The Journey to Intimate Wealth

© Rudie - Fotolia.com Intimate WealthIf you’d rather listen than read:

The Journey to Intimate Wealth

People who aren’t “woo woo” at all have started talking about a shift from the outside to the inside.  From external, material success to internal, more intimate wealth.

“Intimate wealth?”

Well, many can’t exactly describe it.  But it’s as if the shake-up of the past half decade has led us to question the meaning of many words that used to be unambiguous.

For some, what triggered the re-examination was coming uncomfortably close to “survival:”

•    Going from two incomes to one.   (Or none.)
•    Watching our precious nest eggs shrivel before our very eyes.
•    Seeing our college graduate children move back home and ask for an allowance again, because they couldn’t find jobs.
•    Discovering the house we had been sacrificing each month to pay for over the years was no longer even worth the balance on the mortgage.

Lots of dreams went up in smoke.   But lots of those dreams had been mindlessly plucked from common culture, simply reflecting what we were expected to want … according to pumped up reality shows … celebrity lifestyles … or what Mom and Dad had …

We had been indoctrinated to believe that being on “achievement autopilot” would get us where we wanted to go.  (That’s not true.  It will get us somewhere, but not necessarily where our hearts want us to go.)  And how many of us really thought about the quality of the journey?

The Wake-up Call

The wake-up call of recent years has led many to start assessing what has true value, long-lasting merit.  Less “outside” stuff, more “inside” stuff.  That “vision” stuff.

That brush with survival has led to a new aliveness.  Many are defining the living, thriving, throbbing vision of their life.

They are finding the essence of that vision, and committing to never settling again for distracting trappings.

Their new definition of success requires that they find the path they are meant to walk.  That path unfolds sequentially; they have to outgrow each phase before moving on to the next.  They might have an overall final goal, but it will probably shift as they tweak it at each step.

For greatest satisfaction, they are seeking out the emotions behind each of the steps on their journey.  And they are feeling them.  They are filling each day with feelings and savoring the energy that liberates.

They have learned that a truly successful life requires a balance of money and meaning.  Money alone, without the context of joy and satisfaction, is dull and lifeless.  So as they start reinventing themselves in new homes, new jobs, new businesses and even new relationships, there is a simplification.

That simplification (and clarity) is what moves us from survival … to success … to significance.

It is a new form of wealth, in which we build the certainty that we can live a life that matches what we want.  Each and every day.  Much less of the superficial; much more of the intimate.  The things that have value way down deep.

A form of wealth, to be sure.  Intimate wealth.

Make sense?

Let me know in the Comments section below if you’ve seen any such shifts in your life priorities.

xxxxxxx

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 tell-it-like-it-is posts and articles. 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!

  • Joseann

    Interesting. As I have never followed this path…

    @We had been indoctrinated to believe that being on “achievement autopilot” would get us where we wanted to go… I probably missed that shift now :-).
    What makes me wonder is this: @ Their new definition of success requires that they find the path they are meant to walk.
    What is the difference between “being indoctrinated” and “being meant to”…do anything? Is there really a shift in the approach to life? Or is it only that they are indoctrinated into a different direction now? I am still not sure that people are doing what they want…

    • I find that many of my clients are actually stopping to ask themselves what THEY want out of life, Joseann … versus continuing on a path that they started on many years ago with very little thought other than “get a job, hang on to the job, move up the ladder.” The recent uncertainty and instability of markets and governments have led many to give much more thought to what brings them personal satisfaction (their purpose, perhaps?), even if they can only shift slowly in that direction, step by step.

  • I can certainly relate to this topic, Sharon! I’m still simplifying and enjoying the journey. From mere survival to success, however, for me has been a bit tricky. I love what you’re saying about it being a journey of steps, and that we must outgrow each step before moving to the next.

    What gives me the most hope is that you identify “significance” as the stage after success. I guess, we’ve all heard the “success” stories of many wealthy individuals, who have not experienced significance. Maybe, because they got caught in the trappings of success, instead of simplifying and finding true significance in a simple life.

    I’m deeply grateful to you, Sharon, for guiding us on a financial path that leads to not only success, but significance. It’s a privilege to learn from your wisdom and experience! Thank you!

    • What has marked me the most in the past 6 months or so, Susan, is how many are recognizing that something fundamental is changing about the country (in fact, the world). In its finest form, I see it as the pursuit of “a coherent life” where all the pieces make sense to us as individuals, as opposed to some ill-defined mass “out there.”. Each defines success by her own terms. Each reaches for her own vision of significance. And for many, it happens to be taking on a greater and greater simplicity. I know you “get it!” 😉

  • This is a year of going within. Simplifying because I must 🙂 On Saturday my extended family went to Tim Horton’s for a cup of tea instead of for a brunch. It was still a fun time but a $5 adventure instead of at least $20. Still fun. Great company.

    • Great idea, Catherine! The experience was still there, but it didn’t break the bank and wasn’t totally taken for granted. Awareness of how and when we spend our money amplifies the experience too … 😉

  • What a powerful post, Sharon. I loved “They have learned that a truly successful life requires a balance of money and meaning. ” And that is so very true. People are seeking within and are beginning to drop the fear to explore a new meaning in life.

