It's Not About the Money
Money seems to be behind all our problems, doesn’t it?
It’s the shadow lurking behind your relationship struggles, the reason you feel like giving up on your business, the pressure you feel to keep up with the Jones’s, and the “voice of reason” that prevents you from giving yourself what you want, both big (like a dream holiday) and small (like the expensive cheese).
We tighten our wallet strings. We get so angry at ourselves for unnecessary spending. We aren’t good enough to deserve this stuff, we think. We recycle our banking statements, unopened.
Some of us become frugal to try to solve our problems, and some of us say “fuck it”, put our blinders on, and spend our resources mindlessly.
But it’s never about the money. The tension in your relationship, your abandoned dreams, the plane ticket left unpurchased, the waiting for the day when you feel free and not stressed out anymore. None of it is about money. Money is not the problem, and money will never be the solution.
“IT’S NOT ABOUT THE MONEY!” Is a philosophy I’ve been experimenting with and a book by the same title that I’m currently writing.
Head versus Heart
From the moment I invited her to consider coming to Bali with me and two other girlfriends, her heart was on board. She knew this was exactly what she needed right now: time to go within and rediscover who she was in a place that is so different from her everyday life that even a small amount of time there is ENOUGH.
Of course it’s not a simple book-and-go situation. Most of us have some logistics to take care of. There’s childcare to organize, work to handle, and the good old “money” conversation to be had. And for most of us, these are enough reasons to check out and say: “I can’t”.
So my friend kept stalling on booking that flight for a month and I finally asked her: “So if your heart's telling you that you need this, and an opportunity has come up to do it, and money finds its way to pay for this, what’s stopping you from booking it?”
“I don’t have the money”
This line pours out of our mouths. Last year, another one of my girlfriends was similarly considering a trip to Africa with a group of her friends, but she was wavering. When I asked her why, she said, “I don’t have the money.” Have you noticed that when you really want something, like REALLY want it, you make it happen?
For our biggest dreams, money is a small obstacle. You will get creative and make the money you need, or find it, or borrow it, even make significant sacrifices to ensure you have the money to do the things that matter most.
“What if money was no object, would you go?” I asked her. Without feeling any pressure to defend her position on the matter, and truly disassociating from the end result, my friend discovered it wasn’t that she didn’t have the money. She agreed that if she wanted to find the money she could, one way or another. If this trip was her heart’s deepest desire, she would make it happen like she had in the past. But it wasn’t her heart’s deepest desire. She was struggling with other people’s pressure, FOMO, and an identity crisis: she’s a travel bug, so turning down this opportunity felt like betraying herself.
She took a deep breath and finally said: “It’s not my priority this year. I have all this stuff I want to make happen with my business, and I want to put my resources and energy towards those things.”
In the more recent example, with my friend struggling to commit to a trip to Bali, I could hear the tear of her heart breaking. Her head was winning this tug of war! She wanted to do right by everyone. She didn’t want to disappoint her children... and all of these thoughts were led by: “I don’t have the money!” As if having the money would've removed any of these obstacles or changed the actual reason for stalling!
The Power of Choice
You, love, are standing in your own way. I know, it feels like it will be better if the choice is out of your hands; that if all of this can be blamed on circumstances outside your control, you will feel sad, but then you’ll move on. But playing the victim always feels worse– blaming the state of your finances is not only not the whole truth, it creates an instant helplessness that you invite into your soul.
I’m currently reading Marie Forleo’s “Everything is Figureoutable” and she suggests to replace the words I CAN’T with I WON’T because it shifts the responsibility ever so meaningfully from outside circumstances and environment to inside of ourselves and thus allows for new possibilities.
When my friend made her choice not to go to Africa, she felt relief, and in control again. Just the act of choosing and explaining WHY to herself gave her clarity and confidence. She wasn’t giving into the unfairness of everything, she was prioritizing and feeling good about it, even though the choice was hard.
The same thing happened with my friend who wanted to go to Bali. After some (frustrating to her) back and forth, she discovered the source of her agony. It was a feeling of unworthiness that had been stopping her from pressing the Book Now button. What happened next is magical.
As soon as she acknowledged that feeling, she was able to make a CHOICE. Being honest with herself allowed her to make a decision from a place of freedom. SHE CHOSE from her heart! Her ego didn’t choose, nor the media, nor the people in her life, and definitely not the money.
Listen to your heart. Surrender to what it says and then explore the possibilities. If you need a little help tuning into your heart, join me for an upcoming Desire Map Workshop where we talk about how we want to feel in the various parts of your life. Because when you get clear on how you want to feel, the pursuit of goals itself will become more satisfying.