Tim O'Rahilly Life Coaching

Archive for 2012

Happy 12.12.12

Celebrate this special date and do something to make it memorable. For geeks like me who love numbers and patterns it’s a great day. This date was last seen 100 years ago and will not be seen again for another 100 years.  It also happens to be one of only 12 sequential dates (01.01.01 to 12.12.12) and so the next sequential date will fall in 89 years time.

Today there will be a significant increase in the number of people getting married and many are booked to take place at 12 noon or even at 12.12 this afternoon. There will also be people celebrating 100th birthdays and to me that is an important point. This is probably the first time in human history where hundreds of people have lived long enough to see 2 sequential birthdays. Advances in science, medicine, social improvements and healthcare have brought this about and I have no doubt that human longevity will stretch even more in the next century. For me, one of the most powerful thoughts today is that there are people who are old enough to read these words now, who will still be around to read them on the next 12.12.12

For my fellow geeks the fun does not stop there.

Mathematicians love the number 12 for its inherent divisibility. 12 is one of the few smaller numbers that can be evenly divided into multiple subsets of halves, thirds, fourths, sixths and twelfths. Because 12 can be so easily divided, it’s commonly used in measurements. There are 12 inches in a foot, 12 ounces in a troy pound (used to measure gold, silver and gems), and 12 in a dozen.

The number 12 has found its way into religion with the 12 apostles. In mythology there are the 12 Olympian gods and astrologers have the 12 signs of the zodiac. Not only are there 12 animal signs in the Chinese zodiac too, but in Chinese numerology, 1 is a yang number ruled by the sun and represents independence and individualism. 2 is a yin number ruled by the moon and represents symmetry and balance. Combined, the number 12 brings harmony to the yin and the yang.

Of course the number 12 often represents the end of one cycle and the beginning of another. December is the 12th month of the year and every 12 hours day turns to night or night to day.

So many random facts about the number 12 too, such as the 12 pairs of ribs in most humans, or the 12 picture cards in a deck of playing cards. Finally yet another mark of human endeavour is the fact that 12 people have walked on the moon.

What will you do to mark this date then? If you are a parent or a teacher then make it a memorable one because most of the children in your care will still be alive for the next 12.12.12 too. How about asking them to imagine celebrating this day in the year 2112? What do they think their world will be like? What will they personally want to have achieved?

 

Have a wonderful day!

Celebrities and Twitter Trolls: To ‘Out’ or Not To ‘Out’?

If Twitter has a dark side, then it is surely the emergence of a species of shady, aggressive, socially impoverished tweeters known as trolls. Their appearance has, on occasion, transcended the world of celebrity gossip and made headline news. Just this week we’ve witnessed a flurry of racist tweets directed at the victorious President Obama. Perhaps even more sickening were the truly nasty tweets directed against the singer Adele and her new born baby. As with the Obama tweets, Adele’s legion of dedicated fans reacted with swift and righteous fury. In both these examples, what impressed me most was that the victims did not over react. Adele is not known for holding back when her patience is tested, but to her credit she did not engage in any ugly online sparring.

Not all celebrities have shown such grace. In the heat of the moment, many have fought back, and this has only ever fed the trolls in their need for the limelight. During this summer’s Olympics, we saw the inspirational young Team GB diver Tom Daley get pulled into an online spat with a single misguided young troll. Tom’s quick retweet of the original message to his vast group of devoted followers resulted in a huge escalation of the situation and to the eventual arrest of the troll by the police. This leads me to consider how we respond to trolls and to cyber-bullying, and in particular how celebrities (now including a huge number of celebrity athletes) need to be aware of their responsibilities.

For what it’s worth, my advice to anyone receiving an offensive tweet is DO NOT REPLY. Notice that I have not said IGNORE them. Nor did I say DO NOT RESPOND. The whole issue is more complex than it first appears.

Many people have asked about whether or not celebrities should be on Twitter or other forms of Social Media in the first place Of course they should! I have argued elsewhere that nobody should be on Twitter unless they are there to engage with and interact with their followers. Of course if you have tens of thousands of followers then meaningful individual engagement is just impractical. I do believe, however, that it is still possible to interact with them as a group, and some celebrities do this very well. A celebrity tweeter closes the gap between themselves and their followers in a way that they never could before. Fans get to know them both professionally and personally. We all get to peek behind the scenes in the lives of our favourite celebrities.

