I’ve been discussing a lot about the topic of “Six Figures” with fellow coaches, and collectively, we pretty much want to vomit when we hear business coaches talking about “making six figures off your first launch” or when we see all the cheesy marketing out there that promises you’ll make the elusive “six figures” if you study that person’s “Blueprint” or “Map” or “6 week Program.”
As part of my goal to simplify for the year, I wanted to know what was my true minimum income I needed to be happy and still feel fulfilled with the things I want to do in life – and be able to offer my gifts to the world.
I knew that the siren’s call of the 6-Figure income was a distraction and a constant nag in my past, and I wanted to know what was truly enough for me?
But first … who came up with Six Figures being The Goal, anyway?
It seems to me that a lot of people are starting to drum up their idea of success – whether in their business or in their career working for someone else – as making at least six figures. Let’s be honest – it is implied that once you make 6-figures, you will be much happier and healthier (and likely better looking LOL ;).
You and I both know – when we step back from the media influx – that making 6-figures doesn’t really make you happy in the deepest sense of the word. And it certainly doesn’t make you markedly better looking unless you plan to spend at least half of that on some serious facial reconstruction.
Studies have shown repeatedly that above $70,000 there is not a statistically significant change in happiness until you reach WAY more than the $100,000 mark. And even at that point, it doesn’t increase by much. To boot, some of the only studies that have shown that more money can make you happy are related to you giving that money away.
Then why are we still all sucked into this idea of 6-Figures? I admit that in my early days of coaching, I definitely used the 6-figure mark as the point at which I’d finally tell myself that I’d arrived as a successful coach.
The bullshit part about that is that it felt like that goal negated all the powerful transformation that was going on with my clients and my business BEFORE I hit that 6-figure mark. Nothing was “enough” until I reached that. I’d always feel a little less successful as a coach, no matter how many gorgeous emails of gratitude I received or comments on my blogposts about how I was helping someone.
I finally had enough of that carrot being dangled in front of me. Screw it, I thought. Why did I think I needed to make 6-figures anyway? I have lived an amazingly fulfilling life traveling the world making only $14,000 a year when I was a climbing guide. I had so many life adventures and rich experiences with quality human beings that are in my life to this day…and all while making far less than 6-figures.
I now know that I had the goal of 6-figures because that’s what all the business programs I was taking referred to as a milestone. And I knew that I needed to know what was my “enough.”
This is not to negate that milestone. It WAS truly amazing the first year I made 6-figures. But you know what? It wasn’t that long ago. I have been a coach since 2010 and only in the last 18 months did I finally hit that mark. I came damn close a few times, and felt “less than” because of it. What a shame, right?
My life was actually quite awesome BEFORE I made 6-figures too! I traveled and loved and adventured and rested and played and dined…and the only “negative” was that I felt I was not enough because I hadn’t met the 6-figure mark. Something must be “wrong” with me if I hadn’t done that yet. And now that I’ve hit that mark, I ended up giving away the amount I made above that to a freakin’ awesome non-profit!
I realized that the reason I was content and happy before I made my 6-figures was because I had cultivated a strong happiness practice of meditation, exercise, community, contributing to society, and play…and I was making ENOUGH.
How did I go about discovering that sweet spot number, and how can I help you learn how much money is ENOUGH for you?
So glad you asked;)
I challenge you to discover the actual number of what is the minimum you need to earn in order to be happy – not just alive and surviving, but happy and thriving. What is the actual MINIMUM amount you need to make in order to pay your bills, have some fun, and offer your gifts to the world?
Lots of people start adding things to the list that they really don’t need, like “I really need to eat out twice a week in order to be truly happy.” Well, if that’s true for you, then go ahead and put it in there. However, beware of the things you think you “must” have in order to thrive.
I LOVE eating out, and quality whole food is an experience that eats up a huge chunk of my budget, but I have decided that if I could hit a restaurant once or twice a month, that would suffice to meet my “eating out” desires. If it’s not having to do the dishes that I like, or even liking to not have to cook as much, I could alternatively have scrumptious dinner parties or potlucks…and make ample use of my dishwasher and offers to help clean up.
The reason it is totally worthwhile to know what how much money is enough for you is this:
When you know what “enough” truly is for you, abundance flows even more freely. (tweet it!)
Isn’t it ironic? Once you know what you need to live in simple abundance, even more abundance can then flow into your life!
I know this is true for me. It wasn’t until I vowed to really simplify my business and my life that abundance flowed in even more easily.
I believe this is partly because once you know your minimum, anything above that is easy to see as a blessing, and more than enough. And as the Law of Attraction Goes – energy goes where attention flows, and when you see the world as an abundant place, guess what? More abundance comes your way.
