Recently, I talked with my daughter as she wrote an essay for her entrance into college. It’s that time in life! My oldest is applying to different colleges and most of the entrance officers want her to write an essay about something that has impacted her life in a meaningful way.
What came out of our time together was a Perfect Day moment. You know our plan: do four purposeful things before 11 am each day. It’s 411: finance, core, experience, and contribution.
This exercise touched on our core. On the side column of her outline, she had written a list and told me, “These are the values that are the most important to me.” That was her Core—the very things she desires to live by.
As she began to write, I asked, “What is your narrative?” Not just what is your story but what motivates you the most. A narrative is different than a story. It gives you an opportunity to write about personal experiences. You are not telling, you are living. It’s active and motivational.
Do you have the grit needed to succeed?
Narratives are heavy on personal experience, storytelling, climax, setting, plot, and a strong ending.
Her narrative began a few years ago when we hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro together. This also is where her experience took a huge turn. I urged her to tell her narrative without telling the things that did not matter.
“Tell your readers why you kept going; don’t just tell them about how you wanted to give up. Everyone hits a wall at some point and is tempted to turn around but what is the thing that motived you to push through and go on to the top? Those are the words that are life-changing, and they are your narrative.”
What a Perfect Day moment! Let me ask you: “What is your narrative?” Have you ever thought about this? What keeps you going when life turns dark and the urge to quit calls out to you? This is where you discover if you have the right “grit” to succeed. Core, experience, and then success!
Another question I want you to consider is “Where are you spending most of your time and money?” Whatever captures your attention, captures you! Make sure what you are doing in life is valuable enough for you to include it in your personal narrative.
I always ask clients to write out their epitaph, which is a final narrative! Some have difficulty doing this. But they understand how important it is to visualize how they want to live now and how they want to be remembered.
How do you want to be remembered? It’s important.
An epitaph is not a story line; it’s a narrative. It’s alive and living even though it is your final word.
What would you want that one line to say about you on your headstone? “She worked until she dropped” or “She was devoted to others—family and friends—and had a life well spent.”
If you are spending more time doing something that does not define you, then you are heading in the wrong direction. But that can be fixed. The same is true with your finances and the contributions you make in life.
I can show you how to set financial goals and even reach those, but if your Core—your values—do not line up with your narrative then you are at a point of disconnection. My Mom just celebrated her birthday and as we gathered to sing and eat the homemade carrot cake I had made, I thought, I wonder what advice she would give to all of us, who work so hard?
I have a feeling she would say, “Chill out more. Take it easy on yourself and enjoy being with those you love. Life really does go quickly, so love others, be kind and generous, and take time to listen and not just rush through a conversation.”
So, are you ready to take the step to more Perfect Days? If so, begin by downloading my book Perfect Day. It’s free! You can also set up a free consult and let’s start to write your own narrative so you experience more Perfect Days every day.
About The Author: Cokie Berenyi
Cokie Berenyi has been in financial services and serving the needs of individual and institutional clients and entrepreneurs since 1996. Mother, author, business owner, financial “samurai” and Perfect Day engineer, Cokie loves food, wine, travel, stray dogs, goat cheese, tennis, and alpine mountaineering.
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