Today I want to talk to you about doing hard things. The willingness to feel discomfort for the results you want in your life.
Last year on the podcast in episode 10 I discussed a concept. The 50/50 of life. It’s a concept I learnt from my coach and by being aware of it it has helped me move mountains in my life. Fifty percent of the time we experience positive emotion and 50% of the time we experience negative emotion. Now why on earth would we want to experience negative emotion 50% of the time and I’m guessing you might be thinking surely it’s more like 80/20 or can't we just be happy 100% of the time?
There seems to be a consensus in today’s society that happiness is what we should strive for. If I get that raise at work I will be happy. If I can just pay off my debt, then I will be happy. I just need to loose another couple of kilos and then I will be happy.
But the truth is, life is full of contrast. If we didn’t know sadness we wouldn’t know happiness. If you really think about it, we don’t want to be happy 100% of the time. When someone dies for instance we want to grieve we want to experience the feeling of lose. It’s all part of the human experience.
Today more than ever we live in a world of instant gratification. If there is no food at home I can just use an app to order takeaway, instantly. I can watch movies and TV on demand. I can instantly make purchases online I don’t even need to leave the house.
We are used to feeling comfortable and having our needs meet fairly quickly in many circumstances. And we learn it so young these days. I watch in amazement as kids give up on tasks within a few minutes of starting if they can’t figure it out straight away or the task seems challenging.
It’s all too hard.
I don’t know how to it.
I’ve just never been good with money.
No one ever taught me how.
These are all the lies we tell ourselves to avoid feeling discomfort. It’s so much easier to feel confused and not do something then it is to actually take action and feel all the emotion that go along with that. For example say you have been thinking about changing your superannuation provider but you have been putting it off because you don’t really understand it or you don’t know what you need. You actually hate paper work and you can’t be bothered so you will just continue to stay with the same super company even though you’re pretty sure you could do better.
The irony is that you are still uncomfortable and experience negative emotion because you are not moving forward with the result you want. You are still thinking about getting a new superannuation company. You are still wasting metal energy thinking about the fact ‘that you really should get around to doing that one day’ and you feel the negativity of not being happy with what you have. Yet the discomfort you are currently experiencing is familiar and within you comfort zone.
If you went ahead and just did the research, made the phone calls and filled out the boring paper work you hate doing so much, you would feel the discomfort of doing it, but as you are already uncomfortable in your current situation you might as well get the result that you want.
You see we so often think if we get something or achieve something, life will be better, we will feel better but it is simply not true. Yes we will have the satisfaction of achieving the result we wanted but in life no matter what our circumstances we still experience 50% positive and 50% negative emotion. Believe me Beyonce is still experiencing negative emotion 50% of the time.
So where am I going with all of this and how does it relate to money?
Well in the first episode of this season I talked about how to make money fast by selling your unwanted items. I talked about how we were moving interstate and inspired by The $1000 Project, we decided to sell our unwanted items to create the money to pay for the move.
In addition to this I had committed to doing further study this year. The tuition fees are substantial and I was also conscious of creating as much money as possible so my income could be used to pay for my fees rather than the move.
I decided to sell my camera gear that had been sitting unused for many years. I worked as a photographer many years ago and still had all the gear from that time. I went through a lot of drama in my head about that camera gear. It had a lot of sentimental value attached to it. But at the end of the day I had a new goal that required me to create more money. Selling the gear was going to get me on the way to the money I needed. But I kept putting it off. One of my biggest road blocks was that I didn’t want to feel regret. I was worried that if I sold the gear, that later I would regret it. I also knew it would take a fair amount of effort to collate all my gear, photograph it and list it. I didn’t want to do the work. It was going to be uncomfortable and I knew it.
But you see just like the fictitious example about superannuation I gave earlier I was already uncomfortable. I was experiencing so much anguish over wanting the result of selling the gear- the money, but not doing it out of resistance to the effort it would take and the potential feelings of regret I didn’t want to experience.
Thankfully I coached myself though it. I listed the items on ebay because I knew ultimately I want to continue to grow and develop as a person. Living my life to the fullest and for me that looks like continuing to develop new skills to teach and coach others. I love teaching. Being able to guide someone to learn new skills and grow is one of my life’s privileges. By selling my gear I was easily able to create more money. It was hard work. It took me quite a few solids hours of blocked time over a couple of days to sort, clean and list everything. It was emotional letting it go. I didn’t enjoy the experience but I liked my reasons. I was willing to do the hard work and experience the discomfort of negative emotion to move forward in my life to get the result I wanted. What are you willing to do?
My coach Brooke said in one of her recent podcasts “If we are unwilling to do hard things. If we are unwilling to do massive action there is nothing that is going to keep us growing”.
When it comes to managing your money and creating bigger in your life at some point you need to decide you are willing to do hard things. And why wouldn't you want to? I’m telling you I feel so good after selling all my gear. When I transferred the first payment for my coach training I experienced such a sense of accomplishment and pride that I had created the opportunity for myself by being willing to do hard things and feel uncomfortable.
If you start to really examine your life and the emotions you feel on a day to day basis; believe me, you will start to notice that your life is 50% positive and 50% negative and when I say negative I don’t mean that it is necessary a bad thing. For example, you might feel the negative emotion of restricting yourself from buying that pair of shoes because you spent too much over Christmas and made the decision to cut back on your spending. But then you also feel the positive emotion of feeling pleased that you have avoided going into debt and your bank account is looking healthy. If you are going to feel negative emotion 50% of the time you might as well do it working towards something that you want. Right?
So I want to invite you to be open to doing hard things. Be open to experiencing discomfort on purpose. A crazy concept to contemplate I know but if we are going to feel negative emotion anyway, why not choose it on purpose instead of being in default mode where you experience discomfort anyway , it’s just the discomfort you are more familiar with.
Food for thought.
Are you willing to do hard things? I sure hope so.
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