What the Golden State Warriors Can Teach Us About Personal Growth

What the Golden State Warriors Can Teach Us About Personal Growth

Yes, another basketball related post. But hang in there! I swear I’ll make it relatable 🙂

Today is the start of the 2015 NBA Finals and my beloved Golden State Warriors  are finally playing in it! It’s been a long 40 years since the last time we’ve been to the Finals, and us Bay Area fans are absolutely stoked!

Golden State Warriors and Personal Growth

It’s obvious that I’m a Warriors fan because I’m from the Bay Area. But even if I was from somewhere else, I can’t help but look at the Warriors and really want to root for them. They’re the underdogs in the series, going up against Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavs.

Not only are they the underdogs, the Warriors players and even the entire organization really demonstrate a lot of qualities that are role-model worthy. One quality in particular is how the Warriors organization handled growth these past few years.

For all you Warriors fans out there, it all started with the Ellis-Bogut Trade.

The Trade

Way back in 2012, the Warriors traded Monta Ellis, at the time our star guard, to the Milwuakee Bucks for Andrew Bogut, an injured center. (There were other players involved, but this was the meat of the trade.)

Even if you don’t know much about basketball, this trade just doesn’t sound right. Why trade one of our top performing players for another player who can’t even be on the court right now because of his injuries?

The night after the trade, Joe Lacob, the owner of the Warriors, went on court to present Chris Mullin with an award and he was met with overwhelming boos from the crowd. From Warriors fans themselves!

But Lacob knew what he was doing. Turns out Monta Ellis, although a great player, just wasn’t going to take us to the playoffs with his inconsistency. And even though Andrew Bogut was injured, he would end up playing a crucial part in our team today.

Fast forward three years later. Lacob, along with the rest of the Warriors organization, has built a powerful, cohesive team around our no-longer-injured center in Andrew Bogut that has reached the furthest we’ve been in forty years.

The boos from the fans have been eliminated, the doubts are being silenced, and we are well on our way to a championship! *knocks on wood*

So, what does this have to do with you and your personal growth?

Stop Caring What Other People Think of You

People tend to think that their opinion really matters, so they’ll always have something to say about you. Whether you’re doing great or whether you’re struggling, there will be people talking smack no matter what.

Just like how the Warriors’ fans booed Lacob for the decision that he made, your critics may even be close to you. Family, friends, even acquaintances will have something to say. Be careful with what you actually listen to, though.

If people are throwing empty criticisms at you, if they are essentially “booing” you, stop listening and keep working. Doubts alone are similar to “boos” in that they are both completely empty of any constructive change or advice. It’s easy to “boo”, but it’s much harder to actually express where doubt is coming from and how to get passed it.

Silence the haters, y’all. Their voices have nothing to do with your personal growth.

Build Slowly, but Surely

For the Warriors, the trade was instant, but we didn’t see real, productive change right away. We worked through it season after season, with carefully thought out changes and adjustments.

Are you working on your finances? Make it a habit to check your bank accounts each and every day. This helps you become more mindful of where you stand with your money and will guide your purchasing decisions.

Are you working on your health? Make sure you are drinking tons of water and getting a little bit of exercise in everyday. You may not see change immediately, but when you make health a habit, that’s when the change really begins.

Whatever you are working on, whether it’s your finances or your health, you need to realize that one sudden move won’t change it all overnight. It won’t be perfect – personal growth rarely ever is. But when you make consistent actions every day toward your goal, you will get there. It will seem slow, but I assure you that day to day actions, no matter how small they are by themselves, will surely build toward your goal and it will get you there.

The Trade was a perfect example of how the Warriors gracefully dealt with difficult, yet necessary growth. The boos are long gone and the work that is being put in has been rewarded. Even if we don’t win the championship this year *knocks on wood again*, the Warriors team and organization are still great role models for how we should handle our own personal growth.

Which one do you struggle with the most – silencing empty doubts or taking consistent actions daily?


May 2015 Net Worth Update

Disclaimer: this post contains referral links.

