An abundant life on any budget
GUEST BLOG FROM CHANGEMAKER COACH, SHERIE HODDS Most of us want to live a more joyful, present and connected life – one with rich experiences, loving relationships and fulfilling work. Yet, while we dream of living this abundant life, we often find ourselves feeling it will always be just a little bit out of reach…and that what we have now is not enough.
Certainly, our culture promotes stuff – preferably big, expensive, exclusive stuff – as the means to the beautiful life. Yet, there is such a disconnect between what we say we want (joy, presence, connection, abundance) and how we go about getting it (money, money, stuff, stuff).
Not long ago, I was fixated on the idea that money was a problem in my life – namely, that I didn’t have enough. At the time, I was going through a period of shifting my work focus to coaching. I was investing quite a bit of money into this shift and, inevitably, as I chose fewer consulting gigs so I could spend more time and energy rebuilding, I was bringing in less money. Even though I was practicing becoming more myself, growing personally and professionally, having exciting and inspiring experiences and enjoying my work more, I fell into a place of complete lack, all tied up in the idea of not earning enough.
To be honest, I didn’t have a sweet clue about what ‘enough’ really meant. I just knew I needed more. I felt guilty for spending the money, guilty for not contributing as much to the home expenses and I was convinced that if I didn’t ‘fix’ my money situation it would mean I’d have to give up my dream of becoming a coach. I was tense much of the time, my brain whirring, my attention span close to nil. I became desperate. How could I make this problem go away? After much turmoil, my game-changing answer to this problem was…ta! da!... to hire an expert who would tell me what to do.
Long story short, I resented spending the money and I resented the expert. Misery. I was on the right track in asking for help, but what I really needed was someone to help me learn to trust my own instincts.
I needed to reconnect with the life I said I really wanted – the joyful, present, creative, connected life. Once I took a step back, I began to see the disconnect: money is a physical thing – a tool – while abundance, joy and presence are energetic fields that come from an understanding of who we are and what holds us.
In order to live the life I said I really wanted, I had to trust that part of me that was present, joyful and connected to lead the way. That part of me is always there, but stories about lack were taking me away from myself and into a mind trap. We get so caught up in the false notion that a wonderful life is directly connected to how much money and stuff we have. Instead of getting our answers from the so-called experts, we need to consult our own wisdom.
So, how do we strip away the ‘not enough’ stories, to figure out what we really want?
When you allow yourself to take a step back from your thoughts and connect to your inner wisdom, you can ask yourself: What conditions allow me to feel present and joyful? What keeps me engaged and creative? What do I really need to be safe, healthy and happy? Why is this happening for me?
Let’s say you’re stuck in a place of lack and ‘not enough’. Instead of panicking and trying to fix it – by doubling down on yet more work you don’t love – try to find some space to pause. I believe that life is happening for us. If you are bumping up against an old expectation or an unrealistic goal, maybe there is a reason for it, something you are meant to learn. If we take a step back, it might become clear that some of the things you deem ‘must-haves’ might not actually be as important to you as they once were.
Some great questions to ask might be: What do I really need right now? What can I let go of, to have more of what I want? What wants to happen in service of my joyful, creative and connected life? Why is this important to me?
It can help to try to slow down and look at things from a 30,000-foot perspective. If you want something that requires more money or investment – maybe new training or a new computer, it can help to ask yourself the following questions: Why is this important to me right now? What is it giving me? How does it contribute to my long-term vision for my life and work?
By viewing things with some distance, it might help put things in perspective – I can’t afford that computer right now, but in three or six months, I can likely afford it and save myself the stress of buying it sooner. What conditions help me stay connected to my true, authentic self? Become more aware of what it’s like to be your most empowered and authentic self – one where you can enjoy your life and make great decisions for yourself. If a decision makes you feel expansive and oriented to possibility, you are likely on the right track.
If we consciously focus our energy on possibility and opportunity, that is what we’ll find. If we’re focused on ‘not enough’ – money or material possessions or clients – the ‘not enough’ is what will show up. Consider the following: What helps me recover to my wise, authentic self? What do I want to expand in my life? What am I most grateful for? If the universe is ever-expanding at all points, that includes whatever we are bringing to the universe. What does success look like?
Access your own unique creativity to discover what success really means for you. It’s not easy to give up on the illusion of security that we feel comes from having money. But we are never really secure – that is the nature of life. What kind of life do I want to create? What do I really need to support that life? How can I be creative and resourceful to get there?
When I took the time and space to consult me – to get clearer on what I really wanted and make better decisions for myself – things began to shift. I was able to access my creativity to move towards the vision I have for my work and life.
So, if we only get one wild and precious life, what kind will you create for yourself? And what is enough to support it?
Sherie Hodds is a ChangeMaker Nation Coach. She has spent more than 15 years working with people and businesses to develop and implement their strategies, helping to shape and share the great stories being produced at home and around the world.
I did a lot of exploring, connecting and training to create work I love, and bring more joy to more people in more organizations. I can’t tell you how great it is to do this work now, and witness a stuck team break through, a quiet vision living loud, a start-up successfully scale-up and a client realize their potential. I’m telling you – you’ve got what you need. Let’s get to work.