Goals Govern Growth

In a study at Harvard, the graduates of an MBA class were surveyed in 1979.  3% had written, clear goals.  13% had goals, but they were not written down.  84% had no goals identified.  In 1989, ten years later they were all contacted.  The 13% with unwritten goals made twice as much as the ones with no goals.  The 3% with written goals made more than the other 97% combined.

Life is not simply about money, but it is one way we can measure.  The power of written goals applies to relationships, finances, spiritual acumen, mental acuity, emotional stability and more.  Goals govern growth. 

Some folks would say, “ I hope to be able to do this or that.”  Without a true focus, a goal and a plan, that is a wish not a hope. Hope has a plan.  Hope is powerful.  Hope is a healer.  But Hope has a focus and a plan.

Your plan may not be written out as detailed as some.  But you need to have a plan. 

As a project manager of decades, I always found it helpful to decide on a few items.  One was the goal or the final object obtained in a project.  The second is a set of measurable deliverables that happen along the path.  When the deliverables are met, the goal is met.  Then and only then can we start to decide on an action plan.  When we design our workshops today, this is the same approach.  There is a final goal to reach that is only reached as each deliverable is reached. In that way, we can sustain hope and healing and radically alter our future to a better life forward.

What are your goals for relationships, mental and emotional health, spiritual determinism, and physical stamina?  In each of these areas, we can and should set simple goals. Write them down.  Read them every day.  Tana Amen does a great job encouraging the “One Page Miracle” that she and Dr. Daniel Amen have found so helpful in folks overcoming physical and mental and emotional trauma that affects brain functioning.  One Page Miracle  Maybe even write the short form in erasable marker on your morning mirror so you can’t miss them. What are yours?

Here are mine: Good communication. A listener. Strong and fit body. Sharp and quick mind.  Emotions serve me and stir joy. Example of Christ life. Sufficient finances and some to share.

There.  It doesn’t have to be long and complicated. Just focused and written.

Be a 3% agent of change and growth.  Set goals.  Write them down.  Read them out loud regularly. Make your daily, weekly, and monthly plans to see them come to full fruit.

Interested in a little more?  Read this quick article on Energizers, notes for people managers and wisdom for us all.

Breaking Barriers

In my cup collection is one of annual cups for AFPRESS, a concept company extension of a larger insurance corporation. The cup and the year were titled Breaking Barriers. Other executives mocked us openly. The venture was not popular because it challenged the norm, it threatened mediocrity. And of course, because it worked. A small group of staff written off as failures went on to grow from falling to $4.5mm worth of retail digital print publishing in a falling industry. Indeed, they broke many barriers of customer service, production, quality, and quantity. Barriers mostly are mental impositions created by small vision. They can be broken.

Breaking Barriers

Oh, the reason I wrote this article? I’ve been working with some pastors on getting that plateau busting in motion. As part of that, I put together a quick starter that takes about 30 minutes MINISTRY METRIC MATRIX OF GROWTH. The MMM is FREEEE. I like pastors. I like local churches.

Throughout my menagerie room are similar cups and momentos. Consider the “Year of The Plan” for C.R. Anthony corporation where we shocked the courts and pulled a company out of chapter 11 bankruptcy in 18 months and became profitable and lithe. That was a fun set of barriers to break. Then there is the “Best Place to Work in IT” award from ComputerWorld, where our director team led in outstanding recognition. A great memory was leading alongside others in a pastoral team to see a plateued non-profit move from 1500 membership to 5500 membership and move from being 99% white to completely multi-cultural where no one racial heritage was 51%.

That non-profit/church breakthrough took 3 years. In fact most breakthroughs in which I’ve participated took about 3 years. Whether it was retail, insurance, non-profit, or healthcare, the breakthroughs have a pattern. My fourth major book, STUMBLING INTO MIRACLES outlines personal progressions involved in those breakthroughs. It will take you to see many individual barrier breakthroughs that we see today in SOLUM working with folks struggling through the I’ve HAAAAD It! Hopelessness, anger, addiction, abuse, anxiety, and depression are horried barriers. Developing a systematic workshop to apply to those has been a great and fulfilling journey. It isn’t a book, but a personnally mentored workshop. But then the other three, TIME TO LEAD (community and culture), BY GRACE (churches) , and MANAGE WELL (corporate departments and entrepreneurial efforts) all have similar themes. Breaking barriers is not easy, but it has some commonalities in personal life and business and community endeavors. And if you are a person of prayer TRANSFORMER’S PRAYER is a good quick place to start.

