Until, Damon Young’s New York Times Op-Ed went viral last month, it’s likely you never heard of the term he coined: post-brokeness stress disorder.
However, you might very well be able to relate to his story: that of going from not earning enough, consistently, to finally doing well, consistently – yet still somewhat haunted by past financial struggles.
As I read it, I couldn’t help but think of the professional athletes for whom I’ve conducted financial workshops, reminding them that being suddenly rich does not make one wealthy.
Or, about some of the people I’ve coached who come from humble beginnings and struggle with settling into earning (or inheriting) more money then they could have imagined. With them, we worked on uncovering what they need to learn and unlearn so that they don’t do anything unwittingly to sabotage their newfound status.
Here’s the thing people tend to overlook when it comes to money…
Just because your bottom-line has improved doesn’t mean your beliefs, behaviors and expectations about money automatically change with it.
When your financial reality changes, it can take some time to realize that how you relate to money needs to change, too!
Case in point: The countless stories we’ve heard over the years of entertainers, athletes and lottery winners who within a short time lose everything.
Drive the shift
And this brings me to another thing people tend to overlook: Over time, all relationships shift – including your relationship with money.
If you scan all the relationships that are important to you, some aspect of the dynamics of how you relate today are different than how they were five years ago. And five years into the future, they will be different than how they are today.
That’s life. Everything evolves whether you want it to or not.
So since you’re (hopefully) in the midst of your mid-year financial review, let’s dive a little further into the unusual components I mentioned previously as a way of explaining why, sometimes, you need to shift your relationship with money.
On a scale of 1-5, with 5 representing “awesome” and 1 representing “poor,” how would you rate your relationship with money today? How does today’s rating compare with the rating you would have given it five years ago?
What words would you use to describe your relationship with money today? Flow; ease; gratitude; awe; abundance; self-trust; joy. Or, hard; frustrating; scarcity; struggle; powerlessness; fear; doubt; anxiety; stressful. What words are the same or different than what they were five years ago?
Revisit your history
What messages (directly or indirectly) did you get about money from your upbringing? What were you taught about people with and without money? Do you feel it is wrong to desire money?
When you revisit your money history, it is important to do so without judgment – especially if it was really challenging. The point here is to objectively evaluate what messages, models, thoughts and behaviors you’ve carried with you intentionally and which you’ve had not.
Choose from the future
If you’ve ever done my Financial Wheel exercise, you know that one of the questions I ask is for you to think of the oldest person you know, time travel to see yourself at that age, and then think about how much you want to say you’ve both saved and earned over the course of your lifetime. In this instance, what I want you to do is imagine you’ve reached your goals by this age; given this accomplishment, how does your future self feel about money and its role in helping you during your lifetime? Think of this as bringing the future into the present as a way to help you make wiser choices in the present.
In most relationships, but especially yours with money, you rarely know you need to make a shift until something happens. Whatever the trigger, your beliefs will determine the actions you take. This is what helps you work through this shift so that your behavior and expectations are reset and you can catch-up with your new circumstances with greater ease.
Calling all relationships
It’s easy to read the above and perhaps consider this invitation to do a mid-year review as only applying to those who are struggling and have an unhealthy relationship with money. That would be a mistake.
Truth is all relationships deserve to be continuously assessed — the strong and not so strong. It is what makes the strong ones stronger, and it is what can buttress the not so strong. Furthermore, the strength of your relationship with money is not predicated on your income bracket or level of wealth.
When you do your mid-year financial review, it will reveal…
- your financial fears and how well you’re facing and handling them
- the degree to which you do (or do not) honor the boundaries you’ve set regarding money – with yourself and with others
- how often you make decisions and choices from a place of self-trust
- if you’ve increased your capacity to handle more
- your blind spots (and whether you’ve adequately addressed previously unmasked ones)
- if your current game-plan needs to be tweaked as you work to get to the next level
No (money) relationship remains static.
Damon Young discovered this financial truth when his fortunes changed from broke to abundant.
The professional athletes in front of whom I stood discovered this when they realized a multi-million dollar contract will only make you wealthy if you choose to “consume” some of it and invest more of it.
My coaching clients, who are doing some awesome work in the world, realized this when they gave themselves permission to be paid (really) well – especially since this helps them to use their financial power for good.
These examples (and more) are why you have to pay attention, stay engaged, listen to feedback, be open to making adjustments, and remain humble that there is always more for you to learn (especially about yourself).
Money can cause stress whether you don’t have enough money…or you have a lot of it. Think: you’ve closed the BIG deal; you got the client that will take your business to the next level; you got an inheritance; or, heck, maybe you even won the lottery! 🙂 On the flip side, think about if you lose your job or a key client and you temporarily need to downshift your lifestyle.
When your financial circumstances and results change, it often requires a shift in your beliefs, behaviors and expectations.
This is part of why your review is such a powerful tool! It not only reflects the state of your relationship with money and what about it needs to shift, it can also magnify the impact of money in your relationship with others.
So, again, here’s my ardent request: Don’t let July come and go without you pausing to take time to do your mid-year financial review.