But Twitter does not offer any immunity from the realities of life. Just consider the whole group of real people that our paths cross in everyday life. There will be those who know, like, or love us. There will also be many who dislike us, envy us, criticise us or just say nasty things behind our backs because that’s what they do. Celebrities must accept that if they invite their fans into their lives they will experience all these things and possibly worse. They have to learn to take the rough with the smooth. Many people correctly see Twitter as a great way to promote themselves or their work.  They must accept that with this opportunity comes great responsibility. The way that celebrities deal with their detractors says a lot about them. They are ambassadors on many levels and they must act as such.

This year many athletes have achieved celebrity status as never before and social media has connected us in ways never dreamed of even at the time of the last Olympics four years ago. Recent news stories regarding athletes, particularly cricketers and footballers and their blundering use of Twitter, has exposed a situation which needs addressing. The unfortunate incident involving Tom Daley during the Olympics is a great example of why we need to step back and apply some common sense and find strategies to support a less antagonistic response to the trolls.

The Tom Daley incident is well documented elsewhere, and in retrospect it is easy to say that Tom should have ignored the original misguided Tweet. However, in all honesty can any of us say how we might have reacted in the heat of that particular moment with all the pressures of the Olympics resting on grieving 18yr old shoulders?  What it did for me was to confirm that celebrities need help, support, advice or training on how to handle the responsibilities and realities of Social Media and Twitter in particular. Of course whatever the outcome, the blame for such an incident rests squarely on the head of the troll. But at the end of the day, trolls seek the limelight and so the best response is to ignore them. DO NOT REPLY. Nor should you bring them to the attention of your followers. This, as we have seen, can turn them into a posse of vigilante cyber-bullies, no better than the troll who committed the original sin. I firmly believe that Twitter itself needs to take a stronger line in these cases and act much more speedily to close or at least temporarily suspend any offending accounts. Of course if the Tweets are racist, homophobic or seriously threatening then they should be reported to the police immediately.

So we need some practical suggestions, supportive guidelines for athletes and celebrities who wish to have an engaging presence on social media. Twitter in particular is all about instant, real-time communication. In moments of anger, frustration, madness or even elation, it is quite possible that things might be said which will be regretted when calm descends.

My first suggestion then is simply not to react. Pause and put the phone down or switch off the computer. Then go and find somebody to hug, have a good night’s sleep. The next day you can decide if the troll is worthy of any of your time, and I doubt that they will be!

I have elsewhere detailed my core principles for all tweets. Those who know me know all about F.I.R.E. where all your tweets should be Fun, Interesting, Relevant and/or Expert. If your intended tweet does not meet one or more of these criteria then don’t send it. If  temptation is still pulling at you, then try these ‘high level’ filters.

  • Would I say it to his/her face?
  • Do I still want to say it after a cup of tea?
  • Do I still need to send it after a real hug from a true friend?
  • Would I say that to my Mum?

Am I joking? Well, maybe. But does it work? If the answer to any of these questions is no, then don’t send the tweet! Sit yourself smugly on the moral high ground and get back to engaging with all those devoted followers who love you for your hard earned success.

The Value of a Writing Coach

The writing life can be a lonely one. I’m probably not imparting any Earth-shattering revelations there – one of the most commonly-expressed sentiments about writing is that it involves long stretches of isolation and solitude. The thing is, it doesn’t have to be that way.

The greatest asset a writer can have is another writer who operates on a similar wavelength to themselves; a friend, a colleague, a shoulder to cry on when things are going badly. A writer will understand your struggles better than anyone else – after all, they’re going through the same things themselves. They can also be an invaluable source of inspiration, or act as a sounding board when you need to try out new ideas.

Of course, not every friendship between writers will turn out to be so fruitful. Some writers work best alone. Some writers actually make terrible writing partners because they don’t know how to critically evaluate another person’s work the way they evaluate their own. Some are simply not very good at the kinds of social interactions necessary for such a partnership to work. (Writers being anti-social? Shocking, I know.)

This is where a different kind of partner can come in useful, one who has enough distance from the writing process to see problems and find solutions that might not be obvious to you. That person can be an editor, if you’re looking solely for help with the manuscript. Or they can be someone like a life coach, if you need help with those aspects of the writing life apart from the book itself.

