Today I’m going to be sharing some very personal and, what I feel, vulnerable content around my own patterns with money.
But before we dive in…
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Now, let’s talk about money.
Are you tired of hearing that evvvverything is your mindset?
Especially when it comes to money?
What about the scarcity you feel?
Or the fear around what happens when you make more?
Or everytime you hit a new income level 100K, 2590K, 500K, 750K, 1M, you feel like you’re revisiting the same things you covered a few years back.
“What’s wrong with me”, you wonder
“What mindset hack am I getting wrong?”.
Now, here’s something that’s interesting — when I give talks on mindset to people who don’t venture onto social media, the concept of mindset is new to them.
For my community and clients who are scrolling their feeds on the regular, they are inundated with posts on mindset and specifically money mindset.
Many of these posts are written by marketers who are have learned marketing from someone else, who has learned marketing from someone else – and before you know it the origins of their marketing is rooted in some of the most predatory practices that manipulate a buyers pain.
In the case of mindset, the marketer winds up weaponizing our most vulnerable parts of ourselves – our innermost thoughts, fears, and forms of self protection – against you to make you feel not enough, like you’re doing it wrong or worse that you’re deeply flawed.
You are none of those things.
What you are is a human being who is the sum total of your life’s experiences, family conditioning, societal norms which are rooted in patriarchal view points, systemic racism, and colonized thinking.
I’m not an expert in the patriarchy.
I’m white and incredibly privileged, and just starting to learn all the ways our systems have been created to marginalize and oppress.
I only bring it up to say, yes, mindset is important — what you think and believe are important but what’s holding you back might go deeper.
It might go deep into your money story.
A story that needs to be documented, honored, accepted AND a story that you can write new chapters for.
I see people sharing tips on how you can rewrite your money story.
I appreciate the sentiment, but maybe your story doesn’t need to be rewritten, rebelled against and resisted.
Maybe it needs to be acknowledged, accepted and used as the prequel to your next great novel.
If you have never heard the term “money story”, I think of it as my money history; a record of my lived experiences with money that have shaped the way I relate to money.
Some of my history is true, and some of it is embellished or even untrue based on how my brain processed the experience.
AND – there is also a generational aspect to our money story, because we pick up on things from the generations before us, even if our ancestors weren’t alive when we were alive.
I’m going to demonstrate that to you by sharing my money story.
To facilitate this conversation and to bring some perspective to the topic, I’m going to share pieces of my money story and my money journey over the last decade.
As always, there will be some quick turn around actions you can take to see an immediate result from the content here.
Understanding our habits, behaviors, beliefs, attitudes, and stories around money is probably the single most important thing to do if you want to make or earn more money.
Regardless if you run your own business or you work in someone else’s business.
How you think/feel/experience/understand money directly impacts how much money you have.
Yes, there are circumstances and situations.
I learned ALL about that when our first business failed and we went bankrupt.
So, yes part of this IS about mindset but what I really want you to understand is there is a REASON why you think what you think — and that is what needs to be unpacked in a non judgmental, non traumatizing way.
For those of you who haven’t heard the term mindset before, the dictionary defines it as an established set of attitudes held by someone.
Our mindsets about money often come from our lived experiences and also our generational narratives that we pick up, not only from living family members but also what has been passed down from our ancestors.
I have clients who refer to this as “stinkin’ thinkin’” or “head trash” which I love, but also negates the impact of your money story on your healing journey.
We often must heal, not judge or berate our relationship with money, before we can go on to have, hold, love, and make larger investments with our money.
I’m sharing all of this here with you today because these are the very conversations I’m having in my mastermind, and with my 1:1 clients.
Behind closed doors of business owners who are building real, tangible wealth and scaling through 6 and 7 figures — the focus isn’t on getting more clients…
Or mindset hacks for thinking rich.
The focus is on doing the real work to heal, over and over and over again
Not by shaming them into a dark corner of our minds, but by having conversation after conversation where we disrupt our ingrained patterns and creating new lived experiences to write in future chapters of our story.
We are changing the story.
So, let’s dive in…
For most of my life, I was unconscious about money.
I knew it was a source of tension for my dad.
He would come home every Friday and count out his money, put it in piles and then divy it up into envelopes for himself and my mom.
He would do this thing where he snapped the bills to make sure they weren’t stuck together.
I remember watching and being intrigued but also cautious. This was NOT the time to interfere or interrupt Dad.
This snapping of the bills was serious business and as an empath…it felt very intense.
Although, my dad is just intense in general. It’s been said that he could make a cup of coffee nervous.
To better understand my dad is to understand that he grew up poor where there was a lot of trauma around safety and stability.
My grandfather was a successful and prolific artist who was illustrating and writing up until the day he died.
He kicked off his career as an inker for Marvel Comics, and just as they started to gain traction he sabotaged his career…or so the story goes.
Over and over and over again – Pops would start making money that would provide for his family, start to feel like a sell out and quick or burn it down.
My grandmother, who was born in another time, probably would have never gotten married or had kids, and wasn’t shy about how she felt about this.
Unfortunately she would reign terror down on my father by telling him to enjoy his night sleep in his bed because we don’t know when we are going to be out on the streets.
My dad remembers being terrified as a little boy that someone was going to rip him from his safe bed and throw him on the streets.
Why? Because of money.
To understand my grandparents behavior, you have to understand my great grandparents were refugees.
My great grandmother Evelyn spent her entire childhood fleeing the pogrums in Poland until she was 16 ,when she boarded a ship with a few siblings and cousins to come and find safety in America.
Not understanding the English language, she worked hard to learn English while she worked cleaning the homes of wealthy Americans in Manhattan.
