Last year we worked with a client who had got themselves in debt, a large amount of debt. So much so that they stopped opening their mail for fear that they would have to face another bill.
“Oh, for goodness sake!” I can hear some of you saying. But it happens. We often hide things from ourselves to escape the realities of it. Losing weight or going to the dentist are two classic examples; “I’ll start the diet tomorrow,” as you lift another Krispy Kreme out of its box, or, I’ll call in to the chemist and get something to numb this tooth.
So, why do we this?
It’s because we’re human and we have emotions which, from time to time, make us act irrationally. We do dumb things.
That’s why we could all be millionaires in our 40s (or at least really wealthy) if money was just about maths, i.e. we didn’t let our emotions get in the way of our clear and rationale thinking.
But our emotions make us see other things when we’re looking at, for example, those hot pair of $399 red shoes or the $999 jacket or even the new Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio (don’t ask the price). We see images of prestige, huge amount or brownie points for our self-esteem and maybe those Joneses can keep up with us for a change!
If we removed the emotions, we would simply just see the numbers, the $$ and make a call from there.
Back to our client and their aversion to the mail. We could have structured a payment plan to get rid of their debt and that would have worked and they would be happy – sort of.
You see, that would have fixed the money problem but not the cause. The part of the cause was that life wasn’t going so well for them, things got on top of them and that brought on stress which made underlying issues surface. Which then drove this behaviour to hide the bills and then, of course, created the reality of more debt.
You get that? Their behaviour (hiding mail) drove their reality (debt).
To stop this behaviour happening again, we needed to find out what the cause was, i.e. what was causing them to behave like that; what were those underlying issues that caused that behaviour.
The one thing that drives our behaviour is our beliefs (our stories). These beliefs are formed genetically and environmentally from an early age (people, home life, etc) and as we grow, we take onboard new ideas and concepts. However, those beliefs that we formed at an early age are the ones that remain with us the longest and have more of an influence in our lives.
As we worked together, we identified some key beliefs that were influencing her* behaviour. Here’s one of them.
As a child, her father managed the household money. Her mother (apparently) wasn’t capable of looking after it. The belief emerged that as a woman she couldn’t look after money. This was reinforced in her relationships where her partner always looked after the finances, even in her business.
When she found herself on her own, she believed she couldn’t manage money and her behaviours made that true. In other words, her belief became a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Now you know why you sometimes do weird, even dumb stuff. It’s because your Beliefs (your stories) drive your Behaviour (your action) which affects your Reality (the results).
You might have noticed that this applies to a lot of areas in your life, whether it’s trying to lose weight, lower your handicap, get fit or improve your financial situation. Sort of a, whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right!
Time for a bit of soul searching. Be really honest and have a look at some of your results. Are you where you want to be with your finances, or your health, or your well being? If you’re feeling a “NO” bubbling up, then it is time to delve into your behaviours and your beliefs and make some changes.
The result is a much happier life.
If you’d like us to help you break down some of your beliefs that are holding you back from reaching your financial goals, drop us an email and we will send you our free e-book Spice Up Your Relationship with Money.
If booking a call isn’t your thing, drop us an email and we’ll be in touch.
* Money issues are not gender discriminatory, we’ve worked with men on this very same problem.