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Declare Your Own Independence!

One of the things that makes the US great is that it promotes the idea of independence, that is, that if you work hard enough for long enough, you can be your own boss. There are thousands, if not millions of people in the world who have realized the goal of being an independent person. And by independent person, I mean someone who has figured out a way to make their own decisions without fear of the consequences. The average person finds themselves enslaved by a job, a system, and a way of thinking that limits them from realizing their fullest potential. They have to go with the status quo because they aren’t saving money, nor continually networking for new opportunities, nor investing in their own vision.

An independent person knows that they have much more to offer than what their current station in life dictates. They also refused to be limited by a job title or perceived social status. They continue to strive to realize their vision and are focused on building assets that their progeny will be able to utilize for 100 years or more. Even if you find yourself working for someone else at the moment or having to participate in a system that isn’t beneficial for your ultimate welfare, you can declare your own independence and fight day after to day to eventually obtain freedom. independence starts with a state of mind and then it translates into reality.

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Think Like an Investor, not just a Consumer

I really used to enjoy spending money, and in some cases I still do. I still spend a lot, the only difference is that now I buy more assets (things that make me money) instead of things that lose their value, wear out, and probably won’t even be worth 10% of what I initially paid for them. I’ve got the investor/owner bug heavy because once I realized that there are things that I can purchase that give me money back, I was hooked to this new way of thinking. I’ve also created a challenge for myself. Since I like very nice (and expensive things), I’ve made it a point to try to buy a piece of the companies that make them BEFORE I buy the luxury item. To take it further, you should look at items that you buy regularly, for example, coffee from Starbucks, or Shell Gas, and buy shares of stock in that company. It’s like putting money back in your pocket every time you buy something from these businesses.

We should all have something to show for our hard work. Many times, material liabilities (clothes, cars, toys, etc) will come and go. But assets that you purchase (stocks, real estate, precious metals, art) can be passed on from generation to generation, and ensure that you don’t have to work for someone else for the rest of your life.

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How to change your life

Have you ever been at a place in life where you realize that you want something different than what you are currently getting? Perhaps you realize that you want better relationships, want to make more money, be healthier, or make more of an impact in the world. In flashes of inspiration we may begin to take some preliminary steps to go in a different direction, but then we get discouraged because “real” life sets in and we then go back to our old habits. This can leave us even more discouraged because we then begin to lose hope in our ability to change anything. Well, I’m here today to offer you some solutions if you are currently here. Change is inevitable, the trick is being able to position yourself to prosper from change in the way you desire when it occurs. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind that will help you implement the change you want to see in your life.

  1. Write down what you want. Many of us don’t get what we want because we don’t know what we want in the first place. You have to go through the exercise of defining in very specific terms what you want. When you do this and write it down, you train your mind to recognize the things necessary to obtain it. It’s sort of like when you buy a certain type of car, you then begin to see other people driving the same type of car as you. You’ve created an emotional posted note for your brain, and your brain begins to subconsciously connect the dots for you. I’ve had so many opportunities come my way because I clearly defined what I wanted. When you live from the place of your vision, you see things on a whole new level which transcends your current circumstances.
  2. Do something everyday related to the change you want to see. World renowned speaker and trainer Tony Robbins says that we are the result of our daily rituals. This is so true. We become what we consistently do. If you smoke everyday, you become known as a smoker. If you read everyday, you become known as a reader. When you “x” everyday, you become known as… you fill in the blank. The greatest change comes from doing small consistent things on a daily basis as oppose to doing really huge things inconsistently. To see real change in your life, you have to become intentional about creating new habits and sticking to them. The goal is to make the positive change you desire a part of your nature. This is where most people give up, fail, and go back to their original normal which only gets them more of want they don’t like in the first place.
  3. Get mentors or friends (or both) that are where you want to be. This is critical. You need to surround yourself with like minded people who are as “crazy” as you are. I say crazy because the people whom you associate with that are part of your current reality will not understand why you are trying to make the changes you are attempting. To them, you will appear crazy because you are breaking their “normal” construct. And if they understand, they may hinder you from  trying to get to your new destination in life because they want you to stay where they’re at. When you try to better your situation, it can make the people currently around you uncomfortable. So it is imperative to begin to bring new people into your life who will support, affirm, and assist you in the changes you are making. They will act as coaches and partners that uplift you when you feel like giving up. We are the product of our 5 closest relationships.
  4. Measure your progress. It’s not always easy to spot when change is occurring in your life. So every now and then you need to stop and take inventory of where you started and where you are currently at. When you measure your results, it will encourage you when you see how far you have come. That’s why personal trainers have their clients take before and after pictures. You may not notice a 2 pound weight loss with your naked eye, but it feels good when you see a lower weight on the scale. Measuring your progress also allows you see what isn’t working. If you are not making any progress within a certain amount of time, that may be a sign that you need to try a different strategy to reach your aim.
  5. Feed Your Mind. You have to fuel your mind with images, literature, and experiences that align with the change you seek after. Your mind is your most powerful ally in changing your life. Your thoughts will either make you or break you. The information we consume acts as the gasoline that takes us where we want to go. Listen to motivational speeches, read autobiographies, listen to empowering music, and watch shows that will inspire you on your journey. Also seek to create new experiences for yourself that allow you to envision yourself living in the change you desire. Go look at houses in the neighborhood you want to live in, test drive the car you want to drive, save up and go on a trip, etc.

