Lessons on Abundance and Money
Hey, Hey Bold Leaders. Welcome to episode 51 of The Bold Leadership Revolution Podcast.
I’m not going to lie, I think this is going to be my favorite ever episode of this podcast. I’m sharing with you TWO of my favorite things -- lessons learned. I love sharing my reflections and insights because I think it’s SO helpful to hear the stories of others to give context to some of the strategies we hear.
And the second thing I love talking about is MONEY and ABUNDANCE. And abundance isn’t money related -- you can be abundant with all different ways. You can be abundant in friends, love, health, good conversations and of course...MONEY. But please know, you can FEEL abundant without money. As a matter of fact, I believe it’s imperative that you be able to FEEL abundance in the absence of money.
OK, I think I should get off the soapbox so we can actually get this episode started because it’s going to be one that’s chock full of value. Grab your hot cup of coffee or tea and cozy up, or if you’re like me lately, you’re listening while walking your dog!
LESSON #1: The world is an abundant place. This is another re-learning and when this came up for me this year, I was SHOCKED and SHOOK. I take all things money mindset incredibly seriously and it has NOTHING to do with the fact that I’m a coach or business owner. Working on my money mindset + taking action from a place of feeling abundant (even when I wasn’t financially abundant) was CRITICAL to our financial recovery after bankruptcy. It was critical in getting me to the place to make the DECISION to declare bankruptcy. I have manifested hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash or opportunities over the last almost 15 years
And yet, this year, scarcity came up for me from time to time. Because scarcity isn’t limited to just money. Scarcity can be found in time, energy and other resources.
This summer I read Essentialism for the 7th time and led the book club discussion in The BRAVE Society. It was HARD. As I realized the things I needed to shed and let go of to be even more essential, it brought up massive feelings of scarcity.
The one thing I questioned the most from reading this book again was “what is my social capacity?” I was primarily focused on social media but most specifically FB because it's the place that felt the most overwhelming and out of my control.
What was I really doing with almost 1,000 friends? Who are these people? Why are they here and what is my social capacity for interacting with them? Even though, I unfollowed a lot of people, I still FELT their energetic presence. Which is the downside of having highly sensitive energy.
As I began to systematically cull the friends list -- people from HS that I never talk to, people who I don’t even know but accepted their friend request because we have friends in common, anyone using their FB page for business over and over and over again against FB T&C’s, etc -- feelings of scarcity set in. Maybe these people are potential clients or customers? Maybe one day they will spring out of nowhere and book a discovery call? Maybe they are silently hanging on every word you say but you just don’t know it?
I quickly became disgusted with my scarcity and lack. The truth is if these people were truly hanging on my every word (ego, much?!) they most likely know the best place to access me is Instagram and this podcast. I deleted them and freed up tons of energy and release hidden scarcity vibes all at once. No surprise that I went on to have one of my best quarters in business. As a matter of fact the second half of 2019 out performed the first half in a big way. My commitment to LESS distraction,noise and drain on my energy can be thanked for that.
Next I hit up Instagram and unfollowed anyone that isn't putting out intentional, quality and different content. I love instagram for two reasons: Connection and education. Everyone I follow had to fit into those categories -- is this someone I want to connect with or be educated by.
All those carefully curated pretty by boring accounts were gone.
Anyone calling themselves a business coach but with no real specialty or way of making themselves stand out...gone.
Anyone income marketing hard core -- bye bye.
Anyone who is marketing by using fear or fake scarcity or the typical tactics.
Any accounts that elicit feelings of FOMO, not good enough -- mind you this is my reaction not necessarily their intent.
Anyone who I DM’d and they hearted me back -- gone because clearly they don’t share the same values as me around connection.
In taking ACTION on these fierce boundaries something interesting happened. People who truly want to connect, collaborate and learn from me have showed up. More so than in any other time in my online life which dates back to 2012 when I had a successful blog on leadership, family and healthy living.
It was uncomfortable to feel this level of scarcity. It was uncomfortable unfriending people who I have had interactions with but were no longer in my life.
