Before looking at how success mentoring can help you escape the rat race, what precisely does being a part of the rat race mean? Before looking at the second part of my question, I thought I'd check out the phrase "the rat race" Google and when I did I found the following definitions: * "A rat race is a term used for an endless, self-defeating or pointless pursuit. It conjures up the image of the futile efforts of a lab rat trying to escape whilst running around a maze or in a wheel." * "A mad scramble or intense competitive struggle, such as in the business world." * "An exhausting routine that leaves no time for relaxation." For me the first definition is the best; the rat race is an "endless, self defeating pursuit," like a rat in a wheel.
This definition of "the rat race" pretty succinctly describes what having an ordinary job while trying to gain some financial freedom is all about - running like crazy and "getting nowhere fast." As an employee you will be paid a monthly salary and in most cases the amount you are paid is set by the employer and not by you. It is a simple trade: you swap your time for money each day in order to get your hands on the bare necessities of life and perhaps even the occasional luxury from time to time. If you want to increase your income, "all" you have to do is increase the number of hours you work. The fact is that if you increase you working hours then you tend to have less free time for yourself and your family because following an exhausting routine that leaves no time for relaxation.
Over the long term it is just not a sustainable nor an effective strategy. It leads to burnout, or a fate worse than burnout; anybody who has lived in Japan for any length of time, as I have, will be familiar with the Japanese word "Karoshi," which translates as "death from overwork." Ouch! Another way to increase your income in the job market could be to improve your productivity within your regular working hours. In other words you could seek to become more efficient, learn new skills and improve your ability to do your job, in short, to do more work in less time. But while such a strategy may secure a salary raise, what also tends to happen is that you will land yourself more work, additional responsibilities, or both.
You may indeed be promoted, and get an increase in salary, but then the process begins again and you may wonder whether you have really made progress or simply jumped inside a bigger wheel? Because your boss considers you to be an effective and reliable employee she might expect you to work longer and harder than ever, which is good from the point of view of earning some extra cash (unless your overtime is "voluntary work" as it often is in Japan); however, working harder and longer is far from good for your health, family and free time activities. Actually, in my experience of corporate life here in Japan, where I have often had an opportunity to glimpse behind the corporate facade in my erstwhile capacity as a freelance English instructor, longer hours and higher productivity don't tend to go together. What happens is that many employees tend to work "long and slow" - going through the motions of work to keep up appearances, but freewheeling as much as possible to get through yet another long, tedious day. So what is the answer I hear you ask? Well in my experience, the answer has to be that you take control of your future by breaking out of the rat race and getting off the wheel. Planning to get out of the rat race, and then taking the leap will be your first two steps on the path to financial freedom.
It may seem difficult, but it is not impossible if you seek to leverage your time so as to create income streams that are not limited by your employer or by the amount of time available to you in a single day. The best way to learn how to do this is to immediately begin recreating yourself in the image of those people who have successfully achieved this very step and gone on to create true wealth for themselves and their families in every area of their lives. The phrase we use to describe such people is "success mentors." They are people who have come through trials similar to the ones you face today and who have succeeded and are willing to teach you how to follow in their footsteps to success. Any mentor worth his or her salt will tell you, "if I can do it, so can you," and then give you the proof that will serve to feed your self-belief and build up your self-confidence so that you too can set out on the path to realize your dreams.
The reason is that the best mentors are "they that have come through much tribulation." Their testimony is that they have been tested and not found wanting. The tests they have undergone to achieve their successes are unique to each of them and give each of them a powerful facility to inspire. Moreover, every one who is a mentor today was once mentored; truly, if you want to succeed you must find a mentor. Do not underestimate the power of being mentored.
My favourite example of outstanding success through excellent mentoring is Tiger Woods. Success mentoring is therefore the most powerful single process to help and encourage or empower someone who has a dream, or who at least is seeking an alternative to the rat race, to get off the wheel of "just getting by" and begin to live life at an entirely higher level. So if you haven't got at least one success mentor, go and find one today as you take your first steps off the never-ending wheel that is the rat race.
David Hurley lives in Japan where he works as a freelance instructor and consultant with an interest in Internet marketing and success mentoring. Subscribe to his free Internet Marketing Start-Up Newsletter and grab a bundle of high quality business ebooks - FREE!