So, I recently turned 30 and have had some time to reflect on the lessons I’ve learned over the years. I was inspired to write this post after reading lessons from another blogger who also recently turned 30. It seemed like not too long ago, I was just a young college student starting off life on my own. Although many of these lessons may not be financial or career in nature, I feel that they ultimately will help people in those areas. Here are my lessons in no particular order. These are the same lessons I wish I could teach my 20-year-old self.
Have you ever had a rough day at work which ultimately ended up ruining your evening and preventing you from sleeping at night? Even worse, you wake up the next morning feeling unrefreshed which leads to another bad day? Well, I’m sure it happens quite often for a lot of people. It’s definitely happened to me before. Unfortunately, with our busy schedules, it is inevitable that we face times of stress and frustration. The further we push in our careers, the more times this will happen. A large part of our journeys to build our careers is to face these situations head on and figure out ways to get by them. If we want to succeed, it is necessary to face these challenges and come out stronger, wiser, and smarter.
Most of us have goals in life and want to do better for ourselves and for our families. If we’re lucky, we have 80 years on this planet. It is our own responsibility to make the most of the circumstances that we were given. Unfortunately, many people don’t know how to set goals, don’t know how to execute on them, or aren’t able to follow through with them. From my experience, I have found several guidelines I follow to achieve my own goals. Here they are.
When I first started learning project management, I learned the three basic concepts (known as the triple constraints) of scope, schedule, and cost. All projects have a start and an end and must be delivered on an agreed upon scope, on schedule, and within costs. Having these constraints allowed me to focus on all the tasks that must be done in order to complete a project on time. If more tasks became a part of the project, I then evaluated whether or not those tasks are a part of the agreed upon scope. If not, I did not have to worry about them since they don’t contribute to the end goal. See the diagram below.
Are you in the market for a new home, a new car, or a new job? Would you like to get the best value for your money or the best salary for your experience? Well, I recently guest posted on a very popular personal finance and travel blog called Making Sense of Cents. In my post, I outlined some of my top negotiating tips that I have learned from negotiating products and services with large vendors in my career. I actually used those tips to negotiate the successful and quick purchase of my condo. Perhaps you can use some of the advice and general principles I have provided when negotiating your next big purchase. You can find the article here.
Recently, I watched a Youtube video from an entrepreneur named Gary Vaynerchuk. I have been a fan of his for a while and have been truly inspired by his thinking, his drive, and his accomplishments. Born in the Soviet Union, he and his family moved to the US when he was a young boy. He grew his father’s liquor store business from $3 million in annual sales to $50 million by taking the business online and creating Youtube content around wine to aggressively grow sales. Later, he started his own company, Vaynermedia, a social media brand consulting agency. He produces a lot of great Youtube content, speaks at various events, and actively engages people with social media.
Previously, I had written a post that suggested we all focus on building our skills. However, once we have acquired wider and deeper skill sets, how do we translate that into more money? Mastering a skill set is great, but it won’t help us earn more money if we don’t know what to do with those newly acquired skills. I mentioned that the money will come in response to the skills we developed. However, how exactly does that happen? I will expand on that statement. The money will come in response to the contributions we are able to delivery due to those skills that we have developed.
Recently, I read the Schroder’s Global Investor Study titled “Are millennial investors facing a perfect storm?” which analyzed the expectations of investors, and in particular, millennial investors. I thought that some of the millennials’ expectations were extremely unrealistic and out of touch with reality. Unfortunately, having the wrong expectations when it comes to your investment returns and time horizons can seriously hurt you down the line. Although you won’t feel the effects until later in life, and often when it is too late, it is important to start planning correctly now since the impact of the decisions you make now will be magnified in the future.
The first thing you need to do is to define what success means to you. This step is the most important. Success to your parents, teachers, and other people may be totally different than success to you. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and think deeply about the things that truly matter to you. Spend a few days thinking about this if necessary, since it will determine your path from this day on. Is it traveling to new places, experiencing new cultures, eating amazing food, cultivating genuine relationships, performing meaningful work, competing in your favorite sport, creating beautiful artwork or building a business from scratch?
We grow up in a world where people tell us we should be doing this, should be doing that, or we should not be doing something. Our parents, our families, our teachers, and other people that we are close to want us to live wonderful, productive lives. Many parents want their children to be doctors, lawyers, engineers, or any other high-status, well-paying profession so that they can be financially secure and well-respected. Their thinking is that these professions will be a guaranteed path to job security and wealth. Even those these professions are highly regarded, that doesn’t mean they are the right path for YOU.
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