Pain to change.
As a human, you’re hardwired to avoid pain. Whether physical, emotional or financial, pain is an edge best left untouched. At the same time, coming into contact with pain is inevitable. Because change is inevitable and most shifts—even the desirable ones—are at least a little bit uncomfortable if not downright painful.
Despite its bad reputation, however, pain can be one of your greatest teachers. It can spur you into action and wake you up to your resourcefulness and resilience. Pain can give you greater access to empathy and can provide insight that opens up your worldview and understanding of what’s possible for you and your creative work.
When it comes to creating financial wellness as a creative, it can be the pain of money stress that finally gets you looking for ways to rewrite your money story. And while pain is legitimately undesirable, it’s also not a state that you’ll stay trapped in forever. Because as much as you try to avoid pain, once you’re in it, you’re going to figure out how to get out of it as quickly as possible.
This lesson became very real for me a few days ago when I was reminded of the fact that the car I’m driving is not mine. Someone is lending it to me while I find my financial footing. Which is gracious of them and scary for me. I need a car where I’m living to get to my creative community and the possibility of that easy access being cut off causes me a great deal of pain.
In less than 24 hours, I had found a used car that I liked, affordable auto insurance, and quotes on multiple loans. I became hyper-focused on work and suddenly had the answers to previously drawn out questions about how I can make money now while building towards my long-term creative, professional, and financial goals.
Whereas even a year ago this sort of pain would have lead to a panic attack and complete shutdown, this time it forced me to take a clear look at my financial reality and do something about it. While I eventually cooled it on running out to buy a car—although I will have to make that happen in the coming months—I did end up with a renewed sense of focus when it comes to how I make and spend money.
In this way, the pain I felt when I imagined having limited access to the emotional and creative support of the folks at Room Project was a gift. It forced me to peel back yet another layer of the ways that being financially fucked impacts my creative wellbeing. And instead of giving over to my anxiety as I have in the past, I did a few things to lessen the financial pain that I am feeling. I made space in my schedule for work that—while not my calling—will bring in money relatively quickly. I also recommitted to the long-term projects that I’m building, reminding myself that they matter and get to remain a priority.
None of these decisions completely eliminated the financial pain that I’m feeling right now and they did make it more bearable. They gave me the breathing room I needed to think more clearly about what I’m doing and how I can both create financial stability while attending to the costs associated with keeping myself well creatively. It’s a practice of holding both/and.
So, what change will lessen the financial pain that you’re feeling?