Most of us have a totally unconscious relationship to money, and for many of us it’s an entirely negative one. We worry about money, we don’t think we ever have enough, and we don’t think we know how to make more. This is because we’re usually thinking about money in entirely the wrong way—and most of us are doing this completely unconsciously.

Today I want to teach you the top 3 ways to unf*ck your money mindset. Thinking about money the way that I teach you to think about it removes the emotional drama from your relationship with money. It allows you to see it as a resource that you can always get more of if you are willing to do the work and deal with the emotional discomfort you might experience.

#1 Leaving Money on the Table

The first major money mindset mistake I see women make is leaving money on the table because they are not willing to be uncomfortable. This is a huge way in which we fail to see how we are costing ourselves money by avoiding managing our own minds.

Take an entrepreneur, for example, who avoids introducing herself to new people and offering her services because she’s afraid she will feel awkward or they will think she’s pushy. Now what if we quantify that? Let’s say she is a physical trainer and 1 of 10 people she meets would hire her if she told them, and her average client brings her $30,000 over a lifetime of working with them if they use her services once a week for 5 years. That means she is paying $30,000 in order to not introduce herself to 10 people and have a 3-minute conversation with each of them. She’s paying $30,000 in order to not feel awkward for a total of 30 minutes.

How about if you don’t ask for a raise because you’re afraid your boss will think you’re being greedy? Remember, when you worry about what other people will think, you’re only worrying about what you think. How much money are you leaving on the table for that reason? You’re probably sacrificing hundreds of thousands of dollars over your lifetime because you’re not willing to feel an uncomfortable emotion.

An uncomfortable emotion is just a sensation in your body. It’s like saying “I’d rather pay someone $500,000 than have a leg cramp for a couple of days.” Personally, I’m willing to have a leg cramp for a few days if someone is going to give me hundreds of thousands of dollars for it over the course of my career. No contest.

#2 Spending Equals Investing

When you spend money, you are investing it. You are always getting some kind of return on it. The question is what kind of return it is, and whether it’s worth it to you in financial terms or otherwise.

When you spend money on a meal in a restaurant, the return you get is the taste of the food, the nourishment of the food, the social enjoyment of dining with your companion. When you spend money on training for your career, the return you get is the financial dividends of making money in your profession down the line, as well as the emotional satisfaction of doing work you want to do, or the intellectual satisfaction of developing expertise.

Let’s say your cholesterol is high, you don’t exercise, and you want to develop a fitness routine. You investigate hiring a personal trainer, but it costs $100/session. You think to yourself, “well, that’s too expensive, I could just work out on my own.” Sure, you could, theoretically—but you’re not. And what are the costs to you of not working out? What are you giving up in terms of physical benefits now? What are your medical costs going to be down the line?

That’s not to say that terrifying yourself about the future is an effective motivational strategy, because I teach that it isn’t. The point here is to illustrate how often we don’t think holistically about what the costs are of our current situation and what the return would be on investing in improving it.

#3 Money is Math, Not Drama

Society socializes women to believe they should feel grateful for what they are given. Women do not want to be seen as ungrateful or greedy, which are personality aspects that men are not taught to obsess over or fear. This causes many to undercharge and under-advocate for themselves.

The opposite approach is to think about how you “deserve” a certain amount of money, and I don’t think that’s useful either. If you decide you deserve something, and someone doesn’t give it to you, do you feel empowered? NOPE. Now you feel terrible because either you decide that means you’re undeserving, and you feel shitty about yourself, or you decide they don’t recognize what you deserve, and you get mad at them.

What solves this conundrum is realizing that money is not an emotion.

You don’t have to feel grateful for being paid. You also don’t have to make getting more money be about deserving it. You don’t deserve money any more than you deserve fresh flowers or chocolate. It’s something nice to have that you may find enjoyable, but it’s not an evaluation of your moral status or worth.

Money is business. Your skills have a value in the marketplace that depends not just on what other people see fit to pay you, but on what you are willing to ask for. If you try to negotiate with a boss or charge clients coming from a place of believing that they must agree and pay you to show you deserve it, you’re creating an enormous amount of emotional drama. It’s the opposite of empowering, because often what this means is that you won’t even ask or sell because you’re afraid to find out you won’t get it, and then twist that to mean you’re unworthy.

To sum up:

1. Where are you leaving money on the table because you don’t want to be uncomfortable to get it?

2. What are you investing in when you spend money, and what are your returns, financial or otherwise?

3. Money is math, not drama. Take all that emotional weight off your financial negotiations and stop making it mean anything about your value or worth.

If you think you’re making some of these mistakes, and you want help fixing them, I’ve got you. Check out the Clutch, here.

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