Over twenty years ago now I was at a seminar as a small business owner learning some marketing and management tips for small home improvement contractors. The speaker was a dynamic individual and a great communicator – the kind of presenter that you really listen to and that you know has a basic understanding of life well beyond the content they were hired to present.
During a break I had the chance to talk to him one on one and mentioned that I really liked his presentation style and asked what got him started in the business. Among the things he told me about his life the one thing that I’ll never forget is this statement about his life philosophy… “I’m not going to live forever and I want to enjoy as much of my time on this earth as possible and leave a comfortable little nest egg for my wife and children. I try to continually learn and improve at my knowledge base and teaching technique so that I become more and more valuable to potential clients. Every 6 months or at most a year I look at the kinds of jobs I’m doing and clients I work for and try to weed out the less profitable and add in ones that are more profitable thus maximizing my time spent vs. income produced. Basically I live by this premise – Make More, Work Less, Retire Young.”
I’ve never forgotten that statement and have tried to continually find ways in my own life to make that happen. Sometimes with success and a few times with a less than stellar outcome. My question for you is – are you letting your life dictate your circumstances and attitudes or are you being proactive about your journey and making decisions based on long term goals. Here are a couple basic truths that will always keep you focused.
1. Never stop learning and improving yourself. Life is much more uncertain now than it was twenty some years ago. If you’re relying on your current knowledge base and skill set to carry you through the next twenty years you are going to be left behind. Whether you work for yourself or another entity you need to add to your skill set and keep increasing your perceived value.
2. Be relentless with the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of your time is spent producing twenty percent of your income and vice versa, twenty percent of your activity produces 80 percent of your income. Be relentless in either delegating away or outsourcing the less effective of your activities and leaving more time to leverage into high profitability areas.
3. Stop and smell the roses. You’re not going to live forever so find little ways to enjoy every part of the journey. It’s so easy for me to become focused on getting the next project done, improving efficiency or starting the next business that I forget to enjoy the journey. Before long, the long hours turn into days and years go by with not enough good memories and friendships to show for it.