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Not Bad Advice
10 minutes | Jul 14, 2021
How To Have Grit To Control Your Thoughts And Persevere
Everyone has thoughts that hold them back and reducing the impact of those thoughts is the most important key to achieving your big goals. If you can't get out of your own way, it won't matter how many opportunities you're offered. Learn about the last two types of grit that you need to maximize your potential, the grit to control your thoughts and the grit to persevere.
7 minutes | Jul 7, 2021
How To Be Your Best At Your Worst
Relying on willpower to do hard things to achieve big goals doesn't work. Learn how developing the grit to be your best at your worst makes it easier to do everything, all the time.
9 minutes | Jun 30, 2021
How To Train Your Weaknesses
We've all got things we're not good at. Identifying the ones you should care about, letting go of the ones that don't matter, and getting better at the ones that do is the secret to big breakthroughs.
16 minutes | Jun 23, 2021
How To Change Reality
What you think directly impacts how you behave, and how you behave directly impacts what you get out of life. And that, in turn, influences how you think and the whole cycle starts again.
9 minutes | Jun 23, 2021
How To Use Fear
When you tackle big goals in your life, you will inevitably be confronted with fear. Learn how to make those fears less daunting and "one weird trick" that can make fear feel good.
7 minutes | Jun 16, 2021
How To Develop Grit
There are six types of grit that are essential to achieving big goals. Believe it or not, one of them involves naps.
12 minutes | Jun 2, 2021
How To Have Better Conversations
Get 3 tips for improving your verbal communication and find out what hostage negotiation can teach us about having better conversations.
12 minutes | May 26, 2021
How To Coach Yourself
The most powerful influence in your life isn't a mentor, a parent, a coach, or any one else you look to for guidance. The most powerful influence on you is...you. That voice inside your head is the voice you hear more than any other and it can either be your worst enemy or your biggest ally.
14 minutes | May 19, 2021
How To Say No
Saying no is hard for most people. It's also one of the most important things you can do. Learn how to say no confidently and feel good doing it (even if you're a people pleaser).
13 minutes | May 12, 2021
How To Overcome Unworthiness
Overcoming unworthiness is simple and difficult at the same time. It's also an ongoing process. Use these 5 strategies to work on your unworthiness patterns.
8 minutes | May 5, 2021
How Unworthiness Sabotages Your Goals
If you don't feel worthy of achieving the goal you set, it won't matter how hard you work or how much time you put into getting there. You'll always find ways to delay achieving the goal and the worst part is, if you don't see what's happening, you'll think you are failing. You'll think that you aren't capable of achieving your goal because you're flawed, you aren't smart enough, you aren't disciplined enough, but the realty is that subconsciously a part of you is working to undo all of the work you do.
5 minutes | Apr 14, 2021
How To Change Painful Patterns
What does Pam’s bum shoulder have to teach us about behavioral change and how we show up in the world? Got something you need advice about? Ask us here: ForcesOfEqual.com/Advice/ Transcript Pam: [00:06] You’re listening to Not Bad Advice where our goal is to offer a perspective that helps you improve one aspect of your life at a time. [00:12] I’m Pamela Lund, and I hope that after listening you’ll think, “Hey, that’s not bad advice!” [00:22] I’m rolling solo today without CK, because this is an advice quickie. [00:31] So I’ve been thinking about patterns a lot lately. Specifically, movement patterns because of a chronic recurring shoulder issue that I have. [00:46] I have a movement pattern that I’ve developed over decades, and that pattern feels right to me, but it’s not. Since it feels right, I keep doing it, but because it’s wrong, it causes pain. And even though it hurts, it’s really hard to change the pattern. I’m working to change how I move, but it feels wrong to move correctly. So I have to think every time I want to move my arm. [01:07] Every… single… time. [01:10] That’s a lot of work and a lot of cognitive load just to reach for a glass or adjust my ponytail. But I won’t have to do it forever; just as long as it takes to ingrain the new pattern. [01:20] So what does my shoulder issue have to do with you? Well, the same incorrect pattern issue shows up in behaviors. And even if they don’t cause physical pain, they can cause suffering. We all have patterns like this that are unhealthy, or that prevent us from achieving our goals. [01:40] Maybe you check your work email before going to bed, even though you know there’s a chance you’ll see something that will make you lose sleep. Maybe you eat junk food after dinner every night, even though you know it makes you feel like crap. Or maybe you emotionally shut down every time your partner brings up money, even though you know that just makes things worse. [02:00] You can develop a pattern for anything. And over time it becomes your default behavior. Even if you know it’s not good for you or the right thing to do, you keep doing it because change is hard. And because these patterns likely helped you at some point, they feel right. [02:17] I developed my shoulder movement pattern after an injury that made moving correctly painful, but then I never did the work to correct the new pattern. So now the new pattern I developed is what’s painful. [02:29] When patterns of any kind start to negatively affect you, you have to question what you think is right. Because if you keep doing what feels right, without questioning, if it really is right, you’ll keep getting the same results. [02:43] If something you’re doing, isn’t working out the way you want. It’s time to try something different. It’s That’s going to feel wrong or weird at first, and you’re going to have setbacks. But every time you see a positive outcome from your new pattern, it will get easier to repeat. [02:59] Remember that what you’ve been doing is what got you where you are now. But if you want more, you need to develop new systems and patterns. You have the power to question and change your patterns. You have the power to change how you’re moving in the world. [03:15] It won’t be easy. Change never is. But it’s the only way to grow. [03:24] Your Oracle card representation of today’s message is the Fennec Fox. Fennec foxes live in the Sahara desert, and they are tiny. They only weigh two to four pounds, but they’ve adapted to have huge ears that dissipate heat, so they can withstand the high temps of the desert. [04:10] They have many other adaptations that help them survive in intense climate, like modified kidney function to require less water and highly sensitive hearing so they can hear prey moving underground. And these adaptations allow the Fox to not only survive, but thrive. Just like the changes you can make to thrive in your environment. [04:34] If you find yourself thinking, “Hey, that’s not bad advice” while listening today, we’d love it if you share the episode with your friends and rated it in iTunes. [04:42] You can get in touch with us on Twitter, where I’m @Pamela_Lund and CK is @cKdisco. [04:48] To find us on other platforms, visit ForcesOfEqual.com/Advice. There, you can also contact us if there’s something you need advice about. We’d love to hear from you.
10 minutes | Apr 7, 2021
How To Use Micro-Budgets To Reduce Financial Anxiety
Can saving $5 every month really make your life less stressful? Find out how to use micro-budgets to completely change the way you handle your expenses. Ready to feel like you’re not bad with money? Visit NotBadWithMoney.com to learn about our financial coaching service that’s mostly practical and a little magical. Got something you need advice about? Ask us here: ForcesOfEqual.com/Advice/ Transcript Pam: [00:06] You’re listening to Not Bad Advice, where our goal is to offer perspective that helps you improve one aspect of your life at a time. [00:12] I’m Pamela Lund. CK: [00:20] And I’m CK Chung. Pam: [00:22] And we hope that after listening you’ll think, “Hey, that’s not bad advice!” [00:25] I budgeted for two years before I figured out the methodology behind what we’re going to talk about today. But when I did, my budget became so much more useful and powerful. [00:48] My money stress about things like holiday shopping and car repairs completely disappeared. And yours can too, with a little thing I call micro-budgets. CK: [00:58] So… tiny budgets? [01:04] Basically. When people budget, they usually think about big expenses like groceries, car payments, and rent or mortgage. And that’s great. You do need to make sure you have those expenses covered. But the magic of budgeting really happens when you plan ahead for annual expenses like vacations or holiday travel, non monthly expenses like oil changes or big Costco trips, and the unplanned but totally predictable things like your car breaking down or water heater going out. Pam: [01:33] So the basic idea is that you know that you’re going to need money in the near future for things. Some of them are certain, some of them are wishful, and some of them you hope don’t happen, but you want to be prepared for. So you look ahead to see how much you’ll need and how long you have until you need it. CK: [01:53] So you just figure it out. How many months do you have until you need the money? And then set aside a fraction of that every month until that time you actually need it. Pam: [02:03] Exactly. If you know you’ll need to do major maintenance on your car in three months, and you know that it will cost you about $180, you would set aside $60 each month for the next three months. So you have $180 when you need it. Even though it’s the same amount of money, it’s much easier to come up with $60 a month for three months than it is to come up with $180 in one month. [02:29] And it’s even easier to come up with $30 a month for six months, if you plan ahead further. CK: [02:35] Totally. Pam: [02:37] Another example is household goods that you stock up on. Maybe you do a big Costco trip every few months or maybe you subscribe to delivery of everything, like we do. For example, we use a service called who gives a crap for toilet paper and they send us a huge box every four months. I know I need $56 for every order. So rather than having to come up with $56 every four months, I set aside $14 every month for it. [03:06] Setting aside, $14 makes virtually no impact on how my budget feels every month, but having to find $56 in one month could be hard depending on whatever else I have going on that month. And when you get into that situation of having to come up with extra money, it’s too easy to rely on your credit card to get you through for a bit, and we all know how that turns out. CK: [03:27] That sounds pretty minor. Is it really necessary to budget for small amounts like that? Pam: [03:34] Yeah, I mean, maybe it sounds silly to set aside $14 for something, but most people have a lot of expenses like this. So they’ll add up. Our budget has $250 in total of micro-budgets that I set aside every month for things that we buy every few months or once a year. So these things definitely add up. [03:53] But micro-budgets work for bigger things too. So let’s talk about annual expenses or higher ticket items that you want to save for. CK: [04:00] Okay. Pam: [04:01] So Black Friday is actually the first thing I started using micro-budgets for. And it was actually because CK buys a bunch of staples and supplies for the year in bulk during black Friday, so that he can save a lot by buying all at once. [04:14] But in order to save money by buying for the whole year at once, we needed an extra $700 in the budget in November. That’s a lot to come up with at once, and that doesn’t include what I plan to spend on black Friday. So we actually need about $1,200 more in November than we spend in a normal month. That’s a lot of money to come up with in one month. But it’s only a hundred dollars a month over the course of the year because I used micro-budgets to save for it. [04:40] So that money sits in savings, earning a tiny, tiny bit of interest, until we spend it without stress or anxiety, because we planned for it. And you can do this with anything. So let’s quickly talk about a few other examples that most people have probably experienced. [04:56] Two episodes ago, we were talking about spending consciously, we brought up friends getting married. And if you’re in that, like 25 to 35 age range, you’re probably going to be going to a lot of weddings in the near future when we can all travel safely again. So if three of your friends get married in one year, you can end up in debt really quickly. But if you use micro-budgets so you start setting aside like 50 or a hundred dollars a month, well before anyone gets engaged, you’ll have that money available when you want it. [05:31] And appliances are another good thing to use micro budgets for, if you have appliances that are getting old, they are going to break down and you are going to have to replace them. You have no idea when it’s going to happen, but it is someday. So you can use micro-budgets to save a little bit every month, so when your fridge eventually dies, you’ve already got the money to replace it. And the most stressful thing is eating all of the ice cream before it melts rather than putting $1,500 on a credit card. And if something else urgent comes up before you need to replace your refrigerator, you can borrow money from your fridge replacement budget instead of using a credit card. [06:09] So no matter what happens, you’re in a better position than you would have been if you didn’t set aside a little bit of money every month. And you don’t actually have to use micro-budgets for responsible things either. You could set aside $30 a month, just so when you want to splurge on something random, you totally can without feeling guilty about it. [06:28] It’s all about reducing month to month swings and expenses and reducing anxiety about how much you have and how much you’re spending. [06:38] Finally, budgeting, like this comes in really handy if you have variable income, like if you get paid hourly or make commission. When you have a bigger paycheck, it’s easy to spend that extra money without planning for what will happen when you get a smaller paycheck. [06:52] But with micro budgets, you’ll be motivated to set aside money for future expenses when you get a larger check, so you won’t be as stressed out when you get a smaller one. CK: [07:01] Why don’t more people use micro-budgets like this already? Pam: [07:04] Well, we’re not taught any of this stuff in school or by our parents. I don’t think that most people are taught to budget at all, much less to use advanced techniques like this. It wasn’t until I started using the software called You Need a Budget that I started even thinking about micro-budgets. And it still took me a couple of years to use them in the way I’m talking about today, because humans just aren’t good at planning for the future in general, but we’re really not good at planning for our financial future. [07:30] So that’s where having a system that makes setting aside money easy, visible, and rewarding is key. When you can see what the money is for, because it’s sitting in a budget category named for the thing it’s going to be spent on, it’s much easier to save the money. [07:45] If you just had $50 sitting in your checking account, that was supposed to be set aside for something you are going to buy four months from now, but you didn’t have a reminder of what the money was for, it would be really hard to not just spend it now. But now everyone listening knows about micro budget. So not knowing isn’t an excuse anymore. [08:03] I chose from the Nocturna Oracle deck to help everyone remember today’s message about using micro-budgets to make your budget less stressful is the tide pool card. If you’ve ever seen a tide pool, they’re pretty fascinating to watch in action. [08:48] During high tide, the tide pool fills with water and the wildlife that gets swept in with the tide go nuts, eating the plants that they only get to eat when they’re in the tide pool. And all of the wildlife that usually live in the shallow water during low tide, get fresh water and nutrients that are carried in by the high tide. [09:06] So the high tide is the abundant time. And all of the water creatures and plants take advantage of it so that when the tide is low, they can survive. [09:15] There’s a natural ebb and flow here just like everywhere in life, including money. So when money. flows in, use your micro-budgets to make the ebbs easier. [09:28] If you want guidance through the process of unpacking your money stories and setting up a budget that actually works including using micro budgets, don’t forget to visit NotBadWithMoney.com to learn about our money coaching service. And if you found yourself thinking, “Hey, that’s not bad advice,” while listening today, share the show with a friend that you want to have as your budgeting buddy. [09:53] You can get in touch with us on Twitter, where I’m @Pamela_Lund and CK is @cKdisco. [10:00] If there’s something you need advice about, visit ForcesOfEqual.com/Advice where you’ll find a form that you can use to get in touch. Both links are in the show notes.
