Financial Streams of Consciousness...

Is This Your King???

If your childhood was anything like mine, you know that He-man was lit!!! I would turn up every time He-man would wield his sword and emphatically proclaim, "I HAVE THE POWER!" Oddly enough, whether you've experienced He-man from a rambunctious seven-year-old boy's eyes or not, this is exactly how we treat money. Think about every social media post you scroll past around payday... Now, think about every post you scroll across 10 days after... We have all experienced the boom and bust cycle of living paycheck to paycheck. A recent study by the National Endowment for Financial Education found that nearly 4 out of 5 households are one missed payday away from experiencing a severe financial shock. The consequences of financial shock are not just about money. Financial stress can change the way we think - literally. Think about when you've made your worst financial decisions. They probably came at a point of an extreme high (i.e., overconfidence) or an extreme low (i.e., alligator brain). In either case, months later, you probably looked back on those decisions and thought to yourself, "I must have been out of mind." You were! And this is exactly how social media and marketers want to keep it. In some cases, unfortunately, you might be involved in toxic personal relationships that are conspiring to do the same. They want you to experience emotional extremes because extreme states can be manipulated and encouraged to make rationally irrational choices. Said more simply, you might find yourself having a lot of "It seemed like a good idea at the time." moments. Are you okay with this... How much longer will you allow someone or something to rule over you? No, really, is this your King? It does not have to be. You can choose to reclaim your power. The best part is that you don't need a sword like He-man to do it. Your greatest power lies within you. Find your balance. Reclaim your thrown. You know what's best for you. Not me or anyone else. You can develop the mental and emotional balance that promotes better financial decision-making, which includes but is not limited to creating and sticking to a spending plan, impulse control, and higher levels of self-esteem. To do this, though, you will need to take an assessment of your mental and emotional states when you hang out with friends and family, spend time on social media, and evaluate the rhythms of your day. Find what is throwing you off balance and take small steps to reduce its impact on your life. Find what brings you to a balanced state and take small steps to do more. You don't need a fancy calendar to get started. Text yourself whenever you have an epiphany. Use that information to create new boundaries and routines. You have the POWER. Your financial well-being needs you - own it! #ModomSolutions #OwnIt #Wisdom #Money #Power #Heman

It's Chess, Not Checkers!

One of my favorite lines from Training Day besides "King Kong ain't got nothin' on me!" is when Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington) tells Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke), "The shit's chess. It ain't checkers." If you do not know what I am talking about, I encourage you to watch Training Day. It's one of my favorites, along with Paid in Full, but I digress. My point is this: How many times have you heard someone say, "Life is a game of chess," or "It's chess, not checkers!"? Probably a lot. I hear it all the time. But I can't remember any of these people explain how. Like, really, How, Sway?!?! Am I the only one that feels this way? Nobody has ever said, "Life is a game of chess. You should study Magnus Carlson. He's the highest-rated chess grandmaster." Or, better yet, "Do you know Maurice Ashley? He's the first Black chess grandmaster. You should look him up on Youtube. He is absolutely brilliant in the middle and end game. He's another good one to study if you want to be good at chess and, as a result, life and money." N-E-V-E-R, LOL!!! In fact, if you've ever used a saying likening life to chess, can you honestly say that you play or are any good at it? If chess is such a great illustration of how we should conduct ourselves throughout life, why don't we see more of the bruhs learning to play chess and applying those lessons to the real world? I believe it's because we fall in love with the idea of a thing - instead of the process of a thing. For instance, guys tell me that they want to be financially comfortable. They want to be able to live life on their own terms. They want to be their own boss. And when I explain to them the type of discipline, effort, resources, and time it takes to achieve and sustain their heart's desire, they grow uneasy with the process and almost immediately try to discount the toll they must pay to achieve their goals. This type of response is a lot like chess. Especially when you are introducing someone to the game for the first time. Before you start, you have to teach him the game's objective - capturing your opponent's king while protecting your own. From there, you show him how to move his pieces and how to own the center of the chessboard. Then you tell him about the three stages of the game: the opening, middle, and end. You drown on further about the strategies and intricacies of the game. Once you've gotten this far, you begin to realize that he is checking out on you. He thinks that learning how to move the pieces is enough. He wants to play. So, you let him. After suffering several defeats, he grows impatient and rationalizes that he isn't good at chess. Before he quits, and you can see it in his defeated eyes, you ask, "Now are you ready to learn how to play?" "This is chess. It ain't checkers!" - LOL! I see this in the way people manage their money. The financial consequences, however, are much more severe when someone feels like they can wing it. Regardless, people are perfectly okay with winging it. They believe they can win without the process. They have fallen victim to romanticizing the idea of success without falling in love with what it takes to be successful. Chess is not an idea. It's a multitude of calculated actions. And, for those who love the game, it is poetry in motion. The same can be said about your financial wellbeing. It's not an idea but rather a series of proven actions that improve your odds of achieving your financial hopes and dreams. If winning at life and with money is nothing more than a game of chess, are you ready to learn how to play? #ModomSolutions #Wisdom #Chess #Money

