Are Money Worries Keeping You Awake at Night?
Have you noticed recently how newspapers and TV news are filled with predictions of impending financial doom?
Regardless of what the press is saying, the truth is that many of us worry about money on an almost daily basis and it can be all consuming. BUT, it doesn't have to be.
A Source of Universal Anxiety
Money worries can be debilitating regardless of whether you are:
- Facing an immediate financial crisis ("I don't know how to pay the rent/mortgage next month")
- Doing ok right now but can sense that there might be issues in the not too distant future
- Have significant wealth/income but are highly committed in your overheads.
For Mavericks, money worries can take different flavours. Many Mavericks are self-employed or business owners facing the constant pressure of finding the next source of income. For employed Mavericks, financial worries can be the difference between staying safe/playing small and taking the risk to play big (going for another job/changing career, etc.).
So, money can be a universal source of angst and worry. However, worry is not a productive emotion. It takes a lot of energy and achieves nothing. Think back to the last time you worried about an issue. Did it make you feel better? Did it resolve the situation? I am willing to bet that the answer is a definite “no” to both questions.
So what do you do if you find yourself facing financial worries?
Do Not Ignore It
The worst thing you can do with money worries is to ignore the problem and stick your head in the sand. It might only be a concern now, but at some point, it WILL become a problem. If you can deal with it now, it is always better to do so.
The anticipation of the problem is almost always worse than the actual problem itself…and that is what stops you from being creative and resourceful. At the point of facing an actual financial problem, it can be easy to get into the pattern of ignoring the brown envelopes coming through the letterbox or the calls from “unknown” numbers but do yourself a favour. DON’T.
Five Steps To Sorting It Out
Whichever stage you are at with financial worries - whether you are anticipating some scenario in the future or are faced with an immediate financial crisis - there are five steps to take to start to get yourself out of the quagmire. Follow these in order and do not deviate!
The important thing at first is to detangle what is happening from the catastrophe that is going on in your head. However bad the actual situation is, it will ALWAYS be worse in your head. Get the whole thing out of your head so that you can get some distance and perspective.
ACTION: Take the time to express everything that is going on in your head and get it out. You can talk it through with a trusted friend, colleague or someone like a coach. You can also do stream-of-consciousness writing to get it all out on paper.
Do not edit what you say or write – just get it all out…all the emotions, worry and fears. When you name worries and fears, you claim back the power they had over you. You might not clear all the emotion but you will loosen its grip and will be able to be a bit more objective.
What are the specifics of what you are facing? What are the FACTS? This step is necessary as it is important to deconstruct all the specific matters you are facing. Then, break down any big problems into their component parts - you are more likely to be able to take actions on smaller points rather than the whoppers.
ACTION: List down the facts of the situation on paper, even if you are talking this through with someone else. This allows you to see things in black and white and have some perspective on them. When you have the facts, draw out the specific problems and questions that you are facing.
Get clear on what are facts and what is story/worry/fear. For example, “I feel like I might lose my house” is different from “I will lose my home” or “I have three months until I lose my house”. Equally “I don’t know” is a fact as it can be remedied with more information.
The key now is to generate some options/choices around each particular matter that you face. This will not only give you specifics of what you might be able to do but will also begin to put you in a mindset of possibility. When that happens, you have crossed the threshold of an unresolvable mess to a solvable problem.
ACTION: For each specific problem or matter that you face, brainstorm possible actions that can resolve the problem or move you towards the solution. Don’t censor or edit while you are brainstorming. Let all ideas be possible ideas at this point. You can evaluate them later. It is even better to brainstorm with a trusted friend or confidante as they will often see possibilities that you can see as they are more detached from the situation than you.
Now it is time to exercise your decision-making muscles and choose the first action you can do that will make a difference in the situation.
ACTION: Pick the first step. Make this first step as easy as possible because you need to get moving now and generate the momentum required to solve the financial issue in front of you. This is where the ONE THING question comes in handy: What is the ONE THING that you can do, such that by doing it, everything else will become easier or even, unnecessary?
Once you have decided on your first action, DO IT! Take action there and then. It can be easy to think you have done all the hard work by this point, but you have not impacted or improved your situation until you TAKE ACTION. Then, keep taking action until you are in a better place.
What money worries do you fret about? What else can you do to overcome money worries? Leave a comment and share your best ideas with us!