“What you share you strengthen.”

~A Course In Miracles

In the spirit of the above quote, ask yourself this question: Could I be undermining my success by what I’m sharing with others?

Years ago, a  coach gave me a powerful assignment.  For 2 weeks, I was to simply observe my conversations, without changing a thing. Just notice what I talked about, the words I used, my typical reactions…you know, the stuff I was sharing with others.

What I saw was not pretty.

I had a habit of putting myself down…without even realizing it. I’d constantly dismiss my skills (“Oh, that’s no big thing”), deflect praise (“I thought I was awful”), and diminish my successes (“But I could’ve done so much better”).

What felt, to me, like humility, was in truth, a form of self sabotage. Every word of self depreciation put another dent in my self esteem.   I was strengthening my sself-doubt…while destroying my self-confidence.  No wonder I was struggling.

Are you doing something similar? Minimizing your achievements or underestimating your  value?

I invite you to find out. Spend a few weeks simply watching what you talk about.  Then write a comment below on what you observed.

In  my next blog, I’ll share with you the things I did that made a huge difference.

Listen up, ladies. We need to talk.  We’re still on the ‘D’ word. But now we’re getting to the nitty gritty.  This form of Discipline is what separates the women from the girls. This is where the rubber meets the road.  This is, in short, the BIG SECRET to SACRED SUCCESS™.

And I got it straight from the mouths of women who make millions.  If you wanna play  a bigger game, you gotta  toughen up! That means disconnecting from your Inner Pleaser and growing thicker skin.

By  nature, we women want everyone to be happy with us. Successful women are no different. Almost all I interviewed confessed to a “little girl inside me who wants to be liked.”

However, success requires us to make difficult, even painful, decisions that often have negative consequences for other people.

“You have to do the hard stuff,” said one mega high earner. That ‘hard stuff’ included firing employees, ending partnerships, holding tight during demanding negotiations, enforcing an unpopular policy, firing high paying clients, even enduring multiple rejections and disappointments.

In fact, virtually all the women I interviewed told me that their biggest regret was not making tough decisions sooner.

‘Toughening up’ didn’t mean these women had to harden their hearts, numb their senses, or go all macho.  It did mean a dramatic shift in their mindset.

The shift sounds like this:   ‘I’d rather be respected than liked.’

As one woman told me: “I tried to be nice rather than stand by my convictions. But I learned,  you can’t always be liked, but you can definitely be respected.”

The recognition that earning respect is more important than gaining approval was what one woman described as a “watershed moment.” It definitely was life-changing for me…and liberating.

This one shift in thinking– ‘I’d rather be respected than liked’ –means developing a “rhinoceroses hide” while keeping an open heart. This is precisely how we’ll become strong, effective leaders without compromising our feminine nature. This is what will allow us to be powerful without being punitive, forthright without being unfeeling, responsible without being ruthless.

Where do you need to toughen up?  If you’re like me, I bet it’s not just at work, but on the home front too.  Leave a comment below about what “toughening up” looks like in your life.

Surrender is NOT for sissies.  Surrender, by definition, means relinquishing control…a frightening concept for us control freaks.  Surrender drops you swiftly into a sea of uncertainty, at the mercy of your worst fears, producing serious doubts about ever being productive again. I’m speaking from experience here.

But, despite the discomfort, I’m fast becoming a fan.  Something happened when I stopped struggling to impose my will and surrendered to receiving guidance–financial success started to feel like a spiritual journey.

Primitive cultures and Eastern Religions had rites and rituals to honor the Time- Between. They took their people out of the villages, into the wilderness, allowing them to connect with their spirit guides, reassess old ways of being, recognize their true purpose.

But no one teaches us, or even encourages, this practice any more.

So, for those of you wishing to take some time out in a rich and rewarding way, I bring you The Beginners Guide to Surrender ( so named because it’s written by a total beginner…me!).  There’s no need to leave your village, or even your job. Just follow these 6 simple (though not easy) steps.

Step #1—Eliminate everything but the most essential.

I remember saying to my guy last winter, “I wish I could take the next month off!”

“Why don’t you?” he responded.

