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Why $100K Can and Should Be Part of Your Career Plans
Are you being paid enough?
I suspect most people feel they need more money - not just to support their current lifestyle, but to provide for the one they aspire to.
Despite the risk of sounding politically incorrect: You want to make the big bucks! Although 91,993,582 households in this country earn around $31,241 a year - that's not the life for you.
Only 4 percent of U.S. households (approximately 4,035,799) earn over $100K. That sounds better, doesn't it? Seems like there must be room for a few more to make that money - to break that barrier and join the $100K Club - namely, you!
According to Fortune, "The new rule of thumb for being well-paid is to earn four times your age." Hey, it wasn't that long ago that twice your age meant well-paid! Regardless of any rule of thumb, the key is: What is the magic number for you?
Most everyone says $100K is a special number. Hence, The $100K Club. This book is to help you increase the odds of your becoming part of that group of four million earning that money.
But first, the myths and mistruths we were taught while growing up need to be corrected now that we're adults. They need to read:
* Money is an acceptable topic of conversation.
* Money does buy happiness.
* Money does make the world go 'round.
* Money is not the root of all evil.
* Do what you love and money will follow only if others love it too.
* If you have health, kindness, balance, and money, you do have everything.
* Both smart and dumb can earn big money.
* Rich people are not bad people.
* People who say they don't care about money either don't have enough or have too much.
There is a spiritual snobbery some people take on about money. To say you don't like money would be to not like nearly anything - because money supplies nearly everything.
Man was born to grow rich by using God-given abilities: intelligence, thoroughness, right reasoning, promptness, tenacity, patience, labor. (When Moses came down from the mountain, he did not bring the commandment "Thou shalt not make money.")
By using your abilities and making money, you give yourself power, leisure, solitude, and liberty.
To read this book about making $100K (and more) is not to learn about greed or to become a soulless, covetous money monger. It's about choices, discipline, values, relationships, and self-esteem.
(By the way, it's okay to be greedy with new ideas for growth. That's what this book is about. One resulting benefit is money.)
It is true that money carries an assortment of distinct and powerful emotions for people, both good and bad. But that does not negate its role as a basic, important, and understandable system of communication. For better or worse, money is the resource, now and in the future, that ties society together.
You can choose to spend it, save it, or share it - but first you have to get it.
Aside from those born with an inheritance already in the bank, the rest of us have to be born with desire. Desire to learn. Desire to work. Desire to sweat. Desire to have someone say about you someday, "Look, now there's a successful person."
Being a successful person can mean lots of different things, of course, but here I mean financial, emotional, and intellectual - balanced success.
Salary, or income, is an extremely confidential subject in this country. It is not socially acceptable to brag (or even tell) people how much you make. A Procter & Gamble alum told me, "You could get fired if you told someone how much you make at the company."
The $100K Club is all about that private subject. I have written about what people do write home to Mom about: moving to a window corner office, getting a premium company car, their own key to the washroom, a wooden desk instead of a metal one, the title of vice president, et cetera. And what they should write home about - making $100K plus.
But first, can you think back to your first awareness of money?
One man answered that question, "As a kid I lived in California and my dad and I would drive through Beverly Hills. He would point toward wealthy people's homes and tell me, 'Thieves live there.' That's how I viewed people with money."
A female business owner answered, "As I was growing up, my aunt used to say to me, 'It's just as easy to fall in love with a rich person as a poor one, so be careful who you choose to go out with.... But always carry a quarter in your bra so you have money to make a telephone call if you need to get away from someone.' "
A man who has been included in the Forbes list of the world's wealthiest people said, "As a child I saw a television special about the Rothschilds and decided I wanted to be like them. It feels very appropriate."
A wealthy friend surprised me by saying, "When I was six years old, I asked my folks for an Oh Henry! candy bar for Christmas. They said they couldn't afford it. Right then I vowed to be able to afford as many as I wanted when I grew up." (He said this to me as we stopped at a convenience store for gas and he purchased six Oh Henry! bars. He didn't eat any, he just bought them.)
So pause here a moment and try to think back to your early awareness about money. Why? Because we all have experiences that form our unconscious attitude about the almighty dollar. Sentiments that as adults can cause problems in accomplishing monetary goals.
