The 7 Decisions that Determine Personal Success – Decision 1 — The Buck Stops Here

I just finished reading the book “The Traveler’s Gift” by Andy Andrews and it had a profound impact on me.  This simple little book describes the journey of a man who travels back through history to learn important lessons from historical figures such as Christopher Columbus and Abraham Lincoln.  As I read the book, I couldn’t help but think about how these same lessons apply in my life and business.  The subtitle of the book – Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success – refers to these seven lessons.

The first decision was explained by Harry Truman and the lesson is that “The Buck Stops Here” or in other words, we all must take personal responsibility for where we are.  Andrews writes, “I am where I am today — mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, and financially — because of how I think”.  In order to change where I am, I must change how I think. 

How I think determines how I act and the decisions I make.  The decisions I make today, directly control the outcome of where I am tomorrow.  Every day we face the cumulative effect of all the other decisions we have made.  I have a terrible habit of staying up way too late which means I wake up late which means I lose valuable business hours. I have the same amount of hours that everyone else does in a day but it’s how I utilize them that determines my success. 

Not only must I focus on working hard, I must also work smart.  Not all of those hours are equal.  Sure it would be a great idea for me to go for a run but right now may not be the ideal time for that.  A run would take me away from my desk during business hours and right now I need to be talking to people about virtual tours.

We feel blessed to have a successful virtual tour business, Vision Quest Virtual Tours.  We frequently hear people tell us that we are so lucky or that they are jealous of the life we live but many decisions go into our success.  Here are 7 of the decisions that were critical in getting us where we are today:
  1. We chose to downsize our stuff so we could supersize our lifestyle.  We live in a tiny house with a tiny payment and very little overhead.  We have just one car.  Because we have chosen to travel, we don’t need a bunch of stuff or a big house.  Because we don’t have a bunch of stuff, we are free to travel. 
  2. We live entirely on cash and have chosen not to utilize credit cards.  This sometimes affects where we are able to travel or the timing of certain purchases but it gives us a sense of certainty in knowing that we haven’t gone into debt to start or run our business.  It also means we have to carefully watch our balance sheet to make sure we are keeping the pipeline of future business full.
  3. We decided that one shared income was enough since it meant that we get to work together every single day.  There are times we would love to have at least one steady paycheck but this is the risk we chose in being self employed.  The rewards greatly outweigh the risks.
  4. We decided that we would focus our time on what we do best.  For us that is two main lines of business – healthcare and education and Vacation rentals and hospitality.  By having a crystal clear focus, we can streamline our efforts and create an impressive portfolio in those distinct lines.
  5. We dedicated our business to serving others and we give back a portion of every dollar we make.  We think “luck” has very little to do with our success so we honor the giver of the gifts through donated tours and charitable contributions.
  6. We decided that we would price our virtual tours in a manner that made the accessible to almost any business.  We believe so highly in the value of the virtual tour and have seen what it can do for a business.  We would rather have many smaller jobs than try to gouge a few people.  We believe that by offering a high quality product at a fair value, everyone wins.
  7. We decided that having the right partner changes everything and we are so grateful that we chose RTV, Inc. for our virtual tour technology.  They are constantly evolving and refining their systems so we don’t have to spend any of our time, money or efforts on researching and development.  We have a back office that makes us look even better than we are and we are eternally grateful for the support of the RTV team. 
These are Seven Decisions that have helped determine our personal success.  What are the decisions you have made that have gotten you to where you are today?  What decisions could you make that could change where you are tomorrow?  I’ll be blogging about the other decisions over this week but for now, it’s business time and I need to get back on the phones. 

Vision Quest Virtual Tours is a full service virtual tour provider specializing in virtual tours for Healthcare, Hospitality and Education.  We split our time between Charleston, SC and Quincy, IL however have photographed over 350 tours in 31 states.