There is a silent epidemic afflicting approximately 30 million U.S. workers. You very well may be one of them – if you worry about money.
Sometimes that looks like stress over your day-to-day finances.
Other times, it’s concern over your future financial goals. Or, having apprehension around whom to trust with helping you to make financial decisions.
At even other times, it’s a more abstract fear about something that certainly impacts you but that you have little control over: the economy.
Whatever the trigger, you don’t leave your financial stress at home.
So, when you walk through the proverbial office door (even if it’s your home office), your financial stress tags along with you. As a result, it impacts your productivity, focus and creativity.
I am not so naive to suggest that any one of us can eliminate financial stress entirely. There’s likely to always be a little tension between where you are and where you want to be — that’s healthy stress.
But here are a few recommendations on how to take control of the financial stress that is unhealthy, all-consuming and blocking you from experiencing more (and costing your employer approximately $7,000 in lost productivity each year!):
- Come clean – worry about money is called a silent epidemic because most people keep their financial problems close to the vest. Or worst yet, they bury their head in the sand believing when they come up for air the problem will be smaller or non-existent. Admit something is amiss, even if it’s just to yourself.
- Define the nature of your financial stress – addressing your day-to-day concerns about money the same way you would your fears about the economy will only add to your stress levels! Make sure your stress management approach matches they type of stress (or stresses) you have.
- Create a plan of action – emphasis on action! Don’t just lay out what you’re going to do, but also note when, how and what tool/resources you’ll tap into.
- Don’t wait – “when/then” thinking will jeopardize your efforts to reduce your stress,
- Ask for help – it can be in the form of professional help or by enlisting a family member/friend to be your accountability partner. You don’t have to tackle your financial stress alone…unless you want to.
- Give yourself credit – take the time to acknowledge your financial strengths and figure out how you can do more of what you do well.
- Be humble enough to recognize that financial stress isn’t just about financial dysfunction.
One of the biggest problems with financial stress is how the circumstances of it force you to be a lopsided thinker. You’re so preoccupied with identifying a short-term solution, you don’t have the capacity to think long-term…to operate at your highest level of being and be the strategic, tactical, productive, engaged and creative person that you are!
Reducing your financial stress means increasing your financial peace of mind, which will make you happier and more productive (and potentially make you and your employer more profitable). Suhweet, right?!
So, let’s do this together.
I invite you to join me on Thursday, 29 January at 8pm ET for our annual Financial Open House. You come with questions; I show up with answers; and, we’ll have a good time!
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!
You and I tend to bifurcate many aspects of our lives. Probably because it helps us wrap our hands around the complex issues we often face; probably because it helps to make our choices seem a bit simpler. This “separation” is really evident when it comes to your money and your career decisions.
Yesterday, I presented a webinar for the National Urban League aptly titled – “Your Money, Your Career: Leverage Your Personal Power for a Healthy Relationship with Money.” Of course, I shared with the participants my signature exercise, The Financial Wheel. I also shared what I describe as “8 No-Matter What Habits.” This combination was by-design; it gave participants the tools necessary for being both the CFO (of their finances) and CEO (of their careers).
I’ve used this space before to talk about the importance of donning your CFO hat. Over the next few weeks, the conversation I want us to delve into is why you also need to don your entrepreneurial hat.
It is time to become the CEO of your career (like, really!) – even if it is your intent to work as an employee your entire career.
The numbers – 4.4 years and 42 million – are the reasons why.
Catching up with the shift
According to the most recent data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average worker today stays at his/her job for 4.4 years.
In the investment world, when you’re evaluating a company stock or mutual fund manager or general economic activity, 5-years is a commonly used metric. It provides a gauge for how a stock or mutual fund performed during the ups/downs of a business/economic cycle.
So, 4.4 years is really significant! It is signaling that…
…the average worker is not even staying with their employer a full business cycle!
Making this an important number that should matter to you, as it’ll likely affect you directly – if it hasn’t already.
(Let’s do an informal, totally unscientific poll: How long have you been with your employer? How about the one before now? Leave a comment below to let me know.)
Here’s another important number for you: 1/3
One in three Americans (roughly 42 million) are estimated to be freelancers. By 2020, freelancers are expected to make up 50% of the full-time work-force. This statistic is courtesy of WorkMarket.
I shared these stats yesterday and will again next month when I present a similarly themed webinar for Prudential’s Women in Pension group. And, I’m sharing them with you today because these numbers serve as a wake-up call if ever there was one!
On their own, these stats are staggering. Together, they prove this isn’t a fad! They really speak to a shift that has been afoot for awhile, but that I don’t believe, when I reflect on conversations I have with my clients, colleagues, and friends, people have caught up to.
Sometimes, it seems as if instead of these numbers being indicative of a trend toward our future-state, folks are viewing them as, “this is what it’ll be like until we return to pre-2008 times.“
Sorry folks…that ain’t happening.
What these numbers – 4.4 years and 42 million – mean and why they should matter to you is that it is critical that you be more proactive, strategic, and intentional regarding your money and your career decisions. For you, managing this dynamic intersection requires more deft today than perhaps at any other time in our employment and economic history.
And, it means you probably need to become more comfortable donning an entrepreneurs hat – even if you work as an employee , whether that’s in academia or for a non-profit organization or for-profit corporation.
But lest you think you’re the only one needing to shape-shift, think again: employers need to adapt as well. The rules and expectations of employer/employee engagement have changed. And they, too, are learning how to navigate the future – now.
p.s. there’s still time 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 refining their money skills and increasing their financial and life success.
Do you know what a chief financial officer (CFO) does? Here’s why I ask:
No one – and I do mean no one – has ever said to me, “Jacquette, I want you to teach me how to be a better chief financial officer (CFO).”
You as CFO is not an option – it’s a must!
I don’t just say this because I’m a financial geek and I want you to become one, too.
I say it because “you as CFO” is a financial reality that I believe:
- You may be resisting and ignoring – thinking it’s a fad or the latest marketing hype by the financial services industry.
- You might misunderstand – thinking the responsibilities of the CFO role are all about crunching numbers.
- You may be minimizing – thinking the need to don your CFO hat is not really necessary. After all, the economy and employment landscape will eventually get back to the way things were pre-2008 (or the Great Recession), right?!
When the job you have isn’t the one you want
Do-it-yourself personal finance is nothing new. Truth is, you’ve been doing some aspects of this ever since the very first time you got an allowance or got paid for your very first job.
However, the new economy, which makes entrepreneurs of us all, calls for a more expanded vision of what do-it-yourself personal finance looks like in terms of the actions you take, decisions you make, and your level of engagement.
- That means being a financial leader in ways you may not have envisioned.
- That means being more proactive and less passive.
- That means looking beyond the numbers and being more curious about the story the numbers are telling.
- That means performing some analysis; doing some forecasting; creating some reports, etc.
- That means having a process to turn information into insight and using said to formulate a strategy.
- That means recognizing that you don’t really manage money as much as you manage your choices.
- That means recognizing that money isn’t one-dimensional – even though we all tend to talk about it as if it is.
- That means making time to manage your money.
- That means being accountable for your decisions, but not feeling like you need to make them alone.
- That means recognizing that there are few money choices you can make that don’t affect all aspects of your life…and vice versa.
- That means embracing a role you didn’t expect to have.
CFO of You, Inc.
I know, I know — it sucks when the job you have isn’t the one you want. Or, when you feel ill-prepared for the task at hand.
You knew adulthood came with the responsibility of managing your money and your financial choices. But to this degree…hmmm???
Nope. You as CFO is not a fad and it’s not marketing hype; it’s your new reality.
Just consider the plethora of consumer-based online tools and applications and websites geared toward helping you connect with and leverage your financial power.
Crunching numbers is one aspect of what a chief financial officer does. But so is being creative and anticipating the future you want and the future that might be, along with planning for multiple outcomes.
“Jacquette was able to help me look past the basic dollars and cents, to see the thought patterns that were driving my spending choices. The tailored financial action plan she delivered was realistic and easy to follow, moving me towards my goals.” Aduke Thelwell
Would you like to experience results similar to Aduke’s? Would you like support managing your CFO role fully and more completely? Become a member of the Financial Intimacy Lounge. The Charter Member rate of $47 a month expires on April 30th.
Helping you don your CFO hat with greater confidence is one of the ways I can help you get more from your money and for your life. Working with you inside the membership is one of the ways I can make your CFO role less overwhelming and a heck of a ot more fun!
Well, not literally. But metaphorically, it does.
I’ll explain in a minute. First, some context.
