Before You Reach For More Money

This is part two of a six-part series called “Before You Do Anything”.

This 7 minute video reviews the four high-level questions you want to ask before you set a new financial goal for the year. These questions help you find the mojo to stretch into new territory with money, and make your financial goals more clear, emotional, and real.

(It seems to take the first 15 seconds or so for the picture and sound to sync up. Don’t worry, it’ll get there!.)

Let me know how these questions are helpful to you in the comments below!

And let me know if you’d like support clarifying what’s at the heart of what you have to offer. Just book your True Spirit session with me, and enjoy the clarity we can create in just one session.

What a Money Breakthrough Looks Like

What is a money breakthrough?

A money breakthrough is when:

• you unravel a life-long pattern around money so that taking good action, on your own behalf, to increase the flow of money in your life is easy and doable

• you feel a surge of new hope and possibility about your ability to shape your money experience

• money actions that were confusing, overwhelming, burdensome, or annoying become easy, joyful, and empowering

• new options for how you conduct yourself in the world become visible and possible when before you hadn’t even though of them.

The truth is that YOUR Money Breakthrough won’t look like someone else’s Money Breakthrough.

For one person, it’s about taking time and paying attention to money in positive ways, not out of a sense of obligation or burden, but out of seeing the possibility of a more sacred, respectful relationship with money.

For another, it’s about stopping the hidden impulse that had her push money away and turn a blind eye to the opportunities that were right in front of her.

For another, it’s about getting serious about her business, and taking bigger, bolder, more frequent actions to generate income through that business.

For another, it’s stopping the cycle that leads to credit card debt and the shame that goes with it.

I am seeing incredible results with the people I am taking through this process.

Clients like Emma Jarrett, and Shayla Wright (who I first connected with when she wrote a slightly cranky note to tell me I was sending out too many marketing emails), and Deirdre Danahar and Julie Marah.

Raising their rates. Stepping into their marketing mojo, unraveling LIFE-LONG patterns around money, making smart investment decisions, opening savings accounts and starting regular savings, seeing how making more with being able to give more.

Every week, they send me gorgeous emails saying things like:

• Just hours after our call, I taught a class and felt great when people handed me cash with smiles. I think I received so much more gracefully and gratefully.

• I’m going to do the Money Breakthrough work with you. One of the reasons I decided to do it is because after speaking with you I went to my computer and raised all of my coaching fees.

• I realized that if I ask for good money in return for my services and expect that they pay it, then I am sending the message to them that I trust they have the ability to find/earn/spend that money because I know they live in an abundant world too. By my doing that, they are given the gift of seeing that trust and faith that I have in them being provided for.

• As we discussed on our last call, I have had the realization that some of the training I signed up to in recent months has been because, subconsciously, I thought ‘the next course’ was going to provide all the answers and the recipe for my success. I have now realized that, helpful though much of the training is, the answer is not ‘out there’ but ‘in here’ and that it is up to me to go out and create the success I want for myself.

And I’m willing to step up to the plate and go for it (scary though it is!) And I realize I need to put myself out there in a much bigger way than I have thus far.

• Decided to break the long-standing family pattern and belief “if I don’t care for “broken” family members (at my own expense), they will die.”

• I recognize my fear that if I claim and reveal my true power, which would include earning sums which truly reflect my potential, that I might no longer be lovable.

I hear it in their voices. That a-ha moment. When suddenly they see something they hadn’t before.

One client, just getting back to her business after 8 years of focusing on being a mom, had one of those a-has. She said “so, I could map out my classes for the year? So I would know in advance when I was offering them?” She realized that by planning further ahead, she could not only reduce her scrambling, she could market more effectively. And she could plan around the times she wanted to be with her family.

It seems so simple. And yet it’s these kinds of a-has that change everything.

And I want the same kind of breakthroughs for you.

Sneaky Money Pattern Three: The Dangers of Magical Thinking

I meet a lot of beautiful, gorgeous souls who have dreams of being in business.

