Here’s the thing about talking about money: when you start a conversation about how awesome money is and about new ways to welcome it into your life, lots of people start edging away from you like you’ve suddenly sprouted ugly green blotches on your face and it’s clear you’re diseased. People are nervous about talking about money, as if they’ll wake some cave troll by talking too loudly about something so necessary and useful. There’s so much fear surrounding money: fear of loss, fear of making mistakes, fear of scarcity. Most of us would sooner continue with the status quo than make changes that could risk everything we have.
Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone
Fear keeps you in your comfort zone. Even if that comfort zone is actually a war zone, at least its familiar. This is our subconscious mind working so hard behind the scenes to keep us safe. We have these primal barriers established in our brains that resist change. What we know is safe in some way because we’re still alive, right? When you try to change something big and fundamental, your brain rises up screaming: “I got you this far, dude! Don’t fuck it up now!” It will do everything it can do to protect you from failing. Those feelings associated with risk and change come from thousands of generations back when we learned that if we do strange new things we risk being expelled from the tribe. How do we get past those primal gatekeepers and make the big changes that have the potential to open us up to exciting new horizons?
“You have the life you’re willing to put up with.” – Gary John Bishop (Unf*ck Yourself)
The truth is that you took all the steps that brought you to where you are now, and you can get yourself out of the areas of your life that don’t fulfill your dreams. You just need to adjust the way you think, and especially speak, about yourself and your circumstances.
Begin With Desire
What do you want? What outcome would you like to achieve? How would money (or whatever you want to bring more of into your life) change your life for the better? Your desire needs to be strong in order to shout down your subconscious. Try this: think of someone you love and think about this desire in terms of them. What would you wish for them? How would their life change with more security, more spending money, more freedom? Does your fear melt a bit when you state your desires as being for the good of a loved one? We are often less afraid when we have to make a big choice for someone we love, right? I would not hesitate to run into a burning building to save one of my kids. No question.
You Can’t Help Others Until You Help Yourself
We put ourselves last. Especially women. Even the airlines know this, so they explicitly tell you to put your mask on first and then assist other people. Why is that? Because you cannot help them if you are choking. You cannot help others if you yourself are in danger. In order to best help them you must help yourself first. Where are the places in your life where you need help? Have you been leaving those problems unattended hoping that someone will come to the rescue someday? Be your own cavalry! It’s like when Harry Potter was convinced his dad’s spirit would come to his rescue beside the lake, but all along it was himself who was the powerful wizard who could beat the dementors! Face your fears. Many things are much less scary when we shine a light on them and take an honest look.
Examine your words, for starters. Pay attention to what you habitually say. Where money is concerned, do any of these things come bubbling out of your mouth regularly: “I’m no good with money.” “I’m bad at math.” “I can’t afford that.” “I don’t want to think about money.”? You are creating your reality and reinforcing it every time you open your mouth. Many of the things we habitually say are not even our own reality, but have been handed down to us from parents, teachers and guardians who also probably meant to keep us from being scary risk taker, for our own good of course. Take a close look at your money stories. The things you believe and the values you have are often the product of your family life and largely go unquestioned because you learned them at such a young age. Can you remember some of the things you were taught about money from the adults in your life? Make a list of some of your beliefs and see if any need some serious editing.
Rewrite Your Stories
These might look like baby steps, but that’s how we learned to walk and it works the same way here. (Remember Bill Murray in What About Bob?) Maybe “I don’t know where to start” can morph into “Ooh! This looks interesting! Let me give it a try!” How about that old chestnut “Money can’t buy happiness?” Hmmm, some of these things might bring happiness – ice cream cones, trips to the beach, massages, giving someone you love the best birthday present ever, taking your 86 year old grandma to dinner at Red Lobster because she swears that fried food doesn’t fill her up and, in fact, feeds her soul… Does money buy any of these things? OK, then let’s rewrite that one! How about “Money supports my happiness?” Say it loud! Say it proud! Make conscious choices about how you speak about money and your relationship to it so that you can welcome it into your life.
It’s not the task that’s important, it’s the life that’s available after that’s at stake here. – Gary John Bishop
Fear and excitement are two versions of the same feeling – both bring that shiver up your spine and that little gasp of surprise. So next time you’re scared of something, why not check to see if maybe that same reaction could be excitement instead? Get excited to learn something new. Feel the excitement of taking a small risk that might change your life forever. Do it for someone you love. Yourself.