Life is short, but the days are long when you are not spending them in ways that are meaningful to you.
Everything you want - more money, better health, nice relationships - you want in order to feel better.
Learning to follow your bliss - to listen to the call of your spirit - is the surest way to get what you really want.
Hi, I'M VALERIE
From a young age, I was determined to make money, because that's something we didn't have a lot of when I was growing up.
As a financial advisor, I was able to create financial security for myself while helping others do the same.
With dedication and a commitment to helping people make smart choices with their money, I built a successful and financially rewarding career.
I was blessed to work with family members, friends, and clients who became friends.
But I wasn't always honest.
MY SECRET MISSION
My clients had many different goals, but a goal they all shared was to have enough money to enjoy life, now and in the future.
I noticed that some of them were so focused on the enough side of the equation, they seemed to forget about the enjoy life part.
Because I was committed to helping them get what they wanted, I always advised clients how to have enough...
but my secret mission was to help them enjoy life.
And I admit sometimes I felt frustrated when they stayed stuck in places they clearly didn't enjoy.
GRIPPED BY FEAR
One day after sharing a "Quality of Life" exercise with some client-friends, I asked for their feedback.
Jim appreciated it; Carol said, "You know, I really just want to look at charts and graphs of our money when we meet with you."
That's fair; after all, I was their financial advisor. But that's when I started to realize I was wearing the wrong hat for the work I really wanted to do.
That's also when my brain started harassing me with doubt and fear:
- I've spent 15 years building this career. Why would I throw it all away?
- I have clients and coworkers who are relying on me. I can't let them down.
- I have a good income and a lot of flexibility. It would be silly to give that up.
- The safe thing to do is become financially independent first, and then do what I really want to do.
On and on it went!
Fear of the unknown, fear of failing, fear of making a bad choice, financial fear, fear of letting others down, fear of looking foolish.
Finally, I was beginning to understand why people are reluctant to change, even when they're less than satisfied with the way things are. Even when they feel called to do something else.
I was also beginning to understand that I would need to "walk the walk" if I had any hope of helping others do the same.
SUCCESS LEAVES CLUES
As I agonized over what to do, I thought of the clients I’d worked with over the years. Why were some clearly happier and more fulfilled than others?
How much money they had didn't seem to matter. I worked with millionaires who never seemed satisfied and schoolteachers who never made more than $35,000 a year who exuded bliss.
I began studying them, asking questions, and taking note. My "happy" clients:
- Were clear about what mattered to them and what brought them joy.
- Consistently looked for and found people and things to appreciate.
- Were not concerned with other people's opinions or definitions of success.
- Engaged in work they enjoyed and that allowed them to express their natural talents and interests.
- Had faith or belief in a force outside of themselves, connecting them to others and to guidance from within.
FOLLOWING YOUR BLISS
I learned from them that striving, struggling, and stressing are completely optional.
That we have absolute choice in the way we live and how we spend our time and money.
I learned that following your bliss has nothing to do with hedonistic pleasure seeking. It's about listening to the call of your spirit urging you to share your gifts and talents, your love, and your joy with others.
I learned that you don't have to wait to enjoy life.
To let go of fear.
To listen to your inner guidance and learn to trust yourself.
And from them, I learned how to help others follow their bliss.