
Lauren drafted a quick response to Paul. “Apparently I’m working at a firm that values fraternity friends over results. Found out Peter and his brother Thomas are Richard’s good college buddies. Thanks Rebound from mistakes for the support. I appreciate it. Today I’m feeling good for a change.” She hit send. Lauren never noticed that the email address default picked up the “P” in Peter instead of Paul Nolan. Message sent. Richard’s meetings seldom started on time. It was universally understood that a 9:30 a.m. meeting would begin at least 15 to 30 minutes late. Lauren had long ago adjusted her internal clock to account for Richard time. She finished up some last-minute research and walked into the conference room at 9:45. Everyone was there, including Richard, and the meeting had already begun. Lauren quietly slid into a seat at the table. “Thanks for joining us, Lauren,” Richard smirked. His singsong tone was clearly condescending and sarcastic. “Sorry I’m late. I didn’t expect the meeting to start on time,” Lauren said, defensively. “It’s a 9:30 meeting,” he retorted. Smiling at the rest of the team and with direct, stern eye contact, Richard said, “Let’s chat offline.” Lauren didn’t share her research. In fact, she didn’t speak at all or change her facial expression. She was disheartened — physically present but mentally disconnected from the boardroom. Repeatedly reviewing recent conversations drowned out the voices of her co-workers. What did I say, what did I do that so obviously darkened Richard’s attitude towards me? She had arrived at work and at the meeting feeling great and ready to make things happen, yet everything seemed to crash in the blink of an eye. When the meeting adjourned, stomach in knots, Lauren made her way down to Richard’s corner office. Generally Richard would greet her with a welcoming smile, but today he simply said, “Shut the door.” Oh, crap! was the only thought that came to Lauren’s mind. “I’m extremely disappointed,” Richard said angrily. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Richard.”