I recently had the opportunity to hear Scott Berkun speak at World Domination Summit 2014. He told us a story about when he and a group of his friends recently rented a vacation home by a lake. They noticed that the boat house had a trapeze that they could use to swing out over the lake, and then jump in. They were all very excited to use it, but when it came time to make the leap, several of them paused to start discussing the “best way” to approach it. The discussion kept them in their heads, instead of taking action.
Scott’s friends experienced a pretty common reaction to fear: they weren’t totally comfortable just hopping on the trapeze, so they talked and rationalized until the moment was gone. This happens with personal finance as well… people are so afraid that they are missing a key piece of data, or that they will make the wrong choice that they take zero action. So they never start.
Personal Finance Fear
With jumping into a lake from a trapeze, you can project what the potential outcomes and worst-case scenarios might be, therefore limiting your fear (or, if someone is afraid of water or heights, then maybe that person can’t). Whenever you move forward with anything in life, you need a healthy degree of trust because we never know what is actually going to happen, we’re just moving ahead with assumptions.
When you start a new sport or relationship, you trust that as things move forward, you’ll have the information you need to make good decisions—but you accept that you don’t need perfect information to start. When you ski down the mountain, you don’t need to know every bump before you get to it—that’s part of the fun. Sometimes, we just have to say, “Oh well, I did my best, and now I just need to move forward based on what I know NOW.”
Start With Trust
Do you trust that regardless of your financial circumstances, you are bigger than your money problems? For some, trust will be based in a spiritual belief in a life purpose and higher power; for others, trust is about understanding your innate resourcefulness and resiliency even in the worst of financial circumstances. A lot people say they don’t trust the stock market, but to me, that means that they think somehow, the system is designed to screw them over, that it or the economy is inherently untrustworthy . . . which is like saying the weather or the ocean is inherently untrustworthy (sharks, yes…ocean, no). The more you pay attention—and the more you experiment in the environment–the better off you are.
Financial success and personal finance is about matching trust with inspired action. About moving forward with imperfect information, and then adjusting and adapting as more information becomes available. It’s about admitting that you don’t need to know everything before you start, that indeed, trying to know everything might even be an impediment to success.
Actions This Week
The key to good personal finance is also about trusting yourself. Set aside time to get quiet this week and reflect on your situation. If you trusted yourself, what would be an inspired action you could take this week to improve your personal finances? Or what have you been putting on hold because you feel like you don’t have enough data to pull the trigger? I’d love to hear your answers in the comments!
P.S. You should check out my free workbook to help you align your values, goals and priorities with your money – you can download that here.