The other day I had a coaching session with one of my clients about money. It was so liberating to openly talk about it, not only for her but also for me!
Researching this blog, I came across a disconnect. Money, in general, is a hot topic of discussion, the web is awash with articles about how to make it, and our daily conversations about life, education, politics, work, often feature money heavily, but when it gets personal, we go silent!
So, today I want to talk about our personal relationship with money and I want to go deeper. We are going to explore the role of Identity, Money Scripts and our ingrained Money Mindset, and here is why . . .
If we don’t have a healthy relationship with money in the first place, it won’t matter how much of it we put in the bank, we will never be satisfied.
What are you worth? Talk about taboo! But the way we answer this question can tell us a great deal about ourselves. What is your answer?
The reason I ask is because there are multiple ways to measure our worth: It could be the value we give to our community, or how much we help our friends and family, or the work we do (paid or voluntary), but it’s true that a lot of people would confuse worth with net worth . . . ‘I make X a year’, I’ve got Y in the bank and my house is worth Z’
This association of our worth with money is the reason I believe most people don’t feel comfortable around the topic of their own money. They have attached their identity to it, so the conversation becomes too personal too quickly! Where did this association come from?
“Identity is this incredible invisible force that controls your whole life. It’s invisible, like gravity is invisible, but it controls your whole life.”- Tony Robbins
During our early childhood, we form our identity around the same time that we first start to become aware of money, and we often create beliefs that mix who we are with what we have. The kid whose parents cannot afford new clothes might create very different beliefs from the one who is always showing up to school with the newest toy. This is where our association between money and identity can stem from, and one result of this can be an unstable sense of self-esteem! When we allow our identity to be affected by external factors (like our bank balance) our self-esteem can rise and fall like a yo-yo!
Over time, these beliefs come together to form something Dr. Brad and Ted Klontz call ‘money scripts’. I like this term because as I always say, we are all expert story-tellers. Our brain interprets every single situation based on our past experiences and beliefs, so as the years pass our money script grows in length and strength It is a story we tell ourselves over and over until one day it becomes our money mindset, an attitude so powerful that it pretty much defines how we feel about money.
By the time our script has become a fully-formed mindset, it has also become a powerful force. In this case, it completely controls how we feel about money, regardless of how much or how little of it we actually have. How else would you explain the existence of wealthy individuals who constantly feel anxious about money?
If you have a Scarcity Mindset, however much you have will never be enough. As Robbins says: ‘Wealth is really a state of appreciation’ This will be hard to agree with for the ones of you who hold the belief that money can buy happiness, but we will get there.
Mindsets can help or hinder us.
If you want to read more about it, you can check: ‘Money and Time: Never Underestimate your Work, a Lesson from my Grandpa’ and if not, here is short money related example:
Imagine you had repeated the following statements to yourself for decades, and consider how they might affect your actions when it comes to money.
I am learning about money every day.
Money is so complicated.
Rich people are better than others at making money.
Rich people are dishonest and corrupt.
There is enough money in the world for everyone.
You need to work hard to make money.
Let’s take this last one, if you firmly believe that money is the result of hard work, do you think you would ever consider any other option?
Recently a friend told me a story about this. She had been talking with an investor about her business which was very hard work and she didn’t enjoy it. The investor had listened to her go on about long days, problems and difficulties and then simply replied ‘You don’t need to kill yourself working, there are easier ways to make money’, something my friend hadn’t really even stopped to consider!
The purpose of today’s article and the following Blog Club is to heal our relationship with money and create a healthy mindset before we even start considering improving our finances! We can’t attack our mindset head-on, it’s too strong, we have to back to our Money Scripts.
MONEY SCRIPTS TRANSFORMATION
Drs. Brad and Ted Klontz present four types of limiting money scripts, you might associate with one in particular, or with a few, the idea here is that you become aware of them, awareness is always the first step!
To have a healthy relationship with money, you don’t need to be perfect or a mathematician, you just need to become aware, to accept where you are, and take action to transform the beliefs that are holding you back from financial freedom.
