Writing the Story of your Life - Module 4
"Monetizing Your Dream"
Passing The Money Test
Money.....It makes the world go round. It also crushes countless dreams everyday. Have you ever been up late at night pouring over your budget, spreadsheets open, bank statements laid out, a full pot of coffee drained into your mug, eyes bloodshot and despair slowly creeping in? Probably everyone has been in that place......many are still there today unfortunately. The reality for most home budgets is that there is more month than money. The average person lives virtually paycheck to paycheck with little margin for error let alone for financing their passions.
Money, though it is often considered evil.....has no inherent value beside the monetary value we attach to it. It is amoral and unable to do good or bad in and of itself. Money is dependent on our actions and choices. People are either generous or stingy, open handed or closed fisted. Finances are a perfect litmus test to reveal our intentions and the inner working of our motives. How we handle resources clearly defines who we are and is a remarkably simple mechanism which draws out our true nature. It acts as a mirror reflecting the condition of our soul.
A trap that is easy to fall into when attempting to uncover your life's purpose is the premature desire to "turn our passion into a business" if you type the phrase ...... how to monetize...... into Google the return search would find over 16 million matches. As you scroll down through the list you will discover how to monetize anything imaginable......your website, your blog, your skills, you tube channel ....etc. etc. When you insert "how to monetize your dream", that single phrase returns over 3 Million hits. While there is certainly no harm in turning your passions into revenue, the reality is that this pursuit often consumes valuable resources and creates dangerous degrees of disillusionment. Unfortunately this can lead to the collapse of your passion, not because it was not vital to the world, but simply because the path to creating a revenue stream was not clear. Countless dreams have come and gone simply because "dreams don't pay the bills".
At the heart of this module is a WARNING:
Don't let a lack of resources stand in the way of changing your life and living out
the purpose that is burning inside of your heart
If it has not already happened to you, this is the most common trap that derails passionate people simply because reality is hard to ignore. Bills have to get paid. Groceries need purchased. Kids need fed. The idea that to be creative you have to be a starving artist is the same fallacy that claims you can "live on love"........its simply not true and leaves you hungry, stressed out and feeling hopeless before the week is over. Life takes money. Creative pursuits take resources. It is a simple reality that everyone must face sooner or later in their pursuit of purpose. The most important thing is to not let this fact sideline your passion. The reality is that it takes time, patience and a lot of hard work to finance the life you have always longed to live......and most importantly it is not impossible to do so. All it takes is a little creativity and CONSISTENT INTENTIONAL CHOICES.
“Doctors know needles hurt. They give shots nonetheless. Why? Because they know that a little bit of discomfort up front leads to miracles down the road.” - Don Conelly
Re-Thinking Your Day Job
The fastest and most direct way to finance your passionate pursuits is to.......get up and go to work! For most of us that idea makes us cringe. Get up and go to work? You are probably saying something like.....but my job stinks.....have you met my boss........at the end of the day it feels as if my soul has died......like the life has drained from my very bones. Have you been there? You might be there as you read this! Often for creative people the reality of their day job leaves them despondent with a crushed spirit, hungry for more and feeling lost at how to move out of their dead end job with no obvious purpose. The trick in in the beginning of a new season is that it does not have to be either or......both a paying job (albeit one you don't like) and the pursuit of a purposeful life can unfold together, and may have to for obvious practical reasons (to pay your bills!)
Before you loose heart lets discuss the reality of whatever job you are working right now (assuming you are employed). You already probably can list 100 reasons why you hate your job......so lets take another route.
HERE ARE SOME THINGS YOUR JOB IS DOING FOR YOU RIGHT NOW:
It is waiting for you in the morning......don't forget you already have a job....winch means resources
You are already making money. It may not be what you wish you were getting paid but it is a paycheck none the less!
Your dreams take money to make them happen.......and your job is a source of that revenue
You don't have to try to "Monetize your dream"......you are already monetizing your time
Don't forget.......on your way to a new future......you still have to eat!
These points may not be "sexy" or adventurous and may be a slap in the face for some, but this idea is an important first step to moving forward. It is also an important step in not falling into the Trap of "Monetizing your dream". The reality is this trap is seductive and alluring but most often leads to dead ends and dreams cut short before they could ever hope to become realized. The internet is full of get rich quick schemes, "super sales funnels", "turn key" online platforms that automate the system creating massive streams of passive income.....you have probably seen the advertisements, shiny cars, beach shots, absurdly humongous houses, etc. etc. The fact is most of that is grossly out of context. Wealth is possible to attain but.....
It is not a simple linear path. Its not easy, and it is not overnight!
Before you write me a nasty email demanding your money back for the workshop.....give me a moment before you pass judgement on this idea.
