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Seven years ago I attended a talk called ‘How to Make Money from Property’ with Martin Roberts; the host of Homes Under the Hammer. He’d invited a guest speaker, a chic-ly dressed woman with a blond bob, who had a radiant aura and owned the stage with the confidence of a west-end tenor. She spoke about how she’d courageously quit her six figure day-job and embarked on a financially treacherous journey into property development. Brave. Her story was interesting but somewhat disingenuous, with the undertone of a used car seller. That is until she reached a slide where the expression on her face subtly changed. She looked suddenly, vulnerable. The slide was a mood board with pictures of her and her family, a house and other random snippets. She paused for the longest time in front of these private images, before explaining the strength she had harnessed from creating visual representations of what she wanted from life, something she could wake up to every morning and have no uncertainty about where she was heading.
What struck me was that throughout the turbulence, precariousness and consistent failure she described, this was the one thing that was unchanging, an anchor, a metaphorical guiding star. Everything she did was in service of these goals, all else was caste aide; like jetsam.
A droll talk had been explicitly articulated in four clear pictures, the images themselves imprinted on my brain, never to be forgotten. My eyes glazed over and I pondered, if this womans dreams could be made so profoundly clear to me, within a few short glances of a PowerPoint slide, couldn’t I use this concept to pursue my own goals just as ruthlessly? I should do this.
The room rumbled with movement and I awakened to realise that we had been released for lunch, I went to enjoy some creamed coffee and complimentary cucumber finger sandwiches and promptly forgot about the idea all together.
Six years later, I found myself begrudgingly flying to Edinburgh for a work visit. The news that the Hilton I was staying at hosted a swimming pool had cheered me up somewhat, nevertheless I still treated myself to a work-trip pacifier in the form of an ‘Ideal Homes’ magazine, that I bought from the airport shop. Oh lovely jubbly.
I came across an image of a house, a beautiful Edwardian mansion with copper pans on hooks and an island in the middle of the kitchen, this house was mine, I felt sure of it, it was like bumping into an old friend. Seeing this image took me back to a seminar I’d once attended with a pretty blonde bobbed lady, who had talked about the power and impact of imagery. It stirred-up in me a kind of yearning, to live with freedom and the life I truly desired, a feeling I had not felt for probably about six years.
I put my hand in the crease and pulled out the page with rigger, starting the first image of a larger collection of scraps for my mood board. A pile of papers that today holds a strange sort of currency, a currency that I suspect only a true hoarder like me could understand.
My Freedom Mood Board 2018
This is my commitment. To myself. To pursue tirelessly the life that I want. To leave myself in no uncertainty about where I’m heading. To remind myself that the only thing holding me back from the life I want, is myself.
And probably a shit load of fear.
Which is all in my head. So yeah actually only myself after all.
I have five goals:
Goal 1: Health.
I am naturally healthy, exercise often and enjoy many sports. You won’t find me at the gym; I don’t need to. I’m too busy hiking in Ilfracombe or cycling to Paris.
I have invested in my mental health, both through external therapy and active self-love and introspection. I have the energy and courage to challenge my core values when needed and always remember (as is written on my bathroom mirror) that ‘winners adapt’.
I look after my body like it’s my most treasured possession, because it is, and it’s the only one I’ve got.
Goal 2: Mission.
I do something great for the world and I spend most of my time in pursuit of it. I have created a service that improves the lives of many people or solved a problem. Perhaps in an area where people are vulnerable, or minority groups.
I do not necessarily get financially rewarded for my work.
I jump out of bed every morning not because I have to but because I really want to*
*subject to coffee.
Goal 3: Financial Freedom.
I have a triple story double fronted grade two listed mansion house on the outskirts of my hometown. Trees line the driveway and my kitchen has an island, copper pans, a walk-in wardrobe and sports annex. It’s my favorite place in the world, my nest.
I have passive income that means the hours I work for cash in a week are minimal and I can pursue my mission and support the lifestyle that I want, I have freedom.
Goal 4: Relationships.
I spend meaningful time with my family and my ‘A’ relationships (the most important people).
I hang around with networks of entrepreneurs and like-minded people because it feeds my soul. Margaret Heffernan, Brene Brown and Danielle LaPorte are my role models.
I have groups of very close friends who I go on hikes with, we eat baked camembert and marshmallows by the fire and do 1000 piece+ puzzles; because we feel like it.
I have an intimate relationship, with someone who wants to invest in me and has a similar code of morals and ethics.
- Macho enough to go to the doctor when they have a strange rash thing: good!
- Remarks that the transgender lady down the street has ‘big hands’: bad! BAD!!
Goal 5: Growth.
I learn everyday.
I read often, in a wide variety of topics and most importantly I have time to learn.
I know some languages and travel the world, grounding myself in the unique and wonderful existence of others.
I have the freedom to visit breathtaking places. To swim in the Jellyfish Lake in Palau, a lake partitioned from the sea and predictors since time immoral. Such that the jelly fish are plentiful, placid and harmless. Or to witness the migration of the Trilobites in late May on Delaware Bay, one of the oldest living dinosaurs, whose coagulating blood is being researched as a potential treatment for cancer.
With an attractive use of colours and visual aids, I was pretty much ready to crown myself Queen of sorting-my-shit-out, before I reminded my ego that pictures don’t make for tangible goals, and it doesn’t tell me what I need to do over the next year to achieve them. What I really needed was specifics…