“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” – Jim Rohn
Are you living life by design? More specifically are you living a life you designed or one designed by someone else?
Too many people blindly follow the conventional path. You know what I am talking about! Go to college, get a degree in something that pays well, get a good job, get married, buy a house, have kids, and save for retirement. Then after 50-60 years in the workforce you can finally retire, have some fun, and be happy.
Did you know that a study performed by Deloitte found that 80% of people hate their jobs? No wonder so many people are grouchy! I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine working 50-60 years in a job that I hate.
The sad truth is that most people put off living life by design for 50-60 years in hope that someday, they will finally get to live life by their own terms. This is a huge gamble. The biggest risk is whether you will even be alive! There are no guarantees in this life.
Will you have the energy or physical ability to do all those things better suited for a more youthful body and age? Are you really willing to trade 5 days a week to live for the weekends and the occasional week off? More importantly, are you willing to put off your own dreams for 50-60 years to build someone else’s?
There has to be a better way!
I know, I know, I am preaching to the choir here. But there are going to be some people that have just found this site for the first time. They’re searching for answers; they want to know how they can live their own Untemplater life.
If You Want To Be, Then Do!
We don’t all have to be entrepreneurs and freelancers to live life by design. Your 9 to 5 may make you a living, but what about the other 16 hours of the day? Even if you sleep 8 hours, that still leaves 8 hours for you to live life by YOUR choosing. Do the things you want to do. Become who you want to be and develop the skills you need to transition into doing work you love. If you genuinely love the work that you’re doing, it can be so rewarding and fun that it won’t actually feel like work at all.
Climb Over The First Hurdle
Sometimes we tell ourselves we’ve failed or can’t do something before we even begin. Don’t be afraid to try, just start out taking super tiny steps. Even if you fail it’s okay. Failing is normal and how we learn. And you can adapt along the way or change course. So what’s holding you back now? What are you waiting for? If it’s an invitation to start then I offer you this:
- Do you want to be a Writer? Then brush up your grammar skills and start writing!
- Do you want to be a Singer? Then work on strengthening your voice and start singing!
- Do you want to be an Artist? Then start planning, sketching, and creating your next work!
- Do you want to be a Chef? Then start experimenting in the kitchen and get cooking!
- Do you want to travel the world? Then start saving money, get a passport, schedule some vacation days, and book a trip abroad!
- Do you want to start a business? Then read about the different forms of incorporation, analyze the risks of starting a business, learn the various rules and requirements in your city and state, and get registered!
- Do you want to retire at 45? Then start saving aggressively as soon as possible, invest, diversify your assets, build passive income streams, and start your own unconventional path to make it happen.
Remember it takes action to get control of your life.
“Be the change you want to see in [your] world” – Ghandi
What If 8 Hours Isn’t Enough?
I personally recommend that most people master the blend before they make the break. What I mean is that for some people 8 hours to build their dream isn’t enough. You might want more. Instead of fitting your dream around work, you want to fit work around your dream. Shoot, you might want to get paid for living your dream.
Would you love to get paid to do the things you’re passionate about? Technology and the Internet have made this easier than it has ever been at any other point in history. Gary Vaynerchuck says “if you love it, and you have passion, and you can create good content around it, you can monetize it”.
Leverage your day job to supply cash flow for the pursuit of your passion. Side hustle during your free time and find a way to turn your passion into a payday. But be prepared to work hard, make sacrifices, and push your boundaries in the process. It takes patience and persistence to make money on your own. If it were easy everybody would be doing it! If you stick with things long enough and find yourself doing well and approaching the point where 8 hours a day simply isn’t enough for your side hustle then your end game could be to eventually turn that side hustle into your main hustle.
Steps I Have Personally Taken To Live Life By Design
After following the conventional path myself for years, I decided it was time to start living life on my terms and by my own design. Ultimately I plan to exit the corporate world and break free from the golden handcuffs.
I worked really hard to make it to the six-figure club in my career only to realize that I wasn’t happy once I got there. Looking back it makes sense because I have always had this urge to be an entrepreneur, and deep down I knew that the corporate world was not for me in the long term.
Fear was the thing that was holding me back, because you get comfortable when you are making good money in a corporate cushy job. Now I have a mortgage and bills to pay. So how do you rationally give up a high income in pursuit of the unknown and risk everything you have already built?
In 2014, I got the big idea to test the waters. I decided if I could succeed at building a digital marketing and analytics consulting business as a side hustle this would serve three purposes:
1) It would allow me the opportunity to get paid to learn some very valuable skills in growing an online business.
2) It would prove that I could actually earn money outside of formal employment.
3) It would give me the confidence to start building my dream location independent business.
I was able to secure 3 clients before the end of January. By the end of the year I had successfully helped my clients grow their businesses and earned $18,000 for my efforts. On average I spent 15 hours a month working for my clients, which earned me an effective rate of $100/hour (holy crap, that is approximately $200K annually).
This was all the proof I needed to launch my own blog. In addition to starting my blog I have made the following life changes over the last year:
1) Bought a house that was half of what I could afford. This alone is saving $1,100 a month in expenses.
2) The move allowed my wife to stop commuting and is saving $500/month.
3) I paid off my student loans saving about $150/month.
4) Rented out a bedroom in our house for $600/month.
5) Moved jobs to be closer to home so now I only have a 4-mile commute.
These are all steps I have been able to take to ultimately make the leap into full-blown entrepreneurship. I currently have a 7-year plan to officially make the break. During this time I will be leveraging my high income to pay off the mortgage completely and continue saving and investing heavily.
I can finally say that I am living life by design.
The Big Fat Takeaway
There is always a better way. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort you can truly live your life by YOUR design. I truly believe that everyone has a purpose in life, and that purpose is to pursue the avenues and channels that fill you with enthusiasm, fascination, and passion.
And if you don’t know what you are passionate about yet, make it your purpose to explore, experiment, and find out.
I will leave you with one question that may help you discover your passion:
Question: If you could retire tomorrow – what would you do with your time? Let us know your answers in the comments below.
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I’ve been blogging since 2010 and it has allowed me to break free from the corporate grind to travel, work from home, consult for companies that I like, and do so many more things I’ve always wanted to do but couldn’t. The income is relatively passive as posts I’ve written years ago are still being found through Google and generating income. What’s better than making passive income and creating a valuable asset you can one day sell for a multiple of annual income? There’s not a week that goes by where I’m not thankful for starting this site!
Gen Y Finance Guy says
Glad you liked the article Terry!
I really like the Beveral Sill’s quote you shared. It reminds me of a quote I have on my wall at home:
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill
This is very a motivational article!
Last year I started to whole heartedly develop my dream of writing and speaking for a living. Of course the writing is easy, but now the speaking jobs are gathering momentum.
I really liked your Jim Rohn quote.
Beveral Sill’s quote also inspired me:
“You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don;t try.”
Gen Y Finance Guy says
As you may remember from my post over on Financial Samurai, I am a huge Jim Rohn fan and avid reader. Which by the way, I added those books you recommended onto my Amazon wish list. I have not gotten to them yet, but I will. It will just take about 80 other books before I get to them. The list is never ended…always something to look forward too.
Life by design is certainly no cakewalk. But that is why the reward is so high, because most will only follow the path of least resistance. Too me that is why it makes so much sense to have an abundance mindset, because scarcity is only perception. People are lazy, which means there is plenty for the taking for those willing to take action.
I agree that fear is a tough hurdle to get over. It can be motivating, as long as you can keep it from becoming paralyzing.
Hope you are well.
Gen Y FG, great post you shared. Really like the Jim Rohn quote, and as true as it is for me the hardest part is implementing it. Replacing “someone else’s plan” with something else that produces something better is a tough nut to crack.
Am like Sydney’s approach, which she has been mentioning lately. “Happiness” is better. Not more money, more stuff, more ‘respect’ (from people you don’t respect or even care about much!), more responsibility, more title, etc. The “fear” you mention is also really hard to overcome, at least for me. Anyway, thanks for sharing this thoughtful post.
Gen Y Finance Guy says
Big thanks to Sydney for letting me share with her awesome community.
She is for sure living life by design.
Cheers to you Sydney.
You’re welcome. Thanks for sharing!