03 May How Real Life Gets in the Way of Success.
I’ve had this article written in my head for 90 days.
I just found the time to write it down and click the publish button.
Why didn’t I write it when I had the idea 90 days ago? Well…let me be honest.
Real life — I would like to blame it on real life.
Let me explain…
4 years ago I quit my job and went completely on my own.
I had no 9–5 job. No one to report too. I started from a blank state.
It’s safe to say, I had free time. A lot of it.
I wrote 140 blog articles in 2012.
In 2015, I wrote 4.
Did I have a lot less to write about in 2015 than in 2012? Nope! The exact opposite was true.
What’s the difference between 2012 and 2015?
Real life responsibilities.
My life was different 4 years ago.
4 years ago I had no job and a wife who was still in school and studied night and day.
Now I have a 1-year-old daughter and a full-time working wife.
In 2012, I could pick up and go to a networking event to meet new people on a moments notice.
In 2015, unless the networking event was meeting other couples with their new children, I wasn’t going anywhere.
And even if I had the time, it would be spent with my wife who I don’t get to see enough of in the first place!
That’s just 1 of the many reasons.
Am I making excuses?
Is it a valid excuse?
Here is the biggest difference between now and then.
In 2012, I had no choice. It was by far the most challenging year of my life.
I had no choice but to succeed.
I quit without anything lined up. I jumped right into the deep end without a life jacket.
What happens when you get desperate? You do desperate things.
- I took 250 coffee meetings in 400 days.
- I wrote 140 blog posts.
- I went to every networking event imaginable.
- I explored different career paths. I think I changed my career at least 4 times that year.
- I created stupid things that nobody wanted.
- I read every business book possible.
- I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life, and most importantly I didn’t know where my next paycheck would be coming from.
No wonder why my mother keeps asking me what it is I do for a living. I blame it on 2012.
Now in 2015… I don’t have to do those things anymore.
Here’s what’s the most interesting.
Quitting my job forced me to become desperate. It forced a quarter life crisis.
Without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
So, if you’re here thinking that real life gets in the way of success.
Here are the top real life situations that get in the way.
#1 — MONEY RESPONSIBILITIES
Money buys you one thing: freedom to fail without your world collapsing.
It doesn’t buy you success.
It doesn’t buy you happiness.
It does buy you the freedom to screw it all up and have nothing catastrophic happen to you as a result.
It’s why when I see articles about “How to travel the world on a budget,” it drives me insane.
I want to see someone write the article “How to travel the world without a full-time job, 1 kid, spouse, school loans and a mortgage you can’t afford.”
That article doesn’t exist.
Nobody wants to be on a beach broke. There isn’t a worse feeling than sitting on a beach and not being able to afford the overpriced coconut drink from the beach vendor when you’re dying of thirst.
Is traveling the world on a budget possible? Absolutely. This article is not meant to knock anyone who’s done it or written about it.
They figured out a way to do it that works, and while that’s helpful — I do feel like those articles are missing some variables.
(Can someone help me locate their children in this photo? I have bad vision.)
Until then, let’s stick with real life for the most of us.
You know who I’m talking about… the people who pay too much for a house they shouldn’t have bought, married someone who doesn’t like working or is taking risks.. and they’re doing all this with a career path they don’t like.
Now THAT’S my cup of tea.
I don’t want to be at a bonfire hearing about your groundbreaking ideas and your ideal life.
Let’s talk about your current miserable life.
Let’s talk about why you’re not succeeding. Let’s talk about everything that is preventing you from making a life breakthrough.
Let’s talk about the SCREW YOU I QUIT number. You know. This is the amount of money you need your bank account so you can look your boss in the eye and scream I QUIT!!!
Seriously, this is a great topic to discuss over Christmas Egg Nog.
“So Jason… I was reading this random guy’s article. He has this theory that everyone has a number of how much they need in their bank account before they can scream at their boss that they quit.Not to get to personal… but… I’m curious. What’s your Screw You I Quit number?”
NOW THAT’S AN ENJOYABLE CHRISTMAS.
#2 — FAMILY RESPONSIBILITIES
“Thanks for paying the electric bill Dad.” ~ Said no kid ever.
I had a daughter recently. I was semi-complaining to a co-worker how hard is it work and have a kid.
He scoffed at me and said “HA! One kid? Man, you have it easy. Try 3 kids. You’re playing on easy mode. Do you want to hear about my day yesterday with my kids?”
I never opened my mouth again about how hard life is with a kid.
I will say this about children, though. Children are logistical nightmares.
Before Kid: Attend my favorite networking event at 6pm once a month.
After Kid: No more attending networking events.
Just to give you a small glimpse into my life. Here is a recent text message exchange between me and a friend who wanted me to play basketball.
It’s not just children.
This all assumes that everyone is healthy and everyone loves each other on a daily basis.
