Relationships


“It’s important for people to look back before they’re able to move forward.”–Karen McCall

Karen McCall has a special place in my heart. She was the first one to tell me I was an underearner. And it really pissed me off!

“I am not,” I said defiantly. “I’m a writer!”

Talk about chutzpah!  Here was the leading pioneer in the field of financial recovery. And I’m arguing with her?

Of course, she saw right through my defenses and gently guided me to the truth.

I can honestly say Karen changed my life…in ways I couldn’t even have predicted at the time!!!

She stopped seeing clients years ago to focus on training Financial Recovery Coaches.

Now there’s BIG NEWS!

Jedi Master McCall (one of her students used this phrase, in an email to me, to describe Karen) is offering a special 3 month program…Financial Recovery Foundational Training…for anyone.

Yes, it’s a prerequisite for the Certification Core Training.

And it’s also ideal for professionals to augment their financial coaching skills.

But, for the first time…and here’s why I’m so excited…this training is open to ANYONE (you, maybe?) who wants to transform their relationship to money.

This is an amazing program. There is nothing like it anywhere that I know. It’s truly transformational! Karen, herself, will be teaching. And the sessions are on the phone.

You will be matched with a personal mentor, led through  your own money history, uncovering limiting beliefs, and given a tool box of “Financial Recovery’s underlying methodology.”

In other words, if you’re really serious about healing your relationship with money, this class was tailor-made for you!!! To learn more: www.financialrecovery.com.

This course will rock your world. Are you ready?

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In my previous post, I played true confessions.  I fessed up that, years ago, I constantly put myself down…without really knowing it!

I have a hunch many of you do the same.  And believe me, self depreciation is a subtle but serious form of self sabotage.

I’d like to share what I did to stop. It wasn’t easy. I’m far from perfect. But success is so much easier since I curtailed my self-criticism and began acknowledging my value.

Here’s my 3-point plan to Stop Self Criticism—Observe; Brag; Find Spotters.

  1. I started by observing my conversations. Every time I heard me belittling myself, I stopped. Literally stopped, mid-sentence, and force myself to say something positive…even if it was just ‘thank you.’
  2. I started bragging (thanks to Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts). I mean, I actually prefaced sentences with “I brag…” and then tooted my own horn.
  3. I shared my goal with a few close friends, asking  them to spot me by pointing out my more subtle put-downs. They had no trouble catching me in the act.  Their feedback was quite effective.

Admittedly, these steps, at first, felt ridiculously uncomfortable, completely awkward. But gradually, I began to notice something.  My self-derision all but disappeared. And I felt much better about myself.

I’m here to say, I swear it’s true–what you share, you definitely strengthen. Please leave a comment below on how these steps support you in achieving greatness.

I wonder if we women aren’t lacking a gene that makes this form of discipline especially difficult.  The final technique,  Strategic thinking, means keeping one eye on your higher purpose without taking the other off the bottom line.

Men seem much savvier at strategic thinking. Women, in their eagerness to give back to  their community or give birth to their dreams, often neglect this critical step.

To  think strategically, you must constantly link your Big Vision to the costs of doing business, connect your mission statement to the profit/loss statement.

One  woman explained it this way: “Connect everything with the numbers. To be a successful business woman, you have to strategize all the time on how to make the numbers work.”

And another,  a business owner  “The secret to a million dollars is continuously reevaluating the expenses to run a lean, mean business.”

And still another: “Once you know where the profit is, it’s just a matter of multiplying how many widgets you need to sell.”

Basically, strategic thinking involves:

  • figuring out the costs to do business
  • cutting losses when something wasn’t working
  • designing effective structures and systems
  • daily strategizing and yearly long term planning

Strategic thinking did not come easily to many of these women.

“This is not my nature,” said a former journalist, “I’m a writer. It was something I had to learn. No matter how passionate you are, you have to have business savvy.”

You can learn to think strategically by reading books, taking classes, talking to others, and/or consulting with professionals in or outside your industry.

I find strategic thinking is best done with others. My advice for tackling this technique– form a Strategic Task Force. Invite people (anywhere from 1 to 10) you trust, respect, and admire. Meet with them regularly to help you stay on track  strategically or  contact them when you need strategic solutions to problematic situations.

Please comment on your experience with strategic thinking.  This is definitely something I want to learn more about!

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.

I did it!  I actually did it!  I showed My Man my financials…and he did the same.

And you know the biggest lesson I learned (yet again) from all this?  The fear of doing is always worse than the actual doing! Now, in hindsight, I wonder, “what the hell was the big deal anyway??”

The second biggest lesson: resistance wanes the closer you get to the root of it. The moment I realized it was my childhood fear of feeling different and not being accepted, those old demons didn’t seem nearly so threatening.

So here’s what happened:

We were sitting around the kitchen table. He had just made me eggs.  (Gotta love a man who cooks!!)  I showed him the recent blog about my old journal and my epiphany. http://barbarastannyblog.com/2009/09/17/my-man%E2%80%A6my-money%E2%80%A6and-me/.