11 minutes | Mar 31, 2021
How To Have A Budget That Actually Works
Have you tried and failed at budgeting in the past? Chances are the system is what failed, not you. Listen to discover why most budgets suck and how you can do it better. Ready to feel like you’re not bad with money? Visit NotBadWithMoney.com to learn about our financial coaching service that’s mostly practical and a little magical. Got something you need advice about? Ask us here: ForcesOfEqual.com/Advice/ Transcript Pam: [00:06] You’re listening to Not Bad Advice where our goal is to offer perspective that helps you improve one aspect of your life at a time. [00:12] I’m Pamela Lund. CK: [00:14] And I’m CK Chung. Pam: [00:19] And we hope that after listening, you’ll think, “Hey, that’s not bad advice!” [00:26] We’re almost done with our series of episodes on money and budgets. If you haven’t listened to the previous four episodes, queue them up for your next podcast-bingeing session. They’ll help you put what we talk about today into practice, but you don’t need to listen to them before you listen to this one. [00:54] If you want a supercharge your budget and uncover your money blocks in a supportive environment, we’re also accepting clients for Not Bad With Money coaching – a one-on-one personalized money and budget coaching program that will help you feel calmly in control of how money flows through your life. Visit NotBadWithMoney.com or click the link in the show notes, if you’re ready to feel like you’re not bad with money. [01:24] Budget is a bad word to a lot of people. It’s like diet – it represents restriction and denial of pleasure. It’s like a short-term punishment that you put yourself through just to get to a goal, but it doesn’t have to be. And really shouldn’t be that way. When you budget the right way, you take the stress and anxiety out of money and actually create freedom to use money in a way that makes you happier. [01:49] Rather than feeling restricted and deprived, you feel free to buy things because you know you have money set aside for them. You don’t have to feel guilty about buying yourself something you want because you know you’ve already got your needs covered and your incremental goals met. [02:04] I get pretty excited talking about this topic because, well, I’m a dork. But also because it’s a revolutionary way to think about budgeting, and it will completely change the way you think about money. Ready? [02:14] Let’s do it! [02:15] Let’s first talk about how people usually budget and why it doesn’t work. Now, maybe you’ve used a spreadsheet or a tool like Mint to track money in and money out and called that budgeting. It’s not budgeting, it’s just tracking, but it’s better than nothing. [02:34] Then, maybe you’ve gone a step further and tried to estimate your expenses at the beginning of the month to create a budget. More than likely your budget was based on some ideal and completely unrealistic version of yourself that you could never live up to. [02:49] Then the next month, when you look back at how well you stayed on budget and saw that you blew it, you gave up and said, “Well, budgeting doesn’t work,” or maybe that you’re not even capable of following a budget. That sound familiar? [03:02] The problem here, wasn’t you. And the problem wasn’t budgeting itself. The problem was the system . When the system is broken, you can’t succeed no matter how hard you try. But this broken system is the only one most of us are taught, if we’re taught about money at all. And I’m on a mission to change that. So let’s talk about a better system. [03:24] When I say “system,” I don’t mean the actual software that you use. You can use whatever you want though. You’ll hear me talk a lot about a tool called You Need a Budget, or YNAB for short, which I think is the best budgeting tool available. They don’t sponsor us, and this is not an ad. I’m just a happy customer. And I gift a subscription to all of our Not Bad With Money coaching clients, because I believe in it so much. [03:48] So when I say you need a better system, I mean the philosophy behind how you’re budgeting. I mean the mindset and awareness topics we’ve covered in the last few episodes. And I mean, being realistic. [03:59] If your budget isn’t realistic, it’s just not going to work. If I asked you to jump 20 feet in the air, you couldn’t, no matter how hard you try, because it’s not realistic. When you set up a budget that leaves no room for discretionary spending or that’s so strict you can’t adjust when life happens, you won’t be able to use it. Just like you can’t jump 20 feet. [04:22] When you set up a new budget, rather than guessing at what you’re going to spend, you should download at least three, if not six months worth of transactions and categorize them to see what you really spend on average. And this is also helpful so that you can see irregular expenses that are coming up so you can start saving for them now. CK: [04:41] But if I’m setting up a budget, I want to find out where I can change my spending, not keep spending the same way, right? Pam: [04:49] Maybe, but the reality is that you’re not going to change overnight. If you try to stop spending money arbitrarily or restrict yourself too much, you’ll either feel deprived and angry about being on a budget or you’ll spend the money anyway, and your budget will be meaningless. So you have to start with a baseline. [05:08] And once you know how much you usually spend on a category, you can start with that as your target budget for the next month, as long as it’s not more than your income, of course, because you don’t want to create more debt. [05:19] Now at this point, I usually have clients just spend the way they normally do for the next month, but get in the habit of tracking their expenses on a daily or weekly basis, depending on how frequently they make purchases. And usually the simple act of seeing the money go out in real time is enough to result in a reduction in spending without any additional intervention. [05:39]CK: It always comes back to awareness. Pam: [05:41] Exactly. So then after a month of tracking, we take that awareness to the next level and look at where you spend money that you feel guilty about, where you wish you didn’t spend as much, or where you under-budgeted. [05:53] And this is where we get into the psychology of money and where we need to understand the topics we covered on our recent episodes about financial values, money stories, and how money makes you feel. By understanding all of those motivations and how they work together, you can start to craft a budget that meets all of your emotional needs while achieving your longer term goals. You start to look at where you spend more money than you want to and ask if you’re buying things to meet an unfulfilled, emotional need. [06:23] For example, are you eating a lot of takeout because you’re stressed out and you can mentally check out when you eat comfort food? Or are you buying a lot of clothes that you don’t need because they make you feel more confident for a little while? Or do you buy gifts for other people because you think that that makes them love you or feel loved by you? [06:43] There are countless ways that we fulfill emotional needs by spending, and these are just a few examples. But when you track your expenses, you can start to see clear patterns and dig into the why behind them. Then you need to find ways to fulfill the actual emotional need so you can reduce how much you spend. And that’s the harder piece, and it’s completely unique to you in your situation, but it’s important to the process, and it’s where budgeting becomes freeing instead of restricting. [07:11] Now on the other hand, you might look at what you spend and say, “Nope, it’s fine the way it is, I’m going to keep spending that much.” And that’s fine. This is where the realistic part comes in. [07:19] If you know that you’re going to spend $300 on takeout every month, then budget $300 for takeout. Don’t say that you’re not going to get takeout and then spend $300 on credit because you didn’t plan for the expense. CK: [07:33] If you lie about your budget, you’re just lying to yourself. So what’s the point. Pam: [07:36] Well, we all want to imagine that we’re better versions of ourselves than we really are, or that we can do more than we can really do. If we go back to the diet analogy, it’s like starting a super low calorie diet and a five day a week fitness routine. You think that you’re going to be able to do that – just like you think that you’ll stick to an idealized version of your budget – but you won’t. You just can’t. So you give up after the first week, but that doesn’t stop you from doing the exact same thing again in three months and thinking you’ll be successful this time. [08:09] That’s just how people are. But at some point you have to get off that roller coaster and find something that consistently works for you and isn’t so dramatic. Money and your diet shouldn’t be so stressful. This is a process, and it takes time to work through the emotions that you have wrapped up in money and to learn new habits, but every step gets you closer to feeling calmly in control of your finances. [08:34] So go check out YouNeedABudget.com if you want to DIY, or get in touch with us at NotBadWithMoney.com if you want to fast track your progress. [09:08] So let’s transition to the part of the show where I pull an Oracle card to offer a visual that relates to the message of the show because having a visual makes it easier to remember what you learned. I’m changing up this part of the show to try something new. In previous episodes, I shuffled the deck and pulled a card on the fly to do an authentic, intuitive interpretation. [09:28] But recently I’ve been feeling like the visual of the card will be more powerful if I choose a card that I think represents the message best. So we’re going to try that for awhile. If you have feedback either way, let me know what you think by reaching out on Twitter. [09:41] As always the deck I’m using is the Nocturna Oracle deck from the creeping moon. The card for today’s message about setting up a budget that’s based on reality is fog. If you’ve ever driven through thick fog, you know that you can only see a few feet ahead of you and everything else is obscured. And that’s what it’s like when you don’t have your budget dialed in and working with you to achieve your long-term goals. You can only see the bills that are due right now, and whether you have the money to pay them. [10:19] You can’t see far enough down the road to plan ahead, so it’s much harder to get where you want to go. When you’re in fog, you have to go slower, and it’s way more stressful than driving on a clear day. Just like when you don’t have a clear plan with your money. [10:33] If you want guidance through the process of unpacking your money stories and setting up a budget that actually works, don’t forget to visit NotBadWithMoney.com to learn about our money coaching service that combines practical and intuitive advice, just like this show. [10:54] And if you found yourself thinking, “Hey, that’s not bad advice” while listening today, share the show with a friend that needs a budget. [11:01] You can get in touch with us on Twitter, where I’m @Pamela_Lund and CK is @cKdisco. [11:08] If there’s something you need advice about, visit ForcesOfEqual.com/ Advice where you’ll find a form that you can use to get in touch. Both links are in the show notes.
