On my day to celebrate life, love, and accomplishment over the past year (AKA my birthday)… I did a good amount of reflecting.
I realized it’s been 9 years since I went through my near-death health crisis. I don’t think about that time often – I’ve mostly wanted to forget it – but, I’ve found it’s good to reflect on it occasionally as a means to stay connected to what’s most important in life.
It’s what I call the 3 buckets of Life.
There are 3 buckets of life that we can’t opt-out of. Meaning – that how well we perform in these areas is directly linked to how much happiness, security, and fulfillment we have in our lives.
What I mean by “we can’t opt out of”… Well, as an example, some people choose not to have children, so they can opt-out of any time, money, or energy that might go into the skill of parenting.
The 3 buckets are Health (wellness), Relationships (love), and Money (finances).
I think we’ve all heard it before: “Health is Wealth.”
I can attest that this is true. A decade ago I was so focused on Wealth that I used and abused my Health (for a decade) to acquire it. That worked well until the day it didn’t work any longer. I learned the hard way that, in financial terms, my body is my number one asset.
When my body gave out, what happened to my business?
You guessed it. The business started collapsing when I did. And, the money that came with it. Not to mention, I had to use all of the wealth I’d created to try to get my health back. A quarter of a million dollars later, I was able to recover. But, I also discovered that if I wanted to be healthy (body, mind, and spirit), I needed some knowledge (because what I was doing didn’t work so well). Before I got sick, I invested very little into my health. Post sick I realized I needed to invest a good amount of time and money into me as my best-performing asset!
At the end of the day, I became pretty knowledgeable when it came to health. And, I created a “me” fund – where I started sweeping money off the top of my earnings to invest in my wellness. I called it my WELLth bucket. FYI – this is by far my favorite bucket!
We’ve probably all heard this one before also: “The quality of our life is in direct proportion to the quality of our relationships.”
Again, I can vouch for this one. The irony (I think it’s irony?) is that what nearly killed me was toxic metal poisoning. Yep. My body was toxic – it was full of heavy metals including mercury, lead, thallium, rubidium, cadmium, and arsenic – among others. The levels were so high, that they were beyond the testable scale. These metals are lethal because the molecules that make up the metal damage the cells in your body that are essential to keeping your organs functioning. My cells which are supposed to look like grapes had turned to raisins.
By the time I was diagnosed, my brain quit functioning properly. I couldn’t speak a full sentence. I couldn’t sleep (my body would continuously wake itself up as a trauma response). Imagine not sleeping but an hour or two (sometimes zero) for months on end. And, my organs began to shut down as my cells were dying. Not to mention, my hormones, neurotransmitters, thyroid – they all went haywire. Think plugging your Macbook into a wet socket. I was quickly losing my body and my mind. It was ugly.
What does that have to do with relationships? First of all, my extended illness hurt my teenage kids. And, my relationship with them. My daughter became really angry with me. And, my son went totally off the rails. And, my guilt and shame were through the roof.
Okay, back to the irony. The irony is that most of my relationships at the time were toxic. They were shallow, unauthentic, competitive, untrustworthy .. bottom line, unhealthy. Not only was my body toxic, but most of my relationships were. I was living in a toxic work environment and in a loveless marriage. I had no real “friends” outside of work. And those at work, unbeknownst to me, were not “friends.” My life was about money, productivity, performance, accolades, and success. Outside of my children, Love as an intention was nowhere in the equation.
There is a quote that asks, “if a goldfish is sick, do you first treat the fish?” The answer is no, you change the water (the environment). On the other side of my illness, once I got my physical health back, I knew I needed to change the rest of my life. So, that’s what I did. I walked away from my business. Sold the parts that were sellable. And, eventually left my marriage. A marriage that was very financially comfortable.
I walked away from millions (about 6 to be exact). I traded money – for love and happiness. It was there that I made health and love my two first priorities.
Just like I did with health, I started “investing” in relationship education because I clearly wasn’t good at it. Since, I’ve attended over a handful of relationship workshops around the country and have read countless books. Not to mention, I’ve interviewed several relationship experts on my podcast. I can’t say I’ve got it all figured out, but I can say I’m a much better mother, I now have great friends and friendships. And, I’m a good partner. Only because of the investments and work I’ve done to be better.
