Earn Your Life

Earning your life is a philosophy that challenges us to continually strive, grow, and adapt. From the art of asking for help to maintaining consistency and self-awareness, let us explore the essential components of true fulfillment.

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An Earned Life vs A Life of Achievement

What is the difference between an earned life and a life of achievement? Despite seemingly sharing similarities – including the visualization of goals and attainment of success, the two approaches actually differ in the underlying philosophies.

An earned life emphasizes the journey itself, personal growth, and fulfillment as the true markers of success – NOT external accolades and outcomes. Focusing solely on outcomes often results in disappointment, as we disregard the valuable lessons and character development chances that stem from the process of striving towards our goals.

To earn your life means to align your choices with your ultimate purpose – knowing that true fulfillment arises when your actions resonate with your deepest values and aspirations. It reminds us that it’s not just about achieving, but about living a life that feels genuinely earned and meaningful.

We are living an earned life when the choices, risks, and effort we make in each moment align with an overarching purpose in our lives, regardless of the eventual outcome.

Marshall Goldsmith, world #1 executive coach

life purpose

The Building Blocks of an Earned Life

Here, we discuss the fundamental elements that, when combined, lead to a life filled with purpose and fulfillment.

  1. Compliance

Compliance is the first building block, representing our ability to adhere to external rules and policies. It is a real challenge for all of us – despite how simple it may seem, we too often find ourselves resisting orders and recommendations. Only in extreme situations that threaten us with pain or severe consequences (e.g: failing to stick to a dietary plan means death) may we find it easier to comply.

  1. Accountability

Another crucial component of earning your life, accountability differs from compliance in that it involves the expectations we impose on ourselves. It comes in two models: private and public.

  • Private accountability involves setting internal goals and deriving motivation from personal satisfaction, offering flexibility and personalization. For instance, one who wishes to improve his own health may come up with a checklist of healthy things to do each day (e.g: getting up early at …; running 2 miles per day, etc.)
  • Public accountability entails making commitments to others, with external expectations and social pressure driving progress. Due to its enhanced transparency, public disclosure often provides us with much better motivation for change.

Read more: The Role of Accountability Partner in Visualizing Your Goals & Dreams

  1. Follow-up

Follow-up serves as a crucial link between compliance and accountability. Its primary function is to introduce a level of oversight that helps us stay on course.

Perhaps the most significant benefit of following-up is its impact on promoting self-awareness – an indispensable element to earn your life. Specifically, it requires us to answer questions like:

  • “Am I adhering to the plan or policy as intended?”
  • “Am I making the expected progress toward my goal?”
  • etc.

Such an introspection may seem uncomfortable initially – and yet, it is indispensable as a tool for personal growth and improvement.

Follow-up can take multiple diverse forms, ranging from self-assessments and periodic check-ins with a mentor/ supervisor – to automated reminders and progress reports. Whatever the form, it serves as a consistent, non-biased mirror reflecting our sustained efforts and outcomes.

  1. Measurement

Measurement is a cornerstone of effective goal setting and progress tracking – it functions as an indicator of our priorities. Whatever we choose to measure shapes our behavior, as we naturally channel our efforts toward areas that are quantified and evaluated.

While some measurements are objective and easily quantifiable (e.g: the number of steps taken in a day), others are more subjective, but still equally meaningful (e.g: measuring one’s level of happiness or job satisfaction).

Paired with follow-up, measurements create a dynamic feedback loop that guides us toward our objectives. By regularly assessing and adjusting our actions, we ensure alignment with our goals and lays the foundation for continuous improvement.

Whether in a professional or personal context, the act of measurement provides a structured and informed approach to achieving our desired outcomes.

  1. Community

Community is the vital thread that weaves together the aforementioned building blocks of an earned life. It underscores the fundamental truth that nobody can flourish in isolation – only within a nurturing and empathetic society may we truly thrive.

Such interconnectedness extends far beyond the mere exchange of shared values; it embodies the ethos of mutual assistance. In a thriving community, people offer support without hesitation when someone declares, “I need help.” Here, the response is not driven by self-interest or the question of “What’s in this for me?” – but by an innate understanding that in helping others, we collectively elevate ourselves. That each person’s progress enriches the entire community.