15 minutes | Mar 24, 2021
How To Spend Money Mindfully
Do you wonder where your money goes every month? Do you beat yourself up when you buy things you can’t afford or didn’t plan to buy? Do you buy things to deal with feelings, like loneliness or stress? You’re not alone. The way you spend money is deeply tied to your emotional state, how satisfied you are with your life, your self-confidence, and almost anything else going on in your life. Learn how to be mindful of why you spend money, how to stop feeling guilty about it, and how to plan for the unplanned so you can stop using credit. Ready to feel like you’re not bad with money? Visit NotBadWithMoney.com to learn about our financial coaching service that’s mostly practical and a little magical. Got something you need advice about? Ask us here: ForcesOfEqual.com/Advice/ Transcript Pam: [00:06] You’re listening to Not Bad Advice, where our goal is to offer perspective that helps you improve one aspect of your life at a time. [00:13] I’m Pamela Lund. CK: [00:20] And I’m CK Chung. Pam: [00:21] And and we hope that after listening you’ll think, “Hey, that’s not bad advice!” [00:25] We are halfway through our series of episodes on money and budgets. If you haven’t listened to the previous episodes about uncovering your financial values, rewriting your money stories and changing how money makes you feel, listen to them after you finish this one. They’ll help you put what we talk about today into practice. [00:56] As with all of our episodes, the advice you hear can be used on its own right away, but if you’re ready for more, we’re also accepting new clients for Not Bad With Money Coaching, a one-on-one personalized money and budget coaching program that will help you feel calmly in control of how money flows through your life. [01:13] Visit NotBadWithMoney.com or click the link in the show notes if you’re ready to feel like you’re not bad with money. [01:18] Over the last few episodes, we’ve taken you on a journey through discovering how money makes you feel, what your financial values are, and what money stories are holding you back. Next week, we’re going to shift out of talking about mindset and get into the nitty gritty of actually setting up and using a budget to feel calmly in control of your money. But before we do, we need to talk about mindfulness. [01:47] Mindfulness is a buzzword that gets tossed around a lot. That’s for good reason. Being mindful is the first step in creating meaningful change. If you’re not in tune with what’s really happening, you can’t take action that will achieve the results you want. [02:01] If you’re not mindful, you will try to change the wrong thing or change things in the wrong way, because you don’t know where the root of the issue is. And this is true with everything, and that includes money. [02:14] Being mindful about money doesn’t mean thinking about how much you have or don’t have. It doesn’t mean thinking more about your bills. It doesn’t mean checking your accounts 10 times a day. It doesn’t really mean thinking about money itself at all. [02:29] Being mindful about money, means being aware of your needs and how spending fulfills them. It means being aware of your habits, patterns, and triggers so that you can work with them instead of fighting your tendencies. Essentially, money mindfulness means being consciously aware of how you engage with money. [02:49] Using a budget is usually one of the first steps people take to get control over their finances. But without doing the mental and emotional work of really connecting with their money patterns, they end up just tracking money in and money out without ever changing their behavior. [03:04] And you might be able to meet a financial goal by just tracking money in and out, but you won’t get over the anxiety, stress, guilt, shame, or whatever other emotions you feel about money. You might even end up right back where you started after a while, because you never address the underlying issues that got you there in the first place. [03:23] Because the way you spend money is deeply tied to your emotional state, how satisfied you are with your life, your self-confidence and almost anything else going on in your life at the time, it can be affected by how well you slept the night before, if you’re feeling neglected, lonely or unworthy, and even how hungry you are. [03:42] We buy things to fulfill needs and our needs are constantly changing. So we have to learn to be consciously aware and mindful at all times. [03:53] I’ll be honest. This can be a little hard to do at first because you have to develop a habit of remembering to check in with yourself before you make unplanned purchases. So let’s break down the two important parts of that sentence – that you have to develop a habit and that you make unplanned purchases. [04:11] So first, developing habits is hard. We talked about it on this show and there are tons of books dedicated just to that topic. But there are things that make it easier. [04:21] CK, do you remember the four phases of the habit loop from atomic habits by James Clear? CK: [04:28] Let’s see, there’s the cue, then the craving, then your response, and then the reward. So the cue triggers the craving, which initiates the response, which is associated with the resulting reward. So you need those four steps, cue, craving, response, reward for something to become a habit. Pam: [04:52] Right. So how do we make mindfulness about money a habit using those four phases? Well, your cue is whatever makes you want to buy things, like seeing an ad or going to your favorite store website, and that creates a craving for new stuff. Your response before would be to buy it and your reward would of course be to have the new stuff. [05:15] But there’s also another reward because not all rewards are positive. You will get the reward of feeling however you feel about spending money that you didn’t mean to spend. Feeling strong feelings, even if they aren’t considered positive, still rewards your brain with feedback. So feeling bad about buying things won’t actually stop you from doing it. [05:38] So we need to hijack your thought process at the craving stage, so you create a new response. And the best way to do this is by using a budget. Whenever you’re about to buy something you hadn’t planned to buy, you enter the expense first in your budgeting app, and then make that the cue to be mindful of what you’re doing. [05:58] So when you’re then mindful of what you’re doing, you can ask yourself things like, “what need am I trying to fulfill by buying something?” Or, “What emotions am I feeling that are making me want to buy things?” [06:11] ” Will buying this actually fill the need I have, or is it a band-aid?” Or, ” What was my desire to buy this thing? Was it influenced by advertising? How will I feel tomorrow if I buy this today?” Or, you know, whatever gets you in tune with yourself. [06:28] And if you check in and decide that you still want to make the purchase, that’s cool. You enter it in your budget and you go for it. But if not, that’s also cool. Keep the money where it is in your budget and go on with your day, but make sure you processed your mindful check-in enough that you don’t feel like you’re denying yourself. [06:48] If you do feel like you’re denying yourself, you’ll be more likely to buy something else unplanned later. So, this is why being mindful has to be an ongoing and constant practice. But the cool thing is that over time you start to develop a new reward for your awareness habit, because the reality is you buy stuff you weren’t planning on, or didn’t really want at the expense of the stuff you actually do want, but have been denying yourself. [07:15] So when you stop buying impulse stuff or stuff to fulfill some other emotional need and start to consciously plan to buy the stuff you really want, you get rewarded by having the stuff you really want, instead of the stuff that you regret buying. [07:31] Okay, so we need to go back to the original statement now, which was what we started with, which was: you have to develop a habit of remembering to check in with yourself before you make unplanned purchases. [07:43] So we talked about developing the habit of checking in. So let’s talk about the unplanned purchases part. If you are budgeting realistically and intelligently, and you’re being mindful about how you engage with money, you shouldn’t actually have that many unplanned purchases because unplanned purchases are actually totally foreseeable. [08:05] Really. For example, most of my “air quotes” unplanned purchases are clothes. So I’ve developed my awareness about that, and I do my mindful check-in before I go into my favorite stores, so I know why I’m feeling compelled to shop. [08:22] I just did this on Saturday. I was going to the grocery store, and I know that one of my favorite boutiques is like five minutes away from the grocery store that I was going to, and I was like, “Oh, you know, we’re going to do a photo shoot, and I want some new clothes.” And I was planning on going over to that boutique. But then I realized that I just wanted to shop. Like, I don’t actually need any new clothes. [08:44] I was just having that craving for shopping, and I wasn’t planning on spending. So I did my mindfulness check-in, but because I budget money every month for these clothes, with no specific items in mind, if I do see something I want to buy, I can do it without sabotaging my goals. And if I don’t spend the money, that’s great. It’s there for something else. [09:05] So this weekend I could have, without sabotaging my budget, gone and bought clothes. But, I didn’t need them. There wasn’t something I specifically wanted. It was just an urge to fill some other need that wasn’t actually related to clothes. [09:19] And of course it doesn’t have to be clothes. It can be whatever you pretend like you’re not going to buy when you go on a budget, but you always end up buying anyway. Maybe it’s eating out, shoes, or books, or whatever your thing is. It doesn’t matter what it actually is. [09:35] When you’re realistic and honest about your budget, you build in unplanned, but totally predictable purchases, so your budget works for you and who you are rather than some fantasy version of yourself that you will never sustain, pretending to be. CK: [09:52] What about things that are irregular or semi predictable, like travel for a friend’s wedding? Or what if there are things you don’t want to buy, but have to when something goes wrong, like if your car breaks down or you need a new computer. Pam: [10:06] Well, those things are inevitable. We spent a lot of money going to friend’s weddings over about a five-year span. And for most of these things, it’s a matter of when they happen, not if. So you can totally plan for them, which means they’re no longer unplanned. [10:21] If you have something that could break down, eventually it will. If you have friends that want to get married, eventually they will. These are the kinds of things that most people miss when they use a budget, though, because they don’t think about planning for the unplanned, but one big unplanned expense can wipe out even a robust emergency fund, putting you back in danger of getting into debt. [10:43] So planning for them just means setting aside a little bit of money every month, earmarked for these unplanned, but inevitable events that you know will happen at some point. And when they do, you’ll be ready and won’t have to put the expense on a credit card. CK: [10:58] So like having a slush fund. Pam: [11:00] Well, it is a slush fund, but you specifically earmark this money for the specific purpose. So if you have a friend that is getting married, you put a budget line item in your budget that is like “Joe’s wedding,” and maybe it’s happening a year from now. So you put aside a 12th of what you will need for that travel every month to build up your fund for that specific, irregular – and, you know, maybe it’s going to happen, you know, maybe the wedding won’t happen and you won’t end up actually needing the money. But it’s better than, ignoring that it’s going to happen, and then the month before putting a flight and hotel on your credit card. [11:41] And this is an integral part of having a budget that does more than just track what you spend. But like I said, it’s not something that most people do. So we’re going to tell you how to set up a budget that actually works and how to plan for the unplanned in our next two episodes. [11:56] So let’s transition to the part of the show where I pull an Oracle card to offer a visual that relates to the message of the show because having a visual makes it easier to remember what you learned. [12:31] And we’re changing up this part of the show this week to try something new. In previous episodes, I shuffled the deck and pulled a card on the fly to do an authentic, intuitive interpretation. But recently I’ve been feeling like the visual of the card will be more powerful for you and resonate more if I choose a card that more directly applies. So we’re going to try that for awhile. If you have feedback either way, let us know what you think by reaching out on Twitter. [12:56] Okay. As always the deck I’m using is the Nocturna Oracle deck from the creeping moon. And the card for today’s message about spending consciously and planning for the unplanned is the coral snake. The new world, coral snake has one of the most potent venoms of all snakes found in North America. [13:20] Now, the reality is that there are very few instances of coral snakes, biting humans, because they’re very reclusive, but for our purposes, we’re going to think about them as a danger to you. These snakes have banded colors of red and black and yellow. And the yellow is what makes their coloring unique among other red and black snakes that aren’t venomous. So there’s a saying that goes red and black, friend of Jack, red and yellow, kill a fellow. [13:47] So the idea to connect here is that when you know what to look out for and are being mindful and aware, you can avoid danger. You can see the yellow bands that indicate danger and course-correct to avoid being bitten. You can look ahead on your path and see the expenses that will be dangerous if you don’t plan for them now. You can start planning and change your course, so you don’t get bit by something you could avoid. [14:14] If you want guidance through the process of unpacking your money stories, learning to spend consciously, and setting up a budget that actually works, don’t forget to visit NotBadWithMoney.com to learn about our money coaching service that combines practical and intuitive advice. Just like this show. [14:33] And if you found yourself thinking, “Hey, that’s not bad advice,” while listening today, share it with a friend that needs a budget. [14:39] You can get in touch with us on Twitter, where I’m @Pamela_Lund and CK is @cKdisco. If there’s something you need advice about, visit ForcesOfEqual.com/Advice where you’ll find a form that you can use to get in touch. Both links are in the show notes.
