“Never Tasted Soup from a Can…”
Recently, I was inspired by an interview with actress Kate Winslet who has just finished filming a new movie only six weeks after giving birth to her third child. “…There’s actually something really empowering about going, ‘Hell, I can do this. I can do all this.’ And that’s the wonderful thing about mothers. You can, because you must, and you just do.”
After having three children myself, the Parkinson’s law adage which states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion” has taken on new meaning. I get so much more done now – personally and professionally — than I did prior to having children. I may not sleep or relax as much, but I certainly accomplish more in every aspect of my life.
As a purpose-driven person, I take everything that I undertake very seriously. I believe that everyone should be able to define what a life of purpose means for them, and then align their life in a way that continually furthers you toward that goal. For me, there was never any question that I would have a life that includes both being a mom and a working professional.
“Soup from a Can”
Rarely, if ever, do I mentally revisit non-work-related small-talk conversations, particularly if they took place with individuals from outside of my inner circle. As an executive recruiter, I speak to literally dozens and dozens of people every week, and I simply don’t have the mental capacity or inclination to run a continuous loop of past conversations. I’m always on to the next thing. However, for many years now, there’s a comment that has lingered in my mind, perhaps feasting upon my “guilt” as a driven, working mom.
Eight years ago, while living in a well-to-do suburb in Minnesota, a nosey neighbor (think Gladys Kravitz from Bewitched)approached my husband in our driveway when my twin boys were only a couple months old. “Kristi isn’t going back to work, is she?” My husband proceeded to tell her that I was, in fact, heading back to work in a few weeks. My daughter was two years old at the time, and I was entering the phase of experiencing real sadness each time I faced leaving my babies to go to the office. But, I was going back to work.
“Well, my children have never even tasted soup from a can,” judgmental, nosey neighbor — condescending and awkwardly — volunteered to my husband who felt it was a clear effort to try to discredit me (while apparently attempting to gain some sort of credit for herself).
Hmmmm…”never tasted soup from a can” somehow equates to exceptional mothering skills?
For years now, each time I heat a can of soup for my children’s lunch thermoses, I think about this comment. Should I be spending more time cooking up large kettles of homemade soup every weekend to save my children the horror of eating soup from a can? Perhaps this comment rankled me so much because I am one of the best home cooks out there, or maybe it’s just because I find the inherent judgment so distasteful. Regardless, it was a comment intended to cast the stay-at-home mom in a more positive light, and to throw the professional, working mom under the bus. I mean, how could I possibly be preparing healthy meals for my family when I work outside of the home?
Clearly, this modern day Mrs. Kravitz had absolutely no idea who she was talking about. Cooking and gardening have been my primary hobbies for decades. I began cooking when I was 13-years old as my mother rejoined the workforce. She would leave notes every day asking me, for example, to put a meatloaf in the oven or place a pot on the stove at a certain time. This quickly led to me preparing full meals for dinner. Had my mother not gone back to work, I may never have learned to cook, a skill I have built upon for over 30 years. Moreover, my husband also likes to cook, and makes a hot breakfast for our children every single morning. These kids suffer not in the food department.
Actively Creating Personal and Professional Alignment
Back in 1997 when I began my retained executive search career as an entry-level Associate with the world’s largest search firm, I quickly realized that if I persevered long enough to become a Managing Director, this career could allow me the flexibility to come as close to “having it all”as possible — a family and a flourishing career. It has since proven possibly to be one of the best careers out there for a “working mom.”
What I have done for the past 17 years is create a career, working environment and family life that are completely blended and co-exist in ways that work well 90% of the time for me, and more importantly, for my family (with one calendar that incorporates both sides of my life). And, I managed to write a three-award winning book along the way.
Am I sounding defensive? If so, it’s because I have felt defensive for years every time I think about the infamous soup line.
Over the years, it has become clear to me that the tension that exists between professional, working moms and stay at home moms is the obvious byproduct of playing – and thinking – small. I don’t play small. Nor do I make judgments as to whether a woman decides to work outside of the home, or not. For me not to have a career where I can exercise/bring to bear the best of myself would not be a good decision for me, nor would it be the example that I want to set for my children.
I take a great deal of pride in having my career while at the same not cutting corners in any respect as a mother. As a matter of fact, I consistently attempt to go above and beyond in everything I undertake – both personally and professionally – every single day. For example, I have a personal distaste for the unsupervised circus in school busses, thanks to several traumatic childhood experiences. As such, my husband and I have made a commitment not only to drive our kids to school each and every day (an easy commitment to make given that the school is five-minutes from our house), but also to walk them to the door. Between the two of us, we have never missed a day, and it’s always a very special family time that we all cherish.
No, being a working mom does not, at all, automatically equate to cutting corners, or taking the easy way out when it comes to child-rearing. I have been blessed to find a rewarding career that I have fully integrated with my personal life. I am also grateful to have a tremendous amount of support and help in my life from both my husband and my mother. I am blessed.
Far Bigger and Lasting Lessons
Obviously, I have spent a great deal of time stewing in this kettle of imperious, other-kind-of-mom judgment. However, I have finally come to terms with this commentary after observing how my now 10-year old daughter – and 8-year old sons – are learning from my example. Yes, I take pride in the fact that they love my food (well, most of it), and will enthusiastically ask most every day what we are having for dinner. But, there are far bigger and lasting lessons taking shape here.
How am I going to teach my children to actively pursue and create their very best lives if I am not a living, breathing example of doing the same?
If I Were Today to Give Up My Career and Professional Activities to Stay at Home, What Would that Say to My Children?
The example my children see today is an ever-present mom who always has time for them, who creates a lovely home for them, and who always places them first. They also see me working hard, focusing, concentrating, preparing for meetings, engaging in interesting telephone conversations and Skype calls (that they don’t quite understand, but know are pretty important), traveling occasionally to locations they wish they could visit, and celebrating lots of professional wins together with them. They also know that their mom is a writer and author with a purpose to help other people to improve their lives. My writing also is fueling them to try to be the best young writers they can be. Every day they observe the importance of being self-motivated and consistent in effort. They see hard work, and they are learning work ethic. They are happy and secure, and understand how my career enhances all of our lives.
My kids will never play small. They are being taught that they are here to create significant lives and to do it their way. They don’t have to settle for playing small ball.
And, my boys also will never, ever have the perspective that females are somehow less. Their mom works, loves, cooks, plays…and occasionally mows the lawn. They know I’m a well-rounded leader who can do it all, their sister can do it all, and every female in the world is their equal. There’s no question that they’ll relate to women throughout their personal and professional lives in positive and healthy ways.
My children also consistently hear conversations about the importance of thinking big and pursuing greatness. They routinely hear conversations I have with their father about topics such as values, missions, callings, integrity, and purpose. As a recruiter, it’s second nature for me to point out –pretty much everywhere that we go – the jobs people are performing and the myriad career options my children have ahead of them.
