Have you ever heard the phrase “money is the root of all evil” or the more commonly cited “money doesn’t grow on trees”? Do you often bemoan how expensive things are? Or gaze in confused awe (and sometimes jealousy) at millennial self-made millionaires on the gram? That, my friend, is what a modern-day money guru might call a “money mindset block”.
If you haven’t heard of the term “money mindset”, you might consider figuring out what your particular brand of money neuroses is and how to reformulate it if it’s not serving you. “Money mindset” emerged in the early 20th century. Heralded as the father of money mindset, Napoleon Hill wrote his first book, Think and Grow Rich, on the concept in 1937, although there are lesser-known authors who published similar teachings towards the end of the 1800s.
Mastering your money mindset is about re-writing your “money story” — how you relate to money — in order to create more richness in your life. As a money and energetics coach, I have been working with clients for years to help them create more wealth by overcoming money mindset blocks and limiting beliefs. Of course, money mindset goes beyond acknowledging your feelings about wealth acquisition or buying into manifestation hacks, but if you want to make more money, a good place to start is within your own mind.
Overhauling your money mindset is different for everyone and the journey itself is as unique as we are. This is because our capacity for receiving money is directly linked to our lived human experiences. Your money mindset, and therefore your financial status, is linked to who you are, or, more specifically, who you believe you are. Your self-identity is the driving force behind the beliefs you choose to buy into, the decisions you make and the outcomes you create as a result.
If you find that money is hard to come by and your life is limited because of your financial situation, the theory behind money mindset dictates that, at least in part, this is your own doing. Your reality has been dictated by the actions you’ve taken as a result of decisions you’ve made, all of which have been fuelled by your belief of who you are, and how the world works as an extension of who you are within it. Yikes! Now before you hurl the pages of this magazine across the room, stick with me.
Personal responsibility is your first money mindset tool to un-doing your existing reality and recreating a new one that works for you financially. Taking personal responsibility for the situations you find yourself in is a super power that can change your whole life, not just your financial life. Blame and shame are emotions that trap us in un-serving realities. When we blame an ex-husband, an old boss, our parents or the government for our financial problems, we’re giving our power away and we become powerless to do anything about changing that reality. We become trapped in the mindset that we are the victim, and as a victim we can’t control how we think and feel about life, money or anything else for that matter. We are at the mercy of other people’s beliefs, decisions and actions, instead of taking command of our own beliefs, decisions and actions.
When we shame ourselves for not getting that promotion, or for pumping money into a business venture that failed, or for not being more sensible with savings and credit cards when we were younger, we give our power away to stories in our mind that do nothing to change our financial reality. And here’s the thing about the things you tell yourself in your head — they’re just stories. Stories that don’t serve you and keep you trapped on the hamster wheel of financial “stuckness”.
Personal responsibility is having the courage to say: this is my reality and I alone have the responsibility to change it, to evolve my money mindset into one capable of creating financial freedom. Personal responsibility is also the permission you give yourself to wipe the slate clean and start a brand-new relationship with money. It’s also worth recognising at this point that everything you do believe about money has predominantly been projected onto you by others — likely by your parents initially, then peers and media. No-one is to blame here; narratives are unconsciously passed down from parent to child, so while personal responsibility is powerful, it’s not a weapon with which to beat yourself.
In order to establish a new financial reality, you must first understand your beliefs around money and identify those that are limiting you. A couple of key questions will help you demystify your relationship with money:
Q1: Think about the most money you’ve ever made in a year. Does this give you a feeling of shame? Perhaps defensiveness or awkward self-admittance? Perhaps you felt pride, but still tinged with a feeling of it not being enough?
Q2: Do you believe it’s possible for you to make and receive more money in your current job / business / financial set-up? If you answered no or had a conditional response, such as “yes but only if…”, then we can assume your beliefs around money are limited and, unsurprisingly, your finances are challenged as a result.
There’s a saying in the coaching world that how you do money is how you do everything, because it’s understood that money is one of the most emotional and stressful aspects of life. Who you are when you’re handling money stress is a huge indicator of your belief systems.
Are you the type of person who shoves bills and statements in a drawer in an effort to avoid handling your finances? Do you fall into an anxiety trap when money seems tight? Do you gamble, buy scratch cards and play the lottery because you believe the only way to receive more money is to win it by fluke? Perhaps you’re the type of person who has already recognised that your money mindset needs work in order to step into the financial reality you desire, and so you’re nodding along to this, recognising how far you’ve already come.
Even if you’re not hungry for extreme wealth, wanting more money, even just a little bit more, is a state most people find themselves in. Just a little bit more would make life more comfortable and less stressful right? But herein lies another money mindset problem. While we live in a state of “not having enough money”, our mind is focused on “not having enough money”. Our external world is often a reflection of our internal world. So as long as you focus on the absence of money and continue with thoughts of scarcity, you will operate from a scarcity perspective.
Spending and saving from a scarcity mentality can look like many different things, including:
- You rack up credit card debt (because “hello freedom, this is fun”, but underpinning this is a scarcity belief of “the only way I can have the things I want is if I pay on credit, because I’ll never have the cash I desire”).
- You squirrel away every last cent into a savings account for a rainy day that never comes (because in your fear-based state, you spend your whole life saving and never enjoying your earnings).
