I have a $100 bill for a bookmark. When I’m on a plane reading a book, there’s this look of curiosity and probably some form of crazy that comes from the person sitting next to me or the flight attendant. Sometimes they’ll say “oh it must be nice to have a $100 bill for a bookmark” which I’ll smile and nod to because frankly I don’t know what else to say, or “what the hell do you have a $100 bookmark for?” and I’ll respond with one word – focus.
What they don’t know is what’s written on that bookmark. While finishing up my morning routine on September 5th, 2016, I found myself in a peak state and reflecting on a recent move we had made as a family. We had sold our home and downsized to another one that was about a third of the value in order to free up capital to accelerate the buy-in process of the business we were investing in.
For 5 years I was receiving dividends from this multi-million dollar company and re-investing every penny into more shares. As my share percentage grew annually, so did the dividends. It would have been easy to take portions of the dividends to go buy new toys, a bigger home, nicer vehicle, multiple vacations, etc. but this wouldn’t have served me and my family in the long-run. This requires a lot of awareness and discipline for a then 29 year old. I understood the value of a dollar and how difficult it can be to earn one, but I knew my financial education was limited and needed to be expanded.
After reflecting that morning it was time to visualize our future. I thought about a quote that I had heard once which said something like “think about what you want to accomplish in 10 years and then ask yourself why you can’t accomplish it in 6 months.” This put me on a path to start increasing my education around money. Ten million is quite a bit of money to earn in 6 months so I opted for a more realistic target of 5 years. Know that I’m not attached to money, I just like playing the game which is why I had to begin to increase my financial intelligence in 2016 in order to achieve my $10 million dollar goal by September 30th, 2021.
I’m on track to exceed our goal but more importantly I’ve established the proper habits, discipline, and education to continuously improve on the number. Whether I would have achieved the goal or not is nearly irrelevant because it’s more about what I’m learning on the journey. It’s the education and habits that I’m developing that will give our family security moving forward. The goal is important because it gave me direction and started my educational journey towards financial intelligence. But because I focused on personal growth, the goal will come and go without any disruption in my life. I’ve incorporated financial intelligence into my identity which is more valuable to me than the goal. When you hear about Olympic athletes going into depression after the games, this is why. They are focused only on the goal, not the journey and how to apply the lessons they’ve learned through being a world-class athlete into the real world when they are done competing.
Setting goals are dangerous when you become obsessed about the end result because you’re waiting for what could be to be happy. Focus on the journey and identity you’re creating during the process for lasting happiness and improvement. You got this!