The Money Spending Trap

 

Have you ever noticed the obvious contradictions in experts’ money and abundance advice? Some tell you to save money above all else, others insist that in order to be abundant, you need to live as though you already had material wealth, and treat yourself to luxuries.

When I embarked on my journey to learn about finances and change my money mindset, I often ended up tearing my hair trying to figure out which strategy to use. Remembering how confusing I found it all, was one of the reasons I decided to create my new “Wild and (Financially) Free” program which will be launched next month.

I thought I’d give you a bit of a sneak peak into the contents of the program.

 

Save or “be abundant”?

As usual, it’s not a question of either/or. Instead, you need to go a little deeper and differenciate. Here are a few points to consider:

Saving doesn’t necessarily mean denying yourself what you’d like to have. T. Harv Eker taught me to think of saving as “paying myself”. When I put away a certain amount every time I have money coming in, I think of it as the salary I pay myself.

Spending doesn’t have to mean going over the top either. If you spend money on yourself and things you love, it can make you happier and feeling well-cared for. The trick is to know what to spend money on – simply throwing cash at everything which takes your fancy, is definitely not the way to go.

There is a fine line between impulse purchases and things you truly love. Impulse purchases are pretty things which catch your eye, online or in a sale. You get a momentary rush of happiness from buying it, but it wears off quickly. If you, however, purchase something related to your passion(s), you will get enjoyment from it long-term. These are the things which truly make you feel abundant.

 

The multi-passionate issue

There’s another complication if you happen to be a multi-passionate like me. The issue is that there are simply so many things we love! Applying the filter I suggested in the previous section can still get you in trouble as a multi-passionate; you could always justify your purchases because they aren’t a fleeting wish but represent something you are actually passionate about.

The answer to this issue is prioritisation. Even the biggest multi-passionate cannot focus on everything at once. Here’s an example: For me, the last 12 months were about following my passion for historical combat and archery. In order to get going, I had to spend money on equipment and training, and so everything else took a back seat.

I tend to video the fights at our swordfighting club’s tournaments, and for this I use my iPhone which has a surprisingly good camera. A friend once commented that I should buy a “proper” video camera and I told him that it’s just not in my budget right now. He said it would cost no more than a few hundred bucks, but the thing is, I have so many different passions to spend “only a few hundred” Euro on that I need to draw a line somewhere. Maybe in a year or two, I’ll focus on photography and video, which I also love, but right now my budget is spoken for elsewhere.

 

The key to it all

In my experience, the best way to keep your expenses in balance and be able to both “pay yourself” through saving, and treat yourself by spending, is to allocate your money by percentages. You need to know your fixed expenses every month and figure out which percentage of your income is needed for these. Let’s say it’s 70%. Then all you need to do is allocate the remaining 30%.

You could reserve 10% for gifts, 5% for donatios, 5% as “Play Money” and 10% for saving. Play Money means an amount you can safely spend even on impulse purchases if you so choose. It’s yours to blow, every single month.

With this system, you achieve two things: You will never overspend on anything, because the budget is fixed in advance, and you will grow more abundant as your income increases. Ever notice how every time you get a pay rise, you still don’t seem to have any money left at the end of the month? The truth is that when money is available, we will spend it – unless we have a system in place which allocates a certain percentage to a certain budget.

Make sense? I suggest you try it out. It’s remarkable what peace of mind a simple system like this can bring.

The above is the lead article in this week’s Monday Sparkles. Join the tribe to receive the full newsletter, exclusive offers and insider info (100% spam free), by filling in the short form below. You will get:

  • A weekly newsletter with free Coaching magic every Monday
  • Special offers exclusive to subscribers
  • Insider “behind the scenes” info about Wild Spirits Coaching
  • A free worksheet and the valuable “One-Year Goals Workbook”

Is Today The Day?

 

I don’t know about you, but I love stories of people who completely change their lives or turn around a seemingly impossible situation. What I’ve always found fascinating about such success stories is that there’s usually one particular point, one event (usually rock bottom), which triggers the change:

The day when the electricity got disconnected because of unpaid bills, the person in question decided “enough is enough” and took the risk of starting their own business. Or, the morning her size xyz jeans split, the protagonist realised she could go on like this no longer, and so she finally started getting her health and fitness back. And so forth.

 

When will it be my turn?

For many years, these types of stories set me dreaming. Books like Cynthia Kersey’s Unstoppable are full of them. I used to wonder when my own “Day X” would come around. When would there be a drastic event to make the penny drop and have me realise that I need to get up, get going, and make it happen?

The day never came. And really, why would I even wish for a catastrophic event, just so I could get over myself? They say addicts need to hit rock bottom before they can hope to recover, but you and I aren’t addicts. There’s no need for us to find ourselves lying in the gutter in order to make changes.

