Take Action


A brief introduction to my new marketing message.

Hi gang.  I just wanted to take a few minutes to write a quick note about my new marketing message.

In actual fact I‘ve been communicating this message to my clients for about a year now and just finally wrote it down in the form of a flyer that I leave behind with all of my meetings.  The message is direct and leaves the perspective client with no doubt about I expect from them. 

During all my meetings I stress the importance of taking action.  It is all fine and good to plan but planning is useless without action. 

Take Action Today That Your Future Self Will Thank You For

And what actions do I expect you to take?  It’s all laid out in the flyer I leave behind.  The flyer asks three questions:

  1. Do you have any debt?
    1. If I could show you a way to reduce the interest paid on all your debts, free up cash flow and be debt free years sooner, would that be a conversation worth having?
  2. Do you have a plan to protect and grow your assets?
    1. If I could show you a way to protect your assets from market volatility and other unexpected losses, without sacrificing growth, would that be a conversation worth having?
  3. Where do you want your money to go after you die?
    1. If I could show you a way to significantly reduce the taxes owing on your estate and increase the amount of money available for the people and causes you care about, without effecting your lifestyle now, would that be a conversation worth having?

Financial planning and growing wealth is simple (not easy).  It involves reducing and eventually eliminating debt, building and protecting wealth and leaving a legacy.  With a few simple changes to your lifestyle and thinking today you can make a significant impact on your life moving forward and well into the future, but you must take action.  The longer you wait, the harder it becomes and the fewer options you have available to you. 

So there you have it, my straight forward, no bullshit marketing message: 

Take Action Today That Your Future Self Will Thank You For

Check out the links to the flyer above and get in touch to start taking action for your future self…

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A Too Common Real-Life Story


Let me share with you a story that I’ve seen and heard too many times.

A young man and a young woman graduate high-school and go on to attend university or college. Since no money has been saved for the tuition fees etc. and since credit is so readily available, they both obtain student loans, lines of credit, credit cards and accumulate a lot of debt.  They might work a bit during the summers, but the course load is too much during the rest of the year to maintain much of an income to support their lifestyle while in school. 

At some point this young couple meet, “fall in love” and get married. 

After they have finished their schooling, they both get full-time jobs and purchase automobiles with 0% financing. Not long after that, they purchase a home but because they still have next to no savings, they borrow most of the down payment from their parents and take on a huge mortgage.

The student loans, credit cards, car loans and big mortgage accumulate to a huge amount and they start to encounter significant financial problems. At this point, they ask each other “how did we ever get into this financial mess?”

Unfortunately, this couple has been violating many financial principles for years and are suffering the consequences. 

Not only do I see and hear this story on an almost daily basis in my work but just over 14 years ago this was me.  After I got my financial house in order, I became a financial advisor specifically so that I could help others avoid the same mistakes I made.  Join me on this journey to debt freedom and a life of abundance! 

If I could show you a way to reduce the interest paid on all of your debts, free up cashflow and be debt free years sooner, would that be a conversation worth having? 

Of course, it would!

Reach out in the comments below or send me a private message @laurencsheil for more details and start living life to the fullest without the burden of debt!

Release, Rebuild, Rejoice


The Importance of Vocation

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;
    establish the work of our hands for us—
    yes, establish the work of our hands.

[Psalm 90:17]

I spent the day working in my garden on Saturday.

There is something down-right spiritual about manual labor.  Especially when it involves manipulating the earth. 

Adam, the first man, literally means “of the earth”.  To work with your hands in the dirt is to connect with the very building blocks of humanity. 

I’m speaking metaphorically of course.  I’m not a literal creationist and I didn’t skip health class in high school, so I know where babies come from.  But there is still something spiritual about digging in the dirt and working with your hands that leaves your mind free to think.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the importance of vocation.  Vocation is different than an occupation or a job.  Miriam Webster defines vocation as:

a summons or strong inclination to a particular state or course of action…

So, a vocation is kind of like a divine calling.  It’s something you do not for a pay cheque or to climb a career ladder, you do it because it’s who you were made to be. 

Your occupation can change, mine has, but your vocation and calling generally stays the same. It’s about finding your sweet spot. 

