One thing to keep in mind, in my work with professional clients, one of the common inner conflicts I see is the desire to plan for the future through saving money or investing versus the impulse to live for the present and enjoy life now. People know that nobody is promised tomorrow, and they also want to live out their later years still doing what they enjoy.
When your priorities and values are conflicting, it’s truly difficult to enjoy life.
THE ROMANTIC versus THE SAVER
You likely find that when a part of you; let’s call “The Romantic”, goes out to eat at a fancy restaurant with your loved one, another part of you; let’s call it “The Saver”, feels you are irresponsibly spending what should be your retirement savings for the trips you want to take when that time comes.
THE NURTURER versus THE SAVER
Now if taking time to be with friends and family is a top priority, as you clearly know that if something tragic happened like a car accident and someone died without warning, or an elderly parent passes, or even aware of the potential of your grown children leaving the nest and moving away, you’d feel terrible if you kept putting making money over time spent with people who are special. Misguided priorities can lead “The Saver”s down a path of regret later on. Not only that, on the weekends while “The Nurturer” chooses to relax with family, “The Saver” is toiling over not being productive, thinking about the money lost when you could be at work earning more money.
You feel guilty if you stay home and you feel guilty if you work. This inner parts conflict is a losing battle that is filling you with cellular destroying, stress inducing emotions. Without taking control of it, life eventually becomes unfulfilling, depressing, and your goals, regardless of what they are will be a constant thorn in your side.
So how can people strike a successful balance between these seemingly competing desires? Based on my work coaching high level entrepreneurs with busy minds, who’s inner conflict is greater than the average person, here are my suggestions:
Four Top Tips For Taming Inner Conflict
1. Establish a Compromise
Gain an awareness of the numerous parts within yourself, vying to win your affections and control. Name them; The Spender, The Fun Lover, The Fitness Fanatic, The Traveler, The Adventurer, The Creative, The Nature Lover. The names are as unique as you are.
Once you can give them a “Name”, you can categories them and make a list of what each part of you wants.
After you allow every “Name” to have a voice, than you begin the process of identifying what categories are most important overall. Ideally pick one first, then give focus to no more than three. Three is the magic number for managing goals. Any more than that, focus seems to fade.
Lastly, align the time you spend in these specific categories according to what you desire most. When you really understand what you want MOST, that nagging, guilt inducing voice that distracts you from your priorities and goals, can be quieted as you respond to it by affirming what you want most.
In an instant gratification society of opportunity, wealth, pleasures, and abundant choices, it is essential to identify the reality you want to live out. Then you can direct the path, one step at a time. It’s like a sculptor. You have the block of cement, you’ve imagined what the final art form will look like, yet you need to decide where you will begin to chisel. Does the sculptor one day work on the feet, then next the head, the next the hand, without any one aspect completed? No, the sculptor decides to work from the head down. First the hair, then the ears, then the forehead. You get my point. Each completed step produces success, offers increasing desire, provides joy in the journey and inspires future action.
If you decide that it is critical to your well-being to spend time with people you love, then chose how much time you want to spend that would be sufficient for that part to be satisfied. As I raised my daughter as a single parent since she was 13 years old, I was constantly striving to balance work and “us” time. The agony of needing money to pay my mortgage and investing time with my daughter so she knew she was deeply loved and meant the world to me, was a tremendous stressor. However, I realized the HUGE need to “Nurture” early on which put my faith to the test. I committed to working a certain number of hours, and spending a specific amount of time with my daughter. I allocated time when she got home from school to be with her, time to go on walks together, and time to do something special like going out to shop at the thrift store or watch a movie a couple times a month. I would visit my parents a couple times a month, and schedule time with my close friends 2-3 times a year. Add time spent at holiday gatherings, and I found that “The Nurturer” part in me was paid attention to and pleased. Therefore, I found a place of inner peace during that period of my life.
2. Learn to say “no” by standing up for your “yes.”
The clearer you are about what you want to be, have and do in the short and long term, the easier it is to make decisions and allocate your time. Those choices are best made by looking ahead and envisioning what you’ll be happy with when you look back on your life years later.
