I bet like me you were told (and continue to hear) that to get ahead or to reach the next level you have to work hard.
Work harder, and you’ll accomplish more; work harder, and you’ll be better; work harder, and you’ll get the results you want.
Our culture has such a reverence for hard work; we make it seem as if all you have to do to be guaranteed success and wealth is: work hard(er).
The Delusion of Hard Work
Though worn as a badge of honor by many, ‘hard work’ is such a loaded phrase. And usually what comes with it is the expectation of long hours and weekends and minimal “me” time – which is regularly associated with success, which is frequently linked to earning a lot of money.
But as you know – maybe even from personal experience – there are a lot of people who work hard yet feel short changed when it comes to success and wealth.
On the off-chance you and I are not operating with the same definition of ‘hard work,’ let me be clear: I am not talking about hard work that comes from challenging yourself to reach beyond your limits – that expands your confidence because you overcame a difficult task or met a monumental milestone.
When I talk about the delusion of hard work, I’m speaking of ‘hard work’ as a constant state of being that lauds struggle and dismisses ease.
When struggle trumps ease, all hell breaks loose – if not immediately, then eventually. And as a result, you tend to:
- Conflate the relationship between time and money with the relationship between time and work. They are NOT one-in-the-same and your income doesn’t have to be proportional to your investment of time.
- Conflate ‘hard work’ with focused-effort, discipline, consistency, practice, and a willingness to experiment.
- Assume there’s something wrong if what you’re doing doesn’t always require ‘hard work’ and it isn’t experienced as difficult. This way of being can become so “natural” for you that it extends beyond your work to include your personal relationships and how you relate to and manage your money, as well!
All this presents a conundrum for successful, financially-aware people like you – particularly if you’ve been operating under the spell of what I call the traditional, old-way of thinking about ‘hard work’.
Literally, you tend to work harder for your money than it does for you. Metaphorically, you work harder for your money than it does for you because you don’t have fun managing all aspects of it; so you’re likely to pay less attention to the parts you don’t like.
Another problem: You’re more likely to resist and close your eyes to new information, especially if it contradicts the reality you want to keep or are simply comfortable keeping.
Hard Work: Redefined
It is true: Work is an important element to your success – financial or otherwise. But if we look at ‘work,’ and the results thereof, as a derivative of focused-effort, discipline, consistency, practice, and a willingness to experiment, then the big question becomes: Are you doing what matters when it matters?
Of course, this presupposes you KNOW what matters and when it needs to get done!
Let me know by leaving a comment!
Ah, man…I wanted nothing more than to follow through on what I promised last week. To write and say, “Yeah baby, we’re live. Check out my new website!!”
But alas, I am not
We need a little more time.
The wait won’t be long, though; we will be ready to go live next week. However, my “announcement” post is not appropriate for today.
Everything has a rhythm
When I was thinking of what to write about instead, the lyrics of an old funk song by Parliament Funkadelic popped to mind: “…if it don’t fit, don’t force it…”
From the beginning, I have thought of this series of behind-the-scenes posts as “shadows.” Meaning: my intent for sharing the lessons I have learned, during this period of transformation, is/was so they could serve a purpose for you, too.
I guess this experience has another lesson for you and me to (re)learn. Continue Reading…
What if tomorrow morning you woke up to the news that you closed the deal and got THAT contract?
What if the meeting on your calendar for tomorrow afternoon was to announce your nomination to become an equity partner at your law firm or consulting practice?
What if you get a letter requesting your presence at the reading of the last will and testament of a beloved family member; you were bequeathed a sizeable inheritance.
What if, on a lark, you actually played the lottery and during the 11pm news you hear your numbers…you freaking won!
From X to Y
Whether by talent, discipline, and hard work; generosity; or pure damn luck, you went to bed having X. And now you have Y.
This is a moment you’ve thought of often. You probably even have a list of things you’d do and buy if the windfall you’ve been preparing for and/or praying for happens.
But now, what was once considered a “one-day, maybe” goal or fantasy is a full-on reality.
