Every good parent wants the best for their kids. I’m certainly no exception.
I have three boys. Between them running around and playing with each other, I try to teach them some lessons. Why? Because I want to ensure I give my kids every chance possible at following in my footsteps to become millionaires.
I’m not one of those parents who will demand that their children attend an Ivy League college or start a business because I think it’s the best thing for them to do.
Instead, I’m going to try and model some best practices and habits that will hopefully influence them to strive for success in every area of their lives.
And when they get knocked down, I’ll teach them to get back up.
If you have children, I’m sure you can identify with these reasonable ideals.
So, how exactly will I encourage my kids to follow in my footsteps? Here are some of the lessons I’ll teach them:
Lesson 1: Don’t Be Afraid to Fail
Ekaterina Walter, a contributor for Forbes, quoted Jack Canfield in an article that included some powerful quotes on failure:
Everything you want is on the other side of fear.
I remember there was a period of time when I was cold calling to acquire business. I literally got rejected 100 times per day. My biggest win? I was able to get one person out of 200 to accept my business card in the mail.
I learned a valuable lesson during that difficult time: every “no” is one step closer to a “yes.” Keep on trying. Don’t give up. Find someone who will do business with you.
The fear of failure is one of the primary reasons why so many people don’t make it in business. They get rejected multiple times and then their fear gets bigger and bigger. Understandably so. Trust me, I understand rejection. But you know what you have to do when you get rejected? You have to shake it off and move on.
In fact, that’s my next point.
Lesson 2: Shake Off Rejection
There’s always going to be a hater. How do you silence the haters? Just don’t listen to them.
That’s right. You need to ignore the haters. Here’s what I mean . . . .
It’s inevitable that my kids will encounter bullies in school. While it’s important that they don’t let bullies walk all over them, they need to ignore them in the sense that they need to focus on what matters: success. They can’t let bullies stop them from studying, from working hard, and from doing the right thing.
The same lesson applies to adults. I know that if I would have listened to some of the haters in my life, I would have not written a book, started a business, or joined the National Guard.
The trouble is that it’s not always easy to identify who the haters are. Sometimes they are acquaintances, and other times they’re actually friends and family. Sometimes, people think they’re being helpful but they’re really not.
Some people don’t want to see you succeed because it makes them feel bad about themselves.
Don’t underestimate the power of this lesson. If you don’t shake off rejection, you won’t do anything in life because there will always be someone who disapproves of what you’re doing.
Lesson 3: Screw “The Man”
When you work for someone else, you’re working for “The Man.” It’s not always easy to do this. After all, as an employee you can’t implement your own policies – you have to follow the policies of your boss. And sometimes, those policies are difficult to swallow.
If you’ve ever worked in a retail store or a restaurant, I’m sure you’ve encountered a situation where you desperately wanted to do the right thing for a customer but your hands were tied because of some sort of policy. Yeah, maybe your boss let you make an exception for the customer, but it still made you look bad. No fun.
If these points aren’t the most compelling reasons to convince my kids to consider venturing out on their own, there’s one reason that might grab their attention: money. As a business owner, you have the opportunity to make more money than you could ever make as an employee.
I remember when I had gotten so fed up with compliance that I founded my wealth management firm, Alliance Wealth Management. Stepping out on my own was the best decision I could make: both financially and relationally with my clients.
Lesson 4: Take Some Daring Risks
There are so many ways in which I want to protect my children. But the thing I need to be careful of is not to discourage them from taking calculated risks. For example, climbing a tall tree for fun has very little reward and a whole lot of risk. However, being creative with a science project that the teacher may or may not not like: that has future potential. Who knows, it’s possible for kids to come up with breakthrough ideas – why not let them give it a shot?
Life is full of risk. Risk is everywhere. In fact, it’s pretty scary to think about what lurks behind every bend. Some risk is in our control, and other kinds of risk really aren’t.
In order to get ahead in the business world, it’s important to take some daring risks. I don’t mean people should do anything illegal, I just mean people should venture out when unreasonable fears start to creep in.
I remember when I started a professional blog I actually had no blogging experience. I thought blogging was doing something on MySpace. Seriously. Was starting a blog with no experience a risk? Absolutely! What is worth it? You bet it was!
