Most of us might be stuck in ‘survival mode’ without even knowing it.

In the back of our mind, we feel there is a bigger calling for us, an adventure.

Yet, despite our best intentions and New Year’s resolutions, we tend to easily fall back into a mental state where our brains are doing everything it can to keep us safe.

Working in the financial industry for over a decade now, I’ve often seen people with ambitious goals of becoming rich, spending less, earning more, climbing the ladder & having the best of intentions.

Yet month by month, year by year they stay in the same place and neglect to take deliberate action.

They tend to ‘survive’ and let life happen to them, instead of proactively making decision for a better future

And while they might gradually earn more every year, they have nothing to show for it. No peace of mind. Still continuously chasing.

True story: I recently had a meeting with a couple, both specialist doctors, she is a gynaecologist and he a radiologist.  Despite earning salaries that will put them in the top 1% of earners in SA, in their middle 30’s, she still has outstanding student loan debt, with little to no investments on her name. He is working very long hours, investing the little amount left after funding their expensive lifestyle, back into business.

The penny dropped towards the end of the meeting when she mentioned that they are so stressed and anxious about their financial situation. Despite what might seem like a great life, the have no peace of mind, no security.  Financially surviving from one month to the next.

Last week our Western Cape office hosted a function at the Blaauwklippen Wine estate in Stellenbosch where we I invited international speaker, Bestselling author and thought leader Erik Kruger to address our clients on escaping survival mode and taking their life to the next level:

“When you have goals, don’t just think of how to get there, but think of what might get in the way. Then design a strategy on how you’re going to overcome those obstacles.”

-Erik Kruger

He went on to explain the concept of a ‘Hero’s Journey’ . Whether a prominent biblical figure, a famous children’s story or any Superhero movie, most ‘Hero’ roughly follows a similar path in life. 

From the Known, Ordinary world, into the Unknown, extraordinary world.

It all starts with the hero in his natural environment, going on with his day tot day business and living a normal life. – Surviving.  If I can make reverence here to one of my favourite movies – The Lord of the Rings: 

At the beginning of the movie Frodo is just a little hobbit, living in his homeland called the Shire. He has no real responsibilities or prominent role to play in his society and life happens to him on a daily basis.

Then one day there is a turning point, a call to action, the start of an adventure.  In Frodo’s case, a wise wizard called Gandalf presented Frodo with a special ring and one objective: To go to Mordor and destroy this ring in the Fire of Mount Doom.

As with all Heroes, Frodo refuse this call to adventure and thinks off any possible reason why he is not fit to fulfil this task.

Unfortunately, this is where the story ends for most of us.  We refuse to accept this new adventure or call to action, and we continue our normal lives, and we get back into or comfort zone – survival mode. 

Or perhaps, like in most cases, we are completely unaware of this call to adventure.  We are blind to it; we are awaiting the wise wizard to come and write down the path we need to follow.

In our Financial world we are waiting for a catalyst: Waiting to win the Lotto, waiting to get a raise, a promotion or even waiting for some sort of inheritance to come and save us.

Erik’s advice:

  • Start by making time for yourself. 20 minutes on a daily basis where you won’t be disturbed.
  • In these 20 minutes, write down where you currently are in your financial world.  Your income. Your expenses. Your Nett Worth.  (Assets minus Liabilities)
  • Then think about the financial goals you want to achieve in the next 1, 3, 5 and 10 years. – Write it down!
  • Then write down the obstacles in your way to achieving these goals.  Procrastination? High living costs? Unskilled? Surrounded by the wrong people? No mentor?
  • Lastly write down how you are going to overcome these obstacles. Upskill yourself. Cutting your monthly expenses. Upskilling yourself.  Finding a mentor or likeminded people.

And there you go, your ADVENTURE awaits.  You now have your call to action.  You can continue your Hero’s Journey.

It won’t be easy, and the change won’t be quick.

Escaping survival mode is often a slow and steady journey which must come from within. No one is coming to ‘save you’ and do it for you.

At Bovest we want to assist you on this journey, and we are happy to share our knowledge and keep you accountable if you allow us to.

There will be no perfect time, but perhaps see this article as a ‘sign’ to escape from financially ‘Surviving’ to ‘Thriving’.

Just start.

Good luck.

Geo Botha CFP ®

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