We all have attitudes formed in our childhood about relationships with most everything in life: the opposite sex, food, beauty, religion, money. You name it and a view was formed by individual upbringing. Regardless of the subject, it's an outlook you can change with your own free will.
You need to take a proactive look at yourself and your past as it relates to money. Psychologists popularly label this "fear of success versus fear of failure." I prefer to just recognize that we all have relationships regarding money that stem from various experiences, both good and bad. It's our choice to bemoan the fact that our rearing causes fear of success (or failure). Or it's our choice to recognize that possibility and decide now, as a thinking person, to change any prohibitive attitudes.
You might say, "Well, that will require therapy!" If you choose to go that route, you will spend money to get someone to help you alter your thinking. Or you can do like many who do well do and sort out the reasoning yourself. It requires only two things: recognition, then change. As the Nike advertisements say, "Just do it."
Some might say, "Well, I can't change those deeply embedded experiences." True, you can't change the experiences, but you can change your perspective about them. You, and only you, can decide to take on new views that support your goals, give you and your family new training, and conquer any self-imposed limitations rooting around in your psyche. (Just one example of a self-limiting attitude is the currently used business buzzword FUD. It's an acronym for "Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt." It relates to any daring decision you need to make. FUD is something you can reverse. Perhaps substitute "First Undo Derogatory" when you use FUD as a step to changing.)
A company has to change to progress and stay competitive. That might mean altering attitudes toward its past. When businesses do it, they call it changing the "corporate culture." If an organization of hundreds, even thousands, can transform a corporate mentality, then an individual surely can.
J. R. Simplot founded his potato-based agricultural empire in the 1920s. (His company supplies McDonald's with 50 percent of its french fries.) Now he is emerging as one of the biggest players in the semiconductor technology world. He follows only Bill Gates and Paul Allen in a mind-boggling ballooning of his financial worth.
According to Fortune, "The man makes a fortune in the era of Manifest Destiny and then makes another in the age of the Internet. It seems impossible." Imagine the transformation he's gone through: As he puts it, he started his company before the typewriter, much less the computer!
CHANGE ANY LIMITING ATTITUDES YOU MIGHT HAVE TOWARD MAKING THE BIG MONEY
People can change. Of course, when they say and think they can't, then they can't. If they think they can, they can. (You already know that to be true; I'm just reminding you about self-imposed mental blocks.)
If, in your self-reflection, you discover negative blocks about making lots of money - get over it! Switch that thought now. If you don't, in five, ten, twenty years you will kick yourself in the underalls for not overturning it.
The business world has undergone revolutionary change and there really aren't the limitations there might have been at one time. You have to realize that and not stay stuck in the "this can't be done by me" mind-set. My professional and personal experience of having worked with many $100K members is that making money, beyond the level needed to satisfy basic needs, is, interestingly, about self-respect.
If, by the way, you think that in order to make $100K you have to be a thief, be neurotic, be a workaholic, or sell yourself out - well, you are dead wrong.
There are many good, well-liked people who make big money and are still good and well-liked. Country Music Association performer of the year Reba McEntire is a down-home entertainer who's adored, admired, and respected by her fans and peers alike. She unashamedly says she works all-out to earn all the money she possibly can.
Parishioners and fellow clergy in San Diego call Father Joe Carroll the "hustler priest." Not because he gets paid so much, but because he raised a record $11.7 million for a homeless shelter. Few would say he lacks ethics, despite the huge money he's involved with.
The list of 100K people who lead balanced lives and are honest, sane, hardworking, and deserving of their wages is longer than the list of those who aren't. The bad ones get the publicity and notoriety, thus giving a sordid reputation to wealth. That is good because it reminds clean players to stay clean while weeding out the losers.
Wealth, in and of itself, is not bad. What it can cause you to do can be bad or good. I prefer to think my readers use it for good. Some won't, though, and I apologize to mankind for that. But the mission in The $100K Club is to help the majority who desire and deserve to earn much more than they are currently earning.
To make $100K you have to decide to do some fairly simple things well and consistently. This book is about those specific things. But it isn't just about making big money; it's about becoming a person who deserves big money and takes the responsibility for getting it.
Your very being consists of your imagination of yourself. Your monetary goals revolve around what you'll cause yourself to do, both in big and small ways.
That lesson was reinforced for me recently when I left town for a three-day speaking trip.
