Mind your Mindset about Money

One of the first things I talk about with any of my clients is how they think about and relate to money. Most of my clients come to me wanting to change their income or the means by which they make it.

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It turns out that changing our relationship to money is  some of the most uncomfortable  work that we humans can do.

But it’s not because it’s hard to make money - it’s not. What's deeply and painfully *uncomfortable* is to cut through the unconscious programming - or mindset - that we have around money.

Like most of our unconscious programming, our money mindset is established and developed when we're little. It's modeled and passed down to us by our families and community. Sometimes this happens explicitly (that wealthy prick) but more often it happens more subtly through behavior and off-handed comments (look at that new car the neighbors are driving - too bad we’ll never have one like that).

The beliefs we cultivate when we're little stay with us in our subconscious throughout the rest of our lives - and this is why it's so rare that people step out of the financial comfort zone they grew up in.

Unless you spend time and energy bringing consciousness to your money mindset - and really developing a conscious relationship to money - your unconscious beliefs will determine your earning capacity for your entire life.

One of my coaches, David Neagle, taught me this simple three line model for making sense of what's happening in our subconscious minds. It’s a psychological model and can be used for just about anything, and he uses it often to explain our money mindset. I think it’s the best illustration there is for why people struggle to change their socioeconomic status.

Here’s how it looks:

Each of these lines represents a psychological story about money. The Bottom line is a poverty story. The Top line is a wealth story. The Need line is a comfort story. For a given person, each of these lines correlate to a specific amount of money - but what those numbers are can be radically different, depending on the individual, so let's look at this conceptually.

The Need line is our default comfort line - and we hover around this line. This line represents what we consider to be the things we need to do, money-wise, on a regular basis. This line represents whatever is on your personal list of things that you feel really good about spending money on and feel uncomfortable without. For some this may be paying the rent and bills and for others it may include paying the annual membership to the Country Club. Think about this for yourself - what numbers and commitments are on your Need line?

The Bottom line is what it sounds like - it's the worst it’s ever been for you, financially. It’s what you’re afraid of getting to. The point is that no one ever goes below their own bottom line. For some, this may be defaulting on a loan. For others this may be homelessness. For some this means driving a BMW instead of a Ferrari. Each person is different. Without doubt, everyone has a bottom line - a line past which they never go, no matter what. What’s your need line?

Here's the thing that's super interesting about the bottom line: as we fall closer and closer to the Bottom line...  

Money.

Turns.

Up.

I've experienced this in my own life and seen it in other people’s lives time and time again: a tax refund check arrives just in time, cash that had been stashed for a “rainy day” gets unearthed from the sock drawer and saves the day, the money that was owed gets paid. It's not a coincidence - it's a change in urgency.

Why? As we go closer to our own bottom line, falling away from our comfort zone, our tolerance for being seen goes down - we don't want to get caught away from our comfort zone. The closer to our bottom line we get, the more likely it is that we will be seen.

And this shifts our sense of urgency. And we bring the money in.

Stay tuned for a more exploration of this mental model at the beginning of November when we’ll delve into the top line and how to break the whole paradigm.

Sales as Spiritual Practice

When I started my coaching business, I was focused entirely on working with retreat leaders - in other words spiritual educators. It was the perfect synergy of my mastery as a math educator and my passion for spiritual transformation. I started working with brilliant healers, coaches, and spiritual teachers to help them plan, sell, and execute transformational retreats. I *love* retreats - and I love retreat leaders. It was a perfect match.

What emerged in the process was a startling trend in my clients: they lacked real mastery around sales; they had major blocks around charging what they were worth; and they consistently struggled to fill their programs and retreats.

Not having full programs led to them doubt their purpose and themselves.

So I started teaching sales - and demanding that my clients practice them consistently. This felt radical - and the only way to make sales really resonate with me and my clients was to approach them from a spiritual perspective. The sales needed to not only allow my clients the financial resources to do what they loved, but also develop their skills as spiritual leaders, healers, and coaches. It needed to build their confidence, connect them more deeply with God and their spiritual lives, and help them to directly develop their spiritual leadership.

I’m still a retreat leader coach - nearly all my clients work with groups in a transformational context - and what that means is helping my clients become masters of sales AND use their experience of sales to deepen their spiritual lives.  

Here are some of the things I have learned and teach about sales as a spiritual practice.

1. Sales are happening all the time.

When you go to the grocery store and you choose a certain cereal and put it in the cart, you choose it for a reason. Somehow you got the idea that this cereal was the one for you. That’s a sale.

When you were twelve and you convinced your parents to let you sleepover at your friend’s house, that was a sale.

When you go out to eat with a friend and they insist on paying for dinner, that’s a sale.

The truth that sales are everywhere supports my clients in normalizing and relating to sales in a variety of ways - and to practice seeing the divine in everything.

2. Everyone is a spender.

In our society, everyone is a spender. There is a financial component to literally everything in our lives - either directly (you or someone else spent money to purchase that thing) or indirectly. Everything you do, everything you eat, everywhere you go, there is a financial component. Even those that mindfully decide not to handle money for spiritual or religious reasons, such as nuns or monks, for example, are supported by a person or organization who is dealing with money.

Sales are an integral part of life as we know it.  What this means that those of you who are doing amazing spiritual, teaching or healing work in the world need money to keep doing what you are doing.

As conscientious, spiritual people who believe in contributing to the world for a higher good, we are taught or programmed to reject money. It is the root of all evil, we were told. It just creates problems. Anxiety. Greed. You don’t need it.

But here’s the truth: not only is money necessary for you to continue the very important work you do as a spiritual leader, sales in itself is a necessary and powerful spiritual practice that will strengthen your capacity to serve others.

3. Sales get a bad rap when they’re done badly - or unconsciously.

(This is why spiritual folks are often some of the most powerful salespeople when they put their minds to it because they’re so dang conscious!)

Why do sales get such a bad rap? As in point 1, sales are happening all the time and when the sale is useful, effective and efficient, we don’t even notice it. We don’t blame the guy at Old Navy who tells us the pink looks better than the green - as long as we like the pink. We don’t ridicule the doTerra folks - as long as we are enjoying smelling their delicious scents. We tend to think of “sales” as limited to the experiences we’ve had with people who are not that good at sales or people who are using sales to manipulate - the telemarketer who doesn’t even seem interested in who we are before asking us to buy, or the cheesy TV ad with the low budget production.

In the world of spiritual sales, this is worthwhile to pay attention to because if you approach a sale attached to a, “Yes,” then you are selling to make yourself feel good and you’ll end up manipulating the person you’re speaking to. You are selling and wanting to be liked - a codependent and ineffective combo. If you manipulate in order to make a sale, you put the person you are talking to in a victim role. This is not serivce.

4. Sales - conscious sales - ARE service.

If this doesn’t make sense to you, turn this into one of your practices and ask yourself: “What would need to happen to make this sales conversation deeply serve the other person?”  

When you change your mindset to approach a sale as service, you automatically:

  1. Make the sale about what will serve the other person

  2. Understand that if hiring you or buying your product does not directly serve the other person, you should not support them hiring you.

The sale, in itself, is an offering to the person you are selling to. And the sale is also the practice for us to become more powerful leaders, teachers, healers, guides---because it helps us refocus on our true service, a powerful spiritual practice for revealing codependency and giving you the opportunity to release it.

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