When I mentor entrepreneurs I always start by talking to them about their relationship with money.
I don’t mean explaining the nuts and bolts of a balance sheet/profit & loss statements or even visualizing their SMART money goals (though these both have value).
I mean how they relate to money, the story you tell yourself about money.
The first lesson? To realize that money is energy.
How you relate to money, as much as your brilliant business idea or your skill at running a company, determines your success.
Think of the lottery ticket winners who win millions only to lose it all within several years. Or the celebrities that hit it big overnight and years later, have nothing to show for it.
Successful people are successful because they know how to harness energy. When you know how to wield energy you have the ability to control your life. . .
I met Keiko* (not her real name) when I worked at the Getty Museum.
Keiko majored in Art History and worked in Publications. I majored in Journalism and worked in Technology.
We’d meet at the outdoor coffee cart outside of the Museum. Cappuccino and chocolate chip cookies in hand, we’d meander through the outdoor sculptures, walk under the Rebar bougainvillea trees.
Keiko was gorgeous, graceful, and poised. Half Japanese and Caucasian — big eyes, muted red lips, porcelain skin with a sprinkling of freckles around her eyes, long beautiful black hair. Crisp white linen, neat black pencil skirts were her main muted look that exuded “trust fund” — although she was poor as a church mouse (like me).
Keiko introduced me to one of the most integral books that changed my life: The Energy of Money. She suggested we start a book club.
We’d meet every Sunday at her minimalist, tastefully decorated apartment, drink sparkling limoncello, nibble on rice crackers and brie, complete the exercises in The Energy of Money book and dream of life’s possibilities.
We’d hold each other accountable to our SMART money goals. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound)
One of my goals was to pay off my parents for enormous parking tickets that I accumulated as a student in Manhattan. I also vowed to pay off all my NYU college debt which I did within two years.
At one of our Energy of Money book club meetings, Keiko confessed that during a recent stay at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Santa Barbara with her rich boyfriend, she stole several silver sterling items, a couple of expensive candlesticks, silverware and glass dishes, from the penthouse suite.
Keiko stashed them in her suitcase and snuggled them under a pile of sweaters.
About half an hour into their drive back to LA, on the 101 Freeway, she realized she left her suitcase at the hotel.
Keiko and her boyfriend drove back to the Ritz. Because she didn’t have her name on the suitcase, the hotel employee had to open the suitcase so she could verify what was in the suitcase.
The Ritz hotel employee saw all the stolen items, puckered his lips nervously, but didn’t say a thing.
Keiko was gorgeous after all, and looked like she exuded money.
Keiko got away with it and she was pleased.
Apparently, this wasn’t the first time she did it.
After hearing that story, I was dismayed. I’ve made my share of poor decisions in the past but after reading The Energy of Money something within me shifted.
Before reading The Energy of Money, I probably would have shrugged it off but I learned from the book that each of us has a personal story around money.
What you say, what you do, how you relate to money, as much as your brilliant business idea or your skill at running a company, determines your success.
Keiko continued to share her stories — how she would destroy her boyfriend’s apartment after she suspected he was cheating on her.
This beautiful seemingly timid young woman would destroy artwork, hurl vases, break gigantic televisions. Glass flying everywhere.
After a raging confrontation, possessions destroyed, she’d eventually get back together with him.
After that story, I stopped calling her, distanced myself from her. We eventually stopped being friends altogether.
When making a change, I believe, the world and the energy you bring and surround yourself with also changes.
I did a search for her on Facebook and Instagram (we have mutual friends), and she looks exactly the same, stunningly beautiful, and pristine.
Underneath the gorgeous facade of photos on her Instagram feed, I wonder who she is, how she is.
Did she change like me?
Wherever she is, whoever she is, I hope she’s okay.
No matter where you are in life, I believe that you can make a change.
The decisions we make determine our destiny.
It’s up to us, to determine, just what type of destiny that is.