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A fall clean-up for your money beliefs...in Episode #35 of the She Breaks The Mold Podcast
To quote Marie Kondo of the KonMari method fame, “what sparks joy” for you when you think about your business? Lots of you will answer this with perfectly wonderful thoughts like, “Serving my customers”, or “Doing what I love every day”, or “Following my passion and setting my own schedule”.
But what about the financial results and impact of your business? If that part doesn’t spark joy for you, you should be asking yourself why not? And how it’s supposed to unless you give it a little love in return?
If you love what you do, love serving your customers and love being your own boss, you want to protect your ability to do that and focus on how to make enough revenue to stay in business. This is really hard to do for a lot of women. We’ve been conditioned to think about anything (and everything!) but money in our business. We don’t want to be referred to as a “rich bitch” or as someone who values money over people. As if those things are mutually exclusive.
This episode is all about the work — the deep dive, the looking inside — that’s important before you can release the beliefs you hold about money that prevent you from moving forward and instead, keep you stuck in an unhelpful, unprofitable place.
Welcome to episode #35 – De-cluttering your money mindset! This episode is all about the work, the deep dive, the looking inside…however you want to refer to it – that’s important before you can release the beliefs you hold about money that prevent you from moving forward and instead, keep you stuck in an unhelpful, unprofitable place.
This episode is brought to you by my new 8-week group online coaching course, Banish Your Money Blocks, that starts October 1 – so one month from now – and which I’ll be talking about a little today, and a lot in the next few weeks. October is just over a month away folks! It’s one of my favourite months of the year, but yeah. I know…uggh.
I don’t know about you, but I think of fall as a time of renewal and restart even more than New Years – maybe it’s about kids going back to school, or ending the summer and looking forward to what’s next and I just think it’s a great time to revisit our goals – both personal and business – and plan for what you want next. That’s why I’ve planned this course to start on Oct 1 – to give you some help to finish out the fourth quarter strong and to set you up brilliantly to make some powerful 2020 money goals for your business. More on that in a few minutes…
As a little homage to Marie Kondo, I’ve spent the last 18 months or so working on figuring out what “sparks joy” in my beliefs about money and trying to release everything else that doesn’t work for me or doesn’t feel like it’s contributing to the success mindset I want to approach my business with.
I want to be careful though, that when I say “sparks joy” because I don’t mean I completely ignore the thoughts and ideas I had (and to some extent may still have) that feel less than positive, or that challenge me or discourage me. Because both positive and negative feelings are equally important for our full human experience. We can’t appreciate the positive without the negative and they’re not going to hurt us anyway – they’re only thoughts (this is a whole topic on its own for another day). Anyway, I might as well examine them, get curious about them to see if I need them in my life to learn something, and release the ones that are acting as mental blocks and holding me back from achieving my goals. This is the mindset I invite you to embrace if you’re going to try my money decluttering exercise, a link for which is going to be a the end of this episode. I’m offering this as a video exercise that you can get a link for towards the end of this episode and via the episode shownotes at beambitiousforher.com/decluttering.
When I first started working on my money mindset – I’m going to be real here – I figured I might just be a lost cause. I believed in some hard and fast rules around money, most of which have been reinforced over and over by society, my upbringing, and because I’m a woman in western society.
And I don’t say this to beat myself up about it – I think that’s a dangerous tendency with a lot of mindset work…that we look at our old ways of thinking as broken, or bent or just somehow not fully formed. I love what Maya Angelou said about this: “Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it.” I love that sentiment. It provides the grace for change, acknowledgement and learning. But note that she also said, “Do your best until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” So forgive yourself, but don’t turn that forgiveness into a crutch that allows you to keep limping along on the same mistake or poor behavior. That’s what the money work I do with my clients is for. It’s for when you’re ready to recognize the negative and often damaging money mindsets we’ve been socialized to carry around that are hurting our ability to find autonomy and agency and yes, to start building financial independence and even generational wealth.
This topic – women and our beliefs about money – is so new, it’s no surprise it’s still a tough thing for many us to intentionally think about. We don’t think about this very much, but we’ve only recently been invited into the conversation – like in my lifetime, recently. And I use the word invited on purpose because it was a space where we weren’t allowed a voice for a very long time. Our participation in the economy and in our own family’s livelihood was literally controlled by society – and by men. Let’s back up a second and examine what that really means…
If you’re a Downton Abbey fan, and you love Lady Mary’s character and her quest to keep her family’s inheritance, you probably understand the impact of historical laws in western society – laws that now seem ancient. But they’re not that far in our past and they prevented women from owning property, or inheriting wealth from their fathers. It was urgently important for upper class women to “marry well” because their family fortunes were only passed down through the male lineage in their families, and women could be left with very little or dependent upon their parents if they stayed single.
And that was the case for families with money – there was zero opportunity for women in servant classes to rise above their situations and provide opportunity for their children or grandchildren because they rarely had enough for their own survival. I separate Western society in this example because it’s important to note that there are still so many women without these rights in the world – so many girls who can still only dream of what we’re talking about here today. So this is by no means a historical fact or fiction even today for too many women and girls.
