My Peace Of Mind Is My Wealth, However I Define It

wealth, peace of mindClick if you’d rather listen than read:

My Peace Of Mind Is My Wealth

“So how will I know when I have enough money?” asked my new client.

Where do I begin?

I believe there are two types of people: (1) those who are forever driven by anxiety, competition and adrenaline; and (2) those who are seeking a place where the anxiety and adrenaline no longer play a role.

Today I’m one of the latter.

When I first started working, more was always better.  That motivated me through business start-ups and failures, getting degrees, fighting for promotions, quitting jobs—and countless all-nighters to meet ever more demanding deadlines.

Until I lost everything at 53.  (See My Story)

Maybe losing everything is what caused the change.  Or maybe it’s just something that creeps up on us women as we get into our fifties.

Whatever the answer, as I licked my proverbial wounds, examined what had happened so I’d learn the lessons offered and reinvented myself, I found my drive had changed.

No longer did I have to have the “right address” to impress anyone.  I was more content with a smaller footprint that would cost less and leave more money in the “disposable income” column.

No longer was “making millions” a motivator in and of itself.  Far more important was knowing exactly what I needed to have set aside to guarantee a safe and sound old age—and to add to it over time so those years can be richer and richer.

What had actually changed was my definition of “wealth.”  It was no longer how much I made each month or year compared to someone else.  Or whether the cars in the other driveways on my street were newer or older.  Or how many covered square feet my house had under the roof.

Suddenly the most important money-related goal was peace of mind.  Glorious peace of mind!  Freedom from financial worry.  The ability to pay my monthly bills.  And knowing that I’d be okay for the rest of my life.  I’d always have a roof over my head, food on the table and a glass of fine red wine to sip as I watched the sun set at the end of each peaceful day.

Early on, as I climbed out of the financial hole I had dug for myself and started rebuilding my business on a more solid foundation, “okay” looked pretty modest.  And from there, as more and more money is set aside and invested, “okay” means having more and more choices available to me of how I will spend each day, doing what pleases me at that moment.

Am I through building my nest egg?  Not at all.  But as good and bad things happen in my business—as they do in entrepreneurial ventures—I know that no matter what, I am assured peace of mind.  For life.

I recognize how individual the definition of wealth is.  It means something different for each of us.  For some it might have a number or a lifestyle attached to it.  For others, it might be an ever-growing, unreachable target.

But what has really surprised me is how few people ever take the time to consciously define the word wealth clearly for themselves.

So, I ask you, what does wealth mean to you?

Let us know in the Comments section below.

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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!

  • Some times it takes a radical change of perspective to get us motivated. Thank you sharing your experience!

    • You’re right, MarVeena. And losing everything is enough to finally make one stop and try to figure out what happened, what has to change and … ultimately … what’s important and what’s not. Sure worked for me! 😉

  • Interesting post. My definition of wealth has always coincided with my happiness but it HAS changed as I’ve gotten older. It doesn’t take “things” to make me happy. Time with a good book, a beautiful day, and the smile of one of my sons will do it for me. Thanks for sharing. Your own story is always so insightful. Thanks!

    • You just proved my point, Martha: wealth does have a totally different definition for each of us. So presumably your goal would be to create a long-term situation where you can do and enjoy those things that are of prime importance to you, right?

  • Great post Sharon… I think that as I get older my definition of wealth has shifted – and I agree it’s most important to me to have peace of mind – that does not require a lot of “stuff” and pretty things. There is so much available to us in the present moment – that gives me peace of mind too!

    • I’ve had some people ask if I was “settling” by saying peace of mind was my priority. I explained that nowhere does it say I can only have peace of mind if I’m just scraping by … it’s not related to level of assets or whatever … it’s related to living with certainty of a defined level of comfort … or more.

  • Thanks Sharon! This is such a true post, I find myself in a similar situation only 10 years earlier…I love my “contentment” much more than my “excitement”!

    • Well said, Liz!

    • Ah, you have a 10-year head start on me, Liz. Then you’ll have all your finances in place for sure!

  • MamaRed

    Fabulous points Sharon. And I’ve seen a shift in myself too (I’m 55) and up until now, was a lifelong adrenaline “more” junkie. I craved this big house and a sexy car. Suddenly I think about what it would take to maintain the house and all sorts of stuff I never cared about!

    • MamaRed, when I did the calculation of what it truly cost me to maintain my big, lovely home, I was floored. That’s when I started my “scale back” efforts … and have never grown all the way back after turning everything around. Financial peace of mind is THAT good … 😉

  • Wonderful Sharon. Wealth does mean different things to different people. I go with having peace of mind. That works better for me. Thank you!

    • And may you reach and keep peace of mind for the rest of your days, Cathy! If you’re not yet there, I hope these articles are helpful to you …

  • Such a great post and points, Sharon! I definitely need a shift in perspective to get going. Thank you! 🙂

    • Alexandra, you’re already working on so many fronts … all of which sound as if you’re pointed in the right direction re peace of mind as well. Don’t beat yourself up for the speed at which you achieve everything; focus on what you HAVE achieved. It will all come with small daily steps.

