Restore Your Home, Restore Your Spirit!
What exactly is financial freedom? And who is the authority to tell us? Well, it's definitely not Meriam-Webster or any other dictionary because the term isn't found there. Wikipedia, Brittanica and other encyclopedias are equally clueless. So, who came up with the term anyway and how are we supposed to know what it means? And if we don't know what it means, then how are we supposed to attain it?
One of my goals on the challenge was to attain financial freedom. Did I forget to take my own advice and clearly define that goal? The point of the challenge wasn't about earning a ton of money in three months time. I'd read The One Minute Millionaire, in which the main character started with no money and needed to earn one million dollars in three months in order to get her kids back. Huge motivation there. She started with a mentor and among other strategies, formed a dream team (of volunteers) to help her. She learned tools from her mentor such as the use of affirmations, visualizations, exercise and about multiple streams of income. Since no one was holding my kids hostage and I had other lofty goals on this challenge, I intentionally decided not to put a dollar amount as an end result, rather my price tag would be based on other things that I value. (Like my sanity!)
Financial freedom is different than financial independence. Financial independence is the state of having sufficient personal wealth to live indefinitely without having to work. Simply put, this is when your income from assets and investments is higher than your living expenses. I believe that before anyone can achieve true financial independence, they first must understand and experience financial freedom. This is why so many celebrities and lottery winners don't keep all those millions they acquire. I'll explain why.
The definition of finance is money or the science of the management of funds. Freedom, or the state of being free, can be described as liberation from the power of something. So, in this case, being liberated from the power of money. Put the two together and I come up with learning how to manage your money correctly so it doesn't have unnecessary power over you. In other words, taking the time to get out of denial, get real and get aware of your finances and learn how to manage your money effectively and for the long term. It's about massive responsibility and no excuses.
The secret may be in the science. The how. There is a psychology behind money that no one seemed to talk about until a financial advisor with a degree in social work, named Suze Orman, came along. She wrote The 9 steps to Financial Freedom, so apparently she can teach us how to get there! She says, "Financial freedom is when you have power over your fears and anxieties instead of the other way around." "It's about realizing that we are worth far more than our money." She goes on to say that freedom starts when what we do, think and say are one and that true freedom can't be bought or sold." I think It starts with getting honest with ourselves, trusting ourselves and taking control through awareness, knowledge, responsibility and ultimately action. Then once we have that as our foundation, we can be open to receive the abundance we deserve.
Most lottery winners don't have financial freedom because they never learned how to manage large sums of money, nor did they get beyond the power that the money had over them. Perhaps they didn't have the time to get control of their attitude about money or work through the psychology. Suze says, "Looking at our fears is an essential step towards freedom" and that we have to "voice the fear in order to control it or say it to see it."
When I started the challenge I had a lot of financial anxiety. My long-standing career in real estate was over and I thought I better find something to replace it with and fast! I was in a panic. The coaching, consulting and multi media work I was getting into was not yet sustaining my previous lifestyle or expenses. My personal finances were a mess and I was not in ultimate control of them. So, I'd worry to the point of stomachaches. I don't enjoy bookkeeping, so I had someone doing it for me. I have since fired that person and re-organized things in the way that I like. I have also created a budget and a way to pay bills that is do-able for me. I created financial goals for myself and I am learning about new investment strategies, so when the money comes rolling in, I am fully prepared. My stomachaches disappeared, not because my financial situation is better but because now I am fully responsible and in control of my situation. The knowledge makes the fear dissolve.
I have achieved financial freedom because I have left financial anxiety behind, along with the power that money had over me. I am now in control of my finances and I am open to true abundance of the heart. Trusting the Universe as an abundant place, knowing that I am valuable and have valuable gifts to share and ultimately remaining open to receive gifts myself is the icing on the financial freedom cake!