My paternal grandfather was a judge. He dedicated his entire life to his profession, but when he did choose to unwind, he enjoyed following the stockmarket and investing in things! His interest in money never faded, but as he got older he found it difficult to keep up with technology. He knew that the internet was a powerful tool, but struggled to get to grips with it, so he asked me to become his teacher, and I did! After each ‘class’, he made a point of paying me, and every time I would shyly refuse. It didn’t feel right to me to charge my grandfather for such an effortless task, but he was very insistent and would always repeat the same phrase:
‘Never underestimate your work’.
At the time I was too young to understand, but I now realise that my grandfather was giving me an essential lesson in Emotional Intelligence, using the language he understood best: Money!
His teachings have been in my thoughts recently, and as a result I have been paying more attention to my relationship with money. I have become aware of the fact that my attitude to money fluctuates! And just like the stockmarket, there are ups and downs and the consequences are huge!
Let’s start with a bad season: It’s usually unconscious, but sometimes I fall into a financial mindset that doesn’t help me. I become convinced that:
- Money is only obtained through hard work.
- Money is therefore extremely precious and valuable.
Although these beliefs might not seem too harmful on the surface, I have realised that they lead me to relate to money though fear which can have a big impact on my life. Here is how:
When I associate money with hard work, I suddenly feel intimidated by the idea of earning a living, and just getting by turns into a daunting task. It is during times like this that I have previously accepted any work I could get my hands on. I have ignored salary, working conditions, and even my own wellbeing because I have been driven by fear.
This is the first step in a vicious circle! Having accepted work I probably won’t enjoy. I proceed to not enjoy it! So, earning money becomes the daunting, unenjoyable task I feared it would be. This reinforces my belief and makes my dreams of being paid for doing something I love appear unattainable.
This is when my second belief comes into play. Having saved some hard-earned money, I am naturally reluctant to let go of it! I put a higher value on it than it is worth and I end up living in scarcity.
On the other hand, sometimes I have a far healthier attitude towards money; these are the seasons when I know that:
- It is acceptable and possible to make money doing what you love.
- Time is more valuable than money.
These beliefs have helped me so much during the recent launch of my business. I would not have been able to start offering Emotional Intelligence courses if I didn’t feel confident about charging money for doing what I love.
In short, the first belief gives me an appreciation of my worth as an individual and a professional. I sometimes catch myself feeling guilty for finishing a session feeling energised and vibrant because I enjoy it so much! I feel that I ‘should’ be tired or need to have ‘earned’ it in some way. But then I consider how much better I perform when I am doing what I love, and I realise that the service I provide when I am engaged in what I am passionate about is definitely worth it.
Earning my living like this is such a different experience to my struggles when I am fearful of money. It enables me to live in abundance: I am more relaxed in how I spend and save money, because I no longer feel that every penny has been gained out of sacrifice!
And finally, when I remember that money can always be recovered, but that time is a finite resource, I understand what is most valuable to me. This gives me some perspective, and helps to keep me in the healthy place between two common situations:
On the one hand, understanding that time is ‘priceless’ reinforces my belief that it is ok for me to be reimbursed for hours I give, even when I am doing things that I love!
On the other hand, the same fact; that time is priceless, helps to remind me that no matter how much money I am making, or offered, it is always necessary to consider whether it is truly worth my time, as those hours are ones I will never be able to earn back later.
In the end, I believe that money can be thought about in many abstract ways, but the meaning that you give to it can ultimately affect your reality. From now on I hope to shift my mindset to concentrating on time as my new currency. I would like to invest it in doing the things I love, and if I am fortunate enough to earn something from this, then I would like to convert what I am given into experiences. So my time that I can’t hold on to, becomes something that will never leave me: Memories.