I found my sweet spot when I discovered that I am at my most authentic when I am working to help people release their burdens, rebuild their lives and rejoice in the moment.  Release.  Rebuild.  Rejoice.  The three r’s of my life’s work. 

Release is about letting go of the past.  Loosing the chains that bind you and embracing your God given potential.  That can mean working through past sins and wrongs done to you.  Setting aside or paying off heavy burdens of debt brought about by illness, bad luck or bad decision making.   Or fighting through a general malaise brought about by a series of events beyond your reach or understanding.  Like a monkey with his fist caught in a jar you can be free if you just release your grasp, on these things.

Rebuild is about just that. Once you’ve let go of the things the burden you, you can be free to start building the life you really want.  What are your goals and dreams? When you look in the mirror who do you see?  Who do you want to see?  Who do you hope to see 5, 10 or 20 years from now?  Start with the end in mind and work backwards to where you are today.  What one thing must you do today to make incremental progress toward the person you want to end up?  You build a house one nail at a time; you build a life in much the same way. 

Rejoice is about taking the time to stop and recognize your achievements.  The journey is long.  You need to celebrate each milestone along the way.  Pay off a credit card – rejoice!  Make peace with a part of your past – party time!  Repair a broken relationship – kill the fatted calf the prodigal has returned!   Celebrating your achievements, making progress along the journey keeps us energized and full of hope.

My day job in financial services provides me with a front row seat to some of the most amazing transformations.  I have worked with people who have rebuilt their credit from almost nothing, paid off debt, bought houses, started businesses, sent kids to college, funded charitable causes and retired in the lap of luxury.  All because they learned the secrets of release, rebuild and rejoice. 

It’s not just a financial concept.  It can apply to almost anyone, no matter their starting point.  We all have a past.  We all have dreams.  Let me show you how to release your burdens, rebuild your life and rejoice in your newfound road to success. 

Message me or tell me how your doing in the comments below.

Rivers of Living Water


June 17, 2019

Jesus performed a lot of miracles over the course of his ministry.  He healed people, fed them, walked on water and his first miracle, my personal favorite, turned water into wine. 

Possibly because of the Jew’s history as a nomadic desert tribe, possibly due to it’s cleaning and healing properties and possibly due it’s essential life sustaining qualities, water figures prominently in many of Jesus’ miracles.

The Jews understood that water has some remarkable power and they were very good at creating rituals around the use of water.  Ceremonial washing alone figures into well over half of the Jewish law in some way or another. 

Last week I wrote about Judging Correctly based on Jesus encounter with the Pharisees over healing and ceremonial washing on the sabbath.  Picking up from that theme and my personal reflections on the power of gratitude over the past few days, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to have Rivers of Living water flowing through us.

Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them. [Jesus,  John 7:37b,38]

It wasn’t until recently that I read that statement of Jesus in it’s entirety within it’s proper context.  When I first read it and learned about living water the emphasis had always been on the first sentence only.  If you are thirsty, come and drink.  While that is a fine analogy, true to the experience of most Christ-followers it only tells half the story. 

Coming to Jesus for your own sake does nothing to advance the kingdom.  Jesus doesn’t stop by saying that he is here for our personal sustenance, he goes on to say that the rivers of living water will flow from within us.  The King James bible says that the water will flow out of our belly.   The Revised Standard Version says it will flow out of our heart.  And The Message says that rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes. 

The imagery is clear, Jesus sustaining, thirst quenching, purifying, living water is not meant to be kept for ourselves.  It is meant to overflow out of us into the world. 

Think about the Dead Sea.  Fresh water flows into it from the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee but is has no where to go.  The only thing that keeps the Dead Sea from overflowing its banks is evaporation.  As the fresh water evaporates it leaves behind heavy minerals, like salt.  The Dead Sea is dead because it takes in but never lets out.  

Don’t be like the Dead Sea!

The other day I said that gratitude is the fuel that drives passion through positive feedback.  The more grateful we are for the things we have the more people are willing to support us.  Jesus’ living water flowing out of us does the same thing.  It draws people toward us to bask in the positive flow of love and grace that we exude.  These then become the same people we need to build up our positive flow and the fountain of living water can become (with Jesus’ help) a self-sustaining spring. 

