The Reason Why I want to be an Inspiration

I want to be an inspiration to people. Perhaps this is an egotistical pursuit but if I succeed, I will feel that I’ve done something worthwhile with my life. Does the reason why really matter? How many of us live our lives by just getting by each day? I’m not talking just financially but emotionally too. Do you truly feel alive? Life can be so much more than getting a job, getting married, having a family, and then retiring, and our ultimate demise. The question to ask ourselves is: do we have true and meaningful relationships with our family, friends and ourselves or are we just drifting through life, living a role that we’ve been assigned? The problem is that most of us don’t realize our full potential. Often times it starts with our parents, who although their desire is to protect us, have taught us to be cautious and to timidly live lives of mediocrity. It’s time to break this pattern. The difference between each of us is an illusion. Although it’s been said many times before, what one man has done another can do. The truth is we are mirrors of each other; the difference that we believe exists between us is just an illusion.

Each and everyone of us has a story to tell. The trick is what we do with that story. Are we the hero of our own lives or are we the victim of somebody else’s choices? What we do with our life matters – it’s not just about ourselves – but the generations that follow, our kids and our grand kids or those who we have inspired. If we come from generations of abuse, whether it is from physical or mental abuse, or a pervasive multi-generational belief that was passed down – saying we are not good enough.  It is time to break the cycle and it starts with each of us. We can change the lives of future generations – our children and our children’s  children and perhaps others.

Yes I want to inspire others and ultimately I want to inspire myself. I sincerely hope you do too. That is my wish for you.

As always take action and show gratitude each and every day.

With love and respect,

Gary

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How to Relieve Allergies, Breathe Easy, Sleep Better, and Not Worry about Naegleria fowleri

Hi All –

I hope this post finds everyone healthy and happy.

Have you ever used a neti pot? Neti pots were used as an ayurvedic yoga tradition in ancient India for nasal irrigation, In the past few year neti pots gained popularity in the United States after they were featured on the Oprah Winfrey show by Dr. Oz as a natural and health alternative for allergy and nasal infection sufferers.

I was a firm believer in the benefits of using a neti pot and like millions of neti pot users, I used warm tap water.  it was easy to get a perfect water temperature using tap water and the neti pot was very effective at helping me breath freely by cleaning pollens and pollutants from my nasal passages. An added benefit was It helped me sleep better at night by reducing congestion and also snoring.  But then in 2011, the evening news reported that two people had died from using tap water contaminated by the “brain-eating” amoeba known as Naegleria fowleri.  http://www.cbsnews.com/news/tap-water-in-neti-pots-behind-two-brain-eating-amoeba-deaths-in-2011-investigation-finds/

If this scared you like it did me, then it also ultimately resulted in not using a neti pot at all.  At first, I would either boil tap water or heat distilled water using my kitchen stove.  It was just too inconvenience to boil tap water or heat distilled water in the kitchen, transport it to the bathroom, let it cool down (sometime too long so the water became uncomfortably cool), and finally mixing it with neti pot salt. This was enough of an inconvenience that I stopped using my neti pot. Although not optimal, I once again began to using over-the-counter medicines which made my thinking foggy.  There had to be a better solution.

I came up with this prototype that warms distilled water to a perfect temperature right in the bathroom. I love it!  No more boiling tap water or heating distilled water in the kitchen.  I’m back to breathing easier and sleeping better thanks to a simple innovation.

FullSizeRender

As far as I know, this is the only neti pot designed to be used with a heating element.  The neti pot is ceramic and the water is heated to close to body temperature in 4 to 5 minutes.  It then keeps the water perfectly warm.

I’m asking for suggestion on what to name the device, suggested improvements, and colors.

I will be starting a Kick Starter campaign soon, and accepting pre-orders once I establish a sales price.  I would truly love to send you one of the first production models and hear your comments.

If you know anyone who suffers from allergies, nasal infections, snoring, or who like me stopped using a neti pot because of the inconvenience, then please let them know.

As I always say, take action every day and be grateful!

