Archives For book

What does it mean to be rich and how do you get there?

I’m reading two books in the early part of this year that are forcing me to think about this question.  The first book is Redefine Rich: A New Perspective on the Good Life by Matt Ham.  I’ll share more about this book in the coming weeks.  If you want to hear some of my early thoughts on this topic, go to my blog post from September 29th by clicking here and then go listen to my podcast interview with Matt.

The second book is Rich Kids: How to Raise Our Children to Be Happy and Successful in Life by Tom Corley.  I received this book from one of my blog world friends, Matt McWilliams, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to read the book.  I wish I had read this book when I was a teenager, but I think it’s a book worth reading whether you are young or older.  And while the subtitle seems to point to parents, I think this book is a valuable resource whether or not you are a parent.

This book is not written from a religious perspective.  Rich Kids uses an easy-to-read story to provide practical tips for developing habits that will lead you to a rich life.  It would be easy to think this is only meant for those who want to have monetary wealth, but I think the principles and habits suggested in this book are great tools for anyone who want to live life to the fullest.

Here are a few of the things I captured as I was reading Rich Kids:

  • “Learn as many new skills as you can when you’re young.”  Keep learning.  Keep growing.  Keep stretching!
  • “You can’t be successful in life if you don’t have a passion for what you do for a living, and you can only find your passion in life by pursuing creative activities.”  Life is too short to live without passion.  So many people fail to find and follow their passion.  I don’t want to waste my life.
  • “Success is not easy.  Success takes time, persistence, passion, and an obsessiveness that borders on fanaticism.  Successful people are fanatics.  They are obsessed.  They understand that success is a process.”  Get rich quick schemes don’t work in the long run.
  • “When you find your main purpose in life you stop worrying about the ‘how.’  The ‘why’ is all that matters.  The ‘why’ is your main purpose.  Once you find your ‘why,’ the ‘how’ magically appears.”
  • “Success takes time.  Realizing your goals in life just takes time.  Life is a marathon.”  In a culture of “I want it now,” we have to remember that good things come to those who are patient.
  • “Having a mentor in life is like someone depositing millions and millions of dollars into your bank account.  Mentoring is critical to success.”  Who is you mentor?
  • “You can’t become successful if you’re always blaming others for your circumstances.”  Many don’t want to hear this one.
  • “Always focus on the other person and resist that human tendency to put yourself first.”
  • “Life is all about rising above your self-interest and getting into the habit of treating the other person as important.”
  • “Wherever you go, carry around a notepad, and when you meet anyone you want to get to know, don’t be afraid to ask them their birthday.”
  • “Making the effort to remember someone’s name tells them that they are important to you.”
  • “Parents need to lead by example.”
  • “Start by making a point to find something to be grateful for each day.”
  • “Always be grateful for the smallest things in life as well as the big stuff.”

These are just a few of the things that stood out to me as I read this book.  Having a “rich” life starts by making choices and taking actions that lead us down the right path.  Rich Kids will get you started down the right path.

What is one habit you have implemented that helps you have a “rich” life?  What is one habit you need to implement to have a “rich” life?

(Please note:  I received a copy of Rich Kids for free as part of a giveaway from Matt McWilliams.  I was not required to provide a favorable review.  I truly believe this book can be a helpful reminder to any reader in helping them to take steps to become successful – at work, in the community, at church, and at home.

Also to note:  There are affiliate links in this post.  Should you purchase Rich Kids or Redefine Rich by clicking one of these links, I receive a small percentage of the purchase.  These funds are used to support The Stretched Blog and to extend ministry and missions to Guatemala.  Thank you!)

“I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.”
Bob Goff, Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World

This coming Sunday, my church is hosting a guest speaker, and I am pretty excited.

I love the pastors at my church and what they bring to my church week after week.  Sometimes, they need a break, and they look for someone to fill in.  The leadership and worship planning teams did an unbelievable job planning for Justice Day at my church this Sunday.  I’m not sure how they did it, but they arranged to have author, speaker, lawyer, and founder of Restore International, Bob Goff, in to speak at all three services at my church this Sunday, January 11, 2015.

