When my husband died seven years ago I panicked.

Even though there was a small life insurance to keep me going for a while, my mind could not rest.

Every time I looked at my very young daughters I would worry about their future.

The money would last us so long.

So I went and got an entry-level job, making minimum pay in the 

Pharmaceutical industry.

I was 34 years old at that time and I was being trained and scolded by a 25 

year old on how to copy data from a form to the computer.

Can you hear me screaming?

Can you see me dying a slow death?

Sorry for the direct nature of this email.


Oh my Goodness.

I have no words to describe to you how I felt.

I hated my life every day.

Not only was I grieving my husband and had two little kids at home without any help whatsoever, I was working next to a young girl who dedicated her every day to giving me a hard time.

I remember the elevator ride to the 10th floor every day. Taking me to my very small cubicle.

I would just close my eyes and pray that my day would go by really fast so I could get out of there.

I remember once, I sent out a letter to an Executive that got lost in the mail and the big boss treat me like I was the most stupid girl in the world.

I broke down that day.

I was embarrassed, humiliated and I could not stop sobbing.

Someone came to ask how I was doing.

They thought I was crying because I was missing my husband.

But I was crying because I was losing my identity as a smart woman.

I was being reduced to nothing.

But guess what?

I did not leave.

My hidden formula: Money =happiness was reinforced somehow.

So I started working harder, longer hours.

I would get back on that elevator and ride all the way up to the 10th floor waiting for the torture to begin again.

I thought if only I got promoted.

If only I had a bigger salary everything would be better.

I did get promoted.

I did double my salary and then some.

But those years at that company were not years spent in my body.

Those years were trying to prove that money would make everything better, including pain.

It didn’t.

That formula was wrong.

What I am here to ask you today is this:

Are you on a quest to make money or are you on a quest to be happy? If you are on a quest to be happy you must reverse the formula:

Money=happiness to Happiness=Money

 1.   Shift your thought from “I need money to have a better life.” to “I need to feel alive and the money will come.”

2.     Make a list of all the things that make you happy and I would spend at least an hour a day doing those things.

3.     Look for a job in places that bring you closer to that ‘alive’ feeling. If you love to talk to people go find a job with people around you. If you love to use your hands to create, then use your hands to create. If you love to write. Start writing. How will you pay your bills? By not taking the elevator ride to the 10thfloor and hating yourself and everyone around you.

4.     Stop looking for security and start looking for freedom. Your brain has told you that you have to endure a bad job so you can pay the bills. It is not true. I think grief makes us stupid. Grief makes us lose our confidence. Grief makes us afraid. Grief makes us forget who we are. Sorry I am so harsh. But grief isblinding.

5.     Look for your new identity. Instead of allowing the weakest most afraid part of you to be in charge. Listen to the part of you that tells you to conquer the world. To make your dreams come true.

6.     Don’t kill the dream so you can die with more money in your account.

7.     Look for a job that respects your brain enhances your strength and makes you feel like you have a purpose.

8.    Say this out loud every day: Happiness=Money.

I resigned from the job that was my identity killer on April 9th 2010.

That day became my new birthday.

I am now close to three and a half years old.

I get to help thousands of people every day build the life they dream of.

I took that Life Insurance and invested it in www.Secondfirsts.com and in www.thelifestarters.org 

All of it. Yep. You are my investment. 

And I never felt richer, happier and more alive.

Give your time to the people that matter.

Think of giving money to the life you want instead of using your life to make money. 

I hope that the day I die I would have zero money in my bank account but a really large legacy.

Today think about your legacy.

Think about your freedom.

Think about what makes you come to life.

And start spending time in that space.

Money will follow.

But make sure your bank account does not keep your life locked in.

Give your money away.

Spend your money and make the people around you happy.

You will then be one of the richest people you know. Making money was never about YOU. It is about who you get to help with that money.

With riches,


PS. Share your 10th floor story and how you got out of the job that was killing your identity here!


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Christina Rasmussen is an author, speaker and social entrepreneur who believes that grief is an evolutionary experience required for launching a life of adventure and creative accomplishment.

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  • Ross Murker says:

    Happiness=Money (=more ways to help others be happier=positive spiral growth!)
    After having flailed about trying to be different in order to be “secure”, I have found my way to be secure, which is letting me be different – turnarounds work wonders!

  • McKenzie Morris says:

    I have to admit that I used to live with that same mindset of money equals happiness but I learned real quick that no amount of money will give you peace of mind and soul. I still work that crappie job but with the knowledge that I don’t need it. Especially since I have another job helping families avoid financial situations such as yours after your husband died , and I have to say it is liberating and heart lighting to be able to help people avoid these situations where they feel they have have to sacrifice there dreams and self identity just to pay the bills. Thank you for writing this because a lot of people can benefit from this wisdom from experience!

  • Diane says:

    Thank you for your words….they were exactly what I needed to hear. I lost my mom 2 weeks ago, my dear dog 3 months ago and had a forced quit resignation in February! In this moment, I am numb and unable to make a decision. I am trusting that I will be guided to the perfect positive job that will appreciate who I am. I, too, was working helping families advocate for their handicapped children. families appreciated my efforts but not the employer as they knew they were not acting on the best interests of the children we were supposed to be serving!
    Thank you

    • Follow your heart Diane. Make sure you spend time every day doing something you love. I am so very sorry for the loss of your mom. This is a big loss. Make sure you take care of yourself during this time. All my love, Christina

  • Angela says:

    This is a great post Christina. Thank you for reminding me that making money is not about me but about the people I can help with that money. It makes my journey a little less scary and the creativity process sore. I especiall agree with this statement “I think grief makes us stupid. Grief makes us lose our confidence. Grief makes us afraid. Grief makes us forget who we are. Sorry I am so harsh. But grief is blinding.” So true! I experienced that for way to long. I was afraid. I had no confidence. I thought I had lost my mind and didn’t think I was normal. How could someone else dying make ME forget who I WAS. It was frightening. Then somewhere along the way I decided that my grief is going to make me BOLD and create a life on my terms. Again, thank you!

  • Elena Lipson says:

    Love this: happiness = money.

    I am working on my passion now, creating programs for women in biz who need to find balance, health and wellness…before the meltdown.

    Thank you for this beautiful post.

  • KB says:

    This is perfect. Thank you for sharing. Happiness = Money. 🙂

  • Anita Crane says:

    I am happy doing photography. It is such happiness for me to help someone feel better about themselves when they see the best picture ever taken of them. I’m working on opening a portrait business in my historical cottage in Park City, Utah. I am 76 years old, but look and feel much younger. It has only been 6 months since my husband of 40 years died. I wonder sometimes if I am pressing
    too hard, too fast. Happiness = Money…..sounds wonderful. I want to be happy and I have experienced happiness at times already -actually many times. I miss my husband everyday, and I cry everyday, sometimes I scream but it upsets the cat that keeps me company. I live in Old Town in a historical, cozy and adorable cottage. I have 4 children in their 50’s all living in different parts of the country… and 21 grandchildren, some of them are great grandchildren. I love to write songs and sing/play guitar. Feeling lost tonight. However, I am blessed in many ways. Have read Second First several times.

  • Yvonne Cameron says:

    Your comment about grief being blinding resonates with me. When my husband became ill I was too young to retire. After he died I continued working even after I was old enough to retire because I thought that I should work until I paid off my house. Eventually my parents started to be hospitalized frequently. Additionally, my grandchildren were growing up so quickly. I retired exactly five years after his death and I’m sorry that I didn’t retire sooner. I really did love my job and I felt that it was part of my identity. I realize now that I could have and should have retired sooner.

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