Look at Re-thinking your day job as a first step in a journey to develop alternative revenue streams for your passion.....it's not intended to keep you stuck in a job that you hate and living on wages that ultimately don't pay the bills.....stepping stones......baby steps.......take a breath and keep reading :)
There is not magic bullet and no simple "system". The path to a purposeful future that is adequetly resourced is possible, but the key to the process is to develop smart plans that start where you are and take you into the next season. The first step in the plan is.....Don't quit your day-job.....at least not yet! Flip the script on your job. Instead of looking at it as something you hate or a job that barely pays the bills, look at it as your first revenue stream that will move you into the next season of your life. Listen, even the most successful people started small. They to where broke once, often disillusioned, but the difference between those who reach their goals and those that don't is the simple act of not giving up. Not allowing their current circumstances to define their future reality. The real poverty that entraps people is not the lack of financial resources, but instead it is a lack of desire and a lack of perspective. When you shift the way in which you view your circumstances, everything shifts and solutions begin to appear out of the fog of frustration. Your path into a purposeful and intentional life begins right where you are standing......this is day one of the rest of your life. Choose wisely!
Here are some examples to show you the potential of refraiming your dayjob.
The Book "Love Does" by Bob Goff explores the Bob's often quirky and unrestrained openness to living a life of purpose with limitless possibilities. Bob is known not only for his uncharacteristic love for others but also for the unrestrained way HE SAYS YES to.....well.....almost everything. Ranging from ice cream parties with his children and world leaders form all over the globe to a stranger in love who borrowed his stereo, his house and even his boat to propose to the woman of his dreams and strangely enough agreeing to be the "council to Uganda" simply because he thought it was an elaborate hoax by his friend. The call turned out to be legitimate and Bob ended up becoming the Ugandan Diplomat to the U.S. and starting a non profit to aid victims caught in the broken judicial system within the country. His love and unlimited yeses ended up leading him into his destiny. In the end his job allowed him to finance the adventures. The book is filled with countless stories that tug at the heartstrings but the most practical statement in the entire book was what he often said to his wife as he headed out the door to his job: "Honey, I'm off to do fundraising for the day" - Bob Goff
When Bob needed funds to finance his dreams, he went to work. When he needed resources to impact those in need, he went to work. Bob was not sidelined by the financial requirements of his destiny. The heart of love is generosity and the willingness to "Do". According to Bob....."Love Does".
What sets Bob Goff apart from others? Perspective. He was not super human nor endowed with rare capabilities......Bob simply sad yes and got up and went to work......and did it all the next day.....again and again. Bob "fund raised" every day, and at the end of the week, his boss cut him the check!
"The most extraordinary people in the world today don't have a career. They have a Mission." – Vishen Lakhiani
A powerful characteristic of successful people is their resilience and their capacity to utilize the resources at hand to accomplish their goals. It often takes creativity and innovation. One of the most obvious resources at hand is the job you ALREADY HAVE. The important thing is to identify how to balance resources, time and movement forward into a new season of opportunity and purpose. In time new revenue streams relating to your passion may unfold, but it will take time. Don't let a feeling of "urgency" lead you into a season of disillusionment because your dream doesn't make you money YET.....this is often the precipice get rich quick websites push you towards. All good things take time.
"The difficulties and struggles of today are but the price we must pay for the accomplishments and victories of tomorrow. – William J.H. Boetcher
Idea/Journal Prompt: This exercise is simple, but may be one of the most profound exercises you do. Your job over the next week is to SIMPLY SAY YES to as many things as possible. It may sound foolish and you may say to yourself....."I have already have a full plate, how could I possibly add MORE THINGS?". The truth is this: yes we are all busy, but we are often busy with the wrong things. We spend an exorbitant amount of time on the "Necessities" (Paying bills, mowing the grass, doing dishes, buying groceries, making breakfast, lunch and dinner.....etc.). These necessities are often consumed and have to be replenished again tomorrow, next week or next month, and life goes on in a vicious hamster wheel of urgent but not truly important, and necessary but not fulfilling. What's the answer.........
PRACTICE SAYING YES! Take the next week and intentionally SAY YES to everything (or at least almost everything, keep things in at least some sort of moral and safe boundaries :) When that thought flashes through your mind that it would be great to take that drive......take it. SAY YES! Walk barefoot. SAY YES! When your 6 year old says come play with me.....SAY YES! When that old desire pops back up or that new interest to paint, take a class or try something new.....SIMPLY SAY YES! Don't let anything stand in the way of your YESES.
As you are saying yes throughout the week, keep a journal. Jot down your crazy ideas or the unlikely opportunities that crossed your path. Say YES and keep track of the experience. The process is freeing and refreshingly alive. In your journal pay attention to how your respond to saying YES. Right down how if feels, is it scary at first? Do you suddenly feel alive? Do you discover things about yourself or the opportunity that would have never be uncovered without saying YES?
Also take notes on the new opportunities that the YES creates. Often done YES and take us down an unexpected but profoundly new path previously undiscovered! Enjoy the process. Take the exercise as an excuse to do and be what we often disallow ourselves to be. Often our perceived duties and responsibilities are an unspoken No in life. We don't intend to say no.....our hearts wish to live and be adventurous......but we use the reality of adulthood to block the newness and the freedom of a new season. PRACTICE SAYING YES......it may unlock the unexpected and take you down a road you would have missed if you were not looking with open eyes!
