Do You Realize That You Are Going To Die?

Seriously.

I was watching a video from Gary Vaynerchuk on this topic recently, and he got my full attention.

So many people live like they do not realize that eventually, they are going to die. They treat each day as a struggle, as a burden, and as an expectation that they will always be alive, and their time is unlimited. They give away their youth for a potentially secure retirement. It really made me wonder why we do this to ourselves.

After a long, evening walk along the Western Canal here in Tempe, Arizona, it hit me.

It might be because we’ve never known what it was like to not be alive.We’ve always been alive- as far as we remember- so we tend to take things for granted that we get used to. Whether it’s a spouse, a career, a burrito at the local Mexican joint, or even our most precious resource- our life.

How can you explain muddling through a job you hate? How else do you explain not writing that book that you have thought about for years. When you are not longer alive, do you still think there will be time to write that book? How about spending time with your kids? Are you going to be able to do that dream cross country trip with your family, or that Paris trip that your daughter has always talked about, when you are no longer alive? If not, what are you waiting for?

Vaynerchuk said that we should all go to a nursing home and talk to the people there. The people who are 90 or 95 and it’s just about over. Talk to them about their lives, and what they did- or didn’t accomplish. And when you hear someone that knows that they no longer have the strength or energy, and that time has run out, you can see it in their eyes.

Regret.

Regret for not taking that chance. Regret for not spending more time with their kids. Regret for not starting that business that they always talked about, or not standing up to that bully of a boss, or not spending more time on their art that lit them up when they were alive.

But now it’s over.

In Bronnie Ware’s book called the Top Five Regrets Of The Dying, she learned that the number one regret of the dying was that they wish they’d had the courage to live a life true to themselves, not the life others expected of them.

So I’ll ask you again. Do you realize that you really are going to die someday? Now you can look at this in fear. Or, you can view it as a gift. Because knowing that our time here is limited is what makes the excitement of life worth living. Because if people take their lives for granted when they know it will end, just imagine how much less they would value it if they actually knew it wouldn’t ever end.

We have been given a gift. And with that gift comes the obligation to live life to the fullest, so that if you are fortunate enough to get to the age where you can look back, you can look back with smiles, appreciation and gratitude for a life well lived.

Q&A with Seth Godin!

Seth Godin is one of the most prolific authors of our time. He has written 19 bestselling books, including Linchpin, Tribes, and the latest which tops them all, This is Marketing. He is called the ultimate entrepreneur for the information age, and I was fortunate, honored and humbled when he generously endorsed my book, Freelance to Freedom. And he was on a call with our mastermind team this week!

I was nervous when I asked him for for a book endorsement, and I was almost as nervous when I asked him if he would speak to the Total Life Freedom Mastermind Team. After asking, Godin wanted to be sure we would make a real change with the call. I offered to buy a copy of his latest book for each person in the mastermind community, and that we would do a year long, deep dive into intensely studying the book and changing our businesses and our clients with it. We decided to schedule two bonus calls a month- one for each chapter- throughout 2019. His call would kick it all off.

“Sounds like a plan!” Godin responded to my extreme excitement.

And last Wednesday, Godin spent an hour of his time answering our questions while opening eyes, shifting perspectives, challenging long held beliefs while giving me and so many of us a highlight  that will be difficult to be topped in 2019.

That was the best call that I’ve ever been a part of,” Brad Ritter told me later. “We rapid fire questions and he’s answering them with no problem and every answer is brilliant. If that isn’t a guru, I don’t know what is.

The responses were universally similar throughout the TLF Team.

Within TLF, we have an eclectic variety of entrepreneurs and freelancers. Ken Hoops owns and runs a martial arts dojo. Joel Kessel helps non profits increase their impact. Gustavo Fernandez is a high end corporate event and headshot photographer. Ken Carfagno runs a cleaning business, and teaches others how to do the same.

With each question, Godin framed his answers with thoughtfulness, conciseness, humor, clarity and a bit of self described ‘rants’ with marvelous storytelling that had our entire group captivated. Even though the call was supposed to end after Godin left, we stayed together for almost another hour to begin breaking down everything he had just taught us.

It was a call each of us will remember for a long time. My fingers are crossed that we can have him on again after the year long journey.

If you haven’t picked up a copy of his latest book, This Is Marketing, grab a copy here.

 

Are Your Kids Entrepreneurs In Training?

Entrepreneurship is the goal for so many here. We want to run our own show.Having control of our own destiny is essential. We don’t want bosses, or policies, or other peoples limited visions to stop us from our dreams.

And we chase after that dream, whether through a side hustle or as our full time gig. And as entrepreneurs, we realize that so much of what we were taught in school turned out to be a big pile of nothingness. So we now dive into books, podcasts and online courses that teach us to be comfortable being uncomfortable. That getting perfect grades doesn’t prepare us for the challenge of getting things wrong, and needing the grit to persevere, pivot and reinvent. That being a good rule follower prepares us to be a good employee but not much more. 

I wish I was taught this when I was a kid,” we wind up saying later in life. I was 32 when I first said many of these things.

And then the irony hits. I wish I was taught this as a kid, but I’m not teaching this to my own kids. And here is the million dollar question.

Why not? Why aren’t we preparing our kids for a world that we wish that we had been prepared for?

My friend Ken Carfagno does this brilliantly. Ken runs a monthly call in the Total Life Freedom Mastermind specifically on Kids and Entrepreneurship.

As part of the homeschool curriculum that him and his wife Teresa has created, they have Entrepreneurial Training that each of their five kids goes through. Each year, they have a different area of focus that they concentrate on.  At eleven, they focus on entrepreneurial training Phase 1. By age 13, they have a bank account set up. Kenny, their fourteen-year-old, started working with their dad in their cleaning business. After reading some of Ken’s recommended books, Kenny started messing around building computers. Now, he started a business where he sells computers, and he just invested his first $1,000 into the stock market.

Teaching our kids the lessons of entrepreneurship is not just a luxury, but it’s going to become a necessity. It’s projected that in the next few years, half of the population will be freelancers in some fashion. And let’s be honest- schools are not preparing our kids for this world.

We’ve followed Ken’s lead, and have created our own Entrepreneurial Training for Kids at our house. As part of the work, our eleven-year-old son Nolan and I are reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad together. It’s amazing to watch him grasp the difference between and asset and a liability, and why the rich invest in assets and everyone else invests in liabilities. Lessons that I didn’t start learning until I was 32.

So if you have kids, the time is now to start. Don’t be the reason that they say those words that too many of us had to learn too late.

I wish I would have learned this when I was a kid.