Your time is now, not years from now.
I'm Peter Fritz and I'm the founder of Blaze Your Own. I'm also a father, husband, writer, photographer, and outdoor adventure-lover. The photo on the right was taken just before I turned 40; a few years before the shit and the fan got acquainted. See how happy I look?
I started Blaze Your Own because I knew there were scores of men facing similar challenges and asking the same questions I did a few years ago when I hit my forties.
Midlife kind of creeps up on you, and then suddenly, you're in it. You might have been climbing a corporate ladder somewhere (often to discover it’s leaning against the wrong wall), or chasing goals that have left you unfulfilled, or maybe you've been working like a robot with a stress disorder. Perhaps you've gotten a taste of your own mortality and you're starting to wonder, what's the point? It’s enough to make you buy a sports car and get another tattoo.
I’ve had my midlife thing.
Having gotten to the other side, I’m pleased to say I have my shit together. I’d like to help you do the same.
I’m not wealthy, I don’t drive a Lamborghini and I don’t have everything figured out. However, I have screwed up a lot in all the areas that count (relationships, money, health and work/life balance) and I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t.
Today, my finances are sorted, I have control over my time, my relationships are solid and I can honestly say things are tracking well. I don’t possess the secret – as so many people claim to – but I do have a vast library of experience and a lot of real-world advice about strategies that have made a difference in my life and the lives of others I’ve been privileged to work with.
The ideas I share revolve around topics like money, time, side-businesses, family and basic health. The underlying theme of these ideas is a life lived deliberately, where you enjoy a sense of purpose and genuine satisfaction. If you're only interested in ‘crushing it' and getting your arse into an Italian sportscar (not that I'm against that), there are other places better suited to you.
How long have you wanted to be free?
Much of my background contains one persistent thread – the desire for independence, autonomy and a life lived deliberately.
This desire started early and even as a small boy, I knew I wanted to blaze my own trail. My folks – especially my mum – always encouraged independent thought. She often stood supportively in my corner when I sought to question things – often planting better questions in my mind then standing back so I could uncover some truths on my own.
My dad too, was a tremendous role model. He still is. He worked extremely hard from the age of twelve (he built his family's home when he was just 14!) but as a father, sacrificed many personal opportunities so he could devote himself to his kids. Some of my fondest memories are of camping, building things, solving problems and debating issues with him. The image below was shot at my dad's place in the country. He's the goofy-looking one. No, the other goofy one – with the check shirt. The others are my gorgeous kids and my adorable wife.
Peter is the real deal and his observations on surmounting life’s challenges are inspirational.”
Ken Fife – Chairman of the Board, Auto-IT
My quest for independence began when I was about eight years old. This was when I started making and selling things to friends and neighbours (fashioning six-inch nails into letter openers). I also learned to drive by the time I was nine (really) and I collected and resold stray balls at the local golf course to build up my war chest.
While other kids in my peer group begged their parents for stuff, I worked hard to buy my own – first, a drum kit (11 yo), then a used motorcycle (12 yo), a brand new motorcycle (14 yo) and then a camera outfit (14 yo). These set the foundations for an exciting series of events, career opportunities and passions.
At the age of 15, I went on a 4-day motorcycle trip in the desert, wrote a story about it and saw it published in my favourite magazine that same year. Three years later, I found myself working full-time as a writer and photographer for a stable of magazines, travelling the country and getting paid to do what I loved.
After seven years of insane fun on racetracks and at vehicle launches, driving and riding with legends of the F1, MotoGP and V8 Supercar sports, hanging out of helicopters in the Aussie outback and pinching myself every week, I sought new challenges. These included:
- Freelancing for car companies and OEMs (photography)
- Selling cars (Honda, then Mercedes-Benz)
- Selling advertising
- Discovering the Internet, then building Websites
- Marketing software (ERP for automotive dealers)
- Buying, renovating and redeveloping a few properties
- Helping my wife setup, improve then sell three different retail businesses (an Asian grocery, a Sarah Lee factory outlet and a video rental store)
- Building a loyal following of clients for marketing and Web-based services
By the end of 2002, I'd divorced once, created two beautiful girls, married again, made money, lost it all and was on my way to making and losing a lot more – including my second marriage and all five of my real estate properties.