LESSON #2 was a new one. The more successful I become, the more money I make, the less I spend and more simple I want to live my life. This lesson is for anyone with the story about the greedy jerkface they will become once they start making money or that they will spend money uncontrollably buying all the things.
My buying habits have changed a lot this year and all for the better.
I’m far more discerning with where I spend my money. When people pay me, I take that incredibly seriously. I have vowed to be a good steward of the money people pay me. This means giving back, creating jobs, being discerning about WHO I give my money to and saving well. You see, money is energy. If I spend my money with someone who doesn’t respect my dollars by offering me a shitty product or service or not really showing up for what they provide or operating from a place of neediness and scarcity, that energy is now in my sphere impacting the people I transact with. I challenge you all to start looking at these things and feeling the energy that your money and experiences carry. Look at pockets of people or circles and see the similar energy -- why certain people are attracted to others. Just observe. Do your own experiment and let me know what you see.
I’m buying way less things these days and when I do make a purchase it’s usually something that will be with me for a long time. Wardrobe items have been changed out to reflect my thankfully classic style with the neutrals I love. Accessories have been trimmed down and more money has been spent on high quality shoes or my absolutely perfect michael kors leather backpack. I’ve invested in hiring a personal stylist to help me save money on my clothing and buy pieces that will last me a long time.
I’ve declared 2019 our most minimal year yet. Our kids are older, they better understand minimalism and are learning how to manage their own money. Making lots of mistakes but taking away some really great lessons.
This past year we invested a TON into our home and it’s paid off. This past holiday when BLR HQ was closed we chose not to go away. Now, this is a BIG BIG deal. My family has a 35 year tradition of going away from before christmas to new years. We meet up at my Dad’s condo and ski at the same ski resort. It’s about a 7 hour drive for us from NY and we have made this trip at all different times -- christmas eve, christmas day when the kids were little and wanted to open gifts at home, before christmas. It’s stressful but I do it because my dad loves to ski and I want him to have the opportunity to share that love with his grandkids. Both of my kids, like me have been skiing since we were 3 years old. However, christmas week the weather is usually terrible alternating between rain, ice and snow. Temps can fluctuate from 40’s to 0.
Now, this mountain resort has gone through tremendous expansion over the last decade but the customer service is HORRENDOUS. The answer to every question is NO. Nothing runs on time, concerns aren’t addressed and they are just all around disorganized.
Last year I said to John “They don’t value my money the same way I value my money. We have a major values disconnect and I can’t do this again next year.” SO, we didn’t.
Lesson #3: Investments that propel your business forward aren’t always investments in your business.
Simultaneously, I wasn’t feeling good about our home situation. Years of not making our physical space a priority carried over from years of financial strain and then I started this business and we made sure we were operating as lean as possible on the home front.
To the point where I sadly didn’t enjoy my home at all and didn’t feel inspired. Which for me is a double whammy because I work from home.
When 2018 started, I wrote in my annual vision:
“My home is clean, simple, minimal and well decorated. It’s comfortable with plenty of places to sit and read a book or play a game. It looks like a show home, it’s high tech and spa like.”
Then I kind of forgot about it, I put my head down and went to work on more pressing matters.
We painted and put down new carpet. Those quick and simple fixes made a huge difference. Never underestimate the power of starting.
But things still weren’t quite right. Our living room couch was ill fitting and our open concept living space was poorly laid out. I have been day dreaming of having a pottery barn design consultant come to the house for YEARS. I walk into pottery barn every year and sit on the couch.
In August we did some strategic family planning. Our most important mission at this time was to fundamentally reduce stress. You see, I’m SO concerned for today’s kids and the pressures put upon them and the impact of social media and video gaming.
We identified 5 areas to work on that would reduce stress or aid in rest and restoration. The first thing on the list was new living room furniture. We needed a space where we could congregate together, play games, host family movie night and feel at home in our home.
So, I walked into pottery barn in August and confronted heaps of mindset issues. If you want to work on your mental strength, put yourself in challenging every day experiences that require you to call on your bold leadership.
