“Success starts in your head” (Part 3)

Last time we talked about how we carry forward in our lives our parent’s attitude about work, money, business and… wealth.  For example…

Let’s use baseball as a metaphor. Some some guys were lucky enough to be born into this life standing on third base. I’m not one of them. Any success I’ve been blessed with in life I’ve had to earn with singles, occasional doubles and sadly far-too-frequent errors. Yep, although I love my parents dearly, I’ve struggled for years to unlearn many of the early lessons they taught me about money.  Then I had to learn new “lessons” that fit my personal goals.

Learning new lessons about money can be a complicated process since many of us were taught as children to obey and respect our parents. As a result, we might confuse respecting our parents with believing every lesson they taught us. So sometimes the starting point in changing these flawed patterns about money is acknowledging that while we don’t want to live our financial lives the way our parents did that doesn’t mean we don’t love them or respect them any less.

I now know (contrary to the message I received from my parents) that lots of wealthy individuals are honest, happy people. I’ve also had verified for me over the years that yes, “money doesn’t grow on trees”.  However, I also learned that the underlying message behind this saying is very restrictive and subjective.

So think about it.  What lessons did you learn about money and wealth while growing up? Here’s a few:  “Rich people can’t be honest.” “Rich people are never happy.” “It’s better to give than to receive.” “Money’s not important.” “Money can’t buy happiness.”  

All of these sayings MAY be true- SOMETIMES.  But have you ever stopped to consider how these seemingly harmless sayings affect the way you are with money now?

I used to conduct this exercise when starting a seminar on finances.  I would ask the attendees to write down on a piece of paper all the restrictive beliefs they had about themselves and their businesses. What lessons did they learn from their parents, friends, or just life in general that they felt had a restrictive effect on them? Did they believe, “You have to have money to make money”? Or “I wasn’t a good student in school, so how can I be successful in business?

I wanted my students to question the sources and validity of those beliefs. Then after they’d written all these negative beliefs down I had them wad up the paper into a ball and throw it into a trash can that I passed around. I found that by removing these psychological barriers and old ways of thinking they were free to accept new ideas and grow during the seminar.

So… what are your restrictive beliefs? What comments do you find yourself making/feeling about money? Where did you learn them? And are these beliefs valid?

If the profits in your company aren’t where you want them (and if you’re not earning the income you want) look no further than your closest mirror. The solution to your dilemma does not reside with your employees, customers, competitors, products or local market. It resides between your ears. And the good news is…you’re the one who can change that.  Really.

Please meditate on these “financial head reflections” as you enter a New Year!

Chuck Violand (more about Chuck)
SFS Instructor
CEO Violand Management Associates

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