Sometimes the best things in life start with a great idea or vision.   Recently I have become a huge fan of the “Spotify” music service. This article talks about how the founder of Spotify wanted to create something that combined his two loves, music and technology, and bring the world something better than music piracy.   And, since he wasn’t really good at playing music, being a rock star was out of the question!  So, he did the next best thing and created a music company.

I’ve been talking with someone recently who has some cash flow problems and the stress is creating some problems in her life.  One of the things we talked about is how the stress is impacting her life and creating some trouble in almost all areas of her life as the stress spills over into her work life and her personal life as well.  Stress is a leading cause of illness as well as a productivity killer at work.  And, one of the most stressful areas of life is money and finances.  Arguments over money are a leading cause of divorce also.  So, my friend’s cash flow problems are real and they have the potential to damage her credit score, her job performance and her love life.

When she opened up to me about what was going on in her life, she sounded nearly hopeless.  It was as if she viewed where she was financially as a life sentence with no hope of ever recovering.  She had nearly given up hope and was resigned to a life of being in debt, behind with some of her bills and trying to figure out which bills could be skipped without the utilities getting turned off.  It was not a picture of financial strength.  And it showed in her demeanor.  She smiles a lot less now than she used to.  Everything she said during our initial conversation about her finances sounded incredibly negative.  She had created a very negative feedback loop for herself and saw the bad in every idea that she or anyone else presented.  She wouldn’t allow herself to see solutions, only problems.

One of the things that I asked her to do was to tell me what her life would look like if she was no longer behind on her utility bills, had her credit card paid off and had $2,500 in savings for any emergencies that could pop up in the course of normal life.  After a fairly long period of silence, she said that she had trouble even picturing that.  She had truly lost hope.  After another request for her to picture life that way, she started to laugh.  The dam had broken.  She finally allowed a glimmer of hope to shine through.  She started to talk about how different her life would be, how she would not be tense every day, how her migraines would subside, how she would be nicer to her kids and her husband and all kinds of other benefits.  She began to have a vision for what the future would look like.  It wasn’t starting a company like Spotify, but it was incredibly personal and meaningful to her.

Once she saw the vision of what kind of future she wanted, she started to develop a plan for how to get there.  She refinanced her mortgage to reduce monthly outflow for housing.  She started to cook more and eat out less, because now that she had hope she wanted to be more responsible.  She looked for expenses to cut and worked with a non-profit credit counseling service to consolidate debt and lower her interest rates.  She also set up a $20/pay direct deposit into her savings account with the goal of getting to $1,000 in the next year and $2,500 in 2 years.  That way, if the car needs tires, they can be paid for from savings not via a credit card.  Her bleak outlook on life has been replaced by one of positivity and progress.

Will she reach her goals overnight?  NO!  But, she is making progress and has a plan in place to spend less and work a few overtime hours each week and use the overtime money as “catch up” money on her bills.  I will see her on the sidelines of kids’ sports events over the next few months and I’m hoping she maintains her enthusiasm and continues to make progress.

Whether your goal is to start a multinational company or simply get yourself into a better financial position, spend some time daydreaming!  I highly recommend a little bit of time spent disconnecting yourself from reality, closing your eyes, and picturing the kind of future you want to have.  Make that vision as specific as you can.

Then…write it down.  Take a great mental picture and commit it to memory.   The more specific your vision, the better your chance of success.   That vision can then serve as your guide to reaching your goals.  I wonder if the Monkees’  “Daydream Believer” is on Spotify???