Season 5 Finale – The 4th Key – Rough Construction
The 4th Key – Rough Framing
At the end of last season, we covered the 3rd Key, Demolition. We not only worked on eliminated bad habits, removing that deadwood if you will, but we also began replacing those negative behaviors and routines with positive ones. Creating patterns and new habits that will set us up for future success. Now let’s figure out how we are going to get there.
Once the demolition has been done, you are ready to start building. You now have a clean slate; it’s time for the Rough Framing. The outline of the structure. Now the walls go up. The trusses are hung. The measurements are as good as they can possibly be, but you quickly learn minor adjustments must be made. Everything does not have to be perfect, but you do everything you can, to get it as close as you can. Things build quickly at this stage. A relatively small amount of work looks like a lot. Your Dream home begins to take shape. For the first time, you have something to show for your efforts.
This construction phase of your dream life should be treated the same way. You spent time designing the life you want by creating a blueprint. Then, you demolish the bad habits and negative routines that were preventing your progress. Now the work begins. Work towards the goals you have laid out. Start taking action. Start Ugly. Try different things. Many things. What are you good at? What did you enjoy doing as a child? A big part of crafting a lifestyle you desire is by spending as much time doing what you enjoy (and thereby default good at) and as little time wasted on fruitless enterprises and time waster. If financial success is the primary objective, then you must find the best way for your talents and skills to amass your fortune. Now is the time to try a variety of things and see what works.
What is great about this stage of construction, it’s easy to change things. Once you have seen the layout, once you’ve tried a business model, you have the ability to make even drastic changes relatively easily and for little cost. So now is the time to really finalize that dream home. Now is the opportunity to work hard at your craft and see how it will serve your ambitions. Does everything you do serve a purpose, is there flow? Form? Function? As you refine your skills and path, ask yourself “Is this the dream I envisioned?” Now is the time to make it so.
Once the walls are framed and the ceiling goes up, in come the mechanicals. All the stuff in behind the ceiling and walls. The lifeblood of your home. We bring in the wiring for lights, pipes for water, ductwork for AC. These systems are the ancillary aspects of your job or business that will make you better at your overall skill. They need to be done correctly and in order. These processes are things like product development, creating a team, marketing, logistics, budgeting.
These systems can easily be adjusted at this stage too. Do you need and extra outlet? What marketing opportunities are available? Are there enough vents to adequately cool and heat the space? Are we utilizing all the social media platforms to promote our business or skill? All these questions are figured out at this rough framing stage of construction. Mistakes made now, are manageable and correctable, where you can learn valuable lessons without it costing too much. Having to switch service providers or rebranding your image at this point is not only possible, oftentimes it may be for the best. All these same principles apply to creating your dream life. A lifestyle that you want to enjoy for at least the next 10 years.
So, how to start? at this stage in constructing your dream life, it is time to take action. Kick things into high gear. Try new things. Do what you are not comfortable with. Do things poorly. Do things that will have to be redone. Just like building your dream home, this is the rough-in time. Things do not have to be perfect, but they have to get done. Rough framing does not require seamless joints and exactly precise measurements, but it does require proper structure and a solid foundation that they can be built upon. The finish work and fine details are much easier when the rough-in work is done well so do your best, but most important just do. But the bottom line is to just get something done.
If you are unhappy at your current job and ready to make a change, what would that be and why? List the top three dream jobs you would like to have if money were not a factor.
For me, that meant deciding that I would try to make a podcast, build a website, and write the book. At least that was the plan. No matter how bad my first attempts were, I had to take that leap and just go for it. So that is what I did. I gathered up what I would need. And got to it. I wrote in my journal every day about what these things would look like. And then I just went for it. I found two friends from high school that were doing cool things and would be willing to interview by me. It took me 3 tries with one buddy and only one shot with the other (who was already doing his own podcast) and I had my first two recordings for my podcast. I convinced that same buddy to edit these first two episodes and we met at his house and recorded an intro. They were not pretty but they were done and ready to publish. But I didn’t know how to publish a podcast. My buddy was of little help here, I had to figure out another way.
So, I shifted gears to the book and website. I started off with a Wix webpage but later switched over to WordPress. Again, I had no idea how to build a page and the first several versions were horrible, but I published them anyway. Each day I would make improvements and republish. Each day taking little steps. And ultimately it didn’t really matter because no one was visiting the site anyway.