But this post isn’t just a sales pitch. I genuinely believe that having a professional coach (or someone like a professional coach) can be of immeasurable help to struggling writers. Everyone can do with having someone who they know will always be in their corner, creative people in particular. The loneliness of the writing life has been the undoing of more potential authors than anyone could count.

At this point it’s important to mention what a writing coach isn’t. Specifically, a writing coach is not any of the following:

  • An editor – they cannot edit your manuscript for you.
  • An agent – they cannot place your books with editors for you.
  • A ghostwriter – they cannot write your book for you.

What a coach can do is help you clarify your goals, your aspirations, and your strengths and weaknesses. They can give you perspective about a part of your life that is extremely difficult to judge with any kind of objectivity. That might not sound like much, but it can be of immeasurable value.

So, here’s the sales-pitchier part of the post: a description of the services I offer as a writing coach. Interested? Get in touch! Or else get in touch with a coach who looks like they might be more your style. Whatever you do, don’t walk that lonely road alone.

The Value of a Smile

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge sharing the joy.

Many labels have been applied to this year’s Summer Olympics, but the one which appeals to me the most has been “The Friendly Games”. Aside from all the phenomenal sporting achievements, it has been wonderful to soak up the genuine feel-good atmosphere of the games. The power source for this has been the widespread use of that universal indicator of happiness and friendship: the smile.

“The smile is the shortest distance between people.”

-Victor Borge

Genuine smiles can warm hearts, spread peace and light up cloudy days. Smiles do so much more than express happiness. A smile transmits clear messages about a person’s approachability, sincerity, trustworthiness, attractiveness and sociability.

Of course not all smiles are genuine, but fake smiles usually only involve the mouth, whereas a true smile, what psychologists call a Duchenne smile, involves the eyes also. For a long time this was considered to be the mark of a real smile but it is now known that even Duchenne smile can be feigned.

A truer marker might be the speed at which a smile develops. The fake smile (‘Botox smile’, ‘Pan Am smile’) can be switched on in an instant. A genuine smile, however, will spread across the face more naturally, appearing to draw in its recipients. Slow onset smiles are seen as more authentic, trustworthy and even more seductive.

If we use our smiles in the work or business context, does that mean that they will always be of the false (non-Duchenne) variety? Of course not. If we truly believe in what we are doing, if we are acting with honesty and integrity, if we genuinely love our interactions with other people in all their variety, then those smiles will be as warm and true as any.

Gold-medal-winning heptathlete Jessica Ennis.

The so-called “Friendly Games” were truly “The Smiling Games,” with athletes, spectators, officials and the amazing volunteers all sporting winning smiles. They pulled together a careworn nation, maybe even a tired world, in celebration of human endeavours and achievements.

“Laugh and the world laughs with you; weep and you weep alone.”

– Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

“Laugh and the world laughs with you; Slobber and they put you outdoors.”

– Snoopy

Much has been said about the legacy of these games. There can be no greater legacy than the memory of all those immense smiles and their continued use at every available opportunity.

 

Dance Like Nobody's Watching

A couple days ago I was doing the usual early-morning trawl through my social media feeds. On Facebook, I came upon a posting from my good friend Safaa. He is a young and ever optimistic Iraqi living in Baghdad, and he posted this verse:-

“Dance like no one is watching.

Love like you’ll never be hurt.

Sing like nobody is listening.

And live like it’s heaven on earth.

Let a smile be your style today!”

This verse is often quoted in various forms, but it came to me like a chance meeting with an old friend. I also realised that I did not know its origins. A quick online search revealed that that nobody else does either! Whatever the origin, the message is powerful. Live life for today. Smell the flowers. Soak up the sunshine. Kiss the baby. Do it all with a smile!

We get so absorbed in the search for happiness that we miss the chance to be happy. Contemporary life is filled with challenges for all of us and everyday things bring new sadness, more worry and ever more stress. Let’s just take that as read and decide to be happy anyway. Alfred D.Souza once wrote:-

For a long time. It seems to me that life was about to begin, real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, or a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles. Were my life.”

