I love a money goal. I'm all about that. I've got some big-ass money goals.
And, I've seen where this goal can become a trap.
It starts early, in your 20s. You tell yourself: if I only made more money, I would be happier. I could live in a nicer apartment. I could travel to see my friends. I could go out to eat more. I wouldn't have to worry about buying that coffee.
Then you start to get some traction in your job. By your 30s, you are more comfortable. You don't worry so much about that coffee. You gave up on a roommate awhile ago and upgraded from a futon to a real bed. You can finally stay in a hotel versus crashing on your friend's couch. But you still think: if only I had more money, I could buy a house. I could get a nicer car. I could travel to Europe or Asia.
Then 40 hits. Hello.
You're not scraping by any more. You've risen up the ladder at work. You're making a comfortable income. You can afford the trips with the hotel. You have a house. You don't ever think about whether you can afford coffee. Your 24-year-old self would be like, "Dang, you must be SO HAPPY."
Except you're not. You're still as stressed, unhappy, and worried as you were in your 20s, except you do it in your nice house, or you take more vacations to relieve the pressure at work. You might feel like what changed is you have MORE responsibility, with kids and a spouse who rely on you, and a team at work that you're in charge of and responsible for developing. Or, you own a business and your employees rely on you to take care of their families, and you feel the stress of payroll and growing your business. You're not sure how you could be making so much money, and still be struggling.
HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?
Can I tell you what actually happened? Like what happened in reality? (Stick with me, even if you're still in the looking-at-your-coffee bill stage.)
You made more money, and what you are is COMFORTABLE. That's it. Of course it is awesome to be able to afford things. Of course it is great to be able to travel. Of course you want to save for retirement. Of course it's awesome you can now give more generously to nonprofits you care about. OF COURSE.
Do you want to know what got you into trouble?
What got you into trouble was connecting money and HAPPINESS. Having money makes it a helluva lot easier to make an impact in the world. It's why I have my previously mentioned big-ass goals around money. And, dreams have to be made of MORE than money. They have to be made of who you are, what you care about, why you were sent here to this planet Earth. Were you sent here to be the most amazing parent in the world? Sweet. Were you sent here to open a bookstore to get more people immersed in books and to share your values and commitment to a local business and diverse workplace? Excellent. Were you sent here to help others find love? Let's bring on the relationship coaches!
Here's my question — what's your REAL DREAM? The one you might not admit to yourself because you are tied to the salary, or you don't have enough time, or it feels too risky? What if you took out the money factor? Stick with me — it's not that money doesn't matter, because it does. But what if you took out that it was about money, and looked at what you really want? What would happen then? What kind of radical change might you take on?
P.S. I've got a challenge starting in May that will have you start to dig in and take a closer look at what it is that you need to get to that answer! More details are coming next week. Sign up for my newsletter here to get the scoop first.