Habits of the World’s Wealthiest People (Infographic)

What do Oprah Winfrey and Warren Buffett have in common, in addition to their fairly sizable net worths? More than you might think.

An infographic developed by social-media marketing company NowSourcing details some of the qualities and traits shared by the rich (we’re talking those who earn more than $160,000 a year and have $3.2 million in assets). If you want to take a page out of Bill Gates’ playbook, wake up early, exercise, read more (definitely cut back on your reality TV intake) and write a daily to-do list.

+ Click to enlarge infographic

Grow Your Organization Through Vulnerability

Years ago, I was part of a community of faith in Ventura, California known as The Bridge. It was a very special part of my history in my personal faith, but also in how I saw organizations in their design, structure and following.

Every organization, to get this title, will have followers. For a business, these followers might be customers or clients. For a non-profit, these might be supporters, donors or sponsors. And for a community of faith, these might be members, congregants, or more openly, family.

The life of the Bridge went from 1999 to the end of 2007, and in those years, we really pushed and fought to be an community where each person called us home could be their true, authentic selves. So what did this look from within our structure?

It meant that every Sunday, we sat in the round. Rather than a linear Sunday experience in straight rows of chairs, we brought in small round tables that could seat 4-6 people (sometimes more) and we would engage in the Soul Journey. The Soul Journey was a set of three questions , posed on cards given to everyone seated at the table: (1) PERSONAL: a prayer for the ourselves, (2) LOCAL: a prayer for something or someone around us like a friend’s situation, and (3) GLOBAL: a prayer for something happening world. We then would share these prayers with everyone at the table.

It is important to note: We would also encourage people to sit with strangers or newcomers, and break away from the monotony of their friends, sometimes stopping our whole service and making people get up and move around. These times around the table every week meant we had to take the risk of being authentic and vulnerable. We had to face our fears, telling friends and strangers how we were really doing, what our needs were and what prayers we needed most. It was after sharing our three items that we appointed someone to pray for the whole table, and then as the last act of vulnerability, we swapped our Soul Journey card with someone seated next to us with our contact info written on it to remain in contact during the week.

The thing is: the Bridge became known by these moments. Word spread not only locally, but around the nation and the globe of the things are community was doing. It was risking and daring to break up the “Sunday Church Experience”, but people grew to love it. It meant real people, addressing real needs. And the thing was that our community’s leaders took seats at tables around the room. The leaders of the community were not exempt from revealing the personal needs and longings found on the Soul Journey card.

If you’re a leader of any type of organization, your followers may not know it yet, but they would love for you to sit down with them, amongst them. Sure, there are tasks and duties and projects to be done. But if you just took a moment to sit amongst those who follow you, you would find that these moments are what change us, shape us, and form us.

RISKY BUSINESS

The risk is that you must lay down your pride and ego. The risk is that you must open up. The risk is you must not only face some fears, but try sharing those fears with others too. This is the risk. But just like the leadership of the Bridge would force the community to swap seats with strangers, sometimes, we leaders must be provoked to take the risk, and it’s in these moments that memories are made that last a lifetime.

TAKE THE CHALLENGE

Try it out. Take the risk of being authentic with your followers. Open up with your organization.  How has being vulnerable grown your company, organization or community?  And then tell the world about it in the comments below…

WordPress Security Doesn’t Have To Be Complicated

Featured article written by Drew Strojny of The Theme Foundry.

WordPress has a less than stellar security reputation. You may have even heard some horror stories from friends or colleagues who’ve had their site hacked. So, is WordPress actually secure?

Yes. Very secure. To understand why, consider the popularity of WordPress. It now powers around 20% of the internet. It’s extremely popular. WordPress is also open source software. This means the underlying code can be reviewed by anyone. WordPress security issues can be uncovered and reported by any of the thousands of developers that use the software, so they tend to be discovered and fixed quickly. If you’re the president, would you rather have fifty secret service agents looking out for you, or just one? More eyeballs and more scrutiny equal better security.