Are you ready?
Money Avoiders believe:
- Money is negative; a source of fear, anxiety or disgust
- Rich people are greedy
They think they don’t deserve to be wealthy but they are aware that saving, or having more money could bring fulfilment to their lives. This leads to a conflict between holding money in contempt, and overvaluing it! They often have problems with overspending and have no control over what it is going on with their money. They prefer not to know about their finances due to fear.
‘Money is the root of all evil’
‘Rich people are dishonest, money wields power in a negative way’
‘The rich get richer and the poor get poorer’
ACTION TO TAKE: Get your sh** and soul together. Time to put the numbers on the table and get crystal clear about what you own and what you owe, what you make and what you spend. Create the habit of paying attention and keeping track, the more you expose yourself to something, the less scary it will be.
Money Worshipers believe:
- Money is positive; a source of happiness, a problem-solving magic wand . . .
- Rich people are the aspirational bosses of the world
They hold the deep belief that ‘if only I have more money, all my problems would be solved’, so they will do anything to accumulate wealth. No amount of money is enough so they feel the pressure to become rich and to keep making more and more, but they also have problems with overspending because they throw money at problems.
‘Money will solve all my problems’
‘things will get better in life if I just had more money’
‘The amount of money in the World is limited’
ACTION TO TAKE: To break and transform this belief you need to change your focus. Try priming it each day! Or, a useful mantra in the morning to say in the mirror? The best things in life are Free! I propose you a challenge: Each day for a week, do something that costs nothing and makes you feel great. Ex: Visit your grandparents when they don’t expect it, go for a long walk with your partner in the countryside or the nearest park, join a free meetup of your liking, create a video surprise for a birthday present…
Money Vigilantes believe:
- Money is a basic need; hard to get and never enough saved.
- Rich people have worked their asses off to be where they are.
‘Bean Counters’ believe you have to work too hard to make a living, you need to save a lot just in case. Emergencies are around the corner for money vigilantes, and they don’t like discussing money, as they are suspicious. Their philosophy: work hard and don’t expect much.
‘Money doesn’t grow on trees’
‘I can either make money or do what I love’
‘You need to save your money to become rich’
ACTION TO TAKE: There is definitely a positive part about this script. Watching your money would be good advice for a Money Avoider! However, anything healthy in excess becomes unhealthy so I propose: Make a long-term action plan for your finances, that lets you stop checking in day-to-day. If you think you are over-saving, set a small % aside (outside of your normal expenses) and commit to spending it before the month is out. Once you are comfortable spending it, you could start spending it on less sensible things! Something fun, or a risky but interesting investment. Use it to challenge your beliefs.
Money Status believe:
- My Money is my identity; money is a sign of success and worth!
- Rich people are lucky, better and superior.
They have completely attached their identity to their money, they often feel the pressure to prove how much money they have, they might ‘throw it around’ pay the bill for a whole table, buy material displays of wealth, regardless of whether they have money or not. They are obsessed with keeping up with the Joneses and confuse self-worth with net-worth.
‘I am what I make’
‘You have to spend money to make money’
‘Money is there to be spent’
ACTION TO TAKE: To start challenging how much you are worth without money, you need to start acting as you would like to feel. I propose two things: 1. Do something to show off that requires only your skill, not a single cent. Instead of buying the most expensive present for your friend, do something creative, that takes time, or write a meaningful letter. 2. Next time that you have the temptation to talk about your newest purchase, tell people something you have done that you feel proud about instead.
I have learnt so much about myself and my beliefs just by writing this blog and so I only hope this helps you too . . . If you are still unsure about your own script and beliefs, just keep in mind, the aim is to find your personal beliefs, and if they are limiting, challenge and transform them!
REMEMBER: Don’t attach your identity to a single money script, you can identify with different aspects of different beliefs. Everyone’s relationship with money is different, as it is based on our upbringing and our experiences, so different people need different advice.
Before you try to make money you need to heal your relationship with it, and that involves transforming negative beliefs through experience: Act as you want to feel.
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Love and Satisfaction,