27 Apr Transformation!
I received a phone call from a friend. He was asking me to recommend a credit counselor. At the risk of sticking my nose where it didn’t belong, I asked what was the problem. He told us that they were having difficulty paying their bills and realized they needed to do something different.
Before visiting a credit counselor I asked if he and his wife could drop by our home for a visit. Before spending a penny on a credit counselor, I asked if they would be willing to do a simple exercise that could enable them to independently create their own solution. He jumped at the opportunity and told me he’d check with his wife and call me right back. That he did! He and his wife visited us later the same evening.
They began their visit by sharing with me the amounts they spend on eating out, cable, gasoline and medical expenses. I immediately saw opportunities for savings. Each solution I offered was immediately rejected. These expenses were necessities for enjoying life. I made no attempt to try to explain or to encourage them to take an alternative view.
Instead, I asked if they had considered that money is nothing more than green pieces of paper with numbers, pictures and print. The value we place on money drives how we spend it. They readily agreed with my observation. I then asked them if they’d ever shared what they each valued most about money. I next asked if they had shared and discussed what they each wanted to achieve over the next five and ten years. They looked at each other, laughed and said that they had never thought of doing this. They seemed a bit embarrassed. It seemed so basic.
I gave them three blank pieces of paper. One piece was for them to write their individual values and priorities and the third piece of paper was to create an integrated list of values and priorities. They enthusiastically completed the exercise, compared notes and created a shared list of priorities. Their individual values and priorities were similar. I was shocked – it took them no more than ten minutes!
Immediately, they began revisiting the solutions that had been rejected. Previously important activities no longer mattered. In a matter of minutes, they had a budget surplus. I was amazed. There was no arguing. They no longer needed a credit counselor. One hour in my living room answering two simple questions got them on track.
A couple of weeks later, he called me thrilled with the progress they were making. He shared that his wife had found additional creative ways to save. His wife was riding her bike to work, they were eating out less and, their tenant was now paying the cost of cable.
It was great to see them happily create their solution.
What was even better is they didn’t feel like they were giving up a thing. No sacrifice was needed.
It’s all in our perspective.