So, why write so much about barrier breaking transformation? Why help others? Why take on giants instead of just living mundane? Because it can be done and you can do it. We are working on a huge barrier now that we have broken in one place and want to extend to many. It only took a few years to break the barrier, but now we are looking to break nationwide. SOLUM is the flagship of that breakthrough.

Are you ready for the commonalities? No matter the industry or endeavor, I’ve found a few.

  1. Inventory What Is. Too often we apply change before we apply understanding. Covey tells us, “Seek first to understand before you seek to be understood.” Yes. Even better seek first to understand before you seek to pose a solution. You may be totally off base in what you know. A production group was off target by 14 hours a day. They were supposed to hit target at 7am daily and were hitting at 9pm. What a mess. Inventory and a little sorting and structuring took out the excess and put production on target consistently.
  2. Determine the objective in measureable terms. How often I ‘ve gone into a corporate fix to find out the owners did not have a clear objective for the team attempting to perform the impossible task of hitting an invisible and moving target. Pshaw! Quit treating people that way. Get deep. Figure out the target and make it clear to everyone involved. Even in church work, we figured out the key metrics both tangible and intangible and watched them as they helped us reach our greater goal.
  3. Inspect what you expect. Expect what you inspect. As you apply small changes implement tracking tools that require little effort. People spending time on tracking tools are not spending time on what they are attempting to accomplish. One team set impossible objectives for production and celebrated as percentages were clicked off on the way to the top goal that they did reach.
  4. Enjoy the journey. Celebrate milestones. A team of printers had a great time when a customer, who had expressed disdain openly, awarded them a big party when they reached 100% of the customer’s business with joy. Cool, huh! My wife bought me a white cap with 100 on it. The naysayers just grumbled, but we celebrated.

That’s it. You can go read a book full of other markers and information by selecting any of those referenced or change your life by following the I’ve HAAAAD It! link. But working on these four major attention items will get you in quick and reliable motion.

Keep your eye peeled as we break through national barriers. Better than that, break through your own. If you’d like, I’d be happy to do a one-one coaching session with you for personal barrier breaking. I’m not free. But I’m good. No brag. Just fact.

Oh, the reason I wrote this article? I’ve been working with some pastors on getting that plateau busting in motion. As part of that, I put together a quick starter that takes about 30 minutes MINISTRY METRIC MATRIX OF GROWTH. The MMM is FREEEE. I like pastors. I like local churches.

Phil Larson, thethinkdirector phil@solumcommunity.net 405.494.0637 Schedule a 30 minute FREEEEE breakthrough interview.

Clear Decisions

Reaching 64 years old gives access to some of the greatest years of living.  The first 20 years is about growing and learning life.  The next 20 gives us an opportunity to lay a foundation. The third 20 years develops our friendships and family and sets a course.  We discover more of what really makes us tick.  The next 20 to 40 years is an adventure like none other.  Get a better life forward.

The recent book When I’m 64: 7 Clear Decisions for a Better Life Forward by Phil Larson, the think doctor, is an amazing entry into this life span opportunity.  The population of the United States becomes increasingly larger and larger a proportion of those over 65 to those under.  It is an exciting time in which to live.  The dynamics of culture and economies will shift to meet these wonderful times. 

You are one of these leading the charge into a better life.  How will you do it?  What decisions will you make to increase your life enjoyment?  Happiness is a decision you control.  Control it.  Get the information you need and make good decisions.

One of the clearest decisions is your healthcare provision under Medicare.  You can decide for an Advantage Plan or a Supplement Plan to come alongside your Medicare A and B.  Medicare A takes care of Inpatient care in hospitals, skilled nursing facility care (not custodial), hospice care, and home health care. Medicare B  covers outpatient care which include services from doctors and other health care providers and some preventative services. 

