Getting By Is Not Enough

Having reserves is a state of being. Having a reserve is a state of mind. Both are required to free us up to pursue the Excelerated Life™.

Building A Financial Foundation

Most Thursday mornings, you can find me at United Ministries, an agency in downtown Greenville dedicated to “serve, transform, and empower those in need toward achieving self-sufficiency.” [1] United Ministries offers a number of different services to assist the homeless, the unemployed, and those mired in poverty.

I volunteer in the Employment Readiness program. Those enrolled in this program are unemployed or under-employed. They go through a week-long training related to the job search and, after successfully completing the program, they work with an employment counselor.

In the class I facilitate on Thursday, we discuss how to build a financial foundation.
During that discussion, one thing we focus on is creating a financial reserve — a safety net of savings, an emergency fund.

Statistics show that only 39% of households in America could cover a $1000 emergency from savings. [Tepper] Clearly, most of us can use a refresher in building reserves.

Getting By Is Not Enough

Having enough to get by is not enough. To excelerate our potential, we need more. We need a reserve.

However, having a reserve includes far more than savings, although that is one important aspect. To embrace the Excelerated Life™, we need love and relationships as well as money. We need happiness and positivity in addition to material goods. We require time and space along with work and goals.

“You don’t want to be greedy, and you don’t want to be needy,” Thomas Leonard writes in The 28 Laws Of Attraction. “You just want to be so well supplied that you will be able to lead a terrific life far enough beyond the reach of scarcity.” [Leonard]

Room To Breathe . . . And Grow

Having a reserve is a state of mind as well as a state of being. Reserves are stores, a supply of a necessary item. A reserve is the feeling you have when you are adequately supplied with all you need.

A reserve is the sense that you have enough, so that it is no longer something you have to think about. It may be a stockpile of supplies, such as household goods. A reserve may be extra space that results from simplifying your life. It may be free time that comes from rethinking your priorities and commitments.

Creating reserves isn’t about conspicuous consumption or amassing goods for the sake of having more stuff. In fact, if you feel the urge to accumulate things – material goods, money, friends – that is an indication that you need a reserve in some area.

Why You Need Reserves.

In the early 1940s, psychologist Abraham Maslow proposed a “hierarchy of needs” — motivators of human behavior that he saw as falling into a specific rank order. In Maslow’s Hierarchy, physical needs, such as the need for food, clothing, air, water, and etc., are at the bottom. Moving up through the hierarchy, after Physiological needs, Maslow placed the needs for Safety, Love & Belonging, Esteem (self-esteem, achievement, respect of others, etc), and Self-Actualization — the highest level.

Although Maslow presented them as a hierarchy, indicating the lower needs must be met before the higher needs are considered, later research has shown a different reality. A study by Louis Tay and Ed Diener demonstrated that “the needs tend to be achieved in a certain order but that the order in which they are achieved does not strongly influence their effects on SWB” (subjective well-being). [Tay & Diener] It is often the case that we can “simultaneously [work] on a number of needs regardless of the fulfillment of other needs.” [Tay & Diener]

Even though it may not be necessary to get the needs in Maslow’s hierarchy met in a specific order, if we are to reach the upper level of self-actualization and even transcendence, these lower needs must be fulfilled. By keeping a reserve, we ensure these needs are taken care of, freeing us to focus on the higher goal of living out our potential.

Where Do You Need Reserves?

Consider where you are on the path to self-actualization and living the Excelerated Life™. Where do you need to create a reserve? Here are some suggestions to get your ideas flowing. [2] Use these to start your own list.

Physiological Needs

Home and Comfort
o My home has plenty of extra room.
o I have twice as much storage as I need.
o I have a special place to curl up.

Car and Vehicles
o I have high-quality jumper cables.
o I have AAA-Plus or similar service.
o I fill up before reaching a quarter tank.

Supplies and Equipment
o I have an extra supply of paper towels, toilet paper, and other household supplies.
o My tools are of the best quality.
o My computer is faster than I need.

Space and Time
o I am always 10 minutes early.
o I end the day quietly, with no TV.
o I don’t speed when driving.

Energy and Vitality
o I am not tired; I get plenty of sleep.
o I eat healthful, fresh foods.
o I have an enjoyable morning routine and evening routine.

Security and Safety

o I pay my bills early.
o I have no credit card debt.
o I am on a clear financial independence track.

Safety and Care
o I avoid people who drain me.
o I always use seat belts.
o I practice safe sex (or I am monogamous).

Calamity Protection
o I back up my computer weekly.
o I have a list of my credit cards and account numbers.
o I have ample car, home, and liability coverage.

Love and Belonging

o My children and spouse show their love.
o I know who to call for any problem.
o My emotional needs are fully met.
o I have a relationship with God / a higher power.


o I treat everyone with great respect.
o I have raised my boundaries.
o I have a meaningful BIG goal that I work toward.
o I invest in my education, skills, and network.


o I know my purpose and live to achieve it.
o I am embracing the Excelerated Life™.

It’s OK To Start Slow

You can probably identify one or two areas where you could benefit from creating a reserve. If you are just starting on the path to the Excelerated Life™, you may have many places. Don’t feel overwhelmed. Here are a couple of approaches to help you begin building your reserves.

If you have an area where your need is especially strong or a part you have neglected, you might start there. Decide what a reserve looks like for you and take steps to start acquiring that. Remember, as the study by Tay and Diener demonstrated, you don’t have to approach the hierarchy of needs in any particular order. Go for the one where the need is most obvious.

If you don’t have any one area that stands out, start with your physical needs and begin building reserves of supplies, time and space. Once you feel comfortable that your physical needs are taken care of, move to the level of Security and Safety, and so on.

In either case, having a reserve mindset and building reserves is not a one and done operation. You’ll need to set up systems to be sure you continue to keep reserves once you have established them.

Acknowledge The Abundance

Having a reserve in every resource in every area of life frees us up to create the life we want. Without reserves, our energy is taken up by thinking about and dealing with the lack of resources. Building reserves is a way to acknowledge the abundance we already have in our lives. It is one step in our path toward the Excelerated Life™!

Excelerated Reserves™ — moving from scarcity to abundance — is one step in creating your Excelerated Life™, a life of flourishing and well-being, and a life of meaning, purpose, and service.


[1] Taken from the United Ministries website at

[2] Most of the suggestions come from the Coach U “Reserve Index Program” and “Super Reserve Program”. See Resources.


Coach U, Inc. Coach U’s Essential Coaching Tools. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2005

Leonard, Thomas. The 28 Laws Of Attraction. New York: Scribner, 1998

Tay, L., & Diener, E. (2011). Needs and subjective well-being around the world. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101(2). doi:10.1037/a00

Tepper, Taylor. “Most Americans don’t have enough savings to cover a $1K emergency.” Bankrate. Bankrate, LLC, 18 January 2019, Web. 12 July 2019.

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