Connecting the dots

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Connecting the dots

Photo credit: turtlemom4bacon

Aside from finding the quality of graphics on this site is definitely on the improve 🙂 Mark has provided a great summary of the steps (and the reasons why) of this ‘grand experiment’ for new readers, even before we get to his table. Thanks, Mark!

It looks like Mark has no shortage of areas to dig into … how to turn this into his growth engine: any ideas? 


All seven of us came a long way back in 2008 in this grand experiment. Now in 2009, it is time to look at what we have done before and plan ahead for this journey. For this post, we are aligning the previous exercises with this current one to find our growth engine.

We started off with the lengthy but necessary Life Purpose exercise. For this particular exercise, I found out that money has little to do with my life’s purpose but it does affect my ability to realize it.

We then attempted to quantify our life’s purpose by creating a spreadsheet and filling up our Lee’s List. This helps revise our Number and date and determine our Required Annual Compound Growth Rate.  At 40%, I’ll need to invest in real estate, stocks and small businesses.

Although we now have a destination, time and areas that we should be looking into, the scope is still fairly large. Let’s see how the latest exercise can help us.

Here is my table for this exercise:

EARN (i.e. how do you make money, or WANT to make money: past/present/future?) SPEND (i.e. how do you spend money, or WANT to spend your money: past/present/future?) ABILITY (i.e. what are you good at? what do you wish you were good at? what sparks your creative juices? what do you enjoy?) DO (i.e. what are your hobbies? qualifications? jobs (unless already listed under ‘earn’)? what would you WANT to do, even for ‘free’?)
Build software Travel / vacation Learn quickly Traveling
Lead Projects Education (lessons, seminars) Problem solving Learning new things / take lessons
Stock and options investments Investing (stocks, real estate) Plan tasks to reach goal (work) Solve problems / puzzles / games
Real estate investments Attend events / parties Travel planning Organize / Plan events / parties
E-commerce   Organize events / parties Explaining / Teaching
Organize group travel / vacation   Find interesting things to do  
Organize events / parties   Having fun  
Teaching   Find deals (investments, travel)  

Items in 4 columns

The common recurring theme in this exercise for me is that traveling or planning vacations and attending or organizing events or parties appear in all 4 columns.

I must admit, I love to travel but I’m limited by vacation time and ability to finance my travels. Right now, it is definitely heavy on the SPEND, ABILITY and DO column. How can I turned this into a future EARN item?

There are a lot of ideas – writing travel guides (books, blogs, etc); be a travel agent; be a tour guide; travel photographer; be a commercial pilot; etc. The closest thing I’ve done that is related to travel industry is being a trainee maintenance  aircraft engineer for a commercial airline. That did not work out for me. I think it has to be combined with other items like e-commerce or teaching for it to be more profitable. Let’s brainstorm for ideas.

Another 4-column item has to do with events or parties. I’m quite social and have organized events and parties  for myself and a few non-profit organizations. I haven’t done it for profit yet or organized any large scale event like a week long conference. I did attend a few good conferences and it is quite a logistic feat to pull everything together. Can I learn to be an event organizer? It does allow the ability to travel too since conferences are held in various cities.

Items in 3 columns

Let’s not overlook items that appear in 3 columns.  This includes investing, problem solving, and learning/teaching.

Again, this leads to a lot of ideas. I’m particularly fond of finding investing ideas be it in stocks, real estate or potential businesses. Problem solving is very general and could be applied to the various activities that we discussed. I enjoy learning new things a lot and sometimes find myself explaining new ideas that I’ve read about. I did think about being an academic and one point but since both my parents were teachers, I thought I should try something different. Something that I did not attempt hard enough is to combine investing with planning, organizing, and problem solving. This is the area I want to focus the most. I should be planning and organizing more investment related activities instead of vacation and events.

I think we got what we wanted out of this exercise for me.  It does give me focus on what needs to be done to align myself with my required growth engine, achieving my number and hopefully fulfiling my Life’s Purpose.

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Reader Comments

More and more church and para-church groups are encouraging their members to make overseas trips. Perhaps with your knowledge of travel you could develop a specific way to assist them in putting together travel plans. I know this sounds simple but these groups tend to listen to each other. So I’m thinking that if you were ever able to connect with a few of them they would then in turn recommend your plans.

I guess what I’m trying to say is think about the possibility of putting together a travel agency for these kind of trips, this certainly is a large market.

@Lee – Yes, there are a lot of mission trips going to various countries. I’m not fortunate enough to do so yet. I do get some ideas from this comment. One non-related travel group started this way, Contiki. Started by a guy from New Zealand; it found its niche among young travelers. I just need to find another unexplored niche.

@ Mark – You are absolutely on the right path – as is Lee: Contiki is a highly successful business, because they are not just another travel agency, but a BRAND, with a niche and name that means “fun for singles” … or, so I am told 😉

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