So you say you’re ready to take the trip? You’ve had it with watching the debt pile up and watching the non-descript days slip away.
You feel you can’t go another year, another month, another minute without something to really look forward to -- time away, time to create something, time to chill out with someone you really care about, time to breathe …. without the money stress.
Good -- now we have the destination. This is the first thing you need to take a trip anywhere -- a pin marking the spot. How can you navigate if you don’t know where you’re going? The destination of this particular trip is greater personal freedom. This translates to enough cashflow to be able to call your own shots, have some adventures and make a difference. Sounds like paradise!
The next question is, “When am I hitting the road?”
Often when I’m strategizing with someone about heading down the road less traveled, there is great elation and anticipation UNTIL we start talking about taking those first steps in a new direction. Then I start hearing things like this:
“I’ll get in the car, but I only want to go 5 miles per hour.”
“It’s not convenient for me to leave now.”
“I can’t afford to go on the trip. Is there a way I can just collect the money without changing anything.”
The journey to a better life requires momentum. It’s a series of baby steps but you’ll lose your balance if each step is a week apart. You have to lean into it to pick up speed and keep your course.
Reaching your destination of success and significance is a matter of commitment and determination -- not convenience. When you decide to leave a life of subsistence and stress, you’re going to depart from your comfort zone -- the people, the places, the activities than have planted you where you are. It’s going to be an exciting trip -- but like all travel, not always convenient.
Personally I love it when people tell me, in effect, that they can’t afford to make more money. What I’ve noticed is that people find the money for the things they really want to do; it might be seeing their favorite band or team, upgrading their phone, buying a new pair of high-end shoes…. Normally, these are added expenses -- not the same thing as an investment. It doesn’t have to be a big investment to get started on your journey to greater freedom, and you can invest as you go -- but you do have to invest to see a return. It’s just basic economics.
Yes, you could have a miraculous windfall and teleport directly to your destination, but you could just as easily stay stuck in survival mode.
I’ll end with my favorite Will Rogers quote: “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
Your future is as bright as you decide it is, and it’s just over the horizon. Time to move!
Yesterday I attended a memorial for a woman I had met only once. Beth was born in 1919, and it sounded to me like she made maximum use of her 96 years. She traveled extensively, occasionally roaming for 6 months at a time or more before alighting at home for awhile. She survived three husbands, and buried one exceptional son much too early. Beth left behind dozens of descendants that appear to have a highly developed sense of compassion and purpose in common. She loved to dance, and the watercolors she painted late in life are stunning.
Last night I woke up around 2 am, with that heart stinging, ground sinking feeling of fear. It took awhile for me to identify the source of my fear. All at once, I knew. What I was feeling was time slipping away.
We always tell ourselves that there’s still plenty of time -- to travel, to pursue a talent or inclination, to let people know how much we love them, to contribute in some significant way. Although I’ve traveled more than most, even though I love more unconditionally all the time, there are over 100 intentions posted on the wall in our kitchen -- listing all the adventures my husband and I believe life still holds for us. Unlike earlier lists, most of what is envisioned here are not things but memories waiting to be made, change waiting to be initiated, ripples in other lives waiting for the stone to be thrown into the pool.
Fear doesn’t change anything by itself, but it can be a catalyst. It’s so easy to go from item to item on the to-do list every day, to let other people impose their expectations and agendas, to go to sleep eyes wide open and without the dreaming.
I’m starting a new list today. This is a list of the baby steps I can take right now so that I can really pick up my stride before too long in pursuit of a life fully lived, a purpose fully realized.
Thank you, Beth, for waking me up even though you sleep. Thank you for putting my feet back on a path that leads somewhere worth the walking.. even though your dancing days are over.
Here’s the take-away: Live life in such a way that you continue to change other lives even after you’re gone.
TEN ATTRIBUTES OF A MENTOR
What is a mentor? The dictionary definition is “a wise and trusted counselor or teacher.”
I think of a mentor as a resource, an ally, a professional encourager.
Here are the top-ten attributes of a mentor, according to me.
WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS THINK?