Whatever You Choose - Own it!

I get to teach personal finance to a little over 2,000 college students each year at a large state university northeast of Hotlanta. My students come from all walks of life. Some come from households where "money" is always the topic of conversation. In contrast, others have never had any meaningful conversations about money. I have students who associate money with access and opportunity and a contingent that views money as a source of stress and anxiety. As you can imagine, I have to be tactful in teaching my course - much in the same way I write these blog posts with you in mind. There is, however, one element of my teaching style that I am less cautious about. I am fairly forceful when I encourage my students to 'Own it!' What is "it"? "It" is whatever you choose. I am not in the business of helping people find their happiness. Happiness is as unique as a fingerprint. Who am I tell them or you how to be happy? Happiness, joy, and contentment are uniquely personal experiences and should be cherished as such. Their happiness, your joy, should not be influenced by my view of what makes you smile. It is yours to define - own it! In fact, if you need a co-signor to secure your joy, then you do not own it. The co-signor does. And as a consequence, you are co-singed to others' opinions, views, and critiques about your "it" - your "Why!". That's what I call real bondage. Credit card debt has nothing on living life feeling like you are always running a psychological and emotional deficit. In fact, maybe credit card debt is the manifestation of this more deeply seeded ill? But I digress. Your surest path to true financial peace and contentment is to be unapologetically you. When you believe that you are enough, then your "it" or "its" will be enough as well. In the past, I have had Black men share with me in secret that they desired nothing more than to read a good book over the weekend than to be out in the streets. I have had other Black men share with me, in confidence, that they love the arts. And that they could spend all day at a museum standing in awe while studying the amazing pieces of work on full display. I can go on and on about Black men expressing that somehow their "it" is not or has not been appreciated or accepted by Black culture. Black culture, my friend, does not define you. You define it. You are its essence. You are the manifestation of its diverse richness: If you love to dance, own it! If you love Romcoms, own it! If you love Anime, own it! If you love hiking, own it! If you love theatre, own it! If you love volunteering at the animal shelter, own it! If you love God, own it! If you love learning about insects, own it! Embrace being authentically you. Then, and only then, will you find the joy, peace, contentment, and freedom that no amount of money can buy. Whatever you choose - own it! Black culture has no bounds. You are enough. #ModomSolutions #Empathy #Connection #Wisdom #Money #OwnIt

Stop the Cap!