You now have more money than you’ve ever had. You are suddenly rich – oh, by about six- or seven-figures.
Pretty damn cool, eh?!
Your new financial reality changes EVERYTHING!
It changes what you can do; it changes what you no longer have to do; it changes many elements of your lifestyle; and more.
It sounds absolutely wonderful, doesn’t it?! You welcome this kind of change with arms wide open.
Eventually though, the excitement settles and you soon find yourself wrestling with a very logical question: “What the hell do I (really) do with all this money?”
Last week, I had the awesome pleasure and privilege to speak with a group asking just such a question.
I thought I’d share a few of the tips I presented during last week’s workshop. Why? Because you very well could find yourself in a similar position as them, albeit for very different reasons.
And because windfalls, no matter the size, usually find you a bit unprepared for them.
So, let’s start there…
1. Windfalls require adjustments
An aspect of becoming suddenly rich that is often overlooked is this: When you get more, you have to increase your capacity to handle more.
With more money, comes more responsibility. More responsibility typically involves different decisions and choices than what you’re accustomed to making.
When you read this, you might find yourself saying, “duh, Jacquette!”
Yet, most suddenly rich people expect everything (and maybe everyone) around them to change. But they don’t realize they need to change too!!
2. Windfalls don’t mask blind spots (they exacerbate them!)
Some people believe more money alone will change how they experience money. But here’s the real deal: How you handle a $1 will be the same way you will handle $1million. Unless you invest the time to discover your blind spots and adjust accordingly.
3. Windfalls require a plan of action
To go beyond being suddenly rich to becoming gradually wealthy (or wealthier), your windfall needs direction…you and it need a plan of action.
Think of your plan as a financial playbook for how the different spheres of your “financial wheel” (earn, save, invest, spend) work independently and how they “talk” to each other.
A well documented plan should help you manage your new financial reality, with specific strategies, policies and processes. A well executed plan is best achieved with a team of independent experts – each accountable for specific outcomes. A well followed plan has built-in oversight.
4. Windfalls demand you proactively think about “what could possibly go wrong?”
Just as windfalls exacerbate blind spots; they also highlight human nature. That means you need to be brutally honest about what could possibly go wrong. And, that ranges from acknowledging the probability of losing all of what you’ve gained due to poor choices, poor management or poor counsel to acknowledging that family and friends may have unrealistic expectations about what YOU should do with your money. Having a “what could possibly go wrong game-plan?” will help you mitigate your risks (financial and otherwise).
From suddenly rich to gradually wealthy (or wealthier)
When I spoke with my group of suddenly rich folks last week, I talked about mindset, behavior, and choices (what a surprise, right?!). I talked about how their windfall was a financial springboard, and how it is an invitation to be a better steward of their resources.
Luck of the lottery-winner type had very little to do with why we were in a room together; they were there due to their talent, hard work, dedication, focus and sacrifice. A smorgasbord of ingredients that can likely lead to your very own suddenly rich moment.
I am not a biblical scholar, but when I think of how best I can help suddenly rich people navigate and negotiate this new terrain – in terms of dollars and the emotions that go with – I recall the passage Matthew 7:13-14:
The Narrow and Wide Gates
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. NIV
Should you become suddenly rich, the above tips will help you go through the narrow gate. (By the way, if Christianity or religion, in general, isn’t your thing, then just think of the wide gate as “the easy, get by with little effort, non-strategic way” and the narrow gate as “the hard, put in the effort, strategic way”.)
It is the narrow gate that will minimize all that could possibly go wrong. From losing all of your windfall and ending up broke to having fractured personal relationships due to misplaced expectations.
It is the narrow gate that leads to gradual wealth.
p.s. is having a business of your own (full-time or on the side) part of your becoming “suddenly rich” strategy? If so, check out Jullien Gordon’s program – B.P.A.I.D. (You may recall he was my guest expert teacher last month.)
