It’s amazing to reflect back on how life was for me many years ago: I was newly married, I quit a secure job and took an adventurous two-month honeymoon in New Zealand and came back to a beautiful new home in a gorgeous part of Montana with thousands upon thousands of dollars of credit card debt!
I found myself incredibly freaked out when I arrived back home with my new husband. I desperately wanted to discover wealth building secrets so that I could not only take practical financial steps but so I could attract wealth and money as well.
During the start up phase of my private coaching practice I decided to take up a side job of landscaping gardens (i.e., read between the lines — I had acquired a part-time job as professional weeder for my mother-in-law of all things!). I would wake up in the morning and wonder if were even possible to have a successful career as a business owner and get out of the crazy debt mess that we had created.
And we did – but it didn’t happen over night. There were times when we felt like the proverbial fish out of water. There were many times my husband and I felt discouraged and disheartened.
I see clients in my private practice with the familiar sense of overwhelm that I had experienced. They feel stressed because they are burdened with student loans and credit card debt and back-taxes. Others are living paycheck to paycheck with multiple overdrafts on their bank accounts. Still others are searching for more meaning, purpose and direction in their lives as they embark on new careers.
Many people experience the voice of fear and doubt in their head – yet in spite of this, they persevere. After building a successful career and climbing out of credit card debt I now realize that a big part of my/our success was in “doing the inner work.”
In order to win in life we must be willing to do the inner work. Success isn’t just about achieving a specific desired outcome. It’s about shifting our mindsets so that we achieve our desired outcome. This applies to any struggle or challenge that you’re having – not just the financial challenges.
In order to achieve your desired goal you need to:
1. Get determined. I see people all the time who lack determination. They talk the good talk but they really don’t want to take action and do something about their situation. What they really want is to vent and complain. And then there are others who have the burning drive and conviction and you just know that they’re going to “make it” in spite of the many obstacles they encounter.
It’s the inner drive that keeps them going when the going get tough, when the bills pile up, and there’s not enough money coming in. It’s the inner determination that keeps them pushing until they’ve transformed their failures and struggles into successes.
2. Allow yourself to be a beginner. This is such a tough one for many of us. When we’re learning a new behavior (like balancing our checkbooks, tracking how we spent money, creating a spending plan, having Financial Dates with our partners, getting rid of debt or embarking on a new career) we forget to allow ourselves to be a beginner. We expect ourselves to do it perfectly and then act surprised and get discouraged when we fail.
You’ve got to be patient with yourself. It’s like the metaphor of learning how to ride a bike for the first time. It feels awkward at first. Remember to be gentle – you’re not suppose to know what you’re doing!
You will fail at times. And you know what? That’s okay – Expect it! All you need to do is stay the course until your old limiting behaviors have developed into strong, powerful habits.
3. Have a faith. It’s okay to get discouraged from time to time, but in the end you must find a way to access faith and belief in your ability to turn your situation around. If you’re frustrated and depressed all you’ll see is a dismal, gray future.
If you’re able to shift your thinking from “I’m stuck and I’ll always be stuck,” to “Anything’s possible. It’s happened for others and it can happened for me as well,” then you’ll access new insights and creative solutions that you couldn’t have seen from your negative state of mind.
If you do nothing else but implement these three inner success steps you will succeed eventually! Because financial success really is an inside job.
One of the number one New Year’s resolutions that people made this year was to improve their finances. It’s one thing to have a goal to improve your finances but it’s another thing to actually make it happen.
Be honest, do you know how you’re going to clearly and effectively achieve your financial goals? Unfortunately most people fail to achieve their financial goals because they don’t know how to set goals and how to use proper goal setting techniques. Use this goal setting worksheet to create your goals with your partner for the new year.
1. Set intentions. Identify what you’d like to achieve and focus on during your retreat time. Keep in mind that there isn’t any right or wrong way to set intentions. It’s simply a matter of what you want to focus on during your time together. My husband and I wrote our intentions on a piece of paper and then taped them to the wall to serve as a constant reminder of what we intended to accomplish and how we wanted to spend our time.
A few of my intentions included being fully present and receiving insight on how to authentically make a vastly huge difference in my business and achieve my next break-through income goal for the new year.
2. Share celebrations, successes, gratitude and acknowledgements towards your spouse and those who have helped you succeed. This was really fun for me. It’s easy for me to bypass the success part. It seems as soon as I’ve accomplished something, I’m ready to move on to my next big goal. It’s extremely important to acknowledge your successes so that you fully integrate them and see yourself as the new person you’ve become.
Take some time to acknowledge your spouse for things you appreciate about them. You’ll also want to make sure you acknowledge their accomplishments and the transformations that you saw take place for them over the past year. This can range from both big and little things. One of my acknowledgements towards my husband was how much I appreciated him taking care of me when I was sick. He took the extra effort to make a homemade coughing formula for when I had a really bad cold last year. You’ll also want to acknowledge all the other people in your life who have helped you succeed over the past year.
3. Get clarity about where you’re currently “at”. Most of us are so eager to focus on the goal setting process, that we bypass gaining additional clarity about our current situation. Be willing to be honest and explore the good, bad and the ugly of your current state of affairs. Identify what’s working and not working right now in your financial life, career and personal life.
How much money are you making? How much total debt are you carrying? What is your relationship like with your partner? What things “bug” you about them that you haven’t communicated recently (or in a clear, calm way)? Think beyond finances to areas like housekeeping, sharing family chores and work-life balance. This is very powerful to discuss – but be forewarned, it can also be an obvious hot button! Most of the time we let things go unsaid, and resentments can build up over time. It’s a great way to come “clean” and move forward.
Reflect on how you are individually doing in the following areas: career, health, marriage/family, fun/leisure time, friends/community, spiritual and financial. In other words, think about your entire life, not just isolated segments of it.
4. Create a vision for your marriage/family. This is a new category for my husband and me. We talked about wanting to be more intentional with how we treat each other as a couple. We’ve been together 9 years now (married almost six). It’s easy to assume that you know who your partner is after you’ve been together for a while.
We decided to be more intentional about intimacy in terms of “into-me-you-see” which, in essence, means really seeking to understand each other’s perspective instead of jumping to conclusions and not fully listening. We wrote out two to three sentences to post on our bulletin board at home to serve as an ongoing reminder about how we want to treat each other.
5. Identify your exciting, impossible future. Now we come to the really fun part! Identify your goals and dreams for the upcoming year. I highly encourage you to come from a place of identifying dreams and goals that are exciting for you, instead of merely what you think is possible.
Also, spend some time reflecting on why particular goals are important to you. By gaining a deeper understanding of the importance of those goals, you will be able to access inspiration for taking action during challenging times when motivation is at a low and you’d rather not make the effort.
6. Get clear on how you will achieve your goals. This is the really crucial part. Think about how you will achieve your goals. Ask yourself, “What is currently missing that, if I had in place, would help me achieve my goals?”.
I found that I was clear on how to achieve many of my goals, and I didn’t need to ask myself what was missing. However, on the bigger and challenging ones (I had about three of them) I asked myself this question, which helped me gain clarity regarding the specific action steps that were needed to pursue those goals.