I came across Bob a few years ago when friends in the blogging world introduced me to his book, Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World.  The book itself tells the story of Bob and his whimsical pursuit to live out God’s love in every day life.  Love Does is one of the best books I have read in the past five years.  You can read the review I wrote about the book by clicking here (and you can get your own copy of the book by clicking on the link below).

If you happen to be in and around the Philadelphia area this Sunday, I would encourage you to find some friends and come up to Christ’s Church of the Valley in Royersford, PA.  Service times are 9:00AM, 10:15AM, and 11:30AM.  Hope to see you there!

Have you read Love Does?  If you could ask Bob Goff any question, what would it be?

jonstolpe 300x200

Here are the highlights from November 2014.  Thanks to everyone who read along and commented.  Your readership and participation in the daily discussions are what make The Stretched Community.  Thank you!

It was another record-breaking month!

Overall, traffic was up from October (10.73%).  Traffic was up 142.42% compared to a year ago.  The top 10 posts included posts from 2014 and one from 2012 (the number one post).  Again, most of the posts were from late September and early October.  There was one post from February.  If you missed any of these posts, I hope you’ll go and check them out now by clicking below.  The post with the most engagement was one that didn’t make the top 10 list below – Ice Breaker – Ask Me Anything.

Top 10 Posts:

    1. Ice Breaker – Giving Thanks At Thanksgiving  November 16, 2012 (1092)
    2. 5 Things To Remember When We Say Or Do Something Stupid  February 12, 2014 (305)
    3. September 2014 – Top Posts and Commenters PLUS BOOK GIVEAWAY  October 1, 2014 (279)
    4. October 2014 – Top Posts and Commenters PLUS BOOK GIVEAWAY  November 1, 2014 (276)
    5. No Excuses!  October 2, 2014 (258)
    6. Ice Breaker – Homecoming  October 3, 2014 (250)
    7. Experience The Supernatural  September 29, 2014 (238)
    8. Redefine Rich  September 29, 2014 (237)
    9. Knowing God So We Can Make Him Known  October 9, 2014 (232)
    10. A Tribute To Grandma  October 8, 2014 (214)

Top 10 Commenters:

As promised at the beginning of the month, I have randomly chosen someone from the top commenters list to receive a copy of  On Track: Life Lessons from the Track & Field by ME!  The winner of this book is…(drum roll)…Larry Carter.  Congrats to Larry!

For the month of December, I’ll be giving away another copy of On Track: Life Lessons from the Track & Field by ME! This month, the winner will be chosen randomly from the top 10 commenters.

Thanks to each and everyone for reading and for commenting.  I’m looking forward to December with The Stretched Community!  The month of December will include more STRETCHING posts.  More than likely, I will continue to focus on having a mission mindset in many of the upcoming posts, and I’ll be mixing in some Christmas related posts as well.

If you’re interested in guest posting here, leave a comment to connect with me.

How was your month?  If you’re a blogger share a link to your top post in the comments?  What was your favorite Stretched post this month?  How were you STRETCHED in November?

In case you’re interested, here are a few other interesting stats about November (based on Google Analytics):

  • Users – Increased 55.70%
  • Sessions – Increased 8.63%
  • Pageviews – Increased 7.45%
  • Pages Per Session – Decreased 1.39%
  • Average Session Duration – Decreased 26.23%
  • Bounce Rate – Increased 1.20%
  • New Sessions – Increased 10.78%

On Track – Life Lessons from the Track & Field is now available on Amazon in paperback and for Kindle.  Click the link below to get your copy today.

Looking for a great gift or stocking stuffer idea?  Pick up your copy of On Track TODAY!

As a reminder, I am offering a FREE pdf copy of the interior of the book to subscribers of The Stretched Newsletter.  Head over to the main page of the blog and sign up on the right hand menu bar to get your copy today for FREE!

OnTrack3dCover04132014

As I mentioned yesterday, our family Thanksgiving tradition includes tracing our hand prints onto a white tablecloth.  In each of our fingers, we write down something for which we are thankful.  This week, I’m taking time to share something I’ll be writing on the tablecloth this year.  I’m hoping you’ll contribute to the conversation by leaving something for which you are thankful for each day.

