PDCA will solve 99% of the problems you are facing.

PDCA stands for: Plan, Do, Check and Adjust.

For the last year I’ve been using these 4 simple letters to intentionally change the things in my life that I was not happy with. I first heard about PDCA on a Life Leadership audio CD, and I’m using it to fix stuff in my life.

PDCA can be used to fix your marriage, your finances, even your health.

I wasn’t happy with my weight, so each day I began tracking everything I ate as well as my overall body weight. In doing so I’m searching for the lowest calorie number to lose weight and when I hit that goal weight the lowest number to stay at that weight.

My goal is 170 pounds, using PDCA I’ll get there in the next few months.

The simple act of writing down every blasted calorie made me much more mindful of what I ate.

You don’t need a fancy gym membership, expensive equipment or exotic foods, you just need to monitor the energy in and the results. My weight started to drop right away. All I did was jot down everything I ate with an approximate calorie count next to it.

How much does a pen and a piece of paper cost?

It only takes a few seconds to read labels and learn basic calorie counts. An egg is 70 calories, a glass of milk is 120, a handful of nuts is 150. The cursed Bloomin’ Onion at Outback is 800 calories, not including the dipping sauce.

You can google calorie counts on everything. I drank a 16 ounce IPA yesterday, but when I googled it I was horrified to learn that there were almost 500 calories in one glass! Knowing this I reduced the other calories later in the day and still kept under 1,600 calories.

I used PDCA to create a plan to go debt free.

About a year ago I cut up my credit cards and began reducing my business debt as well as my personal debt. Part of this was about increasing my income, so I actively went out and created some additional residual income as well as more cash income by filling restaurant gigs here in Tampa.

In December I earned an additional $1,500 filling balloon gigs in Tampa. I’m also seeing monthly Amazon commissions come in from e-book downloads of We Twist for Tips. I spent 300 hours writing in the summer of 2014, that investment of time has created a modest residual income.

I canceled my landline and cable channels, and my family stopped eating out in restaurants because cooking at home is less expensive. If you have mounting credit card debt you need to stop eating out, especially in sit-down restaurants.

My goal is to pay off my home mortgage by my 43rd birthday. Every single month I write down my debt balances in my planner (check) and every month that number gets smaller. I might not hit my goal soon, but I can always look at where I’m at and adjust accordingly.

Losing the weight also goes towards going debt free because I can wear all the nice clothes that fit me at 170 pounds, instead of wasting money on a new suit because I got fat.

PDCA can even be applied to relationships. If you are not happy with your marriage, or any other relationship in your life you can start to read relationship books (plan) then change your actions towards that person (do) then see if the relationship gets better (check). I’ve found that it takes time for other people to come around, so this may take a while.

In my marriage I began investing daily time in my wife and focusing on her. This gave us the time we needed to find alignment, we also created our plan for going debt free together. Finances are a big source of stress in most marriages, so when you and your spouse start to fix the money side of things other parts of your marriage begin to improve as well.

The first part of PDCA is “Plan”, so if you identify your challenge and you don’t know where to start you’ll need to find an information source to go to. In my case I learned new techniques from Life Leadership audio training in my car.

Life Leadership has comprehensive audio training and books on all the various challenges we face as human beings; from relationships to health to finance to faith. I’ve been a student for the past year now and my results in life have changed for the better.

More info on Life Leadership:     http://www.lifeleadership.com/61414939

-Ben Alexander

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Get out of your comfort Zone!

Many  eclectic jobs  led me to where I am today:

Here is a short list, in no logical order:

  1. Paid Baritone for a Presbyterian church.
  2. Insurance agent for Mutual of Omaha.
  3. Basic construction, ripping up sidewalks, building fences, etc.
  4. English teacher in Taiwan.
  5. Art model for my college’s life modeling class.
  6. Volunteer firefighter (no pay, but a unique experience)
  7. Balloon Twister 4 Tips in countless restaurants.
  8. Owner of a balloon twisting talent agency.
  9. Burger flipper at Dairy Queen.
  10. Waiter at many different restaurants.
  11. Lifeguard at several lakes and pools across South Jersey.
  12. Swim Instructor for children.
  13. Rollerblade instructor in Taiwan.
  14. Selling gold plating services to car dealerships.
  15. Selling deregulated energy door to door.
  16. Managing large door to door crews that sold deregulated energy.
  17. Selling underwater scuba camera equipment over the phone.
  18. Selling mortgages over the phone.
  19. Selling employment advertising over the phone.
  20. Selling solar and energy efficiency door to door, in NJ, PA and FL.
  21. Selling cars (mostly Toyota) in MD and FL.
  22. Mowing lawns and basic landscaping.
  23. Auctioneer’s assistant and go-to (when I was 12 years old)
  24. Delivery driver for Naple’s pizza in Mullica Hill.
  25. Substitute teacher all over South Jersey (my 3rd year in college)
  26. Package sorter on the midnight shift at UPS.
  27. Direct Sales with Amway and Life Leadership.
  28. Getting paid from sales of my first book on Amazon.
  29. Sales consulting for 2 marketing firms in Philadelphia.
  30. Goofed off with the EB-5 investment program in Taiwan, never made a dime.
  31. Imported Super Sonic Spheres from Taiwan, same result as #30.

I’ve tried so many unusual things in my life that nothing is that weird or unfamiliar.

In college every single time I got fired from one job (I had a big mouth and it got me in hot water) I would look around and try something different.

I feel bad for the person who turns 18, gets a job that he hates, then stays in that job for 40 years because he is hooked to a measly paycheck. How boring, right?

Be open to new ideas and experiences, and as you get older you will continually expand your comfort zone. When you stretch yourself you will learn how to be resilient and adjust to anything.

Trying many different things also teaches you to be resourceful, a great quality to develop whether you are an entrepreneur, teacher or any profession.

Once you’ve taken off every stitch of clothing in front of a room full of art students, or traveled 12 time zones away on a ONE WAY ticket to a foreign country to work, everything else is small potatoes.

I started Balloon Distractions (when I was 29) because I never found a job that I actually liked.

Previous to that I could never hold a job longer than 24 months.

When you move OUT, way OUT, from your comfort zone you will gain tremendous confidence and trust in yourself. After living in Taiwan and learning how to speak a bit of Mandarin Chinese I was not afraid to live somewhere very far from what I knew growing up.

Moving to Florida in 2003? No big deal, at least it’s still in the USA.

Consequently I feel at home everywhere I go here in the States. The entire USA is within my comfort zone. As I traveled around the United States building Balloon Distractions I always felt at home, whether in Seattle, Miami or Houston.

A little job or hobby that you try out in college can lead to something significant down the road. When I was twisting balloons in college I never would have guessed that it would lead to Balloon Distractions.

More recently I got involved in residential and commercial solar with Tampa Bay Solar. Here I was, learning a totally new industry at 43 years old! I’ve been making a great income and learning a ton. I feel like a million bucks.

Be thrilled by the potential of the unexpected, and don’t hesitate to get out of your own comfort zone! The only thing you risk by trying something new is loss of time.

Ben Alexander

blog was originally written in 2014, updated in May of 2017.