I doubt y’all are keeping score (much less care), but this past year was a huge success for me personally on many fronts. One significant goal, however, was hitting my “enough is enough” number that I set years ago as the amount of money I needed to have in order to never need to work again.
I often quipped that if I hit that goal and was in the middle of delivering an event, I’d drop the mic and exit the stage shouting a “Good luck writing your own newsletters” over my shoulder to y’all – a fantasy that sustained me throughout the tough times when I wanted to quit. Many members said they hoped to be in the audience when that happened.
Of course, now that quitting is an actual, viable option, the thought of stopping is nowhere near as attractive as I had originally thought it would be. In fact, it’s scary. What if I didn’t get to still do what I do? To plan another event, create a new campaign, a new talk, a new product launch and to work with the clients I love (truly)? I run at top speed daily – I NEED an outlet for my ideas, I NEED the work, the struggle, the problems to solve and the ability to pull off the impossible.
That’s the funny thing about hitting BIG goals: It’s the pursuit of them that gives life meaning, not necessarily the attainment of them.
When you finally achieve a monumental goal, it can often feel anticlimactic and disappointing – exactly the opposite of what you think it’ll feel. Both Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin battled depression, alcoholism and divorces after their successful moon-landing mission – they hit the summit of their lives but didn’t have a next mission to sustain them. Because of that, their lives fell apart.
This is actually a common phenomenon, often referred to as a “success hangover.” Many people feel a real sense of loss and emptiness after achieving a goal when there’s not another meaningful NEW goal to pull them forward. This is why people like Kevin O’Leary, Marcus Lemonis, Mark Cuban, Elon Musk, etc., continue to work at an intense pace, putting in long, hard hours building businesses well after they’ve made enough money to sit on their rump by a pool sipping piña coladas. It’s also what most people don’t understand about the rich and successful – they’re wired to work, to strive to build and to win, not necessarily for the money, although that certainly IS part of it. They love the race for being in the race and winning it, but not for finishing it.
Highly successful people are never “finished”…they just set bigger goals and higher standards for themselves.
All that said, I AM happy to have achieved it. The day I realized it, after calculating my final net earnings for the year, I didn’t have a party, didn’t drink until I fell over, didn’t celebrate with a special dinner and I didn’t really tell anyone other than my husband.
That day I worked until about 2:00 p.m. and gave myself the afternoon off to go to the gym early, come back and eat a pretty average dinner of chicken and salad, then put in a few more hours answering e-mails and cleaning up a few loose ends. I went to bed early. NOT what you would think most people would do or should do, but there ya have it. I’m just a pretty ordinary non-party animal.
So, let me leave you with a few thoughts on this.
First, I DO think it’s critical for you to have a clear “enough is enough” number – the amount of money you need to have in income-earning investments (MINUS debt and NOT your home) that would allow you to live off the interest until your end of days without touching the principal.
Hill talks about this in Think And Grow Rich, which is where I originally learned this concept. If you don’t know how much money you need, get with a fiduciary financial advisor (not a salesperson selling insurance, annuities, etc.) and have them come up with an actual plan for you.
This is important no matter how modest or lofty your wealth goals are. You NEED a specific target. From there, set benchmarks and mini-goals, checking in weekly or at least monthly to see how you’re progressing toward that goal. Force yourself to automatically set aside a certain percentage of your income to deposit into your wealth account on a regular basis, and strive to put big chunks of money in every quarter and/or every year when you’ve made a leap in income.
On that journey, the thought of being able to quit is an exciting one, so keep it in the forefront of your thoughts. Having “F You” money IS freeing because so much of what we do is based on the NEED for money, so eliminating that need will give you a sense of peace and security for your family. And trust me when I say that the belief that you WILL achieve that “enough is enough” number will get you through those days when you feel defeated, discouraged, beat up, and WANTING to quit. Just remember, wanting to quit is not the problem…actually quitting and giving up is.
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