Everything is about how you feel. As the Maya Angelou quote goes, people may forget what you said, but never how you made them feel.
How you feel influences how you do anything. EVERYTHING. It impacts how you show up. Feeds into what you do and how you do it.
To some extent, it’s true: what you put out comes back.
Hey, I’m not into the ‘good vibes only’ vibe. Denying emotions does not work. Toxic positivity – no thanks.
But I do think it’s important to do ourselves a favour and limit wallowing and spiralling, and do our best to shift out of that mode before it goes too far.
When you feel better, you do better. Full stop.
In money and life.
You think more clearly, quickly, confidently (that’s gold when you’re in the hot seat for a job interview).
Stuff flows out of you, just pours forth from your fingertips and tongue. You write and speak in full flow – it almost bypasses your conscious brain. Like you’re a conduit, channelling some deeper spring of brilliance.
You make better, more aligned decisions without agonising for weeks, going back and forth second-guessing yourself.
And you can’t get into that beautiful flow state unless you’re feeling good.
It’s been quite awhile since I wrote about anything parenting-related.
That’s not to say I have nothing to say!
It’s just been… overwhelming at times.
Here are my latest reflections/lessons.
There’s a bit of a parallel here. I’m learning boundaries with my kid, just as I need them in my own life in general.
It’s a little bit easier with a toddler, to be honest. I know we need them for safety, for example. With adults, it’s for the sake of sanity – which is easy to discount/dismiss. As a chronic overgiver/overfunctioner, learning to say no to people of any age is an ongoing journey. It’s a trip.
On learning who I am
Just like money makes you more of who you already are, I think parenting intensifies your personality traits. I’m clearer than ever on who I am. Sometimes I don’t recognise myself in my worst moments. Sometimes I’m blown away by how well I hold up.
There is no shortage of patience required in parenting. With the repetitive questions. With repeatedly setting limits. With often saying no.
I default to calm whenever I can, take a breath, seek to understand the underlying cause of behaviour first.
I try to be playful and give choices at every step.
But wow, this is a challenging age.
On tuning in and trusting my intuition
When something is wrong, I know it.
I have become somewhat sceptical of many doctors. I am a huge believer in private health insurance. I’ve had so much better luck being taken seriously and getting help from specialists. I’m sad that if I didn’t have the money, it might not have happened.
And paired with that, I’ve always tackled experiments with a pretty robust test and learn mentality – without close tracking and monitoring, I would never have identified the trigger foods behind Spud’s issues.
On letting go and the nature of impermanence
You cannot control other human beings. Accepting this is essential.
Nothing lasts forever. The good. The bad. Things always change. Everything is a phase. Just go with it.
And this goes along with letting go of the need for perfection. I can improvise. Trusting I can come up with bedtime stories about all sorts of random things on request. They’re not very imaginative, I grant you. Usually I wind up weaving a safety lesson (the climax is often a car having an accident … don’t ask) or one about eating healthy (trying new foods). Whatever. It doesn’t have to be amazing. I can make it up on the fly.
On hanging in there despite the discomfort
Perseverance. And lots of repetition.
Applies to everything. Offering different/new foods. Toilet training. Bike riding. And of course, desired behaviours.
Getting uncomfortable being uncomfortable. The toddler years are TRYING. They’ve shaken the self-trust I’d built. The doubts are bigger and louder, I’m triggered multiple times a day, and ashamed of how reactive I am.
The tantrums/meltdowns are not easy to hold space for, especially as emotions were not generally acknowledged in my childhood.
I struggle to straddle the line between validating and holding space, and feeding too much into things and letting them go too long. Knowing when to skilfully redirect, vs just distracting as a band-aid.
On being a role model
I haaaaated being told I had to set a good example for my little brother. And now the stakes are even higher. I am so not perfect. But I’m hoping I’m doing okay, that I am repairing my wrongs, and that I can reparent myself along the way.
Parenting ain’t easy. But I suppose I can say it is absolutely fulfilling. I can absolutely imagine a parallel child-free life. But I chose this one and overall, I’m glad I did – despite all the challenges.
