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#001 Fireside Fridays - Outsmart Your Competitors, Mind Your Circle & Grand Canary Recap

The stories I'll share in this and the upcoming newsletters pick up where my book, School Dropout, Chimney Sweep, Investment Banker:The Art of Pursuing Goals That Seem Unattainable at First Glance, ends. It's the epilogue that didn't get printed but happened in the chapters of real life.

Digging Graves and Scribbling Dreams

December 2017. Freshly minted as a full-time analyst. The pride I felt was remarkable, nearly electric. They handed me my "tombstone" for the promotion. A tombstone – a curious symbol for achievement in the investment banking realm, isn't it? You succeed, and they hand you a token that eerily resembles a gravestone.

It's almost a paradox: the harder you work, the deeper you dig. Greater success only leads to more hard work; there's no light at the end of the tunnel.Yet the thrill of accomplishment overshadowed any negative consequences.

After riding the roller coaster - juggling the CFA exam, delivering the commencement speech, and managing simultaneous projects at work - I desperately needed to pause. Breathe. Celebrate.

So, off to the Canary Islands Angelika and I went, joining my family to ring in the new year. If you’ve journeyed through the pages of my book, you'll recall the incidental events that always seemed to find me. Well, the islands had another one in store.

Hotel rooms usually greet guests with sweets. But this time, there was an elegant cork hardcover notebook waiting on the bedside table. It felt almost like destiny, a nudge from the universe. The whirlwind of experiences of the past few years demanded to be written down. So, armed with this notebook, under the warm sun and beside the glistening pool, I began to write. Rapidly, memories poured out, crystallizing into potential chapters.

The next morning, over breakfast, I shared my newfound excitement with Angelika and my mom. They exchanged amused glances – “Oh, Kevin and his wild ideas!” But, as always, their laughter was accompanied by unwavering support.

Now, every traveler has their companion, and mine has often been a good book. This trip, I was diving into Ray Dalio's Principles: Life and Work. Dalio, with his unparalleled hedge fund success, presents life in an intriguing light. Imagine facing a million problems, he says. It's overwhelming, but on closer inspection, you'll notice patterns. Perhaps there aren’t a million problems, but a thousand recurring ones. This concept wasn’t just enlightening – it formed the blueprint for the second part of my book. The first, detailing my unpredictable journey; the second, exploring the principles that steered my ship through storm and sun.

Sitting there, the crisp pages filled with fresh ink, the vastness of the Atlantic before me and the sun casting a golden glow over everything, I took a moment to relish the serenity. A cold beer in hand, the world felt perfect as 2017 prepared its curtain call.

1. Level Up Your Career Game - How to Outsmarting 90% of Your Interview Competitors

Want an edge over the competition at your next interview? I'm about to share a strategy that's deceptively simple, yet largely overlooked.

Dive Deep with Research

It sounds so obvious, yet countless candidates don't bother. Especially if you’re eyeing an entry-level position, doing your research can elevate you from the rest. Your aim? To understand the company inside and out.

Example: You're keen on an Analyst role in Corporate Development at a leading global bank.

Understand the Role:

Far too many hopefuls employ a 'shotgun approach' to job applications, hoping something sticks without truly understanding the position. Trust me I know, have been there, have done that :) Don't just recognize the title – understand its depth. What does a Corporate Development Analyst really do?

  • Dive into online articles discussing the role.

  • Network! Connect with professionals on LinkedIn, especially those in similar positions. Engage, discuss, and learn.

  • Invest in career guidebooks. The knowledge can be invaluable.

Decode the Company:

It’s more than just knowing their name and reputation. Immerse yourself in the company's story and operations.

  • Basic Info: Know the headquarters location, total employees, operational countries, CEO's name, and the company’s history.

  • Milestones: What has the company achieved? Any recent big moves, especially those connected to the role you're applying for?

  • Role-Specific Knowledge: For a Corporate Development role, familiarize yourself with the company's strategic acquisitions in recent years.

  • Where to start? The company’s Investor Relations page is a gold mine. Discover their main business segments and revenue streams. For a bank, it could range from investment banking to retail banking. And yes, memorize those crucial figures.

Treat It Like an Investment

Approach the interview as if you're considering buying a stake in the company. That’s the depth of knowledge and interest you should exhibit.

So, next time you step into that interview room, equipped with the research at hand, watch the surprise in the interviewer’s eyes. Knowledge isn’t just power – it’s your ticket to standing out.

