How Do You Handle Transitions?

One of my favorite aspects of growing up in Asheville was that we experienced four distinct seasons.  When I grew up and lived in other parts of the country, I appreciated this distinction, and now understand that it matches my curiosity and excitement about what may happen next as change unfolds. My basic personality type seeks out change, and I look forward to the seasonal transitions as nature showcases something new in each one. As we enter the fall season, many of us become aware of the shifting feeling of a transition.  It can show up as an uncertain rumbling of anxiety, or as excitement as the crisp fresh air replaces the summer heat.  How do you handle transitions, whether it is the change of seasons, a new job or home, or a major life transition from a divorce or loss of a loved one?  Our core personality may influence how we approach these chapters, and influence our coping ability.

There are two types of change: external (marriage/divorce, having children, moving, changing jobs) and internal (how attitudes toward change are shaped).

Change theorists surmise there are three stages of change (source):

Stage 1: grieving whatever you are letting go of

Stage 2: period of doubt and uncertainty, where most of the action is internal, i.e. how you’re processing the change

Stage 3: light at the end of the tunnel, where plans begin to take shape and action is ready to be enacted. This is the period where hope for a better outcome begins to take hold

Finding coping mechanisms helps with navigating transition, especially the big ones. (source)

  • Expect a certain amount of anxiety or depression. Even positive changes often mean the loss of something in our lives, i.e. changing jobs means saying goodbye to coworkers we’ve come to think of as friends, buying a house or moving to another state could mean leaving behind a beloved home full of memories, or saying goodbye to friends.
  • Realize this is a new chapter. While acknowledging the losses is healthy, avoid living in the past, and this can be accomplished by thinking of the new thing as a fresh start.
  • Think positively about the transition bringing opportunity. The expression, “When one door closes, another opens,” may be clichéd, but it can also be true. Perhaps a career transition forced by a layoff can become an opportunity to learn a new skill to take your expertise in another, more exciting direction.
  • Avoid stagnation. The longer you take to get started on your new journey, the more chance there is to become inured in routine that feels comfortable but may not be very fulfilling
  • Have a support system. Going through change alone is daunting to say the least, but relying on friends, family, or counselors/coaches can help you maintain your momentum and move forward.
  • Make sure your expectations and timeframes are realistic. There will be difficulties associated with the changes, but taking them one at a time helps keep them from being overwhelming. Biting off more than you can chew is a quick path to giving up. However, by taking the change in manageable chunks helps you not only navigate the transition, but when you look back, you can see how far you’ve come. If you’re visual, make a list and mark how long the tasks take to do, and by the time you’re near completion, you can see how far you’ve come. For example, someone wanting to change careers may need a degree to enter the desired new field. That’s a big obstacle, but going about it one class at a time, they can manage it in smaller doses and before long, degree in hand, they can begin their chosen path and be proud of progress made.

At Earth Equity Advisors, we have noticed that our biggest competition is often not another financial firm, but inertia.

Some people explore responsible investing, yet feel overwhelmed with the thought of moving accounts and establishing a relationship with a new financial advisor.  They may even cringe with they open their statement and see that some long-held investments do not match their values, yet making a change feels like it will take more energy than they can muster up.

At a recent conference, the keynote speaker referenced a psychologist’s statement that as consumers, our first decision to buy a product or service is from the right side of the brain—how it feels to us, rather than all the analytics of price, value, product quality, etc. that come from the left side of the brain.  When it feels right to you, making changes and navigating the transition can feel empowering and positive.

Here’s to embracing change as we enter fall, and cheering nature as the leaves change color—they make transition look easy

Understanding Money and Control

Who is winning the struggle for control—YOU or your money?

Throughout history, money evolved from a simple way to barter for goods and services into a powerful force to be reckoned with, that defines our life choices and emotional well-being. In our culture, wealth is often measured from the outside. Advertisements, influencers, and close circles of family and friends raise us in an environment where we often hear that money buys things, and those things bring happiness.

Somewhere along the way, money moved from the role of facilitating, sharing and exchanging to complete power in and of itself.

We need to take back control of our money and keep it in its proper place.

One of my favorite books is The Soul of Money, by Lynne Twist.

Twist writes, “True wealth, or well-being, can’t be found in a static balance sheet, no matter how large the accumulation of financial assets. Wealth shows up in the action of sharing and giving, allocating and distributing, nourishing and watering the projects, people, and purpose that we believe in and care about, with the resources that flow to us and through us. But when “holdings” hold us back from using money in meaningful, life-affirming ways, then money becomes an end in itself and an obstacle to well-being.”

What is the true purpose of money?

How do we shift to regain control of moving closer to that purpose?

If you begin an intentional project to match your use of money to express who you are in the world, it can make you feel vibrant and in control. You can let your money flow toward the things you actually care about.

How to start regaining control of your money and finances:

Find the courage to look at your financial situation honestly. Track where your money goes each month—are you paying attention each time you use your debit or credit card and thinking before buying? Try the pause button before purchasing and think to yourself: Do I really need this? Do I have something like it already?

Remember the saying “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Be conscious about the stores you shop in and the products you buy. How are your goods made? How are your services fulfilled? Consider if they are poorly made, throwaway items or clothes that were produced using cheap overseas labor, and whether the item will add to the landfill. Do you spend money on what you care about, or because some outsider (neighbors, media, friends to name a few) said it was important? Simply raising your awareness is a great place to start this journey of taking back control of your money.

Would someone you care about (for example, a grandparent that passed away) be pleased with how you obtain and spend your money? If your young child grows up and models the same spending practices that you have, will you be pleased with their behavior? Be a role model, avoid impulse purchases, and limit purchases that deplete the Earth’s resources.

According to Twist, “Whether you are aware of it or not, you make an impact each day with your choices about how you live and how you allocate your resources. If “money talks” it is with our voice. Each financial choice you make is a powerful statement of who you are and what you care about. When you take a stand and have your money reflect that, it strengthens your sense of self.”

Most of us work hard for our money, and how it feels as we spend it can shift our feelings from anxiety to a sense of abundance.

Learn how much is enough for you, and bask in the contentment of keeping money in its proper place in your life.

Contact me for a free consultation and regain control over your finances by creating an investment portfolio that reflects your deepest values.