Whether I like it or not, my accountant brain does an intermittent mental tally of my personal budget. (Receivables outstanding/likelihood of prompt payment)- expected expenses+revolving line of credit with Parental Bank= available funds.
Sometimes there is just enough for everything. Once in awhile there’s a surplus, and sometimes the result is negative. Red ink and parentheses give me the hives, and begin I struggle with a scarcity mindset.
One might think that treating financial resources as scarce is a good thing, a conservative move, the path to that elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I don’t think that’s true. I also don’t think that abundance is licence for extravagance, which is the natural development of this line of thinking.
A date once admitted that he orders decidedly less at establishments that provide free snacks, sheepishly, and muttered something about being cheap. I responded that being cheap about some things affords us things of higher quality when it matters.
Money, like most everything else just beyond our comprehension, is cyclic. The sea never burns; the tides come in and go out out, of their own accord, on the moon’s schedule. Rushing headfirst into rising surf or frantically digging holes as the water pulls from the sand is merely our reaction to the nature of things.
As anyone with a love of the sea knows, there are advantages to each stage of the cycle. Surf fishing is better as the tide is coming in, shelling and net fishing are better when the tide goes out. In the same way, when we are not abundant in cash, we are abundant in opportunity.
Allowing a shortage of cash flow to inspire a mindset of scarcity leaves the primal brain in charge, while the intelligent brain gets locked in a closet. Mentally, one prepares for starvation. Every smallest morsel is worth fretting over and fighting about, one becomes unwilling to invest much into long-term gratification, since it seems the end is nigh. It is nearly as effective as building levies to keep the tide from ever returning, so you might garden there instead.
So when my chest gets tight and my head spins a little, I take a deep breath and find something mindless to do- cleaning, walking, or driving. Then I remind my poor, addled reptile brain how full and wealthy I actually am.
I think about the perfect raspberries I had for breakfast, how beautiful my surroundings are, and what an incredible community exists here, that I am healthy, and that there is every chance in the world that the life growing within is healthy, and what a miracle that is. I remember that it is pride and determination that prevents me from just calling my parents to forward more of my inheritance, I think about the ice in my sister’s freezer that waits just for me, and the hundred other ways she supports and cares for me.
I recall how much I love that I have outstanding receivables at all, how much I enjoy the work and how proud I am to be an entrepreneur. I review all the professional mentors and colleagues that advise and encourage me, and the people that believed in my talent enough to help me get here. I think about my incredible bed and the sweet smell of clean sheets and the most ridiculous and comfortable pillow known to man or God.
That usually calms me down enough to think rationally, so that I can launch a special for the month, write a post for my new collaborative gig, prepare for upcoming projects, and wait patiently for the tide to come in.
June 5, 2012 2 Comments