I discovered that what I really wanted to do was have more freedom to be with family. Therefore, when I spent money I was very thrifty.I had a budget, I understood my limited cash flow, and I trusted that I would survive the lean times. While balancing my “Nurturing” time, with working toward my more prosperous future, I had to make some tough choices.One was, saying “no” to unnecessary spending. I bought gifts for Christmas that were very inexpensive-the dollar store was my friend. I learned that I could put really thoughtful gifts together and the people I gave them to loved them. I did not send Christmas cards out for several years-that was a toughie. When I was married I mailed out over 150 of them. Yet my life hand changed, so had my priorities. When the guilt set in for not mailing a card to those who sent me one, I would simply tell myself that sending cards is a nice action to take, yet not mandatory. I knew the worst thing that would happen is people might not mail me one the next year. This was not life threatening. My priorities were in place and my reasoning made sense; those people that really mattered I could call, plus they would certainly understand my situation.
Now that my daughter is 27, married with a child and lives over an hour away from me, my time with her is less frequent. Had I not taken the time to spend with her when she was younger, I have no doubt that I, as a “STRONG Nurturer”, would have tremendous regret today. My father deals with that regret; working two sometimes three jobs to pay for a home and a cabin. My brother, his son, went into the army in Alaska when he was 19, and has lived there ever since. The time they had together, was regretfully short. He seldom comes home, and that creates a sadness in his retirement years that cannot be satisfied. That time is gone. Know your priorities.
Looking back this is what I see…
When Brittney came home, I was there. When she had an activity, I was there. I attended every synchronized swimming meet. I volunteered at events. I was her biggest supporter and encourager. I was with her when she applied for her first job at a job fair at her high school-she was incredibly shy. I helped with her resume. I taught her interviewing skills. I was there when she was troubled, when she cried, when she was struggling, when she succeeded, and when she laughed. As a result, we were very close. She increased her self-esteem. Her courage grew. I got to see her work hard on a job since she was 17, go to college while still in high school, pay off her college debt while in college-I didn’t have the money to help. She developed a significant savings, bought a home, plus afforded a very nice wedding. Truly she learned from my example how to balance the parts within her, saying “yes” to what was most important and “no” to what would hinder her happiness and goals.
Over the years, I added to my goals one desire; to fall in love again. I knew I didn’t want to feel alone and empty or be needy and sad when my daughter moved out and started creating her own unique life. In preparation for that I started dating. I knew what I wanted. I had a list. Then after 3 years of the online dating scene I met my fiancée Terry. He is all I imagined and more. So many of my dreams are coming true, even the one of writing a best selling book while living on the river. As I look out my home office window, looking at the beautiful Mississippi River, I am certain that none of my dreams would be unfolding in my life had I not established clarity in what my deepest longings are, then set forth certain disciplines to move in that direction.
Being honest, I also held the belief that I have divine help along the way. I am writing a book about my journey, to share those many miracles that have manifested, and led to living the life I love. I do believe in the power of belief and faith. You must believe in what you are working toward and dreaming of. There certainly is uncertainty in creating your desirable future, however when you are burdened with a bunch of doubt, indecisiveness or fear, beware. This is the reason so many of my clients lose focus, get sidetracked, and say “yes” when they know they should say “no.” It’s why their dreams never seem to reach the finish line.
3. Know your budget
And lastly, I always knew where my money status was. I was confident that I would be able to sustain a lifestyle where I could be happy. I would not live in a cardboard box. I would have a roof over my head in a decent neighborhood, food on my table, and a vehicle to drive that was not breaking down. If I didn’t own my own house I would not be depressed. I knew either way, if I had a nice home or if I rented and lived in a decent home with someone else, I could be happy. I had no big desires for travel, as I had been in a previous business where I fortunately had earned trips for 9 years in a row and scratched that itch.
