The Days Of Financial Envy Are Over

The Days Of Financial Envy Are Over

“Financial envy can be the cause of a lifetime of debt and unhappiness.” Erin Aultman

How often do you hear about “keeping up with the Joneses”? Are you guilty of doing this yourself? This is an unhealthy way to live and it has to stop!

I can remember when I was young and feeling bad because one of, or all of my friends, had the most popular pair of shoes. And, if I’m being honest, up until about ten years ago, sometimes those same feelings would come over me when one of my friends was on a really nice vacation and I didn’t have the resources to take such a luxurious trip. Then I’d start to feel frustrated and angry with myself and the universe because I am not living my dream life and it seems like everyone around me is having the time of their lives. It feels awful and it is unhealthy to think like this because I know that I can have anything and everything that I want, I just need to change my mindset.

With the increasing popularity of social media, celebrity magazines, and reality TV, it has become so easy to get sucked into making comparisons. But this is not a good way to spend your time for several reasons:

When you compare everything you know about yourself to what you see of someone else, it is not a fair comparison because you are only seeing what others choose to let you see. For example: do you know how your neighbors are paying for that nice cruise they take every year during the holidays? They could be putting it all on a credit card and putting themselves further and further into debt. Meanwhile, you are focused on paying off your car so that you do not have car payments and can afford to take a nice trip in another year or two.

Not all financial goals are created equally. Some of us prefer to drive a new car and trade ours in each year. Some of us would rather not have a car payment for the rest of our lives, so we pay off our vehicles and drive that baby until it no longer runs. Some of us would rather rent a home so we don’t have all the responsibilities that come with buying our own home. This does not mean one of us is wrong and one of us is right, it just means we have different priorities. What is important is how we feel about our own current financial situation, and if you aren’t happy with yours, you need to be aware of some of these comparisons you might be making so that you can recognize them when you are doing it and check yourself.

Financial envy can be the cause of a lifetime of debt and unhappiness. When you fall victim to financial envy you are going to find it very hard to be satisfied with your financial situation.

We must choose happiness over the battle to keep up by creating attainable goals for ourselves and compare ourselves to our own goals. Then we celebrate our wins and update our goals as we reach them.

Action step: Stop with the comparisons already, financial envy does not look good on anyone.

Pay attention to how you feel when you recognize some financial envy creeping up on you the next time your BFF buys the newest model of the iPhone and change your thoughts around it. Be happy for them and remember that those are not your financial goals. You are working on your relationship with money and having a new iPhone isn’t in your budget right now. The phone you have works perfectly for your current situation. Then pat yourself on the back because you are one step closer to finding financial peace.

If you are comfortable with sharing, comment below about a time when you have had financial envy and tell us how it made you feel. There is no judgment here, we are all working together to improve our money mindset and I guarantee you are not the only one here who is guilty of feeling like this at some point or another. What is important is recognizing it and working to change it so that you feel better about your current situation. If you are not comfortable sharing, that is ok too, just be sure to take inventory of it for yourself so that you can work on fixing it.

 


Erin Aultman

A financial transformation specialist who partners with women to transform their money mindset and help them create a love affair with money that will make anyone jealous! Erin has a Masters of Science in Accountancy and has studied money mindset, as it relates to us individually and in our businesses, and the taxes that we pay, for over a decade.

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Beating The Back-To-School Blues: A Peaceful Living Approach

Beating The Back-To-School Blues: A Peaceful Living Approach

Three steps to survive back to school. Try Not To Overreact, Set Boundaries, and Take Extra Good Care of YOU.

I don’t know about y’all, but back-to-school time is always a humdinger in our family!  Don’t get me wrong, I am always grateful to have my little lovelies go back into the care of those sainted teachers. But…

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Three Ways To Transform Your Money Mindset

Three Ways To Transform Your Money Mindset

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t-you’re right.”                                                                                         -Henry Ford

 

When I started my journey to becoming financially fit, just a little over a decade ago, I had no idea where I was headed. I knew I needed to make some serious changes in my relationship with money because I was nowhere close to where I wanted to be, where I dreamed of being all my life. I knew I had the drive, I knew what I wanted my financial future to look like, but I didn’t know why I just couldn’t seem to get ahead and reach my goals of being financially free.

