I just got back from a trip to one of my favorite cities – Chicago, “the Windy City.” There is so much to do and see from the Zoo and architectural tours to Navy Pier and all the famous ball parks. This city has something for the young and old. One of the highlights of my trip was listening to, meeting, and speaking with Chris Gardner. In case you missed the movie The Pursuit of Happyness starring Will Smith, the movie was based off Chris’ true life story. In the rags to riches book and movie, Gardner’s life is chronicled as we see his long and painful journey from inner-city Milwaukee to ultimate success on Wall Street. Now at the ripe age of 54, Chris can look back at his life and laugh.
Growing up life was no joke: he grew up poor and fatherless. This life ignited a passion within him to break the cycle of deadbeat dads. After a brief stint in the Navy, a failed medical career, and a tough sales job in the medical devices industry, Chris eventually landed his first job on Wall Street. If the story ended there, it would be simple. Chris’s story became increasingly complex as he almost simultaneously became a father and homeless at the same time. His ability to rise from poverty to multi-millionaire is what makes his story so unique.
In The Faith-Based Millionaire, I talk about finding that burning inner passion needed to make changes in your life. If you do not have motivation, you will not change. Chris found the inner passion because he wanted his son to know his daddy. He wanted to break the cycle and find a way not only to make ends meet but provide a different life for his child. Becoming broke; homeless, fighting for your next meal, moving from homeless shelter to shelter, and caring for a 14 month old while working 70 hour work weeks will quickly help you find the inner passion.
What is it going to take for you? How do you find your inner passion? People who achieve great things often do so because they have a good idea of where they want to be. Think of some of the most successful people you know. Did they get where they are today because of luck? Or because of hard work and knowing what they wanted and where they wanted to go?
Many people have a dream life that they would love to see come to fruition, but often they sell themselves short. They have preconceived notions that to get what they want in life will be too hard and too much work. Have you ever looked at someone who emulated what you wanted for yourself and thought it could never happen to you? If there were no constraints and you could simply make it happen overnight, you would most likely do what it takes to make it happen. Your goals must be compelling and motivating enough to get you excited about achieving them. They must be powerful enough that you think about them constantly. This includes trying to live your ideal life: where you work or volunteer, what activities you participate in, what charities you support, and any other personal goals. These goals should be specific and easily defined. They should be tangible so you can feel, touch, see, smell, and hear them. They should excite all of your senses and drive you toward success.
In order to create the vision, you will need to uncover exactly what excites you. This involves a self-assessment. By examining how God designed you, it is easier to look around at all the opportunities that are right in front of you. You need to make success the only option
When I look at helping a client create a vision or plan for their financial future, I advise them to focus on five important steps that need to take place for success to happen:
1. Clearly define your beliefs and values.
2. Identify your interests and passions.
3. Define your financial purpose.
4. Learn from past mistakes.
5. Take responsibility for your actions.
In the hope that Gardner’s story will inspire others to achieve financial independence and to take greater responsibility for the welfare of their families; I pray that his story will awaken the passion within you. You may or may not be struggling financially but you can always improve upon your results. Don’t just go through the motions in life. Work hard, find a motivation for change, and strive to leave this world a better place than when you were born.