I received an email asking if I do one-off consultations, to which I immediately replied, “Yes!”. When I followed-up with her a few weeks later, here’s an abstract of what she said in return:
“I decided against financial counseling at the moment just because I don’t think I’d listen to any advice and rather think I’d really only want to hear ‘you’re doing great!'”
Ha! I love her transparency and honesty, and I told her so.
Her degree of self-awareness is priceless. It took guts for her to disclose what she wrote. And I really appreciate it because, in truth, she likely (and bravely) expressed what many people feel but rarely admit to anyone but themselves.
And, I don’t blame her.
So much of what is touted as financial advice today (or information as advice) puts people on a guilt/shame trip. Even if you’re doing great, you still feel like you’re not doing enough. Even if the proffered suggestions are for your benefit, you just don’t want to hear you need to tweak anything.
Can you relate? I know I sure can.
You and I have an intriguing relationship with feedback. On one had, we want and we know we need it. Yet, as this member of our online community exemplifies we prefer a certain kind of feedback. We want to hear the Tony-the-Tiger version of “you’re doing great!” To hear anything otherwise is akin to hearing you’re wrong.
Don’t Disturb This Groove
Indeed, the need to be right may be holding her back. But I credit this reader with listening to herself and making changes at a pace that feels comfortable. And I have every confidence that she’ll know when she’s ready to hear my perspective and will reach out, again, when the time is right for her.
That said, here’s something I know for sure:
While the pop/R&B song from the late 80s would have you believe otherwise, you need to disturb some aspect of your groove for progress to happen.
The sentiment expressed in her response is another example that illustrates just how connected emotions are to your actions and behavior…and how they can also be connected to your net worth. For you and me, her revelation provides both priceless and relevant lessons and reminders that reach far beyond money, though:
- Some changes in your life only happen when you’re ready.
- Other changes happen regardless of your readiness, but your acceptance of those changes only happen when you’re ready.
- Feedback works best when you are open and your curiosity about what you don’t know exceeds your comfort zone with what you do know.
- The possibilities of the unknown must excite you more than your current set of circumstances.
- The discovery process of moving from the unknown to the known must affirm + inflate your ego and sense of self-worth more than what you’re currently experiencing.
- The conflict between wanting to be right and wanting to avoid being wrong must be low on the spectrum of low to high.
The sentiment behind – “I’d really only want to hear, ‘you’re doing great!'” – brings to mind the very unscientific survey I conducted last year. I randomly asked total strangers on the streets of Brooklyn what came to mind for them when they thought of love and money. One of the respondents said, “We don’t talk about it…I don’t want to talk about it because then I’d feel like I have to do something.”
How fascinating that both the reader and survey respondent made the assumption that what will be discovered will somehow be less than desirable.
How fascinating that in both instances what’s implied is the notion that your freedom, independence, and ability to choose will somehow be diminished.
The need to be right; the need to feel accepted; the desire to feel affirmed are all natural and understandable. After all, emotions are the undercurrent of your actions and behavior. You filter every decision, including those concerning money, through the lens of your emotions.
The challenge, always, is to make sure your emotions are working for you…not against you delaying or blocking you from getting even more from your money and for your life than you could ever imagine!
In the end, the key is to remember that excellent financial advice doesn’t need to put you on a guilt or shame trip to be valuable and effective. It is absolutely possible to get feedback that may differ than what you’d expect AND hear, “you’re doing great!”.
Financial advice can be constructive and satisfy your need to be right and to feel accepted and affirmed.
p.s. Given that the question that inspired today’s post came from a long-time reader, it’s clear I need to do a better job of marketing. So on the off-chance you’re wondering if I provide one-off consultations, you can click here to learn more about how to work with me.
p.p.s. The realm of love + money is a perfect playground for working out and working on the sentiments of wanting to be right and wanting to hear, ‘you’re doing great!’. I got a chance to address these themes with Monique Brown, host of The Total Woman Summit and founder of the Feminine Allure Academy. My interview went live last week (sorry for the delayed announcement), but click here to check it out the replay. The response has been tremendous!
“How strange that the nature of life is change, yet the nature of human beings is to resist change.” Elizabeth Lesser
With the recent death of my mother, my life as I knew it has been completely upended. I feel slightly adrift and a bit unsettled as I negotiate an awkward emotional space and navigate the unfamiliar gray zone that comes with any transition.
I’m dealing with:
- a sizeable dose of uncertainty about new responsibilities and new choices;
- a little bit of overwhelm about the multitude of decisions to be made and actions to be taken;
- some identity adjustments that are afoot.
Talk about having my comfort zone interrupted!
But let’s face it, the “symptoms” of my life change aren’t unique to me or to circumstances of death. They accompany almost any major transition whether it’s been willfully initiated or unwilling imposed – whether it’s of a sad or happy nature.
In truth, the symptoms I’ve described could equally apply to you. So, the question isn’t so much if you’ll experience a major change over the course of your life. It’s not even really a matter of “when.” It is…
How will you manage the impact of the life change on your emotions and your finances – especially when your comfort zone has been dramatically altered?
To begin to answer this question, the definition of what triggers a transition needs to be expanded beyond the usual culprits of death, birth, divorce, and marriage to encompass a multitude of life-stage and life-style changes. Similarly, you need to acknowledge what’s really happening when a life change event occurs: you’re recalibrating your journey. That means you need to adjust your life + financial road and role maps.
Editing these maps will help you (and me) manage the questions that arise during the temporary state between what was, what is and what will be. It’ll help us address the anxiety, indecision, and fear that bubbles up. It’ll provide some structure and guidance to help us re-boot.
In March of this year, I asked Valerie Coleman Morris (former business anchor for CNN) to be my guest for this month’s Financial Intimacy Hour and we agreed that we’d focus on the theme of transitions. At the time, I had no idea the topic would hit so close to home. There’s a part of me that would rather stay in my cocoon and skip this topic. But that wouldn’t be honoring my mother and how she lived and faced disappointments and challenges.
So, on Wednesday, September 17th at 8pm EDT, the Financial Intimacy Hour is coming off of summer break. And I hope you’ll join me and my guest for, “Comfort Zone, Interrupted! How to Thrive In and Through Your Next Major Life Change.”
You’ll learn how to:
- re-gain your focus even as things remain unsettled. A cloudy mind makes poor choices.
- re-prioritize the decisions you make and the actions you take. When you’re in the throes of a transition, managing your energy becomes critically important!
- redesign your road + role maps so that your money supports you as you shift from where you are to where you want to be.
Life doesn’t come with a nicely-bound operating manual. Which is primarily why the problem with change is how change disrupts your comfort zone. Transitions prompt a realignment of expectations, emotions and personal finances. This is true whether your life change causes you to celebrate – like a new job, new client, new relationship, marriage, birth/adoption – or it’s something that causes you to mourn – like death, divorce, lost client, lost friendship, failed business.
I’m excited for the big-picture conversation we’ll have next week about how to manage your money as your life evolves and flows from stage to stage. Likewise, I’m looking forward to sharing with you practical resources aimed at helping you move into your next phase with as much grace and ease as possible.
I want for you what I desire for myself: to feel more sure-footed, confident and clear-headed, and to be more at peace with the unknown.
Even if you’re not in the midst of a major life change, I invite you to join us…you’ll learn how to survive and thrive the next one when it comes.
Unless you follow me on social media or are on my e-list, you may not have heard: my beloved mother, Fontilla A. Timmons, died peacefully on Monday, August 4th.
I miss my mother terribly and am still mad at cancer for what it did to her body, for taking her away, way too soon. In the world according to me, she had so much still to give; she had more years of singing ahead of her; she had more years of volunteering ahead of her; she had more years of playing xbox (something I don’t even know how to do!); she had more years of fussing at her cat, Ella, or giving the Yankees a talking to when they played poorly; she and I were to simply have more years together; she was to walk me down the aisle should I ever get married.
In case you can’t tell, I love my mother tremendously. I was very, very fortunate to have been born to and raised by her – to have been loved so deeply and unconditionally by her. She was an awesome woman and a great mother, and that isn’t a blessing I take for granted.
A petite woman (5’2″) with a BIG personality, my mother was a pioneer in many ways – not at all concerned about trying to fit in. A necessary trait for a woman whom for many years was the only female softball umpire in Western New York!
Her mantra was “love and accept yourself.” Do this, and you can love and accept others just as they are; do this, and you won’t need to seek other people’s approval to live your life. This is how she rolled; this is what she exposed me to as a young child; but it is only as an adult did I recognize her example as such AND as an invaluable lesson and life-skill to have.
To say that my heart remains heavy is an understatement. I may be back in NYC and I may have resumed my work schedule as of this week, but I am walking around in a bit of a daze, still trying to adjust to my new reality.
My mother had been sick for several years, and every day she fought cancer valiantly. I marveled at her grace and gratitude every step of the way – especially the last two weeks of her life, which were a particularly sweet time for us. And, I am forever grateful that when she took her last breath, it was just as when I took my first — we were together.
The celebration of my mother’s life was held on Friday, August 8th. It was precisely how I wanted it to be…how I wanted to honor her.
Every decision I made about her day was filtered through these three words: meaningful, beautiful, and intimate.
- It’s why her services were held at St. Bonaventure’s University Chapel.
- It’s why we opened her celebration with one of her songs, her rendition of “You and I.” (Mommy’s first career was as a professional singer.)
- It’s why the processional was Father Francis walking me down the aisle with me carrying my mother’s urn, with African drumming in the background.
- It’s why one of my dearest friends, Toni Booker, sang my mother and I’s favorite song “His Eye Is On the Sparrow” and “Precious Lord.”
- It’s why every speaker preceded their comments by reading a verse from my mother’s favorite scriptures.
- It’s why “Ave Maria” came after Father Francis’ sermonic reflection but before I read the poem, “A Child Loaned” and shared my “Loving Memories.”
- It’s why all who gathered held hands and prayed “Our Father Who Art in Heaven” in unison.
- It’s why the closing prayer was ecumenical.
- It’s why the recessional music was “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.
- It’s why the repast was a fish-fry dinner…at the Elks Club.
During a moment of quiet reflection, I would realize that the same three words that guided how I designed my mother’s celebration also described the relationship my mother had with me and her/our countless friends. These words also exemplified how my mother handled her affairs.
Talk about having it together…
- Mommy died without a mortgage – her house may be modest but it is paid in full.
- Her consumer debt is negligible.
- I am a single child, yet she still made certain all her legal paperwork was in order: Will, Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy, Insurance. Likewise, we held certain accounts in joint-name so that I could easily pay her bills when such a time as this came to fruition.
In other words, my mother made certain that my grieving wouldn’t be interrupted by unresolved financial concerns or unaddressed financial matters. Unlike some who fall prey to poor planning, short-sightedness, and fear, my mother had the foresight, discipline, and desire to plan ahead.
Even in death, she continues to nurture me. Even in death, she continues to shape how I show up in the world and provide an example of how to live…how to rock it out! For this and soooo many other things, my gratitude is beyond measure.
Mommy, I miss you and love you!! And, just as you refused to let cancer steal your spirit and love and joy for life and living, I promise not to let grief steal mine.
p.s. to learn more about my mother – aka the woman who means the world to me – click here to read what I wrote the day of her death (you don’t need Facebook) and click here for her obituary.
p.p.s. It also means the world to me that you read my tribute to my mother. Now, I hope you’ll take action! Please make sure your financial affairs are in order – get your documents together; have the awkward conversations with family members and close friends; schedule the uncomfortable but necessary meetings. Grieving unencumbered is a truly a wonderful gift to get and to give. And if you’re not sure where to begin, start with my interview of Lori Anne Douglass, Esq. Click here to download the mp3.
We are officially mid-way through 2014. True, this isn’t a newsflash. But did you know this a perfect time to do a financial review?
I know, I know, your mind is set on relaxing and having “hot fun in the summertime!” Who wants to (strategically) think about their money right now?
Yet, this half-way point represents a perfect time to do a review of your money and money-based goals. The slower pace is an invitation to pause, evaluate, reflect and perhaps press “reset.” Something you’re likely doing professionally, anyway.
Even if you’re not steeped in a traditional “corporate” work environment, you might be engaged in a mid-year performance review process of some sort. So, why not do the same when it comes to your finances? Why not take a pulse check and compare where you are vs. where you thought you’d be by now – six months into the year?
This makes July the perfect time to apply the concept and exercise of a mid-year workplace performance review to your finances.
A financial review allows you to identify opportunities you may have overlooked up to this point and/or to identify tweaks that will enable you to course-correct for the six months ahead.
Here’s a three-phase “looking” process, along with questions, that will:
- ensure you stay conscious about what’s going on with your money, and
- also potentially set you up to experience (even more) financial success and finish the year strong.
Looking at Now
- Pull your banking, investment and credit card statements – what are your current balances?
- What habits are you practicing daily, weekly, monthly?
- How do you feel – excited, energized, lethargic, dismayed, or something else?
- What goals did you set at the beginning of the year?
- What habits did you commit to changing or developing?
- How do these measure up to where you are now? Are you on/off track?
- What mistakes (in action or judgment) did you make?
- What did you accomplish?
- How proud do you feel about the progress you’ve made? How disappointed do you feel about where you’ve fallen short?
- As a result of the two phases above, do you need to change any goals or any of the parameters you’ve established for achieving them – in other words, is a “reset” in order?