If we choose to view life from this perspective then we see that there is no way to happiness, happiness is itself the way. If we accept this and we must also learn to cherish every moment. Try to share every treasured moment with someone special. Surround yourself with people worth sharing your precious time with.

Remember that in the bank account that is your life, time is unique. You are making steady withdrawals as you go through life, but you cannot make any deposits. Time waits for no man, and your time will not wait for you. So stop procrastinating. Banish ‘until’ from your thinking. Stop waiting….

Until you finish school.

Until you go back to school.

Until you win the lottery.

Until you lose weight.

Until you gain weight.

Until you get a job.

Until you get married.

Until you have kids.

Until you get divorced.

Until the kids start school.

Until the kids start college.

Until the kids graduate.

Until the kids leave home.

Until you retire.

Until you get a new car.

Until you get a new house.

Until tomorrow.

Until the weekend.

Until Monday morning.

Until the end of the month.

Until spring.

Until summer.

Until autumn.

Until winter.

Until after Christmas.

Until the New Year.

Until payday.

Until your song comes on.

Until you have a drink.

Until you are sober.

Until you die.

Until you are born again!

Decide that there is no better time than right now to be happy. Happiness is the journey, not the destination:-

Sing like nobody’s listening.

Live like there is no tomorrow.

Work like you don’t need the money.

Love like you’ll never be hurt.

And dance like no one is watching!

Wealth Health #6: The Financial Journey

OK, we’ve done enough analysing in recent blog posts that you should now have an adult, realistic view of your current financial state. You will have also recognised your financial personality and should be well resourced to start your future financial journey.

Any planning exercise must begin with the setting of goals. Aspirational, inspirational, real goals.

What do you want money for?

Have you seriously thought of what it would mean to be truly rich?

Maybe it’s time to revisit the Wheel Of Life. Consider what having wealth would mean in each of those areas of your life: relationships, health, career, recreation, family, spirituality etc.

It is often said that if you wish to be a millionaire, then you should start by acting like one. That can be easier said than done, but look at those areas of your life again. Consider how you might start to create those improvements now.

In Tim Hales’ Smarter Investing he borrows from Maslow’s famous Hierarchy of Needs to present a pyramid model for setting financial goals. Start with the bottom foundations made of current needs: earnings, savings and debt repayments.

On the next level up the pyramid we have your retirement plans. On the third level are the solid future goals around things, experiences, college, weddings etc.

At the top level we find the long-term goals, such as legacies which are further in our future. It should be clear that the upper levels stretching into the future need good solid foundations beneath them.

Try to identify the big milestones in your own financial future: childcare, house, big trips, weddings, parental care, retirement. Trying to choose a date or age in your future where these might occur.

In these days of financial constraints, one of the most worrying aspect of many people’s financial planning is how to manage changes to their pension facilities.

“The question isn’t at what age I want to retire, it’s what income.” – George Foreman

Retirement planning may not be an end goal as such, but it surely ranks high in the important stops along your financial journey. We are destined to live longer than our parents did. We must plan for that.

On average, men live for 17 years after retirement, while women live for 20 years.

During the 1960s, spending focused on leisure, houses, travel and transport.

Since the 1970s, spending has focused on health care and domestic help.

This is a huge area to consider when we will look at it in some detail next time.

Let’s be prepared – or, as Warren Buffett puts it, “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

 

 

Wealth Health #5: Common Financial Personalities

How did you get on with the analysis of your financial personality last time? I promised that we would look at these personality types in more detail, so here goes:

If you scored mostly ‘1’ then you are: The Perfectionist

You have to be sure that you are always doing the right thing in the right way and at the right time. These are admirable qualities, but if you adopt a more flexible attitude you will be able to open up choices you may not have otherwise considered. Solid financial planning designed to meet your specific needs can help you towards a more prosperous and stable future, which should allow you a more free and relaxed view of life. “Watch out for being too insular and not considering enough options,” says Jo Roberts at NeedanAdvisor.com. “You could easily make the wrong decisions if you believe what the wrong person is saying. Get professional advice.”

Mostly 2: The Provider

The world would be a far better place if there were more people like you. There is almost nothing that you wouldn’t do to look after loved ones. Engage in some solid financial planning for your unique view of the world. This could not only help you achieve the things you want, but enable you to do even more for others. Be careful of an easy sale: “People know you would rather say yes than offend by saying no,” warns Roberts.

