Is What’s Best for Me Best for Everyone in My Life?
We are blessed to answer another wonderful subscriber question about money for my dreams and my family’s:
Following my dreams and still being responsible to my family has been a huge struggle over the past few years. Is what is best for me really best for everyone in my life? I am in a job for the benefits and steady income at this time. And I am at the point where I put hardly any thought or energy into doing something else or my dreams because I feel that responsibility so strongly.
I love this question: you can feel this subscriber’s deep love and deep question: Is what is best for me really best for everyone in my life? I know the hoped-for answer is “yes.” I know the fear is that the answer’s really “no.” But the answer is YES.
Look at the Structure of the Question: Money for My Dreams and My Family’s
What gave this post “wings” is how I saw the structure of our subscriber’s question. Let me explain. I try to translate the question into a shape or a structure. And as the subscriber was seeing it, it looked like this. (See the caption on this image I created myself for what it’s “saying.”)
Question the Question
This subscriber’s question looks like it’s either/or: me or my family.
You could think that it looks dire, and you might see how it could turn into a prison, like our last post on fundraising. In fact, it does turn into a prison for many people. It also looks like it could become a conflict, as we discussed in our money post before that.
For many people, this is what happens. These good, loving parents stop nurturing their dreams so they can focus on their families. They give up an essential part of themselves. Some never get it back, even when the children have “flown the coop,” and they have an “empty nest.”
The thing to do is to take awareness of the question. Question the question, whenever you hit a problem of any kind–and certainly a money problem involving other people, as money problems virtually always do.
Don’t take the question for granted. Questioning the assumptions underlying the question itself.
Once You Question, What Do You See?
Look at those bird metaphors: “flown the coop,” “empty nest.” We associate birds with flying. We associate the ability to dream with flying. The ability to manifest the future you dream we also call the ability to make something “fly.”
Our subscriber wants to fly and wants the family to fly, too.
Now look at those two lines pulling in opposite directions: what do they look like?
They look, to me, like wings.
Here’s How to Fly with Both Wings
The short answer to the question asked this week by our subscriber is YES. But I would be extremely remiss to ignore the unasked question: “HOW?” How do we nurture our own dreams’ and our family’s? Here is a short list:
- Understand that you are a member of your family. Just like the children, you have a right to thrive.
- Think, really think, about what makes you thrive. Step 2 is really just thinking. Allow yourself time to think, picture, research if you need to.
- Ask your children individually, privately what will help them thrive.
- Have a family conversation about what it means to thrive once people in the family know how to say what they want and need. Talk about the difference between needs and wants, and find out what each person actually wants to help them thrive. It may not be what you think!
- Set aside monies, no matter how small, for each person to thrive and for you to thrive together. Help each other realize your dreams.
- Make it a priority to check in with each other about your dreams. Be sure your children hear about your achieving your own dreams. And hear about them doing so. If they don’t volunteer, ask. Have a family conversation like we talked about in step 4.
Both Wings are Needed for This Experiment to Fly!
It is not either/or. You won’t be happy if you thrive at your family’s expense, sure. But your family will not be happy if they “thrive” at your expense! I can’t even write that without putting “thrive” in quotation marks: if you aren’t thriving, I bet your family’s “thriving” is coming at too huge a cost not to be seriously challenged over the long-term. They would be a lot thrivier (!) if you considered yourself part of your own family, and took your own thriving seriously! I know this is tough talk: this is a tough issue for conscientious parents.
This question is neither dire nor a conflict nor a problem. Let me cut to the chase: it’s a journey. It’s a laboratory for experimenting with money, and thriving.
*Today’s great question was submitted by a subscriber. I’m grateful to blog answers to questions from our subscribers, and proud to reward them for fruitful questions with free coaching. So maybe you should subscribe?!