If you were unburdened, how would your life be different? Would you be more financially successful? Would you have better relationships and more personal success? Would you be an entrepreneur, or a leader in your community?
How would getting out from underneath your problems improve your fortunes? Do you know what’s stopping you? Can you name the things that are keeping you from the life you want?
Is the path you’re on going to take you where you want to go? If not, what needs to change? Do you need an alternative path? Could the changes be to you? Perhaps a combination is required?
My goal is to help you determine what changes (if any) will afford you the ability to pursue the life you desire. And ultimately, to change your future and your fortune.
For over 20 years, I’ve been helping people to improve their financial fortunes. I’m honored to be named to Investopedia’s list of the top 100 financial advisors many years running.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Interrogate reality
- Addition by subtraction
- Your path
- Overcoming resistance
- Start with the biggest one
Let’s get started.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly, and expecting different results. If you’re not living the life you want, and you’re not on track to get there, something’s gotta change.
In her wonderful book, Fierce Conversations, Susan Scott talks about the necessity of interrogating reality. This is the first step to changing your future and your fortune. This process demands you not BS yourself. It means giving this your 100% undivided attention. After all, this is your life we’re talking about.
You’re going to work to identify the things in your life (internal and external) that are keeping you stuck and limiting your potential.
Take the time to think about and answer these questions inspired by Scott’s work:
- What threatens your peace?
- What is the area that, if you made an improvement, would give you the greatest return on time and energy?
- What is currently impossible to do, that if it were possible, would be a game changer?
- What part of your responsibilities are you avoiding right now?
- What conversations are you avoiding right now?
- What keeps you up at night?
- If you were hired to consult yourself, what would you advise?
- How have you behaved in ways guaranteed to produce the results with which you’re unhappy?
Addition by subtraction
Internal and external changes may be required for you to get where you want to go. What anchors are tied to you? What’s holding you in place?
Sometimes, cutting something out of your life is more impactful than adding something in.
Humans are creatures of habit. We develop routines and processes for every aspect of living. Which of yours do you need to change or eliminate? If you’re struggling financially, perhaps you need to stop certain behaviors like eating out six nights a week, and start keeping a household budget. If you’re overweight, perhaps you need to stop eating fast food and start exercising consistently.
Think about where you’re struggling, and then think about how your behaviors are contributing.
Thinking and feeling
One of our superpowers is our ability to decide how we think and feel; about everything. This is a superpower, because once you realize your ability to decide, you can put it to work immediately.
When you catch yourself thinking or feeling negatively about something, make a shift. Ask yourself, “How would I like to think and feel about this?” And start doing it. Don’t discount the impact a shift in your thinking and feeling will have on your life. In fact, it may be the key that unlocks the life you’ve been dreaming of.
You don’t have room, nor time, for negative or destructive people in your life.
In Alcoholics Anonymous, the term lower companions is used to describe people you abuse substances with. They’re often of lower status than you are, but you don’t want to engage in the behavior alone. Now, I’m not suggesting you have a substance abuse problem. I am suggesting we all have lower companions in our lives.
You’ve identified certain behaviors you need to get rid of. Are there people with whom you do them? What relationships are keeping you stuck? If that person (or people) was no longer in your life, would it be a net positive?
Life is too short to continue spending time with people who are not getting you closer to the life you want. This is true even if the person is a member of your family.
Imagine it’s three years from today. You’ve unburdened yourself from everything holding you back. What’s changed? How were you able to do it?
You thought about what you need to get rid of. Now, think about what you need to add. In order to get to where you want to go, what will be required?
New learnings or resources
What new skills or knowledge do you need? Perhaps a skill or certification that will allow you to earn more money? Maybe increasing your knowledge of investing so you’re more confident? What do you need to learn or gain?
We talked about cutting negative people out of your life. What relationships can you add that will help you get what you want? Would a new circle of friends help? What about a mentor or network of supportive professionals? Perhaps a romantic relationship? What new relationships will help you get where you want to go?
Change can be scary and difficult. We’re great at making mountains out of molehills, and that can lead to procrastination and inaction. That’s unacceptable.
As you’re thinking about the changes you want and need to make, you’ll worry about what will happen when you do it. For each worry/concern, answer these 8 questions:
- What change do you want to make?
- What do you think might happen if you made the change?
- What is the worst thing that could happen to you if you made the change?
- How likely is that to happen?
- What is the worst that has happened to others in this situation? How often did it happen? How did they deal with it?
- What is likely to happen based on your experience and the experience of others? How would you respond?
- If the worst did happen, then what would you do?
- Based on this discussion, what do you need to do to put this worry behind you?
Being concerned about the impact your choices will have on others is a healthy and natural thing. However, you can’t let those feelings stop you from doing what’s necessary to get where you want to go.
Start with the biggest one
Eat your vegetables first. Rip off the bandaid. You get the idea.
Odds are, you’ve got a list with more than one item that needs to be changed. Start with the biggest one. When you face your fear and take action, you position yourself for success. Most people cannot live the lives they want because they let fear keep them stuck.
You’ve done some great work here. You’ve thought about the life you want, and taken an honest assessment of what needs to be changed. It is time to put your plan into action.
You’re someone who deserves to live the life you want. Get started.
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