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Take the Money Test

Does money… the lack of it… the fear of losing it… or the dread of not having enough keep you up at night?

If so, you’re not alone!

Money fears are especially common among aspiring self-bossers.

After all, without that steady paycheck you’re going to have to create your own money.

For most people that’s terrifying.

But do you know what scares the heck out of ME?

Relying on some employer to decide my worth!

Before I became my own boss I was at the mercy of whether I got an annual raise and if so, how much.

Other than trying to consistently do a good job… how much I earned was largely out of my hands.

But when you work for yourself – you can give yourself a raise!

The thing is, there’s a direct connection between your ability to create money and your financial attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.

Are Your Attitudes About Money Sabotaging You?

Which of these common attitudes sound most like you?

YES OR NO: I Don’t Care About Money

This attitude is held by people making minimum wage and millionaires alike.

It can have its origin in religious beliefs, political beliefs or guilt at inherited privilege.

Pam grew up middle class. But being a child of the 60’s shaped her adult attitudes about money.

She loves having her own cake decorating business… but insists she doesn’t really care about money.

One way this attitude shows up is by always buying the cheapest version of any product.

Not because she’s frugal… but because Pam would feel too guilty allowing herself to have what she truly wants.

This attitude also shows up in a tendency to undervalue her skills. As a result, Pam charges far less for her cakes she could and is reluctant to spend money on marketing.

A classic under-earner, Pam sometimes relies on credit cards for basic expenses such as rent.

YES OR NO: I’m Clueless about Money

Doug rarely balances his bank statements, doesn’t know how much money he has or spends and, as a result, finds himself saddled with late fees and bounced check charges.

People like Doug often believe they’re not skilled enough to handle their money or that it’s just too much of a hassle.

When it comes to creating a budget or a retirement plan, he puts his head in the sand.

Doug makes a good income. That’s not the problem.

The problem is his unwillingness to pay attention to it also makes Doug vulnerable to theft, fraud, debt he can’t afford, not having enough to retire, even bankruptcy.

YES OR NO: I just don’t have enough money

Sarah often worries about money.

Not because she’s struggling.

To the contrary, Sarah makes twice as much as her friends.

But that doesn’t stop her from fretting to them about how hard it is to pay the bills.

At the root of Sarah’s fear may be a belief that she can’t take care of herself or that the world is a harsh place with scarce resources – or both.

People like Sarah sometimes fear that they will lose everything and end up homeless.

As a result, Sarah is highly risk averse.

YES OR NO: I’ll never have enough money

Mike also feels that he doesn’t have enough money.

But rather than seeing the world is a harsh place for everyone, he believes it is especially hard for him.

Other people will do just fine, but somehow he’s decided that he’ll always be poor.

If you try to encourage him, he’ll list the many strikes against him.

People like Mike are often under-earners, blind to the opportunities that are available to ensure that he does indeed have enough money.

What Does It All Mean?

If any of these attitudes resonate, the first step is to step back and examine them.

Not out of self-criticism. To the contrary. Your pattern exists for a reason.

As with all unhelpful patterns, they are there to serve you in some way.

So as you explore your attitudes and behaviors around money, do it with self-compassion.

Here are some questions to get you started:

Where did these attitudes originate?

How were your adult attitudes influenced by your family, religious upbringing, or childhood circumstances?

How are your attitudes different or the same as other family members?

What do your money behaviors help you get or avoid?

Again, all unhelpful patterns are there to serve you in some way.

For example, creating and maintaining a budget or creating a financial or retirement plan takes time and effort.

So by avoiding dealing with these things you get you more time for things you’d rather be doing.

If your friends or family believe that money is the source of all evil, then you echoing that belief wins you approval.

If you’re a small business owner who insists you don’t care about money, then you a built-in excuse to avoid marketing, sales, and other necessary tasks of entrepreneurship that you either don’t know how to do or don’t like doing.

What price will you pay if you never change your money pattern?

You never get something for nothing.

Your pattern does help you get or avoid something.

But this protection always comes at a cost.

The most obvious answer cost is a financial one.

Go deeper though and you may find the price includes things like unnecessary stress which can lead to health issues.

You’ll never get the things you want and deserve. It may be the source of relationship squabbles.

What opportunities and experiences might you miss out on?

If you never pursue promotions or you stay in a job you’ve long outgrown, you missed out on the chance to grow and learn.

You may miss out on valuable connections, cherished memories that might have emerged had you made different choices, being paid fairly for your work, the chance to make a difference in the lives of your family, community, clients/customers, and indeed, the world.

The Choice is Yours

Once you’ve explored what you get out of your pattern and what cost, you can make an informed decision. Keep your current money patterns – or make a change.

If you decide the price is too high, then it’s time to make a change.

Not all at once, but one small step at a time.

What’s one small change you can make this very day to develop a healthier relationship with money?

As you bring awareness to self-limiting beliefs and adopt a more empowering stance, you expand into a larger sense of personal freedom.