Yes, you! Quit cappin' ... "Cappin' about what?' you might ask. You keep telling yourself you do not need anybody. Now, to a certain extent, I get it. Someone very close to you has let you down. In fact, the people or person who hurt you were close friends and/or family. Am I right? It hurts. I know it hurts. It causes you to always be on the defensive. You spend hours contemplating someone's intentions and motives for wanting to be close to you. And when you build up the courage to trust again, something inside you shuts down. You grow cold, distant. I get it. But don't tell yourself that you don't need anybody because you do. You know you do. There is something inside you that comes alive when you've had trust, camaraderie, and fellowship. You know it. I know you know it. The thought of it brings you hope, but the trauma of what has happened to you won't allow you to trust that hope. May I ask you a personal question? Did you allow yourself the opportunity to grieve from the hurt you felt from being hurt or betrayed? Men, especially Black men, tend to isolate instead of congregating when we've been scarred. This form of isolation cuts off our capacity to establish the robust social networks necessary to pursue our entrepreneurial interests, receive helpful feedback and resources, and, most importantly, develop the capacity to trust again. Even love and feel again. Believe it or not, your coping strategy is limiting your capacity to achieve all the financial goals trapped in that wonderful mind of yours. You cannot execute all of it alone. You can't even get started. You don't know where to begin. It would help if you had other men in your circle to sow into your vision. They are out there. In fact, I would argue that you already know them. What you are feeling is not a weakness. It's a broken heart. And yes, men experience this too. Don't believe the cap. You need other people to level up. Regardless of what you might believe, some people want to see you level up. Extremely successful people understand the importance of having a strong team: -Russell Wilson, the quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, has a performance team of seven individuals to help him be the best he can be on the football field year-round. -Lebron James, arguably the greatest NBA basketball player-ever (no cap - LOL) - has positioned several of his friends to build a soon to be a trillion-dollar empire. -Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, the epitome of reinventing yourself, works with a team of high achieving professionals to execute a vision he'll cast 10 years in advance. Think about it. What he is doing right now is a reflection of what he started nearly 10 years ago. -Jesus of Nazareth, the son of the most high God, recruited twelve disciples to help spread the gospel throughout the world. And Jesus, as the scriptures tell it, was God. Does God need help? Really??? Do you know what else these men have in common besides having a team of individuals to sow into their vision? They've all experienced the bitterness that comes with heartbreak—some multiple times. I am not saying that you have to trust everybody. And, at some point or another, your trust is going to be stress-tested again. This is a part of the journey, my friend. But those moments will only reinforce and strengthen the bonds of those who actually care about you and the vision you've cast for yourself. Then, something magical happens; you and the battle-tested circle of people around you will start to achieve heights even you could never have imagined. Before that can happen, though, you gotta quit the cap. You need people; people need you. Your financial breakthrough is one meaningful relationship away — no cap. #ModomSolutions #NoCap #Connection #Money

Is it a Curse or a Blessing?

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 have one financial win the week. 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. At the end of the week, if you've achieved your goal, create a plan to sustain your blessing. 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! #ModomSolutions #Blessed #Wisdom

Greenwood Banking (Let's Go!!!)

The dope emcee and activist Killer Mike, venerable civil rights leader Andrew Young, and successful businessman Ryan Glover have teamed up to create the on-line banking platform Greenwood: Banking for the Culture. Greenwood will provide banking services that target Black and Latinx communities better. In short, your lives matter, especially as it relates to access to the type of capital that supports and sustains community growth. Let's go!!! The on-line banking platform will come with all the bells and whistles: no hidden fees, peer to peer transfer, mobile deposits, and two-day early pay. More importantly, however, the Greenwood platform has a pay it forward program that addresses hunger in America, the option to round up your change to support non-profits for the culture, and a monthly $10,000 business grant to fuel the vision of Black and Latinx entrepreneurs. Greenwood is not just an on-line bank. It is a social entrepreneurship endeavor with unapologetic positive regard towards people of color. Again, your lives matter. If you are interested in learning more about Greenwood, click on the link below to be placed on their waiting list. Eager banking customers will not be able to create accounts until the beginning of the new year. www.bankgreenwood.com We are extremely excited about what Killer Mike, Andrew Young, and Ryan Glover have set out to do. However, to see this through, we have to cast the ultimate vote - how and where we choose to manage our money. Stay blessed! #ModomSolutions #Connection #Banking #BankGreenWood

Do You Have a Financial Base?

If you've ever logged any meaningful mileage on a dirt road, track, or along a trail, you know all too well why it is important to have a strong runner's base. A runner's base is essential to sustaining a running routine. If you do not have one, regardless of what your heart tells you, your body will tell you something quite different - you ain't ready! Doing too much too soon can turn you off to running. Let's be honest. Who wants to do something they hate doing? Not me. Doing too much too soon may also result in injury. This means you can't run. If you can't run, you slowly begin to lose the little bit of base you established. This is why it feels like starting over when you are healthy enough to run again. I've experienced both sides of the equation - multiple times. Oddly enough, we do the same thing with money. Or, at least, I have. I use to get so excited about my financial goals that I would fail to prepare for the process necessary to achieve them. Much like running, I overlooked the importance of establishing a base. My heart was telling me full speed ahead while my money was telling me to slow down - trouble is lurking around the corner. I didn't listen—the result: a financial mess that forced me to slow down and start all over again. A lot like my running experiences - LOL! I wonder if being a boneheaded runner is associated with being a boneheaded manager of money? :) So, what is a financial base? A financial base ensures you have a financial strategy that reflects your current capacity to achieve a financial goal. Case in point, let's say your financial goal is to have a credit score of 740 or higher. To achieve and sustain this goal, you must understand what you'll need to achieve this end. The two biggest parts of the credit scoring process are paying your bills on time (35% of score) and keeping your credit utilization below 30% (30% of score). Creating a financial base means you will need to structure your financial affairs to pay your bills on time and not run up your credit card balances. You'll need to establish a spending plan to support your credit score goals. If you currently have significant financial constraints, you may not want to create a spending plan - it just reminds you of your situation. To achieve your financial goal, though, we have to address the need for financial stability, establish a spending plan, stick to it, and structure your financial affairs so that you can pay your bills on time and not over-utilize your credit cards to achieve a 740 credit score. As you can see, without a sound financial base, the goal was not as accessible as we might have thought originally. I want to be very clear about something. You can achieve your financial goals. You just might be doing too much too soon. You have to learn how to win where you are to win where you wish to be. When you get a chance to reflect on your current financial journey, might there be a few opportunities to cut back on what you are doing? Can you identify a few situations where less is more? In fact, I would much rather you focus on your financial base than your financial goals. Use your financial goals as a way to identify your financial base so that you can focus on it. The rest will take care of itself. I know what I am suggesting goes completely against the grain of our culture. But I am convinced that our culture is not setting you up for success. If you want to achieve your financial goals, establish your financial base, and gradually build it over time. You will notice two things as a result: You will enjoy the process, and you won't injure yourself along the way. Stay blessed! #ModomSolutions #Wisdom #Money #Winning

