Your Single Page Life Plan Should Not Be P.O.S.H.

The brilliance of a Single Page Life Plan© lies in its simplicity. It must never be P.O.S.H. – Perfect, Overloaded, Set in stone, or Hidden.

Image of a white-gloved hand holding a wooden frame with the words Single Page Life Plan

Photo courtesy of


Your life plan is not the Magna Carta! It is an important document—but it’s different. Your life plan is a blueprint of how you want to live your life. It forces you to identify your goals and strategies, and it makes it easier for you to gauge results and to stay accountable. However, it is not meant to be all-inclusive or perfect.

Mark Twain once said, “Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.” So, don’t get mired down searching for a grand epiphany here. Just get things going in the right direction.

11 Speaking Techniques of the Great Communicator

President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev meet for the first time. Here, walking towards each other to shake hands. Reagan would later implore, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."
Photograph and Audio Clip Courtesy Ronald Reagan Library

As he approached the microphone at Brandenburg Gate, with a wall of bulletproof glass behind him, I wonder if Ronald Reagan knew that the words he would speak that day would be heard by billions of people spanning across multiple generations, into the future.


“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” These words might represent the pinnacle of the Great Communicator’s impact through words. Though his advisors continually tried to temper his words, President Reagan had a sense of history, public sentiment, and timing.

Here are 11 techniques Ronald Reagan used that can help you become a great communicator:

  1. He began by speaking to small groups: In 1954 Ronald Reagan was hired to host the General Electric Theater, a new television series that aired on Sunday nights. Part of this new job included traveling across America, visiting 139 GE plants in 39 different states. He would speak to small groups alongside the assembly lines of the plants. These talks led to speaking at chamber of commerce events, state conventions of service organizations, and business clubs.
  2. He received feedback from his audience: Reagan continually field-tested the different ways he could present his opinions, stories, and jokes. He always updatd his material to keep his speeches fresh.
  3. Ronald Reagan didn’t read his speeches, nor did he memorize them: He didn’t believe an audience could be held by a speaker who was reading a speech. But, although Reagan possessed a legendary memory, it was virtually impossible for him to memorize every word of every speech. So, using a self-made form of shorthand, Reagan would abbreviate each word and then compress the sentences onto 4 X 6 inch cards. As few as 3 or 4 words were enough to prompt him to ad-lib the rest. As a result, his speeches were well-prepared and fresh. They never sounded off-the-cuff or over-rehearsed.
  4. He wrote his own speeches: The reason Reagan’s words resonated with the audience is because they resonated with the speaker. You could sense the conviction he had for the content of his speeches. By the time he had become president, he had so clearly established his convictions over the years, it was easy for speechwriters in the White House to capture his message and imitate his style.
  5. He spoke to millions, one by one: As a sports announcer, Reagan would imagine that he was speaking to a specific group of friends who used to congregate around a radio at a local barbershop. Listeners would feel as if Reagan was directing his words to them personally because, in a way, he really was! He always reminded himself, even when speaking to millions of people, that he was speaking to an audience of individuals, not a mass crowd.
  6. Ronald Reagan chose simple language: Ronald Reagan always preferred using short sentences. He would not use a two-syllable word, if a one-syllable word would work just as well. He avoided speeches that seemed eloquent on paper but ended up sounding stilted. He always wanted his speeches to be easy to absorb.
  7. He used lots of examples: Reagan’s use of stories, anecdotes, and examples is legendary. Rather than convince others by giving long-winded opinions, Ronald Reagan would present example after example to prove his point.
  8. He began with humor: When addressing an audience, he liked to start with a joke. He seemed to have an endless supply of funny stories.
  9. He wore one contact lens: President Reagan was severely nearsighted, making it impossible to simultaneously focus on both his notes and his audience. Rather than constantly put on and then remove his glasses during a speech, he began wearing a single contact lens, which allowed him to focus not only on his close-up material, but on those he was speaking to.
  10. He stood in close proximity to his audience: Like many professional speakers, Reagan knew how important it was to be physically close to the 1st row of the audience. Keynote speakers believe that any considerable distance between a speaker and the 1st row creates an emotional separation between the speaker and the audience. Reagan always preferred to be within 2 to 3 steps from his audience.
  11. Ronald Reagan’s extreme passion for reading informed his speaking: As a young boy, and throughout his entire life, Reagan was a voracious reader. His love for reading helped to inform his public speaking and his ability to engage in both rehearsed and impromptu debates.
  12. In the end, it was the content of his message that made him a successful speaker: President Reagan said this in his farewell address:

And in all of that time I won a nickname, The Great Communicator. But I never thought it was my style or the words I used that made a difference; it was the content. I wasn’t a great communicator, but I communicated great things. And, they didn’t spring full bloom from my brow, they came from the heart of a great nation – from our experience, wisdom, and our belief in the principles that have guided us for two centuries.