It’s much less dramatic – not to mention that it’s not nearly as good a story – to get there by sheer effort and willpower, but that’s what it’s like for most of us. It’s also the reason why so many people remain in “if only” mode all their lives. It’s easy to simply take the comfortable, familiar route if nothing pressing forces you to hack your own path through the jungle instead.

The truth is that “Day X” is in your own hands. Nothing keeps you from making “Day X” happen – today!

 

Make it happen

If, upon reading the above, you responded by listing reasons why it can’t be today (that you’re not ready, you don’t have the money, you need to wait for your bonus or your tax refund or your spouse to come home, or a higher power to give you permission), then please know you are making excuses. Yes, they might be actual obstacles, but for everything you list, I promise you there’s at least one person in the world who has overcome just that “good reason” and succeeded anyway.

It’s really up to ourselves. And while this might be inconvenient, it’s really a good thing because it also means that it’s all in our power and we are in control. In the following, I’ve put together a checklist for you to step up and claim the changes you desire in your life.

  • Make a decision right now. Not tomorrow, not next week – today. At the same time, know that it’s not all-or-nothing. You will experience setbacks and maybe even let yourself down occasionally. It’s normal; it’s even happened to those people who had the “rock bottom” moment, the “Day X” I mentioned earlier. Simply cut yourself some slack and keep plugging away at your goal. ​​​​​​​
  • Stop the excuses. No money to get started / get Coaching / sign up for that degree? If this is something you’ve wanted for a while, go for it anyway. You may have to get creative, and it’ll almost certainly scare you, but it’s worth the risk: You will make the money back as long as you commit to sticking with it. This is especially true for getting support such as Coaching or Education. ​​​​​​​
  • Get a solid support network. I already mentioned Coaching (also remember I’m always up for a chat on Skype, and it’s free!); also look for Mastermind groups. Find a mentor – someone who’s already succeeded in what you’re trying to do. This could be a personal trainer at the gym, a successful entrepreneur if you’re starting a business, or an experienced artist in whatever art you’re pursuing.
  • Promise yourself that you’ll work on your goal(s) every single day. If you are busy or don’t feel well, you can at least do a small, seemingly insignificant thing. It’s vital to do something every day in order to create a habit. This also tells your subconscious that you’re serious about what you are trying to achieve.

Finally, remember joy. This is about creating your life purpose. Feel the passion! This is your adventure, and you might as well enjoy the ride.

 

The above is the lead article in this week’s Monday Sparkles. Join the tribe to receive the full newsletter, exclusive offers and insider info (100% spam free), by filling in the short form below. You will get:

  • A weekly newsletter with free Coaching magic every Monday
  • Special offers exclusive to subscribers
  • Insider “behind the scenes” info about Wild Spirits Coaching
  • A free worksheet and the valuable “One-Year Goals Workbook”

 

Having A Great Year Is No Accident

The New Year is well on its way, the festive decorations have been packed away, and you are running out of excuses. Time to ‘fess up: Have you closed off 2016 and set your goals for 2017 yet?

If your answer is a resounding: “no”, or a slightly less resounding “not entirely”, don’t worry, it’s not too late. We’re not even ten days into the new year after all. You could of course argue, that a new year is a somewhat random point for the process I’m suggesting, but if you consider that much of our world is organised around the calendar and around years, it does make sense to align yourself with this rhythm.

No matter when you choose to do this, it’s important to occasionally review your life, close off what you’ve left behind, and plan your next steps. It’s what keeps you aware and conscious, “online” as I call it, and engaged in your life. In the following, I’ll give you a process for doing this; it’s a ceremony I do at the end of every year.

 

Closing off 2016

Many people have nothing but complaints about the year we’ve just left behind. I say, there was good as well as bad, and in any case it is important to formally finish what needs to be closed, and draw a clean line, so you can move forward unburdened. I have developed a little ritual for this process. Here are the steps.

  • First, take some time, maybe half an hour, when you’ll be undisturbed and undistracted. Keep some paper or a notebook ready, and a pen.
  • Set the scene: get comfortable, maybe get a cup of coffee or tea, light a candle if you like.
  • Think back over 2016, month by month. If necessary, take out your calendar as reference. On a piece of paper, write down everything that didn’t go so well in the year past. Disappointments, failures, illness, personal heartache (family troubles or a relationship break-up), other hardship, or simply a bad mood, sadness, or lack of motivation.
  • Take your time with this step. Look over your list, and if necessary, experience the emotions associated once more. Cry if you have to, say angry words you feel you need to say. Then when you feel at peace and ready to move on, tear up the list and burn it (don’t set the house on fire, please! The sink is usually a good place to burn a paper safely).
  • Now remember all the good things that happened. Achievements, new projects, love, good times spent with your friends or family, success, happiness, well-being, arts and crafts, your hobbies and passions. Write them all down.
  • Now look over your list and take time to fully experience the emotions associated with each item. Feel yourself flooded with gratitude. If it feels right, say aloud words of thanks to the universe or God or whatever you believe in.
  • Finally, determine which projects or goals you wish to carry forward into 2017. Write these down on a separate piece of paper.
  • Say: “Thank you for all the experiences and lessons. I am now ready to move on into 2017.”

