Ten Seven Five: Is This the Key to Financial Peace of Mind?

Ten Seven Five: Is This the Key to Financial Peace of Mind?

financial peace of mindTo listen rather than read, click below

Ten Seven Five Financial Peace of Mind

I must have fallen asleep with the television on.  Because when I woke up, there he was:  Dr. Phil.  In all his glory.  I always thought of him as a bit of a buffoon who lucked out and landed in Oprah’s orbit at just the right moment.  I had never watched his program.

The segment was about a house he had set up – and his wife had decorated.  This was the first family to be brought in – and what a dysfunctional bunch they were!  They were there to undergo some form of therapy, supported by cameras in almost every room to provide proof of lie-telling and other chicanery.

But not too far into the program, Dr. Phil shared something I later realized was brilliant.  It was the series of three questions he asks each person to answer before coming onto his show.  Those answers, he says, clearly define the person’s self-concept which, in turn, helps him understand what kind of guest they will be:  how they view their problems and how open they will be to solving them.

A quick internet search told me this process of his had been popularized in a Dr. Phil book over ten years ago.

So I tried it.  It said that by focusing on just 22 little key external experiences, the origin of my self concept would be revealed to me clearly.  The clutter and distractions of everyday life would fall away and I’d be left with how I perceived myself.  These 22 things that came from outside of me would somehow get inside and mold how I saw myself … and my life.

This was going to be good.

Here’s what I did … and I think you might want to do, too.

Make a list of the ten most defining moments of your life, the ones you can recount clearly as if they were yesterday.











Now list the seven most critical choices you have made to put you on your current life path, those that spelled out major happiness or doom.








And, lastly, name the five most pivotal people in your world and how they have shaped you … whether they terrified you, inspired you or just plain left an indelible mark.






Go ahead and do the exercise.  Print out this page or grab a blank one and take a few minutes to list the answers requested.  Don’t read on until you’ve done it, or you might skew what you write down, and then it will have little value.

It seems we don’t have to rummage through all the thousands of days we’ve lived in order to discover the basis of our entire lives and who we have become.  It’s enough to honestly list the events, decisions and people who have most impacted us.

What will be surprising is how many provided positive input and affirmed who we are.  And also how many were negative and distorted the view we have of ourselves.  As for timing, whether something happened to us at three, or in the sixth grade or last month, if you take seriously the word “most” in each grouping, old ones can be as impactful as new ones.

Now look at all your responses and see if you discern a pattern.  Lots of positive or lots of negative?  No judgments here.

The purpose is to help you understand your mindset when you face issues or change.

I often write about personal responsibility and taking the reins around money.  I believe we have all the knowledge inside us that’s needed to be terrific money managers for ourselves.  But somehow we don’t always find the focus, courage or will to do what would take us to the financial peace of mind we all crave.

If that’s you, have you wondered why?  Has this exercise identified what might be tripping you up?  If your life has been defined by difficult moments, can you forgive and let go the event or person?  If you made bad choices, can you forgive yourself and let it go?  If any pivotal people terrified you, belittled you or in any way made you feel like “less,” can you take back your power and get on with your life?

Let me know in the Comments section below what your greatest “a-ha” was!


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!

  • This was an interesting exercise. I found many positives in my life and also many of the pivotal events involved athletics and career. Very eye opening. Thank you for sharing!

    • Sounds as if your life is pretty coherent, Cat! Glad to hear it!

  • Thanks for sharing this, Sharon. I always learn something when I watch Dr. Phil and this exercise is great. I still have some work to do on the negatives in my life……

    • We all have some, Alexandra. The key, in my mind, is to see in how many I can take my power back and “neutralize” the impact on how I see myself and my life.

  • Cathy Taughinbaugh

    Interesting exercise. I do watch Dr. Phil occasionally as well, and learn something new. I’ll try it and see how it works out. Thanks for sharing!

    • This was surprisingly effective, Cathy. And I would imagine that with time the answers will change, as we revisit some of the things we become aware were holding us back.

  • This is a cool exercise! I believe that you are right when you say that we have all the resources we need inside of ourselves to be terrific money managers…it’s just a matter of discovering them.

    • Isn’t it exciting, Sherie, to know that all the resources are already there? And, BTW, that doesn’t just hold true for handling money … 😉

  • Aimee

    I did this once with a boyfriend and it was really illuminating for me about him. Mine wasn’t too much of a surprise, but I realized we were further apart than I realized.

    • Aimee, I have a product called “How and When to Talk to Your Partner About Money … Without It Leading to Breakup, Fights or Divorce!” One of its great strengths is its ability to get money conversations going … and they can be pretty revealing!