This doesn’t meant to stop striving for the 6-figures if you want to. Rather,
It means not identifying your self worth or happiness with that 6-figures number, and being able to know how to enjoy this wild and precious life of yours with…enough.
And appreciating the abundance you DO have as well!
Discovering your “enough” also doesn’t mean using your minimum number to represent what is the bare minimum you need to live on in order not to become homeless or destitute. We are talking about the minimum you need to be happy and thrive.
It is a potentially tricky thing to figure out, and our minds can really mess with us in regards to what we really “need” and want. However, it is absolutely worth doing.
Discovering Your “Enough”
Be sure to set aside at least 1 hour to do the following activity, and create a sacred space to do it in (think: candles, favorite beverage, incense, calm music, views of nature, or whatever floats your boat when it comes to sacred space).
What you’ll be doing is:
1) coming up with a monthly budget of your minimum needs per month
2) and then adding in the one-time expenses you plan to have each year such as plane tickets, gas and lodging or camping for a road trip, or gifts for yourself or loved ones.Total these items.
3) Then take your monthly budget, multiply it by 12, and add it to the one-time expenses total.
(Don’t panic – I’ve created a spreadsheet to help simplify this for you – you’re welcome;)
Then – before you know it – you will have your minimum! Your enough.
After that, you may see a beautiful thing – what you need is actually already right in front of you…or at least much closer than you thought. And it’s often a helluva lot closer than 6-figures.
My enough is $5,000 a month. Again, I could be happy with less, but we aren’t calculating here what minimum I need to just be content and hang in there. I have lived off of FAR less the majority of my pretty amazing life.
However, what we want to figure out is what is the minimum to live a lifestyle that is awesome for you. And for me, that includes a couple of long vacations a year, monthly payments for my airstream and mortgage, and eating out now and then, among other things. I also now have a baby which has added significantly to my monthly minimum needs!
Suffice it to say, I was super psyched to see that my number was WAY below 6 freaking figures. I know if I make $60,000 a year, I will be able to live a life in alignment with my values and goals and dreams. If I make more than that, I’ll have more to give away and to do cool things with. And perhaps save a little more too, which has always been an – ahem – weakness of mine.
To help you out, I’ve created a cool little spreadsheet you can use. When I discovered this, it helped me feel so much more relaxed about money! Here’s the key:
Do the worksheet first for your minimum (what are the basics you need not just to survive, but to thrive in a simple way)…and then duplicate it to then use for your “more than enough” goals as well – those things that are icing on the cake, like a camping trip in Morocco instead of at your local state park (both of which are fabulous!).
I am a Mac user so I created this in the easy-to-use Numbers program. If you have this program, click here to download the Numbers version. I prefer this version since it let’s you split out annual expenses and income as well as monthyl (my life definitely doesn’t split up into neat monthly events;)
If you don’t own the Numbers program, click here for the Excel version. It isn’t as elegant as the Numbers design, and is “only” a monthly budget, but you can still do it and have it get you get clear
You can use the Monthly and Additional Expenses tables in the Numbers form to come up with your minimum (you don’t have to fill out the income tables for this exercise). I also recommend you do this exercise on your computer so you can take advantage of the spreadsheet’s functionality (it adds things up for you!).
:: you may have to do this several times before arriving at your number
:: this number will change with time – as you change, as your circumstances change (like mine with a baby), as life happens
:: you may have to start with your “ideal” numbers before you can whittle things down to your “enough” numbers. Therefore, you may want to make a few duplicate copies of these spreadsheets on your computer before filling them in.
WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR ABUNDANCE
Once you’ve realized how much you need to make, what does science show us about the ways that money can actually bring us more happiness – if at all? As I said earlier, giving money away to others in need is a big way to help yourself feel better. This is why tithing is a part of almost every spiritual tradition. But wait – there’s more!
Another great guideline is this:
Use your abundance to buy experiences instead of things.
Hands down this is a common practice amongst those that have more happiness than others. They spend their money on experiences instead of things. Read: festival tickets instead of a new stereo; plane tickets instead of a 60 inch flat screen on which to watch people traveling; regular outings to a dance club in order to sweat your prayers instead of another pair of shoes.
I hope this has inspired you to have the courage to discover what is financially enough for you. I find that it will truly create more freedom in life, and abundance in one’s mindset and in reality as well. So go for it!
Since change comes with taking action, I want you to know I am committed to reading your responses and will reply to each one. I really want you to do this!
Please comment on the blog below, and let me know what is now possible for you knowing your “enough.” What did you learn in doing the activity? Feel free to share what your “enough” number is as well. I think it is awesome to see the ranges that are possible.