I wish it were an exaggeration, something to grab your attention, but the fact of the matter is; he quit his job because of me! It’s not as bad as it sounds. Here’s the story… I like to work outside of the house, and I usually hit up coffee shops, or cafes (cliche, I know, but I don’t care). As a bit of a caffeine junkie, it’s fun. I like a change of scenery and a change of pace from time to time. Plus, working in a coffee shop means I don’t have the usual distractions of home life, plus I get coffee and food, and none of the washing up. Anyway, I tended to frequent the same coffee shop, and the manager was a great guy, I noticed how he spoke to his regulars, he went beyond being the manager of the coffee shop to a friendly face, someone who they knew when they went for their morning coffee, and he knew them too. I don’t always work while I’m in coffee shops, sometimes I journal, or plan. Yes, this could be considered work I suppose, but it’s a little different. I have a beautiful leather-bound journal that I like to write in (I have several, I love them) and one particular day, after attending a business event, I was writing my life into my journal. This journal is quite special to me, as it’s something I once refused to buy myself as it was “too expensive”. I’d convinced myself it was an extravagance that I couldn’t afford when my money story was the worst it’s ever been. I’d been doing a lot of work around my money beliefs at the time, working with Dominique Mullally, a Women’s Wealth Strategist, she broke me out of the cycle and convinced me to buy that journal I longed for, but was too afraid to own. As I sat and wrote in my journal, the Manager commented on what a great journal it was. It struck up a conversation where he told me he’d always wanted a leather-bound journal, but had never dared to buy one for himself. It felt indulgent, unnecessary, he felt guilty for spending so much on a writing book when there were so many other things he could spend his money on. He’d even picked one up just a few days before and put it back as he told himself he should treat his daughter instead. The whole thing sounded a little too familiar, a little too close to home for my liking. In fact, it amused me. My words, my justifications, coming out of someone else’s mouth about the exact same thing I’d had that battle with myself. I couldn’t help but smile, agree with how he perceived the purchase of something so simple as a book… then I posed the question that was asked of me; Why would it be so bad if you were to buy yourself the book? You work hard for the money you earn; what do you get out of it for yourself? Now, the first reaction as a parent is “I’m a provider! I’m here to provide for my family: a house, a home, pay bills, make sure the family are happy, that they come first, that they have everything they need or want, that they’re not let down or left out.” But what do you get out of it? For yourself? Well… I get to see my family happy, we get to have a roof over our heads… Yeah, great, but what do YOU get for YOURSELF?! You work hard, you pay the bills, you give and give and give… not just to your family, but your employer, your staff, your customers… what do you get for yourself? What do you take for yourself? Nothing. (Or at most, very little) And yet, here you are… denying yourself something you’ve “always wanted” because you feel it would be unfair to all those that you give so much to? How does that make sense? Hmm… no, not when you put it like that. So I challenge you; go buy the book. No questions, no second thoughts; GO BUY THE BOOK! And don’t you dare return it. And then we carried on with our days… A few weeks later, I returned, I was greeted in the usual way, and struck up the conversation; so, did you buy the book? Yeah, I did. I nearly returned it though because it felt like I’d spent a lot on myself and I was still struggling to justify it, but I didn’t! I kept it. I took it home. And then what happened? Well, it’s sat on a shelf at home. I daren’t write in it. It cost so much I don’t want to mess it up. We both saw the funny side in that, so I set the next challenge; write in the book. In the front of my journal, I have a statement of sorts; “In this journal, I will be writing all my thoughts, feelings and ideas. In this book lay the inner workings of my mind so that I can clear through them and make way for new thoughts. The good, the bad, the crazy, indifferent and ugly. Good times and bad; highs, lows and all in-between. It’s where I’ll work through my hard times, and lay the foundations for my future. “ (Or words to that effect, it changes a little in each book) So, the second challenge: go home, write in the book. On my third visit, he’d written in the book. He’d written his statement, declared his intentions on how to use the book, and written some other pieces along the way. The fear of ruining the beautiful book was broken, all was good. In subsequent visits we chatted some more, we talked about different things, but always sharing ideas, anecdotes, putting little “challenges” in place, just to see what happened. Then “I’m glad you’ve come in! I was hoping I’d see you before I left. Today’s my last day.” Wait, what? Wow! What happened? Well, I took your advice on board, I started writing my own ideas down, what I wanted, how I saw my life, and I realised I wouldn’t get there by staying here and doing what I’m doing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a great run, but I feel like I’m at the end and need a new challenge, so I looked around, found one, and today’s my last day. So… you’re saying it’s my fault you’re leaving? Yep! Well, OK then. I’ll take it. Onwards and upwards! I hope everything works out great for you. (there was more, but you don’t need a transcript) And with that, I finished my coffee, we said our goodbyes, and went on our way. Now, I haven’t seen him since, after all, he no longer works in the shop I went to. He’s off exploring new territories, and I’m continuing on my own journey, but it’s a good moment, not just for me, but for all involved. This just goes to show the power of allowing yourself something you want. It started with a leather-bound journal; it continued and developed into a whole new future. You can’t really ask for much more than that. It’s exciting, and something so many of us fail to allow ourselves. When we allow ourselves that one little thing that we keep denying ourselves, for fear of it being “too much” or costing us more, we’re usually holding ourselves back from so much more… when we allow that little “extravagance” we realise that it’s not really that much, and it opens up our availability to so much more. It’s true what they say; when you give to yourself, life gives to you too. So what little thing are you holding yourself back from? What are you not allowing yourself to have? What is not allowing it into your life holding you back from? Because, as this example shows; withholding a journal, withheld a whole lot more life! Go. Treat yourself. Let yourself have a little more. See what opens up for you.