My Declaration About Money (3 Simple But Not Easy Rules to Live By)

The Declaration of You Blog Lovin’ Tour

The Declaration of You, published by North Light Craft Books and available now, gives readers all the permission they’ve craved to step passionately into their lives, discover how they and their gifts are unique and uncover what they are meant to do! This post is part of The Declaration of You’s BlogLovin’ Tour, which I’m thrilled to participate in alongside over 200 other creative bloggers. Learn more — and join us! by clicking here.

Money is a charged topic and one we don’t like to talk about in our culture. It’s our dark little secrets, more intimate than even sex.  Yep, it’s that taboo.  I believe the reason for this is because money holds so much power and each and every person has her own convoluted, complex (and sometimes dysfunctional) relationship to it.

Because of this emotional charge and the practical necessities of having money I see people go to extremes as a way of protecting themselves. There is the:

Money isn’t the most important thing camp.

And

Money is the driving force for everything camp.

Unfortunately whichever camp you live in, you are likely an unhappy camper.  That is because while money isn’t everything and it certainly isn’t the most important thing, it does touch every aspect of our lives. You need it to live and how much you need depends on your desired lifestyle. Just don’t mistake lifestyle for having a life.

While having more money can be empowering, it is not empowering in and of itself.  I can’t tell you the number of people who earn multiple six figures or more that feel more trapped and controlled by money than anyone who is scraping by and bootstrapping their way through each month.

My Story

Money drove my decisions before I even consciously knew what was happening.  Beyond all the money messages received as a child growing up in the world, the biggest turning point I remember was when I first went to college. I had ideas about what I would love to study but was undecided on a major. When I posed these questions to my school counselors and parents the verdict was unanimous.  “You’ll never make any money doing those things and you really like nice things and nice things require money.” The gauntlet was down and the decision was made as I walked headlong into majoring in Accounting. A very practical, useful, and potentially lucrative profession, except…

The problem was – I was good at it, but didn’t like it.  If anything, searching endlessly for small details (I once spent an entire weekend searching for $.02 that wouldn’t balance on my damn balance sheets!) made me slightly psychotic.  Yet I marched on following a path I thought I “should” take.

This trend continued into the jobs I chose, the unhappiness I felt in almost 20 years in Corporate, and the desperation I felt in the tug/pull between making money and being happy.  Even when I made the big leap of faith into self-employment six years ago, money (and the lack of it) created untold amounts of angst in me.

It is from this journey that my declaration was born.

No Amount of Money Can Buy What Truly Matters

I always knew on some level that you couldn’t buy the most important and valuable things in life.  Yet it wasn’t until my mother got sick and then died 3 years ago that this lesson got deeply ingrained in my being.  No amount of money, planning, or pleading could change that situation.  It was the most excruciating experience of my life emotionally.  I can still remember the cries of my father wondering what all the financial planning, saving, and waiting was for; nothing else felt like it mattered now in the face of this loss.

I learned that money can facilitate and help mitigate the pain or difficulty of a situation but it can never make it go away.  Conversely money can enhance a joy by making something easier, more elegant, or more elaborate, but it can’t create the joy or happiness itself.

So even when times are tough I point my focus towards what I can do and what is deeper, richer, and more lasting than any amount of money could ever be.

Money is an Exchange of Energy (Use it Wisely)

Neither extreme frugality nor being a spendthrift is the answer.  It’s not about the money, ultimately. It is about the energy (time, energy, effort, etc.) expended in exchange for money that matters.  I can remember years ago reading the classic book Your Money or Your Life (Robin & Dominguez) and being introduced to the concept of trading your life energy for money.  It was a huge awakening for me in that I realized I did not want to trade my life simply for money doing a soul-sucking job that had a million rules, restrictions, and limitations. I wasn’t willing to live only for the weekends and 1-2 weeks of vacation per year.

When you own your own business you may set your own fees and choose your own schedule but you still need to ask yourself the question: Is what I’m choosing to do a wise use of my life’s energy?  This includes how you choose to spend and invest your money as well.

For me personally, if I choose to do something it either needs to 1) Make me money, 2) Save me money, or 3) Give me great joy, meaning, or pleasure.  Otherwise it is an easy thing to say no to.

Money is a Renewable Resource; Time is Not

When I was in my early 20’s and at my first job, someone said to me that it didn’t matter if I didn’t like my job, if I could simply hold on for another 30-35 years, then the pension and benefits would be worth it.  I thought my head would explode!  I was supposed to be this unhappy and trade the entire prime of my life in the illusory hopes that I might have a nice retirement? What kind of security is THAT?

I see business owners I work with make this mistake all the time.  They push, overwork, and stay tethered to the task of growing their business so much so that they don’t take time for their lives.  The self-care, fun, time-off, hobbies, and relaxation get thrown to the side in exchange for the myth that “making it happen” and being more productive is the end-goal.  It’s not.

I always factor in time, value, energy, and fun into the equation of making money.  If I’m miserable, no amount of money could make me happy.  Yes I need money and yes I want to continue to grow my business to earn more money. However, it’s more important to me to do so mindfully than it is to simply plug away at some arbitrary goal while watching time whoosh by.  If I lose sight of that, I return to my first declaration above because like anyone who has experienced loss, I know that no amount of money could buy another hour with someone you love doing something you love.

What have you declared about the way you earn, spend, and relate to money? I would love to hear your stories in the comments below.

But I Don’t Have Any “Extra Money”! – No Apologies Video

I wish I could ____ but I don’t have any “extra” money right now.  Ever utter these self-sabotaging words?