- What new goals or habits would you add to your plate for the next six months?
- If distractions and unexpected commitments threw you off-course, what do you intend to do to minimize how these may negatively impact you moving forward?
- What would make you feel most satisfied when 12/31 arrives?
Performing a financial review is not only helpful for confirming what has happened and shedding light as to why your results are what they are, but it can also serve as a preview for what’s to come.
This exercise can help you objectively assess and adjust the choices you’re making and provide insight as to the ones you’d benefit from making. Additionally, it can highlight if the systems, processes and framework you have in place are as supportive of your efforts as you think they are and need them to be.
Are you dreading doing this financial review because it’s summer; because you don’t want to face what you’ll discover; or both?
Well, remember this: it’s perfectly fine for you to be in vacation mode…your money, not so much! Your money should be working for you 24/7/365.
Second, if you’re concerned about how long this will take, then break it down – carve out three (3) 30-minute windows – maybe during lunch – to address each phase noted above.
Finally, focus on the power you’ll gain from the insight you’ll discover as a result of having a meaningful conversation “with” your money.
Need another incentive to perform a mid-year financial review? Just like any other relationship, your money won’t grow as much as it could without your purposeful attention, direction, and action.
p.s. you’ve completed your mid-year financial review…need help? Join the Financial Intimacy Lounge and let your membership help you finish the year stronger! Click here to learn more to begin your membership, now.
p.p.s. mark your calendar for the next Financial Intimacy Hour session – “The Digital Revolution of Personal Finance: Do Your Apps Know You Better Than You Know Yourself?” Wednesday, 16 July at 1:15pm. Invite available soon.
“My husband lost $100 million.”
Nope that isn’t a typo. Yes, my jaw dropped, too!
This was told to me by the wife of a couple who will appear on “Untying the Knot” – a new reality series on Bravo featuring Vikki Ziegler-Payne as the host and mediator. Vikki is a divorce attorney, a dear friend of mine, and a guest teacher in the Master the Language of Love + Money program.
It’s been several weeks since the premiere party and yet I am still dumbfounded. $100 million…lost…I can’t relate.
Risk creates wealth
I was relaying the story to a friend and expressed my curiosity about wanting to know “the story.” After all, there must be a story, right?!
Very matter-of-factly, he said: “He lost it the same way he earned it.” (I gave him my Scooby Do Huh? look.)
My friend went on further to say this person’s husband was a risk-taker and explained how anyone who has created wealth of any means – but especially to the tune of $100 million – didn’t do it without taking some risks.
Then, he punctuated his point with this:
“Not everyone can be broke.”
In a flash, the gossipy side of my curiosity was replaced by an immense interest in wanting to understand more about how this woman’s husband thought about risk. Specifically, I wanted to know:
- what decisions did he consider “normal” that others viewed as risky and vice versa;
- did he rely on data, instincts or a combination to make decisions;
- when did he realize things were about to go awry;
- what was he feeling and thinking as things were unraveling; and
- how (and when) did get he break the news to his wife. (From my conversation with her at the premiere party, I got a sense of how she reacted…)
When it comes to risk, a common tendency of our culture is to just focus on the two opposite ends of the spectrum, much like a see-saw, where one end represents being conservative (or risk-averse) and the other being speculative (or risk-friendly).
I bump up against this notion often with coaching clients and workshop attendees, and I frequently need to remind people that the prospect of losing money isn’t the only risk with which you must contend. You also need to consider risk in the form of any opportunity costs – and when it pertains to money that is the cost of being so conservative you don’t keep pace with inflation.
But a) there’s a broad spectrum of risk-takers, and b) there’s a lot of space in the middle. And, in my opinion, where you fall on the continuum is in direct proportion to the degree you feel comfortable wading in the water of uncertainty – whether that is about money, career choices or matters of the heart…
Traits of a risk-taker
Choosing to create your own business typically means you’re a risk-taker.
This kind of risk-taker usually has a higher threshold for uncertainty, and is slightly more comfortable with the prospect of going or being broke – relative to someone who hasn’t chosen the entrepreneurial path.
“If money is your hope for independence, you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience and ability.” Henry Ford
But, being a risk-taker doesn’t have to mean being reckless and/or impulsive.
Nor does it mean you’re unafraid – it just means you have the fortitude to do it (whatever “it” is) anyway.
Likewise, being a risk-taker in one domain of your life doesn’t mean that you are such in all areas of your life.
