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?
Ok. In the spirit of full disclosure, I was rooting for the San Antonio Spurs. So, I was bummed when they lost Game 6 and I turned off the television with 46 seconds left in Game 7. I didn’t want to see the end. (A bit melodramatic, I know – especially since my “real” sport is baseball and I’m really a die-hard Yankees fan!)
If you saw last night’s game, you know it was played hard…and well. You also know the moment the game was won and it wasn’t in the final seconds of the last quarter!
However, when you play a zero sum game, there can only be one winner.
As I was getting my NPR fix earlier and listening to “Morning Edition,” I was struck by Mike Pesca’s analysis of the game. He said many things that caught my attention, but it was a quote from LeBron James that stopped me in my tracks — it contains the mother of all life-lesson nuggets.
LB: “I looked at all my regular season stats, all my playoff stats, and I was one of the best mid-range shooters and I shot a career high from the 3-point line. And I just told myself, don’t abandon what you’ve done all year.” (Emphasis mine.)
Do You See What I See
Before your “big game” whether that looks like a major presentation, critical meeting, or important decision, what are you looking at?
Are you reviewing stats that reaffirm your gifts and talents; are you looking at stats that reaffirm you’ve been here before and you performed well; are you looking at stats that pump you up and remind you of how great you are?
The Miami Heat played well and hard – leaving everything on the court.
And in the process, for those with a discerning ear and eye, they reminded us:
- To make sure we leave the zero sum games on the court, on the course, on the field, and in the ring. Whatever you’re trying to win in this game of life, someone doesn’t have to lose in order for you to win. Thank, God!
- To be mindful of what part of your track record you choose to focus on.
In short, don’t abandon your greatness and what you’ve done to cultivate and nurture it at the precise moment when it is needed most!
Lebron didn’t, and he and his team are the 2013 National Basketball Association Champions – for the second year in a row.
However you may feel about the Miami Heat or LeBron James; or, perhaps, you are completely indifferent to all of this sports stuff and could really give a rat’s you-know-what…don’t dismiss the lesson!
And remember to always congratulate the person/team that wins… Congratulations, Miami Heat!
Bar none, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. With the exception of two years, I’ve hosted it every year since 1988! Yep…you read that right. And because my birthday (11/28) sometimes falls a few days before or after, my Thanksgiving feasts have also doubled as birthday soirees with as many as 25-30 guests. You might read that and say that’s not a lot of people. But what you may not know is that I live in a one-bedroom NYC apartment! Granted, it is in Brooklyn, but still…
Thankfully, I have family and friends who enjoy great food, great music, great wine & wonderful company and are less concerned with what they are actually sitting on.
Thanksgiving 2012: The Backstory
I’ve been preparing for this year’s Thanksgiving in much the same way as I have previous holidays. All the dishes have been run through the dishwasher. (This is a weird quirk of mine, especially as it relates to dishes I only use during the holiday.) Later today, I’ll start to bake my famous sweet potato pies; I’ll start doing all the prep work for all the yummy southern-inspired sides I am serving; and shortly, I’ll brine the turkey so it’s nice and juicy and ready for the oven first thing Thanksgiving morn.
I’m well-rested; I’m excited. But, can I be transparent with you? I am a bit subdued this holiday.
As if Hurricane Sandy wasn’t surreal enough, a dear friend’s unexpected and untimely death the same week really knocked me off-center. I’ve never lost a friend to suicide, so I’ve never experienced this odd mixture of grief, sadness, and anger, which sits along side the constant question of “why?” I keep going down the rabbit-hole of: “He seemed fine the last time I saw him; what didn’t we notice; what could we have done; where/how did we fail him, etc.” And my heart goes out to his wife and children. Sadly, his death was one of many to touch my inner circle this year. Between these deaths and a few major disappointments, 2012 is going down in the books as the year that kicked my a**!
But to stay “there” in that state of mind would be unfair to all the wonderful things that have happened this year, as well.
