As an entrepreneur, one of the things that I think about is how the educational system did not lead me to what I am doing. Our system is set up for people to go onto a job: Show up at the same time every time, do your coursework, and put in the hours. You’re really just doing a job. But you can break out of that mold like I did. I’d like to see our educational system push entrepreneurialism rather than just focusing people on “having a job.” If you just have a job, you are not building wealth, and you may feel unfulfilled, without heart. Your expectations get pushed into a small box; rather than having big dreams to realize. All of this can have an impact on your health. Let’s take a deeper look at wealth, health and heart.
Wealth can be easy if you have some level of financial literacy. Then you can make choices that will help you know whether or not your job that you are doing is essential to help you create independence or make work optional. If not, then you may have to do something else or work a second job.
Wealth is financial independence and having a lifestyle you enjoy. You have to identify how you want to build wealth. If you don’t make the choice to build wealth, it is easy for someone else to choose for you. What energy do you need to put into your life to take your wealth building on the right trajectory? To overcome inertia you can start with a budget. Do your budget every month to stay “in the black” and to fund your short term, intermediate term and long term goals. When you put away money for other purposes, it becomes “fun.” You have a margin of wealth against the ups and downs of daily expenses, you have money for travel, or you have income to spend later.
Then, there are a few formulas to build wealth:
1. Save 15% of your gross income for 30 years and that replaces 60% of your working income.
2. How many $40,000 do you need per year? $1M = $40K income for life
3. Housing costs - 28% of gross, overall debt no more than 38-42%.
4. If you’re a business owner, you should capture 46% of your gross should be paid to you in your paycheck.
Health is academically easy. We all know what we should do to have good health; it’s even intuitive. But, we get into bad habits of working 60-80 hours a week, and we need to treat ourselves well. We have to set our boundaries. There used to be “a badge of honor” for working long hours; but, we can make our 40-hour work week productive and live a healthier life.
Sleep is not overrated. I’ve learned that I need 7.5-8 hours per night. I keep track with a Google nest sleep monitor. Now I do wind-down time with a book, knowing how important that is to get good sleep to help for tomorrow. Sleep is a regenerative process; you’re recharging yourself. Then you perform far better the next day. Problems have been solved through sleep many times.
With planning, you can learn to make quick weeknight meals and then spend time on the weekends to prepare extravagant meals that may take half a day to put together. We get into bad habits, like eating after dinner snacks, when what we need is to have the right balance of food and exercise. How can you feel nourished and enjoy your food along the way? What do you need for appropriate nutrition?
The way I look at exercise is that I do three things: yoga, walking, and weight lifting. I know how to do all of them, and I follow a Gaiam yoga subscription that starts at “beginning” and works up from there. I no longer belong to a gym since I would not go. I do yoga at home. I have done walking for years now. I started at 1.8 miles when I was 40 pounds heavier. Now, I do a 5K almost every time I go out (I just need to go more often). I have walked 2,473 miles in total since I started. For weight lifting, I do Bill Phillips’ Body for Life routine where you start with a light weight and build up from there in a pyramid. As you build in weight, you do fewer repetitions and then you come back down. I have been logging my activities for a few years. What I now want to do is layer the three more smoothly together to serve my fitness.
Once I get that consistently in place, I may want to add more weights in my recreation room and continue to layer in more movement in my day. All of this helps you work toward the right work/life balance. One of the key things I am working toward is figuring out how to use the combination of all of these elements to get a consistent good night’s sleep.
Heart is the beginning. It is being vulnerable, creative, and leaning into whatever situation you are in. It is not having the armor on. This is where love is. Love, soul, and belonging is the heart. Heart allows you to start. Once you start a project and get past the initial step, you’re already halfway done. Without heart, you do not get anything started. Without heart, you don’t pivot. You get stuck in old notions of life that do not exist anymore. From the heart, you can start a business, give your kids an education, or find love. The heart is making your own choice.
Doing the right thing for myself and my clients is where I come from with heart. I am vulnerable all the time when it comes to my clients. I want to be competitive and reach my financial goals, and I also want to be fair through the way I charge people. I am thinking with my heart rather than getting as much as I can from someone.
Heart and happy are almost synonymous. Like the 10 practices of living wholeheartedly, being happy is a practice and it can be cultivated. When you think happy thoughts, you line up your cells in a way that serves you better and helps you be in line with the happiness in the universe.
We have a choice for ourselves to live our own life --- the life that we want to live. If we don’t consciously make the choice to live the life we want, someone will make that choice for us. This comes from the confidence I have gained over the past few years. Maya Angelou said you have to just sit down and do the work; your muse comes along to help you get your work done. It is your job to do the work. And like Elizabeth Gilbert concurs, sometimes the work is sitting and waiting to make sure you are serious about it before your genius comes to help you. Tom Waite would get lost in his creativity and didn’t take it so seriously he could get in the flow and have fun. In the flow you can create much better.
When you are not taking sides - you’re being silent - you are giving your power to the oppressor or even someone like an employer. For example, all of the Amazon employees who didn’t take sides for themselves are still without a union. For your best health and wellbeing, you need to take sides for the greater good. This is part of heart.
Do you love yourself? When you love yourself, you follow through with those essential thing on your lists. When you do the essential things, you are taking care of your most important asset --- yourself. For example, even when I don’t agree with my family, I let that go and try to make family relationships important and go with the good parts. When your heart is in the right place, you don’t need to call everyone out on every little thing. Life is beautiful, precious and too short to be the policeman of the world. You’re there and you’re genuine and you have your heart. While families have dynamics, it is important to be your loving self to your family as best you can. You can have boundaries, but you don’t have to make them think like you do.
The land of opportunity
While the educational system did not lead me to what I do, the United States is still the land of opportunity. I pivoted from having a job to building two businesses: first, a carpentry business that failed. Thankfully so, as I then became a financial advisor and 21 years later I am living a successful and authentic life. With a vision, I was able to get to a place of security and growth.
When I am being my authentic self, it includes all parts: health, wealth and heart.