I work with entrepreneurs so the topic of money comes up a lot. Probably every conversation we talk about some aspect of money: budgets, expenses, income. We also talk about financial freedom, which starts by knowing who you are and what stage of business you’re in. If you’re just starting out, your definition is different from someone who knows how to create wealth and has been in business a while.
It doesn’t matter where you are. What matters is that you have a clear, specific definition of financial for yourself.
Being clear about what financial freedom means to you attach your money to people, ideas, things that work for your life, giving it value. It’s less stressful because even if circumstances stop being stable, your mindset doesn’t. During tough times when cash is low, having a solid definition of money helps. It grounds you in WHY you’re working and gives you something larger to believe in than just dollars for dollars.
Below are my core beliefs about money. As you read, think about your own beliefs – ones that limit you and ones that open up opportunity. You want to keep the ones tied to opportunity. Craft your definition of financial freedom: how you want your money to make you feel and what you want to attach it to.
These five money mindsets have transformed my relationship with money. It’s taken many years, but I’ve learned from the best books, workshops, and mentors around.
FINANCIAL FREEDOM IS A STATE OF MIND, NOT A “THING.”
Financial freedom is a state of mind, a principle to be understood, not a “thing” to be “gotten.” How you relate to money – whether you feel abundant or scarce – tells you if your money is working against you or with you. The more you understand money and create a friendly relationship with it – not one where you feel ashamed, hateful or scared – that’s when you learn to create prosperity in your life.
IN ORDER FOR MONEY TO BE USEFUL, IT MUST BE ATTACHED TO SOMETHING
Money is a resource that can’t stand alone. Only when attached to something, does money start to have value and become useful; it doesn’t possess inherent value on its own. Like a pile of cash sitting under your bed doesn’t do any good until you use it to pay for something meaningful; the vacation you’ve wanted to take, the new employee you hired to grow your team, the dishwasher you bought your mom to make her life easier.
Only when attached to something you value, does money become valuable.
This took me a long time to grasp; to see money in relation to things I cared about, instead of earning just to earn. After I did, I made wiser and more enjoyable choices; saving for travel and creating meaningful experiences than spending frivolously.
MONEY DOES NOT LAND IN CHAOS
This was a big one. Money CANNOT land in unpaid bills, missed deadlines, and financial confusion. I had to get my house in order and manage money, keep track of income and expenses, track receipts, and pay bills, including late fees! Initially, it was hard to stay on track because my expenses usually exceeded my income (common in early-stage business.) But I knew I had to do it and confront the hard stuff to show the universe I was serious. It took a few months, but once I organized my finances, money came in the door quickly. It was as though it had been waiting for me to take the first step all along.
ATTACH YOUR MONEY TO FEELINGS, NOT JUST THINGS
When you look at your life, use money to support your feelings. That’s how you put it to good use. Some people work their whole lives for a lot of money. When they get it, what they thought would make them happy doesn’t; they end up addicted, unhappy or really unhappy. People look at them “How can they be unhappy with all that money?!” People don’t get it. It’s not about the money. It’s about the way they thought the money would make them feel.
If you want to make lots of money, that’s cool. We all do. But know that what you’re looking for isn’t just the money, you’re looking for how it makes you feel.
Attaching your money to good feelings, like freedom, allows you to cultivate more of the good feelings in your life. Freedom is one of my core desired feelings and I want to feel it all the time – with money, time, and people. Because I want this feeling, I make choices with my money that let me feel this way.
MONEY CANNOT BE CREATED OR DESTROYED
Like matter, money cannot be created or destroyed. It exists whether you see it or not, and it’s always waiting in the pipelines for you to see it. Once you get specific about how and when you want to “see” it, and what you’ll give in return, you’ll clearly see how money becomes available to you. I say this with 100% honesty because it happened to me. The difference in income from zero to $10,000 the next month was no dramatic shift in my life; The only difference was my ability to “see” money and create an outlet for it to become available.
YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR BELIEFS AND RELATIONSHIP WITH MONEY
To be successful, you’ll probably have to change your core beliefs about money. But it’s a skill that can be learned. Start learning and re-wiring your beliefs about money, especially if you believe any of these:
- You feel ashamed about your money, income, or debt.
- You feel you don’t deserve to be wealthy or make lots of money.
- You believe charging for money is bad, evil or wrong.
- You don’t believe you can sustain making lots of money (I used to think this!)
- You think money equals struggle. (I thought this too)
- You believe there’s not enough to go around. If she has it, I can’t.
I’ve DONE my money work, honey! Now, it’s time for you to do it too.
If any of these principles are new or counter-intuitive, I still want you to try on the possibility of shifting some of your beliefs. Not all of them. Not overnight. But something has to shift if you want your money to change.
To help you, here are a few tools on the path to creating financial freedom. You have enough below to start on your own path, and these are some of the best tools in my arsenal.
- Read “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. This is my FAVORITE book.
- Read “Overcoming UnderEarning” by Barbara Stanny. Hugely helpful.
- Get your money house in order: learn about your bills, due dates, check your credit, see if you have debt and how much. Get specific with details. Even if you’re doing this for the first time, don’t worry. You gotta start somewhere.
- Write out your own definition of financial freedom: Identify what has value in your life and what you want the money for.
Money is important. But it’s not everything. What’s most important is your state of mind and relationship to money, because that’s what you can control.
So how will you create your own definition of financial freedom? What do you value that makes money worth it?
To more than just dollas,