Up to this point, our articles have focused on your current financial situation, on knowing
from where you are starting. Now we are going to take you to the other extreme – where
you want to end up. Where you are going is almost as important as your starting point. It
gives you a destination, a target, a place on which to set your sights. If you think about a
successful business, you can be very sure that behind the scenes there is a successful
business plan, one that was put in place when the organization was born and one that is
centered on a Vision. The company will have laid out in this business plan where they
want to be in 1 year, 3 years, 5 years. They will know what their ultimate goal is in very
specific terms. They won’t just say they want to be the best. They will say that their goal
is to be at the top of the Fortune 500 list in 5 years.
Think of your financial life as a road trip. You know from where you are starting – New
York. You know where you want to go – sunny Miami. Now that you have your starting
point and your destination, you can plan how you will get there. You can plan it in stages
and you can even stop to see some of the sights along the way. You can travel as quickly
as possible or you can take the scenic route. This is the same as your financial journey. In
other articles we have worked through some of the first steps of the Artists’ Prosperity System). These should have helped
you determine your starting point, and now we will figure out your destination or your
Vision. Then you will have what it takes to make your plan.
How do you decide on what your Vision is? It is a very personal thing and it may involve
only you or it may involve your family as well. The one thing that must be made very clear
right form the beginning is that a Vision is not the same thing as a dream. A dream is a
someday thing. A Vision needs to be detailed, measurable, achievable, compelling, and
timetabled. The difference between a Vision and a dream is: I will be a wealthy actor
someday vs. I will have a recurring role in a quality prime time drama and an annual
income of $200K by Jun15th, 2009. This is a target and while it is not carved in stone
(after all sometimes our Visions change) it is something you can then work backward from
to see that you hit the target.
At Abundance Bound , an important
exercise we take our clients through is the “3 Year Vision” exercise. Begin by asking
yourself a few simple questions: How much will you be making monthly? What kind of car
will you be driving? Where will you be living? What artistic endeavors will you be
pursuing? Have fun with this exercise and be incredibly specific. When you read your
vision you should feel happy – you should feel a sense of excitement and joy as you paint
a vivid picture of where you want your life to be.
Once you are clear about where you want to be, you can then break this journey down into
smaller steps. For example, when creating the Vision and plan for your income it is not
enough to say, “I want to make a lot of money.” Think about what you want your monthly
income to be – a specific number. Then break it down into how much you will need to
earn every week and how much you will need to earn every day to make it happen. Then
you will know how much your current income falls short and can begin to look for options,
other ways to supplement your income to bring it to the desired level. One of the many
things we do for our clients is help them develop ideas and create solid plans for side
businesses that will allow them to reach their income goals even if their artistic careers
take longer to reach the desired profit levels.
Writing down your Vision and your plan, which is your journey broken down into
manageable pieces, will play a huge role in whether or not you reach your destination. Do
not underestimate the importance of writing down and fully visualizing the goal. Study
after study has proven that people who write down their goals reach them significantly
more consistently than those who do not. Set yourself up for success right from the
beginning by doing a simple writing exercise that is both fun and practical. Then you will
be able to draw your own road map to get from point A to point B and you will reap the
benefits of careful planning and hard work.
Adam Martin is a successful Assistant Director (most recently on Transformers, due this summer), and the co-founder and director of Abundance Bound, Inc,(http://www.abundancebound.com) a financial education company for actors, artists and creative professionals.
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