In her column on dealing with life’s challenges, life coach Karen Campbell explains why it’s best to befriend your bucks.
This month’s column is a focus on that thing that one, makes the world go around and two, prises us from our warm bed on a cold, January morning: money.
Until a few years ago, I didn’t really think I had a history or a relationship with money. It paid for stuff I wanted and helped me live a decent life in return for me going to work. Simple. But it’s only after really digging deep into how I regard money both now and in the past and, in return, how it regards me, that I now think very differently.
My eureka moment came after reading the fabulous Get Rich, Lucky Bitch! by money coach and entrepreneur Denise Duffield-Thomas. Luckily Thomas isn’t one of the all-shiny, vacuous coaches we despise (well, I do anyway); she’s a normal Aussie woman with a young family who was living hand-to-mouth for years until she stopped and really thought about not only her spending habits but her history with money.
What I realised is that our relationship with money can hugely impact our success and happiness – even if we don’t realise it. For example, I was, and to some extent still can be, frivolous with money and would fritter it away on going out, holidays and generally having a good time without really thinking about practicalities.
I wasn’t at the point where I was missing rent payments to have another gin, but I possibly wouldn’t have had my hair cut in months or replaced the leaky boots that really needed replacing; safe to say my money priorities were a bit all over the place, which in turn affected my self-worth as I wasn’t representing myself in the way I wanted to due to the fact I wasn’t investing in myself properly.
“Sadly where money is concerned, there can be an inherent feeling – in women especially – that we don’t deserve it, because being rich doesn’t happen to a woman like us.”
How are you with money: save for a rainy day or spend every penny you have? Overly generous or careful? What I’ve learned is that these behaviours are tied up in our upbringing and past experiences, both positive and negative.
Did you have a parent always telling you to be careful, using the classic ‘money doesn’t grow on trees’ line? This can sometimes lead to feeling a disengagement and a negativity around spending as you feel you don’t deserve to.
On the flipside, if you grew up surrounded by money in a house where things were easy to come by and, by extension, ‘valueless’, this can lead to a lack of respect for money and how hard it can be to get, which can lead to you coming unstuck in later life.
Another preconception I definitely held was that if you ever want to be rich you have to work all the hours, be a bit cut-throat and have no life – again, not true. There is nothing crass about saying you want to be rich, have a big house, have amazing holidays and life in general – I know I do!
Also recognise the fact that we all deserve to be rich. Sadly where money is concerned, there can be an inherent feeling – in women especially – that we don’t deserve it, because being rich doesn’t happen to a woman like us with our background/looks/experience/lifestyle/whatever.
I’m here to tell you that’s utter crap. You deserve as much money as the next woman as you’re just as fabulous and deserving and no one should tell you otherwise, particularly yourself and that fucker Shirley.
As Thomas suggests, the best place to start is to get real with your money and your relationship with it. Take time to take stock of when in your life you’ve had positive and negative issues with money. What emotions were attached to both? Think back and de-clutter – when have you been made to feel uncomfortable or embarrassed about money or when do you feel you’ve handled it well? Write it all down as this will help unblock.
Call it all in
Take note of all the money around you to the penny. Do you know exactly how much is in your bank at the moment? If not, find out and check daily. Be hugely mindful of any money that comes your way; recognise it, be grateful for it and write it down.
Once you open yourself up to receive money, it’s more likely to come. Hunt money out – is any owed? Do you have a dormant account anywhere that you could do with checking? Do mates still owe you for that gig ticket? Have a look down the sofa!
Look at where you’re wasting money. Are you always the first to the bar when out with friends and don’t get drinks in return? Do you buy amazing gifts but when it’s your turn, they’re mediocre? This isn’t being tight, it’s being honest and think of the money you’d save.
Set money goals
How much do you want to earn in the next six months/a year? Write it down and keep writing it down and have it as a fresh entry on your goal list every day.
Don’t be afraid to know your worth
I recently acquired a new client and wrote down how much my time and experience would be worth to work with them. Even with all my coaching experience and hard-earned positive money energy, I inwardly whimpered at presenting the amount and was already negotiating in my head about how much I would accept when they – inevitably – said it was too much.
What happened? They didn’t bat an eyelid and accepted straight away. Keep your nerve and the rest will follow and if people don’t know your worth, remember you can always say no (as the Beyoncé soundtrack kicks off in your head).
Money is a huge part of our emotional stability and is intrinsic to our everyday lives, so get to know it, makes friends with it and it will serve you well.
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Karen Campbell is a life coach at www.your-dreamcatcher.com. She likes gin, James McAvoy and pretending she's not from Scunthorpe.