 

So what was stopping me? My money mindset!

 

Now some of you may be thinking, what in the world is money mindset and why should I care? I get it, I had no idea what it was until I started searching for a way to dig my way out of the $25,000 of debt I had got myself into because I wasn’t aware of the somewhat toxic relationship I had with money. I was living paycheck to paycheck and I wasn’t paying attention to where I was spending my money. I knew how much money I had in my bank account and when it was gone, it was gone. By the last few days of the month I’d be eating ramen noodles and driving around on the fumes in my gas tank hoping I’d have enough to make it to the bank to cash my check on payday. I was MISERABLE!

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Mindset Matters: Stop making excuses, get your stress under control and start living your happy, peaceful life

Mindset Matters: Stop making excuses, get your stress under control and start living your happy, peaceful life

It’s a very rainy Monday here in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina.  And honestly, having an upbeat mindset can be a challenge for me on these gray days!  Being from San Diego, California I am definitely a sunshine person.  Yet, I have learned to make a peaceful living day even if it’s gray.  I’m cuddled up in my bed, the fireplace is on, I have my fuzzy socks on and my kitty is dozing at my feet.  So I say, “let it rain because I feel warm and snuggy & peaceful!”

 

But, what about those days that are emotionally gray?  Are you rushing through life feeling like you are in a gray haze sometimes?  Can you find a way to feel peace and joy on those emotionally gray days? I know, sometimes that gray haze of stress just weighs us down.  Some days it’s all we can do to make it through each day.  I’ve been there! I know what it’s like to spend most of my moments wishing that each part of my day would just hurry up and happen so that I can get home and into bed.

 

THE GOOD NEWS

 

The good news is, you do not have to live that way!  You can get your stress under control and start living each moment as if you don’t want that moment to pass because you are enjoying it so much!

 

You CAN live a happy, peaceful life!

 

Again, I know because I have been there.  Here is the formula I use:

HAPPY DAYS = I embrace them with gratitude!

GRAY DAYS = I stay in each moment and detach from the overall feeling of the day.

And you can do this too!

You can live a peaceful, joy-filled life, in spite of the gray days!

 

BUT, YOU HAVE TO STOP MAKING EXCUSES!

 

Here are some of the top excuses I hear:

 

  • My job is so stressful that I can’t do anything about my stress.
  • My spouse/ partner makes me so unhappy I can’t do anything about my stress.
  • My kids’ schedule is so busy that I can’t do anything about my stress.
  • I am so busy that I can’t do anything about my stress.
  • I have health problems, and I don’t feel good, so I can’t do anything about my stress.

 

Here is what one of my favorite authors, Jack Canfield, has to say about those types of excuses:

  • You are 100% responsible for your life!
  • You can decide to make an excuse and live with your stress and unhappiness.
  • Or, you can adjust your response to life’s events and take responsibility for a different outcome.
  • Event + Response = OUTCOME

 

You are 100% responsible for your life! ~ Jack Canfield

 

On first read, this can sound very harsh. But, I promise you it’s not.  I’m not saying that very hard, challenging things don’t have an effect on us as human beings. I’m not saying that your job isn’t stressful, that your relationship isn’t hurting or that your kids’ schedules are not overwhelming. What I am saying is that through taking responsibility for yourself – how you think, how you care for yourself, what choices you make, HOW YOU RESPOND to life’s challenging events – you absolutely can have a peaceful, joy-filled life, irrespective of your circumstances!

At this point you may be asking: But, how do I do that Jen?

You need to figure that out for yourself, or even better, with a coach, friend or therapist!  It’s about YOU taking responsibility for YOU!  But, here are a few examples to go along with the “excuses” I mentioned above:

Excuse 1: “My job is so stressful…”

  • First, make a list of the things you like about your job.
    • Write out and say why you are grateful for these things.
  • Second, make a list of the things that are stressful about your job.
    • Problem-solve to find ways to alleviate the stress. Bring in a trusted friend, family member, coach or therapist to help you with this if you need.
  • If you just cannot find a way to solve the problems look for another job or way of making money – i.e. entrepreneurship, an online business, even driving for Uber.

