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authorMichael Ditton was a dreamer from an early age. To this day he believes anyone can do whatever they choose to put their mind to.

Ditton didn’t go from eight years old to semi-retired in the length of one sentence. Nor was it easy. But he did follow a simple, time-honored process.

He was in his twenties before he fully understood the true importance of goal setting. After that, he was able to be more focused, see where he wanted to be, how he was going to get there, notice when he needed to make adjustments, and had the satisfaction of reaching goals. He enjoyed the benefits of reaching a goal and putting a big, fat check mark on on his list.

Here’s how those goals paid off:

At 8, sold vegetables door to door from his little red wagon

Age 13, supervisor, World’s Fare Hamburgers

Age 15, assistant manager trainee, Pizza Hut

Age 16, assistant manager, Round Table Pizza

Age 18, began a 20-year commitment with the U.S. Army and Army Reserve, retiring in 2005 as a staff sergeant and Desert Storm veteran. Over his service career he became a leader and was recognized and awarded for his achievements and outstanding service.

Age 20, found his true calling as a sales professional

Age 31, began a successful career in real estate and real estate investments

Age 36, semi-retired

Age 37, owned and operated several companies

Age 41, semi-retired, sold everything and sailed south on his 45’ sailboat

Although he found success at a very early age, Ditton became painfully aware of how quickly it can all be taken away. In 1991, after he returned from Desert Storm, he found himself bankrupt and divorced.

It was the lowest point in his life. Four years later, he had clawed his way back to even, and started to build from there. Two years after that, following his roadmap of goals, he reached his first level of financial independence. The rest is history.