My wife and I are in our early 40's. We both work hard and make good money, yet we can’t seem to get ahead financially. In fact, I think we’re worse off now than 10 years ago. Are we alone in our struggle? How do people get ahead today?
To answer this question appropriately, I interviewed Martin Hurlburt, CFS, a local financial planner. He explained to me that most people struggle financially because they don’t understand the basic principles that create wealth. Hurlburt says that you need to learn the following five steps to financial failure and learn to do the opposite. The following information comes from him.
How to be a financial failure:
Successful people spend less than they make. They take a portion of everything they earn and put it into their business or other investments. Successful people realize that it will never get any easier to save money. They know that earning interest rather than paying interest is a key component to their success. Successful people apply sound financial principles. They constantly strive to increase their income. They have adequate protection, maintain an emergency reserve, and invest systematically for the future.
Hurlburt also told me about a flight attendant named José he met on a recent trip to California:
"The plane had been delayed for five hours and rude passengers were making it a long day for him. While we were waiting, I gave him a copy of an article outlining these five steps. As he read it, a smile appeared on his face. He no longer looked tired and frustrated.
"He told me that he had broken most, if not all, of the steps. Twelve years earlier he was a 27-year-old divorcee. His ex-wife left him with a mortgage, two car payments and $15,000 in revolving debt. He felt depressed and overwhelmed. But something inside him awoke. He promised himself that he would get out of debt, take control of his life and become a financial success.
"With determination, sacrifice and focus, José began to eliminate his revolving debt. He stopped going out to eat and gave up vacation time to earn extra money. He was laid off from several jobs but took responsibility for himself and found employment elsewhere. He worked hard and did whatever it took to accomplish his goals.
"Today, he no longer has revolving debt. He saves 38 percent of his income for retirement. He takes nice vacations, eats out and is enjoying life much more than he did 12 years ago. If José can make a change and begin to apply all five steps in his life, anyone can. It may not be easy, but it’s definitely worth it.
"Without exception, those who succeed financially in the long run use these principles. I challenge anyone to prove me wrong. But rather than waste your time looking for an exception to the rules, why not put your time and energy into applying them?
"It’s your money. It’s your future. Take charge.”
I highly recommend Hurlburt's advice and think all of us, as a nation, need to take heed. Simple principles of truth can solve our financial problems.
Martin Hurlburt has written several books on financial health and is available to speak to groups along the Wasatch Front. Martin@TM-Wealth.com or visit www.TM-Wealth.com - Kim Giles is a life coach and speaker with www.claritypointcoacing.com
I have a friend (for lack of better word) who was really mean to me back in college. She talked behind my back, stole some of my things and never really apologized. I still see her at weddings, reunions and sometimes just around town. I'm normally a confident person, but as soon as I spot her my heart drops down into my stomach and I shrivel into myself. Last time I anticipated seeing her, I got so nervous I could hardly eat. Why does she have this strange power over me, and how can I get past it?
She only has power over you because you are letting her have it.
Your subconscious mind thinks you are unsafe around this person. It sees her as a threat, the same way it might react to a grizzly bear. You literally feel threatened and in danger around her.
You can take back your power by just changing the way you see yourself. When you learn to see yourself accurately, you will feel safe in any situation.
Right now, you see her as a threat because you (inaccurately) believe that you can be hurt or diminished. Your subconscious mind thinks her opinion of you means something (that if they think something negative, it might be true).
All of these assumptions are false.
Other people can think you are a horrible, stupid, terrible, ugly person, and it won’t change who you actually are. You are the same you no matter what anyone thinks. There is no reason to feel threatened by anyone, because in reality they can’t hurt you.
What they think of you should not influence or change the way you feel about yourself. When you know (deep down) that you are amazing, whole, bulletproof and good enough, right now, the fear you experience around this person will disappear.
You need to understand how bulletproof, amazing and safe you really are.
Your value is never on the line. Your life is a classroom, and you are an irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind soul on a journey of learning and growth. Your value is not in question. Your value is infinite and absolute.