Dirty Jobs......The Next Chapter
Mike Rowe (of Dirty Jobs Fame) hosts a show on Facebook called "Returning The Favor". The show is simple in nature......Mike and his crew travel the country encountering everyday people who are making a difference in their communities. The show highlights their work and surprises them with needed resources to continue their missions.
If you were to watch a series of episodes you will discover the most enduring (and potentially most impactful) aspect of the show.......these amazing people who are creating tremensous impact in the communities around them......
ARE JUST LIKE YOU!
They are not famous, nor wealthy. They don't have thousands of Instagram followers or corporate sponsorship. Not a single one of them has a book deal on the future and most are far from creating any sort of revenue stream from their work......on the contrary most spend every dollar they make to keep their dream alive. Each of these people are changing the world, impacting lives and helping to re-write the stories of their communities. Their greatest and most often only resource is their passion and unending desire to see peoples lives changed for the good.
How do they do it? Hard work. Creativity. Grit. Passion and hope for a greater tomorrow. As you watch each episode you will discover a powerful principle behind each story.
When problems are encountered, solutions are discovered in the process of meeting the need......and the resources follow the need.
The movements that each of these individuals inspire are birthed in the process of action. Each of their stories echo the fact that there was a need and they decided to meet the need. Few if any developed a business plan, they simply acted. Using what they had (which is often very little) they stepped headlong into the needs of others while ignoring their limitations and doubts. The resources that were required to meet the need comes in the process, not before. That is the order. Its frustrating at times and requires a great level of faith, but is common as purpose and mission unfolds in peoples lives.
The same sort of dynamic is found in business as well. When you look at examples of new and up and coming businesses their origin stories are all similar. They are born out of a dream, financial resources are scarce and most often nonexistent in the beginning. The founders are full of ideas yet low on cash, overflowing with passion but lacking financial backing. The resources begin to emerge as a result of the dream and the potential it births. As the ideas materialize in the process, the unfolding dream develops what best can be described as its own inertia.....an internal gravity that draws dreamers, innovators and investors. This dynamic is normal and common as dreams and movements unfold.
This same process occurs in the development of our personal dreams and pursuits. While an understanding of this process may not take all the pain away, it does help to ground our developing purpose in a fiscal reality. Dreams take time. Dreams take money.......but the money flows once the dream begins to take on a life of its own.
What is the answer......DREAM BIG!.........DEVELOP A CRAZY UNSTOPPABLE PASSION! When you approach your future in such a way, your dream becomes a reality just as sure as today will become tomorrow.....it just takes time! Allow the gravity to form around your passion and it will draw the necessary people and resources into your life.
"Start Where You Are. Use What You Have. Do What You Can. – Arthur Ashe
Idea/Journal Prompt: Cash poor and time rich......or maybe just plain broke! Many of us use money as a powerful excuse. Sometimes it is as simple as saying I'm broke.....that will get you out of paying for dinner, the trip you don't want to go on and virtually anything you don't feel like doing on a Friday Night. It is also an internal excuse that sounds "realistic" yet is in reality fear disguising its voice to sound like "reality.....or simple math". Money and the lack thereof has toppled multinational business, shattered lives and destroyed entirely to many marriages and far to many dreams. Take a moment and don't worry about money.....its hard but play along for a bit!
Make a resource list. All of the things you have in your possession or can access without a significant outlay of money. List things like skills, passions, people you know, information on line, classes, mentors, etc. Think outside of the box a bit. Don't worry if you don't have phone numbers or direct access to things or people......a bit of elbow grease and some good old fashion networking often solves that problem.
Once your list is identified, highlight everything you have access to RIGHT NOW. Now do two things. Get out your schedule and start to fill in gaps with the things you can do or the people you can connect with This week. For those things that may need a bit of homework or networking to accomplish, add those to your next two weeks on your schedule. Now begin to execute them day by day. You will likely discover that in the process of "doing" you will discover other resources you had previously missed and often never would have considered in the process.
Notice few if any of this list cost a penny......some time......but little money. Time is the greatest resource you have.....attempting to commodify it often robs it of its true and most intrinsic value.
(Use the space above for your answers/notes. NOTE: If you want to save your notes, copy and paste into a word document on your computer. Notes will not repopulate the next time you load the workshop page.)
Idea/Journal Prompt: “A tree is no more valuable than a seed. Both are simply at a different stage in their development.” ― J.R. Rim
All of life is made up of seasons. The most important thing is to identify what season you are in. You can't plant a garden in winter and you can't ice fish in summer. There is an order to life and our activities are often shaped by what is happening around us. Take a moment to really look at the current season you are in. Ask yourself the following questions....make some notes:
"What is available to me RIGHT NOW?"
