Lifestyle

When Money Matters (and when it doesn’t)

I am not ashamed to say that in my adult life I have lived in situations where I have had more than enough money to meet my needs and had situations where I am mentally adding up (down to the tax) all the items I am putting into the shopping cart.  I am also blessed with a loving support group who are there when I have it and, even more so, when I do not.  So, I am here to share two very important life lessons that I have picked up in my complicated, chaotic and circuitous life.

As you may suspect –  having more money is a very nice thing.  Currently, I make a salary that I am happy with and I am also very proud of because my time, experience and knowledge are being properly rewarded.  I still want things that I cannot afford and spend more than I should. This is nothing new. Our wants and desires expand to fit and, sadly, exceed what your pocket can reasonably afford. Have a Benz, you want a boat; get a boat, you want a yacht; then you start thinking, “Why can’t I fly by private plane to Milan for the weekend?”.

Apart from being able to acquire pretty and shiny things, money can also provide you access to tools that enrich your life in significant ways.  Being able to afford regular therapy or visits to the doctor are some of the ways that you can give yourself peace of mind.  I have had to put off visits to the doctor/dentist/optician because I couldn’t afford it untiI I got paid. Of course, the issue stayed at the front of my mind until I was able to put it to rest with the doctor saying it was not as bad as I thought it was (damn you, WebMd!).

So yes, money can fix things, there is no doubt about that, but also, money can’t fix everything. That’s one of the huge things that I want to share. If you are insecure, no amount of plastic surgery or expensive clothes will fix the problem. For sure, it will mask it and you will be able to masquerade as a happy and well human being.  Working with people who can be hired, like a life coach or a therapist, to support you through life’s challenges is useful, but it’s not the money doing that work, ultimately it’s you.  You will have to put in the work to heal the wounds and to do the things necessary to transform your life.  In a way, it doesn’t need money, but it sure helps to have an experienced and knowledgeable guide along that journey.

What I find to be most enriching and, clearly, I use that word deliberately, is a network.  To be fair, money helps with that too.  Routinely, I put myself in situations where I am not the smartest in the room, or the most connected and by far not the richest. I have found that surrounding yourself with people who have trod the path you want to trod, have earned the accolades you want to earn, and have lived life in a way you aspire to is extremely useful. I don’t pretend to be them or put on the trappings that would fool them into believing I am of their ilk.  But, I boldly go and ask them the questions and ask for the guidance to help me to get to the next level.

About 6 years ago, I befriended a lady on Twitter, who was one of my heroes, and offered to help her with something she was doing.  I was unemployed and ‘bruk’, but I still had my mind, boundless energy and my skills. I drove up to her Kingston 8 home in my jalopy, and worked with her on material for a book that she later published.  She tried to pay me but I was already paid.  In time, she put me on to other projects, introduced me to people and provided me with advice that sticks to me to this day.  She is incredibly open to me and willing to support me as well.  I can call her name as a friend in avenues that matter. But most importantly, she serves as a resource to me always just by being there and ‘bigging’ me up always. That’s not money, but it leads to it but more importantly it can lead to having a solid mentor.

So, what’s the parting shot? You can enrich yourself in ways that don’t require money but require effort and savvy.  Use avenues like LinkedIn and Twitter to connect with people. Go to places where people who are influential hang out. However, I personally wouldn’t advocate that you immediately begin to ask them for something. My advice would be that you cultivate a relationship and offer something that you have that is of value. Then get your pay by gaining from their life experience and their network. A word of caution, though! Not every one of your heroes is a good person, be prepared for that as well. I can tell you that it hurts like hell

In the end, I would also encourage you to look for revenue streams that reward your time and talent.  Money, however, is not everything and is not likely to be the thing that makes you happy. More importantly, never forget that you are an asset so therefore intrinsically valuable. And please, nuh let money define you or keep you down!

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Charmaine Wright is a strategist with experience in communications, marketing and trade development as a professional working in an international organisation and the private and public sector. She believes in harnessing the power of technology and innovation to drive engagement and engender growth. In her personal life, she enjoys staying out of trouble and minding her own business. Connect with Charmaine on Twitter and Facebook.

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