Finding your inner guidance is about learning to trust your gut feeling. But connecting to that signal can be a little tricky because we are bombarded with internal and external information all day every day.
I love to sail, and trying to find the right direction (or signal) on open waters I use a nautical map. If you’ve never seen one before, the map is covered with lines of information going every different direction. Ultimately, when you learn to interpret the lines and focus on the important ones, they will guide you to where you want to go. This is similar to tapping into your inner guidance. You can use meditation, journaling, reflection, or dream work to create your map of inner knowing to direct you on your life’s journey.
I followed my inner guidance in writing my books. I never planned on being an author. I was a finance major in college, so writing books wasn’t on my radar. But my intuition started tugging at me. I knew that I needed to write a book about people’s relationship with money and how their emotions affect it. I was nervous, but I trusted my intuition. It lead me to write and publish The Emotion Behind Money. Later, when I was drawn to write Awaken Your Wealth, my inner knowing directed me to create a step-by-step process to guide people toward improving their finances and every aspect of their lives. I have been humbled by the positive response and numerous comments about how my advice is helping people to financially heal themselves.
How do you choose to nourish yourself? Do you seek out healthy ways to rejuvenate, or do you lean more toward distractions? Sometimes, when we’re just trying to let go and feel free, turning a blind eye to how we choose to unwind can have a big impact on our finances.
These days many of us are pushed to our limits. We face stress from work, lower than desired pay, and diminished personal connections. To make ourselves feel better, we often lurch from the newest thing to the latest thing to the hippest thing, all things external. That can be fun — sometimes too much fun because a high price tag can come with that behavior. Often times, when we chase moments of materialistic pleasure, we find ourselves far away from who we really are and what we truly want. And, when we try to buy our way to contentment, new stress arrives when we open our monthly credit card statements.
What does it feel like when you nourish yourself in a healthy way?
I LOVE sharing my mantra: BUILD WEALTH FROM THE INSIDE OUT!
Think about how empowering that is. When you build wealth from the inside out, you are building your financial future from a place of strength. It means you are making sure that your values, needs, goals, and desires are the driving force behind the choices you make with your money.
But how do you make that happen? Below, are three tips to start healing financially. But you have to take into account not only your financial life and how you manage your money, but also your work life, your family life, and your personal life.
Let’s look at, say, your personal life and your physical being.
It’s essential to find balance in our personal life, and that includes taking care of our bodies and minds. And I find a surefire way to both calm my mind and keep my body strong is to get out in nature. Few things are more healing for me than taking long walks along Lake Michigan near where I live.
I’m also fascinated by a rising movement called Forest Bathing. It’s been practiced for years in Japan and is now embraced in England. Even the Duchess of Cambridge has based her garden on it. (Cheerio, y’all!) Forest bathing encourages participants to slow down and feel present. It’s about allowing nature’s calming scents and sights to dissolve issues and inspire peace and calm.
Take the time to get back in tune with yourself in nature. Find a large park or head to a forest preserve. Get into that harmonic lifestyle so that you can live more in the present moment and release more of your past to create the future you really truly desire.
Let’s focus on the three steps to financial healing.
Some days can be tough. During the times that are most trying, it’s difficult to let go of worry, anxiety, frustration and sadness. To a certain extent, we train ourselves to keep our feelings of upset flowing. We replay endless loops of negative thoughts that keep us anchored to our problems. I know how difficult it is to look on the bright side, especially if you’re in debt or have other financial fears.
But that’s exactly when you need to keep yourself open yourself to humor and gratitude. Allowing in more positive feelings can shift your outlook and help you to make decisions in alignment with where you want to go, instead of staying stuck where you are.
Fears. Who’s got them? My guess is most of us. They come and go over time, sometimes with more intensity and sometimes less. Why? This fear comes from your past relationship with money, which comes from conditions in the families and communities we grew up in. We learned emotional response systems from those we started our lives with and continue to attract those that reinforce those limiting belief systems. We’re more stuck in our daily groves, with the appearance that it is harder and harder to change the more time flies by. But, I’m here to tell you, you can make great things can happen, no matter what age you are, how many failures you’ve had, or how many people are counting against you. I know, because I’ve done it!
All you need is for the real you to show up and to recognize that these disruptive patterns keep persisting in your life. Then, consciously choose to start dissolving them.