In much the same way you may view and approach money monolithically, you may discover you do the same with risk. And just as it is beneficial to peel away the layers of money, the same is true when it comes to risk. So, with this in mind…
- How do you define risk – and not just with regards to money? Is your definition holding you back, or helping to propel you forward?
- What does being a risk-taker mean to you?
- How comfortable are you with uncertainty – with the unknown?
- What role does comfort play in moving you from one end of the spectrum to the other?
- Where in your life do you play it safe (aka “playing not to lose); where in your life are you a risk-taker (aka “playing to win)?
I bet your answers will reflect what is true for our culture at large: you and I have an interesting (and complicated) relationship with risk.
There’s the infinite list of and excitement about what could go right if the risk pays off.
But there’s also the matter of failure, which many attempt to avoid at almost all costs – often forgetting that some of the best lessons come from failures.
Closely related is the fear of embarrassment – shame, guilt, and the preoccupation with what others may think – often prevent us from taking calculated leaps.
For some, the mere thought of going broke (or losing it all) is unfathomable. Actually experiencing it is really unimaginable!
“To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself.” Soren Kirkegaard.
I certainly know what it feels like to be broke and wonder, “How the hell am I going to pay my rent?” But I’ve never lost it all; I’ve never gone bankrupt; and I’ve never gone hungry or without basic necessities – even during the leanest of times.
Admittedly, I have no idea how much was left over after this couple lost $100 million. But, it’s a dollar amount I can’t imagine losing. So, does that mean I don’t have what it takes to earn $100 million?
Here’s the existential question I’m wrestling with: What, if anything, is the relationship between what you’re willing to lose to what you have or can have?
I’ve been ruminating on this for the past few days – wondering if I would have made different choices if, when things got tight, I would have been able to withstand wading in the waters of uncertainty a bit longer — could I have stood on the edge of brokenness a bit longer…
Granted, none of us can re-write the history of our choices and the consequences thereof. But it’s kinda of enlightening to use takeaways from real-life experiences like this couple’s to learn how to make smart, risky decisions. Especially if they are decisions you won’t regret – regardless of the outcome.
When clients come to me, it is always because they have a question they haven’t been able to answer satisfactorily on their own. The question either begins with, “How do I…?” or “Why do I…?” or “What should I…?”
Their question is usually about an aspect of their money they don’t understand or that they dislike. And, usually there’s more to their question than what meets the eye.
That’s why I thought a recent Charles Schwab ad was awesome. The commercial features a little boy, who with childlike wonder, peppers his father with a series of questions after a visit to their investment broker. The son stops his father in his tracks with this question: “Why not?”
The commercial ends with the father having a quizzical look on his face (because he can’t answer his son) and a voice-over saying, “Are you asking enough questions…?”
I love this commercial for several reasons:
- It challenges the notion of what is considered passive behavior when it comes to money and who is likely to be passive
- It highlights what you don’t know you don’t know
- It reminds us that wisdom can come through unlikely channels (like children)
- It makes a case for how curiosity can unleash your financial power
Money is the trigger
I use my curiosity to help my clients tap into theirs.
It’s how I get them more engaged with their money; it’s how I get them to embrace what they don’t understand or what they dislike.
It’s how I get them to go beyond first base and to see that most money questions are less about the money (in an absolute sense) and more about money in terms of what it will enable them to do.
It’s how I help them to feel more confident and powerful about their financial choices and results.
What is curiosity, really – other than a) an optimism that you’ll get your question answered, coupled with b) just enough skepticism to never stop at the first answer.
Ironically, when you use curiosity as a tool for managing your money, you’re protecting yourself.
Curiosity will ensure you’ll never go too far astray as you navigate financial challenges and opportunities and as you convert ideas and dreams into a plan of action.
Think about the financial choices you’ve made to date. Now imagine if you had applied a tad bit more curiosity to your process. What might be different?
Or, consider a current financial question or challenge you have and imagine how curiosity could help you produce even better results than you currently envision – whether that’s saving or earning more; investing with greater confidence; spending strategically; being on the same financial page as your sweetie. How do you feel?
Hopefully you feel more confident and powerful. Not because you got immediate answers, but because you asked more (and different) questions than you would normally!
On the off-chance you actually feel more tense than powerful, don’t resist it. It just means you need to ask even more questions – like the fictional character in the Charles Schwab commercial.
Questions coupled with a healthy dose of optimism and skepticism can help you unlock your full financial power – and, thus, positively influence your financial choices and results.
So, if I were on the Charles Schwab ad team, I’d make a complementary commercial with the father and son going back to the broker to get answers to the questions the son asked!
p.s. how might being a member of the Financial Intimacy Lounge help you unlock your full financial power? Click here to learn more and to join.
