BLOG - Mo Anderson

2018 Graduation Message from Mo

Are you really ready for the real world? You are the leaders of tomorrow, so here is some sage advice: Life isn't fair, it doesn't care about your self-esteem, there are no participation trophies: there are winners and losers, you won't be a CEO until you succeed at all of the positions from the bottom to the top, working hard is expected, not something you will get a pat on the back for!

The Ministry of a Math Problem

Three nights ago, after the dinner dishes had been done, the kids and I sat down for a mid-week evening binge on Netflix. Just as we turned on the television, my daughter, Savanna, jumped off the couch announcing that she had forgotten to do her math homework.  We all shifted gears – little brother, Justin, and I found an quiet art project to do while Savanna sat at the kitchen table reading aloud her math problems. Savanna’s 8th grade class has been working through a unit on real-life finance with the goal of teaching them about financial decisions they will eventually face as consumers – making purchases, taking out loans, filling savings accounts.  She read and we listened.  Ty was saving for a patio set to enhance his apartment.  He needed $650.00 in order to purchase the set he desire...

Second Chance

George W. Bush said, “America is the land of the second chance and when the gates of the prison open, the path ahead should lead to a better life.”  When Lori Wharton met Ben, he had just been released from the prison of homelessness.  He was moving into his first apartment, after spending over a decade living on the streets of Oklahoma City. Lori is one of a small band of volunteers called The Welcome Party.  They provide basic necessities to new tenants, like Ben, who are transitioning to permanent, safe living spaces. Like a philanthropic militia, they arrive armed with baskets that are overflowing with essential household items from dishes to toiletries.  Working on behalf of the Mental Health Association of OK, in 2016 alone, this group provided a safe place to live for 2,859 tenants,...

When the Going Gets Tough

Richard once said to me, “I think you should look through the door before you close it.” That simple statement carried me through many tough decisions and encouraged me when I was temped to quit in the early days of my real estate career. There were long hours, too much time away from the family, highs and lows, but in the end, I stuck to my dreams and refused to give up. Having a big dream goes hand in hand with having the courage and strength to see it through. Being committed to your goals means taking stock of where you are, where you want to be, and then connecting the dots and plotting the course to get you from point A to point B. It means making plans, setting priorities and embracing a fierce discipline. It means giving up distractions and focusing on the bigger pictur...

Follow Your Dreams

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer.  Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”  Harriet Tubman In my book, A Joy Filled Life, I have a chapter titled “Follow Your Dreams.” It is one of the “Seven Pillars” that I highlight when I travel around the country to speak. it is a concept I heartily believe in, one that I can attest can make or break your spirit when it comes to living a thriving and joyous life. Too many people lose sight of their dreams. Some people can’t even remember what their dream was in the first place. The lack of a dream leaves people discouraged, depressed and often resigned to living out their life feeling as if they have missed out on something better. I had a dream as a little gi...

Christmas Reflections

It was a strange place to seek for a King – In a stable, lowly and bare. But shepherds from Judean hills Found the little Lord Jesus there. ~Poem by Mrs. Roy L. Peifer This afternoon, as I was watching the twinkling, white Christmas lights transform our yard into a fairy land, I suddenly had a flashback. It was a snowy, cold Christmas during my junior high school years. The holiday spirit was in the air and sleighbells jingled on the horsedrawn sleigh, as our youth group traveled to sing Christmas carols for “shut ins.” It was my first experience as a caroler. As we stood in the snow, wrapped warmly with scarves, hats, mittens and boots, we sang the carols of old. My heart leapt when the door opened and smiling faces greeted us. Often, we were asked in for hot chocolate or wassail or popco...

But What of Texas

This is a subject that is so serious, so tragic, it’s difficult to sit down in front of a computer screen to “get started”. I will say that “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I wandered, weak and weary…..” doesn’t even come close to a beginning statement. You can’t have missed the news reports on TV and radio, newspaper front pages, the streaming on computers, the constant coverage on cable channel TV – and if you’re anything like me, the images are so stark and devastating to watch, the television at my house doesn’t stay on very long after days 1 through 4….. Full disclosure time: I am a native Texan, born in HOUSTON, my parents lived in a tiny post-WWII house on Tangley Street, a few steps from Rice University. I was a “student” at the Tiny Tot Kindergarten, attended Condit Elementary ...

Nix the Cliques!

Let’s make a pact – a contract.  Yes, you and me.  This story is about trying to prevent one of the most difficult situations a young person can face.  Peer pressure is one thing.  And wanting to be accepted is another.  But a clique, in its worse sense of the word, can be devastating for some child or youth who feels they don’t fit in – anywhere!  Let’s break it down…..and then try to do something that will help our young understand and decide for themselves what’s right and what’s not. First of all, we must realize that cliques start early.  I’m not talking about high school, or junior high, or even elementary school.  I’m talking really young.  If you’re around very small children, you will have noticed the tendency for 2 or 3 of them to constantly gather together, wanting to be with on...

Live to be 100!

I want to live to be 100 because I love this life and I am far from finished. With the passage of each year, new paths open up for me to serve as a channel of God’s love, and for making a difference in this world. While I understand that we can never know for certain what God has in store for us, I also know that so much of our health and wellbeing is within our hands. As I see it, sharpening my focus on being strong and healthy for the final leg of my journey is an act of love. It’s an act of love for my family who want me around and who don’t need to be burdened with any sort of worry or frustration as to whether I am taking care of myself as I should. It’s an act of love for my beloved circle of friends who count on me. It’s an act of love for the company that I have helped to shepherd ...

Higher Purpose

What are you doing at 3:50 am each day?  Hopefully, you’re enjoying some restful sleep.  For one of my business colleagues, Jen, in Joplin, Missouri, it’s the time she rises five days a week to carpool from Baxter to Joplin to hit the gym with friends, enjoying fellowship and exercise.  The early morning trek filled with friendly visiting usually rolls by quickly.  However, Thursday morning, October 14, 2010, turned out to be anything but “usual”. Attending a professional training course in Springfield later that morning necessitated Jen’s driving to the gym alone – no big deal – or was it?  Not far into her trip, Jen encountered a bloodied-faced, obviously injured man along the roadside, waving his hands furiously.  With her thoughts spinning (alone at 4:30 am on a lightly traveled road; ...

Integrity Always!

Integrity – doing the right thing – is a matter of good character.  Make no mistake, this is not a ‘sometimes’ or ‘if it fits’ guideline; integrity is the very core, the essence of who we are – as individuals and is the evidence of the character by which we make our daily decisions about right or wrong. As a business leader, I observed countless opportunities – day to day decisions made by business owners, staff members, and employees – in which they faced issues that tested integrity.  While I have been thrilled on a daily basis with reports of loving compassion shown by those wise business associates, I have also been equally dismayed by reports of less-than-fair incidents.  In every case, regardless of the circumstances, the guideline is clear – act with integrity, it builds trust – it ...

How’s Business?

“So, how’s business?” As entrepreneurs, we often get asked some variation of this question. People really want to know, and true information from someone who is actually out there making things happen can be so much more valuable and interesting than media coverage. Even among good friends or in “small-talk” settings, questions such as these represent big opportunities. Your response says something about your character and subtly indicates whether you are a person with whom others may or may not want to do business. It is absolutely true that everyday conversations can open doors or close doors. I’ve witnessed both and have come up with a few guiding principles: Never Complain! You might not have had the best week. You might be concerned about the direction of the market. Clients or cash f...

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