It’s a perception that’s become all-pervasive. The perception is you’re not an okay person in America if you don’t have certain possessions. You’re doomed to unhappiness if you don’t have the right car, the right cell phone, the newest iPad or the coolest skinny jeans – oh, and the body to go with them.
Studies for eons now say over and over true happiness isn’t linked to money. True happiness isn’t linked to possessions. True happiness is linked to making a decision to be happy and creating a life for yourself that supports that happiness.
Even if it’s not easy – we still have a better opportunity to create the life we truly want here in the US than pretty much anywhere else. What makes it difficult is our expectations. If you have a belief that to be happy or to be acceptable to your families and friends you gotta have all these “things and stuff” – it dangles that creative, authentic, happy life further and further out in front of you like a carrot. Yet we can all enjoy life soooooo much more when we connect with what we really care about, what truly matters and go after that.
If you’re paying a big mortgage and the loan on a fancy-schmancy car or SUV, chances are you’re shelling out a couple thousand smackers a month just to maintain that status. You haven’t even turned the lights on yet or paid for insurance. Acquiring “things and stuff” to fill that house can be another huge drain that keeps you apart from living a life of meaning and purpose. Instead of living a life of doing what you’re passionate it’s a life of keeping up with the payments for all your “things and stuff.” The American dream of wealth can turn into a nightmare of chasing dollars to keep up.
“Things and stuff” don’t have meaning. They’re just “things and stuff.” They don’t have the ability to love you or give you anything in return. The marketing gurus in Madison Avenue ad agencies give them a meaning of status or okayness – and hope you buy into their notion of what creates happiness. Because advertising is everywhere we turn – we see it over and over. Subtly, imperceptibly we buy into it and gradually convince ourselves it’s our idea in the first place – not the advertising.
Last weekend I cleaned out my closet. I threw away two pairs of shoes, got rid of a sweater and a few other items. Not too bad. I know I have room for another pair of shoes now. *wink* One thing I learned from husband Ernie (he’s originally from India) is don’t buy something new unless you’re willing to get rid of something old. As a result, you must make a decision about what you’ll get rid of – which can be a bigger choice then what you’ll buy and add to your current stash of “things and stuff.”
Some people say, “Well, I’ll just make more money so I can afford more stuff.” Then you’re looking for faster and faster ways to create dollars rather than happiness so you can afford more stuff. Which at first gives people the illusion of thinking you’re “happy” (at least in the moment) rather than figuring out what truly makes you happy and do that instead.
I’ll never forget a woman I mentored a few years ago who said, “I want to make so much money that I can spend whatever I want and my husband won’t bug me about it.”
I replied, “What you’re really saying is you want an excuse to be financially irresponsible.” She was stunned I would go there, but I felt she needed to get her head out of the sand . There’s a certain amount of money that generally goes with certain jobs or businesses. Unless you do something drastically different, well, that’s the amount of money you have coming in. (Please click here now if you want to change you income picture with your current business.)
If you can buck the tide of so many businesses and people who say, “You need to buy more things and stuff to create a certain image,” there are amazing things you can do with the money left over. Start the business or charitable organization you’ve always wanted. Travel more. Save for your child’s education – or go back to school yourself. Learn to paint, play tennis or take up Tai Chi. Or, spend that $2,000 (plus airfare) for a week at that yoga retreat.
Think carefully about your purchases. Are they getting you closer to what you want to create in your life? Or, are they creating an excuse or a diversion for you so it becomes impossible to take substantial steps toward your dream? Step away from the expectations of creating an image that’s not your authentic self, anyway. Consider who you truly want to be and create THAT image and reality instead.
If you’re like me chances are you have experience with the idea of “do what you love and the money will follow.” Or, simply the idea of endeavoring to make money doing what you’re passionate about. It’s always gratifying and fulfilling to truly do what you love. But the “money will follow” part? Sounds great on paper – but it doesn’t always turn out that way.
Along the way you positively work your tail off because you want to reach the point where the money IS coming in the way you’d like it to come in. As a result you pass up so many other opportunities because you’re staying focused on doing “what you love” – and setting the intention for the money to follow. But sometimes you miss out on other things you might fall in love with – if you had the time and resources to give them a fair shot.
