Two million in equity; that’s all I wanted.
I almost got there, too, before losing everything I’d worked for.
I pushed too hard; I went too fast, and I overextended. I had no buffer.
When the company I worked for almost hit the wall, I took a 50% pay cut.
My wife lost her job.
Everything fell apart.
The divorce soon followed and with a few strokes of a pen, I was broke.
When I think about the hundreds of hours spent searching for, evaluating, financing, acquiring and renovating our properties (two apartments and three houses), it feels like such a waste.
All that work and all that stress for nothing!
Or was it?
I’m starting to believe it was valuable – perhaps disproportionately – but valuable nonetheless.
When I reflect on the whole experience, the thing that dominated was an overwhelming sense of urgency and the anxiety it created.
Back then, my imagined wealth couldn’t come fast enough.
The market was going gangbusters and I didn’t want to miss out.
With the wisdom of hindsight, I recognise now the foolishness of this approach.
Too much haste, driven by greed and FOMO (fear of missing out) is dangerous.
Had I known Michael Yardney back then, I’m sure things would have happened quite differently.
But getting back to the title of this story, I realise now that even though I was dreaming, striving and working hard for my goal, I rarely enjoyed any of it. In fact, the whole thing was enormously stressful.
I believe that’s because:
1. I was so anxious to be somewhere else I never enjoyed the present.
2. My unwillingness to seek expert counsel meant I was never sure if my next step was the right one. History proved the fatality of this approach.
3. I believed that only the attainment of my goal constituted success. This, in turn, created more stress and more anxiety.
4. My desperation to reach the finish line caused me to make hasty decisions, some of which weakened my position.
In the end, it took a combination of a sudden income loss, a poorly timed acquisition (the third home – our PPoR, which we could ill-afford at the time) and renovation/redevelopment delays to bring the whole lot down.
The divorce drove the final nail.
The Right Way
I now have a very simple process that allows me to achieve my goals without any of the stress.
Whatever your goal is, try tackling it like this:
1. Define the goal. Describe it as clearly as you can, including:
a. What it costs
b. When you aim to achieve it
c. What the milestones will be at relevant intervals (if applicable)
d. Why you want it (drill down till you reach the REAL reason)
2. Map out what you must DO to achieve the goal, including:
a. What you must do every day/week/month (this should be as detailed and exhaustive as possible)
b. What you will give up to complete these tasks (TV, socialising, etc.)
c. How you will record pending and completed tasks
Now the good bit – forget about the goal.
The goal is no longer the goal.
The daily/weekly/monthly tasks are your new goals.
Focus ONLY on those.
Once you get into a rhythm and you starting knocking over your tasks, you will already be successful, because your tasks are now your goals.
You’ll no longer be overwhelmed by ‘the big goal’.
Moreover, you’ll make better decisions; you’ll be a lot calmer about the progress you’re making and draw comfort from the knowledge that consistent, deliberate action is the best way to create what you want.
It almost guarantees the outcome.
If you’re going to create a remarkable life; if you have big dreams for you and your family, there’s no point killing yourself or making yourself sick trying to reach them.
Otherwise, you’ll have failed.
Try this new approach and start being successful today, minus the anxiety.
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