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Increasing the Return on Your Life Energy in 2014

Posted on Posted in Money, U-centered-ness

Welcome to 2014 friends!

If you were not able to log in to Jennifer Annenberg Productions to read my most recent blog entry, here it is:

As we prepare for the New Year and get excited about revitalizing our habits and realizing our own potential, it’s important to reflect on how we used our life energy in 2013 and what changes we may want to make in 2014.  We all share the same amount of time in each given year, yet we experience very different outcomes, some making true changes in a given year and others seemingly staying stagnant year to year.

Reflecting on a life of many changes in my career, residences and relationships, I have learned that the power of intention in moving toward your heart’s desire is invigorating.  Intention fuels your desires to become a reality.  Many of us can connect to our desires and interpret them into action steps, where we often fall short is in understanding what tradeoffs and new disciplines are required to achieve our next goal.

This is where the subject matter of life energy comes into play.  Life energy is that finite force that propels you each day to invest in your career, children, health, among many other things.  We often feel that our life energy is very limited after we fulfill the responsibilities of our employment and family.  Frequently we feel stuck with “what is” and not able to invest our remaining life energy into changes that may make a difference in our overall fulfillment.

Speaking from experience, I have been stuck many times in my life, having a desire and not feeling as though I had the time or resources to move forward.  One book in particular helped me move forward when I was downtrodden, Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin’s Your Money or Your Life.  I share the following takeaways with you to inspire your own personal empowerment in 2014.

Your Money or Your Life focuses on evaluating how you are exchanging your life energy for economic outcomes and life fulfillment.  It articulates the importance of understanding how your money flows, so you can foresee a time in the future when your dreams are attainable.  The catalyst for the authors writing this book is the fact that despite longer hours on the job, most Americans haven’t saved much money.  In fact, people now save less and are more in debt than ever.  This way of life is becoming debilitating, stressful, and hard on our health, relationships and family.

The book offers a nine step process to take control of your finances to achieve your innermost desires and lead your most fulfilling life.  The steps I found most impactful are as follows:

First, “Be in the present, track your life energy.”  In this step, you are encouraged to understand what your real wage is, taking into all the costs associated with your employment, i.e.: commute times, time spent thinking about work and time actively working.  Once you know how much you really make per hour of life energy, you begin to better understand the exchange you are making when you make a purchase.

Second, “Ask the questions that will transform your life.”  Here you evaluate your expenses in terms of their relationship to your deepest beliefs and goals.  This step requires introspection.  You must define what you really want from life and whether or not the life energy you are exchanging for an expense is truly propelling you in the direction of your truest fulfillment.  Additionally, you are encouraged to articulate what is “enough” and what you can live without to gain more personal freedom.

Third, “Value your life energy, maximize your income.”  Deriving meaning from our job is important.  However, jobs are not designed to be the fuel that inspires our entire lives.  Often we fail to remember how diverse we are as humans and the numerous places we can receive fulfillment from.  Instead of looking at your employment as the ultimate source of meaning, look to work as a place that gives you the best amount of money in exchange for your life energy.  Moreover, evaluate how much positive energy your work brings into your life vs. depleting your life energy.

Ultimately, there are many items to assess in your life energy formula, finances being one element.  Gaining understanding of the true tradeoffs of your life energy, what brings you fulfillment and what the best exchange is for your work energy vs. life expenses, are important items to consider on the journey toward your best life.   As you prepare for 2014, take time to think about what you are investing in and the returns on those investments.  Determine if it’s time to realign your investment strategy to reap even larger life fulfillment this year.