And, if you have a home-based business chances are it’s a service oriented business. That means you work countless hours in service to your customers. Probably more hours on marketing, operations and all the other aspects of your business.
The idea of creating a business that’s as automated as possible so I (or you) can run off and play was not a comfortable one for me to hear at first. After all, I love the satisfaction of seeing the lights come on for my clients when they get some important idea or concept. For me, it’s always been about that one-on-one contact, even if that contact is on Skype.
Yet, Michael Gerber, author of “The E-Myth” series of books, for a generation now has said we need to create systems in our businesses so we can walk away, or, create an exit strategy to sell the business at some future point in time.
Doing what I love has been about business for so long – thinking about doing things just for fun (other than temporarily) feels odd. Shouldn’t I be working?
Sure, I can take off a weekend or go on vacation for a week (might bring my laptop and do some relaxed writing) but taking several months at a pop without more than about 5-10 hours of work per week? It sounds great – but I’m still wrapping my brain around the idea.
Automation and the Internet makes it possible – but isn’t it sorta going against our notion of “The American Dream?”
Every day I try to take at least one step – maybe two – towards having a life where I get to wake up and say, “What would be fun today?” Currently, I have more freedom than the average person. I have no boss. I have no time clock to punch. Some might say my mentoring clients are my boss – but I don’t feel that way. Each is only buying a few hours a month of my time – so there’s tremendous freedom.
Today I have a client meeting at noon – and then the rest of the afternoon and evening stretches out ahead of me. I have lots of things on my list I want to get accomplished – but I don’t have anything or anyone breathing down my neck that if I don’t get it done – I’m toast. The only part that’s not working is that I’m still trading hours for dollars.
Right now I’m creating a new website – well, I’m not building it – but I have a web designer who is. I hope to have it launched in the next month. The purpose is to provide a home for network marketers and people in direct selling – in all companies. It’s also to help people looking for a business opportunity – to go and make a choice of something that’ll work with who they are. Additionally, I want to provide plenty of educational opportunities to help MLMers achieve greater success. Lots of other great bells and whistles, too.
Right now, however, I’m in the original creation phase. It means working with web designers and graphic designers. (Let me know if you need one – I got awesome support here.) It means buying stuff, writing copy and putting together a strategy to get the word out once it’s ready and the bugs are worked out. Then, the big launch. By the way, if you have a big list (email, facebook, twitter) let me know. I’m starting to look for strategic partners.
Right now, I’m moving a lot of energy. Creating momentum. I’m probably weeks away from launch, and, months away from cash flow. I have no clue if this will work or not. I have a very strong, positive feeling about it. All the signals seem positive. But that’s all. Just a feeling. And, successful entrepreneurs often put a lot of resources into play – time and money – as I have – just based on a feeling or a hunch.
I want this idea to create my “Four Hour Work Week” based on the book by Timothy Ferriss. It’s an incredibly helpful read. Really helps to tweak your thinking in a different way. I recommend it.
If you’ve created residual income – I mean the real thing – you’re living on it, and, paying the mortgage and other bills with it: I’d like to hear from you. How did you do it? How many hours does it take you to maintain or grow? How long did it take you to get to a point where you could quit your job and other things and live residually?
Enquiring minds want to know… *wink*
It’s been a long time since I’ve written on this blog. I wanted it to be a journal of my world travels with Ernie and if I willed myself to head out in one year – somehow it would magically happen. Well, life had other ideas the last twelve months.
As we careened into the holidays last November it dawned on me, it was going to take much more than just a blog to live my ultimate excellent adventure. I was going to need more cash flow. Yes, I already make a nice income with my books, mentoring, yada, yada, yada. However, I was going to need more – because travel requires more money – plus there’s that pesky mortgage and other bills still at home while Ernie and I are away.