But it was the same thing with the book. I first started with some basic self-help principles and tried to craft them into something sensible with limited success. Nothing that even remotely resembles 8 keys 2 great and what you are currently reading. But I wrote anyway. The goal was 1000 words a day. I failed at that regularly. And in the end, it really didn’t matter too much because it all ended up in the garbage. But what it did do was improve my writing. Just the act of writing and typing improved my skill at both. The sentences slowly improved, the structure and flow began to be noticeably better. And most importantly somewhere in that journey, the 8 keys 2 Great concept emerged. I am quite sure it would not have, if not for all the writing and brainstorming done before it emerged.
And even after I worked out all 8 keys, that was just the beginning. Crystalizing the actual plan, honing the process, and refining the keys took time. And failures. Stories and concepts, I thought worked in one area were better suited elsewhere. The first half of the plan was very clear while the tail end was still difficult (partly because I had not reached that stage yet at that point in my quest). I still stumbled over my words when presenting the idea. I tend to trail off and assume people did not want to take the time to understand the whole process. And I still needed more beta testers to work through the entire process. Confirm (See) if any of this actually works for other people. Is it unique to me, and most importantly how can I give this program away for free and still find a way to support my family?
As I faced these struggles, I have always found a way to overcome or answer that call. And I believe it is because of the processes that I had created up to that point. They are the reasons I have met many of the guests that you have heard on the show. My favorite quote by Jim Rohn states “If you really want to do something, you will find a way, if you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”
So reflecting back on those dream jobs and while considering where you personally excel, what are you willing to try? Here are some questions to reflect on the determine a few paths to explore.
What are 3 hobbies or activities you enjoy that could be a side hustle (not necessarily moneymakers, just something you like doing, i.e. Podcast)?
What are 3 products or services your current job or business consistently struggle with?
What are 3 activities (classes, groups, organizations) you could participate in that would help you towards your dream job or business?
Who are the 3 people/businesses that are doing what you want to do? What 1 thing are they doing that you could do?
What are 3 skills you have, that most others don’t, that could be applied to a business model? Are they scalable?
As you spend time reviewing these concepts, hopefully, a few ideas will emerge. Test the field, offer things for free, begin to explore the space. Find the community in these areas and you will know quickly if it is the right fit for you. IF it is not, move on to the next idea or concept. One will ultimately resonate with you and when it does go hard at it. Understand all aspects of that concept or business. Both the parts you like and the parts you don’t like. All the while sharing and documenting your process. Believe it or not, years from now, you will reflect back on this time as some of the most memorable. The most meaningful. This is the time when your best stories will be made. Enjoy the process.
Once you have your business idea figured out, that rough framing built out, now set up those systems. The plumbing and electrical for your dream house. One of the best systems to establish your dream life is your budget. Having this system in place first will help you in creating the other systems you will need to reach your goals. So, let’s start there.
Budgeting – The 70% Rule
“If you will live like no one else, later you will live like no one else.” – Dave Ramsey
Could you live on 70% of your income? Is there a way to get there? What sacrifices could you make for 1 day? 1 Week? 1 Month? 1 Quarter? 1 Year? Are there ways you could today, trim the fat? Give up a Starbucks here or a chick-fil-a there? Are you on a budget? Is it written down? Are you sticking to it?
How much are you saving? How much are you giving? How much are you investing in? Most importantly, how much are you investing in yourself? I submit that just by writing down and keeping track of where the money is being spent you will immediately realize a 10-20% savings in spending. Just by paying attention and keeping track.
Did you pay any late fees this month? Did you analyze your statement and realize you were billed wrong? Just by combing through the information, giving it a name, and dividing it up, you will change your behavior. How much did you spend on groceries last month? How much going out to eat? Could you reduce that number by only a few percent? Could you call your cable company and ask for a reduced rate or better yet switch to the local competitor and save a bundle. Or still, better yet, could you ditch the cable bill altogether?
The first step is paying attention, then you see where the opportunity to save exists. Little bits here and there. I know what you are thinking, live on 70%????? We live on 110% right now. And that is exactly where I was when I started this journey. 20k in credit card debt amassed over about 7 years one month at a time spend an extra 10% we didn’t have. Month after month, year after year. Until we started paying attention. Paying attention to where the money was going. We had automatic payments set up for services we weren’t using cell phone plans that were double what our friends were paying. Fees for missed and late payments that could have easily been avoided simply by paying on time. In 1 month, we “found” an extra $1000! With barely even trying. I’m not saying you will have this level of success, but I am telling you the savings are out there. So now that we see that we can live with less, what do we do with it?
