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Live Your Dream With Purpose – Part 2

Yesterday, we discussed why defining your core values helps you live your dream life. You won’t have peace of mind if your life isn’t consistent with your values. Knowing your values invigorates you. You see the bigg picture – your current situation may not be all you dream of, but you can see how it’s getting you where you want to be.

We’re working toward a written statement of values. Having your values in writing makes them more tangible. It keeps them in front of you. You’re forced to analyze them more thoroughly than if you just keep them in your head.

Let’s look at two techniques you can use to discover your core values – yours, not someone else’s. Whichever technique you use, you’ll want to find a place that’s conducive to creative thinking.

  • The List
  • Select the ten things you think are most important from our list of values. It’s not easy, but that’s the point – discovering what you value the most. Keep in mind that this list is by no means exhaustive. Feel free to add your own values.

    Once you’ve done that, up the ante. Choose the five values that are most important to you. Then four … three … two … one. You’ve just created an ordered ranking of your five most important values!

  • The Blank Sheet
  • Start with a blank sheet of paper (or a blank word processing document, if you prefer to type). Write “What’s most important to me?” at the top. Now brainstorm.

    Write freely – don’t analyze. Anything and everything that comes to mind. Now get away from it. Come back to it again. Don’t worry if a couple of days pass.

    When you return, look at your list. Do you want to add anything? Cross something off? Have at it – it’s your list.

    Next, look at each word. Ask yourself what it means to you. For example, maybe your wrote down money. Money can mean income, wealth, freedom, security …. what does it mean to you? You’ll often find that what you value is underlying the word you wrote. Dig deep.

    Now, start eliminating values so you end up with an ordered ranking.

You may find that combining the two techniques works best. Start with the first. Look over the list. Then get away from it. Return to a blank sheet and start brainstorming.

Visualizing your dream life, free of constraints, helped you uncover your passions. Now we’re bringing beliefs to those passions, which defines your values. That’s the life you want. In a couple of weeks, we’ll bring in the constraints; we’ll assess where you are. Then we’ll develop strategies to link the two together.

Our quote today is by the French writer and philosopher Michael de Montaigne.

“The value of life is not in the length of days, but in the use
we make of them; a man may live long but yet very little.”

So seize today. Value your life and live your values.

Next time, we’ll talk about success snake oil – know when you’re getting scammed. We’ll recount some recent experiences. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Live Your Dream With Purpose – Part I

About thirty days ago, we asked you to visualize the life you want. Specifically, we asked you to remove the two constraints – time and money – and answer this question:

If neither time nor money was an issue,
how would you spend your time and money?

Mary-Lynn said that, as a long-time broadcaster, her dream is to develop her own content that helps people. She’s doing that with Bigg Success. George says his dream is to travel more, especially spending more time on the beach.

Dreaming is great, but we all have responsibilities. Money is limited. Time even more so. How does it help to dream without considering that fact?

Understand that this is a process. We’ll bring the two constraints back in … but not just yet. First, find your passions by dreaming about the life you want. But you won’t have peace of mind if you’re not living your values.

And, if you remember, we defined success as peace of mind. You’ll never feel successful without it. So, now we want to define our core values.

What’s most important to you? You’ll find your core values at the point where your passions and your beliefs intersect. They’re the combination of what you want and what you believe (i.e. your morals).

Everyone lives according to a set of values. Sometimes consciously, sometimes subconsciously. We have all sorts of values … our own, things our parents taught us, influences of our society …

The question is NOT, “Are you living by a set of values?”
The question is, “Are you living by YOUR core values?”

Many people default to a subconscious set of mostly external values. Defining your core values should be extremely personal. What is most important to YOU? If you don’t live your life in line with your answer to that question, you’ll never achieve peace of mind. You’ll experience frustration, stress, burnout … all things diametrically opposed to peace of mind!

If you’re like a lot of people, you may say that your core values interfere with pursuing your passions. For example, supporting your family may be an overriding value of yours. You’re not happy but you have to do what you have to do, right? 

Keep in mind that seeing the big picture – aligning your core values with your passions – energizes you. You may come to see your current situation as a stepping stone to the future of which you dream. Doesn’t that change how you look at things as they are now?

