For most of my life I worked hard, excessively hard. It was the only way I knew how to live. And yet, despite long hours and dedication, I could never really get ahead financially. It seemed as though some invisible force held me in its grasp. My response to this was to work even harder and resign myself to the fact that struggling about money was just a fact of life.
Then I came across a book that changed my entire outlook. Professor Jacob Needleman, in Money and the Meaning of Life, talked about money from a philosophical point of view. He inquired into the role of money in the search for our ultimate purpose, our meaning in life.
I had never considered that money could have a deeper purpose. Money symbolized a never-ending source of struggle to me. How could it help me uncover a deeper meaning to my life? The soul searching that followed over the next few years led me to question everything I had ever been taught about work and money. It eventually led me to discover my true life’s work.
In exploring my deeper attitudes and beliefs around money, I came to discover core subconscious beliefs about money that I learned in childhood and that had run my life without my even knowing. I call these beliefs my money baggage. It was this money baggage that was responsible for my incessant struggles around money, my working hard but never feeling like I had more than just enough to squeak by.
Once I began my practice as a Certified Financial PlannerTM professional, I saw that I was not alone in struggling over money. Nearly everyone I spent time with shared these troubles, and it made no difference how much money they had. From millionaires to waitresses, they were all wrestling with core issues around money. With some people, their struggles were obvious: they were worried where the next check was going to come from or how they would pay for their children to go to college. With others it was more subtle, a nagging kind of worry that there wouldn’t be enough. Many people did not want to deal with money at all; they preferred avoidance. Others never were able to make ends meet no matter how hard they worked. And still others had plenty of money but weren’t happy or couldn’t stop working themselves to the bone. Young or old, rich or poor, every person I knew was struggling with money.
As I met with each of them I came to realize that each had their own unique money baggage they were carrying around. Each was operating on a belief system about money, handed to them as children. And, like me, they had unknowingly built their lives in complete alignment with these deeper beliefs.
As I helped individuals examine these deeper beliefs, they became consciously aware for the first time that their struggles over money were not innate, that they were not carved in stone. Rather, their experiences with money were born from a deeply held thought. As they learned to change their thoughts around money, their lives began to change, first inwardly and then outwardly.
Once these burdens of outworn beliefs and attitudes about money were brought into the light, I found that people had something else within them, a deeply resonant passion in their lives, some driving force pulling them toward what they wanted to do. I saw it so often that I now consider it universal. There is within everyone at a deep level a desire to live a more purposeful and meaningful life.
What holds most people back is not that they are unable to identify their passions and dreams and deeply held interests. It’s that, once defined, those dreams don’t seem attainable. There is always some obstacle—a feeling of unworth; a fear of leaving the familiar; conflicting feelings about being successful; a fear that those dreams wouldn’t be lucrative enough. So back they go inside the limitation of their money baggage where they continue to struggle over money.
For more than a dozen years now, I have led workshops to help people examine their relationship to money, deconstruct their limiting belief systems, and understand how to bring money in line with their deepest passions.
Each of us has a custom-made gift to give to the world. A gift based on our distinctive background, abilities, values, passions, commitments, and concerns. A gift that is a joy to give, an expression of who we truly are. A gift that inspires others and brings a purpose to our life. A gift the world needs. I believe our soul knows what our gift is. When we listen, we discover that gift. When we find the courage to give that gift to the world, we are caring for our soul.
Why does your soul matter in money? It matters because money affects everything in your life. And your life is sacred. Your soul wants you to do more than just survive; it wants you to live an authentic and purposeful life. Your soul is that voice deep inside you asking you to find meaningful work, and to do that work empowered by love and awareness, fully confident that the resources you want and need are available to you.
Only by incorporating the soul into our lives and, therefore, into our relationship with money, will we set fear to the side and gain a measure of that peace of mind, joy, and happiness we so often hear about but rarely experience.
Follow this blog every week as we dive below the surface to discover our innermost beliefs about money and transform those beliefs so money can do what money was meant to do: help us make the world a better and more loving place. This process is about making our subconscious beliefs and the attitudes we have about money more conscious. Then using this newfound consciousness, we can craft a more powerful and confident life that is fully consistent with the deep potential of our soul.