Do you know where you’re going to?
Do you like the things that life is showing you?
Where are you going to
Do you know?
This haunting melody sung by Motown star Diana Ross came to my mind as I contemplated a New Year: 2017 with its potential joys and sorrows, opportunities and storms, adventures and threats.
Exactly a year ago, I realised that I wanted to leave my predictable routine as a financial adviser and embrace the wild frontier of entrepreneurship as a money fitness coach. Within six months, I had written and published a book “When Love and Money Are Gone: True Stories of Women and Financial Independence,” started a company with my friend and partner Mette Johansson of Metamind Training, launched my own website, secured my first coaching clients and started this blog.
Yes, change is possible. Even if you feel that you are stuck in a job you hate. Stuck in an endless rat race-cum-debt-servicing cycle. Stuck in a relationship going nowhere. Stuck in a partnership or marriage gone sour or any problem that leaves you anxious, stressed and confused.
How do you start by untangling yourself from these emotions – and the self-condemnation that comes when you realise that 2017 has arrived and you haven’t got a clue of what to do next? Here are 4 ways:
Tap your Inner Wisdom – I believe that there’s a wise soul living inside the depths of our being. You may call it God or your intuition, but this voice doesn’t condemn, doesn’t ridicule and always tells the truth. Take out your notebook, journal or fresh sheet of paper, find a quiet space, quiet your mind and let your inner voice of wisdom speak forth as you answer this question as honestly as you can – Do you like the things that (your) life is showing you? Writing down (or doodling) what you like and don’t like about your world – your job, relationships, income and financial situation – is the first step towards acknowledging what is working and not working in your life. It gives you a perspective to work towards change.
Use the power of your imagination and your sub-conscious mind. A year ago, the image of a swimming pool came to me as I doodled in my notebook. I recalled the time when I was learning to swim and was clinging to the edge of the pool, fearful to swim to the other side. Gradually, with encouragement from my swimming teacher, I let go. The joy and freedom I felt, floating and cutting through the water was exhilarating! By reflecting on this experience, I realised that I must “let go” in order to find my true calling.
Reject Perfectionism – We all experience various degrees of shame and regret as we contemplate our failures, setbacks and areas of lack. However, for every failure, there’s always something to be grateful for. When I wrote and published my book, I realised that it would not only be an investment of time, money and energy; but a gamble with no immediate returns. Am I disappointed that I have not made it to the bestseller lists on Amazon? Not at all. I gained insights into what being a self-published author was all about. My book also opened the doors to people and opportunities that I wouldn’t have had otherwise, had I remained a financial adviser.
In her acclaimed book Growth Mindset, psychologist Carol Dweck said that perfectionists tend to be so threatened and ashamed of failure that they avoid difficult and challenging tasks altogether – thereby limiting themselves from learning, growing and excelling. While acknowledging your wins and losses, practice self-compassion and tell yourself that your biggest break is yet to come.
Face your Money Demons – As a former financial adviser, I had clients who would neglect to pay their insurance premiums and avoid meeting me to review their investments and retirement planning needs, saying they have “no money.” Yet, they always seem to have enough money to splurge on expensive vacations abroad.
The harsh reality is, what you neglect today will come back to haunt you tomorrow. In my book, I interviewed May Lee, who loved to party and did not take her career or her finances too seriously from her 20s to 30s. Her darkest moment came when breast cancer struck and she found herself totally unprepared financially to handle her ordeal.
Living in a state of denial by failing to address your money issues will not make them go away. Take a deep breath and make that appointment with a money coach or your trusted financial adviser to clean out your money cobwebs before it’s too late.
Take Baby Steps – The best way to get out of credit card debt is to start with a monthly schedule of paying off your lowest to highest balances one by one, and stopping any further charging to your cards until all your debts are cleared. The best way to becoming healthier is to make a small change in your daily habits – such as getting more sleep.
Big changes require numerous small baby steps and lots of practice. Before I started my money fitness coaching practice, I invested time and money in education and training. I tightened my belt and made sure that I managed my daily personal and business expenses carefully. Then I explored various ideas on how to niche myself doing what I love, with the skills, life experiences and practical training that I had. Then I surrounded myself with supportive coaches and friends who were also on an entrepreneurial journey. With every baby step, I gained fresh insights and confidence.
One year later, do I know where I’m going to? For sure, after taking many baby steps, rejecting perfectionism, facing my money fears and tapping my inner wisdom, I’m ready to run, leap and jump forward in 2017. So the answer is a resounding “Yes!”
If you would like 2017 to be your best year yet, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and book a free no-obligations Skype chat