I was pregnant with my second child, three years into a part-time work schedule, when I began dreaming about my grandparents’ Steinway baby grand piano. They were gradually reducing their belongings, and I contacted the family member most instrumental in this process to find out if they would be willing to sell the piano to me. I realized the piano was a one-of-a-kind item, and without similar items to give to all their other grandchildren, this was going to be a family purchase rather than a family gift.
In many ways, the timing was awful. We were just beginning to wrap our minds around the loss of my full-time income and prepare for a second child in daycare (an expense second only to when we will send these two to college!). This second child also meant a new vehicle was in our future, and we perceived there to be little “wiggle room” in our savings for a significant purchase. But the piano was–and is–gorgeous. The wood is a rich medium brown, and the touch of the keys is light and fluid. I had played that piano for hours when visiting my grandparents in their Florida homes, and I suspected it would bring them and me great joy to have it remain in the family. So I approached them, asked their price, and began digging into our resources to find what would make this exchange possible.
It’s amazing what you can find when you are motivated to look. There were funds from a recent inheritance. We decided we could skip a summer vacation….who travels with a toddler and newborn baby anyway? Securing and ultimately receiving the piano took some work, including finding a long-distance specialty piano mover, but you can clearly see my delight (and pregnant belly!) on the day this new-old piano arrived.
I have never regretted this purchase or the financial sacrifice it required of us at a challenging time….just as I believe leaving a secure position with a stable income to start my own business–and be nearer my growing children–is the best decision I’ve ever made. (Remind me of this when I get the middle of the night fear tremors!) The fact is, we almost always have the money for what matters.
[Quick aside: I recognize and believe that systemic inequality exists in our world and in my community. There are people who do not have the resources to meet their own basic needs, and we have constructed a society where we actually rely on this fact. While I believe many of us can rethink our resources and how we use them to make room for what is of value, I do want to bring to mind those who do not have this sense of agency. They, too, are our collective responsibility, and I hope reversing this plight is one of the values you choose to invest in with your time and your financial resources.]
I grew up in a family that struggled financially. My parents were white collar employees–a teacher and minister–but neither career provided significant income. This state of being–and the state of mind that accompanied it–is planted deep inside me. I reflexively feel like there isn’t enough, and I am more likely to contract my life to fit a smaller income than to imagine growing my resources to invest in experiences or wants for our family. (It is especially difficult for me to prioritize my own needs–Exhibit A: Years ago I forgot my checkbook for the first three appointments with a new therapist.) But I have experimented in recent years with believing there is enough, and somehow this continues to be true. On really wild days, I imagine abundance….and surprise, surprise, this has turned out to be true too.
The shift of mind has allowed me to invest in my own well-being from time to time–an occasional massage, a yoga class from that instructor I love, and, yes, coaching. I have received individual coaching on multiple occasions, especially at life’s “intersection” moments, and I have also participated in group coaching or classes offered by coaches. What initially felt indulgent has yielded some of the most important decisions of my life–decisions that have benefited far more people than just me. But you know what? “Just me” is worth it! And you are too!
If you are looking to make a change in your life and want to work in focused ways with someone who can ask you powerful questions, I’d love to be that person. If the investment still feels out of reach, consider creative possibilities: professional development funds at work, birthday money for a coaching fund, or consider group coaching. This fall I’ll offer periodic calls for groups interested in a theme or question. The experience is more cost-effective than individual coaching, and there’s great benefit, from my experience. Whether you want to talk about how to find and declare a sense of purpose, how to make decisions about work/family that align with your values, or how to resolve those pesky voices that continue to tear you down (including the one who says you’re not worth the investment!), let me know the themes that feel worth it to you. Comment below or email me at jenniferlsanborncoaching [at] gmail [dot] com.
© 2014 Jennifer L. Sanborn. All Rights Reserved.