Earn Your Life with The Life Plan Review Method

The Life Plan Review method (LPR), introduced by Dr. Marshall Goldsmith in his bestseller “The Earned Life“, is a powerful framework designed to bridge the gap between what we plan to achieve in our lives and what we actually accomplish. Its objective is to help enhance one’s life – by shifting their focus on continuous improvement and self-monitoring.

One of the key benefits of the LPR method is versatility – specifically, it can be applied to virtually any goal or aspect, from personal development and career aspirations to health and relationships. The structured approach of the LPR provides a framework that adapts to your specific objectives, ensuring that you can use it as a tool for improvement across various facets in life.

The process involves four key steps as follows:

  1. Weekly review of the key questions

First, practicing the LPR method requires us to attend weekly meetings – in which participants take turns reporting their answers to a set of questions designed to measure the progress towards their goals. For example:

  • “Did I do my best to set clear goals?”
  • “Did I do my best to make progress toward achieving my goals?”
  • “Did I do my best to find meaning?”
  • “Did I do my best to be happy?”
  • “Did I do my best to maintain and build positive relationships?”
  • “Did I do my best to be fully engaged?”
  • etc.

Each question is answered by rating one’s level of effort on a scale from 1 to 10 – with an emphasis on the quality of trying rather than the outcome. The dynamic nature of this process allows for continuous improvement, where you can adapt and refine the questions to better suit your evolving goals and aspirations.

  1. Daily self-monitoring

A cornerstone of the LPR method, daily self-monitoring emphasizes the importance of consistent reflection and assessment in one’s daily routine. In this step, individuals are encouraged to adopt the habit of tracking the questions outlined previously into their daily activities.

Below are a few benefits of this practice:

  • Consistent awareness: By engaging in daily self-monitoring, we maintain heightened awareness of our own actions, decisions, and efforts – which helps keep our goals on top of our mind and prevents us from drifting away from them.
  • Alignment with long-term goals: This daily ritual acts as a compass, ensuring that our daily actions and decisions align with the overarching objectives we have set for ourselves – and contribute to our ultimate life plan.
  • Immediate feedback: Constant reflection provides immediate feedback on the level of effort and commitment one is investing in their goals. This feedback loop allows for quick adjustments and course corrections, preventing deviations from the intended path.
  • Habit formation: Once self-monitoring has been incorporated into your daily routines, it results in a habit of accountability and reflection. Over time, this becomes second nature, making it easier to sustain the commitment to your life plan.
  • Reinforcement of commitment: Constant revision serves as a daily reminder of our personal commitments. It reinforces the idea that achieving long-term objectives requires consistent, day-to-day efforts.
  1. Regular review of your plan

It’s crucial to periodically review the relevance of your life plan. While measuring effort focuses on the quality of trying, occasionally assessing the purpose of your endeavors ensures that you are making meaningful efforts toward goals that still hold significance in your life – so that we may avoid investing time and energy into pursuits that are no longer relevant.

The practice of measuring effort, as encouraged by the LPR, compels us to define what truly matters to us in life. It shifts the focus from the end result to the quality of trying, highlighting the importance of aligning actions with values and goals.

  1. Share the experience

The final step emphasizes the importance of not pursuing your life plan in isolation. Instead, collaborating with others in a select company is essential to enhancing the effectiveness of the LPR process.

Sharing your ambitious life plan and experiences with others not only provides valuable insights and support – but also adds a layer of accountability and motivation. The communal aspect enriches your own journey toward personal growth and fulfillment.

plan to earn your life

You Cannot Earn Your Life Without Asking for Help

The leader of the past knew how to tell; the leader of the future will know how to ask.

Peter Drucker

Traditionally, asking for help has often been perceived as a sign of weakness, reserved only for situations where we feel a lack of knowledge, skills, or resources. Due to fears of exposing ignorance or incompetence, we too often find ourselves unable to request assistance from others. For those who have attained a certain degree of success in life, our inflated sense of self drives us to adopt the “I can do it alone” mindset – that we should strive to handle tasks independently.

