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We all have a very different relationship with money. Some people think that money is the source of all evil. Others see it as a channel to make a difference in the world by using it for scientific research, helping people improve their current conditions, saving endangered species, etc.

How we think about money, like other important aspects of life, is influenced by the messages we received from our caretakers while growing up, as well as the experiences we accumulate as we sail through life.

Money in itself is neither good nor bad. Objectively, it is a piece of paper or metal to which a value is assigned, and we collectively agree on the exchange rate. We can choose to exchange money for products, services, experiences, etc.

Each of us decides if we will trade the piece of paper that has a 5 US dollar printed on it for a fancy coffee, eggs and cheese, a drink at happy hour, or if we are going to use it to buy stock in a company.

Amy Blaschka wrote about the seven levels of energy as defined by Bruce Schneider, founder of the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), where I did my training as a coach.

Each of us has a unique perspective on life based on our experience, messages we received while growing up, and personality. Every one of us has all seven levels of energy; the difference is how much of each we have at a given moment.

Since money is neither good nor bad, the way we think about it depends on our energy levels and the core thought associated with it.

Level 1, victim – I can’t make money

Level 2, conflict – I don’t get what I deserve

Level 3, responsibility – I can make more money if I work hard

Level 4, concern – I use money to improve someone else’s life

Level 5, reconciliation – I choose how much money I make and how I use it

Level 6, synthesis – There is abundance

Level 7, non-judgment – Money is an illusion

Notice that we start to think of money as something within our control at level 3 where the core thought is responsibility. Most of the time, I strive to think of money at level 5, reconciliation. I also frequently tap into levels 6 synthesis and 7 non-judgment for creation and transcendence.

“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.” Epictetus

How do we get to level 5, reconciliation ‘I choose how much money I make and how I use it’? Here are some starting points.

1) Educate yourself

Usually, we fear the unknown. Money is a topic as taboo (if not more) as sex. When I polled my close friends about this subject, I discovered that none of us received guidance about it from our parents even when both worked.

We also did not have a class at school or college about it. Yes, some of us had Economics but it did not teach us the practicalities of how to manage our money.

So, we had to look for the information elsewhere. I read multiple books and articles from experts on money management and experimented with different methods until I found a set of routines that worked for me.

Knowledge is power. And as we know more about a topic, we become more confident and start seeing results.

“Financial peace isn’t the acquisition of stuff. It’s learning to live on less than you make, so you can give money back and have money to invest.” Dave Ramsey

2) Upgrade your self-talk

Limiting beliefs are convictions we have about the world, other people, situations, and life in general that stop us from getting what we want. Some examples are ‘money is the root of all evil’, ‘the rich get richer and the poor get poorer’, ‘I’m just not good with money’, and the list goes on.

Words matter. What we tell ourselves and others have a lot of power. Become aware of how you talk about money. Is it from the scarcity perspective (‘I never have enough money’)? Or do you tell yourself ‘I have the capacity to create financial abundance’?

Every time I catch myself talking about money from a shortage point of view, I remind myself that I have enough money for the things that are essential and important to me. I keep in mind that I have the capacity to generate abundance including financial wealth.

“Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.” Ayn Rand

3) Measure

If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Take your pick.

A few years ago, I tallied my income and expenses. While I was populating my spreadsheet, I was curious and excited to see the results. And what a surprise they were! It was an eye-opening experience. I cried in the privacy of my living room in front of my file. I was spending more than I was earning. That first measure was the push I needed to define and execute an action plan. Fast forward to 2021 and my net worth is more than 30x what it was ten years ago.

As you educate yourself and obtain guidance from experts, track how you use and feel about your money. Are you giving it away freely in exchange for items or experiences with low value? How can you create abundance in ways other than exchanging money?

“Many people take no care of their money till they come nearly to the end of it.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

4) Stop keeping up with the Joneses

I grew up in a small country in an even smaller society where everybody knew and opined on everyone else’s business. To this day, many of my friends back home have not acquired financial freedom or security because of their need to keep up with others – have the latest car, a bigger house, take expensive trips, etc.

The reality is that nobody cares about anyone else except themselves. So, we think we are trying to impress our neighbor and they only pay attention if there is something in it for them.

Stop impressing them. It is not worth it. People who love you and genuinely care about you do not need to be awed by the stuff you have.

The next time your neighbor, coworker, friend brags about their new car and you feel the green tug of envy stir inside you, take a deep breath, and congratulate them on their new purchase. Remind yourself that you are making choices about your money, and they are making theirs. Your decisions are not better than theirs and vice versa; they are only different. The more you practice this behavior the easier and more natural it will feel to be truly happy for them. 

“Too many people spend money they earned… to buy things they don’t want… to impress people that they don’t like.” Will Rogers

What are your thoughts about money? What limiting beliefs do you carry about it? Please, let us know in the comments. You can write in English, Spanish, Portuguese, or French.

As a leadership coach, I enable talent to achieve bold goals with high standards. My mission is to help women transition from mid to senior level leadership positions by creating awareness, increasing emotional intelligence, and unveiling the tools and choices available to them, so they can confidently realize and fulfill their potential.

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