Dealing with Financial Pressure
I've been feeling financial pressure for the first time in a while. I'm the sole provider for our family for the first time in our relationship, after Adee and I sold our business a year and a half ago. Our income has since gone way down, and right now we’re spending more than we’re making. Sure, we have investments, but we have a lot of life left to live, and something's gotta give.
I'm feeling waves of different emotions.
I notice a hollow sensation in my body that I call fear.
The story in my head goes:
"What if I give it everything I have doing this work I feel I was born to do and it's still not good enough."
"I'm not man enough. If I were, I'd be able to make as much money as I wanted (even though I've done this in the past).”
"I'm not a big enough man to be with a woman like Adee who built such a big, successful company."
"What will everyone think of me if I fail?"
Part of me wants to run away and avoid this hollow sensation. Another part of me wants to allow myself to be consumed by it, to control my future by just giving up and not trying at all.
I notice a lot of sensation in my chest that feels like excitement. I also notice that things that seemed important before are less important. I'm clearer and more focused.
Over the last 15 years, I’ve grown in my ability to manage discomfort. It’s not that I never feel discomfort. Instead, I'm just able to see it happening in my mind and body without being controlled by it. Without being smothered by it and leading to me curling up in a little ball afraid of the world.
I'm reminded of the (maybe overused) saying, “Hard times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men, and weak men create hard times."
Not to be overly dramatic and make it seem like I'm going through a terrible time, this just reminds me that, as tennis legend Billie Jean King said, "Pressure is a privilege."
It also reminds me that I learned the most about making money during times my businesses were struggling.
I grew the most as an athlete when I was surrounded by people that were way better than me and that as a team I competed my best at the biggest stage against the best opponents.
I grew the most as an intimate partner when I met someone that was willing to call me on my shit with grace.
On wave 2, the story sometimes sounds like, "I was made for this, and I do my best under pressure," or "I couldn't possibly reach my fullest potential without this pressure."
But mostly it just sounds like "Yeeeehaaawwwww!!!"
Our internal state is more important than ever when we're going through hard things because:
A. Most of our life is going through a hard thing in at least one area of life. So if we're constantly putting happiness, peace and contentment on hold until we can just get through this next challenge, we'll never get there.
B. Because what we focus on is what we create in our world, if we constantly focus on worst-case scenarios and live consumed by fear, we play defense and avoid taking the necessary risk to create something new and valuable in the world. When we allow fear and excitement to exist within us without trying to change them, when we take care of ourselves, and we stay focused on the things inside of our control to make a difference in the world, we do just that.
The word "Faith" is present for me. Not in the sense of blindly believing a man-written text with a rigid set of rules. I believe that given all of my unique skills, experiences, natural talents, etc. the work I'm doing is the greatest way for me to serve others. And what is important to me at a spiritual level is just to do this work to the absolute best of my ability and let go of the outcome. To trust, to have faith, that whatever the outcome is, it's perfect.
Although uncomfortable, this period of time has already been a gift. It is clarifying my purpose right now. The biggest questions I'm asking myself are:
How can I create a context for transformation and get people such great results that they can't help but share it with everyone they know?
How can I articulate the value that I can create in people's lives in a way that leaves them moved, touched and inspired?
Psychologist and author Jordan Peterson says that the level of meaning we derive in our lives is directly correlated to the level of responsibility we take. I'm not trying to build a life devoid of pressure and responsibility. I'm striving to build a life with the pressures of my choosing.