I gasped. Taking time off was unthinkable.  Or was it?  I decided to ease into it slowly, by saying ‘no’ to things that didn’t feed my soul, no matter how lucrative…or tempting.  I said ‘no’ to speaking invitations, ‘no’ to networking opportunities, ‘no’ to new clients, ‘no’ to writing my newsletter and blog.  If anyone asked, I was on sabbatical until further notice.  I continued a little teaching and coaching, but only because I wanted to.

As a result I was left with a lot of down-time…which, of course, is the whole point.

But to many, down-time is a dirty word. And I know why:  we’ll do anything to avoid the dreaded step two.

Coming up: Step #2—Allow uncomfortable feelings to surface.

How do you know when it’s time to surrender?

In my case, I just felt ‘blah’, squeezed dry, devoid of creativity, lacking the passion that once was so prominent.  These feelings sort of snuck up on me, caught me by surprise, sometime last summer.

My coach, Martha Lynn Walker, suggested I take a retreat, get a way for a few days. I did and blogged about it earlier –

I returned reinvigorated, back in the groove. Or so I thought. A few months later, my business partner and I split up. At that point, I really felt lost.

I knew, right then, my “blahs” and the break-up were more than isolated incidences. They were wake up calls, signals from my soul, sending me an urgent message: Stop what you’re doing; Pay attention; there’s something you need to know, but you must be quiet enough to hear it.

I wonder how many of you are receiving similar messages, alerting you to the fact  you’ve somehow drifted  off purpose or  perhaps your direction may be morphing into something altogether different. I wonder how many of you haven’t a clue what to do.  Or are horrified at the very thought of taking time out. Well, my friends, I’m here to help.

Coming up next: a Beginners Guide to Surrender

Join me in the inspiring tale of a woman (I’ll call her Jane) who discovered the stunning power of women joining with other women to take their financial lives higher.

I’ve never met Jane.  But recently, she emailed me to say a good friend started an Overcoming Underearning® Book Club, and she became a member.  Five women meet monthly, at 7:30am for “OU Power Breakfasts.” The group reads one financial book a month.  I am proud to report the first was mine — Overcoming Underearning®.  Next was On My Own Two Feet: A Modern Girl’s Guide to Personal Finance by Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar.

Here’s how the club works:  “We have assignments for our breakfasts, like writing our Contracts with Ourselves and our Wish Lists to share with the group.  We also share our successes in the group in person and via email.  We often include some variation of  “underearning is no longer an option!”  in emails!

“I feel AMAZING afterwards.  It gives me such a boost throughout the day, knowing that I had done something really great for myself and spent time with supportive, uplifting, inspiring friends before going to work.”
But the group gave Jane more than good feelings.  It gave her guts.

“I have a job where I’ve done several extra assignments over the past few years,” she explained, “but have never gotten paid extra for them. I was initially told there was no extra compensation for them and I never asked again.  I was happy for the exposure.”

After she turned in her latest extra assignment, however, her supervisor asked Jane to do more revisions.  The request followed her first book club.  Bolstered by the Power Breakfast, she refused to do more because she wasn’t getting compensated.

Guess what happened?

“My supervisor then said, ‘We can compensate you!’ and within a week all the email approvals had been done to process me getting paid.”

Like most people, she had just assumed a bad economy precluded any extra pay.

“In this climate of cost-cutting I initially did not think that this was going to be possible, but once I verbalized it I realized how much work I had done and that I deserved to get paid, and felt confident that I would. This was a turning point for me in terms of now getting compensated separately for the extra work I do within my company, outside of the responsibilities of my job.”

But the story doesn’t end there.  Her credit card debt, once $10,000,  “is now under $1,000 and I am very close to paying it off altogether, and when I do I’m going to have a party – I will invite you and if you’re in New York I would love to have you there!”

I’d love to come. There’s nothing more inspiring than being around women empowering other women.  If you’ve had any successes with similar groups, I’d love to hear about them!!!

Barbara Stanny

The leading authority on women & money

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I did a massive closet cleaning yesterday.  Gave away bags of clothes to Goodwill.  I’m a big believer in letting go to create space for something better (see my blog post about it!).

As I was tossing stuff into garbage bags, I found a framed certificate I’m definitely keeping.  It declared that I’d completed the “Financial Recovery Counseling Training” in 2000, and was signed by founder Karen McCall.  The training was intense and life-changing.

Karen McCall is THE pioneer in the field of overspending, underearning, and chronic debting… and my long-time mentor.

