Last month I wrote about my relationship to money and how it is fucked up (read it here). It generated so many comments, responses and discussions with friends, family, clients and my readers. So many of you emailed me privately to share your money story, how my post resonated with you and asked the same question: What do I do now? So I decided to keep sharing my journey through the Money Series.
I wrote this post on the 20th July 2015. Two days later, the bank gave me a £3,500 interest refund. Yes, you read that right. £3,500 appeared in my account out of nowhere. They wrote to me saying that they have reviewed my accounts and due to some miscommunication, they have made the decision to give me a refund on interest I had already paid on my loan. Incredible right? I have never heard anything like it and believe me I am still shocked.
However, it took me 10 days to even realise I had an extra £3,500 in my account. Why? Because I massively avoid checking my bank balance and I religiously don’t open my bank letters. I am terrified of what I will find, even when I know what has been going in and out. When I finally had to log in my online account to pay my rent, I was petrified. I faced with this amount, which to be honest, made my account go way beyond the minus I had got so used to living in. I was not only no longer in the red zone, I was way beyond it. And that was BIG.
I felt a cocktail of emotions: shock, excitement, disbelief, relief, euphoria, panic. It felt as if all the hard work I had been doing on my finances had paid off. It felt as if the Universe was giving me a financial confirmation that things will work out and that I will be supported (which I had asked for, by the way). It felt like I could finally breathe again.
And it felt totally wrong.
I felt guilty. Guilty because I was in debt. Guilty because I didn’t know how to operate this lump sum. It might not seem a lot to some of you, but to me this amount can cover many financial holes and gives me a significant cushioning which I didn’t have before. But I was not ready for it. I was not ready to face up to the fact that this gift (because trust me, when something like this happens to you, it is a real gift) required me to have a hard look at the state of my finances. Again and again.
I remember I set an intention a few months ago that I would pay off all my debt by the end of this year and I had a vague number attached to that intention. I really wanted to feel and embody freedom in my life and to do this I knew my finances were high up on the list of things that were keeping me hostage. Then life moved on, things evolved and my dreams started coming into fruition. I started making decisions that put me in the driver’s seat and started taking action that would support me in creating the life I envisioned.
But I still operated within my own limitations, it seems. To really change my money reality, I had to fully believe I was worth the money I made. That I was worth investing in myself and saving for my future. That I was actually freeing myself by sorting out my money, rather than feeling restricted and victimised by my bank account. That I could take risks because I would know how to support myself.
So fast forward to now and add the extra cash, the Universe gave me a push that I was not ready for. What do I do with this money? Do I save it to help me in my first full time months in my business? Do I pay off a large chunk of my debt as I said I would? Do I put it towards my trip to Bali? Do I invest it in my business? I had no idea…
So I did what I do best: I avoided it.
I didn’t check my account again for another 2 weeks… I buried my head in the sand, because I still, somewhere deep inside me, hold the belief that this was a fluke and that ultimately, there isn’t enough to go around. What if there isn’t any more coming my way? What if I can never make any more? Despite all the work I have done, I still find it hard to believe that I can be good with my money and that I deserve to have savings.
Imagine if I avoided this for much longer. I can tell you how it works out: I distribute some of the money to pay off some debt. I keep the rest in my savings account. I continue to hide from my balance. I make decisions out of fear and operate from a lack mindset. I barely believe that my bank balance likes me until I find myself back in the minus zone, overspending and underearning, wishing that something magical would happen to get me out. Perfect self-fulfilling prophecy and so freaking boring…
The reality is no matter how much money you make (be it £3,500 or £3,500,000), if your thinking is limited to a lack mindset, your money will never be enough. You will never be enough.
And that’s fucked up too.
There is work that needs to be done at every level of the food chain. Whether you’re in the plus or minus, your mindset is what keeps you trapped. The refund that appeared out of thin air in my bank account proved to me something that I had been flirting with for a while: no one can save me. Not even the bank. If you’re waiting for someone to get you out of your financial hell hole, I am sorry to break it to you, you are on your own. You see, this is the single most important thing to know when it comes to taking control of your money and ultimately your life. That way you know that your actions matter, your thoughts matter and everything has its consequences. You no longer wait for something magical to happen (whether that’s your parents, your partner, your friend, the government, your inheritance or a bank refund), because you take full responsibility for where you are. That means if and when you do get a helping hand, whether unexpectedly or by request, you appreciate it for what it is and don’t misinterpret it for the all vital life support that keeps you breathing.
You are responsible for saving yourself. No one else can and no one else will – and believe me, when you fully grasp this, it is the most freeing feeling in the world.
Image credit: Arek Rogacki