Earlier this week, I was one of four judges for a “Pitch Your Financial Fitness” event. (Think Shark Tank for your money.)

Four judges; four contestants/pitches. Four individual and idiosyncratic money stories. It was a blast!

As far as I know, the contestants didn’t know each other. I also don’t believe they shared any details about their pitches with one another prior to the event. Making my observation and takeaway all the more interesting and points to a common problem these ladies shared. In fact, it’s one that you may have, too:

Your intelligence is getting in the way of your financial success, but you don’t even know it!

How is this possible, you wonder?

Because like them and most of my coaching clients and workshop attendees, I bet you’re managing your money in the worst place possible…your head!

There’s no question the contestants are smart. Three pitched their businesses, which were all viable even if not yet profitable. The other pitched her personal financial situation; and heck, I wish I had her habit of saving 33% of my income!

These accolades aside, it was pretty amazing to witness the degree to which each of them made pivotal business and personal finance decisions almost entirely in their head. However, the worst part was that they didn’t recognize the extent to which they were doing this nor were they tuned into the limitations of this approach!

How could I tell?

There was: a) a lack of specificity about what is required to achieve a goal – including not attaching a dollar value to their goals; b) some slight resistance to taking action that is counter-intuitive; and c) an inability to describe a cohesive progress/review process.

Get out of your head

Do you take the time to think on paper?

Do you write down your goals?

Do you identify the financial component of your goals?

I ask because one of the best ways to break the habit of managing your money in your head is to think on paper. And answering these questions – on paper – is a start.

So if you’re not in the habit of doing this already, make a commitment to concentrate on cultivating this thinking-on-paper habit for the balance of 2015. You’ll not only finish the year strong, you’ll start 2016 even stronger!

Here’s how…and why…

When you get out of your head and think on paper, you can:

Slow down

Just long enough to notice details about your goals you normally would have missed. You’ll also connect dots you normally would have overlooked. What you “lose” in speed on the front end, you “gain” on the back end in terms of speed to achievement.

Go beyond the surface

Writing isn’t so much about getting out what you already know as it is discovering what you don’t. Thinking on paper allows you to think “more deeply” and get more clarity in the process.

Act, instead of react

Thinking in your head means you’re reacting only to your thoughts, which may or may not include some facts. Plus, because you’re in your head, no one else can give you feedback or simply serve as a sounding board. Ironically, getting out of your head is more empowering.

Reduce overwhelm

All of your goals come with the requirement to make judgment calls; to weigh the pros/cons of your options; and to discern a myriad of trade-offs. Thinking on paper helps you to manage these various “pulls” on your attention and energy in a way doing so in your head makes nearly impossible.

Focus and concentrate on a set target

How many of the finer details of life (and work) are you able to really manage in your head? Exactly! When you think on paper, you’re less distracted by the “noise” that isn’t relevant to what you’re working to achieve. In other words, you can pay attention to what’s most important to you, your goals, your life!

Yes, you’re smart. But don’t let your intelligence and the tendency to manage your life in your head get in the way of your financial success. Because in your head is the worst place to manage your money!

Choose to think on paper, instead. When it comes to money, this habit will also help you Find Your Financial Sweet Spot! A practice and a group-coaching program I created for a small, eclectic group of women and men looking for creative and less stressful ways to accomplish their goals.

Won’t you join us? The fall cohort begins on Monday, September 21st at 8pm ET and there is still time to apply. Click here to apply.


p.s. If you’re ready to “do” money differently; if you’re ready to get out of your head, then join us. The first call for Find Your Financial Sweet Spot is Monday, September 21st at 8pm ET.

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