What happens when you find something boring – even when you know it is good for you? You typically avoid it, right?
For many people, managing their money fits this bill. It is akin to watching paint dry – that is how painfully b.o.r.i.n.g. it is for them. Does this describe you, too? Sure, you might enjoy earning money (who doesn’t?), but when it comes to all the other aspects of it…well, that’s another story.
However, has it ever occurred to you that the reason you find money boring has little to do with money?
Money isn’t boring; you just need to be more curious!
Curiosity as a tool
Heidi Johnson, of FridayPrize.com, advocates following your curiosity over following your passion to discover “work worth doing.” During a recent conversation with her, not only did I think she was onto something with her message, I realized that the practice of curiosity is probably one of the most under-utilized skills for making and having more money.
Think about it: how much of your success, personally and professionally, is because you had the mindset of curiosity. You wanted to go beneath the surface and discover more; you were open to new experiences and decisions?
With this in mind, here’s me taking a stab at illustrating how dialing-up your curiosity can actually get you excited about all aspects of money in ways you may not have imagined before. Why does this matter? Because excited and open is a useful combo that will make sure you:
- are less haphazard in your approach to money
- position yourself to make better choices
- ask for help when you need it
- miss fewer opportunities to grow your money
- amplify your efforts to experience life more on your own terms
When you practice more curiosity, you…
1) Listen more. When you’re a great listener, you pay attention both to what is said as well as what isn’t said. You hone in on clues of all types.
When it comes to money, “listening” takes the form of paying attention to the feedback money is giving you about the quality of the choices you’re making.
2) Are comfortable admitting you don’t know it all; in fact, you see asking questions and asking for help as signs of strength. The process of and then getting answers is what fuels you!
When it comes to money, this means reading articles, blogs and books; taking classes and courses; speaking with family, friends and colleagues; and working with professionals to get help closing your knowledge gaps, or to get guidance you didn’t know you needed.
3) Think like a scientist. Curiosity is at the core of what a scientist does, right? Inquiry, research, find some answers, dig a bit deeper. Repeat. This is the spirit of experimentation.
When it comes to money thinking like a scientist means creating a process to develop the results you desire and honoring this process just as much as you do the results.
4) Have a plan; you have a strategy; but you are fluid about your tactics.
When it comes to money, this means not freaking out when the market drops or when you make a choice that turns out to be a mistake. Why? Because you a) prepared for the unexpected, b) know growth and success are not linear, and c) you have a plan and a strategy – aka a map – for rebounding with as much ease as possible.
5) Peel away the layers until you see the real problem; not just what’s obvious.
When it comes to money, especially when you’re struggling with debt, this means figuring out if what you really have is an earnings problem.
The problem with thinking money is boring is that you unwittingly succumb to one of the biggest financial handicaps you can have. It is a sentiment that locks you in and can cause you to forget that life is about stages and with each stage comes new challenges and new issues.
In my opinion, one of the biggest appeals to using the mindset of curiosity as a tool to manage your money is that it invites you to live more by-design (rather than by-default).
To me, curiosity is inherent. But it can also be developed with intention. And, I have come to the conclusion that it is a skill your money needs you to have!
Curiosity…use it more and let me know if your financial results improve as I suspect they will.
On this beautiful Saturday afternoon, you and your friends may not be lounging about, sipping a cool, refreshing beverage and talking about “identities” and “emotional intelligence” and “financial intimacy.” But the truth is every financial and career choice you make is a reflection of how you see yourself and your degree of self-awareness.
So is how you define and experience the American Dream.
If you were with us on Wednesday for the in-person presentation of this month’s Financial Intimacy Hour, you know we had a phenomenal time. If you weren’t and you’re curious about what you missed, click here to grab the replay.
Leading up to the “American Dream? Rethinking Race, Gender and Financial Success,” I wrote several posts talking about trends impacting our economic and employment landscapes. Trends that will certainly affect you and your livelihood if they haven’t already.
- I shared stats like 4.4 years; 42 million people; $12 trillion; and the “browning” of America. Combined, these data points tell an intriguing story about where we are in our cultural, economic, and employment history.
- I talked about why bridging emotional intelligence and financial intimacy is a must-have if you want to effectively and proactively manage your career and your finances.
What I didn’t reveal here as clearly as I did that night was why I felt this conversation was an important one to have – right now.
As you probably know, I am an observer. Noticing patterns that others miss or discount is one of my strengths.