I’ve spent the last several weeks exploring the delusion of hard work (as a constant state of being) and how it affects your finances.
Selfishly, I wanted to dive more deeply into the whole work-n-money paradigm. In light of my own evolution in this area, I wanted to counter the notion that working harder and struggle and success are inevitable cousins. Instead, I wanted to invite more ease into my business and life – along with more money.
Turns out, my personal quest was a mirror for what many of my coaching clients (and blog readers) are dealing with, too. Or, is it the reverse?
A Rabbit-hole of a Different Kind
Old-school programming about work, about money, and about the dynamic relationship between work and money, are so ingrained that you and I barely even recognize what we’ve embraced as “gospel.” Therefore, we don’t recognize the ways in which we are stuck – blindly making choices that actually don’t serve us in the best of ways.
Since working hard(er) tends to go hand-hand with our glorification of busyness, it seems only fitting to wind down this series discussing the exact opposite of this mindset and approach. It’s time to introduce the next layer in what is truly an on-going conversation.
Hence, this question: Could a slower pace and more quiet mind positively impact the way you manage your money?
And the reason the interplay between meditation and money is the focus for this month’s Financial Intimacy Hour. (Not registered? Click here. It’s tonight – Wednesday, 3/26 at 8pm EDT.)
Let’s face it, money can be stressful at times!
What that stress looks like differs depending upon whether the issue is related to earning it, having it, managing it, or sharing it. And each day, you have a multitude of decisions to make in any or all of these areas.
This brings me to the dance I referenced.
What typically happens when you feel stressed about money? I’m going to bet you shift into the “I need to do more (fill in the blank)” mode. How right am I?
Activity or movement of any sort seems more logical than just passively sitting by and doing nothing to alter your circumstances. (And to be clear you don’t have to be broke and in debt to feel stressed about what you’re doing or not with your money…just saying!)
But what if you and I have it all wrong here?
When the financial pressure is on…when your financial stress is at its highest, what if the act of becoming still (which is often perceived as “doing nothing”) was precisely what you needed to do next? What if it turns out that your wisest choices stem from this place?
So, How Do You Dance?
The “to-do vs. to-be” dance is a delicate tango.
Ultimately, you need to take action, but the difference lays with how you dance. From my own experience, I can attest to the fact that whenever I lead with to-do (which is usually based on fear), stuff becomes an even hotter mess!
On the flip side, when I lead with to-be – however unnatural and uncomfortable it may feel – the better the outcome AND the better I feel about the outcome.
To-do vs. to-be is all about attitude, mindset, and intention and whether you’re in the front being pushed by or in the front leading. This is why I am TOTALLY fascinated with how the practice of meditation can help you and me make smarter money decisions.
Could meditation hold the key for you to experience (even more) financial success than you have to date – because it plants you more firmly in the front as the leader of your money?
Let’s explore the interplay between meditation + money together. Let’s unpack whether it can positively impact the way you manage your money.
And don’t worry…while we are diving into nebulous territory, my guest, Kandace Simmons, and I will make certain you have clear, concrete and practical takeaways that you can implement immediately should you so choose to!
p.s. would you like to help me spread the word? Awesome (and thank you)! Please share this link:
Next week I’m hosting a free workshop – “Stage Your Own Financial Makeover: You Can’t Work 24/7/365, But Your Money Sure Can!”
I’m going to give you specific steps you can implement immediately to begin the shift from you working harder for your money than it is working for you. Click here to register.
But before we get to the to-dos, it’s helpful to know the what-not-to-dos.
You might be unwittingly making four common mistakes not realizing just how much they are actually blocking you from what you want. And in this case, that’s experiencing what it feels like to work less yet have more of what you most desire be it time, freedom, choices or something else – without sabotaging your current or future financial health and well-being.
You are too conservative.
I’m not talking about politics here. But I am referring to how you approach investing.
One of the biggest mistakes I see people making is being too risk-averse.
Especially when it comes to the stock market investing, because you fear potentially losing your investment principle you confine your investment selections – in part or entirely – to what will generate income. As a result, you to tend to exclude investment options that will grow by appreciation.
You believe this is safer. But the problem here is that the income earned doesn’t often out-pace inflation.
Gone are the days when an online savings account generated 3.75%! (Gosh, remember when ING Direct first hit the market?!)
If you want your money to work harder for you, you must expand your definition of risk beyond what you may potentially lose today. You have to also consider the opportunity cost of what you might lose in the future.