But no business.

These gorgeous souls can speak eloquently of the difference they want to make in the world, of the ways they can help others to experience profound transformation.

But they aren’t helping anyone.

They can tell me how they’d like to spend the money they don’t have: traveling, or getting body work, or learning new things.

But they aren’t engaged in any activity likely to produce that income.

Sometimes they’ll say to me:

Isabel, I just know when I am ready the opportunities to do my work will appear.
I don’t like to plan too much in my business, I want to be open to what happens in the moment.
I am trusting that if I am on the right path, work will come to me.

So, if you know me, you know I am all about the woo-woo.

I love exploring the energetics of how we bring ourselves to the world. I love stories of the miraculous, the unexpected. Of the universe lining up with a passionately held intention. I know deep in my heart that the businesses we create are more than the sum of our actions.

But I also work my ass off.

Magical thinking is when we see the result we want, the clients, the money, the fame, but we disengage from the steps we need to take to get there.

Magical thinking is when we ask the universe for material blessings, without finding in our hearts a willingness to make ready for them.

Magical thinking is when we move in the world like little children, wishing that our every need will be met without offering our own contribution in exchange.

Magical thinking isn’t powerful.

Visioning isn’t of much value without a partner in action.

Sure, magical thinking works some of the time.

But generally, I see no evidence that people with thriving businesses think or dream them into existence without also setting goals, making plans, and taking action.
Rather, they partner with the divine for guidance, for inspiration, for mercy and compassion in their moments of need, while also taking the small, sometimes unglamorous, steps every day to bring their work into being.

They pray for their needs to be met, while also reaching out for the opportunities they see in front of them.

They visualize their rich life in order to build energy to take the risks that will make it come true.

Like every other sneaky money pattern, magical thinking takes you out of the game.

It keeps you from seeing the work that is yours to do. It keeps you from finding the energy and commitment to take uncomfortable steps that grow your soul while they grow your business. It keeps you from being in your full power as a grown adult who is willing to give in order to receive.

Do you disagree? Think I’ve got it all wrong? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

But don’t write and tell me I just don’t understand spiritual principles unless you yourself are living proof that you can have a thriving, profitable business without a fair measure of hard work.

The Hidden Reason It’s So Hard to Make More Money

You may have found that no matter how hard you work, you seem to always have more or less the same amount of money.

Or you have more money, but your basic experience of money still feels the same, whether it’s not having quite enough (because your expenses rise to match your income), not knowing where all the money goes, or living in fear no matter how much you have.

It can feel as if you have these invisible brakes on your income, a kind of cruise control that keeps you at more or less the same level despite your passionate desire to bring in more, despite all the training and support you brought on to make more, and that you’re still falling short of having that more expansive, joyful experience of money that you’re looking for.

On one level it’s pretty simple.

We don’t make more money because a part of us (often a very young part of us) is desperately convinced that if we made more money something bad would happen.

And because we are wired as human beings to avoid that pain, and because most of us choose the devil we know over the one we don’t, and because that fear may be lurking in the background where we don’t really look at it clearly:
• we “somehow” don’t see the opportunities to step forward and claim more money or
• we sabotage the opportunities we get, or
• we feel that we just don’t have the energy, or the talent, to step forward and act more boldly on our own behalf.

In other words, you end up choosing the discomfort of living with your current money patterns over the perceived discomfort and consequence of having more money flow into your life.

Part of the Money Breakthrough work I do with clients includes ferreting out the often unconscious belief or fear that’s holding them back. That’s pulling against the increase they want.

Here’s some examples of how that can look: (now, keep in mind with money stuff, that if it’s not your issue, it’s easy to look at someone else’s issue and say “no, big deal” but when it’s your issue and your wiring, it’s a really big deal.)