Mostly 3: The Achiever

Rely on your pragmatic streak a bit more when it comes to planning your financial future. Sound financial planning requires a patient and methodical approach if you want your money to work as hard for you as you have it. With your financial affairs sorted out you can concentrate on your hectic high-flying lifestyle. “Watch out that you don’t go for the latest must have opportunity,” Roberts adds. “Only speculate if you can afford to lose your investment.”

Mostly 4: The Maverick

The everyday world must seem terribly mundane and boring to someone like you. It’s great to have dreams, but focus some of your considerable creative energies on more mundane money matters. Mavericks run the risk of doing nothing because looking after money is boring. “If you don’t want to do it, pay someone else to do it for you,” says Roberts.

 

Mostly 5: The Analyst

It is not enough to know how to ensure that your money grows; you have to make the right decisions to allow it to do so in abundance and support you and your interests fully. “You invest reasonable amounts but not often because you spend all your time researching,” Colin Jackson, a financial adviser for Baronworth, reckons. “You want to make the sole decision on whether your investments will work, so you’ll probably head for anything linked to an index.”

Mostly 6: The Sceptic

Very little in life is certain. A well thought-through yet more adventurous investment may be worth considering. It could provide you with some of the much-needed security that is so central to your existence. “You probably take the free advice of at least half a dozen experts then disregard it and put your money in the building society,” says Jackson. Is it perhaps worth living a little more dangerously?

Mostly 7: The Adventurer

It must get very crowded in your house with so many people wanting to hang around someone as exciting and spontaneous as you. Some careful financial planning will let you enjoy life to the full, both now and in the future. “You won’t be interested in mainstream investment products for the bulk of your money but would look at something more ‘interesting’ with the potential for a greater return and risk,” Jackson says. You’ve probably crossed your fingers a lot.

Mostly 8: The Challenger

You are a natural leader with strength, resourcefulness and inner drive. But you can’t exercise total control over your environment and people around you. Taking a bit of advice from others may give you a wider perspective and enable you to improve your financial well-being. “Rather than having a portfolio of diversified assets, you will tend to have a collection of products that were good in the past,” Alex Pegley, from financial adviser Calculus, says. “You should arrange for a personalised portfolio, setting out clearly defined objectives and reasonable expectations.”

Mostly 9: The Deliberator

Money is very important to you, but your quest to achieve balance and avoid conflict could mean important decisions are delayed while you consider all the aspects. Don’t dither when it comes to your finances; take positive action for what life has in store. Pegley adds: “you tend to miss the boat and take up things too late. By hesitating, you’re unlikely to get enough money invested quickly enough to prepare for retirement, and investments could be overly cautious with restricted investment growth.

As I mentioned last time, no type is the right one or the wrong one. Pat Knightley, who devised this test, points out that we all have flashes of all of these traits, but one will be dominant, especially at times of stress, such as shopping on Christmas Eve in London’s Oxford Street. Knightley also says not to panic if you are not happy with the result. “If we always deal with our money in the same way, you will always get the same outcome. Take a step back, think through your approach and things may change.”

So far in this series we have hopefully increased your own financial awareness, analysed your financial reality, taken a close look at your beliefs and feelings about money and arrived at some indication of your financial personality. Now it is time to start your new financial journey. Next time we will consider setting financial goals.

Wealth Health #4: Your Financial Personality

Wealth Health #4: Your Financial Personality

How did you get on while analysing your feelings about money last time?  Did that expose memories of past conversations about money? Do you recall specific adult behaviour in relation to money as you were growing up?

Have these memories lead to any negatives FEELINGS about your financial situation today? We are not talking here about numbers, but about FEELINGS. Where do you think those feelings come from?  Maybe it was decisions made by you or others?  Maybe it was from comments made by others regarding money?

How are these negative feelings being kept alive in you today, and how do they impact on your financial life?

Before setting off on a new financial journey, including any changes to saving and spending habits, you need to understand fully what your feelings about money really are. What is your financial personality type?

Here is a new set of questions for you to consider. As always, be honest with yourself and choose one best-fit answer in each of the eight sections below.

