*This guest post is by Michelle Barry Franco.

If you’ve been hanging out on Sterling’s blog for a while you’ve probably coined your money personality, named the invisible voices in your head that are (consciously or not) guiding many of your decisions and peered into the “real” reasons (underneath the seeming reasons) you choose particular brands and products.

You are more aware than ever of the unconscious forces guiding your spending decisions.

So, you know that awareness is the first step to change and growth.

And yet – there is a tricky side to increased awareness as well.

In some ways, awareness can bring on overwhelm, indecision, and uncertainty.

For a short while, as we become more conscious of all of the underlying players in our decision-making, we can feel taken-over by the many parts of the money puzzle. Not only are we unsure which internal player is “telling” us to buy the cool new technology gadget (or fabulous leather boots) but we are uncertain as to whether we really need or want those items. Are we just feeding an identity that is no longer serving us? Or are we listening more clearly and therefore able to decide with power now? It’s not always easy to tell.

In these overwhelming decision-making moments, it would be really handy to have a quick guide, wouldn’t it?

Something that reminds us of what we value, of what matters to us – essentially, of who we have consciously decided to be in this world.

There are a number of ways you can begin to craft this quick guide to purchasing decisions. Here are a few:

  • Craft a personal mission and vision statement and check your decisions against them every time. Does purchasing these boots line up with my vision for my life? Your answer might help you decide. (It might also feel too distant from a decision such as purchasing footwear, in which case you are left flapping in the wind here.)
  • Create a checklist for buying decisions that requires say 8 out of 12 checkmarks in order to make a purchase. (Can I buy this with cash – check! Do I LOVE it – check! Does it fit in my living room – uh-oh…)
  • Go with a gut check and keep the receipt. Does it feel right to purchase this item? And when I get it home, does it still feel right? (Feelings are beautiful, complicated things, aren’t they…?)

While these quick checks are all useful in their own way (under some circumstances), they fail us too often to use them reliably and quickly because they aren’t specific enough and they don’t quite look at the whole picture.


What if you just had three words that helped you decide whether a new acquisition fits into your vision for your life? What if those three words were derived through such a deep inquiry process that you felt absolutely confident they were there to serve you and your life powerfully, even with decisions regarding your wallet?

Words like:

  • Sacred Hip Free
  • Heart Spark Mirror
  • Transcendent Spunk Reveal

I’ve done this deep inquiry process with many clients and every single time they are astounded by the power of their own three words. One client completely cleaned out her house of all items that did not fit with her new guiding words. (See, this guide helps you purchase and release items with more ease and certainty.)

While this process is incredibly powerful in collaboration with a committed listener, trained coach and word-lover (as I am), you can create your own three-word guide right now, and I am absolutely certain it will make decision-making so much easier for you right away. Here’s what you do:

Imagine yourself in the best of circumstances, behaving in ways that feel powerful, authentic and proud for you. Maybe you are at work, interacting with coworkers – maybe you are with your family or friends at Friday Night Board Game Extravaganza. Really immerse yourself into this circumstance, feeling what you would feel, saying what you would be saying…

Now, answer these questions for yourself:

1.    What is going on deep inside of me? Who am I being? What image comes to me when I imagine this deep place in me being my greatest self? Brainstorm as many words as come to you… write them all down.

Then, your second question set:

2.    How am I interacting with the people in the room with me? What are they experiencing? What am I experiencing in relationship with them? Who am I being on the outside – through my personality? Brainstorm as many words and images as come to you…

After you exhaust your brainstorm from both of the question sets, choose one word for each question set to represent:

1.    Your Soul Word (the outcome of question one)

2.    Your Personality Word (the outcome of question two)

Finally, for the final word in your three-word set, answer this question as creatively and wholeheartedly as possible:

What am I always trying to do in the world?

This last word is your Verb, and rounds out the three words of what I call your Expression Élan.

This part is important: do not stop at the first word that comes to you! Take each word to a thesaurus and dig at least two layers deep into alternative, even better words. Choose your words from there. The more specific the better. Do not stop until you land on three words that light you up and make you want to be more of them, make you aspire to be a better version of you.

Once you have your Expression Élan named, you can create the details of your guide, such as images, colors, words, textures that make up your most authentic, powerful experience of you. Write out what you mean by each word, what it represents for your life intentions.

From this place, it is so much easier to decide whether that bright red bird on the Anthropologie sale page is really right for your office (or anywhere in your life.) It can also remind you that your verb is “free”, which for you means a sense of great freedom in all areas of your life – and you can decide whether the bird, the boots or the new techie gadget serves that life mission of yours or not.

I realize this may seem like a roundabout way to get at financial ease and well-being but do hear me when I say that this process has served many, many people in making buying, creating, releasing and growing decisions in their lives. Try it. And please – ask me questions and tell me how it goes in the comments. I can’t wait to hear!

About our guest blogger: Michelle Barry Franco, M.A., CPC helps creative, passionate business owners use no and low-cost marketing techniques to build a sustainable, profitable business that they love. She created the Expression Élan process as a direct solution to the struggle many business owners have of sharing their message with authenticity and impact. You can learn more about how Michelle can help you (and you don’t have to be a business owner to benefit from her wise counsel…but it helps to be a passionate person looking to create a sustainable, profitable life!) — click here (it’s an affiliate link): http://www.michellebarryfranco.com/your-expression-elan/


p.s. are you ready to get out of the red and back to black? Are you tired of feeling shame, overwhelmed, and stressed about debt? If yes, click here to get on the list to learn more about a new program launching in September.

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