Can success happen overnight? The answer can be yes or no.
Think about it this way: If you expect to drop the last stubborn ten pounds in one day, it’s not going to happen.
On the contrary, if you wake up with a new mindset that allows you to realize progress incrementally, success is right there for you to achieve.
Start with an inventory of your situation.
Let’s say — since this is an article about money — that you wish to reduce or eliminate debt, build financial security, provide education for a child, or ensure a satisfying retirement. What MUST happen for you to shift your energy into high gear and achieve your goals? I call these your Money Musts.
Consider the difference between what you’d “like” and what MUST happen. I might ‘like’ to have the resources to travel the world in luxury, but it is certainly not a MUST.
I might ‘like’ to be able to have sufficient resources to endow scholarships in the arts, but I am okay supporting charitable causes that align with my values to a lesser degree.
Begin with the understanding that success, in anything, is not a straight line. There are twists, turns, stumbles, falls, mistakes, and miscalculations. Some might be of your own making and others completely out of your control.
Think about going on a weight loss program. You might stick to a plan completely for two weeks, making great progress, and then one day you’re tired, cranky, and you find yourself indulging in a bag of cookies.
You now have to choose between falling into the abyss or restarting the next morning. It’s a CHOICE.
Here are a few tips to guide you towards the success you desire.
1. Begin with your vision of what MUST happen and answer the “WHY” question. Only go to step 2 once you have answered it fully and completely.
2. Take an inventory of where you are right now. If it’s your financial life, dig deeply to really understand your numbers. If you’re not sure you get it, don’t worry, there is plenty of help out there for you.
3. The most successful people hire coaches. Whether you’re training for a marathon, learning a musical instrument, or trying to get your financials in order, hire the best professionals to guide and educate you.
When it comes to financial advice, be careful; the title Financial Advisor can mean anything from an insurance agent, stock broker, or other commission sales person; or, in contrast, an independent CFP® who will act as a Fiduciary (in your best interest). Ask questions that make you feel comfortable with the person guiding you. If I want to learn classical guitar, I am not going to hire a rock and roll shredder.
4. With your coach/guide/advisor, create reasonable expectations and the necessary steps to get there. If I decide to learn martial arts, I won’t be testing for a black belt any time soon. If you wish to build wealth and financial well-being, it’s not going to happen overnight. It’s a step by step approach.
5. Measure success in a variety of ways. If you wait until you reach the “finish line” as your only means of defining success, you will probably find dissatisfaction and a lack of emotional support along the way. It is vital that you celebrate your progress in small chunks.
Each step forward deserves acknowledgment. Any stumble requires forgiveness and a nod towards our own humanness. As a dear friend and coach, Robert Goldmann (Author of “Act from Choice”) says to treat oneself as if you were your only child; with love and compassion.
6. Keep reviewing your goals and reminding yourself of why they MUST happen. Consider the consequences if you are not successful.
7. Be ready to make course corrections when appropriate. Facts and circumstances might dictate a shift in thought or behavior based on realities. For example, you might be stashing funds into a college savings plan for your children and then a fundamental shift occurs, like a job loss, illness, or another unforeseen situation.
Flexibility is vital in thinking and action. After all, life is not a straight line and building resilience is a necessary life skill in order to navigate challenges and shift where necessary.
Get a good night sleep and focus on living the best life possible. Appreciate your efforts, celebrate your successes, and forgive the mistakes. You can do it!