Scaling the Heights
We do not live to eat and make money, we eat and make money to be able to enjoy life. – George Mallory, English mountaineer
“Peace with money. Do you think it’s even possible?” a new acquaintance asked not long ago. For far too many, the mere thought of having any kind of composure, much less peace, about money seems akin to scaling Switzerland’s Matterhorn – a stretch too far. Stepping into her shoes for a moment, I understand why she questioned me.
Until about 14 years ago I could have been the one asking this question. I had actively worked toward having a peace-filled life, yet the one area of consistent conflict was with money. When I paid bills my shoulders crept up to my ears and my tummy was in knots. Every conversation with my husband about money was fraught with tension. I wanted to experience the peace and harmony with money that I had in other areas of my life, yet I simply couldn’t seem to achieve it.
The high cost of worry…
I worried whether I had enough. I worried whether I was spending it well enough. And I certainly worried about whether I would have enough when it came time to retire. I told myself I was bad with money and numbers… and I believed it. Even though I worried about it, I also spent for things I didn’t need with money I didn’t have in the bank. Credit card debt mounted and I worried even more. The thought of having real peace with money seemed completely out of reach. Yet I wanted it desperately.
You would think a feeling of desperation would lead to making better decisions about money to relieve the anxiety. For me it was just the opposite. The more desperate I felt, the more I acted without forethought.
Finally I got sick and tired of all the worry and debt and hired a financial coach to help me gain greater certainty with money. She showed me how much my worrying got in the way of authentic planning or and sensible use of my money. I started planning out my money as soon as I got paid and paid bills immediately. I quit spending more than I earned, and I started seeing more clearly what I wanted money to do for me. I realized I wanted money to work for me, not have to work so doggone hard for it myself.
Next, I began to take small steps in the direction of how I wanted my money to work. Sometimes, it was simply paying bills and not spending on extras. Other months I saw my way clear to save something for the future, or to contribute to a cause I believed in. I realized I didn’t want to be buying just to be buying. I wanted to feel satisfaction about my purchases. To know they were contributing to the quality of life I most desire.
I learned to distinguish between the pleasure I felt when I purchased things, and the genuine happiness I felt when I was fulfilling my purpose in life. I identified my purpose as “To inspire others through my delight in life.” And when I’m of service to others, inspiring the through my delight, it brings even more delight for me.
Along the way, I noticed something else that warmed my heart. At first, I was simply becoming more relaxed about money myself. Then I noticed there was less tension between my husband and me when we paid bills together. Slowly, I was coming to peace with money. It was at this juncture I realized I wanted to develop a coaching program to help others gain peace with money as well.
Simple steps you can take…
- On your phone or a notepad, make note of the things you already do well with money.
- Pat yourself on the back for that.
- Make note of the self-defeating thoughts you have or things you say about you and money.
- Write out what you would rather be telling yourself, and how you would rather be acting.
- Take one small step in that direction today.
Blogging is my way of giving back to all who have helped me learn about how to have an empowered relationship with money. I wish you peace in your life. I wish you peace with money.
If you would like to explore greater peace with money, you can reach me at my contact information below. I look forward to hearing from you.
Lorna McLeod, Certified Financial Coach