Category Archives: plenty

Generosity With Boundaries

I’ve been practicing what I call “Generosity with boundaries” for ages. Frankly, it’s always seemed important to me. How can I help people stand in Plentyland if I’m generositycoming from scarcity? I need to walk my talk. Part of that is to be generous while taking good care of myself and thus, “Generosity with boundaries”. Of course, this idea, like money itself, isn’t just about money. It’s about using all of our assets in a way that is both generous and self-supporting. So ideally, it’s the notion that we help others with our time, energy and, sometimes, money. And we make sure that we help in ways that don’t jeopardize our own well being.

Let’s layer in the idea that money is reflective. What that means is that money doesn’t actually make things happen. Instead it reflects, or shows you, what you are choosing to do with it. It shows you if you are walking your talk, whatever that talk may be.

And I think there is also something in here about the idea of the Golden Rule: “Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.” Do I treat others the way I’d like to be treated? And do I use my money with others the way I’d like them to use it with me? I don’t think this concept, that is fostered by many religions and philosophies, is simply about being “‘nice”. I think it truly has to do with the idea that we get back what we put out.

We aren’t likely to gain respect by treating others with disdain. Being aloof isn’t likely to create friendliness in others. Sure, not everyone we are kind or generous to is going to be that way to us. However, our being kind will make the possibility of the kindness being returned more likely.

The real question is: Do you treat your money transactions the same way? Do you treat others around money the way you want to be treated? How do you want to be treated around money? For me, words like fairness and respect come to mind. I really want to come from a win/win place. I don’t want to be taken advantage of and I also don’t want to take advantage of others.

I’m not responsible for the choices others make around their money. I am responsible for how I use my money and how that reflects my ethics and values.

So what would “generosity with boundaries” look like for you and your money?

I’m here to help you untangle your money knots. Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or check out my website at


Shell Tain, The Untangler

Your Porridge

Do you think your porridge is the perfect temperature?  That’s what you are betting on when the very first thing you tell someone is how much you charge.

It happens to us all the time.  We meet someone and, right after they ask what we do, they ask what we charge.  Don’t answer that question at that time.  It’s a trap.  What they are unconsciously doing is distracting themselves from actually finding out about you and your services.  And you are helping them succeed at the distraction.

Once you answer the question of what you charge they are no longer present.  They are in that part of their brain that is analyzing what you just said.  And what they are thinking is most likely either: “Wow, that’s a lot!” or “Gee, that seems too cheap”.  The likelihood of your number being perfect “porridge” is pretty slim.  Remember, unless it is perfect, in their mind, you have lost their attention by giving them the number.

Instead, wait until you know more about them, and they know more about you, before you talk price.   Here’s how that works.  By all means, acknowledge the question. If you don’t, they will be wondering why you skipped over it, and again be somewhere else other than with you.  But instead of giving them the number, steer them back to talking about what they might find valuable in what you do.  It could sound something like this:  “I get that you are interested in knowing how much working with me would cost…and…before we go there, tell me more about you.  How might I be able to help you?”

Create rapport and relationship.  Present to them some positives, be they actions that could be taken or results that could be achieved, so that when and if the money part gets stated, there is a context for it.  They will have value to judge the number by. The money won’t be the only thing they are thinking of. They will also be aware of what the result of the expense will really be. The will see the value they get for their money.

That way they much more likely to want your porridge!


In order to really live your dreams and find your life, most of us have to become “expats”.  I don’t mean you actually have to move to a foreign land.  However, you will have to understand that your dream land doesn’t match the dream lands of those around you.  Your family, your culture, your friends all have dreams and expectations for you.  Mostly they are their interpretations of what is best for you, or what is best in general.  They aren’t all bad, they just may not fulfill your inner desires.

Long ago I was doing a call with a young woman who wanted to become a coach.  She was enthused and dedicated to becoming a financial success.  Part of her dream was to improve the financial position of her family.  To bring them along with her, if you will.  I know I bursted her bubble when I said: “but they won’t want to come”.