A dear friend of mine, Susan, said to me, “Julie, I sold my house and I bought my freedom!” We are taught to believe that buying a house is the American Dream, and for many of us, it may very well be. But, if you face the monthly stress of a home mortgage you can’t really afford, you’re holding the string of a financial lead balloon. Financial lead balloons are items we purchase that look good on the outside, but in reality, they weigh us down and rob us of our personal and financial freedom.
Why do we make these choices? Because there is always Emotion Behind Money. What we do is driven by how we feel, both consciously and unconsciously. When we open ourselves to these emotions and take control, we can heal our financial past and move toward building real wealth. If you aren’t where you want to be, financially, personally, or otherwise, you need to forgive yourself for where you’re at. When you forgive yourself, you create space for the new to come in. And, when the new comes in, it will often surprise the heck out of you!
Whenever I happen to catch a nature program on TV, it always strikes me how the animals that are the most successful in their natural habitats are the ones that are the best at adapting – oftentimes at a moment’s notice – and it’s a brilliant reminder that the same is true for humans. I see, time and time again - through my own experiences as well as those of my children and coaching clients – that the more adaptable we can be, the better we’re able to navigate through whatever challenges might come our way. The messages are all around us on a regular basis encouraging us to: “expand,” “get in the flow of life,” “detach from outcomes” – all just slightly more “woo-woo,” esoteric ways of asking us to be more adaptable to our current situations, so that we can feel more success and joy in life.
So much of our ability to adapt and go with the flow, however, depends on letting go of all the should’s in our lives: “I should be farther along in my career by now,” “I should have more money in the bank,” “I shouldn’t be in debt ” This type of self-talk just ends up keeping us stuck, not to mention, down in the dumps. If the shoulds are bogging you down – well it’s time to kick ‘em to the curb!
When it comes to living a happier life, adaptability is a key ingredient. I see its value all the time – whether it’s with my kids, my coaching clients, or through my own experiences. The messages are all around us: “expand,” “go with the flow,” “detach from outcomes,” “let go of resistance” – all just slightly more esoteric ways of asking us to be more adaptable and accepting of our current situations.
Accepting ‘What Is’
So much of our ability to adapt depends on accepting where we are in our lives. If we can accept the reality of our situation, warts and all, rather than fighting against it, it frees us up to move forward with creative solutions.
To this end, I love reading the bedtime story, You Get What You Get by Julie Gassman, with my kids. One of the lines in the story, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit,” has become a popular family mantra. It’s a great reminder to my children about the importance of accepting ‘what is’ and adapting to the way things are when life takes an unexpected or unwanted turn. We can all take a page from this children’s storybook.
In my last blog, we talked about financial fears and conditioned belief systems. Did you take some time to visualize yourself in that future you desire? When it comes to a job, it can be scary to make a move. Even if we aren’t happy, we’re still getting that paycheck, right? Well, you can have both the joy and the paycheck. Let me share a story of someone who faced this job situation head on.
Someone close to me was in a good job. It was stable, income was decent, she liked most of the people she worked with, but her dream job posting had come to her attention. She found out that they were considering three people inside the company for the job. She would be the only outsider considered for the position. It would have been easy to give into her fears and do all that negative self-talk of the low odds of her actually being picked since she didn’t already work there or have any relationships with those she’d be interviewing with. Blah, blah, blah….. I told her that was a bunch of hogwash. If you believe it, then it will be true.” She felt like the underdog, she was younger, an outsider and she didn’t have as much experience.
Who’s got them? My guess is most of us. They come and go over time, sometimes with more intensity and sometimes less. Why? This comes from our past conditions in the families and communities we grew up in. We learned emotional response systems from those we started our lives with and continue to attract those that reinforce those belief systems. We’re more stuck in our daily groves, with the appearance that it is harder and harder to change the more time flies by.
I’m here to tell you, anything can happen, no matter what age you are, how many failures you’ve had or how many people are counting against you. All you need is the real you to show up…and to recognize why these patterns keep persisting in our lives.
Think of it like this; years ago, I was watching a cooking show. Not one with a huge celebrity chef but a show that brought in everyday people to share their family favorite recipes that had been passed down for generations. This young woman in her early 20s was picked and she was so excited to share her great grandmother’s baked ham recipe. As she prepared the food on live TV she was very methodical going through things step by step. The host that day asked her, “Why are you cutting both ends off the ham before you put it in the oven?” The young woman responded, “I’m not sure, that’s just how we’ve always done it in our family.”
