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How Much Is Enough?

How Much Is Enough?

September 29, 2020

 How Much Is Enough?


I read a chapter in Morgan Housel’s new book, “The Psychology of Money”.  In it, he talks about how Bernie Madoff was a very successful market maker on Wall Street prior to his Ponzi scheme for which he was ultimately charged and jailed.  In English, that means the dude was making loads of money and was really rich.  It makes you wonder how much is enough.  Obviously, for some people, the answer is it’s never enough.  What about you?  Let’s talk about that in this blog.

What Do You Really Want?


Have you ever sat down and really thought about what you want?  I’m not necessarily talking about stuff like drumsets and new bicycles (in my case).  I’m talking about what you want to have happen in your life.  When you get to the end of the road and are looking back, will you be happy with your short time here on earth?  Will you be happy with your accomplishments?  Will you be proud of the way you treated people?  Were your relationships with your friends and family all that you wanted?  How can you give yourself a better chance of being happy with the answers to these questions?

Dan Sullivan’s R Factor Question


Dan Sullivan is the founder of a company called Strategic Coach.  Strategic Coach is a coaching program for entrepreneurs.  I have read several of his books and took a program called, Goal Cultivator, years ago.  Dan has a question he calls the R Factor Question.  Here it is:

If you and I were having this discussion, three years from today and you were to look back over those three years to today, what has to happen both personally and professionally for you to feel happy about your progress?

It’s a great question.  It can be used in a lot of different ways but for my discussion, I’m suggesting you ask this question to yourself and write down the answers.  When I have been asked this question, the first thing I think about is the past three years.  So, since September of 2017, have I been happy with my progress?  If I keep doing these same things, will I be happy with the progress I am making three years from today? 

Three years is a short enough time to remember what has happened, but it is also long enough that significant changes and progress can be made.  I was at an event one time where the speaker said, if you want to double your business, plan for a 25% increase each year for three years. 

Have you ever heard of the Rule of 72?  Take the number 72 and divide it by another number.  In our example, 72/25 = 2.88.  That’s three on the Price is Right!  If you want to double in 5 years, you need a 15% increase each year.  It’s a number that you can get your head around.  It doesn’t seem impossible.  A stretch?  Of course! But it does seem like something that is doable.

Step Two


I have gone to lots and lots of goal setting meetings over the years.  Insurance companies are really into goal setting for their agents.  I guess it helps the company to sell more insurance.  One of the best exercises I have ever done is called a Vision Statement.  What the heck is a vision statement?

After you answered the R Factor question, take those answers and imagine your life three years from now as if all of the results, both personally and professionally have come true.  Then you write a story in the present as if everything you wanted has happened.  Talk about what you did to make these dreams come true.  How your life is different than it was three years prior and how you feel now because of it.  Here’s a little story from long ago in my own life.

When I was in high school, in one of our classes the teacher had us write a story about who we were going to marry.  She told us to just put down everything we wanted our future spouse to be.  I wrote that I wanted my wife to be beautiful, smart, athletic, musical, a great cook and an awesome mom.  All the girls in class who knew me, just laughed after I read my description and said, you’ll never find anybody like that.  I told them, if I don’t find somebody like that, I won’t get married.

Well, anybody who knows my wife, knows that’s exactly who I married.  I met her in band at UNM in 1982.  I can tell you exactly where I was the first time I saw her.  Room B120 in the basement of the building where Popejoy Hall is located on the campus of The University of New Mexico.  The funny thing about this story is we didn’t get married until July 27, 1996.  Like a former colleague of mine at Northwestern Mutual used to say, “No one has endurance like the man who sells insurance!”

Last Thing


Now that you have answered the R Factor question and written your vision statement, there is one more step that can help make your dreams come true.  It’s kind of annoying.  You need to write your goals down and look at them on a regular basis. 

For me, I pay a couple of coaches who help keep me on track.  We break my goals down from annual goals to quarterly.  Then we have a meeting once per week and go over my progress or lack thereof.  The good thing about breaking the year down has to do with belief.  If you have a big goal for the year, it’s easy to let half the year go by and nothing gets done.  Plus, when you divide your goal by 4, it just seems a little more doable.  And when you screw up and don’t make any progress towards your goal in a quarter, the whole year isn’t shot.  You just readjust and move forward.  Whenever I hit my quarterly goal, we celebrate.  Whenever I miss?  Oh well.  Readjust, figure out what needs to change and shoot for the next quarter.

Obviously, there is a lot more to this subject than can be covered in a blog post but I hope you find this helpful.  

Thanks for reading!  KB