"What must be done This Season?"
"What Can Be Done This Season (and what needs to wait)?
In the spring we plant. In the summer we water. In the Fall we harvest. What does this season require when you consider your direction? Do what is available to you. Capitalize on that, learn, develop it and allow it to flourish. While you may not be ready or able to step fully into your life's passion, what can you do today....right around you?
Do you want to Write a book? Start some notes. Do you want to Start a Business? Begin to market your idea. Do you want to start a Non-Profit to end homelessness? Take some meals to those right outside your door. It is ok to start small.......What small things can you do today that will plant seeds for a future harvest? Practice the activities and the actions today that will be required tomorrow. You will be surprised at what may grow out of such actions.
(Use the space above for your answers/notes. NOTE: If you want to save your notes, copy and paste into a word document on your computer. Notes will not repopulate the next time you load the workshop page.)
Telling Your Money What To Do.......
If you won a Million dollars today......what would you do? Go to Disneyland? Buy a New Car? Take a whirlwind vacation around the world? While life may change some on the outside and you may acquire new things to surround yourself with, the reality is on the inside you would still be you.....but with a significantly larger bank account......for now at least! The truth of such windfalls are that many (if not most) of instant millionaires are broke in a matter of years. This same dynamic is often seen in Hollywood and Sports areanas. The new "wiz kid" gets lots of attention and tons of money thrown at them and before long the parties and the fancy clothes begin to add up. Suddenly some of the most famous people find themselves in financial collapse. Why? Because the new fame and the fancy clothes cant mask the person they are inside and the habits that have become their nature. If you are good with money when you get it you will handle it well.......and on the contrary.......if you are wasteful with little......you will be REALLY WASTEFUL with more!
The old adage is true, especially with money. No matter where you go, there .....YOU will be. Your nature seldom changes when your circumstances do! Our personalities are incredibly stable over time. The way you handle life today is the greatest predictor of how you will handle your tomorrow as well.
Everything in life is a reflection of a choice you have made. If you want a different result, make a different choice.
- Author Unknown
The first step to managing your current resources (as well as your future resources) is deciding who is boss. If you don't tell your money what to do.......it will discover all sorts of ways to disappear right under your nose (most often in expensive lattes, dinner out and a round of drinks for all of your buddies on a Friday night!). The one constant thing about money not matter how much or how little you have is the painful fact that it "almost spends itself". Its hard to not spend money. It happens without even thinking. The hard part is to save....and tell your money what to do. This single habit may be the most important financial habit you can develop.
The First step in becoming the boss of your money is to figure
out exactly where it is going.
Most people know the big expenses, but the waste in our financial lives is often worst in the accumulation of the tiny expenses, the ones unaccounted..... for. The "slush" fund of our life can quickly get out of hand. If you were to take a snap shop of my bank account right now, you would see I am bleeding Starbucks......if not literally, certainly financially! Coffee is my only addiction and amounts to better a part of $200 a month.....maybe more (yikes!). Don't judge me......just saying! You may be surprised if not horrified if you were to take an honest peak at your own spending habits. It is often the slow "leaks" in life, the hidden habits and the overlooked and under-anticipated gaps that effectively consume not only our money, but our time and attention as well. Without further ado......It is time to take an inventory.....brace yourself.....an honest look at our spending habits takes brutal honesty and some emotional fortitude......especially when you have to explain to your significant other exactly how much those new golf clubs or New Shoes actually cost!
Idea/Journal Prompt: Time to take a financial snapshot of your spending habits. This exercise is seemingly benign but can be brutal once you set down and really start digging. Here is how to do it!
Pull up the last 3 months of statements (don't just do one. 3 months will give you a very accurate view of trends and habits. A single month may have an outlier, but 90 days will likely show truth behind your spending habits....both good and bad!)
To simplify it, take a highlighter and scan down through the charges in your account. Ignore the "have to expenses". Skip over your mortgage, car payment, insurance, utilities, etc. At this point you can't change those. You may choose to in the future or even need to, but those are long term financial decisions. For this exercise you are looking for the proverbial "chest wounds". The absolutely non-essentials that are bleeding you dry. Be honest. Be brutal. Don't make excuses. If it is not needed for basic daily/monthly living, strike through the charge with your highlighter. A deeper level of spending analysis can examine the "necessary cost" of the larger ticket items in your budget......do you need the model of car you drive? Is unlimited data for your cell phone a necessity? Could your home be downsized to free up $1000 per month? These are touch questions that are capable of significantly shifting your overall financial situation.
Once you have the truly non-essentials highlighted, total it up. This total is going to be different for everyone, but the retaliative association of wasteful spending to necessities of life will likely be comparable across budgets.
