She needed her car.
She had to get around town.
Her tire was blown and the rim was shot.
She has no family. A few friends. No partner. No kids. And, very little money.
She really needed her car.
Somehow, she found a way; she finally maxed out her credit card.
She fixed it all. She had her car back.
But she was still broke financially and in emotional pain.
Each of us makes agreements with ourselves about different aspects of our lives and, with those agreements, comes sacrifice.
Some people will sacrifice calories to lose weight.
Some people will sacrifice the square footage of a living space to drive a better car.
Some people sacrifice their social lives to pursue their work passion.
Some people will sacrifice their pride to make peace.
Some people will sacrifice success to maintain neediness.
We all sacrifice something to get more of something else.
What have you agreed to and what have you sacrificed to have it?
I have a client, (Let’s call her “M”) who is very talented at her job, but doesn’t have much business and hence, is struggling financially. She is $30k in credit card debt, owes$20K to her attorney, and robs Peter to pay Paul most months to pay her mortgage.
We have worked on a number is issues that impact her financial situation.
However, one issue stands front and center with M; an issue that she didn’t realize existed:
The agreement and the sacrifice.
“Desperate” for money to pay her bills, “M” would cry frequently about her financial prison.
It IS very scary to know that you do not have enough money to pay your bills.
So, I spoke with her about the concept of “the agreement and the sacrifice.”
I asked her what she most valued as a professional.
She said, “Freedom to be my own boss.”
Because of this, she made an agreement with herself: I will sacrifice other avenues of income and avoid jobs that my ego says are below me, to honor my value of “freedom to be my own boss”.
She also made another agreement with herself: I will cry (to myself and others) and express that I am suffering because I believe that I don’t have other options to create financial freedom for myself (and, I can get love and connection from others with my story of woe.)
I said to her, “M, help me understand your tears. I’m confused. You have made your agreement with yourself. You value having the freedom to be your own boss over financial freedom right now and that is causing you pain. But, you haven’t reached a breaking point where you are ready to take massive action to change your situation. Otherwise, you would do whatever it takes to make money. You haven’t hit rock bottom with your pain. So, for now, find a way to make peace with your agreement or find another agreement.”
But it’s the truth. It makes sense, doesn’t it?
It all comes down to the agreements you make with yourself and the sacrifices you have made to maintain that agreement.
If you are unhappy in any aspect of your life, look at your agreement.
The same goes for the areas in your life in which you are happy.
Look at your agreement.
You have sacrificed something for that happiness.
If you are happier with your social circle, you have cut ties with those people who don’t contribute to that happiness.
If you are in a healthy, loving relationship, you have sacrificed the habit of settling for less than what you want.
If you are at your desired weight, you have sacrificed eating foods that cause you to gain weight.
If you are working on a book, a business, or something else that is personally meaningful, you have, perhaps, sacrificed time to accomplish those things.
What is the agreement you made with yourself and what have you sacrificed to experience that feeling?
In life, change is influenced by two factors: pain and pleasure.
Each of these falls along their respective spectrum.
When we experience something incredibly pleasurable we want to do whatever it takes to maintain that level of pleasure.
We THINK, FEEL, and DO the things it takes to reinforce that pleasure.
Pain is the same. Change doesn’t happen until we get to a point where it is intolerable; where we can’t take it anymore.
ONLY THEN will change occur.
Anything outside of that level of pain is along the spectrum of discomfort.
M didn’t realize she had made those agreements with herself. She also began to panic; thinking that her only way out was to hit rock bottom: lose her house, her car, or something else.
I wonder if the mere act of anticipating any of those losses will push her to the point of taking action?
I shared with her that if she has the capacity to resolve the issues with her car, which she desperately needed, she has the capacity to change of any aspect of her life.
I also shared with her that the feeling of urgency she had about fixing the car didn’t seem to exist when it came to her financial situation. I asked her to think about why that is the case.
There was desperation but no urgency.
For some, just the idea of hitting rock bottom spurs them into action. Others actually have to feel the excruciating pain of hitting that hard, cold floor to make a change.
Look at your life. What works? What doesn’t work?
It all comes down to the agreement you make with yourself and the sacrifices you make on behalf of that agreement.
Sometimes it takes compromise and sacrifice to reach your end goal.
However, if what you have given up brings you any other feeling than happiness, change your agreement or find peace with it.
Don’t be the person who sells yourself short for immediate gain or who delays letting go of what (or who) doesn’t serve your best interest, to skirt short term discomfort.
Step up to yourself and make an agreement that ushers happiness and long term peace.
You’ll thank yourself for it, I promise.