How an $8 Bouquet of Tulips Made Me Rich

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“A flower blossoms for its own joy.”
~ Oscar Wilde

I just finished arranging white tulips in a lovely crystal vase.

Three arrangements, to be precise.

Each week, I stop by the local grocery store or the farmer’s market to pick up three bouquets of flowers — one for my kitchen, dining room and office.

This simple weekly flower purchase has made me rich.

Now you might be thinking……
What? That’s absurd! How is that possible?

Let me explain…

A bouquet of flowers may seem senseless and impractical. But it’s not.

Why spend money on something that will soon die, right?

That was my thinking for years until I visited Madame Clement’s house.

When I walked into her home for dinner, I was enraptured by this beautiful, sweet scent. A vase of white roses sat on her foyer table.

As the night progressed, I noticed that she had fresh flowers in every room.


I felt a surge of envy and awe.

I thought to myself.

“Who has that kind of money to be so frivolous on something that is going to last only a short while? And the time she must spend on fussing with the arrangements?”

I was too busy surviving a life that I had no time for such nonsense and impracticalities. I only thought about getting through another day.

The constant tape of “there’s not enough money or time” had made me into the kind of woman whose home (and life) was rather dull.

I was too busy …

… trying to lose weight.
… make more money.
… taking care of everyone else.
… trying to get ahead.
… keeping it together.

The truth was, I was too busy complaining about my life that I wasn’t creating it. My life was being driven out of fear, not beauty.

The simple pleasures and non-essentials that truly make life worth living were something I dreamed for one day, but never today.

Who has time to make things beautiful when you’re putting out fires? I was running my life on the fumes of fear, not beauty.

Just like the person being chased by a bear in the woods isn’t thinking about what to cook for dinner, I had become a woman living in fight or flight who didn’t have the emotional capacity to create my life.

Yet, when I dreamed of my future self, I wanted to be a rich woman, and this feeling was beyond just having money. (Because having money doesn’t necessarily mean “rich” — and I know this from experience: I have had money and felt poor, and had money and felt rich).

I wanted rich experiences.
I wanted an overflowing feeling of abundance.
I desired to surround myself with beautiful things sans guilt.
I yearned for a deep knowing that there is always enough for all of us.
I wanted to be the kind of woman who honors her everyday life.

If I wanted to become a rich woman, I had to stop acting so poor.

Madame Clement didn’t realize it, but she inspired me to buy flowers for myself as soon as I returned home — a bouquet of $8 tulips from Walmart (gasp!).

This may not seem like a big deal, but if your mind has been conditioned for lack, it’s a brave act to spend money on something that seems so frivolous.

One simple (and relatively inexpensive) action — to spend money and time to place fresh cut flowers in my home — caused a wave of other seemingly small actions.

Flowers have become my permission slip to add more elegance to my every day and to make everything around me beautiful.

“The earth laughs in flowers.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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I know this to be true because I remember after placing the tulips in my kitchen, I’d smile every time I walked by.

I carried that little jolt of joy with me to work. And, people started to notice.

I bought more flowers.

Next thing I knew, I began thinking differently about money, learning to trust the belief that there’s always enough.

I got a raise at work. Voila!

As I began to relax into abundance, the world started to feel like a playground instead of a battlefield. This sense of enjoyment of life inspired me to sign up for sommelier school.

Sommelier school was where I was introduced to the stories and richness of the world of wine, not to mention the rare wines I was able to taste.

I felt even more abundant.

Next thing you know, I was writing restaurant reviews and getting paid to set up wine programs.

That internal state of richness started to show up in my outer world.

I began to make more quality choices, such as buying one pair chic designer sunglasses versus twenty mediocre ones.

As I began feeling and acting like an abundant woman, the loud voice of “not enough” began to fade.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was collecting evidence for a new belief:

I am a rich woman.

Looking back at the beginning of my love affair with flowers, I’ve come to realize that they’ve transformed me into a woman who feels abundant. One vase of $8 tulips from Walmart led to new beliefs and feelings and, over time, completely different experiences.

Yes, today I make more money since that day in Walmart, but I’m no Oprah.

However, the richness of life that I’m speaking of doesn’t cost a fortune.

It’s that feeling of luxury I felt when I walked into Madame Clement’s simple yet elegant home.

It’s looking for what’s going right instead of wrong.

It’s taking the time to cultivate beauty in your everyday life.

It’s waking up with a heart full of gratitude for another day.

It’s that deep feeling of abundance that can be cultivated regardless of how much money you have in the bank.

And, you may discover what I’ve experienced:

When you become rich on the inside, your world will start to become more rich.

A colleague recently posted something on Facebook that caused me to question how we’re trying to go about changing our lives.

She said, “Since when did buying yourself flowers become a personal development tool?”

I thought,

“Yeah, why don’t we all walk on coals, sit in sweat lodges and call that a life!”

Okay, I’ll admit, that thought I had was little judgemental.