This means that nothing anyone says or does can change your value. Nothing you do (or don’t do) can take away from it. Are you getting this?
You are exactly who you are meant to be right now. You are right where you are supposed to be on your unique journey of growth. You are literally un-diminishable and no one can hurt you.
That is, no one can hurt you or make you feel small without your permission.
If they are “making you feel" less than good, it is because you are afraid you are less than good. You are the one seeing yourself that way. If you weren’t afraid of them, their opinions wouldn’t have the power to hurt you.
You must choose to see yourself as strong, valuable and good enough. You must know this as truth so firmly that no person or situation can take that knowledge away from you.
No matter what they do, say or think about you, you are still the same you.
There are three things you can practice that will change how you feel in these situations:
1. Practice knowing the truth about who you are and see yourself accurately. Choose to see yourself as bulletproof, infinitely and absolutely valuable. Choose to feel safe in this moment (and every moment) because no one can really hurt you.
2. Practice seeing the other person accurately. Choose to see this person as a scared, struggling human being in process, just like you. Understand that most people’s bad behavior is driven by a fear that they aren’t good enough. This means that their bad behavior is about their fear about themselves — it isn’t about you.
When someone behaves badly toward you, step back from it and choose to see the fear that is driving their behavior. They will often make you out as the bad guy so they can feel better about themselves. Don’t take this personally. Just because they think it’s true doesn’t make it true.
When you choose to see this person accurately, you will have more compassion and wisdom. You will see that their bad behavior is really a request for love — all bad behavior is.
Decide to love her instead of fearing her.
3. Practice forgiving, by choosing love. Forgiving is really about seeing the situation accurately so it doesn’t hurt you anymore. Forgiving is about choosing love over fear.
If you feel threatened, intimidated or less than someone else, you can change the way you feel, in an instant, by choosing to love that person instead. When you choose to focus on brotherly love and compassion for this person and even give them love and validation (even though they don't seem to need it) all your fear will disappear.
This is a universal principle of truth: You cannot experience love and fear at the same time.
Choose to focus on love and, I promise, you will not only eliminate your fear, you will also feel powerful, strong and fantastic about who you are.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker who specializes in repairing self esteem and restoring hope.
I know that my spouse loves me, but he and our children don't respect me. I am getting fed up with the disrespectful way they treat me. I ask them to treat me differently, but nothing really changes. My children make fun of me (in a teasing way) but it makes me feel bad. Telling them to stop isn’t working. Is there anything else I can do?
There are a few things you can do to earn their respect, but you must first figure out why this is happening.
Here are some possible reasons for this behavior:
1) You treat them with disrespect
Do you treat your family in a kind respectful way? Do you honor their thoughts and feelings? Do you listen to them? Do you validate their ideas and opinions? Respect is something that must be earned. If you want someone to respect you, you must first respect them.
2) You don’t express your love for them
If your spouse doesn’t feel loved or safe with you, this can cause him to lose respect for you as a person. Respect and love go together. Do you express your love physically and verbally to your spouse?
3) You have self-esteem issues
This is a critical one. If you don’t respect yourself, believe in yourself and accurately value who you are, no one else will, either. If you doubt your decisions, worry too much about what others think of you and generally put your needs last, this could be the reason.
4) Your spouse has self-esteem issues
If your spouse or children have self-esteem issues (which most people do) they may be over-compensating for their fears by making fun of you or putting you down. This, unfortunately, is a common tendency. Are they picking on you so they can feel powerful or superior? This ego-based, bully behavior should not be tolerated.
Things you can do to earn more respect:
1) Treat your family with respect.
Make sure you ask questions and listen to how others think and feel. Make sure you honor and respect your family members' right to think and feel the way they do. You must honor their free agency and let them make their own choices (as much as possible). Don’t try to control them. Don’t use force, coercion or threats. Encourage them and point out the goodness in their character often. People respect people who treat them right.
2) Express love for them with confidence.
