Achieving Harmony: Step 1

Life balance experts cite five areas to achieve harmony: finances/career, spirituality/self care, relationships, health, and  fun/recreation.

Achieving harmony in your life is a process – a five step process we will explore together.  The first step is to examine your finances. You need to know where your money is, what it is used for, and how you spend money. “Debt is dumb,” says in your face financial guru Dave Ramsey.  He adds, “You are where you are right now financially as a sum total of the decisions you’ve made to this point.” But, don’t despair. Right now you are in a perfect position to make a financial change for the better.  Changing the way you think about money and how you spend money is the yellow brick road to harmonic wealth.

Financial Planning 101 – Achieving Harmony Step 1:

Reflect. Think about it, reflect. Ask what led you to make those mistakes in the first place. Was it job loss, divorce, impulsive spending? Make sure you know and understand what pulled you out of life balance so you don’t repeat those mistakes.

Get organized. Organize your bills and debts. Create a place to keep incoming bills. Pay your bills. Avoid late fees-make sure you send your check early so that it gets to the payer on time. Also it is a best practice to write down payments, check numbers and date sent so you will have a record in case a payment goes unrecorded. Put all payments in your finance ledger and balance that ledger against what payments are outstanding each and every month.

Plan. Tackle your debt!  You created the debt, now plan. Take time to establish a plan to pay off debts. Without an debt freedom action plan you darken your life. You want harmony, so be disciplined and plan harmonic wealth. Think about what you need to do here… figure out the most important debt to be paid off first, generate more income, spend less and save more money. That’s the simple formula for achieving harmony in your finances.  Set the plan and stick to it.

Save. You must save more than you spend. This is the truth!  Worrying about how you are going to pay your bills every month is misery. The best way to handle your financial life is to save.

Now is a perfect time to  is a time restore your financial balance, achieve harmony.

Reading List:

Total Money Makeover, Dave Ramsey

Your Life or Your Money: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money, Vicki Robin

Low Fee Socially Responsible Investing: Investing in your worldview on your terms, Tom Nowak

5 Steps to Conflict Resolution

Conflict is inevitable in any relationship. Over time, one person will misunderstand the other. Some conflicts are so small that overlooking the gaffe may be the best advice, but do not let the pain or anger over old misunderstandings pile up and become a full-blown argument because you failed to resolve the issue when it first happened.   Oftentimes, then a seemingly small incident becomes a tipping point where making up for “the old and the new” aggravations become an intractable grudge. “When you are in deep conflict about something, sometimes the most trivial thing can tip the scales.” ~Ethel Merman

Conflict does not have to become a Hatfield and McCoy episode. You do not have to live with conflict, letting its flares ruin your relationships until the day you die. While conflict may not be avoidable all of the time, there are civil ways to resolve misunderstandings that preserve the relationship, your health and  your integrity.

5 Steps to Conflict Resolution:

  1. Acknowledge there is a conflict. It’s not good to suppress the feeling that erupt after a presumed infraction, instead pay attention to the feeling rather than internalize the emotion. Go inside, get to your heart/feeling center and ask yourself why does this trigger a reaction in me? Check in with what you are feeling, acknowledge the feelings. Stay away from blame, anger, self-doubt or feelings of unworthiness (usually the result of unexpressed feelings).

                        “Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict.” ~William Ellery Channing

2. Identify the “real” conflict. There is a reason for the discord, identify why it exists.  Once you have gone within yourself to self-check your feelings, it is time to    get real. The next step is to hone in on what happened. Review the conversation or exchange-look for where things broke down and make an earnest attempt to identify the source of the conflict. It could be an integrity issue, a snub, a flaw, a mental illness. Whatever, the range of possibilities is wide. The point is to objectively pinpoint, as best as you can, what may be the real reason for the conflict.

“There are three principles in a man’s being and life, the principle of thought, the principle of speech, and the principle of action. The origin of all conflict between me and my fellow-men is that I do not say what I mean and I don’t do what I say. ”  ~Martin Buber

      3. It’s time to talk. Seek out the other person. Consult. Open up, share how you feel and then hear their point of view. This is where you seek to understand each other. Stay away from volatile, inflammatory accusations which escalate conflict. Talk in a hearing tone, speak with healing words, understand with an empathetic heart.

Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict – alternatives to passive or aggressive responses, alternatives to violence.” ~Dorothy Thompson

4. Work together to resolve the conflict.  Keep a good attitude. Throw blame, heated recriminations out of the window. Stay in the now, rather than re-hash old wounds, and hear each other; find out what each person needs to resolve the issue. There are reasons why “vexed” feelings are there, tell the truth, share your feelings with a positive attitude, and then honestly do what is necessary to resolve the conflict.

“Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude.” ~William James

       5. Take responsibility to maintain the solution. Own the outcome, do this for yourself. Take ownership of your feelings and release any lingering residuals that often accompany conflict. Take responsibility not only for your feelings but also take responsibility to honor the solution and then let the old conflict go. Sine die. It is done and over with.

“Conflict cannot survive without your participation.” ~Wayne Dyer

 Conflict is solvable.  Resolution is the agreement.  Children instinctively know how to handle conflict, go to your inner child and model love.