Tips to Conduct your Personal Inventory
- June 30, 2018
Having the confidence to step forward in the direction of your Big, Bold (Business) dreams starts with clear and realistic knowledge of where you are now.
What is your starting point? Every journey starts from a certain point (A) and heads towards a destination (D). The journey from A to D often goes through B and C and a whole lot of other points in-between! You can’t only think about your Big Bold Business Dream destination, you have to think about the journey to get to your destination.
You might not think too much about ‘point A’ because it feels kind of instinctive. ‘Of course I know where I am, I’m here!’ I get you, but my point is that knowing your assets and liabilities helps you to make smart decisions before you begin your journey.
I say that, “Good planning is as much about knowing where you are as knowing where you want to go!”
Many successful people will tell you that you have to know yourself well if you want to succeed as an employee or as an entrepreneur!
Your journey towards your destination always starts from knowing where you are. Are you in shape and ready to go forward on your journey towards your BIG dreams?
So lay it out and be honest with yourself. Take a page in your journal and divide it in two so that you can list both sides of the equation – Liabilities and Assets, or Challenges and Opportunities.
WHAT ARE YOUR LIABILITIES?
We usually focus on our limitations. If you have weak knees (like I do) you are always aware of your limitation and you’re careful not to strain your knees too much. In the same way, when you don’t have good health or enough money, you will always focus on that limitation.
Debt and Financial Concerns
I know talking about money is sensitive, but you aren’t going to get far with your Big Bold Business Dreams if you can’t get real with yourself. So, let’s get honest with some tough questions because a realistic understanding of your financial situation is an important part of your personal inventory.
How much money do you really need to get by? How much is that, in your local currency per year, per month, per week, and per day? It is a bit geeky to do the maths for this, but it helps when you know exactly how much cash you need to bring in every day to pay the bills and meet your obligations.
TIP: To make it simple you can look at it as a monthly target.
When your budget (bills, obligations, debts and living expenses) needs 1,000 per month and you earn 1,250 monthly, you know that you’re doing okay because you have 250 extra (over-budget) every month. However, if you know you need 1,000 per month and you usually scrape together 750 monthly, you are probably constantly chasing and hustling for more cash because you’re 250 under-budget every month.
At this point I’m going to have to say that almost any addiction (gambling, smoking, excessive alcohol, retail therapy, binge eating) will make it more difficult for you to plan and meet a regular monthly budget. Perhaps it’s time for you to seek help to deal with those habits / addictions so that you can go confidently in the direction of your Big Bold Business Dreams.
Financial liabilities can include student loans, credit card debt, items bought on monthly rental payments, or debts to loan sharks who usually charge extraordinarily high interest charges. These can lead to a lot of stress for you because of overdue payments, poor credit ratings, or lack of savings for an emergency.
TIP: Precise numbers help you to set targets and plan your way forward. It helps to use specific numbers to describe your monthly budget, and be realistic about your current financial reality.
Health, education or social limitations and obligations
Other liabilities you may face can include health issues and physical ailments, learning difficulties or lack of qualifications. Early pregnancy and family obligations to care for a household, young babies or aging parents can also hold people back.
TIP: Even if you consider these as liabilities at the moment, it is possible to for a liability to become an asset. For example, an early pregnancy might make it harder to go to school, but it also gives you important experience and maturity that you may be able to use in future. A liability for a moment does not have to be a liability for a lifetime.
So before you get too down about all this, remember you’ve only looked at one side of the equation! You have as many or more assets, and listing these can often be just as difficult and sometimes even harder.
TIP: Don’t be hard on yourself! We find it much easier to focus on the negative things that hold us back and we’re not taught how to be kind to ourselves and think about our strengths and assets.
WHAT ARE YOUR ASSETS?
Never forget that you are unique. There is no-one else like you with your exact mix of gifts and experience, with your network of connections and with all the possibilities that only you can contribute to the world!
Skills, talents and experience
Your skills, knowledge and experience are assets. So are your personality and character traits. In the end your optimism, persistence or attention to detail may be the strengths that save your day!
You might have been doing something for years and never thought of it as a special skill or talent. You may have gained so much experience that some things have become second nature to you, but the same things might be a mystery to your friends.
TIP: Include all things you’re good at on your list, no matter how ordinary they might seem to you.
Attitude and mindset
Your attitude and mindset can be your most amazing asset. No matter how many times you’re knocked down, you get back up again! That’s an incredible asset to you in life. Resilience, determination, flexibility, creativity and a positive mindset can help you to overcome other perceived gaps – so don’t overlook their value. (You can read more about how your attitude matters for your business success)
For example, you probably know people who seem to have everything going for them or who talk a lot about their dreams, and yet they never seem to take action. They always have an excuse.
TIP: Have you ever considered how many successful people overcame enormous difficulties and challenges to eventually accomplish their Big, Bold dream? You can too.
Network and connections
Another asset you have is your connections and wider network. Think back to all the people you knew from school or college. What are they doing now? Who do you know who is already working or started a business in an area you are interested in?
TIP: Go back through your social media feed and check out who is already on your friends or followers list. Add the top 10 names to your Assets list.
Don’t forget that sometimes, it really is “not what you know but who you know”. Your reputation and how you treat people really matters. If the important people you know have a good impression of you because your reputation is solid, there’s a much greater chance they will be willing to listen to you when you approach them.
Understanding your personal inventory – Bring it altogether
Okay, that was a lot of hard work and some of it touched on some raw and sensitive issues. Completing a personal inventory is a hugely important step to creating the life you always imagined and building your Big Bold dream.
Your personal inventory helps you to understand the shape you’re in right now (Point A). It helps you to assess or know if you’re equipped and ready for the journey. It also helps you to have better awareness of where you might want to go on your journey – to describe your Big Bold (Business) Dream clearly (point D).
Remember what I said at the beginning: “Good planning is as much about knowing where you are as knowing where you want to go!”
I believe in you. You have made it this far. You were willing to take a close look at your life so that you understand the shape you’re in right now and to give you a clearer sense of the life you want to build in your Big Bold Business Dream.
Your challenge is to focus on your assets and see how you can use them to your advantage, while living within your budget and finding resourceful ways to overcome your liabilities.
Even if you can’t fix everything immediately, you can plan for the future and be ready to take the next step in your journey when your opportunity comes along.
TIP: Keep a notebook with you and add to your two lists (assets and liabilities) as over the next week(s).
I absolutely love to hear from you. Let me know any questions or observations you have from conducting your personal inventory.
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- Ten Lessons from 30 African entrepreneurs
- Six (more) Reasons to keep a Journal
- Start your Entrepreneurial Journey as an Employee
- Tips to Conduct your Personal Inventory
- How to make Smart Decisions about Important Things