Be smart about it, but don’t be afraid to be a tad-bit more aggressive with your investment strategy.
You don’t have a money management system.
You either don’t have a system for making your financial decisions, or you have one but you don’t follow it consistently. For example, you don’t have a checklist or use tools or a particular method for:
- tracking your spending (and this is not to be confused with budgets!)
- making your investment buy, sell and re-balance decisions
- managing your cash and creating spending and debt management policies
When you lack a system and structure, you’re probably missing costly financial leaks and dismissing lucrative financial opportunities.
For your money to work harder for you, it needs structure.
A system provides that structure and it ensures you’re operating proactively and strategically with your money. Instead of making financial decisions that are mostly “shoot-from-the-hip” tactical and reactive. Continue Reading…
Last week’s post about the delusion of hard work really struck a cord.
Some comments were simple and direct – “This was written for me.”
Others took a more anthropological stance, and talked about how the North American immigrant experience, history of slavery and Industrial Revolution affect our present day concept of hard work.
The above, along with the other responses I received, are deep and personal.
I also think they represent an undercurrent playing out in many work environments – a desire for a different way of living and being.
Please, Please, Set Me Free
As I said (here), the problem with deeply-rooted beliefs and long-standing examples that laud hard work and struggle over ease is that you end up working harder for your money than it does for you.
And since there are people whom have flipped the script and the switch on this paradigm, wouldn’t it be really, really cool if you, too, were living a life where your money worked harder for you than you for it…all the time?!
- Can you imagine really living life on your terms and having control over your time and your lifestyle – instead of wishing it were so.
- Can you imagine working in Corporate America but setting a new standard for what it means to be a “hard worker” and committed team-mate? Or, if you own a business, can you imagine actually running it instead of it running you. In other words, can you imagine taking time to think and be creative instead of being in a constant state of doing and reaction?
- Can you imagine what it’d feel like to really work less yet have more (fill in the blank of what matters to you) and know that this decision isn’t sabotaging your current or future financial health and well-being?
Not only can I imagine this for you, I can imagine it for myself. But first, you and I have to make a few changes. Here’s what I mean…
Work Harder; Get Less?
If there was a poster child for ‘the delusion of hard work,’ it certainly would have been me. One of my first coaches, Mark Monchek, helped me see this with a simple, but piercing question: “Why are you trying to force this?” He was referring to my effort to grow my investment management business when it was my financial education practice that was thriving with little effort.
For a bit of context: I had a blast traveling across the country delivering custom-designed and non-traditional financial education experiences for corporations and associations. But back then, I looked at that work as something I did to supplement my revenue from working as a money manager.
Even though I LOVED the work, I didn’t initially take what I did in this education realm seriously because it was “easy” for me. Plus, my ego was really digging being able to say, “I’m a money manager.” That all changed when I realized 80% of my revenue was actually coming from the financial education side of my business.
My awareness may have changed somewhat instantaneously; it certainly was the reason I eventually closed down my money management practice. But it’s taken my mindset a little longer to catch up.
When your desire for a different way of living and being is greater than your current reality, you know you’re ready to have your money work harder for you than you are of it. However, readiness is one thing. Making it happen is quite another, and it requires a few changes:
- You’ll have to adjust your mindset and alter a habit or two or three…
- You’ll have to change your approach to work and to money
- You’ll likely have to “see” yourself with new eyes - letting go of your “old” identity in order to welcome in a new one.
The shift in you having a say in how you work, when you work and on what, and in you defining the success thereof has been simmering for awhile. But the Great Recession became a poignant pivot point – prompting everyone to pay a wee-bit more attention and realize that you really are responsible for your career and your financial success.
Some people excel in this awareness; others become frozen by the responsibility of it.
Truth is, it takes courage to flip the script and the switch on ‘hard work’ and embrace a new work-and-money paradigm: to really take the bull by the horn and live life on your own terms. But the benefits of having your money work harder for you are immeasurable.
That’s why I’m excited to tell you about a virtual workshop I’m hosting – Wednesday, March 19th at 8pm EDT – “Stage Your Own Financial Makeover: You Can’t Work 24/7/365, But Your Money Sure Can!”
You’ll be able to register soon. In the meantime, save the date and let me know in the comments section your answer to this question: What would be different about your life if your money worked harder for you than you of it?
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!