self-compassion

Working What We’ve Got

One investment supersedes all others: an investment in yourself. It adjusts for inflation. It helps you have a more interesting life. When we invest in ourselves, we are seeking to improve our value to others. The more valuable we make ourselves, the more an employer or customer will pay us.

The collection of attributes that create this value are called human capital. Many aspects of human capital are free. Years ago, I became acquainted with a senior officer of a large publicly traded company whose most obvious superpower is kindness. After they moved on to a leading role elsewhere, people familiar with them always remembered that trademark feature—and how they had helped them in the past, how they made them feel.

Kindness is free. So are dependability, punctuality, enthusiasm, diligence, and all the other traits we seek when we deal with others. (Others desire those same traits in us.)

Some aspects of human capital require time and money, sometimes lots of both. Think of the education and training required of surgeons, for example. Educational paths and career planning are beyond the scope of this essay, but the value and wisdom of all of your choices ultimately comes down to whether you figure out how to add value to the rest of society.

We have heard the idea of “follow your passion” debated back and forth. Understand the difference between doing what you are passionate about and being passionate about what you do. One of them has a wider range of opportunity than the other.

The source of our wealth is our earning power, which arises from our human capital. It all starts here.

Clients, if you would like to talk about this or anything else, please email or call.


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My “Money” Valentine: Practicing Healthy Relationships with Money

photo shows dollars bent into heart shapes

With another Valentine’s Day approaching, plenty of folks are reflecting on their romantic entanglements or interests, but it’s making us think more deeply about all sorts of relationships. 

What does a healthy relationship with money feel like? 

We are not here to give personal advice, per se, but there seem to be some fundamental principles that could serve us well in any partnership. 

Make way for reality. 

The most important of life’s conversations require some vulnerability—and bravery. Whether we’re talking about romantic commitments, financial health, or other big relationship, everyone involved would do well to be on the same page from the get-go.  

Start by getting everything relevant out on the table. Getting more familiar with the current state of things will help you face and work with the reality of your financial life. The important conversations deserve this level of honesty, even when it’s “just” you and your money! 

Check your expectations. 

For any endeavor, idealizing a relationship can doom it in an instant. Instead we’d recommend checking in with your expectations about money. Is any past baggage adding weight to a current financial issue? Or does it feel like progress is coming way too slowly? 

Sometimes the problem isn’t the issue itself: the problem is how we are framing the problem. Goals can be wonderful (see below!), but even as we’re playing the long game, embrace what author Lynne Twist calls “experiences of sufficiency.”  

They are those moments when things feel whole and life is full of “enough.”  

A meal that satisfies. Sunbeams falling across the countertop. Clothes on your back.  

A plan that you allow to inspire some hope. Speaking of… 

Use goals to light the path you’d like to take. 

Not every day of a relationship will be great, but the point isn’t total control of the outcome. Security comes from having confidence that, generally, things are headed the right direction. 

So what are the milestones along the way that will remind you of that? That will spark joy, serve others, or continue to connect you to what’s important? 

In the end…  

Love is all you need! Thanks to the Beatles for this one, but it works. In short, compassion is a great foundation for a healthier relationship with money. 

If you’d like to talk about what this means for you, please write or call.


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Don’t Talk About My Friend That Way!

People do love dramas and reality shows, but in real life, it’s not always the jealous neighbor or the loud socialite who spews the worst judgments about us. 

We’re pretty good at doing that to ourselves. 

In our financial lives, it’s easy to slip into judgment. We berate our past selves for not getting organized sooner. We doubt whether our current plan is on track or whether we will be able to handle whatever arrives tomorrow. 

There’s a trick for that. It’s free, it’s simple, and most of us have been practicing it all our lives. 

Be a better friend—to yourself.  

Kristin Neff studies the psychology of self-compassion and puts it this way: “It’s natural for us to try to be kind to the people we care about in our lives. … We comfort them when they’re going through hard times. In other words, most of us are very good at being understanding, kind and compassionate toward others. But how many of us are good at being compassionate to ourselves?” 

Financial freedom isn’t totally about what’s in your pocket. We believe that you can be a good friend to yourself—and you’ll become a better steward of your resources in the process. 

Kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness are the key ingredients in compassionate responses according to Neff. When we give ourselves time to pause and reflect, we can have more reassuring conversations with ourselves—ones that don’t end in self-sabotage or ongoing anxiety. When was the last time your inner voice was compassionate? 

  • “You know, lots of people make mistakes along the way: where can you grow from your past?” 
  • “Of course you get worried sometimes: you care deeply about your family, your legacy, your work…” 
  • “Notice how you’re jumping ahead? Maybe make a note, but then let yourself come back to what you can do right now.” 

Sure: this kind of self-talk isn’t for everyone. If that’s true for you, then try substituting my voice in your head: “Hey! Don’t you treat my friend like that!” And then let yourself off the hook. 

Friends, when you’d like to talk more, drop us a line. 


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