Why pick an Advantage plan?  Advantage plans from a private insurance carrier usually provide an HMO or PPO plan with a local network of providers.  They can have extra benefits and may include a prescription drug coverage all with a low or zero extra premium.  Take the time to get fully acquainted by using a licensed and trained agent like SOLUM provides or any of our partners across the United States with the GrandParentBenefits.org affiliation. When you have limited funds, an Advantage plan can give you some cost reductions and management.  You can get a plan that includes prescription drug coverage.

Why pick a Supplement or Medigap plan?  Average costs for medical run between $4000 and $5000 a year with deductibles and payment sharing.  A supplement can pay the majority of these for a predictable and managed premium.  You control your costs at a premium that may be closer to $2000 a year, when you include prescription drug coverage. That can represent significant cost savings over your senior years.

Go to our website and read more.  Advantage / Supplement

You matter.  Your choices matter.  #wecanhelpwiththat

A Better Life Forward

What does that mean?  You might have a great life now.  Why not have it better?  You might have some struggles and interruptions that attempt to rob your joy.  Why not have it better?  Whatever condition you find yourself in life, there is opportunity for a better life forward.  And, I want to help you have it.  When you turn 64, there are some important decisions to make about your Medicare.  You have structured time frames in which to make them and want to get them done early, but with informed and clear decision.  Our team is always posting information on decisions surrounding Medicare on

Want the entire EBOOK?  When I’m 64: 7 Clear Decisions for A Better Life Forward.  Send me an email at phil@soluminsurance.com and I’ll reply with a copy of the book that is print ready for your home or office printer or can be read easily online with large type. Want a printed out copy? Send me your address with that email and I’ll ship one right out to you.


405.494.0637 – office cell/text

The Prize Goes to the Winner: Character

What is character and how does it work for you?

Everyone has a different definition of character traits that contribute to success, but one of those that overshadows most came to me from Earl Nightinggale.  “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal.” Let me explain what that has to do with character.

Take it apart and here are the character traits.

Success Orientation


Realized Results

Worthy Goals

Those four character traits will get you far in life.  They may not look like what you were expecting.  You might have been expecting a note on the virtues of a positive human or a Christian or a community contributor or a business professional.  These four apply to all of that and more.

Success Orientation:  Some people have no desire to compete or win in life.  If you do not value success, you will not have success.  Your life will be plagued with losses and disapointments. Get a character that wants to win.  You want to win and you want others to win.  Zig Ziglar says, “You can have everything you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”  That is a success orientation.  You are committed to have enough to satisfy your lifestyle and sufficient to give to others in need.  You are committed to the success of every other person with whom you come in contact.  You are generous and gracious and competitive with yourself.  Have a success orientation.

Progressive: Success, accomplishment, overcoming shortcomings, and getting to the top of your vision is progressive.  Develop a progressive attitude.  Quit looking for easy wins and low hanging fruit.  That stuff is for those committed to losing or making others lose.  You may gain finances.  But finance is only a part of success character.  Arriving at a worthy goal means arriving with a clean and pure conscience. You don’t have to look behind to find who is following.  You see progress every day toward the goal.  One day may be a big jump.  Another day may be a small step.  Every day moves you closer to the goal.

A few good men served today ( Nov 28, 2016) at Ohio State University. During a campus attack from a madman, they responded with character, competence, compassion, and chemistry. How rare do we see these three in action? In our age of self-service and self-serving, we are missing large quantities of courage, discipline, orderliness, compassion, reliability, accountability, selfless giving, and selfless service.  Journalists attribute their response to military preparation.  Maybe, but I bet there were other military trained on campus and maybe even in the room.  These men had something more.WordItOut-word-cloud-922060 (1)

These men stood to the moment. When word went out, they organized their class of students away from the door. Then they placed themselves in harms’ way at the entrance to the room. Had the attacker walked into that room, he probably would not walk out. They showed character, competence, compassion, and chemistry under pressure. Under pressure we are our better selves and we are our worst selves. We choose each time.