We’ll revisit this topic next time. Between now and then, think about what’s most important to you, given your passions and beliefs. Tomorrow, we’ll talk about two techniques that will help you discover your core values so you can live your dream life with purpose. 

Our quote today is by Steven Covey. 

“Personal leadership is the process of keeping your vision and your
values before you and aligning your life to be congruent with them.”

So values your values and your vision … and live your life with purpose, on purpose.
Next time, we’ll continue on this track. You’ll get two techniques to discover your core values so you can live your dream life with purpose. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Turn Misfortune Into Fortune: Tips for Starting Over

Last time, we talked about Todd, a young real estate entrepreneur, whose triumph turned to tragedy. Todd’s story comes from an article, in the New York Times, by John Leland, entitled A Real Estate Speculator Goes From Boom To Bust. We discussed some lessons you can learn from Todd’s misfortune.

Today, we want to go beyond the lessons and offer some advice on how to recover from a devastating turn of events.

Keep your dream alive.
Stay positive. Reach out to people close to you. People love helping people. Let them.

You should also be thankful for your misfortune. Yes, we do mean that. It means you’re one step closer to success! History is ripe with examples of people who failed before they succeeded bigg. Plan on your name being added to that list!

Here’s the first step to starting over:
Assess your strengths and weaknesses. If you’re not going to repeat the past, you have to learn from it. That’s how you fail forward. Learn from it and then forget about it – move on.

In Todd’s case, it’s obvious he is a dynamic young man. His banker said he performs. That’s a striking compliment coming from a banker who has foreclosed on him. It appears that Todd is good with Operations and Sales. Management, particularly financial management, is his weakness. This is common among entrepreneurs.

You want to build on your strengths and get around your weaknesses. For example, Todd may take in a partner with strong financial skills to complement his abilities.

What if you’ve declared bankruptcy (or are deep in debt)?
We’re not attorneys, or financial planners, or anything else worthy of giving you information for your specific situation. Keep that in mind.

A successful business person referred a friend, who had just declared bankruptcy, to a banker. The bank turned him down. The business person called the banker and explained that his friend was a better risk than he was.

“How can that be?” the banker asked. “You have stellar credit.”

The business person replied, “Because if you lend me the money, I can declare bankruptcy tomorrow. My friend can’t do that for seven years.”

We’re not sure if that’s still the case, but the point is to find ways of turning your liabilities into assets. Todd has changed from a merchant-model (i.e. he buys it, then sells it), to a broker-model. Now he makes money without having to invest any capital. Brilliant!

Our quote today comes from the great Dig Hammarskjöld.

“Never measure the height of a mountain until you have reached the top.
Then you will see how low it was.”

Keep climbing. You’ll find that many of your mountains were really just mole hills.

Tune in next time to see what people regret the most, according to a recent study. Until then, here’s to your big success!

Lessons Learned From A Bankrupt Business Owner

Last time, we talked about jump starting your passive income by investing in rental real estate. Today we’ll look at what we can learn from a bankrupt business owner.

We came across an interesting article a little bit ago in the New York Times. It was about a young real estate speculator named Todd.

Back in 1994, after attending a seminar on buying real estate, 20-year old Todd found a property which he bought, fixed up, and sold for a $4,000 profit.

By the year 2000, Todd, now 26, was holding as many as 25 houses at a time. He had perfected his system – making up to $15,000 on every house. Eight banks were in line to provide him money when he needed it. Todd decided to start building new homes because prices had gone up so much on the houses he was buying.

Fast forwarding to May of 2006, Todd was living the American dream at 33. He had a 5,000 square foot house that cost $1.2 million. He had a BMW and a Corvette. An inventory of 89 lots was waiting for buyers. He owned an office building. Life was good!

Now, his marriage has collapsed. Banks have taken back his lovely house; he now rents a small one. His beautiful cars are gone. He’s driving a pick up truck. He’s lost everything else. He sells beverages full-time, and brokers deals to other speculators part-time.

We applaud Todd for sharing his story. And a big salute to John Leland for this excellent article – A Real Estate Speculator Goes From Boom to Bust.