What a beautifully crafted statement of 80 words. Did you happen to notice that 64 of them had only one syllable?

Click here for other posts that capture the leadership style of Ronald Reagan.

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Help the Young Person in Your Life See Past Friday Night

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One afternoon while speaking to a classroom full of freshman students, I said, “Your 4 years of high school might end up being the riskiest and most dangerous 4 years of your life. Likely, you will never again have a time in your life when you are granted an explosion of new freedoms and responsibilities, while having such a low level of experience.

Photo of a car driving along a winding road

A Collission Course: Expanding Freedoms vs. A Lack of Experience

“You will learn how to drive a 2000 pound car 65 mile per hour down the freeway. You will make choices on

  • Where you want to go,
  • What kind of summer job you want to have, and
  • Whether or not you will pick up the habits of drinking, smoking, or doing drugs.

You will decide

  • How you handle dating relationships,
  • Which college to attend, and
  • What career path to follow.

And your experience in these matters, like everyone when they are freshman, is just about … zero!

These expanding freedoms and your lack of freedoms are on a collission course. They will converge. How will you deal with that?”

Helping Your Young Person Become a Future Leader:

Sometimes the best advice we can give a young adult is to stay strong for another day. They have a long future ahead of them.

Unfortunately, as a volunteer instructor in the classroom,  I focused entirely on teaching young people about the time value of money, how to open a checking account, and how interview for a job. Things like that.

We talked about the tings they could do to achieve their dreams and aspirations.

Eventually, I learned that, it many ways it was more important to give them some tools to just get through their high school years safely! To focus on things to avoid, to stay strong for another day.

Instead of focusing so much on:

  • achievement,
  • getting super grades, and
  • becoming goal-oriented adults

it is sometimes more helpful to begin first with staying healthy and avoiding:

  • car accidents,
  • substance addictions, and
  • unplanned pregnancies.

Few of us get through our high school years without making a variety of mistakes, but encouraging young people in our lives to be more intentional goes a long way towards helping them be all that they can be.

Helping a Young Person Understand the Importance of Experience

Like most of us did at that age, high school kids feel that they can do anything as well or better than their parents. If you ask them if they are as good of a driver as their parents, they will respond, “Oh, I’m a way better driver than they are!”   So, ask them this:

“Do you consider yourself to be a good driver (or someone who will be a good driver as soon as you get your license)?”

If they are like most teenagers, most of them think they are among the top 10% of drivers on the road.

Give them the benefit of the doubt: “With all of the driving instruction and testing you have taken, and the fact that you are a conscientious person, you are probably a good driver. How am I doing so far?”

Now to the main question:

“Will you be an even better driver in the future, after you’ve had another year or two behind the wheel?”

Regardless of age, everyone knows the answer to that question. The more time you spend driving on different roads in rain, ice, snow, hail, sleet, high winds, blinding sun, fog, etc., the better driver you become.

Because that is how experience works.

Basically, this question asks the young person to compare themselves, not with another person who has more experience than they do, but instead with themselves – as a more experienced person. We are all more open to that concept.

In other words … You think you’re brilliant at 16? Wait until you’re 20! They get that.

It is not a matter of maturity, it is a matter of experience. No matter how mature you are, you’re not playing at the top of their game at that age. You will be better in the future.

Once they connect gaining experience with the simple passing of time, it is easy for them to realize that over that same period of time, they will grow in experience in other ways. They will gain experience that will help them make better choices in all aspects of their life.

A question to ask the young adult in your life …

“Do you consider yourself to be good at dealing with the challenges of drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and other risky behaviors that have recently been thrust your way? My guess is that you have done some reading, and have participated in many conversations on the subject. You probably are good at dealing with those challenges. How am I doing so far?”

“Now … do you think you will be even better at dealing with these challenges a couple of years from now?”

Explain to them how their expanding freedoms are about to collide with their lack of experience

In the back of my book, Seeing Past Friday Night (which is also one of the topics I speak on), there is an agreement that a parent, mentor, or guardian can make with a young adult to deal with the challenges of high school in a positive way. Help the young person in your life see past Friday Night!

