Thursday, January 22, 2015

Does This Sound Like You?

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Juggling Life

Life is Hectic

Do you get the feeling we can spend forever discussing obstacles that stand in the way of our goals, dreams, and aspirations?  Here’s another one to consider. 

A few years ago, I asked my fellow colleagues to help me understand why the majority of people do not request a financial plan.  I expected their complete honesty to the following survey question.

I am not interested in a financial plan because:

q  My life is hectic, and I don’t have the time to complete the questionnaires or set-up an appointment to discuss my financial affairs.

q  I feel I have a good grasp on my finances and future goals.

q  I am working with an investment advisor and I feel their advice is sufficient.

q  I don’t want to face the unknown and am not prepared to make any changes.

q  I feel uncomfortable sharing my personal financial information with a staff member in our office.

The Number #1 answer was “My life is hectic.”  Conflicting work schedules with your spouse, running around with your children’s activities, and not even knowing what you want in life deters you from even scheduling a meeting with a financial planner.

Here’s the frightening part.  Mark Twain’s message stands out in this entire calamity:

 Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.


Mark Twain didn’t exactly say or perhaps even think, “Develop a sound financial plan”; but if you read between the lines, he wanted you to experience everything you possibly could.  You have to love these action verbs: Explore. Dream Discover. Everything you do takes money.  To sail away from a safe harbor you may need money to purchase the boat!

We Say We Have No Time

Time is the one thing which is distributed equally to everyone.  You have the “same” twenty-four hours as the next person. How you spend your valuable time is worth noting.  You always think your time belongs to others but in essence you are the gatekeeper of your time. 

One major enemy to achieving goals is wasting time.  John Maxwell passed along this message in his monthly mentoring lesson, “We say we waste time, but that is impossible. We waste ourselves.”    Examine which time killers appear in your day to see if this is true. We often say, “We don’t have time” but do we really know how we spend our time?  How much time is spent on mediocre activities such as surfing the Internet, visiting on social media, and watching television?

In 1992, Alabama, an American band, released this popular country song, I’m in a Hurry.  The chorus reflects the lifestyle we live today. 

Oh, I’m in a hurry to get things done.

Oh, I rush and rush until life’s no fun.

All I really gotta do is live and die,

But I’m in a hurry and don’t know why.

Although most people can relate to being in a hurry, many probably don’t make changes to their lifestyles to incorporate the things they should do.  Is this true for you?

Another enemy of achieving our goals is procrastination.  Joyce Meyers, in her book, Making Good Habits Breaking Bad Habits, shared this insight.

“Procrastination is a thief. It steals our time, our potential, our self-esteem, our peace of mind.  It is like a lullaby that whispers, “Go to sleep; everything will be fine.”  But everything will not be fine if we put off doing what we need to do.  And the task isn’t going to get done by itself!  It’s not going anywhere.  Procrastination is very deceptive, and we can only conquer it by becoming what I call a “now” person.  Be aggressive when you know you need to something.  Don’t put it off and keep putting it off…. just do it!”

Listen and Learn

Robert J. McKain says it best, “The reason most goals are not achieved is that we spend our time doing second things first.”

I, too, examined how I was doing in this category.  Was I spending too much time doing things of less importance?  Blogging regularly is a priority on my list so I was looking for ways to better manage my time. I knew I needed to develop new habits to get projects completed. 

Whatever your BIG projects are, you may try “time blocking” to ensure you make time in your busy schedule to get things done.  “Time Blocking” is not a new concept but rather an effective method to stay on course.  Cal Newport shares a Deep Habit for planning every minute of your work day so every task is allotted specific and appropriate time periods.  I am certain Cal’s technique could also apply to your personal pursuits.   

We learn from one another.  People like Joyce Meyers, Cal Newport, and even the band, Alabama, experienced life lessons which inspired them to share their wisdom with us. Taking concepts and ideas from others’ experiences enrich our lives.  Naturally, you can’t implement “everything” but you can certainly take what you need and pass on the things you don’t.

Final Instructions

Information packed into this blog allows you to identify whether time is the obstacle standing in the way of your goals. Finding helpful resources allows you to conquer this obstacle.     

Here’s your challenge:

Dare to explore what’s working and what’s not working.       

Dare to exchange bad habits for good ones.

Dare to expect positive results from your valiant efforts.

The next time I ask the same survey question, your response may be different.  Your response may be, “When can I schedule an appointment?”


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