With the figure in mind.....put it in context. Take a moment to think of the life you want, the future you are attempting to actualize and the purpose you wish to carry out. What could that total do to move you forward to your goal each and every month. Now take that total and multiply it by 12......the figure may be a bit shocking. Could you accomplish something with the money that is being needlessly spent. If you were wanting to start a soup kitchen......how many meals would that purchase now? If your goal was to provide school supplies to area schools.....how many supplies could you purchase now? Do you get the idea? While you may be a long way off from achieving the fullness of your dream.....what can you do today financially to finance the first step? You may be surprised just how far a "slush fund" will take you!
(Use the space above for your answers/notes. NOTE: If you want to save your notes, copy and paste into a word document on your computer. Notes will not repopulate the next time you load the workshop page.)
Time.....our most valuable resource.
While a great deal of our emotional and physical expenditures in our lives revolve around the pursuit of finances, the greatest asset in our life is time. The vast majority of people are paid by the hour and driven by the time clock. To make money we exchange the commodity of time for the unit of money. We are paid per hour.....if you need more money......you simply "trade" more hours. The days of our lives are consumed to accumulate money which we then exchange for our needs. TIME IS MONEY. While you can earn more money you can't increase time.....in reality the more money we trade our time for the less time we have for our lives, our families, our purposes, etc.
The true poverty of our day is not our diminishing bank accounts, but the dwindling of our lives as we "spend" the greatest resource we have to accumulate things that are easily consumed and certainly do not last. Time is a precious commodity and and necessity for living a purposeful life. Without it, life is simply an endless treadmill of expenses and slowly suffocating dreams. As with finances, it is important for each of us to be good stewards of our time. The relentless march of time, morning into night, today into tomorrow, never ceases and disappears often quicker than last Friday's paycheck.
To succeed in life you need to effectively manage both your finances and your time. Losing track of either one of these vital resources will leave you struggling to move forward. If you loose track of both, your life will be hopelessly "bankrupt" with little to show for years of backbreaking toil except regret. Identifying how you spend time is even more critical than how you spend your money.
Idea/Journal Prompt: Now it is time to take a Time Snapshot of your daily habits. This exercise is seemingly benign (like your Finances Snapshot) but can be even more brutal once you set down and really start digging. Here is how to do it!
This snapshot is a bit more involved than the financial snapshot. You can't easily pull up a PDF of your "time statement" or download your "time expenses" into an Excel sheet......it takes a bit of an old school technique.
Create a Time Journal. Pull out a trusty notebook (or make a spreadsheet if you are so inclined), whatever method you use track your time closely. My suggestion is in 30 min increments. Lay out your day from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed......and like a food log for people on a diet......simply log what YOU ACTUALLY SPENT TIME ON THROUGHOUT THE DAY.
Don't rely on your daily planner......it is a liar! Your planner is the perfect version of your day, your hopes and your OCD side attempting to control the chaos of your life. The reality is your daily planner never mentions the time you spend on Facebook or aimlessly watching America's Got Talent Videos.
For this project to work, be merciless. Be methodical. Be honest! Write down everything you do throughout the day. Keep the journal for 7 days. If you stared out the window at work for 40 minutes trying to convince yourself you were going to survive until 5....write it down. If you started doing your homework or devotional reading online and found yourself reading Yahoo headlines an hour and a half later....write it down.
You will likely be more astounded (or embarrassed!) at how you spend your time than how you spend your money. We all know we "waste" time......but many of us are wasting our lives in the process without realizing it.
Once you have your 7 day snapshot, take a critical look at it. You will likely discover two things. First, some of the "time leaks" are no surprise, you probably already know that social media is a minor addiction, second you may discover some trends or some "hidden leaks" in your time habits. Now is the time to regroup and reorganize. With intention you can redeem the wasted time. You can't get back what you have lost, it is forever gone, but you can prevent the waste from happening in the future. A simple success habit of people who impact the world around them is that they use their time purposefully with intent. They are capable of taking the same 24 hours block of time that you and I have and capitalize on it. You can do the same with practice......now go practice.....redeem your day. It will be one of the best investments you can make into your future.
The "B" Word
What is the answer to wasted time and money? To become intentional with both!
To do so we have to come to terms with our arch nemesis......its not Kryptonite.....its not Lex Luther.......it's not even a four letter word......though we often say it with the same same sort of detestable tone.......Take a deep breath and say it out-loud........
B$#*@T! (Budget :)
Yep.....budgets are an old school 7th grade civics sort of idea, yet it is critical to your success. If you can't budget your time or money you will wake up someday bankrupt of both, penniless and washed up. We only have one life to live, one shot, a single take. Life tosses us the proverbial Hail Mary pass and we either take hold of it to make the play of our lives or fumble it leaving us empty handed. It is our choice. And thankfully each and everyday of our lives is an opportunity to rerun the play. If you dropped the ball yesterday you have the chance to run the highlight real today and see what went wrong. Today is the only time you actually have. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is a result of right now. So this very moment is what constitutes your life and will define your future. The key is to act and act decisively with intention.