You are aware that you need to boost your income. So you:

  1. Draw up a detailed plan and seek out the perfect way forward.
  2. Work closely with your friends to make life good for you all.
  3. Look for another job that gives you a higher income and status.
  4. Come up with lots of imaginative and innovative ways to fill the coffers.
  5. Analyse areas in your life where you might make some savings.
  6. Consider the upside and downside of working harder.
  7. Come up with lots of different ways in which to increase your funds.
  8. Decide the way ahead for you and then do it.
  9. Look at both sides of the coin before deciding on the best way ahead.

An unexpected bill arrives in the post. You:

  1. Wonder how this could be possible.
  2. Remember that you had a sudden urge to buy something for someone.
  3. Try to remember how you spent the money and if it was worth it.
  4. Stick it in a drawer and forget about it until you receive a reminder.
  5. Are surprised, as spontaneous impulses aren’t something you usually indulge in.
  6. Worry that you had forgotten about this, and consider the possible consequences.
  7. Ignore it. You’ll get around to paying it when you’ve got a spare moment in your busy schedule.
  8. Pay it is as long as it is fair and correct.
  9. Accept the inevitable and pay it when you get a moment.

You are invited to invest in a new venture. What do you do?

  1. Look at the deal in detail and make sure it fits perfectly with your plans.
  2. Make sure that it will serve both you and your family best.
  3. Wonder how it will make you look good in the eyes of others.
  4. Imagine how it might help you to meet your dreams and desires.
  5. Think how it will boost your reserves and help you to be self-sufficient.
  6. Look for the hidden agenda and any potential disasters.
  7. See if it can provide you with lots of opportunities to be truly free.
  8. If it fits your vision of what you want to do, then fine. If not, then no.
  9. See who else is interested in going along for the ride.

You realise that you have overspent this month. What is your first reaction?

  1. Beat yourself up for not keeping a tight rein on your finances.
  2. Reflect on how much you have helped your friends and resolve to keep a tighter hold on your own expenditure.
  3. Hide the fact and work harder to make up the difference.
  4. Take pleasure in the things you have enjoyed and how they made you feel.
  5. Wonder how such a thing could happen, since you take pride in keeping things to a minimum.
  6. Worry how such a thing could happen, since you’re usually so careful to plan for a rainy day.
  7. Look on the bright side and figure out multiple ways to get more cash.
  8. Accept it as part of the lifestyle, and take the view that you’ll find the money somehow.
  9. Ignore the discomfort and keep calm and unresponsive, knowing that all will be well.

You receive £5000 unexpectedly. Do you:

  1. Think about how you can spend it sensibly.
  2. Use it to help your friends and family.
  3. Tell everyone about it and how you plan to spend it.
  4. Enjoy imagining all the amazing things you’ll buy.
  5. Put it away for a rainy day or use it to develop your interests.
  6. Invest it safely to help you towards a more secure financial future.
  7. Use it to help you indulge in ever more adventurous pursuits.
  8. Spend it or save it as you think best.
  9. Acknowledge your good fortune and enjoy whatever it brings.

You are invited for financial planning seminar at work. Do you:

  1. Accept immediately. It may help you to do what is absolutely right.
  2. Say that you’re far too busy helping others.
  3. Consider whether it would offer any useful networking opportunities.
  4. Wonder if it will really answer your unique requirements.
  5. Review whether it would be the best use of your time and energy.
  6. Analyse whether it really could help you have a safer financial future.
  7. Find something more enjoyable to do.
  8. Go or not depending on whether you think it would be useful.
  9. Put it off until another time.

You’re reminded by a colleague of the importance of pensions and inheritance tax planning. So you:

  1. Take pride in the fact that you are fully up to speed with the subject.
  2. Consider how this could benefit and support your loved ones.
  3. Feel confident that you have or will take care of this in the best way possible.
  4. Fantasise about how savings like that could help you have to things that you’ve always dreamed of.
  5. Calculate what needs to be done without having to waste valuable time and energy.
  6. Investigate ways to deal with them in a secure and risk-free manner.
  7. Think about all the many different ways you could deal with the subject.
  8. Decide what suits you best and do it.
  9. Worry that this may create conflict with your current lifestyle and put off dealing with it.

