As December rolled around and I sat back to think about the year behind me, I also reflected on the fact that I’d owned Financially Authentic for almost 3 years. 3 YEARS! Wow – where had the time gone?
On one hand, I acknowledged myself for the amazing things that I had accomplished and on the other hand there was this sense that I hadn’t accomplished everything that I’d wanted to. At least yet.
And yet at the end of 3 years my mission was so clear. I’d started my business with the simple goal to support others to learn the mechanics and systems of how to manage money effectively, essentially paying forward what my parents had taught me. And eventually that grew into also working with clients on their money mindset as well. And then I shifted from working only with salaried/employed professionals to also working with fellow entrepreneurs as well. And the shifts and growth continued at rapid pace from that point forward.
I truly began to understand what was meant when someone said “Your self-worth does not equal your net worth.” I’d heard it for years, shared that golden nugget of an idea with many clients, and yet in fall 2014 I truly got it in my bones. 3 years into my business I had invested a significant amount of money to grow myself and to grow my business, and I was realizing just how much shifting of my own financial mindset had taken place.
When I first began my business, I first and foremost taught about the importance of the ability to stabilize your financial life. So much of the financial stress and chaos I experience with clients and others that I speak with comes from not having any awareness of where they are financially speaking, which then gets in the way of them establishing powerful future goals.
So, as I see it, the first level of financial consciousness is STABILIZE. What does this look like? It looks like what many of my new clients are experiencing – financial stress, chaos, fear, and sometimes even some volatility as well. This phase begins with a lack of skills and knowledge to begin to build the financial foundation under oneself for the next phase. There is limited knowledge as to how money is being spent, there is often a healthy dose of consumer debt to be paid down (i.e. credit card debt, student loans, etc.), and there is also a limited amount of savings available to absorb any unexpected surprises in life that generate a new expense. In this phase, it’s important to gather information so that you can understand where you are right now and stabilize the situation.
After the STABILIZE phase, the next phase is CENTER. This is where you’re clear about your financial opportunities and challenges, and you’re looking to strengthen your financial foundation typically by decreasing debt or increasing savings. You may also be in the process of addressing other risks that are present to your financial health – such as applying for and getting certain types of insurance (i.e. life, health, disability, etc.), working with an accountant to get some support with taxes, or documenting personal wishes by preparing legal documents (i.e. will, trust, etc.). Also, unrelated to finances this phase also typically includes beginning to gain clarity on your purpose and vision (through work, volunteering, or starting your own business) which leads to the drive to create something bigger. This phase may also result in less of an interest in purchasing material things – there simply isn’t the same level of pleasure to have things vs. having amazing experiences instead.
Finally, the third phase is EXPAND. And this is the phase I’m in now where I’m clear how my money is moving in my daily life, who is on my financial team, and the fact that my bigger purpose is to fundamentally support a shift in our global mindset from scarcity toward abundance. This phase often results in what I like to refer to as financial confidence which I think of as the ability to confidently and gracefully stand in your power with solid financial systems and strategies in place to support using money as a tool to support your vision. This phase typically includes a lot of growth, personally and professionally, and you’re challenging the status quo and perhaps even creating a new experience for yourself and others. In this phase, there may be wealth already built in the traditional sense (i.e. savings accounts, investments, etc.), and it may also be the case that wealth is being invested and released in order to prepare for the next level. Also, there is a general sense that no matter what the financial results are in your life that you have the skills and knowledge to handle your money and financial situation and that you’re on the right path forward. You’re clear of your power to create and manifest things and can see the abundance in your life on a regular basis.
In the end, the evolution of our consciousness is a journey and not a destination. And of course, this is true for financial consciousness as well. I’m sure there are even more phases ahead for me and others on our financial journey, and each will be just as valuable as the phases behind us.
The journey is full of ups and downs and fears and concerns, and while perhaps painful at times the ultimate growth we experience along the way is always worth it in the end, isn’t it?