Who Are ‘They’ and What Are They Doing in My Head Anyway?
Or maybe you hear, “But what would the neighbors say?”
Most of us have at one time or another. It’s almost as if we have a group of invisible chaperones standing on the sidelines, waiting to nix any ideas we might have that don’t meet their exact expectations for us. For lack of a better expression, I’ll call that group of nay-sayers ‘They.’
What we want to look at, as you start exploring how to get to financial security, is The Power of They. That is, how have these make-believe people held you back, off and on throughout your life, when it came to your thoughts, dreams, decisions, and actions.
Who Are They?
So who are They and who gave them the right to preempt what we each know instinctively is best for us? Well, starting when we were little, our parents often used that invisible group I call They to get us to behave. Who knows, maybe we wore them out by asking that never-ending question: “But why?”
When “Because I said so …” didn’t work anymore, our parents called on They to keep us in line.
Do you remember hearing “You can’t go out with that boy, what would your grandfather think?” Or “You can’t go to the movies on a weeknight, what would the neighbors say?”
“What would ‘they’ say …?”
Absurd as it sounds, those patterns are often still indelibly marked on our brains, and we’ve continued to listen to the voices without asking why. Without even realizing we’re doing it.
If you think back, have you made decisions that led to missed opportunities because you didn’t follow your instinct, but instead followed the crowd and did what others would do?
The Power of They is the power of wrong action or of no action … a hidden influencer that has kept too many of us from fulfilling our dreams.
Taking a Realistic Look
If you do a reality check, you’ll have to admit that They don’t make your mortgage payments, or stay awake at night wondering how you’re going to retire. So it’s high time you let go of that worn-out old influencer.
In my case, when I got into serious financial trouble, I decided to scale back my lifestyle dramatically. All my friends and acquaintances were horrified. How could I do that? How could I give up my perfect house in a perfect neighborhood? How could I go live in an un-cool little house in an un-cool neighborhood?
My question in return was, “How could I not?” I couldn’t afford the mortgage any longer. My back was against the wall. And it was time to get realistic.
That one change is what turned my life around. It gave me the breathing room I needed to think my way through my dilemma, to understand how I had made such crucial financial mistakes. And it gave me my first whiff of “peace of mind.”
(Soon my real friends started coming to my house to hang out, sipping wine on my little deck overlooking my silly little lake … because it felt so good. So stress-free.)
As you look to your future, as you assess your hopes and dreams … and your reality … you might be tempted to take some unconventional actions to get from here to there.
Whatever you do, don’t let They get in the way of your future happiness.
By the way, it’s not hard to strip away all the power from They. In fact, just knowing the phenomenon exists is nine-tenths of the task.
The other tenth is a matter of creating reminders for yourself … whenever you start hearing that little voice, that judgmental voice: just put it back in its place.
Remember, you’re talking about the rest of your life here. And you need to be master of your own destiny.
Sharon O’Day is 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. At age 53, she lost everything: her home, her business, everything. Since then, Sharon has interviewed women and done extensive research to understand how that could have happened, especially with her strong knowledge of numbers and finance.
The surprising answers will be shared in her upcoming book “Money After Menopause.” Today her focus is to show women how to reach financial security for the long term. 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.