How could you reach your financial goals faster? It is simple: use leverage. Out of all the tools you can access, leverage is the most powerful.
I’m using the term leverage broadly here as I’ll explain. All leverage is a tool. It can be used for good or bad. It is like jet fuel that can propel you to your destination. Of course, if the pilot isn’t paying attention, this jet fuel will more quickly crash you into the ground.
I owe much of my success to the practical work of the prolific author, Brian Tracy. His life has been a rags-to-riches story. Fortunately, he is willing to share what he learned and coach the rest of us. This post is inspired by his “Wealth Building Made Simple” which is currently unavailable on Amazon. If you like this post, you may also like his Million Dollar Habits.
Top Ten Success Power Tools
You can continue to learn. There is no limit. Your education doesn’t need to stop when you graduate. In fact, it has never been easier to acquire knowledge.
Location is no excuse since many schools are virtual or can be accessed online. Lack of money is not an excuse since many online options are free. Even studying at Yale or acquiring the knowledge of an MBA can be free. Age is an arbitrary chronological cutoff and should have no bearing on whether you keep learning.
Acquiring specialized knowledge in your field will eventually pay off. Brian Tracy recommends setting a goal to be in the top 10% of your field. Who are in the top 10% of your field? How could you learn from them or model their success? Consider signing up for a course or conference right now.
Often what we are paying people for isn’t necessarily the vast knowledge in their head. We want them to have the skills to translate that knowledge into something that helps us. What skills could you acquire that would add more value to other lives?
What skills could you acquire over the next year? This works in medicine with CME dollars and hands-on ultrasound or cadaver courses. Maybe you could also take 1% or 2% of your income and invest in a skills development program. Many skills can be developed fast and are high-yield: business writing, coding, marketing, sales, negotiation, real estate investing, and public speaking. If you set a budget of $3K – $6K and focus on developing one of these skills per year, you will blow away your competition.
More importantly, you will become a better version of yourself. Now, pick the skill you will work on next year.
If you consistently follow steps one and two above the money will follow. As Warren Buffett said, “The more you learn, the more you earn.”
If the money doesn’t flow to you, take a hard look at the value you are creating. Are you producing enough? Are you capturing the value you produce? If so, plenty of money should be flowing to you. That money will, in turn, allow you to grow your business, take restful time off, and reinvest in more knowledge and skills.
Money is itself a tool. Using other peoples money (OPM) or debt can boost your cash-on-cash returns. That 8% real estate investment produces a 16% return with a 50% mortgage. How could you better use financial leverage?
We are strongly influenced by our peers – mostly friends and family. As my college English professor, Vernon Gooch, said: “We choose our goals by who we choose as our friends and advisors.” How big is your social network? The larger and more robust that network is, the more financial success you will have. Humans are social animals. Being disconnected from others will not grow your wealth. Being part of a successful tribe will propel you to success. The more you serve the more your success will grow. How could you grow or improve your tribe? Reach out to someone today.
How can you tap into your own unique creative juices? We all have unique gifts and insights within. Many fortunes (or at least small income streams) come from applying creativity to a known problem in the marketplace. Did you love photography as a kid? Can you get lost in time when writing in your journal? Could those be clues to future avenues of growth?
6. Good Work Habits
Poor Richard (Ben Franklin) wrote: “Early to bed, Early to rise: makes a man Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise!” How true that still is? Most highly successful people are early risers. They conquer the day by having a productive morning after a good night’s sleep. Some tease me for going to bed early, but I’m okay with that. I love being well-rested and productive.
Some of those who tease me admit to staying up too late watching shows that don’t enrich their lives. They are too groggy in the morning to accomplish much early. Some also text friends during the day and go home at the earliest opportunity. They then wonder how they could be so unlucky when it comes to finances. How could you work on wasting less time? Simple changes like batching e-mail or getting up 30 minutes earlier can become some of your tools for success.
7. Positive Mental Attitude (PMA)
One powerful tool for success is always within our power. We cannot completely choose our circumstances, but we can always choose our attitude. Your attitude can become the internal power tool that makes you unstoppable. You will enjoy our day more be looking for the brighter side of life events.
With an optimistic view, we are more likely to see opportunities (e.g. investments) when they arise. Having a PMA also makes us more enjoyable to be around. That helps build our social network – another powerful tool of wealth building.
We need to accept that luck is a big part of success and life. We cannot claim complete credit for every good thing in life. On the other hand, we can “create” some luck. The quote generally attributed to Samuel Goldwyn applies here: “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”
We know from the law of large numbers that good luck is a game of volume and repetition. When the odds are only slightly in our favor, large volumes of grinding effort is required before rewards come our way. Having a lot of grit (passion + perseverance) will get you through the necessary grind.
9. Personal Power
Do you have what it takes to perform for decades? It isn’t easy to grind out highly productive days and weeks for years or decades. You may benefit from understanding sports psychology and the concepts of energy management.
We need cycles during the day, not a harsh linear pressure for 12 hours straight. Good nutrition and exercise are keys. We need prayer, meditation, or some similar means of deeply connecting. The more you master these, the more you develop your energy reserve and your personal power. Maybe you could commit to a daily 10-minute workout in the morning? Or a brief meditation break before the stress of afternoon clinic wears you down?
10. A Job You Love
It is easier to flourish and perform at high levels when you love what you do. There will always be parts of our work that we don’t enjoy. But if we can decrease or ignore those parts, we can gain leverage to succeed. Enjoyable work adds challenge, growth, connection, meaning, and an income stream.
If that isn’t your current view of work, could you adopt that view? Or maybe more than an attitude change is required. How could you improve or change your work environment? Could you improve your hours or responsibilities? Is there a better employer in town? Could you transition to part-time?
Focus on these ten tools and you may find your work more worthwhile and enjoyable. You can grow your marketplace value through your tremendous knowledge, skills, and personal power. Then use those tools as leverage to negotiate your ideal job and life. You have more opportunity than you think. What will be your next step?