She saved every penny, read the Wall Street Journal, and never watched TV because it was a waste of her time.
She saved every penny because she never knew when she would need to flee again, and she knew the only way out was to have money for safe passage.
Great Grandma Evelyn started a long line of tradition where you think men were good for nothing philanderers who couldn’t provide for their families, because that’s who SHE was married to.
It made perfect sense that my grandmother was constantly on my grandfather for his failure to provide. An unconscious thought that I have had to check myself on in my own marriage.
So, I come from a family of refugees who always need to save their money, it’s never enough because when they come for you — you will have to flee AND the ne’er do well husband,
I can’t go back much further in my family history only to say that all of myGreat Great Grandparents handed down a very well ingrained belief that nobody should ever know if you have money, because being Jewish and having any kind of means was seen as dangerous business back then.
Most of my Great Great Grandparents saved enough money to get their children to America or South Africa, and then they perished in the holocaust.
My Grandfather (not my biological Grandfather but his story matters) fled Germany when he was 8 because his father’s tailor shop was vandalized by the brownshirts, and they stood in his doorway forbidding patrons to enter.
So, this man built his business, had it destroyed, and had to start all over again.
I’m very conscious of when I start to feel like things are a fluke or like I will lose what I built.
It might not be my story and I can let it go.
Let’s play this all forward a bit.
My Dad, while he was anxious about money, was very clear on what he needed to thrive (also, since he made all the money he was the only one allowed to thrive or we all had to adapt to his level of thriving).
On one hand Dad was anxiously snapping bills, and on the other he wore a t-shirt that was VERY 80’s that said “he who dies with the most toys, wins.”
So there was a boat, a high speed raft, and ski trips. However, this was done in secret.
However, nobody who worked for or with my dad was to know about this secret life we lived on the weekends.
He didn’t want it to look like he had a lot of money.
My dad is a crazy saver — remember, refugee mentality.
I remember when he got his dream car, a Corvette.
He rented a garage around the block from his office. We called it the bat cave. He would drive the Corvette to the bat cave and then pick up the Ford truck to drive to work.
While I 100% understand why my dad did what he did and I appreciate his decision, the STORY that I picked up as a kid was that money was something to be ashamed of.
People won’t like us if we have money.
Nobody can know.
We must keep it a secret.
At every level my business income increases, I find myself sitting down with my ancestors to tell them it’s safe for me to talk about money and that not talking about money really holds me back.
Here is another part of my story and how I started to write the next chapter…
I worked since I was 15 years old.
I would get paid on Friday, drive to the mall on the way home, spend all the money.
Then I would have to borrow money from a cousin to make it to the next pay check.
Pay cousin back, proceed to mall, back to the cousin for a loan.
It was around this time that I learned the saying “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”
I had no idea why I kept repeating this cycle, and nobody seemed too keen to help me figure it out.
I just became known for being the family spender.
This produced a lot of feels around being out of control with money, and not being responsible.
It wasn’t until much later in life that I was able to let this story go and realized, this is pretty par for the course as a teenager.
No reason to judge or feel shame.
I was doing the best I could with the knowledge I had (which was zero).
When I was 16, I went into the city with my aunt and uncle.
They were taking my sister, my uncle (he’s actually younger than me — long story) and me. My Grandfather gave us all spending money.
Upon returning home, my sister asks my grandfather and my mom if she could keep the left over spending money.
Of course she could.
My uncle said that he had no money left over. When it was my turn, I looked at my mom and told her she owed my aunt money.
Simultaneously (at least in my memory) everyone laughed at me.
It then became the story that got told once a year as we sat around the holiday table. Everyone would have a good laugh but I was so embarrassed.
You see where we are going with this, right?
From a very early age, money equaled tension, anxiousness, embarrassment, shame and feelings of being out of control or irresponsible.
It’s funny too, because the things I never gave myself credit for was that I’ve earned my own money since I was 15,
I took my bills over within 60 days of graduating college, I moved out when I was 23.
I quit a decent job to take a huge risk on an internship in grad school — one that came with a significant decrease in pay and increased expenses due to a serious commute.
I took the risk because everyone said that if you work with this woman, if you allow her to mentor you, you will get one of the highest paying jobs out of school.
And I did.
I more than doubled the income of the job I left in less than a year. .
I never looked at how much money we saved to put a down payment on a house only how much I spent at JCrew.
Up until very recently, it was easier for me to say I went bankrupt than to say how fast we rebounded and were back to multiple 6 figure income.
Why and how exactly do these stories serve me?
They have caused me to undervalue myself.
When I first started coaching in December of 2014 with a masters degree and almost 20 years of experience, I was charging $10 per hour — not for long but that WAS my starting point.
The stories surface everytime I write or podcast on the topic of money — speaking publicly goes against a centuries worth of conditioning that says it’s not safe to talk about money
I can get caught in long cycles of frugality because I’m pinching pennies like my great grandmother.
Up until recently, I had been trying to hack my mindset without going deeper with what lies beneath my mindset.
Maybe you’re like a lot of people in my community, and are skeptical about all the woo woo money stuff — maybe you just realize there is a depth to our stories that can’t be bypassed.
Maybe you’re not doing it wrong at all. Maybe you’re doing it just right.
I want you to take ONE action.
It requires you to be both brave and curious.
The next time you notice a money thought or belief, ask yourself some good questions.
Who’s voice is this?
What’s the story or why do you have this thought, belief or feeling?
If it’s possible to ask your family some questions, sit down with a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle.
If it’s not possible, do some research on historical events during that time, what might it have been like for a great grandparent
Consider picking up Mark Wolynn’s book called “It Didn’t Start With You”
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