The Art of Strengths Coaching

M is for Mission And Mortgage

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What gets you out of bed in the morning? Your mission, your mortgage or a combination of both?

“I’d like to pursue my labour of love, but also maintain a certain lifestyle,” somebody may say. “Is that possible?”

Let’s explore how you can balance pursuing your mission and paying your mortgage.

Pursuing Your Mission

Many people who feel fulfilled in their work have a similar pattern.

Fairly early on in their professional lives – between the ages of 18 and 28 – they followed their passion.

Years later they may have learned how to make money, but during that formative time they pursued their mission. This may have been hazy, such as wanting:

“To help people … To create beauty … To fight for justice … To show a better way … To make inspiring music.”

They did everything possible, however, to explore and then pursue their chosen road. Later they translated this mission into ways they could pay their mortgage.

“Sound okay, but what about after 28, is there hope?” somebody may ask.

Of course, but this calls for regaining the habit of doing what you enjoy. Why? People make financial commitments from their mid-20s onwards.

They may want to regain their sense of purpose, but are not sure how to do so whilst, at the same time, paying their mortgage.

People who make this transition successfully often take the following steps.

They clarify their mission – their purpose – by identifying their long-term picture of success.

They clarify the principles they can follow to pursue these goals.

They translate the principles into daily practice.

They do something each day – however small – that contributes to achieving their life-goals. Such habits become a lifestyle and begin to fulfil their sense of mission.

You will, of course, follow this path in your own way. If you wish, try completing the following exercise.

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 Paying Your Mortgage

“Five years ago our family went through a crisis,” explained one person.

“My partner became ill and I almost lost my job. Like many people in this situation, we asked: ‘How much money do we need – as opposed to how much do we want?’

“Eventually we found it was possible to live on just over half our previous outgoings.

“Getting back in shape meant, for example, buying and using food carefully, rather than throwing lots of it away; reducing outgoings, such as certain kinds of insurance; and selling-off stuff at car boot sales.

“Looking back, the crisis taught us to value what was really important. We had spent years spending money on things that weren’t necessary.”

So how much money do you need? Many people remember the sentiment expressed in Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield.

“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought (sic) and six, result misery.”

Financial turnarounds take time and creativity. But it can be liberating to feel that you – rather than others – are shaping your financial future.

So how can you feel in charge of paying your mortgage? Try completing the following exercise.

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Pursuing Your Mission
And Paying Your Mortgage

How to get the right balance? If you are already following your mission, then it may be a case of aiming:

To do more of the things you find fulfilling.

To get enough funding to pay the mortgage.

By continuing to follow this pattern, eventually every piece of work will contribute to pursuing your mission, as well as paying the bills.

If the gap between mission and mortgage work is too painful, however, then it could mean making a transition. Let’s consider how to make this happen.

“Do what you love and the money will follow,” we are told.

Sounds good, but it also calls for being customer-focused. It may not sound so catchy, but the mantra is:

“Do what you love and help your customers to succeed. Keep doing the right things in the right way every day. Then maybe the money will follow.”

There are three options people can take to move towards doing work they love. They can follow either:

The Sink Or Swim Approach

They give up everything and aim to start a new life.

The Sideshow Approach

They maintain their present role but build-up their new work during evenings and the weekends.

The Serious Plan Approach

They start by setting a date in the future. They then implement a serious action plan for getting enough income by that date to make the transition to full-time enjoyable work.

Each option obviously has pluses and minuses, but the key is to get started and create momentum. This takes you closer to balancing your personal and professional fulfilment.

You will obviously choose your own way towards balancing your mission and mortgage. If you wish, try completing the following exercise.

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