Running My Own Race
I come from a middle income family, graduated from an elite girls school, junior college and then a double degree from university. By society’s standards, I should be climbing the corporate ladder, working hard to earn big bucks. Being a non-conformist, I ended up only working full-time for 4 years before deciding that life was too short to be clocking hours at work for corporate affirmation and a growing bank balance. I chose fulfillment through freedom to pursue my calling.
My friend A* graduated from the same school, and had a similar starting point to the workforce. However, family circumstances require him to be a key provider for the parents and his own household, being married with children. He sees his job as a means to an end of earning sufficient money to pay for everything. Job satisfaction doesn’t mean as much as being able to afford the lifestyle he wants. Clocking in the hours at work, fulfillment comes in the form of family trips, and having a space to unwind at the end of each day.
The reality is all of us have different needs and ideas of what fulfillment in life looks like. The first step to financial freedom is thus recognising what your own race is, and stop comparing yourself to others. Don’t alienate yourself from others with comparisons. Rather, try viewing those around you as fellow journeyers supporting one another on our individual races.
Attitudes Spotting & Strengthening
Just as how we look different on the outside, our inner financial personalities also differ. Having a support network helps us recognise blind spots/ behavioural patterns, and the power of our subconscious acting out. As mentioned in our earlier article, habits are hard to break. A support network can help to identify and remind us of the cues that trigger our habits.
Also, do you recall the times when you felt you couldn’t do something and got stuck? Thereafter, it was drawing inspiration from friends or speaking to mentors that gave you strength to push through the fears and limitations for a breakthrough.
Personally, I am in awe of my friend who has studied her Masters while being the primary caregiver for her parent and the sole breadwinner of the family. Her grit, and cheerfulness reminds me that life is worth living with optimism regardless of circumstances. Nonetheless, I know that’s her journey, not mine. When I am in a difficult situation, I draw on her attitude to push on. That’s how I am blessed by her, not mirroring her achievements of a Masters or providing for the family.
Human limitations do not allow us to learn everything under the sun. Knowledge sharing allows us to leverage on each other’s strengths and expertise for success. While empowering children for financial confidence and resilience is my goal, building a website certainly isn’t! Thankfully, I have Zac and Leon from Omni Apps Solutions who are knowledgeable in this area, and have helped us build this website. They certainly accelerated my progress in this race!
Who are the people in your life who can share their experience and knowledge to progress you along in your race? Would a mentor be beneficial at this point?
While we tap on others’ knowledge to help move us along in the race, there are skills which we will need to develop for ourselves that will propel us forward. One skill I find inevitable is networking. Speaking with strangers may not come natural but it’s thankfully a skill that gets better with practice. A tribe of fellow journeyers can help with providing a safe space to ‘practise’ small talk and meaningful connections with other people who makes our race easier. I love this quote by Christy Cole that goes
We are more powerful when we empower each other.”
Who is someone you can use your skills to empower?
As you consider what your race is, and what is required to empower yourself to achieve the dreams at the end of the race, can you see any specific attitudes, knowledge or skills that you require to reach the end? Who can come alongside you in this journey, not to run your race, but to journey alongside with you? What you do today impacts your future, so don’t hesitate. Build your confidence and find your tribe that will support you through life!
*To protect privacy and identities of my friends, the friends mentioned above are a mish-mesh of the people I encounter in life, and are completely fictitious.