Self-Made Financial Independence

All my life I’ve dreamed about the day I achieve financial independence. When I have enough money to survive for the rest of my life. When I can quit my job and take off around the world. When my life flips a switch from from things I have to do to things I want to do.

What would you do if you could retire

In Wailea on the island of Maui looking out into the Pacific Ocean.

But what if that dream could come much sooner? I’m not talking about winning the lotto, or striking it rich. There is another way to the life of financial independence if you reframe the objective.

5 Characteristics of a Good Goal

Last week I outlined my seven priorities, the big picture for my life. With those priorities in mind, I am constantly setting goals. If the priority is the vision, the goal is the direction.

Are you setting the direction of your

Goals are specific outcomes I want to achieve. I have long-term goals like, “Live and work in another country by 2030.” I also have short-term goals like, “Publish a free resource guide for my blog by the end of 2014.”

Recipe for a Successful Work Day

When I near the end a busy work day, I usually have unfinished business. There are tasks I haven’t completed, e-mails I haven’t responded to, and an uncertainty hanging over my head. After all this work today, how much progress have my team and I made towards our key deliverables?

Recipe for successful work day

Instead of powering through to the end like I used to do, I finally adopted a strategy that clears my head, lets me leave work at work so I can shift my focus to other priorities, and leaves me ready to effectively take on tomorrow.

Things That Matter Most for a Great Life

If you want to have a great life, you must heed the wisdom of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”

What matters most?

To ensure what matters most is not left behind, clearly define what your most important priorities are. Zig Ziglar famously presented his top priorities in his wheel of life. Countless other important leaders have followed in his steps.

Get Started Preserving Wealth

We work hard for the money we earn. Most of it goes to taking care of our basic needs, keeping us comfortable, and giving us some pleasure in this wonderful life. What we manage to set aside we either invest, with the intention of generating a return, or save, with the intention of preserving that wealth for the future.

Preserve your wealth

If you are going to set wealth aside for the future, why wouldn’t you want to generate a return on that wealth? Why wouldn’t you want to save capital to preserve wealth and generate a return on that capital at the same time? If saving and investing are different, why would anyone want to save at all?

The One Book You Must Read

I’m on my second reading of one of the most influential books of all time and it is exceeding my expectations again. When I read a book, I want to be inspired, motivated, or taught something useful. This book gets five stars in all of the above. (Skip the speech and jump to the book.)

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First published in 1936, this book has been foundational to the success of more than 15 million people worldwide. A diploma from one of the author’s courses even hangs are Warren Buffet’s wall (see the article in Time).

Are You Skipping Your Priorities?

We got home Tuesday morning around 1:00 am from a long weekend in Chicago. It was a fantastic trip visiting family and friends, celebrating an early birthday, and trekking north into Wisconsin to witness a heartfelt wedding. These trips are what life is all about.

Don't yield to your priorities

Photo courtesy of: http://www.freeimages.com/gallery/eastop

The trip landed in the middle of a very busy project at work. To justify the time off, I put in extra hours for weeks before the red-eye flight out of town last Thursday. And as much as I wanted to take Tuesday off for a day of recovery, it just wasn’t possible.

Words That Changed History

On this Friday morning, a country celebrates its independence from British rule. I invite you to listen to the powerful words of Thomas Jefferson in the reading of the Declaration of Independence below. These words changed the course of history, and at their core were the fight for: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Today, and all days, be thrilled that you are alive, remember that liberty is a choice, and commit to a passionate pursuit of happiness to the end of your days.

Be Thrilled You Are Alive

On a warm, clear night in May, Olga and I laid back in lawn chairs at the edge of the calm Pacific Ocean. We were on our delayed honeymoon on the island of Maui.

Look up and be alive

It was typical of us during our stay to eat an early dinner so we could watch the sun set over the island of Lanai, which sat due west, as a pillow for the sun to lay its head.

How To Design Your Perfect Week

William Jennings Bryan said about destiny: “It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” Achieving your destiny starts with some lofty goals, broken down into strategic objectives, and executed in manageable tasks.

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Screen shot of my perfect week calendar

Whether your life is so busy you can hardly find time for your goals, or so free that you struggle with focus, to get more done towards achieving your destiny, you must design your perfect week. Here are the six steps I use: