Would $10 million change your life?


in Goal Setting, Mindset, Taking Action

Live each day as if it was your last and someday you’ll most certainly be right. – Steve Jobs

To hear the words is powerful but to live them is something more.   As Jobs said, death is the one thing that life got right by reminding us our time here is limited.  Nothing can be taken for granted.

For fear of kicking a dead cat, if ANYONE out there has not seen the Steve Jobs commencement address please do yourself a favor and watch it.  I’ve watched it 25+ times (the last two weeks YES I’m obsessed with the message) and I was surprised to received a couple messages from people who are seeing this for the very first time so again, take nothing for granted.  If you’ve seen it, watch it again.  If you know someone who hasn’t seen it, pay it forward and share it with them.  Share the feeling with them.   The video is embedded at the bottom of this post.

Bottom line, start following your dreams today before you hear your days are numbered.   And what I mean by living your dreams isn’t “getting your dream job.”

“A job is what you do, not what defines you.”

Life is about so much more than what we do for a living.  Work to live.  Don’t live to work.  It baffles me when I met people for the first time and one of the first questions they ask me is “So, what do you do?’  In 2011, the model of going to work everyday for the same company for 40 years is a pipe dream.

We are made up of so much more than where we work (for it’s different everyday since my business is virtual, work is wherever I am) and what we do for a living.  Each one of us has unique attitudes, beliefs, passions, experiences, stories, friends, goals, dreams, successes and failures that make up who we are.

Go to Itunes or Spotify and listen to Tim McGraw’s song “Live Like You Were Dying” a couple times in a row and let the message sink in.

The message is simple.  Do all the things you have been meaning to do.

Why do most of us need to find out we are dying before we really start living?

I can’t quite put my finger on the word but when you meet someone who lives a life of passion it is truly inspiring.  These are my favorite people to surround myself with because everyday with them feels like anything is possible and they’re constantly learning, laughing, giving back and living life to the fullest.

It’s how we all want to live, but very few of us do.   Why is that?

Try this exercise out below and perhaps you will find some of the answers you are looking for, I know I did the first time I tried it.

Imagine you woke up tomorrow and had $10 million dollars.  For those of you who are worth more than $10m (anyone?) add a zero to your net worth for the same effect and keep reading.

What would you do?  Where would you go?  Who would you spend your time with?

How much would go to investments?  What would you do after you bought all the material things you wanted and traveled to all the far away places you’ve yearn to see with your own eyes?  How much would you give to charity?   What have you always wanted to do but haven’t been able to?  Perhaps you’d travel around the world with a loved one and buy a home (or two) overseas.  Then what…..that’s where the treasure lies.

Pull out a pen and sheet of paper, your laptop or Ipad and spend 15-30 minutes jotting down your ideas and dreams of how you’d live your life down on paper if you suddenly came into $10m (legally of course and it’s not an accident).

I cannot encourage you enough to actually write things down or type them somewhere.

That seems to be one of the biggest differences between successful people I’ve studied and those who think they have it all figured out (in their heads at least) but never seem to get the bounces or they think they’re just plain “unlucky.”  Luck has a funny way of working out for those of us who do the little things right consistently over time.

When you think it, ink it! 

Writing down dreams and goals makes them real. 

Would $10 million dollars change anything in your life?   What about $50m?  It absolutely shouldn’t.

I was pleasantly surprised to see my list included many of the things I already do day-to-day such as traveling, exercising, contributing to charities and sharing my stories, knowledge and experiences right along side others the others I plan to do in the future.

That said, the first time I did this exercise (a couple years ago) I must admit there were lots items on my list that didn’t exactly line up with my life if you get my drift.

Then I had a huge “AHA” moment when I realized it actually wasn’t the $10 million dollars holding me back, just the Irish Israeli mug staring back at me in the mirror.

Once the motivation and focus was there I realized I didn’t need the $10m to make my dreams come true.  It all came down to eliminating the self-limiting beliefs which were due to a lack of clarity about what I really wanted to accomplish.  Take the motivation from the $10m and use it to harness your focus which takes a bit of practice, as they say anything worth doing is worth doing poorly at first.  So expect your first couple attempts to be slightly off.

This is perfectly normal the first couple (or dozen) times you do this exercise.  Stick with it and keep doing it over and over and over every six months or every January 1and eventually you’ll narrow down what it is you’re purpose is.  My list gets better and more refined every time I do it.

Persistence does not recognize failure.

The goal is to get to the point of saying, “If I woke up tomorrow and had $10 million dollars in my bank account it wouldn’t change a thing about how I’m going to invest my day today because I’m happy.”

The biggest take away is the $10m won’t make us any happier than we were before we had it but the exercise is an effective one for expanding our minds and focusing our vision towards what’s really important (and I promise you it’s not a million bucks or logging more time at the office).

When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life.  When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I wrote down ‘happy’.  They told me I didn’t understand the assignment and I told them they didn’t understand life.  –John Lennon

What more can I say?

Until next time…..Keep questioning the status quo, working hard and living your dreams!

Also I would like to congratulate the 10 winners of inspirational DVDs for commenting on last week’s blog . Raelene, Taso, Zach, Kathleen, Kelly, Melissa, Bill, David, Michelle and Steven your DVDs will go in the mail this week.   For those of you who haven’t responded yet make sure I get your address so I can send you your prize.  I’ll extend the generosity and throw in a FREE DVDs for the first 2 comments on this weeks’ blog.  One catch, if you won last week you’re not eligible this week :)

IMPORTANT REMINDER:  My blog posts are coming out sporadically for the next 30 days and perhaps forever.  If you haven’t already done so, the best way to stay in the loop is to put your email in the box in the upper right corner and subscribe. 

Everyone loves motivational quotes, right?

Here are the two videos I mentioned checking out.  EVERYONE reading this should watch the Steve Jobs speech.  Especially if you’ve never seen it!

Live Like You Were Dying Tim McGraw- incredibly inspiring

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  • Daniel G

    Great stuff, Joe. This has particular meaning to me as I am being terminated on Friday from a job I’ve only had for 5 months, and have honestly loved for the most part (New Ventures group at a well-known company). I have been told I am just not the best “fit”. Given ongoing feedback from my boss, I have anticipated the possibility of getting canned for several weeks now. During that time I have maintained an exceptional work ethic, positive attitude, and grace. My boss recognized this, and as a result has offered to recommend me to a well-known venture capital firm in the area where he has connections for a role as a potential entrepreneur in residence or with one of their startups. This is the type of silver lining you can only dream about. Had I not stayed positive, he would not have my back. We always have a choice, and the choice I made has allowed for a bit of sunshine during an otherwise very cloudy time for me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1381994857 Raelene Redman

    I know I’m not eligible but that isn’t why I respond in the first place :) I wanted to say that I realized a while ago that one of the big reasons I’ve wanted a lot of money is so I could give it away. hmmmmmmmmm? AHA moment perhaps……
    I feel very fortunate to do what I love, it makes life much easier and more enjoyable. Keep spreading the word Joe, you’re fantastic! YES!

  • Daniel G

    Sorry, to answer the question about the $10m:

    I don’t have to think very long about this. At 30 years old I am no child, but I have much to learn and much to accomplish before I begin considering myself an “adult”. I’D GIVE THE MONEY TO MY PARENTS. ALL OF IT. They don’t need it, my father is a succesful executive. But I owe everyting I have to his unwavering support for me and my brothers, from my education to the valuable advice he always provides. He certainly doesn’t have that kind of money, but it would be better in his hands. I’d encourage him to share some with my older brother who is a police officer and doesn’t make much money. I’d encourage him to share some of it with extended family members who really NEED it. The rest would be invested intelligently, including the minimum amount I would need to support my entrepreneurial endeavors, so long as my parents believe in the endeavors, and we are only talking in the thousands. I wouldn’t do lavish things or buy expensive material possessions that generate no meaningful returns.

  • http://thejoesweeney.wordpress.com Joe Sweeney

    Dan – CONGRATS you win the first DVD!

    As far as being “terminated” I for one would avoid words like that with negative connotation because fortunately (or unfortunately) we start to believe the stuff we tell ourselves. Sounds hokey I know but spend 5 minutes reading neuroscience for dummies and even a 4th grader would get it.

    Like any relationship you can look back at the good, bad, wins, losses and lessons from the job. If nothing else you learned about your own strengths and weaknesses, developed new skills and relationships and the next endeavor you take (like any relationship) will be that much more successful because your vision is more clear.

    I’m by no means worth $10m but the one asset I have that most executives don’t is FREEDOM. FREEDOM is what life is all about. Trade dollars for hours.

    Enjoy your “time off” regroup, relax and spend sometime focusing on what you’re REALLY trying to do before “taking the first job” that comes your way.

    Look forward to continuing this soon and thanks for the comments – you the man!

  • Kathleen Larsen

    Oh I feel so “greedy!” My very first thought about what I’d do with 10mil was to get a massage 2x a month, and hire someone to prep food in my house. And while that literally is the extent of the material things I want off the top of my head, I feel so foolish after reading Raelene and Dan’s responses. Those both were truly lovely! Thanks to you both for sharing.
    Now off to do my list! Thanks again Joe. THIS will be interesting.

  • http://anastaciomartinez.wordpress.com Anastacio Martinez

    Great job my friend!!! Just today I wrote a financial goal that I’m determined to accomplish in the next 12 months as part of my commitmet I made yesterday on my article. So, what I did with this goal was to start writing down all the things I’m going to do, if today I have the chance to have the $$$. It’s very powerful… What I will do right of the bat is to take 10% of my $$$ & give it away to my favorite charities.

    “The universe will deliver everything we want just if we are ready to receive.” And we do so by making sure we know exactly what we want.

    We are in the same thought frequency!!! I’ve to say that great minds think alike :-) .

    Keep it up!!! You are a WINNER.



  • http://anastaciomartinez.wordpress.com Anastacio Martinez

    Just forgot to say, THANK YOU very much for sending me one of your favorite inspirational movies!!!

    You are the best :-) .

  • http://gravatar.com/thejoesweeney Joe Sweeney

    Kathleen – I’m at 2+ a month on massages already so please don’t feel guilty! :) They’re essential for health, fitness & stress reduction (IMHO) so make time to “treat yourself”
    Taso – you are WELCOME!
    Dan – thanks again for the comments and “keeping it real” good stuff!

  • Cindy Singer

    I know this is way late, but in the interest of writing it down…I would give the money to my husband and run as fast and far as I could!

    • http://www.thejoesweeney.com thejoesweeney

      sounds like he’s a lucky man Cindy. :)

  • Stephen Ritger

    A Cadillac CTS-V and a trip to Hawaii. After that, who knows?

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