• One of my clients realized that she was afraid that if she really started earning more money that it would take her away from her family, that she would be a “bad mum,” and that her children would be starved for love.
• Another client realized that she had a subtle thought that if she started being successful with her creative work, that her sister might resent her, might criticize her, and might blame her because she would no longer be available as a “partner is suffering.” So for her, reaching for more money felt like risking her place in her family.
• Another client realized that even though she was separated from her husband, that she was still worrying that her financial success would threaten his self-esteem and even his mental well-being.
• Another client felt that if she broke the mold of what her community said was possible, she risked being cast out.

Here’s what’s strange:

It doesn’t matter if your fear has any basis in reality. If that person or group would in fact reject you or lash out at you, or suffer as a result of your success. As long as you are carrying that fear and concern, it will tend to inhibit your actions.

Want to give this a try?

The question I ask goes something like this:

If you were to make significantly more money than you do now, who is it that you are afraid would be hurt, upset, or disempowered in any way?

Something almost always comes up. The thing is, it usually whispers.

Almost all my clients will say something like, “the *only* thing I can think of is . . . “
Or “This seems so minor, but it might be . . . “
Or “I don’t know that is really true, but a little part of me feels like . . .”

And that seemingly faint concern, when we dig deeper, is often the key to moving them easily and joyfully into more powerful actions around money.

You see, most of my clients are highly creative, highly sensitive, and deeply concerned about the feelings of others.

And that concern, when unconscious, can turn into self-sacrifice. Can turn into holding back from the financial good that is yours to claim because of fear that it might hurt someone else.

How about you? Who are you afraid would be hurt if you made more money?

You Won’t Believe How Easy It Can Be to Start Saving

Recently, I spoke to nearly 30 people in a span of three weeks about their dreams for a Money Breakthrough. And after they told me about the money breakthrough and the money experience they most desired, I asked four questions:

1. Do you know how much money you need to earn to have that experience?
2. Do you currently save money regularly and do you have a savings goal?
3. Do you know how much you need to be charging to generate the income you want?
4. Do you have a plan to generate the income you want?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, if you can’t answer yes to at least three of those four, then, you’ve got some work to do.

But I also wanted to give you a boost with question #2.

You see, when people feel constricted about money, or powerless to bring in a greater flow of money, they usually don’t save, and if they aren’t saving, they usually don’t have a savings goal.

My client Shayla said that when I first brought up the subject of savings with her, she felt like getting her to understand and take action on saving was would be, in her words, like getting a dog to fly.

I shared this with her, and I share it in my Money Breakthrough class, but it’s so simple, I thought I’d share this with all of you.

There are a few keys to getting started saving in a way that is so painless, you really won’t notice until you notice that you actually have savings.

First, open a savings account, if you don’t have one. No savings account generally equals no savings.

Second, you’re going to want to use the online banking that seems standard for all banks these days. You’re going to set up an automatic transfer from your business checking to your savings.

Here’s the kicker. You’re going to set up a weekly transfer. Why? Because psychologically, you can transfer smaller amounts, which will feel easier, but because it’s weekly, you’ll still build up your savings quickly.

The amount of the transfer should be an amount that you feel as if you won’t really miss.

It could be $5. If that’s too much, make it $2.

So, set up a simple savings plan transferring $5 a week from your checking to your savings. You’ll save $20 to $25 a month.

When that feels effortless, bump up the weekly amount.

See, how hard was that? Now, you’re saving!

Shayla said that a week or so ago, she was in a deserted restaurant with her husband, and she was so excited that she got up and danced around chanting “I have $200 in my savings account! I have $200 in my savings account!” How cool is that!

How to Make Really Good Decisions About Investing in Training

One of the sneaky money patterns that comes up for so many business owners is over-investing or under-investing in training and coaching and mentoring.

Over-investing is when you say yes to all kinds of offers of training, to the point that a) you’re in debt and not making rapid progress paying it off and b) you have no time to actually grow your business because you are so busy taking classes and doing fieldwork for the classes you are in. (At one point in the last few years, I was spending up to 13 hours a weeks on training, yeesh.)

