Monday, March 26, 2012

Success Starts When No One Is Watching


If you follow me, you will not doubt notice that I will go through stretches of time where it seems like nothing is happening. And on your end, that might seem to be the case. Behind the scenes though, it's a different story. I'm plotting my next move and working towards goals that I have set for myself. What I have noticed throughout the years is that people seem to be more likely to do the things they need to do to make their life more successful if they know that someone is watching and witnessing them make progress. This is productive for a lot of people who need group interaction and the "pat on the back" that you accomplished something is really rewarding.

But true success is garnered by those who do the things that need to be done when no one is watching. It took me a long time to develop the ability to motivate myself to take action even though there is no one to tell me to do it.

In fact, for the first several years of working on my own, I spent a lot of time wasting time and telling myself I will definitely get started tomorrow. I'll eat better, tomorrow. I'll start working out, tomorrow. I'll make that first phone call to drum up business, tomorrow. Invariably, I would find myself on the next day saying the same thing and tomorrow keeps getting pushed back day after day.

Unfortunately, this is a bad habit and it's also one that is very difficult to break.

It's tough to break because non action is always easier than taking action.

Your ability to take action might be impaired for a variety of reasons but in the end there are two things that you need to remember. One is that those things are just excuses. And the second is that, it just means your mental strength needs work.

Building this mental strength is tough if we believe what our mind tells us. And it's a lonely job too. No one is going to build our mental strength for us. We have to own it. And make that task our priority number one.

Because building that mental strength to accomplish will lead you to great things and a better life.

I'm often inspired by stories of people who spend most of their time practicing their craft. Looking for that edge that will help them when they need it most. For the most part, these stories come from athletes who spend countless hours practicing for a two hour game.

One of the ones that always comes to mind is Larry Bird who played in the NBA. He came from a small town in Indiana. From what I've heard, he practiced more than anyone else he played against. He spent countless hours in the gym by himself shooting all the shots he might take in the game from all parts of the floor. So, when it came time for the game, he knew he would hit the shot when it mattered. Why? Because he had taken it hundreds if not thousands of times prior to that moment by himself. This devotion to practice by himself earned him huge pats on the back by the fans who watched him. But during his practice times there was no one there doing that for him. He dug deep within himself and his own mental strength to summon the energy required to take action when no one was watching.

It's this attention to detail that separates those who succeed versus those who don't. Who takes the time to study the things they do on a daily basis and makes a checklist and then follows it?

Who takes the time to hone that checklist into a finely tuned machine to get it done in the most effective manner?

Who does the things that nobody wants to do when no one is there to tell you you did a great job doing that?

I can tell you that it's small minority of the people you know. That's why success is so elusive.

But that should also bring you encouragement. And that's because there is no one stopping you from doing those things but yourself.

Start doing the little steps that lead to success and you'll start seeing the success. You'll become part of that minority of successful people.

YOU can do that. It just takes getting started and taking action. Start today.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Why You Need To Start Your Own Business To Become FinanciallyIndependent


In my last post I talked about how to become financially independent. I talked a little about how to break it down into steps from your smallest bill to your largest. Determine how much money you need to save that would generate enough income to pay those bills. The missing ingredient here is how to get a large enough pool of money to live off so that you don't have to work. Exactly how do you do that?

The first thing that you need to do is to create a mindset that you are going to create a fund to live off of. Once you have done that you will need to set up that account and put money into it. At first I wouldn't worry about what kind of account it is. A regular savings account will do. You have to get in the habit of putting money into it first.

The second thing is to have a goal - a preliminary target to that huge number you need to save up to be able to not work and live off the money you have saved up. In my previous article, I set my first smaller target at $7200. If I can find a way to set aside that much money and earn 5 percent interest somewhere, then I will have become financially independent up to my water bill of $30 per month.

The third thing is to have a way to fund that account up to that target amount. There are a few ways to get your account funded. The first and most obvious is to earn that much money, put it in an account and to not spend it. The second way is to sell some things you own to raise that amount of money. There are more ways but those are the basic two that jump out at me right away.

I'm going to talk about another way to raise the money to fill my account and that's to start my own business.

You see, there are two basic types of people in the world. Those who make stuff and those who buy stuff. The people who make the vast majority of stuff we have is the side you want to be on. You want to be a producer of some sort. You want to make things that you can sell. Most of us are consumers of some sort. We spend all that we make and then some.

This sort of thinking is what traps us into a life of never getting ahead. To get where we want to go, we need a vehicle. That vehicle is your own business.