Unquestionably, what I do today is shaping these little people into the great people they are becoming. I am present. I pay attention. And I am not missing anything. I noted to my daughter just this week that I’m so proud that she’s taken complete responsibility this year for doing her homework, and meeting her deadlines without prompting every evening from me. She’s internalizing the work hard / play hard environment in which she’s being raised in ways that are already becoming part of her own work ethic. She’s learning that to live our best lives, we must take responsibility for ourselves. She likes the recognition she’s receiving for being a great, not just good, student.
And, I think that really sums it up: My example as a working mom is going to prove to be the difference maker in forming these little souls into great — not just good — people. And, really, it’s not about the homemade soup.
However, in a shout-out to my modern day Mrs. Kravitz, the judgmental, subversive mom from Edina, I share two of my family’s favorite soup recipes.
2 1/2 pounds or ~5 large sweet yellow onions, halved, and sliced 1/4-inch thick (8 cups)
1/4 pound butter
4 bay leaves
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1 scant teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon fine ground Tellicherry pepper
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup medium-dry sherry
1 Tablespoon (or more to taste) beef base
64 ounces beef broth (I use Pacific or College Inn)
1 cup brandy or Cognac
1 1/2 cups good dry white wine
Freshly grated gruyere and gouda cheese
In a large stockpot on medium-low heat, sauté the onions with the butter and bay leaves for 60 minutes, until the onions turn a rich golden brown color. Deglaze the pan with the brandy and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes until reduced by about half. Add the beef base and simmer 2 minutes. Add the white wine, salt and peppers, and simmer uncovered for 15 more minutes.
Meanwhile, slice baguette one-inch thick and top with mixture of grated gruyere and Gouda cheese. Place under broiler until cheese is bubbling and starting to brown.
Add the beef stock plus salt and pepper to the onion mixture. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf, taste for salt and pepper, and top with warm cheese toasts.
1Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons dried sweet basils leaves
1Tablespoon good olive oil
2 pounds beef oxtails (in Denver, I find them at Tony’s or Edwards)
2 cups chopped sweet yellow onion
2 leeks chopped (white only)
4 carrots, diced
2 stalks ½-inch diced celery
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 bay leaves
4 sprigs fresh thyme, tied with kitchen string
1 cup pearled barley
4 cups left-over, cubed roast beef or prime rib (optional)
Heat olive oil in a large pot. Lightly salt and pepper the oxtails and add to the pot. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned all over – approximately 12 – 15 minutes. Remove oxtails from pan and reserve.
Add the carrots, celery, leeks, onion, and garlic to pot and cook 12 – 15 minutes until the vegetables are just starting to soften and brown. Add the spice mixture and mix well, cooking for 4-5 minutes. Add thyme and bay leaves, and return oxtails to the pot, along with the cubed left-over beef, if using. Add the broth and raise the heat to a boil. Then, reduce heat to a simmer for 60 minutes.
In a separate pot, bring four cups of water to a boil and add barley. Simmer for 30 minutes and drain.
Remove bay leaves, oxtails and thyme bundle from pot. Add barley and simmer for 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Kristi LeBlanc is an executive recruiter based out of Denver, Colorado, as well as a writer, author of the award-winning book, Living with Certainty, speaker, and mom.
85 Ways To Lose Real Weight | Lighten Your Load
I work hard to keep my life as simple as possible. Why? Because when my life is simple, I feel good – at peace, joyous, lighter, and more centered. The less I have to do that isn’t in some way related to the expression of my intrinsic purpose in life (or somehow related to the creation or maintenance of my deepest joy) – and the less that unnecessary burdens and complications weigh me down — the happier I am. This isn’t to say that I’m not extremely busy – I am. Nor is it to say that I’m not constantly stretching myself and pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. I am (and that’s the real secret to my success). But I know my limits, I know what really keeps life simple (a pure, purposeful, and authentic life of the highest integrity…in a nutshell), and I know when to retreat and recharge. And by keeping my focus on having a focused, simple, pure, and loving life, I can then (with relative ease) retreat to that place of pure rejuvenation and centeredness whenever I need to.
For the 40+ crowd, it was easier to do this when we were kids, – to naturally recharge our batteries – because we purely flitted from one pleasure pursuit to another…the next laugh, the next smile, the next popsicle, the next great adventure. As adults, however, many of us have so aimlessly created so many activities, circumstances, and responsibilities in our lives that really have nothing to do with the expression of our purpose — or the creation or maintenance of our deepest joy — that many people are experiencing little – if any – satisfaction in their lives. Not at all what was intended for our lives.
NOTE: I’m talking here about practical, doable ways to simplify and experience more joy in your life if you’re one of the many mature, hard-working people –parents and professionals — who I routinely speak with who are stressed, burned out, mired in negativity, and in need of some relief. However, there is a new generation (or two) of surly young individuals who have made selfishness and the pursuit of surface pleasures – not integrity or purpose — a way of life. And that’s a different issue altogether (and these individuals in many ways contribute greatly to the stress and negativity that others are experiencing today).
But the opportunity is still there for all of us – to varying degrees — to return to lives that are as easy and simple as possible. We can create adult lives that provide comfort, joy, and peace to us when we need it. That’s not to say that we won’t have circumstances and complications in our lives that we haven’t asked for or created. Without question, there are bad breaks and tragedies that are not of our own making. And in these circumstances, it’s all the more important that we take care of ourselves – mentally, spiritually, and physically – or we can drown in our valid pressures and worries.
So, how do you start un-complicating – at least to some degree — a complicated life of your own making? How can you shed unnecessary burdens and stressors that are weighing you down and stifling your hopes and deepest joys?
Ask yourself, do I still view my life, my potential, and my future through the same hopeful, positive lens through which I so naturally viewed the world when I was younger? If the answer is “no,” it’s time for a paradigm shift — because no matter what you face in your life, you deserve to experience as much joy, hope, and belief in a better tomorrow as possible. When you consider the negative circumstances in your life that are of your own making, what specifically have you created or included in your life that is so spirit-draining? Bad career choice? Too-large of a mortgage? Toxic relationships? Over-spending?
In days long gone by, the living was easier. As a child, you moved in the direction of what was fun, what thoroughly engaged you, what brought joy, what felt good. There was no overthinking, no politics, no conditioned fears. There wasn’t even always a plan. Who was kind? Who was nice? What was fun? Who was fun? Who laughed a lot? Where were the best popsicles, the best pools, the best friends?
I rode my bike, picked blackberries, plucked vegetables from the garden and rinsed them with the hose, swam in the neighbor’s pool, jumped rope, played hopscotch, laid in the grass, drank Kool-Aid, ran with the dog, explored, and napped when needed. Ideal. And, as it turns out, even after many left turns and failed experiments, these are still the activities that bring me joy and center my soul (with a great bottle of wine thrown in every now and again). Why did I let my favorite activities go for so long? Sure, my teen years and young adulthood brought different interests. But at the same time, I allowed a core part of who I was to evaporate, as many people do. Why do we as adults allow the things we loved as children to become irrelevant, esoteric, and arcane aspects of who we once were?