The 70-10-10-10 Rule
10% – Tithe
10% – Saving
10% – Investing in You
Saving. Hopefully, you are already contributing to some type of 401k or Roth IRA, and if so this 10% is at least partially being collected there already. This 10% is what those accounts are for. If you are not using them, start. Most companies have some type of 401k match so make sure you are taking advantage. You can use the companies matching portion towards this 10% since after all this is money you are earning anyway.
The reason I refer to saving 10% as the 2nd 10% is that the 1st 10% is the most important and non-negotiable. The first 10% is tithing. The first ten cents of every dollar goes to charity. Goes to someone else, goes to someone in need. This may seem so counterintuitive especially to someone who is agnostic or atheist, but I have seen the impact this has on the giver, time, and time again. It is remarkable how giving in this way is critical to long term wealth and success. For some of us, this is not as difficult sacrifice in that it is a principle of tithing found in most Christian faiths. I encourage you to do this while you are broke when you only have a dollar. It is much easier to give a dime when you have a dollar than it is to give 100k when you have $1million. That should also come before all else because once it is gone, you cannot get it back. Many of us choose to give to our local church, which is wonderful and some of the most well-used money collected but you can look for local charities and organizations within your community. A lot of the money that goes to big organizations like United Way and Goodwill is wasted in overhead and administrative costs. Not only does your dollar go farther locally, but it also allows you to give in person, see the impact it is having and affect those closest to you. A list of local charity links can be found on the site along with how they allocate funding and administrative costs. Giving is powerful. Try it for 90 days and watch the blessing unfold. If you follow the principles in this book and implement this practice you will have more money and financial success than when you started. Money-back guarantee.
Once you have given your 10%, make sure you are investing the next 10%. This is your savings. Diversify. Have a plan. Start small. Invest in what you know and what you believe in. Invest in others. Individual stocks and index funds which perform consistently are great, but also be willing to take a small risk here and there. Trust your gut, never worry over a loss, and enjoy the process of helping others reach their dreams along the way. This is for the long game; this money like to charity money is gone forever once allocated. Cannot be retrieved until later. This is not money that is invested in your own business. Again, if times are tight and the budget has already been cut, then using company matching funds to allot toward this 10% is ok temporarily but as you refine your budget and realize more savings, this category should be 10% of take-home pay.
Now that you’ve giving regularly, and saving, there is a little bit left (hopefully)after paying the bills. This last 10% is to be spent investing in you! Your side business, your passion, your development, you’re learning, your dreams, and aspirations. I know, I know, there is no money left and the baby needs a new pair of shoes. This is always the first category to get robbed from. What’s more important your personal development or the lights staying on????
So, we have developed some shortcuts and cheats to get our personal development growing for little to no money.
The first is a library card. Cost – $0. This is the first tool that you must have in your toolbox. The library card is the golden key, the secret to unlocking all the answers. The resources in the library are not just limited to books although they are probably still the most important and underutilized tool out there. The library also has park passes, discounts, and freebies. State Park Visitors pass – $0. Local Zoo – $0 on certain days. Symphony – $0 1 day a month. All the tools you need to, not only educate yourself but supply your family with opportunities to learn and grow through a variety of techniques and experiences. Culturally and educationally.
Even if you are too lazy to get a library card and don’t like to read, there is always the ever-present internet and smartphones. All the information literally in the world at your fingertips. YouTube and training websites abound with free content that covers everything from language learning to business school case studies. And almost all of it is free.
What excuse do we have to keep us from developing the lifestyle we want to live? Why can’t we have everything we want? Why can’t we have our dream job? No matter what we want to do, there is already not only someone doing it, but there are people out there willing to show you how to do it too.
Now as you grow and develop eventually the information will become more and more specific and as you get better and better at what you do the training and knowledge will eventually require some costs, but by then you should already be so far down your path that a small investment to help get you the information you require will not feel like any kind of sacrifice.
As you get good at what you do, look to others who have come before you. Who is doing it like you want to? Whom can you model after? How can you differentiate yourself in the market? What personal attributes do you bring? You are what makes the difference. You are your secret weapon. Now on the next season where we will review the 5th Key – Initial Inspections. Where we will review our progress. See you then. Good luck building your extraordinary life!