When you have a major money decision to make, what criteria do you use to determine what is the right course of action? Most people don’t have a formal expression of intent for their money. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that most people don’t approach their finances with any kind of conscious intent. It’s almost as if they see money as this scary, living thing that they do their best to tiptoe around. Don’t wake the money monster, and maybe it won’t bite you in the butt…
But when you create your own money intention, you reverse that dynamic; money situations no longer simply happen to you, you create conditions where you are in control of your money.
Three money intention mistakes
The thing is, whether you’ve ever consciously thought about it or not, you have an attitude toward money. And your attitude is being “declared” by your actions.
- The first mistake I see is that people have never consciously made one. Or maybe it’s just More Money Good, Less Money Bad? Everyone has something that drives decisions, even if you’ve never thought about it. For example, if you view your money (or lack thereof) as something dangerous or threatening, then your intention will be to protect it. What you already think — consciously or unconsciously — is how you’ll behave around money, and those are the results you’ll get. And I hardly ever come across someone who naturally thinks of their money as fluffy kittens.
- The second mistake I see is that people focus on the tools of money instead of the heart of it. People end up following arbitrary money rules because somewhere, someone told them that their money life was a failure if it didn’t look like everyone else’s money. Tools are great, and rules of thumb are useful, but only in the larger context of your individual, specific, unique life experience.
- The third mistake is not realizing that the results you get with money are directly tied with how you show up in the world. Afraid of stepping out as a powerful bad-ass and speaking your truth? You won’t get paid what you’re worth, because you’re not owning it. Afraid of telling your loved ones what you really want – a 180-degree change from the life you have built together? Your prosperity will start to drain, because maintaining the façade of your current life will start to drain you. Do you not feel deserving of money, pleasure, self-care and pampering? Then your inability to receive life’s richness is going to hinder your ability to receive, feel, and redistribute actual wealth.
Five ingredients for a positive money intention
I have found there are five essential ingredients for a productive and prosperous money intention for your family:
- Consciousness. You can’t fulfill or reinforce your intentions for money until you’re crystal clear about what is happening. But consciousness doesn’t mean getting lost in the minutiae of money management — especially if you do things like balancing your checkbook or moving money into savings out of fear of what would happen if you didn’t do those things. Consciousness is power. Consciousness is knowing that your money decisions — be it buying the latte today or investing your money tomorrow — are in alignment with what you want to get from your money. Your fundamental desire map for money drives your day-to-day choices.
- Trust. Do you trust that regardless of your financial circumstances, you are bigger than your money problems? For some, trust will be based in a spiritual belief in a life purpose and higher power; for others, trust is about understanding your innate resourcefulness and resilience even in the worst of financial circumstances. Financial success is about matching trust with inspired action. It’s one thing to say that you trust that if you do what you love, the money will follow… but what happens next? Do you trust in prosperity enough that when you commit to doing what you love, do you also commit to doing it without financial struggle or sacrifice?
- Acceptance. Acceptance isn’t about agreeing to settle for something less than you want; acceptance is about not letting your attachment to the way things should be get in the way of how things are. Can you accept that even if life isn’t going exactly how you envisioned, that things can still turn out even better than you hoped? Can you accept that you might have some spiritual or practical money homework to do — and some principles to learn — before you’re a non-leaky receptacle for all of the financial success you desire? Can you accept that you need to feel secure before you experience financial success — or you’ll never feel secure at all?
- Imperfection. Comparison is the enemy of happiness and progress. You start your financial journey with a unique set of circumstances, and it’s counterproductive to compare yourself to others. When people decide they need to “fix” things so they can have perfect financial lives, they fail. When people decide that they will begin wherever they are currently at, and move forward imperfectly — but still striving to do their best and recommitting to their efforts — they get results that blow them away. There is grace in imperfection when it’s paired with a single-mindedness of purpose. Treat yourself gently for mistakes, and choose forgiveness over shame.
- Energy. When you think about your interactions with others, what energy are you bringing to the party? Are there control issues and codependency? Are you afraid of asking for what you want? Do you believe that you give more of yourself than you get back? Do you see some people as victims? These are all dynamics that we play into when we bring the energy of survival to our money. But when you release expectation, your creative power increases exponentially. When you bring the energy of possibility over limitation, of creativity over constraint, you’ll see that no person or external thing can ever influence your financial success.
Once you bring these five ingredients together, you can create a personal money intention statement that encompasses how you will approach every money decision. If you like, you can use the resources in my free library to help with that.