Where are you now compared to where you thought you’d be in your life? This is a question I find myself answering with a true level of gratitude, so many times. A lot of us are really in a completely different position than how we saw ourselves in the future when we were kids.

But is that really a bad thing? Keep reading to find out.

Is It Really So Different?

When I think back to when I was growing up in Virginia Beach, all I ever wanted to be was a police officer. My dream as a kid was to be in the FBI. If you’d ask me what else I wanted to be, my answer was always, of course, to be a professional athlete – whether it’s basketball, football, soccer, or really any sport, until I was about 12 – when I realized that may not happen.

When it came to my future career, my first choice was always law enforcement. The basis behind it was always to be helping people. As a kid, I never thought I’d be where I am now.  

The reality is, that even though I’m not in law enforcement, I’m still doing the main thing I wanted to do with my life – which is helping others. In other ways, I found to help the community is my passion. I help the criminal justice system with identity theft, or financial frauds and financial crimes. All these things that kind of moved me into the world that I got into today – and my career is really not so different than how I thought it would be as a young kid.

We’ve Advanced, and Changed

A lot of us probably saw ourselves in a completely different, opposite position from when we were young vs what we do today. In some ways, it’s extremely healthy that we’ve leveled up and kind of changed the trajectory of where we want to be on a regular basis.

Each year, on an annualized basis, it’s important to do a sort of recap of the past year to figure out where you want to be next year. We’re constantly changing and evolving.

Going back to the little kid that wanted to be a law enforcement officer, or somebody that that was helping people – it’s not hard for me to see that today, I get to help people every day. Today, I get to do the very thing that was driving that want, and that need. I’m just doing it in a completely different way than I intended.

Find the Common Goal: Find What Drives You

Anytime we go through some gratitude exercises, we tend to look back on our lives and just feel overwhelmingly blessed. Going through your life, you might find that you’re grateful for:

·         The company you’ve built

·         The people that work with you

·         The people that you work for

·         Your family

·         The relationship you have with your wife and kids

Watching my boys grow up and thinking about the relationship I have with my wife are simple things – that many of us often take for granted. As a kid, I did envision that I’d be married, have a couple kids, and even that I’d have boys that would be playing soccer the way that they are now.

When I think back at being a kid, I could say that I was so far off – I had no idea what I was going to be, and everything I thought I’d be was wrong. In reality, that’s just not true.

So much of what I’ve done and worked towards was unified in a common goal – with a common thread. Helping people is what financial advisors do every day; they help people with their money and help them go through severely distressed moments with their finances.

There’s also some commonality in the dream I had for my married life, with a beautiful family and two children. I still play, watch, and coach sports. All those things were dreams I had when I was a kid are still here today.

Don’t Take Failures for Granted

What are the things you’re thankful for that you failed at?

In the process of writing my book, I’ve created tons of lists, going through what I’ve failed at and what I’ve learned from those failures. If you really want to grow, go through that list. You’ll be shocked when you realize how many huge failures you’ve had that, at the time, may have felt like you lost so much direction or so much of the vision that you were holding on to. And yet, they were actually all leading you right to this point.

When you’re looking at your year end and when evaluating your year, don’t let yourself get into a negative mindset – especially after a year like 2020. If something bad happened, figure out what you can learn from it – and try to flip it.

The pandemic created one of the toughest years our country has faced in a long time. The lifetime lessons learned hit every part of my life from business to family. Nothing else could have taught me these lessons.

I slowed down this year to a level I haven’t slowed down to in about 20 years, because I had to. I had nowhere else to be, and nowhere else to go – but I’m so grateful for that. I’m grateful that through all of this, we still sit here healthy and closer as a family – and we’re all so blessed and lucky to have that.

The Bottom Line

These are all things that I didn’t think about as a little kid and didn’t even understand. But, I honed in on what I was good at and I invested in those things.

Maybe you’ve invested in the things that helped you get to where you wanted to be, like investing in your education and in forever learning and growing. Maybe you’ve invested in family, in creating good relationships, and connecting with good people around you. You’ve probably learned from the people around you who were smarter and better – which all helped lift you up to the level that you’re at today.

As a kid, I didn’t know that all these other jobs existed until I started seeing a couple of my uncle’s growing their businesses from scratch. I saw the creativity, the time, the freedom, and the discipline, which all helped shape me into who I am today. I didn’t know that then, but I definitely kept that vision intact.

·         How much of your vision when you were younger is happening today?

·         How different is your life, really, from how you thought it’d be?

·         What are the things that stand out to you today that make you feel so lucky, and so blessed?

·         What did you think you were going to be when you were a kid?

·         What did you dream of being, and where are you today?

·         How close are they in reality, versus how far apart you think they are on the surface?

I challenge you to go through that exercise and share the results with us in our chat. Where are you today compared to where you thought you would be?

Or “…..and share the results with us in the comment section below”