Have you absorbed the beautiful Mythology about pursuing your hopes and dreams, or passion, with everything you’ve got? Rags to riches is a great storyline, isn’t it. It’s inspiring. It creates a sense of confidence that anyone, in any circumstances, can achieve great things if only they put their mind to it and believe in themselves and work hard enough. How could that not be attractive?
I lived into it when I started my business. I had the opportunity to continue part-time with the job I had. But I chose instead to be “all in” with Your Money by Design. I was smart, I had a well-written business plan with conservative estimates, and a certain amount of savings in the bank. I was determined to give my business 110%. No half measures for me.
Eight months into it, the penny dropped: I wasn’t getting nearly the numbers in my seminars I’d anticipated. And I wasn’t the only game in town after all. And everything they say about expenses always being higher than you anticipate had proven true. And hardly anybody could figure out just what was a money-coach anyways (oh, you sell mutual funds? No! I don’t!)
Anyone ever eaten at Hamburger Mary’s in Vancouver? That’s where it all sank in for me. It all sank in as if the air turned black, and my stomach clenched up such that I couldn’t even look at my plate of food when it arrived. My then-boyfriend kindly excused me for a moment – so he thought – and as fast as I could I found a quiet set of steps on an apartment building around the block and there I began to sob and sob and sob. I not only felt the pain of disillusionment but the weight of failure.
And you know what really sucked (to use blunt language)? I was as passionate as *any* entrepreneur and would likely have been one of those people who live without electricity or even in the back of their car (well, maybe not quite) and ultimately become super-successful and get to tell their passion-driven story. But being a money coach … well, you can see why that wasn’t an option.
Nevertheless I carried on valiantly for another 1.5 years (didn’t want to quit just one day before I’d finally make it big, right?) before succumbing and taking part-time work to ensure I could practice at least a baseline of what I preached about managing money effectively. And for a further 3 years I made an acceptable go of it. My electricity stayed on, my mortgage payments were made, my dogs and I were fed. But. I didn’t take a holiday, not a real one, ever and I denied and denied myself so much over the months and months that my energy and enthusiasm, those spades and spades and spades of it, ultimately got sucked away.
There is nothing newsworthy, nothing exciting, nothing thrilling about that story at all. And the final failure was utterly banal: I’d set one “STOP AND SERIOUSLY REASSESS NOW” boundary at ever having to touch my RRSPs. And it happened. I got tripped up on something unforeseen and had to withdraw from my RRSPs. So I stopped in my tracks right then and there. What a boring end-of-the-road, eh?
I reassessed. I concluded I needed to rest for a while and hold my dreams less tightly. I decided for this reason along with a cluster of other rather awful events (which *would* make an interesting story) to move north for a v. good-paying job with full benefits (sick days! extraordinary!) and paid holidays and a pension. I can tell you, it has been a respite. A real respite.
And after two full years of respite, I’m replenished and ready to go again, but this time in and from a different place. I am pursuing my hopes and dreams (ie. creating a rockin’ social-entrepreneurial business that helps people and helps the planet) with the same deep passion …and with significant and ongoing financial stability and security around me. From that firm ground, and rooted there, I am able to re-venture. Is that sexy? Dramatic? The stuff of legend? No. But I honestly think there’s a much higher probability of attaining my personal hopes and dreams from this place.
So. You and *your* hopes and dreams. I’m not about to say don’t go for (ha ha) broke. We all have our journeys to make. And I understand too (do I ever) that entrepreneurialism in particular has exceptional risk and uncertainty. But … I strongly encourage anyone pursuing their hopes and dreams to anchor that pursuit as deeply as possible in a broader financial context. And give yourself permission to follow the road less travelled in your pursuit, even if it sometimes looks remarkably ordinary compared to rags to riches!