A Money Coach in Canada

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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!

Photo Credit: Ann Douglas Her website is here.

Oh my goodness.

I just returned from the local high school’s production of the season: Grease! Did it ever take me back to Junior High (does that grouping exist anymore?) and Olivia Newton John and the local joint where most kids my age smoked and we all ordered fries and gravy to go with the cigarettes. Anyone else remember those days?

For $20 I got a really fun evening. The kids were all heart, if sometimes off-key, and gave a funny, quirky performance. Somehow a lot of the songs seemed more appropriate coming from high school boys/men who probably were truly horny (well sorry, but really, they probably are!) than it did from the more mature Travolta and co. On a personal note, I was delighted to discover that “Hopelessly Devoted” no longer wrings tears from me, as it did 20 years ago without fail.

So. Frugal tip of the week? Check out your local high school productions!

Parents (lookin’ especially at you, Peter! – you know who you are!) do you have any great memories of seeing your kids in productions? And is it just me, or are kids way more willing to put themselves out there on stage (singing? really?) than we were back in the day?

Photo Credit: Baslow

I do believe I screwed up last Saturday when I said the first step in achieving your hopes and dreams is to write them down.

I think there are actually two steps prior to writing anything.

The first, in polite Steven Covey terms, is to begin with the end in mind.

In other words: Consider Your Death. You are going to die. Obviously so am I.

Forgive me for being so blunt in April of all times; death has been on my mind. A man of great influence on me personally died last week. I listened to this interview of Nuala O’faolain, a famous Irish author in which she talks frankly and weepingly of her impending death. And most directly relevant, I watched “Really achieving your childhood dreams” a video by a Carnegie Mellon professor who knew this would be his last ever lecture.

It’s worth taking time to think about it, at least a little, before landing on and pursuing our hopes and dreams: When we are on our death-beds, will they seem trivial, or worth the days we had? Will they be lasting and of some kind of substance, or the equivalent of soap bubbles?

Before we put a money towards our dreams, it’s worth being convinced of their death-bed value.

Vancouver’s a damn hard act to follow in the realm of quirky and wonderful places to eat or enjoy a good latte. *sniff*: Six Acres and Acme Cafe with its own flickr pool for heaven’s sake and my all-time favourite Smart Mouth Cafe!

However, I have found a new place of contentment up here and its name is the Nuthouse.   Nuthut.  TJ’s Nuthut. I’d link to it, but most stores up here don’t bother with websites much because, really, what’s the point? Either you find out about it, or you don’t!

The owner is bigger than life, passionate about nuts (did you know pecans are native to Canada? I didn’t know. Nor would have thought to ask. But I found out nonetheless!) and makes a MEAN Thai soup and delectable home-made desserts, and I don’t mean the kind of homemade that in fact came from a mass-produced factory. There’s a handful of cozy tables just made for laptops and blogging.

And dine and laptop and blog I did last Saturday, and I reckon I’ve found my new hangout. It’s about a 20 minute walk from my home and located right on the shore of the Great Slave Lake. Currently it’s still frozen over so planes on skis are still landing but eventually it will be all wavy and wonderful with people canoeing out to their houseboats.

Photo Credit: eclectic blogs

Readers – do you have a fave eat/laptop/blog place where you feel just right at home and content to while away a couple hours?
Yellowknifers- if you haven’t visited it yet, you gotta go. But not on Saturdays between 11 – 1pm, if you don’t mind!

If you have a moment, listen to my personal story with money. You can watch the vid either on the sidebar of my blog or here. Watch for my goals, about 1.40 minutes into the video.

What I didn’t mention is that I wrote those goals down one Sunday afternoon after listening with a Tony Robins tape (ha! it was a cassette which tells you how long ago that was) with a roomate.

I am convinced that the very first step in moving a hope or dream out of our heads and into the real world is to write it down. Something about the act of writing a goal seems to trigger its fruition. There’s a reason its a timeless and classic method for achieving what you want.

Here’s my money-coach’s simple twist. Include the price-tag when writing the goal. It doesn’t have to be exact, but include a reasonable approximation.

A couple personal Examples:

  • My dream is to go to NYC every couple years on holiday:  $2,000 / trip
  • I want to own several properties when I retire, including one in Detroit.   Down payment for Detroit:  $10K
  • I would love to slim down again over the summer by doing the c25K program. I’ll need some good new runners: $120

If you like, write your goals in my comments section – I’d love to hear! And maybe we can even encourage each other along the way.

If you’re more private than that, write your goals wherever you like, but do write them and include an approximate pricetag.

In either case, pop back here on Wednesdays and weekends during April for more simple but effective tips on translating your hopes and dreams into reality.

Photo Credit: DFBiz