Yesterday, a man came to me in my office and asked me an odd question. “What is prudent?” He was looking for a dictionary definition. A quick anger assessment that we do had thrown an unfamiliar word at him. Arms crossed, face scowling, hard life screaming from his face, he looked for an answer. For a moment, it was hard to answer. The temporary confusion was not because I was stumped for a definition. It has hard to answer because it means so much. To summarize, a prudent person does the right thing at the right time with the right wisdom backing the choices. A prudent person would not be standing in my doorway taking an anger assessment because he was on probation, community supervision, supervised by the state.worditout-word-cloud-1956501-prudent

A little later I was on the phone with a case manager overseeing a family situation. Seems the man and woman showed up for a court hearing on neglecting their children while they were high on drugs. Bad had gone to worse. Maybe they are good hearted and imprudent. Nevertherless, they chose to put their children in danger and now the children are under conservatorship in foster care and the parents are being supervised by the state.

The men in the first story sound like my children. I would place my life in the hands of any of my daughters, sons, and their spouses. I trust their decisions over their homes and families and neighbors. They do not believe the way I believe on every subject. They do follow prudence. They do exhibit wisdom in right choices over and over and over. They do exhibit the 4 Cs of Success multiplied by lives lived for Christ.They don’t need me, my wife, or the state to supervise them.  They have been raised.

The men in the first story sound like key employees I have had over time. When they show me the balance of character, competence, chemisty, and compassion, I invest trust and training and increasing responsibility and watch them grow. Consistency and congruency takes over and multiplies their contribution. Talking to my assistant yesterday, I told the story of one such colleague. When this person came to work for me, she could not show up regularly and her work results were erratic. But underneath her chaos, I saw the 4 Cs of success. Over the years, we walked through developing good work habits, learning good work skills, and living through deaths and distractions that life throws us. Her contribution increased as the 4 Cs ordered her life and her income and influence quadrupled. Income in life is directly proportional to contribution.

How does it work? The 4 Cs of Success produce a consistent and congruent contribution. Here is the formula (Character + Competence + Compassion + Chemisty) x (Consistency + Congruency) = Contribution3 . This missive is already too long, so you must read the next few to get the full story.
Note: SOLUM Community Transformation Initiative is a 501c3 dedicated to fixing fractured families. We work with strugglers to stabilize and unify homes. Make your financial contribution today to turn the corner in character for men and women and their children. http://solumcommunity.net/

Check out the definitions of prudent. Synonyms and Antonyms of prudent (merriam-webster online dictionary) http://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/prudent

Really? I can make a change to my medicare advantage plan in Jan/Feb/March?

Many people think the only time to make changes to a Medicare Advantage plan is in the Fall Oct 15 to Dec 7th Annual Election Period. That is not true. There is a great option called Open Enrollment Period from Jan 1 to March 31st. #wecanhelpwiththat

Why make a change?

. All the advertising was so confusing in the Fall, I am just now understanding there is a better plan for me.

. I want service. I bought online without an agent and just don’t understand what I did and want to do something different.

. I have an ancient advantage plan that does not have the new benefits offered in other plans.

. My needs have changed and I’d like to move from an HMO to a PPO or from a PPO to an HMO plan.

. Just curious and want to see what options I have.

These are some reasons you might want to take a look at a change in your advantage plan. #wecanhelpwiththat

Send me an email at phil@soluminsurance.com or call or text our dedicated insurance service line 405.494.0637 and we can do a quick review of your insurance with you and inform you of some new options or just reassure you that you have a good plan. It is always good to check your insurance on an annual basis.

Thanks to Boomer Benefits for this super clear graphic.

What’s up with that retirement experience?

This week I met with three financial advisors to select the one that will be my coach for the next 20-30 years. #wheniam64 Whew, is that exhausting! 70/30, 50/50, 60/40 and alternatives are great, but who understands all that? The answer is those that study understand all that, and I am ready to commit to a coach to get me from 64 to 94.