However, I’ve learned that, regardless of what many experts may try to convince you, there is no one way to personal growth. We all have such unique desires and souls, so we must pay attention to when we fill inspired and passionate and what makes our daily lives feel rich.

Some find those elevated emotions in intense seminars and creating vision boards (not me!).

Others, such as myself, find it in the most unusual places, such as a vase of flowers, a swanky hotel lobby or Bergdorf Goodmans.

Yes, I’m the type of gal who can talk about God and a great handbag in the same sentence.

The point is to stop romancing the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that keep you stuck in a life of famine.

You’ll Never Become Rich if Life is Never Enough

Each day at work, I coach women who are constantly trying to improve themselves — go harder, push more and reach goals.

And, for many, it never seems like enough, no matter how many accolades they receive, goals they reach or money they make.

This is the dark side of personal development: constantly trying to improve ourselves because, at the core, we believe we’re not enough. And, we become trapped in the constant striving to fix ourselves (even though no one is broken). This leads to the “one day when” mentality which causes us to avoid doing the very things that would lead us to feel better. It’s crazy-making, y’all.

That $8 bouquet of flowers was my declaration to life that I wasn’t going to continue putting my life on hold until “one day.”

In fact, it was my bold commitment to living richly and well.

It was me going out into life and collecting evidence for new beliefs, such as:

I deserve a beautiful life.

I can create the time.

There is enough.

I can afford this.

Beauty is everywhere.

Create a Rich State of Mind

Sitting at home trying to fix yourself doesn’t change you. Delaying the feeling of your desires doesn’t inspire you. And, waiting for your bank account to be a certain number to feel rich will keep you poor.

Do you want to live a rich life? Stop feeling and acting so poor.

One of the best ways to become rich is to start feeling rich in the life you have right now.

Perhaps you:

Stop and take in a deep glorious breath.

Turn on some jazz in the mornings as you’re getting ready for work.

Sit down with your cup of coffee and peruse your favorite magazine before going to work.

Celebrate something every single day.

Give to your favorite charity (even if it’s only $5).

Splurge on a bottle of truffle oil (I recommend drizzling over your eggs).

Take a luxurious bubble bath before going to bed.

Invest in a beautiful set of lingerie.

There are SO many options to living richly in our everyday, but you must stop putting your happiness (or a vase of flowers or a trip) on hold until one step when. If you do, you’re robbing yourself of a well-lived life, and it will for sure, slow your progress to reaching your goals, including creating a rich life.

Adding Luxury to your Every Day IS Personal Development

To my friend who “poo-poo”ed flowers as a personal development tool, all I have to say is “For me, it’s been one of the best.”

The stories of “not enoughness” I held true about myself and life were transformed by elevating the quality of my everyday, starting with my first bouquet of flowers. My mind fought me every step of the way until it realized, “This girl is heading in a whole new direction and we can’t stop her.”

By creating everyday luxurious experiences, ones I knew my 90-year old self would toast me for one day, I created a whole new state of being. I became truly rich from the inside-out.

You see, it’s never about the clothes, the shoes, the flowers or other externalities, but it’s about who you must become to actually see yourself as worthy enough to surround yourself with beautiful things.

It’s forcing your mind to believe in something other than scarcity and struggle.

Buying myself flowers that day was the beginning of seeing this very day as one to be celebrated and adored. It was an act of courage to see myself as worthy enough of $8.

It was a reminder to tend to the details of my life, to touch pause and see this day as deserving my attention.

That day in Wal-mart was the beginning of me deciding to not put my life or beauty on hold until one day but to embody my future self NOW.

That was the beginning of me becoming rich.

When it comes to personal development, everyone’s journey is different. And, yes, it’s imperative that you unravel the painful stories that are holding you back. But, in the meantime, go buy yourself a bouquet of flowers and you may discover that in all that living, the story unravels itself.


JOIN THE CHIC CONVERSATION: How do you plan to add richness to your life…..starting today?

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18 Responses to How an $8 Bouquet of Tulips Made Me Rich

  1. You are living my dream career Tonya,writing and working from beautiful locations!What an inspiration you are.

    I am living on a tight budget at the moment,so I baulked at the thought of spending £10 on a bouquet of beautiful white flowers from my local supermarket.

    I did treat myself to a homecooked sea bass served on a bed of sauté potatoes and roast vegetables for £3.50. Well, my thoughts played havoc with me over such extravagance on a week night! Haha! They did eventually settle down, allowing me to enjoy the feeling of abundance for this one sitting.

    Enjoy your holiday Tonya. 💕

    • I think that when we put $ sign in our internal voice is like we are limiting our life. Money is a big necessity but beauty is in our heart.
      Blessings my beautiful sis

    • Jayne:

      My daughter lives in Oxfordshire right in the midst of Jo Malone shops. She also lives near an Aldi’s. I asked her to buy a Jo Malone candle and Aldi copycat candle and see if she could tell the difference (she’s a scientist.) She couldn’t. So when she came home for Thanksgiving, her backpack was filled with $6 candles for me – those delicious soy ones with essential oils in magnificent scent combinations. I’m encouraging her towards those kinds of luxury. I really miss her. But she was in medical school and fell in love with an Irish doctor and off she went.

