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#002 Fireside Fridays - Single Statement Framework, Bringing Your Dreams To Life & Travelling...

...While Working Full-Time


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.


Bubbles, Candles & Dollars


A day went by and life was indeed good. Sitting in a private whirlpool overlooking the cliffs of Gran Canary Island with a bottle of champagne in the cooler, there was just one question on my mind: How did I manage to even get here? I'm in my mid-twenties, have a beautiful and supportive girlfriend, and am enjoying New Year's eve on the Canary Islands. This would have been unimaginable for me a few years ago.


In my first year at college, I had no idea that I would someday leave my role as a master chimney sweep to get into investment banking. I just started studying out of curiosity, thinking that if I ever had the chance to buy a chimney sweeping business, a foundation in Finance & Management would be the perfect preparation for leading a company.


It took me a while to warm to the idea that I could make the leap into the finance industry. It all started with a mailing from my university. Looking at a magazine as I opened the envelope, there it was: a list of the top 10 job roles within the German finance industry. My eyes wandered straight to the top. DAX CFO. Yearly salary? A couple of millions (I can't remember the exact number, but it blew my mind). That's crazy, I thought. Up until this point, I didn't even realize that it was possible to earn so much money as an employee. I was hooked.


You know that phenomenon when you buy a new car, and suddenly it seems every second car on the street is the same as yours? That happens because your attention shifts. I experienced the same thing back then. From that moment, I was obsessed with finance, and I tried to learn about the industry as much as I could.


It was one of those "coincidences" of life again when my smartphone rang. Eddy, a good friend, just sent me a picture. With a coffee in hand, smiling into the camera with a big grin. Behind him were red and green bars looking like candles plotted on a computer screen. The candles looked erratic, with big swings up and down but with a steep upward curve at the very right side of the screen. "I just made 50$ while drinking my coffee," he wrote. What in the world? I called him immediately. "Hey man, that's amazing! What on earth did you do, and what are even these candle bars on the screen?"


Eddy told me that he was trading CFDs. Alright, but what is trading and what are CFDs? He explained, "CFDs are contracts for difference. You can find them on stocks, commodities, and even indices like the DAX. I buy them when they are low and sell them when they are high to make a profit."


I was lost but intrigued. "Okay, I have no idea what you're talking about, but we have to meet, and you have to explain to me how it works," I told him."Alright," he said, "let's meet tomorrow. Meanwhile, I'll send you a book that will answer all your questions."Klick. He hung up.


I rushed to my computer, nervously waiting for Eddy's email. Ping! A new message arrived. The headline read, "The Big Book of Market Technique: In Search of Quality in Trading". I opened the attached e-book and sat down, ready to uncover what seemed to be the secret to literally printing money from my living room...


1. Level Up Your Career Game: How to Answer 9 Out of 10 Interview Question with Just a Single Statement


I feel you guys. Preparing for interviews is a pain in the A*s. Even the mere thought of questions raining down on you like a blizzard can be overwhelming. "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" "Why this company?" "Tell me something about yourself." "Why are you a good fit for this position?" "Why did you leave your last role?" The list seems endless.


But what if I told you that there is a framework that allows you to answer 9 out of 10 of these questions with just a single statement?


The secret to acing your next interview is to craft your story. Don't fall for the false belief that you can't secure a role at a prestigious bank because you don't studied at a target university like Harvard or Oxford. You might think: "Well, not having a degree from a target university is the least of my concerns." Maybe you dropped out of school, come from a completely different background, or only have a distance learning degree. These are all potential stepping stones to craft your unique story and ace your next interview; this is where the magic happens.


When I had the chance to interview for a analyst role in merger & acquisitions, I had no banking experience to my name except for a 4-month internship. As I prepared for the conversation, I started with the role of an M&A Analyst and reverse-engineered my way back to my origins, which included dropping out of school – not exactly a glittering point on a resume. But, I turned "dropping out of school because I spent most of my time playing video games" into "I dropped out of school because I'm a hands-on guy who prefers applying knowledge in the field rather than focusing solely on theory."


Next, my background of having no or minimal experience transformed into: "I have been working full-time for over 8 years as a chimney sweep, accumulating a rich variety of experiences, on top of that I completed a banking internship recently."


Lastly, not attending a target school and obtaining only a distance learning degree morphed into: "I'm aware that M&A is a high-pressure environment requiring a good amount of travel, I chose to study at a distance learning institute while working full-time. This allowed me to acclimate to long hours, frequent travel, and managing multiple projects simultaneously."


Did you notice what I did here?


You take your weaknesses, failures, or shortcomings and turn them into strengths specifically tailored to the role you're applying for.


On top of that, you wrap those experiences in a story that has one goal and one goal only:


Planting the seed in the interviewer's head that everything you've done in your life so far, was preparing you for this particular role, and that's why you are by far the best candidate for the job.


The trick is to stretch the truth as far as ethically possible, without lying or making things up, as these will catch up with you sooner or later.


Once you craft your story and write it down you won't forget. It's grounded in your real-life experiences and this makes recalling it under pressure a breeze.


