Many people in business are confused and conflicted about the very idea of having a lot of money; they have unconsciously attitudes that hold them back from acquiring more than a certain amount.
Being rich has for some people, negative connotations; connotations that are constantly being re-enforced by the media. Often the implication is that a rich person is a ‘mean money grabbing individual’ who doesn’t pay their taxes, someone who got rich not because of their talents but through subterfuge of some sort.
If you think ‘having money is bad’ then does that mean if you are successful in you business you will become a bad person. Surely that makes no sense at all? Let’s face it, who is going to strive to be successful in their business if they are going to turn into someone they don’t like.
In this section we will be asking you to explore your own beliefs around money and prosperity and to understand how, or if, that is holding you back from being more successful.
Revealing your money attitudes
Think about how you speak about money and wealth and how those around you when you were growing up spoke about money and wealth. If you see someone getting into a very expensive car do you have negative thoughts about that person? Do you resent them or alternatively do you admire then and think they must have worked hard to be able to afford that car?
When you were growing up was your mother always fretting about money and telling you that they couldn’t afford things? Where your parents always scrabbling around for money for a bus fare, or was money never a consideration because your parents always had more than enough?
As an example that might help when setting down your own thoughts, here is what I came up with when I did this exercise myself; it revealed some deep-seated ideas that were limiting my own potential.
An example: my beliefs about money
I recognise that in the past my income and my capacity to feel comfortable with prosperity has been limited by my outlook and beliefs; my subconscious seemed to have decided where my natural place is in social and material hierarchy. In terms of income; that manifests itself in the income my business generated.
When I look at my life, the jobs I’ve done and my income level, I’ve tended to fall within a certain bracket; roughly speaking, a lower middle-class income level.
The most stark example of this can be seen when I set up my business; I quite quickly got to a point where I was earning more or less the same as I had been when I was employed (I had previously been employed as a lecturer); and that I found it difficult to go beyond that income level.
I had excuses; related to things like, ‘well if my business starts to reach a certain income I’ll need to start dealing with additional administration, complexity and costs’; I was constantly thinking about the trade-off between the energy and time required to run a bigger business and the impact that it would have on the ‘non-work’ aspects of my life, i.e the music I write and play and my family life.
These are excuses, however, they are excuses that spring from my attitudes and beliefs rather than excuses related to any practical difficulties related to growing a business.
My attitudes have been shaped by my upbringing and my environment. The potential income of my business should not be related to these things – but it is clear to me that they are and that I need to work to counteract those beliefs and attitudes.
Certainly in the past’ ‘lack’ has been my default setting; my family background is one of worry about money. But at the same time my mother was an ‘aspirational’ individual, though my dad was ‘a worker’ and had neither a prosperity of poverty mindset; life was just what it was; and you got on with it was his attitude.
Change your limiting beliefs
Once you have recognise your limiting beliefs you are in a position to change then. Rachel Elnaugh the entrepreneur who was one of the original Dragons on Dragons Den suggests a good exercise for this – which is to write all of your limiting beliefs on the one side of a line drawn down the middle of a piece of paper and then write a statement to the right of that line that neutralises that statement and rephrases them in a positive light.
For example, If you grow up in a world where you were constantly hearing the phrase ‘We can’t afford it’ – change this to – ‘I’ll find a way to afford it’, if you are are always feel in that, ‘there’s not enough to go around’ change this to ‘there’s always enough for everyone’. Whenever you hear yourself using one of your negative phrases, instantly replace it with the more positive version.
Wealth versus Prosperity
Although it is valuable to uncover your attitude towards money; and the way that may be holding your back. Ultimately success Is not all about money: many rich people are not happy, they can never be satisfied no matter how rich they become. Money is only one aspect of a richer life; I find it is useful to think in terms of ‘prosperity’ rather than money. Being prosperous means being successful in many areas of life not just in material wealth.