This is How You Get More Out of Your Money!

I have a sweet tooth. It is so bad that we cannot keep candy, cookies, and cake in the house. I have no will-power whatsoever - none, zero, zilch (Don't judge me - LOL!) My favorite sugary snacks are vanilla bean Blue Bell ice cream, homemade apple pie, and Peanutbuter Captain Crunch (What's yours?). I can eat these items and nothing else for days on end. But something strange happens around day two. The seventh or eighth bowl of ice cream, pie, cereal, or all three - quite honestly - doesn't taste like the first. The more I consume, the less satisfied I feel. Not only am I dissatisfied, but I fall into this dangerous cycle of blood sugar highs and lows: I'm groggy, bloated, and irritable, very irritable. Yet, despite how miserable I feel, I crave more. Believe it or not, we can experience similar cycles and symptoms when it comes to pursuing more money and wealth. There is nothing wrong with this pursuit. I encourage it. The issue arises when we seek these ends without a clear end in mind. If we are not careful, we'll find ourselves groggy, bloated, and irritable, very irritable, because there is no end to the pursuit of more. As soon as we achieve one financial goal, there is another waiting in the wings. After we've purchased one vehicle with all the bells and whistles, another one comes rolling onto the lot six months later with bells and whistles we never knew we needed. Our dream home no longer feels dreamy because we just saw another listing with a kitchen, outside patio, and firepit to die for. The vacation spot we use to love has lost its zing. Our television is now too small - what's 85 inches when you can cover the whole dang wall??? - LOL! Instead of getting entangled in the endless cycle of more, have you taken a moment to contemplate what's enough? May you allow your self a moment to consider how less or fewer equal more or better? Have you ever noticed that you tend to enjoy things more when you experience them less? Think about it. Would you get excited over your birthday if you celebrated it 365 days a year? Probably not. There is something about delayed - no instant - gratification that is so damn satisfying. For instance, have you ever decided not to binge-watch a television series and allow the tension to build a few days or a week before watching the next episode? Did you enjoy the next episode more or less than a binge-watched episode? The satisfaction that comes with less is not an illusion. We've all experienced it. In most cases, unintentionally. Regardless, we more than likely left that situation feeling full - not empty. I want you to capture that moment and take it a step further. I want you to proactively prioritize less and enough into your weekly or monthly financial routine. Strategically plan to cut back financially where you can and clearly define what's enough. You might have experienced less and enough due to happenstance in the past. I am asking you to create a space where you choose to allow less and enough to thrive in your financial affairs. Your mind is probably telling you not to do it. You have been primed all of your life to associate more with more. But, in reality, more is more likely to leave you feeling barren despite all the stuff you've accumulated. What would happen if you conditioned yourself to desire less? I will go ahead and give you the answer: You'll learn how to appreciate and experience the ever-elusive more! #ModomSolutions #Less #Enough #Money #Wisdom #More