At first, I thought I was too advanced in my business for the program because I’ve been going hard for many years now, but Jullien taught me how to hustle smarter, not harder. I participated in B.P.A.I.D. just as I am approaching the finish line of an 18-month business re-engineering & re-branding exercise and process. I highly recommend this program to anyone seeking more financial freedom because Jullien has a wealth of information. And for those of you who are still working full-time jobs, by the end of the program you will have a legitimate business plan that you can begin as a side hustle right away. If you want to create your D.R.E.A.M. (Desired Relationships Employment And Money) life as Jullien calls it, check out www.bpaid.me. He is a friend, so let him know I sent you.
Tonight’s the night. Tonight is when you get a chance to objectively see (and this is key) if you’re living your life on a continuous loop of the same meetings, activities, and responsibilities – sans any excitement, passion and joy.
It is an opportunity to confront if almost everything about what you do and how is on automatic pilot. It’s a chance to see if you’re living life by your rules.
Actually, it’s a chance to see if you’re living your version of the movie, “Groundhog Day,” which was a continuous loop of the same day!
Tonight is an opportunity to change the script…if you want and if you are ready. It’s an opportunity to discover what you don’t know you don’t know. Heck, when I met Jullien two months ago, I didn’t realize the extent to which I wasn’t living out my perfect average day!
So…will I *see* you later? Will I have the pleasure of introducing you to Jullien Gordon – of JullienGordon.com. As you may recall from last week’s post, Jullien is a speaker, coach and introspective trainer; he’s an innerviewer. And, I’m turning over my mike so that he can show you (and me) how to celebrate independence day more often than one day a year. Click here for more details and to register.
It’s so easy to get lulled into an unexamined routine. It’s familiar; mostly comfortable; and feels safe. But if, like I suspect, you:
- want and expect more from life;
- want to be more intentional about the choices you make and the rules you follow;
- acknowledge that how you spend your time day-in and day-out will determine the quality of your life; and
- want to know how to make small shifts to rock out the rest of 2013…
…then join Jullien and me tonight at 8pm ET. You can grab the details here…and it’s free!
With a simple tool and some profound questions, you’ll experience moments of shock and disbelief (because of what you learn you didn’t know about yourself) that’s matched by moments of excitement, anticipation and a deeper sense of self-awareness and self-trust.
Sounds like a great way to spend about 60-minutes, doesn’t it? Look forward to seeing you later
p.s. if you’re ready to live a more fulfilled life, join us tonight!
As I mentioned earlier, you’ll begin to hear other “voices” via guest posts that I’ve commissioned. And with two-weeks left until the U.S. tax filing deadline for personal taxes, I couldn’t think of a better post than one from Valeri Hall Little – a business efficiency designer and productivity consultant. A combination sorely needed at this time of year, especially if you’re scrambling to pull together your tax-related paperwork :)!
Did you know the average person spends 21 hours assembling and completing his or her tax return? That’s a huge chunk of time you could spend doing other things that you actually enjoy.
Let’s face it; getting ready to file your personal taxes is never fun. Even if you outsource this task to an accountant, you’re still responsible for getting all the paperwork ready so they can do their job effectively.
If you’re looking at a big pile of financial documents right now … or searching for one that has been misplaced, I feel your pain. I’ve been there myself, more than a few times. It always ends with me making a promise that I’ll never go through this torment again. The last few years I’ve kept this promise by following a few simple steps that I want to share with you now.
Make it Easy on Yourself…in 5 Simple Steps
1. Set aside focused time
• Block off 1- or 2-hour chunks of time to organize your financial records.
• Motivate yourself. Put on comfortable clothes, pour your favorite beverage, put on some music. Whatever you have to do to make this task more enjoyable, do it.
• Remove distractions: turn off your smartphone, close your email, log off your social media channels. This has to be uninterrupted time.
2. Select your tools
• You need the right tools to organize your financial papers. I use an accordion file folder and label the tabs according to my needs. Examples include:
o Taxable Income Statements
o Deduction Receipts
o Previous Years Return
Tip: to figure out your tabs, use last year’s tax return as a guide.
