What We Can All Learn from James Franco

After The Bronco’s miserable loss last night, today is hard for The Debt Free Guys.  For two weeks, we anticipated Super Bowl Sunday.  Our whole day yesterday was about preparing for the big game.  We did our grocery shopping early before most people woke up and before church let out.  We cleaned our condo and prepared our food for the week and, then, prepared our snacks for the game.

As some of you may know, today starts our second week of doing The Conscious Cleanse.  Therefore, our snacks yesterday couldn’t be our typical football fare.  We needed organic, non-processed, vegetable and fruit based snacks.  We made lemon and salt kale chips, cumin kale chips, cumin carrot sticks, cucumber hummus and garlic hummus, crudités and a fruit salad.  We’re sure many are aghast at our spread of food, but everything was tasty, healthy and allowed us to continue into our second week of a two-week cleanse.

Our point is that we were ready for a good game.  Of course, we hoped for a win.  We, also, knew that The Seahawks are good and we, at least, expected an exciting game.  As we all know now, that was not the case.  This is too bad for The Denver Broncos.  Congratulations to The Seattle Seahawks.

You might think that the motivation of this article came from James Franco’s Ford Fusion Hybrid commercial last night, but it didn’t.  I was on the elliptical machine at the gym a few months back when one of Denver’s local news shows aired a story on Franco that I could see on one of my gym’s TVs.  I’m not sure of the topic, but seeing Franco made me think about his career and education decisions.

Throughout the 2000s, Franco appeared in successful films such as Spider-Man, Pineapple Express, Milk and James Dean.  For the latter, he won a Golden Globe.  While having an arguably successful career, one of which he could choose to either not work again or become selective with his role choices, Franco moved to New York City to attend New York University’s Tisch School of Arts for Filmmaking.

What makes a Golden Globe winner go to acting school?  Humility.  How does this apply to money?  No matter our financial success, we can all practice humility.

Franco had awards and the admiration of his industry peers.  He could’ve rested on his laurels, basked in his success and maybe even become complacent.  Franco didn’t do that.  He believed he had more to learn.
We’ve all been in the space where we’re rockin’ it like Mary Richards at WJM TV.  Our life and our job are going well.  Our leaders and peers seek our council.  We’re making good money and all we see is continued success.  Just like a seven year sitcom, we can go from fresh and exciting to stale and tired.
If we’ve achieve financial success, we must be careful about holding too strongly to our self-perceptions.

We must be cautious about becoming complacent like The Broncos in last night’s Super Bowl.  Because if we stop pushing ourselves, stop learning and stop growing after each success, we can cause ourselves to fail.

How do you keep growing to ensure financial success?  We have six recommendations.

Assess your performance.

Reflect on your past and current financial performance.  Assess what has and hasn’t worked.  Ask yourself the following questions.

  • What can I learn from my mistakes?
  • How can I expand on what has worked?

For example, if you’ve been spending too much money on food, consider ways to rein in this excess spending.  Try creating a grocery list and menu before going grocery shopping.  Get coupons online or from the Sunday newspaper.

If you haven’t been overspending because you’ve been managing a budget, learn how to apply that success to other areas of your financial life.  For instance, also tracking purchase dates and life-spans of your appliances such as your refrigerator, microwave and furnace can be financially helpful.  Keeping track of these will help with maintaining your appliances and forecasting large expenses for your budget.

Also read: Visualize and Socialize 

Create an improvement plan.

Once you have an understanding of your current performance, consider how you may improve by learning more about money, the market and the economy.

Finance is often perceived as dry.  Who cares about a bunch of people yelling at each other on the stock exchange floor?  Do U.S. imports affect you more than last weekend’s highest grossing movie?  If you’re like Nicolas Cage, who cares about taxes?

It doesn’t have to be this way.  For starters, most of what goes on in finance does affect you.  If you want to be successful or continue to be successful, learn how these seemingly mundane topics influence your job, your business, your money and your income.

Though it’s valuable, you don’t have to read the Wall Street Journal or Barron’s to learn about the economy and markets.  There are a ton of websites, blogs and books from which you can learn.  Find the ones that speak to you and go back frequently to learn more.

Take what you learn and apply it to your plan.  Continue to tweak what needs tweaking and affirm what is working.

Commit to continuous growth.

Life is always changing.  The variables are always new.  Presidents change.  Laws change.  Economies change.  Consider how these factors affect you and learn to adjust accordingly to stay on track.

For example, create an emergency savings account so that you’re not at the mercy of these changes.  Even setting aside $500 to $1,000 while you’re paying off debt or striving for another financial goal will help you stay on track despite changes or accidents.  Imagine unpredictable events and consider fiscally sound responses.

Once you’ve paid off your credit card debt, that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to not acquire credit card debt again.  You may have earned and saved your first $100,000 or $1 million.  That doesn’t mean you can’t lose it like George Foreman almost did before making an electric grill a household item.

By continually reading, learning, monitoring and assessing you can critically apply what you learn to your current financial situation.  Stay engaged with your money and don’t think that because you don’t have a lot yet or because someone else is managing your finances, that you aren’t personally responsible for your money.

Never stop promoting yourself.

Keep your resume and LinkedIn profile up to date so that you’re always current and fresh.  Many companies have stopped posting available jobs on the Internet, opting instead to review online profiles and contacting viable candidates directly.  This reduces the flood of applications they receive these days because of high unemployment.  When a company reaches out to you, be prepared to quickly send an up-to-date resume. This may be an opportunity to increase your income.

Practice networking all the time.  You never know when you’re talking with a person of influence or when someone is sharing information that may help you increase your income, increase your net worth or help you get a promotion.

You may feel your current job is perfect because you’re raising children or some other reason.  How do you know the next opportunity isn’t better?  The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, but you don’t know unless you look at the lawn.

Train yourself to listen for and take advantage of opportunities like you’re a judge on Shark Tank.  Hear what people have to say and use your critical thinking skills to determine its opportunities.  Without listening adequately to further progress, people are missing opportunities all the time like Peyton Manning missed last night’s first snap.

Diversify your income stream.

Name a successful person today who doesn’t also have one or more published books, fragrances in their name, businesses they manage and products they endorse in addition to their “day” job.  While also an actor, Franco is a director, writer, producer, teacher and author.  Successful people do this to diversify their income stream.  This prepares them in case one stream fails.

Most people diversify their income by also having a partner with a job, but that doesn’t have to be it.  Invest your savings.  There are many ways to invest your hard earned money.  Find a way that works for you.
Turn your hobby into a side business.  Figure out how to earn money from something you’re already doing or that you enjoy.  Write a blog on a topic of which you’re passionate.  Use your creativity.

Never take yourself too seriously.

Finally, don’t take yourself too seriously.  We all saw Your Highness, right?  Probably not and that’s a good thing.  It’s also a good thing that Franco didn’t let the failure of Your Highness define him.  He can laugh it off and use it to improve.

You’re going to make mistakes.  You’re going to realize you missed something.  That’s okay.  Learn from your errors, improve on them, and then laugh them off.

When you succeed don’t become complacent.  Complacency often happens when we settle or believe we have it all in the bag.  When you think that’s the case for you, read this article again.  There’s always room for improvement.

And, yes, kale chips are yummy.

Is the awesome life you always dreamed of
still somewhere over the rainbow?

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