Here is the second thing I’ll be writing down this year:

On Track

On Track: Life Lessons from the Track & Field is the name of the book I self-published in April this year.  The book was a project in that it helped me learn more about the writing and self-publishing process, but it was more than just a project or experiment.  It truly became something for which I am very proud.

I’m thankful for the many people who contributed to my project.  There are too many to list here, but there are a few that deserve special mention.  I’m thankful for John Noonan who graciously lent his design talent to create a book cover that captures the essence of my book.  I’m thankful for Anita Comfort who utilized her English experience to edit my book.  I’m thankful for Matt McWilliams, Rob Shepherd, Diane KarchnerDan Erickson, and Mark Sieverkropp who read my book ahead of time and offered generous endorsements.  I’m thankful for the people who reviewed the book on Amazon.  These people (and many others) contributed to making the book release process as enjoyable as possible.

I’m thankful for the many people who have purchased the book or given it away for others to read.  I wrote this book for me, but I also wrote it for other people.  And I’m honored that people would take time to read my book.

I’m thankful for writing in general.  As I indicated in the introduction to the book, I haven’t always enjoyed writing, but it has become a part of me through the book, through my blog, and through the writing community I have joined in the past several years.  I’m thankful for the opportunity to stretch and express myself in ways I would not typically explore.

I’m thankful for the hope this book project represents for future personal writing dreams.

What is one thing you would put on your thankful list this year?  Why?

jonstolpe 300x200

Here are the highlights from October 2014.  Thanks to everyone who read along and commented.  Your readership and participation in the daily discussions are what make The Stretched Community.  Thank you!

It was a record-breaking month!

Overall, traffic was way up from September (125.24%).  Traffic was up 123.77% compared to a year ago.  The top 10 posts included posts from 2014.  Most of the posts were from late September and early October.  There was one post from February.  If you missed any of these posts, I hope you’ll go and check them out now by clicking below.  The posts with the most engagement were two which made the top 10 list below – The Platform Problem – More Of You And Less Of Me.

Top 10 Posts:

    1. Experience The Supernatural  September 29, 2014 (1260)
    2. 3 Steps To Take Before You Can Serve Effectively  September 30, 2014 (281)
    3. Redefine Rich  September 29, 2014 (263)
    4. Ice Breaker – Homecoming  October 3, 2014 (253)
    5. 5 Things To Remember When We Say Or Do Something Stupid  February 12, 2014 (245)
    6. September 2014 – Top Posts and Commenters PLUS BOOK GIVEAWAY  October 1, 2014 (244)
    7. No Excuses!  October 2, 2014 (241)
    8. A Tribute To Grandma  October 8, 2014 (217)
    9. From The Mountain To The Valley – Life After Short-Term Missions  October 7, 2014 (196)
    10. Knowing God So We Can Make Him Known  October 9, 2014 (195)

Top 10 Commenters:

As promised at the beginning of the month, I have randomly chosen someone from the top commenters list to receive a copy of  On Track: Life Lessons from the Track & Field by ME!  The winner of this book is…(drum roll)…Steve Y.  Congrats to Steve!

For the month of November, I’ll be giving away another copy of On Track: Life Lessons from the Track & Field by ME! This month, the winner will be chosen randomly from the top 10 commenters.

Thanks to each and everyone for reading and for commenting.  I’m looking forward to November with The Stretched Community!  The month of November will include more STRETCHING posts.  More than likely, I will continue to focus on having a mission mindset in many of the upcoming posts.  I’ll also take some time to reflect on thankfulness.

If you’re interested in guest posting here, leave a comment to connect with me.

How was your month?  If you’re a blogger share a link to your top post in the comments?  What was your favorite Stretched post this month?  How were you STRETCHED in October?

In case you’re interested, here are a few other interesting stats about October (based on Google Analytics):

  • Users – Increased 3.95%
  • Sessions – Increased 167.30%
  • Pageviews – Increased 165.99%
  • Pages Per Session – Decreased 0.46%
  • Average Session Duration – Increased 3.39%
  • Bounce Rate –Decreased 14.54%
  • New Sessions – Decreased 36.08%

On Track – Life Lessons from the Track & Field is now available on Amazon in paperback and for Kindle.  Click the link below to get your copy today.

