When starting one’s journey to financial independence, I think it’s very important to start with a dream. This dream should be your own dream, not your family’s dream for you, or your partners dream or the dream that society wants for you. You need to ask yourself:
- What home would I like to live in?
- Would I like to own a car? If so, what kind of car?
- What lifestyle would I like to live?
- What type of work would I like to be doing?
Allowing yourself to dream is, in my opinion, essential as it allows you to picture the type of life you want and once you are able to visualize it you can then begin to research it and then start planning for it.
Giving yourself space to dream
For many people, the most difficult asset to acquire seems to be time. Although our own time costs us nothing, we find ourselves giving our time away. This may be the case for a job, or other people, but when was the last time you gave your time back to yourself?
When you decided that you wanted financial independence, you also decided that you wanted your time back. You are probably sold on the idea of being able to take a holiday for as long as you want, or to do whatever you wanted whenever you wanted. Perhaps the reason you want to achieve financial independence is that you would like to spend more time with your family.
Whatever your motivation is, it is vital that when you decide to take this journey you need to give yourself the space and the time to dream. I would recommend doing this at least once a week, because as you progress on your journey you will find that your dream will change.
From dreams to goals
The reason why dreaming is so important is that it can fuel your goals. So you may start off thinking, “It would be great if I had a …” but then when you decide to make it a goal you then start to say, “I want to achieve …, in order to get it I need to …”.
This immediately means that you are in a more productive space. You are no longer just gazing at a dream but you are actively working towards that dream, which has now become a goal.
When setting a goal it is very important to consider the time it will take to achieve the goal and then set it as either a short term, middle term or long term goal.
- Short term goal – a goal you can and want to achieve within the next 3 to 6 months. An example of this is, if I set the goal that I would like to save up 10k for an investment opportunity.
- Middle term goal – a goal you would like to achieve within the next 1 to 4 years, e.g.. Within the next year I would like to acquire my first investment property
- Long term goal – a goal you would like to achieve within the next 5+ years. e.g., in the next 4 years I would like to have a passive income of 30k.
Having goals is essential to success as this will form the building block of your strategy.
If you are unsure of the difference between a goal and your strategy, a great way to conceptualize a strategy is to think of your goal as the finish line in a race, and the strategy is how to get to that finish line. So if your goal is to save 10k over 5 months then the strategy would be to put away 2k for 5 months.
When thinking of goals and strategy, I often think about role-playing games and the way that quests are laid out. You’re given a story line mission, and the mission is usually divided up into objectives. This makes the quest easier to complete and easier to focus on. So in terms of working towards a goal, think of your middle or long term goal and break them down into smaller goals or objectives. This will make it seem easier to complete your goal.
In this process it is important to ask the following questions:
- What do I want to achieve? (your goal)
- When would I like to achieve this by? (defining the goal)
- Why do I want to achieve this? (motivation)
- How will I achieve this? (strategy)
Developing a strategy to achieve your goals
You’ve visualized your goals, you know what it is you want to achieve and when. The question that remains is how. How do you achieve this goal that you’ve set?
When trying to develop a strategy I would recommend that you start to brain storm different ideas of achieving your goals, and I would recommend you do this more than once.
In the session you would throw every single idea you have around. Do not worry about if it is right for you or any limiting factors. The point of this session is to cast a wide net. There are no right or wrong answers, and no real action will be taken during this session. You then need time to step away and reflect on the ideas, reflect deeply on your preferences, skills and experiences, and before the next session ask yourself which ideas resonate strongest with your identity and your personal brand.
You know yourself best, and before this session I would strongly recommend that you reflect and meditate on the ideas that were generated and what resonates most strongly with you. When you are coming into the second session, you should take those ideas that resonated most strongly with you and create a pro’s & con’s list. You would choose the options with the least cons and most pros.
Chances are that you will find yourself doing something new which pushes you out of you comfort zone. This is normal, in fact this is considered a win, in my opinion.
Find a mentor
What helps you to overcome the initial anxiety and also helps you learn and develop in a safe and less risk manner, is to have a mentor. A mentor is someone who has years of experience and knowledge in the area that you are looking to develop in. Preferably this is someone who has done this before and is winning as a result.
When choosing a mentor, don’t look solely at the person’s credentials, but also look at whether their personality and energy is something that you admire and can relate to. For example, if I were a football player and I played defender I may choose to have Rio Ferdinand as a mentor over Virgil Van Dyk. This isn’t because I feel that Rio Ferdinand is a better defender, but rather it’s because I enjoy Rio’s personality a bit more and I feel I’m able to connect and understand him a bit better than I would Virgil Van Dyk.
Gain new skills & knowledge
I have alluded to this above, but during this journey you will have to learn new skills and acquire new knowledge. This can be very exciting, but it can also be equally daunting as it requires you leaving your comfort zone.
We are fortunate that we live in an age where information is more readily available. This means that you can flood yourself with new information and practice different skills. From personal experience I can say that once you flood yourself with information you will start to figure out which sources of information are of a good quality, and which is most likely a sales pitch with no substance. In order to get to this point though, you’re most likely going to burn your fingers a few times.
In the above post, I’ve spoken about the importance of dreaming in order that you may be able to set goals. This is important because when you change a dream into a goal it ultimately leads to a shift in mind set. I have given a few ideas around how to formulate a solid strategy, and I cannot highlight enough that it is so important that you overcome your fear of leaving your comfort zone, and finding a mentor.
I do hope that this post has been useful. I hope to hear any thoughts and feedback in the comments below.