Motivational Monday: Bartering for Balance

Life coach S. Tia Brown offers tips on how old-school bartering can make modern life easier

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I was the mother of two… well, for a about a week.

I devoted seven days to two of my nieces who are in the Big Apple for the summer. Spending “auntie and us” time was great, mostly because I was able to connect with the girls in a way I couldn’t during weekend jaunts to their hometown. But my 168 hours with the little ladies left me feeling more than exhausted; I was physically and emotionally depleted. Sound dramatic? Well, it is. As a single, single woman— no hubby or pets— I’m very used to just getting up and going.

For the first time I was able to experience what many of my clients grapple with firsthand: having limited resources. Many of us think of resources as simply financial, but they come in many forms, including time. Many of us will experience the tugging weight of “what ifs” purely because we don’t have enough time to achieve the things we want to enhance our lives. Still there is hope. Bartering is a no-brainer to me. My kids-in-tow weekend consisted of fair swaps, such as: “I’ll take your son with my crew to the park if you make the cupcakes we promised the kids.” I love running around with kids and my gal pal loves baking; a coup for us both.

I know, I know, initially it sounds rather antiquated, or complicated; but it’s a great way to use what you have to get more of what you want. So, exactly how can bartering—exchanging goods or services of relatively equal value—help improve your life? It allows you to maximize your to-do list, while minimizing the utilization of extra, or absent, resources. For example, can you afford to paint your house and take the vacation you want? Maybe not, but a few friends may be willing to help out with a paint party if you commit to helping with their landscaping, etc… The goal is to think win/win.

You can have the life you want. Just create it. Here are a few things you can try bartering this week.

  1. ‘Sitting Services: Whether it’s kids, the elderly, pets or a house, almost everyone has someone or thing they’re obligated to keep a watchful eye on— and that responsibility is likely draining them, at least at times. Offer a trusted pal one free afternoon or evening in exchange for the same. The down time will help you both replenish and create a support system.
  2. Trading Skill Sets: Are you a masterful wall painter? Are you a great cook? Are you handy with tools? The likelihood that you’re great at all things is slim, but you probably excel in at least one domain. Pick the thing your friends rave most about and offer a trade for something you’re lacking.
  3. Sharing Resources: How many of us have clothing, tools, appliances, etc… that we know we will never use? Too many. As residents of a consumer driven culture we often purchase things we quickly determine that we don’t want, or even more frequently, don’t need. Instead of relegating all of the items to a trash pile set up an afternoon swap meet with pals. Your slightly used “junk” can easily be someone else’s “jewel”, and vice versa.

 

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