Mel Savage Executive Coaching
The Highly Valued Leader Podcast - Building Your Brand

Episode 33 – Your Beliefs About Making Money

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Episode 33 - Your Beliefs About Making Money

We have beliefs about making money that hold us back. These beliefs actually block us from making all the money we can. It feels like money has all this power.

But the truth is money has no power at all. The only thing that has power is how you think about money. And your ability to make money is directly aligned with your thoughts and your relationship with money.

In this episode about making money, we put the power of money in perspective and review the top three beliefs about money that hold people back from having more of it.

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Hello, my friends. It’s great to be back with you this week. This is a great week because I’m going to start talking more and more about the topic of money, our relationship with money, and how our relationship with money really determines how much of it we have, how much debt we have, how we show up for it, how much stress we have around it, and how it also impacts our overall career success. There’s so much going on when we think about money. 

Today, I really want to talk about our beliefs around money, and how it impacts our ability to be successful. I have, what I believe are some great thoughts, and some great ideas for you today, that I invite you to think about how they pertain to you and how you show up in the instances that I’m going to share with you today. And then what you want to do about that, and how you want to think about that in the future. 

But first, I want to ask you, if you’re listening to this podcast, and it is valuable to you, then please go to your podcast service provider wherever you listen to your podcast, and give me a rating. Let me know what your rating is for the podcast. If you have time, please write a review. It always always helps. 

A lot of the time when we try to achieve a goal of any kind in our career, we do it by trying to work hard. We put in the hours, we’ve got the to-do list, we put the process together, and we try to achieve something, whatever it is that we’re trying to achieve. But a lot of the time, we don’t achieve what we really want to achieve. It’s not because we don’t know how to put a to-do list together. It’s not because we’re not taking action, it’s because of how we’re thinking about the goal. 

Sometimes, goals can be pretty scary and sometimes we get intimidated by goals. When I say goals, it could be anything. It could be a goal to finish a project, a goal to achieve something specific in your career, or a goal to work on a relationship with someone or build a relationship with someone at work. There are all different kinds of goals, big and small, whatever they are. Sometimes we achieve them, sometimes we don’t. Usually, it’s not because we didn’t take action, it’s because we didn’t take action with the right mindset. 

So this week, I’m going to give you as much quality content as I can, as we talk about your beliefs about money. Before I get to the beliefs about money, there is really one major thing I want you to understand about your relationship with money in general. Money itself has no power. Some people think it’s the root of all evil, some people think it’s a cause of your happiness, and some people think that when you have it, all your dreams will come true. But the truth is, money itself has no power. Money is a circumstance. I

If you’ve ever heard me talk about circumstances before, you know that circumstances are indisputable facts. Circumstances don’t allow for opinion. Essentially, circumstances have no power over you. All circumstances are neutral and money is a neutral thing. Money itself doesn’t create our results. The reason I know that is because everyone thinks differently about money. Money itself is just numbers, Money itself is a piece of paper with numbers on it. 

Basically, the only facts about money are how much you have, how much you owe, and how much you make. It’s a numbers and cents thing. But some people think money does have power. Some people think that having money is going to bring them a different result in their life, that the money itself brings the result. The money itself will create a more exciting life or an easier life. Some people think it’s a more complicated life, whatever. They think that money itself has the power. But money is just paper, it doesn’t have that kind of power. 

Having a million dollars isn’t necessarily going to make you a more secure person, or make you worry less about money. You might have a whole different set of problems around money. I know people who have over a million dollars and they still worry about money. It’s not your credit card debt that’s making you feel scared or making you have a sense of scarcity around money, it’s how you think about that credit card debt. It’s how you think about that million dollars. It’s about how you think in general about money that creates your relationship with it, what you believe about it, and how much power it has over you. 

This is important to understand before we get into your beliefs about money, how it impacts your career, and that money itself doesn’t have power. It’s what we think about money. We think, in many cases, that we want more money. But really, it’s not the money that we want, it’s the experience of our life with the money. You’ll see that a circumstance or what I call the C-line, circumstance is the money. The result we want is the life we have with the money. We want a certain feeling. We want to feel that certain feeling that we would feel if we had the money.

