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All the times I’ve thrown money at my problems & why it never fixed anything

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Not to invoke Albert Einstein too early in this blog, but … “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” 

According to that definition, I’ve definitely qualified as insane a few times in my life. And there’s rarely been anything more crazy-inducing than my past tendency to try to “hack” my way through life.

I was convinced that there was a “quick fix” to any number of problems — my fitness, the fact that I hated my job, even finding a relationship — and if only I could find the right system, methodology, or steps, then everything would be golden once and for all.

In my quest to find a magic bullet, I have thrown thousands of dollars at my problems over the years.

I’m guessing you might be able to relate.

GETTING MY BUTT IN SHAPE

Everyone has an Achilles’ heel in life, and exercise is definitely (one of) mine.

I just don’t like it. I’m sorry, but that’s how it is. I can’t for the life of me understand why people enjoy being in pain. (Maybe there’s a point at which it stops being painful? I wouldn’t know!)

But nevertheless, I care about being healthy. I want to live a long life, and I want to give my body what it needs to thrive.

So up until recently, I was on a quest to find the “right thing” for me when it comes to exercise. Because, naturally, I was convinced that the reason I resisted exercise so much was because I hadn’t found anything I liked enough to do regularly.

You could chart my pattern like clockwork.

I’d start by getting fed up with myself for not exercising, and then react to that by making an impulse buy. This is usually when I’d find a “booty lifting” or “cardio dance” program in my online cart.

I’d get into the new program for a few weeks, then I’d get bored and the whole thing would fizzle.

Pissed off about that, I’d think, “OK, I’m just not good at holding myself accountable. I know! I’ll buy passes to Bikram yoga so that I have to go!”

And for a few months, I’d get into Bikram … until June rolled around and it was impossible to be in a 120-degree room for 90 minutes.

OK, fine. Obviously more personal attention is what’s needed, so a personal trainer it is!” … until I ended up gifting my unused sessions to Kristen.

I have so much crap literally and figuratively collecting dust.

RIP to: the beautiful bike that’s rusting away in my basement closet that I rode maybe 10 times, the Brazilian butt lift DVD and equipment under my bed, the workout program that promised I only had to do it for 15 minutes every 3 days (and still … I couldn’t keep up with it), the countless unused class passes and Groupons, and all the gyms that barely knew me.

And if you thought it was just exercise, you’d be mistaken.

I LOOOOOVE TO BUY COURSES AND NEVER TAKE THEM

I love learning, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

But … spending $500 on a course and never once logging in? That might be a problem.

Maybe it’s the sleek marketing tactics, but damn, some of those things just get you every time:

“Yes! I do need access to 100 interviews with women who found their soul mate in 90 days or less!”

“Learn how to be a business magician and attract beau coups clients? Sign me up!”

“Create social media fame overnight so that money will flow in buckets? Uh huh!”

And to be fair … sometimes I did log in. Sometimes we (because Kristen doesn’t get off the hook that easily) did half or even all of a program.

Oh, and the books! And the planners! How many countless systems have promised to make me a more organized, goals-crushing person (in 12 weeks or less)? And how many planners did I use for 2 weeks, only to recycle a year later?

And let’s not forget the thousands of dollars we’ve spent on coaches and consultants over the years … only to discover after working with most of them that we already had all the insights we needed.

BUT THAT’S WHY THROWING MONEY AT YOUR PROBLEMS IS EASY

It’s a lot easier to assume that something or someone else has the magic fix. Because if that’s the case, then you can hand over your money and wait for life to right itself.

When you’re convinced there’s a magic bullet, you give your power to someone else and make the problem their responsibility. And when (inevitably) there is no quick fix, you assume you just haven’t found the right person/system/method.

This mentality is convenient because you never really have to do much. You bounce from quick fix to quick fix, all the while never having to make any real progress because you keep starting over. It’s a procrastinator’s dream!

And of course, it’s never your fault that life isn’t working out for you, or you can’t get in shape, or you can’t find love, or whatever … you just haven’t found the right magic bullet yet.

When you believe in quick fixes, you never have to take responsibility for what’s not working or do any deeper thinking about why it’s not working.