Conditioning, pressures, expectations, difficulties, experiences, circumstances, coping mechanisms, etc. all kick in and change the extent to which we feel we can live freely and trust ourselves. We no longer view our choices, our activities, and our world through a simple lens. There is so much else to consider now.
We began orienting our lives differently and making choices that seemed safe in helping us to avoid what we don’t want, but that no longer necessarily move us toward what we do want. We do this as adults as naturally and effortlessly as we used to — in days gone by — gravitate toward bomb pops, smiles, and sunny playgrounds.
Think of the little ways every day that you “have to” avoid creating what would really make you happy because you are too busy prioritizing the avoidance of potential trouble or conflict. For example, for all of us, a loving, safe atmosphere in our homes should serve as our lives’ foundation, but you may feel the need to avoid conflict with your spouse, parent, or child and so you avoid being at home altogether or you avoid engaging with others in your home by working more, talking on the phone more, spending time on the computer more, drinking alcohol more…everything but really creating the loving, safe, peaceful, and joyful environment – a soulful baseline — that could feed your soul and move your life forward in all the right ways. And all of these meaningless activities and time-wasters complicate your life in ways that remove you from your center of mind-body-spirit balance.
Your life can be as simple and balanced — or as complex and off-kilter — as you choose to make it. Here are some suggestions for finding your way back to simplicity, balance, and joy. Make a habit of as many of the following approaches as you can and you will see your life begin to change for the better:
- Don’t make things so hard – the moments when you feel at peace, calm, and balanced are those times when you are doing what is right for you. Trust this feeling. Strive to make the circumstances and activities of those times the predominate themes in your life.
- Maintain your health. Nothing will work right in your life without it. If you’re not focusing on being healthy, start here.
- Give your body the sleep it needs. Physically, mentally, and spiritually, your body needs to operate from a place of balance, and sleep is an essential aspect.
- Go to bed earlier and get up earlier. Avoid starting your day off by rushing or being late.
- Catch yourself comparing yourself with others and feeling competitive and jealous. Shun those thoughts – shut them down, as they are completely wasted time and mental effort.
- When you’re wrong and you know it, just quickly say so, apologize, and allow everyone to move on. Don’t allow stupid things to fester. We all make mistakes; we’re all wrong at times.
- Stop being a people-pleaser and stop trying to make everyone a friend.
- Stop being offended when everyone doesn’t want to be your friend. You can be kind, a nice neighbor, a compassionate human being, and helpful co-worker without having to be friends with everyone. Many of us already have a boat-load of significant relationships that we’re not paying enough attention to. I am extremely selective about with whom I’ll establish a personal relationship. There should be a values-match with the people you allow in your life. They should support you and you should support them. If they don’t make you feel good about you, question that relationships place in your life.
- Don’t talk incessantly about yourself. If you’ve been visiting with someone and all you’ve done is talk about yourself, trust me, they won’t want to visit with you anymore (and this may explain why everyone doesn’t want to be your friend).
- De-clutter your primary living and working environments – office, home, car, etc. Clutter is damaging to your energy – mental and spiritual.
- Forgive those who have hurt you – do it for you. There are many great books on learning to forgive. Living with Certainty: Experience Deep-Soul Joy also provides a strong approach to beginning the process of forgiveness.
- If you don’t know the answer, ask for help – be it directions, advice, instructions, etc. Get the help you need and move on. Asking questions or for clarification politely is not confrontational and is not belligerent. Getting answers will help you do things right the first time.
- Figure out where your life’s primary frustrations and time-wasters are, and put a plan in place to fix it. Get help, eliminate, put processes in place…fix it…now.
- Don’t assume …just stop making assumptions. Ask questions, clarify, converse, communicate.
- Don’t expect others to make assumptions. If you want something done a certain way, say so. You are not being aggressive or out of line when you politely state what you want.
- Take control of your temper by remembering to pause and breathe when you are about to say something nasty or rude. Stop yourself – pause — before a single word comes out of your mouth. You’ll save yourself a lot more time and heartache if you don’t speak out of anger.
- Always, always, always live below your means. Don’t make big impulse purchases….ever. Think about it first.
- Never, ever forego your monthly savings plan unless for a catastrophic emergency.
- Really do surround yourself with people who are smarter, funnier, and healthier than you. It really motivates you to raise your game and also comes in handy when you need help or guidance.
- Remember…what you do to others has already been done to you. There is no avoiding karma. Allow karma to serve as a self-governing system for all of your actions and words.
- Do what’s good, what’s right, what’s true for you. Always. Even when it’s not popular. Follow your own internal instruction system. And I don’t mean, if it feels good, do it. I’m referring to getting in touch with your spirit core and living from this place of pure, purposeful, high integrity. There is only one kind of authenticity – and that’s spirit-driven. Only the “Ego-You” is suggesting that you get tattoos, dress scantily, be rude, and so on.
- When stressed, anxious, or angry, go workout, go for a walk, physically burn off some energy.
- Never drink and drive.
- Be trustworthy. Honor all commitments and be known as an honorable, responsible person. Follow through, follow up, be impeccable in word and deed.
- Know that it’s never okay to say, “I’m always late.” (It’s very character revealing.)
- If you feel love, say so — frequently. “I love you” is a good thing to say.
- Use prioritized “to-do” lists every day/week if you really want to get things done and see forward progress in your life.
- Incorporate technology into your life wherever and whenever possible. It should expedite and simplify, not complicate, a lot of routine tasks.
- Never lie. Never steal.
- Avoid long daily commutes.
- Be honest with yourself. Living from a place of denial will prevent you from being deeply, truly happy.
- Live authentically; embrace your unique spirit-self. Allow others who are important to you to know who you really are.
- Only multi-task if you are someone who can get things done. If you only really accomplish things one task at a time, then, by all means, do one thing at a time as expeditiously as possible.
- When packing for a trip, take the time to plan out what you will really need, and limit yourself to that.
- Clean as you go.
- If a job isn’t worth doing right the first time, then why do it at all?
- It’s not cool — male or female — to be proud that you can’t cook. It just isn’t. Learn to grill, learn to make a few simple things, but please don’t brag that you can’t cook.
- Shop when you need to, not just because you want to.
- Use cash, not credit, as much as possible. If you don’t have the cash, don’t buy an unnecessary item on credit.
- Mind your own business. Nobody really likes a nosey-nose.
- Don’t be a sounding board, or whipping board, for crazy, negative people.
- Never forget…where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire. If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck…
- Spend time taking good care of your most significant assets – your body/health, your relationships, your home, your vehicles, and so on.
- Smile – doesn’t matter who smiles back. Putting out more love and good energy in the world can only be a good thing.
- Avoid bad people as much as possible. If you can cut them out of your life, do so. If you have a crazy, evil, addict neighbor – or someone else distasteful in your life, i.e. a co-worker whom you would never choose to associate with, but have to be exposed to everyday – limit your exposure or ignore them to the extent that you can. A daily dose of evil can only hurt you – ignore it. You’re better than that.