      • What a great mom you are! I think it’s our duty to model to our kids to enjoy our everyday lives, because the pressure for harder and faster is so tough on them.

        And, you also raised a daughter who is flying!!!! High-five!

    • Hi Jayne,

      Thank you so much. Please remember, if you can dream it, you can create it! I always tell clients that what is available to me is also available to you.

      And, as you probably know, it’s not about the flowers per se, but about changing your mindset, and a delicious dinner of sea bass (yummy!) is very luxurious!

      Question those thoughts that cause you to freak out.

      So much love!

  2. Good morning from snowy Pennsylvania Tonya! The snow only remains on the grass, but is so pretty. I took some time last week and stayed after work. I wiped, vacuumed and rearranged my office into something I am really enjoying. I put on some jazz and lavender oil in my diffuser. This week, I brought in some new plants. I HAVE to have something alive around me during our gray winters. Now I have a clean and fresh office and am surrounded by lacy ferns, vining plants, and blooming lilies and cacti! Since we spend so much time at work, we should remember to add richness to our workspaces as well! At home, I have hired a cleaning person to clean my house from top to bottom every two weeks. THIS makes me feel rich, although I was surprised at how reasonable the cost is. In addition, the house is always in order before she comes, and when she leaves, I add flowers, fluff pillows, light candles, etc. Thank you for all that you do SCS Sister!

    • Clean offices are THE BEST!!! I always feel so much more inspired when my desk and office is neat and tidy. And, a housekeeper to help…EVEN BETTER!

      Lots of SCS love <3

  3. Hi
    I can relate to this article; spend money in “frugal “things was a big thing for me. Now i challenge myself everyday to do something good/beautiful for me (only me. Flowers are a must for me. Love your comments.

  4. Greetings from Grand Bahama,
    This article is perfect. Especially since I recognize it as one of my biggest struggles. I wish we had places to buy inexpensive flowers here. But I can always substitute beautiful plants or pick a few blossoms.
    I’d love to read more of this type of article. Motivation and suggestions to change a limiting mindset is incredibly helpful.
    Thanks and have a fabulous day!

    • Hi Jenn! If you can find flowers to pick, even better as the experience is so much better, IMO.

      Thanks for the suggestion re: future posts like this. It’s a topic I am passionate about, as I had to completely restyle my mind from my “poor” days to get here, so I know it can be done for anyone. Stay tuned.

      Much love!

  5. You always seem to post the most wonderful things at just the right time. I must stop acting like a poor woman or I will remain there. (and I don’t mean financially)

    Thank you for always providing the perfect motivation to being the best version on oneself!

  6. I always wanted to try truffles but figured financially that was out of my league particularly since the last couple of years have been very tough in the finance area. However per your suggestion I bought myself some truffle oil and sprinkled it over my eggs – yumm!! I was having a lovely luxurious moment. At 65 I felt that I’ve peaked out: financially, no significant other, etc. so life was looking like it was going downhill. If I died tomorrow my biggest regret would be that I’ve not traveled enough. If I die without seeing Paris – huge upset. Tonya your podcasts have renewed my hope and rekindled that’s it not over. Thank you!

    • Hi Rina! Truffle oil is one of those special delicacies that I keep in my pantry to drizzle over my eggs to elevate the quality of my everyday. And, make your plan to see Paris! I know you can make it happen.

  7. Tonya, can I say that this is so far my absolute favorite podcast of yours! I have listened to it almost every day for the last few weeks as an immersion of what it really means to be rich. Having been a long time student of FKL and SCS I know these things yet it’s the reinforcement and confirmation that has made me look at areas where I can infuse more of it into my life. I’ve always had fresh flowers in my space and the freshest, best food that I could buy. Yet there are still ways to do more. I’ve began playing music and lighting a candle when I’m home for lunch and sitting down at the dining room table to really take in my food, my home, my view out the window and it’s so inspiring! Thank you for the very important lesson in awareness and the cultivation of a life well lived where the smallest things become the biggest agents of change! xoxo

    • You are always an inspiration to me, Pat!

      And, while yes, there is always more than “can” be done, don’t forget to honor all that you ARE doing.

      You’re an incredible woman.


  8. I agree. You are so inspiring. Most of us are conditioned from youth to not “squander money” on frivolous things. But when we grow up we realize that life is boring without those extra beautiful things. For me years ago it happened during an episode of (at the time a new series) called “Real Housewives”-showing how these women live. I realized my mindset was completely different. The abundant feeling they have in the clothing they wear, the way they appreciate a better life for themselves and for their families and their children. Up to that moment, I was only surviving and not thriving. As a writer and book seller I changed my strategy and my sales went up 400% so now I have the Vera Wang, Chanel, Coach, Prada, Gucci, Gianni Bini shoes, and now I see the beauty of pampering myself with the items that make me truly happy.

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