This week I’m interviewing Ruth Kudzi who’s an advanced ICF coach. She’s a business mentor, coach trainer, bestselling author and podcaster. The reason I decided to bring Ruth on is that we were recently chatting on social media about some of the lessons that she had learned about money in her business and wealth creation.
She was very open and honest about her relationship with money, and I thought it would be great to bring a wealthy woman on to talk about her personal experiences and how that can help you if you’re sitting there feeling not worthy, and not good enough around money.
Ruth and I talk about some of the feelings of guilt and shame that we feel as women in business growing our wealth and success, as well as the direct relationship between things that have happened in our childhood. We talk about how those messages are passed through the generations, but also pass into our own self beliefs and how that can impact on the beliefs that we then continue to hold about money.
Ruth is a well respected business and mindset coach and has worked with thousands of clients worldwide, helping them to create businesses that feel aligned and successful. She is passionate about creating multiple streams of income in her business, and she’s got 13 different streams. She’s written a best selling book and has hosted two top podcasts.
Ruth is so passionate about helping coaches to develop their coaching skills and become certified. She’s also incredibly well respected and incredibly successful in the online entrepreneurial space. I just love her vulnerability and that she’s so open. She doesn’t necessarily follow what everybody else is doing, just follows what she’s passionate about.
Thank you so much for coming on today Ruth. we really value your time today, welcome.
Thank you so much for having me.
Would you mind just telling our listeners today a little bit about yourself and what you do?
Yeah, I’ve got a couple of businesses. I started my coaching business four and a half years ago. Well I started off doing confidence and career coaching and then evolved into doing business mindset coaching. So I’ve been focusing on that for about three years. Then in November 2019, I started the second business training people to become ICF accredited coaches and that business I also do personality profile training and I’ve got coaching skills membership, which has got nearly 200 people in it.
So I’ve got two businesses. They’re both on coaching. One is on developing the scales and one is coaching people. And I like them both. They both energise me because they’re both, really its about personal development, whether it’s for your business or it’s for you, each way it works.
Because they’re so interwoven, aren’t they business and personal coaching.
Yeah, they are. And you can’t coach somebody on their business in a vacuum. Your business doesn’t exist in a vacuum, especially, we work from home. So our business actually is even in our home. That’s a whole different dimension, especially at the moment.
Prior to you launching those businesses, Ruth, what was your background?
My most recent background was I was deputy head teacher. I worked in schools for about 12 years, as a senior leader for seven of those. Then I was a consultant as well and I was a business and psychology teacher. That was my background. Before that, I was in sales and recruiting. I started off in hospitality, but then went into sales and recruitment when I was 18 and did that until I was 26, then into education and then into coaching. So everything really fits together.
I was doing interview coaching, back when I was in my early twenties and then transitioned, changed what I was doing, and realised that money wasn’t my sole motivator when I was about 25. Then realised that life is too short not to do what you love. I don’t really love working for other people.
That’s an incredible insight for yourself, and I love that transition: they beautifully blend together. You can really see the path there. I just love how it’s so inspiring for anyone listening to this who may be in a job that they don’t like, and don’t feel fulfilled. We have the possibility now to be able to use those skills, to transfer them into other ways.
So you mentioned there Ruth, at the age of 25 that you decided that money wasn’t the motivator?
I was actually living in New York, the glamour! I was living in a lovely apartment in the West village and working for a recruitment firm. I was wearing all designer clothes. I was drinking champagne. And I was lonely as anything. I wasn’t happy at all.
When I started working in recruitment, it was all about money. Even at interviews, they said to you, what are you motivated by and you had to say, I’m motivated by money. So I said that and part of me kind of believed that. Then I realised that that wasn’t the only motivation for me. I was earning an equivalent of six figures, probably more with my commission and everything.
That was nearly 18 years ago. And I was lonely. I wasn’t happy. Yeah, it was great, I was drinking champagne, but I didn’t feel good. I didn’t look that good. If I look at photos, I wasn’t energised. I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t really enjoying my job, but I was going through all of those motions of what success looked like. That’s when I took a step back.
I actually came back to the UK the year before I turned 26. I was like, right. well just before I was 26, I’m going to retrain. I’m going to become a teacher. I’m going to be a business teacher.
That was a big, big money lesson for me because I earned the money, but I just spent it. I mean when I think back, I could have bought a flat. There is so much I could have done. I had loads of designer shoes. Literally, I was like Carrie Bradshaw.