18 minutes | Mar 17, 2021
How To Stop Thinking You’re Bad With Money
What happens when you tell yourself that you’re bad with money? Or when you don’t believe you’re worthy of more? Nothing good! Find out how to identify and overcome the money stories that are holding you back. Ready to feel like you’re not bad with money? Visit NotBadWithMoney.com to learn about our financial coaching service that’s mostly practical and a little magical. Got something you need advice about? Ask us here: ForcesOfEqual.com/Advice/ Transcript Pam: [00:06] You’re listening to Not Bad Advice, where our goal is to offer perspective that helps you improve one aspect of your life at a time. [00:00:13] I’m Pamela Lund. CK: [00:00:20] And I’m CK Chung. Pam: [00:00:21] And we hope that after listening you’ll think, “Hey, that’s not bad advice!” [00:00:25] A quick programming note before we dive in today: we are going to dedicate our next several episodes to money topics. We’ll go over everything – from how to uncover the unconscious money stories that are sabotaging your goals, to practical advice, like how to actually set up and use a budget that works for more than a month. [00:00:55] As with all of our episodes, the advice you hear can be used on its own right away, but if you’re ready for more, we’re also announcing our newest coaching service: Not Bad With Money – a one-on-one personalized money and budget coaching program designed to heal your relationship with money, so you’ll feel calmly in control of how it flows through your life. [00:01:14] Visit NotBadWithMoney.com or click the link in the show notes if you’re ready to feel like you’re not bad with money. [00:01:20] We all have stories we tell about money, whether we realize it or not. We tell ourselves stories through our unexamined, unconscious thoughts. And we tell other people our money stories through our actions and behaviors. [00:01:38] These narratives affect how we engage with the world in wide ranging ways. From whether you fund your 401k, to how you negotiate your compensation, to how much you spend on your clothes. [00:01:50] They also affect how highly we value ourselves in non-monetary ways. Uncovering, evaluating, and releasing your money stories can positively impact literally every area of your life. Even your sex life. [00:02:05] Creating personal narratives about why we are the way we are is just a human thing. We all do it, and we do it about everything – big and small. We say things like, “I can’t cook” or “I’m bad in relationships” or “I can’t write a book” based on past experiences or based on something someone else put in our heads. Like, maybe a parent who told you you couldn’t sing when you were a kid. [00:02:33] We develop these narratives as defense mechanisms. If you say you’re bad at something, you have an excuse to not try to do it, and therefore, to not fail. But none of these things that we tell ourselves are true about the future, because the future isn’t written. [00:02:50] Your stories are only true about the past, if they’re true at all. You have the choice every day to continue believing and living by whatever story you’ve been telling, or to change. [00:03:03] If you had cooking failures in the past, you can still learn to cook. If you had volatile relationships in the past, you can learn from them and change how you behave and the partners you pick. If you’ve tried to write a book before and didn’t succeed, you just haven’t done it yet. You still can with the right plan. [00:03:22] There are of course circumstances in which people physically, or literally cannot do certain things, but that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about imaginary barriers that everyone builds based on past experiences and the choice you have to allow those invisible walls to constrain you, or not. [00:03:40] Stories that specifically relate to money are no different than any other stories. They can come from anywhere like trauma from childhood, lessons we received from others unintentionally, or from patterns we developed simply because we didn’t know better. Some narratives are really easy to see where they came from and to deal with, but most are more nuanced and layered. [00:04:03] After all, we are complex beings living in a complex system where we interact with other complex beings. So it gets pretty messy. I’ll give an example from my own life to illustrate the idea. [00:04:16] I grew up middle-class we always had enough, but my parents worked really hard to make sure we did. When I was a kid, my dad worked seven days a week to get their car repair business off the ground. He and even had a car in his shop so he could sleep there. [00:04:31] My mom was very resourceful and could really stretch a dollar. There was this inherent feeling of pride in our struggle. Like, my parents worked so hard for everything we had, so they really earned it. [00:04:43] As kids, we were taught from an early age to save money, to be responsible with credit, and to be self-reliant. My parents made sure that we were comfortable and happy, but they wanted more for their kids. So they put us all through college so that we could earn more than they did. [00:04:57] And at the same time that they were setting us up to make more than they did, there was a constant message about rich people being bad in some way. If you had money and spent it in a flashy way that was unacceptable to my parents, I can actually hear my mom saying “rich bitch” right now. That was a phrase that she used a lot, and she didn’t really swear, so you knew she meant it when she said it. [00:05:23] So the story that I internalized was that I was supposed to work hard and make a lot of money, but I was not supposed to enjoy it. So I struggle with feeling guilty about buying things that I want instead of saving the money, even when I’ve met my savings goal for the month. [00:05:42] And when someone asks about a new purchase that I’ve made, I immediately say that I got a great deal or shopped clearance, or I justify why I needed what I bought, even though I work for my money and I have every right to spend it however I want. I always feel like I have to justify spending money on myself. [00:06:01] So that’s a story that I’m working on releasing, and it’s a process. And putting this narrative in my subconscious was not intentional on my mom’s part, and she would never want me to have that internal conflict. But intention doesn’t matter. The end result does. [00:06:17] I debated quite a bit about whether I would include that story or not, because I don’t want my mom to feel it, but ultimately I decided to include it because this is the work that we all have to do. And it’s not easy, but it’s necessary. [00:06:31] We pick up stories through observing how people around us behave, especially our parents or caregivers. And our caregivers have their own stories. So they are passing those stories to us, their kids, who will then pass those stories onto our own kids, if we don’t do the work to release them. [00:06:50] So it’s very important work. Even if you might hurt some people in the process. [00:06:56] CK, do you think you have a money story that you picked up from your parents that you’re willing to share? CK: [00:07:01] Yeah, I’m not really sure. I mean, I definitely have money stories and issues stemming from my childhood, but it would take a while to kind of think through it. [00:07:15] In general, we grew up middle class as well, and my parents didn’t buy me many toys. So I was always jealous of my friends, toys and video games and cool bikes and all this stuff that they were getting, while I was only getting books and science projects like chemistry sets and electric boards and stuff like that. So, I’m sure some of that has had an effect on how I spend money now in terms of buying toys, per se. [00:07:51] At the same time, my parents didn’t really make me work through high school or when I got to the age when some kids started working, so I didn’t really have any motivation to go out and make money. My parents were providing me with everything that I needed, so I maybe fell into a sense of comfort in thinking that I’ll always be provided for. [00:08:23] So, yeah, I’m not sure. I’m just kind of thinking through this now, but… [00:08:26] Pam: Yeah. CK: [00:08:26] Yeah, there’s a lot that could probably be sorted through there. Pam: [00:08:30] Yeah, that’s really interesting. I mean, there’s endless stories that we can have about money and you could look at almost every instance in your life see how it has affected you as an adult. So, there’s a few more examples that I can list to see if any resonate with our listeners. [00:08:44] For example, people who grew up in poverty might feel like they shouldn’t strive to earn more than their parents because their parents will completely, unconsciously, give them a message that they’ll no longer be like their family, if they have money. That they’ll be turning their backs on their people by changing their economic status. This can cause students to pass on scholarships or adults to not go after higher paying jobs all because they don’t want their family to look at them like they’re different. [00:09:14] There’s also the case where there are people who feel like every time they get a little bit of a financial cushion, something happens that wipes out their savings. So they stop saving because they figure it’s just going to get taken away, so why bother? [00:09:29] Or people who saw their parents fight about money or who have gone through, maybe, a bitter divorce that centered around finances, may develop a story that money ruins relationships, whether you have it or not. So they don’t share their financial life with their partner, which can create distrust or the fights that they were trying to avoid in the first place. [00:09:51] There’s also cases where people believe that they’re bad at managing money, so they neglect to manage their money, which results in overdrawn accounts, maxed out credit, and even bankruptcy, which all confirms that they’re bad with money. So it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. [00:10:08] And I could go on and on. There’s so many ways that money stories show up in our lives and they affect everything else that we do. When we aren’t aware of our money stories, we self handicap or even self-sabotage because we have to prove our story, right. If we don’t prove it right, then we have to admit we’re wrong. And people hate being wrong. Especially about themselves. [00:10:30] But here’s where it gets really insidious. When you believe a story, you behave in ways that support that story, and you may even tell other people your story. Like, you might tell them you’re bad with money, or can’t be trusted to save, or that you don’t want a promotion that you think you don’t deserve because of your money stories. [00:10:50] So now, other people believe these narratives about you. And that affects how they treat you, which reinforces your beliefs about yourself and affects the opportunities available to you. [00:11:02] So it’s a cycle within yourself and it brings other people into the cycle. And it’s, very, very hard to break out of that cycle. And it can have extreme effects if your money stories are negative. [00:11:14] But as I say in just about every episode, awareness is how you start to make change. And really getting to the root of where your money stories come from could take a really long time, like years even. [00:11:27] But you don’t have to fix them all at once. Working on one is more than most people do. So you’re already ahead of the game just by listening to this show. And you can take a couple of different approaches to find where your money stories started. [00:11:42] You can start by looking from the past forward to see where your money issues are rooted, like CK and I just did by talking through things from our childhood. And you can do this by journaling, or talking with a friend, or just reflecting on the money messages you received when you were younger. [00:11:59] You can think about phrases your parents do used, like “money doesn’t grow on trees” or “we can’t afford that.” And think about how you remember thinking about money as a kid. [00:12:09] One of the best ways to do this process is, if you have siblings that you can speak openly to, ask them what they remember about how your parents or caregivers dealt with money. This has two benefits. One, that you can hear their perspective, which helps you uncover things that you may not remember, especially if they’re older than you. And two, that you get to bond over the shared experience, and you can start to heal together because, likely, your money stories are the same, if you both grew up receiving the same messages. [00:12:38] And the other way, that you do this process is start by looking from now backwards. If you have a money story that you’re already aware of, journal or talk about that, and then try to find where the root of the story is by looking back to when you first remember feeling that way. Or if you’ve confined messages that you received when you were younger that planted that seed. [00:12:58] And once you have a narrative or two, work through, if they are even true. Or if there is another explanation for why you repeat that pattern. [00:13:08] This is a big part of what we do in the, not bad with money coaching program, because it’s not always easy to uncover the source of the stories, but once you do, it’s so powerful. And people can literally change the way they think about money overnight, just by finding the pattern, realizing that it’s not true, and changing how you think changes how you act. CK: [00:13:32] Yeah, sounds like it all basically comes down to stuff that we talk about a lot, which is self-reflection and mindfulness. the thing is these days, It’s easy to be mindless about money because companies are always, basically distracting us to get us to buy whatever they’re selling without thinking about it. [00:13:56] So, yeah, it all comes down to being mindful about how you’re spending and why you’re spending that way and figuring out the narrative or the story behind that. Pam: [00:14:07] Yeah, it definitely is. And as we’ve talked about before, money is so personal and so emotional that finding those stories can bring up a lot of painful stuff, and it can also relate to so many other areas of your life, where being mindful about other parts of your life may not be quite as knotted and tied into other pieces of your life. [00:14:31] Money is so embedded in everything that we do. And so embedded in how we feel about ourselves and who we are and how we present in the world. There’s