A personal story about my relationship with money.
I've spent my entire weekend-just-gone attending what's called the Millionaire Mind Intensive, a 3 day personal development course that teaches you the secrets and the mindset of millionaires and educates you on effective money management. I'm not about to review the course and tell you my opinion on it, however what I will do is share with you my own story about money. (If you are considering attending and do want my opinion on the course, please contact me directly).
My story is that I grew up in a working class family, in a socio-economically deprived area of the West Midlands. My Dad worked for British Gas, until he took early retirement when I was still quite young, and my Mum worked the odd part time job here or there; her full time job was raising me and my brother.
Consequently, finances were tight.
Back then free school meals were means-tested; I was fully eligible for all such benefits, including the maximum grant towards my university fees. Holidays consisted of a one-week-per-year trip to a caravan park in Wales.... staying in my uncle's caravan. Whilst everyone else in my class wore Adidas and Nike trainers for P.E., I wore a £10 pair off the local market and they lasted me the whole school year. I was teased a lot for this. Especially when I turned up on non-uniform day wearing a pair of tracksuit bottoms with 4 stripes down the side instead of the trademarked 3. I begged for branded clothes to avoid the humiliation but the answer was always no.
Also, because I didn't "see" my parents going out to work, I never understood where money came from or how things were paid for. Yet somehow they always were. We always had food to eat, clean clothes to wear, and presents at Christmas. I just didn't know how. As far as I was concerned, "we didn't have money". I even remember my Mum studiously checking the supermarket receipt every time we went shopping to make sure we hadn't been overcharged for anything. Even if we had been overcharged by as little as 10p, we'd queue in customer services to get it refunded. Shampoo bottles and toiletries were not allowed to be thrown away until they had been cut open and every last dreg taken out. Money was scarce.
As such, even in my adulthood I've held on to this same story "I don't have money". I look at my lifestyle, my beautiful apartment, and think of all the places I've travelled to and things I've achieved, and just like when I was 6, I've no idea where the money has come from to pay for it. The story of “I don’t have money” has hung over me even though I’m now nearly 30, and I still feel “poor”.
As human beings, our life is just full of stories that we cling on to. We act according to our story and behave in ways that accentuate it. We don’t know we are doing this, we just think we are acting the way we need to because of what we “know” to be “true”. We are blind to seeing other possible ways of being and acting, and consequently, we keep getting the same old results and wonder why nothing is working.
We do this for one big payoff. We hang on to the story because we would rather than be RIGHT about our story, than admit responsibility for being the one who created it in the first place. Because if we did that, we would suddenly realise that we are free to live life as we choose and have anything we want, and that’s terrifying.
Just take a moment to re-read that sentence.
Yes it's true that I wore trainers that cost £10 and we went on holidays to Wales. It's not true that "we didn't have money". That's a story. I made that story up in my own head. If I look hard enough, I CAN see where money flows from, and where it has flowed from since my childhood. My Dad had a pension that we lived off, my Mum received childcare support, I’ve had a job ever since I was 15, I received student loans, I have savings – things didn’t just get paid for by magic – the money was there. I DO have the money to pay for things.
Take a look in your life, what’s your story? Either with money or something else? If there’s an area of your life where you’re not achieving the results you want, look there. There will be a story in the way somewhere.
What’s really objectively true about your story, and what’s made up? What can you take responsibility for? What’s the cost of holding on to this story? What’s the payoff?
I'm taking responsibility for my money story, the one I made up, and creating a new one. I’ve separated what happened when I was child (holidays to Wales and cheap clothes) from the story I gave it (we don’t have money), and generated a new story. And to make this true, I called my Mum.
I told her about my story and the resentment I had been carrying about our lack of money. I told her that in actual fact, she did a bloody good job of raising me and my brother. I hoped she is proud, not of us, but of herself, for what she achieved. I also told her I'm so grateful for my upbringing because it is what made me the ambitious and driven person I am today. Finally, I told her I love her.
And I am going to share my old and new story with as many people as possible (including you).
From now on, I have the money that I have and I don't have the money that I don't have, and I'm perfectly capable of creating more.
What story do you need to let go of?
With love x