Over-investing is when you spend on training thinking each time, “this is it, this is the magic bullet that is going to make my business soar,” only to be disappointed to find that it’s still up to you, that no matter how good the information is that you paid for, you still have to do the sometimes scary, sometimes painful work to get your business off the ground.

Over-investing is spending money on training you don’t actually use. Even if you are a good implementer, it’s still over-investing if you are spending more than you can afford, or taking on more training that you can really absorb.

Under-investing is when you feel so constricted financially that you don’t invest in the support you desperately need to reach your goals. When you can’t get the information you need to make sure that the time and money you ARE spending pay off. When you’re just treading water trying not to go under in your business, instead of moving forward in your work.

Being able to make good, smart, balanced decisions about where and how you spend your money is critical to being successful as a business owner. Part of the Money Breakthrough Method work I take people through includes really sussing out what need is driving your buying choices, so you can make the right decisions about training, decisions that you’ll look back on with pride.

Here are questions you can ask yourself about any program and some ways to thinka bout answering them:

1. Are money worries and money patterns an issue in my life right now?

Ok, you know the answer to this one already. If you attended my preview call, it either spoke to you, or it didn’t. If you look at your money life, it’s either working and you feel joy and gratitude and expansion and possibility around money, or you’re feeling fear, worry, and constriction.

It’s not actually about how much money you have or whether you’re good at saving or paying your taxes, it’s whether or not you are creating the money experience you want or not.

In general, don’t sign up for programs that address things that are not hot issues for you right at this moment. Don’t take a training or buy a product for something you might get around to in the future. Save your money for trainings that address where you are right now.

2. Does this approach to resolving money issues resonate with me?

Any problem has many possible solutions. You can look at money purely from the perspective of the Law of Attraction, or energy, or faith. You can look at money from a purely practical perspective of what you need to do and when. For my money program to work for you, you need to like and feel good about the way I look at money.

One of the things I love about the Money Breakthrough Method is that it combines energetic work around deep-seated beliefs and patterns with very practical actions and strategies.

One of the reasons I’ve been posting so much on my blog is so that you can really get a feel for whether you resonate with my approach or not.

3. Do I trust Isabel to deliver on her promises?

I’m going to suggest you already have a gut feeling about this. If you don’t trust me on some level, you’re not going to sign up to work with me. Again, I offered the preview calls and all the blog posts to give you some experience of me and a reason to trust that I will show up, offer good quality information, and provide the insight and support that will make a difference for you.

I will say that I am blessed to have many clients tell me that they choose to work with me precisely because they have such a high level of trust in me. They trust my integrity, my ability to deliver a solid, well-designed program, and they trust me to tell them the truth and not just what they want to hear.

4. Do I trust myself to do the necessary work to get the full value of the experience?

Hah, hah. This is often the trickier one. You may trust me to do what I say I’ll do, but do you trust yourself?

One of the strange things about coaching programs is that the leader actually can’t do the work for you, they can only provide the opportunity for you to step up and have a transformational experience.

So, to feel good about investing, you actually have to trust that you will show up for the calls, do the requested work (in this case meet with your buddy), and on an even deeper level, that you will open yourself fully to the experience and not run and hide when it gets messy or scary. (Because I can promise you that if we are talking about money, it will get messy and scary.)

5. Am I willing and able to make the time to do the work?

I forget this step all the time. To ask myself, not only can I take the time to show up for class, can I block out the time to do the work. And if I do, what goes?

In the best case scenario, you’ll stop doing some time-hogging, energy-wasting, low-impact business actions in order to make time for both shifting your patterns with money and taking higher value, higher risk activities that will move you forward faster.

6. Is this an appropriate level of risk for me to take to sign up for this program?

You see, “Can I afford it?” is really not the right question. The better question is “Is this a financial risk that I am willing and able to take?” Investing in any training carries risk. Risk that it will or won’t be good. Risk that it will or won’t help you achieve the results you want.

