new year

Why I Pay Others for Their Time and Services (and Charge for Mine)

"I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And I was really..I was alive."

-Walter White

So, I just finished watching Breaking Bad. The main character, Walter White, made a lot of money by cooking and selling meth instead of finishing out his last days as a struggling, high-school chemistry teacher. Whether or not you agree as to Walter's success, I was really struck by his confession in the last episode. After years of justifying his actions for the "sake of his family", he shared the truth.

Someone posted a comment on facebook the other day and it really reminded me that this post is overdue. The time to write about the exchange of money for time and services is now, as we enter a new year full of reflections on the past and possibility for the future.

Here are some things I've learned about money, the exchange of it, and the change in perspective I've had since becoming an entrepreneur.

I was sitting around the other day being grateful for the number of friends I have who do excellent things and offer great services, many of which I need for more health and happiness in my life.

I have a friend who created an excellent website for me, and we had a ton of fun doing it.

I have another friend who gives incredible massages. Like iron-out-every-kink-in-your-body type of massages.

Another friend makes excellent food. She runs a restaurant. Wait, I have a few friends in that category and I go to their places of business quite often.

My other friend is my barber.

All these people have chosen careers they love so they can pay their bills and have fun doing it. It happens that I need their services so I pay them. So they can pay their bills.

Before I really chose a career I LOVED (as opposed to doing work I was good at), I didn't really take my money or how I spent it very seriously. This realization hit me like a ton of bricks my first year into my business, when I'd been laid off from my 9-5 job. I'd been making really decent money for a non-profit gig (NP folks, I know you hear me) but I was swimming in debt, had absolutely no savings account and was living paycheck to paycheck.

You read that correctly: I was swimming in debt, had no savings and was living paycheck to paycheck.

Was it also a coincidence that my health was a mess? I had chronic sinus infections, was about 25 pounds overweight, struggled with insomnia and was generally a much more miserable person on a daily basis. After becoming a health coach, I was doing my budget one day, something I had never done before, and I realized I'd been pissing away about $700 a month that year on take-out food. 

$700. A month. For a year, possibly more.

I wasn't living a life I loved, and it was showing up in my food choices and my money choices. The total lack of self-care was apparent and it was costing me. I had money but was living with no respect for it or myself.

Four years later, I am more financially secure as an entrepreneur than when I had a regular paycheck doing work I wasn't passionate about. I loved it, don't get me wrong, and I was very good at it, but it wasn't what I was MEANT to do. I was settling. I was hiding. And so everything else in my life was a compensation for that. No amount would ever have been enough until I became more conscious of how I spent my time and what I was worth.

When I took the leap to do what I actually want to do, I experienced a shift in taking responsibility for my happiness. Was it a coincidence that my health has never been better and that I decided to come out as transgender? Not at all.

I love being a health coach and speaker. It is hard work but there is no greater satisfaction than when I take stock of the impact I've made in the lives of other people. I'm surrounded by a lot of people who are in the same boat. We respect the work and energy it takes to live our lives like this, so we pay each other so we can keep making our dream lives a reality. These are my most joy-filled friends. 

Just having money isn't making me successful. It was the decision to make it on my terms doing work I LOVE that makes me a success. That, and the freedom I feel to pay others for their time because they deserve it and the joy I experience when people pay me for mine so they can have more of what they want. We are loving our lives, we are going after the things we want, we are making the money we need to help ourselves and others live lives free of constraint and full of possibility.

Money won't create success,the freedom to make it will. -Nelson Mandela

Facebook status updates say a lot. I see many, many people who are employed and missing the joy that should come with their paycheck. I spoke with someone on Christmas eve who makes VERY decent money but reached out to a stranger, me, because she was all alone and hated her life in that moment. She feels trapped and isn't doing what she truly loves. The money is not making her feel successful.

Ask yourself what you really want to be doing and if you're using your money to help make it happen. If you don't have what you need, what are you willing to do to get it to live a life you truly love?

10 Tips to 2011!

Ok friends! It's about that time.

We have 10 days until 2010 is officially behind us and, I don't know about you, but I am REALLY jazzed about it. 2010 was challenging and rewarding for me in many ways--and I am really excited to implement all the valuable lessons, skills and brilliant insights I gained from the past 12 months.

In celebration of "waving good-bye to the old" and "Welcoming the New", I am posting 10 Tips to 2011 each day until January 1st, 2011.

Each day, I'll share one way you can improve your life for the better. If you strive to coordinate each tip into your daily life--you will see improvements in:

  • quality of sleep
  • energy levels
  • interpersonal relations
  • general outlook and attitude

These are just a few of the benefits you should experience as a result of living a life of more intention and balance. These next 10 days are a snippet (love this word) of what my clients experience in our work together. I am so glad to welcome 2011, I am now sharing a slice of what makes my life so good with you.

from the U.S. Geological Survey:
Water is of major importance to all living things; in some organisms, up to 90% of their body weight comes from water. Up to 60% of the human body is water, the brain is composed of 70% water, and the lungs are nearly 90% water. Lean muscle tissue contains about 75% water by weight, as is the brain; body fat contains 10% water and bone has 22% water. About 83% of our blood is water, which helps digest our food, transport waste, and control body temperature. Each day humans must replace 2.4 litres of water, some through drinking and the rest taken by the body from the foods eaten.

From what I can find, 2.4 litres is about the same as 2.5 quarts.

Are you drinking 2.5 quarts of water each day? That's an 8-ounce glass of water, 10 times.

Water is absolutely essential but many people seem to think it's optional. I run into so many people who casually comment on their water intake like it's a game they are playing---you know how people do that with plants? They will let the leaves droop and get dried up and then water it and watch it become green and spring back to life?

No?  Only me?


Seems people are doing this to themselves and don't really understand the many ways it is negatively affecting their health. On a basic level, we need water to hydrate our hard-working brains to think clearly and execute simple and complex motor functions (think school, work, relationships, etc.)

Water is physiologically necessary to transport minerals, vitamins and nutrients to our organs and through our intestines. This isn't something we can opt-out of without experiencing some painful and uncomfortable results.

Want to look younger? More awake and healthy? Drink water. It hydrates your skin from the inside out in a way no over-priced face cream can.

Want to feel less aches and pains? Drink water. It lubricates your joints, tissues and helps pass toxins on through.

Want to have a better outlook on life? Less headaches? More energy? Drink water.

This holiday season, do yourself a favor. Drink about 16 ounces before leaving the house for any holiday party or gathering and notice how it affects your experience. Note how you feel and send me a message and I'll send you a free bottle of HINT water just for taking on my challenge.

More H2O for 2011!!