But if again, you’ve been following me at all, you know that feelings are not created by results. We don’t have money and then have a feeling. Feelings are created by thoughts. So we have a thought that creates a feeling that creates our experience. So if we want to experience something; we want to experience a sense of freedom, if we want to experience less worry when we think about money, we can do that now. We can just manage our thoughts around it. 

As I said, there are a lot of people out there who have money, who are still worried about it, who are always looking for more money, and who always need more money. Then there are people out there with less money who think they have it all or have all the freedom and joy. 

Think about yourself in your 20s. I know when I was in my 20s, I did not have any money. My very first job in advertising was in the mailroom at an advertising agency and I made $17,000 a year. This was in 1990. But still, even in 1990, $17,000 a year and living in Toronto was not a lot of money. I was living in a place with four other roommates. There are five of us living in this place. There were lots of times I was eating peanut butter sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, and ramen noodles. 

It was just like going to school. I actually had two jobs. I had a part-time job at a clothing store after work just to be able to pay my rent and live. But I got to tell you, I was having an awesome time. I was having so much fun, I didn’t care about the money. I cared about having fun. That’s what I was thinking about. I was having all the joy and freedom, that in my 40s, I was like, I wish I could feel that way. I didn’t have any money back then but I always felt that way. 

It wasn’t until I started getting into my job and into my career. I got my first job in account services in advertising. I don’t remember what I was making. It was like in the 20s. Maybe the high 20 thousand Canadian dollars, my friends. That’s when I started thinking about, if I had more money then I would have this. If I had more money, I would have that. If I had more money, I could buy a house or I could buy a condo or I could get a car. These were things I started thinking about. All the freedom of having a car and being able to drive out of the city on the weekends, that kind of thing. 

Then I was making $40,000. Then I was making $80,000. Then I met my husband and we had two incomes. All that time, I was always thinking about, if I only had a bit more money. There was a switch at some point where you go from being this young person who doesn’t care, and then all of a sudden, it’s like, here are all the things that money can bring me. Here are all the things that I want to achieve, or I want to feel when I have more money. 

So I was living on $17,000 a year plus a minimum wage job at a clothing store having the time of my life. And then I’m making a pretty decent salary even early in my career. When I first tried McDonald’s, I was making six figures. My husband was making six figures. We had money and we paid our mortgage. But we always talked about, if we had more money, we would do this. If we had more money, it’s going to be great when we have all this money. We had a lot of money, in hindsight, when you think about it. 

But some people think a couple of hundred thousand dollars a year, at that point wasn’t a lot of money. Some people will think it is a lot of money. It’s always about how you think, it’s not about the money. The money has no power. It’s always about how you think about the money. You might be thinking, Nice, Mel. That’s a great little story you’ve got there. But I have to pay my rent this month and I can’t afford it because this pandemic has really screwed me over. So how does that work? I actually don’t have the money. 

So it feels like it does have some power. Here’s what I will offer you. You can say to yourself, I can’t afford my rent. If you think you can’t afford it, you probably can’t afford it. Or you can say, Look, I got two weeks to figure out how to pay my rent. Instead of saying you can’t afford it, you can say, How am I going to come up with the money? What am I going to do to come up with the money?

Even when I was making $17,000 a year and I had rent to pay; I only had five bucks in my wallet and it was supposed to take me four days, I always figured out how to eat. I always figured out how to get that drink at the bar. I always figured it out because I had to. I had to figure it out. I didn’t have a cushion. I didn’t have rich parents. I didn’t have people that I felt like I wanted to ask for money. 

I remember when left my first husband. The current husband I have now is number two. When I was leaving my husband number one, I couldn’t go to my parents for money. So I figured it out. I got a loan at the time, to be able to find a way to leave this husband. I know a situation is different. I know everyone’s situation is different. But when we want something, when we want to figure something out, we figure it out. 

So rather than sitting around saying, I can’t afford it, figure out how you will come up with it. Figure out how you will afford it. I know that it sounds easy. It sounds like I’m being flippant about it but I’ve been in that situation in my life. I know that it’s hard but it’s about attitude. That’s what we’re talking about today. How do you think about money? How does it affect your actions when it comes to money? And the difference between those two things – I can’t afford it. vs. How will I come up with it? 