so much tied into money that it’s a much harder thing to be mindful of because it brings up a lot of anxieties and a lot of insecurities. CK: [00:14:48] Yeah, that’s a good point. And that may go towards pointing out why money has such a strong hold on us because it is so emotional and we engage our primitive brains and we don’t think with our evolved brains and we don’t think rationally. it’s more driven by emotion. Pam: [00:15:13] Alright, so let’s transition into the part of the show where I shuffle a deck of Oracle cards and pull a card to see how that card can relate to what we talked about today. [00:15:50] I like doing this because it gives me a visual to associate with the topic. And when I have a visual, it makes it easier to remember the perspective, so I can more easily integrate it into my life. [00:15:58] So let’s see what the Nocturna Oracle deck has to offer as a visual for investigating our money stories. [00:16:05] So the card that we got today is the Datura, which is a flowering plant, and it is in the night shade family. So night shades, some of them can be used medicinally. So if you take a little bit of the night shade, it can give you visions and have medicinal properties. But if you take too much of it, it is poisonous. [00:16:47] So I’m going to relate to this night shade plant to our money stories by thinking we can have stories that can beneficial. We can choose to believe things that benefit us, but if we get too deep into stories rather than what is reality, we can poison ourselves with these negative thought processes. [00:17:13] So, when you are thinking about the stories that you are ingesting, consider if they are beneficial and what the dose is that you are taking, and if they are not helping you. Choose not to believe them any longer. Don’t ingest your negative stories, your toxic stories. [00:17:35] Alright. So, if you identified with what we covered today and are feeling called to take action of your finances, don’t forget to visit NotBadWithMoney.com to learn about our new money coaching service that combines practical and intuitive advice, just like this show. [00:17:54] And if you found yourself thinking, “Hey, that’s not bad advice” while listening today, we’d love it if you shared the episode with your friends and rated the show in iTunes to help other people find us. [00:18:04] You can get in touch with us on Twitter, where I’m @Pamela_Lund and CK is @cKdisco. If there’s something you need advice about, visit ForcesOfEqual.com/Advice , where you’ll find a form that you can use to get in touch . Both links are in the show notes.
16 minutes | Mar 10, 2021
How Your Financial Values Affect Your Spending Habits
What would you do with an extra $1500 every month? Your answer will give you insight into how to be happier with the money you have right now and how to stop should-ing all over your budget. Ready to feel like you’re not bad with money? Visit NotBadWithMoney.com to learn about our financial coaching service that’s mostly practical and a little magical. Got something you need advice about? Ask us here: ForcesOfEqual.com/Advice/ Transcript Pam: [00:06] You’re listening to Not Bad Advice where our goal is to offer perspective that helps you one aspect of your life at a time. [00:12] I’m Pamela Lund. CK: [00:20] And I’m CK Chung. Pam: [00:22] And we hope that after after listening you’ll think, “Hey, that’s not bad advice!” [00:26] A quick programming note before we dive in today, we are dedicating dedicating the next several episodes to money topics. We’ll go over everything from how to uncover the unconscious money stories that are sabotaging your goals to practical advice, like how to actually set up and use a budget that works for longer than a month. [00:54] As with all of our episodes, the advice you hear can be used on its own. But if you’re ready for more, we’re also announcing our newest coaching service: Not Bad With Money – a one-on-one personalized money and budget coaching program designed to heal your relationship with money, so you can feel calmly in control of how it flows through your life. [01:12] Visit NotBadWithMoney.com or the link in the show notes if you’re ready to feel like you’re not bad with money. [01:17] Last week, we talked about developing awareness about what money means to you. So you can start aligning your decisions with your goals and be aware of how you may be sabotaging yourself unconsciously. This week, we’re going to build on that concept by digging into financial values. If you haven’t listened to the episode on what money means to you, you don’t need to before listening to this one, but don’t forget to go back and check it out. [01:45] So let’s talk about financial values. We’re not talking about financial value. This isn’t about your net worth. It’s about what you deem important and meaningful financial values are based on what we value in life and what guide our financial decisions. Even if we don’t realize it. You can have a financial value and make decisions based on it without knowing you have that value at all. [02:10] And if you don’t know what your financial values are, you may set goals that you will never achieve because the goals don’t align with your values, so you won’t commit to them. Then, you’ll feel like a failure and develop a story that you’re bad with money, all because your goals are based on false pretenses. [02:27] So before you even get to setting financial goals, you want to discover your underlying financial values to set yourself up for success. [02:36] First, let’s talk about what financial values aren’t. Financial values are not your goals. Your goals are based on your values, but goals need to be specific and measurable. Whereas values are more of a concept. [02:50] Financial values are not your bills and other priorities. You have to pay your utility bill, even if you don’t feel like it aligns with your values. You might use your values to find a way to reduce your utility bill by choosing greener alternatives, but that’s a whole other topic. [03:06] And finally, financial values are not what money means to you, which we discovered in our last episode. These are related concepts, but they can work together or conflict. [03:16] For example, money can mean security to you, while you value having a large home, which could create conflict between your desire to save money and your deep need for a home that comes with a bigger mortgage. Knowing where these conflicts are, will make your relationship to money flow more smoothly. [03:35] Now, let’s talk about what financial values are or could be for you. Pretend that you have no debt and that you’re going to get an extra $1,500 each month above and beyond what you need to pay your bills and cover your other priorities. [03:50] This is totally free money that you can do whatever you want with. Now, at first you might go and buy a bunch of things that you’ve been wanting, but couldn’t afford or couldn’t justify buying. But after that initial excitement wears off, what would you do with that money? There are no wrong answers and you can think of multiple things. You don’t have to spend it all on one thing. [04:11] So think about a year in to getting this extra $1,500 every month. What do you see yourself using that money for? The things that you’re thinking about are likely indicative of your financial values. [04:24] So categories that these values tend to fall into are things like: saving for yourself, like retirement or a safety net; housing, like buying a bigger, nicer home; fun, like entertainment, vacations, and dining out; saving for others, like a college fund for your kids or caring for an aging parent; personal growth, like education or therapy; personal care, like clothes or products; charity or philanthropy; and buying a new car is actually a common answer, but that one’s a little tricky because the kind of car you buy is what indicates your values more than buying the car itself. [05:04] And there’s probably more, but these are the most common categories. So, pick the top three or four that you think that you would spend your money on and write them down, if you have a pen and paper available and you’re not driving, or maybe take a note on your phone. [05:18] And don’t forget that you have to be honest with yourself when you’re figuring out your values. If you’re not, you’re not going to do yourself any favors. Don’t say that you would give extra money to charity, if you know that you’d really buy clothes with it. There’s absolutely no judgment here. These are your financial values, and you’re the one that has to live with them. [05:36] So, CK, what do you think you would spend an extra $1,500 on every month? CK: [05:40] Beer. Pam:: [05:41] You could not drink $1,500 worth of beer every month. CK: [05:45] No, definitely not. Just kidding. So what popped out at me is housing, because we’ve been talking about moving to a bigger house within the next year or so. So that’s prominent in my mind. And of course, fun and entertainment, traveling, stuff like that is always top of mind for me. And right now I’m really into music gear, so I have my eyes on a lot of different music equipment. Pam:[06:17] Sure. after after a year, though, I think of spending $1,500 a month on music equipment, you’d probably have everything that you want. Don’t you think? CK: [06:26] I don’t know, there’s so much out there. Pam: [06:29] Well, maybe that would be even in personal growth and education, ’cause you would be learning music. CK: [06:35] Very true. Pam: [06:36] So, that could be your value, is in constant learning and growth. [So those are all pretty much the answers that I thought that you would choose. You’re definitely into the fun and vacation aspects a lot more than I am. [06:52] Not that I’m not fun, but you’re definitely the driver behind fun and I’m the driver behind responsibility. So… CK: [06:57] It’s a good balance. Pam: [07:00] The example that I gave earlier about the conflicting meaning of money as security and the value of having a spacious home was actually about me. I have this conflict, so it is very hard for me to decide what I would do with the extra $1,500 a month. [07:14] Using it to buy the house that we want would make me happy, but saving it would make me feel less financial anxiety. So, that is an opportunity for me to work on my money stories, which we talked about last week. And we’re going to do a whole episode on money stories. So I can dig into why I need so much security and to develop solid goals that actually appease both my meaning and my value for money, so that I appease both needs. [07:41] So once, you know, your top three or four financial values, you can review the expectations that you’ve been putting on yourself. You can see if your goals align with your values, or if you’ve actually been trying to attain goals that aren’t really yours. [07:55] If you’ve been giving yourself a hard time about not saving money to go back to college and education wasn’t one of your top values, maybe going back to school isn’t actually what you want to do. Or, if you’ve been feeling guilty about buying clothes instead of giving money to charity, but charity wasn’t one of your top values, maybe you can let that guilt go and find a different way to give back. [08:19] Whatever your circumstances are, your goals need to align with your financial values, or you will have a very hard time achieving them. And even if you do achieve them, they might not make you happy. CK: [08:31] Yeah, these are really great points. And I think one of the main concepts to get across here is that you want to be mindful of how your goals align with your values, because oftentimes we’re very focused on our goals and the end goal of whatever process we’re undertaking. And during that process, you know, things may change, your attitude or your mindset may change. [08:59] Maybe, through the process, you realize that you might not be aligned with your goal, but because you have that set goal, you still keep going after it. So by keeping mind of your values and how your goals relate to your values or how your goals support your values is important, so that you’re always going toward your value. [09:23] So your process is aligned with your values rather than trying to achieve some set number or metric that you set out for yourself in terms of your goal, you get so focused on that metric that you lose sight of the big picture and your values. Pam: [09:41] Right, and you end up maybe not making yourself happy or making it so much harder to achieve your goal because it isn’t aligned with your values. So you’re working towards something that you maybe don’t even really want. CK: [09:54] Yeah, exactly. And so this can relate to Goodhart’s law, which states that when a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure. [10:04] So, it’s important to stay mindful of the process and how your goals align with your values. Because if you just stick with the same goal and try to hit that goal without thinking of all the other aspects that are variables within the system, then you may end up hitting your goal, but it might not align with your values. [10:27] So you might not end up achieving what you actually set out to achieve in the first place. Pam: [10:33] I think that’s a really good perspective and it actually brings up something that I. Went through just last week. so we’ve talked a couple of times in this episode and in the last episode about how the meaning of money for me is stability and security. So I’m very focused on saving, and over the last year I increased how much I was putting into our retirement. [10:56] And that was fine because my income was up. So I was able to add that extra investment every month. But over the last few months, as we’ve gone through coronavirus and I lost some clients that had to shut down due to that. And also, while I’m transitioning my career right now, my income has been down a little bit and I didn’t change how much I was putting in retirement because that was the meaning of money for me was saving. [11:20] But I was stressing myself out, and I was getting super anxious about income to pay our bills and to cover expenses. And I hadn’t considered that that was an optional investment. That was an additional investment into retirement that I chose. That was my goal was adding money to retirement. But in the process, I was really stressing myself out and making myself miserable right now for a future happiness. [11:52] And I had never considered that, and it just, like, out of the blue was like, “Oh my God, you don’t have to be doing this to yourself.” So I am not now, and that’s not