Tag Archives: balance

In Spite Of, Not Because Of!

One of the great falsehoods most of us live with is believing that worrying, fretting, obsessing, and other such behaviors really help us be more effective.  I think the truth is that it’s not because of those tendencies, it’s actually in spite of them that we succeed.  Money is one the places that we all do this!

Fretting cropIt’s a learned behavior.  Our parents worried, their parents fretted, everybody spent time wringing their hands.  Okay, maybe there was that crazy uncle that spent money “like it was water.”  He never worried.  He just spent and spent.  I’m not talking about that.  I’m not talking about that.

What I’m talking about is the nattering, the checking the numbers four times, the waking up in the night worrying.  What’s that all about?

It’s really a function of our clever human brains making patterns.  We do an amazing job of pattern making.  We sort things into piles and categories in our head.  We link them together.  We make up conditional statements it like “if A, then B.”  It all comes from the wonderful pattern making than frankly gives us more ‘thought space’ for new things.   We don’t have to look at each new thing and figure it out from scratch.  We find something in our brain database that is similar and sort the new thing into that category.  Very clever, very useful… except when it’s not.

Worrying, fretting, nattering, running numbers over and over… those patterns aren’t helpful.  They are there because that’s what we’ve done.  We’ve worried, spun, and fretted and things turned out okay, so in our brains we have conflated the two together.  “If I worry and obsess money will work out”, is the pattern and thus the conclusion—but what if that’s wrong?  What if the fretting actually is distracting?  What if instead of truly helping it slows you  down?

That’s what I think is more often the truth.  That we succeed not because of all that tail chasing but in spite of it!

I’m not saying don’t look at your money.  I’m not saying don’t spend time with it.  I am saying don’t obsess over it.  What is the reason you check your bank balance several times a day?  Is there really a business reason for that, or is it this fret/obsess thing?

Like most things it’s about balance and moderation.  Spend some time with your money, absolutely.  Plan, look at the big picture, by all means have a cash flow spreadsheet and use it—all really good things to do.  However, when you do them over and over and over they become a distraction that increases rather than reduces stress.

See if you can’t stop in the middle of your stress fest and ask yourself: “Is this helpful? Does this actually make me more effective?” If not, how about doing something else that might get you focused on improving relationships with your clients, getting new business, doing your work in a better way, etc.

How about turning the Fret-O-Meter way down so you have more brain space for being effective?

Ka-ching

Shell Tain, The Untangler

Want some help to stop nattering about money and start being more effecitive with it? Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.sensiblecoaching.com

Extremes

Do you find that your money always shows up in extremes?  For example, you get a lump of it at the beginning of the month, spend it and then find there is none until the next month.

If so, you may very well be trapped in the scarcity place (feast or famine, binge or purge, black or white, all or nothing…all the same stuff).  It’s a concept of extremes, and it’s exhausting.  Your little kid part that I often speak about is still in charge of your money.  extremesWhen the money comes in, she spends it…all.  She doesn’t think past this moment.  It’s part of being a little kid.

It’s all about that tricky balance thing.  You need to wrap your head around it differently.  Think of the middle, instead of the ends.  After all, the colors are all in the middle between black and white.  Emotionally, you need to make it more valuable to take care of yourself all month than to splurge…not from a sense of boring duty, but from a sense of self love.  This is the inside work.

Consider some outside structures that might help:

          When you get the funds immediately put 30 – 40% aside

          Every time you spend money put 15% aside

          Save some amount every time you get money – this is the crucial one.

Our brain needs to know that we CAN save.  It doesn’t matter how much, even one dollar is fine.  Brainwise, it’s the action of saving that is important, not the amount.

If you are spending it all, and then find yourself lacking, you are doing what ‘poor’ people do.  Poverty creates an interesting concept of quickly exchanging money for stuff.  The belief and logic is that someone may take money from you, but it’s harder for them to take stuff away from you.  So spend it all now, so that no one can take it away.  The trick is to establish the idea and process of saving, taking action to believe that it’s not just about today, but self-care for tomorrow.

Practice this and you will change the behavior and the beliefs…at the same time.

Ka-ching

Shell