Juan Carlos Medina
Jan. 3, 2020
Simon Sinek had a famous TED Talk titled, “How great leaders inspire action,” which gave birth to the concept of the “Golden Circle” and starting with the question “Why?” Sinek stated, “Everyone knows what they do. We know how we do it, but few people know why they do it.” He goes further by stating, “Knowing your WHY gives you a filter to make choices at work and at home that will help you find greater fulfillment in all that you do.”
I believe that if we are able to take the time to introspect and determine the why behind our financial goals, we will unleash an internal passion and motivation to pursue them that is strong enough to overcome the greatest of our money temptations and behavioral shortcomings. And what better time of the year to start than now? The following are some steps to aid you in finding your financial why, add intention to your financial decisions, and light your financial goals on FIRE.
1) Take time to think about your past.
What did you truly care most about? What worries did you have? What didn’t you want to happen? What type of life would have made you the most happy and proud? Taking the time to think about the past can allow us to capture patterns that we may have not noticed or have ignored but have been trying to tell us something all along.
2) Ask yourself why.
Why is having money important to you? Why do you spend the way you do? Why do you invest the way you do? Why have certain things influenced you? Going through this process will clarify if you are being true to yourself through your actions and help determine whether you are living your life based on your own why or that of others around you such as your mom or dad, friends, or the media culture surrounding you.
3) Determine if your actions line up with your values and your why.
What actions support your values? What actions detract from your values? Are these actions aligned with your financial why?
If your actions align with your why you will typically feel great about them. If they don’t, you’ll feel out of alignment. Listen to that feeling and stop and think about the actions you are about to take. If they are in alignment with your why, then do it; if not, then think about where that feeling is coming from and resolve that conflict so that you make the best decision. Do this enough times and you will create a habit in your decision-making that should make living your why easier by the day.
4) Determine how you are going to start living your financial why.
What actions and habits will you undertake that will help you pursue what you care about and value most in the future? How will you remain accountable to yourself and remain true to your why? Start with writing down the habits, routines, and decisions that allowed you to make the most progress towards your goals in the past – whether they were health goals, work goals, or relationships. Then think about where you got tripped up and determine how you can prevent that going forward. A lot of it is creating an environment that sets you up for success (such as using a financial wellness benefit) that can serve as a great resource in both the environmental and accountability factors.
5) Live and share your financial why.
Once you have your why and understand how you will fulfill it, then you are ready to live it. Keep your financial why front and center. Distill it down to one sentence and put it on a post-it note, your phone, or your calendar – so that you have an easy reminder as to why you are doing what you do every day. Consider sharing it with a close friend or family member for additional accountability. Your financial why will help refine your personal financial mission statement so that your actions and financial values/financial why are aligned.
Remember that this is a fluid process and one that requires practice. The important thing is to get started, have patience, and don’t be too hard on yourself when you slip up. I hope that this inspires you to take that opportunity now and make this year your most focused and purposeful financial year yet!