12/25/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Key #4 To Your Sound Financial Future

Remember the old song "We've Only Just Begun"? It appears to be a perspective that's been forgotten these days. The media has been so focused on the doom and gloom of the global financial crisis that one of the most important keys to reinventing a sound financial future seems all but lost.

Speaking of which, Wayne Dyer tells the story of the man who loses his keys. Searching and searching to no avail, a friend comes by and asks him what he is doing. Says the man: "I am searching for my keys and can't find them." "Well," says the neighbor, "where did you last have them?" "I lost them in the house, but the street light is out here."

It helps to look in the right place for the keys to unlocking more sound wealth in the future. I'm indebted to John Maxwell for reminding me of a study from the early 1960's. Researchers Mildred and Victor Goertzel shared the results of their study of 413 peak performers, in which they were attempting to uncover the source of greatness. The connecting link for 392 was the fact that they continued to view their challenging obstacles as opportunities, throughout their lives.

Do we see our present obstacles from this frame? Or, do we see the financial caca as a reason to quit on ourselves?

Trusting the Process
The fourth key to building a sound financial future has to do with trusting the process, your process. Greatness does not come about from a lack of obstacles, not even financial ones. It comes about from not letting the obstacles you've got in front on you right now stop you. In other words, when you encounter some bad breaks, do you quit? Or, do you see what is before you as part of a larger process: unfolding development? This is a crucial question.

The need to develop is built into every creature, every plant, and every adventure. Somehow, mysteriously, the game of life is a set-up for growth. Look at the fern. Its entire evolution is unfolding. Check out the oak. It begins with the acorn. We are here, trying to get our planetary act together by becoming more evolved, conscious human beings. But to grow, we've got to be willing to let go of our previous way of operating. The toddler would never walk if he were not willing to stand. While sitting and crawling might be easier, more familiar, the little one has a heck of a lot more options if he is willing to take on new muscle building, and the expanded vantage point this brings. Eventually, he/she must be willing to let go. This is possible only with the building of trust. Even though those first steps are more of a wobble than a walk, the child is willing to tolerate temporary discomfort to achieve more freedom.

Same deal with us. Here is the bottom line. Are you willing to trust your process? What made those 392 peak performers go on to achieve more success was the fact that they were willing to trust their process. They did not define their worth based on setbacks. They chose to see their obstacles as launching pads, or, perhaps compost. Somehow, peak performers are willing to hold a broader perspective, put the present temporary challenges into this perspective, and move forward.

To Shed or Not to Shed
One more thing. Peak performers are willing to shed. Recall that reference from the Bible that goes: "It's easier for a rich man to get to heaven, then a camel to go through the eye of a needle." Now, if you think we are talking about a sewing needle, the image is impossible. When I was in Egypt many years ago, I discovered that the 'eye of the needle' was a reference to a portal in the city gate. To pass through it, the camel's load needed to be removed. During hard economic times, we are not unlike the camel. What burden needs to be removed so that we can 'pass through' these in between places separating how we've lived from where we are headed? What old ways of thinking about you and wealth burden you weigh you down? Let them go. What old pressures have you taken on that keep you up at night? Let them go. What possessions do you think you must keep in order to retain your old roles and approval ratings? Let them go.

Think of it this way. We are practicing for the final letting go. When that day comes and our final 'walking papers' arrive, we will not be traveling Home with our carry on bags.