Thursday, January 26, 2012

Reserves and Resolutions

This week I'm taking a break from making resolutions; I have a few that I am still working on diligently, and making one change a week can get overwhelming. I'm going to focus on the first three for the rest of January (I promise I'm scheduling that trip. Really. I am.).

I've been stressed out about money lately. I'm practice building, business starting, and adjusting to life in a new city. I'm waiting to hear on admission to a Masters degree program. I feel like my life is moving full-speed ahead while I am stuck in a weird state of limbo, and a really not-fun state of being broke.

My coach training brought up a tough topic the other day (while I was in the middle of feeling awful about not having an income that amounted to more than a hill of beans): reserves. Those things in life that keep us feeling secure and moving forward as long as we have a little extra of them stored up. When I was working full-time, I had a nice little reserve of money built up, and while it wasn't an enormous sum of money, it was enough to make me feel secure.

I knew this transition was going to deplete my cash reserve; this was one of the reasons I focused on creating such a thing in the first place. Still, watching my bank accounts decline is a hard thing for me, so this topic of monetary reserves was difficult.

Until my trainer brought up an interesting idea: what if we look at other parts of our lives as having possibility as a reserve? Time, health,  energy, love, family, fun, community are pieces of our lives that could be looked to for that necessary security. I started thinking about what I have that isn't money, and I quickly realized I do have reserves. I have to be willing to accept the support I get from those reserves in order to access them, but what a relief to realize I'm not totally depleted.

My challenge for myself (and for you) this week is to think about what my reserves would look like if they were completely filled (this includes money). This ties into all of the resolutions I have so far made, so this is my action for the week.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Resolution 3-2012: $40,000 Year

In November, I declared 2012 is going to be my first $40,000 year.

Not only did I decide to make more money than I have before, I decided I was going to make this happen in 46 weeks, while working fewer than 30 hours a week. To do this, I planned to launch a business of massage therapy and life coaching. In December, I purchased a Doing Business As for my business: Seven Dimensions Wellness. I was on the verge of creating something very cool.

I froze.

I started putting a lot of time into building a massage practice for another business. My thought pattern changed from building my own success to building something for someone else. I applied to school for fall, because I love school, and having that degree in Epidemiology would really complete my life (we'll talk about that down the line). I abandoned my beautiful business plan for planning where I could scrounge up clients to simply pay the bills.

It is the middle of January, and I'm pissed off at myself for this. I really love the ideas I came up with over the course of the few months, and I really love the idea of developing a wellness center based on the idea that wellness is bigger than physical health. I let a few small things get in my way.

I didn't have a space to start the business comfortably. I was planning on using a room in the house I'm living, and even created business cards reflecting that plan. In reality, I don't want to work out of my home; this is one of the reasons I decided to go to work for another business.

I had no clients, and very little capital. I wasn't going to take out a loan either.

I decided I really hate not having a job that pays a regular pay check, so I decided to go back to school for a course of study I like, and would lead me toward having a really nice job with the government someday. And, oh yeah, school is a very safe place for me. I have no problem shelling out thousands of dollars for someone to stuff knowledge into my head, but the thought of investing in my future in the form of a business? Scariest thing ever. I decided going back to school really was the way for me to go (and to be honest, if I get in, I will go. It is only going to help me build my little wellness empire).

I started to believe I didn't really want to do anything with the life coach training I had invested in. I told myself it was going to come in handy on a daily basis for how I work with people at the other job, but I wasn't going to call myself a coach any time in the near future.

I started limiting my beliefs on what I could accomplish. As humans, we do this a lot. My take on it: if we limit ourselves, we aren't going to end up disappointed and broke. All these factors lead to an interesting place: I forgot my vow to myself that this was going to be my $40,000 year.

A funny thing happened two weeks ago that snapped me back to attention: I was offered a space. I was offered a really nice space, that might let me do some of the work I really want to do. I started thinking about what I could accomplish in a few days a week. This physical space opened up a mental space.

A week ago, my coaching buddy helped me crack my life purpose. I kept going on about community and wellness and blah blah blah. My buddy said "Keep it simple. What about your purpose is to love people?" She said it, and immediately my heart said "Yes!"

Two days ago, I met a woman who completely opened up to me in a matter of minutes. She then told me that she never talks to people about what she shared. I said I would love to coach her, and I  meant it with my whole being.

I think I'm on to something. My third resolution is to make this my $40,000 year, but with the added piece of doing so while living my purpose of loving people.

Here is my plan:

1. I am going to continue on with building the practice in the established business. If I can build something where I can be busy two days a week, I would be immensely happy.

2. I am going to work out a deal to move into the space I've been offered so I can start building my dream wellness center.

3. I am going to be a coach. I might even start offering massage and coaching sessions as a simultaneous service. Massage can help the brain to relax, so those little cracks in the mental space can open up to a new creative process.

