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 proud of.
Let’s get started!
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
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
>Wedding day: MARRIAGE
>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 BENEVOLENCE.
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.