100 Rules of Success: Power Up Your Bucket List

My Plan

What follows is the continuation of success habits that will become part of a book I’m writing, “100 Rules of Success”. 

Rule:  Power Up Your Bucket List

Somewhere along the way you’ve heard someone talk of their ‘bucket list’.  It’s a list of all the things they dream of accomplishing if they had the time and money and physical ability.  At some level it seems a bit silly.  But can there be a kind of power in creating a bucket list?  I strongly believe the answer is yes.

I started my (written) bucket list in 1984 and I pulled it out in preparation for this article.  I hadn’t looked at it in a while and was surprised at both the audacity of the things I dreamed of at that young age (early thirties) and just how many of those dreams I managed to turn into a reality.  Some of my more brazen dreams that came to pass included:

  • Be on national TV. I wanted to be on national TV as a financial expert for CNN, CNBC and Fox.  Imagine believing it would actually be possible to get on a national TV program of that caliber.  I’m still not sure how, but I managed to be a guest on all three!
  • Author of a financial book published by a ‘big, fancy white-shoe’ New York publishing firm. My English teacher, Mrs. Reed, I’m sure was belly laughing as I wrote that one.  I had developed a friendship with a writer for Money Magazine where I helped her with articles from time-to-time.  She left Money and joined a New York City publisher.  She called me and asked if I’d be interested in submitting a proposal for a book for a very popular series, “10 Minute Guide to….”  My topic was to be on personal finances for newlyweds.  It was 1995 and I had never had anything published but I was determined to do ‘whatever it takes’ to make this happen and, after much effort, submitted a proposal.  It was accepted and I signed a contract with Simon & Schuster, one of the biggest ‘white shoe’ publishing firms in New York.  My first of six books was published in 1996.
  • Build a $100 million investment management firm. I was just a few years into building my own ‘fee-only’ investment management and financial advice firm and had less than $5 million under management.  $100 million under management was the equivalent of climbing Mt. Everest!  Today, we have over $1 Billion in assets under management and serve a nationwide clientele.  Sometimes you can significantly ‘over-shoot’ even your biggest dreams!

There were many other items on my list that I completed including becoming a blackbelt in karate and becoming financially free at an early age.  And, yes, there were a number on the list that I never completed such as learning to fly and own a helicopter; become a good dancer; owning a convertible Rolls Royce (I did rent a convertible Bentley once!) and becoming an ‘A’ tennis player (I’m a decent ‘B’ player).   But I can trace all of the big things I managed to accomplish back to that bucket list written so many years ago.  I’ve come to believe that when you take the time to dream your dreams, write them down and continue to focus on them, the Universe has a way of helping you find a way to turn dreams into reality.

So, what do you say…what’s on your bucket list?

Rule:  Act ‘As-If’…

As you think about who you want to become, consider the concept of acting as if you are already that person.  The easiest way to do this is to choose someone as a positive role model to follow.  For example, if you want to be a successful businessman, find someone who is already a successful businessman and think of the ways in which you could ‘model’ what they do.  How do they dress; how do they carry themselves; how do they communicate with other people; what makes them different as a businessman?  What is it they did to become successful?  Notice their attributes and see which of those attributes would make sense for you to emulate. For example, early in my career, I knew I wanted to create financial success and I noticed that most of the wealthy men I knew achieved their wealth by either owning their own business or by investing in real estate. They also were good at creating relationships with other successful people.  Seeing this helped me decide to both begin investing in real estate and begin working towards starting my own business.

The takeaway is that it’s unnecessary to ‘reinvent the wheel’ when it comes to developing a plan to get what you want.  Simply find someone who has already achieved what you desire to achieve and model their behavior.  This falls under the age-old saying, “Success leaves clues!”