This is a new perspective for me.  I’m still learning what it all means.  But I know this for sure; by expressing gratitude for the things I have been given I am living a life of abundance beyond anything I could have ever imagined. 

And it just keeps getting better.  Be grateful! 

Passion, Prowess and Gratitude


June 15, 2019

I dropped the ball on my daily writing habit the past few days. 

I knew it would happen eventually I just didn’t think it would happen so soon after recommitting.  In my defense I’ve been busy, sort of.  While I haven’t had time to write about it, I have had the distinct pleasure of witnessing 2 shining examples of passion, leading to prowess and gratitude. 

The first example occurred on Wednesday night.  As a thank-you for all my hard work over the past several months my director gave me four tickets to a rock concert by 1980’s pop legend Corey Hart.  I was given the tickets, in a luxury box no less, as an expression of gratitude for closing a big deal.  I turned around and, along with my wife invited two friends as a thanks to them for supporting our journey through life unconditionally for years. 

For his part Hart, who stepped away from live performance in 1999 to be a full-time dad, put on one of the most passionate and gracious shows I have ever seen.  Pausing mid set, and even mid song, to acknowledge the fans, with waves and comments like “I see you, nice T-shirt” to a fan wearing a Fields of Fire shirt from 1986, taking a placard from another and signing it during a guitar solo, inviting other on stage during her favorite song and even taking a walk through the middle of the crowd to take selfies. 

It was obvious that Corey Hart is passionate about his music and loves to perform, which makes the fact that he was willing to set it all aside for 20 years for the sake of his family all the more remarkable.  At one point he showed a video of himself explaining to his 14-year-old son why he had done it and why he felt that now was the time for him to launch a come back.  His son said that he appreciated everything Hart had done for him and that by his example he knew that whatever he wanted to do he would do it with passion.  After the video played Hart told the audience that 20 years ago, he never imagined that his fans would welcome him back with so much passion of their own and he was extremely grateful.

The next night I witnessed history when the Toronto Raptors won the NBA Championship.   After the game, while the players and coaches were celebrating on the court, I was struck by the gratitude everyone involved was showing for their families and the fans.  Kyle Lowry, (point-guard) was taking photos with his two children, Nick Nurse (head-coach) gave an interview with his son on his hip.  Every one of them expressed gratitude to family and fans for supporting them on their various journeys to the top of the basketball world.

It seems to me that passion is a prerequisite to success.  But it’s not enough by itself.  Passionate people need to be supported.  At first, they need the support of family and friends, next they need coaches and mentors, and lastly, they need fans and supporters who are willing to put down their own time and money to fuel the drive. 

Nothing kills passion faster than un-supportive parents and friends.  I shutter to think what the world might have lost if Corey Hart’s mother hadn’t paid for piano lessons and stood by him while and sent demo tapes to the likes of Billy Joel as a teenager.   And nothing fuels passion like gratitude.

Gratitude has a double benefit.  When we are grateful, we provide the fuel that motivates people to continue to support us.  They feel appreciated and out of their own sense of gratitude they continue to provide the support passionate people need to continue working on their dreams.  It’s a positive feedback loop that just keeps growing and leads to the last aspect that I witnessed, prowess.

Without passion and gratitude Corey Hart never would have put in the time and effort it took to write chart topping songs like “Sunglasses at Night” and “Never Surrender”.  Without passion and gratitude Kyle Lowry, Kawhi Leonard and the rest of the Toronto Raptors never would have spent the time in the gym that it takes to climb to the top of the NBA.  Without passion and gratitude, I never would have survived the last few years in business. 

What are you passionate about and to whom are you grateful for supporting you?  Show it.  I promise, gratitude will be the fuel that propels you to even greater heights.

Here’s a cell phone video I took of Corey Hart performing one of his biggest hits of the 80s.  It’s hard to see but I think you can tell that everyone, including him, is loving every second of it.

Judging Correctly


June 10-11, 2019

“Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly” [Jesus] John 7:24

Sunday in church the sermon was on John 7, when Jesus goes to the festival of tabernacles. 

