I know it’s been a really challenging year for many people. I was talking to my numerology business coach, Jo Soley, who was on our podcast a few short weeks ago. One of the things I was saying to her is that in numerology, the year 2020 has always been about change and it really has this year. We’ve got some podcast episodes and interviews coming up tackling the topic of how we can deal with change.
Today I want to share with you 2 powerful exercises to change your perspective on money, because sometimes we just get stuck in a rut and we feel like we’re the only people going through our current financial situation. You might be reading this thinking that you’re the only person stuck in a job that you don’t like, you’re running a business that isn’t as successful as you’d like it to be. You’ve maybe recently been made redundant or you’re going through a divorce or a separation, or you’ve just lost a loved one. When we go through significant changes or we’re stuck in a rut, or we just feel alone, often it’s really useful to just take some perspective on where we’re at.
So I’m going to be sharing with you two exercises. One comes from Brad Klontz, who is a financial psychologist in the US. We were talking recently about this money egg exercise, and really it’s what we call a Financial Flashpoint exercise. And a financial flashpoint is an early life event or a series of events that are associated with money that are so emotionally powerful that they leave an imprint that lasts into our adulthood.
The money egg exercise is a really interesting one to work through. You may have heard me mention the Money Atom exercise as well. They’re two very different, but very powerful exercises. The other exercise I’m going to share with you is how we take a helicopter view on our situation. Quite often removing yourself from the situation and taking a different perspective can be really, really useful. Something that I always think is valuable is to think about staying in the present moment, because if we keep ourselves stuck in the financial past or worrying about our financial future, it actually takes our eye off of things that we should be paying attention to in our financial present. It also helps to balance out some of the emotions that we feel around money.
Both of these exercises are less than 10 minutes long.
Why is this important?
The reason this is so important is because often we know the practical steps. We know that we should be spending less than we earn. We know that we should have an emergency fund. We know that we should be investing.
We know that we should be doing all of these things, but the reason that we don’t is because of our relationship with money. In all of the work that I teach, it’s about thinking about where your relationship with money is coming from. What is the language that you’re using? What’s your natural ‘go to’ relationship with money?
We’re all completely different, and I think it is important to start from that because if we start from the practical steps, that’s when it all falls to pieces. We know we should be doing these things, so the fact that we’re not doing it means it’s not deeply ingrained. It’s not deeply rooted enough, or we don’t want it enough, or we don’t know how to change our habits because we don’t know how to change our behaviours.
Before we can create any behavioural change, we have to start by identifying our language and our perspective.
Before we begin
I want you to write two things down; language and perspective.
The first thing I want to share with you is from a language perspective, we want to really get to the point where we can try and identify our core beliefs and our core beliefs about money. What do you think about money? What do you feel about money? This exercise will help to give you some insights.
If you think if you think about it from a scientific perspective, what we say to ourselves, the language that we use to ourselves either consciously or subconsciously, is then going to feed into how we feel. That emotion of how we feel is then going to feed into our behaviours.
A really good example of this is if you’re saying to yourself, “I’m not good with money”, then first of all, your brain is going to look for evidence to support that belief because that’s what the brain does. The brain doesn’t like anything complicated. It’s going to look for evidence to support that. Therefore, if you are burying your head in the sand or you’re struggling with managing money or you’re struggling in a debt cycle at the moment, you’re just going to continue in that cycle because your brain is going to look for further evidence to support that belief.
In order to change the belief, we have to change the behaviour. In order to change the behaviour, we have to change the core language.
The vehicle for this journey, if you like, is language because the buried language actually then demonstrates and shows what our worries are, what our deep rooted fears are. It’s likely that this language inside of you has developed over the whole of your life. Potentially not even originating from you. It may be a belief that you’re telling yourself because somebody else has given you that belief.
Many of the beliefs that we hold around money are actually inherited. There’s some incredible research around this subject that many of the beliefs that we hold are inherited. If you think about it, it makes sense.
To share an example: a belief I grew up with was that actually you have to work hard to make money. That’s because my dad was a grafter and so was my mum and my Nan, who’s still alive now at 94. During the war, she worked in the post office and post-war, she ran pubs locally in Bedfordshire. I mean, gosh, anyone who runs a pub, they’re hard workers, right?
We didn’t come from complete poverty in our family, but there were periods, particularly if we go right back through the generations of poverty and scarcity of money, so the message that passed through the generations was that you have to work hard to have money. Therefore, when I started to build my business, that belief that’s been inherited because it’s been passed on generationally was already there. It wasn’t even one that I created for myself.
