I have a friend who recently joined a multi-level marketing company. He is passionate about the products, the people, and the possibility of earning enough residual income to allow him early retirement from the corporate world. The other day I asked him about how his life would be once he no longer had to work. As he described his life, post retirement, he spoke of how he would mainly travel and do little else when he was not traveling.

I quickly told him that he may want to reconsider his retirement plan (he is in his early thirties and plans to retire in the next 5 years). Not because his vision is unattainable, in fact, the amount of dedication that he's given to the business may translate to enough of an income stream to support he and his family. The reason that I was not impressed with his description was because it was an extemely vague account of the type of lifestyle that he would enjoy once he left the workforce.

One obvious reason why I advised him to revisit his idea of what his life should look like after early retirement is because there was "no meat on the bones." Simply stating that he would travel and do nothing does not give his subconscious enough to work with. In fact, I told him that unless he developed a clear idea of what his retirement will really look like, in a more realistic way, he would likely inhibit or delay the vision from actually ever becoming a reality.

Even though I strongly believe that a person should create opportunities that allow him/her the option of becoming financially independent, I also understand how going to work everyday provides us a sense of purpose. We wake up the in morning and we know where we need to go and we know what we want to do when we get there. We understand how our work impacts the organization. Just having a pile of money somewhere is not enough to meet our most basic of emotional needs. We need to know that what we do is positively impacting something greater than us.


As my friend recounted his five-year retirement plan I could definitely see that he was determined. If for some reason he does not succeed, I would comfortably say that his level of determination had nothing to do with it. He travels short and long distances to attend group meetings, he diligently plans his next move and how it will impact his business. He even has a detailed time line of when his wife will retire from her place of employment. His determination is working to provide him that much needed momentum to keep him going beyond the difficulties.

Steven Covey reminds us in his 7 Habits book that we must begin with the end in mind. The reason this is so important is so we can establish a point of reference when we undergo a major shift in our habits or routine. Establishing life changing goals is usually a difficult process complete unless we couple it with a clear, non-wavering, vision of what we want life to look like in the end. It is what we see in the end that will carry us through to the end.

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