 

Setting yourself up for 2017

Now it’s time to create your joyful, passion-filled 2017! Are you ready? Here are some helpful steps. For a more detailed guide, refer to your One-Year Goals Workbook and the Goals Worksheet (if you need another copy, email me and I’ll send you one).

  • First, determine where your intentions are for this year. Is there any particular area of your life you wish to focus on? You can pick more than one, but I’d recommend limiting the focus to about two areas in any one year. This might be health, business, finances, family, hobbies, passions…
  • Now pull out the paper where you wrote the goals and projects you wish to carry over from the previous year.
  • Add goals for each area of your life, with particular emphasis on the areas you’ve decided to focus on.
  • Determine a first step for each goal. It can be a small step, something seemingly insignificant, like googling art schools if your goal is to do a course, etc.
  • Schedule your first steps for the following three days. It is absolutely vital to actually complete these first steps within three days, as psychologists have found out. After this period, it becomes increasingly unlikely that you’ll take the step at all.

Once you’ve done all this, reward yourself. It could be a night-out or a special Self-Care session, and it doesn’t have to cost money. You have set yourself up for all possible success in 2017; all that’s left is to follow through and revise your goals regularly.

 

The above is the lead article in this week’s Monday Sparkles. Join the tribe to receive the full newsletter, exclusive offers and insider info (100% spam free), by filling in the short form below. You will get:

  • A weekly newsletter with free Coaching magic every Monday
  • Special offers exclusive to subscribers
  • Insider “behind the scenes” info about Wild Spirits Coaching
  • A free worksheet and the valuable “One-Year Goals Workbook”

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Relentlessly Positive

 

Oh please. Not even a pathologically optimistic Coach could find the bright side in the state of the world today, could they? Scathing analyses of the year 2016 are all over the news and social media and the emotional waves of anger and frustration are washing over us.

Well, I’m certainly not going to downplay the challenges. What I am going to do is make a case for the necessity of being positive, of love, optimism, and connection in a world which seems laser-focused on separation, spite, and gloom. I’m even going to show how these are absolutely rational feelings, and how to cultivate them in the adverse climate of fear and anger everywhere.

 

How to be both positive and realistic

Being positive does absolutely not mean to be out of touch with reality. Viktor Frankl wrote Man’s Search For Meaning based on his experiences in a Nazi concentration camp. It’s where he gained crucial insights about the purpose of his own life. He took something very valuable out of the experience, but do you honestly think this made the concentration camp a good thing? Of course not! Frankl never denied that the camps were horrific and should never have existed.

The point is, since they did exist and there’s nothing he could do about this fact, he focused on the positive that was also happening: His insights, his experience of compassion and cameraderie amongst inmates, etc.

The granddaughter of a good friend of mine has been battling leukemia since the age of 2. I can’t even begin to describe the horrors this family has been through. When the girl’s mother says that this experience has taught her belief in humanity because of the overwhelming support from friends and all the community including complete strangers, both in spirit and financial donations, she doesn’t for one second imply that her little girl’s suffering is a good thing or justified. All she does is accept the inevitable and find whatever is positive and uplifting about the experience.

 

Why this is so important

I don’t believe in anger because it creates barriers and distance and the world really doesn’t need any more separation. What it does need is openness, fearlessness, an absence of barriers. We don’t heal through hate, we heal through love.

Here’s where the title of this article comes in. Being relentlessly positive doesn’t mean lying down and letting bad politics, separation, violence and discrimination walk all over you (and other people). On the contrary, it means using the most effective weapon of all: The spreading of love, understanding, and communication. Wherever the situation looks bleak, invariably it’s these qualities that are missing, and those who are strong enough are called upon to provide them.

That’s right: It’s not weakness to focus on the positive. It takes a lot of strength to swim against the tide of negativity and refuse to give in to its pull, and instead radiate love, forgiveness, and understanding.

 

What it means in real-world terms

All these words sound beautiful, but what can we actually do?

I’ll give you some examples. If you…

– …are heartbroken over the fate of fugitives, or the homeless, volunteer for one of the organisations supporting them. You may find the extent of the suffering overwhelming, but remember: If you can provide just one child with a new toy or feed one starving person, it’ll make all the difference to that person. This is not insignificant “in the grand scheme of things”; indeed, one heart at a time is how change works. There are no shortcuts.

