Much of what I do involves working with people pondering a decision. The root of which either affects their finances or is affected by them. In other words, we pretty much end up talking about and strategizing on almost everything concerning life!
“I have six figures sitting in a savings account earning a measly .015%; what should I do?
“I need to invest; I have money to invest; I just don’t know where to begin and I don’t trust the stock market?
“I’m lucky because I make more than enough, but I have poor savings habits.”
“I need to get out of debt!”
“How do I determine how much to save if we’re planning to buy a house, or start a family, or start a business, or….?”
“I’m getting a divorce and have to start over…and he managed all our finances…”
What’s Different is Actually the Same
The decisions they are looking to make and the questions they are contemplating are varied. But when they come to me with these and other questions like these, they are yearning for the same thing: information. And even though they don’t say it specifically, they also want assurance said information will help them make the right decision. Continue Reading…
In less than two weeks, the clock will strike midnight ushering in a New Year – a transformation that is typically accompanied by revelry and proclamations of resolutions and big, bold, goals.
As I was thinking about the New Year, I thought of a hedgehog. Weird, right? However these spiny mammals can actually teach you and me a thing or two about how to prepare for success.
Hedgehogs are known for their peculiar approach to foraging. They are also known for how they protect themselves when threatened: they roll into a tight ball. Setting aside the motive for why they do it, in an odd way, it is this practice of rolling into a tight ball — of going inside — that can help you when it comes to something that I believe is critical for sustainable success: having clarity.
- Are you clear about what you want?
- Are you clear about what you want to be different next year?
- Are you clear about what you want to change; how about what you want to stay the same?
- Are you clear about the deepest desires of your heart?
- How do you define clarity?
- What do you stand for; what are you willing to do (or what won’t you do) to make whatever you stand for happen?
- What do you value?
- What are your priorities?
- What are your goals?
- Do you feel so stuck that clarity seems like a luxury, rather than an absolute necessity?
Clarity…the new sexy?
I ask these questions because these (or variations thereof) are questions I’ve been pondering as I get ready to kick start 2013. And I have to tell you, as I’ve undergone the process of answering them, I’ve come to a conclusion about clarity: it’s the new sexy!
With clarity comes an indescribable level of confidence and enthusiasm. However…
Gaining and having clarity doesn’t happen passively. It doesn’t happen overnight. Nor does “having” it mean you have absolutely everything figured out.
The process of gaining and having clarity requires a LOT of internal exploration and questioning and specificity and choosing. For this, you have to go inside (roll into a tight ball) to quiet the outside noise. But oh, the benefits…
- feeling focused and “right-directed”
- feeling centered and light and on mission (kind of like a ship’s rudder)
- feeling less concerned about outside approval
- being productive and managing your choices and time, strategically
- questioning, not due to lack of confidence or direction, but from a space of inquiry and a deep desire to ask even more meaningful questions
- lacking the need to compare (reference, perhaps), but not compare
- and more…
It’s my opinion that clarity is the under-rated secret to your (and my) success.
Are you charged up and raring to greet the New Year?! I know I am; I am giddy for 2013 :).
The transformation from one year to the next is exciting. And the mystery, enthusiasm, and anticipation of what’s to come can be quite exhilarating. But if, in about four to six weeks, you don’t want many of the resolutions and big, bold goals you’ve declared for 2013 to fall by the wayside, be like a hedgehog, roll inside, and use that space to get clear.
p.s. hey, why not scroll back to the top and leave a comment…I’d love to know what “lessons from a hedgehog” helped you get clear on.
p.p.s. One of my favorite business books is “Good to Great” by acclaimed researcher Jim Collins. In my opinion, it should be mandatory reading for every MBA student and every business owner. Actually, it’s worth a read even if you don’t run a business. True, many of the companies profiled in the book are no longer “great” – some twelve years later. But here’s why I (still) love and highly recommend G2G: it’s a business book about transformation and the principles it espouses to go from good to great can also be applied to social enterprises and to your personal life. And he talks about the Hedgehog Concept!
p.p.p.s. Ready to get unstuck in the New Year? Details coming soon for a free webinar on January 7th!
I write this post on the heels of experiencing a setback. And honestly, I couldn’t have written this in the midst of it; it was just too raw. I was too emotionally attached to the latest thing that didn’t unfold as I planned or envisioned and spent far more time than I care to admit traveling down the rabbit-hole of woes-me. Can you relate?
It’s a rhetorical question, I know. After all, we may each deal with disappointment differently but none of us are immune from the vicissitudes of life. When it’s your turn to experience a setback or disappointment, well, it is just your turn. But man, when you’re in the midst of it, doesn’t it tend to feel like you are in the vortex – with no bottom – all by your lonesome?
The Emotional Danger
The danger with setbacks is that the length of time you remain steeped in your emotional reactions to what is going on, is the same amount of time that you are “blind” to the teachable moment embedded in each disappointment. In other words, you prolong your ability to turn your emotional response into an objective evaluation of not just what’s going on but also on what comes next. Therefore, you can…
…potentially miss the “signs” (and message) the setback has for you.
What I realized with my recent setback was that I was misinterpreting the delay. I needed to recall the new-age adage: “Every delay is not a denial.”
Signs Posing as Questions=Message
What I also realized is that all setbacks slow you down…for a reason.
Perhaps the message is: you need to abandon ship.
Perhaps the message is: a call-to-action of a different kind (maybe a re-direction of your focus, energy, attention, and efforts).
Perhaps the message is: to simply accept the slower pace…just keep moving forward.
The challenge, of course, is discernment. You first have to be able to take a step back long enough to see your experience with renewed eyes. Second, you have to filter your experience through a series of questions (like those above) in order to determine how you should interpret the feedback you’re getting and what to do next.
The benefit of the above signs posing as questions is that they can help you bounce back from a setback. Likewise, they can help to put into perspective the inevitable disappointments you’re likely to encounter. And, as we round the corner headed toward the end of the year, these are perfect primers for evaluating the year thus far and prepping for a strong end to 2012. And, an awesome start to 2013!
When you reflect back on your recent setback or disappointment, what did you learn? Remember, your teachable moment is a teachable moment for us all!!! So, I hope you’ll share by leaving a comment… -;o)
p.s. have you experienced a financial setback as you deal with your debt? if so, click here to check out this free training video.
p.p.s. I had the pleasure of sharing the dais with Robert J. Wicks, PsyD who has written a great book about bouncing back from setbacks – “Bounce: Living the Resilient Life.”
p.p.p.s. if you missed the last time I presented “How to Make Personal Finance…Personal,” well I’m doing it again next Tuesday (10/9) – a closed-door session for the subscribers of Beauty and The Bull Magazine (an investment magazine by women for women). But as a member of my community you’re welcome to join us — for free. Click here for the details.
Photo credit: Flickr, Ignacio Sanz