So what can we learn from Todd’s experience? Here are some lessons:

Just because a bank will give you $$$, that doesn’t mean you should take it!
Todd had a banker who did him a favor, if he would have only recognized it. She told him “no”. So Todd went to another banker who kept the funds coming. If Todd had only paused to consider why his first banker said no, he may be in less of a mess now.

When you’re living on borrowed money, you may be living on borrowed time.
Todd was highly leveraged, in business and at home. Being levered in business may be fine. Piling on to that with personal debt is a bad idea. Borrowing money is a two-edged sword – it will make you rich, or poor, more quickly.

When it comes to your standard of living, keep your standards low.
Todd had the best of everything – the house, the cars, and more. Which is fine, if you have assets that will produce the income to pay for everything. But when you’re borrowing to buy status symbols, you’re bound to wind up in trouble.

Know how you’re getting out before you get in.
If Todd had done this, he might have noticed that it was getting more expensive for his customers to buy houses. He could have shifted his business model once – find a customer, then build it. That would mean he was “out” without getting “in”.

Fully analyze your situation by considering a number of situations.
Todd did this once – he shifted from flipping houses to building new ones. He didn’t contemplate how rising prices were affecting his customer’s ability to buy his product. He failed to consider how long it would take him to sell his inventory of lots. Had he done so, he may have prevented the major disaster that happened.

Todd learned the hard way – by making the mistakes himself. Hopefully, you can learn from his mistakes so you don’t make the same ones.

Our quote today comes from Jonas Salk, the developer of the polio vaccine.

“I have had dreams and I have had nightmares,
but I have conquered my nightmares because of my dreams.”

So shake off the nightmare and rest assured, your sweet dreams will come true.

Next time, we’ll offer some tips for starting over, for turning misfortune into fortune. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Get Real Estate

Last time, we talked about how to get started in your own business or franchise. Today we want to discuss how to jump start your passive income by investing in rental property.

You may ask why you should think about investing in real estate now. The daily news is ripe with horror stories of houses in foreclosure, people getting slammed by increases in their adjustable-rate mortgages, and others struggling to sell their houses in this down market.

Believe it or not, that’s why we think now is a great time to buy! Relative to historical norms, things are not as bad now as they were good a little while ago. We’re comparing now to one of the most lucrative markets for sellers in history! Take time to note the word “sellers” in the prior sentence.

There’s less competition for property today. It’s a buyer’s market.
That’s why we think you should buy now.

We’ll assume you’re convinced – where should you start?

Start by buying your own home.
In the past, financial planners often recommended renting and investing in other assets, such as stocks. Historically, stocks have outperformed real estate. The problem – the investing part was voluntary.

Buying a home is a commitment. It forces you to save. And if you’re like most of us, you need that “forced” part. So as you pay your mortgage, month after month, you’re reducing your outstanding debt. That’s why, on average …

… homeowners are significantly wealthier than renters.

So owning your own home is the foundation for creating wealth. Now you’re almost ready for the next big step. Remember our discussion of getting aggressively passive? You’ve found money from watching your spending and paying off debt. Keep piling that money up to prepare for your next move.

Buy your first investment property.
Your next real estate purchase may be your first rental property. Or it may be your next home. Consider moving up to a nicer place and renting out your first one.

Either way, be sure you have more money coming in than going out. Hook up with a good realtor who can help you determine what your rent should be. Now, estimate your bills – property taxes, insurance, mortgage payment, and all the others. If you don’t project having money left over, don’t buy that property – find another one!

Don’t start without a cash stash.
Owning real estate comes with its risks. For example, what if your property suddenly requires major repairs? As with any business, don’t invest in real estate unless you have a cash stash. If you don’t have one, find a partner who does. Otherwise, you may lose everything.

Our quote today comes from the Australian author, Noel Whittaker.

“Becoming wealthy is like playing Monopoly …
… the person who can accumulate the most assets wins the game.”

So roll the dice, take a chance, pass GO, and collect more than $200! It’s not just play money!

Next time, we’ll look at some of the things that can go wrong – lessons from a bankrupt business owner, who happened to be a real estate speculator. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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