Becoming a highly successful person is not a reactive series of events. There is a purposeful strategy. There is a broader vision or a dream that you must be obsessed with and work towards every day.
Unfortunately, you spend the better part of your day managing other people’s urgent needs. And while your efforts are appreciated, those accomplishments are doing little to get you closer to your dream.
So what can you do? Plan.
Highly successful people plan their finances, priorities, and learning. And while the plan might change depending on their broader vision, they rely on it to keep them accountable.
There is no magic formula to make these plans happen. But you have to start, so grab a pen and paper and start writing down your ideas.
With your plans written down, you can now be more purposeful in becoming a highly successful person.
The Highly Successful Take Control of Their Personal Finances
Does the mention of personal finance give you a migraine? I don’t blame you. The personal finance conversation is one that many people ignore like the plague. Unfortunately, ignoring a nagging problem does not make the problem go away – it only makes the issue worse.
You were never taught how to manage your personal finances. Sure, mom told you to save, and dad said to get a good job. Maybe a friend told you about investing in the stock market.
But the reality of your financial situation is that there is more month than check. And you make up the delta by using a credit card, which is charging you a hefty 15% interest rate.
Once you start borrowing money, you start losing control of your most precious asset, time. How – your poor financial health dictates what you can and cannot do with your time.
For example, you want to take that Caribbean vacation you deserve but you can’t afford it, again. So what’s the cure? Education. And Planning.
And no — there is no easy solution like winning Lotto or waiting for your rich uncle to die. Becoming financially healthy requires, work. How much effort depends on both your financial circumstance and commitment.
“The thing I have discovered about working with personal finance is that the good news is that it is not rocket science. Personal finance is about 80 percent behavior. It is only about 20 percent head knowledge.” – Dave Ramsey
So here are three steps to building financial freedom:
1. Schedule weekly, one hour, money dates. According to Thomas Stanley, author of The Millionaire Next Door, he explains that millionaires spend on average, 8.4 hours a month managing their finances. Yes, if millionaires see the value in scheduling time to plan their finances – then you must also model that strategy. The weekly money date is your opportunity to get a big picture view of your finances and craft a plan of action.
2. Commit 60 minutes a week to read about personal finance. And don’t just read about personal finance, take the time to study it. The more deep knowledge you have about finances, the better equipped you will be to manage your money. So pick a topic that interests you and go learn it. Make it a homework assignment that is part of your weekly financial meeting.
One book that I am re-reading is the “Complete Guide to Money” by Dave Ramsey. Another book that was recommended to me is “I Will Teach You To be Rich” by Ramit Sethi. While I have not read Sethi’s book, yet, I hear it is a good read.
3. Hire a certified financial planner. Managing your money is not difficult but you do want to seek the mentorship of a professional. In this case, you will want to find a certified financial planner – especially when you are first beginning your money management journey. These professionals can help you understand your options and guide you through the financial landscape.
Regardless of where you are in your financial journey, it’s imperative that you educate yourself. And that there is a commitment to your continued financial education. And by constantly educating yourself and placing those strategies into practice you will slowly regain control of your most important resource – time.
The Highly Successful Define Their Priorities
There are only two arguments you should be concerned about when working with priorities. The first argument is about living proactively. The second argument is about living reactively.
If you have chosen to live your life proactively, then you are designing the life you want to live. But if you have chosen to live your life by reacting to what happens to you, then others are designing your life.
So which life are you going to live?
Yes, life is unpredictable, and there are only 168 hours in the week. And everyone but you are laying claim to your limited resource – time. So you spend the day taking care of everyone else’s urgent needs but not your own.
But that does not mean that you have to continue living a reactive life. The only way that you will begin to design a life that you want to live is by being proactive. And always looking at your life with the end in mind.
Michael Hyatt, author of Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, uses a strategy called “My Ideal Week.”
The concept is designed so you can create your ideal week. Take your time to think through how you will organize your time blocks, focus areas and themes for the day. The point is to make sure that you are working on what matters most to you – not someone else.
You can further break down the ideal week by color coding your margins, goals, and priorities. The color schemes are subjective and mainly used as visual cues so you can quickly identify what you are doing during the week.
To start this exercise, Hyatt has an Excel template. You can download the template, or you can create one from scratch, I found it easier just to use Hyatt’s template.
Once you have created your ideal week, it becomes your template for planning every week. If you have team members or an assistant or a significant other – share it with them. It helps keep your week ideal if you are all on the same page.
The Highly Successful Learn Faster
It’s impossible to progress in life if you do not read. And when I say read – I am referring to learning with a purpose.
And what is learning with a purpose? I mean, take your book, pen, and paper, and start jotting down action items, backburner items (things to focus on later) and reference notes.
You say you want to learn how to speak Spanish or be a writer or be a photographer, but that is where it ends – at the “Want To Stage.”
So in essence you are a bit of a phony when it comes to learning. Why, because you talk about learning something someday, but that someday never happens.
Learning does not happen because there is no broader vision of why you want to learn. Your learning goals (or dreams) are unfocused, and that is the reason learning tends to not materialize.
So what is the solution? You need to know what you want to get out of your life and what skills will help you get to that life.
The reason knowing what you want out of life is important is because as humans we have lots of interests, lots of things we want to learn. And it becomes too much, so we are paralyzed into learning nothing.
”You have to know what you want of your life before you become a master learner. – Brendon Burchard.”
You must master every skill necessary to achieve your dream life so ask yourself this question: What do I want out of life?
Once you have answered that question, you can begin to look at what things you can learn to achieve that life.
And the learning process takes a long time. You must make it a mission to master those skills and to practice it every single day.
And if you are telling me that you can’t take every day to grow – then you are mismanaging your life. And you will never achieve your dreams.
Question: What is the one thing you are going to do today to start becoming highly successful? Share your answers on Twitter.
Photo: Flickr/ Be-Younger.com