It’s a great passage that symbolizes Jesus as Emmanuel (God with Us) in very practical terms.  The festival of tabernacles is the Jewish festival, still celebrated in some orthodox communities today, where the people move out of their homes and live in tents for a week to symbolize and commemorate how God led them out of Egypt and dwelled among them for 40 years while they made their way across the desert to the promised land. 

In John 7, Jesus goes alone to the festival and dwells among the people in secret.  That is until about halfway through the festival when he starts teaching in the temple courts and seriously ticks off the religious elites.

I find it interesting that the biggest question around Jesus teaching isn’t actually about what he says.  I think deep down the elites knew he was right and couldn’t argue with him without exposing their own hypocrisy.  It’s about where he gained his knowledge.  It’s religious snobbery.  The ancient equivalent of checking someone’s credentials before taking them seriously. 

In certain circles doors are only opened for people with advanced degrees from specific institutions.  If you don’t have a law degree from Harvard or Yale forget about getting a job at certain firms in New York or Boston, no matter how smart you are. 

Jesus had no such credentials.  And for a group of religious leaders obsessed with pedigree and “who taught who” that was never going to hold up.  The fact that they couldn’t prove him wrong or trap him in any inconsistencies just made them angrier. 

And then Jesus turned around and made them look like fools – “quit looking at appearances and judge correctly”, he said.

How?

Jesus makes it very clear.  Judging correctly is simply learning to follow the will of God. 

Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own – John 7:17

And what is the will of God? 

Love.  Love God and Love others. 

How do you know if you are following the will of God?  First ask three questions of your motivations;

  1. Am I seeking power?
  2. Am I afraid of the consequences?
  3. Am I being manipulated or manipulating others?

If you answer yes to any of those questions, it’s not love and it is not the will of God.

Jesus didn’t need credentials, everything he taught aligned perfectly with the will of God. 

On a side note –

Today people are still just as obsessed with credentials.  I’ve been in the receiving end of what I call credentials bias more times that I can count.  I have no University Degree, yet I know just as much (if not more) about economics, theology and human behavior than most preachers and economists and the combined knowledge I have gained in those three areas is almost unheard of for one individual to possess.  How many Economist/Theologian/Behaviourists do you know? 

The fact is that in today’s world knowledge is cheap.  With a computer or a library card and little bit of time anyone can learn just about anything.  Over the past 11 years, I’ve read close to 400 books, applied my knowledge and tested my theories as an author of over 600 blog posts and 4 books, public speaker and Financial Planner for over 800 individual and corporate clients.  Yet with all that specialized, self-directed learning I am still dismissed and ignored by people with far less information simply because they possess some arbitrarily agreed upon credential.

Quit looking appearances and judge correctly.  Does what I say make sense?  Is it aligned with the will of God?  Then that’s all the credentials I need. 

June 9, 2019


Is There Anybody Listening?

I’m staring a new ritual. 

I want to write for at least 30 minutes a day. 

This is going to be my new blog.  Simply journal entries that may or may not lead to something bigger.  I might not post every day 30 minutes might not be long enough to write a complete a thought.  But I will at least try to write every day and post whenever I have something coherent to upload.   

I’ve attempted to journal several times in the past.  Sometimes in the form of a handwritten notebook other times in typeset form. 

I have also blogged before, as this space is a testament but over the past several months (years) I’ve gotten away from it.  Through a series of events, heart aches, mental blocks and physical needs I simply stopped writing. 

I think it started shortly after I published my second book “Meekoethics – What Happens When Life Get’s Messy and the Rules Aren’t Enough.”  My business was taking more and more of my time and attention.  I was growing frustrated with the slow pace of growth and I simply had no desire (or knowledge, or ability, or whatever) to promote my writing.  I sold exactly zero copies of Meekoethics in the months immediately following its release and I also noticed a marked reduction in the amount of reader engagement I was getting on the blog. 

Is there anybody listing? 

I slowly and reluctantly came to the conclusion that; no, no one was in fact listening.  In an attempt to revive things, I redesigned the blog, jazzed up the visuals, built a fancy new website and even tried my hand a video blogging, but none of it worked, the engagement was gone, and my heart wasn’t in it. 

So, I stopped writing. 