As I buckled the airplane seat belt, I reached for my briefcase to get out some work. The spot where I keep my wallet was empty. I had left it on my office desk. I didn't have a single credit card to use on the airplane telephone to call for money. I didn't have any currency, not even pocket change. Nothing. Despite what my W-2 tax form reads, at that moment I had zero money. I thought through my dilemma and knew I could get money once at my destination, but I had to get there first - and I couldn't even pay for a taxi to the hotel! (I checked in the brochure: no free shuttle service to the hotel.)
I always carry with me in my briefcase a copy of one of the books I've written. It makes for fun conversation on an airplane when I can subtly show (er, show off) the book to my seatmate. The desperate thought crossed my mind, I have to sell this book on this plane to get some money to pay for the taxi. (It seemed like a better option than begging for a handout or pawning my watch.)
Since I'd been upgraded to first class, there was only one seatmate. I bemoaned the fact that if I had stayed in coach and gotten a center seat, I'd have had two people to try to sell the book to, thus increasing my odds.
So I started mentally planning. First, size up the situation - namely, the buying potential of this one seatmate. He was dressed in khakis, was sockless, and wore a monogrammed crew shirt. My first thought: Oh great, a trust-fund baby! But I patiently listened and carefully observed. He started talking to a pretty woman sitting across the aisle. Turned out she worked for him. Good. At least he was in business. But I couldn't look too eager or brash. So I waited.
The airplane flight pattern that day coincidentally took us directly over the isolated Colorado mountain valley where my husband and I live in a log cabin. I casually looked out the window and commented, "See that open spot? That's where I live." (You have to admit, it's an original opening line.)
"Really?" was his less than impressed response. He turned back to the pretty woman.
As he took a sip of his orange juice, I initiated some more conversation: I couldn't help but overhear you talking. Are you in the beverage distribution business?"
"We're a beer distributor," he said.
"Oh, I see. You were using business terms I hear with one of my clients, Pepsi-Cola. That's why I asked." (Notice how I slipped in the information that I was in a business where I have big-name clients like Pepsi-Cola?)
Fortunately, some level of curiosity caused him to ask, "What kind of business are you in?"
"I'm a consultant and an author of business books," I answered. But I still wasn't sure what his job was and whether he would have any interest in buying my book. So I offered, "I notice you and she" - I pointed to the woman across the aisle -"are talking. Would you like to sit together? I can move if you need to discuss business." I was taking a risk of losing my book buyer, but again, I couldn't look too eager about engaging in conversation with him.
"No, we'll be together the rest of the trip." He added so she could hear, "She's the top manager in my company." Then kiddingly, "I see enough of her."
Great! I thought. He practices what I preach about professional effectiveness: building subordinates' self-esteem, using humor, being pleasantly assertive. My stuff would be like preaching to the choir, as they say.
So I casually commented in a quiet voice, "What you just did - praising her - is part of what I write about in my books."
The compliment intrigued him enough to ask, "Would I have heard of any of your books?"
"Perhaps. Lions Don't Need to Roar or How to Think Like a CEO, " I told him.
"Sure I have. I saw an article on that Lions book. Is it available at most bookstores?" he asked with some genuine interest.
"Yes, anywhere in the country." Then - without a frantic tone - I added, "If you are interested, I happen to have a copy with me. If you want to buy it, I'd be glad to autograph it for you."
"Great. How much is it?" he asked, reaching for his wallet.
When I put his twenty-dollar bill in my briefcase, I fondled it for a few seconds. After not having any money, it sure felt good between my fingers. Then I selected a specifically secure pocket in the briefcase to guarantee no mishap of losing it. I was rich!
I felt like an honored member of the $100K Club with that twenty dollars! It was a feeling of pure happiness.
I hope you frequently experience that happiness on a much grander scale. With that wish, I make this announcement:
THE $100K CLUB IS OPEN TO NEW MEMBERS!
The requirements? As I mentioned before, there are several simple things you need to do well and consistently. Here's one of those simple things: You must be willing to add to your self-worth every day.
While adding to your self-worth typically means making money, in the financial sense it can also mean investing money, learning a timely job skill, developing a new personality trait, solving a time-consuming energy-draining problem, controlling time, managing an attitude, improving appearances, even building muscle.
