To create financial wealth you need to make more than you spend and invest the difference. This seems like such a simple concept, but it is not that easy to attain. I have been thinking a lot about our stressed out society. March seems to have been the month of computer challenges or put out backs, both signs of stress. Everyone is super busy working hard on not making the house of cards collapse. How ironic that Netflix introduced a series called “House of Cards” this month, but I digress. What if we were to apply the said concept of making more than spending and investing the difference to the way we spend our time?
I believe our time is finite and none of us really knows how much time we have in our able bodies. So, we really can’t make more time, except by living healthy and preventing illness and physical decline as much as possible. In a sense we’d be adding time to our time bank by eating well, exercising and maintaining our bodies at peak performance.
In addition, we need to spend time on what matters most and what ensures our survival. We do this by engaging in meaningful work. Notice: I am saying meaningful work, rather than a job – there is a difference. Meaningful work can be helping your children with their homework, helping your spouse solve a problem or volunteering for a good cause. With the time left over, we can invest in ourselves by learning new skills, enjoying the company of friends, replenishing our soul in nature etc.
My intention is to add to my piggy bank of time by actively living healthy, subtracting time engaged in what’s needed for my sustainability and enjoying life to the fullest with the rest.
How does this concept sit with you?
On which end of the equation do you need to make adjustments? What if the difference between time you have available and the time you spend is 0? Then it’s time to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I had an epiphany: “Life Coaches are unnecessary,” stated Dr. Yong Zhao in his address to the Santa Cruz education community at Cabrillo College, California. When he said it, everyone laughed, and so did I. Dr. Zhao was making a distinction between what we need to survive, such as food, water, and shelter, and what we really don’t need, such as iphones and coaches, along with divorce attorneys, accountants and a slew of other professionals.
He made a compelling case for the value of the US educational system, that despite having produced mediocre student math scores in comparison to the Asian scores for years, the US still outperforms all other countries in producing entrepreneurs. He attributed this strength to higher creativity and especially higher confidence in students. He went on to say that we are in danger of losing that entrepreneurial spirit when we strive to compete with Chinese “sausage making machines,” producing employees for manufacturing jobs that are on the decline.
What is needed in today’s work environment more than ever are entrepreneurial qualities to solve the problems we are facing in our families, communities, organizations and society. All of us need to be entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs for non-profit causes, policy entrepreneurs for government agencies, intrapreneurs within organizations or business entrepreneurs running our own companies.
How do we educate our kids to be entrepreneurial? By starting with the strengths of the child rather than by imposing a certain curriculum onto our children. Sure all kids need to have a foundational knowledge to function in society and we can debate what that foundation is. But students need personal education, fostering their natural talents and gifts. And we need teachers who are willing to not be the expert at any subject other than uncovering those gifts through inquiry. And here we close the loop: We need all teachers to be coaching their students. Do they turn into life coaches in the process?
Everyone understands that a great football coach is needed to get to the Superbowl. Teachers need coaching skills to uncover the strengths of the child. The good teachers already have these skills. We need educational environments that allow teachers to explore with their students. Maybe we won’t need lifecoaches or executive coaches in the future, although I doubt it. However, I am convinced all of us need the skills coaches embody, such as inquiry, focus on the student, and value- based goal setting to teach, invent, discover and sell our way to a happy, healthy and useful life.
What can you contribute toward this journey to entrepreneurship of our future generations?
Have you ever sat down and tried to write something but the page remained empty? This phenomenon is commonly referred to as writer’s block. I have had a severe case of writer’s block this month. I haven’t written any blog posts, no linked-in updates or Facebook posts. My mind went on strike. That’s not to say that my mind was empty, on the contrary, I have been thinking about lots of things – my stand on gun control, President Obama’s call to action, creating shared value, sustainability, purpose, having an empty nest and what to focus on for the next year, the next decade. And yet, I couldn’t write any of it down.
I have been in hibernation mode ever since the holidays. Not that I haven’t been productive, in fact I have been very productive, completing and delivering my taxes to my accountant, clearing last year’s files, enrolling new clients in addition to all the other activities that come with running a business, serving on a board, providing for teenagers, pets and homes etc. No, I have not been a couch potato. I have, however, taken a big step back.
Rather than rushing in to continue as I finished the last year, I am reflecting on my way of doing things, my processes, my purpose, my values. Unsettling as it may be, it left me content. I haven’t felt rushed or rushing others, have contemplated and assessed. In short, I have taken inventory. Isn’t that what businesses do once a year? Taking stock of the resources you have at your disposal, making a note of the constraints that you believe you have to live within and question them?
I have taken inventory ever since I wrote my Manifesto (see above). Writing my Manifesto was a real awakening for me. Every word is carefully chosen. Each sentence crafted with care. Every period placed with intention. Reading my Manifesto every day has helped me focus on what matters most, reduce waste and create with purpose, not just for the sake of creation. I can’t say I have arrived at the other bank of the river yet, but in the meantime, I am going with the flow while keeping my eyes firmly on the goal.
