1.3 billion dollars!!!
In one night, someone will make more money than the new Star Wars movie has grossed globally. Their net worth will be 114 times greater than President Obama’s. Money will no longer be an obstacle to living the life that they want.
But what is it that we are really looking for when we buy that ticket for Wednesday’s drawing? At the most basic level, it’s freedom. The common themes that came up while polling my Facebook friends about what they would gain in winning Powerball included; freedom to better take care of themselves and loved ones, to get out of debt faster, to spend more time with friends and family, to donate to the charities they value, to commit loving acts of kindness, to pursue the work that lights them up on a soul level, and to live life more fully.
You know what’s crazy about that list?
You can do almost all of these things without winning the lottery.
Are you striving to manage finances? Here’s a great game to play that will put over $7,000 in your pocket in 2016. It's called “Save 10/Make 10”. It’s based on a concept from Broadway Producer, Ken Davenport, who looks for ways to increase the profit margins for the shows that he produces.
The goal is simple: Find a way to save $10 every day. This might mean skipping that Starbucks run, or ordering a tall instead of a venti. Can you bike to work instead of taking public transportation? If you and your spouse are going to the Outback for date night, could you skip the blooming onion appetizer? Since I’ve transitioned into launching my own business, my girlfriend and I have completely cut back on how much we dine out in favor of cooking meals together at home. We have saved money, calories, and it’s actually improved the quality of our relationship by having these private moments together.
If you can find a way to squeeze $10 per day out of your budget, you just added $3,650 to your disposable income.
But why stop there? Now ask where you can make an extra $10 per day. Can you sell some old clothes on e-bay? Can you ask for an hour of overtime when you stayed late to get that work project done? Again, using my girlfriend as an example, she loves to paint and draw portraits of animals. This has led to some acquaintances offering to pay her $40-$50 to create custom pieces of their pets. Boom! Finding an extra $10 of income per day adds another $3,650 to the bottom line, for a net total of $7300 per year.
That money could pay down your credit card debt, pay for your dream vacation, or even help finance the home improvement project you are putting off.
Of course, there will be days where you can’t find the place to save or earn, and that’s fine. But the goal is just changing your mindset about money. Many new year’s financial resolutions fail because we think we can solve our money issues with one massive idea that feels so big, that we are too scared to follow through and take action. This year, how about taking smaller steps, more frequently, to reach your goals?
Would you become more charitable if you won Powerball? You can start right now. Your time and energy cost nothing, and are needed just as badly at your local animal shelter, habitat for humanity, or youth organization. Plus, you will still reap the rewards of knowing that you are giving what is truly your most precious resource, your time, and using it to contribute to the greater good.
Is your goal to spend more time with family and friends? Spoiler alert: you can you be more fully present in your closest relationships right now. Do you take the time to pick up the phone to ask your friends how they are doing? Or are you just “phoning it in”, literally, by communicating solely through text and social media? The level of love you give to those around you is a choice that you can make every day whether you have $1 in the bank or $1 billion.
Finally, we come to the idea of living more fully and/or pursuing our passions. If you are truly being honest with yourself, it’s not money that is holding you back from doing this. It’s fear. Yes, you need to be able to pay your bills, but as self-help guru, Gabrielle Bernstein says, treat the job you currently hate as the venture capitalist that is investing in you while you plan your next move. With this mindset, you can learn to find gratitude for the job you currently looking at as mundane. It also heightens your responsibility to take action in your free time to create a more purpose driven life. Want to write a book? Create a non-negotiable, 30-minute block in the morning or evening to write. Want to start a small business but feel overwhelmed? I’d bet your local chamber of commerce has free resources to teach you how to do it. You just have to show up and take action.
The bottom line is that you don’t have to become a billionaire to live abundantly. All that is required is to consciously choose each day to see the abundance that already surrounds you and to act with intention to create the life you have always dreamed of.