The Sunday Times much hyped annual Rich List appeared a coupe of weeks ago, it’s still knocking around in my study. I guess I did what most people do with it, I quickly scanned it to see how many people I actually know in it and reassuringly I found that yet again I have never met any of the wonderfully successful people listed. I guess my worst nightmare is to discover somebody I went to scouts with in 1967 made it through the challenges of life and is now the 127th wealthiest person in the UK.
Leaving aside my outstanding capacity for self deception for a moment, I don’t know about you, but I always like to think I am talented, bright, resourceful, inventive and very successful and to be honest I have firmly believed it since I was 21! Then you read that bloody Sunday Times Rich List and you realise that you are not even at the starting block of life’s race for success. It’s depressing and to make matters worse the Sunday Times now have a Rich List just for sports stars, no doubt there will be one very soon for car dealers, taxidermists and dentists! Where would you rank? Would a peer comparison worry you? Typically and perhaps in defence, we always say success is not measured exclusively through wealth, it’s about many more aspects that conspire to create your true quality of life. Which is probably just as well, as according to recent research, real employee income after adjustment for inflation is down a staggering 8.5% since 2009.
Another measure of success is recognition. I expect that is why we have all these rather silly Richter scale of the most famous or most influential person in a given sector. I was truly gobsmacked to discover that dentistry has got it’s own daft list of the 150 most influential people in dentistry. Not surprisingly I was not mentioned, my partner, the very experienced Simon Hocken, is apparently the 116th most influential person in British Dentistry – do me a favour!
So what are the important ‘real world’ constituents of success?
My colleague and good pal Mike Hutch has an utterly brilliant formula for measuring success;
There are just three aspects;
This is an extract from an article Mike wrote recently…………..
“…………Is success about the cars we drive, the houses we live in or the restaurants we eat at? Or maybe the schools our kids go to?
Many of us focus on tangible outcomes as the badges of our success. I can fully understand that, for it’s when we buy those special things it sometimes make us feel good and special, well, for a little while at least.
But true success is a bit more than the toys and the schools and the restaurants and perhaps look at some other factors.
In Breathe we meet some really high grossers (grocers? Tall fruit and veg sellers). One springs to mind, who is a regular GDP, and he really knows how to pack them in. An average gross of £3250 per day, 5 days a week. Now that’s what I call earning. But, by his own admission, it may be a great income, but it’s a poor life.
So when we consider how we get the balance right, perhaps we should consider a few more elements. It’s not just about the income, we can all turn on the income switch if really had to. But it’s also about the wealth that we are creating along the way. A really great example of this is the difference between a practice owner and and an associate. An associate who grosses £200k pa and keeps £100k has income of, well, £100k.
But a practice owner in the same position has created both income and wealth. The wealth comes from the fact that turnover, as a general rule, has an inextricable link to value, and value is some measure of wealth. So measuring wealth would be good, but I would ask you to seriously consider your own definition of wealth. In it simplest form it is an asset you can sell. The more sophisticated versions include an ability to generate income completely independently of any of your own input, as well as have an asset value. Think in terms of an office block that you own and has a blue chip tenant on a 10 year lease.
But in my opinion, something is still missing. And that is the time you have, more specifically, the time you have to choose what it is you want to do. We all have the same 24 hours each day, some of us choose what to do in that time, others have no choice – and often the thing they have to do is work!
So that’s it. Let’s measure our income, our wealth and our time. Let’s get them all in balance and press on, simple. Great.
Well how about actually enjoying what you are doing?
My mate Roger was a senior fireman in London. In fact he was at the Kings Cross disaster and sadly when his commander died in the tragedy he had to step up and take control. He got himself an OBE and was on This Is Your Life.
When he retired he took a pension somewhere north of £50k. He sold his property and moved to Devon. He built the house of his dreams, he bought a buy to let, he has a 36ft yacht in Dartmouth, he has a 6.5m RIB, a Landrover and a chainsaw. So if you look at him in the context of income wealth and time, he has it totally and utterly dialled. He has £50k+ pa before he gets out of bed, plus a monthly rent from his buy to let. He has all those toys and absolutely no debt – all pure wealth. And all the time in the world to do just what the hell he wants…..magic!!
I said to him “Rog, you are the ultimate example of balancing income, wealth and time, you have so got it dialled”.
“What?” he said, “are you joking? But I’m no-one now, I used to be able to shut down Heathrow or close the M25, but now I’m just a no-one, it’s horrendous!”.
This isn’t a story about not retiring, it’s about keeping an eye, at all times, on the ‘gratification’ dial as well as ‘income, wealth and time……………..’.
If you fancy a chat on planning your success then drop me a line or give me a call,