Principles of “Enlightened Investing”

attwood_beyul_club-1500x630.pngHave you got a big audacious dream? Cool. Me too.

My dream hatched in me many years ago. When Janet and I first realized the power of writing down a vision for your life and made “Your 100th Birthday Speech” part of the Passion Test process, my speech included “building conscious Sthapatya Veda communities” around the world. In case you don’t know, “Sthapatya Veda” is the science of building in accord with natural law according to the ancient Vedic tradition of India.

If you haven’t done the 100th Birthday Speech exercise, it’s a powerful way to get clear about what you want to create in your life. Or you could say, creating a vision for your life.

Step 1: Write your 100th Birthday Speech

Imagine it’s your 100th birthday. All of your dearest friends and family are gathered to celebrate your century of life. Your spouse or child or best friend is getting up to give a speech about how you have impacted the people in your life.

You’re going to write that speech for them. Write in 3rd person (it’s easier to write about yourself if you don’t take it personally). Then write out what you would love for someone to say about you at the end of your life. How have you impacted others’ lives, what have you accomplished, what recognition for your work have you received, what legacy have you left for others. Just let your imagination run wild and have fun with this.

By creating your life’s vision, you have taken the first step in creating your dream by giving it form and structure.

From Imagination to Reality

Timing is everything.

Just because you write your vision down doesn’t mean it’s going to manifest right away. As Janet and I like to say, “Let me be open to God’s timing, not mine.” This is one of the principles underlying Nature’s Guidance System.

After writing my 100th birthday speech, my dream of building conscious communities lay dormant for more than a decade. We were busy sharing the Passion Test and it didn’t seem time. Then a couple of years ago my wife and I began thinking about where we wanted to send our now 5 year old daughter, Sophie, to school.

We’re a little particular and public school wasn’t an option. My wife has been very clear about her desire to stay in Europe (she’s from a little village near Hannover in northern Germany). So we started traveling all over Europe visiting a variety of alternative schools.

As we traveled, we thought more and more about what we really wanted to create. We realized that both of us love living in connection with other people. We like having our private space, and we love being able to be with others at the same time.

We heard about a community in northern Italy near Torino called “Damanhur.” Created by a small group of visionaries in the ’70’s, Damanhur has grown to about 50 communal living groups of 20 – 25 people, called “nucleos.” Over 35 years Damanhurians have been been building a massive underground temple structure that is absolutely amazing. Here are some photos:

We loved the people at Damanhur and it soon became clear that as wonderful as their vision is, it’s not our vision. But exposure to what they created opened up a whole new world of possibilities. So, here’s Step #2 . . .

Step #2:  Take action

Start doing whatever makes sense to you to do, but don’t force it. As I mentioned, my dream lay dormant for more than a decade because it didn’t feel like the time for it yet. I was passionate about other things. But as my daughters have gotten older, it’s got us thinking about what our ideal living environment would look like. With that, this old vision has re-emerged. For us, we started visiting schools, then looked at different kinds of community structures and with each visit, we got clearer about what we want for ourselves.

Making It Real

In The Passion Test we said, “Everything is created first in your mind and then in the world.” As I began thinking about our ideal living situation, I wanted help in visualizing it. So I hired an architect to help me create drawings of my ideal home.

By the time we were done, it was a pretty big home.

It fact, it was more a complex than a home. We wanted to have Janet and some of our other friends living nearby so we built that into our vision. We wanted places for meditation, a world-class kitchen (my wife loves cooking), a fitness room, yoga and dance studio and cool playroom for the kids, a professional quality video recording studio for creating courses and other video content, a theater, a swimming pool (very important), a lecture hall where I can engage in one of my top passions, “sharing my knowledge and experience to help others improve their lives,” a library and the list went on.

We wanted all these facilities to be available for anyone who visited, but we wanted our private space as well so our home actually became separate, but connected to all these things.

So where would we build this amazing place?

We had visited Italy a couple of times by now and really loved it. But we also looked at Spain, southern France and even Greece. We knew we wanted to be in a Mediterranean-type climate so these were all possibilities. As I looked into all of these options, Italy seemed like the best choice for a variety of reasons. All of this is part of what I consider Step 3 . . .

Step 3:  Visualize Your Dream

Make it as real as you can. That’s why I engaged an architect. I had made some drawings, but they were like fantasies. As I worked with the architect to create conceptual drawings of our future home, I had to get really specific and think through what was really important. This process is so important to creating your dream. Jack Canfield talks about making a big check out to himself for $1 million, when that was a lot of money for him, pasting it to his ceiling and visualizing himself receiving a check for his books from a publisher for a million dollars. Crafting a clear picture of what you want to create is a key part of creating your dream.

