By Elisa Goodman
January 21, 2016
Once-Upon-a-Time there was a grown-up who
felt she was under a financial spell.The kind
you read about as a child. Locked away in a tower. Of shame. By herself —
with ALL of her numbers. They were floating in space, invading her dreams,
waving their arms. Visions of Suzy Orman yelling at her were tucked away
in the secret recesses of her mind.
“DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT BUYING THOSE SHOES.”
While she knew that the key to her financial future was within herself, she just
couldn’t find the “sweet spot” mindset she need to turn her financial life around.
As an entrepreneur, she was used to trying to figure it all out herself.
And then, would beat herself up for seemingly “doing it wrong.”
Not having enough Profit.
Not having a Business Plan.
Thinking something was Wrong with Her.
Always feeling there was a Magic Formula.
Listening to so many people who were trying to offer their
full-proof formulas for a profitable, debt-free life.
Not having a Financial Plan.
Was it just for some people? Or was her Karma to struggle forever?
What was the lesson for her in this life?
Locked way in her mind — The TROLL, the WITCH and the OGRE of MONEY,
made scary faces on her Excel spreadsheets, in her checkbook, in her mind.
They ate away at her financial self-esteem daily. Reinforcing negative thoughts.
Using poor language to re-direct and manifest her needs into positive, present
tense, “as if” language. Blasting the words “I should have, “I don’t want”, “if only”…
Forgetting to replace that language with “I am”, “I am now”, “My current Net worth is…”
Being intentionally intentional.
Her secret FICO scores and credit reports. No, she did not want to look.
Even if they were FREE.
Whatever was she going to do? She wanted to disappear down a rabbit hole.
The shame was eating at her. Psychically leaving a hole in her wallet. Always
fearing the phone call which would uncover the real numbers when she called her
financial planner. The credit card debt was a mountain of evil. It’s not that she was
entirely reckless. She had made money. But she and her husband didn’t manage it
consciously. He did have a 401K and insurance. That was a God-Send. She always
“felt” that she did not manage money well. She felt she was “missing” a gene in the
math department for Saving, Earning, Strategy and asking for Support.
So guess what? So she “reinforced” it with her thoughts.
And coincidentally, She didn’t.
Her late husband’s company was closing their Los Angeles office and so he decided to go back to school at 50. He waited and waited for months for the company to close so he would get his 17-year severance. But school started and he had to leave. The money he had anticipated he would live on disappeared. She was going to be working while he was in school. The area she worked in took a dive when Reality TV first came on the air. She didn’t feel she had other marketable skills she could parlay into another job. He found a wonderful job after he graduated from school. But it was for less money than he had been earning. But it had health insurance which he needed. All was well until he fell ill and there was 4 years of caretaking and medical bills. And they lived on credit cards. At that time they didn’t know anyone to ask for help. They didn’t plan. Nor did they have a plan while he was ill about what to do with the Life insurance money she would receive after he died. Looking back…so many “I should have done this”, “I should have done that…”
Living in the past of what would have been different —
“if only she had planned better.”
More shame. More shame. More shame.
And feeling that, again, she did it that money thing, horribly WRONG.
So she channeled that experience and those feelings into an ART project. A Risky Venture. But it kept her happy and sane and laughing. And had other people laughing as well. That may have not been “money in the bank” initially — but it encouraged her to think about how to monetize her Creativity in a way to serve and help others not feel so alone.
Her husband passed away 5 years ago. She started working with a financial planner to help strengthen her financial muscles. Two years ago she sold her home in order to pay off the mounting debt and start her life again. That was a very good decision. She’d like to say she has become a fierce warrior of finance. She has made some progress and has a few plans in place. She will forever feel like a ‘financial work in progress’ because that is where her Achilles’ heel lies. Investing and financial lingo and those kinds of things are just plain hard for her to grasp and comprehend and it is like White Noise in her head. “La La La.”
In the last 8 years, she became an expert at her ART. She kind of home-schooled herself. While she did not go to art school, she became aware of her gifts and talents as a writer and a chronicler of absurd situations. While this creative endeavor was the most fun she had ever had, Visions of “Starving Artist” would seep into the recesses of her consciousness by subliminal messages she had heard in her childhood. She came from a very artistic family and was lucky, actually that her father earned a very good living as a comedy writer.
“Artist’s have to have “another job” –“It’s hard to make a “Living as an Artist”, “Do you know the percentages of people who NEVER MAKE IT??”
While she knew that was true for some, she also knew that if you have a clever hook, some good marketing and a brand that people want to use, there is definitely a way to make good fortune, “HAPPEN.” Her Brand became the clever way she was able to articulate crappy situations, put a whimsical spin to them, help people re-define themselves when they hit the ‘Terror Barrier” in the 2nd half of their life and feel they have no where to turn and no where to go. They feel uninspired. Unfulfilled in their job and in their life. They have buried their passions. They are working with people they can’t stand to be around. They are aware that Life is Short and feel emotionally and creatively STUCK.