I can’t afford this furniture. YIKES. I haven’t said “I can’t afford” in a monumentally long time. As a business owner, I broke that habit a long time ago.
I can’t have anything THIS nice. Really, Tara? Are we still here with not worthy talk.
Pottery barn is TOO MUCH. Who do I think I am? Enter imposter syndrome. Listen, It was ALL here with me and it was overwhelming and uncomfortable.
Pottery barn doesn’t help either with the way they display and price their furniture. It’s overwhelming and overwhelmed buyers don’t buy. It creates paralysis and fear.
As I sat on THE COUCH, having a full on mindset meltdown, John nudged me and said “just go ask.”
Right. Right, my mom always used to say if you don’t ask, the answer is always no. Somehow the universe gave me exactly what I need -- the sweetest, most gentle, most talented design associate. Trust me, I’ve met some of the others at this store. Chris was a GEM.
We made an appointment to come to the house and a week later, there she was. We went through the space, talked about the challenges and laid it out. She was going to price it and get back to me.
I sat in my own sweat and panic foa week telling myself stories around how much this was going to COST. It was A LOT of furniture and the last time I bought pottery barn furniture, 20 years ago (when I was 23) it was EXPENSIVE. Like mega bucks for the chair and ottoman (that I still had at this point, 20 years later) and the computer armoire.
Can you relate to digging up ancient dirt to prove your limiting beliefs?
PS. of course it was expensive the last time, I was making a fraction of the money I make today as a recent grad and newly entering the workforce. DUH.
When I received the invoice, it was less than I expected by about 2-3K. See how we work ourselves up worrying about things we can’t control. And then the gem, Chris says. “Can you hold off on purchasing this for 2 weeks? I think we’re having a really big sale. I’ll call you when you should come in and order”
Over the next few weeks, I had moments of panic about being able to pull this level of an investment off. Truly, it consumed me and caused me to really look at my pervasive and subconscious beliefs around money. With enough digging around, I uncovered that I didn’t believe my business could provide consistently and increasingly for my family.
At this point the price tag is $11,000 for a sectional couch, large coffee table, media console, a chair with an ottoman, a leather recliner, and two large bookshelves and a large sofa floor lamp. Honestly, I thought that was a lot of furniture for that price but it was still not an amount I was comfortable paying. I started to pray for a zero percent financing deal so we could manage cash flow. When you have two people running businesses, cash flow is important.
I was working on my new belief that my business provides for my family consistently (because truth be told, it has 100% done this over the last 4 years. Miraculously so at times).
I dug into my favorite beliefs that everything always works out in my favor. Money comes to me through all sources. I experience frequent and daily avalanches of abundance.
When she called me to come in and order the furniture the sale was a 30% off sale meaning I would save $3,300 which felt HUGE. I was riding high and ready for my zero percent interest card except Pottery Barn doesn’t have a great plan for that so we had to pay cash -- which we had but man that hurt to pay the $8,100.
I ordered the furniture and proceeded to dip right back into fear. $8,100 was a lot of money. What if we needed it? What if the bottom fell out? Or crisis strikes?
I tried to sleep that night but wound up downstairs with my journal at 2:30 am. Around 4 am I made myself a cup of coffee because there was no going back to bed.
I journaled every fear. Every scenario. And then moved to all the positive good things, the gratitude, the proof of everyday abundance. I focused on FEELING these beliefs in my body. Because that’s the trick you know. You have to be able to move your emotional state. The fake it till you make it doesn’t work that great.
John comes downstairs, realizing it’s been a rough night and says “We’ll make more.” I agreed. That’s our 100% commitment to this life. We will make more. I remember my therapist telling me when I was in my early 20’s, there will always be a financial worry, you best figure out how to not let that disturb you peace. And “we’ll make more.” is how we conquer that.
Then he says “I have that meeting with the life insurance guy. I could come home with a check.”
That’s all I needed to hear and I took to my journal with a vengeance to ensure he came home with a check. I declared he would come home with the exact amount.
You see one of the things I”m THE MOST PROUD OF is 1: we obtained life insurance really young (before we turned 30) 2: No matter how broke we were, we made those darn payments because it could always be worse and we didn’t want to ever experience that. SO, for the past 15 + years we had been carefully paying and assessing and reassessing our life insurance.
In case, you’re new to me, my husband john is into his health and an amateur biohacker, a triathlon coach and a crossfit coach. He’s raced full ironmans, ultra running races, and competed in a slew of crossfit competitions. He’s driven by his unhealthy upbringing, always being the fat kid, losing 70 lbs and keeping it off and an unfortunate family health history.
Our new insurance agent insisted he fight for the top rating even though they wanted to deny him because of his father’s health history. He was tested 3 times and he finally was awarded the premium status.
I was on pins and needles all morning and finally texted John for an update. He responds saying after moving all the accounts over, he had to take a pay out from one of our policies. $7,900 ($200 short of the amount of the furniture) and a $200 reduction in monthly payments. YESSSS! We did it.
When he walked through the door that evening he said they made a mistake and the check will be for a few pennies less than the $8,100. WHOOOOAAA.
As we wrap up this lesson, I want to recap what happened here:
We had a clear reason why and purpose we wanted the furniture. We weren’t keeping up with the joneses. We KNEW this would go a long way in providing a restful and restorative place that reduced our stress as a family. It was a goal that was tied to a longer vision.
We talked about how it would FEEL to have this new furniture. How it would feel to all sit there as a family. We talked about what we would do. We allowed ourselves to get excited by the future with this furniture.
We all went to pottery barn to sit on the furniture and act as if it were in our living room.
Personally, I got curious on what I was feeling and thinking. I called on courage to work through these beliefs. And you better BET that I took this to my mastermind and my coach and asked for support to move through this. We KNEW this was a HUGE moment for me and my business by making this investment and challenging my beliefs.
My biggest lesson learned and I want you all to HEAR THIS very loudly: our businesses aren’t the only source of money and income. Money comes from all places and IS NOT TIED TO WORK. Yes, I took action. I took a TON of responsibility for my thoughts and focused on energizing improved thoughts and feelings. I didn’t not go out in a panicked hustle for more money. During this time sales came to me, I booked a tremendous amount of work during this time. As a matter of fact, I made more money in that one quarter June/July/August than I made in the first few years of my business combined. I made my entire first year’s revenue in a month.
Today I’m leaving you with a SERIOUS action to take. ONE action that will make a huge impact on your thinking and your income. Go brainstorm all the ways you can receive money that don’t come through HUSTLING HARDER.
I have countless examples of this in my own life and I’m sure you do too.
Lesson 4: My business will always provide for my family in a consistent and reliable way.
Until you embody a belief that belief will continue to be tested. It’s not an obstacle, it’s a true opportunity to keep practicing your leadership and repeat the belief until it creates a new neural pathway. Just because I called it an opportunity doesn’t make it easy or fun to have your limiting belief thrown at you again and again and again.
Apparently, this year was the year I needed to step into a deeper space of trust in allowing my business, this wonderful leadership development and coaching company which is a GLOBAL consultancy (I have to remind myself sometimes that I’m a big deal because we all need a confidence boost now and again) to PROVIDE for my family and the world.
I started the year committing to send 10 girls to school in Mozambique through my friend Elisabetta’s non profit, Kurandza. You might remember me sending two girls last year in exchange for podcast reviews. 10 girls was a big commitment and of course hit up against my feelings of -- but if I give this, what if I don’t have enough for me?
This is FEAR. When my brain kicks into fear mode, I look for evidence of the opposite being true. The truth is that anytime I take on a big venture, launch a program, I make a charitable contribution BEFORE I make the money. It’s part of my goal setting process and helps me access FEELINGS of generosity and abundance and joy so I can energize my goals with the FEELINGS that are required to bring our desires into reality.
Time had passed pretty uneventfully the first quarter because that’s how I plan Q1 as per Episode 50.
Then things started to heat up as there was a critical lesson I needed to learn this year. And looking back on this time, I very much understand WHY this was my lesson.