We sat down and worked out the numbers. We needed an additional $2,000 per month over what I’m currently making to be able to take a big trip for a month or two several times a year. Plus we would lose Ernie’s income from his part-time job (he’s semi-retired) when we take off. I’m not talking about lolling around in five star resorts – love ‘em, but it’s not realistic or even desirable for longer-term travel. I am talking about perhaps renting a vacation apartment for a week at a time in a city like Santiago Chile or Quebec City in Canada or a suburb outside of Athens Greece. Yes, you make your own bed. But you also have a kitchen and a living area and it feels like you’re living in a new place – rather than just visiting in a sterile hotel for a few days.
But I digress. For three months this year I got involved with a soon-to-be magazine project. It was very exciting and I dug in. I was offered a lofty title and promises of lots of money in the future. I learned all kinds of new things about the magazine industry and social networking as a business. Honestly, it was like getting a few college credit hours. But the more I got into it, the more I realized it was pulling me further and further away from the notion of the excellent adventure I want to experience with Ernie. I walked away. So, that was a detour.
I’ve got some very exciting ideas going forward and I’ll be sharing them here. Suffice it to say, the project I’ll be revealing later this summer I believe will help draw me closer to my excellent adventure and help a lot of people with something I believe is an unmet needs online. My excellent adventure every day right now is to do a little bit more to get me closer and closer to the day when Ernie and I pack up our bags and head out with my laptop, iPad and cell phone in tow as my traveling office.
Oh, I put up the picture of “Old Spice Guy” on this page because I feel those commercials are hilarious and they always make me laugh. Laughter is such a wonderful thing. That’s what makes life an excellent adventure every day even if it doesn’t feel particularly exciting. Laughter. Love. Taking a risk. And feeling deeply.
ago. How are things going so far?
I can best sum it up by saying it takes a lot to make big life changes – especially when you already have a lot invested in who and what you are. Yes, I’d love to jet off to Italy or Patagonia for a month but it’ll be awhile yet before that happens. I’m looking for ways to live an excellent adventure right where I’m at until I’m ready to go to exciting places. Of course many people think I live in one of the most exciting places on earth – Las Vegas.
The original notion of the excellent adventure was to seek out and immerse myself in new cultures and to write. Writing has always been my passion – since I was a girl and all the way through Journalism and Advertising school in college to ad copywriting, articles, media releases, business proposals and website copy.
It takes money to go on an Excellent Adventure. Even if you’re budgeting by couch-surfing, you’ll need money for planes, trains, meals and other things so you’re never caught short of cash. If you’re going to make money online as you travel it’s still a good idea to have a reserve to fall back on as you travel.
For decades Americans have been awful when it comes to saving. We were the largest debtor nation ever and our savings rate was in the negative numbers. Most Americans had an average of six credit cards with $10,000 to $20,000 in debt.
Enjoying an excellent adventure that involves extended travel will probably include finding ways to create cash flow on the road. Since you don’t want to work 40+ hours a week as you travel, it’s crucial to find ways to create more income in less hours.
One great thing about my life is for 18 years I’ve found ways to make money doing what I’m passionate about. Y’know, the “Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow” idea from Marsha Sinetar’s book.
Fine, but at age 52 I’m aware I never stop DOing. I’m ready to be a human BEing rather than a human DOing. Ready to DO different things.
A few weeks ago on “Housewives of New York” on the Bravo TV network, one of the “housewives” held up a purse her husband apparently bought her as a birthday gift. It still had the price tag on it. $14,000.!!
$14,000 for a purse?!? As if we’re supposed to aspire to that. As if we’re supposed to feel “not good enough” if we can’t afford that extravagance.
Geez, for $14,000 a lot of people could have an amazing excellent adventure and tramp halfway around the world. Or, pay to go back to school. Or, a lot of things.
I was reading the New York Times and discovered an article with the headline, “But Will it Make You Happy?”
The positive energy, laughter, spirit of fun and adventure was alive Monday afternoon at a Starbucks in Las Vegas. I believe today’s get-together was the most amazing ever. People were happy to be there, happy to share and really take their dreams and adventures seriously. I had a blast.
It was the largest get-together so far. In fact, six of the people in attendance were there for the first time. We’re almost getting too big for Starbucks – I think we used all but two chairs.
In the morning I got a call from a friend who said, “Uh, Denise, there might be an issue with this Starbucks.”