Adam Smith, known as the father of modern economics, once said, "All money is a matter of belief."
Author Steve Siebold interviewed hundreds of millionaires and discovered: "Getting rich begins with the way you think and what you believe about making money."
Have you ever stopped to think about your beliefs around money?
I recently interviewed money mindset expert Emily Williams and asked her a simple question: What most often prevents someone from becoming rich?
She said that it all starts with your "money story".
A money story is basically your beliefs around money. For example:
- there's never enough money
- it's difficult to make money
- you should always live within your means and never take chances with money
- getting out of debt is difficult
- life is a financial struggle
- you have to work 100 hours a week to really be successful
- rich people are evil...
Our money stories are typically "set" when we are quite young and for that reason, when we bring them into adulthood and our careers, they normally hinder us.
Most of the time, these beliefs are given to us by our family (or community) growing up.
Ask Yourself These 8 Questions
So how do you know what your money story is? According to Williams, one of the best ways to get really clear on your own money story is by asking yourself series of questions such as:
- What did your parents teach you about money?
- What did your parents tell you about money?
- How does money make you feel?
- What has been the theme in your life for the past few years in terms of your finances?
- Where do you spend your money versus where do you want to spend your money?
- Do you have any guilt around money?
- Do you believe you deserve to spend money on yourself?
- What three words would you use to describe money in your life?
For example, Williams used to have her own negative money stories and a predominant theme revolved around the feeling that the debt she accumulated early in her career, would take her "forever" to pay off.
"I'd been making myself feel wrong and guilty for my debt, even though I was only in debt because I chased my dreams which is something I'll never regret!
So my husband and I started replacing the word 'debt' with 'investments' because I found just hearing the 'd-word' made me feel really negative."
Change the Words in Your Story
Williams determined that the word "debt" created a negative reaction so she simply replaced it with something that did the opposite.
According to the Mayo Clinic, one of the best ways to turn negative thinking into positive thinking is to practice positive self-talk.They suggest starting by following one simple rule: "Don't say anything to yourself that you wouldn't say to anyone else."
Is there a word in your life that's evokes a negative reaction towards money? If so, Williams believes that you have the power to change it today:
In my mind, I also replaced the phrase 'It's going to take me forever to pay off all of my debt and student loans' with 'I am a successful businesswoman and have chosen to take on debt to follow my dreams and build my business, and I'm paying it off now'.
See the difference?
4 More Ways to Transform Your Money Mindset
Towards the end of our interview, I asked Williams to give me some of her best "rapid fire" strategies to help someone create a winning money mindset. Here are a few of my favorites:
"Decide what you want. So many people deny themselves a rich life or think it's not possible for them. It is.
Make decisions from where you want to be, not from where you are now. People draw info from the past or from their family history -- and they might not like what they see. But the thing is, your brain draws info from your past and current circumstances, but it doesn't know how to predict the future. I tell my clients to use your heart for that and check in with that's calling you. People are capable of so much more than they know and in order to get there, you have to make decisions from where you want to be.
Adopt a 'why not me?' philosophy. Someone has to work with Oprah, someone has to impact the world, someone has to be featured on the Today Show. Or someone has to live in the beautiful neighborhood, someone shops at Saks Fifth Avenue, someone travels to Paris. Why not me (or you)? So many women come to me feeling unworthy of a beautiful life. But that's simply the case. Everyone is worthy.
Tipping. One of the ways I got out of victim mentality and into starting to create the life I wanted financially was by tipping. I realized really quickly when I started to do money mindset work, I was holding onto money like it was never going to come my way again. I figured because I was 'poor', I couldn't give to anyone else. I'm not saying go and blow all your money, but start with tipping. Give a few unexpected dollars away to the barista at Starbucks or something like that."
To put it simply, if you focus on your debt and the shame you feel because of it, then that's what will persist in your life. Conversely, if you focus on ways you in which you can live in abundance, think about what you're already grateful for, and become passionate about increasing your income in new and creative ways, then that's what you'll get.