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You First, then Your Money

I always smile when I’m flying somewhere and I see the flight attendant begin his/her safety presentation. Inevitably, they get to the part where they put on the oxygen masks and remind us that if we’re traveling with small children to put our own masks on first.

And while thankfully I don’t look to put an oxygen mask on in my every day life, I always smile at the amazing metaphor the in-flight oxygen mask is for our lives.

Because if you’re not putting your own mask on first, how are you going to be at your best to support others? How will you be able to create abundance in your life?

As July came to a close and August began this year, quite honestly I was highly emotional and wanted to rest and be quiet. It had been a long 18 months of traveling and personal growth and my soul was crying out for a break. I had reached “that point” that most of us know about…the one where your mind is foggy and you don’t know what direction you’re headed in and you want to take naps all day.

Generally speaking, I do a good job of taking care of myself and it snuck up on me and I ended up exhausted without much of a warning. This time it was exhausted in a different way though – years ago I would experience physical and mental exhaustion after working countless 70-80 hour weeks, and this time it was more emotional exhaustion. I felt directionless and uncertain…so many things felt like they were changing. I was also concerned about how long this phase was going to last since I really don’t enjoy drifting along without energy or a sense of drive. The emotional exhaustion was impacting my body, my confidence, and my desire to spend time with others (I was so tired and my introvert just wanted to hide and chill out!).

And then after surrendering to the soul whispers to “rest,” the tide eventually turned. With several weeks of resting with some light work added in here and there (the minimal amount necessary to keep things moving), I started to feel stronger. And just the other day, I saw this:

All of a sudden it clicked. This time had been created for me to reconnect with my intuition. As the quote shares, when I connect with that relationship first and foremost, only then can I powerfully step into other relationships including my relationship with money. For too long, I had ignored the whispers to take my self care to the next level (i.e. healthier eating, increased meditation, etc.), and instead had insisted on pushing forward. Even if I didn’t want to admit it, it was indeed impacting all of my other relationships and my ability to be present.

So, I’ll ask you this after hearing my story – can you hear the whispers in your own life to slow down and listen? Check in with yourself, and see what, if any, course corrections are necessary to fuel you to build a strong and healthy relationship with your money and to step into your best life. Because without fuel in your gas tank, getting from point “A” to point “B” and creating abundance in your life is going to be all that much harder.

Sometimes life shows up with lessons that we don’t understand and perhaps that we don’t necessarily want to learn. I didn’t want to slow down and take a month-long rest, and yet somehow my soul knew it was exactly what I needed in order to be prepared for the next part of my journey.

Are you putting on your own oxygen mask first?

Are you present enough to see the signs taking place around you every day?

Are you taking yourself for granted as the foundational pillar upon which the rest of your life will be created?

Don’t wait until it’s too late…take some time today to stop, breathe, and listen.

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Abundance Goes Far Beyond Money

Traditionally, when most people hear the word “abundance” they immediately think about money. And while that would seem to be the most common understanding of the word, as I’m finding out more and more often in my own life it is a very small part of how we can truly experience abundance.

Abundance can come in the amount of joy we have in our lives, in the amount of love we have for others, in the amount of beauty that we see in nature, and in the exciting and unexpected mysteries that pop up in our everyday lives and enchant us. And quite honestly, I could go on and on and on about how many other places we can see abundance!

However, in speaking with my clients when we talk about abundance they understand it in concept (as in, how they could see it or experience it in their lives), yet they have trouble either generating it or seeing it once they’ve generated it.

So what can be done to increase the amount of abundance that you are experiencing in your life? I’m glad you asked! I’ve been in the question of how to do this for myself for the last few months and here are the key steps that I’ve been practicing that have been working for me:

1) Chase inspiration – There’s something about the high energy and positive vibration of being in an activity that you love and could spend countless hours doing. It creates joy in your soul and often times allows you to offer the best of yourself to the world as you step out of over-thinking (which many of us do, myself included!) and into a place of flow and ease. From this place of flow, you’re best able to clearly understand what next step is best for you and you act as a lightning rod for new and exciting opportunities to show up.

2) Surrender – This is the hardest step for me, by far! Yet I am reminded almost daily to surrender my ideas of where my life is going and what is best for me. As Marianne Williamson says in her book, A Return to Love: “God’s plan works, yours doesn’t.” For those moments when you find yourself struggling to figure everything out and you can’t see how it’s all going to work out and you’re feeling those thoughts of scarcity and fear, just remember – you can surrender anytime and the natural self-organizing and self-correcting pulse of the universe will take over and guide you. When we’re able to surrender, it allows for answers and opportunities to show up that we couldn’t have ever dreamt of in our brains! (PS – this is not only a daily occurrence for me, sometimes it’s an hourly occurrence or every 10 minutes…it depends on the day. I’m still working on this one myself for sure.)

3) Be mindful – You may have heard the phrase “thoughts become things” and I am a firm believer that we create our own reality with our thoughts. So, for example, a few months ago I was experiencing thoughts of fear, and guess what showed up in my life – scarcity! When I was able to shift my thoughts to a more positive outlook (which took some heavy focus, let me tell you), what showed up was much more joyful and peaceful.

