Money is a powerful concept. Just think of all the ways in which most of us give our attention to money – how we earn it, manage it, account for it, save it, spend it, worry about it, and even give it away. Not surprisingly, many of us have unquestioned limiting beliefs about money. We may even hold judgments about the relationships others have with their money – rich or poor, lavish spenders, or overly frugal.
In The Energy of Money, author Dr. Maria Nemeth challenges readers to create a personal “money autobiography” by writing a description of our lifelong experience of money, from earliest memories to now. She suggests that what we observed and learned about money from our earliest memories informs our money beliefs as adults. What a sobering exercise! My money autobiography showed me how my own Money Story – my current beliefs about money – was very much shaped by my parents’ beliefs about money.
My folks were members of “The Greatest Generation.” They were kids during the depths of the Great Depression and were young adults during WWII. (Keywords: Lack, Scarcity, Limitation, Rationing, Distrust, Secrecy, Hardship, Doing-without.) Understandably, they saw the world as generally an unfriendly place; money was hard to come by and to be protected at all costs. For them, the glass often looked half full. I acknowledge that I didn’t experience the hugely challenging times they endured growing up. Different life experience means different worldview, so I see and experience the world differently – as a generally friendly place of abundance that is full of choices and opportunities. For me, the glass is more than half full. (Keywords: Abundance, Generous Universe, Win-Win, Flow, Creativity, Generative)
I felt uncomfortable, even a little disloyal, in questioning differences in our belief systems. Working with my own Coach, I concluded that embracing my own true personal beliefs is not disrespectful of elders nor does it invalidate their experiences. Rather, this simply means making a personal choice to mindfully notice the beliefs I hold, discern if they are true for me now, and then change them by creating a more personally authentic Money Story of my own. Nobody gets to be wrong!
Coaching is a great way to explore unquestioned limiting beliefs. Not surprisingly, money is a common focus of calls with my coaching clients. I invite them to examine their own Money Story – its origins, benefits and limitations. Often they decide a substantial re-write of their own Money Story is in order to craft a more modern, accurate and congruent set of personal beliefs around money.
It’s not easy to uproot lifelong beliefs. Friends and family members may not feel comfortable or supportive of such changes at first, or ever. But I suggest that there are few things that are more satisfying than feeling more authentic, aware, and aligned with one’s own values and beliefs. So, what’s your Money Story?
10 questions to help create YOUR new Money Story:
- What was the financial circumstance of your childhood?
- What messages about money can you recall when you were young?
- In what ways do you think your current financial situation relates to that of your family of origin?
- What is one assumption or belief about money that no longer serves you well?
- What might be a desired outcome of embracing a new personal Money Story?
- By changing your Money Story, what are you saying “yes” to?
- By changing your Money Story, what are you saying “no” to?
- If you want to ask for some help, who would be supportive and non-judgmental as you explore?
- When will you begin?
- How will you know your new money story is accurate and truly your own?