You see something in a shop that you just have to buy, so you:

  1. Think about it carefully and decide whether you can really afford it, or should you wait until you’ve saved up.
  2. Decide to get it; not for you, but for someone you love.
  3. Just buy it even if you don’t have the money right now.
  4. Buy it so that you can get that quick rush of satisfaction than worry about how to pay for it later.
  5. Take a minute to calculate what you might have to do without if you buy it.
  6. Consider whether you really do “absolutely have to have” it, and if you have the money to buy it.
  7. Think about how good it’s going to make you feel to have what you really want.
  8. Buy it or don’t buy it depending on how much you really want it.
  9. Weigh up the enjoyment of having it against the efforts of buying it.

Now analyse your results and see if you answered mostly “1” (The Perfectionist), “2” (The Provider), “3” (The Achiever), “4” The (Maverick), “5” (The Analyst), “6” (The Sceptic), “7” (The Adventurer), “8” (The Challenger), “9” (The Deliberator). This test was designed by NLP Master Practitioner and Enneagram expert Pat Knightley.

There is no right or wrong answer and no right or wrong Financial Personality type, but to look in more detail at what each of these means then join me next time for Wealth Health #5: Common Financial Personalities

Wealth Health #3: Beliefs About Money

Previously, we have looked at how to gain some clarity about the reality of your personal finances. Now it’s time to delve a little deeper than that in order to expose your underlying beliefs regarding money. This is important, because your beliefs may well be having a greater effect on your financial decision-making than any set of real facts regarding money.

What are some of the things that you are saying about money? What are you saying which may not be serving you well? Which of these common sayings do you use regularly?

  • “Money does not grow on trees.”
  • “I’m not made of money.”
  • “I can’t afford it.”
  • “You can’t take it with you.”
  • “It’s alright for some.”
  • “You can’t take it with you.”
  • “I don’t understand money.”
  • “I haven’t got enough money”
  • “I deserve it.”
  • “I might not be rich but at least I’m honest.”
  • “I work hard, why shouldn’t I enjoy life?”

Most of these sayings have a negative slant to them, so let’s try to reframe them to be more positive, supportive or even motivational.  For example,

“I haven’t got enough money,” becomes, “I have got enough money for my needs.”

Or

“It’s alright for some,” might be reframed to say, “What’s alright for some is alright for me too.”

We seem to reserve our strongest beliefs for those who are richest. What do you say about those who are very wealthy? Would you like to be really rich too? Is it OK to be rich only in certain circumstances? What does that say about your view of being or becoming rich?

What does money mean to you? Try taking a sheet of paper and brainstorming this by just writing words which reflect your beliefs about money.

MONEY =        freedom                      choice              consequences              fun

Sacrifice          pleasure                      pressure          impact on others

decisions

Does thinking about money give feelings of pain or pleasure?

Next time we will try to pin point which financial personality type you are, by uncovering your deep seated FEELINGS about money.

Wealth Health #2: Financial Clarity

In this second part of my ‘Wealth Health’ series, I want to continue to focus on the reality of your financial situation. If you got through all the ‘Questions to Ask Yourself’ in Part 1, then you may have already started taking some action to clarify things. So much the better if you have!

Another way of looking at the reality of your personal finances might be to carry out a SWOT analysis of your current situation. For those who haven’t seen this before, it is a very common business planning tool which can be adapted to a wide variety of situations – including personal finances. SWOT = Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. In his book You and Your Money, Alvin Hall gives the following clear example:

STRENGTHS                                                    WEAKNESSES

Good spending habits                                        Bad spending habits

Knowledge of financial situation                          Emotions/thoughts (e.g. shame,  fear, anger)

Earning capacity                                               Lack of financial knowledge

 

OPPORTUNITIES                                             THREATS

Inheritance                                                      Lack of cash

Promotion                                                       Interest rate increases

Renegotiating Interest Payments                       Possible redundancy

 

This could be written into a grid of 4 boxes (2×2), or you could use the four headings written at the top of four pieces of paper and then add your own notes and ideas. Remember that as before, this exercise is for you alone, so be true to yourself when completing it.

While working through this task, you could start to ask yourself about your attitude to money and finances. What are your beliefs about money? This will be the subject of part 3, when we will look at some of your deeply-held beliefs and feelings regarding money.

In the meanwhile you can follow my tweets for tips, quotes and more questions regarding your personal or business finances. Be sure to also follow my #WealthWealth and #WedsWisdom hashtags!

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