Until last month, I'd never read a self-help book cover to cover. It's not about knowing it all or shunning help. Trust me, I'm a work in progress.
The truth is self-helpery bores me. In long form, at least. An article, sure. A yoga meditation, fine. Books? No. And then my business coach, Rachel Sheerin--of whom I think the world--urged me to read You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero. I was hooked from page one.
The crux of Sincero's latest book is that money is currency, and currency is energy. If you tell yourself and your friends and anyone who will listen that you are bad at making money, the universe will most certainly not send any your way. If you say you could never afford to vacation in France, you might as say au revoir to the dream.
There are a few lessons I will take with me from Badass, and I explored each one further with Sincero herself:
You need a mantra.
Mantras can help rewire your brain and change your narrative about money, Sincero told me. We tell ourselves what we believe. Good mantras elicit emotion or counteract negative thoughts, such as "I suck at making money," which is what Sincero told herself for years.
The positive mantra she adopted in her 40s: "Money flows to me easily and freely."
"I drilled that into my head. It made me feel better," Sincero, 52, said. "And when we feel better, we are more inspired to take action and look for the opportunities that are waiting for us."
I'm still working on my mantra. It's something like "I love money, because it helps me take care of my family. I'm good at making money." And it's my truth, too. I've been working and earning money since my first job shelving books at the public library in junior high. I've never not had a job or clients or money coming in.
Envision what you want and be specific.
Rather than saying you want to make $1 million, envision what making heaps of money looks like and how it feels, Sincero said. Do it in very specific terms.
Maybe you've made a Pinterest board of your dream kitchen. Maybe you've created a vision board of your family's dream vacation or the colleges your kids want to attend. Maybe you've imagined how good it will feel to write a big check to your church or favorite charity.
"It's like a visual mantra," Sincero said. "You keep envisioning it. You get excited. You get inspired."
I told Sincero I'd downloaded a vision board app but couldn't figure out how it worked. So I'm going to go old-school and cut and paste my dreams onto a vision board for my office. Actually, I think this will be a fun activity to do with my daughters, Lucy, 11, and Penny, 9.
Charge what you're worth.
This really hit home. At times, I've been too easily talked into backing down on my rates; other times I've stood my ground but wondered if I'd made a mistake. Sometimes I've felt the urge to instantly offer a discount. Ugh, why?
When you cave on your price, your salary, your terms, you are giving in to your fears of scarcity, Sincero said. When will another opportunity come around? A bird in the hand, and all that. But when you get that paycheck, you're going to feel lousy.
"You know when what you are charging feels good and when you feel resentful," she said. "That is a really good barometer into figuring out what you should be charging."
The work we take on at too-low rates is what Sheerin likens to fast food. Sometimes it's hard to say no, but chances are it's not going to fill you up and make you feel as good as a nice big salad does.
We live in a fear-based society and are trained to look for the negative, so practicing gratitude is another way of reprogramming our brains for the positive, Sincero said.
"We love to commiserate and troubleshoot and prepare for the worst, and gratitude yanks us out of that and reminds us of the ridiculous amount of infinite blessings that are around us at all times," she said. "What you focus on, you create more of."
If you want to do well in your career and make lots of money, Sincero recommends mantras that thank the universe for the good in your life. She also encourages making lists of the people and things you appreciate most.
I find what brings me an instant sense of gratitude is hugging my kids and kissing their heads. When I have trouble sleeping at night, I try to recall every little bit of what it was like to hold them when they were babies. Instant gratitude, because they are the best things the universe has ever sent my way.
Surround yourself with the right people.
You need to spend a lot of time with people who are doing badass things and who are positive and who believe in you, Sincero said. That's what successful people do.
We can envision and recite mantras all we want, but if we hang out with people who doubt themselves and us and are overly fearful, we will flame out with them. "It's the fastest way down," she said.
Sheerin and I were talking about this recently. The mark of a true friend isn't someone who supports you in crisis. That's great and all, and friends should totally do that. But great friends will also support you when you are soaring, even if they are not.
Ask for what you want.
Remember the saying "ask, and you shall receive." Ask people and friends for help. That could be an introduction, a LinkedIn referral, a job. Ask the universe for what you want, too, -- a new client, a better client, a specific amount of money, inner peace.
I like how Sincero put it: "I'm ready, universe. Hook me up."
Hey, maybe that's my new mantra.