- Avoid doing things that make you feel bad about yourself as much as possible.
- Treat others as you wish to be treated.
- Be optimistic. Positive people rock.
- Treat the elderly with respect. If someone is frustrating you by moving slowly or otherwise impeding your path, imagine it’s your grandmother, grandfather, or other beloved elder. Show the same respect and patience you’d show – and want shown — to your own loved ones and family.
- Expect to forget things. Write things down. Commit to staying organized.
- Commit to learning something new every…day, week, month. Be a lifelong learner. Be curious. Engage in interesting moments and contemplate the relevance or applicability to your life. How can the learning of everyday moments be incorporated into your life in ways that can make you better?
- Give compliments.
- Say please and thank you.
- Hold the door for others behind you.
- Drink LOTS of water every day.
- Got a great idea. Pursue it. Pursuing talents, dreams, and passions is what your life was meant for.
- Don’t give up when the going gets tough. It’s going to be tough nowadays. Start-ups were never easy – and they’re even harder today. The people who innovate, persevere, and hang in there today will rule the world tomorrow.
- Spend time in nature as much as possible.
- Don’t be afraid of the sun….just wear sunscreen.
- Stop texting and driving.
- If you meet someone you like and would like to develop a relationship, let them know.
- Never stop building your network.
- Don’t repeatedly ignore people who reach out to you and then call them when you’re out of work or when you need something. Ever.
- Be bold. Be courageous. Don’t base your life, your choices, your actions on what you think other people will think.
- Never eat when you’re not hungry.
- Incorporate 30 minutes of activity into your every day schedule. How many days should you exercise…Well, how many days do you eat?
- Remember, people are what they do…not what they say.
- Give thanks every single day for all that you do have. Make gratitude for what is going right in your life – for what you do have—the foundation from which you approach your life. I give thanks for all that I have every single morning upon waking and frequently throughout the day. I learned through my cancer experience last year to take nothing – not a single day – for granted.
- Write out your life’s priorities. Create a life “purpose plan” and allow it to guide your priorities, decisions, and choices. If a major decision or choice doesn’t move you toward what you ultimately want, why do it in the first place?
- If you can’t change something, learn how to live peacefully with it.
- Remember, “luck” goes to the hard workers.
- Be a great problem-solver. Think deeply and move toward the solutions that – upon considering them – immediately lighten your load emotionally.
- Be a great friend. Be the kind of friend that you’d like to have.
- Don’t try to be older than you really are. Relish every age. The sweet times pass quickly.
- Find the lesson in everything…and then move on. Don’t dwell on the past. Don’t be a victim. Live in the here and now and create your future moment by moment.
- Make sure you choose a vocation that you truly love, that doesn’t feel like work. Love your job. If you don’t, figure out what you do love and get about the business of doing it. Get a foot in the door. Volunteer. Hang your own shingle. Life is too precious to unnecessarily spend it doing something that sucks the life out of you.
- Don’t allow anyone to discourage you when you are following your heart and dreams…go for it!
- In the midst of the hardest times, tell yourself, this, too, shall pass.
- Take time to smell the roses….literally. Breathe deeply the fresh air. Take in the sunset/sunrise. Gaze at the stars. Soak up a sunny, blue sky. Don’t lose your sense of wonder. Listen to the Lee Ann Womack song, I Hope You Dance.
- Give yourself a pat on the back, a toast, and “three cheers” when you have even small victories.
- Laugh…hard and often.
- Give affection, allow yourself to receive affection.
- Focus on what you’re good at – and then strive to be very, very good. This brings pride and satisfaction, and helps to eliminate frustration.
- Don’t defend or overlook out-of-line, incompetent, or incorrigible behavior. Better to say nothing than to defend or protect evil.
- Meditate, meditate, and meditate. Did I mention that you should meditate? Meditate.
121 Ways to Become “Truly Rich” in Mindset & Wealth
“Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.” ~Oscar Wilde
Being “truly rich” begins, not after you have acquired wealth, but when you begin your journey to create such a life. Who you ultimately become is determined by the person you are during your journey to create your best life.
Despite all the wealthy people I know, I know relatively few people who can be categorized as “truly rich,” meaning they’ve created compassionate, passionate, purpose-filled, loving, and service-oriented lives, along their path to accumulating monetary riches. Of those who do, in fact, meet these criteria, I outlined their remarkable traits in my book, Living with Certainty: Experience Deep-Soul Joy, and the 65 “Energy Enablers.”
While the wealthy have money by definition, the truly rich are not always extremely wealthy. Accumulating wealth is what you do, but being rich is who you are. The “truly rich” are rich in spirit well in advance of acquiring wealth. You must be rich inside to be truly rich. Amassing wealth will open more doors of choice, but will not automatically make you happy and fulfilled. Being “truly rich” is about developing a lifestyle that enables reaching your fullest potentiality — not just financially.
Are You Truly Rich? Ask Yourself:
Do I brighten up the world of those around me, and help to shape their lives in profound ways?
Do I have abundance and balance spiritually, physically, emotionally, intellectually, relationally, and financially?
Do I live in awe and with gratitude for this thing called “life”?
Do I help others who are less fortunate?
Do I give and serve?
Do I have the freedom to live where I want, vacation when I want, retire when I want, see my family and friends when I want?
Do I help others to lift themselves higher?
Do I spend enough time working towards accomplishments that will endure, memories that will endure, and relationships that will endure?
Do I have a giving, loving spirit and do I consistently contribute to the greater good?
Have I fully examined and defined my values, priorities, goals, and beliefs?
Do I have a clear vision that I actualize through a daily action plan and plain, old-fashioned, hard work?
Do I have enough money to be comfortable and secure for the rest of my life?
A Wealthy Mindset Having a “rich” mindset (mental makeup, principles, and habits that guide your actions) – in addition to your hard work – is essential and fosters wealth-building thoughts, behaviors, and activities. It is a rich mindset that will ultimately lead you to a rich life and wealth – and some people don’t naturally have this mindset. I hope the following tips and tactics can set you on your journey to a truly rich life.
121 Ways to Become “Truly Rich” in Mindset & Wealth
- Take Action – You must do more than dream and think; you must act. Acting takes courage and the strategic ability to consider the consequences. Self-made millionaires are extremely action-oriented; they “walk” way more than they “talk.” Work overtime. Ask your supervisor at work how you can take on additional responsibility, and make sure that he/she is aware of your passions and goals. Always be willing to present yourself as the person who will do more and take on more work/responsibility.
- Adventure – Following your gut, taking risks, putting yourself “out there” should be viewed “big picture” as an adventure. You have to crave – and have the guts to embrace — your life’s “adventure.”
