Editor's note: We asked noted entrepreneurs to reflect on what they wish they'd known starting out and to put it in a letter to their younger selves. Bill Carmody is founder and CEO of Trepoint, ranked No. 2572 on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. in 2014.
You'll be happy with what you'll have accomplished two decades from now. But you're a firm believer that there's always room for improvement, so here goes:
1. Automate your wealth tax.
I've been a decent saver and investor, but it wasn't until I read Tony Robbins' Money: Master the Game that I discovered the path to total financial freedom. You just need to take 20% of your net take home pay off the top of every paycheck and put it into an account you use strictly for investing in your future. Invested correctly, this will ensure that you retire wealthy.
2. Get a coach.
In your 20's you were an avid reader and looked for wisdom from those who had gone before you. What you didn't realize is that you can hire a coach. Through my time with life coaches Chad Cooper and Mike Savage, I've been able to remain focused on my outcomes despite the kind of challenges that would have knocked me off my game. I've enjoyed it so much that I began coaching others who needed their own breakthroughs. The right coach will ensure you remain in peak performance and hold you capable and accountable to your desired outcomes.
3. Mind your peer group.
Early in your career, so many of your friends were random people you met along your journey. That's fine, but your own standards will eventually rise or lower to meet the medium of your peers. If you surround yourself with incredible performers who expect only the best, you'll constantly strive to be your best. Conversely, if you surround yourself with people who are looking to do the bare minimum to get by, that will become your much lower standard over time. Surround yourself with the people you wish to become and soon you will be all of that and more.
4. Leverage the Rule of 168.
Of all the incredible things my coach Chad Cooper taught me, his rule of 168 was by far the most profound. I wrote about Billionaires Mastering the Rule of 168. Mastering time management is your key to living a legendary life.
The Rule of 168 is simple. Regardless of your age, income, education or any other factor, we all have 168 hours in a week that we can do with what we will. Successful people are fanatics about how they spend every minute of every day, while those who struggle tend not to plan out their priorities each week. As the saying goes, "when you fail to plan, you are planning to fail." The Rule of 168 demands that you map out all that you wish to accomplish each week and minimize the many unproductive time wasters that do not support your desired outcomes. Once you master the Rule, you will take back your schedule and become highly productive and effective at everything you choose to focus on.
5. Embrace the 3 rules of marriage.
Why is it that more than 50% of marriages end in divorce? I asked my in-laws who have been blissfully married for more than 60 years what their secret was to maintaining an incredible marriage and they shared their 3 rules of marriage. I've since applied them to all business and personal relationships I value: 1) It's more important to say "I appreciate you," than "I love you," 2) Don't keep score, and 3) Never go to bed angry -- resolve all conflicts today so that you can start tomorrow with a clean slate.
6. The secret to living is giving.
Last, but not least, I was profoundly touched by Tony Robbins when he shared his personal stories of both receiving and giving. When we realize that we live in abundance (not scarcity), we begin to realize the truth summarized so eloquently in his latest bestselling book Unshakeable:
"Whenever I ask people about the most fulfilling aspects of their lives, they always talk about sharing with others. The true nature of human beings isn't selfish. We're driven by our desire to contribute. If we stop feeling that deep sense of contribution, we can never feel truly fulfilled."
In the last 23 years of my career, I've been fortunate to have incredible teachers, mentors and coaches who have helped me become the best version of myself. If I could go back and give you some advice, these are the 6 things you should focus on so that you can maximize your abilities to make an even greater impact. You've accomplished tremendous things thus far, but I knowing what I know now will help you to continue to make great strides in both your personal and professional development.