He read it thoughtfully, then looked up at me and said, ever so gently:  “I totally understand.”

Without even thinking, I walked to the stack of mail on the kitchen counter and tore open an oversized envelope. How perfect that my August financial statements had just arrived the day before. I pushed aside the dishes, spread out the papers, and said, “This is what I have.”

He listened, asked a few questions, and told me he was proud of the way I managed my money, especially given my history. Then, he described what he had in each of his accounts, I asked a few questions, and praised him for being so responsible.

I got up, washed the dishes, and we took a walk. That was it. It was a non-event.

But at the same time, it was clearly a turning point. We each realized, without saying a word, we’d taken our relationship to a new level of intimacy and trust.  And it felt really good!

Barbara Stanny

The leading authority on women & money
barbara@barbarastanny.com
www.barbarastanny.com

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I think I just hit pay dirt…the reason I’ve had such trouble talking money with My Man.  It happened last night.

I’ve been an avid journal writer since the 5th grade. Every once in a while, I’ll go to the big cardboard box that holds my old journals and randomly pick one to read.

Last night, I selected a green spiral Mead notebook. It was from 1993… a very painful period when I was struggling with money…not long after the government told me I owed them over a million dollars (for back taxes my ex didn’t pay, for illegal deals he got us in).

As I read what I wrote on February 7, 1993, my jaw dropped:

I think I just made a discovery. Why I have money problems. Watched a video with Susan [a girlfriend]. A woman comes on who says she’s having trouble with finances because she’s afraid people would be jealous if she had too much.

“Susan looked at me. “Can you relate to that,” she asked?

“Could I!!! I instantly felt the shame and secrecy of having money growing up, of being different from everyone else…and the almost pride I now feel when I talk about all my money problems. I can see how my need to be like others, to be accepted, has me sabotaging my success.”

I’ll be damned! The same discovery…16 years later! I had forgotten how self conscious I was, as a kid, about being rich. Sure there were advantages to living in a big house, having a famous father. But, at the same time, I was embarrassed.  I never felt like I fit in. I was never quite sure if people liked me for me, or because of my family. I was always trying so hard to be just like everyone else. If I’d ever told anyone how I felt, which I rarely did, they’d always say: “Gee, I wish I had your problem!”

No wonder I was so scared to reveal myself to My Man. It suddenly made sense. In fact, writing this now, it seems downright obvious. I’m afraid of being different from him…of not being accepted.

Isn’t it astounding, how unconscious, irrational fears like these take hold with such an irrepressible force, it feels like we’re going against gravity?

So, here’s my current question: Now that I’m enlightened, will the conversation be easier? I’ll definitely let you know!

Barbara Stanny

The leading authority on women & money
barbara@barbarastanny.com
www.barbarastanny.com

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I sent him my blog the moment it was posted… the one about  sharing our financial statements before he moves in.  I made him read it while still on the phone.  I was nervous for his reaction.  After all, I was  putting him, and our relationship,  in the (kind of) public eye.  His response was typical of a man with high self esteem.

“This is great,” he said and meant it.

“So,“ I said taking a deep breath, “Do you want to have The Talk?”

“Sure,” he replied without hesitation. “Let’s do it this weekend.”

Two weekends later, we still haven’t “Talked.”  My Man and I are extremely close.  We discuss everything, unabashedly.  Yet when it comes to money, we keep tip-toeing around the topic.

What we’ve done is have a tepid conversation sprinkled with some tiny revelations.  I threw out a vague number about how much I’m worth.  He did the same.  I mentioned something about diversifying my assets, but being heavy in cash.  He, in turn, shared his disciplined approach to making retirement contributions.   He even said he’s looking forward to seeing how I’ve invested.  But we’ve both been reluctant to reveal specifics.  I consider the conversation we had a good starter step.  But why haven’t we ‘gone all the way?’

Truthfully,  I’m mystified by my avoidance.  All I have to do is take my latest financial statement out of the folder, hand it to him, and say “Here it is.  Let’s talk,” and there’s no doubt in my mind, he’d do the same, in a heartbeat.  But I haven’t.

Reminds me of the letter to Ann Landers from a woman who wanted to ask her boyfriend to help pay for her birth control, but didn’t feel she knew him well enough to ask!

I laughed when I first read that.  Sure, it’s scary for most people  to talk money.  But I never put myself in that category!!!  I mean,  for the last 12 years I’ve been writing about money, consistently telling women:  “It’s our secrecy and silence that keeps us stuck.”

Now, here I am, doing the secrecy-and-silence-thing… and I’m truly shocked. Is it because he’s so resistant?  Or is that my projection?  Does our mutual reluctance come from our disparity in income?  Or is there a lot of old baggage weighing each of us down?

I think it’s time to walk my talk!  Stay tuned.  As always, your insight and advice is welcomed.

Barbara Stanny

The leading authority on women & money
barbara@barbarastanny.com
www.barbarastanny.com

Sign up for Barbara’s free newsletter at

http://barbarastanny.com/inner-circle-join.html

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