When I turned 40...
When I turned 40 I stopped tying my age to my worth. Being young wasn’t as important to me as being wise and well-traveled. A few years later, I stopped tying my self-worth my zip code. I gave up suburban living and a big mortgage in a pristine historic neighborhood for city living and a house we could afford to pay for with cash. Not long after that I stopped tying my self-worth to the number that showed up on the scale in favor of being healthy and comfortable in my own skin.
I’ve given up a lot of numbers - a lot of "shoulds" - over these past six years. The one number I haven’t been able to give up, however, is that damn number in my bank account. I felt SO accomplished when my salary finally reached six figures and my 401k was reaching a point that made retirement an actual, eventual possibility.
And then I gave it all up…
quit my job, quit my salary, quit my employer-matched 401k. I cashed it all in favor of a living a life I dared to dream.
To say I have had some shame over my dwindling bank account is a vast - HUGE - understatement. My bank balance is constantly looping in the back of my head… “You should have more. You should save more. You should stop spending. You should be more careful. You should go get another big girl job and earn boatloads of cash.”
You know the most ridiculous part of it all? I haven’t wanted for ANYTHING since giving up my salary.
Still, I panic about money all the time.
From the time I started working in 1985 at Bob’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream and Lemonade at Town East Mall in Mesquite, Texas, (where I had to wear red, ribbed, polyester bell bottoms and pin a lace doily to my head), until last summer, I’ve been on someone else’s payroll pretty consistently. I can’t get used to the fact that now, as a consultant, I never really know when and from where my next paycheck is going to appear.
I was referred to my first consulting client by a dear friend almost immediately after leaving my full-time job last June. We did a lot of work together over the summer and then they just disappeared. It broke my heart and scared the shit out of me all at the same time. A second client I had worked hard on retaining fell through at the same time. For most of September and October I didn’t work.
You know what I did instead? I opened the SheHive. And you know what happened as soon as the SheHive was open? That first client called me - finally ready to continue the work we had started together earlier in the year. And three more clients popped up too.
Since then, every time a larger project has come up, one of my other clients goes dark for some reason or another - freeing up time and space. Last Friday, a client that had literally disappeared and stopped returning my calls, called me to start up our work again just as I was headed out to deliver my final product to another client.
Last Friday I decided it was finally time to start listening to the wake up calls being lobbed my way.
The work continues to come my way exactly when I need it. The universe is not a place of scarcity - it is a place of abundance. I don’t have to worry and I don’t have to carry shame. My income probably may not be six figures this year, but it will be enough.
Today, when we are encouraged to #BeBoldForChange, I am making the BOLD change to let go of this last number that falsely defined my self-worth. I am, instead, defined by my belief that I will always have everything I need. It’s been true up until today and it will continue to be true. And if you woke up this morning and are reading this, it’s been true for you up until today and it can continue to be true for you too.
Happy International Women's Day!
May you #BeBoldForChange today and every day beyond. And may you decide to define yourself by things that really, truly matter to YOU.
With much love and gratitude,
Ursula Adams, MSPOD