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Step 4: Write out your money story

Another great exercise for getting to the core of your limiting money beliefs and fears is to write out your money story. Your money story consists of those beliefs that operate in your subconscious mind and which play a significant role in how you face financial decisions.

As with most limiting beliefs, your money story likely got its start during your childhood, either by watching or listening to your parents and how they treated their own finances. Money stories can also change over time, so your story from 10 years ago that was a positive influence on how you treated money could possibly be holding you back now that you’re older and wiser.

It’s also possible that you’re actually living out somebody else’s money story–or a combination of other people’s stories that you picked up from childhood. Parents have a huge influence on their children’s lives and those money lessons that were learned all those years ago might be ingrained in your subconscious. Or maybe you’re being heavily influenced by a business partner or spouse’s limiting beliefs. Don’t worry about them at this moment; focus on your own money story and examine where it came from.

Use the following journaling prompts to get to the heart of your current money story:

  • What are your first memories of money from childhood? Write out each one you can remember, starting as early as you can remember.
  • For each memory: What beliefs did these memories instill in you? (i.e., “Rich people are jerks,” “Money doesn’t grow on trees,” etc.)
  • What other fearful thoughts normally go through your head when you think about money now? What are your most common?

Money fears also stem from your own experiences with money and finances. Think about both your positive and negative money experiences and write them down. Pay attention and take note of your body’s physical reactions to each one.

  • What “money mistakes” are you currently holding onto? List out every negative financial experience you feel like you’ve created for yourself.
  • Now, write down what belief each of these experiences has instilled in you. For example: “I took out a student loan for $40k for grad school but then dropped out” is your experience. Your belief now might be: “I’m stupid and careless with money.”
  • Do this for each experience.

 
Upon completion of this exercise, compare your answers to the other exercises. Again, do you see any correlations? Is your fear centered around one specific financial topic?

Exploring money and finances – especially mistakes – might invoke some sadness or other negative self-talk about the subject. Remember that these mistakes were in the past and you need to acknowledge them in order to learn from them. Just because you made a bad financial decision (or two) in the past does NOT mean your destined to do it again. Find the lessons, journal about them, and think positively about the shifts you’re going to make for your finances and your business.