#3 — EXTENDED FRIENDS & FAMILY
“UGH. Jane just invited me to her Christmas party. I hate her boring ass Christmas parties, plus it’s all the way in the suburbs. I really don’t want to go and plus I don’t know what to get her for Christmas.”
I heard this as I was walking outside a few days ago.
First off — Screw Jane and her Christmas party that no one ever wants to go to but has to go to because of peer pressure.
Second off — I find Christmas parties in the suburbs are more enjoyable because there is usually more space.
Anyway, I digress.
I live in the city.
The rest of my family lives in the suburbs.
So when my mom says to come over and eat some dinner with the rest of the family, naturally I’m excited to see them.
However, that also means that My entire day to work on various projects disappears.
Do I love my mother? Of course.
Do I love my brother, sister and their kids? Of course.
Am I lucky that we get to sit down and enjoy each others company? Of course.
Does her inviting me over entirely screw the only time I have to work on some things that would advance my career? Of course it does.
This is part of real life and I’ve learned to accept it.
#4 — TIME
In the end, it all comes down to time.
The more responsibilities you have, the more time disappears — .quickly!
Being single and financially independent in a first world country is as easy as it gets.
Add a spouse, children, a demanding career and all of a sudden life is much different.
Add different situations because of where you are in the world and issues with your country, life becomes much more difficult. Look no further thanHumans of New York for those types of situations.
Throw in unexpected events, health and money issues and difficult friends and family and it becomes damn near impossible.
So, what’s the answer?
LIVE BELOW YOUR MEANS. WAY, WAY BELOW YOUR MEANS
Want to reduce your chances of career success?
Reduce the amount of career freedom you have by reducing how much money is in your bank account.
Buy things you can’t afford.
Get a mortgage. Buy nice cars. Eat out twice a week.
The key to being miserable is making sure your fixed expenses are high enough where it cripples you from making any life changing decisions.
Yes. I just joined the renting is better than buying bandwagon. I’m a homeowner and my home is finally the price that I bought it for. It will take a lot for me to buy a home again.
Can buying a home be a great investment? Absolutely.
However, the moment you go “I really want to try something different,” the first thing that prevents you from making that decision is the home you own.
I made a TON of hard financial decisions in 2013. I am much better because of it now.
GET YOUR MONEY ACT TOGETHER.
I had a money problem.
I was good at making money, but my bank account never really represented what I was making.
I got my act together.
I read these books:
I Will Teach You T0 Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom by Tony Robbins
If you can’t afford those books, let me know. I’ll buy them for you. Think of it as an early Christmas gift. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I read /r/personalfinance on reddit every single day — this is a truly amazing community of people. Read all the posts and learn how these people think.
I bought You Need a Budget which is the only finance tool I’ve ever really stuck with. A true game changer in how you think about money. Read the methodology at least. It will take a while to understand how it works, but it’s something I wish I used 10 years ago.
My wife and I sit down twice a month to go over it. It’s opened the world for both of us.
REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF PEOPLE THAT CAN RUIN YOUR LIFE WITH ONE MAJOR DECISION
“I don’t like it when one person can make or break me. A boss. A publisher. A TV producer. A buyer of my company. At any one point I’ve had to kiss ass to all of the above. I hate it. I will never do it again.” — James Altucher.
Ahh yes. Wise words from my favorite person James Altucher.
Write down all the people that can ruin your life with one decision.
For everyone you list, write down how you can you reduce the risk of them ruining your life
GET LUCKY WITH THE PERSON YOU MARRY
You know how I quit my job in 2011?
I didn’t make that decision in a vacuum. My wife was 100% on board. Ok. She was more like 85% on board.
This is why our marriage works.
I won the marriage lottery. I have a beautiful wife who makes money, doesn’t spend it and allows me to take risks. She also sacrificed her career for me.
To put it bluntly. I owe her big time.
I once gave a workshop on how to quit your job in 2012.
One of the attendees gave negative feedback that it was “easy for me to do because my wife was going to start making money soon at her new job. It’s not that easy for the rest of us.”
At first, I was angry. I got over it.
She was right.
Whether I realized it or not, I knew my wife was going to have another job soon and another source of income. That made quitting easier.
So, when you’re marrying someone you have to look past love.
How does this person help me achieve my goals? Will he or she make it easier or harder?
Does he or she agree with our same goals?
I’m not saying give your future spouse a credit check.
I’m not saying have a fight tonight about how he or she doesn’t want to work.
I’m saying have a conversation about how you want your future life to be like and how you both get there. Write the numbers down for everyone to see. Then talk about how you get there.
I’m just saying take a deep look at how both of you will live and grow together. This is a partnership that has the ability to help you reach your potential, it’s a real investment in your future outside of the lure of love at first sight
Love is overrated.
(braces for negative comments in the comments section)…
BE UNBELIEVABLY, UNREALISTICALLY, FOOLISHLY AWESOME AT SAYING NO.
I’ve read every article on how to say NO. Everyone says to say NO more often. I know the more I say yes, the more I lose focus. I’ve told everyone I knew to say NO more often.
