Lobsters, Fenway, Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, warm beaches, and reasonably affordable real estate.  I love the east coast, its warmth, and the way people say words like “depAHTment.” But I gotta admit– it was good to touch down at SFO yesterday and bask in the mild 68 degree weather while waiting for my Uber.

After a restful night’s sleep in my own bed, my one errand the next day was to pick up the held mail at the post office. Yay! Cards! Sunset Magazine! A property tax bill! And like anyone’s reaction to the third thing, I binge drank (my iced coffee) and whined all the way home where I felt promptly like taking a nap. The aforementioned coffee derailed the cure-all nap plan, and I was forced to get sober once again. Financially sober.

A few blog posts ago, I said I was going to break down the DPC: Dream It. Plan It. Crush It. But we’re going to take a slight detour, because what I really want to talk about in this post is money. Money is a part of of the DPC lifestyle, though for sure. We need it. It helps us. It’s an energy we all participate in, and we gotta get sober with it if we want to move out of the swampland of scarcity (where the real estate is cheap, but you should not buy). Brené Brown describes the opposite of scarcity as not “abundance,” but as “enough.” I will venture to say that “enough” means something a little different to all of us and our feelings about enough ebb and flow

So how do we step firmly onto the magical land of enough? Where the heck is it? Are only some people allowed to actually live there, rather than just visit? In this fantasy land, do concern, guilt, shame, and confusion accompany enough?

I don’t pretend to know how to solve anyone else’s personal money problems. Even the uber-wealthy have them, as stated by Biggie: “Mo’ money, mo’ problems.” [RIP]

But I can offer some advice about the feelings and behaviors that come with money.

    1. Worrying about money in no way increases it. What a concept. Think, I mean really think, about what changes when you marinate in your worry about money. Anything? There is a marked difference between problem-solving, planning, budgeting, or seeking professional help, and sitting in a fugue state because all you can think of is how you “can’t afford your life.” If you find yourself in a dissociative state of anxiety every time you have a bill to pay, it’s time to call in some help to offer some perspective and guidance. Nothing is irreversible. Everything is temporary. Even the amount of money we have… or don’t have.
    2. Money energy is a spectrum. As with most things, our relationship and feelings about money change from time to time. Get an unexpected bonus at work? Yay! Money is awesome! I love when I have it! Your water heater explodes in December and it’s going to cost $3000 to replace it. What?! I hate when money leaves my hands! Money is a problem!  On any given day, where do you want to be on this spectrum? I’ll give you a hint: it’s the end where money comes in and out in a good way and worry is replaced with respect, clarity, and understanding. For a lot of us, this is a conscious practice that requires us to have faith, yet be responsible, be generous, yet sensible, plan for the future, yet live in the present. The good news is, If you find yourself one day towards the other end of the spectrum (let’s say you get a giant property tax bill) it’s okay. That doesn’t mean you’re “bad at money.”  Take a step back, assess where you are on the spectrum and ask yourself the following questions:

1. What is it that is really upsetting me about money today?

2. Are any of the ideas about money that are causing me upset true or permanent?

3. Is it something that I can resolve in 3-6 months?

Then breathe, hit a pillow with a baseball bat, and make a plan.

  1. What’s your story?  You will feel so much better when you get sober about how you really feel and behave around money. So here are three action steps you can take to get sober with the thoughts, ideas, and opinions you have about money now.

Step 1: Write out a list of all your beliefs about money. The good. The bad. The ugly. Take your time here, folks. Go deep.
How do you feel about your student debt? Your mortgage? Your $4 a day coffee habit?

Step 2: Read your list and ask yourself with each belief: Is this statement actually true? Why or why not? Is it a fact? Or a story?

Step 3: For anything that’s a not totally true story- it’s time for a rewrite. Here’s an example:

Belief: “I can’t afford to create my dream job because I won’t be able to make as much as I do now. This is why I must stay at the salaried job I hate until I die.”

This story might sound extreme, but it’s definitely not uncommon. A 2014 Gallup poll suggests that 51% of workers in the U.S. are not engaged in their work, and 17.5% are actively disengaged [read: basically miserable]. Let’s re-write, shall we?

Better belief:  “I can’t afford to stay at my salaried job because it’s making me miserable. I have always made ends meet, and I know that given a bit of time, I can make moves to create my dream job. It will require sacrifice and discipline, but I know I can do it.”

In terms of planning around money– my best piece of advice if you are not internally wired like Good Will Hunting, is to get someone on your team who is. Check out the two money coaches listed below. Give yourself permission to invest in getting the help you need to make money your friend. A friend whom you don’t talk sh*t about, you invite into your life with an open heart, and a friend whom you are honest with 100% of the time.

Get out of the bog and get into the flow. Remember, if you find yourself on the swampy end of the money energy spectrum, it’s okay.  You don’t have to live there forever, and it’s not a sentence dooming you to money-pain for the rest of your life. Just get some help for yourself and get real with your beliefs about what’s happening and why.

Beth Crittenden: http://www.welovethezero.com/

Melissa Tosetti: http://thesavvylife.com/