Yesterday afternoon I was listening to a new (to me) podcast, the Introspectology podcast. Jeff Sandquist of Intentionally Wandering was the guest. I discovered Jeff when Cait Flanders went on his podcast earlier in her road trip. I really enjoy hearing Jeff’s approach to life. He has a great podcast and I highly recommend it. This is how I find that it usually tends to work with the internet. I read a blog that I like. (Cait’s) I stalk that person around the internet. They hang out with another blogger I haven’t heard of (via comment section, podcast, etc), and I get to a discover a new person who I enjoy following. And Now I’ve discovered Jo through Jeff. That whole six degrees of separation thing.

I’m a Frustrating Contradiction

I can relate to a lot of things that Jeff and Jo discussed on this podcast. I very much strongly dislike having to label myself.  But I live in a world where most people who surround me tend to use rigidly identifiable descriptions to communicate about their thoughts and feelings. This is one reason why it’s been a struggle to date in particular. I can fake “normal”, but I think it’s obvious when I’m faking it.  And I don’t like being fake. Not that every friendship or relationship needs to be some deep intense connection by any means. People will ask me, “What’s your Myers Briggs?” I’ll say, “well, the last time I took it, I was an ISFJ, but it really seems to depend on my mood, my life phase, my surroundings and my circumstances”.

People think I’m being difficult, perhaps that I have an unwillingness to commit, but it’s the truth. I’m incredibly influenced by my surroundings. Always have been. I’ve gone full speed ahead with what has turned out to be a personal financial blog. Why? Because I comment the shit out of all of your personal financial blogs every day. So Money is constantly on my mind.

Money Is a Binary Goal

Money is pretty much a binary goal. Increase the stash = good. Disappearing stash = bad. At some point you’ll need to allow yourself to use your money for something beyond temporary creature comforts. I’ll be the last one to tell you to stop paying attention to your money habits, but, in my case at least, focusing on money goals when you’ve been debt free for a while is akin to kicking the can down the road on actually living. It’s putting off making those lasting genuine long term life decisions. Where do I want to live? What sorts of people do I want to surround myself with? How do I want to spend my free time? How do I want to support myself?

When I’m overly money focused, I search for short term solutions to make the days more tolerable. I have to admit that reaching some money goals first puts you in a much more comfortable spot to be able to devote the time to really think about living an intentional life, but it’s certainly not the only option. I’d wager that it’s not even the best option, considering the short term time sacrifices that you are making. You don’t ever get that time back. It’s that whole “do what I say, not what I do” thing. Start thinking about how you might want to live your life with the absence of your current job today NOW. It gives you some things to look forward to. You could even start doing some of that living on weekends or during paid time off. And if you spend some more monwt along the way, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. If you had the foresight and abilities to reach some money goals in the first place, then I suspect you’ll be able to replenish the money used for valuable experiences pretty easily later on.

You Don’t Need Gobs of Money to Live Intentionally.

Essentially, the money focus has been a simple thing for me to focus on after the college experience was over. College being another place with very clear and stated binary objectives (good grades = good, bad grades =bad)  It was natural that “reach some financial goal” would be something that could replaces that school objective that was no longer applicable after Graduation Day. But I hit my first financial goal. And then the next goal. How many financial goals do you need to hit before you give yourself permission to start living an authentic life?  Some say this is a privileged way of thinking, but I know people full of debt who are living much more authentic lives than I ever have. They have simply chosen not to be a cog in the consumeristic wheel. They have chosen not to live their lives on auto-pilot and they are figuring the money shit out as they go. That’s a perfectly valid way to do it, albeit a bit riskier. Kudos to them. Those people are my heroes. You don’t need gobs of money in order to start living authentically.

Motivational DNA Results & Analysis

One of the things that Jeff and Jo talked about was the Motivational DNA quiz. It’s completely free and you can check it out at the aforementioned link. It assesses your intrinsic motivational values. I absolutely love this quiz because it’s so spot on. This is so much more fascinating to me than the Myers Briggs ever has been.

My results confirmed what I already know to be true. I tend to have a lot of contradictions. I scored strongest on Intuitive Alignment and Fulfillment, but 2nd strongest on Sacrificial Services & Authority. As you can see below, These two scores are nearly  polar opposites on the motivational spectrum. To all the women who thought I was “too boring” on our first date…it’s probably because I felt pressured to box myself into neatly confined definitions because the feedback I received previous to you was: “TJ, you need to have some opinions about these things” and “Not everything can be relative or a shade of gray”. Why not?

Motivational DNA Spectrum


What does all of this mean?

To summarize the word jargon that is the 4 pages of results,  as an IAF, I view the world differently than most people and the path that I take to reach my conclusions can be frustrating to those who are wired with a different MDNA. This is very apparent to me in my day-to-day life. I have the ability to become deeply emotionally invested, but I have a lot of internal angst as I try to communicate it. I’m the first to become deeply emotionally invested. This has pushed women (and people) away. I have a very small group of intimate connections who really know the real me.  I tend to carry the burdens of others. If you’re having a bad day, I feel it and i want to make it better. I know that, over the years, a lot of people have thought that I’m prying into your shit or have a hidden agenda to be helpful, but I just care too much. And probably lack some boundaries.

On the SSA side, I’m essentially the millionaire next door. The one who doesn’t have (or need, at this time in his life) a million dollars. I hate being in the spotlight or having all the attention. I’m the quiet guy who sits in the corner with enough money to take a mini-retirement, but many people probably think I’m just a cheap ass who lacks ambition. That’s okay. I never was the popular kid in school. And I wouldn’t want to be.  As an SSA, I tend to want to do work myself rather than delegate. This means I would be a terrible manager. At best, I’d be a great employee who unwillingly was pushed into management. That was the first thing I knew when I started working in a business environment…the managers work way too hard and have way too much stress in their lives. I don’t care how much they get paid. It could never possibly be worth it.

One of my strengths as an SSA is supporting the platforms of others. This is why, after I quit my job, I’d like find a way to use my career skills to freelance and help other small businesses around the country during the road trip adventure. It will be a tough sell, but I know I can add value and I just have to figure out how to sell that. Everyone loves a feel good story about watching the little guy succeed and it would give me so much fulfillment if I am able to help all those small businesses stay in business after seeing so many crumble. I’m pretty sure my strategies would be fairly useless for a mega corp which probably is in it’s own little world. I’ve never worked in that environment, so I wouldn’t know, but just seeing what I was able to do for one small business over the course of a few months, in the down time from my usual day-to-day working duties, was completely eye-opening. Was my predecessor just lazy AF? Or did I just get lucky in contacting the right people at the right time? Or, is it reality that small businesses just don’t have the resources for hiring good people on full time? I’ll find out soon enough….