Our families, clans and tribes have their internal cultures or “lands”.  They have their own mythology and mores.  A bunch of those concepts are around money.  Some come from struggles.  One that families that came from “depression era” people have is “we know how to get through the hard times.”  It becomes a badge of honor, a beloved quality of fortitude.  If someone comes along and says “well, that’s all well and good, but you can actually have money, comfort and ease.  You can stop struggling”, there is a way in which they don’t want to hear it.  It would fly in the face of truths they have held forever.  They might even feel that they had done it “wrong”.  That’s pretty jolting.  They may not really be ready for such a radical shift.

So if you have dreams that are different than those expected by your family or group, and you really want those dreams, you are going to have to become a kind of “expat”.

You may have to figure out how to live in the foreign country of ease and wealth.

Many of us have already done this “expat” thing in many ways.  We’ve moved across the country, we’ve married people that didn’t fit the prescribed pattern, we’ve made different choices.

I’m just pointing to the fact that in order to make those different choices around your money, you’ll have to strike out into foreign territory, and be more self reliant.  You’ll have to become an “expat”.

Plenty To Go Around

At some point long ago, the financial success of individuals was tied to scarcity and demand.  In medieval times, the guy with the castle had more food than the guy working his fields.  The nobleman took what he wanted, and whatever was left was divvied up amongst the rest.  They couldn’t just go to the store and buy some more.  There are still some commodities that work that way. Non-renewables like oil and gold come to mind.  But what about money?

Much of the media and many people are still thinking is this medieval way.  Let’s call it  “I don’t have it because they do”.  It’s based on resentment.  Somehow, to me, it’s also ties to worrying about my possibility of being employed  when there is 8% unemployment.  It is scarcity based, as if there was only so much to go around, and someone is keeping me from having it.  Remember, seven percent unemployment means that 93% of the people are employed…and I can be one of the 93%.  I’m not going to align myself with the scarcity thinking.  When more people that have money, then more of it is circulating around me, and thus the more I can have for my own.

 What’s true, based upon statistics about Gross National Product,  property values, etc, is that there is enough money in the United States  for every citizen to be a millionaire.  What’s true is that counting all the  money in the world would be like counting grains of sand…you could do  it, but why bother?  What’s true is that no matter how much money  Donald Trump and Oprah Winfrey have, their wealth will have no effect  on how much you have.  There is plenty to go around.

What is most important to realize is that when you focus your personal money thinking based on the larger economic perspective, you distract yourself from being effective.  Your money is the “micro”, the close in part.  The wealthy not “sharing” more money is the “macro”, the big picture part.  Yes, it affects the economy.  Yes, it may feel unfair.  BUT, don’t confuse your concern about that big picture stuff with you and your personal money.  You can be part of the 93%.  You may have to be more diligent, but you can be part of the 93%.

Are you holding your success as something you can create, or something that you are just unable achieve?  Where are you giving away your power and your choice?  What if you took it back? Remember, 93% is the overwhelming majority.

Being Greedy

Are you afraid of being greedy?  Are you worried that there is a part of you that might want to take all the dolls?  Eat all the cake?  Cheat others out of their share?

Many clients have expressed that fear to me.  Here’s what I know to be true.  If you are worried about being greedy then you aren’t really capable of it.  The worry itself points to your awareness of the greed.  I think that people who are truly greedy don’t actually think of it as greed.  They think of it as their reward, what they have earned, what they have a right to.

Sure as young children we all may have been chastised about being greedy or selfish.  It’s was part of how we learned to share.  Sharing is a way of supporting the group as a whole, and not being selfish.  All well and good.

Greedy is defined as:  “Wanting or taking all that one can get, with NO THOUGHT of others needs.”  So by definition if you are worried about being greedy, and worried about taking from others, you don’t actually have greed.

Think of the greed warning as yet another tactic of that voice in your head.  You know the one, the inner critic that is always on you about being good enough?  Its job is to keep you worried and fretting so you are distracted from being effective.  If you weren’t worried about being greedy what would you do differently?  And what might that bring?  What new thoughts and experiences might letting go of that fear and fret give you?

Who knows, one possibility is that by not worrying about being greedy you might actually amass more that you could choose to share.  Hmmm…