“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.”
– Abraham Lincoln
You’ve got roughly 50 years to earn money. Does that sound like a short or a long time?
I suppose the answer depends where you are on the timeline. If you’re 18, it’s a really long time. If you’re 60, it probably feels like a lot less.
Wherever you’re at in your career and life, how focused are you on maximizing your income?
Lincoln talked about the importance of sharpening his ax in order to chop down a tree as efficiently as possible. In an effort to earn as much money as possible in the time you have allotted for work, it’s wise to do the same.
I want to share 7 strategies you can use to maximize your income.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Get clear on your future
- Get clear on your impact
- Get really good
- Work hard while you’re working
- Build your skills
- Handling increases in compensation
- Know your worth
Let’s get started.
Get clear on your future
As humans, one of our many super powers is our ability to create the future we desire. We can envision what we want, and then work to make it our reality.
I think we all know how important goal setting can be. Even though I knew it, I still didn’t do it. In fact, it took me until age 35 before I finally wrote down my goals. Wherever you’re at, here are the six key areas I focus my goal setting on:
- Family: Think about what you want your family life to look like. Be specific in the types and quality of your relationships.
- Community: Think about what you want your community experience to be. Be specific in the groups you spend time with, and the activities you engage in.
- Wellbeing: Think about what you want your physical, mental and emotional health to be. Be specific in what you’ll do to nurture it now and in the future.
- Money and career: Think about what you want your financial situation and career to be. Be specific with every aspect (income, net worth, quality of life, role, daily schedule).
- Personal development: What are you interested in learning for the sake of learning? How will you spend your time and attention away from work and family?
- Peace of mind: Think about what you can and will do to have peace of mind. Be specific in the practices you’ll employ to feel that sense of peace.
The more specific you can get with what you want in each area, the better.
If you’re like me, and you’ve been putting it off, I want to share a resource for making it happen; you can access our Goals course at no-cost.
You can also access our Values course at no-cost as well
Get clear on your impact
Steve Jobs famously said “We’re here to put a dent in the universe.”
Does that resonate with you? Why do you do what you do?
We’re in a fortunate moment in time when we can choose to do work that not only rewards us monetarily, but can also fulfill us. That being said, it won’t happen on it’s own.
In order to find rewarding work we can be compensated for, we need to work to figure out what it is.
The Japanese concept of Ikigai can help with this process. It asks you to think about your passion, mission, vocation and profession. At the intersection of these four things is what you ought to pursue.
While there’s certainly no guarantee you’ll discover what it is, or that it even exists, I submit it’s worth going through the exercise.
Getting as close to this as possible will make for a more rewarding experience.
Get really good
One of my favorite quotes comes from Steve Martin, “Get so good they can’t ignore you.”
Can you become undeniable at what you’re doing?
Regardless if you feel you’re pursuing your calling or not, you should endeavor to get as good as you possibly can at whatever you’re doing.
I’ve found as I get better at something, the more I enjoy it.
Working to achieve mastery in your professional work will increase your income potential.
Work hard while you’re working
I’m not someone who advocates for working 24/7. I’m also not advocating for a specific work-life balance. You’ll need to determine how much time you spend on the various aspects of your life.
What I will advocate for is devoting your full, undivided attention to whatever you’re doing.
The average person’s mind wanders 50% of the time. That’s right, half the time.
If you find yourself without enough time to get everything you’re wanting to done, I suggest you pay closer attention to how focused you are on what you’re doing. Based on the research, it’s safe to assume you’re wasting time by letting your mind wander away from whatever you’re doing.
Think about it; if the average person is working a 40 hour week, and their mind is wandering half the time, they’re only really working 20 hours.
What would it mean to your productivity if you could bring that number down from 50%?
The same goes for your time away from work. Endeavor to be as focused on the other aspects of your life as you can be. Your loved ones will be greatly grateful for it.
Build your skills
Embracing lifelong learning is a mark of a successful person. When you commit to constantly learning and improving, you position yourself for more success.
As you’re strengthening your existing skills and learning new ones, your confidence will also increase.
Imagine how your life would be different if you got 1% better everyday. How would things be different for you?
Commit to continuing education or professional development specific to your field, as well as becoming a well-rounded person by learning about things outside your field.
85% of self-made millionaires read two or more books a month. Start reading more.
Handling increases in compensation
How you handle increases in compensation over the course of your career can make a massive differenceI in building your wealth.
If every time you received a 5% increase in compensation, you improved your lifestyle by 2.5%, and committed the other 2.5% to your investing goals, your net worth would increase dramatically.
The earlier you can adopt this strategy, the longer you have to take advantage of compound interest.
Know your worth
Do you know your worth?
For a long time, I didn’t. I had limiting beliefs that kept me from reaching the levels of success I wanted for myself.
How do you know if you have them? When you see, hear or think something and have a visceral reaction, you have a negative belief about it.
Here is a list of prompts about money. As you read through them, write down the first thing that comes to mind; don’t overthink it.
- People with money are
- Money makes people
- I’d have more money if
- My parents thought money would
- In my family, money caused
- Money equals
- If I had money, I’d
- If I could afford it, I’d
- Money is
- Money causes
- Having money is not
- In order to have more money, I’d need to
- When I have money, I usually
- I think money
- People think money
Now that you’ve written your initial thoughts on each of these, go back through and think more deeply about the ones that we’re the most triggering.
The good news about negative beliefs is you can change them. Go through your personal history all the way back to when you were a little kid and look for what could have caused your current thinking. Once you identify it (them), you can start paying attention to when you’re triggered today, and begin to rewire your thinking.
Keeping in mind the limited amount of time we all have to earn money, it’s wise to do everything we can to maximize it.
We also have a DIY Financial Plan course which can help you get your entire financial house in order.
Here’s to a lifetime of learning!
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