In the continuation from last week, let’s discuss 3 (sometimes) ugly topics: money, spirit & relationships.
If there’s one thing that can sink ANY relationship or business, it’s finances. Financial dependency is a dangerous way to live; I’ve seen too many people destroyed by living beyond their means. I made different financial mistakes… giving my credit to others in need. I co-signed for a car a friend and allowed my ex-husband to spend frivolously—I even helped him secure a new home and credit when we split. It took me 5 years to reestablish my credit, despite not needing it to buy a home. So why bother?
It’s not a topic any of us love discussing, but I’ve worked in credit departments, and I know how easy it is to overextend debt. There’s a lot of money in keeping us in debt—your interest rate is partly determined by the risk of others. You help everyone when you’re financially stable.
As I said when this pandemic started, if you’re waiting for the government to bail you out financially, you’ll die waiting. There’s ALWAYS a price you pay for bad credit and financial insecurity.
Being a better human makes the world a better place. If you can’t control your life, finances, and emotions, you’ll never help others. It doesn’t take a lot to be The Best Partner you can, even if it’s just in friendships or in business partnerships. It doesn’t take a lot to remove your Ego and look at the foundation of what others are saying. It doesn’t take a lot to spend wisely and stop feeding the consumerism wheel.
A note I wrote about “Zen Keys” by Thich Nat Hahn: “Mindfulness is more than just attentiveness-it’s also seeing the value of ‘things’ and not wasting them.” Reduce, reduce, reduce. I’ll cover space clearing in a future edition of this series… for now, remember buying more than you need keeps you tied to a system of capitalistic dependency, does not fill the void we believe it fills, and depleted the health of our planet.
I want to help you avoid those same mistakes. I want you to find happiness, wellness, and freedom in the truest sense.
If you have questions about any of these or want to talk about it further, you know you can email me. I’m not an inaccessible guru you follow on social media—I’m your friend.
I pass along tried-and-true advice from decades, hundreds, or thousands of years of wisdom. My job is to translate knowledge and make sense of it in our current state of living; to make it relevant and accessible in a language you understand.
I don’t believe in trends.
While they sometimes bring awareness to healthy topics like yoga, acai, or essential oils, trends bastardize civilizations. They omit the hard work of those who’ve practiced these traditions for thousands of years.
I understand why my father preferred underground music to pop culture—he was far ahead of his time.
Some of the subjects covered in the next month are trendy right now. As always, take what serves you and leave the rest. Come back to these as often as you’d like and leave a comment or email me and add to the conversation of these topics…
I’ll share the following topics over the next 4 weeks:
- 5 Lessons About Motivation & Achieving Dreams
- 5 Ways to Lead Others and Be a Team Player
- 10 Traits of the Best Partner
- 7 Ways to Connect to a Higher Power or Spiritual Path
- 5 Tips About Managing Money
- 5 Tips to a Successful Business
- 5 Lessons in Marketing
- 5 Tricks for Home Decorating and Organization
- 5 Lessons for Managing Your Life and Being More Effective
Part 2 of 4…
About Managing Money
- Save a minimum of 10% before you put your earnings in the bank. It’s a cliché that works… you will not miss that tiny amount. You can invest it; put it towards an IRA/401K, or save it. Read “The Richest Man in Babylon,” “Unshakeable,” or Suze Orman books, for starters. Start saving BEFORE you need it.
- Obsess over your credit—learn how it works! It’s a weird subject I geek out about, but it’s because I worked in a credit department and know how imperative a good credit and FICO score really are. Believe me, you don’t want to worry about your credit WHEN YOU NEED IT. Every credit bureau has free tips on how to improve your credit and financial stability. Until you own your credit, someone else owns your future and dreams.
- Invest in your retirement. Now. Even $50/month adds up to $9,000 in just 5 years, with the right investment. Are you waiting for the government to give you a social security check every month? Talk to your loved ones and older family members and I promise a sad wake-up call: the age to retire and amount you may receive at retirement changes annually. Look at your social security statement and see what you’ll get when you retire. Can you live off of that now? Can you live on it when the future cost of living is higher!? It doesn’t matter how much you contribute now, just start investing.
- It’s never too late to start. If you are reading this, start now. Just $1 builds momentum (insert voiceover from those Sally Struthers’ commercials from the 80s). If you need help spending less and saving more, email me—while I can’t give you legal advice, I can advise you where you can save money. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to start now, if you just crunch numbers objectively.
- Pay more than the minimum on your cards. You can stretch funds further than you think. Round up, even if it’s only $5. Look at your statement and see how long you’ll be in debt by paying the minimum balance—every credit card company lists it on the top of your statement. Make it a game and see how fun it becomes to keep your money, rather than give it away. Look at how much interest you pay each year from debt and imagine what you could do with that money in your bank account! It’s possible to pay off cars and cards in half the time, if you just pay a little extra each month.
Connecting to a Higher Power or Spiritual Path
- We say the same thing in various languages. When we remove Ego from our spiritual path, we understand the base is the same: love others, be respectful, don’t screw each other over, and be cautious with your words. Language is one of the biggest barriers for humanity. Make it a game to find the common ground in what others believe, rather than looking for the differences.