My actions for this week: finalize the space details, and continue working on finding ways to get my name out there. I am also going to follow up with my potential coaching client.

Want the updates on resolutions 1 and 2?

Resolution 1-2012 is continuing to be worked into my every day life. I have a lot of opportunity for creative outlet right now (planning a wedding, a business, and blogging), so it isn't much of a challenge. I'm going to keep at it though.

Resolution 2-2012 is not a flop, because I have stopped shoulding myself over traveling; however,  I said I was going to have everything in place by the end of the day last Thursday, and then I didn't get it done. Moving forward, I have decided to forgive myself, and I worked out a deal this morning so I could schedule the trip as I wanted, and no toes would be stepped on.

Ready, set, live!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Resolution 2-2012:Stop Shoulding Myself

I have something I find highly embarrassing to confess: I have a passport I have never used.

I was supposed to use it last summer, but the plans fell through due to a few last minute glitches. Some brilliant woman (my mother) had the foresight to realize refundable tickets might be the way to go for this particular adventure. I now have an enormous sum of money to shell out for a plane ticket to anywhere I freaking want to go in the world.

Here is the big glitch: I can only spend the money on me. I would take a friend with me in a heartbeat, because traveling with two is way more fun than traveling by one's self, but the booking agency gave an explicit "no" to that plan. With most of my friends in their late 20's or early 30's, the challenge is finding someone who has A) the time, B) the money, or C) all of the above.

I have had some brilliant suggestions for solo travel: go to Hawaii and visit our family friend who lives there half the year. Go on a yoga retreat in Greece with Shiva Rae. Just Go! Glitch number 2: I'm starting a business and I'm making exactly zero dollars right now. The idea of spending some enormous sum of money on traveling makes me queasy, and oh, I'm nervous to travel on my own.

Not only does this money have be used only for a plane ticket, but travel has to be completed by May 6. This probably bugs me more than anything else I have coming at me this year (and I have a few big things coming at me this year). I was resolved to use this money to go to Hawaii, but something in my head is screaming "No" to any US destination I come up with.

Here is my resolution: stop shoulding myself on this one. Should I use this money to go abroad? Maybe. Is it possible? Sort of. Will it be fun to go by myself? Not really. The reality is, I need to stop worrying, and really, who doesn't want to go to Hawaii for a week? Step one for this one: call my friend who has the house in Hawaii, and find out when the best time to visit would be. Step two: book the ticket. My goal: to get these two things done by the end of today (concrete, I think).

Update from last week's resolution: Consciously making time to be creative is tough, especially when I have "really important things" to distract me; however, I did make time to do some meditation, I wrote in my journal, I read a bit, and I worked on ideas for promoting my business. I created a few items in Publisher for my business and my personal life. My goal for this week relating to resolution 1-2012: continue to consciously incorporate time for me to be creative (or have creative ideas, or clear my head).

If you have any thoughts on my travel situation, please chime in!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Resolution 1-2012: Nurturing Creativity

I had an interesting holiday season. My family celebrates Christmas, though we aren't particularly religious. We put a lot of stock in the idea Christmas is a time to be with the people you love the most in your life. Gifts are exchanged to demonstrate that love. Nice, right?

Not when you are broke. I actually asked if we could skip Christmas this year because of my transitional state related to work. I was told no, that wasn't an option, and reminded that my "presence is the present". Have you ever showed up to an even as the only one with out something to give? Awkward!

Necessity is the mother of invention, so I got creative. I made gifts for everyone, and stayed below budget. I was pretty pleased. I learned how to crochet years ago, so I dusted off those skills, and even improved them. I made stationary with card-stock I have owned for years. I found cheap frames and printed pictures at a local store.

My family went nuts; they loved the gifts I made in the past, but something about this year really clicked on a creative level, and I found myself with new ideas and a lot of energy for making them happen. My sister's mother-in-law asked if I should be using my creativity to make a living. Not a bad idea...

I've never thought of myself as particularly creative. My sister is the artist; she is the one who can create a career out or some random degrees, and convince someone to pay her good money for it. She can paint and sing. She can put together the most amazing outfits you'll ever see from the Salvation Army Store. I've always been the more conventional, get a framework, get a career, and get an outfit from Kohl's type. The idea of building a career out of creativity is foreign to me.

So here is my thought: what if I started with simply letting myself be creative, so my whole livelihood isn't dependent on being creative? Like growing a plant, I'm going to start slowly, with a few small changes here and there that allow for creativity in my daily activities.

The first step toward Resolutions 1-2012: make time for creativity. I'm going to practice giving myself 15 minutes a day for creative pursuit, which can be writing, playing the guitar, making something crafty, simply sitting quietly, or anything I perceive as creative in the moment. Why limit myself?

My inspiration this week: Elizabeth Gilbert's TED TV talk about Nurturing Creativity: