I met with a client the other day who was simply trying to pull up his most recent 401(k) statement for me to review and, forgetting his password, got sucked into Log-In-Reset- Password-Hell.
I have another client who was supposed to follow up with me
for more financial coaching sessions (which she already paid for)
but since her divorce she has fallen into a “I don’t care about anything” place.
Another client is mourning the loss of her Mom (the anniversary of her passing was looming in her calendar) and, despite her desire to implement my financial recommendations, cannot seem to focus her mind on those kinds of tasks.
A friend who regularly responds to my emails for the
“I HATE Budgeting (But I Like Having Money)” support group
is somehow never able to attend,
something always comes up, usually that morning.
Just now I was going to include an excerpt from a favorite poem. I have it attributed to one author (Jeremy Taylor, a clergyman from the 1600s) but a Google Search has it attributed to someone quite different (Ann Landers). Do I post it anyway?
This is daily life for most of us.
I’m presenting a seminar this week on budgeting and how most people think it is a matter of mathematics and discipline.
That’s so cute. Adorable, really.
The truth is, our lives are complex recipes and the ingredients are relationships,
and relationships involve dozens of different emotions or feelings all on the
<– love –> -> -> -> ->-<- <- <- <- <–fear –>
spectrum (attention, affection, appreciation, commitment, care,
responsibility, duty, expectations, conflict, inadequacy, resentment, avoidance etc.).
Let’s call a spade a spade: We make most decisions, especially financial decisions, largely based on – or influenced by – our emotions. That vacuum cleaner you’re eyeing up has emotional fingerprints all over it (did you ever see the “Everybody Loves Raymond” episode with the vacuum cleaner?), as does the TV, couch, dishes, artwork, letter from a charity, college education… Don’t even get me started on holiday shopping.
If you find yourself stuck, it’s most likely because an emotion is not being recognized and addressed. You must be wondering, “Well, how do I get back on track?” I don’t know how you’re wired but I tell you what seems to work for me and many of my clients:
- Think about the priority of the issue. If it isn’t that important (and sometimes it’s hard to know if it is important, or “right,” or “true” or “best”), trust me, you will find every excuse not to do it.
- Think about the urgency of the issue. If it can wait (and, of course, it most likely can), you’ll find a million things to do to ensure that it gets put on the back burner.
- Be aware that, if you feel at all ashamed or that you’re being judged, you’ll stay stuck on the side of the proverbial road. A mental exercise regimen of self forgiveness, self-confidence and setting and maintaining boundaries may be needed, perhaps with the help of a licensed mental health professional.
- The most important step is to think about what you really need right now; be that a good cup of coffee, an afternoon off, some good music, a great joke, to find a new job etc.
Taking time to identify what you need and what is at that need’s core (a sense of order, to simplify things, to feel appreciated, to feel cared for, to feel connected etc.) helps you become unstuck; it’s like finding the right tool for the job. If you don’t identify what you need, you will fill your life/house/mind with stuff trying to get that need met. You’ll “wander and squander” your time, money and energy.
If you’re on the road to financial wellness, let your emotional needs be your GPS and treat them with the importance and urgency they deserve. If you happen to get a flat tire, think of your spare tire as your Plan B; which is constructed with the same core needs and values as Plan A.
Peace & abundance,