Monday, June 23, 2008

It’s taken 41 years and a little hyperventilating to hear the angels sing.

Ah money. The one little word that can make me hyperventilate. If only I could get a handle on this one fear once and for all…I see the angels showing up to perform a concert in my honor. “She’s finally gotten it!” they’d sing.

I’m one of those people who truly believes that if you follow your passion, then the money will follow. It’s always been the case for me. But as I watch my financial debt increase these days, waves of anxiety and doubt creep into my head. The fear of running out of money, the fear of becoming a burden, the fear of becoming destitute. The fears throw a big party all over my brain. Until my saner, sweeter self comes in and kicks them out, drinks and all.

Then I remember. This isn’t my first transition. Over the last few years, I’ve moved away from my reliable revenue-generating career to try new ventures. And I’ve learned that transition has little to do with money. But it does have everything to do with our own perceptions on living.

Sometimes we prevent ourselves from doing the things we want to try, think we’ll love, or have dreamt of our entire lives, because we think we don’t have the money. Or at least we tell ourselves that’s the reason. “I can’t afford to do that.” I’ve heard that from so many people including myself. Can you afford not to do it? What’s the cost of living an unfulfilled life?

There’s definitely a financial cost to changing our lives but it helps to keep it in perspective. “Your life is like a business and you have to expect to operate at a loss for a certain period of time until your transition is complete,” my friend and business colleague told me at the beginning of the year. When we start a business, we expect to invest money and then give the venture time to generate a profit. Our transitions are the most important business ventures we’re going to invest in and yet we worry about putting in the time and money. The worrying really doesn’t help.

Here are some things I've learned along the way that do help me:

  • Life requires living, whether you have the money or not. It also requires a plan. If you have a plan for your new life, then you can start really living by doing what you love.

  • You have more money than you think you have. Even with a budget in place, it’s hard to know how much money you actually have until you have to spend it without bringing in any income. I had no idea until I started a business a couple of years ago and lived off of my savings. That savings lasted a lot longer than I ever thought it would. And I found pockets of money that I had forgotten about, lasting me nearly two years.

  • You can easily learn to live on less. Having less money taught me how to do more for myself and become more resourceful. I used to shop retail. Now I don’t.

  • Not having money helps you overcome your fear of not having money. Ask yourself, what’s the worst that can happen? For me, the worst that can happen is going back to a career that I once loved and still enjoy.

  • There are resources for living with no money. As long as you have good credit, you can take out loans or lines of credit. You can also research grants and other available money.

  • Having no money is a choice and is temporary. It’s a time of investing in your future to rebuild. Transitioning to a life you love at every level brings abundance. Whenever I’ve needed money, it’s come—through opportunities that land on my doorstep.

  • You always have something to fall back on. We have so many skills. If you’re transitioning out of a career, you can always go back if really necessary. Or you can turn that knitting hobby into a money-making endeavor.

  • Listen to yourself and commit to your passion. Friends, family and strangers may tell you you’re crazy when you decide to make a change. “You can’t make any money doing that,” they may say. Just remember that they’re expressing their own fears, and you can in fact make money from anything you love and commit to do.

It’s taken me 41 years to muster the courage to pursue a career that everyone insists will leave me homeless. So I know it’s normal to have days of doubt, even panic. I’m training my practical, business mind to quiet. And learning to listen to my gentler spirit—the one that tells me it’s ok to pursue the things I love, with or without money on hand. Deep in my soul, I know the money will come. I can almost hear those angels singing in the distance.

6 comments:

riva said...

love your blog rita! will post a link on one of my posts soon!

It feels like flying! said...

Thanks Riva!

Annie said...

LOVE this entry Rita! It's finally happened! And I want to see that pic of you in front of a Christmas tree!!!

Eyal said...

Rita

After 53 years (next week) of search, trials and errors (many of these), I finally look at the mirror and see myself and not others, I look at others and see them and not myself, your path leads to happiness, your compassion is you.
You don’t change by moving, you take yourself wherever you go.

It feels like flying! said...

Eyal -
Yes, it's true you take yourself wherever you go but often physical moves can jump start you, open new opportunities that spur change -- if that's what you really want. Acceptance of who we really are - regardless of achievement, results, money-making endeavors, of what others around us say or do, etc. - and release of old ways of thinking is real spiritual growth - and once that happens anything is possible! Sounds like you've experienced some definite growth!

It feels like flying! said...

Annie -
I've posted the pics of me and the Christmas tree. Check them out. :)