There are plenty of people out there who, on the surface, have it all. They’re financially successful, have a beautiful family and are perfectly healthy. But many of those people are incredibly unhappy and are putting on a front all day while still feeling depressed and empty when they take any time to reflect.
Peter Finn of Face Contracting was in this exact circumstance roughly 6 years ago. He was wealthy beyond what he could imagine growing up as a working-class kid in Cobar, Australia. He had a lovely wife who was also successful in her work. But he was deeply unhappy.
So Peter took some time to reflect on what was really important in life and came to some enlightening conclusions. On a recent episode of the Get Invested podcast, Peter and I had a wonderful chat about what Peter thinks we should really be focusing on: namely relationships. For Peter, the relationships you make with those around you, and the reputation and legacy you leave behind, are the most important things you can put your time and energy towards.
When you’re on your deathbed, he told me, you’re not going to think about the investments you made or the jobs you worked. You’re going to meditate on the relationships you had, and whether you were a force for good with those in your life. It’s a scary thought, coming to the end of your days and realising that you spent all of your time obsessed with work and numbers, but it’s something you should think about.
What we all chase in life is fulfilment and achievement, Peter tells me. That feeling you get when you lose weight, or help an old lady cross the street, or receive praise from your peers — that’s what makes the difference between a fulfilling life and one that is merely spent passing the time.
In my own business, I help people make roadmaps in their lives so that they can cultivate passive income and reach financial freedom for themselves. Money isn’t everything, of course, but achieving financial security is a major step in having a healthy social life. Being able to take care of your family, or take the time off to visit an ailing parent or go on vacation, are all impossible without a comfortable nest egg.
These are, of course, just a few aspects of maintaining a healthy social life. People devote their entire lives to trying to understand relationships, and a short article isn’t going to cover all the bases. But if nothing else, I hope Peter’s words make you take a few moments out of your day to think about what’s really important in your life.
Listen to my entire conversation with Peter here.
Andrew Griffiths had the type of childhood that would turn most people into monsters.
Abandoned by his parents at six months old, alongside his 18-month-old sister, Andrew was taken in by an elderly woman. The woman, despite her being warm enough to take care of Andrew and his sister, systematically abused the two children for years until they were taken away from her when Andrew was 10. She savagely beat them both, made them sleep outside and neglected their physical and emotional health — Andrew wasn’t allowed to brush his teeth until he was 8 years old.
Andrew, as many people do with similar experiences, bounced around homes and turned to drugs, alcohol and crime amid a quest to find himself. But there was a turning point one day — one crossroads among many in his life — where Andrew decided to leave a toxic group of friends and work to make his life better.
Now, Andrew is an international bestselling author with upwards of 20 books of his sold in more than 60 countries. He is a sought-after speaker who has spread his message of entrepreneurship, positivity and individualism all over the world.
So, when so many people would’ve closed themselves up and become negative people, how did Andrew become such a beacon of positivity?
It was a choice, he says. While life throws plenty of things at you, and many of them are beyond your control, how you react to these situations is entirely up to you. Too many people, in his opinion, take a victim mentality and blame outward circumstances for their own unhappiness and lack of meaning in life. There were so many instances in Andrew’s life where he could have either taken a left turn down a path that would lead to more crime, self-abuse and potentially jail, or a right turn that would take him towards a better place. In the end, it’s our own volition and choice that puts us in the right direction, not only external influences.
As Andrew’s business has grown, he’s also learned the importance of self-respect and trusting yourself. He has built his business to a point where he can take a day off if he needs to. Before, when he would maybe take 10 appointments a day, he now only takes three or four. Yes, this can be a bit difficult when you haven’t built a global brand and business, but it should be an ongoing goal in your career. You should always put the health and happiness of you and your loved ones above everything else, prioritising self-respect over chasing a dollar.
Speaking with Andrew on the Get Invested podcast, he had a wealth of advice and friendly humour that is nothing short of inspiring. I’ll leave you with one of his best pieces of advice that you can use in your daily life: make every interaction with another person have meaning.
Listen to my entire conversation with Andrew here.
Sean D’Souza, by most measurements, is living the ideal lifestyle. He is healthy, wealthy and has made enough time for himself to be able to take a holiday 3 months of the year and pursue his hobbies as much as he’d like.