 

Excuse 2: “My spouse/ partner makes me so unhappy…”

  • First, realize that you cannot control another person. You can only control yourself.
  • Second, work on yourself and your own happiness. You may be pleasantly surprised that when you change your way of being, your spouse starts to change as well.
  • Third, seek counseling!
  • Fourth, figure out what each of you needs in the relationship and then start filling those needs for your partner. Again, you may be surprised at how your partner will respond by filling your needs.
  • And while doing all of these things, communicate mindfully! Mindful communication makes all the difference.

 

Excuse 3: “My kids’ schedule is so busy…”

  • This one is easy! Give both yourself and your kids a break and unscheduled them!
    • Only allow them one sport or activity at a time.
    • If the travel team is eating your time, have your kids play club sports instead. They will survive!
  • If you are one of those parents who just won’t lessen your kids’ sports and activities, then at the very least, find a carpool.

 

Excuse 4: “I am so busy…”

 

Excuse 5: “I have health problems…”

  • This is definitely one of the more difficult situations. Poor health and chronic pain are very hard to live with. But, it can be done.
  • Know that you will need to live differently than you have in the past.
  • Take exceptionally good care of yourself, both physically and emotionally.
  • Ask for and be open to receiving help.
  • Be mindfully accepting of your new normal.
  • Find gratitude in the little things

 

THE BAD NEWS

The bad news is that if you don’t get your stress under control you are at risk of many stress-related diseases: heart disease; stroke; diabetes ; certain cancers;  thyroid conditions ; the list goes on and on!

BACK TO THE GOOD NEWS

You can take small steps to lower the level of chronic stress in your life.

You do not have to live with chronic stress or the dis-ease it brings.

Changing your mindset and giving up your excuses is the first step!

Stick with me! I have lots of tips, techniques, motivation, inspiration & encouragement for you!

Would you like some of that?

Love & Light Y’all!

Jen

MINDSET MATTERS: Breaking Busy ~ The Art of Stress Management Through Slowing Down

MINDSET MATTERS: Breaking Busy ~ The Art of Stress Management Through Slowing Down

 

I don’t care how busy I am I will always make time for what’s important to me.

~ Kevin Hart

 

My Dear Friends,

I am writing this blog as a letter to you ~ a love letter, if you will allow me to say that ~ because I want you to read it as if I am speaking to you as someone who cares deeply about you.  Because I do! Even if we’ve never met. Because you are a human being, I care deeply about you!  I am worried that you are so busy you are not enjoying life!

I am increasingly having the feeling that society is suffering from an epidemic of being busy!

Now, don’t get me wrong, in general I don’t have a problem with people being busy. But, I’m seeing that Americans in particular are taking the idea of busy to new levels.  As an American, I would like to proudly say that we are a high-achieving people. The problem is that our high-achieving nature is making us ill!

Okay – I know I lost some of you there… but, stick with me.  I’m NOT saying that having high standards of achievement is making us ill. What I AM saying is that breakneck pace at which we go after those high standards of achievement is making us ill.

Additionally, many of my friends and neighbors are achieving high standards of being busy just for the sake of being busy. On this score I want to share three crucial points of wisdom:

  • BUSY is not necessarily PRODUCTIVE!
  • Taking time for SELF-CARE is NOT lazy!
  • Being too busy = STRESS = ILLNESS

I chose the Kevin Hart quote at the top of this post because in it he talks about making time for what is important.  My question for you, my dear, sweet friend, is:

“Are you important?”

 Are you important enough to yourself that you will take time out of your busy schedule for self-nurture???

 

WHO COMES FIRST?

          I wrote an earlier blog for moms Want To Be a Supermom? Take Good Care of Yourself! about how to use the airline analogy of putting the oxygen mask on yourself first. The airlines want you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first (in case of emergency) so that you don’t pass out before you can put the oxygen on your children and others who need help. Likewise, if a mom allows herself some self-care, it helps her to be a better mom because she’s not exhausted and stressed-out.

