Last week I got a lovely email from a reader. She said she can't afford career coaching right now, but wanted to thank me for the time and articles and resources I share for free on my website. One reason I share free stuff is so that anyone who wants support from me can get it in some form, even if it's not full support through coaching.
But her email also got me thinking about her situation. It's not the first time I've gotten an email like this. What should you do if you're in a difficult transition, could really use coaching, but can't afford it?
The "If You Really Wanted It You'd Make It Happen" Argument
There have been times when I wanted to invest in my personal or professional development, "couldn't afford it," and found a way to make it happen. Sold something, put it on a credit card, made some extra scratch. There have been other times when I wanted to invest in myself, and as much as I wanted what I wanted, I knew that it would feel worse to spend the money than to miss the class, the conference, the whatever. Truth is, I was still getting what I wanted. It's just that I wanted stability more than an e-course. Security more than a plane ticket.
So when I hear online marketers rally the "if you don't invest in this it means you really don't want your career to succeed, you're not ready to play big" cry, I just have to disagree. This is not an attempt to inspire you to action, it's a last-ditch attempt to shame you into buying their stuff.
You know when you should spend and when you should hold. You can feel it. You may act against the feeling sometimes, but you know. Part of being a successful (business) person is learning to trust that feeling, which sometimes means spending out to get to the next level, and sometimes means waiting for when the timing is better.
When the Time Is Right To Spend
Do you research. Go with your gut. Buy the best. Commit. Implement, implement, implement. Don't look back.
When Investing Just Isn't Right Right Now
1. Get Ye To a Financial Advisor
In the words of Albert Einstein, “Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.” Get the brains of someone who specializes in finances up in your bank account. Don't just read a Suze Orman book and call it a day. The details of everyone's financial situation are different, and you want someone who can see the whole picture, your whole picture, and help you make a plan.
I haven't had my money with a commercial bank in over 5 years, so I don't know what they're up to, but if you bank with a credit union, they should have an advisor you can talk with free of charge. Tell them the whole truth. Get a plan.
2. Become Active in 1-2 Supportive Communities
Pick a couple places on the web or out in the world where the ideas and people resonate with you. Don't mess with more than two because it's easy to get overwhelmed or just hover at surface level. You want in.
Devour the free content; that's what it's there for. Comment. Respond to other people's comments. Get jiggy on the Facebook page. The last thing you want in a difficult transition is to feel or act isolated. So take action and become a contributing member of a community or two. Get support, give support.
RELATED: Join my private Facebook group.
Pen and paper, type it up, use crayons for all I care. Writing is an easy mental filtration system. Clean out the gunk to keep your thinking clean.
4. Set a Concrete Goal to Start Working with a Coach
If coaching is what you really want and need, but the timing isn't right, create the right timing.
By November 15th, 2012, I will have saved $____ so I can invest in __ months of coaching with ________.
To accomplish this financial goal: I will set aside $_____ per week. I will cut down to one chai latte a week. I will ask for contributions towards coaching for my birthday. I will sell my old camping gear on craigslist. I will return the boots I just bought. I will be open to receiving pennies from heaven.
Have you ever wanted to invest in coaching or something else but the timing wasn't right? What did you do and how did it work out? Tell your story in the comments.