“Life is too short to live small.” – Anonymous
Accountability is a powerful thing. Earlier this year I mentioned that I’d decided to join a goal group in order to keep myself accountable for working toward the big goals I’ve set for myself to achieve by the end of 2014. When our group met this week, the leader challenged us to define what it meant to live an “outstanding life”. His point was that if we were creating a life for ourselves, why would we create a life that was anything less than outstanding? It got me thinking about what my definition of outstanding would be and the extent to which my financial goals contribute to my achieving that for myself.
What does Outstanding Life mean?
Any goal has to be clearly defined in order to be achievable; if you don’t define it, you have no concrete way of knowing when you have achieved it. Taking the time to define your own outstanding life makes you think about what is truly important to you and what it is in life that you really need in order to feel happy and successful. When I think about living an outstanding life, what springs to mind is a lifestyle that gives me the freedom to travel, to spend time with family and to earn a living doing the things I love most; writing, speaking and teaching. It’s a life that is rich with learning, financial abundance, philanthropy, strong spiritual growth and meaningful relationships. It is a life with minimal “stuff”, very little drama and conflict and one which is completely empty of “energy vampires” – this last one might have some people rolling their eyes but if I’m creating an outstanding life, why not?!
Visualize Your Goals
Visualization is a powerful tool in helping you achieve your goals because, when it comes to images, the human brain can’t distinguish between what is real and what isn’t. Visualizing your goals not only makes them seem real to your brain, it also helps you attach emotions to the accomplishment of your goal which become your motivators when things get tough. If you can create a clear picture in your mind of what is it you are working towards and spend time every day focusing on that picture and how it feels to be at that point you will be amazed at how things align in order to make your goal a reality. When I picture my outstanding life, I can see a small home (rented not owned) with a deck that overlooks trees and water and my beautiful Tesla Model S in the driveway. I can see myself on stage speaking to large numbers of people and I can picture myself travelling for work, pleasure and to volunteer with different projects. There is lots of time for family and I can sense that, in every scene, there is someone sharing the adventure with me who makes me incredibly happy.
The Rule of Five
It’s not enough to have a clearly defined goal that you can picture so easily that it already feels like reality. Once you have your goal defined you have to take action to bring your goal into reality. Jack Canfield talks about how, when he and Mark Victor Hansen first published their first “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book they followed the Rule of Five. Every day they would do five things to promote their book and bring them closer to their goal of having a #1 bestseller. They sent books to celebrities, did interviews, wrote articles and all manner of other things to get their book noticed and it worked. It’s a simple theory but extremely effective and it’s something that I’m adopting as a strategy to help me reach my goals. Every day, I ask myself “what can I do today to bring me closer to my goals?” and at the end of the day I ask myself “what did I do today to bring me closer to my goals” It’s hard at first but once this becomes an ingrained habit, I’m pretty sure I’ll be unstoppable!!
For me, the idea of creating an outstanding life is closely tied to my financial goals. My income and my lifestyle dictate my level of financial abundance and that financial abundance impacts my ability to achieve my goals. Creating an outstanding life is a process and there’s an excitement and reward attached to it that might not be quite as high if I were focused purely on accumulating the dollars necessary to fund it. Focusing on the idea and act of creation allows you to enjoy that process and to find joy in the journey not just the destination.
This week why not take some time to think about what an “outstanding life” means to you and to take stock of whether what you do day by day is contributing to getting you where you deserve and desire to be. If you’d like to share your definitions or your progress, I’d love to hear them.