“EVERYTHING that happens in the universe starts with an INTENTION"
- Deepak Chopra
Budgeting our Resources - Intentionally
This section of the module is less on financial budgets and time management tools and more to do with the mechanism behind successful financial and time management. No budget, plan, or set of goals will ever be successful if you are not intentional about those desires. For those out there that need specific coaching in how to plan a financial budget or manage their time effectively, I would suggest the following resources. (Disclaimer: These are not get rich quick ideas, they are money management and time management techniques as old as time itself. Managing your time and money is not "tricks" but discipline. It is dependent on your priorities and how those priorities shape your day to day habits. Those habits will in turn shape how you use these two vital resources.
Financial Budgeting Resources:
Dave Ramsey - Dave's path to financial success was a rocky one. Before the age of 30 he had become a multimillionaire and lost it all. He was flat broke after being incredibly wealthy. His story is evidence of the importance of internal management. Regardless of your circumstances (Rich or Poor), the outcome of your life is driven by your personal attitudes and values. These values shape our habits which define our actions and create our future. DaveRamsey.com is overflowing with tools and resources that can help get your financial world on a path to success.
Crown Financial Ministries - CFM was founded by Larry Burkett in the 1970's. Since that time he authored more than 70 books and helped 50+ Million people find financial freedom. The CFM WEBSITE has numerous resources, books and tools to navigate a future of financial freedom.
Time Management Resources:
Best Self - is a realitivly new organization that devoted to "creating everyday tools for people to lead a life they can be proud of". The primary product form Best Self is a daily planner, the SELF JOURNAL. It is a double page/per day journal with the central focus on 3 core goals. For each of those goals, you develop a list of daily action steps to move you closer to completion. Each day also has a section for reflection, notes, brainstorming and of course the classic hour by hour list to keep track of when and where you have to accomplish those things. It is very user defined and allow you to tweak the action steps day by day.....even if you drop the ball today.....you can pick it back up tomorrow. It is designed in a 90 day window. The company argues (and so do other sources) that continually checking your "navigational course" similar to navigating a sailboat will achieve greater success. Instead of massive and sudden course corrections (ie. Mid Life Crises or emotional breakdowns), success is defined by actionable continual course corrections on a daily bases. Visit Bestself.co for a look at their resources.
Franklin Covey - has built up a massive organization that began with successful time management tools such as planners and schedulers. Throughout the years the organization has developed business and leadership solutions for every sector of the economy. To explore the wealth of resources visit FranklinCovey.com
The Bullet Journal - If you are a doodler, a designer, an artist or a free-spirited creative.....this journal is for you. The pages are blank (except for tiny dots throughout the page, no dates, no definitions. It is primarily a METHOD and less of a physical tool. Bullet Journals leave unbound space to to plan, create, dream and track the life you have always wanted. The method has turned into a bit of a craze, many of the pages in some bullet journal proponents look more like a work of art than a daily list of to-do's.....which is not a bad thing. The product is very user defined and acts as a wonderful record of the daily steps and ideas that eventually birth an idea and ultimately the life you have always wanted. To jump on board with the wave of bullet journalers visit BulletJournal.com and check it out. At the risk of creating another opportunity to get sucked away into the Instagram world, check out this list of 15 bullet journalers on Instagram. It provides and interesting array of visual possibilities for this type of planning. The key is don't get overwhelmed and make it about the journal. It is about your life and the things you are doing to move you forward. Keep it simple is often the best advice. Allow the tool to work for you, don't become a slave of the tool.
Idea/Journal Prompt: Go Explore online. (Be careful not to get sucked into cat videos and the newest drama from the kardashians and Justin Beeber!) Visit the links shared above and take time to look for the countless other sources online.
Now take a good look at your current financial/time habits (from the journal prompts you have already created). Ask yourself what is needed most? Do you need a complete overhaul? A bit of tweaking? A new system? Or do you need to get down and dirty, use some elbow grease and good old fashioned discipline to get you to the next step. Whatever the answer may be.....get started today!
The key to any plan or tool it that it works for YOU! Not all systems are created equally. Not all tools match your life and your needs. Sometimes you have to take a cafeteria approach, pick and choose what works for you. Don't let the structure or the agenda set by others define your path (even if they are multi-million dollar organizations). What works for someone else may not work for you. The important part is you find the elements and the methods that resonate with your needs. Engage them into your day and move the needle forward as you develop traction in life. Become intentional and adjust course frequently. Even if the winds and waves of life hit you along the way......this sort of planning will see you through.
The key to any successful plan and the root of what makes budgeting and time-management tools work is the intentional habits that we put in place everyday. The greatest success is often built upon the tiniest of habits. Success is built upon the accumulation of incremental daily gains only possible with planned behavior rooted in action.
“The secret of change is to focus all of our energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new."