One stance is really about being at the effect of money. A giving up attitude, I’m a victim to the money, I can’t find the money, that sort of thing. The other way is really taking control of your circumstances and being at the cause of your life, saying, I’m going to figure this out, I’m going to find the money. You can always say in your career, I’m never going to make half a million dollars a year. I’m never going to make $100,000 a year. Or you can say, I want to generate $500,000 a year in annual income. How will I do that? The brain loves it when you ask questions. How will I do that? And then you can answer that question. 

I remember when I was making over $200,000 a year. I remember taking my income statements and all the papers, whatever, to my accountant to do my taxes. I remember thinking to myself when I saw the paper about not only how much taxes I was paying but how much I made that year. I’m thinking, Wow, I can’t believe that I’m actually making this much money. Am I really worth this much money? That’s what I was thinking. I was thinking if I am actually worth the money I’m making. That was at the time how I was choosing to think about it. 

Someone else might think, I am SO worth this money. I can’t wait till I’m making half a million dollars a year. It’s all about how you choose to think of it. The money has no power. Money doesn’t create your life. Money isn’t the thing that’s going to allow you to experience the life that you want. All of that is your choice. All of that is how you think about it. I know I’ve just gone on a rant for like 15 minutes about money, how we think about money, and how we choose to think about money. 

But I actually have three beliefs as well, three common beliefs that get in the way of how we feel about money and how it impacts our careers. Belief number one is making money is hard. That’s a belief. You could believe if you wanted to that making money isn’t hard. But most of us believe that making money is hard. We put our time in, we work 40 hours a week, and we get a paycheck. We have all these great sayings that are out there. It’s all in a hard day’s work. Put your head down and work hard and it all pays off. 

My boss used to say that to me all the time. Just put your head down and put the work in. Put in the hard work and it’s going to pay off. We think that we have to put in the work. We think that we have to work hard in order to make good money. A lot of the time we believe that and a lot of the reason we believe that is because work feels like a chore, especially if you don’t love your job. It’s hard to show up and get that paycheck after 40 hours or whatever it is. 

We were raised to some degree to see that work is labor. We saw our parents putting in the hours. We saw them tired. We started thinking work was taking them away from us. Work is miserable, they’re not happy all the time. And we believe that it’s okay to be miserable at work and that making money is hard. That’s where it comes from. But the truth is, making money can be whatever you want it to be. 

Some people love their jobs. For that small percentage of people who are just lucky enough to find something that they love to do, it allows them to not think too hard about it. They don’t have to be intentional about their thinking because they just naturally love what they’re doing. They’re enjoying something. They can still walk around unconscious with their thinking because they’re doing something that they just normally love and their thoughts around it are good. But for the majority of people, it’s really easy for us to go the other way. 

A lot of people come to me saying, I don’t love my job. I’m not having fun at my job. A lady last week said she felt like she was, in an abyss. And I don’t take that lightly. That’s serious when someone says that. But these are thoughts that we choose to have about our jobs, or about the money we’re making, or about the money that we have the ability to make. These are all thoughts that we choose. 

I love my job now. I really do. But there are things about it that I don’t naturally love, things about it that I find hard, things about it that make me uncomfortable, things about it that are stretching me in a way that I find uncomfortable. So I have to do the thought work on my own saying, I can avoid this, I can think it’s hard, I can get frustrated, I can throw my computer out the window, I can sit in my room and cry because there’s a pandemic, or I can get my crap together, and I can get my head straight. And I can go out and do what I need to do. And I can have fun doing it, or I can feel miserable while I’m doing it. Those are my choices. And I get to make all those choices. 

When someone says to me that they don’t love their job, I know that. Partly, it’s because they’re choosing not to love their job. Not because it’ll magically fit in their job. Not because there’s some perfect job for them out there. There is no perfect job. There are jobs and there are how you think about those jobs. It’s the same with money. I know I’m getting a bit off-topic now. People think jobs are hard and that’s why making money is hard. But jobs don’t have to be hard and making money doesn’t have to be hard. 

You can actually like your work if you want to. You can say it’s easy to make money. You can tell yourself that not only is work fun and enjoyable or you can find the things that are fun and enjoyable, but you can just say, Look, making money is easy. I know how to do it. I have a goal of making half a million dollars a year. This much is going to come from my job and this much is going to come from other things. So I’m going to figure it out because making money isn’t that hard. And I’m a smart person. Those are all the things you can say to yourself. 