As she continued preparing the ham to go into the oven, the host was still perplexed as to why she cut off the two ends of the ham, and then tossed them into the garbage. The host challenged the young woman. She said, “Can we call your Mom and ask why you cut off the edges and throw them away?” Of course, the young woman agreed. They called mom and she said, I’m not really sure, let’s call grandma. “Grandma, can you tell me why we always cut off the ends of the baked ham when we do our family recipe?” Grandma stated, “I don’t know, that’s just how my mother taught me.” Her great grandmother was still alive and the host asked if it would be ok to make this third phone call to great grandmother to solve the mystery.
Great grandmother was happy to take the call, at age 92, and said, “Oh sweetheart, I cut the ends off the ham because the pan I used for years was too small to fit the whole thing.” Can you believe it? Really! Four generations this recipe got passed down and they were cutting off the edges of the ham and throwing them in the garbage all because great grandmothers’ pan was too small. Crazy!! This is a simple example of how patterns stick in our lives and we don’t even know why and ask if the reasoning is even relative to today.
If you want to knock yourself out of alignment – mentally and emotionally – dwell on your disappointments. Keep replaying in your head what you should have done. Don’t let yourself accept that promotion you were passed up for. Continue to hold onto shame and judgement about the way your divorce physically manifested itself in your life.
And never, ever forgive yourself for the mistakes you made one, three, five or even ten-plus years ago.
Because, you know what, you deserve that. You deserve to have a cloud hanging over your head for the rest of your life about the way you handled the disagreement you had with your sister a few weeks ago. Good things shouldn’t happen to the kind of people that say things they don’t mean in the heat of the moment. And all the time you wasted when you were younger dating the wrong people, pursuing the wrong career and building relationships that ended up being exactly the opposite of what you needed? That time wasn’t well spent because it’s not like you learned anything for those experiences.
There’s a lot to be said about a person who listens to, adheres by and acts according to their gut. For a lot of us, that gut feeling isn’t enough to make a decision. We need facts. Research. The probability of something bad happening. So we exercise restraint when it comes to our most valued decision‐making assets: our intuition.
When was the last time you made a choice that resulted in something negative? Maybe you took a job opportunity that you thought would pan out differently ‐ even though you had a feeling that it may not be a good idea.
As women, we are the masters of ignoring our gut and instead going with our heads. And as a business owner with a financial practice, I understand that there is a time and a place for using your head over your heart when it comes to help with money. I practice conscious spending for myself and I teach that to my clients. But I also stress the importance of aligning your spending with what’s in your heartspace.
Some women just seem to have it all, don’t they? Great family, supportive friends, an ideal job situation, the perfect house, and a great wardrobe and hair to go with it. And somehow, they manage to make it look so easy.
Materially speaking, there’s a big focus on ‘having it all’. Often, we are judged by the number of things we possess with our character being a distant second. We envy those women who seem to be swimming in successful personal, professional and financial lives; and we’re left to constantly wonder how they do it.
But there is a misconception here. Especially in today’s world of social media and keeping up with a perception that may not even be someone’s true reality. Maybe those you wish you could be more like are swimming in debt from keeping up appearances. Or others whose “dream lives” you wish you had are killing them inside from stress and anxiety.
To truly have it all, you must refocus your attention. Energize the things that money can fuel, not the material possessions that money can purchase.
As a financial advisor who believes in building financial abundance from the inside out, it’s my hope that everyone discovers financial happiness by opening their eyes to the possibilities of a new reality– a reality filled with a combination of prosperity and inner peace. Below are some of the financial insights I have learned over the years by really digging deep and understanding my clients.
• Be true to yourself–Answer this question: What is the most important thing in your life? Is it your spouse, kids, siblings, parents, your health, career, hobby, pets? Now think about how you are currently living your life. Are the two consistent? Many of my clients live a life of inconsistency and they could manifest happiness (and wealth) much faster if they had listened to their inner compass.
Financial grace is all about creating space in your life to live in the present moment and plan for your desired future. Being happy with where you’re at and where you’re going by aligning your finances in accordance with your life goals.