  • Words of wisdom here. I have been doing the “inside” work for many years and I thought I knew a fair amount. Nothing prepared me for the challenges of 2012. As I sit in reflection now I am grateful for the life lessons. I still want some of the same things I did before, but now the reasons have changed. I value the little things more than I ever have and after watching my father die with cancer, my life will never be the same.

    • Anita, I watched my father and mother die in less than 12 months, of heart and cancer, when I was 21-22. I’ve never allowed myself to take life for granted after that, and am thrilled to see the extent to which so many people are making the shift towards “meaning.” I’m sorry for the year you’ve had, but happy to see where it has led you. Courage and love, my friend!

  • The words that jump out at me … after new jobs, was new relationships. That is what I did, I traded the job of ft backstop to a selfish person, for a partnership with myself, my kids, my SO and my Gd, and it feels great. I never knew what it felt like to be liked and valued. Now, I am free to be me, and cherished by others. Intimate, priceless, enlightening.

    • I knew you had taken a giant leap, Diane, but had no idea it was into your own arms! Welcome to “where you belong!”

  • These shifts that we are all making are changing the world, a bit a time. “That simplification (and clarity) is what moves us from survival … to success … to significance.” This is such a beautiful statement, Sharon…because we all need to feel significant in order to thrive…Yes, intimate wealth…that does make so much sense…beautifully written. Your post touched my heart.

    • I’m glad it resonated, Sherie! You and I share many common philosophies, so that means I hit the mark in communicating my message … 😉

  • This is EXACTLY what I am seeing. It is a wonderful, yet sometimes difficult shift. This is a fantastic post, Sharon. I am bookmarking it to share with clients. Bravo!

    • In many cases, you have to look for the shift, because it can be subtle. But just in the language people use … 😉

  • Love this: “a truly successful life requires a balance of money and meaning. Money alone, without the context of joy and satisfaction, is dull and lifeless. So as they start reinventing themselves in new homes, new jobs, new businesses and even new relationships, there is a simplification.

    That simplification (and clarity) is what moves us from survival … to success … to significance.”

    • Thanks for the kudos, Carl! And welcome to my site …

  • I agree. Working hard to get what everyone else gets isn’t meaningful. Working hard to change lives and help others is. Awesome post!

    • The best part, Mary, is that we each get to define concepts like “meaningful” and “significant,” as opposed to letting anyone else do it for us. That’s where the power … and the joy … lies!

  • Sharon, Great post. Having been there, done that–been sick because of it I have a real appreciation for your message, “a truly successful life requires a balance of money and meaning.” Thank you. Xx

    • If you look at how so many of get to that place of appreciation, Carmen, you’ll see that we each had different triggers. The nice part is being able to share that common bond once there, regardless how we got there!

  • I love this post Sharon! I’ve been going through a process of clarity of late – it’s an important piece around measuring success. Success is not the accumulation of *stuff* – it’s much more the achievement of the ideal balance of life and meaning. Thanks so much ;).

    • Moira, that was part of my “journey” when I hit the wall financially in my early 50s. And it’s what I try to share as often and as effectively as I can … because it’s so powerful.

  • Love it, thanks again Sharon! Such an inspirational post! And how many of us really thought about the quality of the journey? … Well not many 😉 the quality really counts, nothing is more important then fully to enjoy the journey of life.

    • The quality of the journey is also related to what you write about so eloquently, Solvita!

  • I love this post Sharon because I have been in a place of plenty and in a plenty of little. And one of the greatest lessons I learned was that quality is more important than quantity.

    • I came to the same conclusion, Carolyn, after I hit the wall financially after 9/11. What’s interesting, though, is how different all our individual definitions of “quality” are!

  • I very much relate to your post, Sharon. Several years ago, my life turned upside down and one of the forced outcomes was downsizing, which in turn required simplifying. I can honestly say, now, that it was the best thing that could have happened to me!

    • I feel the same about my major downsizing after 9/11, Lisa. Nothing’s ever been the same … and nothing’s ever been better!

  • Another great post Sharon! I agree with you. There is always a ‘wake up call’ that makes us realise what’s really important.

    • The fortunate ones, Tereza, are those who pay heed to those “wake up calls” and learn from them. At least that’s how it has worked out for me …

  • Love the post, Sharon! After 20 years of building a thriving business, we were knocked on our heels by the financial collapse. An eye-opening experience to realize that we were not nearly in control of our lives as we thought we were! Definitely makes you re-examine your priorities.

    • So many were knocked down, Lynn. My wish is that each person comes back stronger, with greater clarity around their priorities … and living fuller, more satisfying lives. (Even if the path back is no easy trick …)

  • I, too, have been affected by the changing economy and it’s made me much more conscious of what I need vs. what I want. Cut my spending quite a bit! Thanks for the post, Sharon!

    • So many of us have had to redefine “need” and “want,” Meryl. What’s interesting to me is how many don’t blur the lines again when the financial pressure is off. That clarity survives the whole cycle!

  • Thanks for all your ideas to help us get a new perspective.