A Wake-Up Call.
In 1995 I signed up for a workshop called “Create Your Own Reality” at the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland. Findhorn is an international holistic education center and probably one of the most spiritual communes on the planet.
I was thirty-five-years old and a certified workaholic for more than 12 years. I had managed to live “a double life” (as one of my previous employers said) according to the length of my resume. I created and built a new type of museum; I managed a huge department in a big hospital; I was a customer service director in an IT company; and for the last six years, I was the director and head trainer of a training company where I gave more than 250 days of trainings a year. I was on the verge of a burnout.
I decided to take a few months off and travel to India and Scotland in order to find some peace and balance in my life.
Mid-way through the workshop, the facilitator gave us a game to play that he called “The Money Game.” It was played with real money. The point of the game, he explained, was to reveal our hidden beliefs about money. It wasn’t a theoretical or mental exercise, but an exercise to look at what happens in real time when we deal with money.
I have to tell you that I have never, ever seen such a violent reaction to a game in my whole life. People shouted things like: “How dare you bring such a game into this spiritual commune!” And, “You never told us that we might lose our money. This was not in the program description. You tricked us!”
The game triggered so much anger, so much hate, and so much pain. The heat created in that room was incredible. Half an hour earlier (before the game was introduced), the majority of the workshop participants were worshipping the facilitator. He was like a god to them. Now, some of them were actually ready to kill him!
I never realized before this experience that money triggers people. The truth was, I never thought much about money. I had been living my life settled with the idea that – as long as I had all of my basic needs met (housing, food, clothes, and couple of extras) – I was fine.
Although I was shocked by the degree of the emotion that was coming out of the workshop participants, I started to think, “Maybe nothing is wrong with them, maybe something is wrong with me.”
Women and Money.
When it comes to money, there are shelves of books on the topic – and they are all amazing, powerful works that have helped a lot of people. I’ve read most of them. For the most part, you can divide these books into two categories. One category addresses the importance of one’s mindset. For example, how rich people think differently than poor people. The other category teaches the practical steps to create wealth and achieve financial freedom. I have written this book to fill a gap – a combination of both categories for women.
This book is not only about the mindset of women and money, but also is a practical guide providing the necessary steps to create positive, fruitful habits (and of course results) with money.
Think about it: For generations, women were kept far away from money. They were not permitted to own property, earn their own income, or have their own bank account. Women, in fact, were the property of their fathers and husbands. It is only within the last one hundred and fifty years that women have been able to own property, obtain credit, and cast a vote.
One hundred and fifty years may seem like a short time to some of you and a long time to others. Either way, because our history with money differs from the male version, so would our relationship with money.
A general book on money and finance may give us the rules and tools to manage our money, but it will not address the underlying issues that keep many of us from achieving the financial independence that we desire.
I have been leading personal development workshops for 20 years. Over the last 10 years, my focus has been primarily on women. Feminine leadership is what the
world is asking for today. If we don’t know how to manage our own money, however, it will be difficult for us to ever truly be world-changing leaders and know our real potential.
I am not an investment advisor and I don’t claim to be a financial guru. But I am a woman who has worked on her own money issues and is dedicated to helping other women do the same. I have learned about both the internal work that needs to be done, and the external work – the action steps – to become a financially independent I wrote this book to share my insights and knowledge with you.
My Early Relationship With Money.
One of the most powerful messages I received from my parents about money was, “You have to have a steady paycheck and you have to save for retirement to be safe.” To them, any work that wasn’t steady with a fixed salary was regarded as risky and foolish. This message was so strong that as an adult nothing but a steady paycheck was an option for me. I chose jobs where I enjoyed the work, but I worked around the clock (often working two or three jobs at a time) – and I was not highly paid.
In order to have that steady (but small) paycheck, I made sure that my dreams were also kept small. I created all sorts of beliefs to justify my low salary and made a lot of excuses for why the expensive stuff was not worth it. “Money is not that important,” I would often say.