Now understand that as a “Saver” I recognized that if I wanted more money to save for the future, I needed to know what I could spend now. And here is the gospel truth, I was in a deficit. I was building my business, a startup, and the expenses to develop a website, buy marketing materials, join networking groups, while paying all my bills was a constant process of prayer and living month by month. I sewed the holes in my socks and underwear, I shaved the balls off my sweaters, I no longer tossed what I had and bought new. Some months I didn’t make enough; I had a home equity loan, kept the money in savings, and dipped into it when I fell short on my house payment. I also had prior years working in corporate America; it was a period where I wisely invested. I started a saving plan when I was in my early 20’s. It wasn’t much, I didn’t have much. Yet over the years it reached a level where after my divorce, it provided my shortfall.
You see for me, family came first. As a result, I ended up dipping into my retirement investments a couple of years to pay off my debt. This is a big NO NO in the financial planning industry. Miraculously, I found that the $20,000 I withdrew one year would be earned back the next. My investments we not growing, yet it was amazing to me to see how when I set my mind on what really mattered, I was sustaining what I had. My approach is not a system I’d recommend, nor would any financial advisor. However, I want to make my point clear. I within myself; the parts “The Saver” and “The Nurturer”, agreed that I would sacrifice the short term earnings for time spent with my daughter while she was living at home. I trusted that there would be a time in my future to invest more time into my business. So to satisfy my “Saver”, when I worked, I worked HARD. I worked late nights on my computer developing materials for my business. When my daughter was in school I worked HARD. I knew I was building a business, I was seeing progress, and I was sustaining myself financially. I believed in my dreams while focusing on my priorities.
You see, the key to living a GREAT LIFE, is being clear about what brings you the greatest amount of joy both now and what you perceive in the future. You can continually re-evaluate your priorities, set new goals, and change your mind periodically (not every week on a whim however).
4. Measure results
Lastly, yet far from least, to set the odds in your favor, doing a yearly evaluation of your results, measuring your happiness, your financial state, your health, and your “inner parts” desires, is a wonderful way to keep you focused on the path of living a life of no regrets. You cannot manage what you do not measure. One result I see consistently is that clients believe the lie’s they tell their self. All people do in some way. It’s how we function, how we think, how we’re wired. We delete and distort information; we generalize statements to simplify our reality. Yet way too often the thought traps we get into, significantly limit our ability to create the reality we want to live.
Hopefully you’ve gain some tips to implement into your life to create the great life you desire most; keeping in mind, great can be simple and great can mean grandiose. It is whatever you want it to be. The pen is in your hand. You’re the author of your life. What you think and do today is what will shape your tomorrows. What you thought and did years ago is the reality you’re seeing today.
If you’re stuck in a rut, if your today is not what you really want, you might be caught up in some traps you are unaware of. You might want to get some help. Sometimes you can gain fresh insight and clarity by working with an intuitive and insightful coach. At Mindscapes Unlimited, we offer a no cost “Rapid Results” phone consultation.
Check out our coaching program. If it appeals to you in any way, just click on the CONTACT US tab, providing your contact information and we’ll give you a call to set up a convenient time to chat.
Thanks for reading my article. I truly wish you peace, joy, health, prosperity and dreams come true!
Lori Bestler is a nationally recognized Mind Empowerment Coach, Award Winning Motivational Speaker, Corporate Trainer, and Self Help Recording Artist with Mindscapes Unlimited.
Lori has helped to transform thousands of men and women’s lives through her Strategic Mind System of Success, Rapid Results Coaching Program and Audios, Retreats, Seminars and Speaking engagements. She specializes in working with high level entrepreneurs and independent business professionals with busy minds as well as empathic and high sensory individuals. Lori helps clients overcome barriers in thought patterns, limiting beliefs and behavior which can lead to issues such as stress, anxiety, negative thinking, and weight problems, lack of focus and follow-through, and procrastination. Clients experience results in areas such as financial success, improved relationships, confidence, high self-esteem, stress reduction, behavior change, better health, and greater fulfillment in life. Ms. Bestler runs a private coaching and hypnotherapy practice in Anoka, MN, assisting clients in the Minneapolis, St. Paul and surrounding Twin Cities Metropolitan Areas, as well as all over the U.S.
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