Ask Steve – Money and Financial Issues Solution

Thanks so much to everyone who privately responded to my financial abundance challenge in the previous post. I received hundreds of ideas in less than 24 hours and more are coming in every hour. I’m sorry I can’t reply to everyone to thank you personally (it’s enough of a challenge just to read it all), so I’ll say “thank you” here.

I received numerous ideas for what to do with the money, including “start your own radio or TV show,” “become an angel investor,” and “give it to me” (LOL). Most people offered ideas for how to expand my work in various directions. That wasn’t the main issue for me though because I already have specific long-range plans for that, which perhaps I’ll share later. You should begin to see outward evidence of an expansion phase by the end of the year.

The larger issue was that I needed a new paradigm of money to help me connect the dots. Reading through all the feedback helped me view this situation from dozens of different angles in a compressed period of time. There were lots of duplicate suggestions (especially “pay off your debt first” and “have your material translated to other languages”), but as I compiled a master list along the way, I still ended up with more than 50 original ideas.

I’ve always thought of my financial life as going through three stages. First, you aim to achieve financial security. Reach the state of meeting your most basic needs. Secondly, you work to achieve financial comfort. Increase your standard of living to a point that feels good. And thirdly, work towards financial freedom (or independence or abundance). Even though I’m not mega-rich, I’ve effectively reached the third stage already, but it left me hanging. I didn’t know where to go next. All the wealth-building books I’ve read so far stopped at stage three. But is there a stage four?

Yes, of course there’s a stage four. Many people pointed out that even though I’m not mega-rich, my scenario is like a much smaller version of what Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are experiencing. You’ve probably heard that Buffet recently pledged to give 85% of his money away, most of it to the Gates Foundation.

I want to quote a line from one of the emails I received that really drove this home for me:

Move from financial independence to financial IMPACT.

That was the first breakthrough, but it wasn’t specific enough. It was a good start, but it didn’t give me the full paradigm shift I needed.

Although no one suggested it directly, I soon had another mental breakthrough. I realized my original Star Trek paradigm of making money irrelevant in my life wasn’t actually broken at all. On the contrary I just needed to expand it. Once I realized that, everything fell into place for me. I need to extend my successful microcosm of financial freedom beyond my own family and share it with others. Imagine what could be accomplished by financially supporting dozens, hundreds, even thousands of other people who’ve devoted themselves to serving the highest good of all.

This is an exciting paradigm for me because it’s congruent with many of the suggestions I received, and it fits my existing expansion plans like a glove. Ultimately I want to devote the bulk of my financial resources to assemble a community of highly conscious, purpose-driven people (aka lightworkers), and make financial concerns irrelevant for them as well. I’ll see to it that all their material needs are well-met, including food, clothing, and housing for them and their families. They’ll be free to focus all their energy on serving humanity to the best of their abilities. Writers can write, speakers can speak, teachers can teach, musicians can compose, counselors can counsel, researchers can research, inventors can invent, healers can heal, peacemakers can pacify, and so on. And none of these people would need to worry about monetizing their work to support themselves unless doing so genuinely served the greater good. Some members could also support the community by assisting with childcare, cooking, etc. The members of this community would have a stable base of financial and social support to fearlessly fulfill their life purpose, the freedom to do what they came here to do. This would not be an isolationist hippy commune. It would be passionately engaged with the world at large.

Such a community will only work if it’s populated by people who’ve reached a certain level of consciousness (at least the level of reason and ideally unconditional love or higher). You wouldn’t have to be an enlightened master, but this just wouldn’t work with fearful or depressed people who are looking to escape the world. If the awareness level of the members is too low, the whole thing would degrade into an unfocused mess (which is one of the reasons pure communism doesn’t work in the real world). But with the right people, intelligently selected, it would be incredible.

I often come across people who have their hearts in the right place, but they can barely support themselves. They’ve already awakened to their true purpose, but due to a lack of business acumen and/or financial resources, they’re barely scratching the surface of their potential. Nobody knows they even exist. These are people who could be making an enormously positive contribution to the world, but the challenges of physical existence drag them down. I know I can help these people in a big way.

Find me someone with Mother Teresa’s compassion who’s been working at a meaningless job in order to pay her bills, and I’ll do whatever it takes to keep her fed, clothed, sheltered, and happily jobless until the day she dies. Additionally, I’ll provide the delivery vehicle for sharing her message of compassion with the world.

Obviously I’m presenting an idealized scenario here, since such a venture would require overcoming a myriad of real-world challenges. But solving such problems is my specialty. I’ve already done it for myself, and a perfect solution isn’t required anyway. Even a halfway decent implementation will make a huge difference. One small step would be to buy some additional housing and invite lightworkers to live there rent-free as long as they’re living their purpose.

My mission has grown too big for me to continue going it alone. Erin and I are working at close to full capacity, often putting in 12-hour days now. We’re both loving the journey and in no way suffering from burnout, but we’re still just scratching the surface. Reaching a million people a month is a good start, but we’re definitely not stopping here.

I don’t have the resources to make this complete vision a reality yet (except in my imagination), but I have no doubt I’ll (we’ll) get there. This new paradigm gives me a compelling reason to continue growing my income now. The greater the income, the greater the size of the community we can support… and ultimately everyone benefits from that. I already have the ideas and resources necessary to boost my income by at least a factor of 10, but until now I was missing the motivation to make it so. I don’t have a strong reason to earn more income for myself because my needs are already met, but to be able to offer this level of freedom to others in a way that will ultimately benefit everyone… now that truly inspires me.

Problem solved.

As for the proper business and financial vehicle, I think a non-profit is the way to go, so I’ll begin researching what that would entail. Interestingly enough, about six years ago I served for a year as President of the non-profit Association of Shareware Professionals (and for a year as Vice President before that). So I actually have some experience in this area. Do you ever get the feeling that you’ve been set up by the universe in the most unexpected ways?

Thanks especially to everyone who told me they were holding the intention to help me find a solution to this problem. It manifested in less than a day. You rock!

This entry is part of the “Ask Steve” series. See the original Ask Steve post for details, or view the Archives (July 2006) to peruse the entire series.

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