by Angela Fitzgerald
This weekend I enjoyed a getaway to Milwaukee where I attended a Garden Party hosted by Social X, a social network intent on providing events for the young professional crowd. This was my second Social X event, and per usual, I had a great time! The planners did an amazing job in providing all of the necessary accoutrements for a crowd who has embraced the adult responsibilities of careers, bills, and 401K’s, but who can still turn up on occasion.
One of those necessary components was the strategic selection of musical offerings that acknowledge the mature palate of the audience, but also accepts the reality that some music is appreciated in doses – particularly when said music has a dope beat. Such is the case with the song selections by Rae Sremmurd, a young hip hop duo whose infectious songs almost serve to mask the lyrics that their song selections contain – almost. I enjoy a few of their songs, but one in particular stands out to me. This song is entitled ‘No Flex Zone,’ where the listener is admonished to not “flex,” or to not boast or flaunt. While I can celebrate the successes of others, I understand the premise that it is not always appropriate to flex. But in some instances, flexing is absolutely imperative in maintaining a positive attitude and remaining motivated when in pursuit of one’s goals, which brings me to the point of this article.
I am learning to adopt an anti no flex zone mentality when it comes to my personal finance goals. Specifically, I am teaching myself to focus on the successes and victories that I experience while I am in pursuit of the larger goals I have set for myself. I am a very goal-oriented person and have a laundry-list of things that I would like to accomplish during my lifetime. I typically celebrate my unwavering focus and solid determination to pursue every goal that I have set, as well as the belief that I can actually do it! But that mentality can also be accompanied by healthy doses of self-critique and negativity during the process. I tend to be my worst critic, as I evaluate myself based on the ideal that I’ve created relative to my goals. For example, I would love to buy my next investment property right now, but am opting to take care of some other responsibilities first and save a bit more money before taking the plunge. Thinking about the fact that I’m not where I want to be right now can put me in a negative place. But when those negative moments try to rear their ugly heads, as they do on occasion, I’m learning to engage in a little bit of mental flexing as I think about how far I’ve progressed and how much closer I am to reaching my goals. I’ve knocked out a few thousand in credit card debt in a short period of time *flex.* I’m aggressively working to eliminate my student loans *flex.* If I remain committed, I am well on my way to becoming completely debt free – house included – in less than 10 years *flex.* All of these reminders not only help me to maintain motivation towards my goals, but also helps me to enjoy the process.
I don’t want to wait until I’ve “arrived” to truly enjoy my life and the financial blessings that I have experienced thus far. Nor do I want to negatively approach the debt elimination and wealth building strategies that I have been implementing. Maintaining an outlook that celebrates the small successes while keeping my eye on the larger prize will help me to navigate this personal finance life from a place of positive empowerment. I’m starting to catalog the process, so that I have those reminders of from whence I came. Those reminders, or those moments in time when I allowed myself to flex just for me, have become key components of my journey, and are especially needed when challenges or discouragement present. I encourage you to become anti no flexing when it comes to celebrating the small successes in your life that you encounter in pursuit of your personal finance goals. Have you figured out a way to decrease your monthly grocery bill? Flex! Did you muster the strength to minimize your Starbucks intake from everyday to twice a week? Flex! Have you finally decided to have that conversation with HR about increasing your 401K contribution? Flex! Or have you chucked the deuces to your cable provider, while strategizing other creative and cost-effective means to satisfy your ‘Power’ craving when it returns for season 3? Flex on! Become your main cheerleader and source of encouragement as your pursue goals that will set you up for an amazing financial future.
Angela is a researcher/program evaluator by day, and crime fighter by night. And by “crime,” she means the perceived inability to turn dreams into reality. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to share your money story, chop it over life goals, or all things Shonda Rhimes. Also, check out Brown Girl, Green Money on the book of faces at www.facebook.com/browngirlgreenmoney