May 2015 Net Worth Update

May 2015 Net Worth Update

Overall, my net worth increased by $1,860 this month 🙂


Cash: $2,694 [down $2,030]

A huge decrease in cash can look like a bad thing at first. But knowing that this had a lot to do with some debt pay down makes it much better.

Short Term Savings: $1,152 [up $22]

I have a ton of little savings buckets, but this amount mainly consists of:

Emergency fund: $1,002
Personal escrow: $140

Every month, I gain a tiny bit of interest in all of my Capital One 360 savings accounts. Also, I transfer $20 into my Personal Escrow account each month.

Retirement Savings: $32,867 [up $466]

This consists of:

401k: $3,816 [up $532]
Traditional IRA: $9,309 [down $18]
Roth IRA: $19,742 [down $48]

This month, I made the decision to temporarily pause my retirement savings. *gasp* I’ll explain more later, but despite stopping my contributions, I still gained a good amount in my 401k. Thanks, market 🙂

Est. Car Value: $15,970 [no change]

Self explanatory.

Est. Home Value: $469,836 [no change]

Self explanatory.


Credit Cards: $4,105 [down $2,452]

This consists of:

Discover @ 15.99%: $1,343 [down $2,262]
Wells Fargo @ 0.00%: $2,762 [down $58]

Woohoo! I made a huge dent this month! All of a sudden, the $2k decrease in cash isn’t so depressing. I’ve really been making a conscious effort to stop swiping, and it shows! I do keep my Discover in my wallet “just in case”, but I’m hoping to tighten up my budget even more so I don’t have the need to do so.

Student Loans: $14,395 [down $126]

This consists of:

Direct Subsidized @ 6.8%: $2,845 [down $14]
Direct Subsidized @ 6.0%: $3,617 [down $19]
Direct Subsidized @ 5.6%: $4,399 [down $25]
Direct Subsidized @ 4.5%: $2,167 [down $14]
Direct Unsubsidized @ 6.8%: $1,366 [down $55]

Again, solid progress on this front. I can’t complain! Right now, I’m targeting that Direct Unsubsidized – can’t wait until it’s finally gone!

Car Loan $15,201 [down $333]

The minimum payment will have to do for now, at least until my credit card debt and student loans are taken care of.

Mortgage: $270,562 [down $492]

Same as the car loan – the minimum payment will have to do for  now. This debt will be the last to go!

Overall, May was a wonderful month despite that cash decrease. But I’m not even worried about it since I know that that money went all to my debt pay down!

How was your May financials? Did you reach your budget goals?


What the Golden State Warriors Can Teach Us About Our Goals

What the Golden State Warriors Can Teach Us About Our Goals

The other night, the Golden State Warriors won the Western Conference Championship!

Golden State Warriors and goals

We’ve got 4 more wins to go until we claim the NBA Championship, but the other night, we celebrated how far we’ve come! The last time the Warriors made it to the Finals was 40 years ago. 40 years ago!

For the Warriors, the ultimate goal is the NBA Championship. To get there, they have to win the First Round series, Semi-Finals series, Western Conference Finals series, and The Finals series – each series needing 4 wins. Meaning, Golden State needs 16 wins to become this year’s NBA champs. The other night, they brought this number down to 4 wins by winning the Western Conference Championship!

Obviously, I’m from the Bay Area and am biased, but I really do think the Golden State Warriors could teach us a lot about our outlook on our goals and baby steps.

The Warriors Celebrate Their Baby Steps

After the televised Western Conference Championship trophy ceremony, fans celebrated right outside of Oracle (aka Roaracle) with fireworks, DJs, and a dance party. The team celebrated in their locker room with their families and music blasting. Basically – Golden State knows how to party! The Western Conference Championship isn’t the end goal, but we made sure to celebrate this milestone.

When you break down your big goal into little ones, it’s important to celebrate your small successes. Take time in your journey to recognize how far you’ve come! It’ll keep you motivated along the way.

Did you pay down one of your credit cards? Celebrate with a small treat you can afford! For me, that would be a mani-pedi 😉 Did you just lose 10 pounds? Give yourself a cheat day!

But They Know They Still Have Work To Do

In the midst of all this celebrating, there was much talk of the work that has to be done. In every players’ interview, they each said something along the lines of “we are so excited get to this point, but we need four more wins to get to the goal“.