You see, beginning in May I started creating situations that would force me to overturn beliefs and rise up into the business owner that I’m meant to be. The one that leads a company through its second phase of growth which requires deeply grounding into faith, trust, and frankly personal confidence.
SO, here’s what my last 6+ months looked like from my perspective: May was a giant cash flow crunch, I sat in my June Mastermind retreat and looked everyone in the face and said “I have NO money”. I mean I had money coming in and I was going to be OK but I had no cash and I pretty much run an all cash business because when you declare bankruptcy like we did all those years ago in 2010 -- it’s NO joke. It follows you for 11 years. I have credit cards but Chase is still refusing to give me a business credit card. I’ll come back to this story in another episode and share with you how I turned this around. Hint: it involves journaling and mindset work.
June was a team restructuring and I added team cost like I’ve never had team costs before. I 4 x’d my team cost when just the month before I had no cash. And NO, I had no idea how I was going to pay this team because you almost always have to leap BEFORE things show up for you. If you’re waiting for timing to be perfect, good luck to you.
July was furniture and multiple air conditioning repairs in the height of the NY summer.
August was our heating system breaking, september was realizing we needed to replace the kitchen, October my daughter starts BEGGING to go to sleepaway, November came the dog and now we need a fence in our backyard -- we have a decent size property, and in december we found out my son needs braces.
As you can see, I created experience after experience for me to sink into the belief that my business will always provide consistently and reliably for my business. Experience after experience to test my ability to stay in abundance and faith because I have a VALUE on selling from a place of generosity and abundance.
We will create endless opportunities until we learn our lessons and solidify our new beliefs. The quicker you can commit to getting your head on straight, the less pain you will experience. And in 2019, I’m all about choosing pleasure over pain.
So do yourself a favor and check in -- on a scale from 1-10, how much do you trust yourself and/or your business to provide consistently and reliably for your family? Is there work for you here like there is for me?
If this isn’t your issue, where are you creating an endless stream of opportunities to learn a lesson.
Now, what I want you to take away from this episode is that the world is that abundance is all around us, money comes from all places, not just our work, and feelings of scarcity pop up even when you have been diligently doing the work.
This simple opportunity to reflect and revisit these lessons has set me up for a POWERFUL 2019 where I will step into a whole new dimension as a CEO, a mom, a wife, and a daughter.
Don’t think for a minute you can move forward without having a complete understanding of where you are in this very moment. These reflective moments are so important for three reasons: focus, accountability, and the creation of new belief systems. Which is something I KNOW for a fact is at the top of your mind.
You see, at the end of 2018, I spoke to A LOT of you -- personally -- on the phone in an effort to understand the challenges of everyday leaders. Here’s what I learned:
The MAJOR thread is that while these leaders were in everyday businesses like Marketing, Personal Styling, and even product based, brick and mortar businesses…
They were ALLLLLL disrupting their industry by taking a stand for their clients and customers transformation. They were saying "NO" to transactional business and a big "HECK YES" for doing business in a way that leads their people on a journey.
This way of doing business leads to a HUGE impact on micro and macro levels. THIS is why I get out of bed every morning.
Here’s the downside, though…
Leaders who are here to serve are pulled in so many different directions. The three things I heard that are standing in every leaders way:
This is why February 8th I'll be bringing leaders together for the first Bold Leadership Mastermind Day of 2019.
Join us for mentoring in a group setting, generous feedback from peers as well as myself. You will leave having already checked a bunch of tasks off your to-do list. Once you master the mindset shifts and strategies I’ll be teaching, you’ll be able to apply them again and again.
This event is not about me getting 100 people in a room so I can upsell them into something else, this is about getting a curated group of leaders together for in person experience. If this resonates with you, grab your seat today because we have a limited number of spots remaining.
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Special thanks go to Stacey Harris of Uncommonly More, she and her team are the producer and editor of this podcast. Go check them out for all your digital marketing and content creation needs.
Be sure to tune into our next episode to help you embrace your ambition and leave the grind behind.
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