3. Seek help
Even if your income tax return is relatively straightforward (i.e. single income, basic expenses and small investments), seek out the services of a certified public accountant (CPA). But this is extremely important if your situation is more complicated (i.e. business owner, numerous expenses and write-offs,). Could you do your taxes yourself, probably. But it isn’t wise when you think about tax code changes and the like.
4. Set up your system
• You don’t want to do this work all over again next year, right? To avoid this, create a system that will make it painless next year. Here’s my system:
o I keep my tax accordion file in my filing cabinet beside my desk. Each time a tax document comes in the mail, I immediately file it in this folder, in the appropriate tab.
o At tax time, I give the entire accordion file to my accountant.
o When I get my tax return back, I file it and all supporting documentation in my Tax Box (see below).
o I return my tax accordion file to my filing cabinet and repeat this process.
• Use a bankers’ box to store all your previous years’ returns. Make sure you label it Tax Box and store it in a location where it will be away from moisture.
• To figure out how long you have to keep your documents, check your government’s website.
• To get ready for the current year, simply re-use the accordion file folder (tabs will be in place) and put it in your filing cabinet.
These five simple steps have saved me countless hours and gray hairs! Getting organized once will save you time, money and energy next year and beyond.
Valeri Hall Little is a business efficiency designer + productivity consultant with intandem. She puts people back in control of their lives and businesses by helping them organize and systematize. Sign up for her e-book, CLEAR Your Clutter: 5 Steps to Move you from Chaos to Control.
p.s. don’t forget about tonight’s webinar – “Do You Have the Mindset to Be Debt-Free” featuring Mindy Crary, CFP + conscious money coach. BTW: organization definitely plays a role in how you experience debt!
p.p.s. You know what’s not so hidden on pg. 94 of the April issue of Ebony Magazine (@EBONYMag)? Muah! Yippee!! Check out my piece for “Ebony Connect U.”
p.p.p.s. the virtual, three-month experience for couples – Master the Language of Love + Money – launches in May!!! Stay tuned for details.
The first thing I do when I get a request for a TV appearance is jot down three to five talking points; the second thing I do is think about what I am going to wear. The latter isn’t as girly or superficial as it seems. What we wear is, after all, part of our communication strategy.
And from my dear friend, Sharon, who is a celebrity stylist, I have learned that what looks good to the naked-eye doesn’t always translate well onscreen – especially with HDtv! Her point: Use your attire to let your personality shine, but not at the expense of your message, mission, and movement.
Channeling Sting & The Police
As I prepare for any speaking engagement, especially one that will be captured on film, I hear Sharon’s “voice” in my head saying things like “remember the colors that I told you look good on-air; avoid distracting patterns; what have you worn on-air recently; be mindful of the dress or skirt length especially if you are sitting down,” etc. I call her voice my “fashion director.”
But I hear other “voices” throughout my day, as well, whether I’m doing a TV appearance, writing, coaching a client, conducting a training seminar, or hanging with my family and friends. These “voices” just didn’t have names until two weeks ago.
I had the awesome pleasure and privilege of being both a speaker and onsite coach at Alexia Vernon’s inaugural Moxie Camp a few weeks ago. One of the many benefits of the weekend was sitting in on the other speakers’ sessions, such as the fabulous Jenny Blake’s. She had us do an exercise from her Make Sh*t Happen program where we focused on identifying our fears and barriers – the ones that show up as “people” in our head when we make big, audacious goals. (Awesome question, right?)
For maximum effect, I am sure, Jenny gave us a few short minutes for this exercise. And below is what I wrote without any deliberation — these are taken from my notes, in the order written:
- Fashion Director
- Creative Director
- Communication Director
- Representation Director
- Legacy Director
Lest you think I am losing my bearings, I bet you have your internal, invisible voices, too. C’mon…admit it -;o) While you are it, why not take a moment to list/label your voices.
After asking us to recognize the “people” (aka voices) in our heads, Jenny then asked us to think about the ways in which our voices amplify our fears as we work toward fulfilling our dreams and goals. And then she said…
…what do you want to say to them… (Damn, that’s powerful!)