A Wealth Position State of Mind

I think we have it all wrong. The balance sheet, not the spending plan, is the main thing. Let me explain. A spending plan does not capture one's wealth position. Nor is it a means to wealth creation in and of itself. This tool helps an individual or household track his or her cash inflows and outflows. You can make good money, be completely debt-free, have a detailed spending plan, and have a zero wealth position. We have placed such an emphasis on debt that some people believe they are financially sophisticated and better off because they don't have any, which isn't always the case. Like one should not assume that someone is financially unsophisticated and not well off because they carry some debt. Wealth is a calculation, not a perception. If your financial goal is establishing wealth, I believe that doing so is the result of utilizing the spending plan to execute your balance sheet aims. The balance sheet is where you analyze your wealth position and determine what might be the best strategy to improve your wealth position by a specified dollar amount or percent each year. Assets - Liabilities = Your Wealth Position! Naturally, when thinking about this equation, more assets and fewer liabilities equal greater wealth. But most people do not know their wealth position. If you do not know your wealth position, how can you effectively utilize your spending plan to work towards a better wealth position given your current financial capacity? You can't! In fact, when is the last time you made a financial decision and thought to yourself, "I wonder how this is going to affect my wealth position?" Or, better yet, "I wonder how this decision will affect my family's inter-generational wealth position?" Every decision we make can be viewed through this lens: Should I take on this amount of student loan debt? Do I need to spend this much money on a car? Should I ask for a raise? Is a $30,000 wedding necessary? Should I create an IRA? Do we need a 3,500 square-foot home? Should I invest in real estate? Is spending $1,000 a month dining out a bit excessive? Should I increase my 401k contributions? Would it better to wait instead of placing the purchase on my credit card? [ Come and join in on the fun. Add your own "How will this affect my wealth position?" question. And, as you can see, I am not telling what you can and cannot have. I am merely encouraging you to find balance in your decision making: How can you live for today and comfortably secure how you will for tomorrow?] To make a long blog post short - LOL - thinking from a wealth position state of mind helps us process and create a clear financial vision that we can execute with our spending plan. Otherwise, a spending plan can become a rudderless ship that goes wherever the wind blows (i.e., emotional spending, influenced by clever marketing, and peer pressure). And, yes, you can rationalize placing several items in your spending that should not be there. It happens all the time. Given the gazillionth meme, IG post, or YouTube video I've seen on wealth creation, I'll leave you with this... ... We do not stumble aimlessly into wealth. Wealth creation is the result of making more financial choices that improve our wealth position than not. It might be time to adopt a wealth position state of mind. #ModomSolutions #Wealth #Money #Wisdom

Self-Compassion and Your Financial Wellness Journey

When you think about the word compassion, do you ever consider how compassionate you are to yourself? Have you ever contemplated how self-compassion might be a pre-requisite to wealth creation? If you haven't, I want you to answer the following questions: 1.) On a scale from 1 to 5, 1 being not compassionate and 5 being very compassionate, how compassionate are you to you? 2.) On a scale from 1 to 5, 1 being not compassionate and 5 being very compassionate, how compassionate are you to others? In other words, are you more likely to extend grace, forgiveness, kindness, a second and even third chance to others than you are to yourself? You are worthy of grace and compassion, too. Not just the grace and compassion extended to you by others, but rather, the grace and compassion you can offer to yourself. Did you know - yes, another question, LOL - that a person can have anywhere between 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts a day? What's more, based on a 2005 National Science Foundation study, 85% of those thoughts are negative. These negative thoughts can lead to a fatalistic thought process about life and, for this post, money. Fatalism means that someone feels powerless to influence their future state of being. Far too many people suffer from fatalistic thinking because they are ashamed of something they've done in the past. Self-compassion is a potent remedy to financial self-shaming. Think about it. If you do not have positive thoughts about money or your ability to manage it, can you realistically expect to handle cash in a way that will help you achieve your life goals? To your current way of thinking, more money may equate to more financial mistakes. I completely get that. I would also like to add that you have a golden opportunity to let those learning opportunities refine you - not define you. Positive and forward-thinking thoughts about money can transform how you engage with this resource. In many instances, it can lead to more of it - without the shame, without the guilt. But you have to be willing to extend yourself some grace...Are you? I can write at length about all the financial mistakes I've made: Some were out of ignorance; Others were out of pride; Some were just foolish - like the "What in the hell were you thinking?" variety of ridiculous (I'll save those for a future post). But I learned that I am not bound to a past mistake despite the consequences of that misstep(s). And, quite honestly, it took me a long time to learn that lesson. It does not have to take you years to do the same. I am allowing you the space to laugh, cry, seek counsel, run, or pray off what you've done in the past. The light is at the end of the tunnel ahead - not the darkness associated with the what is behind us. You deserve self-compassion. And you'll deserve it again, and again, and again. Some of us learn the hard way - myself included :). My friend, your race towards financial well-being is not just about what we know about investments, risk management, budgets, and taxation. It's about the health of your heart and spirit as well. Whether you realize it or not, you have the key, but you have to turn it towards yourself. You are the door, too! With that being said, here is yet another question: On a scale from 1 to 5, 1 being positively no and 5 being positively yes, do you want to experience your best life? My hope is that you answered that question with a 5. I want you to experience your best life, too! Now that we are the same page, would you consider taking one step to forgive yourself for a financial mistake you made yesterday and the grace to accept that your financial journey may not be smooth sailing ahead? But I promise that it will be worth it - every step, every moment, every tear, every outburst of joy, every frustration, and every victory along the way. So, here you go. Take all the time you need, right now, to extend yourself some grace. Self-compassion is the gateway to your financial success story. Stay blessed! #Money #Compassion #FinancialWellness #ModomSolutions #Wisdom

