How many jobs?

It seems the days of lifetime service to a single company and retiring with the gold watch are well and truly over.

Do you think you should only have one main job during your working life or is it OK to have 2-3 part-time ones?

As the workplace continues to evolve, many people are finding that they do not want one primary job any more, but instead the flexibility of having a few projects on the go, sometimes consecutively, and sometimes all at once. How do you feel about working in more than one place?  Or, are you more of a traditional one-job style of person?

The main reason many look for additional work is to boost take-home income.  If you could find a way of supplementing your income and also your joy for pursuing something that stimulates you creatively, what would you be doing?

Research shows that we’re now going in the direction of working at more than one job.  Many find that they are way too attached to their job and if it changed, would be in total chaos.  But life has a way of throwing curve balls, so it’s not a bad idea to think of what else you could be doing.

Be prepared for the twists and turns.  What other type of work would you like to try?  Is there a hobby that you’d love to turn into a business?  Are you a budding entrepreneur just waiting for the push of being sacked?  It’s never too late to start pursuing something you love, even if it’s part time.

Life is pain, highness…

Life is pain, highness.  Anyone who says differently is selling something.”  Westley.  William Goldman – Princess Bride.

If you’re like me and a bit of a tragic Princess Bride fan, then you’ll be completely familiar with this line, and that some days it rings more true than others.

Lately, it seems the ‘life is pain’ is ringing true a lot more.  I’ve had a mate I love dearly be fitted with a pacemaker and become a double amputee.  His lovey sister has just married the love of her life, who’s been diagnosed with a terminal cancerous mass in his pancreas and one of the most beautiful, bright amazing women in my circle of friends committed suicide last week.  Yes… sometimes life is truly pain.

Today I raised a glass to my girlfriend and spent it with another, remembering her son who died suddenly 11 years ago today.

And it got me thinking, as these times often call for deep personal reflection… Yes, Life is pain, we’ve all been there.  There’s bad minutes, horrid hours, bloody awful days and some really shit moments that make up this tapestry we call life.

But there’s also the beauty.  Sometimes in the darkness, that’s hard to remember.  There’s the unexpected opera in the morning in the hotel I’m staying in that transports me and gives me goosebumps, there’s sunsets to be seen in places I’ve never been, unexpected connections with friends and colleagues and there’s new friends to be made and children to watch grow.

We’ve all suffered unrequited love, difficult emotions and the roller-coaster rides of feelings.  Yet, we’ve also had magical moments in time with friends and lovers and our babies and experienced the beauty of the written word, spoken word and of music, friendship, nature, laughter and tears.

But when someone takes their life, we all think… could I have done more?  Should I have called?  What else could I have done?  So instead of wondering, I beg you, call someone today.  I’m sure you know someone who could use a chat, a laugh a cry or the gift of your time.

Family definitions of Success

It’s a pretty natural thing, we all want to feel successful.

And possibly surprising to many, the most successful people out there often do not feel like they are a success.  Many suffer at some stage in their life from what has been coined the Imposter Syndrome – where we feel that we may be exposed as the fraud we feel we are!

Why do you think that is?   Often, it’s because we have rules and ideas about what it means to feel successful that have been ingrained in us from childhood.

Ask yourself how success was defined by your family?  Was it about how much money you were earning?  What sort of a job you held?  If you went to university or had a degree? If you were married with children?  Had a large home?  Or just happy?  What were you taught about success all your life?  Was it related to health, wealth or happiness?

As it turns out, the most successful people just decide that they are successful, because they just are who they are and because they love what they do.  Often, they love to give back.

Success is an inner feeling, not some far off event in the future that shifts and changes, or something our parents want or how much we have in the bank.

Have a think about how you personally define success.  Will you be a success when you achieve X?  Do you feel you need X to be a success?  Maybe it’s time to evaluate all the things that already make you a success!

Making an Enlightened Choice

We are faced with choices every day of our lives.  And many choices, every hour of every day…  We have choices about what we say, what we eat, what we think, whether or not to be kind, choices about what we’ll wear, how we’ll invest, what we’ll spend our time or money on and how we’ll respond in certain situations…

Do you try to be ‘mindful’ when making choices?  Do you base your responses on your habits or a conditioned and well thought through response?

You’ve probably noticed that there’s a big difference between an enlightened choice and a reactive choice and we know how much better it feels when we make one over the other.  And how we’re quick to judge or flare up when people respond to us with anger, sarcasm or from a place of fear.