That belief led me to behave in a certain way. It led me to believe that money was difficult to come by. You have to work hard. Therefore, if I found a way to make money that was potentially easier, it didn’t feel comfortable. It didn’t feel right because it wasn’t something that I was familiar with. So the way that you could identify your core language and your core beliefs is simply by just asking a couple of questions to yourself. Those questions can be:
- What messages did you hear growing up around money?
- What things did your parents say to you?
- What things did your parents maybe not say to you about money?
- Was money never talked about?
That last one in itself can be very interesting because if money was never talked about then money was secret. If money was secret, what belief would that leave you with in your subconscious belief system? It might leave you with a belief that you shouldn’t talk about money. That it’s rude to talk about money, or maybe if you have money that that’s not a good thing. That maybe rich people are greedy.
Sometimes it’s difficult to think about the messages we heard growing up, and others find it easier. Sometimes when I go back to my childhood, I don’t always remember the things that my parents did or didn’t say about money, but I remember how I felt about money. I remember my dad used to have a pound coin jar. I lived with my mum and my dad had a separate house. We used to go and spend weekends with him, but I remember he’d come home at the end of every day and he’d empty his pockets. Any of his pound coins would go into this big pot and he’d hide it in the back of his wardrobe.
Now, we actually were quite open talking about money in our household. But think about what that experience and that feeling gave me growing up. Money was to be stored away and to be kept secret. It was to be protected.
So when I actually started earning my first pocket money, the first thing I wanted to do was to spend it. I’d find any excuse to spend it because it was the polar opposite of what I’d experienced.
My dad was never a spender either. We’d always go window shopping, but never buy anything. That used to frustrate the hell out of me as a child! He would spend so much time thinking about anything before he made a purchase, and that was because his parents were very poor. I’m making assumptions here, but from a psychological perspective, what that meant for him is that his behaviour was potentially influenced because his parents were very poor and therefore when he had wealth, he wanted to protect it. So they went into a hoarding mentality.
Some of the experiences that our parents showed us, sometimes positive, sometimes negative, can have an impact on our belief systems.
The first exercise is to grab a blank piece of paper. On that piece of paper, I want you to draw a shape of an egg. Then I want you to think back to the earliest time in your life that you can possibly remember. What is the earliest experience that you had with money? Starting at the bottom of your egg I want you to use your nondominant hand, and I want you to draw a symbol of what that experience represented.
It could be a painful experience. It could be a pleasurable experience around money. Maybe you lost some money as a child. Maybe it was your first pocket money. Maybe it was your first job. Maybe it was spending money in a sweet shop getting some sweets on your way to school, for example.
I want you to just to capture a symbol that you could relate to that particular experience. I want you to just draw that with your nondominant hand at the bottom of your egg. This symbol is going to represent that experience. I want you to section off that symbol by drawing lines around it, that extend to the edge of it.
The second step is to think back to the next money experience that you can remember that was either pleasurable or not so pleasurable. As you section off each experience, your egg will begin to kind of look like a bit of a patchwork quilt.
Working from as far back as you can possibly go from the bottom of the egg, up more towards some more present experiences. You continue up the egg until you reach the most recent experience and you can draw different symbols for each of those experiences. It might be a pound coin symbol, it might be a symbol of a heart. It might be a lightning bolt maybe if it’s something extreme.
Whatever comes up for you, just draw that symbol out. Now, I want you to go back to the bottom of your egg, and I want you to look at each symbol that you’ve drawn. I want you to imagine the situations and scenes that each one of those symbols represents. Using your dominant hand, I want you to write down a word or words that describe the emotions that you felt or feel now in relation to that particular experience.
If you’re not aware of the feelings that you attach to that situation, imagine that you’re maybe witnessing that happen to somebody else that you know. Maybe you witness that happening to your children right now, for example. So if I was thinking about what did I feel seeing my dad put those pound coins in the back of the wardrobe, there might actually be an element of shame in that because it’s secret and the emotion behind that is shame. So I would write that down.
The next step, beginning at the bottom of the egg again, I want you to create a list of lessons that you learned about money based on all of those experiences. What may come up for you is a mixture of some positive and some negative experiences.
I want you to finish this sentence.
What we’re doing here is creating almost like a timeline of where did that potential belief come from? Where did that potential belief start?
The next thing is to think about, is that belief actually true?
Is money secret? No, that’s actually not true.
Money is not secret. Money’s money. I can pick up a pound coin. I can pick up a five pound note. It’s not secret at all. But it’s the experience that I had as a child that sits in my subconscious belief system.
We make 90% of the decisions around money from a place of our subconscious belief systems. Things that we may not even necessarily be aware of. So just think about is that belief even true? And if you don’t want it to be true, what would you need to be saying to yourself? What would you need to be saying that’s different? What was the opposite of that?
Money is not secret. Money is visible. I can look into my bank account every day. It’s visible.
Sometimes just challenging those core beliefs can give you a really good insight into the language that you’re using.
The next exercise I’m going to share with you is about perspective. You can use this perspective exercise not just from a financial perspective, but in any given time when you’re feeling overwhelmed or you’re procrastinating, you’re not able to make a decision or you’re worried about something or you’re anxious about something.
Do you find it really difficult to make a sale, or to talk about sales? Or do you maybe know that you’re not charging enough in your business? Think about where that belief may have come from. Where’s it coming from? Is it because your parents always said money doesn’t grow on trees? You have to work hard for money?
Those belief systems are going to sit in your subconscious belief system. You’re going to make 90% of your decisions from that place.
We can change those beliefs just by bringing some awareness and curiosity to actually what are those beliefs in the first place? If you ever come into any conflict in financial conversations with your partners, for example, remember that their relationship with money, their money story is going to be very, very different to yours. That’s often why we get this financial conflict, because it’s actually a conflict of money values. It’s a conflict of money messages that we grew up with. So asking your partner, what was the earliest experience you had with money? What sort of thing did you hear about money? It can be a really interesting conversation.
This exercise is a super quick one you can do. I want you to put your finger in the air and I want you to draw a circle in a clockwise position above your heads. So imagine you’re E.T. Draw a circle, towards the ceiling, above your head in a clockwise direction.
The next thing I want you to do is I want you to continue drawing your circle, but I want you to bring it further down slowly until you bring it in front of your eyes. I want you to look at your finger drawing that circle in mid air. Just focus on your finger and use your eyes to focus on that finger.
Can you start to see a line appearing?
I want you to keep going. Don’t stop with the circle and I want you to bring it further down your body so you’re looking down on it. What direction is your circle?
Is it still going clockwise?
Has it strangely changed to anticlockwise?
You can stop circling now. So the reason it may change direction is because we’re changing the perspective. We’re changing the angle or the view at which we look at something. It’s really quite an interesting exercise to do if you’re ever in that situation where you can feel yourself getting quite negative.
Change your perspective on money
Maybe you’re telling yourself right now that money is difficult and hard, or you’re struggling with charging for your services. If actually some of your deep rooted beliefs, for example, are that you’re not worthy to have wealth, then do that first exercise about identifying what that core belief is, where it may have come from and actually, is it even true? Did it even come from your experiences or potentially has that been a belief that’s been passed through the generations?
Sometimes it is just interesting to take a different perspective on things. So if you’re feeling really overwhelmed about something, do that exercise, think about the circle and start thinking about right can I look at this from a different perspective?
From a financial perspective, is there something you can do to think differently about that perspective that you’re currently in?
Right now as we are still in the depths of a global pandemic, this is a really good opportunity to be thinking about what we’re grateful for that we’ve possibly taken for granted before. There’s certainly things in my life financially that I’m looking at thinking, gosh, I never really paid much attention to that before, but I actually feel very grateful now for what I have. I have a roof over my head, I have a car on the drive, (okay, I can’t use it!) but I’m grateful for that.
That act of gratitude is also a really good reminder to support your financial wellbeing because money doesn’t just sit on its own. Money is in relationship to lots of other things and decisions that we make in our life.
Cause and Effect
If we can recognise and remember that at the core of all of that is: how you feel, how you think, and how you behave, and we focus on that first. Improving your self worth over your net worth. Then money will automatically come to you anyway. You’re actually focusing on your beliefs and empowering yourself to put yourself in a position of cause rather than effect.
You may be familiar with this concept that most of us operate from an effect perspective. So we look at things such as, something’s happened to us, or the reason I’m in this financial situation is because of somebody else. Yes, there may be some evidence to support that, but also that’s the least empowering position for you to operate from.
The most empowering position for you to operate from in terms of wealth and mindset is from a place of personal power, a place of empowerment. This is where we need to be moving from effect to cause because cause equals results. If we can operate from a space of cause we can change the results. If we operate from a space of effect, we can’t change it because we’re saying outwardly and maybe even inwardly that that’s not our fault, it was caused by somebody else or by something else.
That’s why the first exercise that I shared with you is a really interesting one to do, to think about where is your belief coming from? Are you sitting in cause or are you sitting in effect? If you’re sitting in effect, we need to try and get you moving into cause because where we are in our life is because of the decisions that we have made consciously or subconsciously. It’s not relying on external responsibilities, not relying on other people. It’s actually thinking about how you can be more empowered yourself. Being independent, not co-dependent.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or you’re feeling maybe like you’re going too much into effect and feeling more negative around money, think about how you can take a different perspective on things.
Any questions, just drop me a message in the comments below, or join my free community where we share lots of practical tips.
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