by Darrin Schenck

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by Darrin Schenck

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Once again, Chris Williamson coming with the goods on the Modern Wisdom podcast.  This line was so spot on that I that HAD to write about it.  Chris changed the original thought he was quoting to read this way:

“The whole world is divided into two groups, those who don’t know how to go about self improvement and those who don’t know when to stop.” 

Yeah, that’s me.  I’m that guy; once I got started down this path it has been a lifelong pursuit.  I am constantly tinkering with processes and patterns in my daily routine, my workouts, my diet, health and more.  I love it, and many people look at me like I am crazy but I do not care.  The reason that I do Self Optimization Coaching is exactly this, I have done it for so long myself it is easy for me to show others how to do it too.

I want my potential for success and growth to have no bounds.  I want to continue to get smarter, better at the things I currently do, learn new things, make new friends and expand my overall potential.  Always moving forward, that is the goal.  I could have leveled out a bunch of years ago, staying in the $50K a year range and building a lifestyle around that.  I had bounced through a couple of different industries at that same pay grade and thought this might be it for me in terms of earning potential.  But I didn’t like that idea, and so I kept searching.  Even though it took a while in my current role to get there, I make quite a bit more than that now.  But that is only part of the equation for me, as I value highly a great lifestyle in general, not just making a good living.  As I sit here writing this blog I am closing in on fly fishing trips in April and July, and some travel abroad with the family towards the end of the year.  My wife has some trips on her own that are coming up too, and our lifestyle allows us these luxuries that seemed out of reach not that long ago.

How did I get here?  Well, that is a simple answer but it wasn’t easy.  I worked, hard.  First, I stayed hungry for opportunities to better my situation and earning potential.  I was willing to keep trying new things until I found the thing that I was looking for.  In case I am ever looking for another job at some point, I have broken through to a new level and stayed there for multiple years, so the next job should be in the same compensation range or higher.  There are no guarantees, but having breathed this level of air, it is much easier to make a lateral move (at least) than it is to leap up to this level like I had to before.  Second, I worked more than one job to get out of debt.  This was difficult for a while, eating into the leisure time I had and limiting anything extracurricular I would have liked to do.  But now we are debt free and do things we want to do.  It was worth the sacrifice of two years of really hard work and focused progress to set ourselves up for a lifetime of financial freedom.

Additionally, I now have time to pursue other things in my life that I not only enjoy, but will be financially rewarding as well.  I am doing Public Speaking and Personal Coaching, both of which I enjoy immensely and I get paid to do.  Both will increase in compensation as I continue to grow these ventures and gain more clients.  This side hustle of mine will not replace my day job for a long time, and maybe ever.  But because my day job is on cruise control for me after twelve years in, I have time and the brain capacity to work on these new ventures on the side without compromising the day job focus.

So my question for you is this:  Which of the two groups do you fall into?

Give that some real thought and be brutally honest in your assessment.  If you discover that you are in fact settling for mediocre, now you have a follow up question to consider:  Is this enough for you (and your family)?  Don’t sell yourself short, I personally believe that almost everyone is capable of more and better things that they are doing right now.  It’s not easy, it takes time and effort, but there is more to be had if you want it.  You get to decide what your definition of “more” is.  It could be more money, or more time on your hands.  I am quite sure we do not want the same things, so figure this out for yourself.  If you are not sure, try a few different things and see what catches your attention.  Maybe you need something totally new to you, or you need to go back to something you used to do a while ago.  Figure it out, as this will be the driving force for the transition period you’re about to face.

As I described above, I worked really hard for a couple of years, two jobs and other side hustles like driving for Lyft, to set myself up for a better version of life.  My lifestyle is far better than before, and I mean in terms of time on my hands as well as income.  My wife is in the medical field and can make her own schedule, allowing us time to travel.  I can do my job remotely, so most domestic travel is not even on the books as vacation time.  Now my side hustles are things I really enjoy and they make money.  But they don’t have to make any money at all, it is a bonus plan that they do.  It took a while, but I finally got into the position I have always wanted to be in.

The new definition of average is overworked, underpaid, less than a grand in the bank and poor health. Add divorced on top of this and you have how the average American is living these days.  This is the group listed first in the quote above, people who do not know how to go about personal improvement.  The rest of us have broken free, learned to fill the gaps we have, improve at our craft.  We kept working until we figured it out.   You can too.  You have your choice, you can keep doing what you’re doing now and walk past me in Business Class to the back of the plane, or you can join me up front.  It is truly up to you.

I wish you luck in your endeavors.

 

 

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