I want to point out here that I worked in a lot of the top positions in my jobs. For example, I was head of the Jerusalem Center for Education; I pioneered a new concept for museums (which was later adopted by the British Museum); I worked in one of the biggest hospitals in Israel and was in charge of a division of 400 people; and I was a manager in a couple of high-tech companies. I received praise for my work, but when it came to financial success, I could not prove it. I kept saying, If the salary they give me is enough for me to have a modest living, then it’s okay.
I want you to know that I never once negotiated for more money. Sound familiar?
You see there was another thing going on here aside from my parents’ message about a steady paycheck. The fact is that ever since I was a young girl, I didn’t have much confidence in my abilities in math. In school, I had difficulty with anything that had to do with numbers. I was never fast enough with the multiplication exercises, and I wasn’t always able to get the right answer the first time. This made me feel like I was stupid.
As I got older, this feeling didn’t go away. I thought to myself, If I’m not good with math, I better not handle money. I know that money involves calculating numbers. The fact was that I didn’t want to make mistakes and embarrass myself.
Nobody likes to be busy with something they are not good at (or lousy at – as I considered myself). So … I looked for a way to NOT be busy with money. I decided it was better if somebody else handled it. Being an employee working for an organization made it easy for me in this way. For the most part, somebody else was handling my money.
Fast forward to 1990. This is when I started to give workshops in personal development. My first workshops were about communication for businesspeople. In one of my workshops, I met a compelling businessman. After the workshop, he asked me out. That was on a Saturday, and the next Friday we moved in together – and we have been together ever since. This was the man who is my husband today, Jonathan (Nisandeh).
When I entered into the relationship with Nisandeh,
I thought to myself, He is a businessman. He obviously understands money better than I do, so he is the best one to take care of our money. I was again free from this responsibility (or so I thought).
Five years into my relationship with Nisandeh (and a few months after the experience at Findhorn), we moved from Israel to Holland. At this point, because Nisandeh was studying full-time, I was actually the main breadwinner (although on a low income). The company I was working for offered me to be a partner. This meant that instead of my regular, steady paycheck, I would receive revenues from the company’s income. I wasn’t willing to take the risk and insisted on a safe paycheck (even if it was low). The funny thing looking back on this now is that I didn’t even think to negotiate for a higher salary!
In 2000, after I made the training center for this company a huge success, they suddenly decided to fire me. They used the excuse that my contract had finished. The only problem was that I never had a contract! This goes to show you how naïve I was when it came to taking control of my money.
Shortly after I got fired, I started working with Nisandeh in our own training company – Open Circles Academy.
The Second Wake-Up Call.
Ten years after the workshop at Findhorn, Nisandeh asked me to go with him to Seattle for a three-day course on “How To Become Financially Free.” Financially, we were getting by, but we thought we should be making a lot more money. We thought that there must be something that we don’t know because we were giving so much to people through our work, but it was not coming back to us in the form of money.
When Nisandeh asked me to go to the workshop, my immediate response was: “No, it’s a waste of time and money for me … the flights and hotels … you go. Anyway, you are the one who takes care of our financial issues.”
Nisandeh was certain that I needed to go. He said that if we did it together, then we could be on the same page. He convinced me that it would be much better if we both went to the workshop. With hesitation, I agreed.
Today when I look back at that moment, I know that it was one of the most important decisions that I ever made. Those three days changed my life. Although I had spent years taking and leading personal development workshops, this one caused the biggest growth in me.
I started out with a lot of fear and insecurity when it came to handling money. As I described earlier, I found it confusing, complicated and intimidating. But this course changed all of that. The course showed me that I was able to handle a whole new set of skills and knowledge, that before, I wasn’t even willing to think about. I discovered that learning about money and finance is actually fun!
Instead of hanging out in my comfort zone (that was keeping me small all of those years), the course forced me to stretch myself and allowed me to see more of who I am.