2. Retire Early - Harness the Power of the Right Circle

Jim Rohn once said, "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with."

Stop for a moment and truly ponder this statement. Now, print it out, frame it, stick it on your fridge – put it somewhere you’ll see it every single day. Why? Because the essence of that quote holds the secret to retiring early.

For those of you who aren’t satisfied with the conventional path – working in a secure job for 45 years or more, postponing dreams until retirement, only to discover you’re too weary or ill to pursue them – altering your mindset is the first step.

And the key?

It's the company you keep.

Many years ago, understanding the weight of this idea, I established a mastermind group with a few close friends. We convened at least once every quarter. These sessions were intense, dynamic, and deeply personal. We supported one another, brainstormed new business avenues, and offered constructive feedback on our individual paths.

But the pinnacle of these meetings?

It’s around New Year's Eve.

Just as corporations generate annual reports reviewing their year, we too, took stock of ours. We’d reflect on our shortcomings, measure our set goals against our actual achievements, and chart our course for the upcoming year. Picture it as a day-long success retreat, but instead of business charts and financial targets, we mapped out dreams and aspirations.

The power of such a circle is transformative. With them, I wasn't just dreaming about retiring early; I was actively plotting the route, fortified by shared wisdom and collective ambition.

Your Action Step:

Don't wait.

Start your own mastermind group.

Right now.

Gather like-minded friends, those who aren’t content with just dreaming but are bent on actualizing their aspirations. Meet, plan, support, and grow together.

In our quest to retire early, it's not just about the finances; it's also about nurturing the right mindset and fostering a circle that shares, understands, and emboldens that vision.

Here’s to crafting your path to early retirement with the power of the right people.

3. Travel the World: Sun-Soaked Adventures in Grand Canary

Nestled within the Canary Islands archipelago, Grand Canary has long been a gem for European travellers fleeing the chilly embrace of winter. Here, let’s unveil a tapestry of personal experiences and recommendations that will guide your way to the island's secrets.

Imagine soaking up rays in the toasty climate that graces Grand Canary even during December and January, with temperatures often surging past 28 degrees Celsius. And don’t be swayed by weather apps showing cooler temperatures; they’re displaying readings from the capital city, Las Palmas! You’ll find the South basking in glorious sun and warmth, a contrast that can only be fully appreciated when experienced firsthand.

Where to Stay

  • Hotel Don Gregory by Dunas: This tranquil 4-star resort graces visitors with a semi-private beach, becoming a sanctum of relaxation. Perfect for those who wish to immerse themselves in leisurely serenity.

  • Puerto Rico: A charming village that offers not just massive hotels but cozy, welcoming apartments. A true home away from home.

Culinary Adventure

  • La Tapita Los Jose's Tapas Bar: Venture away from the tourist-draped beach area and discover the authentic heart of Canarian cuisine. A must-visit for every food enthusiast.

  • Legendary Tapas Night at Vegueta: Thursdays are reserved for this historic old town's gastronomic celebration in the capital city Las Palmas. Arrive with an appetite; leave with cherished culinary memories.

To-Do and See

  • Playa de Maspalomas: A seamless merge of pristine sandy beaches and the illustrious sand dunes, a touch of Sahara within European borders.

  • Biking with Free Motion Bike Center: Embrace the island’s splendid scenery with a guided bike tour that matches every skill level. A journey through the Canary mountains complemented by homemade cheese sandwiches and fresh papaya juice promises to be a delightful day.

  • Hike to Roque Nublo: For the hiking enthusiasts, this climb unveils views that will leave you breathless, a moment where time stands still in the face of mother natures beauty.

  • Beach Gym: A stone's throw from the Hotel Don Gregory, this gym adds an invigorating edge to your beach days.

Cap it with Las Palmas After your adventures, unwind in the capital city, Las Palmas. Its laid-back Spanish flair and inviting scenery create a harmonious conclusion to your trip. For the brave at heart, the western side of the city beckons with surf-ready waves.

Pack your bags and set your compass towards Grand Canary, an island that promises sunny smiles, gastronomic delights, and adventures that resonate in your memories forever.

Adventure Awaits,

Kevin Schwarzinger

Founder, ChimneyCapital

Author, World Explorer & Solopreneur

Refer Like-Minded Friends

Have friends who'd love Fire Side Fridays - A Glimpse Into Wealth, Freedom & Adventure Newsletter too? Share the registration link and help them to level up their career game, retire early and travel the world:

Are you ready to write your own success story? Get a copy of my book now:

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