Kirsty Waite is the founder of Kirsty Waite Business Coaching and the Ethical Coaching Company. She works with service-based business owners and freelancers and is based in Durham but coaches all her clients online.
Can you tell us what our ‘money mindset’ is?
Our money mindset is our unique set of beliefs about money. These are learnt behaviours from interactions and experiences we’ve had with money in childhood and throughout our lives. These beliefs drive our attitude towards money – how we feel about it, spend it, save it – it triggers lots of different thoughts which result in our actions.
Ultimately, whatever we believe about money will appear in our reality. If we subconsciously think that money is bad or hard to come by, that will show up for us. It’s confirmation bias – we will look for the evidence to confirm what we think and prove ourselves right. We need to realise that our beliefs are not facts.
Is money mindset something you work on with everyone you coach?
Yes, absolutely. I work with my clients on their business strategy and purpose, but I also work with them on mindset. Everyone has a money story, even if they don’t think they do. Everyone has beliefs about it. We load it with feeling and meaning, but money is just an object; it’s nothing; it’s what we make it. We attach energy to it, which could be positive or negative and will subconsciously repel or attract it. If my client has an unconscious belief that having more money is wrong, it’s limiting them, and it will block the flow of wealth and money coming into their business, so we must work through it.
It’s essential for me to work with people with heart and passion led businesses. But what often comes with that is that they feel it’s wrong to earn more – it’s greedy, and they should only “earn enough to get by”. This is something widespread that I see with my clients.
“It’s important to take the time to be grateful for what you’ve achieved and where you’re at.”
What sort of questions might you ask when you do this?
Many of our beliefs come from when we were young and how we’ve been brought up, so a good place to start (and where I start with my clients) is thinking back to our first memories of money. How did you grow up seeing and experiencing it? And then, what experiences have you had with it as an adult? Do you spend it like it’s going out of fashion? Do you have lots of debt? Do you feel like you’re constantly lacking money? When we look back at our past encounters with our finances, we can see how it affects our actions now – either repeating or breaking the cycles.
Ask yourself your thoughts on people who have large amounts of money. That they are lucky? Or greedy? Must they have done something dodgy? This is also an indication of what’s going on with your beliefs.
This work will be a continuous cycle because you might overcome some money worries and then hit the next level of income or success and find that you have new limiting beliefs. It’s a constant journey, and for your business to be successful, it’s going to happen in increments.
But it’s also important to take the time to be grateful for what you’ve achieved and where you’re at. Don’t rush off to the next thing and put yourself into a hamster wheel of constantly wanting more, more, more.
What are some common beliefs that people have about money?
The most common one is that money is bad or makes people misbehave. It’s the person that is good or bad, not the money.
Other common thoughts are that you should just be happy with what you’ve got, that it’s selfish to want more of it, or that money is hard to come by or has to be hard work. I suffered from this because when I was growing up, my dad worked hard to the bone, so I ended up working very hard in a career that wasn’t aligned with me at all because I thought that was how life had to be. I did that until I had a breakdown.
Why is our relationship with money so complex?
We load it with meaning and feeling. We attach a lot to it – control, security, stability, and survival. There is so much fear around not having it. Because different people have different relationships with it, it adds complexity, and this can cause conflict. Your partner, parents, other family and friends all have varied emotions and strong personal opinions associated with money, which can cause conflict. When we’ve experienced our parents or friends attaching negativity to money, we don’t want them to see us in the same light. But wanting more money or desiring greater wealth is not something to be ashamed of.
“A significant mindset shift for freelancers is to think of themselves as a business.”
How can working on our money mindset unlock opportunities for our businesses?
Ultimately, having a positive relationship with money creates a growth mindset where you are naturally more open to opportunities. If you genuinely think that money gives you freedom and you can use it to make good in the world, you will bring positive energy and attitude to receiving money. When we allow ourselves to have limiting beliefs and hold on to negative thoughts about money, we close ourselves off. We are good at self-sabotage. We usually don’t even realise it and might think we’re protecting ourselves.
A significant mindset shift for freelancers is to think of themselves as a business. It should be seen as a stand-alone business that needs to function with its own finances and requires investment in resources and development to thrive. Otherwise, money feels so personal. Freelancers don’t want to spend it as they feel like they’re taking money out of their kid’s mouths or the family pot.
“Be truthful about where you’re starting from and ask yourself what your limiting beliefs are.”
How can people change their outlook on money?
You can reframe a negative mindset by seeing that money is only good or bad depending on whose hands it’s in because money is just an object. If you want to do good and have positive intentions, the more money you have, the more people you can help, the more significant an impact you can have, the more freedom you will have to do better in the world.
Be truthful about where you’re starting from and ask yourself what your limiting beliefs are. Where you feel that defensive tug, it indicates where you need to be focusing. – Ask yourself, “why do I feel like that about that?” Listen to whatever’s coming up for you. Then look for facts that prove the opposite instead of jumping on the confirmation bias wagon.
The more aware you are, the more you can change and identify it in others. Be mindful of who you surround yourself with, and don’t let their negative relationship with money drain you. You don’t have to point it out to them, just acknowledge it yourself and know you don’t need to take on other people’s opinions. You have your money mindset – that’s theirs – avoid talking about it with people who negatively think about money.
Write down positive affirmations to do with money. You need to replace any negative thoughts and habits with positive ones. Write yourself a positive affirmation post-it and stick it somewhere prominent on your desk. This will help you manifest and start to take constructive action in the right direction, like aligning what you’re open to, having a growth mindset, investing in yourself, managing any debt and getting to grips with what is coming in and out of your bank account.
This article was originally published in Freelancer Magazine Issue 4 in January 2021. Get Freelancer Magazine delivered to your door or inbox.