Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lesson 2: Your GPS; Your Roadmap to the Future

Happiness is when what you think, what you say,
and what you do are in harmony. – Mahatma Ghandi

You are about to participate in gaining greater control of your life. Just as a GPS (Global Positioning System) in your car guides you from where you are to where you want to go, your GPS (Guide to Personal Success) will be your roadmap to the future. Your GPS is the most important document you will create in this class. It is a dynamic life plan that describes who you are and where you want to go—written and then pictorially. The GPS will most likely be the hardest exercise you’ll do in Urban FIRE.

With your GPS, you’ll stay consistent and honest to your values and principles. And each year, you’ll review your GPS to include updates, so that it remains relevant to your growing improvements.

First and foremost, your Guide to Personal Success is a customized roadmap with three objectives:
  1. Implementing the genius—your purpose in life—so that you can achieve what truly matters to you.
  2. Creating a happy lifestyle based on the principles and values that matter most to you.
  3. Building a plan to secure your financial future. Financial security does not happen even if you make a lot of money. It happens because you plan for it and follow through.
Direction With Purpose
The GPS is a combination of your values and principles serving to move you in the direction that will fulfill your purpose and destiny in life. In this case, you’ll be looking ten years into the future because this timeframe can mark significant change throughout the development of your business. It requires you to take action practically every day, but once you get into the habit and you hold that Big Picture in mind, you will be able to fulfill the goals of your GPS. Remember: Either you are working on your GPS, or you are working on someone else’s GPS.

In 2005-2006, Gallup polled 136,000 people in 132 countries to find out what made people happy. Sure enough, people with financial security were happier than people who worried about their money. But having money itself does not guarantee happiness. Human beings are happiest when they are pursuing their life’s passion and even become more productive. As years pass, make your GPS a dynamic document that’s updated and adjusted for new changes—keep it relevant to your life. At the end of ten years, assess your present condition and review how well you’ve done in meeting the goals you established in your GPS.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than
by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."  – Mark Twain

Preliminary to Your GPS Project
  1. Sit back and draw up a detailed visual image of what your life looks like in 10 years.
  2. Become financially literate: track your income and expenses monthly and eliminate your debts.
  3. Create your investment plan and choose humane and ecological investments.
  4. Master the elements of your genius and make them a priority in your life.
  5. Be a great parent to your children and take time to teach them the best of what you know.
  6. Be humble and give generously of your time and money to your community.
  7. Take the best of humanity and ask: How would Jesus, Buddha, or Mohammed have handled this.
Here are questions to help guide you in creating the detailed description of your life in the next 10 years.

Section One: Who you are today
  1. What made you enroll in Urban FIRE?
  2. You obviously want more for your future; what are these desires?
  3. What are the things holding you back right now?
  4. How will you eliminate those things that are holding you back?
  5. What are your greatest strengths?
  6. How can you utilize your greatest strengths to move you forward?
  7. What is the dream that makes you the happiest and for which you desire the most?

Section Two: When you were growing up
  1. What were the biggest influences in your life?
  2. Who were the most influential people that have molded your character?
  3. What experience(s) had the greatest negative impact on you?
  4. What positive lessons can you take from your negative experiences?
  5. Are you still hurting from the past? If so, what—right now—can you do about it?
  6. What experience(s) had the greatest positive impact on you?
  7. Generally speaking, how would you characterize the way you grew up?

Note: Sections 3 through 7 are to be written as if you are in Year 10 of your GPS.
Section Three: You’ve implemented your genius (In Year 10)
  1. All your life, you had a great love for this passion; now you’re doing it. Describe the feeling.
  2. Describe your genius: what’s unique about it, and what is it that you love so much about it?
  3. Now that you’re thoroughly involved in this passion, has it opened up new passions?
  4. By anyone’s criteria, you’ve succeeded. But for you, is it complete or incomplete and why?
  5. When a writer for Business Week asks if you have advice for others, what is your response?

Section Four: When you paint your picture in broad brush strokes (In Year 10)
  1. Where are you living and what can you see outside your window?
  2. Describe your home and the surrounding community.
  3. What makes you feel comfortable, cozy, secure, and safe?
  4. Who are the people living in your household and/or the people who matter the most?
  5. What does financial security look like to you? Be realistic.
  6. What are things that are making you happy? Be specific.

Section Five: The business has matured (In Year 10)
  1. What is the business you own? Describe it in detail both in actuality and conceptually.
  2. What role do you play in your company and why?
  3. Who are the most important people in the business with you (if any)?
  4. What is the unique character of your company? What are its most important traits?
  5. What do your business associates say about you? How about your clients?
  6. It has been rewarding for you. What life lessons has it produced for you?

Section Six: You’ve reached your financial goal (In Year 10)
  1. At what point did you declare that you’ve reached your financial goal?
  2. Describe in detail what your top financial goal is and its value?
  3. Your business profits created an income stream. You then diversified into what other streams?
  4. Finally, you’re able to buy some nifty toys for yourself. What are they?
  5. Have you become altruistic or optioned for a quiet life to enjoy the fruits of your hard work?
  6. How are you teaching your children and/or relatives about financial literacy?
  7. Since you can’t take it with you, what plans for the money have you set up upon your death?

Section Seven: The person you’ve become (In Year 10)
  1. Have your values changed? If so, what are these new values?
  2. Will you retire from your business? If so, what does your business exit plan look like?
  3. How do you spend your days to remain productive?
  4. Now you can do the things you’ve not had time or money for. What’s at the top of your to-do list?
  5. What matters the most to you now? Faith, health, family, personal time, philanthropy, etc?
  6. What is the legacy you want to leave behind?
  7. Beyond your legacy, what do the people who matter the most remember about you?

Returning to the Present. So ask yourself:

  1. You really do want to start a business, but in the back of your mind, you’ve been conditioned to fear such action, so define your nightmare. What’s the worst thing that could happen if your business fails?
  2. If you started your business and things are not going as planned, what could you do to correct the problem?
  3. The probability of your nightmare will most likely be less than feared. So by defining your nightmare, and realizing there are solutions, what might the real scenario look like and how would you deal with it?
  4. Okay, you’re still working and it’s tough to give up that regular paycheck, but you’re unhappy and you know it’s time to move on. What if you were fired or laid off? What plans could you make to keep your financial situation from collapsing?
  5. We all have fears. Some deal with them with better results because they realize fear is a temporary state of mind. What are you putting off out of fear right now?
  6. You’ve probably felt some frustration by procrastinating towards your real desires. What do you think it’s costing you to hold off on your decision—financially, emotionally and physically?
  7. What is the one most important factor that keeps coming up for you as to why you need to start your business now?

I am an old man and have known a great many troubles,
but most of them never happened. – Mark Twain

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