Sunday, July 24, 2016

5 Simple Steps to Plan Your Dream Life
Written by Jim Rohn

Reflect on where you are going and how you are going to get there.

I’ve often said that the major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes you do to accomplish it. This will always be a far greater value than what you get. That is why goals are so powerful—they are part of the fabric that makes up our lives.

Goal setting provides focus, shapes our dreams and gives us the ability to hone in on the exact actions we need to take in order to get everything in life we desire.

Goals are exciting because they provide focus and aim for our lives. Goals cause us to stretch and grow in ways we never have before. In order to reach our goals, we must become better; we must change and grow.

A powerful goal has three components:

It must be inspiring.
It must be believable.
It must be one you can act on.

When your goals inspire you, when you believe and act on them, you will accomplish them.

The basis for knowing where we want to go is knowing where we came from and where we are. It also knows how well we have done achieving things we have previously set our eyes on. This is the essence of evaluation and reflection. We need to understand how to look at what we have done and then use that as a platform for what we want to do next.

The process of evaluation is relatively simple, but can be varied a bit. The important point is having a process. Here is the basic process for evaluation and reflection:

1. Find a quiet place.
Reflection is best done away from distraction. It gives your mind space to think.

2. Take a regular time.
Whether it is once a week, every other week, once a month or quarter, be sure to set aside a regular time at regular intervals to evaluate and reflect.

3. Look at what you have accomplished and where you are.
Be specific. Be truthful. Be ruthlessly honest.

4. Write it down.
Keep a record. This gives you the chance at the next stage of evaluation to see exactly where you were last time and keeps it as objective as possible.

5. Look forward and set your next goal.
Stretch yourself according to what works for you.

That is the basic process of evaluation and reflection. If you have not done this before, then this will get you going. Be sure to follow the general idea and set aside time for your evaluation and reflection.

Now, the purpose of evaluation is twofold. First, it gives you an objective way to look at your accomplishments and your pursuit of the vision you have for your life. Second, it shows you where you are so you can determine where you need to go. In other words, it gives you a baseline from which to work.

We have all heard the quote that the unexamined life is not worth living. To evaluate and reflect brings us face to face with who we are and what we have become. More important, it allows us the time to dream and create a vision for what we want to become. Only when we take time out of our busy schedules can we get into the state of mind and quietness of heart we need in order to find that inner place where we see what we are and what we can become. Those who never take time to evaluate and reflect will blow to and fro through this life, living by the forces of culture, circumstances, societal pressures and, unfortunately, personal weaknesses. In contrast, those who take the time to evaluate will find they are like an oak tree in a storm: They have a firm foundation, know where they are going, how to get there and, ultimately, they will get there no matter what comes their way!

Jim Rohn, America's Foremost Business Philosopher, reprinted with permission from Jim Rohn International © 2015. As a world-renowned author and success expert, Jim Rohn touched millions of lives during his 46-year career as a motivational speaker and messenger of positive life change. For more information on Jim and his popular personal achievement resources or to subscribe to the weekly Jim Rohn Newsletter, visit www.JimRohn.com.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

5 Money Principles You Need to Know
Written by Jim Rohn

The things you must understand to achieve financial freedom—aka your get-out-of-debt plan

Although finances shouldn’t be the highest priority in our lives, I will say money plays a major role and we need to see it for what it is: a tool. As my good friend Zig Ziglar says, “Money isn’t everything, but it ranks right up there with oxygen!”

Money is a tool that, depending on how we use it, can bring much joy to our lives or it can bring destruction. We need to be aware of all the possibilities it offers as well as the pitfalls. Some of the most amazing things have been done because people had the financial resources to fund them—businesses have been built, schools started and philanthropic charities founded that have accomplished much good. On the other hand, friendships have been ruined, illicit gains profited and lives destroyed—all over money.

So today, I want to focus on applying some simple financial principles, but I also want to teach the underlying philosophies that govern what good people can do and what tremendous accomplishments can be made when we see money for what it is: a tool to improve our lives and the lives of others.

John Wesley said, “Earn all you can, save all you can and give all you can.” A person who sees the powerful force for good that money can be will more likely keep their own life in balance by pursuing the disciplines of earning, saving and giving, which, together, create the perfect tension and balance.

But we must also remember that money has a seductive side and tells you it will solve all of your problems, but it won’t. It is great to have money—lots of it—as long as your life is in balance and you keep the proper perspective. It is important that we own our money and not the other way around.

The first way to make sure money doesn’t own us is to deal with the issue of debt.

Americans, along with most of the world, have more debt than ever. We would do well to remember the old proverb, “The borrower is the servant to the lender.”

When we are in debt, we owe someone, and because of this, they have a certain amount of control over us. We are, in essence, their servant. This is not the way of financial freedom.

