The Goal & The Plan

“One wise and properly placed comment can either have the effect of a cattle prod used to steer you in the right direction or it can have the effect of shocking you into paralysis and thus filling you with anger and fear – the result you receive lies in your response…” — Rick Cox

As a young man I was quite cocky. After working for my father-in-law for several years, he responded to one of my cocky comments with a profound one of his own by saying; “I know you believe yourself to be smarter than me when it comes to business and I will admit it is true you do know more about the business than me however, could you tell me how much money you have in the bank?” I was as speechless then as the several times he said it over the years that followed. I knew he had money in the bank and for all intents and purposes, in comparison to him, I had none.

Here I was Mr. Business Man, or so I thought, yet I had been put in my place by someone who knew of a way to measure the real success of a person in business. This measurement, I came to find out, was not only by the money this business person could make, but more importantly, it was determined by how disciplined they were in keeping it. Although I did not want to hear what he said, I knew it was true. As a matter of fact, though I struggled with what he said for many years, I learned he was right. Even in my heart I knew he was smarter for the “tale of the tape” does not lie. What bothered me was it didn’t seem as if he cared about his business like I did. It didn’t seem to me he worked even a quarter as hard at it as I did yet, things appeared to come to him without his having to put in as much effort. I thought he was lucky. I found out he was simply exercising the law of attraction.

I eventually learned he had put the law of attraction to work by setting goals for his business and personal wealth from which he would not deviate. The reason for his tenacity was due to what he saw while observing those on the trail up the mountain of success, which everyone wished to or was trying to climb. In his eyes only a few had set goals or followed solid plans to achieve those goals. He decided early on not to be like them, but to stick to his plans and get to the top early enough to enjoy life. He did not want the process to take so long as to not have the health or capacity to enjoy what he had finally earned. In other words he did not want to be too old to enjoy that for which he worked. Unfortunately, by the time most arrive at their goals, they wind up leaving the results to someone that didn’t earn it. This was not his plan.

Many years later I purchased his business with the agreement he would be able to review the financials on a weekly basis for the first six months then once a month thereafter, until the note was paid in full. There were to be no major purchases on my part i.e., new home, cars (personal or business), equipment, costly vacations, or any major spending until the debt was satisfied. He told me to do with what I had for a while.

Eighteen months into the buyout he came in to talk with me about finances. I remember it like it was yesterday. I had eighty seven thousand dollars in the company account. He knew it was in there, which was the reason for his visit. To be honest, at the time, I was pretty sure I had more money than God. I am not joking. I was blown away with regard to ‘my success.’ No one in my family ever had that amount of money in any way, shape, or form and most couldn’t even count that high. I had arrived – at least I thought I had

Sure enough, he had come to talk with me about money. It wasn’t however, only the money sitting in the bank account he would discuss for he was more concerned about my philosophy of handling money and whether I understood how to use it, the money, as an employee. He must have known it was burning a hole in my pocket along with knowing my desire to purchase new computers, office furniture, a new pickup for some of the technicians, new ladders, etc.

In the talk, he told me the one and only secret he ever shared about his ability to amass wealth. It went like this: “I know you think you have a lot of money in the bank and you even think you have more money than God” – OMG, how did he know? He continued, “I know you want to spend some on new equipment, or a few new company work vehicles, a computer, some new ladders or maybe a new home for your family. What you have in the bank may seem like a lot, but it isn’t. It can and will be gone seemingly overnight if things don’t go as you have planned. Money might seem to be coming in fine for now, but what if things changed and you were not getting paid on a regular basis? What if the money began to trickle in, but didn’t cover costs? Would this not cause you to use up all of the money in the bank? If this did start, how long would your money last? In other words Rick, if your accounts receivable were to become exceptionally slow in paying for the next ten to twelve weeks what would happen? Would there be any money left in the bank?”

He continued, “As for me Rick, I decided not to take forever to get to the top of that mountain. I decided to pull in my belt and discipline myself to the point of not spending money on anything that was not absolutely necessary. With this philosophy, my money started growing much quicker and therefore, the climb to the top of the mountain didn’t take as long as it does for most. I decided to do without any new purchases until my cash reserves were built up enough so I didn’t have to worry about accounts that didn’t pay. This way, even if they didn’t pay, it would not put me out of business. You know Rick, a business is a good thing to be in, if you don’t need the money.”

I thought to myself, you have to be kidding me; your are telling me this now that I have purchased your business and have hopes of being rich, that being in business is a great thing IF YOU DON’T need money? Is this some kind of a joke? I hope it is because I am in debt over my ears? My mind was reeling. He then continued, “When you see your colleagues buying fancy new trucks and houses, pull your belt in a notch and do without.” It appeared as if he was finished as he walked out of my office only to come right back and say, “If you want to be more successful than your colleagues then do without even more and pull your belt in one more notch.” Turning to walk away, this time he went out the front door. I heard the front door open shortly thereafter, next thing I knew he was standing in my office and said, “If you want to be at the top of the mountain where no one can get to you then let me suggest you pull in your belt one more notch. At this point there will not be any more holes left so; you will have to get an ice pick out of the drawer to make a new hole. Make the hole and do without. You will be glad you did.”

You see, I had become proficient at the mining process of making money; feeling as if I had that part mastered, yet I did not realize there was so much more to it. I was good at the MONEY MAKING part, but not so good at the MONEY KEEPING part hence, the need for disciplined goals, which include A PLAN. The goal is no good if it gets you there, but does not allow you to enjoy the benefit of what has been achieved or accomplished. Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 6, “There is a man to whom God has given riches, wealth, and honor so that this man wants nothing for his soul of all he desires yet, the man does not have the power to enjoy what he has.”

This was definitely me, but it might also be you? Have you amassed wealth at least on some level as well as power to some degree, but have no ability to enjoy it due to worry and fear? What good is it if you are unable to enjoy it? On the other hand are you the type who can make it, but do not know how to keep it for replanting in order to have a continuous source of income? Perhaps you need to study the parable of the Sower and the Seed.

Well, twelve weeks came and went and sure enough just as he said the accounts receivable were not being paid in the manner to which they had been over the previous eighteen months. All of our cash reserves soon dissipated and WERE GONE. I was speechless. It just so happened he walked in at the end of those twelve weeks asking if I needed a loan. How could he have known? Wow, just three months ago I had more money than God. What happened? I thought again of what my father in law said to me, “How much money do you have in the bank?” Maybe there was more to this than I thought…

Goals are important however, so is the PLAN. Make sure your plan includes the sowing, the reaping, AND the sowing again. The achievement of the goal is important, but so is the enjoyment once the goal is achieved.

Best of LUCK as you
Labor Under Correct Knowledge…


Rick Cox