It’s like I was a page in a colouring book that’s now been filled in with gorgeous shading.
I used to dread ageing. Now, I’m excited for all the time I have left ahead of me. I just keep getting better and better. I know there’s so much more to do, learn, and experience. To look forward to. As I’ve reconnected to my body, myself in my physical dimension, my wholeness of mind/body/spirit, the more I can feel things brewing that I look forward to downloading and channelling in the years to come.
33 was a year of big personal growth. I can’t wait to see what comes next.
Maybe you want to make more money. You’ve followed the gurus, bought the courses, done the work to uplevel your career or business.
Maybe you want to do a better job of this whole parenting thing. It’s a constant struggle, battling with your past, as your kids and partner constantly trigger you from minute to minute.
Maybe you want a better relationship. You’ve listened to podcasts and read blogs, tried a million techniques, but nothing sticks. Maybe things change for a few days, but it never lasts.
You’ve been searching high and low for the strategies and tactics that are finally gonna make a difference. But at some point, it’s time to change tack. Call it quits. You’re exhausted. It’s all the same stuff, regurgitated info over and over in different guises.
The truth? Success in whatever you are seeking isn’t found outside of you.
Beyond a certain point, the real solution lies within
What you need is already inside you.
All the tactics in the world won’t do much until you sort out your inner stuff.
The deeper work is the real work.
Your brain is used to dealing with people/conflict/setbacks in a certain way. It goes back to what it knows when thrown into those situations, even if those techniques aren’t necessarily helpful.
The brain is a funny thing, resisting change with all its might. It falls back on what feels safe, and what it knows. Back into well worn patterns, comfortably trodden ground. Autopilot is so powerful. Like when you move house and find yourself taking the route to your old place after work, even though your new place is in the other direction. When you reach to adjust your glasses instinctively, even though you’ve got your contacts in. When you find yourself pulling your hairbrush through empty air, because you chopped most of it off just yesterday.
It takes time to learn to gravitate towards new actions. To build that muscle memory (remember, the brain is a muscle!) and develop different reactions, physical or otherwise.
You are more powerful than you know
I feel as though there’s a tension in this space. For all the empowering talk about creating our own reality, there are so many outside factors – systemic, societal, physical – that shape our reality. Like it or not, there are some things we just can’t control.
If we can’t control these external elements and we can’t control other people, what’s left?
Only ourselves. Therapy and coaching will always focus on YOU. We can keep fighting for more equality, system change, justice, influencing bigger things beyond us. But ultimately, the only thing within your guaranteed sphere of influence is you.
That might feel small. Depressing. But actually, going deeper and committing carries immense power. It changes everything. How you think. How you feel. Then, subsequently, what you do and how you do it.
It’s hard to articulate and pin down. What they say, though, is true. How you show up makes all the difference. Your energy is palpable, and shifting your energy genuinely does influence the results you get back once you start taking action.
I remember the first time I realised the power of the mind-body connection.
Years ago, I was listening to a guided meditation on the train. As I followed along, I literally felt the pressure and tension around my heart loosen and lighten. The stress and worry that had been weighing on my chest dissipated.
I found a somatic therapist in the city, a few minutes from my office, and booked a session. It was incredibly awkward. I sat on the couch. I talked and talked and talked. I filled all the silence. She barely said anything.
And then I felt something within me. Coalescing. Shifting. I felt tingles. I felt hot and cold. I felt this ball, this mass of energy, manifesting inside my body, moving around, and eventually, worm its way toward my right arm, down to my hand, and out of me.
It sounds batshit crazy, but that is the best explanation I can give you, and that is exactly what happened on that sofa in that hour.
All I did was sit and speak my truth in this woman’s presence, and that is what happened.
Later that year, I did a short Zoom session in which the practitioner helped me work through a sticky situation. I identified a person who was the source of my stress, focused on my body, and located her around my heart/chest. She was so stuck there, I couldn’t even get her to turn around 180 degrees.