Yes, it’s important to celebrate small wins, but don’t take your eyes off the big goal! Don’t let the celebration of your baby steps distract you from your journey to your end goal, whether it’s debt freedom or weight loss.

Acknowledge how far you’ve come, but also be aware of how far you’ve got left. For instance, celebrate paying off one credit card, but don’t forget about the other debt you have! Let yourself enjoy your cheat day, but make sure it’s only one day.

For the Golden State Warriors, they know how to celebrate and how to focus. When you’re working toward a goal, it’s important to have two outlooks at the same time – one celebrating how far you’ve come, and one that’s focused on how far you need to go. These two points of view both work toward motivating and encouraging you to keep up with the hard work. With both of these mindsets, you can push yourself to your ultimate goal.

What is your ultimate goal at the moment? How do you celebrate achieving your baby steps? How do you stay focused on the big picture?


My Commute is Expensive and Time-Consuming – and I’m Happier for It!

My Commute is Expensive and Time-Consuming – and I’m Happy!

For those who don’t know, I live in Vallejo, CA, which should be about a 45 minute drive without traffic to San Francisco, which is where I work.

The key words there are without traffic. Because, let’s be honest, there is always traffic around the time I’m trying to get to work. So a 45 minute commute just isn’t the reality.

What I used to do, instead of driving all the way to San Francisco, was drive only 20 minutes away to one of the closer BART stations, El Cerrito del Norte, and take the BART train to San Francisco. This was perfect because the stop I would get off at, Montgomery, is only one block away from my office.

This worked fine for several months. Until it didn’t.

First of all, driving to just the BART station wasn’t as easy as it should be. Even though that drive should only be 20 minutes, it got to the point where it never was 20 minutes. It was more like 45 minutes. Traffic to San Francisco affected my “short” drive to El Cerrito. Driving this on the way back home was just exhausting. Especially after a frustrating BART ride back.

Speaking of the BART portion of the commute, that part wasn’t exactly perfect, either. In fact, it was far from it. Again, the BART ride from El Cerrito to Montgomery should be about 45 minutes. But whenever there is a protest (which seemed like almost everyday at some point), BART gets drastically slower. Oh, and if there wasn’t a protest, our train would still be slowed down because there was always an issue – equipment troubles, bad brakes, medical attention needed, etc.

What started off as a 1 hour and 5 minute commute would end up being close to, if not more than, 2 hours one way out of my day. Needless to say, I showed up at work already tired, exhausted, and cranky as hell.

The same was true for the ride/drive back home, so I would come home and immediately plop into bed. If work didn’t drain my energy, my commute sure as hell did.

I stuck with BART for a long time because I thought it was the most affordable option. I would tell myself, “Hey, at least BART is saving me money!”  Which was true, since driving all the way to San Francisco would have been worse on gas, parking, and toll.

Per month, my commute expenses were as follows:

BART fare ~ $140
Parking     ~$60 ($3 per day * about 20 weekdays)
Toll             ~$100 ($5 per day * about 20 weekdays)
Gas             ~ $130 ($50 every one and half weeks)
Total –          $430 per month

For a while, I thought this wasn’t bad. But the stress that my commute gave me and the time that my commute took from me just wasn’t worth it anymore. So I looked for other options and found the ferry. I know this sounds dramatic – but I’ve honestly never been happier!

My commute is expensive and time-consuming, and I'm happy!

My Commute is More Expensive… Kinda

The SF Bay Ferry from Vallejo to San Francisco costs $290 a month. This is considerably more expensive than the ~$140 a month I spent on my BART fare – more than double, in fact!

This is initially why I shied away from taking the ferry. But when I add up all the costs, it ends up being a better deal.

Ferry Fare – $290
Parking      – $20
Gas              – $100 ($50 every 2 weeks)
Total           – $410 per month

$410 a month isn’t a huge difference from $430 a month. But the cost difference wasn’t exactly why I made the switch over from BART to Ferry.

My Commute is Time-Consuming – and I Love It!