When you examine the litany of self-improvement and success oriented literature available on the market today you will discover themes that tend to emerge. Success is not something that is hidden from the average person. A successful life, full of purpose is gained through intentional choices. These choices must be maintained daily which in turn creates momentum in a persons life. What is most fascinating about success habits is that they seem almost to simple to trust. Most habits are actually common place. They are often things that we have all learned or at least heard at some point in our lives. The most significant difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is not what they know (often our knowledge base is at par level), it is most often the extent and the level to which a successful person applies the principles. In reality, successful individuals tend to live and die by certain strategies. They will organize their days around specific habits and become relentless in the pursuit and execution of those behaviors. It is more about your level of consistent execution of basic principles than the acquisition of any new ideas. What works in the world is relatively standard. The key is application of ideas that work and the innovative ways of thinking about principles of success.
While the principles of success are relatively standard.....the application of those principles is often open to a persons interpretation. This "user defined" aspect of success principles allows individuals to adapt patterns of behavior to the requirements of their organizations niche, personality and not just their strengths but weaknesses as well.
“Successful people are simply those with successful habits.”
- Brian Tracy
Cheyenne Diaz wrote an article on mindwalley.com about "The 7 Habits of Successful People You Need to Adopt". these habits are not written in stone, but are shared by countless successful people in one fashion or another. These themes are found in interviews, biographies and articles about people who have impacted the world in tremendous ways.
Below is an adaptation of the 7 Daily Habits in Diaz's blog post.
Live a purpose oriented day
Develop a Powerful Morning Routine that works for you
Embrace Failure - Learn from it and Keep Moving Forward
Design a daily routine that fits YOU
Become a Risk Taker
Cultivate Confidence in yourself
Release the Past and Focus on the Future
Idea/Journal Prompt: Take a moment and identify a barrier or a limitation that you feel stands in your way. Instead of wishing it away or attempting to change it........embrace it. Explore some ways in which it can be used to move you forward or "add value" to your journey. This exercise may be difficult to do because we have deeply embedded the tendency to use our barriers in life as excuses or see them as some sort of evidence to Stop moving forward. In short, we allow our circumstances to define us.
It may be helpful to think back to a time when you experienced a previous barrier that has sense been removed. How did this experience change you? Did you discover new ways of thinking, acting, living? Honestly evaluate who you are today and ask yourself the following question? "Could I have become who I am today without that challenge?".
Now Apply that sort of perspective to the "Mountain" that is blocking your path today. Brainstorm how you can use it, capitalize on it and allow it to shape the path that stretches out before you. It is all in how you look at it!
The 2nd Story Line
As the journey of our lives unfold we often realize the "goal" we once longed to achieve was only a stop in a much more complex and unimaginable future. As we begin our lives our points of reference are limited because of age, inexperience, mindsets and ways of seeing the world that limit who we can become. The arc of life that becomes the story that writes our future is complex. In actuality, it exists in two simultaneous realities, one that we see before us and a second that we come to know as our destiny. It is a process, often challenging and many times wrought with dangers and setbacks. It is what is often refereed to as the Hero's Journey.
As you look at all great literature and blockbuster movies you will find a similar story line. The characters may look different, the scenery may change along with the names, YET THE STORY LINE IS ALWAYS THE SAME. In each story there is a Hero, a Villain (Or Conflict), a seemingly impossible obstacle to overcome and a sudden climatic resolution. This "story line" is nearly identical in all works of fiction and draws not only attention but hundreds of millions of dollars through sales of movies, books and merchandise often spawning entire marketing empires that live a life of their own.
Why is this story line so remarkably alluring to audiences? While it may seem that technology, culture and merchandising machines may create the cultural and social buzz, the answer rests squarely on the fact that
THIS HERO STORY......IS OUR STORY
The arc so brilliantly displayed on movie screens and throughout volumes of great literature is a direct reflection that echos our own lives. There is something inherent in the hearts of men and women that longs for a journey and adventure, to become the Hero or Hereon of the story of their lives. We all want to face the giants of our lives, outsmart the villains and overcome the obstacles that face us to win the prize, capture the kingdom or save the beauty. It is in our nature. We are wired for this story, it is deeply written into the DNA of our consciousness.
A book by Michael Hauge and Christopher Vogler entitled "The Hero's 2 Journeys" describes this process. The book reveals that the success in every great Story Line is due to its universality and the core understanding that each of us has a Hero embed within our very nature. As a screenwriter, Hauge has highly detailed steps in the development of this "Story Line" having roots in similar narratives that have been studied since 1871 by Edward Burnett Tylor.
At it's most basic, according to Hauge and Vogler, the Hero's Journey consists of 2 journey's that unfold simultaneously. The first journey is one that is obvious and in many ways external to the Hero. In literature and movies this is the basic plot (organization of the work). This is the story line we see advertised in the media and portrayed in movie trailers. But as we sit down to watch the story unfold, we discover a much more dynamic and often deeper journey. This is the journey of Transformation (Internal) that the hero undergoes. The internal transformational journey is the REAL STORY, though often initially unnoticed and hidden from the audience. This second journey is the plot twist that keeps you talking after you read the book or watch the movie. It drives ticket sales, spawns sequels and resonates for years to come, sometimes becoming canonized as a classic. But Why? What makes this second journey so important, so unique? Why does this journey eclipse the original plot and become the heart of the story?