She was one of many professionals I visited in those early desperate days of my own financial crisis.  She was, however, the only one who told me I was an “underearner”.  Initially I balked at the accusation.

But she broke through my denial, and I became her client… then her student. I often wonder, if it wasn’t for Karen, would I be doing what I’m doing now?

If you are a coach, looking for a rewarding new career, or simply want to make changes in your own financial life,  you need to know this — In  early September, Karen is offering her final training program this year.

As she told me; “This is very likely the last class where I will personally be doing the majority of personal mentoring with my students.”

The cool part of this extensive 6 month program is that Karen not only trains you in her Financial Recovery process, but mentors you on starting a successful business.  Check it out.  There are only 4 slots left.

Barbara Stanny

The leading authority on women & money

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Twitter Barbara at:

I’m a big fan of The Secret.  I’ve watched the DVD at least 50 times.  This wildly successful video and book introduced the “Law of Attraction” (LOA) to millions of people.   And that’s a very good thing…to a point.Can the Secret really work?

Simply put, the Law of Attraction says:  Our thoughts create our reality.  What we focus on expands.  In other words, if you want to be rich, don’t focus on lack of wealth.

But here’s where it gets confusing.  How many people (you, maybe?) really want wealth,  and refuse to focus on anything but abundance… yet still,  nothing changes.   Their bills pile up while their bank balance shrivels.

What the Secret failed to mention is that the LOA is only part of the equation for creating wealth.  What’s missing are the other 2 Laws:

1.       The Law of Discipline
2.       The Law of Congruency

#1. The Law of Discipline.  Discipline — consistent activity in the direction of your desire — is the root of all success.  You can visualize flowers blooming, hitting a hole in one, or wads of cash,  but unless you exercise disciplined effort and pull the weeds, practice your putt, or follow the rules of money (spend less, save more, invest wisely), you’re not going to succeed at anything.

#2.  The Law of Congruency.  You get what you want not what you ask for.   For example, you may say “I want to be rich,” but if you distrust wealthy people, don’t believe you deserve wealth, or see money as the root of all evil, then wealth isn’t really what you want.  This inner discord explains why affirmations or positive thinking, as powerful as they are, don’t always work… your spoken goals are in conflict with your true desires, and deep down, you don’t actually want what you’re asking for.

Whenever I’m wondering why I’m not attracting something, I always ask myself 2 questions, in this order:

1.       Why don’t I want it?

2.       What am I not doing, that I need to be doing?

Try it, and let me know what you think!  And for more help and support in achieving your financial and personal desires, check out the schedule of Tele-seminars listed on my website!

HandsI want to share with you one of the best kept secrets in the world of women and power. It’s called Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts. I had no idea what Mama Gena’s was all about until Regena Thomashauer (aka Mama Gena) asked me to speak earlier this year.  When I walked into the room, the energy was so high and the women I met so extraordinary, I knew I had to check it out. So I signed up for Mastery.

The course explores power in ways that will deeply transform your relationship with yourself as a woman along with your ability to create your dreams and desires. What it did for me was help me identify and overcome barriers that have kept me from living my life to the fullest.

Regena’s work is truly cutting edge. I’d love you to check it out at, or contact me with any questions.  A new Mastery is starting soon…I’d love to see you there!

It’s the finale…the last installment of popular questions. I hope they’ve been helpful. And if you have any questions for me, feel free to ask. I’d love to hear from you! So here we go:

Road to financial empowerment for women

1. I’m getting married next year. Should my fiancé and I keep separate accounts or have one joint account?
It’s fine to have a joint account for bill paying, etc, but be sure you have one for yourself too. Every woman needs an account in her own name.

2. How can I stop being such a compulsive shopper?
As my mentor, Karen McCall, a pioneer in financial recovery, always said: “You can never get enough of what you don’t really need.” The problem isn’t the shopping, but the “hole in your soul” you’re trying to fill. I highly recommend attending DA (Debtors Anonymous) meetings, a 12 step program for over-spenders, chronic debtors, and underearners.

3. What is one of the most common money mistakes women make and how can I avoid it?
Without a doubt; it’s doing nothing because you’re afraid of making a mistake. My advice is to spend 3-6 months educating yourself. How?

