Have you ever started a project then found out you were missing a key piece of information, a required tool, or important ingredient? Typically when you set out to build something you organize your plans, set aside the time, gather your materials and with eager anticipation you begin. I’m sure we’ve all experienced that sinking feeling when you reach for something you’re sure you have, or that you know was working a minute ago – and – at the moment you’re ready to move forward – nothing. It won’t start, it’s missing, it just can’t be found.
Financially, this situation can occur in many ways, often when you’re looking for a receipt to return something to the store or at tax time. It might also show up when you’re sure you transferred money, paid a bill or sent a notice to change something in your financial portfolio, and based on your belief that that transaction had been completed, you set out to do something else only to discover that there wasn’t sufficient funds, or the bill didn’t get paid and you were charged fees, or your transaction wasn’t completed.
Whatever the situation is, the result is lost time, lost money, lost opportunity and stress. Unfortunately, these situations occur regularly and because our lives are bombarded with increasing amounts of information and ‘to do’s’ the day-to-day stress of handling even basic financial transactions can leave you overwhelmed, exhausted and intimidated to take on anything different.
Think about it: finding someone to talk to, making an appointment, completing the paperwork, filing the paperwork, getting set up to access, monitor and track the new account, strategy, or system, making sure there is proper paper and electronic bookkeeping for tax purposes, passwords, yearly accounting, perhaps record keeping for estate purposes, plus ongoing marketing information that comes in the statements and by email, and making sure you have proper security because it seems that someone, somehow will find a way to try to defraud you of your identity and your money. All this and that doesn’t include the overwhelming volume of choices to make in the first place
Let me tell you a story before you jump to conclusions that this message is just going to be another one of those pieces of information strategically designed to add to your stress, or full of empty promises.
A few weeks ago the newly launched MoneyMinding Foundation finally has its online programs ready to go live. Maybe you were one of the people who got excited about our mVillage and Project M home study program. Well, it turns out we (and about a dozen other companies) fell through a ‘corporate crack’ with 2 of the companies who were key ‘ingredients’ to our launch suddenly not supporting each other. We are a start up non-profit so didn’t have a lot of options except to find other solutions. Unfortunately those solutions don’t happen over night. This means our program launch has been more or less ‘on hold’ while we respond to your questions by email and phone and set up new systems.
All this is an important principle that has been put into practice during these past few weeks. That principle involves both thinking and doing. Actually, it’s more accurate to say it involves ‘not thinking’, and doing because of the significant connection between our thoughts and our actions which ultimately determine our outcome. This is likely not new information for anyone reading today, but perhaps the concept of ‘not thinking’ might be.
Our situation occurred after plans and strategies and resources were put in place and tested. This is different, than jumping out of the gate before preparing. Sometimes moving forward happens before all the specific plans and strategies are in place and that is part of the overall plan. Sometimes certain pieces are required and you will put a lot of time and energy and money into getting them ready before you move forward. Having a plan and rolling it out, to come up against an unexpected ‘curve ball’ is one thing. Not having a plan or strategy and jumping ahead and running into unexpected challenges is another thing. The latter situation will likely require you to go back to planning and strategizing. The former requires faith, patience and perseverance.
When you’re hit with a ‘curve ball’ in your plans, especially when you’re already cramming a lot of activity into a short period of time and you have expectations for a certain result to happen a certain way, at a certain time, your stress response is triggered by your thoughts being upset at the unexpected ‘problem’ that has to be resolved. The natural instinct is to immediately turn our thoughts towards finding a solution. When this happens it creates a distraction from all the enthusiasm, peace, hope, and enjoyment that the original plan or activity held.
This diversion away from the excitement will unfortunately create a pattern of thought that determines a pattern of behaviour and ultimately the results we experience. The original positive experience has now been turned into a problem solving process where we are taken out of the good while you work to regain control of the situation. The problem with problem solving like this is that ultimately you are constantly thinking while under stress which means that the solutions you come up with will be influenced by your need to remove the stress and regain control, not necessarily to achieve the original outcome.
Back to my story: our situation had obvious financial consequences in terms of time and money. The immediate response is to ‘solve the problem fast’. However, that thought process led to a full array of possibilities each with a variety of consequences and outcomes. This in turn led to overwhelm, which led to a state best described as analysis paralysis. I’m sure you know what I mean: too many options, not enough time, big consequences of making a “wrong” choice.
The answer ultimately is to STOP, breathe, pray, write, and wait, yet keep moving. The ultimate solution is to do what you can, when you can, with what you can – essentially to stop thinking, yet keep doing. Because the process of pushing through and searching endlessly for a ‘quick fix’ to get you back on track to get the results means you’re reinforcing thought patterns that ultimately are not conducive to experiencing those results we’re all looking for – financial or otherwise.
With all this actually still going on in the life of The MoneyMinding Foundation, I thought it valuable to share the situation with you. This is a real life situation that will show up in one way or another for all of us that can easily send us into a downward spiral of stress and keep us stuck if we don’t STOP the cycle of trying to control all the circumstances instead of staying calm and staying the course.