The Answer consists of 3 Things: Overcoming Obstacles, Self Discovery and Authenticity
The Beginning of the Hero's "True" Journey (Trans-formative Journey) is the process of encountering and overcoming obstacles. Without the obstacles the journey and the resulting transformation would never have been possible. Just like most of us, even the Hero in the story is hesitant, if not down right resistant to the challenges they encounter. Often the challenges we face are a direct result of who we are at that moment and what we have not yet tapped into within ourselves. What most of us fail to realize is the greatest giant in our life that we must overcome is ourselves. The internal transformation is often the greatest battle at hand and often the one most overlooked. Until we slay the dragon of "self" we will forever be in captivity to a life that is small and without true purpose.
At the core of the Hero's Journey is the process of Discovery. It is a result of overcoming obstacles both external to ones journey and often most importantly internal. What makes a hero a hero is the discovery of things within themselves that were hidden or mistrusted. The process of the journey itself uncovers these important aspects, revealing the "true identity" that laid dormant. These discoveries are in actuality UNCOVERING what was already present. This discovery (uncovering) is at the heart of this Workshop. The journey to discover our purpose is most often a process of uncovering what is already present. It is often dormant, hidden and covered by the accumulation of life's challenges. If not approached properly, life can suffocate the dormant seed of our future keeping hidden our true potential.
Authenticity in life is attractive. When we meet someone that is living what is sometimes referred to as an "Authentic Life" we are drawn to their sense of freedom, unapologetic choices and inherent vision for their future. Many who live their lives in this manner laugh at obstacles often wiping away adversity with a brush of a hand. Life for most of these individuals is no different then our own, filled with challenges, setbacks and loss, yet what sets them apart is their approach to life. A mistake that is often made is thinking that some people are simply wired for "Authenticity" more so than others. That is simply not true. Authenticity is often born out of the Hero's journey. It is a result of the process and a clear reflection of who we have become along the way. Authenticity is the "REAL US".....our true selves, refined by conflict and revealed through hardship. Authenticity is rare simply because few individuals are willing to take this journey of self discovery and transformation. It is a hard path to walk and comes often at great cost......but on the other side stretches out a life and a future few can fully imagine at the onset of their journey.
"What we often assume in life as central, becomes secondary
as the story of our life is written through hardship”
- The Story Team
The framework of the Hero's Journey reveals the importance of the second journey.....our inner journey. As we begin our path in life, we often see our future from an inaccurate and misguided perspective, though often never realizing it. It is in the process of the journey, through movement, through challenges and adversity that our true identity and direction begins to emerge. We discover what is most important to us in the process of discovery itself. As the accumulation of life begins to fall away along the journey, our true nature and clarity about the direction of our lives begins to unfold.
There is no substitution for the journey itself. Direction and clarity only happen as we move forward. The greatest obstacle for most people is uncertainty. We have to push through the questions and our lack of understanding and move into the unknown. To follow a path, one does not need to know where the path leads. The only requirement is to step out confidently onto the path that lay right before us. As the turns and twists of the path unfold, a greater understanding of the destination will emerge.
"Two roads diverged in a wood and I.....I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference.
- Robert Frost
Idea/Journal Prompt: There is no substitution in our journey of purpose for the experience of hardship. It is often a result of the challenges we face that develops the person we are to become. Pause for a moment and make a list of the obstacles and challenges you are facing right now (or ones that you have traveled through already). Identify what you learned (or are learning) in the process of encountering these challenges. Write these answers down.
Now take the things you have learned and apply them to your next step in life. What do they reveal for the next chapter of your life? Sometimes they teach us things or even more importantly they show us vital things to avoid. How does the next chapter of your life depend on where you have been. Do you see a thread of purpose.......no matter how painful that process may be. Nothing happens by chance. Everything we encounter is important to our journey and necessary for the next season of life. The key is to identify these vital elements and translate them into action for the future.
Applying the ideas:
One of the most important ingredients for a successful life of purpose is action. Success is often built on the tiniest of actions
Starting is half the battle....the other half is not stopping
Success is often built by the tiniest of actions
Our mindset is often our greatest limitation
The beauty of Life is often found in the process and not the outcome
The Tension and barriers in our lives act as a catalyst for change and development.
Our greatest journey in life is personal transformation
Transformation comes at the cost of overcoming obstacles and uncovering the untapped and hidden potential within out lives.
A transformed life is an authentic life free from fear and free from the avalanche of self doubt and accumulated chains enslaves our freedom
Idea/Journal Prompt: Think
Now is the time for Action!
"A Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step".
– Lao Tzu
Pick some or all of the following action steps. Add any of your own as well. Once you identify some actions you want to accomplish........BY ALL MEANS GO DO THEM!
Action Step Ideas - Uncovering Your Purpose
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