Today I heard an interview with a psychotherapist by the name of Dr. Brad Blanton, who is an expert in stress management. He wrote a book called “Radical Honesty” that explodes the myths and lies by which we live. “We all lie like hell,” he says.
Blanton believes that relationships require true intimacy, and that true intimacy only exists if we can be radically honest with each other, in a way we weren’t raised to be. And that it’s not just a matter of always telling the truth, but of telling ALL the truth. In other words, we mostly lie through omission … avoiding saying what we really think.
He talks about how exhausting it is to live with all the lies, or half-told truths, having to remember what we said to whom. While he recognizes the price that relationships pay for total honesty, he emphasizes the price the individual pays for the lack of total honesty.
This is pretty heavy stuff and there are lots of ramifications I’m still thinking through about Blanton’s beliefs. Imagine telling everyone everything you’re thinking! To make that change requires a level of courage I don’t quite have at the moment, because of the vulnerability it opens us each up to. But I’ll be digging further to see how the lack of total honesty might be bringing stress to my life, and what I’m willing to change.
In the meantime, thinking about Radical Honesty did lead me to somewhere where we can safely practice it today: with ourselves.
So let’s pick three places where we can remove some stress and safely build a new solid foundation in our financial lives, by practicing what I’ll call “Radical Financial Honesty.”
Affecting the Emotional Aspect of Money
We have behaviors around money that we know are unhealthy for our financial security … but that we push back into our subconscious minds. It could be impulse spending because it makes us feel good, especially in these difficult times. Or repelling money by not charging enough for our services because we don’t feel we deserve it.
Or working such long hours we rarely see our family because we believe that money cures all ills. Or hiding receipts from our spouse because we don’t want to hear how we can’t afford it these days. Or spending money we don’t have on our children because we don’t ever want them to go through what we did as kids.
Time for Radical Honesty. Stop for a moment. Pick one behavior you know is messing with your finances. Spend a few minutes thinking about where that behavior came from. (Whatever it is, you more than likely brought it forward from childhood.) Where did you first see it? In a parent? Or is it an opposite reaction to something you saw or heard as a child?
Whatever it is, be honest with yourself about the damage it’s doing to you and your loved ones. Decide if it’s something you want to get Radically Honest about and change. No one needs to know, just you. And you can change it.
Becoming aware is the powerful key to changing anything.
Affecting the Physical Aspect of Money
When it comes to our money, we know more or less what we owe, but we don’t want to add it up and write it down in one place because the number will probably scare us.
Or maybe we tell everyone that we have a budget and talk about how we live within it, but the truth is that we don’t actually have one. We just stop spending when we run out of money each month.
Or the bills and statements pile up on the counter, unopened, because we feel out of control. Reality is so frightening that we don’t even want to know.
Time for Radical Honesty. Time to take a leap of faith and accept that numbers alone will not kill us. They’re just numbers. And in the great majority of cases, we’ve blown them up much worse than they really are.
And if they are bad, the only way to start getting them under control is to know what they are. If you don’t know the problem, you can’t fix it. Tear open those envelopes. Look at those statements. Add up what you owe. Figure out what you bring home, exactly. Look at the gap between what you need each month and what you bring home. Pick what you can cut back so you can cover expenses, then start addressing debt.
Knowing is infinitely easier than not knowing.
Affecting the Spiritual Aspect of Money
We talk about wanting to save, but we don’t. We talk about down-scaling our lifestyles so we have a better shot at financial independence, but we put it off until next month. We talk about building a new business to generate income for our future, but we don’t take action. We buy products that will help us start something up, and they sit unopened on the shelf … or on our computer hard drives.
Time for Radical Honesty. Stop and think seriously about what you’re willing for your life to look like today … so it can look the way you want it to in five years. Envision graphically and in great detail what you want your life to look like 20 or 30 years from now, depending on your age today. What do you still want to achieve in your life? Let go of other people’s dreams and aspirations, and focus on your own. Make a “short list” of two or three things that will put a fire in your belly … to do what you have to for those visions to go from fantasy to reality.
Having a crystal clear personal vision is non-negotiable.
Now that we’ve looked at three possible areas of change, let me know in the comment section below where you think a little Radical Honesty might help you move towards getting your finances under control.
Bio: Sharon O’Day lost everything at age 53: her home, her business, everything. But how could that be? She’s an expert in global finance and marketing with an MBA from the Wharton School. She has worked with governments, corporations, and individuals … yes, she was the secret “weapon,” if you will, behind many individuals in high places. Yet she did! Since then, with her finances completely turned around, Sharon has gone on to interview countless women. She’s done extensive research to understand how that could have happened, especially with her strong knowledge of numbers and finance.
The surprising answers are shared in her posts, articles and an upcoming book. Today her mission is to show as many women as possible how to become financially free for the long term, through her coaching programs. She has developed a step-by-step plan to get past all the obstacles that keep women broke and scared … and from reaching the financial peace of mind they so deserve … if they’re willing to do what it takes!