So when someone recently asked me how I was doing, I responded in the parlance of Facebook: “It’s complicated.” Overall, I am fine. But the losses this year have definitely left their mark; and, the experiences have reminded me to acknowledge the presence of grace like never before and to practice gratitude on a completely different level.
In fact, in a previous post I talked about how Hurricane Sandy taught me to re-appreciate some of life’s basics like power, water, and heat. I kinda of forgot just how precious these elements of life are!
Thanksgiving…what’s it all about
Around this time of year, which tends to be a reflective season anyway, you hear a lot about the importance of keeping a gratitude journal. I admit that although I am a huge fan of this practice and recommend it to my clients, especially those in debt, I had fallen off the wagon of doing it myself. So, I decided to not only write-out my list of what it is I am grateful for but to share what I usually keep private.
Here’s what I’m grateful for:
- My sweetie, who survived his own near-death experience earlier this year
- My mother, who is doing her darnedest to kick cancer (or as she likes to call it, “the ole battle-ax”) back into remission…for a second time
- “Team Jacquette” – my closest friends who constantly remind me that I am never in this game called life, alone. Special shout-outs to Carlton B., Michelle C., Alexia V., Michael H., Sharon B., Sharon P., Patrick H., David D., Dee S.
- “Team Jacquette, II” – at the beginning of 2012, I declared it as the year of investing in myself so that I could take a step back and get out of the grind of working in my business and start working on it. Huge, heartfelt thanks to my coach, Stephanie Pollock (oh, the transformation you’re helping me to bring about); my mastermind groups (what would I do without your sage, honest, and caring feedback); Copyblogger’s Third Tribe; Marie Forleo’s Rich, Hot, and Happy B-School; and Chris Brogan
- Nook – my cat, who teaches me about unconditional love and forgiveness as only pets can do. If you own a pet, you know exactly what I’m talking about. (I mean, really…look at those eyes?!)
- A home I love, even if my “work” space is now consuming more of my living space than I care to admit
- The fact that I can still run outside in Prospect Park, everyday if I choose
- A teachable spirit, which feeds my insatiable appetite to learn and grow, even when it means leaning into the dark, unknown
Life is complex, challenging and complicated. But there’s always something for which you can be grateful!
The reason listing what it is you are grateful for is such a powerful exercise is that it helps you and me to *see* our circumstances with renewed eyes. The events themselves may not change, but how you internalize what has unfolded can be transformative.
A gratitude list also highlights the inevitable need you and I have for human connection. And that brings me to the next item on my list for which I am grateful…YOU!
- You – my readers who have joined me on this journey. In affect, you’ve raised your hand and said, “Yes, I’m in. I want to be shown a different way – the financial intimacy way – of handling the financial stresses that show up in my life.” To me, this is way, way cool!
I may be a bit subdued this holiday for reasons I hope you can understand. But my appreciation to and for you is anything but subdued…Many, many thanks for being here; for being part of my world; and for letting me be a part of yours. It is truly a privilege.
I’d love to know what’s on your gratitude list, so leave a comment if you’re up to it. In the meantime…
I am wishing you and yours the Happiest Thanksgiving!
An agreement has been reached and passed by the House. Now, we are awaiting the Senate’s vote. Whew…talk about taking us to a precipice! Honestly, I can’t believe it took this long to reach an agreement. In my opinion, choosing to default was never a viable option – especially given our history of having raised the debt ceiling 74 times since 1962 – ten of which have occurred in the last decade!
I’ve been riveted by the debt ceiling debates (if that’s what we want to call it) because if nothing else it highlights an ongoing conflict of capitalism – greed vs. self-interest – on both a macro and micro/personal level. I’ll come back to the macro aspect of this in another issue as it is definitely an overlooked factor when it comes to creating financial intimacy.
For now, I want to focus on the micro/personal level and put a spotlight on three lessons you and I can glean from the debt ceiling debate and apply to the management of our personal finances: (Continue reading…)