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What’s Your Money Story?

March 11, 2014

I bet you’ve thought about what you would do if you won the lottery? The vacations you’d take, the house you would buy and the people you could help. But, have you put any thought into what your relationship is with money?

If you are like me, at least until recently, the answer to that question would be no. I have thought about my relationships with people, including myself, but managed to completely underestimate the power I was giving money in my life.

About a month ago, it seemed everywhere I turned I was reading articles about money and I even listened to a call from another coach on the topic. I want to share my findings with you and perhaps, reading this article may shed some light on the hold money could have on you so can start to release its power over you and enjoy life more.

One of the first things I have learned is that our relationship with money can be multi-generational. Think about your parents’ relationship with money (forget about the reality of their financial situation, but this is more about how they viewed what they had). Do you remember hearing your parents express a wanting for more? Have you heard, ” If I had more money than I could do X or own a XYZ.” Was there a feeling or words expressed around a lack of money and a desire for more? Now look at your grandparents? Do you know what their upbringing was like? Did they experience ‘hard financial times?’

What I learned is that children can grow up in households where there is a lack expressed or felt. Children then begin to feel this lack themselves and even though they may grow up to have more money than their parents, they still believe they are lacking. This trend can continue through the generations and for as long as these story lines of lack live on. The gift in this is that these children will often work hard to make a ‘better living’ for themselves and their families. But the downside is that it’s usually never enough. Despite having a nice home, a decent car or two and the occasional vacation, they still feel the stress of any debt they may carry or that their nest egg is not big enough.

When you live and feel the power of money in your life in a negative way, it can be strangling. When you think of your financial situation, you may dwell on your lack of options. But the reality is for most of us in the world that we have a lot of options. We can sell our homes and downsize or rent. We can buy one cheaper, used car instead of owning two vehicles. And for those who wish they had more money to go on more vacations, take a look at what you are really longing for. Perhaps, it is time to unplug and relax or maybe you are wanting to connect with a loved one.

Some people feel like money can buy them security or freedom. But the ironic thing about this is that if you don’t have a good relationship with money, it will make you feel like a prisoner. As a life and executive coach, I work with some very wealthy people and many of them are propelled by an unhealthy relationship with money. They do not feel the freedom you may think money can buy.

What would happen if you had to downsize or settle for less financially? Would your life fall apart? Would you be trapped? Or would you feel like owning less stuff and going back to more of the basics would actually be freeing?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think money is evil and wanting to have nice things is bad. That would be hypocritical for me to say that. But, I do believe that money should be more like the cherry on top versus the contents of the whole ice cream sundae.

So if you find yourself saying, “I’d like to have nicer clothes or a nicer home” you have two options. One is make more money. Anyone can make more money by either seeking a promotion or being innovative with a second side job. But if those options don’t seem appealing to you, then maybe it really isn’t money that you seek.

Often people who have an unhealthy relationship with money try to use their money to have power over others. Be really open with yourself here as I know this sounds awful, but we do this more than we may think. Have you ever thought, ” I should have a say or a voice in someone else’s life or decision because I am fronting some money for them?” My advice to you is to only give money to another when it is purely out of your heart. If you are expecting anything in return, then you are not giving it for the right reasons.

For me, upon reflection, I realized that money was fueling my own value a bit. If I was making a lot of money in my career, I felt good about myself and more independent and respected. But I realized upon examination that this was actually just my ego talking. Being impressed by making money and by those who do make money is ripping yourself off from the chance to really enjoy the most important things in life. When you can release the power money may hold over you, and not become so attached to where you live, things you buy and the places you want to go, it can be really empowering. And in fact, this is the real path to freedom! That is the bottom line.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 31, 2014 2:42 pm

    Excellent article! It’s so important to create a positive relationship with money. It really does matter and makes a BIG difference.
    Write on!~
    Lisa Manyon

    • March 31, 2014 3:25 pm

      Thanks Lisa! I really have learned that our relationship with money is key to understanding if we really want to be successful in business and in life!

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