In a previous post on this blog, I asked you, my dear reader, how you’re doing on your own personal “bucket list….” that list of experiences, accomplishments, or destinations that you’d love to have, achieve, and see before you, well… you know… kick the bucket. (It’s not my favorite phrase, but I do love the concept that it illustrates. 🙂 Because, dreams are great, but if you die with them, what’s the point, right?)
One of the things I love helping clients gain clarity around is what those things are… What’s important for her in the future? What’s on her “bucket list?” Like the poet Mary Oliver asks, “What will (you) do with your one wild and precious life?”
The items on the list differ greatly from client to client, of course. But, one commonality I often find exists is with the roadblocks between the person and her bucket list goals. Money Mindset problems are often the source of the blocks.
Through helping my clients to remove those blocks, I’ve learned that having an effective and thorough method for evaluating large financial commitments – and whether to make them – takes away a lot of the “stuck” feeling that may be there. In fact, a good process replaces those “stuck” feelings with a sense of confidence. It invariably empowers her to get into action, commit to the right opportunities, and move forward into her Kick-ass Life!
So, today I’m sharing four questions that are important to explore before you say yes to a financial commitment. This framework works for anything that would require an investment on your part. It could be going back to school… taking a trip to Europe… buying an RV… signing up for a professional mastermind or a coaching program…
Okay, time to grab that journal (and maybe a glass of wine or tea?) and answer these four questions about that investment you’re considering!
📌 Pin to your personal finances board on Pinterest! 📌
Question #1: What will my investment be?
Consider both the financial commitment and the time and energy that you will actually need to exchange for this opportunity or experience. Try to be as specific as possible.
(Note that I’m using the word investment – not cost. This is intentional! I’ve noticed that, when someone asks, “how much does it cost?,” they often feel like they are giving money but they’re not quite sure what they’re going to get back. So it feels like a negative.)
Meanwhile, an investment is something that grows. And so, when I’m thinking / journaling about things that I want to bring into my life, I call it an investment. The question is: What am I willing to invest in this?
Question #2: What benefits am I anticipating?
I personally love to do programs. The benefits I expect: I get to expand and learn about something different and new. For many of us who are divorced, we’ve been an at-home mom and our degree now needs to be taken out of the drawer, and used! Or, we need to go back to school, or take some extra classes. The benefits of that education could include financial stability, the pride of a degree or credentials, or simply the chance to follow a passion you had set aside.
So when you’re thinking about those things that you want to do in your life, the question really is, what are my anticipated benefits?
(Again, I’ll point out the diction here! Notice I did not use the word “expecting.” Expectations mean that you’re attaching a specific outcome that may or may not happen. When you anticipate a feeling or a certain outcome, you are open to disappointment which can creep into your next big decision.)
Other examples for your journaling:
For your dream trip, a benefit may simply be getting to see a place you’ve dreamed of. Or, it could be more specific – like getting fluent in a language or learning to cook dishes that your ancestors made.
A benefit of a program may be learning from an expert about how to reduce stress, hold a space for self care, or experiencing more peace. Specifically, this could help you be a more present and patient parent, or even get better sleep!
(Remember, there will most likely be “hidden benefits” you aren’t aware of yet, too! A great example would be a diet program. You might expect to see the scale move, and then enjoy the unexpected benefit of more energy – or learn that you are lactose-intolerant – and totally change the game!)
Question #3: At this time, can I be fully committed?
If you’re like me, you’ve experienced times when your excitement about the latest fad (a diet program, an exercise gadget) quickly fizzled out, because you weren’t ready to make the necessary changes in your life to follow through.
This is closely related to the investment – of not only your money, but the amount of time and energy needed to reap the benefits. Really stop and ask yourself: At this time, can I be fully committed? That means you’re willing to do whatever it takes to get to the outcome that you want. And that would be to complete it, whatever it is. 🙂
If the answer is No, not now – that’s fine. Consider putting this opportunity on your radar for another day.
Examples for your journaling:
For your dream trip: Consider the time it takes to do the necessary research to plan the trip of your dreams. Will you want to do some reading to prepare, too? (Like reading A Moveable Feast before visiting Paris!?)
For the program: Can you go to your calendar RIGHT NOW and pencil in the exact time needed to complete the program – both the formal sessions and any “homework” required in between sessions?
For going back to school: Take inventory of everything you’re doing (big projects, work, parenting) and make sure you can handle the volume of work, study, and the stress (both good and bad!) that inevitably happens when you’re in school.
Question #4: What changes do I need to make in my life if I do this?
Whether you have thousands – or hundreds of thousands – of dollars in the bank, it’s still important to have a healthy money mindset. You are the MASTER OF YOUR MONEY and can always choose whether to save it, spend it or donate it.
So, ask yourself about potential trade-offs that you anticipate. What changes do you need to make in your life in order to do this?
Sometimes people think money is the only stopping point in fulfilling their dreams. It’s not. Money is an energetic exchange, so we’re always exchanging something in our lives. What will you need to NOT do if you do this? What are you willing to give up
Examples for your journaling:
For your dream trip: Do you have the budget that comfortably fits your lifestyle and your goals for the adventure? To find it, are there areas where you can cut costs in the meantime?
For the program or school: What else would you usually be doing instead – and are you willing to give that up? If you like to relax on the couch and watch Netflix on Friday nights, and Friday night is the only time that you can do this program, are you willing to give that up? And, do you need to take up a part time job to fund this? Are you open to that? Do you need to drive for Uber or do some contracting in your old field?
Take some time to explore these four questions. If you discover that you are:
- clear on the investment that is required
- excited about the anticipated benefits
- ready to be fully committed; and
- willing to make temporary or permanent changes in your life if needed…
Then, Woman… it may be time to pull the trigger and Just Do It!
If you want a sounding board for this decision-making process, know that I am here for you! I help divorced women – just like you – reclaim who they are, express themselves, and live the kick-ass life they deserve! To start learning exactly how to do just that, start by downloading my free PDF guide: Reclaim Your Life After Divorce – here.