Being Accountable for Your Best Life

By Marc C. Shaffer

As I was chatting with my mentor one day, he tells me there’s a great guy he wants me to meet and his name is Marc Shaffer. Well, that’s me, of course. I had him explain and he told me I was too busy focusing on one thing and all of my energy, my time and my passion was being exhausted in that one area.

I wasn’t spending time with myself, I wasn’t letting myself contemplate what was beyond that singular area of focus, and if I continued along that path, I might end up having done one great thing in my life at the expense of knowing myself and growing in other areas.

Luckily, I had someone in my life who could recognize this behavior and keep me accountable to living a full and diverse life.

Do you have someone in your life keeping you accountable to the things you say you want to accomplish?

In my profession, I get the opportunity to talk about big dreams with a lot of people. I hear people talk about wanting to spend a summer driving across the United States with their children, wanting to start a business or write a book, or wanting to spend time volunteering for a charity important to them.

When most people think about financial planning, they usually expect the conversations to center around money, not around the way they want to live their life. However, money is just a tool that helps people live a life that makes them happy. Money is the tool that helps you accomplish the What and Why in your life.

Even if you have the What and Why determined, you need someone keeping you accountable for the When so that your plans and dreams don’t get permanently stuck in someday mode.

Common Reasons People Do Not Reach Their Goals:

  1. They fail to write the goal down.
  2. They create goals that are not well defined.
  3. There is no true personal meaning behind the goal which means there is no drive to achieve it.
  4. They fail to define a reward for achieving the goal as well as a reward for achieving the milestones required to get there.
  5. They do not share the goal with another person for accountability, help and support.
  6. They never incorporate the goal into a realistic plan that includes measurements, timelines and resources.

Our vision and dreams can, and probably will, change many times and it’s okay to approach your dreams from where you currently stand. One challenge people have when trying to identify their dreams is that they approach the task as if they’re only allowed one big goal that will drive the direction of their entire life. I try to help people identify these dreams with a positive/negative exercise.

To start, identify what you love now and want to make more time for in your life. Then, consider things that bother you about your life and determine what you would like to have happen instead. And remember, these are flexible. As an example, I am no longer trying to become the motocross racer I used to dream of being!

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Once you’ve determined your direction, tell someone who will keep you accountable. You don’t want to find yourself in your rocking chair at the end of life thinking you missed out on living!

Please remember that different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product made reference to directly or indirectly in this content, will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), or be suitable for you or your portfolio. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this newsletter (article) serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Searcy Financial Services, Inc.

The content of this letter does not constitute a tax or legal opinion. Always consult with a competent professional service provider for advice on tax or legal matters specific to your situation. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed in this content, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing.  

Published for the blog on May 11, 2018 by Searcy Financial Services, your Overland Park, Kansas Fee-Only Financial Planner and Investment Manager.