Does Positive Thinking Help You Make Better Financial Choices?

Ask any of my clients or friends and they will attest that I’m known for saying, “you can’t think your way through to the other side of a problem or challenge.”

In fact, I have an evergreen social media post that reflects said. My position is that mindset gives you perspective; action, coupled with your process, is what leads to the outcome. 

I thought of this as I read an article, recently – one that got me ALL riled up. Because as critical as I can be about aspects of my industry, I can also be protective of aspects of it as well. 

So, I just about hit the roof when I read about the recent growth of “money manifestation” coaches who don’t have any traditional financial training or experience in the industry and are providing financial coaching to others.* These manifestation coaches hold up their lifestyles as examples of the same financial success their coachees can also attain. 

This bothers me, in general. And some may even call me elitist due to the stance I take in this regard.

But it especially irks me right now because this latest rise is happening during the pandemic when some people, who are feeling financially vulnerable, are seeking guidance and relief. 

And, this is where things get a bit tricky for me.

There’s Nuance in Everything 

For starters, who am I to chime in on how people make a living – whether they work inside or outside my industry. Likewise, the people hiring them have full and complete agency to work with whomever they want, however they want.

Second, as someone who does pray, meditate, and journal, I know the value of these personal practices. In both good and bad times. However, I don’t like it when they are used as manifestation tools. In fact, it infuriates me. And besides, while these practices can help you navigate your emotions, they alone certainly won’t fix any money problem or challenge you might experience. Or, pay that bill that is due. Or, finance a desire you have.

Whether it’s about business or money, the “build it and they will come” approach doesn’t work. 

You can’t will into existence new clients, extra money, bills paid in full, an upleveled lifestyle, etc. 

You need a vision, goals, strategy, and tactics for that! 

Third, and perhaps it wasn’t the intent of the journalist (or the focus of the article), but there wasn’t any space dedicated to describing any of the processes used by the coaches profiled. Sure, their workshops, online courses, and books were mentioned. 

But, omitted were details about the processes they use to help their clients achieve results. This raises my skepticism, not about the journalist, but the coaches. <insert side-eye>

(Notice I didn’t say “guarantee,” because that isn’t something any coach can – or should – claim.) 

At the end of the day, I simply hate it when it seems people are being hoodwinked and taken advantage of, be it by money manifestation coaches or some other (financial) professional.

Yet…

Here’s the rub: A few of the things the coaches in this article advocate do make sense. Like, 

  • Setting goals
  • Believing what you want is possible (after all if you don’t, it’s kinda difficult to stick with doing hard things or making hard trade-offs and choices)
  • Having focus
  • Expressing gratitude

These are all necessary components to experiencing financial success whether you call it “manifestation” or something else. 

However, a few things jumped out at me as I read this article — things I believe have the potential of setting people up for emotional and financial setbacks and (even more) frustration

For example, the notion that if you worry you’re not being a good manifester. I call b.s.

In my opinion, the goal isn’t to avoid worrying. Instead, notice when worry surfaces and become curious as to why. Engaging with your worry in this way can be a tremendous source of insight about the best next choice to make and next steps to take. 

Also, the glaring absence of manifestation coaches who identify as or look BIPOC leads me to believe that when you get inside their workshops, online courses, or open their books, there isn’t any acknowledgment of the systemic factors that may get in the way of their coachees “manifesting.” 

Here’s one more thing I noticed. And there’s no way for me to tell if this is due to the parameters placed on the journalist by the publication, or if the coaches profiled didn’t address it in their interviews: But what happens when the coachee manifests something – just not what they initially intended. Does it still count; do they still get “credit” for manifesting? 

What Do You Think?

People without any financial training or experience providing financial coaching is what initially rankled my feathers. (This is me being protective of my discipline and industry.) I was also annoyed by the “selling” of positive thinking as a way to replicate the abundant lifestyle of these social media/celebrity money coaches. 

Unfortunately, it’s a combo that can actually overshadow the benefits of positive thinking. Something this article amplified, at least as far as I was concerned.  

Have you ever leaned into the practice of positive thinking to help you make financial choices? Did you find it improved the quality of your choices? Did it help you feel better about what you were experiencing?

For me, there’s no right or wrong answer. It isn’t binary; it’s more gray.

And in case you can’t tell, I believe there are benefits to positive thinking. 

Having a positive mindset can impact your perspective. 

It can also influence the actions you take and the process you follow. 

Finally, it is what shapes how you respond to the outcome – especially when it is different than the one you wanted.

But it can never replace doing the work of having a vision, creating goals, making a strategy and following some tactics. And, being flexible so you can adapt to evolving circumstances.

p.s. *One of the coaches profiled has an MSW.

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