Welcome to the first ‘edition’ of F4F! I will do my best to compose
this as a lesson plan. Together we will go through the necessary building
blocks to create a cohesive and permanent financial system that we can all be
In order to make sure that this journey
is the start of a lifestyle change and not just a phase, we have to think about
the ‘end’ from the very beginning. Not
sure what the end is? Well, let’s begin by figuring that out. A method that has
worked for me and for numerous others is that of making decisions that are aligned with your values.
My grandfather used to tell us that
Life is a sum total of all your decisions; if you don’t like your life you
have to make new decisions. This is not just important; it is critical. It is
critical because the regular practice of making decisions that are aligned with
your values will lead you to a grounded happiness that fills you inside out. it
will steer you the right way when you are super confused or torn. (Prominent
writers like Stephen Covey, David Bach and Tony Robbins discuss this aspect in
different ways in their literature).
I believe it is a fundamental stepping stone.
It is when we make decisions that deviate from
our value system that we find ourselves climbing a ladder that we don’t find
any fulfillment in once we reach the top.
Now that we know this, we have to very succinctly write down
in black and white what our values are. This
is Lesson #1.
Lesson #1: START WITH YOUR VALUES
Your value system is essentially your moral code. These are
things that define who you are or rather emulate the ideal version of you,
according to YOU
. These are things
that are at the root of who you are as a person and without it, you would not
be you. What is important to you? How do you want to be remembered? What is the
legacy you want to leave behind?
Think of a time when you were most happy. And when I mean
happy, I mean complete and utter unadulterated bliss. A time when you caught
yourself being so happy that you said to yourself, “This is IT! This is what
life is supposed to be about!” Can you picture it? Was it after you received some
sort of an award? Or went heli-skiing in Austria? Maybe it was watching your
kids run towards you screaming with glee as you came home from a business trip?
Was it lying on a beach celebrating a girls’ weekend? Was it your wedding day?
Or looking at old photos of your mom when she was your age and reminiscing with
her over a cup of tea? They all sound good to me!
It can be any one memory or a bunch of different little
moments where you lived that element of
bliss. Don’t censor any of them. This
isn’t a judgment call. Just be true to yourself. Don’t feel guilty or panicked
or anything else. OK?
Great! Now, hone in on that feeling and try to extract what
value created that moment and feeling? Not sure what I mean? This might help. My attached ‘Value List’ is just that.
It is an alphabetized list of values. There are way more values than in my
list, so if after looking at them nothing seems appropriate it, then please
google ‘value list’ or something close and you will find a slew of hits. You
will find though that after you read the list, some will automatically pop out
for you. And chances are these values are what you were living in that blissful
memory that you just recounted for yourself!
Let’s go over the memories I
outlined above just to make sure:
> Presented an award: RECOGNITION
>Heli-skiing in Austria: ADVENTURE
>Watching your kids run towards you as you came home from a
business trip: FAMILY
>Girls weekend at a beach: FRIENDSHIP
>Reminiscing with mom: FAMILY
So, take those memories and try to find a value that
describes it and jot it down. Then think of a few more values that round out
your value system. I would recommend 4-5 as too many will divert the focus and
just one is not sufficient. We are whole human beings and so we need
fulfillment from different aspects in life. One seldom does it.
One memory however, can fulfill a bunch of different values.
You don’t need separate ones for each of your values. Take the ‘winning the
award’ memory as an example. If the award was for running a half-marathon, then
perhaps the value is HEALTH as well. Or, maybe the award was for hitting the
highest sales targets. Then maybe the value is ACCOMPLISHMENT or
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT. Perhaps that same memory has nothing to do with RECOGNITION.
Maybe you won the award for giving to a cause that you are passionate about and
they thanked you for it. So perhaps the value then is ALTRUISM or CHARITY or
Play around with them and take the time to figure out your 4
or 5 values. This is one of THE most
important things you should be doing. And with that being said, you should also
have a lot of FUN with it! Dream and create scenarios in your head of how you
want to be remembered. Stephen Covey does a really interesting exercise in his
book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People’, where he asks the individual
to write his/her own obituary…sort of.
Ostensibly, it may sound a bit odd and perhaps
even off-putting but the benefits of doing that particular exercise really does
outweigh the costs.
PLEASE have your list ready and then we can move on to Lessons #2.