“It’s not enough,” she said to me. “It’s good, but it’s not enough. So…what do I do NOW?” It’s a common conversation I have with women. Specifically with women who are moms and entrepreneurs, earning money doing their dream, but always have that sensation that there needs to be more. More money, more time, more everything. Interestingly whether its $50 or $50,000, the conversation is the same. With the holiday spending hanging over our heads the pressure feels like it’s mounting. It’s hard to enjoy the season of peace when you’re anxious.
A 2014 Harris Poll on behalf of the American Psychological Association notes that 72% of Americans feel stressed about money. The good news is that lower stress and better outcomes occur when emotional support is available.
The solution: Use these 5 tools to look at what you have, where you’re at, and focus on… YOU.
The words we use really do say it all. When our language and focus is about what we don’t have, that’s all we keep seeing. Focusing on the money needed won’t get you multiplying money. Focus on the money you do have or the bills you can pay.
If we don’t feel grateful for what we have what makes us think we’d be happier with more? When we skip over gratitude and focus on getting more, we’re actually focusing on lack instead of abundance. Energy flows where attention goes. Shift your focus onto abundance with gratitude. Even though It may seem like you’re focusing on something “small”, you’re actually focusing on the sensation of abundance which not only feels good in the immediate moment, it amplifies your abundance.
Track your money. Data doesn’t lie. It’s often said that our money is a reflection of our inner game. That’s true overall, but the trick there is that most of us only THINK we know the details about our money. Tracking every cent in and out into specific subcategories (yes, there’s a great app for that, yes it’s easy to use, and yes you do have time to do it if it’s done as you go) is ALWAYS illuminating. Most moms realize they thought they knew how they spent money, but after tracking three months of numbers, averaging out each categories, and seeing the actual numbers they’re astounded by them.
We have blind spots about ourselves. No one can clearly see themselves without a mirror, which is why mentors, advisors, and coaches are so crucial. After you track your numbers for a few months, share the info aloud and on paper with a person who’s clear and has (even a little) more experience than you. The act of putting the numbers down and sharing the raw data – not your conclusions about your data – really opens eyes and allows for a lot of movement. I’ve seen more “A-ha!” experiences here than anywhere else. Here is where we can see what old stories about money we thought we kicked but didn’t and how well we’re really caring for ourselves.
The most illuminating part of looking at the numbers is seeing how you treat yourself. There’s a proven priority order that entrepreneurs can follow to success with allocating money that comes in, and moms tend to be doing the opposite of what’s healthy in that regard. Heavy spending in gifts, tips, debt -repayment, and dependent care instead of personal care is typical and telling. How we do one thing is how we do everything, so if we’re showing up this way in our money, we’re doing it with our time and energy, too.
That elusive work-life balance is tied to the checkbook balance. Most of us put ourselves off as something to “get to later” but success all comes down to this learned skill that requires constant practice. De-prioritizing ourselves is another form of not just spending but debting and it shows up in our money. When our own oxygen mask isn’t on first, we not only shortchange ourselves but also set unhealthy examples for our kids and others we’re leading.
Most women don’t even know what true self care is, thinking it amounts to a mani-pedi once a month. Learning specific techniques ironically comes down to doing things that aren’t “sexy” but are free: going to bed by 10 PM, having time to wake up slowly in the morning, allowing ourselves to feel emotions, comforting ourselves as we would an infant when we feel anxious, having time for fun, and moving towards our dreams.
These actions may seem to have little to do with whether or not your finances will allow you to be the Santa of your dreams and realizing “there’s more than enough,” but in fact they ARE the solution. Merry Christmas.