Healing your personal relationship with money helps build a solid foundation for weathering any future economic storms.

As importantly, once you develop a healthy relationship with money, you’re that much closer to being able to live life on purpose, work at what you love, and follow your own road.

Article license © Claire Communications. Revised by Valerie Young, Dreamer in Residence at ChangingCourse.com since 1995


I’m moving to Canada! (And How You Too Can Live Where and How You Want)

I was only in Canada for seven days. Just long enough to fall in love.

My trip began with three speaking engagements in British Columbia.

One of the many great things about being your own boss is you can take vacation whenever you want.

So after my last gig, a friend and I hopped a plane for a little R&R in the spectacular Canadian Rockies.

You know how certain settings just seem to feed your soul?

Maybe for you that place is the ocean… or the desert… or the prairie.

For me it’s the mountains. (Add a lake and I’m in heaven!)

Check out this view from the summit of Sulphur Mountain in Banff…

And at the still frozen but still breathtaking Lake Louise…

And check out this view from the deck of our Airbnb rental in Canmore, Alberta!

As I sat there enjoying my morning coffee this one phrase kept running through my head…

I could live here.

Hey, with a view like this – who wouldn’t?!

Being in Canada re-affirmed for me just how important it is to live life on your own terms.

It also confirmed the approach that helped to transition me from my 90-mile-a-day commute to a cubicle to my comfy home office and the view of Mount Tom that I enjoy today.

I call it…

The Life First – Work Second Approach to Career Change

What exactly does it mean to consider your life before your career?

Well, remember how when you were a kid, adults were forever asking, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

But do you remember anyone ever asking, “What do you want your life to look like?”

If they had, no one in their right mind would have replied, “I’d love to wake up to an alarm clock, sit in commuter traffic, and spend five days a week working 8-to-late under florescent lights.”

Yet that describes the life of countless, millions of people.

Here’s a novel idea…

What if parents… guidance counselors… and college career advisers had focused less on what you wanted to be when you grew up and more on helping you figure out how you wanted to feel when you grew up?

I call it the Life First – Work Second© approach to career planning.

In fact, I begin every business idea generation session with the same simple question:

What do you want your L-I-F-E to look like?

The fact that you want to be your own boss tells me you have a strong desire for more control over your time.

From here though, everyone’s picture is unique.

Like the vast majority of my clients, you may want to have some sort of home-based business.

After all, being at home automatically gives you more work-life balance.

Other clients crave variety. Maybe you do too.

Maybe you want to do freelance writing or coaching or something that would allow for a portable lifestyle.

Or perhaps you want to have a seasonal business so you can work intensely for six months then take the rest of the year off.

Or maybe you just want to find a way to enjoy summers off to spend with your kids or grandchildren.

That’s why it’s so important to start on the life side of the work life equation.

If you know ahead of time that your idea of heaven on earth would be to not work in the summertime, then you’d know to look for ways to earn money that would allow for this kind of schedule.

That’s why it’s so important to continually evaluate work options through the lens of life.

Henry David Thoreau wrote, “There is only one success: To be able to live your life in your own way.”

If you’re seeking a life and not just a living, start by getting crystal clear on what having a life means to you.

If you’re determined to follow your own road then you must take the time to really answer the question, “What do I want my life to look like?”

Then use your answers to evaluate any business ideas to determine if it passes the life test?

From there it’s all about taking action.

You Are Tougher Than You Know

While I was in Canada I had the honor of giving the opening keynote at the annual Spark conference WAY up north in Fort Saint John, BC.

You’ve got to be tough to live in an area with such extreme weather.

On top of that, it’s been a rough few years for the people in a region that relies heavily on the oil and gas industry.

The conference organizers could have canceled the event, waiting for a “better” time.

To their great credit, they chose instead to turn adversity into a positive by making the conference theme… “Inspired by Tough.”

Maybe you’ve had a rough go of it too.

Or, maybe you’ve just put off taking the leap because of all the things that could go wrong.

After two decades of self-employment, I can tell you with great certainty that things will go wrong.

You’re going to face rejection and setbacks. More than once.

You may even outright fail. I know because I’ve done it a few times.

It’s called life.

However, once you understand that all that worrying about what could go wrong only slows your chance to create the life you really want… it changes everything.

As Henry Ford said, “Failure is the opportunity to begin more intelligently.”

Like every successful person, Ford understood that failures and setbacks offer valuable lessons.

Adversity is also what makes us stronger… tougher.

If you’re waiting for that perfect time to jump — forget it.

Start now and remember — you are tougher than you know.

I’m not moving to Canada yet… but I could definitely spend my summers there.

Why not?

When you work for yourself – anything is possible!


How Do You Overcome the Terror of Failing?



Valerie and her rescue dog,
"Cokie Roberts"

By Valerie Young

This article originally appeared in Issue 199 of the Changing Course Newsletter.


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