Welcome to my first “Beyond the Money” blog post!
How appropriate that I’m sharing these personal messages with you now that we’re living in a global pandemic and experiencing incredible life, economic, social, and market change.
But, as my blog’s name indicates, I’m not focusing on money here. Instead, I’m talking about how we can live our life with true purpose, regardless of any negative global market effects.
I’m talking about True Wealth: those things money can’t buy, and death can’t take away.
Or, more precisely, I’m talking about True Wealth as a sense of abundance based on “experiencing” rather than “possessing,” where we seek deeper relationships, personal growth, and more meaning in life. I’m talking about True Wealth where we make meaning through experiences that make memories.
After all, money is only a tool used to get to an end. For me, money is what I do, it is not who I am. I hope that’s true for you, too.
One of my long-held beliefs is that we must take care of ourselves to be of value to others. We must enhance our mental and physical well-being by eating healthfully, exercising, resting, being mindful, self-reflecting, and surrounding ourselves with people we love and respect.
That’s why I’m eager to share with you some life-enriching lessons I learned during a recent three-day sabbatical led by Leo Pusateria.
You may have heard the saying “the teacher appears when the student is ready.” Well, I was ready when Leo appeared!
Taking a sabbatical helped me step outside of everyday life so I could think deeply about what matters to me and could clearly see who I am at my core.
My wealth management career has largely been successful, and I’m grateful beyond words for being able to serve others and for having learned the battle-hardened lessons I’ve learned, even the hard, painful lessons.
Yet, my life isn’t solely about managing money or advising others on how to be smart stewards of their wealth. My. Life is about how to be a better human being, son, friend, brother, and leader, and how to demonstrate a genuineness with others, letting them know I have their back.
It’s about making meaning and making memories.
It’s about being a 55-year-old man who isn’t afraid to say the words “I love you” when I feel it.
I love a lot of people, and I especially cherish my incredible Brooklyn (and my 90-pound Boxer Ridgeback, Sadie). Brooklyn is a kindred spirit, a partner in every sense, and I was honored when she said “yes” to my marriage proposal on New Year’s Eve, at the stroke of midnight in Paris.
I will always joyfully recall hearing Brooklyn say “yes.”
Now, that’s a memory, right?!
Life of Abundance
Brooklyn and I are building a life of abundance together; more love, more caring, more meaningful relationships with family and friends.
So, my life is about this journey of living fully, and about using self-care — meditation, yoga, self-development, sabbaticals — to be a better person and bring a better experience to my clients.
During the three days of sabbatical with Leo – free from phones, TV, the internet, computers — I immersed myself in evaluating every area of my life. Reminded of the importance of our short time on this planet, I dove deep to answer these questions:
- What do I do with my limited time on Earth?
- Who do I spend it with?
- How do I prioritize what really matters in the time I have left?
These questions led me to my personal ideal of True Wealth. And then Leo asked us to explore the seven elements that can help us create our core purpose in life:
- Living our legacy: making a genuine impact
- Living a life of significance: making a meaningful difference
- Having no regrets: nurturing inner pride
- Believing in abundance: practicing intentional stewardship
- Feeling gratitude: expressing authentic appreciation
- Having perspective: experiencing increased sensitivity
- Becoming our best: having a committed focus
Return on Life
Understanding ourselves and our core purpose generates a “Return on Life,” and I’m not talking about a return on equity or capital. I’m talking about a return that makes us feel alive, feel connected, and feel empowered to create the life we want to live. A life of Purpose.
When was the last time you felt completely alive?! Energized?!
When we understand ourselves, we can weather any market ups and downs, and any losses or crises, by staying grounded in who we are… at our core.
For instance, we recently experienced the worst pullback in the market since the financial crisis of 2007-2008 and perhaps rivaling The Great Depression of 1929-39 in some aspects; certainly the biggest highs and lows that have ever hit the financial markets in our lifetime.
Yet, we know this current fear-generated market slide will pass, as previous best and worst performances have passed during the last 75+ years.
Periods of tumultuous, and unfortunate, world events will always cause us to think and react differently. But, remember, we have a plan solidly in place that goes beyond the money.
We know where our True Wealth lies, and we stay grounded in our meaning and in who we are.
Market Shifts are Short-Term
When we see market shifts like the ones from the last few months, we understand those shifts are short-term. We continue with our well-thought-out plan, focusing on the long-term and the people and things that matter to us beyond the money.
We’ve seen unprecedented market activity, and strenuous monetary efforts by the government to stabilize our economy. We know our money will be fine in the long run.
I enjoy helping others get closer to their financial goals, but the bigger picture is when I understand the meaning built into life beyond the money.
I want you to experience a life of significance…every single day.
I encourage you to think abundantly, build a legacy, have a heart of gratitude, and be the best you can be by committing to your life’s purpose, all the while maintaining a centered perspective. I’m living my life with no regrets and appreciating everything I have.
Making Meaning & Making Memories
Whether you are a client, a friend, or both, I want all of this for you, too, and I know you can have it. So, watch for upcoming blog posts about making meaning and making memories.
Meanwhile, I’m here for you through the ups and the downs… and definitely beyond the money.
P.S. My greatest hope is to spread the joy of True Wealth by bringing Leo’s sabbatical experience to clients and friends. Stay tuned for more on that! And, if you’ve never taken a sabbatical (not for three days, six months, or a year), I highly recommend exploring how you can make it happen. As Cat Stevens sang, “You’re only dancin’ on this Earth for a short while,” and a sabbatical can help you dance with intention, and gusto!
As founder and owner of Bradley Wealth Management, a high-touch boutique financial planning firm, Michael Bradley’s greatest passion in life is to help others experience true wealth and live their life by design. With his friendly, proactive, and caring approach, Michael pledges to provide the finest wealth management service experience anyone has ever had. And if you aren’t a client, no problem; Michael pledges to be a warm and caring friend who reminds you to experience the utter joy in life, and to turn that joy into memories.