An Authentic Christmas Story
The holiday season is a time for stories. Stories ranging from the biblical Christmas story to Charles Dickens’ Ebenezer Scrooge. Today I will tell you mine, and it’s a true story.
I have long resisted this story. I thought it didn’t suit me, I wanted to get through it as quickly as possible, and move on. But now I’ve realized this really is my story and I’m not supposed to ignore it. I’m supposed to share it.
Once Upon A Time…
Once upon a time, there was a girl who had everything: An intelligent mind, a cute face, a healthy body and a family who adored her. The girl followed the university study program of her dreams and graduated with honors. She then found a job that matched her profile perfectly, and received a great salary on top of that. The girl traded that job for a nicer job, traded the nicer job for the independence of an entrepreneur, and bought a house. And then, one fine day, she woke up with a burnout.
…There Was A Lack Of Money
After having conquered many obstacles, that girl (me) finally started doing what made her happy: Coaching other women entrepreneurs, and building a community for her peers. We have arrived at the point where it usually says “and she lived happily ever after”, and the happily ever after is a fact. I don’t know for how long (ever after may not be realistic), but I do know how happy (very happy!). Only one thing has been left out: A lack of money. At the moment, I am not 100% sure whether I’ll be able to pay all of my expenses at the end of this month. Let alone if I can buy groceries on January 1, 2016.
What Will They Think Of Me?
As I write this, the judgments that I think others will have about me are echoing in my mind.
Apparently I’m not such a smart girl after all, since I don’t make enough money from coaching.
Why don’t I just get a regular job?
This better not be a story that ends with a plea for money.
It’s these kinds of judgments (in my mind) that made me hide my lack of money up until now. Not so long ago, though, I started being honest about my money struggle with friends and colleagues. To my surprise they kept supporting me in my decision to continue with coaching and building a community of women entrepreneurs. Moreover, many of them shared their money struggles with me – thereby relieving the money taboo. That, and more.
When the amount of money in your bank account means that you have to choose between dining out with friends or being able to buy groceries for three days, your behavior changes. I call it “financial cramp”. At first I made up excuses, but I couldn’t endlessly fake feeling sick. Being honest about it felt like a huge relief. At the same time it brought forward new solutions, such as staying in, and being creative in my cooking (my cheapass salmon quiche and chili-sin-carne are commendable!). The honesty about my financial cramp also meant that I had to learn how to ask for help (in a non-desperate way), and how to make clear choices. Another consequence is that I now dare to enter into business commitments I previously avoided. When the other person knows that your investment will be in time, energy and knowledge – instead of money – and they still want to work with you, this creates a solid basis of trust.
These were all lessons that I needed to learn, and that I have learned due to my financial cramp.
We Live In An Abundant World!
Every Christmas story contains a message, and so does this one. I believe we live in an abundant world. There is enough pie for everyone – something I have experienced in all the support and close friendships that have grown out of my story! All we have to do is figure out how to get our share. The work I have to do, lies in believing that I too have the right to a piece of that pie. I know that I have value to offer from my knowledge, my skills and the kind of person I am. It’s just the linking of this value to money that’s not yet running smoothly. Something I have long felt ashamed by, but I’ve now discovered the strength that lies in this vulnerability. By being honest, by being authentic, I am strong. I face a great fear (no money) on a daily basis, and keep learning from it. Which reminds me of this quote:
“There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly” (Richard Buckminster Fuller)
I don’t know whether I’m the caterpillar, the caterpillar-in-cocoon or the butterfly. Time will tell.
Anyway, I’m very curious what effect my story has on you. Do you feel less alone in your struggle? Or do you think it’s just a heap of humbug? I invite you to share your reaction in the comment field below!