In case you’re not sure why we still need feminism in the Western world or think this is just the mindset of hundreds of years ago, I want to give you a more recent history lesson. To think I worried my BA in history would never come in handy…LOL:
In Canada, where I live, women couldn’t legally open bank accounts in their own names and without her husband’s (or another man’s) signature until 1964. And it wasn’t until 1978 that The Canada Labour Code was amended to eliminate pregnancy as a basis for lay-off or dismissal. That’s right – until as recently as 1978, you could be fired from your job for getting pregnant!!! And before that, as soon as you got married – not even pregnant, you were expected to quit your job – meaning you’d be “invited to resign”.
In the United States, women had trouble getting credit cards in their own names until 1974 when the Senate passed the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, making it illegal to discriminate against someone based on their gender, race, religion and national origin. Before this, banks could ask all kinds of intrusive, sexist and racist questions: Was she married? Did she plan to have children? Many banks required single, divorced or widowed women to bring a man along with them to co-sign for a credit card, and some discounted women’s wages by as much as 50 percent when deciding what their credit card limits should be.
But don’t for a second think that these new laws fixed everything. As late as 2012, research by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority in the US showed women pay on average a half percentage point more in interest on credit card debt than men do. The study indicates that the interest rate difference was a direct result of less responsible credit management behaviour on behalf of women (so behaviours like only paying minimum balances, making late payments etc). But before we jump to a conclusion that’s an indicator that women are less responsible with money, the study also showed that amongst the most financially literate people who participated in the study, there was no difference in credit behaviour between men and women. So financial literacy matters and we’ve done a crappy job of providing it for women, and particularly for women who didn’t already have the means and opportunity to become financially literate. And surprise surprise, the women’s degree of financial literacy and good behaviour didn’t impact the rates they paid. If they were women, they paid half a percent more in interest.
On top of that, we’ve all seen the credit card ads making women out to be hopeless shopaholics who can’t let their credit cards cool down for a hot second before spending again. It’s a heavy message that a lot of women have internalized without even realizing it – similar to the pinkification of a lot of products that really don’t have an obvious gender association.
And it’s a message we repeat without even thinking about it most of the time.
I invite you to really hear this next statement and think about the ways in which you might still believe otherwise: There’s nothing different in our DNA that makes women like shopping more than men. Think about that for a minute. A recent CNBC poll showed that while most people impulse shop at various times, men spend more on their impulse purchases than women do. And yet, the shopaholic woman stereotypes persist. Women still take on the majority of household labour, so it makes sense we also do the majority of the shopping. But these studies don’t seem to separate shopping women are doing to care for their homes and families, and the impulse style of shopping we’re credited with cornering the market on.
I’ve started really paying attention to this messaging recently and have noticed it coming so often from women to support this internalized thinking. Comments like: “I would really like to be more environmentally conscious, but like most women, I like new things. I like to shop. You know, us girls…I’m sure you’re the same…we like our shopping trips”. This is an actual statement I heard from an online influencer just last week. Maybe she really does like her shopping habits. But it sounds more like a justification for not living within her values and it’s an easy justification to make because we’re SO socialized to believe it’s ok and expected for women to say this.
Likely because I’m so attuned to this work, it’s easy for me to identify that this is probably just a money mindset issue. There’s nothing inherent in women that makes us enjoy shopping more than men do. There’s some suggestion in the psychology and anthropology worlds that this behavior is left over from our hunter-gatherer days – that women are more prone to browsing behavior because of that history, but this is just theory and it doesn’t explain anything in our current culture now that those instincts no longer serve us. It also doesn’t explain why I can’t stand shopping and my teenage son loves it. I have a really hard time going to a mall with him because he could look around for hours while I just want to get what we came for and leave already. My husband also takes FOREVER in the grocery store – he comparison shops and checks out new brands and reads every label – it’s to the point where we can’t even go to the store together it drives me so crazy. He listens to this podcast and I’m sure he’s cracking up right now! These are anecdotal stories, of course, but we’re all capable of choosing our behavior where shopping is concerned. I find the idea that I like shopping because I have a uterus to be pretty condescending and obnoxious. If you like it and want to continue, go for it. But if you have money blocks because of this belief and want to change them, keep listening….
I believe we’ve been conditioned to think we should love shopping, and so it becomes a buffering or diversion activity – something we do to make ourselves feel better when we are facing an uncomfortable situation – or because we think it’s expected of us. If shopping and new things really made us feel better, we wouldn’t have to keep buying more and more new things. We did it once or twice, that should be the end of it. Because we feel better now, right?
I don’t say this to shame anyone, but I want to call attention to just how insidious these socialized mindsets are and how they affect our behaviour and the way we interact in our relationships as well.
All this is to say, the work I offer to women is intended to help them make money in their businesses, to help them find strength in their conversations about money in their relationships, and to help them see that this is a topic FOR us and that the only way we get a real seat at decision making tables is truly to start taking control of our financial lives, futures and intentions.
Hear me now: women are not inherently bad with money. I know a lot of you out there aren’t quite ready to believe that (especially those of you who are the Romantic or Connector archetypes – more on that in a minute), but its true. It’s just that we’ve been exposed to such damaging social messaging about money for so long that we believe the clutter and the crap that’s been sold to us, and we can’t see past it to begin to feel better. And so it’s so much easier and more comfortable to just ignore it.