So if you’re someone who thinks making money is hard, ask yourself why. Why do you think that? What makes you think is hard? Does that have to be true? Does it have to be hard? Is it sometimes not so hard? Is it sometimes a little bit easy? Can you think about that sometimes? Can you hold on to that thought thinking, Yeah, okay. Making money feels hard and sometimes, it doesn’t feel that hard. Sometimes, it feels pretty easy. And you can think that too. You can think of both of those things. By introducing some new thoughts and some new beliefs around money, in terms of how hard it is, you can start to change that original thought. That’s belief number one: making money is hard

Belief number two is something I call the Pretty Woman effect. You know that movie with Julia Roberts, obviously. We all know it, Pretty Woman. A little Cinderella story, I love it. What I mean by the Pretty Woman effect is we make assumptions about other people, and the money that they have. We make assumptions about our company and the money that they have to pay us. We make assumptions about our boss and their ability to get us the money that they should be able to get us. 

Just like that scene from Pretty Woman, when Julia Roberts goes into the clothing store, and she can’t get served because she’s wearing that outfit or whatever. The sales lady makes some assumptions about her. Quite often, what we do is put ourselves and our own beliefs in between money and something or someone else. 

So if you’re a salesperson, whether you’re in a clothing shop, or you have a sales job, let’s say, you put yourself between money and your client, in this case, you are blocking what your client might need. You don’t know if they have money or not. You don’t know if they have the resources to go and get the money. And it’s not your job to make those decisions anyway. All you know is that you have something of value that maybe your client needs. You have a service, a program, a tool, or something that fulfills a need or a desire or dream of your potential client, and you putting yourself in the middle of that is blocking their opportunity to get to it. 

It’s similar if you are in a job, and you believe that you’re worth more money. A lot of us don’t ask because we’re afraid of rejection. We don’t ask because we think now’s not a good time. When we don’t ask, again, we are assuming that our boss will say no, or the company doesn’t have the money, or now’s not a good time. We are putting our own blocks in place from the ability for someone to give us some money for the amazing value that we give. 

Because you give value. You give amazing value in your job, or you have an amazing service to sell your client. It’s none of your business, whether or not they have money. It’s none of your business what their blocks are, or what their issues are going to be with it. All you need to do is go after the money and ask for the money. Don’t be like the lady in Pretty Woman and assume that you know what other people are thinking or willing to do. So belief number two is the Pretty Woman effect. We make assumptions about other people and their relationship with money, and we hold ourselves back. 

The third thing I want to share with you, it’s not really a belief as much as it is a statement. But the idea is that money is not tied to morality. Again, money is just a circumstance. So, if you’re doing a good job with your money, most times people think of themselves as a good person or a person who’s better than other people. If you have a lot of money, you think you’re better than other people. You’re not, you just think you are. 

If you get money, and you spend it on yourself, or you buy yourself a nice schmancy car, while there are other people who don’t have enough money to pay their rent, does that mean you’re a bad person? Some people might say yes. 

Before the pandemic, there were people constantly knocking at the door asking for money for something. I don’t say yes to everybody. Does that make me a bad person? Should I feel shame about that? Some people might say yes, some people might say no, some people might say, Oh, well, depending on what it’s for. But still, I get to decide whether I feel shame or not, or guilt or not. 

But so often, we let society dictate the rules around how we should and shouldn’t feel about money. And then we own that. We create these feelings for ourselves. I remember when I had money, and I would go with people whom I assumed maybe had less money than me. First of all, I wasn’t giving them credit for having their own relationship with money. I would go for dinner and then I’d pick up the tab because I knew I had the money. I feel pretty confident about that. 

But what was really happening was I felt guilty about having money so I wanted to pay. I felt guilty about having money, and thinking maybe someone else doesn’t have the money. Again, that’s my choice. There’s no morality tied to whether or not I paid up and picked up the bill. In fact, I would question myself today as to whether or not it’s fair for me to judge whether or not other people have money. It’s none of my business. I got to do what’s right for me, I don’t have to feel guilty about having it or not having it. 