Reality is the average life expectancy is 78.something and declining for the first time in decades. I am not ready to concede defeat yet. Hit the gym this morning for a solid workout. Adjusting my eating to offset risks of Alzheimers and keep my brain running at optimum. Brain envy is what Dr. Daniel Amen calls it. Resting more as I age, only working 50 hours a week instead of 60-80. What are you doing to shift? As a life coach, I have to set the example. #wecanhelpwiththat

Now, for healthcare. That medicare decision looms. At 65, you have a period of seven months to make your decision. Three months before, the month of your birthday, and three months after. It gets tricky after that if you want to make significant changes. There are open change periods for advantage and prescription drug once a year. But, supplementals require medical underwriting after that first decision and the rates can go up significantly. #wecanhelpwiththat

Having fun yet? Wisdom tells me that happiness is a key to longer life and well, who wants to be sad? Having a manageable plan you understand that helps you meet lifestyle objectives can lead to a merry heart and that is good medicine. #wecanhelpwiththat

Let me know how we can help. There is never a fee for an analysis of your position and never a fee for healthcare help. We don’t do income management, but have some good partners to whom we can refer you and for smaller amounts ($10k-100k), we can give you some tips. #wecanhelpwiththat


405.494.0637 – dedicated mobile for you

When I’m 64 – What about my healthcare?

That question looms. What about my healthcare? Circumstances at change points cause us to ask, “Will I be okay? Should I trust the advice my employer gave me? What if they are just in it for them? How do I transition my meds and doctors?

Today is January 2nd. The end of every year is a reflection period. I assess myself against my life goals, the visions that stir inside, my financial position, achievements, mental, emotional, and physical health, and spiritual position. Dr. Daniel Amen recommends each of us have a one pager, a One Page Miracle, to tell our brains and hearts which items need attention and focus.

Tana Amen gives a good example of a One Page Miracle on her web page. You should take a minute to look it over. Get some focus. Sometimes when you feel a struggle, the simple is best as a start.

Now that you are 64, you are approaching the need to move onto Medicare and maybe you are looking to retire and draw social security. Those are big decisions. #wecanhelpwiththat

Faith, Focus, Friends, Food, and Fitness are all areas we assess as we get ready for these next steps. Understanding your goals for these will help us help you in making the right Medicare mix decisions. A wrong step in your first year going on to Medicare can be corrected in the first year. It can be disastrous later, when you are 68 or 70 or 80. It is all about your plan, your goals, the life you want. You can’t predict it all, but you can come closer with a plan and right information. #wecanhelpwiththat

We never charge for services at SOLUM Insurance. But we are professional in our approach to help you make decisions that fit your needs and lifestyle. So let me introduce you to a simple and effective what to make your plan and enjoy your senior years, whether you continue working or take the big plunge.

1. Establish your position

What is your position on healthcare? We will work with you to help discover that. Our first step is to discuss that One Page Miracle and make sure we support you in being you. The second step is to go a little deeper, but not much and do a “Fact Finder” so we give you knowledgeable guidance. We are not financial planners, but we work alongside your financial plan to help you make a good fit of healthcare into the plan. #wecanhelpwiththat. And yes, all of this is free. You have no obligation to purchase anything from us. We like to make friends.

When you work with us you will receive caring and professional excellence. That is who we are and how we serve. You deserve that. You have spent a life getting to this point and we want to make it a fun and fulfilling next chapter.

2. Write it down.

Write down where you want to go. Here is the fun part. We will show you a couple of options that fit your decisions. Medicare and other insurance can be complicated. Do you have a Final Expense policy and plan to ensure there are no extra burdens for those you love? How much control do you want of your healthcare decisions? Do you want an HMO doctor, who is your dedicated advisor or are you okay with a network of doctors for advising? Do you want total freedom to make all decisions? What is your budget going to be? The average senior after 65 can spend around $4000+ a year on healthcare. Is that okay with you? Would you like better control of those expenses and predictability or are you more concerned with keeping monthly costs contained and addressing bigger needs as they arise? Relax. We will help you walk through those thoughts in a methodical way that assists you make right decisions at the right time for your lifestyle and healthcare directions.

As a deliverable, we will summarize what we have heard in talking with you into a document that you can use to make decisions.