With Love and Respect,

Gary

Say Hello to Your New Best Friend “Fear”

So what is keeping us from taking control of life and choosing our own path? Perhaps it’s our old nemesis Fear with a capital “F”. Fear has derailed the dreams and potential of too many for far too long, but there is a way to turn fear on its head and use it to your advantage.

Fear as we all know can take on may forms, but for the entrepreneur, artist, or and others wishing to live with personal integrity and self fulfillment, fear can hide in the shadows and is not always as obvious as a thumping heart, cold sweats, and an urge to flee.  Fear can be much more subtle and may not be recognized as fear, but it is crippling just the same.  For example, when we sit on the couch and waste time either watching another mindless television program or some other diversion, it could be fear rather than boredom keeping us from pursuing the life we wish for and deserve.

Why is this and how can it be overcome? By simply paying attention to those little things that keep us from moving forward.

What are some clues to fear’s presence?  Whenever we say, I don’t have enough time right now; once I have more experience, education, money, etc then I can move forward; once I finish this project or after this event happens, then I’ll do it – do these sound familiar?

Anything that keeps us stuck someplace that no longer serves us…that isn’t in line with who we really are, may be routed in fear – fear of failure, of the unknown, of not wanting to discover the unfounded truth that we are not good enough or smart enough to succeed.  This is the fear we must be hyper vigilant to recognize.  When we realize we are sitting on the couch rather than doing whatever it is to become our best selves, it is time to take action.  Awareness of incessant, low-level fear is your beacon to get off the couch and move forward.

This is why fear is a friend; it reminds us to take action to move toward our dreams.

As always, take action and show gratitude everyday!

With Love and Respect,

Gary

Who Starts a Business?

The person reading this post does!

So what type of person takes the initiative and risk to start their own business?  There are several books and website that state the type of personality that is required – self motivated, disciplined, risk taker, expertise in a certain field, and etc.  According to these sources, if you do not have these essential qualities, you should stay in your job and let someone else take that role.  The real message is that you should allow someone else determine your future and value.  Do not believe it!

The simple truth is what one person can do anyone can do; the trick is to realize truth of the previous statement for each of us.  Each one of us is capable of achieving much more than we may be capable of realizing.  When you truly believe you have the potential to do anything, you see life differently and life begins to change. Self motivation and discipline automatically begin to replace inaction without a conscious effort.  You feel more alive because you are living in a world of possibilities versus a life of limits.  This is not about achieving outward facing success –  financial and material gains, but about your internal success – how you feel about yourself and life.  Life can be full of promise and excitement…and the possibility of achieving outward success.  All you need to do is start.  Take the first step and believe in yourself and wonderful things will follow.

We do not need to live a life scripted by others, even if those other people, such as family and friends, love us. No one truly feels your pain or joy more than yourself. No one truly knows what you need from life more than yourself.  No one can know you more than yourself and no one can live your life for you except you.  Living for yourself changes everything.  More energy, joy, and a deeper sense of self materialize along with a sense of purpose and that purpose is ultimately you. Never ever undervalue yourself.  You have everything you already need to live the life you want.

Do you feel that there is something missing, maybe a vague dissatisfaction with life or perhaps you find yourself complaining about virtually everything?  These are indicators that you have taken on the role of victim and living based on someone else’s concepts.  You do not have to feel desperately unhappy to start living for yourself. Whenever you create — be it art, a garden, or a business — you live a fuller more meaningful life.  It’s a life long pursuit and it starts with you.

Starting a business, developing an product, or idea are some ways, but not the only ways, of living by your own set of principles and beliefs.  By taking responsibility for the potential of your future, it opens you up to you.

Here’s to taking action and showing gratitude everyday!

With Love and Respect,

Gary

What Life Offers (Freedom is trying to Make Your Dreams Come True)

Hi All –

I just viewed this incredible video.  It is far too extreme a passion for me to ever try, but I found the message inspiring.  As stated by one of the people in the film, “Freedom is trying to make your dreams come true.”

