Being an underearner isn't simply a question of driving a Lexus versus a Camry. It's a question of having a full life versus an empty one. And it was very little to do with money as you'll see.
Some people consider underearning as an addiction or disease. I don't know about that one way or the other. But even if you are an underearner you don't have to live like one anymore. That's right friend. If you are willing to do the work and if you are ready to take action, this underearning nightmare can be a thing of the past.
What is underearning?
I moseyed on down to the Underearner's Anonymous website to see how they define the problem. As I see it, they define the underearner state of mind very simply. Underearners are people who don't take care of themselves. This manifests itself in the financial realm as well as most other aspects of their lives. Their thinking is flawed. As they take action based on those flawed thoughts, their lives become increasingly miserable because they make one bad financial step after another. People who underearn don't value themselves much and this is the root issue. Money is just the symptom of the problem and nothing more.
Let's say you are an underearner. Of course to ultimately solve the earning part of the problem you're going to have to make sure you pursue the right career and have the necessary training. But before you concern yourself with that, make sure you address the central issues. Otherwise you'll end up right where you started regardless of what you do now. Let's get with it.
The One Basic Rule That Solves The Underearning Problem.
Let's face facts. Most of our worst problems result from bad decisions we make. You know it. I know it. We may as well acknowledge it. And if that's the case, the solution is clear; we have to stop using our flawed thoughts to make earning decisions. How? We have to "fire ourselves". Let me illustrate.
Assume you own a restaurant and your chef can't even boil an egg. You'd probably either fire him or find something else for him to do. That's OK. Well, if your track record isn't so hot when it comes to making career decisions, it might be time to take yourself out of the equation and put someone else in charge of that part of your life. I know this makes sense to you.
The solution is to find a mentor, "hire" them and "fire" yourself. Simple. The cool thing is that when you ask someone to mentor you, you usually don't have to pay them for it. And if you find the right person, it is going to be a life changing event for you.
This idea of "firing yourself" is super powerful and important. It's time to stop overthinking. If you are an undearner, you've thought yourself into this corner and you can't think your way out. But this isn't bad news at all. It's great news if you stop and think about it.
You don't need to wait until you fully understand the process of putting your life back on track. You don't even need to wait until you feel like doing something about your situation either. All you have to do is find the right mentor and do what they tell you to do. Period.
What Your Mentor Will Probably Have You Focus On
People who underearn are notorious procrastinators, they rarely follow-up, they don't adapt ideas that could help them and they isolate. Your mentor is going to tell you to do the opposite of all these things.
He or she will ask you to:
- Check in regularly -- maybe even at a specific time each day. No matter how busy you are, show up for those calls.
- Take action on an idea or two that you think is useless. No matter how dumb you think the idea is, just do it.
- Complete some task that you think can easily be put off. Complete it immediately.
- Hang out with someone else when you'd rather be alone. Connect anyway.
The "secret sauce" here isn't the action in and of itself. Checking in with your mentor isn't going to clear up your credit card debt. Following up on an entry-level job training program isn't going to fix your finances overnight. And being around others isn't going to create financial stability. All this is true.
But taking massive action and following direction will lead you out of this underearning maze. That's because it gets you out of your head and into informed action. We've already established that when you follow your own instincts you don't get the results you want. What have you got to lose by trying this out?
You and I are products of how we think. Our lives manifest our thoughts. If your thinking is flawed and that shows up in your life such that you chronically underearn, you can take action today to rectify the problem. Find a mentor who has overcome the same challenge you face now. Ask for help and do what they tell you to do without asking questions or overthinking. It is hard work but it's not hard to understand. The only question is are you willing to do it and when?