Look for ways to show your family members you love them (but don’t just say the words). Take the golden rule a little further and determine your husband and children's love languages. Make sure you love them the way they want to be loved, not the way you want to be loved. Give, love and edify them (from a place of strength and confidence) and they will respect you. If you give, serve and love them (from a place of fear) because you need their approval, they won’t respect you. This kind of giving is about getting what you need, it is not about them.
3) Work on your self-esteem.
Your spouse, children and friends are not responsible for giving you self-worth. You are.
You must learn to value yourself. You must honor and respect yourself and ask for what you want and need. No one else is going to take care of you if you don’t.
You must trust that you are good enough right now. People with good self-esteem have a strong sense of their place in the world. They understand who they are and why they are here. They trust that they are good enough right now. (If you struggle with this, a counselor or coach could help you change your thinking.)
Constantly work on improving yourself, growing and learning. People who are learning new things and developing their talents have a better sense of self-worth.
Speak your truth in a loving way. Stand up for yourself without being emotional or dramatic. Drama queens (who play the victim role and beg to be loved) do not earn anyone’s respect. You must handle yourself with confidence. You must keep your emotions and fears under control. You must not lose your temper or cry over small things. This is immature behavior.
Working on yourself is the most important thing you can do to improve your relationships.
4) Do not allow others to mistreat you.
You should not tolerate disrespect, mistreatment or abuse in any form. You must not allow others to ignore, threaten, make fun of, control or lie to you. This kind of behavior is unacceptable. You deserve to be respected and treated with kindness.
You deserve to be listened to and have your thoughts and feelings validated, even if others don’t agree with them. Your family members can also express their viewpoints, but they must do it in a way that doesn’t belittle you or anyone else.
You must handle these situations in a strong, mature, confident way. Remember, you are not at risk here. Even if they disrespect you, other people cannot diminish who you are. Your value is infinite and absolute. You have the same value regardless of what others think or say. When you remember this, you take away their power to hurt you.
When you feel bulletproof, you will handle these situations with much less fear and emotion. You should refuse to discuss anything unless spoken to with respect. You could physically remove yourself, therefore taking away their opportunity to disrespect you.
You can kindly ask people to treat you better and refuse to deal with them until they do.
Obviously this is not an easy fix, and it will take some practice — but you can do it. When you change how you feel about yourself and your behavior, people will treat you differently.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker who specializes in repairing confidence and building self-esteem.
My junior high student is really nervous about the upcoming year. Is there anything I can do to help make this experience more enjoyable and take away his fears? How can I help him start this big transition year off right?
There are some things you can do to lessen his fears. Here are a couple suggestions (pay special attention to the last one):
Figure out how you want to show up in each of those roles. What kind of a brother do you want to be this year? What kind of a friend do you want to be? What kind of a student would you like to be? Write down specific details about how you would like to see yourself in each role.
Get a fresh piece of paper and write those things again, as if you already are those things. For example:
"I want to be a good student who gets good grades and turns in all homework on time,” becomes: “I am a good student who gets good grades and turns in all homework on time." Here are some other examples:
This should be a very detailed description of the person he (or you) want to be this year. When you make these decisions ahead of time, it becomes easy to make good choices in the moment. Deciding who you are (then knowing who you are) creates self-worth and empowers people (and students) to be their best.
Encourage your son to keep this paper where he will read it daily. You may want to read it every morning and start the day off right. Some of my clients read this paper three times a day to help them remember who they are.
If you do this exercise as a family, don’t tell your child what they “should” want to be. You can ask guiding questions about what’s important to them, but you must let them decide who they want to be.
Some teens would rather do this project alone and not have mom and dad involved. This is OK. You want them to make good choices for themselves. They must decide that making those good choices is what they want. Empower your children by letting them know you trust them to make good choices, because they are such awesome, amazing, smart people.
When you see the best in others, it encourages them to want to be that.
Hope these ideas help.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a sought-after life coach and popular speaker who specializes in clarity: seeing yourself, others and situations accurately.
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.