Will my decision to build an unconventional business make me seem “uncool” to the people I hang out with on weekends? Will I be avoided in the grocery store, whispered about across the room, and fall off the party guest list?
My experience of 20+ years building my business is unequivocally “No.” I’ve lost track of past co-workers I used to go on runs with, neighbors I used to have backyard barbeques with and friends associated with former relationships, but none of them spurned me because of my choice to build an asset-based income. These people were what I’ll call situational friends -- whether I realized it at the time or not.
Friends who stay with you through address changes, changes in marital and parental status, and changes in employment -- the friends I refer to as kindred souls --want you to reach for your best life. Kindred souls listen to your dreams without belittling you, take the time to understand your choices, and cheer you on whether they decide to join you in your business endeavors or not.
You never have to worry what these friends will think. And I have to wonder why so many of us worry about what our situational friends might think -- since they change as our situations change anyway.
I remember a definition I once heard of the word status: Status is buying stuff you don’t need with money you don’t have to impress people you don’t like. Sounds pretty crazy, right? I believe status could also be defined as conforming to conventional types of employment approved by people whose lifestyle you don’t care to emulate.
So, in more than 20 years I’ve never lost a true friend because I chose to leave the job world. But what have I gained? Working in a field that attracts positive, proactive people -- and knowing these people by their aspirations rather than their complaints -- I’ve made more real friends -- kindred souls -- in the last 20 years than I did in the previous 40.
I’ve chosen not to let imagined reactions of situational friends decide my future, and I have more kindred souls in my life than I ever would have thought possible.
“DO I HAVE TO SELL?”
Sell: to exchange or deliver for money or its equivalent
Many people have an automatic aversion to the idea of selling. I was one of these.
The way I said it when I first considered owning my own business was “I quit the Girl Scouts because of the cookies. Don’t talk to me about sales.”
Did I object to someone putting money in my hand in exchange for cookies?
No, that’s not what bothered me. It was opening myself up to the possibility of rejection. It was approaching people for the sole purpose of getting something from them. It was being perceived as pushy or grasping or even greedy.
When my daughter Mayme was around 10 years old, she loved to collect mistletoe, tie sprigs with red ribbon, load up her wagon and head out into the neighborhood. UNTIL someone opened the door and transferred her bad day to little Mayme and her friend, and made it their bad day. Mayme came home in tears and her entrepreneurial days were over.
Maybe you had an early experience like this. Do we internalize that feeling of being rejected? Do some of us turn that feeling into a determination to NEVER sell anything again?
Most, if not all of us have stood on the other side of an unpleasant transaction -- being pitched and pushed by a salesperson. In any profession there are those people who care only about their sales bonus-- not your needs, your budget or your satisfaction. When we’re hustled by one of these people, the little voice inside says, “I NEVER want to be like that!” Now, I think of the occasional pushy salesperson I come across as a lesson in what not to do.
It comes down to this, what successful people in business do to arrive at that moment where someone does offer money in exchange for a product or service is a two-step process.
This process NEVER involves chasing someone down, stalking them at the mall, knocking on their door or calling them repeatedly. This process doesn’t involve pursuit.
Here are the two-steps:
When you make your recommendation, will they always say “Yes!”? No, but if you passed around a platter of your famous chocolate chip cookies, some people would say “No” too, would you take it personally and feel rejected? Or would you just assume they were either on a diet or preferred peanut butter bars?
You’re just offering a recommendation, not badgering for the close.
You’re not trying to convince someone, you’re just laying out a possible solution.
Yes, technically, this is part of selling. You could call it pre-selling, but what you’re providing is a willing ear and a helpful spirit. What you’re "selling" is YOU -- a sympathetic friend they’ve come to trust. A product, service or opportunity is the short-term solution to their immediate needs, but YOU are the longterm solution to future needs and desires.
Just practice these words: “May I make a recommendation?” and more often than not, the selling part -- the exchange-for-money part-- will take care of itself.
Susan is a published writer and motivational speaker with 30 years of experience, dedicated to guiding people to a life of financial invincibility and peace of mind.