Reality Reflection: What’s Enough?

This week I’ve been contemplating a difficult topic in our world of consumerism and extreme focus on success and wealth. If you’ve been in the self-help industry for a while, especially the success and career related portions, you’ve probably run across people who say they can help you grow exponentially, and they talk about the people they’ve helped earn multi-six figures and millions (or more) each year. Now, there’s nothing wrong with making good money and with being financially well-off. Having financial resources can make many things in your life easier, and you’ve got lots of opportunities to invest in others and in our world. So here’s the question: is it OK if I don’t really want to make millions each year?

I know it may sound like a silly question, but really, there are people who would be very happy with a fraction of the money some of us make (even if we’re only making 30k per year). Yet I also understand how valuable (and powerful) someone can become when they have all those resources at their disposal. And some people find the thought of having that much wealth intimidating or even fear-inducing. Yet I understand that for some of us that by really living our life purpose we’re going to make lots of money. So is it wrong to want to (or actually) make lots of money, and/or is it wrong to not want to make lots of money?

I think it’s OK to be comfortable where you are as long as you’re covering your basic needs (and the needs of your kids or others under your direct care), and have at least a little plan for the future. It’s also OK to want to earn more and to put in the effort that will get you there. I think it comes down to two questions: are you at peace with where you are financially in your life and are you fulfilled? If you’re not at peace and not fulfilled then it’s time to make some changes to your life and start making more money. That doesn’t mean you have to make millions, just more, and while you may not be ready for millions today, there may be a day down the road that you will be. What are your thoughts on how much is “enough”?

Advertisements

Healthy Success

When it comes to health one of the things we think about often are how healthy are our finances. I shared some thoughts on money on my Business and Family blog last Friday, and today we’re going to talk about a topic that’s very closely connected to finances: success. We all think about success, we compare ourselves to our neighbors, family members and coworkers, the people we see on TV and strangers from around the globe that we read about in news reports. We’re obsessed with being successful. It’s not bad to want to be successful; if you’re successful you’re in a much more stable position when it comes to finances and your future which is something that many people wish they could say.

The first thing that needs to be established when it comes to success is that it has a million definitions, from having a successful family to career success to health success. Don’t let someone else define success for you. Choose success on your own terms.

We struggle with success for many reasons, some of the biggest include fears, laziness, our comparison habit, our unwillingness to change, and other people diverting our success journey. Of all the reasons we struggle for success the last reason, other people, is usually actually the least challenging reason, but we turn it into the biggest. Thanks to the internet though, many of the reasons we think we can’t be successful don’t exist, and things like choosing the wrong goal for you personally, or getting caught up in our areas of lack rather than what we can do are actually what hold us back from success most often.

If you’re ready to be successful it starts with believing in yourself. If you don’t think you can do it or you deserve to be successful you will have a very challenging time getting there, and it may even be impossible. Then you need to choose a smart success target. This means choosing something that’s not a scam or an almost unreachable target, but something you can be passionate about and are willing to be invested in building for a very long time. If possible get the support of your family on your project, but if not make sure you do have people who will support you in your success journey. Finally, don’t give up because it’s too hard.

If you’re really serious about being successful it will take long, hard work to achieve it. Yes, many of the days will be awesome because you’re working on something you believe in, but other days will be difficult and discouraging. But if you ask any of the most successful people in the world they will tell you that every tough day was worth it.

Mastering Money

Something that most of us think about on a daily basis is money. Some are obsessed, some concerned, some anticipating, some stealing and some planning. Money is a big part of our lives, for most of us it’s what makes the world go ’round and how we get our wants and needs. Some parts of the world still trade, but a large part uses money to make the transaction happen. it’s a lot easier than finding someone with what you want who is willing to trade for what you have. As a result of the major role it plays in our wants, needs and desires and our ability to fulfill them it’s something many of us spend a lot of time thinking about.

Money in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. In fact, money is actually a good thing because it removes so many obstacles that we had before there was a system that is a lot easier to figure out and help us make transactions around the world with ease. It’s not necessarily bad to have lots or little money, a lot of the bad or good concept has been applied to money based on how people have used it in the past. Some people are happy with just a little money, enough to make ends meet, and others do well with lots of money.  Unfortunately we’ve equated lots of money as being something bad if it’s not us and we’ve equated little money with poverty and with the need for lots more.

However, as I’ve already said, the “how” of the money we have is really what makes a difference: how we got it and how we’re going to use it. You can have lots of money and blow it on strippers and Vegas every weekend and have a “bad” reputation for money. You can also have lots of money and spend it on charities and non profits and have a “good” reputation for money. The same holds true for the opposite end of the spectrum.  Then of course there’s the how of getting it: did you steal it or do great things in the world worthy of the amount you’ve got?

So let’s bring it home: how are you with money? Are you doing good things with what you have, taking care to track your spending, not spending every free dime on frivolous things, and planning for what the future holds? Or are you lying, stealing and cheating as much as you can into your own pocket like a modern day scrooge? Finally, what do you think and feel about money? Is it your arch enemy or are you thankful for all that what you have enables you to do and actively planning how you can earn more because you’re contributing more?  What’s your perspective on money and what money can do for you?

“It is not the creation of wealth that is wrong, but the love of money for its own sake.Margaret Thatcher

What I Really Want is…

I read a great quote by Princess Diana this week: “I don’t want expensive gifts; I don’t want to be bought. I have everything I want. I just want someone to be there for me, to make me feel safe and secure.”

I agree that money can do great things for people.  It can mean the difference between life and death for some.  But I do not believe that money is the end-all, be-all of things.  The significance of someone like Princess Diana saying this is important: she may have had everything as a princess of England, but what she really wanted more than anything else in the world was someone else to love her for her.  Love in this case covers all kinds of love: friends, family and romantic (and even pets), not just romantic, because love is something we all need.  It shows up in different forms from the different people in your life, but there’s something about who we are that requires love to live and thrive.  Without it things in us shrivel and die and make us less than who we could be as people.

Money in and of itself won’t give you warm fuzzy feelings during the holidays, the kids opening and playing with you and the great presents will.  Money from your job won’t make you happy, but seeing the transformations that happen in people because of your work, or the great places you’re able to go with your family will.  Money can’t fix a house destroyed by a tornado, builders have to be hired to do that.

When we expect money to be the answer to all our problems we’re missing out on what money really is.  Money in and of itself is a tool to get us what we want. We don’t usually want money just so we have money (piles to play in and count etc.), we want money because of what it can bring or get us.

If you’re struggling with money this week I encourage you to take time to think about what it is you’re really struggling with, because there’s a good chance that money isn’t really the issue.