We sure do get this money stuff tangled up, don’t we? This is the place where I untangle pieces of it. Most of it’s about money while some of it’s about something else that strikes my interest. All of it is about noticing how things get knotted up and how to untangle the knots. Oh, and if you have a topic you’d like me to explore, just let me know. I’ll be happy to give it a good shake and see what untangles.
The typical answer to that question is an emphatic YES, THEY DO! Many times in a presentation I have asked: “How many of you have created a budget?” — most of the hands in the room go up. Then I ask: “After you created the budget , how many of you actually ever looked at it again?” — almost all of the hands in the room go down! My guess is that, as one of my ‘followers’, creating and using budgets isn’t your favorite method of managing your money? Okay, maybe I understated that: You probably think of a budget as a form of torture, right? You are not alone!
Before I get into exploring that, just in case you are worried that I’m going to end this blog suggesting that you use or create a traditional budget, have no fear! What I’m actually going to do is explain why budgets don’t work for you, and suggest some other options.
Budgets can and do work… for analytical types. You know them, they are those “logic first” people, the ones who create spread sheets and data bases for fun. They are great people. They are historians. They like looking at all the data and coming to conclusions. Good for them. If you are one of them, you probably already have and enjoy using a budget.
If you aren’t one of those analytical types, all it means is that you are not happy crunching numbers. You might be more ‘feeling’ oriented, more emotionally based. Or you might be more ‘in the moment’ than interested in history and trends. If that’s the case one of the biggest problems with a budget for you is that it’s after the fact. What I mean is that you don’t have control in the moment. You do what you do, spend what you spend. Then you come home and as you load your spending into the budget spreadsheet you have either succeeded or failed. By then you don’t really remember what your thoughts or emotions were when you were making the purchase, so you feel a bit lost. Around this point is where most people feel shame, judgement, or even some bit of failure.
And there’s the rub, the thing that makes us batty. It feels like something happened to you that you just couldn’t control because you are looking at the event before or after, instead of when it’s actually happening. That’s why it feels so upsetting. You are judging your action outside of the time when the actual choice was made. At best you have a memory of what it felt like, not a clear vision of the choice.
If you are more of a big picture, emotional and/or an in the moment person, analysis after the fact won’t actually help you change your behavior. It may make you feel bad about it, but it doesn’t give you any insights.
What will help you make better money choices is to find a way to be conscious of what you are spending—and why you are spending it—right in the moment that it is happening! Make a list of things that often motivate your choices in the moment. Things like:
- Being tired, hungry
- Feeling lonely, angry
- Wanting something new, an emotional lift, some fun
- Anxious to just get it done, settling for less than what you wanted
There are myriad possibilities, and you know what your go-to ones are. Write them on a card or note them on your phone. While you are standing in line to pay for your items, check if any of your purchases hit one of those spots? and then make a choice to either buy it or not. Understand what you are up to, make choices that truly work for you both in the moment and the long run.
A system like this, or my GOSH Model (which you can find on other blogs of mine) WILL help you be more conscious of your spending. That’s what this whole budgeting thing is truly about — being conscious, aware, and purposeful in your spending.
Focus on having your spending and how you use your money reflect what you really care about. Your money will reflect your choices.
Shell Tain, the Untangler
If you’d like to explore just how you can let go of a budget and still have sound money practices give me a call at 503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.sensiblecoaching.com.
What if both the idea of change, and its implementation could be less taxing than we imagine? Actually not change as in coins, but change as in the verb. Let’s explore that!
All sorts of things in life can be intimidating. As humans we particularly like habit and routine. It’s easier than looking at everything with “new” eyes all the time, truly! So perhaps our inherent ‘risk aversion’ has gotten tangled up with an aversion to change?
Additionally our handy, dandy Inner Critics make change seem daunting and scary. They tell us that all sorts of bad and complicated things will happen. Then they tell us that we can’t change, that it’s too hard to change, that we aren’t capable of change—over and over and over again.
And big change is challenging, and arduous, I agree. The new question is: “what if it’s actually about small change, instead of big change?” Radical idea, eh?