Honestly, this analogy is important for anyone who has a care-taking role for others. Whether you are a teacher, a nurse, a manager, a parent, an adult child who  cares for an elderly parent, etc. etc. you NEED to take care of yourself first!

That does not mean that you are going to the spa or the golf-course every weekend in lieu of taking your kids to baseball or gymnastics.  It means that you CAN take an amount of time that you specify (and perhaps work out with your spouse or partner if need be) for self-care on a daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly basis.

Give yourself a little care first and you will be able to give others a lot of care on a regular basis!

 Here’s an exercise for you to try out. Make a list of things you can do for your self-care:

I’ll get you started with ideas

  • Go to yoga and/ or take a walk or leisurely bike ride 1x to 3x per week.
  • Play golf or tennis or engage in another activity with friends 1x per week.
  • Have a “date night” with your spouse 1x week.
  • Have a night out with friends 1x to 2x per month.
  • ___________________________________________________________
  • ___________________________________________________________
  • ___________________________________________________________

Keep the list going!

 

TAKE A DAILY TIME INVENTORY

Another good way to figure out how to break busy is to take a look at how you spend your time. One of the very first sessions I do with my Peaceful Living Wellness coaching clients is to have them write out a detailed list of what they do with their time. I have them complete one list for weekdays and one for weekends.  It helps us figure out how they are spending their time AND if the way they are spending their time is serving them.

Here are some things that I found when I did this exercise myself:

  • I was spending so much time volunteering for my kids’ schools and organizations that it was almost a full-time job! Volunteering is a wonderful thing & it absolutely feeds my soul to help others in that way. But, volunteering so much that I was not taking care of myself or my business was causing a problem!
  • I was spending a lot of time vegging out in front of the television in the morning and in the evening. Vegging out in front of the TV is something that can actually be good for you in small doses. 30 minutes to an hour to give your brain a break is really okay. But, how I was watching the morning news and starting my day with negativity and noise was not a good choice. And for those of you who veg out for several hours in front of the TV every night, it’s really not serving you as well as reading or listening to something enriching, meditating, doing yoga, cuddling with &/ or reading to your kiddos, etc. will.
  • I was allowing myself to fall down the rabbit hole of SOCIAL MEDIA for too many hours. Even though my social media use was often sporadic ~ 10 minutes here, 15 minutes there ~ when I completed my detailed inventory it ended up being a lot of hours over the course of the day and the week! Again, social media is something that can serve us well. For business-owners it’s a must. For others, the social connection is very uplifting. But, when your time spent on social media adds up, when it gives you FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), when it makes you feel bad about yourself because you are comparing your life to the lives of others, or when it is exposing you to the negativity of others, it is NOT serving you well.

What I found for myself, and what my clients find, after doing this exercise, is that there is a lot of time we all waste on things that are not helping to make us happier healthier people!

Use this exercise to help you figure out what you are doing that is NOT contributing to your feeling relaxed and happy.

 

TRY TO DO THIS! NOT THAT!

  • Spend 10 – 15 minutes meditating by cutting 10 – 15 minutes off your social media time.
  • Spend an hour-and-half weekly going to yoga by carpooling for your kids’ soccer, gymnastics, etc. etc.
  • Spend an hour reading (or listening to a good book) by cutting out an hour of TV time.
  • Spend an hour taking a warm, relaxing bath at night by asking your partner to do the dishes and/ or put the kids to bed. Trade off nights with this if need be.

You get the picture! Fill in your own ideas. Once you get going I bet you will find that there are a ton of DO THIS ideas on your list!

 

Go to it Peaceful Living Warriors! Find your inner peace and healthy life by BREAKING BUSY!  I know you can do it! And if you need support in your quest to Break Busy, reach out to me! We can schedule a breakthrough coaching session in which I can support and motivate you! I’m here for you friend.

Love & Light,

Jen

Want more easy, helpful tips on how to break busy? Check out my blog “Are You Addicted to Being Busy?”

