Liz Wolfe | money
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Last month I went to a stimulating business conference in Orlando. Surprisingly, the most memorable learning experience for me came out of a nature walk I took on the hotel grounds. I discovered the hotel had a nature trail on its extensive grounds when I first arrived. Getting to the path seemed straightforward enough on the hotel’s map, so I decided to walk it the next morning as a way to start my day. I imagined that I would get fresh air and exercise while enjoying nature and becoming grounded. With this clear vision in mind, I ventured out into the chilly Florida morning.

I just threw away $75 in Borders gift cards. Before ultimately admitting defeat, I had confidently gone to barnesandnoble.com to redeem them. I recalled that B&N had taken over when Borders had gone out of business, so I assumed that they would accept my gift cards. Boy, was I wrong. Annoyed, but still determined, I did some internet research to see if anyone would accept them, or if I was in fact out of luck. The only results that seemed to surface were accounts of people who were also looking to redeem their cards, and the answer was always the same: NO. In the midst of my research, I chanced upon an article published on a financial advice site that was encouraging people to redeem their cards back when Borders was initially going out of business. The article was written in 2009. Really? I had had those gift cards on my desk for more than three years?

A hot cup of coffee. Crispy, almost burnt toast. An uncomfortable sense that I’m already behind in my day. The only thing missing in this flashback to my childhood is the sound of bleating lambs coming from the basement, awaiting their breakfast. I half expect my mother to turn the corner into the room, berating me for still lingering at the table instead of mixing up their vanilla-smelling milk concoction, made from powered Real Imitation Milk.

"He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it." Clarence Budington Kelland I saw this quote posted on Facebook on Father’s day. It reminded me of my father right away. He is a simple man, low maintenance, you might say, never wanted much more for himself or for us than to be happy, whatever that looked like. Although he did do some telling us how to live, actually, but the advice was always stemming from his love and care for us.

At the beginning of my seminars I ask attendees to share what they want to create as a result of participating. People say things like, “get a new job” or “find my soul mate” or “earn more money,” “get healthy” or “lose weight.” What I find interesting is that for the most part the things they want to create are already within their reach. Take the topic of being healthy for instance. Everyone knows how to lose weight, right? Eat less, exercise more. But if it were that straightforward (I won’t say easy) wouldn’t everyone be healthy?

I ended 2013 uncharacteristically grumpy. I felt on the brink of tears or anger for much of the last couple of weeks of the year, without really being able to identify why. I found it depressing to look back at the year, knowing I didn’t accomplish all I wanted to, finding small solace in the few milestones that I could recollect. I’m not quite sure where I think I should be by now, but my feeling of dissatisfaction lingered and made me an unpleasant person to be around.