The actual cost of this program, any program, doesn’t matter if the possibility of getting the reward is worth the risk of not getting it.

I’ve also done my best to minimize that risk by offering you a guarantee. (It’s not one of those “for any reason” guarantees because I do want to hold your feet to the fire, but it is a generous offer to return your money in full if you can show me you truly engaged for the first two weeks of the program.) You can read all the details on the sales page here.

So, have you made your decision yet? Whatever you decide, I want you to do it from a place of strength and clarity, from a place of knowing that you have the skills to make the choice that is right for you.

Sneaky Money Pattern Two: Powerlessness or When It Come to Money You Are What You Think You Are

Most people don’t feel in control of how money flows in and out of their lives.

You may not feel you can bring in money when you need it. Once you have it, you may feel like it runs out through your fingers like water, or it disappears, poof, in the blink of an eye.

You may feel like things just keep happening to you. Unplanned, unexpected events keep cropping up to take your time, your energy, your money away from you. It may feel like no matter how hard you try, you can’t make or keep the money you want.

You may be so convinced that you are powerless in the face of money, that if I was sitting in front of you, you would argue with me and do everything you could to prove to me that:

It really isn’t your fault.
It’s out of your control.
You really did the best you could.
That forces outside your control brought you to where you are today with money.

And I’d say:

Honey, I understand. I’ve been there. I’ve spent time on my knees gnashing my teeth, and moaning and crying, full of anger and shame, and sick, sick, sick of the hot mess that money was in my life.

I get it.

It can feel so nice and comforting to lift the burden of having to make and manage money off your shoulders. To take what comes without having to rally, and charge, and try to make something happen.

You see, the moment you decide that you are powerless to create what you want with money, your visual field shrinks in tight and you literally can no longer see choices or options.

That’s why this pattern is so darn tricky. It feels so real, it feels so overwhelmingly real (and so tempting) to say it’s out of your hands.

But sooner or later, you’re going to want to get off the floor.

Start simple.

Ask yourself. What’s one thing I can do today to act on my own behalf around money.

Look at my bank balance.
Pay a bill.
Have a hard conversation with someone about the money I owe them.
Think of one person who might want my services.
Deposit that check lost under a pile of papers on my desk.

Do it.

Breathe.

Ask again.

What’s one thing I can do right now, on my own behalf?

It’s funny.

Your sense of powerlessness starts to shift.

Yesterday, we talked about Minimizing: http://soundbiteshaman.com/?p=1920

And the day before Avoidance: http://soundbiteshaman.com/?p=1910

Sneaky Money Pattern One and a Half: Minimizing, Or When Saying that Money Isn’t Important Makes Sense and When It Doesn’t

Often, when I talk to clients about money issues (what to charge, setting income goals, tracking sales), they’ll say to me something like “But Isabel, money doesn’t really motivate me.”

On one hand, I totally understand where they are coming from. Money, in and of itself, is less exciting to me than things like feeding my soul, and fulfilling my life purpose, and expressing myself with the full force and power of my being.

If I had to choose between the career that would make me the most money, and the career that would allow me to fulfill my soul’s calling through my work, well, no contest.

If I had to choose between a project that would have the greatest financial return and the one that feels like I am making my unique contribution to the world, that’s easy.

(In case it wasn’t clear, I would always choose the latter.)

So, if you are saying things like, “money doesn’t really matter to me,” or “money isn’t important,” or “I am not motivated by money,” and you what you really mean is that there are things in life that you value as much or more than putting the maximum amount of dollars in your pocket, then fair enough.

But, if you are saying those things when:
• you can’t easily pay your monthly bills
• you are unable to give yourself some of the soul-expanding experiences you want to have
• you can’t afford the support you need to grow and expand your work to bring it to new audiences
• you have yet to bring in new clients for the new business you want to start (or you’ve hit a drought in bringing in clients for the business you have.)