We worked on visualising her going down a golden path, and eventually we went our separate ways. She left my body, and I felt immensely relieved.
I went on to write a boundary-setting email back to that person and felt great about it. (And perhaps amazingly, she responded well to it.)
What to make of all this?
I’m a pretty damn practical person. Pragmatic. Realistic. Sceptical. I take a pretty scientific approach to lots of things. I believe what I see. And I also believe what I experience.
I believe there’s probably a lot that science hasn’t caught up and maybe never will be able to. In invisible planes and dimensions. Even if it weren’t for that… well, as a friend in the social sciences says… this stuff doesn’t really interest white dudes, generally.
These days I would say I identify as somewhat spiritual; somewhat woo.
I once worked with a couple of healers (that’s what they called themselves) and did a bunch of research into non-western/alternative medicine to support the course material they were creating. I stepped into a whole new world. Muscle testing. Chakras. I quietly scoffed at it all, but in hindsight… I gotta admit, emotions and trauma most certainly live in the body, and doesn’t it make sense that certain emotions are stored in/associated with certain body parts?
If we think of emotions as energy in motion … they need to move; they need somewhere to go. That’s why movement and motion is part of completing the stress cycle.
Instinctively, I realise I’ve always known this. I used to physically shake it off after a stressful interaction, like a dog does (or even when they dry themselves). I’d even meow aloud … that somehow just felt like a good release mechanism, a steam valve of sorts, letting it all move on through and out of me.
Connecting to the body’s wisdom
What are your happiest memories? When did you feel you were living and experiencing life to the fullest? When did you feel most alive? Were your senses really engaged? Were you caught up in thoughts, or enjoying the moment – engrossed and engaged in your surroundings, what you felt, sensed, saw, heard, tasted, smelled?
We often spend our days living in our heads, our minds, and not in our bodies. I know that for me, that disconnection has certainly spawned troubles. The body will tell you when you’ve had enough. It breaks down. Depending how out of touch you are, it might take a few alarm bells. Your body compass will always, however, point you in the right direction.
I’ve learned to start dropping down into my body and seeing how she feels about any choice I face.
Does it feel light, expansive, open? Or does thinking about it feel small and constricted? That is a strong indicator of which way to go. Think about how you’ve physically felt when making decisions in the past, and how they turned out. Did you feel heavy, burning, tingling, cold? Use those as a guide to calibrate your body compass. These are all clues pointing you toward or away from something.
As adults, we tend to detach from our bodies. Reconnecting is an integral part of healing, and the integrated healing that follows can be so powerful.
Intuition and the inner voice
I think back to when I was very young. To times my instincts, nudges, intuition were very strong. Times they turned out to be right. It would sound silly to describe those instances, which were hardly consequential, but very powerful and that I’ve never forgotten.
The older we get, the more we learn to tune out our inner voice. To stifle it with logic. And sometimes we return and learn to listen once again.
If you feel called to, later in life, you may want to dial back into that internal voice. Because we tend to regret not trusting ourselves.
And if talk therapy isn’t cutting it anymore for you, like me, I so encourage you to explore somatic options. At that stage, continually mining the same old ground wasn’t helping. There was nothing useful to extract. I had to heal on the physical level, without necessarily having to go back into the experiences and rehash them.
Looking back over my adult life, especially in the past few years, I’ve pulled off a few things that just didn’t ever seem within reach. Mostly financial, to be fair, but I’ve come to see that the process has always been the same – and I believe can apply to any type of goal.
(One in the realm of theoretical possibility, that is. I’ll never be a pilot as I’m never getting back to 20/20 vision. Well, some might think it’s possible to heal one’s eyesight if one just believes enough; I’m not there. Nor will I ever be a pro athlete or musician. I’m not going to pretend that literally anything is possible for anyone.)
So if you have big money goals, or other types of goals, here’s my best advice:
Tap into your WHY
Money needs a purpose. What is yours? Connect with the reason you want this money and build a laser clear vision of that goal. What will you do with it once it arrives?