However, in the pursuit of an earned life, we must learn to seek assistance from others – whether one-on-one or within a group. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness – rather, it indicates that you are fully aware of the resources you own, and the importance of coordinating with those around you to achieve common goals and contribute to life.

To Earn Your Life, You Must Pay a Price

The pursuit of true fulfillment in life demands the willingness to make sacrifices – which go beyond monetary considerations. Specifically, one must invest maximum efforts in what truly matters, accept necessary atonements, and face the specter of failure with determination.

Despite how obvious it seems, far too often, we find ourselves coming up with excuses to avoid paying such prices. Reasons for this include:

  • Loss aversion

Human psychology often leans toward avoiding loss rather than seeking equivalent gains. This natural inclination makes us hesitate when faced with the prospect of sacrificing our current comforts/ resources for future benefits.

When given options to consider, we are frequently blinded by what we will lose and fail to see how great the gains will be.

  • Failure of vision

Sacrifice involves investing efforts and resources now for rewards that may manifest far into the future. This clashes with our innate desire for immediate gratification – specifically, we are prompted to spend resources on immediate pleasures, rather than save and patiently watch compound interest accumulate over time.

  • Zero-sum view of the world

Some people perceive sacrifice as a zero-sum game, where choosing one path means losing out on another (which is, in truth, quite misleading). When one commits to paying the price for a challenging and risky endeavor, they eliminate other options, including the “sure thing.”

  • Being forced out of the comfort zone

Making sacrifices means stepping out of one’s comfort zone. It pushes us to confront challenges, take calculated risks, and explore uncharted territories. As difficult as it might seem, such discomfort is crucial for personal growth and transformation to take place.

Earning Your Life is a Continuous Effort

We are born, we get sick, we die.


To earn your life is an enduring journey that doesn’t conclude with a single achievement; it’s a commitment to re-earning that life, title, or status repeatedly. After the initial triumph and the well-deserved celebration, the cycle continues – you must continually prove your worth, adaptability, and resilience.

An earned life isn’t sustained by resting on past laurels – but rather, by embracing the challenge of maintaining and surpassing your achievements, and accepting that the path to fulfillment is an ongoing voyage of self-improvement and relentless dedication. For this purpose, here are a few rules you need to take into consideration:

  1. Earn your beginnings

Life is marked by transitions – some are expected, some are not. Proactive preparation is key to navigating such shifts.

Interpreting your life’s journey is a personal choice – you can’t discern if you’re earning your next beginning until you acknowledge you’re in transition. For this reason, it is essential to develop a method for marking these turning points and earning your beginning to appreciate the progress you have made.

  1. Disengage from the past

Embracing an earned life entails letting go not only of past achievements – but also of your former identity and ways of doing things. While learning from the past is valuable, dwelling on it isn’t recommended.

Part of learning is unlearning – and you need to let go of your old self to welcome the new one.

  1. Master the “Earning Response”

Habit formation typically involves a sequence of Stimulus, Response, and Outcome – of which the critical part is the response/ behavior. You cannot control what will happen to your life; yet you have all the power to control and modify your response.

This is why building good habits requires focusing on this middle step, Response, in order to visualize transformative changes in your life.

Read more: 20 Bad Habits in the Workplace Leaders Need to Break

  1. Play the shot in front of you

Golfers don’t dwell on past shots or future holes; they focus solely on the shot at hand. This level of presence is habitual for them.

Likewise, in our life, we must remind ourselves to continuously concentrate on the task at hand and stay in the moment – until it becomes an inherent habit that leads to consistent and successful outcomes.

Read more: Choosing Your Life – The Art of Purposeful Living

Earn Your Life Quotes

Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.

David Frost


Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.

Steve Jobs


Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.

Albert Schweitzer


The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.

Pablo Picasso


The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Lao Tzu

Final Thoughts

Fulfillment in life isn’t handed to us; it is earned through dedication and the willingness to continually ask, strive, and evolve. To earn your life means to embark on a perpetual odyssey of self-discovery and personal growth, in which we are committed to continuously re-earning your aspirations, titles, and statuses, without ever resting on past laurels.

Other resources you might be interested in:

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