I just listened to an interview on Marie Forleo with David Bach, Author of 11 books helping “normal people” sort out their money issues by aligning their values with their financial goals.
This is not a new topic for me! I am not “rich” in the traditional sense of the word. That is, I don’t have a million bucks in the bank. That would have been my definition of rich 20 years ago. And I am willing to bet, it is the definition many of us have – or a variation of that – maybe 2 million is your number, or 10 million. The point is, we all have this arbitrary number we hold out in front of us, like the carrot in front the horse, that we never reach. Why is that?
Because it is a number that someone else gave to us and we blindly accepted, just like the horse chasing the carrot. I am as guilty of this as anyone.
When I launched my coaching website and began to build my coaching business, I took myriad courses to that end. And I got caught up in the whirlwind of excitement with a coaching group I was in. Everyone was aiming for the stars – a six figure income was possible! Oh boy! I was on board with that one! Then I began to experience a sense of overwhelm, of losing momentum. I got a sore throat. I wasn’t sleeping well, thinking about everything I had to do to build my business to that level. And then I realized (literally at 3 am) I didn’t WANT a six figure income! I had adopted everyone else’s idea and thought I wanted that too. Whereas earlier on, I had taken the time to define exactly what kind of life I wanted: maximum of 2 clients per day, so I could really serve them and have time for myself, to do my daily work-out (which is of the utmost importance to me), meditate, work around the house (I am a carpenter and LOVE projects!) We own our house free and clear, so our monthly expenses are reasonable. Additionally, I had decided to create an online home study course, which would leverage my time and allow me to help more people at once. And I had decided to do one or two expedition coaching trips per year, to satisfy my love of adventure. Once I got back in touch with MY big picture, I realized I could have a six figure income, but I also realized that I could choose not to, and honor my own needs and values.
So my question to you is not how much money do you want, but what do you want? What does money buy you? What do you value? Freedom? Time to spend with your spouse and your children? Security? Adventure? Laughter? Giving back? Helping others? Take some time and really think about it. What, exactly, do you value? Feel it, see it, smell it, touch it, live it in your imagination!
Got it? Great. Now honestly, how much money do you need to fulfill those values you’ve identified? Remember, playing with your kids and laughing doesn’t cost you a penny. Watching puppies play is free too. Going on a walk and watching the sun set isn’t expensive. How many of your values can you fulfill right now, without spending anything?
You can see that many of your values are available for you to enjoy, right now. Some, like security for yourself and your family, and some kinds of adventure etc., may take some work. And they are worth striving for.
Now for the brass tacs. How much is enough? Really – DEFINE it. Do the math. How much do you need to earn, save, spend to fulfill your values? Come up with a real number. If you want to take an adventure/vacation once per year, how much does it cost? Now divide that by 12. That’s how much you have to save per month to take that vacation. How much does Life Insurance cost, so that you know your loved ones are taken care of, should something happen to you? What does that translate to, per month? How much is your mortgage and how long will it take you to pay it off? What if you paid an extra $50/month? Then how long til you’ve paid it off? Is it worth the extra $50/month now, to have that extra security down the road? Will you feel more secure NOW, knowing you’ll have that extra security THEN? (have an EXACT date) Some will say yes – others prefer to use that $50/month for the adventure. The only “right” answer here, is the answer that works for YOU!
Take the time to break down your values and needs and come up with a concrete number you need to earn per month to satisfy those. Prioritize them. Maybe you can postpone the BIG adventure and substitute it with a smaller one, hiking in the mountains closer to home, instead of going to Patagonia or the Himalayas (and you may discover that what you really crave is the thrill of being out in nature and challenging yourself physically, which you can do pretty much anywhere.)
But until you DEFINE it, it will always remain the carrot, dangling in front of you, with you, racing blindly after it.
So my question for you is, how much is a carrot worth? (and I am not talking diamonds!)