Decide that it’s a done deal
There is a big difference between logically, cognitively knowing something vs deeply knowing and feeling it, all through your body and mind.
You need to be 100 percent behind it. Locked and loaded at a bone, soul, deep level – knowing this is happening. If you can’t quite get behind it yet, adjust your goal to something that feels more aligned.
You can feel that perceptible shift once it actually happens. Let go of the doubts and embrace your new commitment, trusting that success is inevitable.
You need proof that it’s possible to keep you going. Find examples!
Treat envy as evidence. If it can be done by someone else, you can probably have it too. Maybe not in the exact same way, but in another shape or form.
Envy is often a signpost, signalling what you’re capable of and haven’t been tapping into.
What if it was already yours?
Let that certainty and knowing spread throughout you, cascading into every cell and permeating every corner of your mind.
Imagine how great it would feel.
Imagine how that version of you would go about things – how they’d think and act.
Probably the part you’ve been waiting for, right? Stop dithering and take the damn action.
I recently took part in a money making challenge. In that time, I focused on income generating activities, like warm outreach to former clients, putting together proposals in response to project listings, and engaging in select Facebook groups (giving value while also communicating what I offered).
None of these actions yielded any direct results.
But suddenly things picked up pace elsewhere. Referrals started coming in fast – and for bigger pieces of work with awesome clients.
The universe conspires to help you when you start making moves. Take steps towards your goal and even if those don’t pan out, you’re moving in the right direction. Other opportunities have a way of cropping up, crossing your path in the most surprising ways. The payoff will come.
But don’t rush it. Getting those foundational steps in first makes all the difference.
Most of this is about intention and energy.
You might hear “Money is just energy.” This refrain is a common catch cry in certain spheres. Not sure I buy into that. But for sure, the energy behind our money stuff counts.
Years ago when blogs were at their peak, I made a fair chunk of money off blogging. Sponsored posts helped fund a not insignificant part of my RTW trip. Yet it hardly ever felt all that good to me. I often felt like I was cheating the advertiser in terms of value exchange (sense of unworthiness/not enoughness). This also carried over into freelance stuff – not feeling like I deserved the pay.
In comparison, these days I feel rock solid when I get paid for freelance work. I no longer feel a little electric jolt when I get a payment notification – a physical manifestation of the surprise “they like me, they must really like me, they actually paid me for my work!” Instead I see those invoices paid and think “yup, that’s about right.” I’m grateful and joyful but not shocked.
I’ve given away a lot of money in my life. Most of it, reluctantly, to people I know. Begrudgingly. And most never repaid.
A small portion of that I have donated to causes that spoke to me. And that has been an entirely different experience. I loved giving that money. And I have found that the more I donate, the more comes back into my life in unexpected ways. Every time, not long after, something good follows. The universe is mysterious that way. But perhaps opening up your hands to give also opens them to receive.
Be generous if you can, act from abundance, as your richest self. It feels good in the moment – and it pays off in the long run.
And outside of the financial realm, energy absolutely counts.
As a parent, I live this every day. How I show up directly impacts how any given interaction or situation plays out. Deliberately choosing playfulness over frustration and control, whenever I can, shifts the vibe and the outcome. Kids are incredibly intuitive and they know, they sense, what’s under the surface.
Only two types of people say this. Those who have more than enough money, or those who don’t have it and never will.
This is what I’ve observed, over and over.
I remember engaging in discussion once with someone who has been broke as hell and now does very well for themselves. She busted out this BS line – and threw something in about health (they always do, don’t they?!).
Come on. Really. She totally failed to acknowledge how different it would have been if she had been struck down with that health situation in her younger, poorer days.
It’s not just about the direct costs of care. It’s also about the fact that when you’re in lower paying, less stable jobs, you don’t tend to have as much leave, you might not get paid leave or have the option to take an extended absence, you might not have trauma/income insurance, you might not be able to work flexibly, all those surrounding factors play into your health experience.
