A Money Coach in Canada

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Strong White Boating Rope

A recap of two key thoughts in earlier posts about changing money habits:

1. Your brain has two systems operating together at all times: your rational brain and your instinctual brain. Don’t pit them against one another – your rational brain will nearly always lose. Or, in real life, you will buy the coveted item you can’t afford against your better judgement. Or you will avoid facing facts. Instead, learn to work with both parts to achieve long term change.

2. Playing to your strengths is likelier to lead to success than trying to fix your weaknesses. Think about it a moment. When you are doing something well, you feel good, right? And you usually want to do more of it? Whereas if something is difficult, and you often fail, you prefer to avoid it, right? So. Let’s put your strengths to work, shall we?

The first step is to identify your strengths. Here is an exercise to help you to just that.

Choose 8-12 people who know you reasonably well from your various walks of life. Coworkers. Friends. Teammates. Family. Professional connections. Customers.

Send them an e-mail or a letter asking them to provide anonymous (-ish) feedback about your strengths to you. I did this once for a professional development assignment at work, so trust me, it’s do-able!

Here’s some sample text.
Dear ___________________,

As someone who knows me through **XYZ** I would really appreciate your feedback on a personal undertaking of mine. I want to ensure I am making the most of my strengths during 2011. I am interested in hearing your thoughts on what you see as my strengths. I am asking several people for feedback. Your support by way of feedback would be invaluable to me.

If you are willing, would you please list for me 3 key strengths you see in me? If you are comfortable, providing an example of that strength in action will help provide clarity.

1. _________________

2. _________________

3. _________________


Then, you can provide them a link to a survey on survey monkey, or ask them to e-mail you directly, or to send you a letter back in a self-addressed envelope. Your Call.

Once you receive all the feedback, create a composite of your strengths. This is what you have to work with!

On Wednesday, it will be time to discover how to bring those strengths into play re: managing your money effectively.

For those of you who are daunted by this exercise: You may miss out on some hidden capabilities, but a simpler, more private exercise is simply to reflect on the matter over several days. What have employers said about you? Friends? What are some activities you excel at?

Psst! Pass it on!

I’m looking for at least 50 Beta testers for my new online money-coaching product.
No charge in exchange for patience if there are bugs and glitches and in exchange for feedback.

Details on my about-to-be-overhauled business site: Your Money by Design.

update: I’ve blown past 50 and more are welcome! The more testers I have = the more reliable data I get back. We’re looking at an early Feb. launch. Interested? e-mail me directly at moneycoachcanada at gmail dot com.

How much do you spend on coffees each week? And do you have any tips for being frugal yet still fully indulging in coffees? No *way* is this Norwegian-blooded northerner going to restrain myself from my coffees, so here’s how I’ve learned to indulge fully yet frugally.

Made in Italy

gefüllt mit bestem Kaffee

Fast fertig

There’s the espresso! Now for the milk, frothed, not steamed:

Making Yogurt - 108/365

et voila. The elixir of life:

Pumpkin Spice Latte

PS: If you want to take espresso to the next level, have a chat with Scordo.

1. Goldman-Sachs invested $450M in Facebook. Don’t want anyone of my readers to be the last to know!

2. ” a third of all income growth in Canada in the past two decades went to the richest 1 per cent of Canadians.”
Holy smokes, eh? Full article at the Globe and Mail and an extended reflection on this can be found on Mike Todd’s blog.

3. Big Thought of the Day: When we talk about the economy, and jobs, it’s easy to become detached. We never quite believe it “can happen here”. About a year ago I became weirdly interested in Detroit after becoming (equally weirdly) addicted to Sam Roberts’ Song Detroit ’67 below.

Check out these recently published photos, Ruins of Detroit. Then watch the video below for ghosts of what Detroit once was. Our politics, our policies and our spending can make or break a city.

Detroit ’67 Music Video from Dave Pawsey on Vimeo.

Using self-discipline to change your money habits will not work as well as another approach.

There is growing evidence that playing to our strengths leads to greater success and happiness than trying to compensate for our weaknesses.

You may recall that last weekend’s post underscored the need for the rational part of our brain and our instinctual side to work well together, if we want to achieve long term success in changing our money habits. Another way of saying it is: don’t over-rely on your rational side (“I can’t afford this”) to constantly whip your instinctual side (“but I want it”) into submission. Why? Because sooner or later your instinctual side will rebel and your rational side will fatigue and out will come your credit card.

The strategy of using will power is also weakness-based. It focusses attention on the undesirable behaviour. An unintended consequence can also be a hit on our self esteem: I’m someone who can’t resist a sale or I am someone who can’t say no to anyone.

Are you ready to get hardcore with me?

Here’s an alternative approach. Clearly define your strengths (with the help of others – more on that shortly), root yourself deeply into a composite of your strengths, and bring them to play vis a vis your money habits.

On Saturday, I’ll provide an exercise to help you do just that.