Personal Finance

Are you taking charge of your finances?

“You haven’t failed until you stop trying.” – Jon Gordon

Taking charge of a situation puts you in the most powerful position; it puts you in control. Being in control means that, not only do you get to determine the direction you’re moving in, you also get to chart the course, build the team and manage the progress towards the goal. It’s a powerful position but, for many people, that’s a deterrent rather than an incentive to take the role on. Being a passenger is much easier than being the driver but the rewards of stepping up to the plate and taking control are infinitely greater. This week I needed an energy boost and so I re-read “The Energy Bus” by Jon Gordon. Although the 10 rules laid out in the book aren’t technically related to managing money, I believe they can just as easily be applied to building financial success as they can to building a positive life. Here are the first five rules; I’ll share the other five in next week’s post:

You’re the driver of the bus.

Simply put, you’re in control of your life and you’re also in control of your financial future. Whether it’s because of fear, apathy or limiting beliefs, too many people are content to sit on their bus, lamenting the fact that it’s not moving as fast as they’d like or in the direction they want while completely ignoring the fact that they’re sitting in the driver’s seat, with a full tank of gas and the keys in the ignition. The only person that should be driving you towards your goals is you; in fact, the only person who can drive you to your goals is you. Whether we like it or not, we are each in control of our own actions and our own future. If you want to get ahead, you have to drive yourself there. A chauffeur-driven bus is not an option!

Desire, vision, and focus move your bus in the right direction

If you’ve read my posts for Retire Happy before you’ll know that I’m a huge believer in the power of goal setting. You can’t get anywhere you want to go without a S.M.A.R.T. goal, a clear vision of what achieving it will look and feel like and a keen understanding of what’s motivating you to achieve it.

Related article: Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals

If you’ve ever used a GPS to get somewhere you’ll know that every journey starts with keying in your destination and the GPS never loses sight of that goal during the journey. Any time you get off track, it guides you back to the path. Giving up on your goal isn’t part of the GPS’s programming. It shouldn’t be part of yours either.

Fuel your ride with positive energy

My mandate for this year is to be “relentlessly positive”, it’s not always easy but it’s a much happier way to live each day. No matter how frustrating your day, finding something to feel good about will lift your energy levels. Your journey to financial success won’t always be sunshine and easy roads; there will be challenges and obstacles along the way.

Related article: The roadmap to financial freedom

How you deal with those is not only directly related to the speed at which you’ll achieve your goals but also to how much you’ll enjoy the journey. The other benefit of approaching your journey with positive energy is that you’ll attract other positive people to you which will help lift your energy levels even higher.

Invite people on your bus and share your vision for the road ahead

Humans weren’t designed to thrive in isolation. Regardless of whether we sit closer to the introvert or extrovert end of the spectrum, our strengths and talents are valuable in teams and for community and each of us thrives more easily in an environment where we are seen and appreciated for who we are and what we’re working to achieve. Even though each one of us charts our own path, we don’t have to navigate it alone.

Related article: Do you have a money mentor?

Surrounding ourselves with people who not only understand and support our goals but who are excited to share in the journey and the success amplifies our efforts, makes the obstacles seem smaller and the detours less distressing. Inviting money mentors and a tribe of people who support your financial goals on the bus is critical to success; it’s important to only fill your bus with positive people.

Don’t waste energy on those who don’t get on your bus

Even though we have complete control over our own lives, we don’t have any control over other people’s journeys or choices. The hard fact is, not everyone you invite on to your wealth-building bus tour will want to get on board. It can be tough not to take their decision personally and to resist the temptation to beg, persuade, cajole, manipulate or threaten them into joining you but the cold reality is, if they don’t want to get on, you’re better off leaving them behind. Their negative feelings about being on your journey will only slow you down. This can be hard to accept when the people we’re moving away from are people we truly care about but not all friendships and relationships last a lifetime; sometimes they’re only for a season or a reason. As Jim Rohn pointed out, we are the sum of the five people we spend the most time with, so it’s important to focus our energy on spending time with the people who are excited about where we’re going and not those who would rather we stay where we are.

Related article: The sum of five people

When it comes to money, the only way to inspire a change in entrenched habits and attitudes is through conversation and action. Too many money conversations focus on a lack of money, an abundance of debt and outright apathy when it comes to our ability to impact and change our situation. This willingness to accept the status quo, to comfort ourselves with the notion that everyone else is in the same boat or the belief that it’s too hard to change things needs to change. We need more people charting the journey for their own wealth-building tour and stepping up to drive their own bus.

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