Five Fatal Words

Sex, death and money are three topics guaranteed to get attention. You don’t have to think about it for long to realize why. They all hold a fundamental, primal link with being human; we can’t live without any of them. Clearly, as a species, sex is how we get here; it secures the future of our kind. Understandably it occupies a good part of our western culture mind. Death, on the other hand, is inescapable and mysterious –the inevitability of it provides the grist for living, the urge for purpose and meaning.Money on the other hand seems to trump both sex and death in terms of our obsessive relationship to it and our confusion about what it is. While necessary for survival as a participant in society, it’s not directly linked with life and death, yet, many of us relate to it as if our lives depend on it. Here’s a news flash – it’s not.

Money is simply an invention of civilization. Historically developed as a mechanism of trade and resource, we have managed to elevate its symbolism way beyond the innate power that even sex and death hold for us. We, as a western culture have learned to give money uninvestigated meaning like nothing else I know of.  Why is this?

It’s safe to say confusion about money shows up for most people, in most aspects of their lives (regardless of how much or how little of it they have). I’m particularly curious about how this confusion seems to continuously plague small business owners, and their ability to build the thriving businesses they desire.

It’s the fatal five words I hear ALL the time – “I just can’t afford it” that’s got me wondering about how to bridge the gap between reality and the fiction that keep small business owners in fear and lack, constantly stressed about money, and unable to break these disempowering belief patterns.

Fear not, there is an antidote that can help you break through to the other side. It’s not easy, but it’s possible. In order to get there, you need to learn and adopt three very important skills.  First, you need to increase your self-awareness about your inner beliefs and feelings about money, and second, you need to strengthen your ability to distinguish reality from fear and then, implement a solid plan.

Ponder your deep beliefs about money. Scan your past. What were the messages pervasive in the family and culture you were raised in? Were you raised to believe that money is the root of evil; that money is not spiritual, promotes greed, and makes you compromise your values; do you believe that money makes you happy; that money and power are synonymous? Isn’t it time to update your out dated, disempowering mythology about money?

The truth about money is that it’s not good, nor bad, it just a tool we use to exchange value. Simple. By investigating and then un-doing your beliefs about money you will neutralize the fear and stress. Then you can be able to take the next step and learn to distinguish reality from fear and take appropriate action and begin smart fiscal planning.

Often times, being in business means spending money you don’t have. It’s a fact of business life, all be it a cliché, that you have to spend money to make money.  Nine out of ten small businesses begin on a shoestring. While there’s nothing wrong with the bootstrap approach, you’ve still got to know what you’re doing.

Most business owners honestly don’t know if they can afford expenditures because they don’t have a business plan, a budget or the proper financial instruments in place to make clear decisions. The reason for this is both a lack of skills and the outright fear of reality. You’re afraid of finding out what you don’t want to know and then you make up a story about what might happen next. I’m here to tell you that ostrich medicine isn’t a savvy business strategy and that reality is always easier to deal with then the stories we make up about it.

Make a plan to learn what might be missing from your business skill set. Discover what you truly believe about money versus what you’ve been replaying in your mind without giving it a second thought. Most importantly, make a promise to yourself never to knee jerk the words “I can’t afford it” again, unless you are crystal clear, based on current reality and sound thinking that it’s the truth. You’ll be less stressed, have a healthier business and probably be wealthier in spirit, if not also monetarily.

It’s YOUR life…imagine the possibilities!

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