But why? What makes people spout this line that is so out of touch with reality? Have they truly forgotten what it’s like (obviously the silver spoon rich may never have known anything but privilege)? And more importantly, what’s the underlying emotion driving it?
I suspect it might be guilt. For being comfortable, having more than others. Downplaying the status they’ve achieved (heck, it’s easy enough to get rid of money if you REALLY don’t want it!)
At the other end of the spectrum, the motivation is probably clearer. Defensiveness, defeatism, despair. If you know you’re never going to have money, why even think about what it would be like? Why aspire to it? I don’t want it anyway. It wouldn’t make a difference. Reverse psyching yourself out, driven by envy. Proactively adapting your expectations or downgrading your desires to compensate.
As someone in the middle – not broke, not rich – I struggle with both. Absolutely I experience envy of those with more. I also feel guilt about being better off than many (especially during pandemic times – the exacerbation of inequality is just terrifying).
The truth is, the more I make the more good I can do and the more I can give back. The more I AM doing and giving back. Making bigger and bigger donations as time goes on feels freaking amazing. Hell, I can see why people might even aspire to become VCs.
(NB: I don’t subscribe to the ‘you can do anything!’ school of thought. There are the realities of the bodies we live in and the societies in which we exist, that we have to work around. But I do believe most of us, if we want to, can achieve way bigger goals than we think we are capable of.)
Hustle culture would have you believe that you just need to grind to reach your biggest goals. NOPE. It starts with cultivating unshakeable belief in yourself. if you don’t believe in you, nobody else will either. Those vibes are contagious, like it or not.
You gotta get your head right. That is where it all begins. When you are laser focused on a goal and your motivation is rock solid, things have a way of unfolding from there. Especially when it comes to financial goals. Money needs a purpose.
1. Decide what the hell you want to do
Clarify what it is you want and are going to work towards. The thing that’s burning you up. You’re about to start writing a brand new story for yourself.
No, not a SMART goal.
You don’t need to know the HOW yet.
You just need to know the outcome you’re after, so you can imagine it in as much sharp and colourful detail as possible.
You need to see it in your mind. You’ve got to be able to envision it before you have it.
And then, go out and find evidence that it’s possible. You can’t be what you can’t see. All those people you’re secretly jealous of? Who have what you want and you feel wicked envy for? That’s evidence to bank right now and use as aspirational fuel.
Lastly: write it down. I know – so corny. Just do it. There’s power in naming things and power in the written word. (I’m always amazed at what happens when I sit down and let things out on paper/screen.)
Then keep doing it – reaffirming it every chance you get. I write out my main goal every day in my gratitude/journaling app and now I feel a sense of calm descend upon me every time I do. I also try to write out my secondary goals most days.
I surround myself with reminders of my goal. I use my passwords. I have a vision board. These things help keep my goal front and centre, keep my mind focused and bring my attention back to it throughout the day. And I try to actively concentrate on thinking about it whenever I become aware of my thoughts throughout the day – I switch into a thought that’s going to help me get where I want to go. (Tip: keep it tight and focused on the positive, desired outcome. i.e what you want, not what you don’t want.) What we focus on magnifies since our brains work much like the FB algorithm – feed it accordingly.
2. Feel and embody it right now
This is about conviction. Committing to being the type of person who does that thing. If you achieved the result you want – who would you be? What would your next-level self be like? What would they think, say, do?
When in doubt, tap into your bad bitch alter ego for guidance.
You can’t be what you can’t feel. So, do what you can to get into the vibe of that feeling and anchor it in now. In a responsible way, naturally.
Maybe you can’t take a yearlong sabbatical. But you can probably book a babysitter and take the night off. Or arrange a weekend away. A stretch of time devoted entirely to YOU goes a long way when you’ve been ignoring your needs for so long.
For me, and my financial goals, this has been two-fold. Giving more generously, like my richer self would. And indulging myself more, which is not something that comes naturally to me.
Every day, I also consciously work on this at a micro level – simply choosing to feel good whenever I can. Putting on my favourite songs. Actively appreciating the things around me.
