The Most Important Thing You Need To Live The Life You Desire

By Don McGrath


I found myself ready to be done working and not knowing for sure what was next. What would you do? Would you like to know how I made this happen for myself  Now, I'll share with you how…. One day, when I was out for a walk on a clear and brisk Colorado morning and pondering my next move, I got an idea. You see, in the months preceding my planned departure from my last job, as word started to get out that I was leaving my career to pursue writing and speaking, I often got the same response. “You’re too young to retire!”

After sharing a laugh, I would respond by saying that I still planned to work, but that I just wasn’t sure what exactly I would be doing. Many would tell me how jealous they were that I had the financial freedom to follow my passions at my age. I didn’t see myself as any different than anyone else and I knew that others could achieve the same thing that I did, if they had a plan for accomplishing it.

As I paused during my walk to reflect on my thoughts, it occurred to me that maybe I could write about and teach people to do what I had done, which was to attain a really big goal, to reach their dream. After all, I didn’t get a huge inheritance or win a lottery. I had actually been purposeful about achieving this goal for about ten years. I could show others how to do the same.

In reflecting on what got me to the point where I could pursue my passion and leave my job, I realized that personal Leadership was key. Personal leadership is the recognition that you have the personal power to define what you want; figure out what you need to do to get you there; and do whatever it takes. Where did I learn to embrace the principles of personal leadership? Through reading many personal development books and my love for two sports that require strength and endurance—running and rock climbing, which I have devoted many years of my life to.

These experiences taught me about dreaming of big, inspiring goals and doing the work needed to reach them. The lessons that I learned taught me not only that I could set and reach big goals, but they also showed me how to do it. This learning helped me achieve several big goals in my life including getting my Ph.D. while working full-time; publishing several books, also while working full-time; and becoming a multi-millionaire at age 52.

It was about twelve years ago that I set the formidable goal of becoming semi-retired by the age of 50. For me, this meant having the money and flexibility to pursue different, and hopefully more fulfilling work, than I was doing at the time.

I was an engineer by trade and did enjoy the work. I must say though, that it was not my life’s passion. The career had been good to me and provided me many challenges and much growth. It also helped me provide for me and mine for many years. But, I wanted to pursue my passions—the things that I can’t wait to do every day; the things that make me smile and really enjoy life.

At that time, my net worth was less than $150,000 between equity in my home and my 401K. To many, it would seem like I had a good start, but when I did the math, I found out that I needed millions in net worth to make my goal a reality. From all the training and experience that I had, I knew that to reach this goal, I needed to have a plan. I knew that I needed to be prepared to be flexible and modify my plan if things didn’t go as I expected. I also knew that I was ready to do what needed to be done to make it happen.

My first step, was to hire a financial adviser. Together, we figured out what I needed to earn and save each year in order to reach my goal. I had a plan and I worked to follow it. However, things did not play out exactly as I planned, when one of the worst recessions in U.S. history hit shortly after we inked my plan. I remained committed to my goal and stayed flexible. Remarkably, at age 53, my net worth ended up exceeding my best-case projection in the plan, by a few hundred thousand dollars. My plan came to fruition.

Do you have a plan?

Are you acting on your plan?

In the next article, I’ll explain the Four Steps To Reaching Your Dream that I uncovered on my journey.

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