At the risk of sounding a little (or a lot) woo-woo, an enlightened choice is based on being present and choosing something that feels in line with love and kindness, with being who we ultimately want to be. You know, that deep gut feeling you get when something is ‘just right.’  Although often applied to behavioural responses, it can also apply when starting a financial plan that is in line with our goals and works to achieve our outcomes over the long term.

A reactive choice is based on doing what we have always done, on wanting to stay consistent with how we have always been, even when we know that hasn’t served us in the past.  Taking the hot tip from the taxi driver on the latest shares, or jumping into investing in gold because our mate just made a killing doing that, is ‘responsive investing’ and rarely in our best interest.

Today, be really mindful when choices come up for you. Ask yourself, am I making an enlightened choice here or a reactive choice?  And take your time, it’s easy to stay in the habit of our knee-jerk responses and takes effort to learn to wait and think things through before we respond.

Where would you like to start practising mindfulness in your decisions?  With family? Friends? At work?  With our finances?

Lessons from the Past

Some of us have challenges when we reach those big milestone ages of 30, 40, 50, 60 etc.

We put pressure on ourselves about what we should have achieved and how much we should have accomplished.  There are pressures from the media on how we should look, how much we should have in the bank, how many investment properties and should have, how many places we should have visited and sometimes,  when we don’t meet these cultural criteria, we suffer.

Others set out on a journey of adventure – 40 things by 40!  Suddenly, they’re jumping out of planes, dancing naked in the moonlight and splurging on holidays they’d never taken…  Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

The truth is anything can happen, at any age and any time; and there are no set rules.  No-one says you need to be 65 kgs, have 2.2 kids, a dog, a station wagon, and a house with a white picket fence, a $10,000 emergency fund and budding portfolio.  (Thank goodness, my station wagon days are sooo over!  And I think my cat is my 0.2 of a child…)

Learn from your past and look forward to a beautiful future.  End of story.

Today, be mindful about what you have already done so far in your life.  Really.  Truly.  What can you acknowledge yourself for?  Age is completely irrelevant.

In the wise words of Rafiki, “Oh yes, the past can hurt, but you can either run from it, or learn from it.”  (Thank you, The Lion King.)

Have you collected amazing memories?  Made a beautiful family?  Learnt a skill you’d always wanted to?  Paid off your home?  Are you content with your life?  Is real wealth to you a cuddle from a loved one?  Does giving make you feel successful?

What cool lessons we’ve learned so far.  I wonder what else the future has in store?

How’s your Relationship with Money?

If you had to define your relationship with money, are you guys going strong? Or due for some serious counselling sessions?

Just remember, like in any relationship, small changes can make a big impact.  Regularly paying attention to our partner can make our emotional bonds stronger, and focusing a little loving attention on our financial relationship can also yield dividends!  (see what I did there?)

It might just be time to sit down and have a stern chat with yourself and bring some clarity into your relationship with the dollars.  Look for ideas on where you can improve.  Observe your friends and family members and their relationship with money.  Are they out every weekend, have all the latest stuff and are constantly bemoaning the fact that they just can’t keep up with their bills?  Or do you have that careful friend, who has a budget and for the most part sticks with it?  They live within their means and still don’t really seem to miss out on too much.

I want you to think who you’d rather be like and five ways you’d like to improve your relationship with money.

  • Do you have personal debt you’d like to pay down or pay off?
  • Is there a holiday you’d like to save for?
  • Would you like to start putting a little more into your superannuation?
  • Is your first home or an investment property something you’d like to achieve?
  • Would you like to start a small share or investment portfolio?
  • Would you like to go to a better gym?
  • Be able to afford a dog?
  • Buy a membership?

Come up with at least five goals that have something to do with money.

Next I want you to prioritise them.  What is the most important objective you have?  Did something stand out as your number one priority?

What love and attention can you bring to this one goal, and what small improvements can you make to start turning things around?  Don’t worry about all the other items on your list.  You can get there later.  Just focus on your main priority and think of ways you can make small changes to make inroads.

If you want to pay down debt, can you skip the daily latte and put the extra $5 per day onto the loan?  That extra $100 per month means you’ll be $1200 further ahead by the end of the year.  Will that help you get there sooner?  As in much sooner?

I’d love to hear some of the ‘little things’ you’ve done to start improving your relationship with money and see if you become more in love than ever once again…