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Friendship Blog Part 2: Where to Find Your Support Tribe

Friendship Blog Part 2: Where to Find Your Support Tribe

In my first blog on friendship I talked about how having friends is important for stress-management but for some people the idea of making new friends can be stressful. For some, meeting new people may be easy, but forging long-lasting friendships may be confusing. For others, overcoming social anxiety can be their biggest challenge.

I gave a quick overview of these things in my “How to Create Your Support Tribe” blog last week. This week I am deepening the conversation to give more details about where to find new friends to add to your support tribe!

WHERE TO FIND FRIENDS

This can be a truly perplexing topic for adults. Most of us are no longer in school where we were forced together with a finite group of people to choose from. Some people forge friendships in the work place but in many jobs, more than casual relationships can be problematic. Stay at home parents and those who work from home can have a particularly challenging time meeting people because they are often alone.

Be a Joiner!

Finding a group of people with whom you have something in common is a really good way to make friends. Joining groups also gives you something to do while you are getting to know new people. This is something that introverts find particularly helpful. If you have a book to discuss, it gives you something to say.  If you are hiking or kayaking it gives you something to do while talking. Here are some different ways to find groups to join:

  • Meetup.com: This website has groups with every interest under the sun! And, if you don’t find a group already in your area, you can start one up! If you build it, they will come.

 

  • Book Groups: Go to your local book store and inquire about groups. This is something you can also find on Meetup.com. Start one for kids through the PTA/PTO at your children’s schools if there isn’t one already. Join it with your kids if there is one. Goodreads.com also has online book groups specified for different genres. Pick one or more and create an online community for yourself.

 

  • Politics: Join the political club in your area that matches your political affiliation. Again, these will most likely be like-minded people

 

  • Find a Church, Synagogue or Spiritual Center: This is most challenging of course for those who are not religious. So I will focus on them. There are “fellowships” even for Atheists and Humanists. I personally attend a Unitarian Universalist Fellowships where a rather large part of the congregation is Atheist or Humanist. And while I personally am very spiritual and follow multiple religious teachings, I fit in quite well there. You can also try Unity Churches, Buddhist Sanghas, or Hindu Satsangs. But, if this is just complete anathema to you, then ignore this one.

 

  • Classes & Activities: Classes are another place to meet people who have similar interests to you. Check through your local Community College, Community Parks & Recreation Division, or Adult Education program: they are chock full of classes in everything from advanced physics to dance to photography. If you are into art, see if the local galleries have classes. If you are into music, go to the local music store, I’ve never seen one that doesn’t offer classes.

 

  • Join a Sports Team or Activity Group: Ok, I am not an athlete. I’m a yogini. So for me, going to a local yoga studio is a good way to meet people. I do know a lot of people who join sports teams and make great friends – everything from adult softball to basketball to bowling. I even have some friends in Denver who are in a kickball league! That sounds like so much fun!!! But gyms & yoga/ Pilates studios can also be good places to meet people.

One thing to remember about gyms and yoga/ pilates classes is that individuals can truly stay in their own worlds in both environments. People wear headphones at the gym and silence is encouraged at many yoga studios. So I recommend chatting when you can (maybe the locker room) or going to community gatherings hosted by the gym or studio. Many yoga studios have Kirtan concerts and other community events where talking and even dancing are encouraged.

AN EXTROVERT WITH NO FRIENDS?

Even as an extrovert I have twice found myself in situations where finding friends was extremely challenging. And now that I’m moving from the west coast to the east coast, to a city where I know absolutely no-one, I may be encountering that situation again. That can give even a super extrovert such as myself a bit of anxiety! ACK!

A  School Without Friends:

The first time I found myself friend-challenged, shall we say, was in graduate school. I know, I talk a lot about the stress of graduate school. But that’s because it was sucky!!! And not having friends was a part of why it was so stressful. In many school situations an extrovert can find at least a few friends. But in my graduate program it took me a couple of years to find some people I could truly connect with. My program was highly competitive and the students in my cohort took that competitive nature to heart. I was also feeling very insecure and thus was probably repelling people just with my insecure energy.

Additionally, while I tried to keep in contact with my friends from my home-town. It proved to be really tough to do so. My work schedule, between being a student and a teaching and research assistant, was overwhelming and beyond time-consuming. I also got into a huge fight via email with one of my best friends in my hometown and stopped going home on a regular basis.

