People always call me a dreamer as if its a bad thing, but the truth is, I had to be. Growing up in the environment that I did and being exposed to the hardships and struggles that I was at such a young age I had no choice, but to dream. For me, the visualizing that I use today in my professional ( see more of my professional story here )and personal life started when I was that kid, with violence all around him who would put his headphones on and visualize having a house with a backyard, not having to worry about money or even just having my own bed. I didn’t realize it then that it would be one of the most crucial elements in my success thus far in my life.
“Your mind must arrive at your destination before you do”
Now, am I saying if you just sit around and think of the things you want in life that they will just magically appear? Absolutely not. Visualizing is key, but is nothing without understanding the following formula:
If you’re chasing anything significant in life regardless if it is business or personal, you NEED to understand this. One of my favorite quotes is from a book I recently read called “Atomic Habits” by James Clear and it reads, “You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” Once you fully understand this, it changes every aspect of your life. Think about it, if your goal is to get a six-pack but your systems are eating poorly, rarely exercising, etc how can that end goal ever happen? If you want to be the best at your company in your position but your systems are spending your free time watching Netflix instead of learning something in your field then it’s not going to happen.
The same concept applies to finances, as well. So many people are living paycheck to paycheck because their systems tell them they need to go out every weekend or buy expensive things instead of saving or investing in things that will bring them positive ROI.
Having said this, so many articles that I come across give great advice, but not tangible, actionable items that readers can take away and implement in their own lives so I wanted to give a step by step process of how I used the exact formula above to visualize my way from a little kid in an awful environment to becoming a homeowner at 24.
Step 1- Visualize
As I previously mentioned, ever since I was a kid all I wanted was my own home in a nice area with a backyard. I would lay there with my headphones on and my eye closes just imagining this big open field in my backyard while trying to ignore the sounds beyond my headphones of gunshots and police sirens. I would tell myself “visualize until it materializes”. Of course, at that age, it is hard because all you have is the visions, but as I got older and finished college I realized that just visualizing wasn’t enough, I needed a plan ( my systems). However, throughout the time of me implementing my systems, the visualization never stopped. I would put together vision boards of what I wanted my future home ( amongst other things) to look like so I was constantly reminded of what I was working toward each day.
Step 2- Systems
One of the best pieces of financial advice I ever came across was from the book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” and it was simply, pay yourself first. This became my first system. The first thing I did was find my magic number. What is a magic number? When you get paid next, calculate the necessities that need to be taken care of; your bills, food, loans, etc. After this, use the time until your next payday and try to only use your money on the things you absolutely need. When your next payday comes around, the amount that is left in your account is your magic number.
So what exactly does this mean? This means that you now know how much to pay yourself when you receive your next check. The next time you get paid, take whatever that amount was and immediately put it into your savings account. After doing this a few times you will begin to see what you can actually save and remember, no amount is too little, this is a marathon, not a sprint. You need to save then spend rather than spend than save what is left.
After I put together my system for saving as much money as possible, I then needed to understand the numbers. I took my magic number and mapped out how much I would be saving on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis. From there, I began researching homes and the real estate market to see exactly how much I needed to have saved to make an offer on a home that I wanted. Having these numbers written down takes the dream that you’re visualizing and turns it into a plan that you now know exactly how to execute.
Step 3- Delayed Gratification
I cannot express how vital this last piece of the equation is to not overlook. In everything you do, whether is business, personal goals or relationships you need to grasp the concept of falling in love with the process and not the prize. Each goal will be different depending upon what you’re trying to accomplish, but any goal that is going to make a significant impact will certainly take time. In this specific case, it took over 20 years of visualizing, planning my systems and executing to accomplish the end goal. This is why it is so important to use mastering your systems as micro-goals along the way. If you put your happiness in reaching the end goal and not the journey, you’ve lost already.
You need to be content with incremental improvement each day.
If you can visualize your goal and remind yourself of it each day, plan and implement the systems and processes to align you to your goal and fall in love with not only who you are now, but where you are now in the journey, I promise you nothing can stop you from achieving whatever you want in life.
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