I laughed out loud in the bathtub a few months ago while reading my friend Kate Northup's book, Money: A Love Story. She was telling the story of how she did everything she could to avoid opening her bank and credit card statements. I had thought I was the only one who did this! I developed a serious financial avoidance habit back in the days of being a broke graduate student. I always knew that the numbers held within the envelopes would make me anxious and upset... so I just stopped looking.
There were many years when I was making a plentiful salary in addition to being married to a man who earned well, so I continued to indulge my practice of "ignorant bliss," convincing myself that I avoided finances in order to feel abundant; so that more wealth could flow to me. While I was lucky enough to make this work most of the time, I ran into occasions where I over-drafted my checking account merely because I wasn't paying attention.
There is definitely a place for practicing the mindset of abundance and wealth manifestation, but it must be done in addition to the more practical steps of staying on top of finances, evaluating cash flow, setting financial goals, and becoming money savvy. And yes, it's entirely possible to become financially savvy even if you never have before. This is something I can personally attest to despite the challenges I even face.
Now, I am an entrepreneur and I made the leap to leave my secure job over a year ago. I am also a single mom. These two things have brought money fears back to the forefront. Will there be enough? Is it irresponsible to continue on my entrepreneurial path when I can have a more secure and regular paycheck in the corporate world? How should I invest my resources in the most smart and impactful way?
Following dreams and becoming an entrepreneur will bring any money fears or issues that you have directly to the surface.
When money issues arise, you have the power to take control. All you need is the discipline to stay on top of things, the desire to learn, and the self-control to make the best decisions with each dollar...in addition to practicing wealth manifestation and positive money thoughts.
Here are my top tips for overcoming financial fears:
Call yourself out. When you see that bank statement arrive in the mail or discover a bill hidden in a pile of paper and think, "I can't deal with this right now," call yourself out on the moment of avoidance you just experienced. Recognizing the rejection of this perceived threat is a strong start to getting on track.
Take control of your money. Open every one of your bank statements and know exactly what you've got and where it's going. Once I started tracking my business finances more closely, I started noticing where I was wasting and leaking money on things like auto-renewals, memberships I don't use, and so forth. Awareness and accountability helped me get excited about the growth of my business. Feeling "in control" of my money has been a most powerful practice.
Do you know your gross income, net income, operating expenses, interest rates, etc.? These were terms that I used to dread, but now they excite me. They are an indicator of the impact I am going to be able to make in the world one day by supporting my family and helping others. At present, I make the world a better place with my words, but someday I hope to help others with my financial abundance as well.
Kate Northrup recommends creating a joyful ceremony when working on finances to help shift our thoughts from fear and lack to excitement and gratitude. Create a weekly money party, where you have a glass of champagne and celebrate your success and abundance, no matter how small. Focusing on all of the good you have related to your finances is certain bring more wealth your way!
Educate yourself. When I got serious about taking control of my finances, I realized that I had to learn everything I could about being an effective businesswoman, money manager, and financial investor. Here are a few of my favorite online resources to get you started:
- The Daily Worth - Offering free financial and career advice for women
- Project Eve - A global community of women actively reinventing their careers
- Dave Ramsey - He offers a plethora of money related classes, tips, and tools
Practice positive affirmations about your finances and abundance. You get more of whatever it is you focus your attention on. If you are constantly experiencing financial stress and thoughts of lack, that's what you will continue to receive in your life. Conversely, when you focus on all the blessings and wonderful things you do have -- even if it's only $100 in your savings account or a comfortable home -- then expressing unending gratitude can continue to bring more lovely things into your world.
- I am abundant in money and love.
- I prosper in all areas of my life.
- I make the world a better place with my abundant wealth.
Trust God. I have had experiences at various times throughout my life where I looked at my account balances and wondered how I would pay an upcoming bill, or how I'd be able to cover a check I'd already written. I prayed and trusted God, and somehow it would always work out. I've even received completely unexpected checks in the mail at the exact moment I needed it most. The universe has a way of looking out for us when we stop worrying and simply trust (while working hard), as promised in this beautiful Bible verse:
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" - Matthew 6: 25-27
Understand and heal your money history. I can look back in my life and see with greater clarity how my life experiences have contributed to the ways I have managed money poorly. Once you have a more clear understanding about why you behave and believe as you do, you can see where the false stories came from. Maybe you were told that you are irresponsible with money, or that people have to work extremely hard to make a fair day's wage, or maybe even that conscious and enlightened people shouldn't care about money. These "truths" that we are raised to believe sink into our subconscious and affect our decision-making. We need to dig deep and see our history with a more accurate lens so we can correct it.
The beautiful thing is that we have the power to start creating a positive financial future, today. We can gain control of money and use it as a powerful tool.
Please share with me how you've overcome financial struggles and shifted into a more powerful place with money. I look forward to learning from one another!