Paying For It

Now maybe you’re thinking, “Chris has a ton of money so he could afford to dream that big.” While Janet and I have been fortunate to enjoy a great deal of success, I don’t have anywhere near the funds to create something like my dream. But we’ve been teaching for years how important it is to make decisions first based on what matters to you and then think about how it will work financially. If you base your decisions on money first, you will always lose and only 100% of the time. Money-based decisions are simply not sustainable.

That doesn’t mean money isn’t important or that you don’t need to think about how you will create the funds to pay for your dream. But it’s not where you start. Begin by letting your imagination run freely and follow your heart. It’s really fun when you do that.

Once you have a clear picture of what you want to create, now is the time to begin thinking about how you will finance it. Part of Step 2 – Taking action for me was reaching out to some colleagues whom I knew had knowledge of Italy to get help in locating the land where my dream could be built. Amazingly, they had already discovered land on the shores of Lake Garda, one of Italy’s most popular vacation destinations. To build in accord with the system of Sthapatya Veda, a requirement for me, there were a number of criteria of slope, direction and so on that had to be met. It was a small miracle to find a beautiful property that met these criteria in one of the most beautiful locations in the world.

Having created conceptual drawings of the complex I wanted to build and finding out the land we’d located would cost over $8 million, I knew this project would cost in excess of $25 million. That’s a lot of money in my world. However, I also know that there are projects of this size and much larger built all the time. So, it clearly is possible. Just how to manage it? Here comes Step 4 . . .

Step 4:  Paying for Your Dream – Get Creative and Get Help. 

If you think you’re going to create your dream all by yourself, you’re going to find it really tough going. Now that you have a clear picture of your dream, start talking with other people about it. Get their ideas and suggestions for how to make it real. Keep doing that until some ideas start making sense for you. Then begin pursuing them.

As I did this, I began thinking about where Janet and I have had success in the past. Our company is called Enlightened Alliances and we’ve had the good fortune to put together a lot of alliance relationships in our industry, including introducing Rhonda Byrne to 70% of the people she interviewed for The Secret. So I started thinking about how we could use our extensive relationships to create something that would use this talent to create something irresistible and would draw people we love and appreciate to our dream from all over the world.

In the midst of this whole process, Janet and I, with our dear friend, Dr. Sylva Dvorak, got an advance for our book called Your Hidden Riches. This book is all about the power and value of ritual as drawn from wisdom cultures around the world. This in turn made me realize how wonderful it would be to have the richness of ritual be an integral part of the vision for our villa in Italy.

From this has emerged a vision for The Beyul Club & Resort.

As I continue to work on creating my dream, it has become more and more exciting. And so now we move on to Step 5 . . .

Step 5: Make Your Dream Your Priority

Once you have a plan that feels practical, achievable and aligned with your vision, begin rearranging your life to make creating your dream the major priority in your life. As you’ve heard us say before, “What you put your attention on grows stronger in your life.” Once you have a clear plan of action, then giving it your attention becomes paramount.

So, with Janet’s support, over the next year I’ll be shifting my responsibilities and roles so I can spend at least 50% of my time on making this remarkable Club a reality for a global clientele.

Accepting Help

When you’ve got a big, audacious dream invite help. As you do this, you’ll get feedback and input so you can be sure your dream will fulfill a real need and serve others in a meaningful way. After all, that’s why each of us is here. You have that big, audacious dream because it’s part of fulfilling your purpose for being alive. If it’s really core to your mission, you won’t be able to give it up. And to make it real, it will have to serve others, because ultimately we’re all here to serve each other.

As I’ve been thinking about my dream and creating the plans to make it real, I realized my journey might be able to serve you in making your dream a reality.

For that reason, I’ve committed to posting weekly updates about the progress, the strategy, the tactics, the stumbles and the successes I experience on the path to making the The Hidden Riches Club and Resort a reality. When I post these updates, I’ll do my best to pull out the principles that can help you realize your dream, just as I’ve been doing in this post.

If you’d like to watch a big, audacious dream come to life, and learn some important lessons that will help you create your dream, I invite you to join my cheering squad here.

Dream big. Take action to gain clarity. Visualize. Get creative and get help. Then make your dream your priority.

It’s within your grasp!

With love

Chris Attwood

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