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5 Ways Financial Freedom is like a Marathon

July 02 2014

kw runningI love to run. I love everything about it, not just the exercise, but the freedom, joy, and sense of accomplishment it brings to my life. I love money for the same reasons.

These days, I don't rack up the miles like I used to. I do have some marathons under my belt and, although they're in the past, those 26-milers are still very fresh in my mind. When I look back on them, it strikes me that running a marathon and achieving financial freedom are incredibly similar in many ways and the same five rules apply if you're going to be successful in either.

1) Pace Yourself

Financial freedom is a marathon, not a sprint. If you're running a shorter distance like a 5K or 10K, you can push your pace. With a marathon, you need to be conservative and hold back for the long run. If you go too fast right when the gun goes off, you'll bonk (a runner's term for burning out) before you're even halfway done.

The same is true for financial freedom. While you're living in the moment, never lose sight of the future. Be conservative with your expenditures, live below your means, and you'll cross that metaphorical finish line. This is especially true for real estate agents. Since we work on 100% commission, we can't count on a paycheck every two weeks like so many of our friends. This means it's critically important that we set a realistic pace for our finances. That means we need to conservatively forecast our income, maintain our expenses at a set amount each month, and make sure we set money aside to help cover us during the "slow" months.

And, above all, incur as little debt as possible. Spending what you don't have is like running at a 5-minute/mile pace on mile 1 of 26.2 – unless you're an Olympian, you're never going to be able to keep that up. It's totally counter-productive, and if you run out of resources in running or finance, you're going to bonk big time.

2) Find a Partner

If you're training for a marathon or trying to grow your wealth, you need some accountability. Choose a coach or a training partner, someone to keep you on track with your goals. That's one of the reasons I created Real TalkReal Talk, my coaching club. This community will create accountability for increasing income, building businesses, and living great lives. If you're serious about financial independence, you should join us. But if you don't join me, make sure you are meeting regularly with another peer agent in the office or, better yet, your manager or broker. Getting off-track with your finances can happen to anyone, but it's especially easy for commission-based income earners. Therefore, having an accountability system is a necessity.

3) Love It

Take it from me – neither of these (running 26.2 miles or financial freedom) is going to be easy. You're not going to be able to slog through the arduous training runs, the toils of budgeting, or the discipline of saving if you don't have a great attitude. There will be moments when you feel like quitting, so you need to keep in mind why you're in the race. It's in those moments that my love – of running and of money – kept me going.

Like long-distance running, real estate can be hard - the money is unpredictable, the hours are long, and sometimes the clients are difficult. Without having a love of the job, it would hardly be worth it. But real estate is a career to love! What other profession has the privilege of helping like we do? When we do our jobs well and for the right reasons (fiduciary), we impact lives for the better. What's not to love?

4) Get Committed

If you're going to achieve financial freedom or if you're going to run a marathon, you have to be committed. This means you'll accomplish your goal, no matter what. If you're not committed, you just might give in to that temptation to quit. Commitment is required to succeed in real estate. Over the past two decades, I've seen a countless number of agents come and go and I'd say the number one reason why people fail is that they don't commit - therefore, they not only don't ever cross the marathon finish line, they drop out when the 5K training gets tough.

5) Be Disciplined

Training for a marathon isn't for slackers. You need to eat healthy, stay consistent with your daily training runs, drink water, wash endless loads of running gear (you'd be amazed how the laundry piles up), and so much more.

The same is true of transforming your relationship with money. You need to set financial goals, build a budget, balance your checkbook, increase income, and reduce debt. You have to be disciplined and stay consistent.

Again, since real estate is a sales career, being disciplined is required to succeed. You've got to prospect when no one else is in the office and to work weekends when everyone else seems to be enjoying the lake. But those in real estate who are able to pace, who have a coach, who love what they do, who are committed and disciplined can make a lot of money!

Financial Freedom is Like . . .

Are you a runner? Do you agree with my analogy that a marathon is like financial freedom? Please share an analogy of your own in the comments section!

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