Change is possible in your life. You have to believe it at your core and continue to reaffirm that belief through action, thought, and whom you associate with. You are powerful and can do all things. See you at the top!

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Make Time For Your Passion

For me, there aren’t many greater feelings than earning money doing something that I’m passionate about. It’s part of my happiness. No matter how busy I get, I always try to make room for the things I’m passionate about whether they earn income or not. Because my time is valuable, I have to put my time where there is a high potential return on investment (and that’s not just a financial return either). I’ve heard and read about several people who are high income earners but hate what they are doing. Money is only one part of the equation. It’s necessary to block sacred time out to do things that you love, and would do even if you didn’t get paid for it. But here’s the trick, if you do something you love (that provides some sort of service to humanity), more than likely you will become great at it and people will be willing to pay you for your passion. Win win situation right.

At the end of the day, working on your passions gives life to the soul and also gives you a deeper significance as a human being beyond just paying bills, sitting in traffic, and building someone else’s empire. You have to guard this time with your life because you will be a much happier, productive, and loving member of society if you are building something you can be proud of.

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The Importance of Building Generational Wealth (Part 1)

Building wealth is something that I’ve been passionate (and serious) about for the last three years. I think wealth building became very important to me after I had my first son. I realized that part of the legacy that I want to leave behind for him and my other son is that of financial independence. Financial independence means different things to different people. For me, it means the ability to generate your own income without having to work for someone else and being debt free. You can’t really be wealthy if you have debt. If you owe someone money, you have an undesirable obligation because you are essentially working for them. Credit card vendors work hard to get people into debt so they can earn interest off their hard work and time. It’s a phenomenal and highly effective business model!

I learned the hard way. After accumalating sizable debts (student loans, car debt, and credit cards), I realized that I wanted to put my economic energy into things that earn a financial return instead of continue to cost me long after I have enjoyed them. While the latest cars, fashion, and other toys felt great for the moment, they became liabilities that ate away at my financial security and decreased my long term economic power. Don’t get me wrong, I still like the finer things in life and indulge in them when I should (and sometimes when I shouldn’t). But after having kids, I feel a sense of obligation of giving my kids the right tools at a young age that teach them how to think about and use money that sets them up for long term success. My behavior is the best text book they will ever read even though I still get it wrong and am learning how to do things right myself. Every dollar we hold is a seed with the potential to generate many other dollars if invested (planted in the right soil) and managed. This is what I am now teaching them at age 1 and 3 (currently).

I have to come to learn that there are two main ways to build generational wealth and these are investing and business ownership. Many times, they are one in the same. Building a business is an investment of time and money. Building a wealth generating investment portfolio is an investment of time and money as well. I’ve read about people who invest (buy stock) in companies and hold onto the shares until they die and then pass them to their loved ones. The great thing about some of these investments is that they generate monthly and quartely dividends that can either be reinvensted to buy more stock or the owners can enjoy the dividend income.

I think whether we have the entrepreneurial spirit or not, at the very least we should take a portion of our income and invest it in some sort of financial vehicle that produces additional income (without us having to work for it). Some very prudent people don’t want to start a business, so they save up their money and put it into a family or friend owned business venture. There are so many creative ways to generate wealth. I’m of the opinion that future generations should be able to enjoy the fruits of their predecessors labor and hopefully take it to the next level. You don’t have to be the Walton’s (WalMart) or Rockerfellers to leave something that makes a significant impact in the lives of your loved ones. I recently read the story of a man who held the same job as a parking attendant for 44 years only making $12 an hour, but he invested his money consistently over that time period and now holds a $500,000 portfolio!

Personally, I am not financially wealthy yet. I am positioning myself to accomplish this goal however. I plan to let you in on my journey every now and then as I figure this thing out. If you have additional insights, please shoot me a comment.

 

Here’s a link to the story of that parking attendant if you’re interested.

Much love,

Sharp