Long-time readers will remember that I have, at times, struggled with the scarcity mindset. Recently, I discovered that as much as I thought I had moved on from it, I hadn’t.
Since the divorce, I’ve been operating from a place of survival again. I had thrown a lot of money at trying to save things, and have had a hard time getting back to a place where I’m comfortable. I feel like I’m running on a treadmill. It doesn’t matter how fast I run or how many calories I burn; at the end of the day, I’m still in the same place.
One day while listening to Lizzo, I decided to do something ambitious. I decided to start setting monthly income goals that weren’t necessarily realistic. Realism is typically what I do.
But perhaps in this instance, realism was holding me back. What I realistically expect out of myself may be far less than what I am worth or capable of.
I calculated my dream income, divided it by twelve, and realized I wasn’t quite ready for my mindset to be that abundant.
I subtracted about $1k/mo. The goal was still crazy ambitious, but I figured if I hit it, I could raise it. I’m cognizant of the moon, but I’m also totally cool if I hit that number that’s $1k less, landing among the stars.
The person who said "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars" has no basic understanding of astronomy.— Richard Tan (@vinyarb) July 8, 2019
Am I hitting my income goals?
I busted out a pen and paper and drew my Lizzo-inspired income chart. Want to see how close I came to reaching my goal?
I’m counting income as work I lined up and completed that month rather than the income I actually receive. I have far more control over the former, so it’s the metric I’m choosing to focus on.
Did making a chart really help?
Yes. It’s in a place I can see it everyday, and that did two things for me. First, it helped me remember how quickly small amounts really do add up to big sums. Each small block I colored in was its own victory, but zooming out and seeing my efforts inch me closer to my larger goal was really encouraging.
The other thing it did was really motivate me. So much so that I’m going to be using motivational lyrics of female artists moving forward to get me into action. For example, July’s chart inspired by Cardi B:
Scarcity vs Abundance Mindset
I could cut back my spending; I know how to live on next to nothing. And I’m going to take more drastic steps in that direction as I move through this process.
But for the first time, I’m embracing the idea that I can build my income to a point where I could actually meet some more of my goals rather than just continuing to slog through with the focus on extreme frugality.
I’m starting to have a little more faith that I can create my own future and truly believe it will come to pass rather than waiting for the floor to drop as I brace once again to pivot my goals to match my ever-changing surroundings.
This time around, I’m finding that establishing that confidence in myself at the income level is a step in the right direction. I’ve had more faith the money I need will be there when I need it, which can be a major concern when you’re a freelancer.
That makes me marginally less stressed so I tend to make (marginally) better financial decisions.
Those marginally better decisions start to make life marginally easier and easier still, reducing stress and upping good decision-making. Because you’ve asserted power in one area of your life, you feel like you can regain it in all the others.
This is all kind of heady. I mean, I’m only on month two of this little experiment.
But I’m curious: Have you ever struggled with abundance vs getting by vs realism? And if you created an income goal chart, which lyrics would you use to motivate yourself?