• Larry McDonald

Gaining financial literacy isn't like having a root canal.

Updated: May 15, 2019

Why do we think that getting our financial house in order is like having a root canal? Visions of a mouth propped open, whirling machines, sharp objects, and PAIN dance through our fight or flight brain. Funny thing is, even though yes, it pretty much is those things (and more!), we forget why we were there in the first place. To alleviate a greater pain. So, I'm not going to postulate on how this financial wellness planning thing is no big deal and you are making more of it than you think (see below), it doesn't matter. You need to do it, regardless. Time to put on the big girl or big boy panties and make it happen.

April is usually Financial Literacy Month, and I applaud the efforts of Money Management International to annually empower all of us to improve our financial wellness. They have resources to help with this, and the cornerstone of the movement is a Pledge of a one-month path to strategically pursue a change of your condition.

But before I start to flesh out the value of this pledge, I think that it’s critical that you take a first step in this journey and simply EXPAND YOUR EXPECTATIONS of what’s to come—for the good. That’s right, deny any inkling that you might have of the glass being half-empty because of all the phobias of a budget, money management, and feelings of fear, guilt and lack as they well up inside of you. Don’t even entertain any possible conflicts within yourself and with the family (especially your partner) that will exacerbate the huge elephant you perceive will have to be forced down along the way. If you expect that this will be your path, then guess what—it will.

But it doesn’t have to. The key, of course, is you. Early on in my career I had a boss, and ultimately good friend, tell me, “You, will do, what you want to do.” Period. No reading between the lines for the subtle meaning, just look in the mirror. You see, upon close inspection there is no “we” in this singular “you”. It’s simply about you, and the choices you make. So, let me suggest that right here, right now, you decide that this journey will far exceed any possible expectation you have. It will be awesome, enjoyable, fulfilling, empowering and FUN. Because, again, if you expect this then guess what—it’s what you will get.

With that truth let’s get on to embracing the pledge, which starts out with a declaration that you are, “Willing, Ready and Able to take embrace financial responsibility.” I changed the “take” to “embrace” because, just by virtue of a checkbook and obligations, you are

responsible for your finances. You are responsible, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you do it responsibly. If that needs to change you can do it--if you so choose and lean in and tame the tiger to create a life you’ve only dreamed of.

Ok, here we go. Say aloud, (together if that is the case), “I AM WILLING”. Let that echo in the room and embrace the vibration it creates. You just stepped into that space of declaring before the universe your intention. You probably have no idea of the power you just unleashed on your behalf, and if you do then you know enough to strap in. When you utter the cosmic “OK”, it now moves from everything dependent on your own power to enlisting the power of that which is infinite and all-wise.

Ahhh….. go ahead and exhale, stand up a little straighter as the weight is lifted, and give yourself a kudo. But of course you can’t stop there lest you spend your life getting ready, to get ready, to get ready. So, you have to say…

NOW. I am willing now--not tomorrow, or when that debt is paid off, or you get a new job making more money, or the planets are better aligned, or , or…, but that I’m ready RIGHT NOW. You’re not taking any prisoners, or allowing the tyranny of the urgent to derail you, so bring it on. You are joining the barbarian horde and storming the gates of mediocrity. Welcome to an elite club. Count yourself amongst the few who are willing to be vulnerable to the present reality in order to equip themselves with an ability to expand the future possibilities beyond all expectations.

And for that you’ll need to learn methods of success, which start with installing, as Clay Shirky puts it, “filters of quality”. Because the real challenge is to cultivate discernment for

applying quality filters on the information and then laser focus on what matters.

Quality, not quantity, lest you be all over the map. We major in the minors all the time. It’s taken me years to learn how to filter the relentless push of financial information into what is relevant and what’s just noise. It’s much better to recognize the melody which empowers you to maximize effectiveness and minimize frustration. If you will learn to develop your intuition, it will evolve into wisdom and a deep abiding commitment to know what is right. If you’ll just get this and start sowing these truths you will experience incredible rewards. I see it happening all the time with clients, friends, and as evidenced in countless conversations I have about all of this.

The eleven steps in the pledge are a great place to start. The most important thing is get into collaboration with those you can support and can support you. Decide that you are willing, ready, and able to be financially well, and then EXPAND YOUR EXPECTATIONS as you receive all the abundance the universe has to offer.

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