I want money. I need money. And I plan to put a lot of focused energy into making a significant amount of money this year. I declare this proudly and unapologetically.
For many years, I didn’t make obtaining money my primary goal. My intentions always focused on happiness, growth, health, and love. As a teacher, writer, and wellness speaker, my emphasis was on serving, helping, and healing, and I was grateful to be in environments that enabled me to do so. While I was internally fulfilled, I found myself on an endless financial hamster wheel, living paycheck-to- paycheck, with a stack of credit card bills calling my name at the end of each month.
Over the last two years, I’ve grown to realize that money is a vehicle that helps to enhance my life. It allows me to provide for myself, care for myself, continue educating myself, and to have fun, all ways that allow me to show up in a stronger way to serve my loved ones and my community.
Once I came to this awareness, I began to apply my creativity as well as my mindful and spiritual tools toward my relationship with money, and me and my bank account have never been happier!
Here are the 7 things I did in 2015 that enabled me to experience my greatest level of financial success. I plan to apply them in an even bigger way this year, and I encourage you to do the same!
1. I kept a money journal. I was brutally honest and tried my best to be non-judgmental about the purchases I made. What I learned was that some days I spent consciously, and others, I spent the money I recently earned on unnecessary indulgences (Uber instead of the subway, take-out for lunch and dinner, and yet another designer handbag). Once I realized my behavior, it became easier to make different choices. But I’ll admit, this area is still a work in progress, and there are many days that I have to remind myself to pause, take a breath, and think, before swiping my debit card.
2. I shared what I am passionate about, in my own authentic way, with the world. And I got paid for it. I led meditation workshops and taught people how to reduce stress and achieve inner peace. I taught writing classes to adults and children that enabled them to tap into their creativity in a safe, supportive way. I led countless discussions where I shared the specific tools that allowed me to bust through the mental blocks that were holding me back. I was successfully able to share content that I felt was enlightening and meaningful, I delivered it in a genuine way, and I enjoyed myself in the process.
3. I expressed gratitude for my day job. For the past 15 years, I’ve had the privilege of working with children at a phenomenal private school in Brooklyn. Although my passions continue to grow and my independent career is blossoming, I constantly remind myself of how grateful I am to be employed there. Aside from feeling rewarded by the work I do, and having incredibly supportive colleges and supervisors, I have a steady salary, wonderful health insurance, and an array of benefits. Focusing on these things instantly shifts my mind into the space of abundance, and when I feel abundant, I am relaxed, happy, and at peace.
4. I brought back the good old barter system. It started several years ago when my then up-and-coming musician friend asked me to write the content for his website. Instead of paying me in cash (which we were both low on), he offered to paint my living room and kitchen. We were both thrilled with the results and a major light bulb lit up in my brain! At first, I wasn’t sure how other people would react, but when I mustered up the courage to ask, I was surprised by a number of people who were on board with bartering (particularly small business owners and entrepreneurs). The key for me was offering a service that was an area of strength in exchange for something that didn’t come as naturally. I bartered yoga classes for financial advice, tutoring sessions for apartment cleanings, and I edited promotional material for professional hair services, and in doing so, I was able to apply my cash to my household bills and other living expenses.
5. I accepted money from my loved ones (for specific, enriching endeavors). Priding myself on being an independent woman, this has always been a challenge. But when I felt a burning desire to enroll in a yoga/meditation teacher training program (and didn’t have the extra cash to pay), I accepted my father’s generous offer to pay for the program, instead of taking out a loan. Just as I did with my sister’s kind offer to lend me the money to hire a web designer, so instead of charging the purchase and paying interest, I am paying her back exactly what I borrowed. Although I want to be able to do it all on my own, I now recognize that with my current income, I do have some financial limitations, and by accepting help, I can further grow without digging myself in a hole. I also take comfort in knowing that if the tables were turned, and I had the money to share with those very same people, I would do it in an instant, with pleasure.
6. I gave time and money away. I frequently donated nominal amounts to charitable organizations I felt connected to, like children’s hospitals and animal rescue centers. I supported friends that were budding entrepreneurs and invested in their products and services. I also helped friends for free, without any expectation of receiving something in return. And what I found was that it all came back to me, in different shapes and forms. Like when I was in need of a proofreader on Christmas Eve, my friend stepped up immediately and edited my blog post in less than an hour. Or when I was in between paychecks, and one of my students handed me a card with cash, as a thank you from her parents for all of my efforts throughout the school year.
7. I learned to love myself. Of all the items, this is the most important. Once I realized my own value, I was really able to understand the value I was bringing to every person and situation I encountered. Whether I was teaching a child to read, writing an article, or speaking to a room full of people, I knew that I brought knowledge, expertise, honesty, and love to every minute of the interaction, and I deserved to be paid accordingly. In the past year, this really clicked and I no longer felt guilty (or undeserving) about charging rates that fairly compensated my time, efforts, and energy.