This however, can be difficult when your cash flow and energy is spent on past choices, like credit card debt. Our lifestyles often pigeon-hole us into a position where we feel stuck. We are surrounded with feelings of stress, regret and worry because of the heavy pressure to make up for our past financial choices.
Let’s choose to make it our mission to make decisions that empower us and help us to regain our personal power with money. Financial grace can only be achieved when we create physical, mental, emotional, and financial space to allow the positives to flow gracefully to you.
When you look over the past twelve months, what is the first thing you feel? Joy or frustration? Accomplishment or disappointment? Excitement or dread? Or is it a combination of two or more of some opposing feelings?
Life is full of peaks and valleys, so it’s completely normal to look back on your past and have mixed emotions. Bad days, weeks or months eventually make way for the good times. Taking all of that into account results in a year recognized only in moments – major moments that changed your life for better or worse.
Whatever it is you are feeling now about the past, present, and future, I want you to take a moment to do these three things:
- Make peace with it.
- Embrace it.
- Plan to either grow or change it.
If you look back on the previous twelve months and only see a succession of choices that resulted in negative outcomes, make peace with it.
- Maybe you lost your job.
- Took a big risk that left you in the red.
- Went through a nasty divorce.
- Lost a loved one.
Whatever happened, find a way to make peace with it. If you’re still struggling to get back up from bad experiences, don’t get too down on yourself. We all heal at different paces. Remember, life isn’t a race. Take the time you need to lick your wounds. Cry. Get angry. And when you’re ready, make peace.
For 11 months out of the year, we focus our energy on working, raising the kids, maintaining our relationships – both romantic and platonic, and trying to live as balanced a life as possible.
In the midst of juggling all of these responsibilities, we go through periods of neglecting and/or feeling neglected by our significant others; feeling under-appreciated by our immediate family; emotionally and physically distanced from our closest friends; disappointed with what’s going on at work; and disconnected with the most important person of all: ourselves.
Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, we find ourselves adding time, energy and money exponentially to all the people we didn’t get to spend as much time with as well as the ones who are the most important. We celebrate the season with countless holiday parties, grab bags and Secret Santa gifts. Ugly sweater parties and “catch up” drinks with friends we rarely get to see.
We’ve all met this person: all they can talk about is their professional life. How busy they are at work. Their latest promotion (or their quest to get one). Their job title. All of us know someone who is defined by their job. Sometimes, this person is a lot closer than we think.
Does your job define who you are?
It’s quite easy to get caught up in the career trek; we do spend the majority of our waking hours working. And when we’re not working, we’re thinking about work. Stressing about work. Wondering if a work project will get approved. Hoping our boss doesn’t give us a bad performance review. Wishing our work paid us more but too afraid to go out there and ask for it.
The thing about letting your job be your definition is this: the money you make from it now dictates your life. You must start to unplug from a job you don’t want – yet defines you – and begin to search for a job that will nourish your authentic self.
I’m a firm believer in making small changes each day to make it to your ultimate goal. It’s no secret that our daily habits define our short- and long-term outcomes. But I also think that sometimes we need to look at the big picture. To get to where we want to be, considering our long-term goal helps us determine our daily actions.
After the “honeymoon”
A lot of us make the decision to lose weight or spend less and save more. And the first two weeks – the honeymoon phase – we are making huge leaps towards our big goals. Our motivation is sky high; we avoid possible temptations and we smash through barriers and view our mistakes battle scars. Nothing will stop us from achieving that big goal.
Springtime brings out the gardener in all of us. Driving by a packed Home Depot parking lot this week it made me wonder if people are putting as much energy into planting and nurturing their “financial gardens”.
With the state of the economy today, it is my hope that we all take a look at our financial buckets: Long Term, Mid Term, and Short Term savings. This is the perfect time to make sure that these buckets are positioned correctly and are aligned with what your dreams, desires, and goals are.
Make sure to set Financial Intentions along with those goals. If your money is not providing you with what you want in your life, you need to change the energy surrounding it, and intentions will help to shift that energy. You can set an intentions like...
”My long term bucket is in place to make sure I can retire at age 55″.
“I’ve got my short term bucket in place so my family and I can take that trip to Disney in a year”.
“I choose to increase my cash flow monthly.”
Don’t worry about how grand or specific your intention setting is. As you build your confidence by setting your intentions, and begin witnessing the desired results, you will move up to the next level.