- Nature is THE #1 Connector… #1. #1. #1! Want to connect with your intuition and natural guidance system? GO OUTSIDE. Stand or sit under a tree. Stare at flowers making no determinations about them. Just Be there. You’ll find more guidance in the fauna and flora that you will with any human mentor. Nature speaks only the Ultimate Truth.
- Listen to your intuition; it knows best. The cliché of following your gut instincts is still accurate. Don’t negate it just because your head or heart doesn’t like what you’re hearing. Your intuition connects to something bigger than you, without the confusion of words, memories or emotions.
- Meditate daily, even if just 5 minutes. Start with 5, increase to 10 in a month, then 20, if you have time. If you have to meditate in blocks, do so. 5 minutes in the morning and 5 in the afternoon are perfectly fine for rebooting your system. Meditate first thing in the morning, rather than watching the news… your health depends on it.
- TRUST the outcome, even if it’s “bad.” What silly and subjective words “good” and “bad” are, as only humans make that determination. No other animal thinks this way—no wonder we see them as “Zen” or chill! Ask yourself, “How can I reframe this belief/thought, so I can show gratitude for it?” If nothing else be grateful for the lesson you learned from the experience.
- Show gratitude daily. Wake each morning and find 3 things to be grateful for before you do ANYTHING else. The more you practice this, the more gratitude you express; it shifts your neuro-pathways; it makes you more attractive and inspiring to others; it makes you a happier person all the time! Before you get out of bed, check your phone, or check out somewhere else, you have so much to be grateful for: your life, clean water, a roof over your head, a bed, clothes, a passion, and so much more.
- Consider adding the phrase “at least” in situations (or “it could have been worse”). This ties to the tip above: making gratitude a practice, rather than unwanted bitching. Remember, at least the worst case scenario didn’t happen in ANY situation—you wouldn’t be reading this if it did. (And if THAT happened, you wouldn’t care, either!)
10 Traits of the Best Partner
- Listen more today than yesterday. No matter how much you think you listen, listen more. There’s always room to improve… the more we listen, the less we talk, and the more we learn about others. Join the minority of listeners instead of falling into the majority of talkers.
- Adapt and grow. Always ask “how can I improve?” I learned this lesson from my husband, unaware this was a random question he always asked of himself. I adapted and grew by reaction in most instances. Now, I ask proactively, and find those nit-picky annoying things I do or say. Find something in yourself that’s unpleasant and improve it.
- Show vulnerability to your loved ones. There’s a point in every relationship when you know you’re safe. Express yourself, stop playing the victim, and stand your ground. Admit you’re wrong and admit when you’re scared. Yes, some people prey on this and 20% of the time, you feel you lose. If you’re consistently hurt, reevaluate what you’re looking for in friends and what you’re attracting. Showing your vulnerable allows others to trust you and creates a stronger relationship that grows.
- Admit you’re wrong more than you think you should (because you ARE!). Apparently, we’re wrong almost half the time (45%, statistically). Being a better person means you have to deal with your Ego and silence it. Know what? Sometimes you may admit you’re wrong when you’re not, just because someone else feels you are. This isn’t a competition—if you have to keep track, it’s not worth the investment. It takes a bigger person to admit they’re wrong than someone who fights the battle to death.
- No one makes you feel anything… YOU ALLOW IT. Stop placing blame on others and playing the victim. Be an A-gamer, not an A-blamer! Do not blame or lay guilt for your feelings… just express them by saying “I feel like…” rather than “you made me feel like…”
- Be kind and generous. Small acts of kindness mean more than you imagine. In fact, they mean more than big gifts. If someone doesn’t appreciate your kindness, silently move on and know they don’t deserve you yet. Some people don’t know how to accept gifts, which has nothing to do with you. Offer to help others when you can; set out the towel for your partner before they shower; offer to make tea or coffee. Offer your ear… gifts that cost nothing are priceless.
- Express your gratitude more than you “think” you should. You don’t have to fawn over someone or be a fake… we’ve all witnessed conversations or actions that went unnoticed and hurt someone. It takes 1 second to say thank you and lasts much longer in the mind of the receiver.
- Don’t settle. I don’t care if it’s a location, person, job, spiritual path, or partnership. If it no longer serves you, leave it.
- Learn to compromise when it matters. It may seem odd to place this after advice to not settle. We all know when we compromise more than we should, when we give more than we should, and when we settle too much. We also know we play hard to get and refuse to budge sometimes. If it’s someone you love and trust, give a little… you’ll often find they do the same for you.
- Be supportive! If someone shares something with you, show gratitude they did so. Listen with your ears, not your mouth; express enthusiasm for what they’re telling you. Their dreams are not yours and you probably don’t fully understand what they want and why. Do not knock them down to make yourself feel better or insert your agenda in their life. If you want others to support your crazy dreams, support theirs.
Stay tuned next week for the 3rd edition! Until then, what are your thoughts or what would you add to the above lists from your own years of experience?