One Million Isn’t Your Goal

When I was 23, I wrote on a dollar bill “#1 of $1,000,000” and was naive enough to think this is what it would take to make it in the world.  If I could get here, I would be doing the right thing.  If you don’t believe me, here it is still framed in my office.  I still use it as motivation, but in a very different light.

$1 Million Goal

$1 Million Goal

Nine years later, I reflect back and laugh at the ignorance of my younger self.  If I had one million dollars right now, would I have the world by the balls?


Money will not be the sole driver to anyone’s success and truth be told, why only one million?  The efforts required to reach ten million aren’t really that different from one million.  Yes, it is ten times the amount but most people that make ten times their peers don’t work 10x harder.  There isn’t enough time in the day.  If you’re ONLY interested in the money, set a bigger goal!

However, the more important viewpoint isn’t to focus on the number because inevitably when you hit it, then what?  Please don’t tell me you’ll buy stuff.  You’ll end up just as unfulfilled, but with stuff.  People spend their whole lives working for the man only to end up retired at 65 with nothing to do and no ideas of where to start.  Want to know what boredom looks like?  This is it.  It is followed by unhappiness.  Even the guys in Grumpy Old Men had fishing as a hobby!

Screen Shot 2014-06-28 at 7.17.42 PM

The secret then, as Tim Ferris teaches in “The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated)“, isn’t to delay life’s treasures forever, but to embrace them along the way.  Enjoy mastering your craft at the same time you’re enjoying and living life to the fullest.

Daniel Pink expounds on this topic as well in this terrific video, “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motives Us”.  I promise you it’s worth the ten minutes.

People aren’t only looking for one million dollars.  They’re looking for autonomy and mastery.  They’re looking to be themselves and to enjoy their craft.  People want to be challenged and contribute.  It won’t take too many companies like Google to see that success and achievement run a parallel path to people enjoying what they do.

Can you still have the goal of making money?  I really believe the answer is a resounding yes.  There is nothing wrong with making money.  There is nothing wrong with making a ton or a little money.  It is a resource.  Some value it more than others.  I do wish people understood it better, but that is a completely different conversation.

Where do you go from here?

ACTION ITEM:  Follow the List Below

  1. Do set a goal for your income.  It’s important to you and your family.  Take actions to fulfill the goal then 10X it.
  2. Also set a goal for autonomy.  Where would you like to have more freedom?  Or, what do you need to do to earn more freedom?
  3. Seek out a new challenge.  Learn a new language, plan a vacation, start a blog, etc. Successful people love a new challenge.  Seek and destroy!

Find Your Dimmer Switch

Are the lights on?

I just got done listening to an Entrepreneurs on Fire podcast from John Lee Dumas (great podcast btw).  The guest was JD Roth, former owner of Get Rich Slowly and current blogger at More than Money.  JD’s response to one of John’s questions really hit me.  The question was, “can you please tell the fire listeners about a lightbulb moment you had?”

JD’s answer wasn’t what I thought I’d hear.  He said his lightbulb moment was more of a dimmer switch than a lightbulb.  It was a slow progression not an instant aha moment.  I believe more now than ever people are in desperate search of this aha moment.  They’re looking for the fastest way possible to make a million dollars or lose 50 lbs.  “Aha” means I figured it out and sold it in the same instance. Screen Shot 2014-02-23 at 10.05.33 AM

Trouble is the world doesn’t work this way.   I hate to be your dream crusher, but “aha” isn’t realistic.  You may have a better chance of winning the lottery.  JD’s lesson was it’s going to take some focused effort and work.  Oddly enough the pursuit of his dream required patience.

Back to the lightbulb/dimmer switch.

I give an immense amount of thanks to Justin Wise (@justinwise) and his Think Digital blog.  My wife follows Justin’s sister on Iowa Girl Eats (an immensely successful food blog) and recommended I checked Justin out.  My dimmer switch was on.  The light was extremely dim, but the power was flowing to the light.

This step was what I’ll refer to later down the road as “ignition.”  It got me started.  I dove head first into Justin’s teachings and maybe more importantly his network.  I dug into his podcasts, I followed Casey Graham, and I got introduced to Pat Flynn on Twitter.  I link to each of these guys as they’ve provided me with a ton of value.  A TON! I don’t care if you’re interested in launching a blog, starting a business, or just getting deeper into the learning process.  These guys will help.

I’m learning more about business now from a multitude of different angles and business possibilities than the pervious five years combined.  I’m using their teaching here in my blog and with team’s in the office.  The results are simple.  A Keen Mind is growing by the day and I’m seeing great results in my professional life.

The dimmer switch analogy is terrific because it’s real life.  Not some fairly tale we’re bombarded with daily on social media.  It takes time, an immense effort, and more focused power to reward the light we’re all looking to achieve.

ACTION ITEM: The first thing I’d do is subscribe to John’s Entrepreneur On Fire podcast.  There are nearly 500 episodes with really great content available.  The second thing I’d do is take a hard look at your goals and your dimmer switch.  Is it on?  If not, START.  If it’s on, focus on the next steps you need to take to burn that light a little brighter!