Trauma is Not Normal.

I never thought I would be there. It was 2016. I was sitting in a dimly lit room across from a therapist - again. Unlike my previous sessions, I felt it was time to unpack the pain, bitterness, and anger that had been building up inside. I was about to explode. 2015 was the worst year of my life. The father of my sister's three children murdered her. After listening to my story about my sister and other hardships I had faced, my therapist, with a very heavy heart yet assured demeanor, uttered four words that changed my life, "Trauma is not normal." I sat there for what seemed like forever, trying to process what she had said. And then it hit me. I was normalizing my deep sorrow as being a part of the Black experience: You deal with it. You suck it up and move the fuck on. Ther is no time to show weakness. At least, that's what I thought. My therapist went on to say that it was okay to feel and express emotion. Allowing ourselves to grieve was how the body healed itself. It is how we become strong. It was in that instance that I gave my self permission to ball uncontrollably. I will never forget that session. It gave me the courage to acknowledge my emotions, to authentically feel my emotions, and how not to accept certain harsh realities as the norm. If we accept our circumstances as the norm, we learn how to dance with them instead of vying for another dance partner altogether. Honestly, I don't want to do the Toosie slide with someone who can't dance. Do you? So, how does my story intersect with money? It starts with a question: What have you accepted as a standard relationship with money that is actually dysfunctional and rooted in financial trauma? Are you dancing with a mindset that will perpetuate your current situation or improve it? Believe it or not, there is an industry of financial professionals called financial therapists that can help you unpack, reorganize, and commit to achieving the life you desire. Sometimes the optimal financial strategy has nothing to do with more financial information. Sometimes it is rooted in intimately understanding our thoughts and emotional responses to the world around us - past, present, and future. If you, like I once did, struggle with processing your emotions, please consider seeking a therapist (https://therapyforblackmen.org/) or financial therapist (https://www.financialtherapyassociation.org/find-a-ft). Having the capacity to be emotionally vulnerable is the real stunt. Trauma is not normal.

Whose Playbook are You Using?

You are more financially literate than you know. I would argue that you have learned invaluable lessons about life, people, and money through life experience. These experiences have shaped the way you view and interact with the world around you. Those experiences have caused you, subconsciously, to create a financial playbook filled with thoughts, emotions, and outcomes that justify your unsuspecting reliance upon it. This financial playbook has helped you navigate the environment and systems you currently or once knew. But I have to ask, do you feel confident that your current playbook has enough of the right plays to be victorious in the life you are trying to create and sustain? Bill Belichick, arguably one of the greatest coaches in NFL history, changes his playbook and personnel every week. He does not allow past accomplishments to lull him into believing that yesterday is the best indicator of future successes. The New England Patriot's secret sauce over the past decade is that they are willing to reassess their playbook for the immediate challenge: Don't hate the player, or the coach in this instance, hate the game. When is the last time you assessed your financial playbook? Where did it come from? Why did you commit to it? Is the playbook that once helped you thrive now have you holding on by a thread trying to survive? If the latter question resonates with you, there is nothing wrong with your old playbook. You need to update it so that you can thrive in the future opportunities you hope for and the new challenges you will face while on the way. Financial awareness is one of the first steps to financial well-being. We all have blind spots; however, we will never know they exist if we do not study our playbook and ask the following question: Does what I currently know align with where I am trying to go?

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