The popularity of WordPress is also a weakness. Imagine those millions of WordPress websites as a roaming herd of buffalo. Now imagine some hungry wolves (malicious hackers) hunting for a meal. The thundering herd is obviously going to attract some attention. But, what buffalo will they target? The stragglers of course. The old, the young, and the weak. Your goal is to not be one of those stragglers. Let’s review some basic WordPress security practices that will help you keep up with the herd.

Always be on the latest version of WordPress. Period.

Using the latest version of WordPress is the single most important thing you can do for the security of your WordPress website. WordPress doesn’t release any security updates for old versions of WordPress. Let’s be clear about what that means: If you use an old version of WordPress and an exploit is announced, you’re vulnerable until you update. To be secure,you need to be using the latest version of WordPress. If you stay up to date, you’re effectively running with the herd.

Automatic updates

WordPress introduced automatic security updates in WordPress 3.7. You no longer have to worry about updating WordPress quite as often, but you still have to update WordPress. The new automatic updater only performs minor maintenance and security updates (eg. WordPress 3.8 to WordPress 3.8.1). You still need to update WordPress manually (by clicking a button) when a new major version is released (eg. WordPress 3.7 to WordPress 3.8). This may become automated in the future, but for now, you still have to do it manually.

Another option is to just find a web host that updates WordPress for you. There are quite a few different hosts out there that do this, but I’d recommend WP Engine. They’ll automatically keep WordPress up to date for you. And no, that isn’t an affiliate link. I recommend them because they do a great job and come highly recommended from others. We don’t get any kickbacks or monetary gain for recommending WP Engine.

Stay on the main roads

If you were trying to avoid getting mugged, would you explore dark alleys late at night, or would you walk down busy main street in broad daylight? Consider this advice when you’re choosing a WordPress plugin or theme. Get your themes or plugins from reputable sources and they’re much more likely to be kept up to date and monitored for security issues. Do your best to stick to the official WordPress directory and established theme and plugin providers. Consider our guides on finding the best WordPress themes and finding a WordPress plugin.

Three other WordPress security tips related to themes and plugins:

Keep a list of your active themes and plugins and follow the blogs of the authors. Make sure it’s easy for them to communicate with you. Sure, it might make your inbox a bit noisier, but you’ll be the first to know if there is a security problem.

Sign in to your WordPress dashboard around once a week, even if you don’t have anything to do. If you don’t sign in to your WordPress site very often, consider a plugin like WP Updates notifier. It will send you an email whenever there are available updates for your WordPress site.

Review the lists of disallowed plugins on popular hosts like WP Engine. Some of these are disallowed for speed optimization reasons, but other are related to security.

Secure your login page

Almost every WordPress website has the same URL for signing in. Type/wp-admin/ at the end of the site name and you’ll be taken to the sign in page. This is the front door to your WordPress site. Adding an extra layer of protection is akin to installing an extra deadbolt. You can use some of the basic security built into Apache to require an extra password before someone can even see the sign in page. This will help prevent brute force password attacks. If you want to take things even further, consider a plugin like Wordfence Security. Either way, an additional layer of security around your WordPress login page is a good idea.

A secure WordPress hosting environment

Hosting Quick Tips

  • Change to a non-standard SSH port.
  • Set up iptables to block unwanted traffic.
  • Disable root logins.
  • Disable password login (only use SSH keys).
  • Disable remote database access if you don’t need it.
  • Install an automatic package updater or actively monitor for security updates through a mailing list.

We’ve covered WordPress. We’ve covered your themes and plugins. The only thing left is your hosting environment.

Hosting generally falls under two categories: managed and unmanaged. Managed WordPress web hosts like WP Engine, Laughing Squid, orPressable manage your hosting environment for you. You don’t have to worry about keeping the environment itself secure, you just have to worry about keeping WordPress and your themes and plugins up to date. Some of these hosts (like we mentioned earlier) will actually keep WordPress up to date for you and actively monitor WordPress for security problems. If you just want to focus on writing your blog or building your website, go with a managed web host. The more updating and monitoring they do for you the better.