So often people use the excuse of not having any “extra” money as they reason they cannot get the help, support, or resources they need in order to really grow their business.  But this is a Catch-22. You will always be chasing your tail if you’re waiting for money to descend on you before you take the steps necessary to grow.  You must make decisions based on where you want to be, not where you presently are.  Otherwise you’ll always be waiting and stay in a limbo pattern forever.

I don’t know about you but I’ve never had any “extra” money either. In a humorous sketch of small adventures, I take you on a journey and show you where to find that extra money you seek.

Discover Your Real Priorities – It’s Where You Spend Your Money

If you really want to know what is important to you take a peek at where you spend your money.  Here’s the thing, by itself money has no use and no power. It is only a tool to create the life you want to live.  How you spend it is a reflection of who you are and your relationship with money is a mirror of your relationship to yourself.

When you look into this mirror, do you like what you see?

Or, is it a fractured image of who you truly want to be?

Your Money and Your PrioritiesDuring this wayward economy I see more and more people coming up with the socially acceptable excuse of “I don’t have the money” or “I can’t afford it” to avoid looking deeply and making changes that would bring them the personal and professional lives they truly desire.  To make the changes that would bring long-term and lasting results to their businesses, their lives, and their families. It sounds cliché to say that life is not a dress rehearsal, but it is true.  There is no “someday” and if you’re waiting for it, now is the time to stop.

This way of thinking is not about spending with reckless abandon.  It is not about being irresponsible, but rather being fully conscious about the fact that money is a conduit for commitment and you are in charge. 

Are you ready to be in the driver’s seat of your experience and stop the cycle of having money hold you hostage?  If so… let’s get started.

Here’s an exercise that will catapult you forward.  I first did a similar exercise myself decades ago when I read the book Your Money or Your Life that was very enlightening to me, especially as a twenty something at the time.  I has fueled my choices ever since.

Take a look at every dollar you have spent over the last month.  If you don’t have great records (meaning you know you had money but you don’t know where it went), don’t fret you can start this exercise today by writing down every dollar you spend over the next 30 days.  (Hint: even if you have great records looking backwards, I still recommend writing down your spending for the next 30 days.  This exercise is one easy and proven way to raise your consciousness around money fast.)

Now, take a look at your spending. I want you to do this with a loving, nonjudgmental heart.  There is no right, wrong, or judgment with this sort of assessment; because ultimately there is no inherently right or wrong way to spend your money.

Ask yourself:

  • How do I feel about what I see before me?
  • Does my spending reflect my true and deep values? (If you’ve never done a values exercise, it is an invaluable step in creating the life and work you want.)
  • Has every dollar I spent either: Satisfied a basic need? Benefited another? Brought me great joy?
  • Does how I spend my money reflect an equitable balance between living fully today and investing in my future?

What did you discover about your priorities? Are you fully investing in the person you want to be and the life you want to create or are you letting your precious energy slip away?

Regardless of how much money you have, today is the day to stop being held hostage by it and choose to be the conscious steward of it.  There is no better investment out there than the one you make in your own growth and well-being.

Ready to take a deeper look at your life and work so that you can create the purpose, prosperity, and playfulness you deserve? Contact me.

Photo Credit: 401K via Flickr

Life Alchemy™ Podcast with Laura Berman Fortgang

Laura Berman FortgangToday I am thrilled, thrilled, thrilled to have as my guest best-selling author and personal coaching pioneer Laura Berman Fortgang. I first discovered Laura’s work back in 2004 around the time her book Now What?® 90 Days to a New Life Direction was published. At the time I was confined in the corporate cubicle yearning for a way out. That is why it is equally exciting to me that six years later I became an authorized facilitator of that work and had the opportunity to be trained by Laura as part of the process. Today our conversation focuses around her latest book released just this month called The Prosperity Plan.

Let me tell you a bit about Laura… She has spent twenty plus years of supporting people to find meaning, purpose and satisfaction in their lives as a pioneer in the personal coaching field and a best-selling author, sought-after speaker, corporate spokesperson and interfaith minister. Laura’s years as a professional musical theater performer helped form her no-nonsense, entertaining writing and speaking style that has helped her uplifting messages spread far and wide. (And since we made her sing during the Now What?® training, I can tell you she can still belt it out and then some.) Frankly I think Laura could make reading the telephone listings entertaining and insightful.

Laura has also been a media perennial for years. Her appearances on Oprah, The CBS Early Show, NBC’s Today, Good Morning America, various nationally syndicated and cable outlets as well as a long stint as contributing editor for Redbook Magazine and in other major print and digital media have helped her reach millions of people who want to improve their work and life. This is one more reason why I am so humbled and grateful to be able to have her as my guest!

Our conversation drives home the importance of making decisions in a new way, one much more tuned into your intuition which is the very thing I am so passionate about (there’s a reason Intuitive Intelligence™ is the next evolution of my work).  You’ll love Laura’s story and her transparent, honest insight into what has made her so successful as a business owner and as a woman of many talents (mother, wife, performer, interfaith minister, and more).

You can learn more about the many things Laura offers at her website http://www.laurabermanfortgang.com/ and learn more about The Prosperity Plan (the book and experiencing those principles live with Laura as your guide – I’ve done it and it is powerful!) at http://www.theprosperityplan.net.

Now snuggle up or download and get your body moving…either way you’ll want to listen.
Running Time: 30 minutes

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How to Prioritize When Everything is a Priority

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