4) Practice presence – This step is the key for me to be able to take the other steps I’ve mentioned so far. When I slow down enough to create quiet space, it allows me to gain clarity on what inspires me, where I get to surrender, and what thoughts I get to be mindful of and shift. There are many ways I create quiet space including meditation, reading, hanging out at the local park (where the landscape is gorgeous!), journaling, and working out (it clears my head and has me focus on my body).

For me, the practice of each of these steps has supported in shifting me away from a feeling of scarcity toward abundance and joy. And while some of that abundance has been showing up in my bank account, I can honestly say that the majority of it has been showing up in how I feel in my body, how clear my mind is, and how many creative ideas I’ve had and how much I’ve been able to enjoy the small moments that show up in my day.

Each of these steps is simple in concept, yet not necessarily easy. It takes a dedicated focus, commitment, and practice to create the wide range of abundance that each of us has access to – we only need to take the time to tap into it!

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Being a Financial Victim Won’t Get You Very Far…

“My ex screwed me in the divorce and I’ll never recover.”

“Money’s so hard to understand that I’m not even going to bother to try.”

“My parents never taught me about money growing up and now I’ll never catch up.”

Sometimes this is what being a financial victim sounds like. This isn’t a judgment on my part whatsoever, it’s simply some of the ways I’ve experienced people avoiding taking accountability and ownership in a powerful way.

For me, being a victim (related to money or otherwise) is accepting your fate as it is and taking the position that there’s nothing you can do about it. And often times it involves pointing a solid finger at someone (or something) else as being responsible for things and not accepting any impact on the outcome.

For a more formal definition, the dictionary defines “victim” as: “one who is harmed by or made to suffer under a circumstance or condition.

(Not sure about you, but I particularly enjoy the part of the definition where someone is “made to” suffer. Don’t get me wrong, there may be occasions in life when someone is holding you against your will to do something, although thankfully I find those situations are few and far between!)

At this point, you may be thinking to yourself “well in the situation of the ex, it’s entirely possible that the other person did get screwed over, I’ve seen it happen.

And I can certainly understand this point of view, and it’s likely that many others would feel similarly. But let’s see if we can take a different look at this that would support taking accountability for the situation, shall we?

And before we do that, let’s define accountable: “capable of being accounted for, explainable.

In the situation where someone is left with less than positive feelings about their ex after a divorce, it can be easy to slip into a place of blame and pointing the finger, particularly if you’re feeling like you’re getting the short end of the stick when it comes to money. However, staying in that negative energy is unlikely going to support you in moving forward with your life, whether in general or specifically with respect to your finances.

What I propose is this – that if you’re feeling like something is all someone else’s fault, that you stop and take some time to be honest with yourself about the entirety of the situation and your role in it. View the situation with the lens of “what part could I have done differently to create different results?” This is not an opportunity to beat yourself up about what happened, it’s merely a chance to neutrally step back and see if there is something that you can do differently going forward. It’s as if you’re willing to learn from the situation and be accountable for whatever your contributions were, even if they were small ones.

Ultimately, it is only when we are willing to be accountable for ourselves that we can access the freedom to live our lives from a place of ownership and choice. Because without a willingness to be accountable (and yes, sometimes this means looking at the not-so-fun parts of ourselves), we leave our power in the hands of others instead of using it to grow and take charge of our lives.

It may not always be fun to look at things through the lens of accountability, and I understand that. All I can share is that my clients who are willing to do so are infinitely much more successful than the ones who don’t. They ultimately decide to let go of the finger pointing and blame (even though it feels really good sometimes), and create results anew in the present instead of being stuck in the past.

The journey to financial health is an ever-winding road, and shifting to a more accountable mentality is a powerful and significant way to forever alter your relationship with money for the better!

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Rewriting Your Financial Story to Create an Abundant Life

“I’m not good at managing money.”

“You have to work hard for your money.”

“You can’t get rich doing what you love.”

“If you aren’t born rich, chances are you never will be.”

“Financial security comes from having a good job and a steady paycheck.”

So you might be asking, what do all of these statements have in common?

They’re money beliefs that many of my clients have that keep them from stepping into their power with money and using money as the amazing tool that it is to create the lives of their dreams.

The fact is that the stories we create around money are often unconscious ones and so we aren’t even aware that they exist. Perhaps you grew up in a household where your father said “you’ll never be any good with money” after you made a few mistakes learning how to spend money. If you decide that he’s right in what he says and you tell yourself that story enough times (consciously or unconsciously), you begin to engrain the belief that you’re not good at managing money which then allows your past experiences and mistakes to invent your future. Essentially, when we live consistent with the belief that we’ve created, our lives are designed by default as we unconsciously behave and react in accordance with what we believe. Our brains invest energy and time to reinforce the belief by collecting evidence that the belief is correct!

