Defining your outstanding life
“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
A 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, but it also helps you attach emotions to the accomplishment of your goal which becomes 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 traveling for work, pleasure, and volunteering 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 are 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.
MY PERSONAL GOALS ARE ATTACHED TO MONEY. WHAT EXCITES ME IS MONEY. MAKING IT, SAVING IT, AND SPENDING IT WISELY OR WHAT I DEEM TO BE WISLEY. I HAVE A COMPANY PENSION WHICH I WILL TAP INTO IN ABOUT 7 YEARS. I WILL ALSO HAVE CPP, OAS AND WHAT EVER STOCK AND RRSP MONIES I WILL HAVE AT THAT TIME TO LIVE ON. MY WIFE WILL ALSO HAVE THE SAME AS ME ALBEIT 50% LESS. WE HAD GOALS AND DREAMS BUT WERE SOMEWHAT DISILLUSIONED BY THE COST OF OWNING, MAINTENANCE AND TRAVEL TO GET THERE AND BACK. IT DAWNED ON ME LATER, I DON’T HAVE TO OWN ANYTHING. I CAN GO ON A CRUISE SHIP FOR CHEAP OR STAY AT A HOLIDAY INN FOR CHEAP AND STILL HAVE A GREAT TIME WITH MY WIFE, CHILDREN OR FRIENDS PRESENT AND FUTURE. I WILL HAVE PLENTY OF MONEY LEFT OVER TO LIVE A PROSPEROUS ALBEIT NOT EXTRAVAGANT LIFESTYLE UNTIL DEATH DO US PART. IT IS OBVIOUSLY NOT EVERYONES DREAM IS TO SPEND TIME AT A HOLIDAY INN BUT I CAN DO IT ANYWHERE, ANYTIME AT MY LEISURE. I CAN TRAVEL FROM THAT PARTICULAR DESTINATION TO WHERE EVER I WANT. I CAN DO IT MOST OF THE WINTER TIME AND GO BACK TO MY HOME, (WHICH I MIGHT ADD, I OWN) IN THE SUMMER. THAT TO ME IS AN OUTSTANDING LIFE AND I AM RICH IN IT.