Helping You Manage Your Wealth God’s Way
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STARTING WITH A STUTTER
In 1972, when Erik was five, his family of four was involved in a serious car accident. After all the frightening jostling in the back seat, everything became eerily quiet. The police soon arrived and told the family to stay in the car until it was safe to get out. Little Erik was convinced that the car was going to explode, and panicked. Though his mom assured him that wasn’t going to happen, he was undone.
“By the time the police gave us permission to leave the car, my mind was shot,” he remembers. “The car may not have blown up, but my brain sure did.” That night at the dinner table, Erik started stuttering. What followed were years of teasing and bullying from school kids, and crying himself to sleep hundreds of times. The stutter continued for decades.
The Weirs worked with Erik’s teachers, school counselors, and a speech therapist, all of whom advised pushing him to talk with others rather than retreat. Starting a lemonade stand proved very helpful in seeing that his stutter could still result in success.
Erik’s stutter remained a part of his life until his late 30’s, when it finally started dissapating. “…once I accepted it as a part of me – a part I could even be grateful for – and not as some kind of foreign plague sent only to embarrass me. Most importantly, I had to make a decision: would I let my stutter stop me or would I figure out a way to use it – along with every other strength and weakness in my arsenal – to move ahead and push through walls?”
Erik believes that we limit – even sabotage – our own success far more than anyone else does. He points to ideas like, “I’m not smart enough,” "I’m too young/old,” “The world is out to get me,” and “The deck is stacked against me because of my race/gender/physical disability," as limiting thoughts and says they keep us from the kind of wealth, as well as physical and mental health, that we could otherwise enjoy.
“Fear of failure will steal chunks from your financial pie faster than almost anything else,” he says. “And I’m not just talking about your financial pie. When we allow fear to drive our decisions or, just as bad, paralyze us from making any decisions, we put everything at risk – our financial success, relationships, career, health, and any other pie we’re trying to protect.”
Erik offers ways to get beyond fear and limiting thoughts. First, he says we need to get past the words “I can’t.” When his own sons would say something like, “I can’t do math,” he would stop them right away and tell them to replace those words with “I presently struggle with ….” The latter phrase admits the weakness, but also acknowledges that it’s only temporary. Another way to deal with perceived limitations, Erik says, is to focus on the opportunity, not the limit.
He gives the example of mom-and-pop restaurant owners who, instead of closing shop in the pandemic, found success in takeout and delivery sales. Another example he gives is the pharmaceutical companies who may have thought it impossible to come up with vaccines for a novel virus within a year, but did so because of the urgent need. “When all you can see is limits, your vision is impaired,” he says.
A third method of dealing with limits that Erik cites, is to redefine failure. When Erik pitched his idea to exclusively finance all the Topgolf locations worldwide to the owners, they laughed at and refused him. He could easily have gone home and said, “Well, I tried.” Instead, he offered a different idea about financing locations only in Europe, using his international business acumen, which turned their initial “no” into a “yes.”
THE PIE OF LIFE
From his own experience, Erik believes there is much more to life than money, and teaches his clients about true wealth. “Trust me on this: if you’re driven by a need for more and more stuff, you have a hole inside you that you will never fill. No amount of stuff will make you feel successful. No one purchase will be the thing that brings contentment to your life. If all you want when you’re broke is money, all you’ll want when you’re rich is more money. It’s been said that money is a great tool but a poor master.”
Though Erik speaks and writes most about finances, given his experience and expertise, he’s clear that money is just one part of life and not the most important one at that. He says managing the “Pie of Life” should be our chief concern, and he divides it into five slices which he calls, the “Five Fs:” faith, family, fitness, finances, and friends.
Faith – As a Christian, Erik’s dependence on God and the tenets of the Bible are what inform and direct his choices. No matter one’s spiritual convictions, he says, “Your beliefs drive your decisions, so it’s a good idea to pay attention to what you believe in. If you can’t figure out why you aren’t further along in reaching your goals, I challenge you to examine how your beliefs – your faith – is affecting your journey.”
Family - “Never, never neglect your family in the pursuit of money,” Erik warns. “No amount of money is worth being truly alone in the world, and no amount can buy you one more minute of time to spend with your loved ones. Be sure you’re protecting your family pie.”
Fitness - “The more you take care of it (your body), the more it’ll take care of you, and the longer you’ll be around to live, laugh, love, and build a legacy than can change your family, your community, and maybe even the world.”
Finances – “Money is a responsibility, and a lot of money is a lot of responsibility. Manage it well by finding ways to help others and improve the lives of people outside your immediate family.”
Friends – Erik encourages us to take a good look at the people we spend the most time with. “Are they lifting you up or are they pulling you down? Are they feeding your growth? Are they pushing you forward? Are they encouragers, supporters, fans, and cheerleaders? Are they calling you out when you do something stupid?”
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