I work so hard and I still can't make ends meet.
I'll never be able to afford a vacation.
I'll take what I can get for this project, even if it's not my full rate.
You don't understand what it's like to struggle; it's the story of my life!
Do any of these statements, or some form of them, sound familiar? Do they sound like YOU? Consider this: Engaging in limiting thoughts limits your ability to succeed. No longer are such statements based on hypothetical schools of thought. We have endless scientific studies that tell us how thought patterns influence our health and well-being. We even know that negative thinking suppresses the immune system and often leads to illness. Studies published by the American Medical Association confirm that the majority of patient complaints and symptoms are stress-related. Wow!
"We become what we think about all day long."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson
So why engage in a constant stream of negativity? Old habits are hard to break, aren't they? If you were raised in a household filled with negative reminders about lack and limited resources or criticisms of the wealthy, you have most likely carried your learned beliefs and behaviors into adulthood. These learned responses are embedded in your brain and repeat themselves like an old, broken record; a constant reminder of your limitations. The poverty mindset is one of the most common; after all, we all know that money doesn't grow on trees!
So if we have this engrained 'knowledge' telling us that we can never succeed financially, how do we erase it? Depending on the degree of intensity, the solutions range from changing habits all the way to utilizing powerful Energy Psychology techniques like EFT Tapping. Below are some suggestions ranging from easy to more aggressive approaches. Try any combination to see what works for you.
"Change your thoughts and you change your world."
--Norman Vincent Peale
- Change your environment. If you are behind your computer all day long, searching for a solution, try a walk in nature instead. Begin your day by letting your thoughts go and allowing the calming effects of nature to soak in. As an added bonus, the exercise also helps eliminate stress.
- Connect with positive people. Instead of constantly commiserating others who are in a negative place, seek out the company of people with a positive, uplifting attitude about success and wealth. Observe their language, including their body language. Mimic the tone and body language and notice how much better it feels to you.
- Choose one or two affirmations or positive statements that really resonate with you and recite them throughout your day. Make sure you 'stair step' your affirmations; if you can barely meet your monthly financial obligations, using an affirmation like 'I am a magnet for wealth and prosperity' might not feel too uplifting; you simply won't believe it. Try starting with 'I choose to pay my bills with ease and gratitude' and 'graduate' to stronger statements as your energy moves in a positive direction. Affimations can actually change your brain chemistry.
- Start saving money. Even if you are struggling put away what you can. Make empowering choices with your money instead of creating more debt by buying things that make you feel better in the moment. I save change in one of those little jars that registers the 'deposit' with readout of the balance in the jar. It's really fun to watch it add up and creates a sense of control over finances. I began this practice years ago and still do it just for fun!
- Stand by your rates. I often see clients who reduce their pricing drastically to lure in clients and then feel resentful toward themselves and the client. Talk about getting stuck in a loop of negative emotion! There are creative ways to bundle your products and services so that everyone wins. Don't give yourself away! Prospects will sense your desperation and either turn away or take advantage of you. Remember, like attracts like. Do you want to attract clients who can afford you or others who engage in a poverty mindset?
- Appreciate your current wealth. Make a list of the good stuff in your life. Are you surrounded by people you love? Do you have a house, car and other things you enjoy? What do you feel fortunate to have in your life? Place more emphasis on what you DO have and as your energy lifts you will attract more of it.
- Expand your thinking. If your current business model isn't working and you are stuck in a rut of negative thought you would benefit from a coaching or mentoring relationship. Our ability to create and think out of the box is limited when we are in the poverty mindset loop. How long have you been waiting for your business to become profitable? If it's not working something obviously has to change and you need an outside influence to help you see the possibilities. Look for programs that you are willing to invest in and understand that it is an investment in YOU.
- Create psychological change. If your poverty mindset is deeply embedded think back to where and when it started. Are there specific events in your life that have 'taught' you that you cannot be financially successful? Odds are that there are. When these belief systems are deeply embedded, all of the positive thinking and exercise in the world may not erase them. Consistent negative feedback embeds itself in our nervous system and when our environment or an event triggers the release of certain neurotransmitters, or chemicals, it can lead to depression, fatigue and much more.
For help on a deeper level consider various approaches including, the Emotional Freedom Techniques, Neuro-linguistic programming, hypnosis, or cognitive therapy. I have found the energy psychology techniques like EFT tapping to be profoundly effective at 'disconnecting' the emotion from memories that limit our ability to engage in positive thought.
Most importantly, decide to change. Understand that you don't have to be stuck in this place and, instead, take empowering action. Once you make that decision your mind will be open to the solutions and they will present themselves. No matter what your circumstances you do have choices. What choice feels the most empowering to you?
Marla Tabaka is a small-business advisor who helps entrepreneurs around the globe grow their businesses well into the millions. She has over 25 years of experience in corporate and start-up ventures and speaks widely on combining strategic and creative thinking for optimum success and happiness.