  1. Every day read something about money, even if it’s just the headlines in the business section of the newspaper, even if it’s only for 1or 2 minutes.
  2. Every week, talk about money, particularly with someone who knows more than you. (taking a class counts too).
  3. Every month, save by having a small amount from your paycheck or checking account automatically deposited in a savings and/or retirement account.

I also encourage women to find a financial advisor they can trust, who will hold them accountable and keep them on track.

4. I’m always worrying about money. How can I calm my fears?

  1. Educate yourself. Knowledge is the best anecdote for fear. The goal is to make financial decisions from knowledge, not ignorance, emotion or habit. Doing the 3 steps I outlined above is an amazingly simple but effective way to conquer money fears.
  2. Join with others. We women are so relationship oriented, one of the best ways to learn is to get support by forming (or joining) a money book club, money study group, or investment club.
  3. Track your spending. Write down every penny you spend for at least a month, then transfer those amounts to spending categories. This exercise allows you to see how/where you can shave expenses, figure out a debt repayment plan, and increase savings.
  4. Create an emergency savings fund with at least 6 months worth of living expenses (a shoe sale is NOT an emergency!)

5. As a young career woman, what’s the single smartest thing I can do with my money now?
Automatic savings. Arrange to have the bank, every month, withdraw money from your checking account or paycheck and deposit it monthly into a personal savings account. Even small amounts ($10 or $20 a month) consistently saved accumulate quickly. It’s money you’d otherwise fritter away. And you don’t miss what you don’t see!! Do the same with your company’s retirement account.

6. My current salary is under 50K. How can I make more money?
If you love what you do, ask for a raise. If you get a ‘no’, ask your boss what you need to do for a pay increase. If you feel dead-ended, or dislike your current job, start looking for a better, higher paying one. Figure out what you’re passionate about and network like crazy. From my interviews with six- and seven-figure women, I discovered that four factors are essential for financial success and quality of life (both are important):

  1. Passion—loving what you do
  2. Audacity—doing what you fear
  3. Resilience—getting back up when you fall down
  4. Community—reaching out for support

I’m back with more questions that I’m commonly asked, and the pithy answers I provided. Let me know if you disagree (or agree) with any of my responses.
1. How does a person, like myself, who is inexperienced with negotiating, learn how to do it successfully?
I’ll tell you how I’ve learned to be a better negotiator: by 1) taking classes, 2) reading books, 3) talking to people who are good at it; 4) learning from my mistakes. If I have to choose the one that’s been the most powerful, it’s #4.
2. I have a lot of external constraints—3 children and an active family lifethat prevent me from achieving my full professional potential. What can I do?
Your external conditions are not actual constraints. They’re excuses…pure and simple. I talk to too many women, with those same constraints, who are succeeding magnificently. And then there are others who don’t have kids or a family, yet have all kinds of other “constraints” as reasons for not acting. More often than not, we use those “constraints” as justifications, so we don’t have to do what we’re scared to do.
3. How can I most effectively teach my children about personal finance?
Whenever anyone asks me ‘how can I get my kids to be smart about money?’ my answer is always the same. Start by getting smart yourself. When it comes to children, you teach best what you model most. Also, I suggest talking openly and consistently (without preaching) to them about money. Include your kids in conversations about the family budget, paying bills, investing, saving for college, the danger of credit cards, etc. Managing money was, and still is, a very common topic of conversation around our dinner table.
4. I am a 50-year-old chronic underearner in a dead-end job with no advancement path. Is there any hope for me?
I was in my 50’s when I finally overcame underearning. And I’ve interviewed women who didn’t start making good money until their 60’s or 70’s. Overcoming underearning has nothing to do with age, lack of education or credentials…or anything else we think we need to make the big bucks. The only requirement necessary is the willingness to do what you fear, including thinking bigger, valuing yourself, and going outside your comfort zone (which may mean finding a new job)
5. Discussing money can be seen as crass, rude, or inappropriate. Until this changes, how can I find support, like you suggest?
I’ll tell you how I found support. I went to networking events, joined professional groups, attended financial conferences…anywhere I could find people who were like I wanted to become. I’d talk to them openly about money. It wasn’t crass. I didn’t ask how much they made, but I’d pick their brain and find out how they got smart. You’d be surprised how people will respond when you’re authentic and sincere about learning more.

So, do you agree or disagree? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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