“Think Better, Live Better” hosts and speakers. Photo credit: John Hackleman
Relationships are hard. I’m going to keep coming back to this, not to be “Debbie-downer.” But to remind you that the best, most satisfying and enriching relationships are that way because of the effort invested to make it so.
In other words, having a great, healthy relationship doesn’t just happen.
This is true whether the relationship in question is with a parent, sibling, other family member, or friend. Whether it’s the relationship you have with your mate/partner. Whether it’s the relationship you have with your business (or place of employment). Whether it’s the relationship you have with yourself…and, of course, with your money.
Last weekend, I had the awesome pleasure of speaking at Marc and Angel Chernoff’s annual, “Think Better, Live Better” conference – an immersive experience that is all about investing in yourself and the relationships that matter most to you.
Over the course of two days, 15 speakers, including myself, took the stage to share ideas, feed curiosity, ignite deep self-inquiry, and offer practical next steps designed to help the audience implement what resonated. Not just in the moment, but in the days, weeks, and months ahead when action becomes harder because the distance between inspiration and the realities of day-to-day life is greater.
As I reflect on the talks, each, in their own way, was a reminder of this very basic human need we all have:
You just want to be heard.
You want to feel like you matter. Like your voice, your goals, your dreams, your desires, your challenges, your fears and what’s most important to you — matter.
Less Ambiguity, More Clarity
But to be heard, it’s best to be clear.
Turns out, a lot of people have a hard time being clear about what they want.
Blame it on the need for certainty about what’s going to happen, which can “kill” clarity when you have the least amount of confidence about getting what you want.
Blame it on the need to know “how” you’re going to connect the dots when that part of the process is less important.
Blame it on focusing on ten steps ahead, when right now you’d best be served by focusing just on the very next step you can take.
Whatever you blame it on, here’s what you might be overlooking: Nothing thrives in the midst of ambiguity.
You know this.
Your relationship history proves this.
Just take a mental walk down memory lane of all the relationships you’d describe as great and healthy, and you’ll see this is true. Because those relationships likely reflect all or most of the elements of clarity.
However, do you believe the same applies to your relationship with money?
When you consider the many dimensions of money, in how many of them are you stuck and either not making key decisions or choices or not moving forward as quickly as you could?
To what extent is this because you’re living your life steeped in some form of financial vagueness?
Meaning: You don’t set savings goals because you’re accustomed to saving what’s left over and can’t envision declaring an amount you’d like to save; you invest too conservatively for your goals and time horizon because you’re looking for absolute certainty that you won’t lose any of your money; you’re afraid to set an earnings/income target because it doesn’t feel like something over which you have much control; you avoid initiating important conversations about money because that feels more comfortable than the discomfort of the conflict you anticipate.
Clarity Comes From…
Just like creativity emerges from constraints, so does clarity.
So with that in mind, here are four (4) themes I noticed from the TBLB talks that also happen to be ways to create constraints so you can get clear or clearer about what you want from your relationship with money. But I believe if you examine every great and healthy relationship of yours, you will find most, if not all, of these elements present in those relationships, too.
Every relationship has boundaries. But, some boundaries are unexpressed.
As my friends, Charlie Gilkey and Angela Wheeler, noted in their TBLB talk, “boundaries create space for what you want in your life.” Whether that boundary is designed to push something away or invite it in.
When I work with clients, I ask them to frame boundaries in terms of what are you going to explicitly say “yes” or “no” to.
On the easier side of the scale, this looks like cutting back on certain expenses (the “no”) so you can save more or spend it differently (the “yes”). On the more complex side, this looks like creating a threshold of how much money you will lend to family and friends each year. So that you can balance the desire to be supportive when your loved ones are experiencing a challenge with the need to protect your financial foundation.
How can empathy lead to clarity?
Think about how you practice empathy in your relationships; now think about how you experience it from others. While unusual, it is a great way to get in touch with what you want, to see who shows up as having your back, and what makes you feel most supported.
Empathy is also how you “hear” what others need.
Sometimes you raise you hand to initiate a change in your life. Other times, the change is forced upon you. Regardless of the trigger, you’re going to need empathy from others as you navigate and negotiate your way through and to a new reality. And, you’ll need to add little bit of self-empathy to the mix.
Winter Harvey’s talk focused on using meditation as a tool for discovering the answers to your questions. Christina Rasmussen‘s talk was about what comes after loss.
For me, both talks were about the space in the middle. The kind of “empty” space that stems from slowing down – in mind and body – so that you can see what is obscured when you’re stuck in the rat race of being busy, and tap into the wisdom of your emotions as a result of silence.
Gary Ware‘s talk encouraged adults to play more – reminding us how important play is in reducing stress in our day-to-day lives. According to research, play, in whatever form it takes, is where engagement and pleasure meet. Turns out, bursts of clarity often come from this combo as well.
Hello, Can You Hear Me?
In every relationship, you want to be heard. You want to feel like your needs and wants are being met. That includes your relationship with money. You typically measure how well it is “hearing” you by how hard you have to wrangle with it – by how much in sync the reality of your life is with your vision for it. Either due to the lack of or presence of money.
And as with every relationship, yours with money doesn’t thrive in ambiguity.
It’s needs clarity to thrive!
It needs you to give it direction; it needs you to create boundaries (with yourself and others); it needs you to practice self-empathy; it needs you to create space – daily; and it needs you to have fun – with it and because of it.
So, if there’s an aspect of your financial life that isn’t as you’d want it to be – that you want to be healthier – experiment with one or all of the above ways to place constraints on this relationship. Then, tell me what changes -:).
p.p.s. I launched a new service just for entrepreneurs in January. If you’re curious about what can happen to you and your business when you merge your business IQ + financial IQ + emotional IQ, let’s talk. We’re welcoming new members as of March 1st. Click here to book a free Discovery Call and let’s see if this is a good fit for you and your business.