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The Equivalent of Flossing for Your Money – A Financial Lesson from a Hygienist

I don’t know about you, but when I head over to the dentist’s office, I don’t expect to walk away with a financial lesson, other than a reminder of how expensive dental visits are.

Years ago, though, when I popped in for a routine cleaning, I was in for a surprise.

Has anyone ever called you on your B.S., in a polite but hit-the-nail-on-the-head kind of way?

That happened to me when I sat in a dental chair and Jen the hygienist went to work cleaning my teeth. She chatted up a storm the entire time. Every once in a while, she’d ask me a question, which I tried to answer with my eyes or a slight nod of the head, since any verbal response would have made me sound like I was being strangled.

When she was done, she stepped back and smiled at me. “How often do you floss?” she asked.

Back then, I flossed maybe once a week or after eating something problematic, like celery. Seriously. I meant to floss daily, but I kept forgetting. Brushing my teeth multiple times a day wasn’t an issue; I developed that habit ages ago. Somehow, though, the habit of flossing never quite stuck despite my good intentions and frequent discussions with Jen about its importance.

I gave her a BS answer about flossing, you know, ah, it’s hard to say, but roughly three to four times a week depending on the week. On average.

She gave me a look that said, “You can say what you want, but your teeth tell a different story.”

She looked at me intently, without blinking. I can’t remember the precise words she used, but the essence of what she said to me that day was this: You can build the habit of flossing your teeth every day or you can pay us a lot of money to fix the problems that will inevitably develop. Your choice.

 

Now do you get it, Doris?

I had heard that message a million times: floss your teeth. You must floss your teeth. It’s good for you to floss your teeth. It’s important to floss your teeth. Good oral health depends on you flossing your teeth.

But it wasn’t until Jen reframed it in stark (but polite) terms that I got the message.

And the message, implicitly, was this: Every choice you make has a cost. If you pay the price now and do the hard work, it will be a lot cheaper and a lot less painful than delaying.

Build successful habits now, which is hard –> pay a small price.

Or take the easy route now, which is easier and more fun –> pay a much bigger price later.

Which will it be?

 

It’s a choice

You either take the time to build the habits that will get you the results you want, which can be challenging and “expensive” from the perspective of personal development; or you make excuses, like I did to myself about my failure to build the flossing habit.

As I walked home from the dental office all those years ago, it occurred to me that that’s the choice I have had to make on multiple occasions regarding my finances.

When my first husband died and I was left with $400,000 of debt, I had a choice to make: give up and declare bankruptcy or climb my way out of the mess. (I paid off the debt in two years.)

Get a job that would pay me a lot less than I’m capable of earning, after it became clear I couldn’t go back to my doctoral studies, or learn new skills to create the life I wanted. (I became a real estate investor, built a 7-figure portfolio, then started helping people repair financial messes.)

Bury my head in the sand or figure out how money works beyond the obvious “live within your means and save money”.

Stay terrified of investing in the stock market or educate myself and succeed at building a growing portfolio.

Keep making excuses about how it’s not the right time or the right price to learn, build, and grow; or step way the hell out of my comfort zone, risk looking like an idiot on more occasions than I can remember, and make progress toward being the kind of person I need to be to accomplish my goals.

Whether you do it consciously or not, every action you take is a choice.

 

The messy truth

In case you think there’s something special about me that I overcame big challenges, built a strong financial foundation, and am now tackling lofty goals – like closing the wealth gap between men and women – let me set the record straight: there isn’t.

The reality is that my progress was slow, painful, and messy.

The so-called upward curve of my goal achievement looks more like the path of a fly trying to evade a swatter. Uhh-gly, maddeningly convoluted, and unpredictable.

But it worked because I made a commitment to build the habits I need, to get up after every fall, and remind myself daily of why I do the hard work.

I have learned that you live and die by your goals, your mindset, your habits, and your grit.

I am an ordinary woman who is committed to living a great life by focusing on those key factors. That’s it.

It’s simple, but it’s not easy.

 

Same old, same old or something better?

What do you have planned for the year ahead? What would make your soul sing on December 31st after completing the sentence, “I’ve had such a great year because….”

Which habits do you need to amend or instill to make that happen?

Which skills do you need to grow?

If there is a gap between where you’re at and what you want to accomplish, then something needs to change; you need to grow you and your habits.

Here’s another thing to consider: You won’t accomplish your goals by accident. I should know. I’ve tried. Didn’t go so well. 🤷‍♀️😀

I’ve also learned that achievement happens a lot more quickly when you have help. That’s why I’ve just laid down five figures to work with a business coach. She has helped countless people build seven-figure businesses. I can figure it out alone or save myself a ton of grief by using a guide who has done what I want to do.

That’s a no-brainer for me.

 

Your blueprint

If you already have a mapped out plan for the year and you’re on track with the habits that will get you there, yay you! 🎉 Shoot me an email and share your wins. I’ll buy a pair of pom-poms (seriously, I’ve *always* wanted pom-poms – not kidding) and I will be your biggest cheerleader.

But if that’s not you and you want more – better! – from your life this year, and you’d like a step by step plan with clear instructions and built-in accountability, then join me in my Women’s Money Group. 🙌

I designed the group specifically to help women achieve their financial and life goals, with built-in behavioral supports.

On Tuesday, January 26th, I’m going to hold possibly the most important meeting of the year for my group. I’m going to walk my members through the creation of their Money Roadmap for 2021, including top level goals, mid level goals, and first key steps.  👣

I will follow that up with weekly touch points to develop, tweak, and stay on top of key habits.

There will be weekly moments of inspiration and positive mindset scripts.

And an obsessive focus on the behaviours that lead to success, with accountability partners and ongoing support.

We will proceed one small step at a time in doable chunks, because we all have way too much on the go at the moment.

One step at a time.

Basically, what I’m offering you is the equivalent, for your money and your goals, of flossing for your teeth: a series of habits that lead to success. 

No one should get to the end of the year feeling tired and unsatisfied, staring down another year of the same.

You can take a stab at it alone, but let me ask you a question while channeling my inner Jen-the-hygienist: Will you really do it?

Will you do the work that’s needed, on a consistent basis, and build the necessary success habits? Working through doubt, uncertainty, and fear?

Or is this another case of “sure I’ll floss, tomorrow, I promise”.

I could feed myself and Jen all the B.S. excuses and lines in the world, but my teeth told the real story. So will your finances and your life in a year’s time.

To experience something different, you have to do something different.

I go live online for January’s Women’s Money Group meeting on Tuesday, the 26th at 6:45 pm EST. Women will be joining in from across Canada and into the U.S. I hope you’re among them. You’ll be so glad you joined!

To become a member, go to my Women’s Money Group page and choose a monthly or annual membership. The different perks are explained on the page. Your investment is between $1.30 and $1.60 a day.

Reach out if you have any questions.

And for the record, I now floss every day. No B.S.!  🦷

 

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

 

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