I am a personal development junkie. I never went to grad school but love learning and spend much of my free time reading self-help books and attending life enhancing, transformational workshops, both in person and online.
Through my latest personal development work I was asked to get intimate with my money story and curious about how it’s been affecting my life.
When I was in middle school my parents divorced. Knowing my mom needed a support system, she moved my brothers and I from Ohio to Minnesota to be near her family. My dad supported us and was in our lives, though from afar since he stayed living in Ohio, so in a way, then, my mom became a single mother.
She hadn’t gone to college, and while she had good jobs as we were growing up and worked really hard for our family, it was a change from our previous lifestyle and hard for my mom to comfortably raise our family on her salary. I felt her anxiety when it was time to pay the bills or when school clothes shopping season came around. I remember being told we couldn’t afford certain things like other people could who were “well off.” It was clear that my family didn’t fall into the well-off family category.
I remember other experiences like driving through a neighborhood of mansions with an influential adult in my life who said, “I wonder how many people those home owners hurt on their way up to acquire that level of wealth.” And a time when a close friend proudly talked about living on discounts, coupons, and hand-me-downs, like barely scraping by was honorable, and who seemed to look down on people who had chosen lucrative careers like doctors or lawyers.
To share my side of the story, I live in Naples, FL, one of the wealthiest cities in the United States. While I was turned off by the amount of money in our city at the beginning (largely because of my money story), I started getting to know the people who owned the mansions in the really nice neighborhoods. I can wholeheartedly say that most of the wealthiest people I know are the kindest, most generous, warm, welcome, honest, and loving people I know. They definitely did not hurt people to get where they are at. Wealth does not equal evil or bad intentions.
Now, I don’t believe we need riches or material things in order to be happy. My husband and I are raising our children simply and value experiences more than things. But I can attest from personal experience that when I know how my monthly bills will be paid, it’s one less stress I have to think about in my full life, so I am considerably happier and able to focus on other important things.
And I don’t believe God wants us to be poor and barely get by. I believe he wants us to be kind to one another and not spend our days working hard just to chase after a new watch or to keep up with the Joneses. But he gave us delicious wine, a beautiful world, and people to love all over the globe. Why would he not want us to experience the things that fill our souls? And if I keep telling myself I cannot afford something, that will continue to be the truth since my thoughts create my reality. Instead, I could shift my thoughts to something like: “I am building an abundant life where I can afford the things my family needs and enjoys.”
When I was living in New York City I was barely making ends meet. It’s one of the most expensive cities in the U.S. and I was in the early stages of my career. I also knew I wouldn’t be living there forever, so when friends invited me to join to do something fun or different, I almost always said yes so I could take in the full NYC experience during my short time living there.
During one of my job interviews with the company I ended up working for, I rode the elevator with a future-co-worker.
“You are going to do really well here,” he told me. “You are getting into our company at just the right time and there will be a lot of opportunity for you as we grow.”
I believed him. This became my mindset and what I told myself every day.
Later my boss told me regularly that I would make a lot of money from my events. My co-workers talked the same way. Again, I believed them. And you know what, we do make good money from our work. We provide a huge value to our clients, and are paid to reflect that value.
In my 30s, I read Feng Shui for Dummies, a simple crash course in feng shui. Part of feng shui’s teaching is that abundance is available for all of us; we just need to allow it to flow into our lives, and this is hugely brought about by how we set up our home. So I made over my home to allow abundance in. For years I have had a purple heart (the color of abundance) taped to the left corner of my desk that I chose to write, “Abundance and gratitude in all areas of my life on.” When it gets crinkly and faded, I create a new one and tape it to the same place.
I don’t know how or if feng shui really works. What I do know is that seeing the little changes I made to my home and office that were created with the intention of bringing health, wealth, and abundance to my family’s life (like the little purple heart note I see on my desk every day) reminds me over and over again that abundance is my birthright. It became my mindset, and affects all the decisions I make and how I live.
The other thing I believe is that God put enough on this earth for all of us human beings to live in abundance. Your increase in wealth does not equal less wealth for me. There is more than enough to go around for everyone. As we share and are generous and root on the success of others, we all get lifted up.
Now your turn: What is your abundance mindset? Have you thought about your money story and where it came from? Are there beliefs you can shift around wealth and abundance and what is truly possible for you?