Right after graduating college, Steve spent the first 10 years of his professional career in politics. He saw all sides: he worked at nonprofits, raised money for candidates, campaigned door-to-door, and did it on many levels, from working for local candidates to engaging in Presidential politics. But after 10 years, “I saw what I didn’t want to be,” said Bierfeldt. He didn’t quite know exactly what was next, but he decided “I know what I don’t want to do with my life. I want a new challenge.”
He decided to first take a minimum of one year to travel the world. And that he did. He traveled all throughout the United States (even visiting me in Tallahassee). He traveled to South America, to Europe, to China, and to various islands. It opened up his mind as he learned about different cultures and places. After that year was over, he started doing some business coaching on the side and it developed into a larger business.
He founded what has become Live Smart Academy. Through this venture, he teaches clients how to make more money, save more money, manage time, improve your health, fitness and mental wellness, travel more (and more affordably), and ultimately challenge yourself and gain confidence.
“Too many people are surviving their lives. They are not really living their lives,” said Bierfeldt. “They get comfortable in a job, they get comfortable at a desk.” And he believes they don’t do the things they dream of doing because of “internal fear” of doing something different when life as we know it seems comfortable.
He is really big on encouraging people to travel. “If you get vacations, take them.” He also suggests that when in salary negotiations for a job, consider asking for less money and more time. “You can always get more money, but you can never get more time,” says Bierfeldt. “Your time is your most valuable asset.”
And this is where he really places emphasis on time management when coaching people through life experiences. “Time management — that’s more important than money, more important than anything else,” says Bierfeldt.
“Memories never rust,” he says. “That car is going to break down. That house is going to need a new roof. That couch is going to get holes in it. But memories – they don’t rust, they don’t go bad.”
Time management is one of the five tools of freedom he uses when coaching people on doing what they love and being their best self. But his biggest motto in everything he does in his own life and that he encourages each of us to do in our life is to “Challenge Yourself.” Each one of us has different dreams. Prioritizing our time and money will help us lose our fears and achieve our dreams. He says some people know the motto: “Work smart, not hard.” He also suggests applying that to all aspects of your life: “Live smart, not hard.”
Through the founding of his company, Live Smart Academy, Bierfeldt has made a business out of coaching people to be their best self. But he hasn’t settled for just that. He also serves as a CFO for a vitamin and sports supplement company in Dallas, Texas, where he currently lives. He is the founder of a nonprofit, Americans for Travel Freedom (following his successful lawsuit against the TSA), and is co-founder and managing partner of Exchange Marketing Group. He also owns real estate and is a part-time landlord.
“Challenge Yourself.” Steve Bierfeldt lives this philosophy and he wants to inspire you to do the same. Listen to our full interview on Episode 16 of the Agents of Innovation podcast.