The notion of success has been evolving — it is no longer defined as attaining a certain position, a high income, or even a significant achievement – it’s about following our dreams and living a life best suited to our needs and desires.  Every day is a success when we feel fulfilled and purposeful.  Let’s define success not by attaining something but by how we live and feel.  No matter if you are starting a business, writing book, or trying to live a healthy lifestyle, do not let fear be a limiting belief.  Everyone has fears, we simply have to acknowledge it and step out regardless.

I told  you it was incredible.  Do you agree?  Let’s follow our own passions – no matter where they lead us.

With Love and Respect,

Gary

Thanks and Gratitude (or Learning how to be Joyful)

Greetings All –

I’m visiting my family for Thanksgiving this week.  As I am already feeling grateful for being able to travel this Thanksgiving to visit with my family, the holiday is providing another opportunity to reflect on thankfulness in general.

There comes a time in life, if we are lucky, through personal experience, growth, and wisdom we come to realize we are responsible for every element of our lives.  As such, blame is no longer a welcome companion.  We do not blame others for the state of our lives, and interesting enough, we do not blame ourselves — we simply take responsibility for our lives and are thankful.   It doesn’t matter if we prescribe to a religious philosophy or not, the simple act of accepting responsibility and being grateful adds such substantial depth to life that it can be described as being almost magically transformative.  The freedom and joy that can be experienced from this act is tantamount to love — love of self and others.

Accepting responsibility also means giving credit to those who have shaped us into the person we are today … regardless of how the actions of others may have shaped us or propagated our personal growth.

So how does this work?  Responsibility give us freedom. When we accept responsibility, we suddenly have the power to change our lives.  We no longer need permission or approval from anyone to direct our lives into the direction that best serves us.  It doe not matter what anyone else believes what it is to be a father, mother, brother, sister, man, woman, business person, lover, success, failure, good, bad or any other preconceived notion. We are good enough the way we are and moving forward to the person we are to become…whatever that may be.

Our thoughts and actions start to align and our thinking starts to see possibilities rather than limitations.  When responsibility is combined with gratefulness — peace, love and joy enter into our lives and we are no longer prisoners of the blame game or our a painful past.  We can forgive and move forward.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!  I am grateful to you all!

Here’s to taking action and being grateful each and everyday.

With Love and Respect,

Gary

P.S.

I’ve discovered this little app that I think is wonderful; it helps keep me on track for several small personal daily goals; one of which is to be thankful.  http://balancedapp.com/  FYI:  I do not have a relationship with this company nor receive any sort of compensation from them. I simply like the app.

How to Join a Team without Selling Your Soul to the Devil (Subcontracting to a Prime)

As a new launched business as a Federal Contractor (I’m assuming you’ve set up your company and and are registered in SAM and have a DUNS number; see my previous blog: http://wp.me/p4xkC1-Q), your primary tasks as a company are three fold: 1) generate revenue, 2) earn a profit, and 3) develop past performance.  These task are derived from winning work.  As I have written in the past, there are two ways to work as a federal contractor — as a Prime contractor or a subcontractor.

A excellent path to finding a prime is to join the Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business Council (https://sdvosb-council.org/)  The council provides an avenue to network with Prime contractors for potential teaming opportunities. It also host networking events with larger primes looking to team with small businesses.  Remember that many federal contracts have set-aside contracting goals.  This is a huge benefit to 8a, SDVOSB, SDB, WOSB, and other set-aside categories.

Make sure you have developed your core capabilities statement; the capabilities statement is your written “elevator speech.”  Potential prime contractors and US Government entities review core capability statements when looking for small businesses.

Below is an example of of core capability statement used by Whetstone Security Group, Inc. (www.whetstonesecurity.com)

wsg corporate capabilities 201312040-0001

Prime contractors are looking for set-aside partners they can depend upon.  Make sure as you market your company you always deliver on promises and conduct your business with integrity.  At the end of the day, everything whether in business or personal life is about relationships.  Make sure that you and your business’ reputation is stellar and become know for doing what you say.