A Mom, A Job & A Town With No Friends:

The second situation occurred not much later in life – I call the entire period of my life from 25 to 35 “The Dark Ages!”.Just when I had finally forged some nice friendships in my graduate program and the surrounding community, I got married and we moved several hours away (as did many of my grad-school friends).  I was in my first faculty position teaching at a major university, but I was an adjunct lecturer, as opposed to a tenure-track professor. Thus I was caught in a no-man’s land of sorts; I was part of a department, but most of my colleagues did not see me as such. I wasn’t invited to faculty meetings. I rarely crossed paths with other lecturers. AND, I lived over an hour from campus. So as soon as I was done teaching I would head home in order to beat the Southern California traffic.

Soon after starting my new teaching job I also got pregnant. Now one would think that having a baby would be a great way to make friends. This is true to a certain extent, especially for an extrovert. I met a nice couple in my water aerobics class at the gym and my husband and I met a nice couple in our child birth class (but they lived 40 minutes from us). Yet the area of Southern California in which we lived was a little challenging for us. We found that we didn’t have a lot in common with the people in our community: religious, educational and political differences (and of course, those are the things you don’t want to talk about in polite company, right?). So when I tried joining a couple of mommy groups it was definitely challenging. That said, I did make a couple of friends in those groups, one of whom I’m still very close with today.

Having the baby also furthered my alienation with my colleagues at the university. Most of the women faculty members in the department did not have children. Moreover, children or not, tenure-track faculty members were so dedicated to their jobs that socializing and swapping kid stories was just not on their agenda. Coincidentally, there were women in the mommy groups that had a really hard time understanding why I would work. Being a stay-at-home mom was the only way to be a good mother in their eyes – and yes, they did say this to me!

What to do? Become a joiner!

There I was stuck in-between two worlds: career woman & mommy. And I had very few friends. It was really lonely! So I started to join things. First, because the area in which we were living was a very church-centered community I started church shopping. As a person who supports same-sex marriage, is pro-choice and practices yoga, this can be a challenge! But with the help of my mother I finally found a small Lutheran church with a pastor who is my age and a growing group of young families in the congregation. It was at this church I forged what have become life-long friendships. 

The other thing I did was I started a National Organization for Women (NOW) chapter in my area. This was a lot of work, but it was also fun. I met some amazing young women from the local university. And I forged another life-long friendship with one of the women who worked for the state chapter. Thank goodness for Facebook! I get to keep in touch with all of these wonderful women even though we live miles & miles apart!

Moving Again…

At this point in my life, online groups were just starting to appear, so I didn’t join any Meetups or Yahoo groups. But now, because these online resources are so prevalent, I have used Meetup on several occasions to make new friends. When we moved to San Diego I was all over Meetup! I’ve also learned how to reach out to other women and tell them I think it would be fun to hang out – moms from the school, baseball moms, women I meet through my business, women from church, etc..

Here are a few things I like to say to extend new friendships beyond the “group” setting

  •         I like you! We should have coffee or lunch sometime!
  •         Let’s get the kids together for a play date. Do you guys have time in the next couple of weeks?
  •         We should talk about working together. Let’s have lunch.
  •         Wow, your business is really cool (or what you do is really interesting). Would you like to have coffee or lunch sometime? I’d love to hear more about it!

 

Finally: Be “the starter”:

In my experience, I have found that many people just do not make overtures like the ones mentioned above. Well, maybe in business they do. But not so often in personal life. This may be a regional thing. Southern Californians, in my opinion, are really nice when you get to know them, but they’re not necessarily overtly friendly. If you find yourself in a place where you have a lot of acquaintances, but few friends, you may need to be “the conversation starter.” Use the phrases above, or your own, and reach out to people who you like! The best way to make friends is to be one!

Please leave comments! I would love to hear what you have to say about friendship!

What friendship challenges do you have?

What friendship challenges have you had in the past?

How did you overcome them?

What are your favorite friendship-making conversation starters?

Thanks for reading & commenting!

 

Love, Light & Namaste!

Jen

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