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?
Once you have thought deeply and without distractions about what truly resonates with you, write down your thoughts, feelings, and desires. Just jot down words that describe your ideal state. Here are some examples. It can be as specific or as narrow as you want:
Pour over coffee
Great physical health
Everyone is different, but the key is to figure out what you truly want in your heart. If you follow the path of someone else, you will never be satisfied. If you follow your own heart, you will be satisfied and fulfilled no matter what stage you are at.
Once you have clearly defined what success means to you, it is time to strategize ways to get there. Do you need to find a better paying job by networking or acquiring more skills and certifications? Do you need to cut costs and downsize your current lifestyle to create more cash flow? Do you need to get a side gig or develop additional income streams through products, books, Uber, or advertising? Do you need to negotiate a remote working arrangement so you can increase the flexibility in your schedule? Can you cut back your hours and compensation to free up time? You will probably have to think outside the traditional box. 9-5 may not be for you.
These are all things to think about. Create a plan or roadmap to get to where you want.
This may be the hardest step of the 3. However, it doesn’t have to be. The key is to create the right habits in your life that will lead you to your ideal state. For example, if you want to be healthy, develop habits to exercise regularly and eat healthily. If you want to reach financial independence, automatically invest X amount of dollars every month. Once you have created those habits, just enjoy the journey. Don’t even worry about the end goal, just focus on doing things one step at a time. It shouldn’t feel like a long, arduous road. In fact, try your best to enjoy the journey and enjoy every moment of it. The more you enjoy each moment of your journey, the easier your goal will come. When you feel anxiety or hopelessness, take a deep breath and relax. There are no real time constraints. The greatest barriers are the mental and emotional barriers that tell you that you can’t accomplish what you want, you do not deserve it, and you are not good enough. The truth is, you do deserve to be successful and achieve the things that will make you happy. If you are truly on the right path for yourself, then by definition, it should be easy for you to enjoy the work that you are putting in.
Here are some examples of people who have achieved their own goals of doing what they love while earning money to fuel that lifestyle.
Making Sense of Cents - Michelle has created a life for herself where she just travels with her husband in an RV while making a six-figure income blogging about personal finance topics.
Financial Samurai - Sam is a former finance professional turned financially independent blogger, author, Uber driver, and landlord. He has an interesting take on many business and personal finance topics.
The Minimalists - Joshua and Ryan have gotten rid of the majority of material items from their lives and quit their high-paying jobs so they could focus on things that matter most to them (writing, contentment, happiness). They also travel the world to speak and give lectures on how to live the minimalist lifestyle. I had the pleasure of attending one of their talks when they visited Dallas.
My Wife Quit Her Job - Steve is an engineering director by day who has created several online businesses to better provide for his family and allow his wife to spend more time with the kids. He has an online course, blog, and online store and makes six figures from each of his revenue streams.
I hope that the above blogs provide you inspiration to figure out the things that make you happy and to go out and pursue them.
Professional Development and Personal Finance Blog