Are You Living Your Authentic Life and Loving It?

authentic life

What concerns me as a life coach is how many people value themselves based on the world’s definition of success. They pursue careers and jobs hoping for status, approval, and wealth, as if these rewards will fulfill them and make them happy. I also know people who married into wealth instead of pursuing purpose—easy access to the world’s envy.

People join the “right” clubs, pursue the “in” thing, climb the social register, and support the prevailing majority, even if their beliefs and desires aren’t aligned with their choices. Understandably, certain pursuits aren’t necessarily free choice but the result of coercion—relenting to the pressure of well-meaning family and social groups. However, I’ve found the happiest people are those who live authentic lives that align with their core values and what they enjoy the most, even when it goes against the world’s definition of success.

Forewarned, happiness doesn’t come without its struggles and sacrifices. Everyone has to wrestle with the definition of success that was culturized since birth. The happiest people tend to value comfort in their own skin over what the world defines as success. In many ways, you might consider them pioneers of a fulfilled life. They tell the world to go on without them as they are forging their own path through the wilderness.

I’ve not been immune to the pressures of this world, and I wouldn’t be on the pioneer path without my earlier life experiences. As I climbed the corporate ladder, I got a calling on my life to help others be successful—hence my role as a leadership coach. Although I make a fraction of what I earned as a vice president in a chemical company, I love what I do and just smile at friends and family who don’t understand how I could give up the status and income.

And then there’s my daughter with whom I’m most proud. As a parent, I can honestly admit my concern about a few decisions she made such as only pursuing an associate degree in veterinarian technology. I wanted her to go to a 4-year college and make decisions that aligned more with the traditional definition of success. I eventually realized she is the author of her own life story and appreciate her somewhat unconventional spirit. She struggles like the rest of us, and I applaud that she is real and purposefully pursuing use of her gifts while she makes her way in the adult world.

Life can be overwhelmingly hard at times. Even when you’re hating what you are going through, you can love that you’re living it authentically. Are you living your authentic life and loving it? If so, you are a pioneer of a life well lived!

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership, premarital/marriage, and financial coaching. She coaches individuals and couples as well as designs and facilitates workshops. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at

How to Control Spending While Living on a Budget

Sandra The Peoples Coach Rev 1

Client Question

I’m living on a budget and struggling with how to stick with my monthly allowance for dining out and entertainment. Do you have any suggestions on how I can improve my discipline in these areas?

Sandra’s Response

Living on a budget for the first time can be both uncomfortable and rewarding. Budgets can make people feel uneasy, because they typically require people to change behaviors and make sacrifices to meet long-term goals. On the positive side, budgets can be rewarding when you see your bank account grow and your money go toward your defined priorities and dreams. I congratulate you for living on a budget, because statistics show that only 1/3 of households have a budget with even fewer consistently adhering to it.

It’s not surprising that you have a few categories where you struggle with discipline. Dining out and entertainment, those fun and make-it-easy-on-your-lifestyle categories, are common ones. For these two categories, I’d suggest taking the full monthly allowance out in cash on the first of each month and putting each in its own envelope to carry with you. Use only cash for these categories, so you can visually see how much you have remaining as the month progresses. Statistics show people spend upwards of 20% more when using a credit or debit card than they do handing out bills to pay for their purchases.

If you decide to adhere to this envelope methodology, it’s also a good idea to write on the outside of the envelope any dining out and entertainment plans of which you’re already aware. Paperclip the cash for these plans together in your envelope, so you don’t spend it prematurely and get caught short.

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and life coaching.  She coaches individuals and couples as well as designs and facilitates workshops.  She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at and and If you would like to engage Sandra as your coach, reach out to her at

Change Your Life By Changing Your Relationship with Money


Your Money Relationship

Money can be a difficult topic to discuss because of our emotionally complex relationship with it and how we use it to create meaning in our lives. We need money for the necessities of life such as food, water, clothing, and shelter, but we also use money to achieve status, security, enjoyment, and control over our world.  How would you describe your relationship with money?

We typically have dreams involving our lifestyle, career/job, relationships, community, and faith. These areas of life are all connected and usually supported by a financial plan that prioritizes and balances income, spending, and savings. Two big questions we should all be answering for ourselves are: (1) What budget do I need to implement to help me achieve my goals, and (2) What financially based behavioral changes do I need to make to create the life I want? If you haven’t seriously thought about these questions in the past, answering them could be an intimidating task.

What is Financial Coaching?

If you need help creating a financial path out of the woods, a coach can be the partner who helps you to see the forest through the trees. Financial coaching is a partnership where clients learn financial skills, increase financial savviness, set goals, shape a financial strategy, and execute an earning/spending plan that helps them achieve both their short- and long-goals. A coach and client co-create the plan and brainstorm ways a client can successfully execute it.

Coaches also support their clients by identifying and fostering behavioral changes that will result in sustainable performance. The client’s money habits and goals need to be aligned and working in concert. Financial coaches keep their clients focused on positive financial behaviors while making allowances for missteps as these new money habits take form.

How Can a Financial Coach Help Me?

You will likely find yourself sharing the financial details of your life under a confidentiality agreement. Your coach will need an accurate picture of your financial situation and an understanding of your current behaviors/thinking that will either support or undermine you from reaching your goals.  You will co-create strategies to address risks that may disrupt your plan.

Financial CoachingCoaches monitor your progress, provide feedback, and make referrals as needed. Your financial coach will teach, encourage, support, and challenge you as you strengthen your financial stewardship.

Some clients may be financially savvy on the mechanics and skills of budgeting and long-term planning but only lack discipline.  In this case, a financial coach can still provide value by helping the client: (1) determine underlying sabotaging practices and their causes, (2) identify positive long-term financial behaviors, (3) practice new behaviors until they become more comfortable.

