In a new feature to the Total Life Freedom Podcast, we are introducing “The Master Series”. This should have been something that we did much sooner, but as the title of this newsletter goes, I wasn’t able to see it because of the reasons we will discuss today.
What is the Master Series, you might ask? Within the Total Life Freedom Community, we have weekly calls with experts in all things entrepreneurship, business, money and freedom. These are live Q&A and guest expert calls, and often they come from the outside- people like John Ruhlin from Giftology, Bob Burg from the Go-Giver book series, John Lee Dumas from Entrepreneurs on Fire, and many, many more. Often, they come from the experts within the TLF family and they get the platform to teach us in their area of expertise.
We have so many hours of calls recorded, but until now, we haven’t shared it with you or on the podcast. The Master Series is pulling back the curtain a bit to the TLF Community, and what we have going on inside. The first episode is a special one for me. Seth Godin has been a mentor, an influence and a guide for me for more than fifteen years. I read many of his books- Poke The Box, Purple Cow, Permission Marketing, after hearing him as a guest on the Dave Ramsey Show. It’s possible that I’ve read all of his nineteen best selling books.
Godin generously endorsed my book, Freelance to Freedom, which in my mind made the book a career success before one book was even sold. At the start of 2019, the Total Life Freedom Community did a year long, deep dive study of his newest book, This Is Marketing. As a group, we did two live calls a month where, chapter by chapter, we broke down the lessons of the book and applied it to our businesses.
Again, Godin surprised my when he agreed to come on a call with TLF to do a live Q&A session. For an hour, he knocked it out of the park doing rapid fire precision answers. As a treat to you, our first Master Series is a clip from that Q&A, which is the podcast episode linked to below. I hope you check it out.
As I was getting that episode prepared, I thumbed through Godin’s book, the Icarus Deception, which I believe is one of his most underrated books. In doing so, I was struck by a line that would have been easy to pass over.
“The difficult part of seeing is setting aside what you are sure you already know,” Godin wrote.
This quote sums up, so succinctly, what stops us, holds us back and limits us. What’s amazing, it that this is across the board in our lives. It’s not that we don’t have access to the information we need. It’s that we already believe we have the answer so we don’t allow ourselves to see a different point of view, opinion or fact.
This is especially true in politics today. Everyone believes that they are right. They are sure that the person who sees it differently is wrong, and is in need of more information, knowledge or an awakening. People heavily involved in spreading information on politics are ‘sure they already know’. But, as is the case in a polarizing election year, they are unwilling to set that aside to possibly see something different. And the crazy cycle goes round and round.
But it’s not just politics. It’s business. Family. Money. Relationships.
Could it be that we just aren’t curious enough? Is it possible that we aren’t paying attention to other things that are going on because it doesn’t fit our worldview?
I can tell you that this has been one of the biggest roadblocks for me as well. I read that line from the book, and I literally had to put the book down and just think. I knew that more reading would take me away from diving deeper into this thought. So many of my struggles have stemmed from me not seeing things because I could not put aside what I already knew. Have you ever argued or disagreed with someone when you had no interest in hearing their point of view, only speaking to convince them to see your point of view? Yeah, me too. It’s the ultimate sign of arrogance and ignorance.
We talk so much about needing more education. But that education is useless if we don’t allow ourselves to see something different and replace, at times, what we already know. Isn’t it astounding that what we already know may be the thing that is holding us back from learning what we need to know?
We aren’t even to the halfway point of 2020, but the way this year has been going, many are already hoping to fast forward to 2021.
I am not one of those people. Although these are challenging and bizarre times, there are untold opportunities in 2020 that some are taking full advantage of. Like I have mentioned before, there is tremendous wealth being created during these times. The question is- are you finding and utilizing those opportunities?
That being said, in one way, we are looking ahead to 2021. But this isn’t exactly new for Elizabeth and I. A few years ago, we did a little future planning. We were wrapping up our photography business while going into the world of coaching, speaking, masterminds and memberships. As we were making the pivot, we brainstormed on what we could do to make the transition more seamless.
“It would be nice to not have any bills to pay,” Elizabeth mentioned with laughter.
We both laughed, and then we agreed. And then we did more thinking than laughing. It really would be nice to not have any bills to pay. If that was the one thing to make the transition more seamless, why didn’t we focus on it?
And that was how the Freedom Fund started.
You may be asking, what is the Freedom Fund? Please allow me to explain. In essence, the Freedom Fund is a separate bank account where we save money for the following years bills and recurring expenses. It started innocently enough, with us pulling money from our emergency fund to start it. But with planning, precision and some pain, within a few years it built out to become an account that has all of the money for our yearly recurring expenses (utilities, taxes, insurance, memberships, etc.) for the upcoming year.
For those of you wondering if this is an emergency fund, we do not view it that way. In the pecking order of personal finance, the Freedom Fund sits atop our emergency fund. The emergency fund is for unexpected occurrences like a car repair, the roof going out or something not in the budget. The Freedom Fund goes above that, and almost serves as an emergency fund for the emergency fund.
The goal for us is to have the Freedom Fund packed before the year starts. For the first few years of doing this, the account was partially funded. A semi- Freedom Fund, if you will. But in time, as focus shifted, we were able to allocate more cash to the account earlier in the year, and have it stocked and loaded.
In a little more than six months, people will revisit their new year resolutions, and set new goals. Never mind that most of them will be forgotten before the calendar flips to February. There are a ton of reasons why people never achieve the goals they set at the beginning of the year. One reason rarely discussed is that financial stress, and the work that comes with fixing it, leads to a lack of motivation and drive to actually accomplish the lofty goals set. Days turn into months, and before they know it, the goals are nothing more than a distant dream and they return to their normal, frustrating routines.
But what if, on January 1st, you woke up and had no bills to worry about? What if there was an account where all of the money for all of your bills were housed? What if you paid many of those bills in advance, getting a discount while doing so?
Think about that for a minute. Outside of just the relief of knowing that was taken care of for the year, what would you do differently?For the entrepreneurs, would it change the way you worked? With the income you have coming in, would you fire your most difficult clients, because you didn’t need them to “pay the bills”? Could you hire people more qualified to do the tasks that you hate doing? Could you also hire people to help grow your business to earn you more revenue?
I didn’t forget about those of you that are employees. I’m curious if there is anything that you would do differently. If you knew that your bills were paid for the year, would you still be doing the work that you are doing? Or might it give you the buffer to step out to do something that you have more passion for, but have been too afraid to try in the name of needing to bill pay?
On June 18th, 2020, I am not expecting you to have a fully funded Freedom Fund by January 1st. But I’d love for you to start working on one. Even more, I would love even more if you would begin to dream about how life might look differently if you were in the position to not have to worry about your bills for the upcoming year. The freedom this gives you- hence the name- is not able to be described from just looking at the numbers. It comes from the emotional calmness and mental freedom from not being bogged down with the bills and often the meandering work that comes from earning the money for the bills.
So dream a little. Imagine a year with no bills. Start to plan ways to make it happen. And begin the process of making each year coming up better than the last.
In the Total Life Freedom Community, The Freedom Fund is the audio course and theme for June. This is an exclusive, paid community, but we want to give you a bonus today with access to one of the episodes from Junes audio course. If you would like to listen, the link to the first lesson in the course is below!