In my last blog, I wrote about the importance of living your life in phases and how, by doing so, people will put themselves in the best position for long term wealth. One inevitable question that popped up, however, was what do you do when you’ve already passed a phase in your life and haven’t done ANY of the things that you were supposed to do already, i.e. educate yourself accordingly, lay down brand reputation for political capital, etc. (Think that cousin of yours who is 30 and STILLS lives with his parents). When people find themselves in this type of situation, often it is because they have been on the wrong path for some time now and are at risk of waking up one day and bemoaning that they are not where they want to be in life and asking how in the hell did I get here (I have to think this is what happened to Katie Holmes that morning when she decided it was time to divorce Tom Cruise). I’m sure this has happened to all of us at some point, and this is nothing to be ashamed of. The response, however, that is important to have at this time is not to be down on ourselves about our past inability to adhere to the standards of excellence, but to do several things quickly to stop the current direction that we are heading and turn things around to put us back on the road to success. This is something that in the business world is know as a turnaround. A turnaround is when a company brings someone in to analyze why things have been going wrong from a profit and loss standpoint and then make changes to get things back on track. Here are the simple steps to perform a turnaround on your life and get back on the right track to the different phases of life.
ANALYZE WHERE YOU ARE AND HOW YOU GOT THERE
Simple enough right? You’ll need to take a moment to look at your current life and truly analyze how you ended up where you are. While I AM talking about the actual decisions that you made to put yourself in the predicament that you are in, the more important thing to analyze and evaluate is your philosophy and decision-making process on WHY you made those decisions. The why behind your actions will give you much greater insight into what you need to change at your philosophical core to prevent you from making such mistakes in the future. It may be a situation in which you married someone because of looks and convenience rather than true love. You may have always had the philosophy of doing what feels right and what you want to do, as opposed to what makes the most sense logically and strategically. You may be someone who always thought that planning is for the less adventurous and boring and you like to just “go with the flow.” I can’t say any of these philosophies are bad or inherently “wrong,” but if they haven’t produced the results that you desire in your life up to this point, then it is time to re-evaluate and try a different approach to life.
DECIDE WHAT YOU SHOULD KEEP AND WHAT YOU SHOULD LET GO
When you finish analyzing what has gotten you to this point, then it’s time to discuss what makes sense to continue doing (keep) or to stop all together (let go). Now this could be ideas, habits, or people in your life who have not helped you produce the positive results that you desire. Some of these are going to be easy to identify, but probably harder to break, i.e. smoking, excessive drinking, driving to Harrahs and spending 80% of your paycheck on blackjack every weekend because “Your bad luck has to run out as some point.” While others may be a little harder to know if they are good or bad, i.e. that girlfriend/boyfriend who you have a lot of fun with but who discourages more than encourages you to follow your dreams, invest money/time wisely, or improve yourself. The main thing you have to consider when evaluating each of these things is to ask yourself, are these things getting you closer or further from your ideal life. Are they helping or hindering your ability to be the person that you want to be. If your instinctive/first response is hurting more than helping, then you have to begin to work on an exit strategy to remove these things/people from your life, so you can begin to actually perform the turnaround effectively. The reality is that if you attempt to execute the turnaround with these same hindrances, the chances of of you succeeding are reduced dramatically, as you’ll have too much fighting against you to be fully focused on the changes you need to make to be successful- For all you hip hop head, think Jay-Z’s and Dame Dash’s reason for their 2006 “breakup.”
START WITH IDEAL SELF AND WORK YOUR WAY BACKWARDS TO TODAY
This is one of the greatest paradigms shifts you can make to increase your level of focus and adherence to what you need to do to be successful long term. You have to envision whom your ideal self would be 15-20 years from now. You need to think about this holistically, in relation to how much money you have in the bank, what kind of shape you are in, what is your intellectual prowess, and what you are doing from a career standpoint and then begin to work your way backwards to being that person TODAY. You just have to envision what your ideal self will look like in a specified time frame from now and then begin to reverse engineer the steps it’s going to take for you to get there to live that life. For example, if you want to be President of the United States (a position that doesn’t look as prestigious and appealing as it used to for some reason BTW), then you first have to be considered a candidate. To be considered a candidate, you first have to hold some major political office or have some name brand recognition in the United States. Before you can hold a major political office or have name brand recognition, you have to hold a minor political office or start some type of company. Before you can hold a minor political office or start a company, you need to research what it takes to hold a minor political office or start a company. Therefore, TODAY, you need to find some time to research the best ways to get elected to a minor political office or start a company. Make sense? So, if you want to be in great shape and eating right every day, then you need to focus on what you need to to do TODAY to begin getting there, i.e. wake up 15 minutes earlier each day and doing 100 push-ups and sit-ups. If you want to be a great salsa dancer and speak fluent Spanish (one of my personal goals for OBVIOUS reasons for those who know me), then you need to look into salsa classes or subscribing to Rosetta Stone. It’s all about taking that long term goal that seems so far away and then working your way backwards into one single, manageable step that you can do TODAY to get closer to that life.
Turnarounds. They can sometimes be messy and frightening for those involved in them. Sometimes, many people lose their jobs and complete departments may be outsourced or let go because they are not helping the company grow. In life, this may be the case as well, as we all have to consider who/what we have in our lives that are pushing us towards the black (profit) or keeping us in the red (loss). And while there are no guarantees that everything will work out smoothly for you in the future by changing your approach to things, I can guarantee that doing the same things you’ve done up to this point aren’t going to produce anything other than what you already have. If you’re happy with that, then by all means, keep doing it, but if not, then it’s time to hit that reset button and let’s turn this baby around.