Here is a related post you might find interesting: I Wish I Had Smoked More Cigarettes

Why Investors Buy Apartments in Today’s Artificial Market

Multifamily flyer photo copy

The main reason for owning multifamily property has changed …

Since the tax change of 1986, until recently, the top 4 reasons for buying apartments were:

  • Cash Flow
  • Appreciation
  • Principle Reduction
  • Tax Deferral

These reasons have flipped in order. Now, they are:

  • Appreciation
  • Principle Reduction
  • Tax Deferral
  • Cash Flow (if there is any!)

The new, overiding motivation for owning real estate is Equity Preservation!

Why the change? One reason … Artificiality

4 Benefits of Economic Prosperity

Photo courtesy of

Smiling mother showing young daughter how to plant flowers
Excerpt from Lead Like Reagan

Live prosperously so that others may more prosperously live

One day, while addressing a class of 8th graders about the benefits of living in a prosperous economic system, I asked the students, “Can you think of any reasons why it might be a good thing that doctors, for instance, are able to earn a lot of money?”

What is a Cap Rate? [Podcast]

Walking and Talking … Cap Rates!

(Podcast Transcript)

Cap Rates. You hear about them all the time, from people who specialize in investment real estate. They’ll says things like, “That property sold for a 6 cap,” or, “We’re looking for properties priced in the 9 to 10 cap range.” Today’s Walking and Talking podcast is all about Cap Rates!

What is a Cap Rate? - Beautiful business woman with question mark above the head
Photo Courtesy of

Today, you will learn 5 things:

  • What is a cap rate?
  • The reason why so many people are often confused about cap rates.
  • The best way to remember how to easily calculate a cap rate for any investment property.
  • The five main factors that influence cap rates.
  • Why you should beware that all cap rates are not created equal!

Hit Continue Reading and listen to the Audio:

Closing Checklist for Apartments

A closing checklist for apartments is essential for staying organized at a real estate closing for multifamily property. Attached is one I use when buying or selling apartments in Columbus, Ohio.

Closing checklist for Apartments

This list, that you can download here, does not include everything that you will need for your closing. That depends on your local area. For instance, if you are closing on multifamily investment property in Manhattan, you will be concerned with a host of other considerations at the time of the closing.

However, no matter where you buy property, it is essential that you make sure of at least one thing:

The Five Elements of a Single Page Life Plan

It has been said, in a lot of clever ways, that people who do not care where they are going, don’t need a map. But CEO’s need a business plan, coaches need a game plan, pilots need a flight plan, and leaders need a life plan. Here are 5 things to include in yours …

single page life plan
Single Page Life Plan™  2013 Ballylongford Books, LLC

The Five Elements of a Single Page Life Plan™:

1. Mission or Vision Statement:
This is the overarching vision you have for your life. All other parts of your plan synchronize with this.

2. Life Categories:
Your Life Categories are the six major highways that lead a path towards your Vision Statement. These Life Categories are the most vital aspects of your life.

To see an example of a Single Page Life Plan™ that has already been created, click here:

Single Page Checklist for Buying Apartments

My book, Single Page Life Plan explains how you can extend single page planning to all of your important projects and ventures. Single Page Checklists are a ‘catch-all’ for special projects that you can review regularly to stay focused.

A checklist for Buying Apartments

Copyright 2013 Ballylongford Books, LLC

For example, the Single Page Checklist for Buying Apartments summarizes on a single page the 4-color, 6 page laminated flyer I created that explains:

Where is Your Rancho del Cielo?

Rawhide! President Ronald Reagan loved working with his hands, and being outdoors. And, you can see from this photo, taken at Camp David in November of 1981, that he loved to ride horses.

10/10/1981 President Reagan horseback riding at Camp David Maryland. Attached to a blog post by Garrett Scanlon: Where is your Rancho del Cielo?

Photo Courtesy of Ronald Reagan Library

“I’ve often said, there’s nothing better for the inside of a man, than the outside of a horse.”

 – Ronald Reagan on many occasions.

Excerpt from Lead Like Reagan – Principles of Dynamic Leadership

Rancho del Cielo

This picture of Reagan was taken 7 months after the 70-year old entered George Washington University Hospital to have a would-be-assassin’s bullet removed from his chest. Horseback riding at Camp David was therapeutic for Ronald Reagan. But, Rancho del Cielo was his true sanctuary.

He called it his “Cathedral in the Sky” (Rancho del Cielo is Spanish for Sky’s Ranch, or Heaven’s Ranch).  It is where he could sort out problems while riding his favorite seventeen-hands-high