Have you taken inventory lately?
What does your manifesto look like?
PS. Writing about not writing was the only way to be authentic. Going with the flow always works for me.
Instead of writing New Year’s Resolutions, I decided to write a Manifesto, helping me focus on what matters most this year. It has been a powerful process and I can only encourage you to write one of your own. Here is what I came up with:
Time is of the essence. Time is limited and plentiful all the same. What am I waiting for? For someone else to act? It’s time for me to connect the dots for maximum impact.
Sustainably. Responsibly. Boldly.
Uncovering the essence is like a complex puzzle.
Of people. Of communities. Of organizations.
We have a mountain of challenges to address, so engaging with passionate people who want to ascend to make a difference might as well be fun!
Brian Johnson, author of the Philosopher’s Notes is putting out short little videos about optimal living. His video on Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation spoke to me. What drives you every day? Intrinsic or Extrinsic? I know that I feel much better when driven by internal motivation of meaningful relationships, personal growth, and community contributions.
Only a few days ago, I was admiring the beauty of New York City. I was struck by buzzing Lower Manhattan with its sea of humanity coming and going, noticing the beauty of the Brooklyn Bridge, inspired by the shoreline of New Jersey across the way. I got to stroll through the West Village and into Chelsea and enjoyed the Fall weather. I marveled at the Fall colors driving through the New Jersey countryside. Today all looks different. Today is the day after Storm Sandy devastated New Jersey and put 8 million people out of power. My heart goes out to all who have been affected by Storm Sandy! Everything changed! The only constant is change, so we shouldn’t be too surprised when change happens. As a matter of fact we need to anticipate change. What counts now is the response to change. How do officials respond, especially the heroic first responders. And almost more importantly, how does every individual respond. We tend to see the best of people come out after a disaster. Nonetheless, disasters leave scars and after the initial adrenaline wears off, there is still more clean up to do. My hope for all affected is a collaborative effort to restore, reuse and repurpose. Even if you are not directly affected, how will you change your ways as you are observing the images from the East Coast?
Yesterday, I met my friend and colleague, Nancy Colasurdo, in the meat packing district of New York City for lunch. Little did I know this would be an exploration in re-purposing. The meat packing district, as the name suggests, was formerly used for handling and packing meet. Now it is a trendy area filled with boutiques and restaurants and I witnessed not one but 5 photo/film shoots. I felt as if I was on a movie set, except it was for real. In the restaurant on the way to the unisex bathroom, a novelty where I come from, I discovered a whole floor tiled with real pennies. Nothing better than walking on money. The area underneath the old High Line rail track is now used as a charming backdrop for a Biergarten. Ingenious! Climbing up the stairs we explored the re-purposed train tracks with native grasses and trees, creative walkways and benches flanked by New York City Scapes and art, from street art to audio art. What a delightful way to give these old tracks a new life, serving the community. To top it all off, we strolled through the old Nabisco factory, now known as the Chelsea Market. Re-purposing at its finest!
Several times a year, I attend conferences and trainings for my own development. No boss tells me where to go, since I am an entrepreneur, so I get to choose freely. Whenever I attend a conference or training, I have 5 intentions in mind:
I want to be inspired by the presenters, the attendees, the environment. I choose places, where I want to go, conference subjects that are interesting to me and people that are interested in having an impact.
I want to learn something new that is useful to me. Attending the Infusionsoft Success Tour in San Francisco, proved highly useful, since I learned about specific tools and useful tidbits. Did you know that the average user will spend a mere 8 seconds on a landing page? It sparked thoughts as to how to change my website home page.
Who am I attracted to speaking with at a conference? I am conscious of welcoming strangers, since I am a stranger myself. I picture lots of magnets in a room. Some pull me in and others push me away.
When talking with people, I listen for who I can connect them to. What connection might I be able to offer them that they would find useful?
5) Follow up
Returning home, I enter information about people I connected with in my database and connect with everyone I met. I ask permission to stay in touch and do do on a regular basis.
What is your blueprint to conference success?
Remember the American Express commercial “Don’t leave home without it!”? Well, I did leave home without it on yesterday’s trip to go kayaking. Specifically, I left my wallet and my purse thinking, I wouldn’t need either in the wilderness. I didn’t while we were on water, but what I had not anticipated, was that our road coming back would be closed indefinitely due to a wildfire that had jumped the road. What now? In the mountains the road closure meant a 4-hour detour over a mountain pass! We needed money to buy food for us and the dog, water, and fuel. Luckily, the friend driving, did bring credit cards and money. It happened to be his birthday – happy birthday to him! So off we went on an unscheduled road trip over Ebbett’s Pass, allowing us to see beautiful countryside we had never, and would have never, seen. The evening light cast the mountains in a particularly beautiful hue. We ended up eating in a hole-in-the wall kind of place in the middle of nowhere, totally fun and with good food. The music was playing and we had a great time. What’s the moral of the story?
Don’t leave home without it!
Celebrate when you can…
And enjoy the moment…it might surprise you.