Have you heard yourself utter sentences that sound similar to something your parents might say? What about “money doesn’t’ grow on trees” or “you have to work hard for your money?” Don’t worry, you aren’t turning into your parents but you are likely echoing their money beliefs. These same money beliefs create your money mindset and can affect the feelings and decisions you make toward your business.
Money mindset represents a system of beliefs in the area of money. It’s how you feel and respond to money. You have many different systems of mindset. For example: you have a relationship mindset, a parenting mindset and even a friendship mindset. All of these mindsets reflect the beliefs you have regarding each subject. If you want to understand how your mindset works, consider the following sentence. “My philosophy around money is …” The completed sentence will reveal a plethora of beliefs. Some beliefs are healthy, and some, not so much.
Finding the pattern
For many years, I struggled with my own money mindset because I grew up with an entrepreneurial father whose business caused a lot of tension between my parents. That led me to develop the belief that money was something stressful and unpredictable. The long-term pattern I saw as a result of my money beliefs was that I tended to panic when I had to let go of money. I was resistant to investing in my business, hiring people and raising my fees. No matter how well I was doing, it always felt dangerous and risky. I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough money coming in to replenish what was left in my bank account. My childhood money beliefs caused me to stall my business.
You don’t have to experience dramatic ups and downs in childhood related to money to have negative money beliefs. You could be like my husband who had a financially stable childhood but still acquired negative beliefs because he heard his dad say things like, “Canadian kids are spoiled.” His father was an immigrant who came to Canada as a child, right after the Second World War. He saw his family struggle to make ends meet. At the same time, he saw his “Canadian” neighbours seemingly have it easy. It was a child’s perception and didn’t necessarily reflect reality but resulted in the feeling of never being financially affluent, regardless of bank balance.
A legacy of beliefs
Beliefs are not necessarily based on reality but on how children perceive and interpret their surroundings. We also believe what authority figures like our mom and dad tell us. However, if you are a parent you know that what we say to our kids is not always correct and well-reasoned. Beliefs around the subject of money most often come from our own learning as children. They are what our parents taught us and their parents before them. I call them “legacy beliefs.”
I have been teaching money mindset to women entrepreneurs for the last couple of years with a focus on helping them recognize their legacy beliefs. Women often struggle with negative money beliefs but don’t necessarily recognize it because we have been conditioned through childhood and by society to believe that we don’t deserve to receive money. This results in not making confident financial decisions for business growth and literally making less than we should for our knowledge and experience. It’s not a coincidence that women in Canada still make less than men. According to the Canadian Income Survey Statics Canada, women earned 75 cents to the dollar in 2016.
The cost of a negative money mindset is not theoretical, it is real. We need to create awareness of the conditioning we received – conditioning that created enduring beliefs. If we start to shift toward a more empowered money mindset we will make confident decisions to grow our businesses. A larger number of financially successful businesses means we will have more influence on all aspects of society. Goodness knows women will make the world a better place.