How do you measure wealth?
Last year around this time, I was having lunch with one of my clients. Right off the bat he started telling me about his newest client program called "Wealth Management". He’s a CPA so this program didn’t seem out of the ordinary. He went on to tell me that it involved clients taking a Risk Assessment, which again sounds fairly standard. However, this assessment didn't measure his client’s risks of investing their earnings in stocks vs IRA. Instead the assessment evaluated his client’s lifestyles.
He asked me "how do you define wealth?" Naturally I went to $$$. Within 5 mins he politely made it clear to me that unknowingly I had it all wrong. Wealth should be measured in a balance of relationships, experiences, time and monetary value, etc. His new theory assessed his client’s current living habits and suggested ways to shift the focus from their never ending work life to help guide them towards a more balanced well rounded life. The goal of this program was to show that with fine tuning and a shift towards balance, that his clients could still be just as “wealthy” and successful.
I have a lot of respect for this individual, who does indeed manage assets of very wealthy individuals in Santa Barbara. While reflecting on his message now, it seems simple in theory, but it has really stuck with me over the past year.
Upon further evaluation of my own wealth I realized that I, like his clients, had spent the better part of my adult years chasing the "American Dream". I graduated high school, went to college and continued to check the boxes of my career titles off the box as I moved up the corporate ladder. After my lunch, I vowed to stop measuring my wealth by a dollar sign. I won’t share my “path” over the last year with you because my life isn’t a relevant measure of yours, but I have to say that once I stopped chasing the dollar signs my life changed significantly.
Here are 5 Things You Can Do to Bring Richness to Your Life:
Set your intentions at the beginning of the week. Your time is an appointment just as valuable as any Dr appointment or PTO meeting you're rushing to. Sit down on Sunday and schedule your daily time. Maybe that's a morning run, spending some time on your yoga mat, or scheduling time to work on your passions. Set a reminder on a calendar or better yet phone a friend and ask them to follow up with you on your "appointment". Accountability is key!
Time Isn't Always Money:
While I was working my corporate job and Pop Up Yoga was growing, I could find myself working 60-70 hours a week. While I would find myself exhausted some nights planning a class, working on flyers, or scouting a new location I never craved doing less of this work. I found that while my day job wore me out, coming home to work on something I loved recharged me more than if I'd spent the night on the couch with Netflix. Find something you love and give it all the time in the world.
Vacation time is valuable, but so are you. A couple times a year take a Friday off. No errands, no to do lists! Just have a staycation of your dreams... Go to a museum by yourself, crack open your new book on the beach, find a new hiking trail, or be a tourist in a neighboring city. While a 3 day traveling vacation is nice, sometimes the stress of 72 hours distant travel is enough to feel like you never “got away”. Since our weekends end up being a catch up from the work week, stay local for the day and love on you for a full 24 hours.
Invest in You:
If you know this job isn't forever than what IS next? Are you waiting to start school? Aspiring writer? Maybe you have a million dollar idea? There is NEVER the perfect time to start something new or add more to your plate. So why not put into motion your dreams tonight? Yes tonight, do one thing that gets you closer to the next chapter; file an application for school, buy a notebook and write the book title down, or start researching the market place for that idea! Tomorrow turns into next week and next week turns into next year all too quickly. So what would you do if you could do anything in the world? And how can you start making this dream part of your wealth management? This dream doesn't mean you have to see the end to your current employment or even have a plan in place. It’s just a step towards investing in yourself.
Pay it Forward:
It’s probably the most cliché yogi notion on the list, but #karma. True Karma by my definition is doing something with absolutely no expectation of receiving something back from it… even a thank you. Find little ways to give to others and you’ll be surprised at how full your cup becomes!
While my initial summary speaks of finding balance with all things in our lives… including friends and family, your wealth must start with you! I ask you now; How Wealthy do you deserve to be?