Each year, we gather with other advisors and industry leaders to “sharpen the saw,” so to speak, at the Summit for Prosperity Economics Advisors. It’s a wonderful week to stop working in businesses and to instead work ON our businesses—and ourselves.
It’s a good week to gain some perspective from another vantage point. (We’ve always held the event on a mountainside of some kind, in Arizona or Utah—so we mean “Summit” quite literally!) I always leave with a renewed sense of what matters and what works—in business and in life. Today, I wanted to share some “big picture” wisdom for a successful, rich life with you.
These are “rules”—or lessons—I’ve learned and tested over some years now. They may be rules you can use, or rules you already know, in which case, I invite you to share them with others.
#1: Prioritize Priorities.
This is just another way of saying, “First Things First.” You have to know what is non-negotiable.
These are things I will not compromise. And a fourth is my Purpose, which is helping more people in more ways.
Family. I work hard and I’m focused and productive on my work days. But on my free days? My favorite thing is to simply enjoy the company of my husband, our kids (when they’re around… they are all adults now), my dear sister (whenever I can!) and animals—especially Emma Dawg. (Okay, Emma Dawg “helps” at work, too. Or at least, she thinks she does!)
Sometimes we work in the yard or garden. Sometimes we play. But ours is a family that loves to be together—no matter what we are doing!
Health. If you don’t have your health, not much else matters. I eat nourishing food, get plenty of fresh air and exercise, and practice a positive mindset (which does wonders to reduce stress, a major cause of illness.) I drink water—not sugary juices, soda pop or caffeine-laden beverages. And most of the time, I avoid the “white stuff”—bread, pasta, rice, sugar, and dairy.
Spirit. I’m not overtly religious, but my Spiritual practices are important to me. My connection with God (perhaps you prefer Source, Spirit or another name) is a foundation in my life. I believe in the power of prayer. I read the Bible in my devotional time.
Purpose. My mission—to help more people in more ways–is the goal that drives me. It motivates me to expand my thinking, my team, my business, and my influence and impact.
These are my priorities, and if I have to let go of other things to keep these “first things first,” so be it.
What are your priorities?
#2: Giving is Good—for You!
There is an idea that the reason we give is for “the worthy cause.” Of course there is truth to this! There are so many things worthy of our support; organizations that feed, clothe and protect vulnerable children, rescue animals from abuse, and help people in natural disasters. One of my favorites, Heifer International, does amazing developmental work in many countries by giving families farm animals for sustainable food and businesses.
But if we think giving is only about the worthy cause, we have missed the point.
We also give because it is important—for us—to be givers.
Giving generates a prosperous mindset, because it affirms that we have enough. Enough for our needs, and enough to give to the needs of others.
I remember once in a real cash crunch, it was tempting to get stuck in a “scarcity mindset” of lack. Instead, I wrote a check for $25—an amount I knew would clear my account. Almost immediately, my situation changed and the flow of prosperity was re-started.
Giving helps us all—including the giver.
#3: Life is a Team Sport
When it comes to stuff in your closets, things on your to-do list or the news media—more is definitely NOT better! However, if you want to do more good in the world, you’ll need more people on your team.
Trying to do everything yourself is a recipe for disaster. First of all, no one is good at everything, so you need to partner with those who have different skills. I love to talk to clients and help them with their finances. But the paperwork part is delegated to Theresa Sheridan. She follows through helping clients “dot their i’s and cross their T’s.” She is good at that!
Even if you can do something, you might not enjoy doing it. I love the Kolbe profile (Kolbe.com, well worth your $50 to take the Kolbe A profile) because it sheds light on what someone will or won’t do. It’s not about skills or personality—it’s about the avenues one is most likely to use to get results. Are you a fact-gathering researcher? Do you like to use tools? Are you willing to take action towards a goal even if you don’t have all the details worked out yet? Kolbe helps you understand where your “sweet spots” are in life and work.
Two (or more) can simply get more done than one person alone. People wonder how I write a book a year. The answer? I use a team. I partner up. I’ve partnered with many different co-authors over the last several years, and I’ve utilized various publishing teams.
Jimmy Vreeland and the Scribe Media team made Busting the Real Estate Investing Lies possible. Jimmy and I were both advocates for combining the cash flow of real estate investing with the liquidity of life insurance—and a book project made perfect sense!
James Ranson helped Jack Burns and me turn pages of notes and ideas into Busting the Life Insurance Lies. We articulated 38 myths about life insurance and James brought it to life with a delightful story woven between the financial information.
Kate Phillips helped me leverage my personal story and financial expertise to create our Prosperity Economics “Magna Carta”: Financial Planning Has Failed. And now, Kate and I are just weeks away from the release of our next book, the definitive book on “Family Banking” using permanent life insurance. (Watch for our announcement of Perpetual Prosperity and sign up to receive a PDF of the book here.)