I’ll use myself as an example to illustrate the cycle of “living by default.” I grew up in a household where gratefully my parents taught me about money from an early age so that as an adult, I had basic money management systems and processes in place to support me in effectively using my money. This was helpful in having me build financial security so that I had freedom and choice in later years to leave behind a role that was no longer a good fit, to thrive after my position was eliminated, and to eventually start my own business.

However, while all of that technical information on money management systems, processes, habits, and routines was definitely helpful, what I didn’t realize was that I had developed a money belief that “financial security comes from a paycheck and benefits.” And I only figured this out in summer 2010 as I embarked on a new professional life as a financial coach where I would be working in someone else’s business on almost 90% commission. Talk about a huge potential roadblock to working successfully as a consultant if I believed that I could only be financially secure by someone paying me a paycheck consistently! And as I looked back at the professional path I had taken in the 13 years before, I realized how this belief kept me in my corporate job much longer than I wanted because I wanted to be comfortable and safe with the salary I was earning.

Once I was aware of this belief, it was my choice as to whether to create a new story for myself about my abilities to create my own paycheck based on my own worth and ability to contribute in a different way. I can’t say it was easy, yet once I recognized the roadblock of this belief I chose to interrupt the story I had created and break away from living in the pattern that I could only find success by working for someone else.

After making the decision to shift my belief and change my story, I could then live consciously in the present and choose the “financial rules” and beliefs that would create my life. I chose to believe that with the right mentorship and support, that I could learn how to become a successful entrepreneur who created her own income and my own life. I began to take action that supported that belief by training myself to understand more about how to build a successful business. And along that journey of training and learning, I have opened myself up to an entirely new world of “living by design” where I consciously choose my beliefs and the actions that I take.

Perhaps it’s not your dream to start your own business, however I can almost guarantee that unless you’ve spent a lot of time already identifying and shifting your money beliefs that there is something running around in the hamster wheel in your head that is holding you back from the abundant and thriving life that you truly want to create.

We all have the power to identify and shift our money beliefs from something that runs our lives unconsciously to something that empowers us. I once heard a mentor say, “if you’re going to make up a story (or belief), make sure it’s a good one!”

I invite you to create money beliefs that support you in thriving in your life and consciously allow yourself to live life by design, and not by default. Being present to what you want to create in your life and relishing the freedom and joy that accompanies living consciously is an amazing way to live!

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The 3 “Ms” of Money Mastery – Mindset, Mechanics, and Manifestation

In a recent conversation with a client as we were wrapping up her coaching program, we both realized the breadth and the depth of the work that we had completed in just 9 months. It was an emotional moment, and we were both grateful at the shift we had been able to create for her to have a much more positive and powerful relationship with money.

As we reflected on the 9 months that we’d spent together, we truly realized how much we had been able to accomplish. As a business owner, she had started her program wanting to understand how her beliefs about money were holding her back; how to set up a savings and spending plan that she could actually stick with; how her personal financial situation impacted her business; and how to set financial goals in her business while tracking and understanding her business’ performance.

On our journey together, we started by understanding her money mindset. Money mindset is a set of conscious or unconscious beliefs about money that are typically learned either from immediate family or society at large while growing up. Some examples include: “I’m not good at math or money”; “I’m not smart enough to get rich”; “I have some resentment toward wealthy people”; and “Financial security comes from a good job and a steady paycheck.” And in truly understanding your money mindset, it’s also important to review and revisit how you grew up around money as there are often consistent themes of what you were taught to believe. Once you have an awareness and understanding of your current money beliefs and mindset, the final step is to decide whether those beliefs serve you (i.e. they support you and you’d like to keep those beliefs) or whether you’d like to recondition and shift those beliefs to something new and more supportive.

Once we understood the money beliefs that were standing in her way and how she wanted to recondition those beliefs, it was time to look at how she was using her money and also to set up some money mechanics. Money mechanics are, in a nutshell, the systems and processes in your daily life that support you in keeping your money flowing authentically, proactively, and intentionally. Mechanics include (but aren’t limited to): having a savings and spending plan (or financial plan) that is based on your goals; regularly reviewing how you’re actually using your money in comparison to how you’ve planned to; and having a system in place to reduce debt and also to increase savings.

Finally, after stabilizing and centering this client with a new and improved money mindset and stronger mechanics, she and I focused on the importance of intention with respect to money manifestation. If manifestation is a new word for you, essentially it represents the ability to create something (i.e. to manifest it). In my experience, both with myself, and with clients, manifestation is a process that requires clarity in what is being requested (i.e. specifics like amount, timing of amount, etc.), a strong financial foundation, and a very strong intention and energy behind receiving what it is that you’re requesting. As one mentor once told me, Attention + Intention = Results, and I feel this is highly applicable when it comes to manifestation. What you focus on expands and is attracted into your life, so clarity of intention and desires is critical to ensure you’re attracting what you actually want!

Developing a new relationship with money takes time, and yet at the same time some pretty powerful and profound changes can take place relatively quickly when one dedicates time and attention on their money mindset, mechanics, and manifestation. What next step will you take today to develop your own money mastery?

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