- Attitude – Recession; financial difficulties; businesses failures…this was the reality for many people over the past 6 years. But, winners didn’t allow that to rob them of their vision, of their will to succeed. Figure out how to keep a positive attitude; to keep trying new things to move forward. “I get knocked down, but I get up again. You’re never gonna keep me down.” Take the lesson from each knock down and believe that success is within reach. It is precisely your positive attitude that will keep your creative juices flowing and keep you aware of opportunity that others might miss.
- Authenticity – Remain true at all times to your most authentic self – listen to those inner voices, follow your instinct.
- Awareness – Keep your eyes and ears open every day, all the time. Opportunities and people who can help you quickly appear and then vanish. Stay aware to seize opportunities, to grow, to give.
- Money Orientation - How were you taught to use money? Are you a saver or a spender? Do you have an inherent respect for money? Are you on top of your finances to the nickel? Is your wallet neatly organized? Do you know how much money you have at all times? You should. Some people learned bad money habits from their parents who didn’t save or acquire wealth. Consider what you have learned about money throughout your life. If you desire a different life than previous generations in your family, you may have to do things differently.
- Belief – The most successful people believe without a doubt that they can achieve their dreams and that they are a part of something larger than themselves.
- Immense Boldness – While everyone can have some level of self-doubt at times, the wealthy face fears head-on with a resolve to conquer them. Boldness doesn’t mean you don’t have fear; rather it means you won’t let it prevent you from taking decisive action when an opportunity presents itself.
- Limit What You Borrow – Living on credit lines, credit cards and loans is obviously a wealth-killer.
- Brainpower – Smart, clever, insightful, and strategic…If you’re not, surround yourself with people who are.
- Cash – Pay for big ticket items like appliances and cars with cash. No cash, no stuff.
- Open to Change – If you accept that nothing ever stays the same, that change is inevitable, and you keep a focus on the future and what’s coming next, you will be able to respond quickly and effectively to changing circumstances.
- Character and Reputation – Don’t ever allow your desire for wealth and/or power to tempt you to take any low-character action that can damage your reputation. To be truly rich, you must have impeccable character if you wish to be truly fulfilled, purposeful, authentic and rewarded. Never lose sight of who you really want to be and how you really want to be regarded; this is your brand.
- Clarity – Be extremely clear-minded about what you want, where you’re going, and how you plan to get there. Write out a plan in great detail. Clarity is the first step toward great achievement
- Eliminate Clutter in All Aspects of Your Life –You need an un-cluttered, crystal clear vision of what you intend to achieve, and you must also have a clean, clear environment to support your efforts. Your home, office, car, etc. should not be chaotic. If they are, this is a distraction, a time-waster, and a mental energy drainer. Reorganize, reprioritize in a way that is conducive to your best thought and work mode. You will become clearer in your thinking and feel empowered to get more done.
- Commitment – Are you truly committed, long-term, to the goals you have set? Commitment helps deter the temptation and off-the rails beckoning of instant gratification.
- Excellent Communicators – Your written, spoken and negotiation skills should be impeccable if you are to sell your ideas to others and to create and inspire others to help you achieve your goals.
- Competitive – In the world of commerce and entrepreneurship, you must have a healthy competitiveness and desire to always be the best – even if it’s just being the best You that you can be.
- Rarely Complain – No one – no one – likes a whiner.
- Confidence – Life is hard enough without beating up ourselves. Confidence helps you to know who you are, respect yourself, make the right choices, live with integrity, be inspired, trust your instincts, and have the courage to pursue your purpose and greatness. The extent to which you experience self-worth and fulfillment in your life depends in part upon how much you believe in yourself. You have to be your own biggest fan – be bold in your dreams and pat yourself on the back when things go right.
- Connection – Don’t live a cloistered life. Even if you are not a gregarious extrovert, social media and email allow us to connect with others like never before. Connect. Form meaningful bonds. Serve others. Ask for help when you need it.
- Conscientiousness – including dependability, industriousness, and organization – seems to be a trait that is mightily lacking among many. Psychologists consider it to be a personality trait that exhibits stability in how you act, think, and feel. Conscientiousness and emotional stability have been closely linked by researchers to economic success. Individuals with these traits had higher lifetime earnings.
- Contentment – The truly rich are content with who they are and what they’ve accomplished. They spend – or give – money on the things that bring them joy. They don’t waste money trying to keep up with The Joneses. Ick.
- Courage – Courage is needed to pursue dreams, to take calculated risks. But, know that great rewards/huge payoffs typically accompany risk. Entrepreneurs know this.
- Crazy – By “crazy” I mean having the courage to dream and take the risks that the average person might shy away from. You simply won’t attain greatness if you don’t think outside the box and follow your own path. You are an original; tap into your unique, singular greatness and show it to the world. A little crazy in this regard can be a very good thing.
- Extraordinary Creativity and Innovation – Create, and be creative. Never cease looking for inspiration, innovations, opportunities, signs, new directions, and possibilities. Even challenges and problems should be looked at through a lens of opportunity and innovation. How can you get closer to your goals? How can you create more opportunities? Some people talk about “taking chances” but the real smart-craft is in making great choices. How can you save more money? Where do you need more inspiration? Where do you need more training? Where do you need advice and mentoring? How can you overcome obstacles? How can you make things happen? Keep searching. Keep looking. Get creative. Innovate to make things happen and create new opportunities for yourself. The truly innovative are observant and resourceful and never stop looking for new opportunities that can make them rich.
- Curiosity - Be curious. Ask questions. Read. Explore. Push boundaries. Ponder. Try. Stretch yourself. Keep an open mind. It goes hand and hand with creativity. How can you continually integrate new and exciting aspects of our world into your efforts to achieve your goals for both life and career? People who move through their lives like this earn, learn and know more. Curiosity and the ability to tangibly assimilate learning and insight into your life and circumstances in innovative ways are more impactful to your ultimate success than book smarts. Curiosity is crucial for learning, experimenting and improving yourself. Curious people are very often the most knowledgeable…and successful.
- Debt – Make eliminating personal debt a priority. There is no real financial freedom when you are in debt. Cash is king/queen. Relative to business debt, be very shrewd and consult your wisest advisors before taking it on to grow your business.
- Decisiveness – The ability to be decisive when needed – to swiftly make a decision, seize an opportunity and act on it — is a key trait of the truly rich and successful. Unnecessary stalling and “thinking” for overly long periods is not a trait of the truly successful.
- Define Rich for Yourself – It’s a subjective word that you must define for yourself. Envision the life you want. How are you measuring it? What is involved? Figure it out to the last detail.
- Determined – The truly rich knew what they wanted and were determined to get it. They weren’t waiting for luck or a white knight. They went over, around, or through all obstacles. What are you really pursuing, and how determined are you to get there?
- Develop Yourself – Never stop developing yourself – personally, professionally, financially, socially, managerially, whatever. Not only does it increase your value to others, it vastly improves your chances of achieving your goals.
- Be Willing To Be Different – Forget what everyone else is saying and doing – unless they are exactly where you want to be. Always follow your own drumbeat. If you want to be average or mediocre, do what everybody else is doing. To be truly rich and exceptional, judge yourself by your own standards of purposefulness and fulfillment.