One client I’m working with is in the midst of the discovery that you don’t have to change everything to be more effective. A small change can be very effective on many levels.
Here’s an idea to embrace. We don’t actually have to start over from scratch, we may just want to tweak things a bit! We each have unique talents and strengths. We are each a unique compilation of possibilities. There is strength and value in that uniqueness. Getting more effective results is more about small changes than trying to start from scratch. Additionally if you try to change ‘everything’ about yourself, you are actually more likely to zoom right past and thus keep the part that’s not working, leaving it still not working.
When you lean on the support of what you are good at, it’s much easier to shift or change the parts that aren’t working well. You are coming from strength, which is really effective. One of the crucial aspects to making small changes work comes down to figuring out where the ‘sticky part’ is!
What I’m really trying to say here is that you don’t have to crawl through broken glass or become a different person to find more fulfillment or inner peace. It’s more about narrowing in on small changes that can have a big impact.
Those changes are mostly around what we make up! We make up stuff about:
- How we are ‘supposed’ to be
- What others want or need from us
- What others think about us
- How we judge ourselves
Which all comes down to a large pile of judgement (Inner Critic) which makes changes look big, hard, scary, and downright impossible. And yet some changes are truly just small shifts. Now those small shifts that make a big difference often seem to be in the land of boundaries. Remember those? Those handy little fences that manage everyone’s expectations!
So how about experimenting with making some small changes, and setting some simple boundaries between yourself and others? What might happen then? Oh and what might you do with those super talents of yours if you had a wee bit less distraction and judgement circling you?
Shell Tain, the Untangler
If you’d like to explore just what boundaries to set where give me a call at 503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.sensiblecoaching.com.
Money is one of those areas where we have all made some mistakes.
- We have bought things that didn’t work.
- We have spent too much money on stuff we never used.
- We have given people presents they didn’t like.
- We have lost money on the sale of a house
- We have gotten “taken to the cleaners” in a divorce.
- We have run up charges and interest on our credit cards.
And yet we are mostly still here, and kicking!
There are a couple of things I want to clear up about these ‘errors in judgement‘ and ‘mistakes‘ we all make with our money.
First, you got through them ! The problems may have been messy and costly, but you survived them! It’s one of the things I think our ancestors that went through the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl got trapped in. They somehow missed that they made it through the troubles, and that they didn’t happen again in the same way. We tend to practice “one trial learning” with many things. We tend to either try and hide our head in the sand or decide it will always be like it was, and avoid getting anywhere near the part we think is scary. We stay trapped.
The other thing I’d really like my readers to consider is the value of the messing up. Huh, you say! How can there be value in having gone through that terrible time, that mess?
It’s all about learning! As humans we actually learn by making mistakes, by being imperfect. You don’t just get on a bike and ride it the first time. You wobble and pedal and fall off. The same process happens a bunch in other aspects of our lives, including money. We screw up, make mistakes, and learn. If we don’t make mistakes we don’t learn!
But instead of accepting that we make mistakes, sometimes in order to try and avoid “errors”, we try to be — or appear to be — perfect… yipes! Just how patient are you with yourself? Do you keep trying to attain something close to perfection to avoid judgement? And do you notice that most of the judgement come from your inner critic, instead of the people around you?
Many of us have this thing in our heads about trying to be ‘perfect‘. I truly think it’s one of the traps our Inner Critics use to keep us stuck in a rut. Somehow we think we are supposed to be perfect without practice, failing, or learning. Instead I really like the perspective that Maya Angelou put forth: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
We do recover, we do persevere, and we do learn.
Money is just one of the assets that we ‘spend’ while we are learning. Money, Time, and Energy all get spent. And I’d like to suggest that Money is really just a reflection of the other two: Time and Energy.
Here’s the really interesting question. How much time, energy, and maybe even money do you spend trying to be perfect, protecting the idea that you are almost perfect, or even hiding that you aren’t perfect? What if instead of getting trapped by perfection, you actually celebrated your mistakes as ways to learn? What if it’s really about focusing on the learning, and not beating yourself up about that mistake you made?
It’s really likely that your attempt at perfection is a reaction to some really ‘old stuff’ that actually is no longer present in your life, right? Like avoiding being judged or lectured.
Seems to me trying to be perfect has us holding on to, and getting stuck in, our errors in judgement, instead of learning from them, perhaps laughing them off, and most certainly moving on… what say you?
Shell Tain, the Untanlger
If you’d like some support letting go of trying for perfection, just give me a call at 503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.sensiblecoaching.com.
There’s this fascinating thing that most of us do: we try to talk change into happening. We depend more on what people say than on what they do! It gets us in trouble! Also, I think it gets us in internal trouble too. We keep trying to fix or change things with words, instead of—and in place of—actions. Somehow we think if we just keep asking and talking about how we need or want things to be different, they will be different. Based on results, I’m not sure about that. In fact, I’m more and more convinced that it’s both frustrating and ineffective.
Actually I have found, over time, that the old adage “actions speak louder than words” is well worth heeding! Talking is a good thing in many ways. It truly helps us understand what is going on, and it supports our coming up with strategies and ideas. However, it doesn’t actually change things without corresponding action.
Let’s get real here. You know that you have told yourself over and over that something needed to change… and that it didn’t actually change until you behaved differently, right?
In addition much of this ‘talking’ thing is based in our hope that others will change if we just talk to them. If we just somehow explain how much they have hurt us, surely they will change! It’s a thing that in Coachland is often called “the dream underneath the complaint”. Surely the person you are talking to will see your pain, understand how important this is to you, and change? Kinda not. In all likelihood they are actually waiting for you to to change.
Yadda, yadda, yadda, on it goes, over and over.
There is a way out, though, radical as it may sound! It’s about you behaving differently, instead of talking more. It’s really kind of fascinating. It’s a system thing. As you change how you respond, and how you act, eventually the system changes too. What that means is that if you behave differently, people will treat you differently—eventually! Initially they will try to bring you back to the old dance. It is, after all, an ingrained habit. If, however, you persist in new ways of ‘being’ in the situation, others will either change with you or disengage entirely.
Meanwhile, you’ll be actually expressing who you are, and what you want, through your actions instead of having the same conversations over and over.
This reminds me of a friend I had long ago in South Carolina. She had this adorable yet mischievous little girl. The little girl had done something wrong, and her Mom told her that they were going to have to go in the other room and talk about it. The little girl’s pleading response was “Oh, no Mommy! Not the talk! Anything but the talk!” There’s more wisdom in the little girl’s response than is immediately apparent. “The talk” doesn’t change anything, it doesn’t give her new actions to try.
Personally I’ve been trying out this place of “being and doing” what I want to have happen, instead of talking about it in several places. I’m finding it does require patience and fortitude—and that it is quite effective.
As we approach a new year, we often set intentions or resolutions. How does this idea of less talking and more doing factor into what you want to change or improve?
Shell Tain, The Untangler
If you’d like some help in this dance of shifting from talking to doing, just give me a call at 503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.sensiblecoaching.com.
In looking for something to lend a bit of cheer this time of year — and perhaps some new money perspectives — I’ve come up with a new slant on your money beliefs. What happens when you treat your money like a blimp?
A couple of weeks ago I was watching a truly silly 1930, Cecil B. DeMille film called ‘Madam Satan’. I love these pre-code movies with the risque dialog and wild clothes, not to mention wacky plots. This one is about the wife trying to get her cheating, playboy husband back from the ‘party girl’, Trixie. Of course most of the action centers around a costume ball which includes auctioning off the ladies to rich guys! The party is being held on a Zeppelin because that is what every wildly rich person does, right? It’s quite a ride.
You won’t be surprised to find out that in the midst of the musical numbers and witty repartee there is a thunder storm which causes the Dirigible to go down. It is a DeMille movie after all. Naturally, there are some clever ways our ‘heroes’ end up surviving.
All this reminded me of the actual definition of Dirigible: “capable of being directed, steerable” — thus a blimp, air ship, or Zeppelin is a ‘steerable balloon.’
Okay, now this is not just a bit of whimsy.
It got me to thinking about the challenge that many folks have ‘directing and steering’ their personal money.
Your money can certainly feel like this big bag of air that seems to get untethered and wander off on its own, leaving you holding the string. Perhaps it even feels like it has a mind of its own. For many folks, things like student loans and credit card debt feel like big unwieldy things looming over you.
The crucial thing to do is to become more “dirigible”. How might you make your money easier for you to manage, control and “steer”?
Like most complex things, it’s about smaller chunks, and processes.
How do you manage other projects? What techniques work for you? I’ll bet that there is a way you can use those same ideas around money? Going back to the blimp analogy, it feels like you have to steer your money the way ‘experts’ do. To that I say “not so much”, especially when it comes to your day-to-day money “dirigibility”!
The important thing is to find an simple way to pay attention to what you are up to with your money — a way that allows you to ‘direct and steer’ it and also to enjoy and engage in the process. Something more manageable than a giant zeppelin above you that you try and steer from a tiny basket underneath!
Play with this a bit and see where it takes you. And of course, if you need a bit of support in figuring out how to be more dirigible with your money, let me know!
Shell Tain, The Untangler
While working with a client the other day, I hit upon this amusing way to conquer your inner critic. Well maybe not exactly conquer? More like avoid getting swamped by?
It’s all about Mr. Bunny here. He’s a great example of how that inner critic (gremlin, monkey mind, whatever) works — it focuses on distracting you, big time! Think about all those cartoons where Bugs drives Elmer and others wacky with distractions, interruptions, and wild antics.
The result is that the object of all this behavior just cannot think straight or function. And that is exactly what your inner critic wants. It wants to keep you safe by not having you do ANYTHING different. After all you are currently safe, right? You are not, in this moment on fire, so you must be safe. What I’m pointing to is that your critic has an exceptionally narrow criteria for safety. As long as you are not in imminent danger, it does NOT want you to do ANYTHING different. Guess what — the best way to keep you from doing something different is to distract you!
This distraction technique can be very irritating, and hinder your progress. I propose a new way to both think about it and react to it and it’s about the rabbit in two big ways:
First, it’s about the distraction technique of taking you down a rabbit hole. Changing the subject, fussing about some detail, even getting angry — all examples of ‘falling down a rabbit hole’. If you can imagine Bugs pushing you down that hole, it just might give you the idea of avoiding the hole!
Second, it’s all about the ‘Yeah, but…’ technique, which to my ears sounds amazingly like or at the very least rhymes with “Wabbit”. You remember Elmer Fudd saying: ‘You wascally wabbit!‘ The ‘Yeah but…’ happens when someone has an idea. Before the idea can actually get any traction the critic instantly blurts out a ‘Yeah but…’ Yeah but we don’t have the money for it. Yeah but it will be hard. Yeah but you’ve never done it before. Yeah but…on and on it goes! The result being more distraction to take you off course, to stop you from getting anywhere close to going after your dreams or goals. What if when you said: ‘Yeah, but…’ you could picture Elmer and the wabbit (yeah/but) in your brain? It just might grab your attention long enough to help you recognize the ‘yeah, but’ as the distraction it is designed to be.
Here’s the bad news: Sorry, our critic voices are not going away — AND — you CAN choose to not let them overtake you and run your life! A very effective way to do that is with humor. Our inner critics want you to take them seriously. And one of the techniques they use to help that along is to get you seriously distracted from anything that might result in you doing something new and different. Humor is a very effective way to interrupt the critic’s game!
Frankly, my job and goal is to help you actually leap into doing something different because as the old adage goes: ‘You can’d keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.’ See if a bit of Bugs can’t help you create new and different results!
Okay, it’s a bit cliche, but I can’t resist it ‘That’s all folks!’
Shell Tain, The Untangler
If you’d like some help in avoiding your own rabbit holes, just give me a call at 503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.sensiblecoaching.com.
This week I’ve invited my friend, Kathleen Burns Kingsbury to be a guest blogger. She and I have been chatting about money and how it effects our clients every month for years now. As you can tell from her words below we clearly have a similar take on how money thinking stymies us! See more about her, at the end of the blog. If you’d like to check out her fascinating new book: “Breaking Money Silence®”
Have you ever wondered why you don’t always act in responsibly ways when it comes to money? Or maybe you are financially fit and find it hard to understand why a loved one seems to spend or invest money in an irrational manner. The reason is simple. There is an upside to every bad money behavior. That is why it is so difficult to change poor habits, including unhealthy financial habits. The short-term gain keeps you coming back for more.
Dana is a great example. She loves to buy expensive gadgets, but knows that she spends too much of her take home pay on these toys. Dana knows that this spending behavior is getting in the way of her goal to save for a down payment for her first home. When asked, Dana tells me that she wants to stop overspending on electrics. But her actions tell a different story.
What Dana doesn’t realize is that buying something new gives her a rush, makes her feel good after a long week at work, and boosts her self-esteem. All her friends fondly call her “the gadget queen.” There is a big upside to this unhealthy money behavior. Until Dana appreciates the benefits of this habit, it will be hard, if not impossible to change.
Do you identify with Dana? Do you have a habit or behavior that you would love to stop but find it difficult to let go of? If so, here are some inquiries for you to consider.
What is the short-term benefit of this money behavior?
As a trained behavioral change specialist, I always look for the brilliance in the bad behavior. In other works, what are the benefits of staying stuck or not changing? In Dana’s case not changing her spending habits helped her feel good about herself and good in the moment.
What would it be like to not receive this short-term benefit?
The first step in changing an unhealthy habit is realizing how it serves you. In Dana’s case, the bad habit was paired with feeling good and special. If she is going to save more money, and spend less money she will have to grieve the loss of the excitement she feels each time she buys the latest gadget. This is not an easy task, but possible. It is easier to sit with uncomfortable feelings once you label them and know that feeling them is temporary and part of what will ultimately help you heal.
What other coping strategy can I use to get these needs met?
Dana’s desire to feel good about herself is not unhealthy and in fact, is a good thing. It is just that how she is going about it is hurting her financially. When you want to change a habit make sure you find other ways of meeting your underlying need. In Dana’s case, she started a blog about gadgets. This way she didn’t have to buy every toy, but could stay up on the latest trends in electronics. She also was still seen as “the gadget queen” by her friends and that was an important part of her identity.
Asking these three questions will help you identify the upside of any unwanted money habit. While the answers are not a magic wand, they do provide valuable data to aid in the change process. So the next time you are beating yourself up for a bad habit, instead wonder about the upside.
Kathleen Burns Kingsbury is a wealth psychology expert, founder of KBK Wealth Connection, host of the Breaking Money Silence® podcast, and the author of several books including How to Give Financial Advice to Women and How to Give Financial Advice to Couples. Her new book, Breaking Money Silence: Shatter Money Taboos by Helping Your Clients Openly Discuss Their Finances was published September 30, 2017. For more information, visit www.kbkwealthconnection.com.
Thanks Kathleen, I love having you come play!
Shell Tain, The Untangler
Do you have some challenges with money? Around 97% of us do. There are bunches and bunches of problems people have with money. Although there are many, many variations, it mostly it comes down to:
- Not having as much as we want.
- Not knowing how to manage it.
- Spending more that we make.
In other words we realize that something isn’t working for us around money. And whatever we have decided the missing piece is, we then seek to ‘fix’ it directly. We try to make more. We take a class on budgeting. We set rules around spending. All that sounds like a great idea… and yet, it doesn’t work, does it?
It’s actually pointing to a much bigger issue, one that I discovered long ago in ‘Corporate Land’. In my day as a Controller/CFO, the ‘rule’ was to not bring up a problem unless you had a solution. Sounds good, but there is a big trap in there.
The trap is that you end up ‘fixing’ things that aren’t the actual problem, and thus actually creating more problems.
Huh? Well in business the fix is usually a form or a procedure, and if it doesn’t address the real underlying issue, it just makes for more bureaucracy and fiddly irritation, right? I finally learned that the longer process of actually discussing the issue came up with much more effective solutions!
So let’s go visit a hypothetical married couple and see what’s happening in the money tangle of their marriage. For grins lets say that he keeps a budget to the penny and is watching money all the time, and that she never looks at it and spends it on things that make her feel good. They fit the criteria we had above — not having enough, not managing it well, and spending too much. I’m guessing you wouldn’t be surprised to hear that talking about money is less than fun for them? It’s pretty messy and challenging, right?
So what solutions do they try? My guess is all sorts of things that are based on changing the behavior without actually understanding what caused it in the first place. They get into a push-me/pull-you power game that doesn’t take into consideration the ‘Why’ under the behavior.
And yes, I’m back to my concept that we all have 5-year-olds running our money:
- Because it is the most taboo topic on the planet
- Because no one talks about how to actually deal with it
- Because we make up ways to manage it that make sense to our little kid brain
- Because we then leave the little kid part of us in charge so we don’t have to deal with it
And so I come back to ‘First Things First’. No budget or plan will work until you understand what your little kid part decided about money. No lecture or personal rant from yourself or your spouse will help until you dig deep and find out what you made up about money.
By what you ‘made up’ I mean conclusions that you came to, most likely as a child, about money. Let me give you some actual examples of conclusions clients have shared with me:
- Money ruins families
- Money was the only way my family showed affection
- Money was the only criteria for success in my family
- My family believed money was bad and evil
Are there all sorts of wonderful ways to manage and handle your money more effectively? Absolutely! I have, use, and share a bunch of them—and they don’t help at all until you’ve untangled the underlying knot. Until you’ve addressed the likely ineffective thinking you’ve been operating under for years.
Please give yourself the gift of addressing first things first before you leap into the action steps! The results will be much more effective, truly!
Shell Tain, The Untangler
If you’d like some help in untangling that really old hidden money knot in your head, just give me a call at 503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.sensiblecoaching.com.
As humans it seems like there is only so much we can take before we explode. We’ve all been there, to some degree, at some time. We find something is so frustrating we just sort of snap. What I’ve noticed in working with clients is that there is often a pattern—or dare I say a “dance”—to this progression.
Think for a moment about how couples fight. There is a dance to that right? She says X, he says Y, then she counters with X on steroids, and he follows with Y on steroids, and they are off to the races. It’s a well worn groove in their relationship.
Unfortunately, these patterns can be harmful and destructive to us and others. And they are deeply ingrained, whether it shows up in road rage or the same argument over and over with a family member.
How do you know if you are stuck in one of these places? Well, it shows up like your own personal ‘Ground Hog Day’ movie. You keep repeating the events. You have the same arguments, with the same results. Perhaps you keep falling into the same traps in your family? You to do something to try and please them, and find yourself being criticized for it. Then maybe you blow up at being treated that way, and then end up having to apologize. Somehow, a couple of weeks later, it all happens again. Yipes!
Yes, it’s messy, complex stuff, and it can have you feeling trapped and helpless.
There are all sorts of ways to deal with this. I’d like to share some thoughts I have about one way that you may not have considered to both look at it and to change the pattern.
Long ago I read a piece in a book that was about the tension of seeing and wanting the shoes in the shop window. The author talked about the tension that the desire created, and how it builds. He then pointed out that the way the tension gets relieved is that you actually buy the shoes! This a really interesting revelation to me, and really has helped me with a lot of clients. The recognition that we can only take the tension so long, and then we somehow have to resolve it. (I would love to share the book with you, but it turns out I have no clue as to where I read it!!!)
So that relief of the tension thing is what happens with a lot of those places where we are frustrated beyond our edge and some how lash out. We don’t want to keep running around in circles, but we feel stuck, so we do something that resolves it, ends the event, blows things up—whatever.
That leads me to a different book and an idea on one effective way to change this. This book I have and know! It’s The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. He talks about how habits have a Trigger — Routine — Reward pattern. While we are talking about these negative results allow me to take the liberty of changing one word to make his process more accessible to our challenging situations. My re frame is Trigger — Routine — Result.
Take a moment to see how this pattern of Trigger — Routine — Result shows up in the places where you get emotionally challenged and caught. The Trigger is the thing that gets it started. It’s seeing the shoes, or noticing that something is happening that you don’t like. The Routine is what you do in response to the trigger. For example you pine and fret about the shoes, or you complain about what you don’t like. The Result is you buy the shoes, or end up in an argument. Your example may, of course, be more complex and sophisticated.
Okay, we are up to the place where we change the behavior! And the change is all about the Routine. It’s really the important thing to change. Most of the time you don’t have control over the Trigger because it’s about what someone else said or did. But you do have a choice around the routine. You can choose to do something different! Duhigg’s book really is all about the idea that we can’t just stop a habit or pattern—we can replace it. I love this idea. Part of why I love it is that it reinforces the notion that we have to do something different if we want different results. So if you change your routine, or response, to the trigger you will create different results.
Try it out, perhaps start with something that isn’t emotionally charged and see if you can’t create a different Result by changing your Response to an old Trigger! It’s worth trying!
Shell Tain, The Untangler
If you’d like some support in changing your messier patterns, just give me a call at 503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.sensiblecoaching.com.
We’ve all heard that one, haven’t we? It’s an example of a money belief—an idea that we have about money. We all have beliefs around money, yet somehow we don’t actually try to untangle them. We shy away from looking at the beliefs.
Instead we tend to try some method of crunching numbers or budgeting. We put money in envelopes, we watch our spending on our cell phones. Some even play with my handy dandy “GOSH” model. (Which by the way is very cool and useful!)
And here’s the truth: None of that really works until you figure out what your money beliefs are, and if you want to keep them! Your money behavior is driven by your money beliefs.
You will create and perpetuate your beliefs around money. You just will! Frankly we do that with all our beliefs. We find the information that supports them, and we ignore the information that refutes them. It’s part of all that lovely pattern making that goes on in our heads.
Of course, with money it’s more complex than with other things because of that whole money being a taboo topic thing! Since we don’t talk with others or even ourselves about our money beliefs that just keep influencing our choices over and over.
Which of these have you ever heard, thought or found yourself believing?
- Money doesn’t grow on trees.
- You’ll have to work really hard and you’ll still never make any money.
- There is never enough!
- Rich people aren’t as nice as poor people.
- Money is the root of all evil.
- I am not good with money.
- I can’t do math, so I can’t do money.
- I feel like I must have been out sick the day they actually explained money.
- Having debt means I’m a bad person.
Those are just some of the most common ones. There are no doubt thousands of possible money beliefs that will hinder or hold back your effectiveness with the stuff.
And just to be clear, I’m not talking about how much of it you have, I’m talking about what is your relationship with money? Do you see it as a tool and ally, or as an enemy?
What do you make up about money? Really, what do you make up about money? Make a list! Now look at each one of those beliefs and ask yourself a couple of questions, like:
- Is this really true? Like 100% of the time TRUE?
- Is this my belief? Or is it my family’s belief? Or even, is it my cultures belief?
- What might be different if I changed this belief?
That’s one of the cool things about beliefs: we can change them. It takes noticing that you want to change the belief. Then it takes both patience and maybe even humor to work on changing it.
One of my favorite ways to accomplish the change in beliefs is to throw in another option every time I hear myself either thinking or saying the belief. It works like this: You follow the belief statement with something like, “…except when it’s not!” (Examples: Money’s hard to come by… except when it’s not. Rich people aren’t as nice as poor people… except when they are!)
So ‘Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees‘ — except it can grow. It can be different. And you can do better with it. It all starts with choosing how you want to think about it. As humans we are really committed to proving our beliefs. We see it all the time. So figure out what your beliefs are, and, if continuing to prove your current beliefs to be true actually makes your life worse, try understanding and re-framing the belief.
Just imagine how much easier all this money stuff would be if you had some positive thoughts about it!
Shell Tain, The Untangler
If you’d like to play with this belief changing idea more, just give me a call at 503-258-1630 or check out my website at www.sensiblecoaching.com.