When I was in a real slump, I kept returning to a particular memory in my mind – lounging on the couch at my friend’s new house in the sun, snuggling with another friend, as we all relaxed and caught up with each other. At the time, I felt so warm and deliciously drunk with simple pleasure… I knew I had to file it away for reference. And sure enough, I came back to it multiple times a day, many, many times after that. Letting the pure joy I felt in that moment sink in and transport me away from difficult moments in the present, and giving myself a reset.
Sometimes, there’s deep stuff that needs healing along the way. (Coming soon – thoughts on the mind-body connection!) Welcome all feelings and emotions, because stifling them doesn’t work in the long run. Only acceptance, and eventually healing release, does.
Feeling good when the world feels like it’s falling apart could look like making a donation to a cause or signing a petition. Follow your gut and heart.
Not convinced about the power of feeling it? Consider this. If you’ve ever been through a traumatic experience, you know what it’s like to get triggered. The body keeps score. It remembers and it relives it. Those same feelings arise and you react accordingly.
Imagine that same power of feeling, applied with a positive lens. It’s stronger than you can imagine.
3. Stick with your strategy
All that prework you’ve put in during steps 1 and 2? Channel the hell out of it in this phase.
This is the execution phase. You can’t have if you don’t do. Commit to seeing this story out.
For me, that has ranged from researching the things I want (how much they cost, where to get them, etc – to get the ball rolling and make more of a commitment to myself) to setting up a practice simulated stock portfolio to actively doing potentially money-generating activities.
Keep taking the next best step. Let go of exactly how and when the outcomes happen. Focus on the process. Track and celebrate the actions you take – the part in your control – not necessarily the results.
Celebrate all along the way, even the stumbles. Every action you take is getting you closer. You are never failing, always learning. And track all those wins! They go into your bank of evidence and will help keep you flying high when you start to falter.
Stay in the story. You’ve got to do a bit of a weird pivot here. Basically, it’s time to reverse psych yourself – and the universe.
Maintain your focus, but at the same time, figure out how to detach. How not to be invested in the outcome. I know, it’s hard to be committed yet not attached – literally everyone struggles to keep faith and trust it’s working even when they can’t see anything happening yet. Just don’t make that mean anything. We’re always telling ourselves stories. But we never know what’s just around the corner. What if you gave up one step away from the metaphorical top of the mountain because it was shrouded in cloud?
When doubts kick in, interrogate those beliefs. Is that really true? How do I know that? What evidence is there to prove it? What if the opposite was true? When resistance rears its head, dig deep to get to the bottom of what’s driving it. What’s the core belief underneath the block – what does it say about YOU? Get to that wound to tackle, heal,shift the root belief about yourself.
Trust the process. Have faith that it’s working. That things are on their way; you just can’t see around the bend yet. You have to keep going around the corner to open up your frame of view. Even a few degrees makes a big difference in perspective and to the size of your horizon.
So forget about timelines. Throw them out. Remember that we tend to overestimate what we can do in the short term and underestimate what we’re capable of over the long run.
Why this works
You can probably see that this all leads up to action, laying the groundwork for it. I think that manifesting brings opportunities your way. It’s then up to you to recognise and jump on them. Spot and seize them.
You can probably also see that in the process we’re essentially … evolving. Becoming a different version of ourselves. Stepping into a new mould. Updating our identity and how we see ourselves. When you see yourself as someone who has/does/is X, it’s way easier to take action in accordance. And all this applies in the same way,
First you start to see yourself differently. Maybe you need to borrow that belief from others. Harness the great external validation you’ve racked up over the years. Hold on to that (and let the rest go). I never saw myself as capable, incredible, a leader, until others told me so. They saw it first. Only then could I get on board with the idea.
Then you start to feel different. To be that person now. To think in that vein.
Then you start to do things differently – act in accordance with how you perceive yourself and how you feel.
You can show up feeling like a rockstar or with trepidation, tiptoeing and second-guessing yourself. People will react accordingly. It changes how it all feels.