- Discipline and Self-Control - Whether discussing work ethic, finances, or health, discipline is a trait of the truly rich and successful. Work hard, persevere, don’t slack off, save money, dot I’s and cross T’s. Dig deep; don’t merely skim the surface of your life. Apply yourself to reach your highest potential. Use self-control to avoid spending money on a whim.
- Avoid Distractions – Don’t run in circles chasing endless and senseless distractions. A sure way to short-circuit your success is to allow life’s inevitable interruptions to take you off task. Keep your focus squarely on that which moves you forward that day. Many successful people create a checklist of the days’ most pressing activities, and don’t end the day until they get through the list. Seek to create home and work environments that are conducive to productivity. Simplify and organize your life. Figure out what means a lot to you and say no to distraction as much as possible.
- Do What You Love – Spend time doing what you love to be truly rich. The goal is to not feel as though you are “working,” but to be purposeful and fulfilled, and then paid well for your time.
- Don’t Quit Your Day Job – If the goals you are pursuing are separate from your day job, keep that day job – it’s your safety net – until your passion pays off. This doesn’t mean that you are not committed to your dream; it is rather a prudent financial decision. Quit your day job only when your sales take off and the day job is preventing you from maximizing the potential of the next phase.
- Dream – Dream big, and hold on to your dream with all of your might. Don’t allow any negative self-talk from yourself or negative, pessimistic commentary from others to taint it or dissuade you.
- Drive – You have to possess the energy, the will, the motivation, the drive to keep yourself moving forward every single day.
- Education – Applying all of yourself to be a high-achiever in school and to get the best high school and college education possible is one of the most important things you can do to secure your future.
- Emotional Health and Low Emotion – Emotional health and balance are gifts to be thankful for every day. Imbalanced, overflowing emotions can get you in trouble. Control your emotions. Think logically.
- Entrepreneurial Spirit – Over 30% of the millionaires in the U.S. are entrepreneurs, which means they are likely disciplined, follow their passion, take calculated risks, and continually learn and improve in their niche. Many, if not most, started their businesses part-time. High risk = High reward. Less than 1% of millionaires achieved their wealth through “other” means. It is imperative that you start out with a strong advisory board since many businesses commonly fail in their first year.
- Excellence – You must have the training, discipline, and commitment to be the best at what you do. You can’t skim the surface of your life and tasks and be truly excellent.
- Experiment and Expand Your Horizons – Learn, stretch, grow. Proactively try new approaches and tactics every day. Always be open to meeting new people. You will never regret having a life rule that every day you try one new thing. It will keep you stimulated, creative, vibrant and engaged. Never stop experimenting.
- High Expectations – Consistently maintain the highest expectations for yourself and your life. You must have the belief and mindset that without a doubt you will achieve your goals –that your hard work will pay off. Have high expectations of the people who surround you, as well.
- Watch Small Expenses – Know how much money you have and don’t fritter it away. Watch the tiniest of expenditures. Remaining vigilant about every expense is how you save money and turn profits.
- Failure Connoisseurs – You must learn from left turns, failures and disappointment. Find the lesson in everything. Once you find and learn the lesson, you can adjust your path and move forward knowing that you won’t make the same mistake twice. Failure either defeats you or expands you. Your choice. Having to readjust and face failure, change and left turns is part and parcel of the process of trying to build a business and accumulate wealth. Don’t fear failure – use it to help you examine a situation and make you better. You will have unlimited opportunities to try and try again.
- Fidelity – You will have a richer life when you live with integrity and cherish the bonds you have with family. The truly rich have earned, and return, the respect of their spouses, children, family, friends, etc.
- Financial Literacy – Math matters for all of us – male and female – whether we are just managing our personal finances, doing our job, or running a business. You must have the cognitive skills to calculate and understand the implications. Balancing a checkbook, calculating interest rates, saving for retirement – work hard on developing solid, basic mathematical skills.
- Proactively Address Flaws and Be Self-Aware – Self-awareness is one of the most lacking traits in humans. Successful people are self-aware and constantly try to develop themselves and make changes and improvements to encourage optimal performance and increase their odds of success.
- Freedom – The truly rich have the privilege of being relatively free from financial worry and pressure. With this kind of financial freedom, your whole life is better, more creative, less stifled. The truly rich have life circumstances and professions that allow them to explore their passions and express themselves to the fullest extent. They do not feel “trapped” in a dead-end job. We feel free when we live authentically, find our life’s purpose, and work/serve in a way that expresses the best of ourselves.
- Get a Job – Educate yourself on which careers align with your innate gifts…and also pay well.
- Give – The more value you give, the more value you will receive. Try to create win-win circumstances for people around you in order for people to want to work with you. Share your goodness. Give to others more than they expect and more than they give to you. Don’t use people. Don’t try to fool people. Serve. Support. Contribute.
- Goal Orientation - Clearly define lofty and meaningful, yet achievable goals that align with your life’s purpose. Know precisely where you want to go. Know what you want, then figure out a plan to get you there. The process of defining your goals makes you more internally driven and helps you to persevere. Your actions should thoughtfully, consistently move you forward every day toward your goals. Set small goals within your broader objective so that you are consistently achieving and remaining motivated. Don’t know what your goals should be? For now, think about who you want to be, where you want to go, what you want. Your goals may change and evolve – that’s fine; that’s life. Just don’t allow yourself to be without goals. The earlier your goal-orientation in life, the better.
- Gratitude - Even in tough times – especially in tough times – take time every day to give thanks and feel positivity and optimism for all that is right in your life. The energy of gratitude is pure and powerful, and will work in so many ways to bring more goodness into your life. Gratitude affects your choices and actions and keeps you in a more positive mindset.
- Good Health – Good health must be the baseline for the creation of your richest life. When you wake in the morning, you should feel energized, motivated, and optimistic. Exercise, eat healthfully, get enough sleep, and avoid addictions to anything unhealthy. The better you feel, the harder and longer you can work toward your goals.
- Honesty and Integrity – To have a rich life, you must be honest, ethical and principled.
- Humor – A sense of humor will help you every day in every way.
- Have an Identity – And a direction. Know who you really are, what you stand for, what your purpose is, and where your life is going. You have a unique identity – leverage your special gifts for all you can. Remain true to your best, most authentic self. Never allow others to define you for you.
- Informed – Read a news feed, stay informed on a regular/daily basis. Don’t be one of those buffoons on Jay Leno who don’t know the basic facts of our world. There’s nothing cute or cool about that, and it will never lead you to a truly rich life. You can’t have a leg up on anyone if you are uninformed. And you sure won’t have any credibility.
- Instincts and Intuition – Listen to your instincts and intuition. Follow your gut and hunch. Live a life in which you filter out the needless, distracting static so that you have the awareness to see opportunity when it appears. No one can do this for you – and this is how you will create your best life.
- Well-Intentioned – Move through life with good intentions surrounded by good people. Don’t be short-sighted and focus merely on selfish gain; it will come back to bite you every time.