As founder of Psychotactics, his own marketing strategy company, Sean is passionate about analysing life and psychology to understand how people can create an optimal lifestyle. While our chat on the latest episode of Get Invested covered a heap of information, I’ve grabbed a few pieces of key advice Sean shared as a highlight.
Understand What Is Important In Life
It’s a cliche, but too many people focus on money. They work themselves down to the bone, bumping up their income every year without any increase in happiness or reduction in stress. What’s crucial is understanding that time, not money, is our most valuable resource. Instead of packing our life with stress just to make more money, we should learn how to use the money we already have to live our best life. Are your needs met? Good, now think how you can use the excess money to make passive income and devote your time to things that really make you happy.
Find The Right Teacher
A great teacher, among other things, shows you how to save energy when doing something. They will show you brilliant shortcuts and hacks that help you learn something much quicker than if you did it by yourself.
Why is this important? For Sean, there is a simple progression when it comes to learning a craft. You put in energy, you gain confidence by practising and then you end up with a skill. A teacher brings you much closer to that end goal by circumventing frustration and wasted time.
Do More In Less Time
So how does Sean take three months holiday every year? The key, he says, is being realistic about how much time something takes. If we’re given a month to complete a project, we’re likely going to take the entire month. But what if we could complete it in two weeks? That would give us two weeks to use for ourselves. That is the essence, working hard and completing his yearly tasks within nine months, and using the remaining time to travel and enjoy life.
Seize Things For Yourself
When Sean was in college, he knew he wanted to draw cartoons for newspapers and magazines. So what did he do? He went into well-known publications in Mumbai and asked them if they needed cartoonists. He was often met with rejection, but he kept going back and persisting through negative feedback until he received assignments.
This is an attitude that can be applied to any circumstance. Are you unhappy with your job? Well, what could you be doing right now that would move you towards a happier existence? You could start teaching yourself or interviewing those working in your desired industry. The reassuring thought is knowing that there is always an option.
Listen to my entire conversation with Sean here.
When Sally Lydia Paech was hit with a debilitating thyroid disorder, she knew she had to make a change in her life.
Over the span of roughly seven years, Sally battled fiercely against a violent case of hyperthyroidism, which saw her weight drop below 36 kilos on three separate occasions. She told me, on a recent episode of the Get Invested podcast, that she felt like her body was literally “burning up”. Not to mention that she was dealing with acute anxiety and a host of emotional issues.
Sally brought her life back to the basics, prioritising rest and relaxation over the hectic business that predominates so many of our modern lives. She delved into meditation, yoga and organic eating, spent time walking on the beach and took a holistic approach to curing her condition.
It was this natural approach to wellness that started her doing some heavy research on what may have caused her thyroid issues in the first place. In her investigation, she noticed that there was a recurring theme of artificial ingredients used in commercial cosmetics that were seeming to trigger thyroid issues.
Sally began developing her own skincare brand called OrganiQ, which used naturally sourced ingredients like mineral salt and honey from Kangaroo Island to create a line of nourishing cosmetic products. Her golden rule when it comes to cosmetics: if she can’t eat it, she’s not going to put it on her skin.
For Sally, her lifestyle and brand were something of an antidote to the neurotic stress of modern life. In our talk, she described how she finds that the rigid demands of society and the 21st century are causing many of us to ignore our better nature and continuously eat unhealthy foods and use near-toxic products on our bodies.
In the corporate world, we’re simply not giving ourselves the time to care for ourselves. Healthcare is treated as a luxury, despite health being the most important part of our lives. And education, which has been about serving a one-size-fits-all curriculum to our students, is producing adults that are stressed and unable to deal with the modern world. If Sally has her way, her company will help change that.
Moving forward, Sally is dedicated to growing her brand and promoting her vision of health and wellness spurred by yoga, mindfulness and the use of organic foods and cosmetics. Her business was born and bred on Kangaroo Island, and although she wants to eventually reach the point where she has an external factory where her products are manufactured, she wants to keep the down-home spirit of her home present in her business.
Sally’s journey is a lesson for all of us to pay attention to what we put on, and in, our bodies every day. Without a healthy and cared for body it is impossible for us to achieve the life plans we have for ourselves.
Listen to my entire conversation with Sally here.
When I first meet clients at Know How, one of the first things I ask is: What does your ideal life look like to you? And usually, they can’t answer. They have no clarity of what they want to achieve and why. Like me, they struggle with the constant chattering of the mind that stops them seeing the true picture. If you can’t get your mental house in order, how can you get clarity on what you want to achieve? I really think it’s the scourge of our always-on, inter-connected world and lives.