Here is what a typical commute looks like for me now –

10 minute drive from my house to the Vallejo waterfront ->
1 hour ferry ride from Vallejo to SF ->
15 minute walk from SF Ferry Building to my office

So that’s 1 hour and 25 minutes one way. Here is why I love my time-consuming commute:

I Have Time to Blog Again

With my old commute, I was wasting a total of 4 hours out of my day either driving or riding the BART train! Also, getting a decent phone/mobile hotspot signal down in the tunnel just wasn’t feasible, so I couldn’t really do anything productive other than listen to podcasts.

The ferry ride is one hour every day and my mobile hotspot has a pretty solid connection. So I can actually use this time to work on the blog and catch up on reading other blogs. When I took my random hiatus recently, I felt as if I was missing something. Now, I’m so glad I can actually sit down and write!

I Get a Little Bit of Exercise in Every Day

As I mentioned above, when I used to take the BART to work, my stop would only be one block away from my office. Now, it’s a 15 minute walk.

At first, I thought of this as a bad thing. #lazy

But now, I absolutely love it! Now that I’ve been promoted, sometimes I can’t leave my desk to go for a gym visit. Now, I have mandatory cardio of 30 minutes every day! My blood is pumping as soon as I step into the office and I’m ready to go!

I’m Paying for Consistency

Ultimately, I’m paying for consistency. When I was a BART rider, I never really knew what time I was going to be in the office or what time I would get home. My commute was at the mercy of Bay Area traffic and unpredictable train delays.

Now, I can completely count on my one hour ferry ride. I know what time I’ll actually be in at the office and I can tell when I’ll be home with confidence. The stresses of traffic and BART hold ups are behind me!

Plus, I get to see this everyday –

Honestly, this doesn’t get old 🌆🌉⛵

A photo posted by Lisa E (@liseezy) on

What is your commute like everyday? Would you spend more to change it?


Perfect is a Myth

Perfect is a Myth

Something’s been on my mind lately.

A lot of people, myself included, like to talk about all the changes they want to make in their life. Perhaps they want to get out of debt, start a new side-hustle, or even just dive into a new hobby. Or maybe there are more personal changes someone wants to make. Maybe they want to be more assertive, gossip less, or even just have a more positive outlook on life.

It’s easy to talk about the things you want to do, the qualities we want to acquire. It’s much harder to actually, you know, get up and do them.

Now, I’m not the perfect person to talk about this. I’ve been complacent about many things lately. And maybe that’s why I’m blogging about this.

perfect is a myth

I’ve noticed several things within my circle of people. Either they are constantly talking about what they want to do or they are actually putting in the work.

Now, the ones who are talking about what they want to achieve may actually have a lot of knowledge about this new endeavor. They’ve probably done the research, looked up tons of articles and books on the subject, and they’ve acquired a lot of book knowledge on The Perfect way to successfully accomplish these things. But usually, that’s where it ends. The actions of change? Nowhere to be found.

On the other hand, there are those who are taking clear, solid actions toward their goals. They are not on The Perfect path and they are far from where they want to be, but each day they are taking actions. Taking an hour a day to actually focus on some actions, perfect or not, is better than all the book knowledge on the subject. These people choose imperfect, yet consistent actions over The Perfect action and they learn as they fail. These are the people I want to be more like.

It’s one thing to know a lot about something, like weight loss or personal finance. But it’s another thing to actually live out what you know.

Personally, it bugs me whenever someone talks a lot about their knowledge of something but has nothing to show for it. When they constantly talk about The Perfect way to reach financial independence, or The Perfect method of losing weight but haven’t done a single thing towards their goals. Yeah, I get that you know a lot about weight loss/personal finance/starting a business, but what are you doing about it?

I guess what I’m trying to say is this – don’t get caught up in launching The Perfect business, diving into The Perfect healthy lifestyle, or being Perfect when starting a new hobby. Reading articles and books on these new things isn’t a bad thing, just don’t let it stop there! Strive for small changes each and every day. Experience is a far better teacher than articles/books are. Perfect is a myth that holds us back from real, tangible actions that lead to real change.

Don’t be afraid of the imperfect. Fail fast, learn faster.

What changes do you want to make in your life? What actions have you taken?