The Monk on the Mountaintop

I recently hired a coach to help me grow and develop my business.  We meet weekly on Skype or FaceTime.


I felt that it would be hard for me to tell others to hire me as a 'Money Coach' if I myself hadn't experienced working with a coach.


During our last session, my coach and I spent two hours debriefing my energy levels. 


Sounds totally bizarre, right?


Prior to our meeting, I was sent a questionnaire, in multiple-choice format, to assess how I make decisions in my daily life.  The questionnaire then outlined my normally occurring energy levels and then my energy levels as they exist under stress. 


The point was to demonstrate that ideal energy levels result in higher levels of happiness and general life satisfaction.  In addition, the awareness of one's energy levels gives them the power to curb or shift energy, as needed, to maintain or improve their happiness.


It is important to note that while there seemed to be more ideal energy levels, each level discussed had both advantages and disadvantages associated with it.


The ah-hah moment for me was that when faced with stress, to some degree, I can choose how to react to it, OR choose which energy to exude.


One example of this was my wish to write and publish a 'guest post' for other bloggers.  The intent would be to grow my own audience at  I want to write an article for these bloggers to engage and connect with the larger audiences they have, thus hoping to gain additional blog subscribers for me. 


In an effort to make this happen, I connected with four Canadian personal finance bloggers via email.


In response to my request, three shut me down entirely, and one said 'not-right-now'. 


So, essentially, I was entirely rejected.



My knee-jerk reaction was to be somewhat angry at the rejectors and then fall into a total pit of self-loathing, which lasted roughly a day-and-a-half.


This experience was oh-so-timely for an energy assessment debrief with my coach.


While on the call with my coach, she pointed out, that in my general day-to-day life, I have overall good energy.  By the way, the energy assessment was much more involved, I'm skirting the nitty gritty details for the purpose of this article.  However, under stress, I fall to the lowest existing energy levels - thus resulting in unhappiness and next to no productivity. 


The key to the assessment is that the questionnaire can identify 'where I go' when under stress, but cannot tell for how long I stay there.  In other words, I have great energy, life is good, and so on, but when faced with stress, I plummet into an abyss of BAD energy - only no one (outside of me) can measure the length of time I stay there. 


This was the point of the debrief….if I can learn to change the energy I use when stressed, or limit how long I stay in that 'bad space', I can increase my overall happiness.  This skill, if you can call it that, sounded worthwhile to me.


She went on to point out that when I was rejected by these four Canadian bloggers, I likely went to the lowest energy levels.  Probably experienced despair, unworthiness, self-loathing, blame, self-pity, etc. 


This was a completely accurate description of my experience.  And, I understood that this was one small example that stood as a larger representation for how I deal with my life in general.



She then said I could've made a conscious effort to shift the type of energy I was manifesting by working to view my experience differently.


This was perplexing, as in my 'haze' of despair, what I attempted to do (guest post for other bloggers), and the result (a total shut-out) seemed fairly cut and dried to me.


She suggested alternate filters - using another lens so-to-speak - through which to view the rejection I experienced.  Her suggestions included: giving consideration to the fact that the rejection I received could have freed my time for other more meaningful activities; OR, the rejection could lead me to work with another blogger that results in a better fit for me; OR, that my efforts will feel more meaningful once I find someone who will allow me to 'guest post' for them.


She gave pause to have me consider this.




Everything she suggested was plausible, and certainly a better way to approach the rejection I experienced.


As we worked through how each energy level manifests itself, and what it means, we reached the highest energy level - Level 7.  She described this energy level, as the monk on the mountaintop.  The monk sitting calmly above all else, observing the circumstances and activities below, while withholding judgment.  Experiencing all that goes on from a neutral place - not positive or negative, good or bad. 


And it was this that got me thinking about it's relation to spending and the compulsion for MORE.


As I begin working with clients, coaching them on personal finance, it is clear that spending patterns, for most of us, are the result of much more than habit alone.  It is often rooted deep within our psychology, filling a void, or now I wonder if it's our internal effort to find an external means of shifting our energy - from lower energy to better energy.


So ask yourself this, when stressed, do you spend?  Or, when you spend, can you sense you're filling some type of void?  Are you always spending intentionally with good reason? 


If Level 7 is the highest energy level, and the highest place for calm and happiness, it's likely, we don't NEED stuff to feel good.  The good feelings come from the relationships we build, the sun on our face, the beauty of nature on a long walk and so on. 


In essence, the best energy is coming from the experience of life itself.


The next time you pull out your wallet to buy that thing you've convinced yourself you NEED.  Think of the monk on the mountaintop.  Try and shift your energy from within.  Try and make yourself 'feel good' from the things that don't cost money - all the things sitting so close by, and so simple, you forget the joy that they can offer you.


My happy place…my personal peace and tranquility comes from long walks or riding my bike.


What's yours?