1 + 1 + 1 = Done. That’s the power of a team!
Who’s on your team?
#4: Leverage for Best Results
Leverage lets you take something you already have and use it to make more. Leverage your time, your money, the efforts of others. Leverage technology.
Right now, I am at our sixth annual Summit for Prosperity Economics Advisors. We are leveraging the event through livestream technology so that people who could not attend in person can benefit from the the event. To pull that off, I am leveraging my friend Patrick Donohoe’s technology and other people’s efforts to film it.
We leverage the wisdom of the community through masterminding. And we are leveraging the advisor community to spread the message of Prosperity Economics!
We are also leveraging the good work of our top-notch speakers, such as Tom Wheelwright and Garrett Gunderson. I’m also leveraging the efforts of Kate, my blog co-writer, to get this article done!
One of the reasons I often recommend high-cash value whole life insurance (and use it myself) is that it allows people to leverage liquidity easily and effectively. We recommend real estate for the same reason—mortgages provide tremendous leverage for down payments. Home equity can also be leveraged in many ways as it builds.
What are you leveraging for your success?
#5: Habits Precede Success
I grew up on a farm and had to get up early to milk a cow. I still get up early for my farm chores. (Gratefully, the alpacas don’t need to be milked!)
I have been involved with Strategic Coach for decades now, an organization for entrepreneurs. I have met many very successful business owners through Strategic Coach. One thing successful people are always upgrading is their habits.
How do you habitually manage your time and activities?
What does your morning routine look like?
What habits help you sustain your focus and energy throughout the day?
How do you habitually treat your clients, colleagues, and team members?
What habits help you maintain a powerful mindset?
Habits determine outcomes. One habit alone may appear to be insignificant, but they all add up to your results. By consistently honing my habits, I can increase my productivity and effectiveness.
#6: Perseverance Pays
When all else fails… persist anyway.
Sometimes we do everything right—or at least, we do our best—and still struggle. It is during those times it is most important to just Keep. Moving. Forward.
A lot of effort goes into an event. You have to plan it, promote it, gather speakers, hire event producers and people to handle the audio-visual and other aspects. You have to reserve (and pay for!) hotel rooms and meeting space… and hope that people come! It’s a major expense and a big risk.
In 2012, and my husband Todd Langford and I committed to have the Summit for Advisors every year for 25 years. But we almost didn’t make it past the second year.
We lost a lot of money getting it off the ground. During the second Summit, I told myself all week, “I’m not doing this again! It’s too hard, it’s too expensive… and I don’t have to do it!” At dinner the night before the last day I told my husband and sister, “Do NOT let me get talked into it tomorrow!” My husband’s eyes got big and my sister smiled. And the last hour of the last day of the event, we asked everyone to tell us the one best thing they got out of the event (a verbal positive focus). I cried. YUP, right there in front of 40 people. And then, after a rousing speech from a participant saying, “Please, keep going… We need this event!”—I agreed to do a third event. (I can’t resist helping others!)
Now we are in our sixth year. We gained a lot of momentum after the second year. After the third year (which was profitable, after big losses the first two years), I hired an event assistant.
We have made many adjustments along the way, for instance, moving to a more price-friendly location. To be sure, we have had big challenges. Whenever it’s a challenge, I remind myself WHY I am doing this… my commitment to help others. Here is what I’ve learned: Give First, focus on the good, and never give up.
What could you accomplish if you refused to give up!?
#7: Gratitude… Always!
Practicing positive focus is something I have done for decades. We begin family gatherings and work meetings with positive focus. We start each day of the Summit by sharing positive focus. Not surprisingly—Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year!
But there is a misconception about gratitude. It is not the result of good things happening to us. It’s a way of being, regardless of what happens to us. I rely on gratitude the most when there is a challenging situation!
“…It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful,” Says David Steindl-Rast, a Catholic theologian. Anyone who practices gratitude regularly knows this truth intuitively. Gratitude is the cause of joy—not the result of it. This has actually been proven through data and research, confirms Brené Brown in a short video clip on joy and gratitude. (I’ll post it below)
Recovering from a broken ankle, Kate Phillips recently posted:
Gratitude cannot ever be just the result of everything going “right,” expectations met, goals reached.
Gratitude is a HABIT… a COMMITMENT… a WAY OF LIFE.
I can be grateful for the sun.
I can be great for the rain.
But I need gratitude the most when the STORMS come.
I AM grateful! Not because of the challenges, not in spite of the challenges. I am grateful because that is who I have committed to be.
What are you grateful for? How do you practice gratitude?
I am grateful for you! So grateful to our clients, colleagues and readers. (If you are grateful for this article, please share!) For more “rich life” wisdom, read my article, “Success Lessons: 10 Ways to Win at Money, Work and Life.”
As promised, from Brené Brown: