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Shifting Away from Scarcity

Every once in a while, we get an unwelcome visitor who knocks on our door – SCARCITY.

He’s not a very fun houseguest. In fact, I’ve experienced him as a downright nuisance and intrusion when he shows up. (And for some reason I envision him as a male energy…so we’ll go with “he” for right now, ok?)

Yes, it happens to me too. Anyone who is taking themselves on and is growing and expanding their relationship with money and breaking through to a new level of financial consciousness is likely to run into some roadblocks on their journey. And sometimes those roadblocks are labelled with a big S-C-A-R-C-I-T-Y.

Within the last month or so, I’ve been really focused on growing both myself and my business. And like everyone else I have fears about whether or not I’ll fail, and sometimes I have fears about what will happen when I succeed too. One of my favorite quotes of all time on this very topic is from Marianne Williamson:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

The reality is that feelings of fear and scarcity feel real when they are happening. And so the question, at least for me, becomes what can we do to move through those feelings and get back to our best selves and the work that we are here to do?

As I’ve taken big steps forward over the last few weeks, I’ve had the chance to also be present to the fear and feelings of scarcity that showed up in my life. Some days it felt like I was taking hits from every side, and other days I found quiet pockets of peace in what felt like a storm. Along the way, even in the harder moments I was aware of consciously working to move myself through the challenging feelings of scarcity and shifting back to a more productive and abundant energy.

While there are many tools that I use to shift my feelings when they are less than pleasant, there are 5 consistent things that I do when I’m wrapped up in feeling fearful or scarce (and sometimes that relates to money, sometimes that relates to time, or sometimes that relates to me not being enough for whatever I’m up to):

  1. Breathe – Yup, back to basics here. Often when I’m feeling tight or fearful I realize that I’m not breathing fully. So I stop what I’m doing, and breathe deeply in and out for at least 5 minutes…and sometimes it’s more like 10!
  2. Focus on what you’re grateful for in your life – I remember a few years ago when someone taught me that fear cannot co-exist with gratitude for very long, and that accessing gratitude can quickly shift us away from feelings of scarcity and/or fear. I didn’t believe it at first, and after years of practicing this when I’m feeling down I can attest that it works. I don’t stay fearful for very long after I spend time honoring the amazing things in my life.
  3. Take care of yourself – It may seem obvious, however often times when scarcity pays a visit I realize that I’m long overdue for some sleep, some exercise, or maybe even for some pampering and self-care like a massage. I’ve come to think of it like this – when we aren’t taking care of our greatest asset (ourselves), we aren’t able to access our full power and abundance and we often quickly get dragged into energies that don’t serve us.
  4. Meditate – This goes along somewhat with the deep breathing, although for me there’s a distinction in meditating as for me it allows me to quiet the noise in my brain and any negative or unsupportive thoughts that are traipsing through there at the moment . Whether it’s simply sitting still and focusing on my breathing and visualizing what I want in my life for 15-20 minutes, or listening to some guided meditations (these are two of my favorites: Getting Into the Vortex and The Secret to Attracting Wealth), I experience calm and quiet after meditating that stems the energy of scarcity that is present.
  5. Hold off on making any major decisions – This is less about doing something and more about not doing something. Making major decisions when you’re feeling off-kilter can sometimes introduce an energy into the equation that isn’t helpful. So any time I’m feeling fearful or like scarcity has me in his grip, I am clear that it’s not the best time for me to make any major choices!

Navigating through feelings of fear and scarcity is never fun, however it often results in powerful insights and wisdom once on the other side. So the next time the scarcity monster knocks on your door, know that you have the presence and power to invite him in and politely ask him to leave after you’ve gained whatever insight that you were meant to.

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Facing Your Financial Fears

Just the other day, one of life’s lovely ironies came and sat in my lap. Want to know what it was?

I came down with a pretty decent case of what I like to affectionately call the “financial grungies.” Pretty ironic given that I teach money management and proactive finances for a living, right?

So what are the “financial grungies” exactly? For me this time, it felt like not wanting to honestly take a look at something related to my finances (more about that below), a knot in my stomach, a racing mind, and my blood felt like it was coursing through my veins at an extra-quick pace. Oh, and all of that was wrapped up in a nice big bow of FEAR and SCARCITY. Yuck, yuck, yuck. It was so clear that financial fear had come to pay me an unwelcome visit.

Yup, the teacher and healer got to use her own tools to heal herself. Gotta love it.
And here’s what I reminded myself of when I got to diagnosing the situation at hand and whipping out my financial toolbox:

  • BREATHE! This may be the most important suggestion I’ll make in this entire article. Living in the knot-in-your-stomach-blood-coursing sense of panic won’t ever serve you, since it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to think or operate from a clear space. So this is exactly what I did when I felt the fear kick in – I stopped what I was doing (or should I say what I was pretending to try to do….and I was doing it very ineffectively I might add), and I moved to the nearest chair and started to breathe deeply, in and out. The sense of panic and fear within me slowly died down after a few minutes.
  • Raise your vibration – Breathing normally is only really the starting point and it’s intended to try to restore you back to an equilibrium point (and out of the “grungies”). Once you’re feeling somewhat stable, you’ll want to do something to jump start your energy again – think of it like a car battery where you want to give yourself an electric charge. Depending on what gets you going, you’ll have a different way of raising your energy. Some people dance or exercise, yet for me I find it soothing to listen to a guided meditation that’s specifically wired to reset my brain waves. When I did this the other day, on the other side of 15 minutes I was already feeling much better and was ready to take on the next step. This step is important and the intention is to put you in a positive frame of mind before you move forward to see what’s at the root of the financial fear you’re feeling.
  • Get clear on what gets to be handled – I’ve said for years that financial clarity leads to choice, which leads to the ability to contribute in a bigger way, which results in a higher sense of connectedness. Without clarity, you’re often left feeling disconnected (from yourself and from others) which only enhances the sense of fear in the current situation. For me, I knew that over the last few months I had been investing quite a bit of money into my business and myself (as the business owner). After breathing and meditating, I got clear that the task ahead of me was to update my list of business investments. I knew that the investments I made were wise ones (and ones I would make over and over again), and so I knew it was time to briefly summarize the dollar value of those investments.
  • Break down the task (or tasks) to small, manageable steps – In my example, the tasks to be completed were relatively simple in the sense that it involved consulting transactions and balances on various bank and credit card statements. In your case, it might be a bit more complex, in which case you’ll want to think first about the end result you want. From there, think about the first step you would take, then the second, then the third, etc., continuing until you have a solid flow of steps mapped out to get you the end result you desire. As examples, if your task is to work on getting out of debt you’ll want to understand the total amount of debt you have along with interest rates and minimum payments. If your task is to be saving more money, you’ll want to get clear on what you want to save for and how much you want to save.
  • Take one step (and repeat until complete) – It’s as simple as it sounds – take your first step as soon as humanly possible to build positive momentum and start shaking off those grungies once and for all. I know that the minute I sat down at my computer and started a brand new business investment summary that I instantly felt much better…and it only got better from there!

The outcome of taking each of these steps is that you are able to accept the situation as it is, and in a grounded way work through whatever financial challenge is contributing to the fear at hand. As a bonus step, it may also support you to confide in someone you trust what it is that you’re working through (both the fear and the steps you’re committed to taking), so that they can hold you accountable to the steps that you want to take as well as support you in moving through the fear in whatever way they are able to.

In the end, the lesson here is that no matter how proactive you try to be (and I’m very proactive!), sometimes financial fear secretly slips into the picture without you even realizing it. And if you ignore the fear, you may end up significantly altering your road to financial freedom by inadvertently sabotaging your financial plan.

So don’t let financial fear hold you back from standing fully in your power – begin clearing away the fear and start healing and transforming your relationship with money today!

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Blasting through Financial Fear to Financial Freedom

As I like to say, people will happily talk about politics, religion, and sex at a cocktail party but they will actively avoid talking about money at all costs.  So why are people so afraid to talk about money or become more proactive with how they manage it? 

Financial fear is standing in the way of so many people fully standing in their power, financially and otherwise.  It’s standing in the way of individual financial freedom and choice as well as the overall financial health of our communities and economies.

It’s time to begin clearing away the fear, and start healing and transforming our relationships with money.

So if you’re saying “good idea, Beth – but how do we start doing that?” you’re not alone.  Here are 3 things to consider that might be adding to a heightened sense of financial fear:

1)      You feel embarrassed and guilty that you’re not better with your money than you are – Many people feel that they “should” be more in charge of their money, and that’s just not helpful energy.  Instead, try forgiving yourself for any financial mistakes you may have made in the past, and if it’s more a matter of wanting to become more proactive (vs. reactive) then make a conscious decision to take one step toward learning something new about your financial situation.  You’d be amazed how quickly one small step at a time builds your money management skill set and gives you more confidence!

2)      You think that you are alone and/or the only one who didn’t get the “money memo” when you were growing up – Let me clear this up quickly, you are NOT ALONE!  Almost 70% of people live paycheck to paycheck and 76% of people feel out of control when it comes to their money according to some recent studies and statistics.  So you’re actually in the majority if you’re feeling frustrated and afraid to talk about money or perhaps even ask for help.  Take it easy on yourself, ok?

3)      You were never taught how to manage your money and don’t even know where to start learning – I’m going to avoid hopping up on my proverbial soapbox about this particular topic (because then this article would begin to sound like a rant!), however suffice it to say that finances and money management aren’t actively or consistently taught in our schools or in our communities.  How are you supposed to know how to build a financial plan if you’re never taught the finer art of doing so?  The fact that these skills aren’t taught is a major barrier to people achieving any type of financial independence.  However, I’m happy to say that proactive money management skills can be systematically taught and learned.

So here’s the summary in a nutshell: You are NOT alone and don’t need to be embarrassed.  The majority of people weren’t taught how to manage money and are feeling overwhelmed.  Being financially proactive IS a teachable and learnable skill.

With all of this in mind, what is the first thing you’ll do for yourself to let go of some of your financial fear?  I’m all about taking small steps toward financial freedom, don’t let it overwhelm you!

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