Friday, April 15, 2016
Finacial Freedom | Breaking free from paycheck addiction
At around the age of 12, I started working for my dad at his small business. I worked alongside him for years until I entered corporate america. Instead of going off to college like most of my friends, I stayed in town and worked while attending a local college. While there, I met a classmate in his forties. He was laid off from his previous company and decided to return to school for a career change.
He and I were walking to class as he told me about how he opted to take a year off work to determine his next move. A bit surprised, I asked him how he could afford to do that. He smiled and said that he had money set aside and that he didn't have anything to worry about. For some reason, that conversation has never left me. The idea of not having to think about money seemed almost unreal. And I'll never forget the look of peace and contentment in his face knowing that he had nothing to worry about.
This week, a couple of friends invited me over to brainstorm business ideas. In the midst of our discussion, I asked both of them this question. "Imagine today is payday, but when you check your bank account, there's no direct deposit. What types of feelings arise when you think about not a having paycheck?" One of the girls responded with excitement the other cringed. I'll forever remember that day I logged into my account and, for the first time ever, I didn't receive a paycheck. I haven't been without work since I was a child. Dad paid me daily. Employers paid me bi-weekly. Receiving money consistently was an expectation.
But more importantly, it was an addiction. The paycheck addiction was the reason why I postponed leaving my job for so long. The thought of losing the security of a regular check freaked me out. But the same thought excited me just as much as it scared me. So I decided to start moving towards discomfort. The first and easiest step to breaking paycheck addiction is to stop relying on your entire check. I don't care if you save $5.00 or $500.00 each check, just make sure you don't consume all of it. Do whatever it takes. If your check is meager than focus on promotions and raises.
Once you get into the habit of saving, automate it and stretch yourself to reach lofty savings goals. During my career, I've had to let go of dozens of people (for numerous reasons). Some of them were in financial trouble and had a look of fear in their eyes after losing their paychecks. Others were completely at peace or even happy about taking "some time off" to figure out their next moves. The difference is that one was addicted to the paycheck, the other was not.
Obviously, receiving cash flow in the form of employment is a good thing. But think of reliance on a paycheck as breathing with the help of a ventilator. The minute, the machine is removed, you can't breathe. Having the ability to breathe on your own is a powerful thing.
The ultimate step away from paycheck addiction is having the ability to generate income. Going to work each day is one way to generate income. There's a million more. To me, earning a few bucks on your own has so much potential. If you can make $1.00, you can make $100,000. It just takes a heightened sense of focus and consistency. For anyone who one day desires to venture out and work for yourself, you should first free yourself of your paycheck addiction by saving like mad and putting your talents towards setting up other income sources.
Imagine how good it would feel to have zero worries if your boss walked in with bad news. Or better yet, being able to choose if you wanted to continue to work there or not. What if your paycheck didn't show up today or next Friday? On a scale of 1-10, what would be your level of panic? For me, that feeling was more exhilaration than panic. But that wouldn't have been the case if I didn't start the process of unhooking myself from the paycheck IV. If the thought of not receiving income for two weeks, a month, or 6 months sends chills down your spine, then get moving on freeing yourself from your paycheck addition. Freedom awaits you.
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