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Friday, March 17, 2006

Your Money or Your Life

Everyone gets emotional about money. Most of us link it to happiness and/or success. It almost certainly results in anger and frustration at some point in our lives. It appears as if money has some power over us – the power to make a difference in our lives. The truth is that money only has the power we assign to it.

The cornerstone of personal finance is your ability to manage your cash flow. Taking in more than you spend is essential to growth and prosperity. Most people rely upon their job as their sole source of income. All too often we become emotionally connected to the income our jobs provide. This connection can prevent us from making sound decisions when it comes to our lives. It is this emotional connection that forces good people to stay in bad jobs.

The emotional connection makes our present job seem larger than life. No matter how hard we try we just can’t break free from the bonds of this terrible situation. “I hate the job but I need the money” becomes our mantra. In essence we become addicted to the income that the horrible job provides and we don’t see a way to break free.

Here are three things you can do to help break your addiction to your horrible job and take back control of your life:

Admit you have a problem. Admit that you are miserable in your current job. Admit it to yourself and to your family. You will be amazed at how good you feel when you get the burden of denial off of your chest.

This admission will allow you to begin welcoming help and support into your life. You will suddenly feel free to consider other options. A solution will not magically present itself, however your eyes will be open to some possibilities that you may not have previously noticed.

Develop some form of secondary income. This does not need to be an income stream that rivals your current role. Even something that provides a limited amount of cash will help. The object here is to build your confidence in earning some money in a situation outside your traditional comfort zone.

The occupation for your secondary income is totally up to you. The one nonnegotiable factor is that it must be in an area that you enjoy. The idea is that once you see you can make some money – any money – from something you enjoy, your mind will be open to leaving a job you hate, but feel you need.

Put limits on your unhappiness. In order to get your life back and take control of your career you must set an end date with yourself. Give yourself ample time to explore new opportunities and learn about your hidden talents. Set a date for when you will have a job that is rewarding both emotionally and financially

Setting a date does a few important things for you psychologically. First it shows that you have control. If you can set a date, then you can walk away. Second, it removes any anticipatory anxiety. Sometimes the dread that comes from going to work everyday is about not seeing an end. Setting a date changes that. Finally, when you set a date you give yourself the ultimate motivation. Your mind will drive your actions to become consistent with your thoughts. If you set a firm date and stick with it, you will find a better job because of your internal motivation.

Too many people today are forced to choose between making money and being happy. If you take control of your career you will no longer have to make that choice.

Originally posted on The Career Intensity Blog

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