For those that have read and buy into Tim Ferriss’ book The 4 Hour Work Week, that may mean literally working 4 hours or less per week, traveling the world, sitting on a beach, and checking items off your bucket list.
For others, maybe it means that they still work 40+ hours per week, but at a job they enjoy and get satisfaction out of daily; better known as work/life harmony.
And still for others, it could be a combination of things. Some people get fulfillment through varying periods of work and play, just from the sheer shift in focus.
The point being, that I believe lifestyle design has become this mythical, one size fits all, Nirvana that everyone is working to achieve. It’s important to remember though, that we as humans experience different things in life, and have unique perspectives and beliefs because of those experiences.
So let me ask again – what is lifestyle design TO YOU?
Rather than focusing on the end goal, we should concentrate on the concepts that lifestyle design teaches us, directly or indirectly. For me, building a life of my own choosing, is what it means. A prime example is how I’ve approached my real estate investments. Back in 2009 (when I graduated from college with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan and credit card debt), I began seriously considering my long term financial future, and realized that I didn’t want to be chained to a job for the rest of my adult life. At that point, I made a decision to find a way to start buying investment properties. After a year of re-igniting my passion for real estate, I created a plan to acquire my first rental property. A couple years passed as I was building my plan, paying down my debt, networking, and educating myself, but I ultimately ended up having the opportunity to build my own home, which was not in my original blueprints.
I am not only thankful for that opportunity, but realized that my “luck” was paying off and I was going to be able to leverage this into something more than my own home. I had built relationships with executives of a local bank during this time and I’d have instant equity in my new home to use via a Home Equity Line Of Credit. With that HELOC, I found a duplex in St. Albans that cash-flowed enough to meet my minimum criteria, and made an offer. We negotiated for a couple of weeks, and I ultimately bought the place. It now puts $300+/mo in my pocket after all expenses (real or anticipated) are paid. After 12 months or so, I had the property reappraised, and refinanced it to buy a second and even larger property with a partner. I’ve done this several times now, and what started out as a $1,500 out of pocket expense to an appraiser and doc fees to close on my personal home, has snowballed into 7 figures worth of real estate that I own/control.
That is the power of knowing what you want, educating yourself in a way so that you can achieve it, then executing the plan and making tweaks along the way. The road hasn’t always been smooth, but the journey is what matters most. It’s what teaches us and provides the opportunities for each of us to grow and improve.
Why is that little story so important? Because that journey among many others are what make me HAPPY and provide FULFILLMENT in my life, all while working towards a long term financial goal. Like most people in this world, I suffer from undiagnosed ADD. My mind is constantly switching gears, changing focus, and finding new things to enjoy, be passionate about, and indulge in. One day I may think that sitting on a beach in Tahiti is the ideal dream, and the next day I’m in tune with my charitable side and want to donate all my time and money to those in true need. But that is me and me alone. Each and every one of us is different; we have different wants, different needs, different desires, and different goals to achieve.
Lifestyle design should be about understanding exactly what it is that makes you happy and fulfilled, at each stage in your life. It’s not the end goal of sitting on a beach sipping cocktails surrounded by supermodels. It’s about understanding who you are, and finding ways to achieve your highest levels of success, in all facets of your life.
What is it that makes you happy and feeling fulfilled? Is it building businesses? Volunteering at the local animal shelter? Maybe it truly is sitting on a beach drinking cocktails. Whatever it is, understand it, and make decisions in your life to support your progress in reaching those goals. No matter how stuck you feel, nobody is holding a gun to your head and saying you don’t have the freedom to make those choices. And if by chance, you’re in a position where you feel like someone is, then change your position.
Jay Mitiguy – President of Dowling’s, Inc.
After graduating from UNC-Wilmington, Jay joined his family’s enterprise at the ground floor, ultimately working his way up to President of Dowling’s. In 2016, at the height of their business, he led them through an acquisition with the second largest national distributor, and has since reignited his passion for investing in and selling commercial real estate.
Jay has a burning desire to help people realize their dreams through commercial real estate and business brokering. He is a believer in lifelong learning and strives to give back to the community in ways that will empower the youth and underprivileged to chase their dreams!
Read more from Jay on his new blog: jaymitiguy.wordpress.com