  • Aimee

    Mine is definitely peace of mind. I don’t want my business to own me because I bought so many things I have to maintain. I just want to be comfortable and be able to travel and do work I enjoy. I learned how happy I could be with just the stuff in my backpack when I traveled for several years. Things do not equal happiness.

  • Meryl Beck

    Striving for peace of mind in your life is a great motivator for owning your own business. When you are at peace, that energy is what flows to your business and you thrive. Great article Sharon!

    • Being an entrepreneur certainly is a wonderful way to jump-start your finances, Meryl, assuming all the necessary skills and tools are in place!

  • Michael Anne Conley

    Thanks for the reminder, Sharon. This is glued to my checkbook cover: “I have financial abundance in a way that supports me daily in bringing my creativity forth, leaves me energetic and rested, pays off all of my debts, takes care of all my material needs and adds more than enough to share with others in a way that increases peace and serenity in the world.”

    • What a wonderful energy to live with, Michael Ann, especially on your checkbook cover. Good for you! 😉

  • Barbara Becker

    Thank you Sharon. I have several financial mantras I say every morning before I begin my day. It sets the tone for abundance and keeps the energy high and positive. Great post!

    • That’s great, Barbara. I would imagine within those mantras you have clearly (and specifically) defined what it is you’re headed towards? That’s the key in defining wealth …

  • What an incredible story, Sharon, and inspiration! I love your new definition of wealth. Peace of mind is definitely a great definition. I love the option to listen to you as well as the option to read this. It adds a fantastic personal touch. Thank you for sharing this and for being transparent. My definition has changed over time as well. Peace of mind is right near the top, but having a supportive and loving family is right there too.

    • You’re right, Robin, they are both right up there at the top … but without peace of mind it’s very hard to fully enjoy the supportive and loving family you might have.

  • Tom Holmberg

    Thanks for sharing Sharon, I loved your story. I really appreciate what you are talking about in regards to financial independence. Once you stop over extending yourself and redefine your meaning of financial success, you free yourself.

    • This has been my message since I realized that I was headed in the wrong direction with my finances, despite an MBA from the most prestigious finance school in the country, Tom. I had to understand why … and once I did I felt compelled to share it!

  • Peace of MIND Is very important.. Thanks for another great blog post

  • I agree with ‘peace of mind’, however, the little girl inside piped up with ‘Security’.

    • Ah, Ginger, that’s because the little girl inside hasn’t figured out yet that you can’t have true ‘peace of mind’ without ‘security’ … 😉

  • I loved this post. Peace of mind is extremely important! My idea of being wealthy is having fabulous family and friends and good health.:)

    • Daniele, I find “peace of mind” so much more motivating than “abundance,” for example, because of the emotion linked to the former phrase.

  • Having gone through a similar experience of losing it all and having to start over, I know that whilst it is great to have financial security, wealth can be so much more than that. In the current climate I’m having to budget more and more, but I do have an abundance of love, friendship and joy in my life that comes from learning to be grateful for what I have today.
    Love your posts Sharon 🙂

    • What a wonderful lesson about gratitude, isn’t it Carolyn, that of giving gratitude and choosing to focus on the positive? Somehow that continues to “feed us” enough to go after … and eventually reach … more and more of the other things.

  • Hi Sharon! This week my wallet from Identity Stronghold arrived and when I use it it brings back to mind all the lessons I’m learning from you, even down to storing extra money in the center pocket.

    This is my goal:

    “Suddenly the most important money-related goal was peace of mind.
    Glorious peace of mind! Freedom from financial worry. The ability to
    pay my monthly bills. And knowing that I’d be okay for the rest of my
    life. I’d always have a roof over my head, food on the table and a
    glass of fine red wine to sip as I watched the sun set at the end of
    each peaceful day.”

    I’m not quite there yet, but it’s only a matter of time and persistent focus and effort, with the grace of God!

    Thanks so much for being who you are <3

    • Sue, I expect to see you there sooner than you think. When I reread those words, they STILL inspire me … hard to explain to some people what that means, but I know you understand it. The perks can be added later, especially in the form of discretionary expenditures, but that one achievement is tremendous! (BTW, I love my new wallet too!)

  • Norma Doiron

    Peace of mind and being able to sleep at night is huge. Thanks for another great post, Sharon!

  • Lorii Abela

    I love your insight
    about wealth. Some people need to be knocked down only to realize the real
    meaning of security.

    • Lorii, we’re not taught a lot about where security comes from … so at times it does take “tripping up” for us to pay attention!

  • This is another fantastic post, Sharon – and I enjoyed reading your story, again – so impressive what you’d done before 9/11 and after. I’m with you on #2 and my most important money goal being peace of mind.

    • What’s best, Lisa, is that we each define “peace of mind” individually … and then have that highly personal motivation to keep us moving in the right direction …

  • I get inspired each time I read your story Sharon. I am with you on #2 🙂

    • It’s interesting the different priorities people can put on “peace of mind,” Anita. Some just keep driving themselves for more and more without ever calculating where they are … and others want to reach that “safe place” … and then continue growing from there. Seems like a small detail, but it isn’t!