irresponsible. Like, we’re still putting money into retirement and everything. everything It’s just that additional amount that I had recently started putting it in. [12:10] So checking in with what’s going on and how achieving that goal is making you feel right now is really important. And making sure that as you’re trying to achieve it, as you’re so focused on that future goal, making sure that it’s not impacting you right now. Or, at least not to the level that it’s not worthwhile. CK: [12:27] Yeah, you know, these are arbitrary metrics that you’re trying to hit, right? That you think you want to hit. [12:37] And so throughout the process, you have to stay mindful of if those metrics are those targets are accurate for what you actually want to hit. And so staying mindful of your values and how your goals align with your values throughout the process will totally help mitigate that. [12:54] Pam: Yep, absolutely. [13:14] So it’s a good time to transition into the part of the show where I shuffle a deck of Oracle cards and pull a card to see how that card can relate to what we talked about today. I like doing this because it gives me a visual to associate with the topic. And when I have a visual, it makes it easier to remember the perspective so I can more easily integrate it into my life. [13:38] So, let’s see what the Nocturna Oracle deck has to offer as a visual for aligning our financial values with our goals. [13:44] All right. So, I pulled the slug, which we have pulled before on the show quite a bit, actually. And, so I think the way I want to relate it today is that we get really focused on goals as an end point. Like, you are trying to get to something. And you can push work and strive just constantly be trying to make progress towards that goal. And if you don’t slow down and stop and think about “where am I actually going and why am I actually going in that direction?” Then, you can find yourself moving towards something that you don’t actually want or working too hard to move in a direction that isn’t right for you. [14:48] So the slug wants us to slow down and be deliberate and really conscious and aware of where we’re going, rather than just rushing in a direction that doesn’t make sense for us. [15:02] So, if you identified with what we covered today and are feeling called to take charge of your finances, don’t forget to visit NotBadWithMoney.com to learn about our new money coaching service that combines practical and intuitive advice. Just like this show. [15:20] And if you found yourself thinking, “Hey, that’s not bad advice,” while listening today, we’d love it if you shared the episode with your friends and rated the show in iTunes to help other people find us. [15:30] You can get in touch with us on Twitter, where I’m @Pamela_Lund and CK is @CKdisco. If there’s something you need advice about, visit ForcesOfEqual.com/Advice that you can use to get in touch. Both links are in the show notes.
16 minutes | Mar 3, 2021
How To Change How Money Makes You Feel
Money represents more than buying power. Money is emotional. Knowing what money really means to you will uncover how you’re sabotaging your own financial goals and tell you what strategies to use to stay on track. Ready to feel like you’re not bad with money? Visit NotBadWithMoney.com to learn about our financial coaching service that’s mostly practical and a little magical. Got something you need advice about? Ask us here: ForcesOfEqual.com/Advice/ Transcript Pam: [00:06] You’re listening to Not Bad Advice, where our goal is offer perspective that helps you improve one aspect of your life at a time. [00:12] I’m Pamela Lund. CK: [00:20] And I’m CK Chung. Pam: [00:22] And we hope that after listening, you’ll think, “Hey, that’s not bad advice!” [00:26] A quick programming note before we dive in today: We’re going to dedicate our next several episodes to money topics. We’ll go over everything from how to uncover the unconscious money stories that are sabotaging your goals to practical advice, like how to actually set up and use a budget that works for more than a month. [00:54] As with all of our episodes, the advice you hear can be used on its own right away. But if you’re ready for more, we’re also announcing our newest coaching service: Not Bad With Money, a one-on-one personalized money and budget coaching program designed to heal your relationship with money, so you feel calmly in control of how it flows through your life. [01:13] Visit NotBadWithMoney.com or click the link in the show notes if you’re ready to feel like you’re not bad with money . [01:24] You get a lot of mixed messages about money starting in childhood, but reinforced everyday through media, personal relationships and society as a whole. In movies, we usually see two cliches, one of the evil, rich person versus the moral poor person or one of the poor person who is only saved from their doomed fate by becoming rich. [01:44] We are simultaneously told that having wealth makes you greedy and immoral, but that if you’re poor, you should try to become wealthy. We’re also told that if we don’t save our money, we’re irresponsible, but then we’re bombarded with advertisements that convince us to buy things to fit in. We’re told to spend, but save. [02:04] Or we grow up with parents who work long hours to earn money, making us unconsciously develop a negative association with earning money. Then when we’re adults, we strive to earn money ourselves without addressing the underlying psychological blocks that we developed when we were younger. [02:21] These contradictions may seem minor, but when the messages are repeated over and over in our lives, we start to embody them and they affect how we behave. [02:30] We end up with a lot of feelings about money – like shame, guilt, and fear, just to name a few – that make achieving financial goals difficult, if not impossible. Meanwhile, the only financial education we’re given is being told to save for retirement balance your checking account, and stick to a budget. [02:49] But money is just not transactional, like we’re taught. It is deeply personal. And a key step in taking control of your financial future is uncovering how money makes you feel, why it makes you feel that way and how to feel the way you want instead. [03:08] So more than likely if I asked how your financial situation makes you feel, you would say things like anxious, unsure, or even ashamed. And if you would, you’re not alone. Finances are consistently a top stressor in the American Psychological Association’s annual Stress in America survey. And other surveys have found that a majority of people regularly lose sleep over their finances. And 25% feel stressed about money most or all of the time. [03:39] These trends cross economic lines as well. It’s easy to think that people with more money aren’t as stressed about it, but the data shows that having more money doesn’t mean you worry about it less. [03:51] There are obvious advantages to having more income, and I want to be clear that in no way, am I trying to minimize the effects of economic hardship and poverty. We could talk for hours about all of the ways that income inequality is negatively impacting our society, how drastically we need to change how we value people, and how horrific it is that we live in such wealth while there are people who are literally unsure where their next meal will come from. [04:19] And that’s all true, but at the same time, it’s true that there are people with six-figure and higher incomes that have financial anxiety. There are people that have a comfortable income, but just thinking about paying bills or what they’ll do if their car breaks down is anxiety inducing. [04:37] So how do we stop feeling anxious and helpless regarding money when scarcity isn’t the issue? The first step is to figure out what money means to you. Money itself is just a concept. We hardly even touch physical money anymore. We just see a number on a screen and trust that it means something. [04:57] So money itself isn’t what we care about. We care about what money means, and it means different things to different people based on myriad experiences and influences. [05:09] But money will likely mean one of these four things to you. One, is safety and security. Two, is power and status. Three, would be freedom and independence. And the fourth is respect and love. [05:23] And money will probably mean all four of these things in some ways. And at different points in your life, money may mean different things. So try to think of which one of those four categories is the most meaningful to you right now. How do you view money right now? [05:40] CK, which of these four categories do you think is closest to what money means to you? CK: [05:45] I’m thinking freedom and independence are the closest to what money means to me. And if I think about it, that’s the overarching principle in my entire life, not just about money. Pam: [06:01] Sure. Do you think that what money means to you has changed as your life has changed? CK: [06:05] Yeah, absolutely. In my younger days, I could see how it was more about power and status. And obviously money is closely tied to power in terms of how people think about money and power. And it’s. Probably easy to fall into that sort of mindset these days with all the thoughts and concepts around money. [06:28] Sure. So for me, um, money actually means security and safety. It means that I won’t be homeless or hungry, and it means that I can provide for myself and my loved ones. freedom Independence are a strong secondary motivator for me. I definitely strive for freedom by accumulating enough money to never have to take a job that I don’t want, or to be in a situation where I’m dependent on someone I don’t want to be dependent on. [06:55] Power and status are not important to me in the sense that we’re talking here. I don’t think I’ve ever associated respect with wealth. Like I don’t look at rich people and think that they automatically deserve my respect just for being rich. So, my need for security and my desire for freedom are what drive my financial decisions. [07:13] And I know that now, but it took me a long time to learn it. Once I did though. I changed how I approached managing my budget, which led to changing my relationship with money. [07:24] And that would be a whole 30 minute episode on its own. So I’m not going to go deep into how my money, anxiety manifested, but what’s important to note here is that simply taking the first step of identifying what money means to you can help you start being mindful of what your triggers are and how they affect how you interact with money and how you may be sabotaging your own goals. [07:48] So there are a lot of ways our money motivations can impact how we behave, but I’ll give an example for each of the four meanings, so you can see if you identify with any of these. [07:57] So if you’re motivated by security, like me, you might go through cycles where you severely restrict spending so you can save more, only to eventually binge spend because you’ve been denying yourself – just like a restrict binge-diet pattern with food. And once you identify that pattern, you can be mindful of it and know when you’re being too restrictive, and then you can develop a budget that meets your security needs without ignoring your other needs. [08:28] If you are motivated by power and status, you might notice that you are triggered by friends buying new cars or houses that are bigger and nicer than yours, which makes you start shopping for something that will make you feel like you stack up. Once you’re aware of this pattern, you can review your financial goals and realign your focus on what you truly want rather than a shiny new thing. [08:51] After all the most baller power and status money move is not buying a new car, but becoming financially independent. [08:59] And If money means love and respect to you, you may find that you shower friends and family with gifts as a way to show affection. If the money you’re spending on those gifts is money that you should be saving or using for your own expenses, you think you’re showing love, but you’re actually harming yourself and your loved ones in the long-term, because they may end up financially responsible for you or just feeling guilty about all the gifts you gave them when you actually couldn’t afford them. [09:29] So developing an awareness of why you buy the gifts, and what you’re trying to do by giving gifts can actually help you develop deeper relationships with your loved ones if you opt to spend time with them, rather than giving a gift. [09:45] Finally, if freedom and independence are your money motivators, like CK, you may find that you always feel like you’re trapped. You feel trapped by your job, your commitments, your bills, and financial responsibilities. Everything that keeps you from being free will feel restrictive. [10:04] So you may end up sabotaging your job prospects and, therefore, your income. Or completely ignoring bills and racking up late fees, both of which actually end up making you less free because you end up with less money. [10:18] So noticing that pattern and putting together a financial plan that creates a feeling of freedom within the constraints of your current reality can help you achieve your longer term vision of freedom. [10:31] So, if you don’t know what money means to you yet, you can start journaling or talking with a friend about any feeling that comes up that’s related to money, and see if you notice a trend that in indicates which of the four meaning themes you fit into. [10:45] So, are you aware of any general trends of these tendencies? Like is the general public more susceptible to being motivated by power and status? Pam: [10:57] It’s not, balanced in any way. It really is spread out across the spectrum. And especially because you can have a primary motivator and then, like, a secondary one. So with having these four, I think that it creates so many possible combinations of what your primary and secondary motivators are that there’s no, like, rule that 65% of people are motivated by security and safety, whereas only 25% are freedom and independence or something like that. [11:23] I think that it’s fairly evenly spread and it really depends on what your experiences were, especially in childhood. That can really solidify what you’re money motivators are. And then how much, personal growth and development you go through in especially your late twenties and early thirties. [11:42] I find that that really affects how people feel about money when they’re older and they actually start to maybe amass some money. You go through a