What became crystal clear from Jenny’s exercise is that our invisible voices always have something to say. At times, the words are encouraging; at other times, they hinder our progress and growth. With that in mind, I said to mine: Protect me, but don’t block me. (Hmm…I think that is a tweetable – click here to share.)
So tell me, what would you say to your voices? Leave a comment to share both what you’d tell your “people” as well as the labels you’ve given your peeps.
p.s. If you are overwhelmed by debt, you won’t want to miss July’s Q&A Call on Monday, July 16th! Click here for the dial-in details.
Happy New Year!
Yes, I know it’s the end of the month. But it is still January. -;o) Therefore, top-of-the-year greetings are in order, and I hope your New Year is off to a fantastic start!
Can you believe how quickly time is moving? Already we are four weeks into 2012, and by now your inbox has probably been filled with ideas, tools and best practices for how you can make this an incredible year. And yes, I am going to chime in with something else for you to consider. Mine is a suggestion that I bet you didn’t receive – even though it is something we all like to freely give: feedback. In particular, my suggestion is to embrace feedback as a source of improvement, accountability, and inspiration.
But this can only happen if we embrace the message of the feedback and act on the new insight in a focused manner.
Want to know how your feedback made me reevaluate my engagement with you and what I’m now doing differently in 2012?
We kicked off the New Year with a number of changes, including a new team member; please join me in welcoming Jamie DuBose, a virtual-assistant extraordinaire. Our website has a “refreshed” look (what do you think?). One of the many benefits of the new look and format is that now it is easier to associate the blog with our newsletter – a change we are extremely excited about because it will allow you and me to interact even more AND unlike before you can now interact directly with other members of our community. Cool, eh? (Some might say, “it’s about time!”) You can even start today: In the comments section, I’d love to hear what feedback you received and what you are now committed to doing differently as a result.
It’s going to be a phenomenal year and I’m so thrilled we get to experience this journey together!
Early bird tickets for the Financial Intimacy Conference ends 2/3! Click here to grab your ticket/s.
(Pssst…don’t forget to complete the two-question survey to let us know how often you’d prefer we publish.)
I published the first issue of my e-newsletter, Financial Profundities, in 2003. In eight years, I’ve never, ever, added someone to the distribution list without their permission; they either signed up after a workshop, gave me verbal permission, or were added as a result of a purchase of a product or service. And, I never added someone simply because they gave me their business card at an event. I unwittingly followed the rules of permission marketing (opt-in) before it became industry standard for email marketing.
Which is why it always stings just a little bit when someone opts-out or, worse, opts-out with a complaint. Thankfully, neither happens frequently but even just a 0.29% opt-out rate unnerves me. Someone has just logged a vote that they don’t want what I’m offering…they don’t want me! Gasp!!
Whether personally (e.g., dating) or professionally (e.g., job interview, client development), we all have done our share of rejecting, and we’ve all experienced being rejected. At some point we have heard or said a variation of the phrase: “It’s not you, it’s me.” For some odd (and misguided, in my opinion) reason, those words are uttered as a way of bringing comfort in hopes of lessening the blow that comes from hearing, in effect: “I’ve changed my mind; I am not choosing you.” (Continue Reading…)
I am an avid runner, logging approximately 12-15 miles most weeks. Yet, I’ve never run a marathon, let alone THE marathon – as in the New York City/ING Marathon. But each year, you can find me on the sidelines in Brooklyn cheering on the runners. I get so excited for them, inspired by the discipline and dedication I know it takes (took) for them to reach this point, and am awestruck by those running with a physical impairment.
By the time the runners reach me, they are about one-third through the 26.2 mile race. Some people are running with ease, while others show visible signs of needing a little boost. And the Brooklyn onlookers certainly don’t fail them there! -;o)
As I reflect on this year’s race, I can’t help but think about the role of cheerleaders in our lives – personally and professionally. They are absolutely invaluable and indispensable! (Continue Reading…)