Updated: Dec 28, 2022
Several years ago, I worked with a client who felt defeated.
He spent years working himself out of the mud. And not that wet liquidity stuff either. I am talking about the type of mud that feels like wet sand and cakes up on the skin with only brief exposure to the warm sun—the type of mud that weighs every inch of your body down. The type of mud that Bastian, from the "NeverEnding Story," waded through for nearly 20 minutes (Seriously? 20 minutes? I digress - LOL!) Yeah, mud worse than that.
He spoke a truth that has resonated with me 'til this day:
"I have everything I want, but I still feel empty. I confused the corner office, extravagant trips, cars, home, and notoriety that came with the one who "made it" with joy. I'm miserable," he said.
The lifestyle he created for him and his family set an expectation and created an unbearable weight. He realized that although he could afford everything, he found himself juggling his finances just liked he watched his mother do. There were even times when he caught himself subconsciously contemplating how he could rob Peter to pay Paul. Something he mentioned his mother use to say as well.
"How could this be?" he said, "I make six figures, and I feel like I am back in the mud. I'm suffocating. I can't breathe."
This gentleman made a similar mistake that many people make who have transitioned out of poverty—he tethered the idea of being blessed to stuff. The more stuff you have, the more blessed you are. How can you blame him? That's our culture.
Initially, splurging felt good. After a while, though, he began to notice how fleeting the naturally occurring high he received from lavish spending had become. In some instances, it only took a moment before he felt compelled to fantasize about buying something else. One financial decision led to another, and, within a few years, his financial choices snowballed into an unmanageable financial position.
"How do I get out of this?" he stated as if he had run two-thirds of a race and had nothing else to give.
I replied, "Moving forward, we need to start planning our financial choices before the fact and not after."
" Financial empowerment, at least in my eyes, is to have the capacity to do whatever you want with your money but the wisdom not to. You have the capacity, but you lack the wisdom." I elaborated.
Think about it. Do you make major financial decisions first and think about the consequences later? If you do, how has that worked out for you? Did the thing(s) that you thought were a blessing (i.e., home, car, business venture, relationship, career, etc.) become a huge mistake?
Honestly, the most extraordinarily blessed people I know live simple and quiet lives. You'll rarely see them post to social media boasting of their many blessings and how they've been able to bless others. They know that being blessed is an internal and sustainable place of well-being. When they consider major financial decisions, they pre-determine whether or not the consequences of their financial decisions will disrupt or add to their contentment. They rarely plan or seek help after the fact. Everything they do happens before they decide to act.
In the spirit of the many blessed people I know, here is my challenge for you: Plan to win, financially, before the fact - not after it. That's all.
Clearly define one small financial goal that you can achieve to bring you peace and joy. Then spend an hour or two creating a daily plan that clearly defines what you need to do to get there. Once the plan has been crafted, choose to fight like hell for your blessing. If you've achieved your goal, create a plan to sustain your blessing at the end of the week. Then, choose to fight like hell to sustain your blessing. If you did not achieve your goal, celebrate the days you did win and create a plan to make it one day further the next week, and fight like hell until you've achieved your goal.
In short, prepping before the fact results in the blessing after the fact. Being blessed is something you have control over—divine intervention is not necessary. Things don't always work themselves out, especially financially.
Sometimes you gotta bless yourself!