Your Next Decision

No matter what stage of life or age, it’s never too late to pause and decide to live out a new financial plan that excites you and gives you long-term peace of mind.  As someone once shared with me, “It’s ok to be old, and it’s ok to be broke, but it’s a terrible thing to be both old and broke.”  Don’t let lack of financial planning have you regretting your earlier choices.

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership, life coaching, marriage, and finances.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops.  She has a passion to help people be the best version of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her websites at and

Does Your Financial “Type” Help You Achieve Your Goals?

MoneyMoney can be a difficult subject to discuss because of how it influences relationships and incurs judgment by others on how it should be saved, spent, and distributed. Since most people find it difficult to discuss personal finances even with their partner, many are not fully aware of how their relationship with money influences themselves, others, and outcomes.  How would you describe your relationship with money? Brown (2017) identified 7 money types: (1) hospitality, (2) discipline, (3) beauty, (4) connection, (5) endurance, (6) humility, and (7) leadership.  These money types manifest in certain attitudes and behaviors involving money.  What is your motivation behind spending or saving?

Although each money type provides numerous positive influences, each also has a darker side in terms of how it can affect others and the ability to achieve life goals. For example, money can provide an incredible blessing to others when used to facilitate hospitality such as gift giving and hosting others. However, people who drive on hospitality to an extreme may find (1) recipients feel guilty for not being able to reciprocate, (2) they experience hospitality fatigue, or (3) they jeopardize their own ability to provide for their families.  People should be aware of their money types and intentional in understanding their power and using them as strengths.

I would encourage everyone to take the money type survey and ask the following questions:

  • What are my money strengths?
  • How can I use my strengths for greater benefit?
  • Where am I operating on the dark side of my money types?
  • What money habits can I change that would help me meet my goals?


Brown, T. (2017). The Seven Money Types: Discover How God Wired You to Handle Money, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in leadership, business development, and sales.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops.  She has a passion to help organizations engage all their colleagues.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at

How Would You Describe Your Relationship with Money?

money-mindset_OMTimes_bigstock-Young-Woman-Thinking-About-Mon-47826215How would you describe your relationship with money? Parched—never enough.  Feast and famine—sometimes abundant, sometimes starving. Smooth sailing—balanced and achieving my financial goals. What do all these answers have in common? They represent the same general responses, whether one makes $30,000/year or $300,000/year.

Unfortunately, studies show that 75% of American families are living paycheck-to-paycheck (Johnson, 2013), which leads to the assumption that if they cannot find a balanced way to live on $30,000, they likely do not have the discipline and budgeting skills to live on more. As I have lived at those two household income extremes at one point over my lifetime, I believe your ability to live within your means, save for a future, and live generously is based on your relationship with money and your money mindset.

Except for material poverty, where one struggles to cover such basic necessities as food, shelter, and medical, more money does not equate with more happiness, because happiness is independent of how much you make. As a coach, I often hear comments from clients that “life would be so much easier,” that they “would be happier,” and “life would be less stressful,” if they had more money. Short (2014) studied the influence of money on happiness and found that a national average of $75,000 of household (not individual) income was the break point, where additional money did not improve happiness.

So if more money does not bring greater happiness and life satisfaction, what does? What can one do about it? One of the more interesting exercises a person can take is the Prepare and Enrich Program’s “Meaning of Money,” where a series of questions reveal whether a person’s drivers of money are to facilitate control, achieve higher status, live greater enjoyment, or increase security. Extremes in these areas may suggest an unhealthy relationship with money. For example, someone who has an extreme need of security may tend to save to the point of hoarding money and not utilizing money for self and others. An extreme need to grow status may manifest itself in overspending to accumulate designer clothes or cars to feed society’s messaging on self-worth to the detriment basic needs. Many of these extreme behaviors leave people feeling empty and a sense that no amount of money will be enough.

What does a healthy relationship with money look like? Perhaps you might say: (1) not taking on debt that interferes with saving  or (2) achieving a balanced ratio of giving and living. Money is an important tool, yet like sex, it can be emotionally charged and difficult to discuss. Our views and comfort in discussing money start in our childhood home. Whether spoken or not, our parents impressed upon us and taught us their meaning of money, which influenced our worldview and relationship with money.

As a professional coach, I work with clients so they can understand their money worldview and underlying beliefs that drive their behaviors. When clients are more self-aware, they can decide what changes they want to make to align with their chosen plan. Many people decide they want to live more generously, which means living in more financial freedom.

Hewitt and Moline (2015) offer a free online assessment so you can receive your own personalized. You can even see how you rate against the United States average along four dimensions. The dimensions measured are: (1) I long for security vs. I live in freedom, (2) I long for independence vs. I live in community, (3) I long for more vs. I live in contentment, and (4) I long for success vs. I live in calling. Based on your answers, perhaps you will choose to partner with a life coach, so you can begin a journey to move your mindset and behaviors further toward the side of the continuum of your choice.


Hewitt, B., & Molein, J. (2015).  Your new money mindset: Create a healthy relationship with money.  United States: Tyndale House Publishers.

Johnson, A. (2013). Seventy-fix percent of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck. Retrieved from

Short, K. (2014). Here is the income level at which money won’t make you any happier in each state. Retrieved from

144-2 - CopyAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach, consultant, and mentor with an extensive background in business development, leadership, and ministry which provides her with the experience, relational skills, and proven processes to move individuals, couples, and leaders to higher levels of personal awareness, effectiveness, and goal achievement.  She coaches in a variety of areas including life purpose and plans, business, finances, and premarital/marriage.