Broke and Worthless

I looked at my bank account online this morning and here’s what I saw:

Broke and Worthless

That’s right, my balance is $-0.01. AAAAAAAACK!!!

Intellectually, I know this is temporary. I know that it was caused by a “perfect storm” of bad timing revolving around deposits, withdrawals and a bank holiday. I know that more money is coming to me. But in this exact moment, I can’t help but feel panicked.

The trick I’ve learned, and the reason that I’m sharing this deeply personal, and potentially embarassing information with you, is that I need to make a distinction between “having no money” and “being worthless”.

I know that some of you are going back and re-reading that last sentence in disbelief. “How can he say POTENTIALLY embarrassing? It’s absolutely mortifying! I can’t believe he’s telling us he has no money! Does he realize what that does to his credibility? Is he crazy?” If any of those thoughts are going through your head right now, I want you to think about your own relationship to money for a moment. How would you react if you saw your bank balance at $0.01? What would it mean to you?

To what extent do you let your net-worth define your self-worth?

When I saw my bank balance this morning, I panicked for a second. Then I felt angry with myself for letting this happen… again.  I vowed that this is the last time I will ever let things get this close to the red-line. But then, I reminded myself that it’s a temporary situation.

I looked at the entire balance sheet of my life. Sure, right now the Financial column looks bad, but that’s only one column of the sheet.

  • Health – This column is better than it’s been in years. (And as I’m always acutely aware – just the fact that I woke up today is a massive victory!)
  • Kids – I have two awesome kids and they’re both healthy. I love them dearly and they know it! We’ve been having a great summer vacation together for the last two weeks.
  • Partner – I am lucky enough to have found the woman that I’m supposed to spend the rest of my life with. Hilary loves me more deeply than I’ve ever known.  And we’re each other’s best friends.
  • Plus – I still have my sense of humor.

Broke? Yes, temporarily.

Worthless? No way!

So back to my question: To what extent do you let your net-worth define your self-worth?

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