Interestingly enough, when it comes to debt, I have found that many otherwise intelligent people just don’t get it. So, for a little help, here are five things you must understand to achieve financial freedom:

1. Develop the right mindset.
When it comes to debt, the only mindset is one of ruthless opposition. We need to see debt as the very enemy of our financial lives. If we begin to say, “Well, a little debt here and maybe a little debt there,” we will soon see a lot of debt everywhere. In the same way money can compound positively when we save and invest, debt can also multiply and push you deeper into debt as each month passes. The right mindset is that we need to get out of debt and stay out of debt. Is this your mindset? Many times, we are a product of the environment we were raised in or we associate with currently. Have you thought lately about the mindset you have toward debt?

2. Gain more understanding.
Some people have no idea how much debt they actually have. Some people do not know whether they have a positive or negative net worth. You can’t plan your future if you do not know where you currently are. Think of it this way. Let’s say you wanted to visit a friend and needed directions to get to his home. When you call for directions, he would ask you where you are coming from. Typically, we would tell him our town or address, and he would then give us directions how to get there from where we are. Imagine, however, if we told him we didn’t know where we were. He couldn’t give us directions because he wouldn’t know whether to tell us to go north or south, east or west.

The same is true with knowing where we are financially. If you have a goal to save $1 million, your plan is going to be different if you already have $750,000 saved than if you have $100,000 in consumer debt. Figure out where you are financially—get an understanding. In this instance, the old “Knowledge is power” adage is true. There is power in knowing where you stand financially, because only then can you map your financial future!

3. Seek help.
When you are sick, you go to the doctor. When you want to improve in a sport, you get a coach. When you are in debt, you need to seek some help. Depending upon the amount of debt you have, you will have to look for varying degrees of help. If you have $2,000 to $5,000 in credit card debt, you might just need a friend to keep you accountable on monthly spending. If, on the other hand, you are over your head in debt, for instance $50,000 in credit card debt, you may need to bring in the help of a financial advisor who can help you with your creditors. Don’t let your pride get in the way. Everyone needs help at times, and wise people get help when they need it. If you have debt and need help managing it, get help. Your future depends on it.

4. Get control.
Think about the concept of debt for a minute, especially the specific action of going into debt in order to purchase something you want but don’t have the funds on hand to pay. Now, you might not ever articulate it this way, but what you are really saying is, “I don’t have the money for this, but I want it so much that I cannot go any longer without it. And, not only that, but I am willing to pay 10 to 20 percent more for it than it costs.” (Ten to 20 percent is a typical yearly percentage rate on a credit card.)

What this boils down to is an issue of control. Can you control your urges? Or, more appropriately, will you control your urges? Will you take control of your life? Will you take responsibility for your actions and decide for yourself that you will no longer buy on credit and dig yourself deeper into debt, jeopardizing your financial future?

5. Create a Plan.
To get out of debt, you need a plan. It needs to be simple, effective, workable and tailored to your individual life. There are some fundamentals you can follow, but everyone has different incomes, levels of debt and at different stages in life. A 50-year-old couple who has an income of $125,000 with $50,000 in debt is going to have a different plan than a single male, age 25, who has an income of $30,000 a year and a total of $10,000 in debt.

The key is to have a plan. Once you have a plan that will work for you, then work the plan with all of the discipline you can muster. Your plan should include detailed strategies for spending, income, saving, investing, etc. I remember the day so clearly that I told my mentor Mr. Shoaff, “If I had more money, I would have a better plan.” To which he replied, “No, I would suggest that if you had a better plan, you would have more money. Remember, it’s not the amount that counts, it’s the plan.” As the old adage goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” So true.

Here are a few additional basics for your get-out-of-debt plan:
  • Write down everything you spend. Keep a ledger or a journal or a notepad or whatever works for you, but write down every transaction you make. This is so important. It creates awareness, forcing you to take a second look at each decision, and helps bring accountability to your spending.
  • On all future credit card charges, pay off the full charges for the previous month’s expenditures—no exceptions. This will keep you from paying “new” interest. If you are not able to do this right away, set it as a goal to be able to do as soon as possible.
  • Determine how much additional money you can apply to your debt each month and apply it all to your highest-interest debts.

Your financial future can be amazing; it can be anything you want it to be. Part of the heritage you can leave behind is being financially independent, but it will involve some deep soul-searching and some tough decisions to figure out exactly what you want out of life. One of the first issues you must deal with, though, is debt. If you don’t have debt, that is fantastic. If you do, life isn’t over for you; you can still achieve whatever you desire, but only if you make the commitment to shift your priorities.

Jim Rohn, America's Foremost Business Philosopher, reprinted with permission from Jim Rohn International © 2016. As a world-renowned author and success expert, Jim Rohn touched millions of lives during his 46-year career as a motivational speaker and messenger of positive life change. For more information on Jim and his popular personal achievement resources or to subscribe to the weekly Jim Rohn Newsletter, visit www.JimRohn.com.