This article can apply to everyone, but me being at the age of nearly 60, I think it’s vitally important for those in their 30’s and 40’s. (again, everyone fits somewhere in this regardless of age) It has to do with “Starting”, but also with “Adjusting”.
I was awake at 4am this morning and felt there was no reason to try to fall back to sleep so I made a pot of coffee and headed out to the office. My “warm weather” office is a desk behind the counter of a fishing tackle store at one of our resorts. It’s where I work on our businesses, do marketing, and even sell fishing tackle from time to time. On my way into the shop I happened to grab up a stack of notebooks along with other things from my “cold weather” office inside the house where I spend most of the winter working. Among my stack, was a notebook I had entitled “Every Day Counts”. I started this book of notes, or journal, during one of my end of the year planning/reflection sessions. The date was December 7, 2008. The only reason that date is significant is that it was a little over eleven years ago now indicating the time that has passed since then. Part of my annual dreaming, planning, strategizing and goal setting usually happens in late December when I have time to look back on the previous year and see what all needs to be adjusted and planned forward. In 2008, I was somewhat frustrated with a sort of stalemate I found our businesses in. They were growing but I couldn’t put my finger on exactly to what end. I know that sounds strange, but I had never really thought through what I was hoping life would look like for us. The fact is though, when starting out, a lot of the motivation revolves around simply not being broke all the time and that’s usually more than enough to start on a journey of business and wealth building or asset accumulation (Assets being defined as “income producing” assets). In December 2008, I decided to write my thoughts in a journal for some reason. To me, writing thoughts helps me better digest what I’m thinking. Not much got resolved that day, other than I decided I needed to define what I wanted our life to look like a little better. I knew that working all the time was not what I wanted it to look like. My three basic categories were reduced down to Build our business, enjoy life doing the things we like (travel mostly) and make a noticeable contribution in the lives of others. With all of that said, Here’s what happened and it’s relevant to anyone’s life that hopes and dreams for more out of life.
Two of the components of this story has to do with Building our business and creating the life we wanted to see for ourselves. Ironically, I had always viewed them as pretty much the same. What I came to realize that day is the dream is one thing and the vehicle to get there is another. I’ll get back to that. One thought that crossed my mind that day was the idea of a “Family Retreat” since our kids were moved away from home and finding ways to gather them back as often as possible had become very important to me. The idea of a family retreat, I thought, could possibly be a way to do that. The idea stuck with me over the following year but I committed very little energy to trying to figure it out.
The following year at the end of 2009, as I reviewed my journal, the family retreat idea got some fresh energy. I had a year to casually think about it and now, it felt like even a better idea. I began to think about what all it could provide for us as a family, not to mention what it would do for Shelley and I as a private regular get-away. We decided that the idea was a good one and gave ourselves a five year goal to define it and attain it. The goal was good, but the effects of setting a goal did something more important. From that day, I began to browse real estate sites and magazines in my spare time simply trying to get a picture in my mind of what I was looking for. One of the things we would routinely do would be to sit down in a restaurant and while waiting for our meal, we would browse the local real estate listings magazines usually found in a stand by the door of the restaurant. Another year went by.
One evening just before we departed for a cruise in late 2010, I stumbled across a listing for a four cabin resort near one of the nearby lakes. It had been foreclosed and needed a lot of work……. BUT, the price was actually affordable taking into account all the work it needed. Working on houses was what we did, so it looked like something that would fit our plan. It just happened to be four years earlier than we had planned. We didn’t have time to schedule a look before the cruise but it was still available when we returned. We scheduled a showing of it, made an offer and in February of 2011, took possession. We planned to spend the Spring and Summer working on it and then return to normal life. What happened instead was remarkable.
By September that year, we were still living on site, returning home (about 30 miles away) only on occasion to take care of business, mowing, getting the mail, etc. We decided to rent out one of the cabins when we began receiving calls that the old cabins were looking gorgeous now and would we consider renting any of them to guests. A neighboring house also came available for purchase and we made arrangement to buy that one as well (three bedroom cabin). Our Family Retreat was steamrolling it’s way into our lives and it all happened for a reason. That reason was that it was a thought, then a dream, then the dream began to come to life as we browsed real estate listings. Our goal was five years, our browsing produced something in just over a year that enabled us to move the dream forward by almost four years. But the most notable part of this still hadn’t developed…….
In 2012 we purchased the second resort property and essentially tripled our total size and added a nice pool. That wasn’t the significant event though. In 2013, while reflecting through my journal thoughts again, one of the notes I made was “Now that we have our feet wet on this as a business, It would be nice to figure out how to not only have the “Family Retreat”, but how to make the whole lifestyle a permanent part of our lives, even to the extent of providing our housing.”
Without going into all of the details of how our business/lifestyle developed or evolved, here’s what happened. As the thought process began to become reality, one thing lead to another, we never stopped looking at new possibilities never stopped being afraid to grow with them. The result of that was that in the original five years of our “Family Retreat” plan, we grew to own four resort properties and was completely immersed in the leisure, resort, outdoor, camp and lake lifestyle. The second HUGE benefit that we never really planned on is perhaps the icing on the cake.
Back in December, 2008, I had determined that the two paths we needed to follow was 1) Income producing, and 2) leisure, family retreat lifestyle. What we got was both of them working together. Meaning, not only is the work we do producing the income needed to live the life, living the life itself is producing the necessary income to support that lifestyle. Our family retreat dream became a family retreat business that became a family retreat lifestyle. Along the way, we opened up our resorts to our nieces and nephews with a opportunity for them to spend a week at the resorts each year for no charge. Last year we welcomed our first grandson into the tribe and since then we are now up to two little boys that call us Grandpa and Grandma. The Family retreat doesn’t mean much to them yet other than it’s a place they go with two people that love them dearly and there’s fishing, boating and swimming and more fun than they can imagine.
So here’s my point.
We know the life we have is our dream and not anyone else’s. But Everyone has some life dream that they desire and each dream is as individual as there is the number of people on the planet. Getting and defining the dream is the first and most critical step. The second, and just about as important step, is start to believe in it enough that you are willing to research, plan, build goals and act as if “Every Day Counts”. Because it DOES!
If you are in your 30’s or 40’s…….. you need to get started. Plan on it taking a while, because it will. Big dreams take more time than small ones do. But trust me…….
It’s Worth It!
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