Provision #186: Envision Good Enough

Laser Provision

What’s good enough for you? Far too many people settle for table scraps when they could be sitting at the banquet table. The difference is not about quantity, but about a vision of life based on your purpose, values, and gifts. When you come from this place, you can get and have enough in short order.

LifeTrek Provision

Two weeks ago, before LifeTrek Provisions took a break to usher in the New Year, I talked about the importance of having a clear vision of what “enough” looks like. This is the first step to managing your money well and to a satisfied mind.

Unfortunately, many people think about “enough” in terms of “having” before they ever come to terms with “being” and “doing.” That’s understandable, because we are constantly bombarded with consumer messages. Do we have enough? Do we have as much as we want? Do we have as much as our neighbors? Do we have as much as our heroes? Do we have enough to be happy and fulfilled?

There are no universal answers to those questions. The only way to know if we have enough is to come to terms with who we are and what we want to do. If we fail to answer those questions and go straight to the question of having, then what we have will never be good enough and we will always be restless, unsatisfied, and disgruntled. The question of having comes last • the question of being comes first.

Who are you? That’s a question for the ages, and yet it comes down to three simple components: purpose, values, and gifts. When you know your purpose in life (the legacy you want to leave), when you know what’s truly important (the principles you want to live by), and when you know the niches at which you excel naturally and effortlessly then you know who you are. It’s that simple and that difficult.

Questions of being have imperative answers. When you really know who you are, you can be nothing else. Your purpose, values, and gifts become one. Rumi became an icon of wisdom, Gandhi an icon of nonviolence, Mother Jones an icon of righteous anger, Simone Weil an icon of truth, and Martin Luther King, Jr. an icon of justice. Through their lives we learn the power of being.

But the answers are not always earthshaking. In their book Your Money of Your Life (Click), Joe Dominquez & Vicki Robin tell the stories of ordinary people who know their purpose, values, and gifts. One family believes in frugal living with their children. Another believes in protecting the environment. Still another believes in using their medical training and credentials to serve minorities and migrant workers. For all of them, life is good enough when they can be who they are.

The question of doing serves as a bridge between questions of being and questions of having. When we are at our best, we do the things that reflect who we are and • by so doing • get what we need. Many people, if not most people, cannot or do not describe their lives in such terms. They are not doing what they want to be doing; they are doing what they have to be doing in order to make a living. As a result, what they make is never good enough and their living feels more like a dying.

When our livelihood does not reflect our purpose, values, and gifts we cannot feel satisfied and fulfilled. We go straight from having too little to having too much without ever having enough. How can we have enough if we do not have a vision of what enough looks like? And how can we have a vision of what enough looks like if we do not know our true identity and vocation? When we know who we are and what we do, we can envision the good life not based on anyone else’s dream, least of all the marketers of a consumer society, but on our own unique dream.

If you’ve been disconnected from your own unique dream for far too long, Dominguez and Robin suggest the following questions to reconnect and restart the process:

  • What did you want to be when you grew up?
  • What have you always wanted to do that you haven’t yet done?
  • What have you done in your life that you are really proud of?
  • If you knew you were going to die within a year, how would you spend that year?
  • If you knew you had 30 more years to live, how would you spend the next year?
  • What brings you the most fulfillment • and how is that related to money?
  • If you didn’t have to work for a living, what would you do with your time?

I added the question about 30 more years, because it’s just as relevant for most people as one year. If, at the age of 60, you knew you were going to live to the age of 90 • how would you spend the last third of your life? Too many people start waiting to die when they could be starting to live.

Money problems never resolve until you have a clear vision of what’s good enough for you. Once that vision is in place, based on your purpose, values, and gifts, you’d be amazed how quickly and easily that resolution can come. Next week we’ll talk about some specific strategies for making it so.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC