People tend to view money in one of three ways: It’s scarce (there isn’t enough), it’s available (there’s just enough); or it’s abundant (there’s more than enough). What’s your story of money? How can you rewrite the narrative, so you train your brain to make more of it?
What Is Money?
Is it paper? Metal? Bills with the face of George Washington? Notes with the King of Thailand?
Is it coins with the profile of the Queen of England or symbols of Las Arras Matrimoniales?
Is it digits on a screen? Figures in a bank? A promise made or a debt incurred?
Money appears in all sorts of signs and systems. From cryptocurrency to gold dust to stocks. There’s no single form of it and there’s no final word on it.
But if you look at the heart of it, what you see is exchange.
Think of any time you’ve made money or spent money or borrowed money or owed money. You entered into a relationship. An exchange took place.
If you’re a bellhop working in Geneva, you might exchange your hours carting luggage for x number of francs an hour. If you deliver takeout to folks on Madison Avenue, you may exchange quick and friendly service for tips. If you manage the Ritz-Carlton, you may hire people to hire people; you exchange your management skills for a salary. Whoever you are and whatever you do, you are likely taking part in monetary exchange daily.
When you pay for a quart of milk at a corner store, you might slap bills and coins on a counter or tap your debit or swipe your credit. The storekeeper passes you the milk. She takes your legal tender. Exchange.
When you accept a full-time job, you usually sign a contract. You might agree to offer 37 hours of your time a week, each week. Your employer may agree to pay you $6000 every month. Exchange.
Maybe you’re a gardener. You plant seeds. Till the soil. You harvest carrots, spinach, and endives. You sell the surplus at the market. Customers compensate you for the goods or services that you bring to their leves. Exchange.
Do your ideas and beliefs about money get in the way of making more of it?
If money is nothing more than a form of exchange, isn’t your potential to earn it limitless?If there is more than enough money in the world, isn’t it possible for all of us to have limitless amounts of exchange?
You might be thinking: “But money doesn’t grow on trees.”
No it doesn’t grow on trees; it’s all not printed on the paper milled from trees either. Materially, most money is non-existent. In 90 percent of cases, money exists solely as figures on a digital screen.
Money is also 90 percent a story in our heads. Your beliefs around money may come from your parents, your culture, your colleagues. You’ve woven your ideas of it into a sense of who you are.
If you’re a woman, you may think that you’ll never earn as much as a man. If you’re a teacher, you may believe that you’ll never earn as much as brokers on Wall Street.
Financial glass ceilings exist within the standard hierarchies of any profession. But why would you define who you are in your entirety by the imposed limitations of your field, your gender, and your upbringing?
The laws of physics may limit you. And the old conditioning of your brain may impose its own limits on how you think and behave around money. But any thoughts and feelings you may have arising in your head around money are only temporary. There’s no reason your story about money needs to cage you in.
When it comes to your relationship with money, what role are you playing now? Are you a rich kid? A member of the privileged class? A pauper? A beggar?
Do the bills in your wallet define what role you play in your relationship with money? Is it just Abe Lincoln and Benjamin Franklin in there? Or is there more to the story?
Not Enough, Just Enough, More Than Enough
People tend to view money in one of three ways: There’s not enough, there’s just enough, or there’s more than enough.
Take the generation that came to maturity throughout the Great Depression. You may know someone who fought in WW2: Your father, your grandfather, your great-grandfather. You may have endured the traumas of that time too: You were a baby whose mother narrowly escaped a bomb raid. A nurse who cared for the wounded. A medic who witnessed the unfathomable.
If you lived in America in 1939, a lot of men went overseas. Overnight, factories and offices lost laborers. Mothers collected coins in glass jars. For some, scarce pennies filled those containers.
Was money scarce? No scarcer than it’s ever been. But the degree in which people were willing to believe and exchange was limited.
If you lived through the market crash of 2008, you might see money as a means of security. When investments went haywire, you might have lost your home. The crisis may have made it tough for you to secure another.
Or maybe you have neither a scarcity nor a security mindset. Maybe you’re unbound by narrow ideas that there will never be enough to go around. May you’ve let go of the notion that you have to hang onto a job that’s killing your spirit because it’s providing temporary security.
You have an abundant mindset. You value your abilities. You honor your potential to learn. You appreciate your worth. You invite others to exchange what they have to receive something that you have.
How can you upgrade your ideas about money and start developing a picture of abundance? If exchange is limitless, why not start envisioning right now your endless opportunities to earn more money?
Bow Wow Bill
I once met a man named Bill. Last name? Church. Occupation? Dishwasher.
Bill washed dishes devotedly. Scrubbed, served, and delivered.
But at the end of the day, the kid’s knuckles got sore and his legs got tired. His dreams? They started swirling down the drain.
Bill didn’t have much to show for his dreary days in the back kitchen. Minimum wage tops. Doesn’t leave you with many options when it comes to living arrangements or planning for tomorrow.
So I asked Bill. “What do you love? What’s your passion? What gets you up every morning, rain or shine? “
Bill’s love for pups was indiscriminate. Tiny ones. Big ones. German Shepherds. Irish Setters. Miniature poodles. Sheepadoodles. Labradoodles. Goldendoodles. All the dogs under the Sun nuzzled up to Bill.
“Why not walk dogs for a living?” I said.
“Hey, that’s not a bad idea,” said Bill.
So in addition to washing dishes full time, Bill hung up his sign offering to walk dogs on the side. Got a few gigs. Pretty soon those pooches’ parents started paying Bill a fair bit more than any restaurant owner did. And who wants to turn their knuckles red in suds for minimum wage when you can do the thing you love everyday in the sunshine?
Bill’s side gig grew. He started walking dogs six times a day. Sometimes six dogs an hour. At $15 bucks per dog, that’s 90 bucks an hour for walking a pack of pups. Problem was, Bill had only so many hours in a day. Only so many leashes that he could hold onto.
So I said: “Can you offer dog training? Most dog owners don’t know how to train their own dogs. But they’re willing to “exchange” their money for your passion and skills.”
“Well, I’ve never done it for other people before… said Bill.
“Yeah, but you’re good with training your own dogs right?”
And Bill said: “Yeah, I am. I’m actually really good at it.”
I shared with Bill how to Innercise and shift his mindset.
Soon enough, Bill began to train other people’s pups for 50 bucks an hour. Training five dogs and their owners together, he made $250 per hour. After a few weeks, he started making enough to save up for a trip to Portugal.
The next time I saw Bill, he said: “Hey, John. I’m making over $1000 bucks a day training dogs. I love it! But I only got so many hours in the week to train, and I think I’ve reached my limit.”
I said: “Exchange is limitless. Let go of that scarcity mindset. How about teaching classes, so dog owners can train their own dogs using your techniques? Maximize your time and your profit. Pick up a couple of slots on Saturdays and Sundays.”
And Bill said: “Hey, John. Great idea. Why not?”
So he cast a wider net. Grew his clientele. He developed his operations. Hired and trained other dog trainers in the Bow Wow Bill Way. Within 18 months, Bill had made an extra quarter of a million dollars.
When Bill told me that, I said: “Pat yourself on the back, Bill! You made it! Financial security. But you’re not letting your security mindset define who you are now, are you? You’re a powerhouse. A master trainer. And exchange is limitless.”
So Bill put his thinking cap on. He bought a piece of land and opened up a kennel. Bill offered dog walking, dog training, and dog boarding.
At the end of the year, Bill had doubled his income…again.
He expanded his mindset until it no longer felt comfortable to stay within a narrow kennel in his mind. He matched his mindset to meet the profit he envisioned in his imagination. He upgraded his thoughts. His feelings. His outlook. And all that fed into the plan.
Today, Bill gets flown on private jets to train celebrities dogs.
Be Like Bow Wow Bill
Are you stuck in one way of thinking about money?
We’ve all been there. Scarcity. Security. Shame.
Whatever your mindset is, you can change it if you want to.
Your brain is an organ. It’s a living, dynamic thing.
Your brain, just like a dog, needs training. I call this Innecising.
I’ve seen many brains trained and trained many brains. Bow Wow Bill is only one of many of my clients.
Innercising is work. But just like fantasizing, or ruminating, or any other exercise you do in your head, once you realize you’re in control, you’ll learn to spot your own fear of scarcity, your own clinging to false senses of security. You’ll learn to let go of the shame and the blame and whatever it is holding you back.
You’ll learn to lean into something brighter, to let go of the stories around money that aren’t working for you. This frees you up to embrace whatever good thing lies next on your horizon.
To reset your brain’s inner software and upgrade your internal system, take these three steps.
First: Mindset. Check in with your thoughts and feelings regularly. When you notice yourself saying: “But I don’t have the time. I don’t have the resources. People like me don’t get to dream big.”
Stop right there.Take a U-Turn. Back up. Do whatever it takes to get your head from spinning out and going loop-dee-loop around all that scarcity stuff. Let go of the penny-pinching mindset. Lean into the dream. Then exchange your limited notions for a new internal dataset. It’s a free upgrade. No strings attached!
Two: Skillset. You may not have all the skills you need to take your game to the next level. But I guarantee that whatever you need to learn, you can. We live in the age of free, accessible online learning. People are just dying to teach you how to pick up a new skill, master a new art. Schedule some time to learn what it is you need to learn to level up and leverage what you already have. Find a friend. A teacher. A mentor. Learn together. Make it fun!
Three: Action Set. Do you know that thing they say in the movies? Lights! Camera! Action! Well, you have the lights on to repair the thoughts that are holding you back. The camera is rolling to help keep track of your capabilities. You’re prepared to take steps in the right direction. There’s no sense in stepping into the sidelines as others take the limelight. Make an action plan. Then execute on your dreams!