Once you have joined a team you will most likely be provided  a Non-disclosure agreement (NDA) and teaming agreement (TA) to sign.  See my previous blog and TA’s, NDA’s, and SubK’s. (http://wp.me/p4xkC1-4m).  Review the TA closely to ensure your company is signing up for a mutually beneficial agreement.  It might be a good idea to engage a Contract Specialist to help you navigate the NDA, TA, and Subcontract process.  The primary take away is to ask for guaranteed work share.  Work share is usually provide in percentages, such as have 20 percent work share.  This means that your company will have 20 percent of the available work on an awarded contract.

Be transparent, operate with integrity, and demonstrate how your company will add value as a prime contractor’s teammate.  You have to put yourself out there and engage with other people, associations, and prime contractors to be known.  Remember, hundreds of people before you have done the same thing — you can do this!

As always, take action each and everyday to drive your business forward and grow as an individual.

With Love and Respect,

Gary

First Things First

Hi All –

As is usual for all of us, finding a balance between self, family, and my pursuits has been a struggle.  The realization I’ve made is that the balance between choices that provide depth and meaning to my life and necessary daily tasks is more like a seesaw than a balanced scale.  Depending on the hour or week or month, I tend to pay more attention to one aspect of my life than the other…and it’s ok.

I believe that intuitively (when our lives are focused on our self actualization), we will place our attention where it needs to be — self, family, work.  It doesn’t need to be an equal balance; we make choices on what is important and those weighted factors tip the seesaw one way or the other…and sways from one area to the other in constant realignment.

What should drive everything we do is our focus on what brings us the most satisfaction, joy, and peace regardless of where we tend to be focusing our attention on at the moment.  If we are not feeling satisfied, joyful or peaceful, then it doesn’t matter what we are focusing and spending time on.

So as we pursue our business interests there may be times when we are distracted or believe we are not in balance with ourselves or our friends and family, but this is not an excuse not to push forward as soon as you can.  My mantra remains:  “Take Action Every Day!”

The other thing to keep in mind is that we will not do everything we want to do. Period.  We simply need to focus on those things which ultimately brings us satisfaction, joy, and peace in our work and private lives.  Because at the end of the day,  it’s all part of the same thing.

With Love and Respect,

Gary

NDA’s, TA’s, and SubK’s…Really?

Greetings Entrepreneurs –

Good news for Whetstone Security Group (WSG Inc) and our teammate Ruiz Protective Service!  We were one of three awardees of a Department of Homeland Security contract.  I’m very proud to have had WSG Inc serve as a significant contributor to our team’s win.

The win reminded me that I should share with you the documents you will need to become familiar with when you team with other companies and the jargon used in the federal contracting world.

In this post, you learn a bit about Non-disclosure Agreements (NDAs); Teaming agreements (TAs); and Subcontractor Contracts (SubKs) — see this stuff really is not that complicated; well, the acronyms are not that difficult.

As you begin working in the Federal contracting world, some of the documents you will become to become familiar with are NDAs and TAs.  These documents set the ground rules for partnering with other businesses.

Before most companies will discuss proposal and proprietary information concerning contract teaming opportunities, an NDA is established.  The NDA states that any information discussed is proprietary and will not be shared with other entities outside of the two companies in discussion.  It’s said by some Federal contractors that  NDAs are about as enforceable as a handshake and really do not protect information from disclosure, so there are some companies no-longer requiring NDAs; however, it remains a standard business practice.

You can find an example of an NDA here: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/sample-confidentiality-agreement-nda-33343.html

Teaming Agreements:  TA’s are fairly standardized.  The list below is not all encompassing but is in most TAs:

Purpose – Who is teaming and for what purpose.

Exclusivity – Whether the subcontractor is exclusive to the prime or can team with other companies.  It is often beneficial for a small company to subcontract with different companies to increase the opportunity for work; however, it becomes a challenge to the prime as your price may be the same, higher, or less for other companies and you are privy to their propriety information.  It is reasonable for companies to ask you to be exclusive when signing with them.  This is why guaranteed work share becomes important.

Work share – the percentage of work or revenue that your company is guaranteed or can compete for based on your price for services or labor as a subcontractor.  If at all possible try to avoid a TA that requires you to compete for work (often called “Best Athlete) after a contract has been awarded.  The best scenario is to have guaranteed work share in the event that the team wins an award.

