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Are Your Beliefs About Success and Money Holding You Back?

How the wrong mindset can keep you from achieving your financial and professional goals.

Are you tired of watching everyone else move forward in business and become successful? Even though you want to make more money and have some level of financial freedom, do you keep hitting roadblocks? The obstacles that are stopping you from achieving what you want may surprise you—and your money mindset may be partly to blame.

What Is Money Mindset?

Your money mindset includes your attitudes about money, success, people with money—anything money-related. “It is your belief system around your ability to create financial success and manage your money,” explains Jonathan DeYoe, author of Mindful Money: Simple Practices for Reaching Your Financial Goals and Increasing Your Happiness Dividend (New World Library 2017).

“It’s likely your money mindset is driven by emotional factors that have their roots in your childhood,” says Chris White, author of Working with the Emotional Investor: Financial Psychology for Wealth Managers (Praeger 2016). “For instance, if you suffered a significant personal or emotional loss in childhood, it may make you risk-averse as an adult. If you grew up in a household where people spent money like drunken sailors, you may never have learned any important money management lessons and thus may be inclined to be careless with money.”

Heart-centered entrepreneurs (those in the “helping” professions) often struggle with a compromised mindset. We would gladly give our services away for free, because we love what we do. But we still have bills to pay. To avoid feeling guilty about making people pay us for what we do, we set our rates low so we can help as many people as possible—or so we think. Then we limp along financially, always worried about paying our bills; we stretch ourselves thinner and thinner, never giving fully to our purpose, because our focus is on worrying about our bills. Ultimately we end up helping fewer and fewer people—and eventually, no one—when we go broke and have to close up shop.

Are You Your Own Worst Enemy?

The insidious part of the money mindset is that you might not recognize your limiting beliefs regarding money and success. Fear is often at the center of your mindset: fear of success (If you’re successful, will you be able to maintain that success?), fear of failure (If you fail, you’ll feel worthless and stupid; failure is embarrassing . . . ), fear of losing friends (If you became successful, would your friends still be your friends?) or fear of losing your identity (Who would you be if you were successful and had money?). The list of possible fears goes on.

Joe Duran, founder and CEO of United Capital in Newport Beach, California, has given names to three common money mindsets. “In my work, I’ve found that there are three different Money Mind® types we are predisposed to: the fear Money Mind, which is focused on protection; the commitment Money Mind, which is focused on taking care of others; and the happiness Money Mind, which is focused on enjoyment. Most of us have a bias toward one of these Money Mind types. Unfortunately, too few of us understand their impact on our decisions.”

Regardless of where your money mindset comes from, Duran stresses the importance of personal responsibility. “Having worked with people in very different financial situations, the one truth of successfully happy people is that they take full responsibility for their choices and their situation.”

DeYoe agrees. “If you only see limitations, problems and challenges, if your mantra is ‘If only . . . ,’ then you are seeing the issue as outside yourself,” he says. “This will hold you back as you wait for someone else to fix things. When it comes to entrepreneurship, we are our only enemies. There is nothing out there that will make us successful. You will be successful when you have a vision, when you put the work in and when you believe in yourself.”

Work It

If you’ve felt stuck in your business, it’s time for some reflection and action.

Find Your Vision
What do you want? If there were no boundaries on what you could have and do, where would you want to go? Having a clear vision of what you want is necessary for creating the blueprint to get there.

Action Step: Take a few minutes to be quiet. Close your eyes and envision what you want. Remove all boundaries, including the negative voice in your head. Once you’ve got a good image of what you want, paint a verbal picture—use descriptive words, and inject all your senses into it. Go a step further by putting that picture on a vision board and hanging it where you’ll see it every day.

Step Back
With that vision clearly in view, examine what has kept you from achieving it. While it’s easy to look only at external forces, it’s important to go deeper and consider your own limiting beliefs and fears. What beliefs about yourself, about success and money, and about risk-taking have you adopted over the years? What fears have been holding you back? It’s time to be brutally honest with yourself!

Action Step: Just start writing. Allow the emotions to flow, and face your fears and limiting beliefs head-on. If you’ve been holding all this inside your head and have never admitted that you are responsible for holding yourself back, this exercise can be frightening. The good news is that taking responsibility for it puts you in the driver’s seat, which means you will also be responsible for your success!

If you’d like to take this a step further, participate in a burning ceremony. You can do this privately or with people you trust whom you are asking to hold you accountable. Simply write out your fears and limiting beliefs on individual pieces of paper. Before you burn each one separately (in a fire-safe container or outdoors at a campfire), thank each fear and limiting belief for keeping you safe so far, but declare that you’re in charge now. Then burn away.

Know Your Why
Your motivators for wanting success must be strong enough to carry you through the tough times. In his book Millionaire Success Habits: The Gateway to Wealth & Prosperity (Growth Publishing 2017), Dean Graziosi recommends the “seven levels deep why” exercise as possibly the most important success habit you can develop.

Action Step: Ideally, you’ll have someone do this exercise with you, to ask you the questions and write down your answers—although you can also do it yourself. Begin by asking and answering a question such as “Why do I want to build my business (or be successful in my work, or anything related to why you want what you want)?” In each subsequent question, repeat your previous answer. For instance, if your answer to why you want to build your business is “To help people,” the next question is “Why do you want to help people?” And so it goes, until you’ve asked “Why?” seven times. This gets to the root of why you want what you want, and it will therefore be a stronger motivator to get you through the tough times. To download a worksheet for this exercise, on the Better Life Challenge website visit the Book Resources page. Scroll down and click the “Seven Levels Deep” link.

Your brain is wired to keep you safe. Taking risks is not a safe activity. It’s time to evaluate what is really holding you back from living out your purpose and being successful—and that starts with you. Here’s to your success!

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