Then, you have a problem.

You see, no one is asking you to choose money OVER creativity, freedom, impact, authenticity, or your soul’s growth. If you’re experiencing pain, sadness, and contraction around money, you’re being asked to honor money as a tool that allows you to have MORE of all the things you care about.

And all that energy that goes into shoving money into a box called “not important” or “cold” or “meaningless” or “shallow” is energy that could be going into creating a more loving, caring, collaborative relationship with the money in your life.

Are there people in the world who value money more than people, or connection, or meaning?

Sure, but if you’re reading this blog, you aren’t one of them.

I think this pattern springs out of not allowing ourselves to want the thing we think we cannot have. We don’t want to feel in our bodies that longing for more money if deep down we don’t believe we can have it. So, it can feel easier, safer, a form of protection, to say “nah, money doesn’t really matter,” when the lack of it is straining us to the max, and the presence of more of it could expand and enrich everything we care about the most.

Sneaky Money Pattern One or Why Not Looking at Your Bank Balance Doesn’t Help You Grow Rich

Last Tuesday, I did a free teleclass where we talked about The Six Sneaky Money Patterns that Keep You Struggling (And How to Fix Them.) For those of you who prefer to read (or haven’t had time to listen to the audio), I thought I’d take the next week or so and talk about each of those patterns.

When I talk with business owners about the money experience they want, I am touched by what they tell me. I hear the longing in their voices for a more joyful, more expansive, more free relationship with money. I hear the emotion in their voices when they describe the trips, the time with loved ones, the training and support, or even the business risks that would be possible if they could make and keep more money.

Instead, they tell me that their days are consumed with worrying about money. Or that they know they are undercharging, but they are afraid to ask for more. Or that they feel powerless to change the amount of money flowing into their businesses.

Usually, we try to fix this by doing more or doing something different. But many business owners find that the same feeling and experience of money, whether it’s lack, shame, or not-enough, keeps cycling around. And many find that even when they know what to do, it’s anything but easy to put that knowledge into action.

The reason is that we all have patterns around money, unconscious webs of feelings, and thoughts, and beliefs that are shaping our decisions and our actions so that the pattern plays out again and again. The pattern is familiar, even if it’s uncomfortable, and can sometimes be less scary than creating something new.

When I talk to business owners about their money, and I’ve spoken to many, certain habits and patterns about money come up again and again. Patterns that nearly guarantee that you won’t create the financial results that you want.

The first, and probably the most common pattern, is Avoidance.

Avoidance is basically everything you could say about money that begins with the word “not.”

Not looking at your bank statements.

Not tracking your income.

Not knowing your expenses.

Not setting income and savings goals.

Not saving money regularly.

Not having a plan to reach your income goals.

Sure, we all have reasons these things aren’t happening. We’re busy. We’ve got better things to do. It’s boring. But beneath all that lies something else.

And that’s the belief (often false) that the pain of facing and being present with what is happening in your money life will be greater than the pain of staying where you are with money – greater than the pain of not making the money you want or the pain of not having the experiences you want that money would make possible.

If you are avoiding your money, you may avoid the pain and shame you feel about what you do or don’t have. But in the same moment, you avoid the very emotion that has the power to motivate you to do something different and that holds the key to why you are where you are with money.

When we avoid our money, we cut off any avenue of growth and change.

The answer isn’t to just muster up the discipline and do all those to-dos. Because ultimately, that willpower won’t last day in and day out. The only path I’ve seen is to recognize that one of the simplest ways we can act on our behalf and create more opportunities around money is to be with the money, look at the money, think about the money, and make choices about the money.

Not from a place of grumpy resentment, but out of the belief that every moment we do that makes us stronger and our capacity to invite more money in greater.

Next post, I’ll talk about a variation of Avoidance, which is the “Money isn’t that important to me” pattern.