– …fear for the safety of immigrants / LGBT people / people of colour, reach out to them. Make them feel safe. It’s an incredibly lonely feeling to be fearful and on the constant lookout for potential aggressors; a word, a gesture, a friendly face mean so very much.

– …are worried about the situation in other parts of the world, find a reputable organisation (do some research first) or charity working there and donate money. Make it a small but regular donation. Even five or 10 quid a month make a difference.

The conclusion from all this is that positivity can be a conscious choice and an incredibly brave act of rebellion. It takes a lot of energy to uphold and often feels like pedalling a bicycle uphill, all the time. However, this conscious choice is vital to our world. As for your personal well-being, do not focus on things you can’t influence and rather spend your energy on what you can change. You will be surprised at how much you can do.

 

To receive the rest of the newsletter, sign up for Monday Sparkles 100% spam free! You will receive:

  • A weekly newsletter with free Coaching magic every Monday
  • Special offers exclusive to subscribers
  • Insider “behind the scenes” info about Wild Spirits Coaching
  • A free worksheet and the valuable “One-Year Goals Workbook”

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Getting Through Dark Times

 

We are adults and can handle ourselves. We focus on the positive and choose to put our energy into what works, what we are good at, the light at the end of the tunnel.

And yet. And yet. Yet there are times when everyone (bar perhaps the most enlightened spiritual monk) goes through heartbreak, mourning, or otherwise challenging periods in life. Sometimes the hardest times are those when only minor things are off, so we feel silly spending a lot of time on it because “there are so much bigger problems in this world”. Then these little hurts are allowed to fester, untended, and can seriously undermine us.

 

Step one: Recognise what’s going on

Our reactions to hard times are as varied as our personalities: Some of us power through pretending all’s well, some withdraw, some pour their hearts out to friends. Some go off their food and others binge. Some go on shopping sprees, and some do several or all of the above.

The important thing is to learn how to recognise your warning signs and acknowledge to yourself that you’re not well. I spent the best part of six years in a state of mild depression, completely oblivious to it. When I began slipping again recently, I was much faster to catch on and managed to turn it around in just two months. It really is vital to know your pattern so you can react to it accordingly.

In the following, I’ll give you some techniques to help you get through a “dark night of the soul”.

 

A First-Aid Kit for hard times

1. Like I said above, you need to learn to recognise your warning signs. I just wrote an article on my personal blog about my own red flags; it was important for me to put this down in writing, so I can refer back to it if I’m ever in danger of slipping again. It goes without saying that this requires a lot of self knowledge, but if you are reading this newsletter, I think it’s fair to assume that you practise personal development and know the importance of studying and working on yourself.

2. Know that you don’t always have to “deal with” everything. When a relationship breaks up or someone close to you dies, there’s no recipe to “get over it” quickly. Emotional hurt is as real as a physical injury, and just like a bleeding wound, there are things you can do to ease the healing, but it’ll still take some time in any case. ALLOW yourself the time to be sad, to mourn, to feel awful. You’re not failing at positivity; you are simply experiencing life as a human being.

3. Allowing yourself the time also means taking precautions in the outside world. Many of us feel it wouldn’t be justified to take time off work because there’s “nothing wrong” in the sense of an illness. I say, take your emotions as seriously as your body and make space in your life. Listen closely to your needs: Work, or socialising with friends, can be a balm, but they can also be a way of trying to bury what’s going on, and that never works in the long run. Again it comes down to knowing yourself and recognising your true needs.

4. Reach out to others. Any true friend will be happy to lend an ear or a shoulder when you’re down in the dumps. A “wallowing” session can do you a world of good, being held while you’re crying is an almost miraculous medicine sometimes. Make use of your support system, but at the same time be aware of what is happening. The goal is not to make a habit of complaining or always sharing negativity.

Deal with things as they happen; if you are in the middle of a longer process (such as mourning a deceased loved one), let your friends know that this will likely take a while and allow them to take as much or as little of it as they choose. Continue reaching out, but don’t forget to also do this at times when you feel better – and these always occur in longer coping processes – so your friends will see you smiling, too.

 

I hope this list will help the next time you are in a bad place in your life! It might be a good idea to save this article for future reference. Above all, cut yourself some slack. Nobody has perfected dealing with hard times. It’s why they are HARD times. Self-Love and Care will get you through.

 

To receive the rest of the newsletter, sign up for Monday Sparkles 100% spam free! You will receive:

  • A weekly newsletter with free Coaching magic every Monday
  • Special offers exclusive to subscribers
  • Insider “behind the scenes” info about Wild Spirits Coaching
  • A free worksheet and the valuable “One-Year Goals Workbook”

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