I started to see that I was hanging on to beliefs that were true for me when I was 10 years old, but not true for me anymore. As I let go of those old beliefs, my confidence, self-esteem and trust in myself grew immensely. Most importantly, the course made me realize that I am a much, much bigger person than I had ever believed myself to be.
Fifteen months after Nisandeh and I took the three-day workshop in Seattle we became FINANCIALLY FREE. Today, we have enough passive income to not have to work for the rest of our lives. If tomorrow I decided that I no longer want to give trainings and workshops and instead just stay in bed and read books all day – well, we can afford to do that.
If I Can Do This, So Can You.
I have chosen to write this book because I want to tell you that if somebody like me can do this, so can you.
Remember, I had incredibly low self-esteem when it came to money and didn’t trust myself to handle the simplest things. Today, I am running a company, doing the budget, doing the financial planning, and am the one in charge of all the employees! If I can do this, so can YOU.
When we turn a blind eye to money and finance, we are denying ourselves the opportunity to know the fullness of who we truly are. I promise you that if you allow yourself to face your fears, resistances, doubts and dislikes when it comes to money – you will give yourself the opportunity to not only create financial freedom in your life, but personal freedom too.
For those of you who are entrepreneurs or business owners and have found yourself resisting handling money matters in your business, it’s time for this to change. I have heard one too many stories from women entrepreneurs who know that they need to be looking at their net profit and loss, but are still preferring to ignore it and instead hope for miracles. They are focusing on every other aspect of their business (aside from money) and wondering why they are not more successful. I want all women entrepreneurs and business owners to know that if you allow yourself to spend some time learning about money, you will experience the success you are meant to have in your business.
I want you to know that learning about money is not just about having more money coming into your life (although that’s extremely important), it also allows you to recognize and become the independent, powerful woman that you are meant to be.
Are you with me?
We are going to take it one small step at a time.
How To Use This Book.
This book covers both a discussion of personal issues for women around money as well as provides instructive, practical steps for you to create financial independence in your life.
Chapters 1 – 4 are intended to get you thinking about your relationship with money. Here, we’ll look at the messages that you absorbed about money early in your life and how this has shaped your behavior and habits around money. At the end of each chapter, you will find a list of questions for reflection, commitment statements, and affirmations. The commitment statements are intended to help you focus your energy, and the affirmations are there to help re-program your subconscious mind for positive financial results. Please don’t skip these chapters. They are an important first step to the process.
In Chapter 5 we will prepare for the course and address the difference between financial independence and financial freedom.
In Chapters 6 we will begin a 6-week course called, Taking Control of Your Money, and continue the course in Chapters 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11. In this course you will get a chance to replace old self-defeating habits with new profitable ones. These include: organizing your financial records, figuring out what you have, tracking your spending, increasing your income, becoming your own financial manager, moving toward financial independence, and laying the tracks for financial freedom.
If the idea of all of this is raising your anxiety level, relax. We are going to take it slowly. I will be there with you throughout the whole process. I want you to take everything day by day. From my experience I know that each small step can have an extraordinary impact on your financial future.
In Chapters 12 and 13 we will discuss the next steps to help you move forward. This will include discussion about how you can work with your partner or spouse on money issues, and also how you can start teaching your kids about money.
In Chapter 14 we will wrap it up and I’ll give you some motivation to stay the course and become the financially independent and confident leader you are meant to be!
Let’s Get Started.
Let’s begin the journey and shine a light to the future not only for ourselves, but for our daughters and granddaughters who follow us. As Barbara Stanny says in her book Secrets of Six-Figure Women, “The word money derives from the Latin feminine noun moneta. Moneta was the name for Juno, queen mother of heaven, in whose temple money was minted. Making money is part of our heritage, a legacy it’s time we embrace.”
Let’s show the world that the sky is not the limit for what we as women can achieve.
Are you ready?