Most people’s relationship with money stems from their early years. I didn’t know this until I started reading Suze Orman’s book, “The 9 Steps To Financial Freedom,” and then things started coming together.
“The road to financial freedom begins not in a bank or in the financial planner’s office, but in your head.” – Suze Orman
Ever since I was little, my parents constantly let me and my siblings know that “money doesn’t grow on trees.” They would regularly remind us to turn off the lights or to run our baths shallow in fear of wasting money. In my house, money was precious and in short supply. When it came to buying the latest trainers or joining in on the current fads (Yo-Yos, Pokémon Cards etc.) I always feared asking my parents for money because I was constantly reminded of just how little they had.
“The trouble with fears is that when we keep them inside and refuse to deal with them, they grow, like weeds left alone in a garden.” – Suze Orman
In The 9 Steps To Financial Freedom, Suze states that everyone has a moment in their childhood that defines their relationship with money and in order to get over it we must “face the weeds in our financial garden.” One money memory that dominated my childhood involved the time I stole from the Science Museum. I was about 8 or 9 and we were on a school trip. I remember just before we were about to leave, the teachers gave everyone a chance to buy something from the gift shop. All of my friends ran off with the money their parents had given them that morning except for me. I didn’t ask. I hated asking my parents for money. I always felt as if I was putting them in an even worst position and so for me, going without would be my way of easing their financial burdens. As my friends grabbed at pencils, rubbers, toys etc I stood their feeling out of place and like all children that feeling of being on the outside eats you up and so stupidly, I picked up a keyring and stuck it in my pocket.
I’m A Theif!
On the coach back, we were all showing each other our “purchases” but mine was tainted by the black cloud of guilt that sat overhead. If I had known that for weeks and months later I would be laying awake at night waiting for the security guards from the Science Museum or the local police unit to burst through my door, laser beams to my forehead ready to chuck me in to jail, I would have thought twice about it. I was a criminal at just 8 years old but my alibi… I did it because not fitting in seemed like a more painful option.
This Has Got To Stop…
Now that I’m 25 and taking the first steps into my entrepreneurial journey, I realise that I still hate asking for money! Even the people I do work for always tell me, “Cem ask me for your damn money!” It seems that my fear as a child has worked its way in to my professional adult life. I still hate asking people for money because I hate feeling like I’m being a burden to them.
Rewiring My Financial Mindset
This week I decided to send a small donation of £5 to the Science Museum as an “I’m sorry” for my childhood thievery but more importantly because I want to let go of the idea that money is precious and that I’m a burden to people when I ask them for it. I don’t blame my parents for the relationship they influenced me to develop around money; their parents probably did the same to them. I’m just happy that I’m old enough and wise enough to start again on my terms.
I now understand that what I do for my clients delivers way more value and profit than the percentage they are paying me so it’s a WIN/WIN situation. I know that asking for money is simply a trade off of commodities ‘your money for my value added’ and nothing personal. Money isn’t scarce, it’s abundant if you can provide value in any way, shape or form.
Sit Down, Unzip Your Wallet And Let Me See What I Can Do For You…
If like me you’re an entrepreneur or just have some unresolved issues around money, it’s vital that you look back in to your past and find the route cause of your fear otherwise you’ll never be open to wealth. Money may not grow on trees but it definitely has roots in our unconscious minds and so we have to learn to change our internal story around it. Money isn’t everything but it does give you choices. When you fear money your rational thinking goes out the window and it hits your pocket hardest. Money does not define you; it’s simply a token of your efforts to serve others. Respect it. Be open to receive it and for gods sake, just ask.
Do you have any similar childhood money memories? If so, post them in the comments below!