- Invest in Yourself - Read. Gain knowledge. Acquire wisdom. Become educated. Listen. Learn. Develop yourself into becoming the person you have always envisioned yourself to be.
- Investments – Part of smart saving is investing. You want your money to work for you by putting it into investments that will increase in value over time, and that, ideally, will earn you supplementary income.
- Leadership – In the world of work, you must be a competent, strong, and inspiring leader to become successful.
- Learning – Self-educate. Continually learn. Work hard at being smart. Your brain and mind are truly your greatest assets because they shape your destiny. “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.” – Jim Rohn
- Leverage – The successful know their limitations and will utilize and leverage the strengths of others, where possible, to achieve goals. You can’t do everything yourself – know when to ask for (or hire) help.
- Lifestyle – Don’t waste money and effort living a lifestyle that you cannot yet afford. People only do this when they are trying to impress others. You should always live a bit below your means. The truly rich know that accumulating stuff is not the priority; they don’t just spend money because they can. The truly rich save money, re-invest it, use it wisely, and make charitable donations. They invest wealth in order to secure more wealth. They are not consumed with image. Rather they spend on things that increase their – and others – happiness
- Have a Life, a Real, Fulfilling Life – Don’t be all about your bank account. Don’t postpone attempting to live your best, most authentic life until you have money. Do what you love NOW. As you become your best self, as you live your best life, you will do and achieve more. This is how you develop a rich mindset that will lead you to wealth.
- Listen – Stop talking and start listening. You don’t know it all.
- Love of Money – Wealth is more likely to come to you if you want it and if you respect money. If you are willing to take calculated risks, make sacrifices, put forth hard work and supreme effort to make money, you likely will be successful.
- Luck and Opportunism – A lot of people believe in luck. Some people define luck as merely preparation meeting the moment of opportunity. If you are in the right place at the right time, that is luck. Be ready, aware and nimble enough to seize the opportunity/luck when it reveals itself.
- Mentors and Network – Entrepreneurs often have a strong network of advisors whom they meet/speak with several times a month. Create relationships with top professionals in your field. Surround yourself with the smartest and most effective people possible. This is essential. Networking and developing relationships with a diverse group of people should always be a priority. Develop solid relationships so you can call on people when needed. Respect people – return their calls and emails. Your network includes friends, classmates, teachers, colleagues, subordinates, superiors, vendors, customers, teammates, virtual friends, clubs, etc. Who you know, and the quality of these relationships, matters.
- Motivation – Water seeks its own level. Align yourself with people who inspire and motivate you. People who can keep your spirits up and your eye on the prize.
- Take Nothing for Granted – Anything can change at any time – you can lose your job, lose your best customer, the stock market can crash, a natural disaster can take your home in an instant, your health can change, etc. Change is the only constant. Be nimble and have a contingency plan.
- Objectivity – Falling in love with an idea or approach, instead of following the value it provides, has killed many a business.
- Openness and Receptivity – Stay open, stay relevant. Be receptive to advice and guidance.
- Optimism – Many well-known money experts believe that optimism attracts wealth by positively affecting your mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, and psychological health. Your best life will always be an optimistic life because whether you expect to succeed or expect to fail, you will be right.
- Be Organized – Pay bills on time. Know how much money you have, and where it’s going. Organize your office and desk to get more done in less time. Know where everything is. Plan. Meet deadlines. You have to know where you are going in order to get there.
- Passion – Successful people are passionate about what they do. Their passion provides life fuel - courage, motivation, excellence, and persistence. Passion is the fuel in your engine. If you don’t have a driving force inside you, you haven’t found your passion. Living your passion brings fulfillment and contentment. If you want to live a rich life of the deepest joy – deep-soul joy – you have to first create a life around your passions. Enough riches to help your heart sing every day can then follow.
- Passive Income Sources – Always be on the look-out for ways that you can build income streams that come from passive sources. You want to eventually be able to make money without a physical presence. Have your ideas work for you.
- Patience – Patience can help you in a multitude of ways. It can prevent you from making impulse purchases on credit. It allows you to sleep on it to determine what you really want and need. It enables you to take the time to shop around for a better price. It allows you to make more rational decisions. It also enables you to continue working toward a goal without giving up. When you feel money burning a hole in your pocket, force yourself to wait a month before spending. Consider the pro’s and con’s. Often an immediate desire looks less compelling once you pause and consider it. Delaying gratification when it comes to large purchases is often the smart thing to do.
- Perspective – You have to be able to maintain your wits, balance, humor and perspective, even in times of crisis. The successful rise to the occasion in tough times – they ask the right questions and are decisive.
- Persistence – Quitters never prosper. Don’t give up, and never quit. Persistence and tenacity reduces your chances of failure. There will always be left-turns, detours, and obstacles. You can’t allow defeat to beat you. Remove stumbling blocks from your path. Success doesn’t happen overnight. Experiment until you find something that works. Achieving success requires on-going effort. Really internalize in your mind and heart that it is normal –and required – to give all of yourself over a long period of time to really make it big.
- Preparation – You can avoid losing money, time, and energy by preparing properly before undertaking anything. Preparation can go a long way toward ensuring your success.
- Present Moment – Seize the moment. Don’t put things off when you should take action. Live in the here and now; it’s the only moment that can be controlled. Enjoy your life – don’t allow it to pass you by.
- Prioritize – Before spending money on a swanky lifestyle, prioritize and budget your money to take care of necessities. Buy insurance, save, and invest. Be financially disciplined. Meet your longer term needs before you spend money on wants. Don’t be a slave to wasteful priorities that prevent you from accumulating wealth. Allow your priorities to bring order and focus to your life.
- Proactive, Not Reactive - Take preventative care of your life – health, financials, career, etc. What liabilities exist in your life? Avoid problems of any sort wherever possible.
- Protect Your Money – Have adequate liability insurance, and consult experts on how to protect your assets.
- Reflection – Look at your life and reflect on your choices and outcomes. Learn from mistakes and grow from them. Think about your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t dwell in the past or the future – but reflect thoughtfully on the past, present, future on a weekly, if not daily, basis. What has gone well in your life? What has gone wrong? What mistakes should you avoid?
- Reinvest Your Profits - Reinvest the profits you make from investments.
- Relationships and Human Connection – You need people in your inner circle to love and care for, and who love and care for you. Socialize with friends at least once a week. So much can be learned about who we are and what we want from the emotional exchange in your relationships. Our lives are empty and boring without someone to share them with.
- Resilient – Thick skin will serve you well in every aspect of your life. Be strong. When you get knocked down, get up again.
- Take Responsibility and Be Self-Reliant – Don’t blame, complain, or shirk responsibility. Intrinsically take initiative for your life and accept responsibility for your actions. The truly rich understand that they have a great responsibility for the people in their lives. Whether things go well, or go wrong, you must take responsibility. You must be a person of integrity to be the best of yourself.
- Results Orientation - Be specific about the results you want.
