This is part 4 of a multi-part series on money, prosperity, clarity, and anything else that came up as I wrote it.
Let’s say you’ve been reading some of my blogs about living your dreams, or being a little bigger, or living more consciously, and now you have some ideas of daily or weekly items you want to do or new habits you want to cultivate. How are you going to carve out that kind of time? How are you going to re-prioritize your life?
One way to begin acting on these new priorities is to hire people to do some of the work that you could do, but takes time away from your bigger dreams.
For instance, when I was finishing up songs for a CD and getting ready to work with a producer, I hired someone to mow my lawn once a week. This might not sound like such a big deal. But it was. I’m someone who can fill my schedule to bursting because of an old belief that used to say, “If I CAN do it, then I SHOULD do it.” I certainly could mow my own lawn. So, shouldn’t I? (I finally shifted my values entirely and moved to a home in the woods with no lawn, so it’s not even an issue anymore!)
Question: How much is your time worth?
This is a particularly hard question to ask if you’re an artist or a teacher or massage therapist. Artists and therapists and teachers don’t make widgets. A song I write can move a few thousand people, but how much does that make? It’s hard to gauge. But I’m willing to place a high value on it. (I would add that a song like No Such Thing as Girls Like That has generated more CD sales than I could have ever imagined. Many people have told me they bought that CD based on hearing that one song on the radio one time.)
I paid someone $30/week to mow my lawn. For some people (for me at that time) that’s a lot of money. But my own personal economy made it imperative for me to do that. For one thing, I hated to mow my lawn. I dreaded it. I couldn’t stand getting the mower out. It was hot. It messed up my clothes. The amount of emotional energy, time energy, and spiritual energy it took added up to that $30/week easily. My time was worth way more than the $30. Maybe not in a minute-by-minute line up at that moment. But in the bigger picture. (And the guy I hired really loved to do it. He was always happy. And he needed that extra income.)
Another question: What prevents you from spending more of your time doing what you’re good at or doing what will enhance you (i.e., taking a writing class, or a painting class, or a meditation workshop)? Why would you choose instead to constantly be “busy”?
It can take a huge leap of faith to let go of the mentality that says, “Because I can’t afford all those big things you ramble on about.” Look deeper than that mindset. How much is your life and your dream and your time worth to you?
Learning how to hire people (and learning that it is, in fact, okay to hire people) has been a huge stepping-stone on my growth as an artist and professional performer/songwriter. It is also an action-step that tells my subconscious that I think I’m valuable too. It was scary at first to go against the old belief patterns, but now I can easily determine the value of getting help.
Here are some examples:
1. I pay an accountant to manage my retail taxes, my corporate taxes, my personal taxes, my employment taxes. I’ve had friends tell me that TurboTax makes everything a breeze and that I shouldn’t be paying an accountant. I want to pay an accountant because I don’t want to use my time learning another computer program and worrying about whether or not I’m doing it right. That’s not worth the time for me. (I could be writing a blog!) Quicken was challenging enough. Also, I gain peace of mind knowing that I stand much less chance of being audited by the IRS when I work with an accountant.
2. Many years ago, one of the tasks in my office that I hated doing was the email list. Updating it. Keeping up with sending out emails. Adding names after being on the road. It drained my energy. And I didn’t deal well with negative responses. (You always get a few here and there.) My friend Kathy, probably tired of hearing my constant whining about the email list, finally said, “Why don’t you hire a part time person just to do the email list?” I did. Eventually, I gained so much more energy that I continued to add items to this person’s task load.
3. Recently I bought the components of a new closet from The Container Store. (My coach was helping me re-do my writing room so that I didn’t feel so cramped in here.) When the parts arrived, I left them sitting all over the floor of my writing room telling myself that I had spent so much on those parts that I should just install them myself. After a week of climbing over those parts, I realized that it would probably take me and my husband an entire Saturday to figure it all out, and install the closet parts. Remembering that our relationship does much better when power tools are not involved, I hired a handyman. He put the closet together in about three hours. It would’ve taken me all day. My husband and I would be better served by hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains on a Saturday. It took a lot to remind myself that my relationship with my husband is more important than saving the extra money it cost to install the closet.
When you start to learn how to think about your personal economy and answer questions from a more self-directed place, some of the decisions you make can challenge you. This is good. Try to look at it as an experiment. Play with it a little. My friend Nelda who books and organizes the retreats I facilitate wrote me an email recently that said, “For $25 I had my lawn mowed and edged today….wow, I feel very free. Small price to pay in return for a half of a day.” She was experimenting and learned that sometimes your own relaxation and peace is worth a little extra money.
What do you want to do more of in your life? Have you been putting off taking a workshop telling yourself you can’t afford it? Have you been craving more time to relax, but spend your weekends cleaning the house? What is your time worth? How much do you value yourself and your dreams and goals?
In The Architecture of All Abundance (my favorite book on money), Lenedra Carroll beautifully addresses this issue of “not being able to afford things.” She says, We place what “we can’t afford” in the primary position in our economy. Meanwhile, our real life, our real self is indefinitely postponed. What we say in this decision is that we value money more than our own time and creativity. In doing this, we are devaluing our own dreams, demeaning our passion, overriding choice and freedom, and not putting ourselves into the equation of our generosity. And our dream suffers because the universe responds to the primary message: Leave me out of the abundance equation.
That says it all!