I started thinking about this post a few weeks ago. It was 1 in the afternoon on a Thursday and I was waiting for my wife to arrive at the doctors office.
It was a normal day in SoCal, sunny, cool, light winds. Usually on a day like this (Thursday) I’d be at my desk or meeting with clients. Not out and about.
But that day was not normal. It was the day we got to see our new baby for the first time. Our first child.
We don’t care if its a boy or girl. Tall or short, dark hair like mine or blonde like hers. All we care about is that it is healthy and that we’re on the right track for mother and child to stay that way.
So far so good. As you can see from the picture we have a small gummy bear looking person growing. The heart beat was strong and fast and mom is healthy. The baby was even moving around while we had the ultrasound on. I couldn’t be more blessed.
What Does This Have To Do With Planning And Not Freaking Out?
This story doesn’t start there. It actually began years ago, before we were even married. Our plan was to get married, spend some time “being married” and then start building a family. Like a good partnership we talked about all the variables: how many, where we’d live, what religion to raise them, who would do what, finances, etc.
And to be honest so far everything has gone according to plan. It sometimes amazes me how much we’re at plan. Especially when life rarely cares about your plans.
But when I think about it the reason we are on the right track is because of two things. First of all we agreed on a plan. Second, we both understood what the plan involved and have worked REALLY hard to make it happen.
I’ve come to find out that when expecting a mother and father are asked the same question all the time but with different meanings behind them….”How do you feel?”.
For the mother they are questioning her health. Are you nauseous, bloated, tired, etc. I’ve been told it’s hard work to grow a human.
For the father they are questioning his state of mind. Are you freaking out, nervous, scared, worried, stressed, etc.
For both of us you would think these sensations were amplified since this is our first. We have no idea what we’re doing after all right?…
Too often in work and life huge events (like starting a family) happen which are supposedly “unexpected”. For my argument and the theme of this post I’ll continue the starting a family idea. Excuse me if you think I am going on a rant but this is how my mind works so it’s the easiest way for me to explain it and bridge it’s relevance to help you in life.
Even before sex ed and high school I knew how babies were made. I don’t want to discuss education distribution and socioeconomic status but I am going to venture to say that most people understand the sex and babies relationship before they start having sex. At least I hope so. In our family there was “not trying” and “not not trying”. Abstinence, to birth control, to no birth control. Simple enough in my mind.
Sorry if I’m getting a little personal here. I’ll try to tone it down.
Let’s look at it this way. We know that S leads to B. We know that a healthy B costs money. We know that a B needs clothes, food, diapers, crib, stroller, car seat, etc. All expenses that we don’t currently have. Not to mention that if we take time off there will be a loss of income (a dip in commission if I’m not selling).
From my recent conversations, and conversations in the past with other families, finances seem to be the biggest stressor with starting a family.
Although we can’t eliminate all financial stressors, we made a plan and have been working hard to make it happen. I’ve listed our basic plan out below.
The Bravo Family Plan
- Get Married – (5/5/12) Check!
- Get out of debt – We have paid off more than $35,000 in debt and will be debt free next month (Sept. 2013). So Check!
- Start a family – Due 2/28/14 Check!
- Save up for 20% down on a house
- Save up 12 months of an emergency fund
- Save 15% of our income for retirement
- Save for college
- Give a lot of money away
If these steps look familiar then you might already know about Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps. If you don’t I HIGHLY RECOMMEND YOU CHECK THEM OUT! I can’t stress enough how much Dave Ramsey can change your life.
So how have we been working hard to make sure our plan happens? Well a few ways.
- We made a budget.
- We have been living off one income for the past year and are putting the other income towards our debt and savings.
- We exercise often to make sure that we are both healthy.
- We eat at home more often (saves money) and try to buy organic foods when we can.
- We talk to our network of friends and family to help us plan and know what to expect.
- We pay cash for everything. No credit cards ever again.
- We have a starter emergency fund and use it only for actual emergencies.
Trust me this stuff is not easy. So when I say that we’ve been working hard to make our plan a reality, this is what I mean.
It’s hard to not spend money going out to eat when you’ve already spent your budgeted amount for the month. It’s hard living off half your income. It’s hard going for a run after working for 10 hours. It’s hard cooking dinner when you get home at 8pm sometimes. It’s hard taking other peoples advice when you think you’ll do things differently. It’s hard saving up for big purchases instead of swiping a card. It’s hard keeping thousands in the bank when you find the perfect dining room table at Crate and Barrel and need to save up for it.
It’s hard. But I promise you if I can do it than anyone can.
The point is that because we’ve worked hard to make our plan work, there’s no reason for us to freak out. We are doing everything we can to make sure this baby comes into a healthy and financial secure house.
How You Can Apply This To Your Life and Your Work
First of all I again highly recommend you check out Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps. If there is any stress in your life because of money and finances this will help you get on the right track.
If your plan is to build your pipeline through networking then you need to lay out your plan of action. This might include attending a certain number of networking events. Meeting a certain number of people each event. Getting a minimum number of leads per event.
Whatever your plan is be as detailed as possible and stick too it. But remember, your plan shouldn’t focus only on the process (networking) but on the outcome (more clients) as well.
How will you follow up with those leads? How will you redistribute your time to handle the new clients? Are you (or your company) able to meet the obligations of a sudden burst of clients when you succeed? Will you need to hire more support staff?
Small things that you probably think you can “deal with later” but you may find yourself up the river without a paddle.
Make a plan and you’ll find life easier and no need to freak out.
~ Johnny Bravo