 Proposal Preparation –  The Contractor will act as the prime contractor and will prepare and submit the Proposal and requires the subcontractor to agree to provide proposal support.

Allocation of Cost – Normally states each party is responsible for its own costs and expenses for proposal preparation.

Termination – Sets the conditions for when the TA can be terminated.  Such as when:

  • The contract is awarded to another company
  • Cancellation of the program
  • When the team cannot reach agreement on the terms and conditions of the SOW (price, schedule, and terms
  • The parties mutually agree to terminate this Agreement.

Intellectual Property –  States that any ideas, designs, concepts, techniques, inventions, discoveries or improvement made in performance belong to whom.

Limitation of Liability – Simply states that either party is liable to the other for any lost revenues, lost profits, incidental, indirect, consequential, special or punitive damages.

Enforcement – States where the agreement will be governed in regard to legal action (Usually the State where the Prime is registered).

There are several other articles that may or may not be included in the teaming agreement.  It is highly recommended that you consult your attorney or a contract specialist.  As I have stated previously, you need to have your team (legal, financial, insurance, and others) established to help guide you.

Subcontracts (SubK): The final document will discuss is the SubK.  This is the document that is issued by the prime after a win.  It spells out the terms and condition.

The basis of the subcontract is the Government’s contract with the Prime Contractor.  The Prime will normally “flow down” clauses from the Prime Contract to subcontractor.  Some of these clauses require the subcontractor to following laws regarding federal contracts and are related to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation (DFAR) as well as the Government’s requirements set forth in their Statement of Work (SOW).  Some of the website to review are:

The Department of Labors – Federal Contractor Compliance Adviser:  http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/ofccp/determine.asp

Federal Acquisition Regulation: http://www.acquisition.gov/far/

The Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: http://www.acq.osd.mil/dpap/dars/dfarspgi/current/

The Small Business Administration has a online learning center with an introduction to Government Contracting.  http://www.sba.gov/tools/sba-learning-center/training/government-contracting-101

I hope this blog added a bit of illumination to NDAs, TAs, and SubKs.  I bet you know what they are now!  Until next time, pursue your dreams and take action each day to reach them.  You can do this.

With Love and Respect,

Gary

Responsibility

Greetings All,

I’ve been on a family vacation in Slovenia, Italy, and Croatia and the time away has allowed me a small bit of time to think about how I and others live our lives.  I believe the truth is that the majority of us give our lives away and base our decisions on a herd mentality and unwritten rules.  So what the heck am I talking about?

Consider this, do you have a 401K account or a mutual fund? Have you placed your financial future in the hands of people you’ve never met and do not know and turn them to manage your financial future?   Are you relying on Social Security or someone else to carry you into a secure retirement?

It seems like most of us are not comfortable taking control of our lives.  If things do not work out, we can simply place the blame somewhere else…our boss, a spouse, the Government.  Most of us have given up control of our financial futures and simply placed our trust in the system with the hope that everything will work out.

I believe the same can be said of our working lives.  We rely on others to provide us employment in the hope that we will be treated fairly; or that we are not caught up in a down economy; or downsized for the sake of increased profits.  This is why I’ve decided to place trust in myself and people with a similar mindset.  It’s time to put ourselves first and truly know that we can succeed on our own!  There is so much content available through books, podcasts, blogs, and good people who are willing to share their knowledge and experience.

If you are ready to put yourself first,  then take that first step and write down as many thoughts and ideas as you can on what you would like to do — then take action to accomplish something greater than you ever thought possible!  Whether you ultimately succeed or not is secondary to how you will feel about yourself when you take control and accept responsibility for every aspect of your life.  Your life will be better in so many amazing and intangible ways.  Whenever we realize that we might have what it takes to achieve our goals, something inside us is ignited.  We truly begin to live our lives instead of acting out imprinted scenarios — whether social or cultural.  That spark is your life coming out of the shadows and breathing in the the unlimited possibilities and promise that the future holds.

Let’s get started right now!

With Love and Respect,

Gary