And, finally – Money!
The third bucket is money. There is a Benjamin Franklin quote that says, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
Nothing is more true than when it comes to money. Although people will spend hundreds of thousands to go to college and take on massive amounts to do so, few actually spend small amounts of money, relatively speaking, on learning real-life skills – like financial literacy.
Just like health and relationships if you don’t take care of them, there will be a price to pay (pun not intended!). And yep, you guessed it. It was a money crisis that woke me up to the need to master this bucket. It happened one day when I woke up to realize I was dead broke. I was just divorced from my first husband (yep, I’ve been divorced twice… now you see why I needed lots of “investment” into the relationship bucket). The divorce was pretty ugly (sadly) and what did we fight over.? Mmmhmmm. Money.
By the end, I was so wiped, I didn’t care anymore and just wanted out. I’d been the primary wage earner so finally agreed to take on the debt that we’d accumulated (that I didn’t know we had because I’d abdicated the money management) and agreed to pay for all of the kid’s expenses, including expensive private school. The problem was I was now a single mom, I had no money in the bank (the attorneys got what I had) in a 100% commission job during a recession.
Perhaps you’ve heard me tell this story… I couldn’t afford to turn on the electricity, I had no furniture. I didn’t have money to fill the fridge. I couldn’t financially take care of my babies. It’s only because colleagues at my office at the time pitched in and filled our little one side of a dumpy duplex with everything to get us started – including a fridge and freezer full of food and six months of electricity.
When I look back I wonder what I would have done if it had not been for the generosity of my workmates. At the time, I was truly grateful (of course). But, I was also extremely embarrassed and ashamed. Here I was a mom who couldn’t feed her kids and had to rely on charity to pay her bills. I’d worked so hard to escape the trailer home I’d been born into. And yet. Here I was. Poor again. This time as a single mom with literally nothing. Terrified. What was I to do?
When I finally pulled myself off the floor after a deep cry I finally asked myself a question, “how the hell did I get here? How did I make several hundreds of thousands of dollars in those few years, yet I didn’t have a proverbial pot to piss in?”
It was at that moment I said to myself, “there must be more to this money thing than meets the eye. I’m going to study wealthy people and if I learn to think and act like a wealthy person, I believe I too can become wealthy.”
I was in my early thirties at the time. I became determined and diligent in my study. Since then, I’ve invested over a decade and several six figures to learn the skill of money by paying some of the best financial educators and coaches. I’ve read hundreds of books and attended numerous workshops. I applied what I learned over time. And as a result, have built quite a net worth (even after losing it all more than once ← those are stories for another day). I can say I have my 10,000 hours! And, I can honestly say that I am financially free.
What I learned is what I figured at the beginning. That there is a lot more to money than meets the eye. Money requires knowledge, skill, and practice – just like good health and loving relationships. Remember that Ben Franklin quote!
Have you ever heard the saying that “change never happens until there’s a crisis?” Well, I’ve certainly proved that one to be true – in ALL three life buckets.
But, I can say that those crises woke me up to learn and become better in all of them. And, through the story I shared above, those “investments” have really paid off. Life is really good in all three departments. And, I’m pretty darn happy and definitely fulfilled.
So where do we go from here? I wrote this long narrative for one reason. Not to share my story because really, who cares? But, to encourage you to invest in YOU. Choose one of these three buckets and make a real-time and money commitment and investment.
And, if money is your nemesis, I’m your person. I can teach you and coach you to financial freedom. Within just a few weeks, I’ll show you how to remove 95% of your money stress.
My next class starts in just a couple of weeks. Call me today and let’s see if it’s a fit and if the timing is right.
I’ll leave you with one more quote: “Is it Day One? Or, One Day?” Let’s make it Day 1 of your financial abundance journey.
Oh … be watching for my next note next week to hear about a special promotion you will want to mention when we talk (meaning you’ve already booked your call!)