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Posts Tagged ‘Personal development’

Where are you going?

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” Lewis Carroll

Imagine you’re sitting in an airplane. The captain gets on the intercom and says: “Folks, we’re 2nd in line for takeoff. Where would you like to go?”

If your perfect life is the destination, don’t you want to get there as quickly, easily and cheaply as possible? Maybe you can do so without creating a business plan, but I can’t imagine how.  A plan will help you make better and faster decisions, decide how you spend your money or time and track your progress.

Start now.

scott-as-patton

“A good plan executed today is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” General George S. Patton

Complete your annual plan by November so that you can relax and sit on your plan for a month or so before executing it.  Review (and revise if needed) your progress quarterly.  This is not a New Year’s resolution to be enacted in January and discarded by February.  This is an action plan that will get you to your biggest life goals.

It’s time to focus your energy onto your goals and dreams. Find a place with trees and fresh air where you can concentrate on your future.

There are myriad ways to create your plan and they all start with a vision.

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“I love it when a plan comes together.” Hannibal Smith-The A-Team

What do you want to do, be or have in 2-5 years?

What motivates you to jump out of bed in the morning, or work late into the night?

Your vision must be:

Specific- What will it look like once you’ve reached your goal? Where will you live? What will you do each day? Who will your friends, neighbors or co-workers be?

Vivid- Realism is the key to visualization so use all of your senses when describing your goal.  The goal is to make your mind believe your future outcome is happening now.  With consistent visualization, your mind accepts the image of success and suddenly you’re seeing inspiration and opportunity everywhere.

Compelling-How will your life (or the lives of your family members) improve once you’ve achieved your goal?

Desirable-Is this your dream or only something you think you should want?  The more you want the outcome, the more likely it is you’ll achieve it. If your goal isn’t compelling, you’ll quit at the first sign of trouble.

Realistic-Do you have enough time, energy and support to reach your goal? Have others done it before? If it’s been done, there’s a proven strategy to do it, you just have to find it.

Focused- Instead of creating a to-do list, concentrate your energy on accomplishing up to 3 bigger goals.

Flexible-There are lots of ways to get to your outcome.  If your goal is to provide your son with an Ivy League education instead of concentrating on just one way to get there (saving lots of money), brainstorm all the ways you could make it happen (scholarships, part-time work, etc.)

Easy to communicate- Can you describe your end result concisely in terms anyone can understand?

Close your eyes and imagine your future.

Having trouble visualizing?

Look for someone who’s already achieved your goal.  What does that person’s life look like?  Draw, paint a picture, or write a story as if you’re reporting on your future self.  Then distill that scene, picture or story into your vision statement.

Once you’ve articulated your vision, make it real.

Step 1:  Writing your goal down makes it tangible and on those days when you’re frustrated or unfocused, you can look at what you’ve written and get back on track.

The more accountable you are, the more likely it is you’ll achieve your goal. Find an accountability partner who’s committed to her own goals. Better yet, find someone who already attained your goal.  Tell that person your goals and ask for help in keeping your commitments.

Step 2: Determine what it will take to get there. What skills, knowledge and resources will you need?

If you want to live in France, you’ll need to learn French (skill), find a place to live (knowledge) and save money (resources.)

Step 3: Break each task down into short-term goals you can accomplish in 1,2 or 3 months.

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“Set your goals high and don't stop until you get there” Bo Jackson

Write down your top 5 values in order. If your goal conflicts with your values, you’ll never achieve it.

If you’re not sure what constitutes a value, this list can help. When you commit to your values and have written goals, choosing between competing demands gets easier. As does making decisions.

Sally’s top value is family, followed by financial independence.  A single mother with 2 kids, she’s been offered a job that doubles her salary but requires her to leave town every weekend. She has to either decline the job, or rerank her values.

Acknowledging your values, prioritize your short-term goals.  Your goals should have a deadline as well as a tangible, measurable end-result.  Set goals that are tough but realistic to achieve.

In On Writing, Stephen King compares writing to telepathy. Even though he writes every novel, short story, and magazine article in a certain place and at a certain time, you can be miles and decades away and still receive his communication clearly.

If writing is telepathy, planning and envisioning are clairvoyance. Planning your tomorrow today will bring your vision of the future to fruition.

What to learn more?

Join me on Wednesday, November 3rd at The New Orleans Marriott.

Get details and register here.

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“The future belongs to the common man with uncommon determination.”

Baba Amte

Successful people have at least 3 common traits.  How you embody them will determine your fate in the coming year.

1) Be passionate.

Call it a mission, a goal or your “Big Why.”  It’s the reason you get up in the morning, work late at night or borrow money from your family to finance your start-up costs.  Without passion, you’ll quit at the first sign of trouble or when a better offer comes along. What’s your passion?

2) Solve problems.

If you solve people’s problems, they’ll throw money at you. Easy, right?