NO AMOUNT OF MONEY WILL EVER FIX YOUR PROBLEMS

It’s like people who’ve gotten egregious amounts of plastic surgery and still go back under the knife — no amount of physical alteration is going to make them feel beautiful if, at their core, they believe they aren’t good enough or worthy enough as they are.

Until you address the underlying issue, no amount of money, courses, exercise regimens, lovers, botox, whatever, will ever change a thing.

Looking for a “quick fix” (in other words, trying to buy an external solution to an internal problem) is how we attempt to bypass the real work.

When it comes to exercise, I had to stop throwing money at new programs/gyms/classes and finally examine the intention behind that pattern.

Here’s what I realized:

I was overly obsessed with the results, and I wasn’t at all interested in the process.

I wanted what I was being sold — a trimmer, leaner, stronger physique — and I wanted it to be easy, and then I wanted it to be over. (As if exercise is something you can do for 90 days and then stop.)

I wanted to go through the motions and get the results, but not actually change my attitude about exercise … which is why nothing I tried ever lasted.

Changing my attitude about exercise meant accepting that there is no such thing as a quick fix. And that if you’re doing it for the results, you’re in it for the wrong reason.

Funnily enough, I exercise more consistently now than I ever have. It’s pretty low-key — walking, yoga, swimming, some light weights. I’m no longer doing it for an end result (seeing positive changes is just an added bonus). I’m doing it because I want to live a healthy lifestyle.

And even though I still want to die when I’m working my abs in yoga, I understand that pain is just a temporary part of the process and, get this … you don’t have to enjoy every second of something in order to do it. That’s been a revelation for me.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Oh, and the courses and business consultants? They were usually an excuse to avoid trusting my own intuition and a convenient way to keep focusing on theory and never take any action.

But the courses and coaches that did work? Well, first … I logged in. And then I did every single piece of the process. I wasn’t trying to fast forward through the hard parts. I didn’t just want the end result. I wanted to actually grow and change.

Remember, there’s nothing inherently good or bad about any course, exercise regimen, or whatever else you invest your money in. Like most things in life, why you do anything is more important than what you’re doing.

So, what about you? What have you found yourself throwing money at? Share with me, in the comments!

IF YOU LIKED THIS, THEN YOU’LL ALSO LOVE …

Why you need to stop fighting your life and just go with it

Are you actually *qualified* for happiness?

Taking the slow train to get fast results

Much Love,

Rachel (& Kristen)

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Why it’s totally OK when you don’t like someone

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Several months ago, I was helping facilitate a multi-day business training. I didn’t know any of the other instructors, so when I showed up on the first day, I introduced myself to the training team.

I instantly got a weird vibe from the head trainer.

She ignored my introduction entirely and started spouting off everything that still needed to be done before we could get started. Her frantic energy was palpable, and I could sense it was putting the rest of us on edge.

“She’s probably just nervous about pulling off a great event,” I thought to myself. “Once everything’s ready to go, I’m sure she’ll settle down and be more personable. Don’t think too much of it.”

But once the students showed up and the head trainer started her presentation, my uneasy feeling only intensified.

Her exuberant positivity felt inauthentic and staged, and frankly, it made my skin crawl. She seemed much more interested in sharing stories of her own achievements rather than teaching helpful business concepts. And she would promise that we’d take a break in 10 minutes, but then ramble on for another 45, ignoring the restless energy in the room.

“Don’t be judgmental, Kristen,” I admonished myself. “Just because she’s doing things differently than you would doesn’t make her wrong. Maybe she’s overcompensating for some nervous jitters. Cut her some slack.”

Over the next few days, various things this woman said or did kept rubbing me the wrong way. And each time, I would chastise myself for being judgmental and try to keep an open mind about her.

Round and round it went for 3 days.

Until finally, toward the end of the last day, I admitted to myself, “I just don’t like this woman.”

Ahh, it felt so good to tell the truth! It was such a simple statement, but for me, it was a revelation.

… And then came the guilt.

IT’S OK TO NOT LIKE EVERYONE … AND TO NOT BE LIKED BY EVERYONE

Growing up, I was a serious people pleaser.

As in, I avoided conflict at any cost and wanted everyone to like me all the time. If a friend was annoyed with me, it felt like my world was collapsing. If I disappointed my parents or teachers, I was utterly devastated.