How many times have you started off a day on the wrong foot? Everything bad that could possibly happen, happens. The shit keeps piling up. Cue the spiral. A self fulfilling prophecy.
And have you ever had the opposite experience? Started off on a high and had that winning streak continue, everything coming up gold?
What if you tried flipping it round, beginning from the perspective that it’s all working out, visualising it? (What is there to lose?)
Here are a few examples of the difference that doing the groundwork makes.
I had a huge mental block around $60k. I really wanted to crack this figure when I left journalism. But when it came to writing down my desired salary on the application, I chickened out. I couldn’t put it down in black and white. The block was so strong. I just didn’t believe my skills were worth that much. I psyched myself out and wrote down $58k instead. I cut myself off at the knees! (This has a happy ending. They actually offered me $65k which I obviously jumped at and would never have dared to dream of asking for.)
My next mental block was around $80k. Again, a figure I really wanted to crack. This time I’d done the work. Talked to people who were earning this much in comparable roles. Perused salary surveys, staring at the numbers on screen, burning them into my brain. Searched in this pay bracket on online job boards specifically. I had the proof it was possible, and possible for me. And when I was offered a role at $78k, I was able to ask them to round up to $80k without missing a beat. It was a small ask, and an easy yes.
After that, $100k was the next stumbling block. A figure I never thought would be possible in my entire life. I remember telling my high school girlfriends I’d never make six figures. It just wasn’t realistic in my old industry. (They were all shocked – but they are all in high paying fields, mostly healthcare/medical – and I think their impression of media was TV anchors, the 1%.) Again, I did all the work that I’d done to shore myself up to get to $80k. It mostly worked. In an interview, I said I was looking for $100k without hesitating – though I didn’t get the gig. But when I got the call offering me another role I’d been interviewing for, I choked. I hadn’t been expecting it. I answered the phone, frazzled from wrangling my infant at home. It was great news but I was not in a mental place to negotiate! I rambled for far too long and asked for $98k.
When caught off guard – it’s so easy to slip back into old patterns. This is an ongoing practice. We’re never done.
None of us have complete control. In fact I’d argue that logically most things in life are beyond our control. But we do all have SOME degree of autonomy (the degree varies, of course) and especially when it comes to what we think and do.
It’s true: thoughts become things. Everything that ever was began with a thought. We do a thing first in our mind before repeating it for real out in the physical world.
Embody a deliberate, focused mindset and pair it with deliberate, focused actions. Amazing things can happen from there. Start with mindset and the actions naturally flow. You don’t have to try so hard. New ideas bloom. Next steps unfold. New opportunities reveal themselves.
That’s been my experience – first accidentally, then deliberately.
Let’s talk about the sneaky, invisible saboteurs holding us back financially. Or, as I like to call them, money porcupines.
They’re a defence mechanism. They mean well! They are there for our protection. To keep us safe. To keep us doing things the way we know best, to avoid pain that we learned a long time ago was best avoided. To avoid taking risks that might not pay off. To keep us in familiar patterns, in line with who we perceive ourselves to be and who others have dubbed us. They anchor us in what’s familiar, comfortable, safe.
And… they may not be serving us any more. Money porcupines are prickly little beasts actually repelling riches from our life – self-sabotage. These deeply held beliefs are pushing away money before it even enters our orbit.
These little devils play havoc under the surface. You’ve seen Inside Out, yeah? These gremlins are pulling the levers and stomping all over your intentions.
Let me give you some examples from my own life…
I can’t make money doing what I love.Why hello starving artist mentality! I thought I would have to compromise my creativity. Turns out I just had to think about it differently and channel it in new ways.
People won’t pay me that much.Oh, yes they will. It took me years to work up the ladder but you know what? It wasn’t so much them. It was mostly me. I needed to build my own confidence so I could raise my rates. I have no doubt I could have commanded much more a long time ago if I truly believed I was worthy of charging more. The more I earned in my day jobs, the more I learned about what other people are actually making, and the more I saw from online entrepreneurs, the more proof I gathered … that’s what made the difference for me. Now I have the evidence – not just from others’ success, but from my own.
