Chapter 6 – Week 1
“The first step to change is awareness.”
– Nathaniel Branden, The Psychology of Self-Esteem
Welcome to the course! I want to acknowledge you for taking this courageous step. I realize it isn’t easy and the first step can be the hardest one. As we’ve been talking about – when it comes to money we all carry a long history of unsupportive habits and beliefs – and this can make it even harder.
We can complain about them, blame our history and culture for them – or even analyze them for years. All that however will not make a difference. The only real difference you can make is after you have gained awareness and understanding, you start taking new actions.
You’ve gotten the chance to explore yourself financially a little more than probably before you picked up this book. You may have caught yourself this week thinking about money more than you typically have in the past. This is a good thing. You may also have noticed yourself handling money in ways that you didn’t know had become a habit.
This is also good. Some of you maybe even feel a little clearer about your attitude toward money and see how your attitude is affecting your financial life. These are important observations and will serve you well in your process of becoming a financially independent woman.
I want to note here that if you did not take the time to respond to the reflection questions in the earlier chapters, now is a good time to do that. You will get the most out of this course if you dedicate some time to those questions before moving forward. We’ll wait for you!
At this point in our lives we have probably figured out that change doesn’t happen overnight – especially when we are talking about changing habits that have become embedded in our character due to years and years of repetition. Whether we like it or not, change requires a process. As we talked about already, in order to create any change in our life we need to take three steps.
The 3 Steps to Create Change:
The purpose of this week’s exercises is to help you in your first step toward change – Awareness. We are going to figure out how your early programming has affected you in the realm of money and finance.
So, let us begin.
Exercise One – Finding Out Your Personal Money Blueprint.
We all have our own personal money story. We picked up financial messages and habits early on in life from our parents, teachers, religious leaders, peers, the media, etc… These are things we think and do time and time again, but might not even be aware of. So first we want to identify what those are for you. Exploring these can be eye- opening.
Our parents and the roles they assumed financially, the patterns of money management they consciously or unconsciously modeled for us to copy, and the financial education we received (or lack of it) all combine to create your personal financial patterns. Whether you earn $20,000 or $200,000 per year, those patterns dictate how you manage your money, how you feel about your money, and how you plan for your financial future.
I want to make it clear that an increase in income alone will not solve your problems with money. Remember the lottery winners who ended up right back where they started within two years of winning the lottery? Becoming aware and understanding your personal money blueprint will help you get at the roots of your money issues – the place you need to go to create real, lasting change.
Please give yourself permission in the following exercises to be honest about all of the messages you picked up about money as a child. You need to bring these to the surface in order to heal them.
Part 1 – Awareness.
Take out a fresh sheet of paper and write “Awareness” at the top of the page. In the left hand column write “Money is…… ” Complete the sentence with the first word that comes to your mind. Now continue this exercise until you have written at least 15 words about money. “Money is…”
Part 2 – Money Messages.
Write down your ansWers to the following questions.
- What were the messages that you received from your parents or guardians concerning money and wealth?
- What were the messages you received about money and work?
- How was money handled in your family?
- What were your parents’ biggest fears about money?
- What were your early experiences of money?
- Did anyone ever teach you how to manage your money? If so, what did they teach you?
- What patterns do you have around money today that are not serving you?
Part 3 – Money Autobiography.
Take the answers from above and flush them out a little more in a “Money Autobiography.” Write about your life in relation to money. Suggestions: Tell about your parents relationship with money, how you grew up with money, how money affected your decisions as you got older, etc.
Writing an autobiography will help you see more clearly the underlying messages and patterns in your life and give you access to what was once invisible. By bringing where you are coming from into your awareness, you are creating the conditions for change. Write one to three pages.
Exercise Two – Getting Clear About What You Want.
As we talked about earlier, change doesn’t happen overnight – BUT when you know what you want – it becomes easier to take the action steps to get there. In other words, the power to create what you want starts with having clarity of where you want to go.
The first component of any creation is imagination. You can use your mind to imagine what you want by visualizing it. When you realize that your mind is the first step where creation takes place, you will begin to unlock your power to make your dreams come true. This next exercise is designed to help you get clarity on what you really want.
Part 1: Creating the Conditions for Change
Write down your answers to the following questions.
- What are your reasons for doing this course?
- What would you like to change?
- How would you like to see your life affected by taking control of your money? In other words, what new reality do you want to create?
- How much would you like to be earning weekly? Monthly? Annually?
- Why do you want to make that?
Part 2 – Visualize Your Future.
Visualizations are a very powerful tool to create the circumstances that you want in your life. They can truly turn your ambitions into reality. As we talked about above, the first component to any creation is imagination. You can use your mind to imagine (or visualize) what you desire. The mind is the place where inspiration turns into visual images. It’s the first place you begin to see and understand what you want, and what you will need in order to reach your goals. When you are in your visualization, you actually can feel what it’s like to be in the place of having reached your goal.
As Nisandeh Neta (yes, my husband) says in his book, Elements of Success, “When you put positive emotions like excitement, fun and joy into the desired image of your future and imagine it as being now, your unconscious mind has no way to tell which of the two images is real.” The other image he is referring to is the image of your present day reality. He says that since your unconscious mind can’t be in two places at once, it has to choose which image to accept. How does it choose? It makes the choice according to the intensity of the image!
“If you make your visualization … as alive and real as possible, you force your unconscious mind to believe that this is your reality.” From that moment on, your mind will start manifesting that reality by attracting people and situations to you that will consistently bring you closer to the fulfillment of your goals.
The following exercise is a visualization to help you uncover more detail about what you want for your future.
Take three deep breaths. Slow down. Relax. Get quiet.
Now let your mind start to see yourself in 12 months having taken control of your money. Create the image in your mind as vividly as possible. Let it be as bright and realistic as if you were watching a film.
Bring all your senses into play. What do you see? What are you doing? How do you look? What are the colors? Textures? Smells? Tastes? How do you feel? What are you able to give yourself now that you have taken control of your money? What are you able to give your loved ones? What experiences are you able to have? Let your imagination run.
Allow your visualization to be alive and exciting – and allow it to be real.
After a few minutes, write down what you saw in your visualization and how you felt throughout your experience.
Homework: Take Control of Your Money.
Make an investment in yourself.
Buy the best notebook you can afford. Buy one that makes you feel rich and successful. Make it the first purchase of your new financial life. When you send a message to your unconscious mind that says, “I deserve only the best!” it starts allowing you to take yourself seriously and respect your own worth. In other words it sends a message to you and all those around you that says, “I am worthy.” This is an important piece of the process.
Observe yourself around Money.
Over the upcoming week, observe yourself around money. Observe your thoughts, feelings, attitudes, beliefs, and choices around anything that has to do with money. In your new notebook, write about what you noticed. Is anything surprising? Did you have any new insights?
For The Week.
Go buy yourself some flowers to acknowledge yourself for the courageous steps you have taken. You deserve a treat! Next week, we’ll be using your brand new notebook and taking action steps to create powerful, positive habits for your financial future. You are well on your way to becoming a financially independent woman!
See you next week!