If you’re going with an unmanaged web host you’re likely looking at a VPS or a dedicated server. If you need a VPS, I’d recommend Linode. We’ve used them for years, and they’ve been cost effective and reliable. I’m not going to get into all the details of securing an unmanaged server, as the topic deserves its own blog post, but here are some quick tips:

This is just a short list. If you’re running your own unmanaged server or VPS, it’s worth doing some more research on hardening your server.

Stick to the basics

WordPress security can be intimidating, but if you get the basics right, you’re unlikely to ever have any issues. Remember, the most important thing is to keep WordPress up to date. If you’re using an old version of WordPress, you’re a straggler, and you’re more of a target for hackers. If you always stay up to date, and use a good managed web host, you won’t have anything to worry about.

If you have any other WordPress security tips, let us know in the comments.

 

 

How To Make 2014 A Year of Strategies, Not Mere Plans

It’s a new year with new adventures. A new blog. And my wife and I are starting off excited for what is to come. I’m not much of one for yearly resolutions (how many friends are making the same resolutions they made last year and the year before that), but I do enjoy that every year brings a sense of newness with new possibilities. And of course, the thing possibilities that the things we didn’t do last year could be accomplished this year.

Resolutions are one thing. Most resolutions are ideas in the very least, and at the very best, plans. But plans cannot succeed without strategy. Strategy comes from the Greek word, stratēgia, which was a war-time term for “generalship” and the art of being the troop’s general, leader or commander.

Almost all resolutions are great plans. We may want to lose weight, read more, eat less, get a better job, buy a house, make more money, get a job that we love, or start our own business. These are great plans, but I have met many people who will be saying these same lines 365 days from now.

So I thought I’d give us some tips to making myself and all of us sure that our plans have strategies. And the hope (and prayer) would be that 365 days from now, we get to see how far we’ve come.

STRATEGY MAKING

  • Forget The “Plan”—Write Down Your Goal
    We want goals, not mere plans. The best way to make sure something gets done is to get it on paper. Notice that I said, on paper. Not on the computer. Not on your phone. On
    paper. Better yet, make it sticky paper and you can post it up somewhere that you will always see it. There is also the physical-to-mental connection made when you take that writing utensil and jot it down.
  • Next, write the answer to this question: “Why do I want this goal?”
    Discovering and writing down the answer to this question is vital as it creates the motive-ation to see this goal accomplished. Maybe your goal is to lose weight—your answer for your main motive might be so you can live to see your children’s children. Maybe your goal is to make more money—your answer to “why” might be because you want to travel, or have enough money to have children, or get that new car.
  • Identify The Critical “Action Items” To Achieve Your Goal

    Identify the critical “Action Items” to achieve your goal. This step is the most important.

     This step is the most important. Just because you wrote down your “what” and “why” doesn’t mean you’ll accomplish anything. It takes action. We all know this in theory, but it’s so hard to put it into practice. Think through the “Action Items” it will take to reach your goal—things that are possible, doable and realistic. Don’t over-complicate these items. And again, you want to write them down. Why? Because, these are the tasks you will do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis to actually achieve your goal.
  • Find Your Accountability
    We must be vulnerable with our goals and we must take the risk and let people in on our strategy to reach them. Ask yourself: Who are the people I want to let into life to help me succeed? Maybe it’s your wife, your best-friend(s), your parents or to use the example above, your children. My advice is let at least one person in on what you are doing. This is a personal decision, and will be hard for some. You must also be honest and think through the best people to push you. If you only chose one person (like an immediate family member or spouse), will they truly push you towards your goal (or, is it better to get help from outside of your immediate family)?
  • Lose The Guilt-Trips
    The “last but not least” of this list means you must ditch the guilt. If you aren’t fulfilling your Action Items on a regular basis, don’t fret. This is a perfect time to let your Accountability in on your hardships. This is also a perfect time to go back and read “Why Do I Want This Goal?”. Remembering the “why” will help rejuvenate that motivation within you to keep going.

With that, see you in 365 days to see what you’ve accomplished!