Tuesday, August 5, 2008

When Visualizing Your Dreams Use String!

by Janine Bolon

This rather imposing wall was an effort on my part to show my children how animals, plants and minerals fit into the world by using taxonomy. (The science of classifying all living things by arranging them in groups according the relationship of each to the others.)

Since I am an ultra-geek and a highly visual learner, my kids get the treat of having the couches moved, pictures taken off walls, and string unraveled as we clear space to put up, "a big mess" as my 5-year-old says with hands-on-hips gawking at the creation.

What does this have to do with money? Many of my clients tell me of having difficulty getting a handle on their financial situations. Here is a simple, yet powerful three-fold solution:

  • Figure out to the penny how much debt you have to everyone. This may include, but is not limited to: mortgages, car loans, student loans, boat loans, credit card debt, loans from family (love loans), and medical bills.
  • Starting today, track your expenses. Yep, as you go about your normal day, start writing down in an itty, bitty notebook all the money that leaves your hands. It will stun you into dropping your consumeristic (is that a word?) tendencies when you see just how much you pay a month for those vending machine runs! (That was my habit when I worked in corporate life, I loved those M&Ms in the machine down the hall.)
  • Determine your Vision. Why are you here on this planet? What is it that you want out of life? I mean, there is absolutely zero reason for saving money and working to get out of debt if you don't know where you are going, right? Otherwise you're saving money for money's sake. Ugh! That's not enough motivation for me, so I'm sure you may want a bit more out of life as well!
As you work on these three exercises, you may want to clear a wall and start using various colored papers (sticky notes are GREAT for this!) to visualize your debt load, your income opportunities and your goals for the next 20, 10, 5 and 2 years. Right? I highly recommend this practice of working on your dreams using paper, wall and string. It is a system that I have used for over 18 years. I learned this visual process from the late Walt Disney. (Not directly, but from an employee of his named Mike Vance. He gave a workshop while I worked at Glaxo Pharmaceuticals.) Disney used this system to determine connections of what may seem like unrelated objects at first blush.

It is sort of weird to see your financial life up on a wall, but one of the results of this work is the response of your brain. It creatively comes up with novel ways to fix many of problems that pop up and hope suddenly springs from your heart as you stare your situation in the face and realize, "Hey, I can do this!"

If you don't have a wall large enough, then use colored washable markers on a bay window. The kids love it when mom starts scrawling stuff on the windows. (You can tell I was a chemist...we see a piece of glass and we think, "Just as good as paper! Scribble, scribble, scribble.) Not only do they get to join in, but we tape string all over the place too!!! Fun, fun, fun.

Give this process a try and then email me on how it works out for you. Wishing you abundance.

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