huge change in what it means to you from your twenties when you’re kind of like maybe spending recklessly and not really caring about retirement. [11:59] Maybe like you said, you do associate it more with power and status. Cause you’re like, you know, buying drinks at the bar or something like that. [12:06] And then maybe you have kids. And so you start thinking that, Oh, maybe like it’s more safety and security. CK: [12:12] Okay, that makes sense. Interesting. Pam: [12:15] So yeah, with what point you are in your life or what your financial history has been, what your parents were like when you’re a kid, there’s so many things that can play into how you view money now. So you really have to think about it and start journaling or talking to a friend, like I said, and really find what the common feelings are that come up for you. And that will help you find what your primary and maybe secondary meaning for money are. [12:44] And ultimately this practice is really about mindfulness and awareness of your deeper needs. But uncovering those needs takes time as does rewiring your responses to triggers, but you have to start somewhere to get anywhere. [12:58] So start with observing what money means to you and how that meaning affects how you behave and the decisions you make. Then, you can decide if you want to keep those patterns or try building new ones. [13:09] So it’s a good time to transition into the part of the show where I shuffle a deck of Oracle cards and pull a card to see how that card can relate to what we talked about today. And I like doing this because it gives me a visual to associate with the topic. And when I have a visual, it makes it easier to remember the perspective. [13:52] So let’s see what the Nocturna Oracle deck from the creeping moon has to offer us as a visual for gaining perspective on how money makes us feel. So we’ve got the orchid today, which is perfect. The orchid was a symbol of luxury in a lot of countries because many orchid species are native to tropics and subtropics. So to have an orchid meant that you had the resources to have one brought to you or to travel yourself. Vanilla actually comes from an orchid, which I learned on a trip to Hawaii, where we went to a vanilla farm and got to see all of the orchids. [14:41] And vanilla is a very luxurious scent and flavor. You know, we really associate that with luxury. So think about the orchid and think about where you’re spending money on luxuries that you don’t actually want or need to the detriment of achieving your financial goals. And think about what true luxury would be in your money story. [15:02] What would actually feel the best to you? Focus on that feeling and be mindful of aligning your habits and behaviors with them. them . That’s not bad advice. [15:19] If you identified with what we covered today and are feeling called to take charge of your finances, don’t forget to visit NotBadWithMoney.com to learn about our new money coaching service that combines practical and intuitive advice. Just like this show. [15:33] And if you found yourself thinking, “Hey, that’s not bad advice,” while listening today, we’d love it if you shared the episode with your friends and rated the show in iTunes to help other people find us. [15:43] You can get in touch with us on Twitter, where I’m @Pamela_Lund and CK is @cKdisco. If there’s something you need advice about, visit ForcesOfEqual.com/Advice where you’ll find a form that you can use to get in touch.
13 minutes | Feb 24, 2021
How To Deal With Uncertainty
How often do you stress yourself out over something, feeling anxious about what could happen or how other people will react, and then when you finally do the thing it turns out to be no big deal? What if you could stop feeling that way? Need advice about something? Ask us here: https://forcesofequal.com/advice/ Transcript Pam: [00:06] You’re listening to Not Bad Advice, where our goal is offer perspective that helps you improve one aspect of your life at a time. [00:12] I’m Pamela Lund. CK: [00:20] And I’m CK Chung. Pam: [00:21] And we hope that after listening, you’ll think, “Hey, that’s not bad advice!” [00:25] Today, we’re talking about uncertainty and how we cope with it. We deal with a lot of uncertainty, some of us more than others, but it’s a constant in life for everyone, and our brains really don’t like it. So we have coping mechanisms that make us feel like we’re in control. [00:54] These coping mechanisms are how we rectify that we’re really not in control of very much that happens in our lives. Some days we feel like we’re in control, but the reality is the only things we ever really control are our own thoughts and actions. But when things are happening outside of our control, we still try to influence them. CK: [01:14] Sometimes we don’t even control our own thoughts and actions. Pam: [01:19] You can craft or develop control over thoughts or actions. CK: [01:23] So that’s what we do have the ability to control. Pam: [01:26] We have the ability to develop the control. Yes. [01:31] There are a lot of things that happen every day that we just trust will happen the way they’re supposed to. Like, we have no way of knowing that the other cars will actually stop at the stoplight, but we trust that they will, because usually they do. So your experience has taught you that even though you can’t control what the other cars are doing, they will usually do what you expect them to. [01:53] Trusting that things will happen the way they should is a way of coping with not actually being in control. If you had to think about whether every single car you encountered would stop before hitting you, you wouldn’t leave your house. So even though the uncertainty is there, you’re able to cope with it by essentially ignoring the possibility that things won’t happen the way they’re supposed to. [02:18] On the flip side, there’s uncertainty that your experiences have shown you won’t turn out well. So even though you still have no way of controlling what other people do, you tell yourself that the outcome will be bad. [02:30] If you’ve been turned down after a lot of job interviews, you tell yourself you won’t get this job either. Or, if you’ve had a string of bad dates, maybe you tell yourself that this next date won’t go well, either. That way, if things don’t go well, you were already convinced that they would turn out that way. So you didn’t experience that uncomfortable uncertainty. That’s a form of control, or a sense of control, anyway. [02:56] Another way that we try to control things that we have no control over is by playing out all of the possible outcomes of whatever you’re dealing with in your head. You go through all of the “what-ifs” like, “What do I do if I do this thing, and this happens?” Or, if a medical test comes back with bad news. [03:15] And we torture ourselves by thinking of all of the ways that things can go wrong, because we think we can mentally prepare for the worst. And if we do, that we’ll be able to handle whatever happens. [03:27] But you can’t possibly anticipate every scenario that may happen. And no matter what you prepare for, it’s probably not going to be what really happens. [03:37] How often do you stress yourself out over something, feeling anxious about what could happen or how other people will react, and then when you finally do it, it turns out to be no big deal? More often than not, I bet. [03:49] And even when the worst outcome actually does happen, it won’t feel any better just because you spent a bunch of time worrying about that bad thing happening. Rehearsing the future doesn’t change it or change how you feel when it comes. Nevertheless, your brain wants to feel in control. And you get to train it how to do that. [04:10] Like I said at the beginning of the show, the only things you really have control over are your thoughts and actions. So to retrain your brain so that you can stop doom-scrolling through scenarios in your head, you first need to just become aware of when you’re trying to predict outcomes that you can’t control. And once you start looking for it, you’ll notice just how often you do it. [04:32] Once you realize you’re getting anxious or worried about something you can’t control. Take a second to acknowledge what your mind is doing. You don’t want to just shut the thoughts down. You want to process what you’re feeling. [04:46] You might say something to yourself, like, “I’m anxious about the reply I’ll get to the email I just sent, so I’m predicting what the reply will be, even though I can’t control it.” Paradoxically, sometimes just recognizing that you can’t influence the outcome will alleviate some of that anxiety, because most of the anxiety comes from thinking over and over about what might happen. [05:09] If you can stop that thought cycle and stop trying to predict what will happen, you can alleviate some of the anxiety. [05:16] To alleviate more of it, redirect your focus. You can only actively think of one thing at a time. So if you’re focused on something else, you’ll get a break from the anxious thoughts. Every time you feel yourself pulled back to them, become aware of it, and redirect your energy again. [05:35] This is chop wood, carry water stuff. You focus on what is immediately in front of you and what you can do and let the rest go. This is just another form of mindfulness and presence of mind, so that you’re connected to what is really happening now rather than what you imagined may happen later. [05:54] And the process won’t be easy at first. You have to train this like a muscle. But with practice, you’ll be able to let things go more easily. [06:03] The more you can let go of that need to control what you really can’t control, the more energy you’ll have to focus on the things you want to accomplish, and the more willing you’ll be to take risks that you would have been too afraid to take before. You’ll be calmer, happier, and we’ll actually get better outcomes by letting go of the need for control. CK: [06:26] Okay. So I’m trying to square this with a concept called mental contrasting. And this is a psychological concept where it’s beneficial for you to think of obstacles and potentially negative outcomes in order to proceed with your plan or your goal. [06:50] So when is it beneficial to prepare and perform like a pre-mortem, per se, versus not getting hung up on these obstacles? Pam: [07:02] Well, I think that in your question, you answered it, which is that if you are planning for something, if you’re striving for a goal, you need to look ahead and say, “these are the possible outcomes, here’s what I can do to meet those outcomes and avoid the negative outcomes.” [07:17] You have some control in those steps. You still have some agency there. You still have something that you can control to. avoid the potentially negative outcomes. [07:27] Whereas if you have sent an email to someone, you have absolutely no control once it has been sent – once you’ve done your due diligence and crafting it, and all of the things that you have control over – but once it’s been sent, you have absolutely no control over what the person on the other end is going to reply with. CK: [07:43] Right. Okay. So it’s more of a factor of determining, I guess, as you’ve said, what you can control and what you can’t. So maybe there’s that dimension with every task, for instance, in terms of the email, you can’t control the response or how the recipient’s going to respond, but you can control what you do, whether or not they respond. Pam: [08:11] Correct. You have control over how you write the email, what you say in the email, and you can think ahead to their response before that, because you’re still within your locus of control over you handle the situation that you’re in. [08:26] Once it is out of your control, if you spend all of your energy cycling through all of the potential negative incomes that you really have no influence over that’s CK: [08:41] So what I’m thinking is that with the strategy of mental contrasting, would it be beneficial to try to determine what you’re going to do? Pam: [08:51] So, there’s a certain point where you are in planning mode and you are saying if X happens, I will do Y. But I think we’ve all experienced the point where you just go into a spiral of dread about what is going to happen and it’s not productive. [09:12] So I think maybe that’s real difference here is if you are having strategic thoughts and planning that “if X happens, I will do Y,” that can be productive. [09:23] If you’re simply panicking over what is going to happen and getting yourself all worked up, and that is only destructive, it’s not productive, then that’s where the mental contrasting of, like, thinking of the worst case scenarios is not helping you. CK: [09:42] Right. So mental contrasting has to be coupled with the idea of what you can and can’t control. Pam: [09:49] I think that it does, or else you’re just thinking of the worst case scenario for no reason other than to torture yourself. As always. Everything that talk about here involves personal responsibility and awareness, and knowing what’s good for you and what the situation calls for. So these are all just tools that you can put into practice, and if you find yourself in a situation, you can kind of step back and say, “is this helping me?” [10:15] And “I have these three tools that I’ve learned… which tool is going to help me in this case?” maybe it’s mental contrasting, maybe it is distraction, maybe it is positive thinking. What, things right now is going to help me, and maybe try them all. CK: [10:33] Right. Pam: [10:35] Good question. [10:37] Your Oracle card representation of today’s message is the lavender card from the Nocturna oracle deck. [11:27] Lavender has a long history of being used as a medicinal plant. And it’s associated with relaxation, serenity, and calm. [11:36] So lavender reminds us that we can access calm at any time. You can choose to practice presence and stillness. You can choose to focus on what you can control and on feeling centered. You can create internal serenity. [11:52] You don’t have to wait for external circumstances to change, which turn out in a certain way. You can choose to cultivate calm thought patterns so that you can access serenity whenever you need it. [12:05] If you found yourself thinking, “Hey, that’s not bad advice,” while listening today, giving us five stars in iTunes is a quick, easy, and free way to show your support. [12:19] You can get in touch with us on Twitter, where I’m @Pamela_Lund and CK is @cKdisco. If there’s something you need advice about, visit ForcesOfEqual.com/Advice and we may feature it on the show.
