(This post was inspired by my friend Caroline White. Caroline is a photographer who specializes in female entrepreneurs. *Please note that the pictures on my website were not taken by her. However, you can see some her magic in the picture below.)
Our relationship with money is as complex (if not more!) as our romantic, family, or even food relationships, but they all boil down to the relationship we have with our Self… Think: How worthy you think you are? How deserving? How beautiful? How creative? How lovable?
So many of us go through compulsive cycles of restriction and excess, guilt and over-spending/eating/blaming; none of these states lead to feelings of sustainable happiness, ease, success, or balance.
I spent years riding an emotional roller-coaster -- from really wanting to realize all my dreams in a big, beautiful, generous, and giving way -- to then dropping into painful slumps of scarcity, smallness, and not feeling ready, good enough, or deserving. One important area hugely affected by these periods of doubt and lack: how I invested in myself and my business.
What if I spend that money and still fail?
I already feel guilty for not being further along...now I’m supposed to invest into myself?
I know I could really use help/ advice/ guidance/resources etc., but I just cannot afford it (a.k.a. I’m too scared).
I should just wait to make a significant investment in myself, until I prove to others that I am worthy (so that people don’t go “Who does she think she is?”)
Making a financial investment in particular scared the living crap out me, because money is real and measurable. Moreover, for me, money brought up debilitating feelings of guilt.
My internal dialogue was like a broken record:
“Who do you think you are? You are a nobody compared to all of these other successful people out there. You are SO far away from making it! Maybe you should just give up now and not embarrass yourself further. Don’t be ridiculous.”
The pain of these ugly thoughts made me want to hide myself from the world. I felt (and acted) small, and was totally stressed out and overwhelmed with everything I had to do. I thought the only way to be productive was to work harder, longer, and more intensely. Step by step and without realizing it, I slipped into sacrificing my own well-being.
I actually kind of wish you could have seen me! Slaving away in sweatpants, greasy hair up in a messy knot, no make-up, hunched over my laptop chugging coffees. Ewww.
The thought of taking time to just breath, going on a midday walk, or spending money on treating myself to something nice (or even necessary) seemed like a luxury I didn’t deserve (keep in mind that this is coming from a girl who loves Whole Foods, nice dinners out, and romantic weekend get-aways more than anything!). I had a total block around money and it was suffocating me.
On a more subconscious note, investing into myself also meant I had to take responsibility for my own success, because I couldn’t play the “I can’t afford it” card anymore (that was always there to blame if things didn’t work out the way I wanted them too).
Instead, investing symbolized that I was for real, that I was serious in my ambitions to make my personal and professional dreams come true, that I was 100% committed and dedicated to my own success - in my business and my entire life as well.
Not investing into myself allowed me to hide behind the falsely glamorous façade of the “struggling but oh-so passionate entrepreneur.”
Admitting that to myself - as scary as it was - was instrumental in my own growth!
For example, when I first started my life coaching business, I resisted the idea of hiring a business coach. I told myself that I had to wait to make a higher income before I could invest into my business.
Well, let me tell you, I wasted close to a year – in time, money, and being a genuine resource for others- trying to do everything the “careful” (or fearful!) way.
On top of that I attracted people into my life-coaching business who were also stuck in scarcity mode and hesitant to invest in themselves.
The energy you put out into the world, is the energy you get back.
It wasn’t until I had a particularly shitty day and was crying my eyes out to my boyfriend (now fiancé;)) that I realized that something BIG had to change and that it was solely in my power to do something about my business (and my hair and my outfit!!!).
This realization –simple as it was- changed everything. I came to that crucial point where I was faced with my own worthiness and I decided to choose myself, my well-being, and my dreams.
I got a business coach. I started treating myself to yummy, undistracted lunches. I put on a little blush and sprayed my favorite perfume before I went on walks during the day. I started to play more and stopped treating every single detail on my to-do list as if it was brain surgery.
As a result, I pretty rapidly began to feel lighter and free-er in my own skin than I had for over a year. I literally felt like I was finally blooming and started to become the woman, friend, partner, daughter, entrepreneur, and life coach I so desired to be.
The coolest thing was that my surroundings, friendships, and consultations with potential clients mirrored my new way of living my life back to me super quickly. Things just started to feel much easier, more fun, and impactful. I had finally found my own rhythm.
Please note that I’m not saying that I don’t put in a ton of energy and time anymore. I absolutely do! I just don’t feel like I am constantly struggling with overwhelm, self-doubt, and guilt anymore.
Here is the deal: If you want to be in charge of your life and stop playing small, you’ve got to act according to that. You’ve got to be willing to see your dream clearly and make the realization of it your daily goal. Getting the help you need from people who know they stuff and are passionate about what they do is huge, because they will rub off on you and help you discover your uniqueness, which by the way is your golden ticket to sustainable success and happiness.
You cannot starve your way to an abundant life!
I have helped tons of people get unstuck, stop self-sabotaging and finally make strong choices that are in line with what they truly want, so I know you can do this too!!!