If only I knew then what I know now. . . have you ever muttered those words to yourself? As we experience life, we learn, we grow, we become better versions of ourselves. We might reflect on the poor choices we made in the past and think, if only. For example, I wish I had taken an interest in building wealth at a much younger age. Instead, I earned a good living and squandered it away on useless, material items. I believed I was entitled to buy whatever I wanted and never gave it a second thought. I let money slip through my hands. There was no long-term vision and my relationship with money was dysfunctional.
During my fifth job change since college, I discovered my passion for financial education. During this process of self-teaching, I learned a great deal about myself and my money habits. The most powerful thing I learned is thoughts and beliefs create feelings and feelings dictate action. The action we take leads to results. I was not getting the results I desired because my thoughts and beliefs about money were not serving me. I had to define my money philosophy.
What exactly is a money philosophy? It is a set of rules or guidelines that you create about saving, spending, earning, investing, and sharing money. Before I could discover and unleash my money philosophy, I needed to get a clear understanding of what I currently believed to be true. These beliefs were the reason I was not in a healthy relationship with my money.
Take earning money, for example. When I started to write down my beliefs about earning money, I realized these beliefs cropped up quite early in life. Before I reached school-age, my parents divorced. My mom worked day and night to provide for us and I rarely got to spend time with her. I learned that earning money was hard and it required a great deal amount of time and sacrifices (time away from family). I settled into believing I would never earn good money because I was going to put family first over working long hours. Today, I no longer believe this to be true.
The beliefs we form early in life stay deeply buried in our subconscious. When financial struggles come into our lives and we quickly accept it as fact. It must be part of this thing called adulting. But what if these thoughts about money were untrue? Remember the chain of events; thoughts cause feelings, feelings cause actions, and actions cause results. When people are dissatisfied with the results they are receiving, they are quick to focus on the action. This rarely changes anything, at least for the long-term. Thoughts are always the root-cause. The first step is to become aware of the sentences in your head.
Here are some thought-provoking questions that will help unveil your current beliefs about earning money. Write down your answers to these questions so that you can continue to reflect on them.
- Is money easy or difficult to earn?
- Do you have to put in a lot of time to earn a good amount of money?
- How much money is a good amount?
- Do you currently earn a good amount of money?
If you generally believe money is difficult to earn, you will continue to be stuck in a state of scarcity. Shifting your belief to earning money is easy might be unrealistic because you won’t believe it to be true. Start with telling yourself a more neutral statement such as, I can earn money. Over time, your thoughts about earning and attracting money can gradually come from a place of abundance. An example of an abundant belief is, “I have earned money before and I have the ability to earn more.”
It is important to remember that changing your mindset doesn’t happen overnight. Much like learning to ride a bike, it requires time and patience. A financial and personal development blogger, Natalie Bacon, suggests asking better questions of yourself. Instead of asking, “Why am I so broke?” try asking “How can I bring more money into my life?” The questions we ask our brain can play a critical role in the mindset shift because the brain will go to work to find the answer.
The over-arching goal in everything I do today is to share information in hopes of it reaching someone earlier in life than it did for me. Time is a powerful factor when it comes to money. If a person can make smart choices with their money early, it can be life-changing. Get going and be intentional about creating the life you want to live. Are you inspired to develop your own money philosophy? Schedule a financial coaching session by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.