Blogs it seems are passe.  Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (and probably a hundred other platforms that I’m too out of touch to know anything about) have killed the long form blog.  And that’s a shame because it’s nearly impossible to get a complex idea across in only a few characters.  We’re living in a soundbite world, our thirst for knowledge has been reduced to shot glass sized gulps of whatever the news media or celebrities can dish out.  And our attention span has gone with it.  Maybe that’s why we have a TV personality for a president and our political discourse has been reduced to hashtags and name calling.  (#frustrating)

I can tell you this; if you’ve read this far, you’re a rarity in the online community and you’re my kind of people.  Stick around and we might actually have some fun, figure out a thing or two and maybe even influence the world together. 

But that’s not really why I started writing again. There is a bigger issue that I’m wrestling with lately, one that’s admittedly both more and less selfish. 

When I stopped writing I seem to have lost a piece of myself.  You see, if I’m being honest, I have to admit that never really wanted to write for an audience anyway. 

I started journaling for the first time when I was in my late teens as a way to organize my thoughts, make sense of the world and talk to God.  Journaling for me has always been a form of prayer.  I started posting my journal entries on-line way back in 2008 on a whim and suddenly found that other people were interested in what I had to say.  I kept doing it and before I knew it my journal/prayer life had over 100 regular readers all over the world. 

When I started to notice a trends in my writing around questions of economics and theology, I used it as a stepping-stone to my first book; “Meekonomics – How to Inherit the Earth and Live Life to the Fullest in God’s Economy”.  That book led in rapid succession to a short personal finance guide “Six Steps to Financial Freedom – The Meekonomist’s Guide to Getting out of Debt, Building Wealth and Leaving a Legacy.”, and the aforementioned “Meekoethics”. 

Then I started to lose my voice.  (My writing voice that is, I never lost my ability to talk).  The lack of engagement I noticed on the blog and my inability to promote my writing started to take a tole.  I tried to write a book on leadership but after a few false starts had to face up the fact that I’ve never led anything and know next to nothing about the topic. 

And then I just started to get depressed and stopped writing altogether.

I know realize that because writing for me was never really about the audience I lost something else when I stopped.  I lost my connection to God.  In a sense, when I stopped writing I stopped praying.

Well – not exactly. 

But my prayer life did change.  Now instead of pouring out my thoughts in a prayerful written format all I could do was sit, think and listen.  

Don’t get me wrong, that type of prayerful meditation was helpful, for a season.  It helped me remain connected to God in a way that I hadn’t experienced until then and it helped me learn a whole new way of communication.  It kept me grounded and prevented my depression from running so deep that it consumed me. 

But it wasn’t the same.  I’m a writer.  I learn, grow, organize and make sense of the world by writing stuff down.  The physical, tactile connection between my mind and my body that writing brings out is essential to my way of thinking, learning and communicating. 

As I started to figure that out, I did what I have always done – I wrote it down, but I stopped sharing it. 

My latest work is a short book on prayer that I have called “Prayer School – A Contemplative Guide to the Lord’s Prayer”.  I wasn’t going to publish it at first.  I had just planned to let what I had learned through writing remain between me and God. 

But then something strange happened, Amazon sent me a cheque for royalties from the sales of my first three books.

Suddenly I felt like a real writer again.  Some people, somewhere, have read my work and thought enough of it to plunk down their hard-earned cash to own a copy of something I wrote.  My secret hope in making my writing publicly available has always been that somehow God would use my prayers to help other people and when I got that first cheque it was as if God said, “Yup, people are listening”.  (“Yup” is in the Hebrew, look it up…)

That’s why I published “Prayer School” and that’s why I am returning again to a daily ritual of writing my thoughts.  It’s always been how I pray, think and learn. 

I still have a lot to say, questions that I want to find answers to.  I have ideas for several more books, seminars, and videos.  I never want to write for my ego.  I never want to get depressed over a lack of engagement.  I don’t want to measure my worth by the number of likes I get on social media or the size of my royalty cheques. 

It’s not supposed to be about me.  At the end of the day it’s still just meant to between me and God.  You’re invited to eavesdrop on my prayer life.

So welcome back to my blog.  It’s just me and my thoughts, prayers and questions.  If you have anything to add, feel free, that’s what the comments section is for.  If not, that’s okay too because the only one who’s listening, the only one that matters at least, is God.