Adding to your self-worth will make you more valuable monetarily, professionally, mentally, physically, emotionally. That's successful living. That's a $100K Club member.
Regardless of the exact dollar figure that lights up their eyes - six figures, seven, even eight figures - a lot more will try than succeed. If you want to be the one who succeeds, this book is for you.
I've spent the last twenty years around people whose financial earnings put them into $100K and far beyond. I've studied, watched, interviewed, and consulted for them. What I've learned, from those who have made it, is yours for the taking. As I stated earlier, one of the simple requirements is to - every day - add to your self-worth.
I have a friend with a trademark greeting: When asked "How's it going?" he answers, "Spectacular... but getting better." People always know he will say it and they ask all the time just to hear his enthusiasm again.
Of course, he has to walk the walk. Like the day I called him and he informed me that the company he'd worked for the last twenty of his sixty-one years had been sold and he and everyone in the office would be terminated. At that exact moment he was missing an important meeting that could have meant a new job, but because the bank next door had been robbed and his front-office door was bolted by the police and the parking lot was blocked off, he couldn't leave.
"I'm rather excited, though, even at my age. I have two house payments, two car payments, and one motor-home payment. But I refuse to allow myself a pouting party. You know me: If I don't learn something new every day, I'm sliding back ward.... By the way, do you know what et. seq. means?"
"No, I don't," I answered. "Why do you ask?"
"Well, it keeps coming up in the real estate law classes I'm teaching and I don't know what it means, so today I'm going to find out," he told me.[*]
[* He wrote me a note the next day and explained that in Latin et. seq. means "in sequence or logically following." Another example of walking the walk by following through with that day's objective.]
Another acquaintance of mine is a female business leader who says it's her personal mission to add to her worth every day. She's forty-one years old but looks thirty-two because she takes good care of herself so that her body will hold up for all the work she puts it through. She says, "I have to 'win' every day. That means I'm either in a race or in a battle."
She watches ESPN every evening. It doesn't matter the sport; she just likes to study the competition. She says, "Win, win, win, that's what I want. I analyze individual players, the depth of the team, the defense, who's on the bench. Everything I'm interested in is based around winning and losing, because that's what I deal with every day in the marketplace.
"Every day I read a story or part of a book about [athletic] coaches. I learn so much from them. I'm reading something by Don Shula now, but Vince Lombardi was my favorite. I feel I missed something in my life not knowing him....Last night I read an article about a marathon runner who pushes his brother, who has cerebral palsy, in a three-wheeler during training runs. It brought tears to my eyes. When you ignite the human spirit like that, you have so much energy to burn."
Then you have the energy to make significant money!
All $100K Club members add to their self-worth every day before they make the big money. The habit isn't formed once you reach some financial goal; it's to get you to that financial goal and to keep you at and beyond that level.
Fortunately, there are myriad ways for you to add value to yourself on a daily basis so that you are worthy of earning six figures. That is also what this book is about: being worthy of big money as a reflection of your mental creativity, intelligence, and drive.
In the 1980s making money was the goal in itself: having more showpieces, cars, clothes, or someone on your arm. Not today.
In the 1990s and beyond, instead of having more things, do more things. Be the master of your own fate. Be the superhero you (and your family) look up to in your life.
An old study concluded that men view money as adding to their power and women view money as adding to their freedom. Today the thinking has to be: Combine power and freedom in the limited time available.
People who are successful do what's required seven days a week. It's not just work, it's fulfilling their own dream.
You don't need to do it like anyone else. But if you're like most who have made it already, you want to know what others have experienced. Then you can pick your own route.
To help you do that, the chapters in this book are laid out as follows: Chapter 2 is about following your heart and soul to make a six-figure income. The fact is that you will be spending a great deal of your life working at it, so you had better enjoy yourself. If you chase the bucks too hard but lose yourself in the process, not only will you be unhappy but you might get fired. We want to make sure that doesn't happen.
We all know that corporate executives can make six-, seven-, eight-figure salaries - but what other kinds of jobs do too? Yes, some artists, rodeo cowboys, manufacturers' reps, pilots, and long-distance truckers do also. But in all fields, a lot more people enter a field than excel in it. The third chapter explains what makes the difference between the two.
