As you start on your journey out of financial overwhelm onto a path of financial independence, it is important to take a look at your earlier years where you began to learn about money. It is truly amazing how many people are held back by limiting fears and beliefs about money that they never even realized they had, and often these limiting fears and beliefs are engrained in us from things that we saw, heard, and experienced with money early on in our lives. And when we don’t realize that we have these limiting fears and beliefs, they’re like a hamster running on a wheel in our brain…imprinting and reinforcing the same unsupportive thoughts over and over and over again.
In order to truly build a strong financial foundation, it’s critical to first spend some time reconnecting with what you’ve seen, heard, and experienced with money throughout your life. By first examining your financial background and beliefs, you’ll be more aware of what may be standing in your way of financial success. Once you become aware of any financial barriers you may have, you can then take the time to understand those barriers and ultimately reprogram your financial blueprint for financial success!
So, how do you exactly get started doing that? I’m glad you asked!
When I work with people to help them understand their money mindset, I take a 3-step approach – awareness, understanding, and reconditioning. In a nutshell, you have to first be aware that you have a particular money mindset block, then you need to better understand where it came from, and finally you need to focus on reconditioning that particular belief into something more positive.
Here’s a brief overview of the key steps you can take to peek inside your brain to see if your own hamster wheel is spinning without you even realizing it:
1) Become aware of your money story and/or money history – When I work with clients, I ask them to provide candid answers to some pretty interesting questions about how they grew up with money and how money has shown up in their lives. Here are 2 questions that you can ask yourself to begin identifying what unsupportive money beliefs might be standing in your way.
- What is the “money story” that you grew up with? What did you see, hear, and experience with money?
- Who did your “money story” come from? Who influenced your thoughts about money?
2) Take the time to understand the current impact of your money story – Once you’ve identified what you saw, heard and experienced with money earlier on in your life, it’s time to reflect on how it has impacted you over time and right now. Ask yourself these questions:
- How has this “money story” shown up for you in your life (financially, emotionally, physically, spiritually, and in any other way that has impacted you)?
- What is the core underlying belief (or message) within your “money story”? (For example, “I’m not good at managing money”; “Having a lot of money will make me less spiritual”; “I have some resentment toward wealthy people”; “Financial security comes from a paycheck and benefits”; “You have to work hard for your money”; or “You can’t get rich doing what you love”…just to name a few.)
3) Get ready to start clearing the decks – Once you’re aware of your money story and the impact that it has had on your life, it’s time to start reconditioning yourself to believe differently. Quite honestly, one of the best strategies I’ve been taught to begin reconditioning yourself requires that you grab a rubber band and put it around your wrist. And easily enough, use the rubber band to “snap” yourself on the wrist each time an unsupportive thought pops into your mind about money. You would be surprised how quickly you get annoyed at having to snap yourself because it hurts!!!! If you’re not wanting to harm yourself and want a gentler approach, carry a journal with you and write down your unsupportive thoughts when they come up and take the time at the end of each day to reflect on how each thought is not true (i.e. what evidence can you find in your life to contradict your thought).
In the interest of being transparent, I’ve had to go through this process a few times with unsupportive thoughts about money that I picked up along the way. For me, my awesome parents who taught me great money management skills also engrained in me that “financial security comes from a paycheck and benefits.” So, in other words, working for someone else offers financial stability – not so helpful for an entrepreneur, right? I had to do some serious work to recondition myself to believe that I could rely on myself (and yes, I’ve actually done the rubber band snapping and while it hurts like hell it does work!).
As a final note, often times this process of examining your money mindset can be even more important than knowing your numbers and building a financial plan that helps you to save money and get out of debt. Building your financial house means you need a strong financial foundation, and your mindset about money is exactly that…your foundation.