  • I think my ah ha moment was back when I decided to start a website because I was tired of the corporate ladder. I felt that my talents weren’t being used to their potential. I was tired of bad business practices and tricks used by companies and wanted to create my own business where I would treat people like people and care. I would also be in charge and go creatively wild. I think it took me about six months to teach myself Joomla and build the site, I would stay up every night past 2 am working on it while going to school working on my Bachelor’s.

    • Karla, isn’t it great when you have that “fire in the belly” that comes with knowing you are building personal independence by learning new skills? Such good stuff!

  • I got out my pen and paper and did the exercise with no peeking at the ending! This was very telling. I noticed that all the milestones that I created for myself were positives or turned positive later. That made me feel good! The few negatives I had? I’m letting them go starting right now. Thanks so much for sharing this. It was interesting!

    • Good deal, Martha! This is obviously a moving target, as awareness alone starts us on the path to clearing out negatives. Awareness … plus a bunch of effective self-work, of course 😉 And all of it so worthwhile!

      • You’re not kidding! I am constantly doing the self-work. Not always fun, but so necessary!

  • What a great exercise, Sharon! I think forgiving and letting go of some of my negative events helped me really discover my strengths. My father was one of my five pivotal people. He taught me so many things and was a very wise man. Thanks for this resource!

    • This can be applied to so many situations, Lisa. (The stress work you do with your clients, for example.) I was really excited about sharing it when I realized what a resource it was!

  • Great exercise Sharon. Took notes and will be doing this in my quiet time. Thanks for all the value you bring to your readers. x0x

    • Hope you’ll find the exercise useful, Norma. I was surprised at how something so simple framed things I had not thought about as so important …

  • MamaRed

    Oh fascinating exercise and thanks for sharing it. I’m stunned my mom (an avid Dr Phil fan) didn’t share it with me. I’ve healed, or almost healed, many of the big events that popped up for me and many (blush) are the negatives that shaped my sense of self. And you’re right it doesn’t matter what age! Now to consider how this has affected my money conversation…never even considered that one!

    • Sounds like you’ve done lots of great work, MamaRed, and hope this resource moves you further along that journey. And, yes, the money conversation IS affected by the same factors. Do let me know if there’s anything I can do to help!

  • lorrie

    What a great exercise. I wonder how much the answers will change over time, as my memory is awakened and the patterns begin to emerge. Sharing!

    • I’ve been wondering the same thing myself, Lorrie. But we both know how we “morph” with awareness … 😉

  • I’m having trouble remembering the negative experiences and people. Maybe that’s good. What I like most with this exercise that after you complete it, you are free to start over again maybe as a new, more liberated self. Thanks for sharing.

    • Glad you’re coming from such a positive space! Any chance you’ve been working on getting there … and have just confirmed with this exercise that you’ve succeeded? 😉

  • It is a great exercise for Uncovering the clutter of our past and how to move forward… Thanks for the great post and yes Dr. Phil does some wonderful work

    • It’s particularly good at cutting THROUGH the clutter, Carly, and getting at what really defines ourselves … in our own minds.

  • Fascinating exercise – thanks for sharing. This is a great tool to bring awareness into what and how we create where we are. I love the idea of bringing this wisdom into my relationship with money – it makes a lot of sense.

    • Isn’t this one great, Moira? I think what we discover here touches every aspect of our lives … money included!

  • Thank you for the post!

  • Ok. So it took me 2 hours to complete this exercise and it was completely worth it. Thank you for another incredible post Sharon. Xx

    • Ooooh, Carmen, you must have had lots of thinking to do! I’m so glad you felt it was worth your investment in time. As simple as it seems, it’s pretty powerful!

  • What an interesting exercise – although I have to admit I didn’t follow your directions but will print and complete it later. I’m sure it will be telling. Thanks for another terrific post, Sharon!

    • Several of us have found some surprising patterns, Lisa. If you think to do it, it might be worth your while …

  • Creating a document for this exercise now! This should be good! 🙂

    • Hope you found something worthwhile in the exercise, Carl. From your posts, I gather how keenly aware you are of “self” and the role of self …

  • This is the sort of exercise that writers do instinctively: it’s the basis of our research (if one can use such a word) when writing a novel – at least it is for me, I don’t “do” thrillers and mysteries and paranormal stuff, I’m interested in psychological novels…I never thought of listing these moments and comparing them to discern a pattern, I think that’s truly a novel idea, thanks for sharing! Alas, it takes some work though to get through the lists…

    And you know what? I’m little apprehensive about what I might discover…Isn’t there some kind of easy short-cut? LOL. Don’t we all want short cuts?

    • Shortcuts (or “hacks”) are great in so many things, Claude. I’m not so sure that’s the solution when we’re looking for subtle patterns, especially for someone as creative as you … 😉