Growing up my family was pretty poor. My mom was a teenager when I was born, and still a teenager two years later when my sister was born. Both parents dropped out of high school. While my mom stayed home to take care of us kids, my dad was a trash man, then worked in a lumber mill and later in a calcium/limestone mine. They were never married, but kudos to them for forging a life with children without many marketable skills.
While my dad worked very hard, money was always tight. Our basic needs were absolutely always met. We always had food, and even beer and soda were always around. We always had a roof over our heads. We always had clothes– and plenty of them– bought from the local second-hand store.
As the oldest child in the family, I somehow learned to worry about the money. Discussions in our family were very open; my parents never tried to hide anything from us– even the things they should have! Now, I don’t actually know what amount of money was coming in and going out. But I often had the impression that it could run out at any time, and that there was never enough. I remember in high school asking for $5 for dinner after my away tennis meet, and then bringing home the change to my dad. It was less than 50 cents and he looked at me strangely for trying to give it back to him, but I thought it was the way I could contribute to the family finances.
It wasn’t until I got coached on my resistance to spending money in my business that I realized I had a belief that was holding me back. My coach asked me why I didn’t want to spend money, and I thought the “problem” thought was “I shouldn’t have to spend money to be successful.” And you know what? I don’t have to spend money. I can find ways to create the vision I would like in my business without spending. But it’ll take more time and energy. When I thought about my future self and what she would say, it was clear that spending money on the things that would help my business run more smoothly now made complete sense. I left the coaching session feeling more empowered and practicing the thought, “I WANT to spend money in my business.”
As I continued on with my day, the coaching session was still going in the back of my mind. And as some point, I had an even bigger ah-ha moment: I realized that I thought spending money was negative. Spending money is neither good or bad; it is just a circumstance in our lives. In fact, we need to spend money to get food for our families or to pay for transportation, clothes, housing, etc. In many of these cases we would say NOT spending money is negative, especially if we have the money to spend. But my brain was telling me that all spending is a bad thing, and we should avoid it if possible. This was the root of my hang-up. Once I realize this, I immediately went and bought a few things for my business that I had been wanting to invest in. I don’t feel bad in the least, and I am happy to be stepping into my future self.
I hope you take away a couple of things from this somewhat-long-winded story:
1. I get coached. I continue to work on myself. I can’t be the best coach unless I put into practice the things I teach. I don’t want to just impact people on a logical/educational level. I want to move them emotionally, move them to action. It’s difficult to explain what a huge breakthrough acknowledging this belief was for me. I anticipate that it will perpetuate many subtle positive shifts.
And 2. The circumstances in our lives are neither good or bad. Circumstances are events, people or situations outside of our control that are generally provable. Everything else is a thought you are having. Circumstances are always neutral, meaning they aren’t good or bad… until we have a thought about them. You may find my example slightly morbid, but it’s so effective: Say your beloved grandmother died. You didn’t find out until 24 hours after she passed. When do you get sad about her passing? Is it at the moment of her death? No. It’s when you find out. Because it’s at that point that you have a thought about it. You can’t have a thought about it unless you know about it. Maybe you aren’t even sad. Maybe you are happy because she was in a lot of pain and was ready to go, so you have a thought that her passing was a good thing. The other way we know circumstances are neutral is because different people have different reactions to the same circumstances. And the same person may have a different reaction to the same circumstance at different points in their lives, because they have different thoughts. When we can separate circumstances from our thoughts about them, we gain not only power, but understanding.
I’ll leave you with that to ponder on. What circumstances do you have in your life that you think are making you feel negatively? Are they truly negative? Would everyone in the world agree? Can you identify your thoughts about each one individually? Is it possible anyone else thinks differently about the same circumstances?