And a pattern that caught my attention can be summed up with these five words, “When things get back to…”
It feels like I’m hearing this sentiment more and more, especially from some clients and prospects who lost a job, significant money, or both as a result of the 2008 crash and the Great Recession that followed. And…they still haven’t recovered (or not as completely as they’d hoped.)
Their longing to get back to the way things were is deep. Understandably, yet still unfortunate, the desire to get back to the comfort and safety they once felt is so strong, they are missing the signals that indicate a new reality has formed, a new normal is afoot.
They are stuck in a time warp and not adjusting too well – emotionally, psychically or financially.
As someone shared with me, the aftermath of 2008 felt like a game of “musical chairs and when the music stopped I didn’t have a place to sit.”
What a perfect metaphor for what so many (perhaps even you?) are experiencing. If you ever played musical chairs, you know it sucks when the music stops, the seats are all gone and there’s no room for you in the circle. And this is precisely why I wanted to talk about the American Dream in the context of race, gender and financial success.
I wanted to explore how the above-mentioned trends reflect your identity through the prism of your personal finances and the American Dream. Especially if you feel slightly uprooted.
How do you see yourself; how do you want others to see you; and how does the reality of where you are today relative to where you’d thought you’d be compare? If the mirror is reflecting back anything other than what excites you and has you wishing things were as they used to be, click here to grab the replay of “American Dream? Rethinking Race, Gender and Financial Success.”
My conversation with Dr. Atira Charles will not only increase your emotional and financial self-awareness, but you’ll also have specifics steps to help you shift from longing for how things were to being excited about what is and can be. And because the principles we share are universal, you’ll get something from this even if what has you feeling a bit nostalgic has absolutely nothing to do with money or your career.
Enjoy…and then let me know of a major takeaway!
This current work + money series culminates with an in-person event next week. I’m so excited for, “American Dream? Rethinking Race, Gender, and Financial Success,” on Wednesday, May 28th because the evening is all about you and your dreams – the ones you’ve fulfilled as well as those you’ve abandoned by choice or circumstance.
If what you’re doing today is totally unlike what you dreamed of doing as a child and you feel something is missing, you should join us.
If you’re one of the many that was RIFd (the new term for being downsized) and your period of unemployment has led you to the conclusion that working for yourself is a better, more secure option, you should join us.
If you’re working but have found yourself in the new-classic situation of being over-qualified but under-employed, you should join us.
If you’re just plan curious about what more you can do to live the American Dream in your signature way, you should join us.
If you’re looking to refresh your tool-kit and add to it ideas, tools, and strategies that will help you more effectively manage your career and your money, you should join us.
With my guest, Dr. Atira Charles, we’re talking about you, your work and your wealth, and sharing tools and strategies to help you redefine and recalibrate your reality to match your American Dream.
Dreams begin with…
What do you remember about what you wanted to be when you were a child?
Are you doing that work today?
When I was about four or five years old, I remember wanting to be a nurse.
By eight or nine, that shifted: I wanted to be an oceanographer and work with Jacques-Yves Cousteau.
In high school, I decided I wanted to be a shoe designer. The inspiration: my part-time job at the mall.
In terms of “work type,” I obviously am not doing any of these things today. But I am living out the essence of each of these professions by:
- helping people have a healthy relationship with their money;
- connecting with people by way of my fascination with human behavior, zeal for life, and natural state of wonder and curiosity; and
- using the principles of design as a discipline (or tool) to help people find viable solutions to fulfill their desires and solve their problems and challenges.
Do you see what you wanted to see?
In large measure, the American Dream is about who you are and what you do? It’s about how you see yourself; it is about your identity. This matters to you as the dreamer and affects those whom you love and who love you.
So, when someone asks – “What do you do? or “What have you been up to lately?” or “How’s business?” – it can trigger a range of emotions about where you are relative to your expecatations. Because deeply embedded in how you feel about your reply is how you see yourself and how you want others to see you.
Therefore, these questions can take you on an existential journey and prompt you to wonder: “What am I doing with my life?” or “What does it all mean?” Especially at this time in our cultural, economic, and employment history when so much about how you and I live and work has shifted. Today’s framework is much different than our parents!
As I said last week, personal finance is a career issue. Given stats like 4.4 years, 42 million, and 83%, it’s hard to imagine that you haven’t had to redefine your identity and/or reconcile the reality of your life with the “dream” you thought it would (or could) be.
With my guest, Dr. Atira Charles, our goal is to help you answer these questions so you can live the American Dream on your terms. Think of the evening as an opportunity to learn more about yourself, and turn that insight into an enhanced sense of personal power and fulfillment. After all, self-awareness is a critical key to maximum effectiveness.
