I remember being at a stoplight after another twelve-hour day thinking my usual: If I keep working I’ll be able to retire someday. I just have to make it through the next twenty-six years. I noticed how tightly my hands were gripping the steering wheel and how tense my shoulders were. The appalling reality of this future was weighing down on me.
I began to think about how my early life and experiences around money had shaped my adult life. I suddenly realized that although it was me behind the wheel, my money baggage was the real driver in my life. The idea—that I had to work hard and, no matter what, there would not be enough—was in control, not me.
Over the next few months, I began to get glimpses of how powerful and pervasive the conclusions I had made as a child were, and how strongly they influenced me. You have to work hard to make money, and even if you do, you’ll never make enough had led to an endless cycle of work and worry and fear. As I was looking out the window one day, pondering this, a question kept running through my mind, “What should I do with my life?”
I knew I had always been interested in the role money played in my life choices, so I decided to take some courses in financial planning. I found it so interesting that I continued to study and take more classes. I worked hard at it (naturally) and became a Certified Financial Planner™ professional. I hired a career counselor to help me develop a business plan and a marketing strategy. Three months later, I opened up a financial planning practice.
I was thrilled to be doing financial planning, something I loved to do. But I still found that life stubbornly held on to its tendency to make my money baggage come true.
My income would rise and fall on a monthly basis in direct correlation with my expenses. When I had a good revenue month, my expenses would also be high—the copier would break or quarterly taxes would come due. So I would eagerly look forward to the months when it looked like my overhead would be low, thinking if my revenue stayed high, I’d start to get ahead. But it never happened that way. In low-expense months, my revenue would dip, almost as if by magic, leaving me with my usual sense of scarcity. No matter what I did or how I planned, I could not get ahead. I could not shake my underlying fear that, even if I worked like crazy, there wouldn’t be enough.
My circumstances had developed in perfect harmony with my money baggage. It was as if my money baggage was the background music that had played in every scene of my life.
Discovering your own money baggage is the first step toward overcoming your struggles around money. It is not hard work to do. It’s just that most of us have never had our attention drawn to it. We have never explored our beliefs about money because we consider our beliefs to be complete fact, “just the way life is.” But you will find, as you do this work, that your money baggage is not true. You have simply lived your life in alignment with an erroneous decision you made as a child. Given that you’ve never examined your life in this way before, it’s easy to see how that could have occurred.
In the blog posts that follow, you will learn the three basic principles that underlie your money baggage. You’ll also examine questions that will reveal to you your own money baggage and how it has shaped every part of your life. Later on, you will learn about creating a new money message. By living your life in a way that is consistent with this new message, you will begin to manifest your dreams.
Next week: The Three Basic Principles that Underlie Your Money Baggage.