Don’t Let Money Turn You Around

Don’t Let Money Turn You Around

Torso of a barechested man whose eyes are facing forward, ear and nose in profile are facing to the right and chin and nape of neck in profile are facing left.

Please don’t let money turn you around, no matter how tempting it may feel. This is Mattia Merlo’s photo, “Turning Tables,” copyright-free on Flikr.

Whether you’re reading this as a fundraiser, entrepreneur, wage-earner, or simply a would-be peaceful and ethical money manager, you may be letting money “turn you around.”

  1. If you’re in a nonprofit, your fears about fundraising will make you ask a question like I was asked that inspired this post: Our program is running out of money. Our largest donor is going to stop giving. Where can we find more “deep pockets”?
  2. If you’re in a short-term bind financially, you’ll try to make financial decisions that are not short-term in their implications.
  3. If you feel you are “too young” or “too old” for the work you want to do, you may hear your own voice trying to tell you to think about cash first, ahead of the work you really want to do. And it will claim this is being “practical!”

Money has no direction we don’t give it.

Learn to recognize the voices in your head around money with the helpful posts I’ve written on what we moneycoaches call your money archetypes.

You and I give money its direction

  1. In a nonprofit, just like in life, every relationship is personal. Donors know their job is to support your work. That doesn’t mean treat them like an ATM, and replace the ATM when it wears out. It means building relationships as part of your work.  Be honest about what it costs to do your work and how donors can help.  It is important to justify what you need and why it’s important; they are people with minds and hearts. Consider donors part of your team, forever.
  2. In a short-term bind, it is normal to think about where to get more money. (The operative word is “think.) It’s not normal to listen to money telling you where to get more of it. Notice that nothing you hear it say when you’re in that state of mind says makes a lick of sense. Don’t go cheap for riches. Go ahead and make wise decisions about reducing expenses, working more for the short-term, borrowing from a friend, or negotiating for a discount, donation, or reduction. Let your mind help you out of your bind.
  3. In the work you want to do in the world,  make intelligent decisions that allow you to stay on your livelihood path.
  • Leslie
    Posted at 02:42h, 04 February Reply

    Thank you Beth and Danielle. If I let money turn me around, our organization wouldn’t be where it is today – growing in its efforts and building an education center. If having the money was at the forefront of the process we probably would be standing still and in waiting indefinitely. However, in the process of growing there have been many times that the organization (especially me) needed to wait – we begin growth, we do what we can, then we wait. Sometimes that heron has a leg pulled up underneath because in the waiting the process can feel cold and uncertain. But holding the leg in warmth and in balance with trust and patience the flow will happen again, two legs can support confidence, and the next stage can be caught!

    • Beth
      Posted at 17:43h, 04 February Reply

      Wow. What geniuses respond to our blog! Thank you Leslie. I’ll make sure Danielle sees this.

    • Danielle Capillo
      Posted at 21:40h, 04 February Reply

      Thank you Leslie, your comment brought tears to my eyes because Is feel heard. I think you totally understand what I am going through. “Cold and uncertain” is definitely part of the waiting. I have tried moving quickly and gotten tangled up in my own legs before. So the waiting is a new learning for me. And it is difficult when I am so used to constant motion. Being ready but waiting for the right moment is a huge balancing act. And I feel as though I am doing it on all levels of my life, related to my career, and family life. It is encouraging to hear you are feeling successful with this process of waiting as a Great Blue Heron in the still water and the fish does indeed come along!

  • Danielle
    Posted at 19:39h, 02 February Reply

    I imagine myself as an Great Blue Heron standing at the waters edge with just my tall legs in the water. Standing as still as possible not to change my shadow and to strike when the time is right with my long sharp beak. It’s not my metaphor but it is helpful to me whenever I get bogged down with decision making. I remind myself that I am still in the water and my job is to keeping scanning the water and be ready to move quickly when the opportunity arises. I try to do things to prepare myself for the move but have resolved to wait for an attainable goal before giving away my position in the water.
    It might be time to sit down and get a little closer to the possibilities. I will have to think about that one….

    • Beth
      Posted at 19:42h, 02 February Reply

      Danielle, this is so amazing! Thank you!!! If you try sitting down, let us know the rest of the story.

  • Danielle Capillo
    Posted at 05:21h, 02 February Reply

    This post really speaks to the questions I have been asking my heart, my head and the universe this week. I feel I am at a fork in the road and I have a few choices. But I can only go in one direction, as you say. And I want to make the right decision. I thought the answer came when I was told that the $ wasn’t there to do a job I have been planning/negotiating for months that will start in the summer. But it doesn’t feel so clear. And so this message of not following the money is very app to my current situation. I think I just have to keep standing in this shallow water and wait for the fish that I can catch to come by. I am in the waiting place, trying to be aware of my surroundings, ready to make the right move when it comes into view. Thank you for the reminder that money doesn’t have a direction. I need to go my own way.

    • Beth
      Posted at 17:34h, 02 February Reply

      Danielle, this is possibly the most exquisite comment on top of all the extremely wise ones you have left our readers over the years. What a gorgeous metaphor. I would love you to describe what it’s like, being willing to stand in the shallows and watching for those fish. Are you sitting? Fish might come up to you if you are…Tell us!

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