I’m literally sitting here thinking, you look like Charlotte. I could just imagine you in your New York city apartment.
That’s what everyone used to say! I had lots of designer stuff, but I didn’t really have a pot to piss in. That was the situation.
When you look back at that time, and when you look further back into growing up around money, who were your predominant influences around money and what did you learn about money growing up?
Oh, my gosh, money does not grow on trees. We’ve never got enough money. I remember really clearly being at primary school and I had to talk about what newspaper we got and we read the Guardian. I remember thinking the only other people who read the guardian, they have no money, so we must not have any money.
Another really strong memory I have is that everyone used to wear summer dresses. I remember really wanting one and so my Gran made me one, which is so nice. I loved my Gran so much, but I just wanted to be the same as everyone else and have that dress.
So there was definitely, always that feeling that we didn’t have loads of money. I grew up in the 80’s, so my friend who had money, I remember in the space of a few years, her dad was a builder and they built these big houses. They had en-suites – this was the 80’s, no one had en-suites! They had en-suites, they drove a Mercedes, and then the recession hit and they lost everything. And literally, in a year, they moved to a council house. So again, I was like, well, even if you do have money, you don’t keep it. I didn’t really know anybody who had money and kept money.
Right. and how did that influence you when you were then receiving money?
Oh my gosh. I’ve worked from when I was 13. I’ve always earned money. I’ve always been great at earning money, but I had this idea that I couldn’t keep it because if I kept it, it would mean that I wasn’t a good person. I could make money. That was okay, but I couldn’t keep it.
It’s weird because I say this now and I have bought my first flat when I was 27 so in some ways I was good. But I was always in my overdraft, and if I had a credit card, it was maxed out. Honestly, I got my first credit card when I was 18 and I had a crazy limit, like £3000. I was working at that time in a sales job for a hotel company and my basic pay was £8,000 a year. So why would you give somebody a £3000 credit limit? So I would always just be spending. I’d be earning but I’d be spending.
What feelings did you attach to that spending relationship with money?
I definitely had this feeling like part of me was saying, “oh well, you deserve it because you’ve worked hard”. And so before I spent, it was like, “oh you deserve to have this, you deserve this”.
Then it was guilt. It never felt good. It felt good for short period of time. It’s like a drug addict. It is good for a short period of time and then you felt shame. Spending money to make yourself feel good and make yourself feel worthy. It’s never going to work because it’s just the outside.
And it’s temporary isn’t it? What you talk about there is like emotional flooding. We talk about this in financial psychology that we get this temporary release of emotion, positive or negative, but the guilt and shame that you talk about there Ruth, are so common and particularly in women, because we’re the caregivers, aren’t we.
Genetically, at a genetic scientific level, we are born to be the caregivers in the same way that men are born to be the providers. They like to come up with the solutions. They like to be the hunter gatherer. Plus all the social and society and parents’ beliefs, and some of the memories you’ve just shared their Ruth, are so powerful.
What was interesting for me there is that you were talking about how your grandmother made a dress for you. I wonder how much of that connection with money and clothes then had an impact on you later?
I hadn’t even thought of that, but yeah, if I remember my twenties, it’s crazy. I think it was from wanting to look good. Not feeling that I did, not feeling that I was ever thin enough, pretty enough. All of those enough things, but equally, growing up we didn’t have loads of money. We weren’t on the poverty line but we didn’t have lots. We got our clothes from the market. For me, getting something from Tammy Girl was such a treat.
I think that that definitely psychologically, it was like, well, now I can treat myself to these things, but actually it’s only a thing. It didn’t make anything else different.
How did that change for you then later?
You now have a master’s in psychology and NLP and a whole bunch of things, so how do you use those tools with yourself? How did you change your relationship with money?
I definitely started looking at why am I doing this? When I started my business, as I said, I had my flat and then we bought this house six years ago. I’d always earned money and actually in my business, I’ve always paid myself an income. I’ve never really faced up to some of the things because I convinced myself, “Oh it’s normal to to go into overdraft, Oh, it’s normal to do this.” Then I kind of had that realisation that actually, I don’t really want to do that and it’s ridiculous paying.
I’ve also got my first degree in psychology and business and I was a business studies teacher and I used to study and teach accounts. The irony! Then I’m like, what am I actually doing? I’m spending money that I don’t need to spend on things that I don’t even want. So when I set up my business, I felt like some of that behaviour personally I was taking into my business. I was earning and my business has been very successful in terms of revenue from the beginning. But I was spending money on ‘me too’ things again. “Oh, maybe I need to do this course. Maybe I need this. Maybe I need that”. I was like, wait a minute. I am paying myself a salary so I’m okay. But actually, what am I doing? I don’t need this stuff.
Again, it’s another thing and it comes from maybe not feeling good enough. And I think that when I started to really work on that and realise that money, food, anything is not going to make me feel good enough unless I do. It changed my relationship with money, it changed my relationship with food, it changed everything. Now I ask myself. And I’m not saying that sometimes I don’t slip. I think we all sometimes buy things and then we’re like, “why did I buy that?” Even for our business, I bought some training in lock down and I didn’t have time to access it. It was great training, but that probably wasn’t a great decision.
I have those discussions with myself so much less now. I used to see money as being, I always used to want to help people. So I’d be like, I’m going to give them a job or give them something to do because I know that they need money. It was like I was in transferring and projecting.
I just took a step back and decided I have to make my business profitable because if my business is really profitable, both of them, it means I can help more people. It means that they’re sustainable.
Absolutely. It’s that saying, isn’t it, that you can’t help others when your cup is half empty.
I see this so much with entrepreneurs: they don’t have boundaries for themselves around their time or their money. That can become really, self-sabotaging not just in terms of money, but in terms of energy and the ability to be able to put out good work out to the world: we don’t feel good enough. We don’t feel worthy enough.
It’s really interesting how you were saying that when you were in that space of when you had money, you just felt like you had to get rid of it because that’s what we call your financial comfort zone. Everybody has a financial comfort zone.
You may have heard of something called the glass ceiling. So we all have a glass ceiling where we feel anything that is higher than what we’re comfortable with you’ve got to break through this glass ceiling to create more wealth and abundance.
I really resonate with everything you just said. That was me. I lived in my overdraft for 10 years because it was familiar. It was comfortable when I received money, I just had to get rid of it. I had to find any excuse, a holiday, something needed done in the house. I needed a new coach. I needed to join a new mastermind. Because that was what was familiar to me.
Now it doesn’t mean that it’s wrong. It’s just that the brain will always look for more evidence to support your beliefs. If the belief is I don’t deserve any more wealth then that’s what’s going to happen with your behaviours.
So, one thing you can think about your comfort zone. At what point do you feel uncomfortable? When your balance may dip into overdraft? Or dip below £5,000, or dip below £10,000?
You can just draw a circle on a piece of paper and think about what’s outside that circle is fear, but it’s also opportunity. So the fear that’s there is just a natural feeling because it’s unfamiliar to you. If that is the fear of going into your overdraft, well what would happen if you went a pound into overdraft? How does that make you feel?
The feelings that are attached to money are so important and that’s certainly what I’ve heard you talk about Ruth, is it’s the underlying feeling that makes you want to go and buy that dress or that new necklace.
Yeah. I used to be the holiday queen. I still like holidays. We still go on holidays, but I think it’s all about that underlying feeling. I was saying to you before that it’s the feeling afterwards. You feel great and then you feel that guilt or shame. That’s a real sign. Like if you’re feeling guilt and shame, its showing you that you need to behave in a different way.
Yeah. That’s really powerful.
It takes a while sometimes doesn’t it?
Absolutely. But thank you for sharing that honesty because this is what we need to talk about more.
Particularly as women, we do feel these negative emotions, but they’re not always negative, sometimes they are there to be a red flag and remind you to just some pay some attention to what it’s trying to tell you.
So Ruth, through your business, then with your relationship with money, then growing a very successful businesses, what other lessons did you learn that maybe others will resonate with and what did you do about those things?
I definitely learnt with the businesses that you don’t need to do everything. I think there’s this idea that we need to do everything in our businesses. That we need to do every single thing and we don’t. It’s okay to wait. It’s okay to say, actually, I’m not going to do this right now. I’m going to wait.
Really it’s about looking at what is the return on investment going to be? What’s the return on investment short term? What’s the return on investment longer term? And do I have the energy as well as the money to commit to this right now? Those are the questions that we need to ask ourselves rather than getting carried away in that “me too” stuff, is this really what you need right now? That’s a question that I ask myself because if I don’t need it right now, I’m not going to do it.
I joined Stu McLaren’s tribe, now that was a ‘I don’t need this right now’, but I’ve got two memberships and I know that what he does is really great. I love him. I support him. So I’m going to join this because I want to access his stuff and I’ve accessed a bit of it. So sometimes it’s about, okay, even if it’s not for now, what’s the thinking behind it? What is the thinking behind that decision?
Do you know what, as a coach, as well I always want people to think about, how is this investment going to work for you? So rather than saying to them, you have to sign up now, I never say that. I always say to people, what do you want to do next? Some people need time to think. I’ve got somebody at the moment, who has just signed up with me. It took her two weeks to make that decision, but it was a significant amount of money. We’re taught in sales, follow up, follow up, but actually, for me energetically, that doesn’t always feel good.
Yeah, not at all. The thinking time is really important. I hear from a lot of women “How do I know what my next step is financially to get me to where I want to be?”
Are there any tips that you can share with the listeners today as to how do they how do they know whether that’s the right step for them?
I mean, it’s difficult, isn’t it, because our intuition is based on our past experience. So we can’t always trust it. We’d love to always trust it. I was reading something the other day and they said grand chess masters, their intuition is 90% accurate when they’re playing chess. But for most of us, we’re not that experienced.
So yes. Listen to what your body is telling you and tap into that. If you’re feeling an emotion, ask yourself, when have I felt this before because fear and excitement can often be two sides of one coin. Look at what you’re investing in. Look at other people who have invested in it and look at the results that they’ve got. Are they people who’ve been at a similar place to you. I think that’s a really good place to go.
Also ask yourself this question. How committed are you to doing this? Because no financial decision, no coach, no programme, no personal trainer, nothing is going to work unless you are personally committed. Todd Herman had posted something about this today. If you are committed, and if you’re determined to make it work, you’ll make it work.
So really before anything you need to say what is my commitment level? If I invest in this, am I going to do the work? Or am I going to use it as an escape? Because any coach in the world like Tony Robbins or whoever won’t be able to get you results unless you are committed to doing the work, and the work may be internal or external.
So that’s the question I always ask. Obviously if you’re making a personal financial decision, what is this going to bring me, balance it?
Our youngest daughter is four this weekend and we’re taking her away, we’re going to Chessington and Legoland and stuff. I was looking at hotels and we could stay in a five star hotel, but we’ve got a three year old and a five year old. What is the point? They’re not they’re not going to get anything out of that experience. We’re going to be really conscious of the fact that we’ve got these little kids when people have paid a lot of money for their stay. So what would the point be. Now if I was going away with my husband, it would be a different conversation. So I think what is the point? What is that return?
I love that and what I hear from what you’ve just said is it’s about your values. Anything that comes your way, any decision that you need to make, if you link it to your personal values, then you’ll be motivated because you’ll want to do it. But you’ve got to have that motivation.
You may have heard me talk about James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits. He talks about habit forming and cues. Self motivation will be present if you want it enough. If you’re in debt and you want to get out of debt, if you want to launch a business, if you want to generate more steady, passive income, you’ve got to be motivated to do it. Not just because somebody else is doing it.
Yeah. I talk about this so much too. It’s like, it’s not ‘me too’. Like we see people the whole time: Oh, I’m going to start a membership because other people have, or a podcast. It’s that me too goals. It’s not about me too. It needs to mean something to you and money needs to mean something to you.
I remember when I started my business and everyone was saying, let’s get to the £10K month thing. Everyone was like get to a £10K month. I remember my coach saying to me why do you want it? And I said, well because everyone has it. She said really look at the meaning. And I got that. And I was like, meh. It was so funny because I was like, it’ll be different. Then I remember getting my first £10k month and I was like, yeah, nothing feels different.
We put all of this onus on a figure, but it’s not the money. It’s the meaning. It’s the impact and everything else behind it and what that means for you as a family and all of those things that make a difference. It’s not the zeros in your bank account.
Yeah. I love that. And what a great point to finish on. Find meaning and purpose behind money. That will motivate you, that will give you direction so you’re not comparing yourself to everybody else, you’re just focusing on your passion and what you love.
What a beautiful way to end Ruth. Thank you so much for sharing some of your lessons that you’ve learned in growing your business and some of your money story. I think that’s incredibly inspiring. I really resonate with a lot of what you talked about.
If anybody would like to connect with you and find out more about your work, what would be the best place for them to go and find you?
Well, luckily I’m the only Ruth Kudzi. You can find me on Facebook, it’s Ruth Kudzi too. I’ve got a group called the Coaching Community on Facebook.
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