I used to be the master of saying NO.
Until someone convinced me to say yes to help them build a billion dollar company. I said no 10 times. He persisted. The 11th time I said yes.
The company imploded 3 months later.
That yes cost me 3 months of my time that I can’t get back.
I was actually glad it imploded so I could re-focus on me.
I’m sick of living someone else’s dream.
The only lesson learned from this mistake? Get better at saying NO. Kind of like innocent until proven guilty. I’m just going to default to NO.
HAVE REAL EXPECTATIONS ON SUCCESS.
I get upset when people talk about how brave someone is for quitting their job.
They aren’t brave. They most likely left because they hit their SCREW YOU I QUIT number or got completely fed up with their current gig that they just said screw this.
It also sickens me when I see people write about making passive income while they get a sun tan at the beach.
Is it possible? Absolutely.
Has it been done? Sure.
Could you do it? Sure.
What they don’t tell you is that if you want to make money while you’re on the beach, you have to have money BEFORE you move to the beach.
Nobody moves to the beach and THEN makes passive income. Don’t be silly.
STALK THE ONE PERSON THAT CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE
James Altucher changed my life.
He taught me to bleed on the page. It’s why I write the way I write.
I would be nowhere without him.
I stalked him for 4 years.
After I met him, it just confirmed that I was on the right track.
Who is that person for you?
I recently started following Gary Vaynerchuck. This guy knows about real life.
STOP WORKING SO MUCH
You. You work too much.
It’s not about working smarter.
The problem with working smarter is you don’t really know what working smarter really is.
Nobody ever gives you the compliment “You know that Lisa girl? She really works smarter than everyone else. I’m going to give her a raise because she worked the least amount of hours last month.”
The key to understanding if you’re working too much is to ask yourself this question:
In the last 4 weeks of working, how much of the work benefited me and how much of the work benefited someone else?
If you haven’t worked on something that benefited you directly at least 15% of the time, you have a major problem with work.
GET BETTER AT MAKING MONEY
You can budget all damn day. You can save money like crazy.
But if you don’t make money, you won’t get the freedom you need.
This is what I want you to do.
- Get your phone.
- Text 5 close friends.
- Ask them this question: If you were forced to pay me a $1,000. What would you have me do for you?
When they reply back with something stupid like “strip at my birthday party,” reply back that you’re really serious.
You want to know what they would pay a $1,000 for.
The best generic catch all advice I can give you is that you’re most likely going to make money at something you’re good at.
It’s right in front of you, but not completely obvious.
Also, read this book.
Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill
If you can’t afford it. Email me at email@example.com and I’ll buy it for you.
SLOW PROGRESS IS PROGRESS — AS LONG AS IT’S CONSISTENT PROGRESS
I met with an entrepreneur once a year for 3 years.
Every year he had the same problem with getting his idea off the ground. He had no new information. He didn’t have any great failure stories. He didn’t know anything new about the market. He didn’t reach out to the people I asked him to reach out too. It was still the same idea it was 3 years ago. Nothing changed.
The fourth year he emailed me to meet up again.
I didn’t respond.
If you’ve been at it for 4 years and you’re still at the same exact spot, then you’re wasting everyone’s time.
Don’t let your situation fool you into thinking that you can’t make real progress.
PAY SOMEONE THAT FORCES YOU TO GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER
I hired Neville Medhora because I’m a horrible sales copywriter. I’m great at writing, but I’m horrible when it comes to convincing people to buy my stuff.
The first 30 minutes of our conversation were the most uncomfortable I’ve been in a long time.
He was asking me questions I didn’t have answers too.
I was so deep into my own stuff that I couldn’t think outside the box. Those first 30 minutes easily paid for the entire coaching sessions I signed up for.
He gave me action items.
I told him that I’ll get them done in 3 weeks because I was busy with real life.
He told me no. He then set a date for a week later.
At first I was like “Dude, I’m paying YOU and you’re telling me when our next meeting is? On top of that, I have got a kid, a full time job and a lot more friends and family responsibilities. I can’t get this done in a week.”
I said OK.
The night before our next coaching meeting I freaked out because I didn’t get my homework done.
I put my daughter to sleep, kissed my wife good night and then stayed up till 4 in the morning to do my homework.
It was the most I’ve ever got done in a long, long time.
I went to sleep with a great sense of accomplishment.
I realized that I didn’t need 3 weeks. I just needed someone to force me to get my shit together.
IT IS IT WHAT IS
I paid $600 for a 3-day seminar a few years ago.
It was like a cheaper visit to a psychologist.
I learned one thing.
It is what it is.
This single mantra has helped me break through many barriers and tough situations.
What I used to perceive as a big deal or failure, I realized that I’m the one that associated failure to what happened.
It is what it is.
Get your shit together. Move on. It’s not that serious.
PS: Read the only resignation letter template you’ll ever need.