The extraordinary belongs to those who create it.  This is written over and over again throughout my notebooks as a reminder that if you want to have an extraordinary life then you have to create it, build it, and make it happen.  No one else is going to create it for you.  You have to create it.
The last decade has just finished and the question I have started to think about is:  “What are you going to build over the next 10 years?”

What can you build in 10 years?

Most people vastly overestimate what they can build in a year and vastly underestimate what they can build in 10 years.   I first heard this from Tony Robbins and it really resonated with me.

I fell into this trap for many, many years!  I would set out every year with outrageous, exciting goals that I would want to accomplish within the year and then I would get really, really disappointed that I had not completed them all by February!  I would be on the verge of giving up on life if I had not completed them by October.

Setting wildly outlandish goals and then not hitting them can be hugely demotivational and cause you to stop trying at all! I know because it happened to me repeatedly for so many years.
What I didn’t realise is that in most instances, huge success doesn’t come in a year. It normally doesn’t even come in 2 years!  It takes 3-10 years of working at something to really get somewhere but most people (including me to start with) give up too early.

If you want to achieve financial independence, it is going to take you many years and a lot of focused effort.  If you try for 9 months and then give up because you haven’t done it yet then you are never going to get there!

If you want to build a successful business and you only give yourself 9 months before you give up then you are probably never going to get there.  It took me 2 years before I landed my first really good client and started to make decent money.  It took me a LOT, LOT, LOT longer to build it into the Rebel we know today! Rebel Business School has been going 8 years now and the first 2 years were pretty lean!

As you think through what you want to achieve this year, have in mind that some of your goals are going to require you to work consistently over multiple years to get there.  Behind every over night success is normally 5-10 years of hard work!​

Perspective over time

The magic happens as you really start to think over time. This can be challenging to do though because we are all wired for instant gratification.  This change has only really happened for me over the last five or so years.

When I was first starting out in goal setting it was ALL about what could I achieve this year, what could I create and make happen now.  How would I get it going right away, and whilst that drive to get going immediately is very powerful you can multiply its effect when you know what you are building over time.

How will actions you take this year compound with actions over the next 5 years to create something truly amazing? How will the direction you are taking in January work towards what you are building for yourself in ten years’ time?

Having that long-term true north or guiding direction is going to keep you going, keep you focused over the years. For me, I have only ever had 2 really big ones:

  1. Rebel Business School and the mission to change the way entrepreneurship is taught and enable people to build businesses and make money without debt
  2. Financial Independencewhich was the goal to have assets that produced more income than I needed to live each year

For a while I flirted with the purpose or mission of eradicating bad Powerpoints and helping people achieve great presentations and I enjoyed it but it didn’t create a fire within me like the two above!

These two huge goals or missions have kept me focused and building over the years and helped me to create some really cool things.

My question to you is, “What do you want life to be like in 10 years’ time? What do you want to have built? What do you want to create?”

Having that vision of where you are heading allows you to work towards it every day over the years and it is the compounding of these actions over time that will create amazing outcomes.

Get out a notebook, pens, paper, Post-it notes, a laptop, or whatever you use to write and create, and start brainstorming ideas for what you want life to be like in 10 years’ time!  Will you be FI? Will you be running your own business?  Will you be travelling? Will you be at home with your family?

Alan Donegan writing his goals down in his Captain America Notebook. Where else would he write them?

Alan reading his goals from his Captain America notebook (obviously!)
Take a few moments to write down ideas and to start creating a longer-term perspective!

Income is a by-product

In the early days, a lot of my goals were about how much money I wanted to earn each year.  I would always write down “I want to earn £100,000 this year!” or “I want to earn £250,000 this year” and get very excited about hitting this goal.

By March I would feel despondent that I was nowhere near hitting the goal and feel like giving up.  It would really cause me pain and disappointment how far away I was.

What I have realised since is that income is a by-product of adding value to the world and creating or building something that adds value.  The income is the by-product of value.  You need to focus your energy on creating something that adds value to the people around you and income will be the by-product of that value.

It is great to have income goals but more important is what are you going to build that adds value to the world.  One of my favourite quotes from Zig Ziglar is, “You can have anything you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want in life.”

This is the key to this whole thing.  If you build something that helps other people, makes their lives better, brings them joy or energy, and ask to be paid for it, you will create huge value for them and in return you.

The question is: what are you going to build that brings value to the world?

  • A podcast or YouTube channel that teaches people valuable skills?
  • Amazing food that brings delight to people’s taste buds?
  • A cleaning business that makes their homes and offices sparkle and brings a smile to their faces?
  •  Cooking classes that teach them to make their favourite dishes?
  • A product that entertains and inspires?
  • A service that improves people’s health?

Income is based on adding value to other people’s lives.  It is great to have the income goal on your list but it is the by-product of something different, not the actual goal itself.

Focus on creating something that improves people’s lives in some way.

Everything is created

Everything you see in front of you, around you, or online has been created.  The house you live in was dreampt up by someone, the device you are reading this on was built by humans, the ideas you are reading here came out of my head and were built on top of other great humans’ thoughts.

Everything around you has been created.  We (humans) came up with cars, mobile phones, laws, rules, and more.  We built and created it all.  We used the building blocks we found on the planet and we built and created.

Obviously I didn’t create the money tree that sits in the corner of my lounge but a human created the pot it sits in!

​What I am trying to say to you is “we made all of this up!”  We created, came up with, imagined all of this stuff around us.

The extraordinary belongs to those who create it.

Why is there a picture of Katie, my friend Jason and me at Legoland at the start of this blog post?  As you are probably aware, I love Lego and love building, and I am always amazed at what one can build from a set of small plastic bricks and pieces.

I would love you to start thinking of your life more like Lego.  What are the building blocks you are putting in place over the coming years that will build the life you want?

We made all of this up and created it, and you can if you want to; build your own life; build your own future.  The real question is:

Alan Donegan Legoland California

Katie, Alan, and their friend Jason at Legoland California. It is amazing what you can build!

What are you going to build?

You have the power to create and build.  If you are reading this then you already have access to the internet, probably some kind of technology in your hand, and pretty much everything you need to get going!

The hardest question to answer is: what are you going to build?  Where do you want to focus your energy?

Are you going to build an amazing family home? Financial independence? An incredible career or a business? Are you going to create an amazing family getaway? Beautiful relationships? A movie?  A new dance? Music? A podcast? YouTube Channel? A movement? A beautiful space to live in?

What are you going to build?

The extraordinary belongs to those who create it.

So get out there and CREATE! No one else is going to do it for you.

Look out for the next post, which includes some tools to help you come up with what you want to create and sign up to the mailing list below if you would like to get updates once every few months about the blog and what is going on!

Happy New Year!


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