And now, here’s the best part of it: no matter what questions the interviewer throws at you, you just reference your story, extract the relevant segment, and provide a seamless answer.


As a bonus, most interviews start with a variation of one and the same question:


"Why are you here and why are you the best fit for this role?"


Often camouflaged as, "Tell me about yourself?" or "Why are you here today?" or "Guide me through your CV,". Just start telling your story; it fits every variation of these questions. If executed correctly, you will answer 9 out of 10 questions even before the interviewer has the chance to ask them


So guys, arm yourself with a captivating story the next time you step into that interview room. You've got this!


2. Retire Early: How to Bring Your Dreams to Life


Imagine wandering through your life aimlessly.


Like a passenger on a train who doesn't know its destination.


Only to realize at the last stop that you've been on the wrong train all along.


Sounds terrible, doesn't it?


Don't be that person.


Seize responsibility for your life and learn how to bring your dreams to life.


First and foremost, you need to know what you want. This may seem trivial, but it's where most people fail. If I were to ask random folks on the street about their life's desires, the majority would likely have no idea.


Why?


Because many spend eight hours a day in a job they don't like, only to return home and binge-watch their favorite TV series until they pass out on the couch.


Be different.


Sit down. No screens, no distractions, your phone switched to airplane mode.


Unleash your imagination assuming anything is possible.


What would you love to own?


What experiences do you crave?


What kind of person do you aspire to be?


Grab a large flip chart and jot down these three questions. Allow yourself a couple of minutes to write down anything that comes to your mind. Avoid judging or debating your ideas at this stage; simply let them flow.


After your creative burst is over, review your notes. You might find some ideas — like owning a private island or retiring at 40 to travel the world—seem a bit far-fetched. However, others, such as being a kind person or enjoying weekend hikes with your loved ones, appear within easy reach.


Now, draw three timelines on a new sheet, utilizing roughly two-thirds of the paper: less than 12 months, less than 3 years, and less than 5 years. Beneath these, draw a horizontal line and label it "Action Steps". Start categorizing your notes into these respective timelines, placing them where they seem most suitable.


Next, let's add some vivid imagery to your dreams. Picture your private island, with white sandy beaches and coconut palm trees, encircled by the crystal clear waters of the vast ocean. Find an image on Google that mirrors this vision, print it out, and attach it beneath your goal.


Repeat this process for each of your aspirations.


Congratulations!


You now belong to the top 10% of people out there, who can clearly articulate what they want from life and know exactly how it looks like.


You just made the first step to bring your dreams to life.


3. Travel the World: How to Travel the World While Working Full-Time at Your Corporate Job


Chances are high that you have a passion for traveling even if you don't know it yet.


I mean, who doesn't?


Breathtaking landscapes, delicious foods, and incredible people await. You are missing out on a treasure trove of invaluable experiences if you never travel in your life.


But how do you get started?


As long as you are chained to your office desk, you can take a vacation once in a while, but traveling the world? That seems to be reserved for either students with rich parents who have the luxury of taking gap years or dudes who made enough money to exit the corporate world, right? I get you. I had exactly the same thoughts.


Recalling the days as a freshly baked M&A Analyst, it was an illusion to even think of taking more than a week off. Even that meant answering emails while on the road and being available if necessary.


However, Angelika and I always dreamed about visiting far-off countries like New Zealand, Vietnam, or Mexico. We often discussed our aspirations with friends and family, and encountered two camps.


Camp one would say: "What the heck do you want in Vietnam? That's too exotic and dangerous for sure."


Camp would be like: "Oh my God, we would love to visit these countries too, but it's impossible. You need at least four weeks off to accommodate the long-haul flights, overcome jet lag, and acclimatize, etc. We will do it when we are retired."As projects at work piled up, we grew unhappier with each passing day. This routine threatened to keep us from visiting these places for years.


So, as always, I took a step that many would label crazy. I booked a one-week trip to Mexico. This meant enduring 22+ hours in planes, airports, shuttles, and cars to reach our destination, and the same again on our way home. Out of the seven days off, we spent two full days in transit.


But guess what?


In the five days in between, we had the time of our lives.


We witnessed the sun sinking into the sea from our bedroom.


Spent nights stargazing while lying in the hammock on our terrace, barely ten meters away from the beach...


... and savored homemade tacos accompanied by fresh lime juice, lovingly prepared at a local ranch in the middle of the Mexican jungle.


Why I am telling you this?


It's simple.


Discard everything you think you know about traveling.


If you hold off until you can take a three or four-week break to embark on the trip you've always dreamed of, it may never materialize.


I mean, surprisingly, people don't hesitate to undertake a 6-hour car drive to spend a weekend in Italy but go crazy about the idea of a 2-hour flight for a weekend in Greece.


I urge you to go beyond your perceived limitations. Deep down you know exactly which places you need to see before you die. Go for it. Even if that means spending two out of seven days on transportation.


Trust me, it's worth it.


Adventure Awaits,


Kevin Schwarzinger

Founder, ChimneyCapital

Author, World Explorer & Solopreneur




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