The problem is, if you’re running a for profit business, you can’t continue to ignore your money beliefs for very long before they bite you right in the ass.
Think about any negative reactions that are bubbling up in your brain right now, just because of what I’m saying. What are you arguing with me about in your mind? What are you shouting at your phone right now? I’ll tell you what I was shouting when I first heard this: “But saving money is good! It’s responsible! I don’t want to take on debt to grow my business! It will make me uncomfortable (as if that’s a bad thing). Whatever is coming up for you right now are the mindset issues that you just might need to address. And I guarantee you have some unhelpful mindsets. We all do. And here’s the kicker…we always will. Every time we reach a new level in our businesses, or face a new unplanned experience, a new money mindset issue will rear its head and ask us to react – you get to decide how intentional that reaction is. One more thing…if you’re saying to yourself “I don’t have any money blocks”, you might need this work more than anyone else. Again, no shame!! But if you can’t even see one place where a healthier money mindset could help you in your business, you’re either a robot or you’re in denial. It’s that simple. Even the world’s wealthiest people can have money blocks. They might be about safety and security, they might be about spending problems, they might be about feeling OK with having so much. If you’re human and live in Western society, I can almost guarantee you have them
Back to the archetypes:
The group online coaching course I’m launching in October, called “Banish Your Money Blocks”, is based on two concepts: one, that our thoughts are neutral and don’t determine our behavior until we assign a feeling to them (this is work I’ve recently embarked on with Brooke Castillo and the Life Coaching school), and two that we can use a system of 8 different personality types or archetypes to explain some of how we think about money to help us challenge those thoughts and feelings and then make decisions that better reflect our goals with money in our businesses. The archetypes are Alchemist, Accumulator, Connector, Celebrity, Nurturer, Maverick, Romantic and Ruler. And you can hear lots more about them in episode #30 – How I learned to stop worrying and love money and so can you.
I’m certified to offer this money archetypes work by it’s creator, Kendall Summerhawk, and I’m so excited to share it with you because it helped me change my own mindset drastically. It’s not magic. It’s not about manifesting money, although the word manifesting doesn’t refer to magic either – it just means “to make real” so you better believe it requires some action beyond just dreaming. I digress…
It’s about recognizing that we all carry around money stories that were put there by our upbringing (and stereotypes like “women love to shop”) and then learning to have the option of believing a different story instead. A new story that empowers you rather than tying your hands financially. This involves analyzing our current beliefs, doing some decluttering of the stuff that gets in our way of doing that, and replacing those old beliefs that were never really ours to begin with, with something that fits us much better and allows us to move forward with new empowering beliefs.
So for example…my son’s love for shopping relates not to his gender, but to his Romantic archetype – his belief that you don’t take money with you, so you might as well spend it here and now while you can get the most enjoyment from it. He loves spoiling family members on birthdays and at Christmas – even when he was young he was FAR more interested in watching someone open the gift he thought about and either made or bought for them than he was in the gifts he was receiving.
One of my top archetypes is Accumulator which means I bring a belief that saving is more important than spending, we should always approach money responsibly, and that I can real anxiety around spending when saving is an option! I talk myself out of purchases I don’t really “need” all the time. And yes, that serves me sometimes. But in business, it can keep me playing small, working harder not smarter, and not investing in my future growth.
The beauty is, once we realize these are our beliefs and thoughts about money, we can work on modifying them so they become thoughts that empower us and our businesses. For instance, I can replace an unhelpful thought like “There’s an unfair imbalance of wealth in the world, therefore it’s not right for me try to accumulate more money” with “I can’t help, give or be of assistance from a place of scarcity. My staying small makes certain that I can’t help anyone, including myself. By empowering my own success, I can more easily help others.”
You can see that the intention in both statements remains the same…I’m interested in helping others and correcting imbalances of wealth and power. But the second belief is the one that will help me get to a place where I can impact my desire to do so. The first one makes sure I stay in a place where I’m more likely to require assistance than I am to be able to provide it.
This is why I love this work – if you want to learn more about it, visit beambitiousforher.com/banish-your-money-blocks to find out more about how my 1:1 program works. The group online course will be for up to 10 women – and will run for 8 weeks until mid-November, ending just in time for US thanksgiving. Imagine what you could be thankful for after this kind of eye opening experience!
This is the first time I’m offering this work outside of my 1:1 coaching where I already include it either as a full separate program, or as part of a larger 1:1 program. I’m hoping to reach some of you who maybe can’t afford 1:1 coaching right now, but want to have the benefit of the work and feel good about sharing this learning with a community of other women who are in the exact same place in their business journeys with money.
This is not easy work, but it’s such rewarding work! And having done it, I believe its foundational to starting and running a for-profit businesses.
If you want to be notified about this as soon as I release webinar registration dates without having to check back, be sure you’re subscribed to my newsletter at beambitiousforher.com/subscribe. And you’ll be on the list to receive everything I send out about the program in the next few weeks.