3. Take A Step

If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.W. Edwards Deming

Now to take a step, you need a plan. It does not have to have full vetted risk assessment, cost scenarios, and extensive timeline. But most of us just need a few steps we know we need to take to get moving in the right direction. #wecanhelpwiththat

  • Establish your position
  • Write it down
  • Take a step (fill out the form below is a good first step)

#wecanhelpwiththat, #medicare #healthcare #socialsecurity #turning65 #wheniam64

Caring, professional excellence assisting in healthcare decisions

Phil, ttd

Get with us and we will help you walk through your preparations.

SOLUM is a faith based business done with care and professional excellence. We aren’t liberal or conservative, we are concerned and supportive. What does that mean? That means we trust first in our relationship with the Father of Creation to direct us and our interactions with our clients, you. And we believe He wants us to be caring, excellent, and professional. You don’t need to be a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, or anything to take advantage of our good will. We just want you to know we believe that everything we do is done as unto God first and is done with professional and caring excellence. If we don’t think He will be happy with us, we don’t do it. #wecanhelpwiththat

3V Decision Criteria


Posit this!  Every action you take, every thought you make should be measured against the 3V criteria.  Validity, vitality, and veracity need to mark your reputation and the reputation of your organization or business.  Consistent failure on any of these over your history will eventually mean failure of your endeavors.  You may make money, fulfill the purpose of your non-profit, and have fun without them.  You are not successful.  You will fail or your successors will fail.

As a leader, ingrain these in your psyche.  Your personal reputation and continuance depend on them.  When others doubt you (and they will), your ability to face the mirror in the morning and be true to yourself is what will move you forward in life.   When you revel in victory, the congruence of these in the actions and intents that took you to the mountain will sweeten the taste.  When you struggle with…

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Why An Independent Agent Makes Sense with Medicare

AARP is just one of the captive agent groups. They are a good organization and sell United Healthcare, a good product. When you shop with an independent agent, you contribute to the competitive free-enterprise system. We can help with that.

This article examines older legislation that affects us today. We don’t agree with all the content and believe that supplements/medigap are a good solution when they fit your healthcare need. A wise shopper needs comprehensive information. We can help with that.

How the AARP Made $2.8 Billion By Supporting Obamacare’s Cuts to Medicare – Forbes

FREE consultation and education.

Call 405.494.0637

Email phil@soluminsurance.com

For more info: grandparentbenefits.org

Comparing Plans – Advantage #wecanhelpwiththat

As we enter the last two weeks of open enrollment, my phone is ringing with last minute comparisons. #wecanhelpwiththat

One of my clients had a tier one, tier two, tier three, and tier four drug prescription. Whew! All of that can get majorly expensive on any provider’s plan. #wecanhelpwiththat

Be assured, there is a good plan that meets your specific needs. As an independent agent, I can compare across plans. Every insurance carrier (United Healthcare, Humana, Aetna, and others) has plans for each zip code. They are competitively priced in different areas of medical need. No one can predict what you will need in 90 days, but you can look ahead using your history and potential needs. #wecanhelpwiththat

So here is a set of needs of a client:

. Keep monthly costs predictable and as low as possible

. Keep extra costs as low as possible (emergencies, added doctor visits, specialists co-pays, etc..)

. Use a specific doctor and their referral network

. Provide for urgent care nationwide (they travel a few times a year)

. Keep it simple to get healthcare

. Support a specific set of hospitals in the area

. Basic dental and eyewear coverage beyond medicare medical coverage

Here are a few needs they do not have:

. Access to a variety of doctors on and off plan

. Nationwide network (one of our advantage providers supports a nationwide PPO network, which I think is pretty cool if it meets your needs)


Based on this set of criteria, we compared a few of the larger companies and found a good HMO advantage plan that reduces their current costs by $140 a month and reduces co-pays to specialists and for their pharmacy prescriptions by a few dollars. Overall, they can potentially save $1800 a year. Look at 5 years and that is $9,000. Wow! It is a simple change for them. #wecanhelpwiththat

They have a plan with a major carrier that they signed up for 10 years ago. Plans change. There are options for you that might meet your needs and experience better than the plan you signed up for in the past. Open enrollment gives you the advantage of taking a look at current offerings in your area and keeping medical costs better contained. #wecanhelpwiththat

Our services are FREE to you.

Phil – phil@soluminsurance.com 405.494.0637