All of that meant that I frequently smiled, bit my tongue, and remained pleasant even when I was about to spill over with frustration, hurt, or disappointment. I told myself I didn’t want to “make a big deal of it” or cause unnecessary tension.

But really, I was terrified of people not liking me if I wasn’t perpetually pleasant.

When being liked by everyone is at the top of your priority list, it follows naturally that you assume you should like everyone else, too. So unless someone was undeniably terrible — mean, violent, cruel, that kind of thing — I believed I should like them.

And if I didn’t like them, then I was the terrible person for being judgmental.

I’M OFFICIALLY GIVING YOU PERMISSION … TO GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION

A few weeks ago, I was chatting with some friends and recounting the story of how hard it was for me to admit, even just to myself, that I didn’t like that lead trainer. Most of them chimed in with their own similar stories of guilt and confusion about not liking certain people in their life.

We all had no trouble whatsoever responding to one another with things like:

“It’s totally OK that you didn’t like that person!” and “I don’t like the sound of that person, either!” and “Not liking someone does NOT make you a bad person,” and “You’re just sharpening your discernment muscle.”

It got me thinking … why is it so easy to give other people permission to feel how they feel, but we can’t seem to give ourselves the same permission?

I imagined a friend or client telling me the exact story I shared with my friends. I wouldn’t hesitate for even a second before validating their gut instinct and encouraging them to trust their intuitive sense about the person they were feeling weird about.

So I’m making a point to start giving myself the same permission. And for all of my fellow people pleasers out there — I’m giving you the that permission, too:

You are officially allowed to trust your gut instinct and not like certain people who rub you the wrong way.

JUDGMENT VS. DISCERNMENT

At this point, some of you may now be thinking, “So, you’re saying I pretty much get to judge and dislike anyone I want?”

Well … yes and no.

See, there’s a pretty huge difference between judgment and discernment.

Judgment is jumping to conclusions about someone based on very little or irrelevant information. It’s where stereotypes and discrimination and objectification and overgeneralizations come from. It puts people into hierarchies and creates unnecessary separation. It’s ugly and unfair and all-around gross.

Discernment, on the other hand, is an empowering skill worth honing. It’s when you take in all of the information with an open mind, and then decide, “Does this align with me? Does this clash with my values? What is my gut telling me about this?”

Judgment is, “Look at her expensive outfit. I bet she’s a real snob.”

Discernment is, “That person uses disrespectful language that I can’t condone. I’m not interested in sticking around to hear more of their negativity.”

Judgment labels things and people as “good” or “bad,” whereas discernment isn’t interested in praising or condemning — it’s simply seeking “alignment” or “misalignment.”

FREE YOURSELF AND EVERYONE ELSE

The more you let go of judgment and start to practice healthy discernment of everything — including, yes, the people — in your life, you’ll experience incredible freedom.

Imagine if, instead of viewing people, careers, opportunities, etc., as “right” or “wrong,” “good” or “bad” … you simply asked yourself, “How aligned do I feel with this?”

That small shift could be revolutionary.

When I look back on my experience with that instructor, it’s clear to me that I wasn’t judging her — I was simply recognizing that I wasn’t aligned with her attitude, behavior, and energy.

That doesn’t make either of us bad people — just not right for each other. No hard feelings, no reason to be rude or impolite, and definitely no reason to judge myself.

It’s also freeing to realize that, if you have permission to be discerning and not like people who aren’t aligned with you … you also don’t have to be liked by everyone else. As a recovering people pleaser, this is slightly terrifying, but also such a relief.

When you don’t like someone, it just means you’re not aligned. So if someone doesn’t like you, it also means you’re just not aligned. It’s as simple and impersonal as that.

I’d love to hear from you now! Are you a people pleaser? Have you felt guilty about not liking someone before? How do you feel about this whole “judgment” vs. “discernment” thing? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts!

IF YOU LIKED THIS, THEN YOU’LL ALSO LOVE …

How to find your tribe

The awfulness of feeling like a fake

Are you tired of pretending to be someone you’re not?

The truth about my 2015: Kristen

Much Love,

Kristen (& Rachel)

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