If a corporate job is your chosen route, then you want to get yourself in the right position to get those high-paying jobs. Chapter 4 will reveal how to set yourself apart from the competition. And - very important - what can be done to get over the hurdle when you're stuck at a certain money level.
Chapter 5 provides fresh thinking on how to job hunt at the $100K level. The people who do the screening of résumés and the interviewing will tell you exactly what they do and don't like.
If you develop a niche and are able to work out of your home, how do you compete with the big boys with deep pockets, use the government as a partner, stay motivated, and reenter the corporate world if necessary? Telecommuters will want to pay particular attention to Chapter 6.
Chapter 7 is about trade-offs and the decision whether the sacrifices are worth it to you. It's an upbeat, real-world view of what big money does and doesn't mean.
And finally, Chapter 8 is a 20-point checklist designed for you to rate yourself, both for where you are now and for in the future, on your chance of success in joining the $100K Club.
There is a lot of conventional wisdom about making money that isn't very wise. There are many myths about what making big dollars means. A lot is misunderstood. The $100K Club changes that.
As National Finals Rodeo bull-rising champion (and $100K Club member) Tuff Hedeman says, "In order to ride bulls, you really have to focus and concentrate on what it takes to make a good ride."
That's what we are going to concentrate on: making "a good ride" with the bulls in business. The good thing is that you don't have the physical pain or the eight-second time limit to contend with - like Tuff Hedeman does in his work!
If you've been working toward this goal casually, then take this advice and go all-out for it.
When you have a tough day (which we all do) and it's a bit depressing, discouraging, or disappointing, take one hour off and do one of the following:
* Visit the hospital where you want to donate money for a wing named after your father.
* Write out a check to your favorite charity (no, not to yourself) with a note that reads, "More will follow."
* Go to a car dealership and test-drive some racy new model.
* Sit down at the computer with your son or daughter and use the Internet to review the pros and cons of selected schools he or she wants to attend.
* Leave a supportive, loving (surprise) message on your partner's voice mail, just to display your affection and appreciation.
* Seek out the person on the front page of the business section who achieved some big goal and congratulate him by telephone or with a handwritten note.
Then go back to whatever task you were doing before your one-hour sabbatical. The brief break refreshes you, improves your perspective, and rewards you for your diligence.
When it is all over in your life, you want to be able to say to yourself something like GOP Senator Arlen Specter says (on his aborted campaign for president): I would have kicked myself in the ass if I hadn't tried."
I'll close this chapter with one of my definitions of pure happiness. The period of time when you are on the verge of making big money, with the real possibility that it will happen.
My hope for you is that this book in your hands will give you the tools to experience that pure happiness.
"My advice is to select an endeavor you truly love. You'll be more inclined to put in the effort necessary to achieve success. Countless individuals have selected a profession because it appears lucrative. It isn't until they become fully immersed that they find out that it is something they do not enjoy and, as a consequence, do not give it justice. "Also, it is important to always keep in mind the commitment required to achieve your goals. All too often an individual will attain a measure of success, feel that they have made it, and lose the edge. It is like a marathon runner who reaches the front of the pack: They must still maintain the same pace to remain in the lead."
- PETER MACKINS, CPA, The Fielding Institute
"You must be driven to do something you love with a passion, get into that field on the bottom, swallow your pride as you learn, and listen and benefit from every mistake. An attitude of perseverance and patience is an absolute necessity."
- DENNIS HOPPE, President, Hoppe Management Concepts, Inc.
"Focus on what you want to do for a career first before focusing on what you will earn. Almost any career path you choose has the potential to provide a six-figure income. The most important thing is to choose a career that fits within your skill set and involves doing things that you enjoy. Focus on doing your best, getting to know people who are successful within your career choice, learning the skills and the success measures required to be the best performer, and doing it better than anyone else. You'll have a much greater chance of achieving a six-figure income living out your dreams versus fighting through a drudgery."
- BRAD WILLIAMS, President, Dakota Beverage
"Develop a strong personal ethic that includes working hard and then working smart; commit to success but not at the expense of fairness; educate yourself beyond conventional means for exceptional results; what you expect of yourself will be closely linked to what you accomplish. In the end there is absolutely no substitute for being in the right place at the right time - so be in a lot of places."
- E. A. "BUTCH" TEPPE, Vice President, Victor L. Phillips Co.
Copyright (c) 1998 by Debra Benton"