In short, I'd failed a lot but learned even more. It was about this time (2003/4) that I also decided I couldn't stomach the corporate world any longer and, thanks to an excellent boss, I was able to convert my salaried role to a consulting one. This decision alone saved my sanity and opened up a world of opportunities. And despite the collapse of my second marriage in 2007, it set me back on my original path – the one I'd set out on 30 years earlier.
A lot of pain and uncertainty persisted but I was confident it would wane as I prepared to relearn what I already knew and started plotting my path to a better, more fulfilling existence.
The good news is, it worked. My life today is brilliant. I have a beautiful wife who shares my values and ideals, plus three delightful and intelligent children. I'm engaged in work I enjoy (still consulting for the same company since '97) and have the time to pursue my passions of motorcycling, photography, outdoor adventure and of course, sharing what I've learned.
Pretty much everything that got me here I owe to others. Some of them are people I've worked with; some live between the pages of life-changing books and of course, some of the most significant have been family – past and present. I continue to learn and evolve, as I recommend all people should.
Our biggest mistake is we think we have time.
The best time to plant a tree is ten years ago. The second best is today. Our time is right now. And if you've just hit your middle years, this is, believe it or not, the very best time to make your life exactly the way you want it.
Likewise, the best time to enjoy and really get to know your kids is now. The best time to demonstrate to your partner, your parents and close friends that you love them and value them – is today.
“Discovering your blog was one of a number of things that culminated in me making this decision and for that, I can't thank you enough. Keep up the good work and know that your message is making a difference in people's lives.”
Pack your gear and get started today.
You've probably heard the old chestnut, “Leaders are readers.” I certainly believe this is part of the equation – perhaps ‘leaders are readers and doers' might be more appropriate. Nevertheless, some books can change your beliefs, which lead to new actions, which create new habits and ultimately, recreate your life. There are few things more exciting than an ‘ah-ha!' moment; where you uncover a truth that totally resonates with you and sets you on a path that you just know is better.
I used to hate reading and it wasn't until someone I respected pushed me to read a few books that my mind opened and possibilities materialised. You can acquire a lifetime's experience from someone who's achieved great things – in a single book. In just one day.
There are really no ‘secrets' out there to creating the life you want. They've all been documented time and time again and are only repackaged and presented in new (often more digestible) ways. I've read my fair share of books, attended more than a 100 seminars and listened to hundreds of hours of content. But I've also applied a lot of what I've learned, to the point where much of it is just who I am nowadays.
As you embark on your second act – blazing your own trail – I recommend you set a good foundation first. Few things will prepare you better for that than a handful of carefully chosen books. I've read all of these (some, a few times) and I recommend you consider doing the same.
For the sake of convenience, I've listed them below and each is linked to Amazon so you can purchase them if you like. And yes, if you buy them here, I'll earn a small fee from Amazon, which will help me to buy organic veggies for my fancy new juicer.
These are some of the most significant books that have shaped and fuelled many of my life changes. I've categorised them roughly but of course, some would sit comfortably in multiple categories.
Books worth Reading
A Better Way to Live – by Og Mandino
The Power of Now – by Eckhart Tolle
Awaken the Giant Within – by Tony Robbins
The Magic of Thinking Success – Dr David J. Shwartz
Man's Search for Meaning – by Viktor E. Frankl
As a Man Thinketh – by James Allen
The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It – by Michael E. Gerber
Losing my Virginity – by Sir Richard Branson
Purple Cow – Seth Godin
Money & Investing
The Choose Yourself Guide to Wealth – by James Altucher
The Millionaire Mind – by Thomas J. Standley
Rich Dad's Cashflow Quadrant – by Robert T. Kiyosaki
The Greatest Salesman in the World – by Og Mandino
MONEY – Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom – by Tony Robbins
Unshakable – Your Financial Freedom Playbook – by Tony Robbins
The Midlife Debt Cure – by Peter Fritz
Freedom, Health and Lifestyle Business
Tools of Titans – by Tim Ferris
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook – Gary Vaynerchuk
The $100 Startup – Chris Guillebeau
Younger Next Year – by Chris Crowley
The Art of Non-Conformity – by Chris Guillebeau
The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything – by Sir Ken Robinson