Three ways to shift your focus away from what you lack so you can start enjoying an abundant mindset


Stop worrying about not having enough and focus on what you do have

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Because of my work in financial and retirement planning, I hear this question a lot: “Will I have enough?”


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My professional training and experience has taught me that regardless of an individual’s actual monetary wealth, it is an impossible question to answer.

For starters, we live in a culture where we “never have enough.” We’re hypersensitive to all the things we lack. How many times have you started your day already feeling behind the eight ball?

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Not enough sleep.

Not enough coffee.

Not enough sunshine.

Not enough vacation.

Not enough time.

We also spend a lot of time looking at our neighbours and measuring what we have against what we think they have.

I don’t want to come across as rude, but I usually have to answer the question with a question: “What is enough for you?”

What does the life you want look like and feel like? What does it include? What is not included? What would be a bonus? What is important to you?


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You can see why it’s impossible to say “enough” is 70 per cent of your final employment earnings, or 80 per cent of your pre-retirement income.

If you find yourself worrying about having enough, I recommend three things you can do right away to ease the worry, shift your focus away from what you lack, and start enjoying an abundant mindset.

Focus on what you have

“Where focus goes, energy flows,” well-known life coach Tony Robbins has said. Along the same lines, “What you appreciate appreciates,” Lynne Twist said in her book, The Soul of Money.

Being thankful for what we have in life doesn’t leave time to dwell on all the things we don’t have. Gratitude can fill the emotional voids consumerism can’t, and comparison never will. Don’t get me wrong — no judgment here — enjoy shopping. But if you’re shopping to fill an emotional void, it’s time to look deeper.


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Know what you want

Feeling abundant doesn’t mean giving up and never striving for anything new. It means understanding what is important to you and knowing you’re making progress towards it.

I encourage clients to develop a clear spending plan to achieve their financial goals. Staying clear on your values and vision means you won’t be distracted when the neighbours buy a new toy, or by a Facebook friend who seems to be on constant vacation.

Creating a spending plan is hopeful, exciting and positive: you keep your goal in mind and see yourself moving toward it.

Recognize what wealth is

Wealth is not worth. You are valuable and loved for your gifts, talents and integrity, not for your wealth. People aren’t remembered for a dollar figure, but for what they chose to do with their money, and that goes for whether they have a little or a lot.


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Think of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and those celebrities donating to movements they believe in. Similarly, there’s that neighbour who always supports the local fundraising efforts — $2 or $5 at a time — or a child who gives a third of their birthday money to the Humane Society. These people know they have enough to give some away despite their differing lifestyles.

Sure, there are financial guidelines, tools, common sense and rules of thumb. These give us a starting point. How you set the guidelines and which tools you use depends on what is important to you.


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What glass-half-empty thoughts do you find creeping in when you think about “enough”? Do you catch yourself comparing what you have to what others have? Do you spend much time worrying about what you lack? Do you feel the answer to “enough” lies in a certain dollar figure?

When I work with clients, we start by focusing on what they have, including their priorities, values and dreams. And they get to define what their “enough” looks like.

Colleen O’Connell-Campbell is a wealth adviser with RBC Dominion Securities, RBC Wealth Management.


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