January 2008

A lot of women in my workshops tell me they feel guilty about wanting to make more money, as if a profit motive were something shameful. I understand their conflict. I used to struggle with it myself. But that was before I wrote my book, Secrets of Six-figure Women.

Stone archI always asked every woman I interviewed this question: Are you doing what you’re doing for the money? With rare exceptions, every one swore that it wasn’t the money that motivated her success. It was what the money represented, something much deeper, more personal, and very individual. These women were driven more by what they hoped to achieve rather than what they aspired to earn. Each one had a vision for her life based on cherished values like recognition, independence, security, or achievement. These intangible goals rather than hard cash provided the fuel for their financial success.

However, there was an important distinction that made a big impact on me. Granted, these women weren’t in it for the money. But at the same time—this is the key—they darn well wanted to be well compensated because they felt they were worth it. Their financial success didn’t come from the love of money, but love of self…and the value they placed on what they offered.

I have come to see that achieving self love, self worth, self respect are the real secrets to financial success, much more so than working longer hours or seeking multiple streams of income. Would you agree?


Quick, answer this question with the first number that comes to mind:

CoinsCoinsCoinsHow much money do you think you need to feel rich?

Of course, you may argue, there’s more to being rich than having money—there’s love, health, freedom, etc. All true. But for the purpose of this blog, and in the spirit of research, let’s stick with the original question that recently appeared in The Wall Street Journal: How much money does it take to be rich?

According to the article—which was excerpted from Robert Frank’s blog, The Wealth Report—no one can seem to agree about the amount of money that makes you rich.

According to the Federal Reserve, you’re in the top 5% of Americans if you have a networth of $1.4 million. But when Spectrem Group asked affluent people that question, only 22% said $1 million makes you rich. The majority (45%) said it took at least $5 million to qualify. A quarter of the respondents swore that you need a minimum of $25 million. A few (8%) even put the winning number at $100 million. Still, other studies have shown that people “always give a number that is twice their current networth or income. Those with $100,000 in income say $200,000, while those worth $5 million say $10 million.”

I thought about what I’d say, and realized the term “rich” is so relative, it’d be impossible to come up with a universally accepted number. The best definition I’ve ever seen for “rich” was the one I used in my first book, Prince Charming Isn’t Coming. I forget who said it, but it goes like this: “rich is when you work because you want to, not because you have to.”

That makes a lot of sense to me. Anyone have a better definition than that??

skydivingAre You Playing Full Out? It’s an important question. Your response determines whether you’re creating the life of your dreams or settling for mediocrity.

From my interviews with financially successful women, I learned there are two games to play:

  • The Underearning Game
  • The High Earning Game

The Underearning Game is called Not To Lose. The goal is to stay safe, look good, and be comfortable. The way to play is by avoiding uneasiness or fear.

The High Earning game is called To Win. The goal is to go as far as you can with all that you’ve got, and when you fall down, you get back up and keep going. The only way to play the high earning game is to play full out.

Problem is, sometimes it’s hard to tell which game you’re actually playing. There are times when I swear I’m giving my all, when later it hits me—I was fooling myself. I really wasn’t playing a true full out.

So I devised the following list to help you assess which game you’re really playing.

Ten Signs I’m Playing Full Out

  1. I know what I want and am committed to getting it. (And if I don’t know, I devote time and energy to figuring it out).
  2. I am so focused on my vision that I don’t get distracted or scattered by irrelevant, draining, or conflicting tasks.
  3. I am willing to experience whatever it takes—defeat, embarrassment, even humiliation—to achieve what I want.
  4. I am always doing things I’ve never done before and/or don’t want to do.
  5. I make at least one unreasonable (i.e. scary) request a week.
  6. I don’t say ‘yes’ when I really want to say ‘no,’ even if it means rocking the boat or upsetting another.
  7. I regularly seek out support, and refuse to spend time with or discuss my dream with naysayers (even if they’re related)
  8. Every time I’m afraid to do something, I force myself to do it anyway. (And I catch myself when I try to justify not doing it.)
  9. I am rigorous about the thoughts that I think and the words that I use, making sure they’re positive, supportive, and appreciative (of myself and others).
  10. I take time to relax and pamper myself so I don’t burn out.

What do you think of this list? Is there anything you’d add?

If you really truly want to achieve greater financial success, I have a special challenge for you. To participate in this challenge, you’ll need to read this article:

Financial graphsTaking charge of your money – and your life

The fact that the author, Dr. Dixie Mills, called me one of her “3 favorite female money experts,” has nothing to do with why I’m bringing this to your attention. Really! (Though, I admit, I’m flattered.)

The reason I got so excited by this article is because the author, a medical doctor, a left-brained scientist (and a brilliant one), really got the importance of doing the Inner Work along with the Outer Work. She talks at length about how our past history, the messages we got from our parents and society in general, have shaped the way we relate to money today.

“The best money courses,” Dixie writes, “address our financial blueprints along with family and cultural values first. If they don’t, they’re probably not worth the money, and you’ll only get so far.”

Right on, Dixie!!

So as we start a new year, I’d like to pose a 3 part challenge to all of you financial achievers.

  • First, read Dixie’s article.
  • Second, do the exercise she includes to help you “identify your own ingrained ideas about money.”
  • Third, follow her advice to “learn about one new area of money a week.”
  • Bonus points for doing this with a partner!

If you decide to take the challenge (and I sure hope you do!), I’d love to hear about your experience.

Here’s to a prosperous and healthy new year for all!