As a reminder, I am offering a FREE pdf copy of the interior of the book to subscribers of The Stretched Newsletter.  Head over to the main page of the blog and sign up on the right hand menu bar to get your copy today for FREE!

stamp-161691_640

I have a crazy idea, and I need your help.

I am in search of track & field coaches and cross-country coaches who would be (or might be) interested in reading my book.  On Track: Life Lessons from the Track & Field takes observations from the track and field and uses them to encourage readers to live a life on track.

OnTrack3dCover04132014I believe this book could be valuable for anyone, but I especially think the message will resonate with those close to the track and field.  I would love to send a copy of my book to coaches.  I’m targeting coaches at Christian high schools and colleges, but I would happily send it to any interested coaches – for FREE!

If you a coach any you are interested in reading my book, leave a message in the comments, so we can connect.  If you are not a coach, but you know a coach who would benefit from my book, send me a comment, so we can make it happen.  I’d love to send my book to 50 coaches before the end of the year.  I’m hoping you can help make this happen.

Who was your favorite coach?  When was the last time you received something for FREE?

airport-351472_640

I was talking to a friend the other day, and he asked me how my book was doing.

I get this question a lot.

I filled him in on the general statistics, and we proceeded to talk about the challenge of releasing a book project in today’s social media driven world.  As I work on my next book project, I wrestle with the idea of pursuing a more traditional book publishing route for this project.  I went the self-publishing route with my first book project.  A more traditional book publisher could bring a wider audience and distribution which is attractive, but there are also pluses to the self-publishing method.

Either way, a larger platform is critical to success in today’s world – in terms of quantity of book sales.  And this is where I struggle.

I heard it said by one of my author friends that 90% of books sell less than 200 copies.

This is the reality in today’s world.  I’ve learned that it takes a lot of hard work and self-promotion just to approach this number.

Publishers are looking for a large e-mail list, lots of Twitter and Facebook connections, and a lot of blog traffic.

This doesn’t happen by accident.

How does a person remain humble with a correct focus while promoting themselves and their platform?

This is the problem with platform.

We are instructed to be humble.  We are taught to put aside our own interests for the sake of others.

Is it possible to build a platform while staying humble and pointing people to Christ?

I think so, but I think it’s a challenge.

This is the challenge I now face.  As I pursue my next book project, I’ll be taking steps to grow my e-mail list and blog traffic.  Meanwhile, I plan to use this platform to point people in the right direction.  I’d appreciate it if the Stretched Community would keep me accountable to staying on the right track.

Thanks!

What are your thoughts on building a platform?  What have you learned in the process of building your own platform?

This song by Colton Dixon speaks to me as I pursue this next project:

(For the record, I’ve sold or given away 116 copies of On Track – Life Lessons from the Track & Field.  This includes paperback and Kindle eBook versions.  This does not include the electronic copies given away to subscribers of my blog.  As you can see selling more than 200 copies is no small task.)

This is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.

How’s that for a statement?

Seriously, I just finished reading QBQ! The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability at Work and in Life by John G. Miller, and I thought it was great.  I had heard about the book from several people before, but I didn’t pick it up until recently.

I read a lot of books about leadership.  I’ve read books which tell me how to lead my team through this situation or that situation.  I’ve read books which tell me how to handle difficult team members and team members with different types of personalities.  These books are good, but this QBQ! took it to another level for me.

QBQ! is all about leading myself.  The book is not terribly long, and it’s broken down into bite-sized chapters which make it easy to get through.  I’m a slow reader, and I read through QBQ! in a few sittings.  It kept my attention and left me with lots plenty to ponder.  I underlined and highlighted many parts of this book, and I’ll be referring to it again and again to help me become a better leader and a better person.

QBQ! challenges readers to stop complaining, procrastinating, and blaming.  It stretches readers to practice personal accountability by asking the right questions.

