“Too many people spend money they earned… to buy things they don’t want… to impress people they don’t like.” – Will Rogers
Although the economy looks fine for some, if you talk to many of your friends and family I’m sure they’re not feeling the love of the economy.
People are working much longer hours for a lot less pay than they were before 2008. That’s the reality. I’m not sure it’s going to change much any time soon. In the meantime, families have concerns about money and for many this is an ongoing topic which causes incredible strain and pressure.
It’s a tough thing when you want to do something for yourself or your family and, day after day, you simply find yourself as a cog in a wheel that’s spinning with no benefit to you.
Even if times are tougher and the financial gains have gone to a few, it doesn’t mean that your life has to slowly come apart. Here’s the deal: Yes, we all need money to live. And, we all absolutely have to put more in to get close to what we had before the economic recession. But, it’s been nearly 8 years. It’s definitely time to move on in the “new world”, which is really not so new.
After I wrote my motivational book last year, I heard from people who were really suffering. I hurt for them. We all should. Many of these people can’t get past the idea of where they are supposed to be versus the reality of where they are.
I know families lost jobs and economic stability. Families were undone. And, some people ended their lives rather than live in whatever they perceived to be as poverty.
I do a lot of traveling and I’ve had the opportunity to speak to people all over the world. I’m incredibly grateful for this opportunity. There’s nothing I enjoy more in the course of my business or personal day than to connect with people.
But, sometimes I just want to tell someone who is clearly suffering to get it together, if at all mentally and emotionally possible. We have all had nearly 8 years now in living life through a different lens. In fact, if this new reality were a career, that’s a solid amount of experience in living and operating in a new reality.
One of the biggest things I see with the countless people out there who’re looking for something better is their relationship with money. They think that money owns them!
Because of it, they don’t see any other “way out” than working longer, harder and in greater poverty to the grave. Family vacations never go beyond their local neighborhood. It’s a big deal when the family gets to Disney World and it’s mind-blowing if there is a trip overseas. In many ways, that’s what some think they deserve, because they view money, their boss and the work they do as their master. They see no alternative in their life. It’s just simply what it is.
Money does not own you. Your boss does not own you. Your job does not own you. The first thing to living a healthy life is to have a reasoned relationship with important aspects of it. That includes money.
Forming a Health Relationship With Money
You have to get all of the emotion around money out in the open: whether it’s fear, anger or jealousy. Be aware, these are all toxic feelings. They actually make you miserable. Negative feelings affect your health and well being. If you’re looking to make and save money, you need to own money, not the other way around.
Then “grip & rip” and follow the principles I use in life:
1. Change Your Attitude
Change your attitude about money. That’s the first place you have to begin. Become aware of the negative and toxic feelings that arise when you’re talking or thinking about money. Then, you have to commit to forget about those feelings. Place them to the side every time they arise. Anger, jealousy or fear – all these emotions have to go out the window of your life. You have no time for these things anymore.
If you spend beyond your means, cut it out of your life. If you hold every cent as if it’s the last one you’ll ever make, end that too. If you buy all of those books and tapes out there that tell you how YOU will be rich in as little as one month – save your money! Earning money does not arrive on a magical train that comes into your station in a month or two. It takes work, commitment and planning. All of these are extreme emotions, not healthy and toxic.
2. Take Ownership
Once you’ve decided to take control of your relationship with money, you have to own that relationship. That means this is YOUR relationship. It’s no one else’s. It’s not your wife’s. It’s not your bosses’. Your relationship with money and how you’re going to manage it going forward is all on you.
You have the power.
If you’re suffering from hypertension and are thinking of working two jobs so your kids can get the latest and greatest electronics, you’re in deep trouble. Your kids want you around. They don’t need the latest smart phone. They need time with you. Take care of your health first. Forget about the second job. Your life is more valuable than a new electronic toy or the most expensive sneakers for your kids.
If they don’t understand what’s happening, have that conversation with them. Trust me, they’ll understand if they get less stuff but more of you. Kids are smart. Trust them.
3. Erase “I Can’t” and the Excuses
People have had mountains of debt, and they’ve figured a way to get through it. They’ve had jobs that they don’t like, and they’ve managed to open up their own businesses or change careers.
When people get older, I do understand that things get tougher. Decisions we’ve made do have consequences, but it doesn’t mean you can’t change your life. It absolutely does not mean that.
So, put all the excuses to the side. When you find yourself answering a question by explaining how much you’d like to be able to change things but you can’t, stop it. It’s not easy. I’m not selling you a bill of goods and telling you it’s easy. It’s not.
But, you can change your life, beginning with your relationship with money and everything that flows from it, one step at a time.
4. Get Off the Couch
I always say this to people who know me: “Get off the couch!” You know the difference between the haves and have nots? It’s not the size of their bank account. It’s in the drive they have, or don’t.
If you’re working a job you simply can’t stand and you’re not doing anything to change your circumstance, well, if you’re not helping yourself out, why should anyone else?
Why are you not chipping away at the situation?
Get off the couch. No one is going to lend you a hand if they don’t see you moving. You’ll get the respect and support of your family and team once you begin to move.
As it relates to money, if people see that you’re doing something positive with your relationship with it for the better good, they’ll eventually support your efforts. It may not happen overnight, though. Remember, people within your own family may also have a toxic relationship with money. But, eventually people will understand the importance of moving and not standing still.
Life is not easy. Neither is ending a relationship with money that is one sided. You have to commit yourself to it each and every day.
So, when your kids are asking you for the latest toy and you realize you don’t have it, you’re going to have to hold firm. When you wish you could eat out with your friends, but you have a bill that’s $500 waiting to be paid by the end of the month, you’ve got to keep focused on your priorities.
You’re going to be tested often. You have to stay the course. And, if you happen to slip one day, you have to get right back on the path. A commitment will help condition your mind consistently to get control of your relationship with money.
Remember, nothing is won without consistency and persistence. That means you’re committed to your goal. Stay with it.
6. Do the Work
Most people do not achieve what they want to in life. Most people will not change their relationship with money.
The answer is simple. It takes work. It’s not easy. Many people will do anything to not have to take the hard way through things. That’s understandable. Who wants to suffer? But the reality is that there’s no real way to have a healthy relationship with money unless you do the work.
It may take you a very long time to get out of the mess you’re in. That alone may continue to keep you believing that “something” will change. But, it doesn’t work that way. It takes work to accomplish anything worth accomplishing in life. There’s no magic pill for anything. Stop believing there is.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Put that somewhere you can see it. Begin the journey.
7. Accept the Consequences
And finally, accept the consequences. The path from Point A to Point B is not a straight. And if it is, it’s certainly not going to be straight all the way to Point Z. Get my drift?
When you start doing something for you, you will get challenges. It might be that the new job you obtained was not at all what they said it would be. Or, it might be push-back from people you thought would be your best supporters.
Whatever it is, something will test your commitment to change your relationship with money.
Stay the course.
Trust your instincts.
At some point, you will realize there’s no turning back. That will mean you’ve got momentum. Keep going.
Do what it takes. Do whatever it takes to tame your bondage to money. Money is great, but never allow it to own you.