My dad changed the oil in my Volkswagon bug for me as a teen. He used to say that most people could do or fix pretty much anything that they wanted; the problem was not focusing on it and then taking the time to do it.
Dad was a smart man. Like many things he taught me, this truth applies to a lot of aspects of life. Today this paradigm is more real than ever with almost anything we want virtually at our fingertips; there are millions of bright shiny objects to distract us from our focus at any given moment.
And when it comes to your money, have you ever noticed that it can be gone before you even know it? Talk about bright shiny objects! And they continually distract us from:
1. Using our money in ways we hadn’t planned at all
2. Taking the time to lead the flow and accumulation of our money.
In this post, I’d like to share a strategy from my 30 days to Build Wealth program to give you clarity and focus that will help you live and act in a way that gives you financial freedom.
On the huge whiteboard in my office I drew a ladder in the upper right corner. When I get overwhelmed with bright shiny objects and daily busyness, I like to think of myself as being on the top step of the ladder. The top step of the ladder is where the highest level of life, money and business ideas and plans reside.
Top step planning has to take place way before the decisions are made about which mutual fund to buy, or which financial advisor to hire. Top step planning is the precursor to creating wealth. But…
Life gets so busy that top step thinking and living gets lost somewhere between the grocery store and buying the designer boots before the sale ends.
Now if you stay on the top step all of the time, you’ll never get anything done beyond visioning and high level planning; this won’t work either, because we do need to implement the steps in the high level plan…not to mention pay the bills, and maybe even buy the boots before the sale ends!
But if you don’t spend any time on the top step, all of life becomes moments of busyness and tasks without direction or focus. Suddenly, you can find yourself in a place completely different from where you wanted to be, financially and otherwise.
You may have heard the quote “If you don’t know where you’re headed any road will get you there” by Lewis Carroll. Isn’t it so true?
Being the queen of distraction and bright shiny objects, I totally get this, so no fingers are being pointed here! (I was the creative, out of control little sister, which is what led me to create this strategy in the first place!)
Here’s what happens when you focus and brainstorm on the top shelf; things are clearly seen simplistic to the point of being ridiculous, but this also makes them achievable.
Bingo! This realization is especially powerful because we only do the things that we think we can actually do, right? (Why bother, if deep down we don’t think we can create wealth, a belief especially rampant among women from generations past!)
When we focus on top step planning, instead of the endless myriad of tasks, thoughts and emotions about money that runs around in our brains 24/7, high level planning kicks in. At this almost ridiculously simplistic but high level place, the magic happens…the magic that drives us to create the life that we actually choose when we stop to dwell on the top step for half an hour.
At the top step level of thinking, the questions are things like:
- How much money do I even want?
- Why do I want this amount of money?
- Am I increasing my wealth?
- How much money do I have?
- Where is my money exactly?
- How can I increase my wealth more?
- What should I do with my wealth account?
The questions will, of course, vary depending on where you are on your financial journey.
You can see how much richer these questions are than the myriad of money related thoughts we have running through our brains consuming us each day, like:
- How am I going to get to work on time? (Because work is hugely about money)
- When am I going to get by the bank for some more cash?
- Can I get by the store before that sale ends (and all the good stuff is gone)?
- Are my investments are safe? (This one loves to surface in the middle of the night for a lot of women)
- I wonder what my financial advisor meant.
You see the difference; top step planning invokes leadership to create the life that you want. Living lower down the ladder where the other questions reside simply distract you from true leadership of your money.
Sure, these lower step tasks may need your attention, but at a lower priority (and brain space) than the top shelf questions.
Taking just an hour or two a month to live on the top step can create clarity, peace and financial freedom. It’s less time than it takes to get to the sale before it ends, but it can change your life. Absolutely nothing that you can buy at the sale will do that for you.
If you want a step by step plan to financial freedom that will change your life forever, then get my 30 Days to Build Wealth program here.