Introducing a new monthly series that will address myriad issues of personal and business finances. Lorri will interview various local financial resources as well to glean their expertise. If you have particular questions, or issues you want us to explore, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Developing Your Inner and Outer Riches
One of the key components in minding your own business and having it succeed is the relationship you have with money. Understanding the worth of your service or product is essential in the success of your business and determining that worth often has a direct correlation to your self-worth. What is your relationship to money?
Money exists in the triad of unmentionables (the other two being sex and religion) for polite and proper conversation. The subject of money can cause an emotional reaction of fear, anger, envy, joy, shame, guilt or it can be assigned a personality. As I was preparing to write this article I decided to put this theory to the test and make use of a well-known social media vehicle. For fun (and research), I posted “Money is ________” on my Facebook wall and waited to see what kind of responses I would receive. I also brought it up in conversation and asked friends and acquaintances to finish the same sentence.
How did you finish the phrase: Money is_______?
The responses I received about money were varied but the common theme was that it was lacking, an enemy, bad or dirty. When I personally finished the sentence, I used the word power. As I sat with that answer and began to explore my own relationship with money, I started to realize that if I truly viewed “money as power,” that would mean that more money would make me more powerful and less would leave me less powerful. I clearly judged my personal power by the amount of money I had. I was allowing the amount of money I had determine how I felt about myself. When I had more, I felt better about myself and when I had less, I felt worse. Interesting…
Money does offer more freedom of choice in the world of material things but what about my internal world? Was it possible for me to have moments of true happiness and peace that did not involve money or the exchange of it? Yes. Does money guarantee happiness and peace? No. I have known more then a few rich miserable people throughout my life.
Money, if it does not bring you happiness, will at least help you be miserable in comfort. – Helen Gurley Brown
So, I started to wonder how I could have both: an abundant external life coupled with a rich internal life. Well, the first step would be looking at my emotional and mental attachments to money and educating myself more on how money can become a supportive force in my life. That intent of learning something new, facing my own attachments to money and simplifying it for the readers of WNC Woman is why I said yes to the idea of a series of articles about money and finances.
In the coming months I will be exploring and simplifying the world of finance. As a result the topics of budgeting, financial advisors, estate planning, and several others will become simple, easy and user friendly.
If emotional attachment was taken off the table, could we form a different relationship with money? Yes. So, let’s start by looking at the true definition of money. Webster’s defines money as something generally accepted as a medium of exchange, a measure of value, or a means of payment. That being said, how did money evolve?
In the beginning, bartering, or exchanging services or resources was the common form of payment. Today, business professionals continue to trade services with each other. I often trade massage or readings for other services.
One of the oldest forms of “money” was livestock: cows, sheep or camels. Then with the advent of agriculture, grains and vegetables were used for payment.
Cowrie shells (sea shells) are the longest and most widely used currency in history. They were the first objects traded that were not services and could not be consumed. At the end of the Stone Age, China manufactured copper and bronze imitations of the cowrie shell to be used as money. Eventually this early metal money developed into rounded primitive coins. Around 500 B.C., in other parts of the world, silver, bronze and gold were used and stamped with gods and emperors to mark their authenticity.
Paper currency first appeared in China in 806 A.D. In 1816 gold was officially made the standard of value in England. At the time, banknotes were produced in Europe and England that had their worth tied to the gold. In 1900, The Gold Standard Act led to the establishment of a central bank.
The Depression in the 1930’s ended the gold standard and the complexities of international money regulation began. As we go more and more into the computer age, we use our money digitally, often not even seeing it, just typing in a string of numbers that leads to our bank account.
So you think that money is the root of all evil. Have you ever asked, what is the root of all money? – Ayn Rand
When you look at the history of money and what it is evolving into, you begin to see how esoteric it really is. Even the term currency denotes the mutable nature of the substance. When you think of a current of electricity it is something that runs or flows. It is energy. Money is a form of energy and as a form of energy is meant to be harnessed, utilized and allowed to circulate.
How is money presently flowing in your life?
To become more aware of how you are allowing it to flow in your life I invite you to try the following exercise. Do this without criticism or judgment. The intention of this exercise is to get a snapshot of how the current of currency is moving in your life.
For the next 30 days keep a journal of all of your expenditures. Each time you pay for something, simply write down how much you are spending and what you are spending it on. Don’t over think it. Just write it down and move on. Include daily expenses as well as any monthly, quarterly or yearly bills that you are paying: electricity, heat, rent, car payment, dinner out, etc… Yes, this means everything, even your favorite coffee drink. This is an exercise to bring your “unconscious spender” to the surface and begin to see where your money is flowing.
While you are doing this exercise, become aware of how you feel when you spend money. When you allow the currency to flow away from you what are you feeling as it leaves? What thoughts are you attaching to it?
For instance, I find it much easier to spend money on a gift for someone else than to buy something for myself. When I am buying for myself I want to make sure I am getting the best deal and often justify the cost because I was able to get it on sale. Why is someone else worth the full price while I am not?
I noticed this recently when I made an appointment for a massage. Instead of bartering (which I usually do) I decided to pay for some much need bodywork on my day off. My internal voices began to question whether or not I should be spending the money on myself. I had other things I should be buying. I realized that if I were buying it for someone else, I would not have hesitated. I sat with these thoughts and allowed myself to feel the feelings (fear and anxiety) and when they were done moving through me I was able to enjoy the experience of the massage. I also reminded myself that the service being performed was helping out another person and keeping the flow of currency moving in their life. And a few moments after this happened; I received a phone call and booked two readings for the following afternoon.
I had allowed the flow of currency to continue and it came back. Can it be that simple? I am still exploring that and willing to give it a try.
Money is an essential piece in the success of a business in today’s world. It is crucial to explore your own relationship with money when minding your own business. Your relationship with money will be reflected in the success of your business.
If you are interested in having both internal and external wealth, start by finishing the sentence “Money is…” and exploring your answer for a few days. Ask yourself if what you originally thought is really true. Next, explore how money is flowing through your life by trying the journaling exercise mentioned above. Then begin to notice the thoughts or feeling that come up as you spend money during this month. Finally, tune back in next month to continue transforming your relationship with money.
Money is neither my god nor my devil. It is a form of energy that tends to make us more of who we already are, whether it’s greedy or loving. -Dan Millman
Lorri Gifford has been reading Tarot Cards since 1986. While living in California, she worked at The Chopra Center for Well-being as their Spa Director and a Lead Educator. In 2009 her intuition guided her to move to Asheville. Lorri enjoys writing, giving readings, coaching and helping others develop and deepen their intuition. She can be reached at www.readingswithlorri.com or 828.505.4485.