How Much Does An Opportunity Cost?

fork_in_the_roadWorking as a Money Coach allows me to assist people in grasping deep personal insights and then use these to make more informed choices. In some cases, the insights are so profound they create a “shift” in perspective that leads to positive changes in the quality of their lives.

I do this through a simple exercise that works like this; I ask people to craft a vision of what they want most in their futures. The replies I get include things like; beautiful homes, luxury cars, magnificent vacations and wonderful experiences shared with family and friends.

Next I ask them to reflect on these desires and ponder what personal value(s) would be satisfied if they were to materialize. People find this exercise interesting because they’ve never explored the underlying meaning of their longings in this way. They reply with words like: security, freedom, peace, abundance and happiness.

This is where the insights start to emerge. I next ask “To experience security, freedom, peace, abundance and happiness is it essential that you attain the specific things described in your vision?” The answer is invariably “No.”

People tend to become locked-in to a particular point of view which blinds them to other opportunities. My goal is to help them become aware of additional possibilities that exist. From here, they can be more intentional about how they allocate their often limited supply of dollars in service to what matters most i.e. to better connect money with meaning.

Here’s an example. One Saturday I got an email from Judy (not her real name), a client, requesting an urgent phone conversation. When I called, she explained that she and a good friend had discussed taking a trip together some time back, but nothing had ever come of it. Earlier that day the friend called to say she’d found a wonderful vacation opportunity at a great price! The catch was, it had to be booked by 5pm that day.

Judy explained that since first considering the trip, her priorities had changed. On one hand, she felt she should agree to go, out of respect for her friend. On the other hand, she felt she should decline because she would have to use money that was now set aside for another goal.

I asked Judy what word came to mind when she thought about taking the trip. She answered “Loyalty”. I then asked, what personal values had she originally thought the trip nourished? After a minute she said “Friendship, fun and adventure”. Are there were more affordable travel options that would still satisfy these values, I asked? She perked up and said “Yes! We could take a staycaction at a fraction of the price!”. With that in mind, Judy called her friend to explain her dilemma, and her solution. The friend was sensitive to Judy’s predicament and together they starting making staycation plans.

Moral of the story: Through a simple conversation, Judy experienced a shift that opened her to the many ways friendship, fun and adventure could be fostered. Her values of loyalty and personal commitment were upheld and the conflict that had gripped her was transcended.