If asked for money, I have to give if I can. A wicked twist on, can you really afford that? If I literally have the dollars in my account, shouldn’t I honour that request?
You can see pretty easily how these money porcupines might show up in my life, shape my actions, and hurt the bottom line.
They tend to lie dormant for years…
When starting out and you don’t have two cents to rub together, struggling to make ends meet … who has time for this stuff? I didn’t have the time or energy to go any deeper. Day to day struggle consumed all I had – and more.
Then things start to get a bit easier. You can breathe more freely and loosen up.
You probably hit some roadblocks, get through the growing pains, and keep going. You learn that you can get through hard shit and bounce back strong.
Then you get to the point where you’re living within your means, saving and investing … but somehow you feel stuck.
Tripping up over old money wounds rooted in the past. Getting wound up in anxiety and fear about the future. Leaking money here and there through weak (or nonexistent) boundaries. Doubting your worth and worrying about losing what you’ve built. Feeling guilt about having what you have, yet still wanting more.
That’s where I was a few years ago. And then shit really hit the fan. It was a make or break moment. The biggest financial/personal crisis I’ve ever faced. And I wallowed and wavered for far too long. Seriously.
But eventually I 100% committed to finding a solution. One day, I just knew that’s what I was going to do. How? Meh. I simply felt the shift inside me that came with the certainty of what I would achieve.
I started looking around. Waking up. Facing the whole world within me that has been driving the show from under the surface. It was finally time to unlock it, face it, and integrate it. If I wanted to change things, break cycles, and make more money than I ever had before, I had to get this foundation right.
I now know I can use my skills to earn a good living. I’ve banked the evidence.
I now know I can handle rejection and ghosting, and that not every opportunity is for me.
I now know that other people’s money problems are not mine to solve, and I need to put myself first – always. It serves no one if I give grudgingly.
I faced my bullshit, ploughed through, and I still keep clearing the path as more keeps blowing back and building up.
Breaking self-sabotaging money patterns and beliefs
Isn’t it funny how we always tend to doubt our instincts? Come up with an idea or solution and then, the next thing that crops up in the mind goes something like: will that work? Is that really true/possible?
And yet when the opposite happens – when fears or doubts arise – we don’t question them. We just take them as gospel. Shy away, shrink back, avoid looking too closely at them.
What if gave them equal treatment? What if we were just as sceptical of our doubts as we were of our instincts?
Cross examine the belief. That’s really all it takes.
If we were to simply apply the same philosophy, play devil’s advocate, often we find they don’t stand up to scrutiny.
I don’t deserve this. Why not? Is that really true? Or is this belief a hangover from old hurts that it’s now time to cut loose?
Get curious about those prickly porcupines. Notice them. Sit with them. Interrogate them. Disarm and dismantle them.
With a new perspective, you can then try on and eventually adopt a different belief. It might simply be the exact opposite of the belief you just took apart. Or maybe it’s something in the middle. If the opposite feels like too much of a leap, try:
“I’m learning to…” “I’m becoming…” “I’m on my way to…”
And keep sticking with it. It takes time to embed a new belief. Habits aren’t built overnight: they’re anchored in with practice.
Money porcupines don’t just go away. You don’t get fit and healthy once, then coast for the rest of your life. Your mental hurdles don’t, either! If anything they are even more pervasive and stubborn. Acknowledging and then rising above them is a lifelong practice.
The good news is, every time we do the work to send them back to where they came from, we strengthen that muscle. The next time, it gets a little easier to say “not today” and carry on to channel your most abundant self. Once you recalibrate, and question the validity of each money porcupine, you can ask the real question: What would the wealthiest, most self-assured version of you do? Let the answers come to you, and let them guide your next move.
(NB: Our thoughts and beliefs are powerful. So are wider forces and circumstances beyond our control, too numerous to count. This post is solely about the former – the part we have influence over.)
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