Monthly Archives: November 2014

When the Spark Survives

This week I had one of the most fulfilling experiences I’ve had for a long time from a mentoring perspective. Most of the time and energy we spend trying to help form some direction in peoples financial freedom goals generally lasts for only a few days, sometimes weeks. I haven’t quite figured that out but that’s the way it is. This week however we had a pleasant change in that trend. We had met with a young family about eight or nine months ago and a couple of time since that gave me hope that it hasn’t all been in vain.

This couple actually made the first move by contacting us simply for our insights on financial freedom and wealth creation. In that first meeting we took our usual approach of giving a condensed version of our story then offered to answer any questions they may have. That first meeting ended like most where a spark of hope and belief was kindled. Occasionally that spark lasts for a short time but then is gone. In this case, the spark survived to a second meeting and then a third. This week during our fourth meeting I could tell that it had grown to a flame that will not likely be quenched. Why is this such a rare thing? Financial Freedom is not a money issue, its a freedom issue and everyone has a slightly different definition of it. But whatever that definition is, deep down each of us desires the freedom to choose our own path through life unhindered by financial restrictions or barriers.

During our meeting, I mentioned that in the range of over 100 different encounters with those who sought our guidance, I could count on one hand the number of sparks that had survived. I asked them why that was the case. I’ll reveal their answer in an upcoming post. Meanwhile, I will ask the readers of this article the same question. Why is it so rare that the spark of hope and action for financial freedom is so easily and quickly discarded to fade and die?

4 Years of No Action

I used to get teased, ridiculed, and scoffed at for my dedication to a daily planner system to try and keep myself organized. It never really bothered me, because I knew how beneficial it had been life in sales, management, business ownership, dream building and goal achievement. My routine at the end of each year was to do goal setting then I archived the years pages for 10 years as a reference. At the end of the year, I reviewed and threw away everything that wasn’t important or noteworthy. Believe it or not, there is almost always at least 3 or 4 things that after 10 years are still noteworthy.

At the end of 2012, I decided to not do the planner thing and try to manage everything through a smart phone. that hasn’t worked too bad, but now at the end of 2014, I’m going back to the planner. There are just WAY TOO MANY demands in life and business for me to keep it all organized without a little help. So today, I went and picked up my 2015 Franklin Covey planner kit. I dug out my 10 year old archived planner and began sorting through it. I uncovered two AMAZING discoveries. One about myself and one about a couple dozen other people. (You may recognize yourself)

First was the daily record of what I was busy with 10 years ago. I was barely surviving (at least financially). It was the year before we started our real estate investing activities and times were tough! It was only a year prior to that, I was working as a grill cook at a local restaurant for $7.50 an hour to make ends meet. The following year, (2004) was when we took the plunge into investing and what a difference that has made. Now we ride herd on 11 businesses, including  40 some properties, comprising over 70 units, 5 partnerships and 3 resorts.

One of the guiding quotes I have kept in the margin of my planner is: “Not following a plan will lead to not achieving a plan” For ten years, I’ve been fairly diligent about creating and following a plan and I believe it’s paid off pretty well.

Here’s my second discovery which doesn’t have quite as happy of an ending. In one of the project sections of my planner was notes that I had kept from about four years ago when we were doing some financial coaching for others. We did this for about 20 individuals or couples. Looking back , almost all of them have not taken any of the steps they identified on their worksheets as important to them.

I’m not quite sure how to feel about that. Either my coaching was ineffective or goal setting and planning for the future just isn’t as big of a priority as I thought it was.

I would love to hear your thoughts!