Find a job no one else wants and do it. Find the knowledge few know and learn it.

To sell yourself and your product or service, define what value you bring to the table.

Are you faster?

Cheaper?

Better?

Any 2 of the 3 will do.  If you’re faster than your competition, you don’t have to be cheaper, but your quality has to be at least as good as theirs.  Your customer will pay a premium for speed, but won’t accept inferiority at any price.

3) Produce.

Do you have a business plan? Are you working it every day?  Do you account for your results?

Your plan should focus on what problem you’re solving and the unique value that you add to the transaction.

Who are your customers? How will you reach them?

Every sale results from you talking to your customers or would-be customers.  Do this everyday.

Don’t waste time with mediocre people, thoughts or actions. Just take daily steps toward your goal.

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Relax. This isn’t our last post, just our last post here.

We’re all grown up now. Visit us at our new permanent home, ControlYourCash.com.

———

Q: Why’d you move?
A: Had to. It’s our own URL, you can buy the book directly there…WordPress has been wonderful, but it’s time to leave the nest.

Q: Anything else good on the new site?
A: Oh, yeah. A forum, prizes, and the “Anti-Tip” of the Day. Guest posts from the brightest personal finance bloggers in the business. And excerpts from the new book, Control Your Cash: Making Money Make Sense, a personal finance book that won’t put you to sleep, and won’t patronize you, but will actually teach you something useful.

Q: Anti-Tip of the Day? What’s that?
A: “Spend your extra money on cigarettes”, “Day trading is a sure path to riches”, that kind of thing.

Q: I dig the old posts. Will they transfer to ControlYourCash.com?
A: They’re already there.

Q: Why do you write like this, in an imaginary conversation?
A: It’s a crutch. Matt Taibbi has profanity, Bill Simmons has “stringing-words-along-in-quotation-marks-ad nauseam“, David Foster Wallace had footnotes, Control Your Cash has this.

Q: Well, it seems to be working for you.
A: Thanks. See you at ControlYourCash.com.



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Fear Of Transformation

(excerpted from the The Essene Book of Days)

Sometimes I feel that my life is a series of trapeze swings.

I’m either hanging onto a trapeze bar swinging along or, for a few moments in my life, I’m hurtling across space in between trapeze bars.

Most of the time, I spend my life hanging on for dear life to my trapeze-bar-of-the-moment.  It carries me along a certain steady rate of swing and I have the feeling that I am in control of my life. I know most of the right questions.

As I swing along I look ahead of me into the distance and what do I see?

I see another trapeze bar swinging toward me.

It is empty, and I know, in that place in me that knows, that this new trapeze bar has my name on it.  It is my next step, my growth, my aliveness coming to get me. In my heart-of-hearts I know that for me to grow, I must release my grip on the present, well-known bar and move to the new one.

Each time it happens to me, I hope (no, I pray) that I won’t have to grab the new one. But in my knowing place, I know that I must totally release my grasp on my old bar, and, for some moment in time, I must hurtle across space before I can grab onto the new bar.

Each time I am filled with terror.

But I do it anyway. Perhaps this is the essence of what the mystics call the faith experience.

No guarantees, no net, no insurance policy, but you do it anyway because, somehow, to keep hanging onto that bar is no longer on the list of alternatives. And so, for an eternity that can last a microsecond or a thousand lifetimes, I soar across the dark void. In that space the past is gone and the future is not yet here.

It is called transition.

I have come to believe that it is the only place that real change occurs. I mean, real change, not the pseudo-change that only lasts until the next time my old buttons get punched. I have noticed that in our culture, this transition zone is looked upon as a nothing, a no-place between places.

Sure the old trapeze bar was real, and that new one coming towards me, I hope that’s real too. But the void in between? That’s just a scary, confusing, disorienting nowhere that must be gotten through as fast and as unconsciously as possible. What a waste!

I have a sneaking suspicion that the transition zone is the only real thing and the bars are illusion we dream up to avoid the void, where the real change, the real growth occurs for us.

Whether or not my hunch is true, it remains that the transition zones in our lives are incredibly rich places. They should be honored, even savored. Yes, with all the pain and fear and feelings of being out of control that can (but not necessarily) accompany transitions, they are still the most alive, most growth-filled, passionate, expansive moments in our lives.

And so, transformation of fear may have nothing to do with making fear go away, but rather with giving ourselves permission to hang out in the transition between the trapeze bars.

Transforming our need to grab that new bar-any bar-is allowing ourselves to dwell in the only place where change really happens.

It can be terrifying. It can also be enlightening in the true sense of the word.

Hurtling through the void, we may just learn to fly.

h/t  Joanne Fossland

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North to Alaska


Yes, I know. It’s been a long time since my last post. What can I say? I’ve been enjoying a much needed summer vacation.

We’re off to Alaska for a few weeks in September and when I return I intend to get back into the habit of posting to this blog.

Have a great summer!

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