She felt lucky that she sold her ART everywhere she went. People she met always commented that it was so original and clever. She knows she has sold over a half-a-million dollars of her ART since she started designing her handmade greeting cards in 2000. But she has never been in Profit.
Nor has she saved. Or planned. She has always just “winged it.”
Her part-time “hobby” (which she started when her husband went back to school), kind of became a business, and was never planned out properly. Now, in the 2nd half of her work life, she is keenly aware of her legacy, longevity and her need to have a financial plan. And to re-arrange her thinking, her way of doing business and her saving habits. She is hopeful that her struggles and creativity will lead to more money in the bank now that she is more conscious about her money mindset.
J.K. Rowling & Dolly Parton were inspiring examples of Rags-to-Riches stories.
The Passion Train. Get on Board.
Find Your Purpose. Make Your Mess Your Message.
Many years ago I was listening (and tuned in) to some marketing folks who continued to preach the above. I had searched for mine since my 20’s. So wanting to “FIND MYSELF” – not even knowing what that meant— but wanting that “Lightbulb” moment so badly.
Turning 60 this year, I have finally acknowledged that my gifts and talents lie in the ART of storytelling.
Funny to look back on it, but in my 20’s, I was actually in an acting group in Los Angeles called, “We Tell Stories.” I remember feeling small and out-of-sync with the older actors of the troop who exuded a confidence and a whimsy to make it up without judgments and expectation. I, however, (who was not a fan of Improvisation), worried that I was always doing it wrong –and that everyone did it a whole lot better than me. Just writing this story down, I see the pattern I’ve carried around my whole life. Everyone is doing IT better than me.
And guess what? It’s kinda not true. Everyone has their own journey to take while
they are on planet earth. If we didn’t have a journey, the world would be so dull. We
gravitate to those who are publicly willing to share their struggles—so that their
impact may reach someone who is in pain –and our story, if colorfully told, can
create a ripple effect to impact many — that, should be Our Purpose.
To crack open and honestly talk about challenges.
Now, those Evil Mind Trolls not only surf the internet for spiders, the financial tentacles continue to reach out and strangling me like an Octopus. Each arm is a
Monthly Bill that leaves me in a kind of frozen, cryonic stasis. I’m hanging upside
down like a bat, waiting for inspiration to show up and present a solution.
My creativity rears its beautiful head to say “I will create beauty out of this situation.
My Muse is on fire today and I will honor that today.”
A couple of months ago I said to my financial advisor, Jamie Fleming, that I need to
be on her phone roster weekly like a FINANCIAL AMBER ALERT. I need Support
and Hand-Holding when I feel that my finances and I are being abducted down
the Rabbit-Hole of confusion and delusion. Being in my head all the time is not a good
thing. I need a reality check – (i.e. –just make it out for $___________ and we’ll call it a day!).
I ALWAYS feel so much calmer when I speak to her. I think she needs to do a daily
audio in my inbox. A positive financial message which jumpstarts my brain to keep
me financially centered and on-track.
Dear Jamie: You are receiving a FINANCIAL AMBER ALERT…
My Finances are being Kidnapped by the Money Troll AGAIN….
We are usually in the Carpool lane
(when Money sits in the passenger seat…)
However, we are now on the Debt highway headed towards the Zero Balance.
The Border Patrol is weaving and waving its
Red Light Alert! California License Plate:
#FIXmeFAST! #CashFlowMadness #OverDrawn Artist #Debt is a 4-letter word #ImNotInProfit! #SavingIsNotJustForSinners #WeLoveMoney! #IloveJamie!
And so, just to do something to restore my financial self-esteem and be nice to
myself, I am publically giving my Muse a Report Card so I bathe in a feeling of
Abundance and Gratitude for many things.
A+ for Creativity
A+ for Showing Up
A+ for Endeavoring to Problem Solve
A+ for Resourcefulness
A+ for Inspiring & Helping Others
A+ for Laughing
B- for Self-Patience
B for Meditation Daily
C for Kindness to Self – that grade changes daily and can be higher (when $ comes in)
C for bringing in enough money each week to pay for my bills with ease
C for sitting down and trying to learn InDesign
D for remembering doing Sit-Ups Daily
D for learning more Social Media Strategies and posting on Instagram
F for Saving money each time I receive money. Not automating.
Not everyone can write and not everyone is a financial wizard. Sharing and asking
for help is Key. I’m lucky I found someone who is in the trenches with me.
Who doesn’t shame me for my lack of financial savvy but who is willing to creatively
work with me in a way that I can receive her wisdom and love.
And for that, I say THANK YOU to Jamie Fleming, (http://www.flemingandassociatesllc.com)
for creating safety and ease around the money
conversation and acknowledging that there is always room for creatively adjusting
your financial situation with awareness, ease and grace.
She encouraged this post and the idea that I put some of my illustrations
into a financial context of my experiences.
I hope you enjoyed it.
Stay tuned for more Positive Art & Money Conversations!
For more inspired tips & creative strategies, poignant ART
and conversation about reinvention after 50,
please contact Elisa Goodman at:
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