Here are some of the questions I took away from QBQ!:

  • What can I do to make a difference?
  • How can I support my team?
  • What can I do to help out?
  • How can I provide more value?
  • How can I adapt to the changing world?
  • What could I have done differently?
  • How can I learn from this experience?
  • How can I let go of what I can’t control?
  • How can I appreciate people’s gifts and strengths just as they are?
  • How can I practice the principles I espouse?
  • How can I set a better example?
  • How can I set good boundaries?
  • How can I be a more effective coach?
  • What can I do to better understand each person I manage?
  • How can I build a stronger team?
  • How can I be a better leader?
  • What can I do to show I care?
  • How can I communicate more effectively?
  • What can I do to be more productive?
  • What can I do to develop myself?
  • How can I become more engaged?

I learned so much through QBQ!, and I would recommend this as a resource for anyone who wants to take their leadership and their relationships to the next level.

Have you read QBQ!?  If so, what was one of your biggest lessons learned?

If you could ask any question of yourself, what would it be?

(Please note:  I received a copy of QBQ! for free as part of a giveaway.  I was not required to provide a favorable review.  I truly believe this book can be a helpful reminder to any reader in helping them to take steps to become better leaders – at work, in the community, at church, and at home.

Also to note:  There are affiliate links in this post.  Should you purchase QBQ! by clicking one of these links, I receive a small percentage of the purchase.  These funds are used to support The Stretched Blog and to extend ministry and missions to Guatemala.  Thank you!)

I have the privilege of being part of the book launch team for a new project by Leah Adams.

HeBrews A Better Blend officially launched yesterday, and I’m honored to share it with The Stretched Community today.

HeBrews A Better Blend is more of a workbook than an actual book.  The book is set up to study the book of Hebrews in eight weeks.  Each week, readers are provided five days worth of study material designed to help you better understand Hebrews and to help you grow deeper in your faith.

Leah Adams writes in a way that encourages you to go deeper.  She uses stories from her personal journey along with her knowledge and understanding of Scripture to push readers along.  Leah uses the coffee metaphor throughout the book in hopes of bringing readers to a better blend in their faith walk.

Each page provides readers with space to write down notes and answer questions.  The book reminds me of a Beth Moore workbook.  You’ll work hard as you go through the pages, and you’ll arrive at the end of the book with a new perspective on Christ and His role in your life. HeBrews A Better Blend is perfect for individuals or for small groups who want to learn more.

If you’d like to know more about HeBrews A Better Blend, click here.

Or pick up your copy today by clicking the link below.

Do you drink coffee?  What’s your favorite kind of coffee?  What ingredient do you need to add to your life to create a better blend?

Each week on The Stretched Blog, I ask an ice breaker question. The questions are designed to help us get to know each other here in The Stretched Community. I’ll provide my answer to the question here in the post, and then you can leave your response in the comments. While you’re in the comments section, see how others answered the ice breaker question.

(I’m always looking for Ice Breaker question ideas.  If you have an idea, send me an email at jon@jonstolpe.com.  If I use your question, I’ll give you credit and share your links.)

Question:  What are the last five books you read?

My Answer:  Reading is one of the best ways to stretch yourself.  I have learned a lot from other authors about life and leadership.  Here are the five books I have been reading most recently:

  1. Next Up: 8 Shifts Great Young Leaders Make by Jonathan Pearson (You can read review by clicking here.)
  2. Buy This Land by Chi-Dooh Li (I’m actually reading this in preparation for my trip to Guatemala this summer.)
  3. Actually, Clams Are Miserable: Deconstructing 101 Ridiculous Clichés by Bryan Allain
  4. Ten Commandments for Creatives: A Creativity Road Map by Andrew Zahn
  5. Becoming a LifeChanger: Move Away from Ordinary by Tammy Helfrich

Answer this week’s ice breaker question by leaving a comment. I look forward to reading your response! (As always, feel free to share links.) And keep STRETCHING!

On Track – Life Lessons from the Track & Field is now available on Amazon in paperback and for Kindle.  Click the link below to get your copy today.

As a reminder, I am offering a FREE pdf copy of the interior of the book to subscribers of The Stretched Newsletter.  Head over to the main page of the blog and sign up on the right hand menu bar to get your copy today for FREE!