Your own business can do two things for you. The first is that it can make you money. The second is that it is an asset that you can sell later for a much larger amount than it cost you to buy it. If you can create an income stream that makes you money, you have something you can sell.

The hard part is figuring out exactly what that business should be. I will talk more about that in my next post.

Friday, March 2, 2012

How To Achieve Financial Independence

Over the years, I've read a lot of how to stuff. I've read a lot of motivational stuff. A common theme among many of these works is that most people want to achieve financial independence. But for most people, this is just a dream they will never realize because they don't have a plan behind it to achieve it. I myself have been suckered into many get rich quick ideas. What I have learned is that it's pretty easy to sell someone a book or course on how to get rich. It is quite another to specifically help people do it.

I'm going to give you my take on how I think you should go about it and then beyond that start to introduce some concepts for both the green belt that relates to money and for the orange belt that relates to your work.

I wanted to start introducing this material now because it is on my mind at the present. I'd like to earn more. I'd like to have more freedom. I would also like to not work more than anything else and just enjoy my time.

But, in order to get there, most of us have to work first and generate enough capital to invest and live off.

So the first thing that I am going to share with you is the basic plan for financial independence and then the beginning road map on how to achieve it will begin tomorrow.

All of us have bills. We have the basics such as the mortgage or rent, utilities, food, etc. Then we have the things we like to do, going to the movies, eating out and going on vacation for example.

Let's say that I only had four bills and I was looking to gain my financial independence:

  • Mortgage $1000/mo

  • Food $500

  • Water $30

  • Car $400

If I my fantasy world, if these were the only bills I had, then my monthly expenses would be $1930 per month. This means that in order to live to satisfy my NEEDS, I would need to either work and earn $1930 a month, borrow it or use income from investments to pay for it.

If I was financially independent, and I could live off my investments to pay for my needs each month, I would need a certain amount of money earning a certain amount of interest to do that.

To make things easy, let's say that my monthly expenses were $2000 per month. I'm going to assume I could earn 5% annually on my investments.

This means that I would need $480,000 in capital. ($480,000 times 5% equals $24000 divided by 12 equals $2000 per month).

If you have no money now, thinking about how to raise nearly half a million dollars to live off seems like a huge amount and probably also something that might not be obtainable to you.

That's why I say, to look at that list of bills again. I want you to focus on the smallest one which is $30 per month. How much money would I need invested at 5% to pay for that water bill.

The answer is $7200.

A number that seems much more reasonable for people and one that is also more achievable.

I'd make my first goal to raise $7200 and get it invested. Then I'd look at the next smallest bill on my list and repeat the process.

I think you might see a pattern here if you have been following my Black Belt teachings. If you raised $7200 and found a way to earn 5% interest annually, you would be financially independent to the "WATER BILL LEVEL". Much like be a Black Belt at processing for example, but not one at reviewing.

The next step in the process would be figure out how to raise that $7200. I will start that discussion tomorrow.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What To Do When You Don't Complete A Thirty Day Challenge And My Next Challenge

My thirty day challenge for the month of March is to complete the collection section of my GTD daily review checklist. I've been working on getting my checklist fine tuned and now what I want to start doing is getting each of these sections done on a daily basis. I'm going to start with the collection section of that checklist. Before I get into that though, I want to discuss how my challenge went last month and address some things there that you will probably face as you work to improve your mental strength.

You are going to find that when you try and make progress, you will encounter bumps in the road that prevent you from making progress or delay it for a short period of time. Last month, I was unable to complete my thirty day challenge for the month of February. This comes on the heels of steady progress in the many months prior to that.

I think that it's human nature when you fail to react to that failure with an explanation of why it was that you didn't succeed. I've mentioned in the past here in the stuff I have been teaching, that when you don't succeed in making progress, that you shouldn't explain the reason why.

Instead, what I advocate is that you only talk about what you accomplish - not what you fail to accomplish or why you failed to accomplish it.

Now this doesn't mean that I don't think that you should reflect on the structure of the failure to look for ways to overcome roadblocks. What I'm talking about is those things that take away your momentum that are more along the lines of excuses.

During the month of February, I had several events that derailed my progress, but in the end, those reasons ultimately don't matter. What ultimately matters is what I actually do and I could have if I wished still completed my challenge for the month, but I didn't.

So what I will always encourage you to do, when you stall out, it's time to take a breather because you reached a plateau of sorts and start up again the next month.

When you do that, you want to pick up at the same level you were prior to that month. For example, in my case, I had built up several thirty day challenges. You want to pick up those and just start a new one.

What you will find happen when you do that, is that you will find that these setbacks happen less and less often. Good luck on your challenge this month and I will check in with you again tomorrow.