- You empty your savings account as quickly as you fill it (because you don’t believe you’re capable of living a reality where you can have enough money for a healthy savings account).
- You only buy something if it is discounted, on a sale or in some other way labelled as a bargain (because you’ve likely understood at some point in your life that you’re not worth the full price).
I’ve encountered hundreds of limiting beliefs and scarcity behaviours through my work, but the resounding narrative is that money is limited, and that you are in some way incapable or unworthy of changing your limited reality. The more we believe these narratives, the more evidence we obtain from our experiences that our beliefs about money are true.
Well, your reality is changeable, claimable and completely re-arrangeable! Here’s how.
Money mindset 101
- Get acquainted with your money behaviours and beliefs
How do you spend? How do you save? How do you receive money? Why do you spend this way? What are your beliefs behind this behaviour? Why do you save (or not save) this way? What are your beliefs behind this behaviour?
For the receiving question, recognise all streams of income and how they make you feel. These might include your job or business, inheritance or family funds, a partner who supports you, selling stuff you no longer need, tax rebates, side hustles, ad hoc work etc.
I find with many of my clients there are often other ways in which money could be received but are often refused. For example, perhaps you have a family member who has offered to help you financially, but you prefer to do it on your own because you have a belief that going it alone is somehow better.
Perhaps you have guilt around receiving? Does it feel uncomfortable or awkward for you to accept help? Does it make you feel “less than” in some way? Spoiler alert: if this is how you feel about receiving money from one avenue, it’s likely blocking the flow of money from all avenues. If you reject money from any source, then you’re making your financial circumstances unnecessarily difficult for yourself. This is a classic example of how your beliefs around money are impacting your behaviours, which results in a scarcity reality.
- Rewire your mindset
For each limiting belief you have about money, write down a more empowered antidote. What would you like to believe instead? For example, a scarcity belief might be: “It’s impossible for me to change my financial situation because I’m in a job which isn’t commission-based or performance-driven, and I haven’t had a pay rise or a bonus in years.”
An empowered antidote might be: “My job is only one way in which I can receive money. I’m available to receive money from a multitude of sources in creative and surprising ways.”
The more antidotes you can write, the better. Initially it may feel like a pointless exercise because you won’t believe the new mindset mantras. In fact, you may feel quite ridiculous. Humans find comfort in the “known”, even if the known isn’t where we want to be. One of the biggest challenges I see with my clients is the capacity to recognise they’re actually comfortable in their non-serving beliefs, and the life they desire requires an exit from the comfort zone of known and familiar truths. Remember nothing changes until your beliefs change.
- Catch yourself in the act
Much personal responsibility is required from this point. You must now become hyper aware of your money-related thoughts as you go about your day-to-day, but especially as you engage in money behaviours.
Every time you open your purse, make a purchase, do some online banking, shove another unopened bill in a drawer, or have a conversation about money, make a note of your thoughts and endeavour to catch yourself in the scarcity act. As you do, take the opportunity to rewire your mindset. Instead of allowing the scarcity story to dictate your behaviour and emotions in that moment, repeat the empowered antidote to yourself and take action from that state of being instead. It will take practice, and you will feel awkward for a while until it becomes your new normal.
- Claim a new identity
As you claim a more empowered mindset around money, your personal identity will also shift. How you operate with money has begun to change, and now who you are with money will also change. One of my favourite questions to ask myself whenever I catch myself in limiting money beliefs is: “Is this the woman I want to be?” It’s a powerful question that often stops me in my tracks and forces me to reclaim my identity as a woman capable of making and manifesting money.
For example, whenever I find myself wobbling over making an investment, I ask myself: “Do I want to be a woman who can’t make powerful decisions for herself? Do I want to be a woman who has forgotten her power and money-making abilities?” No, absolutely not. Instead, I reclaim who I want to be: “I am a woman who can make big investments without fear. I am a woman in control of my financial reality.”
- Change your environment
Your environment is one of the biggest influences in your identity evolution. If you surround yourself with people who operate solely in a scarcity mindset, you’ll find yourself in a text exchange every Friday night trying to figure out the cheapest way to have a night out for the rest of your life. If you continue to listen to Uncle Eric’s advice on business when Uncle Eric doesn’t make the money you aspire to make, well then … you see where this is going.
We have an incredible opportunity to curate our own echo chamber via social media. While this isn’t necessarily beneficial for every aspect of our human evolution, where money is concerned, if you want to change your financial reality, surrounding yourself with evidence that it’s possible is going to do a lot to shift your perception. If you want to up your game, get in a room with people who inspire you. While the IRL options for this may be limited given the times we find ourselves in, the internet is not closed for business. There are masterminds, social media groups, zoom rooms and coaching containers in abundance.
Money mindset isn’t taught to us at school, so it’s our responsibility to seek out our own teachers and hold ourselves accountable to doing the work. It’s one thing to nod along to this article, and quite another to implement the steps and change your reality. I’ll say it again: nothing changes until something changes. Action taken from an empowered mindset, followed by confident decisions, is a game changer.
Harriette Jackson is a money and energetics coach based in the United Kingdom. She teaches her global clientele of spiritual freelancers and entrepreneurs how to achieve abundance in all areas of their lives.