I hope to see you next week if you are in the New York City area. The session will be held at my alma mater, Fordham University’s Graduate School of Business (at Lincoln Center), on Wednesday, May 28th at 6pm. The event is free, but you must register to attend. Click here to register.
Don’t live in the NY tri-state area…then, I’d appreciate you sharing this post with a friend, colleague, or family member who does.
And if you read this far but didn’t watch the above video, what are you waiting for? Check it out to get a glimpse of what you’ll experience during this in-person event to explore how emotional intelligence + financial intimacy affect your life and lifestyle.
Special note: Today is the final day to join the Financial Intimacy Lounge Membership at the Charter Member rate of $47 a month. To lock in this special rate, click here. Tomorrow the rate increases to $97 a month.
Each day you are making or producing something that someone else is consuming, experiencing or interacting with.
This is why, when I had the good fortune to hear Russell Simmons speak at an event sponsored by Credit Suisse, the following statement really resonated with me:
“You can’t make a good record worrying about the money you’re going to make. It’s all about the melody.” Russell Simmons
You don’t have to be an artist to be creative. And, you don’t have to be a musician to embrace his statement. It’s application extends far beyond the music industry and it is perfect for this installment in my work + money series.
What Comes First
Last week I shared two stats that shed light on two trends affecting today’s economic and employment landscapes: 4.4 years and 42 million. (If you missed it, click here.)
Here’s today’s staggering number: 83%.
According to the Society of Human Resource Management, 83% of HR managers said personal finance problems had an impact on employee performance. Not surprisingly, money pressures:
- distract employees
- keep people feeling trapped and without options
- create a great deal of stress
- tend to narrow your scope of vision and seduce you into focusing on what’s not present vs. what could be.
Couple this with the growing practice of companies rescinding offers because of negative feedback from credit checks and reports and the obvious just becomes even more so: personal finance is a career issue.
If you’re worried about money, it’s hard to be creative.
If you’re worried about money, it’s hard to perform at your peak.
If you run a business and are worried about money, it’s hard to keep clients and attract your ideal prospects.
The reality of personal finances being a career issue doesn’t just pop up when times are financially challenging. It’s just as relevant when you are experiencing financial success, too.
So whether the goal is to deal with a financial problem or to make more money, the way out of financial problems or to get to the next level isn’t to focus on the money!
This is why I thought Russell’s statement was such a gem. His words…
- perfectly describe the relationship between work + money.
- silently instruct you on what to do if you’re having financial problems.
- invite you to focus on doing great work and letting go of being attached to how the effort connected to any one endeavor will payoff.
Your Money, Your Career…and the American Dream?
With about fourteen words, Russell taps into the key elements of the American Dream: work, money and freedom. We get a glimpse of the magic that happens when you operate with the mindset of money being a by-product of – not simply the end goal.
And while how you desire to experience the American Dream may differ from Russell’s, it’s pretty safe to assume he’s living his!
But, are you living yours?
Are you proactively managing your career choices, which undoubtedly affects your personal finances?
Are you effectively managing your personal finances so that you have the time, creative and financial freedom to work how you want, when you want, where you want and why you want?
When it comes to the American Dream, it wouldn’t behoove you to parse out the elements of work, money, and freedom. Therefore, you can’t ignore the need to increase your emotional intelligence (read: manage your career well); you also can’t ignore the invitation to deepen your financial intimacy (read: manage your money more effectively).
It also wouldn’t serve you to overlook other factors that affect how you experience the American Dream: race and gender.
As such, I invite you to join me on Wednesday, 28 May for a fascinating conversation exploring the many layers of the American Dream.
“American Dream? Rethinking Race, Gender, and Financial Success” is the focus of this month’s Financial Intimacy Hour, which is being hosted by my alma mater Fordham University’s Graduate School of Business.
During this in-person event, I’m interviewing Dr. Atira Charles and we’re going to make certain you have the emotional intelligence and financial intimacy skills to effectively manage your career…and your money. Especially if – in this ever-evolving economic and employment environment – you’re wondering about the future of your American Dream.
The event is free! So, if you live in the New York City area, click here to learn more and to register.
p.s. May 15 at 11:59pm EDT is the deadline to become a Charter Member of the Financial Intimacy Lounge (which means a 50% discount off the monthly fee). Join us today to become a part of a dynamic community of individuals who get that personal finance is a career issue and want to avail themselves of resources to help them manage their money (and career) choices, well!