- Take Calculated Risks – You have to be willing to take calculated risks with your financial investments, your career, your business, your life from time to time. Weigh all of your options and taking calculated risks when appropriate. If you are fearful and avoid risk altogether, you’ll likely end up living too safe a life to achieve greatness. To be truly rich, you will likely need to make moves that others don’t have the courage to make. It can be helpful to ask yourself, “and then what?” in order to begin to consider possible consequences. Consider taking a risk when you see strong potential for a return. The truly rich tend to be risk takers by nature. You will miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
- Sacrifice – Any sacrifices you make shouldn’t adversely affect your relationships, family, well-being, or pursuit of your goals and dreams. The truly rich do not create this kind of unhappiness in their lives just to have money in the bank.
- Financial Cautiousness and Safety - Stay as debt free as possible.
- Salesmanship – The ability to sell yourself and your ideas is important if you want people to recognize your talents. However, the ability to sell is sorely lacking in a lot of people who have great ideas that never get off the ground.
- Satisfaction - Know yourself well enough to know what will really bring satisfaction to your life. The accumulation of “stuff” that you’ve always wanted really won’t feed your soul and bring lasting fulfillment. Going into debt for stuff is always a bad idea. When you know who you are and what you want, you are much less likely to be a sucker for non-essential stuff. Over spending on “stuff” happens when you are generally dissatisfied with yourself and your life.
- Saving and Security – The truly rich are more committed to saving money than the general public. Pay yourself first which means before you go blow money on little extravagances; put a set amount of money from each paycheck into the bank. This requires discipline. Accumulating wealth is a slow and steady commitment. With every dollar you save, you bring yourself closer to freedom – freedom to start a business, freedom to stay home with your kids, freedom to retire early, freedom to take vacations, freedom to cut back at work to raise your children, etc. Those who have had a long-term commitment to saving money also have far more security when the unexpected happens – job loss, illness, recession.
- Service – Think about how you can give back and be of service to others in your community. Using your innate skills and talents to serve others is one of the most impactful ways to live a truly rich life. Volunteering in your community can also assist you in making life-long connections.
- Define Success for Yourself – What does success mean to you? What does it look like? What does it feel like? Measure your life success with meaningful benchmarks, such as how many of the people you care about actually care about you in return.
- Be Money Smart – Learn about money – budgeting, debt, credit, interest rates. In your spare time, read everything there is to read about investing and business. Spend time talking to and networking with people who know a lot about what you want to know about – business, investing, leadership, etc.
- Self-Improvement – The truly rich are always seeking feedback, self-improvement and self-development.
- Spell Out The Terms Before You Start A Job – Before you start a job or ink a deal, nail down all the specifics in advance — even with friends and relatives.
- Spend Wisely - Spend your money on things that really matter and hold significance to you - experiences, travel, family, friends, education/learning opportunities – rather than more “stuff.” Your spending habits will make or break you.
- Spiritual Awakening – An intrinsic belief that you were put on Earth to serve a purpose, and a faith that everything that occurs in your life is happening for a reason – a lesson you need to learn – in order to take your life to higher and higher levels, makes your life’s journey richer and more meaningful. For some, joining a church and regularly attending/participating can be powerfully spirit-lifting, as well as a strong networking approach.
- Start Now - Don’t put off saving or beginning to do any of the things outlined in this article. Start now. The power of compound interest cannot be overstated.
- Stocks – Instead of wasting money on “stuff” and products, consider buying the company’s stock instead…if you really want to acquire wealth. What’s going to make you wealthy – owning iphones, ipads, macs, etc? Or, owning Apple stock? No-brainer.
- Study and Emulate the Successful and Truly Rich – Identify the traits you admire in your heroes and role models. Also identify the traits you dislike. Write them all down into lists. Do everything in your power to develop the traits you like and reject the ones you don’t.
- Tax Savvy – The truly rich have a string understanding of how to pay less taxes, without bending any rules. Think minimization, not avoidance. You must be efficient at dealing with taxes. Hiring a CPA to do your taxes is a good place to start. Don’t be afraid to pay your fair share of taxes, but never pay more than you have to.
- Team Players – The truly rich understand how to get the best from others and are true team players.
- Thinking Big – Think outside the box. Set objectives and goals for that seem insurmountable and then get to work. The truly rich march to the beat of their own drum. Don’t be afraid to do things your own way. Be brilliant and unique.
- Time Management – Time is money. Time is your greatest asset. And you can’t buy time, so manage it closely. It is fleeting. Prioritize those things that will move you forward and help you succeed.
- Trends – The truly rich and successful observe trends to anticipate the future. Stay aware and present to observe nuances that will lead to future change.
- Values – What are your core values? Your goals and actions must be aligned with a baseline of strong core values.
- Vision – Focus your ambition by developing a clear vision of your life and future. Based on this vision, set your goals. Visualize what you want to accomplish. What specific results do you hope to achieve? A strong vision can help you to recognize and seize opportunities when they present themselves.
- Walk Away – Sometimes you just need to admit that something isn’t going to work and you need to know when to walk away and cut your losses. Listen to your advisors. Walk away from a loss, rather than continue to dump money into a losing venture to keep it afloat.
- Work Hard – Get up early, go to bed late. Work hard and smart. Be efficient. Give all of yourself when you’re working—your brainpower, creativity, commitment, passion, diligence, results-orientation.
- Don’t Worry – Where you are going matters more than where you are today. If you work hard toward your goals and vision, and save as much money as you can, you will eventually find yourself in a place of greater freedom and fulfillment. With diligence and responsibility, financial prosperity is there for the taking.
You may not possess all of the above traits today, but being aware of these important actions and characteristics can help you make changes so that you nurture the ones that you have, and work on developing the others. What you want is a “truly rich” life – to reach your final days being able to say, I really had a fulfilling, secure life with lots of love, laughter, family and friends. I had the freedom to follow my dreams, and I achieved my main goals. I was healthy and happy, and I loved and respected myself. My children are healthy, purposeful, and joy-filled individuals. I made a lasting contribution, and leave behind a significant legacy that will live on long after I am gone.
While we will all prioritize these things in our own ways, these are the baseline tenets of a truly rich life. Money can’t buy happiness, but fulfillment, well-being, joy, and financial security provide you with the soaring spirit and freedom to experience more of life.
“What material success does is provide you with the ability to concentrate on other things that really matter. And that is being able to make a difference, not only in your own life, but in other people’s lives.” ~Oprah
Kristi LeBlanc is the Executive Vice President and Managing Director, North American Consumer Practice, with DHR International, a top-5, retained, global executive search firm. She has spent 16 years as a retained executive recruiter with the globe’s largest, most prestigious executive search firms, including DHR Int’l and Korn/Ferry Int’l where she was a Senior Partner. Kristi is also the author of the award-winning, “Living with Certainty: Experience Deep-Soul Joy,” and writes for the popular Living with Certainty lifestyle blog site. To learn more visit http://www.Livingwithcertainty.com
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