When you think about the feelings you have about money, like if you just sat down and did a little journaling about your relationship with money and what it looks like, what feelings does it drive? Does it drive shame, guilt, greed, or superiority? What feelings do you have? And what actions do those feelings drive?

For instance, if you have shame about money, let’s say you don’t have a lot of money, and that creates shame in you. Or let’s say you have a ton of money and you feel ashamed. That’s possible. I’ve seen it both ways. When you have shame, shame generally drives the behavior of hiding, avoiding, dismissing, and that sort of thing. Those types of behaviors. Think about the feeling that you have around money and think about the behaviors it’s driving when it comes to morality. How do you feel? 

When I feel guilty about having money, I give it away. But not from a place of abundance but from a place of scarcity. I give it away because I feel bad about having it. I feel bad about you not having it. I might pay for dinner or give somebody 20 bucks or whatever, not because I’m actually being a good person, but because I’m trying to assuage my own guilt around having it. Think about what really is the purpose behind your moral issues around money. 

We do the same thing with food. I do it all the time. My relationship with food is something I’m constantly working on. So sometimes I think I’m a bad person or a good person, depending on the food I put in my body. At the end of the day, food is just food. It’s what I think about what I’m putting in my body that makes me feel bad or good. 

So I’m constantly working on my mind and my thoughts saying, Yes, I ate that biscotti. So what? What am I going to make this mean? And that’s really a great question to ask yourself. I’m feeling a bit guilty. I wonder why. What’s the thought that’s driving my guilt right now? Oh, I’m assuming that they can’t afford it. Does that have to be true? No. Is it any of my business? No. Okay, let’s move on. You can start to dissect what’s going on in your own head, the more and more conscious you get about it. 

So I’m going to summarize this. One, money is a circumstance. It doesn’t have any power. The only power it has is the power you give it. The drama you give is based on how you think about it. The other thing I want you to take away from this, or I’m inviting you to take away from this is that you want money because you want to experience a certain kind of life, and you want to experience that life because of the feeling that it gives you to experience that life. Ask yourself, is there a way to experience that feeling? Now, even before you have the money, you don’t have to wait to get the money to have the feeling. Pretend you’re 20. I didn’t have any money and I still had that feeling. 

Then there are beliefs we have about money. There’s the money is hard. Making money is hard, we tell ourselves that. It doesn’t have to be. Why do you think it’s hard? What would happen? What are your thoughts? Does it always have to be hard? Is that sometimes not hard? Is it actually easier sometimes? What other thoughts can you have about making money? Does it have to be hard? 

We talked about the Pretty Woman effect making assumptions about the money that other people have, and it holding you back from getting the money that you want. Whether your client has money your company has money or your boss is inclined to give you money or any kind of anything, or allocate money to you is not your business. Your job is to ask for the money if you want it. Don’t put yourself in the middle. 

The third belief is that money is somehow tied to our morals. And it’s not. Money again has no power. You decide what you make money means. Do you feel shame about it? Guilty about it? Greed? Do you feel like less of a person or more of a person? All of that comes from you and your thoughts about money. Now I summarize all of this to say, as a starting place, looking forward, I’m going to talk more and more about money as we go through some of the future episodes. 

One of the things I want to suggest to you is to get clear on your thoughts about money. Do what I call a thought download, open up your journal, get a piece of paper, whatever it is, and just write down all your thoughts about money. Write down the lessons you learned about money from your family. Write down your past experiences with money and what that created in terms of thoughts. Talk about how you want to feel about money and what you hope to think about money in the future. 

Just really get a good sense of where your relationship with money currently stands and why it’s there. And that alone is going to open up a lot of insight for you in terms of your ability to make money, or right now maybe your inability to make money. It’s going to be a good starting place. Then come back and let me know how it went. Come to the show notes at Leave me a comment. Let me know how it went. What did you learn about yourself by downloading all your thoughts about money? 

That’s all I have for you this week, my friends. Thank you so much for joining me. I appreciate you. Have a great week. Bye for now.



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I have 20+ years working as a leader in the corporate world. I know what you need to do. And I combine that with four years of training as a cognitive behavioral coach. I know how to help you naturally think like the leader you want to be.
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