What is the one resource you cannot make any more of; you cannot predict how much you will have; and is measured the same way for everyone?
On the day of your birth, nobody knew how your life would turn out. No-one could predict that you would be the way you are, with all the experiences your life would give you. As you grew up and discovered the world around you, you gradually became aware that you were living YOUR life, the gift that was given to you when you were born. As the hours, weeks, months and years ahead of you began to unroll and you passed through them, did you ever wonder how, if you had taken a different path, your life might be quite different now? I know I have often wondered ‘What would my life be like if I had stayed in the South East and not moved to Crewe?’ ‘What if I hadn’t met Andy, had the boys, made the choices I had made?’. These aren’t questions I have asked to the tune of regret. Just questions of wonder, which I suspect many of us ask ourselves from time to time.
I have also asked myself about the habits I have installed into my life. Are they habits that help me grow, improve, be a better person? Or are they habits which nonchalantly diminish who I am, and eat away at my life, my time on earth and the impact I have? Small things, done repeatedly in our lives can create big impacts with the passage of time. For example, overeating and not taking exercise one day is no big deal, but repeated on a daily basis slowly and gradually leads to obesity, ill health and ultimately death (sorry to be morbid)! What if instead, you took regular exercise, regulated your food intake, got enough sleep every night and drank water instead of sugary drinks? Not just one day, but every day of your life? How might your health be today taking this path, as opposed to adopting a less healthy approach?
‘Narrow is the path that leads to life, and few find it’ said Jesus. (Matthew 7:14)
The problem is that when we look backward we regret not taking simple repeatable actions, but when we look forward we are scared of the mountain of change that seems to face us. Actually we are scared of ourselves. We are scared of failing and making promises to ourselves that we’ll break. Promises we make to ourselves to get fit, eat less, eat better, lose weight are so easy to break. But they are the most damaging too. When we break a promise that we have made to ourselves, we tell ourselves that we are untrustworthy, our word is not our bond, that the pain of sacrifice is worse than the pain of failure. And we give ourselves all sorts of excuses that allow us to fail. Worse of all, we then start to engrave false beliefs on our soul that confirm that we CANNOT achieve our goals, so why bother trying?
And by the way these conversations only take place within the space of your brain. No-one else can overhear these messages (that’s the good and relieving news). Giving yourself the option of failure is always the wrong choice. The gnawing pain that resurfaces in your heart is God’s way of telling you – your life needs to change; YOU need to change! Pain is like the Universe’s thermostat – it is there to tell you that the stronger it gets, the more action you need to take to address it.
One of the great quotes of the world’s most famous philosophers (well, ok it was Yoda in Star Wars) said ‘ Do, or do not do, there is no try’. In other words, to DO it, you need to commit to it. You need to say YES and YES again. You also need someone else to coach you, support you, encourage you, guide you. Someone else who not only understand where you are and where you want to be, but who has done what you want to do. Who has achieved what you want to achieve, and can relate to your challenges and pain.
Are you stuck in a job that is unfulfilling and pointless, except perhaps that it pays the mortgage? Maybe you have started to invest in property but feel disheartened due to your lack of progress or lack of real profits? Would you love to fire your boss? Would you love to find a sustainable way to make money month on month? Maybe you have a business that is running you ragged and your profit is not what you had hoped? You are just about managing and wishing there was another way you could get out of the rat race?
I know exactly how you feel! In 2012 I was working full time. My employment was part-time but with four children to care for, I definitely worked more than a 60 hour week. My husband worked away as an IT contractor during the week and I was also developing a blossoming property business, specialising in HMOs (Houses of Multiple Occupation). I was rushed off my feet, trying to juggle everything, but deep down I knew that the investment seeds I was planting were going to grow into great oak trees for us later on. It was only two years later that my husband gave up his job to join me in the property business, and we now have plenty of time for doing what we love!
But it took simple, repeatable steps. It took determination and discipline and lots of denial of gratification! We didn’t spend much on anything that many of our friends took for granted – posh cars, foreign holidays, skiing! We re-invested and worked on ourselves. Doing what few people will do in order to be and have what many people would want. I also took the brave step of finding a mentor who had been there before me, who understood my challenges and stresses, and who could relate to my journey. But someone who could offer wisdom, insight and practical help too. Creating a business that brings financial freedom is not to be done alone. You need to find others in a community who will cheer you on when the going gets tough, and salute you when you have a great success! You need to find someone who understands why you are taking the path that many others fear to tread, and has already walked that way before you.
Each day you have a choice about who you will be, what habits you will embrace, which seeds you will sow. Don’t let fear, or procrastination or overwhelm hold you back.Take action today – decide and act! Be brave, courageous and a little bit crazy. You have one life, make that time matter, whatever you choose to be or do.
Andy and I doing what we love – cycling in the fresh air!