By the way, when I left my old financial firm back in 2007 there was a huge risk that many of my clients wouldn’t follow me. But you know what? I survived.
I’m going to teach my kids to take reasonable risks and to not let fear get in the way.
Lesson 5: Discover Your Unique Abilities
Everyone has unique abilities. They just have to be discovered or identified.
But there’s a second part to this lesson that’s very important: stick with that unique ability and don’t let things you’re not good at get in the way of the stuff you’re great at.
For example, I discovered that my unique abilities include creating blog posts, recording videos, talking with clients, and networking with other entrepreneurs. I don’t like paperwork, behind the scenes operations, and editing.
So you know what I do? I focus on the things I’m great at and I leave the rest to the professionals. I delegate and outsource anything that doesn’t fall within the scope of my unique abilities. I hired an office manager and a junior advisor for my financial practice and also various virtual assistants to work behind the scenes.
As a result, I get more done and I’m able to fine-tune and polish my unique abilities. This means that what I do do well, I do with excellence. Excellence is a key part of becoming a millionaire. My kids need to realize that it’s not advantageous to learn to do everything, but it’s highly advantageous to learn to do a couple of things really, really well.
Lesson 6: Review Goals Consistently
Brian Tracy said it best:
People with clear, written goals, accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them could ever imagine.
Goals are so vital to my business and life. Without goals, what does anyone have to aim for? The answer is “nothing.” Goal-setting is a motivational tool to help you accomplish more.
It’s true that you won’t always reach your goals. But when that happens, make sure to shake it off and keep striving forward. Remember what I said about not being afraid of failure?
When you review your goals on a consistent basis you’re able to reevaluate how you use your time and efforts during work. You’re also able to “test” your goals to see if they’re really the right ones for you. Imagine spending years on goals that don’t produce results! By reviewing your goals on a regular basis, you can effectively stop those goals that no longer make sense and start new ones that do.
In fact, having goals can increase your revenue which a great reason to make goals and review them consistently.
Lesson 7: Learn to Say “No”
There are always going to be people who want to take advantage of you in business. It happens to me, and it’s going to happen to my kids. Sometimes, you just have to learn to say “no” to things that are going to drag you down.
It’s okay to be picky and choosy about what you say “yes” and “no” to. If you’re the people-pleaser type, this lesson is especially important for you.
Sometimes, the easiest way to prepare to say “no” is to outline your boundaries in advance. Define what your work looks like and what it doesn’t look like. Then, when a so-called “opportunity” comes your way that looks more like a headache, you can say something like, “No thanks, I’ve decided that I only focus on working on projects that such and such and such.”
Remember, it’s not only what you say “yes” to that can make you a millionaire, it’s what you say “no” to that can really help increase the revenue.
Lesson 8: Develop and Refine Your Process
As you work in business, you’re going to find ways to improve. You might make entirely new processes or refine ones that are already working.
Over the years, I’ve refined my financial planning basics for the benefit of my customers. I found what works, and that’s why I get paid: to show them the best financial path forward.
It helps not only to review your goals, but to look at why you’re doing the things you’re doing. If your answer is that you’ve “always done it that way,” it’s probably time to look at your processes and see if new circumstances call for a new way of thinking about and completing tasks.
Lesson 9: Invest in Yourself
Did you know that the best investment can’t be found in stocks, bonds, real estate, or commodities? Although some of those might be great investments, the best investment is that which you make in yourself.
That’s why I’m focused on funding my kids’ college savings plans. I know their education is important, and I want to contribute toward it the best I can.
But I also want my kids to learn the value of education. I want them to be lifelong learners who are curious about the world and explore new concepts and ideas.
Investing in myself was the best thing I could have ever done for my success. I now have letters after my name after a lot of hard work – Jeff Rose, CFP® – and I even happily pay $7,900 per year for a coaching program. That’s how valuable education is to me.
Education is important because it opens doors to new opportunities – money-making opportunities!
I’m excited to watch my kids grow up and to teach them how to walk in their father’s footsteps. I’ll be able to share my successes and failures, the lessons I learned, and ways they can become millionaires themselves.
But most importantly, I’ll be able to continue to teach them the most important lesson of all: to do the right thing for people and to treat people as they’d like to be treated.
This post originally appeared in Forbes.