11 minutes | Feb 17, 2021
How To Find Your Life Cheat Codes
It’s not the things you think about and consciously decide to do that are eating up your time, sucking your energy, and causing stress. It’s the things you do without thinking. Need advice about something? Ask us here: https://forcesofequal.com/advice/ Transcript Pam: [00:06] You’re listening to Not Bad Advice, where our goal is to offer perspective that helps you improve one aspect of your life at a time. [00:12] I’m Pamela Lund. CK: [00:19] And I’m CK Chung. Pam: [00:21] And we hope that after listening you’ll think, “Hey, that’s not bad advice!” [00:25] There is an endless amount of content dedicated to getting you to be more productive. To do more and do it in less time. [00:44] We’ve done plenty of episodes about productivity. Being efficient and productive is necessary for most of us. But at some point you just can’t do anymore. You burn out, you hit a point of diminishing returns, or you realize that doing more isn’t going to get you what you want. [01:01] You hit a wall and can’t go any further the way you have been. So what do you do? [01:07] Well, rather than trying to do more, ask yourself if there’s something you could stop doing something that is significantly impacting your time productivity or anxiety level. CK: [01:18] Seems pretty obvious. Pam: [01:20] Yeah, it does on the surface, but it’s not. We fall into patterns and ways of doing things that we just don’t think about. And those things that we never question are exactly where we want to look for things to stop doing. [01:33] It’s not the things you think about and consciously decide to do that are eating up your time, sucking your energy, and causing stress. It’s the things you do without thinking. Somewhere in your day, there’s something that if it wasn’t there, there would be little to no negative impact, but a huge positive cascade effect. [01:51] It might be a task, it might be a person, and it might be a belief. It can be anything that’s having an outsized effect on your life. CK: [01:59] Makes sense. Do you have an example? Pam: [02:02] Sure, I’ll give you an example from my own life. Last year, I hired a business coach because I constantly felt like I was failing at work. I was forgetting to do important things for my clients and I was anxious all the time. And I hired the coach to help me put new processes in place, so I could get more done and stop feeling like I was drowning. [02:23] And in my first session, Sarah, my coach said that we would work on what I was asking for – if it turned out to be what I really needed. But first, she wanted to talk about when I felt anxious and how I felt at various points in my day. [02:36] So I said that every time I check my email, I would get anxious. And I told her about a client that every time they emailed, it was like a bomb being dropped on my life. Sometimes their emails stress me out to the point that I would lose sleep. Or other times they would need me to drop everything to meet some crazy deadline. CK: [02:55] Not cool. Pam: [02:57] Not cool. [02:58] And I would have anxiety every time I saw a new email come in, and I would hold my breath until I saw that it wasn’t from that client. And that constant anxiety was affecting how well I was able to do my job for my other clients. [03:12] And it was creating a cycle in which it didn’t matter how much I got done, I was never going to feel like I wasn’t failing. It wouldn’t matter what processes I put in place or how many more to-dos I could check off because I wouldn’t be solving the problem that was causing all of the other ones. I had to solve the problem of that one client negatively impacting everything else. [03:37] So I chose to stop working with that client. I took a temporary financial hit. But once that problem was solved, even if the solution wasn’t ideal, my mental energy skyrocketed, and I was able to do more every day. I was able to get back on top of the work I needed to do for my other clients, take on new projects that are more fulfilling, and I had enough inspiration leftover to create this show and launch my own coaching services. [04:03] Removing that one source of stress had a cascade effect that I’m still benefiting from. CK: [04:09] I think I might have another example for this that we could use from our own life. So years ago, we changed our diets. And we wanted to eat healthier and more aligned with how our bodies work best. But there’s so many different diet plans out there, we didn’t necessarily want to follow a specific diet or have to think about all the things around everything we ate. [04:33] So we looked at it from a foundational and functional perspective and decided to cut out a few things that we thought would have a big impact. And one of those things was refined vegetable oils. And just by committing to not eat things that included canola oil, we remove the decision about whether to eat most junk food, fast food and other highly refined products. [04:57] So we didn’t have to make a decision about the nutritional value or caloric content or anything else. We just knew that if the ingredients included oils that we didn’t want to eat, we didn’t eat that food. It was as simple as that. [05:09] So that one foundational decision removed all of the other decisions and made it much easier to change how we ate. Pam: [05:16] Yeah, that’s a great example. Finding those high level decisions that remove the need to make many smaller, more frequent decisions is like a life cheat code. CK: [05:25] So, how do you find your cheat codes? Pam: [05:28] Well, what usually happens is you feel stressed out or you notice a problem and you look for solutions to that problem. I mean, that makes sense, right? [05:37] But the problem doesn’t exist in isolation. There are probably other problems that look similar or are related in some way. So you need to find the problem behind the problem. [05:48] Or even the problem behind that one. [05:50] You need to work backwards and find the root of the issue, or at least as close to the root as you can, so that you can make a change there and benefit from that cascade effect so that everything else that the pain point effects is improved. [06:05] So think about it this way. If you wake up hung over every morning and can’t function, because you feel like crap – which makes you late to work, which makes your boss threatened to fire you, which makes you stressed out about money – you could decide to drink a glass of water and take some Advil before you pass out to mitigate your hangover. [06:24] Or, you could quit drinking. [06:25] One of those decisions is going to have a much larger and more beneficial effect on your life than the other. [06:33] And of course these solutions don’t have to be that dramatic, but you do want to work backwards and find what common thread your problems have. More likely, the thing that you think is the problem isn’t actually the real issue. And if you just fix that surface problem, the deeper issue will continue to affect you. CK: [06:50] So this is pretty much the basis of functional health and functional medicine, where you don’t chase the symptoms you look deeper into what’s causing the symptoms. So, you dive deeper into those levels to find the root of the problem in order to nip it in the bud there, which will cascade down the line , as we’ve been talking about, and positively effect all those related issues. Pam: [07:17] Yeah, that’s a really great analogy or comparison, that everything that we deal with in life, we can look at it on the surface level – whether it’s emotions or health or physical fitness or anything – literally anything that you’re dealing with, you can look at it on the surface level, or you can go down to the foundation and fix that. CK: [07:34] Right. Pam: [07:35] So if you’re feeling like you’ve hit a wall and can’t possibly do anymore, stop trying to add more and look instead at the foundation for what you can remove that will have substantial positive effects on the rest of your life. [07:49] Your Oracle card representation of today’s message is the possum card from the Nocturna Oracle deck. [08:39] It’s going to be a struggle for me because of the word possum, which is spelled opossum and commonly said, “possum.” And I went down this whole rabbit hole of how is this supposed to be pronounced? And there’s a lot of discussion about it, but I’m going to go with possum. [08:53] If you guys want to look up the discussion around this, it’s actually kind of interesting and convoluted. So… yeah. [09:00]So, the thing that possums are best known for is playing dead when they’re threatened. [09:06] They are the ultimate de-escalators. Rather than fighting when they’re threatened, they have an uncontrollable reaction that results in them falling over unconscious, foaming at the mouth, and releasing odor from their anal glands. [09:22] Now, obviously, I’m not recommending that you try that tactic when you’re overwhelmed, but you can think about how the possums defense is successful precisely because they don’t try to fight. [09:34] The possum’s problem is that something wants to fight it. So, it could fight it and probably lose because they’re not big strong animals. Or, they could solve the problem behind the problem, which is that the opponent probably doesn’t want to fight for fun. It probably wants the possum dead. [09:51] So, if it just plays dead, it can avoid the fight and solve the problem. So, when you find yourself fighting to fit more in a day, to outwork your anxiety, or if you’re wondering when things got so hard, stop and think if maybe instead of fighting, can take a breath and find the problem behind the problem. So you can solve that. CK: [10:13] Maybe farting will help, too? Pam: [10:18] Release some pressure? CK: [10:19] You said releasing odor from their anal glands. Pam: [10:23] They do do that. I don’t know if that’s going to help your problems though. Unless your problem is like a person that you don’t want in your space. [10:32] If you found yourself thinking, “Hey, that’s not bad advice” while listening today, please give us a rating in Apple podcasts. It’s a quick, easy, and free way to show your support. [10:44] You can get in touch with us on Twitter, where I’m @Pamela_Lund and CK is @cKdisco. [10:51] If there’s something you need advice about, visit ForcesOfEqual.com/Advice to send us your question, and we may feature it on the show.
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