The False Allure Of Financial Goals
Every day I work hard. I give my time, and more importantly, my emotional energy, to accomplishing things that will increase my security in life. I keep a belief in the back of my mind that if I can just get to a certain level of financial comfort, things will be okay and I can focus on everything I always wanted for myself – family, community, contemplation of life, and the latent creative quests that dwell inside of me. I even want to spend a week just reading comics, playing Nintendo, drinking Capri Sun, and eating peanut butter and jelly, like I did when I was a kid. These are the things that I believe will make me feel content.
But when I place myself in the mental scenario of not needing to work anymore, I realize that this supposed freedom to do what I want will not make me feel at peace. Rather, the type of freedom that I am looking for is emotional, and it can only come from satisfying the needs of my inner child. Understanding that all of our strongest behaviors originate in childhood allows us to look at our financial goals in a new context.
For instance, when I worry that I have not paid enough attention to a particular business issue, I think that the cause of my concern is a fear that I might allow something essential to fall through the cracks and my business will suffer, or even fail. This would cause me to lose security, and threaten my ability to provide for myself and my future family. The extreme end of this fear is that I would lose the life that I have, the people I cherish, and even the shelter over my head.
It took me a while to admit that a small business worry actually touches on the drastic scenarios I just described (mostly because that part of my fear was hiding in my subconscious). When I did realize it, it became clear that my desire for financial security was only a mask for an insecurity that developed when I was a child. My insecurity came from not getting enough unconditional appreciation from my parents, and my subsequent worry that if I didn’t do a perfect job in school and beyond, then they would stop thinking I was special, stop loving me – even abandon me.
Understanding this background, I ask myself what I really hope to accomplish when I solve that business problem. Mostly, I just want to show my parents that I did a good job and I’m still their perfect child. The problem is, my parents aren’t watching anymore. They don’t know or care what happens day-to-day in my business. And they will love me the same no matter what I accomplish. I am no longer the helpless, dependant child that I once was, who feared losing everything if he couldn’t be “good.”
The next time I find myself obsessing over a minor issue, instead of addressing the issue as if it were more dire than it really is, I will spend some time with my younger self (in thoughts or writing). After all, he – and not the issue – is the one who really requires the attention. And when I think about what I am trying to accomplish with my career, instead of worrying about having all the material things I think I need, I will focus on how I can repair the still-persistent needs of my inner child, since putting him at ease will be my greatest accomplishment of all.
Evan Bailyn is a serial entrepreneur, search engine and social media expert, celebrated author and child advocate. His company, First Page Sage, is a leader in search engine optimization and social media marketing - vastly increasing business for its clients through high SEO rankings, targeted Facebook advertising and viral videos. Evan is also the founder of the Evan Bailyn Foundation, a foundation dedicated to teaching emotional awareness to children and adults.