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A couple of years ago, I had someone refuse to work with me because I hadn’t amassed a net worth of over $5 million. Yep – it still plays on my mind every day. In our chat he mentioned that he would only work with me if I was financially successful – and his measure of success was having $5 million plus in the bank. It got me thinking – his definition of financial success is SO different from mine. Because if he’d asked me the question, “Are you financially successful?”, I would have truthfully answered yes. Because by my definition and interpretation, I am. However by his definition, I’m not. 

I wondered for quite some time how he’d come to the conclusion that $5 million was the marker of financial success. And over the last 2 years I’ve spoken to countless people about financial success and what it means to them. And most people? They really struggle to answer the question in a way that is meaningful to them and their lives. Because most of us don’t take the time to slow down and consider what it is that we really, really want. More often than not, we’re just getting through the days as best we can and aiming in the general direction that we think we need to – often a direction that someone else has planted in our heads at some point in the past.

So today, I want to get you thinking about what success really means to you, so that you can slow down and clearly see what you need to be working on, and work out if you’re heading in the right direction.

Work out what it is that you DON’T want in your life.

Truth be told, I had no idea what I actually wanted when I started my journey to improving my finances. In fact, normally when I ask people what they want in a meeting there’s some really awkward silences and a lot of confusion. Because in life, we’re generally running full steam and rarely take the time out to think about these things. 

What’s much easier? Identifying what it is that you DON’T want. 

Take out a pen and paper, and get writing. List everything that you don’t want in your life, and what makes you feel unsuccessful.

Hint: they don’t have to be big things. When I first started out, one of my things was that I didn’t want to have to wear socks with holes in them any more. 

If you’re stuck, here are some of the responses that I’ve come across recently to get your thoughts flowing:

  • I don’t want to keep working overtime and miss time with my family
  • I don’t want to have to wait until I’m 65 to start travelling
  • I don’t want to buy my clothes from Kmart any more
  • I don’t want to keep saying no to doing things with my friends because I can’t afford it
  • I don’t want to have to check my bank account every time I go shopping to make sure I have enough money to buy the things I want
  • I don’t want to keep walking through the mud because we can’t afford to finish the landscaping

Take your time and get it all out – my first time doing this I wrote about 5 pages of things! This will really put your brain to work and help you start to think about…

What do you want your life to look like? What would make you feel successful?

Going through the process of working out what you don’t want in your life and what makes you feel unsuccessful should have prompted some thoughts about what it is that you do want instead, and what sort of things that would make you feel successful.

So now I want you to put your pen back to paper and consider the following questions:

  • Now that I know what makes me feel unsuccessful, what would make me feel financially successful instead?
  • What does financial success look like in my life?
  • How will I know when I have achieved financial success? How will I feel?
  • What in my life will be different when I have reached financial success?
  • What is it that I really want?

Full disclosure: These questions can be hard to answer, and they can take some time to work through. But the end result? What you want from your life will become crystal clear, and allow you to…

Make sure you’re heading in the right direction

Now that you know what it is that you want, it’s crucial that you take the time to consider if the steps that you’re taking will get you there, or if you need to pivot and change direction

Consider the following two questions:

  • Am I getting closer to my idea of success, or is it getting further away?
  • What in my life needs to change to make these things happen?

Phew! That’s a lot, and there’s a pretty big chance that your head hurts considering all of these things. BUT, knowing what it is that you really want… knowing what success is to you? It’s a game changer! Do I have $5 million? Hell no! But do I feel like I’m successful and continuing to grow every day? Hell yes! Regularly answering these questions allows me to make sure that each and every single day, that I get one step closer to my vision for my life. And the answers to these questions allow me to know the steps that I need to take with my money to get there. If like most people you just skimmed through but didn’t take the time to work your way through the questions – I encourage you to set aside some time to do so – because it will give you the clarity and peace of mind that you’re on the right track, or the information that you need to change your path.

Know what you don’t want in your life and what you want instead, but are unsure about all the money stuff you need to do to make it actually happen? Join me for a free Money Mentoring session, where we will spend 30 minutes looking over your finances so that you can walk away knowing the steps that you need to take to get you to your goals ASAP. You can check out my calendar and book in a time that suits here.