“You either walk into your story and own your truth, or you live outside your story, hustling for your worthiness.” ~Brené Brown
Our value is reflected in the money we make.
Our self worth is reflected in the money we have.
The idea popped into my head, and I wrote it, quickly, on a note sheet I was holding before walking into the seminar I was team-teaching on Financial Fundamentals & Your Money Relationship for Small Business Owners. I wanted to remember to bring it up in my part of the presentation.
I’ve been teaching this workshop with a friend who’s a super cool and connected financial advisor.
He gets it. He, like I, enjoys approaching his work from a place of education and empowerment to help people understand all aspects of what creates a relationship with money and the choices we make within it.
I remember the first conversation we had about partnering up.
He had looked me squarely in the eye and said, “I understand and can lay out the external liabilities, cash flow and tax framework, but I cannot speak to the internal liabilities of money beliefs and mental strategies to improve these. This piece plays a role much larger than I believe most people realize. It impacts their ability to make sound and sustainable financial decisions.”
I had smiled. “Luckily, this is one of my favorite relationships to discuss.”
This is not the first time I have co-taught a workshop on money relationships. I have partnered up with a few other financial advisors and money coaches in the past, and the conversations that have come from those experiences have been incredibly enlightening.
I remember one, in particular, where we were discussing money challenges and a woman in class had raised her hand to share her frustration with a business that she had started that just hadn’t gotten off the ground.
“How long have you had your business,” I had asked.
“Two years,” she replied with a sigh.
“How close are you to your money goals for this business?”
“That’s one of the biggest problems,” she said. “I pour a whole lot more into it than I am receiving from it. I love what I do, but I’m losing money doing it.”
“What support and resources do you have to help you with your business decisions,” I continued.
“Weeelll” . . . she started, “no one really knows about the business.”
We all looked at her incredulously.
She laughed weakly. “I come from a very successful family. Both of my parents are doctors and all of my siblings run their own successful companies. I didn’t want to tell anyone about what I was doing until it started to show signs of success.”
“I’m guessing you and your family members don’t live in the same area.”
The class chuckled.
I looked at the woman earnestly. “Why do you feel you haven’t been successful in your business?”
“I honestly don’t know!” she responded, trying to hide her frustration.
“Okay,” I said smiling, “let’s say this was a relationship with a guy.”
“That would be nice!” she replied laughing.
“What I’m about to say might influence that area of your life, too,” I said winking.
The class laughed.
“So, let’s say you have this guy in your life whom you are dating. You really like him, believe in the relationship and put a lot of time and effort into it.”
The woman looked at me, smiling and nodding.
Then I said, “and you’ve been with him for 2 years, but you haven’t told anyone about the relationship.”
The woman’s smile faded and she rolled her eyes.
“Holy c#@%! I get it,!” she exclaimed shaking her head.
“And what’s that?” I responded.
“I am not fully committed to my business! How did I not see that before?!”
“Sometimes it takes putting it in terms of a relationship to get the motivations, patterns and core issues,” I said simply.
There is a great equation that Kate Northrop presents in her book, Money, A Love Story.
“Self Value + Paying Attention to Your Money + Giving More Value = Receiving More Value”
All parts of this equation are important. In our workshop, my friend and I use this equation:
Emotional Feedback + Rational Feedback = Best Informed Decision
I like equations. They can help make complicated concepts easier to handle and work with.
When it comes to our emotional relationship with money, that can be a sticky thing. The way we think about, work with and respond to money has a lot to do with our upbringing and the environments we have been in during our formative years.
Furthermore, the value we give money is intimately tied to the value we often give to ourselves. Our self value can be defined in terms of how we make, spend, invest and feel about money.
If we have a “not enough” mentality around money, where do we find ourselves thinking we aren’t enough?
When we give our products, services, time or money away, but do not receive equal value in exchange, what are we saying about our own value?
In her book, Northrop writes: “It takes practice to know the difference between healthy, sustainable giving and the kind of over-giving that leaves you depleted. Giving in a way that nourishes you adds value and is of service to others. Giving your value in a way that saps your energy or is depreciated or isn’t reciprocated or fully valued is not truly in service to the greater good. Basically, one type of giving feels good and is good, and the other doesn’t and isn’t – it’s that simple.”
I first came across this book, Money, A Love Story, when I was researching financial books that discuss money in terms of a relationship. I struck gold when I found this one! Just as a side note, a few other good ones are Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist.
One of my favorite pieces of Northrop’s work is that she has written the book as a book/workbook. There are numerous opportunities to think about, write out and put actionable plans to the material she presents. I find this is key when it comes to learning new perspectives and information. It’s important to make it your own by processing it through your own lens and filter.
I especially like Northrop’s Top 5 list: (I have consolidated here).
1. Giving everything away leaves you nothing (really) to give – you cannot give what you don’t have, and remember the oxygen mask analogy – assist yourself first as to be an asset and not a liability to others.
2. Your emotional tenor affects the people around you. If you’re depleted and not taking care of yourself or getting what you need you’re cranky. A happy you has something worthwhile to give.
3. Martyrdom is so 1250! It’s no longer a glory to suffer and sacrifice for a cause. Your best value is presented when you are at your best.
4. Struggle & pain does not bring the most gain. Being busy and over-committed is not a virtue. Stress is not a badge of courage. You want hard work and dedication? It takes this to ensure you have what you need to properly add value to others, especially in today’s world that expects everything from you.
5. Obligation and burdened commitment is not an act of love. It cannot be an act of self love, either. Do for others only when it genuinely comes from a place of love and from what you actually have and want to give.
There is so much more that this book offers, so I highly recommend you pick up a copy.
Loving yourself starts with valuing yourself. Where might you not be valuing yourself the way you could be? What could you begin to discover that could change the way you look at your time, energy and money?
The reason I do what I do is to help people find the answers to these questions. Believe me, you ARE worth the investment of time and effort that it takes to build awareness in this area.
As Northrop writes, “It’s about knowing, loving and valuing yourself and diving deeper into your relationship with the amazing person who is you in order to create a richer, freer life.”