I brought this up with my recent guest on the Get Invested podcast, psychological and behavioural therapist, and author, Amber Hawken. She had some very salient insights.
What people have to keep in mind is that “you’re purchasing your life with your attention… Where you’re investing your mind, your emotions and, externally, your money, your relationships, everything, every tiny micro-decision of where your attention and energy goes is what you get back… When you get that, when you own that responsibility, then you own your magic, then you can do whatever you want.” Amber says.
Now, if that doesn’t give you a sense of why it’s so important to slow down your mind and get a bit of clarity in your life, then I don’t know what will. Here are some practical strategies and tools that Amber recommends:
Make Time For The Mind
The way you can pause your mind is by not trying to turn it off. It’s going to be there forever, so don’t fight it, but do spend more time pausing and simply connecting with your body and breath. “Focusing on your breath, even for three seconds, takes you into your body, into your heart, into feeling, which you can then connect with and go: What’s really happening here?” says Amber.
Check In With Yourself
Find time each day – and throughout the day – to check in with yourself. “This could simply be putting an alarm on your phone to pause 10 times a day. Take a breath and you think where was my mind right then, was it a victim? Was it thinking about the negatives? Was it whingeing about something? Was it complaining?” adds Amber.
Meditate On This
If you think meditation is pure woo-woo, you’re missing out on one of the great tools for both mental and physical health. It’s a great way of slowing the mind down and circumventing our over-addiction to thinking too much. Using an app like the 1 Giant Mind app or the Calm app is an easy way to get started.
Finding clarity is about being conscious of your thoughts and every once in a while, giving yourself a moment to pause, so you can focus on what is really important.
Listen to my entire conversation with Amber here.
Like many of us in our thirties and beyond, you might be able to relate to the idea of working for years, sometimes decades, to build a skill set in your chosen profession only to find you’ve become a corporate slave of your own making. The lure of big bucks and status all too often lead to impossible hours, corporate politics, disillusionment, poor health and failing relationships.
On a recent episode of the Get Invested podcast, I introduced listeners to Katie Richards – a Brisbane lawyer in her mid-thirties who five years ago found herself in just this position but wasn’t prepared to let it lay. The independent country girl in Katie saw a different path. With that in mind, she created an online law firm called Virtual Legal. Her story is an object lesson in investing in yourself first and trusting your instincts that the rewards will come.
‘The reason I decided to set that up is I was a bit disillusioned with my corporate lifestyle and I wanted to do something that I felt was contributing back to the community,” Katie says. “So I used my legal skills to set up something where everyone could access legal assistance regardless of what they earned or where they lived, and I just chose that entrepreneurial lifestyle five years ago.”
There are some key things I took away from this chat with Katie and her approach to taking control of her time and future.
Offer What People Value
I’m a big believer in the fact that everybody has a skill, talent or knowledge that is valuable to somebody else. Find a way to harness this and an effective way of delivering it to a customer and you’ve got the makings of a business built on your terms. The web is the perfect place to test the waters of your own ventures, and in most cases requires little investment to get started.
Implement the Systems for Your Freedom
You have to take yourself out of your standard corporate slave situation if you want to claw back that valuable time. Katie’s story proves the value of creating effective systems and processes in the first place and then using automation and outsourcing to ensure it functions on autopilot. To me, that’s the key difference between creating a sustainable freedom business and creating yourself just another J-O-B.
Get the Structures Right From the Beginning
Just like property investing, getting your tax and legal structures right is essential to success. The sooner you put a structure in place that serves your long-term goals the easier it will be for you to achieve them. What I really like about Katie is her belief in sticking to it. Again, it appeals to the property investor in me. Playing the long game is where the real returns are to be made.
Keep the mental wheels turning
As Katie proves, it’s also important to keep the fresh ideas coming. Her next project, a new self-service legal portal is to be released in the coming months. The more you focus on where you want to be your mind will open and you will see new opportunities to help you reach your ideal destination. Katie is proof this approach works.
Living a life that makes you a slave to circumstance can be a bitter pill to swallow. Investing in yourself and your future can be a confronting prospect, but does come with a large number of rewards, the proof is in the outcome.
You can hear my full chat with Katie here!