When I was in my early 20’s, I had a combined asset portfolio and income well into the six figures. A lot of that financial accumulation came from working my ass off and good timing of introducing a service that the market was used to paying for.
Everyone labeled me a financial success. I felt differently, however.
If you would wake up every morning and needing to work out of fear because you might lose it all, would you be successful? If you were consistently burnt out and overwhelmed from your business, would you be successful? If you had no real relationships because everything was a business transaction, would you be successful? Or, what if you had this hopelessness in the pit of your belly that you’ll never find happiness, no matter how much money you accumulate, would you be successful?
Those situations and feelings were my life in my early 20’s. I think we both agree this is far from success.
Here’s how I got to that “success”: the desire to accumulate more and more. I competed with my friends to earn more, and I chased the real estate gurus’ lifestyle. My hope was to accumulate enough so I could relax one day and retire–with the big house, cars, boats, and freedom to vacation whenever and where ever, of course. But an interesting phenomenon happened: the more I had, the more unhappier I became. And I realized that most people who had plenty of money felt the same way.
(Weird, right? And we’re taught to live the american dream, work hard, and earn plenty of money.)
The accumulation of money is a poor definition of success. You can accumulate money, but also do financial harm to others. You can accumulate money, but also feel hollow and empty inside.
More and more money is not the answer because it obscures your heart. The ego is always grasping and desiring more; therefore, the ego is out of alignment with nature and its provision. Just observe nature and you’ll see this truth: it’s never taking more than it needs.
Sufficiency is lifelong financial success
Define what is enough–not too little and not too much. Enough to meet your needs. Enough to support you (especially in your later years of life). Enough to help you grow and expand. Because when you intend to be sufficient, your heart is open, and you’re able to be in service and bring your best work into the world.
I’m grateful to feel sufficient today; it took all my life to feel this way. The money goes up, and the money goes down, but I have enough. Money doesn’t obscure my work, nor my relationships. I’m okay, and you’ll be okay, too. The hand of Provision will support you when you want sufficiency.
You don’t have to play the social game of keeping up with “the Jones” and measuring your worth with the amount of money you have.
Instructions for “enough”
I could write three books on the subject of sufficiency and enough. I already wrote one book here. Below are four instructions for enough.
- Appreciate what you have
We’re always looking into the future for “what’s next.” But once we get that “next thing,” ironically it’s never enough. So we keep seeking more. What happens is that life zooms by and we completely miss it. Then we’re feeling unhappy and unfulfilled.
When you appreciate what you have in your life, you’re slowing down and noticing the beauty in this moment. You’re noticing the love you have with your partner. You’re noticing the joy and delight when being in service. You’re noticing the gifts of nature. You’re noticing an appreciating the money you already have.
What can you appreciate in your life right now? If you really wanted to be grateful for something, what could you be grateful for? It’s always there in any situation. You just have to be curious enough to find it. Then, notice how your state of being changes when you cultivate appreciation. Don’t you feel a solid fulfillment?
- Define your “squeak by” number
What most people do is spend money they don’t have and then accumulate money to meet those expenses. They are never aware of how much they need for the basics. No, not five different pair of shoes to match seven outfits. Just enough for the basics to live and smile: housing, transportation, medical, food. (Did I miss one?)
Here’s a good question to determine if it’s a basic need: If you lost your business, would you spend money on this? The expenses that match that question are your basics.
Because what we do is set pie in the sky income goals…just because. So we’re always grasping and reaching for something that’s not true for us. Then the pressure and overwhelm builds, our hearts become obscured, and our decisions lead to messy situations. But when you define “just enough,” your heart senses that true need.
Defining enough starts by understanding your “squeak by” number. Calculate your basics and then you have discovered your “squeak by” number. Once you have your “squeak by” number, make that your goal until reaching that number is easy, consistent, and sufficient.
To help with this, I use the software program called YNAB (You Need a Budget) to track my income and expenses. This gives me a snapshot of how much I’m spending, what I’m spending on, and how much income I’m bringing in. Because of this, I have tremendous amounts of clarity and security. I can adjust accordingly if my spending is out of whack, and I always know I’m receiving enough.
- How you use your time is important
Unless you grew up in an active entrepreneurial family, you’re taught to exchange your time for money. This simply means that when you go to work on your business, you should be accumulating money. Unfortunately, your business is not like a job, in which you cannot punch-in and as the hours pass your income grows.
Stop thinking about putting your time in and doing “things” to grow your business. Shift your thinking to “what activities can I do that will most often lead to the sacred moment?” In the conscious entrepreneurship world, the “sacred moment” is the moment when you offer your services and the client decides “yes” or “no.”
When you really think about that question above, you come to realize that you have to frequently be making offers and naming your price. And in order to be making offers and naming your price, you have to build relationships.
Here are three additional questions so you use your time effectively:
- Do I have a clear offer available and my price?
- Will this activity create more safety and like-ability for the relationships surrounding my business?
- Will this activity make me visible for the right clients?
- Develop your skills for what the market will pay for
Money is attached to people. The cold hard truth is that people will pay for your service if they think it’s valuable FOR THEM. I know you think your service is valuable, but if the marketplace doesn’t value your service, you won’t get paid.
This doesn’t mean quit your holistic practice or transformational business. The world needs your service. It’s unfortunate that the marketplace is “upside down” in its values, but…it is. There are two things you can do:
- Develop your skills according to what people will pay for.
- Frame your services according to what people want.
Let’s say you are a Reiki healer that specializes in energy movement for pets. You have some clients, but not enough for a sustainable living. What you could do is learn new skills to do Reiki energy healing on human beings. And, what if you developed massage therapist skills? Then after the Reiki session you could give the client a massage.
But wait! There’s more. Instead of calling it “Reiki,” because a lot of people don’t understand what that is, you re-frame your message to: helping mothers who want health and vitality, but not through the discomfort of traditional medicine.
What I’ve done here is taken “Reiki for Pets” and developed new skills that people will pay for and reframed your service and message according to what people want. You win. The marketplace wins. And the world wins from your transformational work.
Define what is enough
Lifelong financial success is not about the accumulation of more money. That is an unsustainable path. But defining enough–and living it–is the true path to success. You need enough to meet your needs. Enough to support you (especially in your later years of life). Enough to help you grow and expand. Because when you intend to be sufficient, your heart is open, and you’re able to be in service and bring your best work into the world.
Appreciate what you have, define your squeak by number, use your time wisely, and develop your skills for what the market will pay for. When I finally learned those three lessons, I climbed out of $40,000 in debt and reached a place in my heart and bank account of enough.
Here are two other resources in addition to this topic of enough: