Is Success Your Journey or Your Destination?

Success is all about money and women, right?

Some men think in terms of money, some in terms of women and some in terms of family. Some men think in terms of power. Some men think in terms of heaven. Few discover until the very end, when it is too late, that success is both a journey and a destination, a process and a result. The classic sad example is the man whose success is a big house and a new car. He works to get them but loses key relationships with his wife and children on the way. Few men discover a definition of success consistent with their values that accounts for the journey and the destination.

What would you trade your life for?

That’s the question one of my mentors asked during a coaching session. The question caught me completely off guard. He knew it would, and he waited. I struggled to answer. Then, in response to my floundering, he followed up with a brilliant answer.  He said,

“Whatever you’re doing right now is your answer.”

It’s easy to exaggerate our influence on situations around us. We underestimate the influence our situation or environment has on us. We go to the office each day. We work hard. We contribute as much as we can as gracefully and effectively as we can and we think, “Today I made a difference.” A difference to what? To whom? In what way? Are we not spending precious time and trading our lives away a day at a time?

How often have you asked yourself, “How is my job affecting me?”

The follow-on question is, “How is my job affecting my wife and children?”

Or,

“How is my job affecting my progress toward my written short-term, mid-term and long-term goals?”

And, crucially,

“What kind of man will I be when I achieve my goals?”

These are important questions because you have already been on your journey for some time. You are on it now. If we don’t include in our definition of success those things which we need along the way, for instance, being a good, reliable, heroic husband and father in our plan to achieve our goals, we tend to hyper focus on the goal itself. We become a monster on the way to the goal. If you re-frame your daily affirmation to include, “Be a hero to my wife every day as I work for the promotion,” or “Be a reliable and fully present husband and father each evening as I bust my back each day,” it will help you win in two important ways. First, you’ll have daily successes that encourage you to continue on your journey. Second, ultimate success becomes more likely. At AM we say, “Don’t cross the finish line alone.” Make the journey more pleasant and meaningful and you’ll make the success of the journey more likely.

Robert Kiyosaki’s “Cashflow Quadrant”: A great framework for understanding the world.

In 2005 I was riding high. I was sitting across from a banker putting together the final details for a real estate deal that went very, very well. As we worked through the frustrating details of the deal I found myself losing patience even as we made progress. In an exasperated desire to reach out and slap this guy, I said,

“You know, you are a very good banker.”

I was being rude and didn’t mean it as a compliment. I said it with disdain as an entrepreneur. I was trying to communicate my frustration with his obsession with details, records, procedure, sourcing. In a word, his obsession for respectability, structure and process. Everything that makes a bank reliable. All that made him exactly what I needed to finance a very profitable deal. After I said it I cringed and thought,

“Oh, I wish I could pull those words back.”

But his response was the most instructive part of the experience. He smiled broadly and said,

“Why, thank you.”

He was very pleased. It was humbling, touching and very instructive

The Genius of a Framework.

In 2002 I discovered the book “Cashflow Quadrant” and it changed my life because it gave me a framework to understand the business and financial world. In it, Kiyosaki explains that there are only four ways to make money, as an Employee (E Quadrant), as a Self Employed (S Quadrant), as a Business Owner (B Quadrant) and as an Investor (I Quadrant). These are the quadrants in the book’s title. Residents of each quadrant have different characteristics, and each quadrant has different qualities. The book is full of valuable lessons, but I’ll just lay out enough to peak your interest.  For example, E’s have an illusion of job security, trade time for money, earn the lowest possible quality of money, and have few to no tax advantages. S’s tend to prefer control and doing it themselves, still trade time for money, and have some tax advantages. It’s tough to sustain as an S and gain momentum. B’s have system-based businesses, don’t trade time for money and have loads of tax advantages. B’s have a good shot at sustainability. I’s don’t trade time for money, do thought work, have loads of tax advantages and use the most sophisticated techniques. Each quadrant builds on the other quadrants and can combine with others. For instance, you can own a business as a B but be an employee in that business as an E.

We will look at how you earn, what you earn and how the two affect you as you proceed more fully as we work together. After I finished that excellent book I set a goal to be profitable in all four quadrants. Some of the stories from my journey may be helpful to you.

Call to Action: First, purchase the book, “Cashflow Quadrant” and read it, here. Second, analyze the people you meet each day. Ask yourself these questions: How many people do I know in the I Quadrant? The B Quadrant? Do the people I meet fit the descriptions found in the different quadrants? What do residents of each quadrant value? What quadrants have I made money in? How has my experience in different quadrants affected my life?