“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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“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.

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!

Oh, the irony of it all.

I haven’t blogged in awhile.   And I’ve got a good reason—I’ve been really busy. I mean, I was preparing for my first Sacred Success Retreat.  I had house guests visiting. I flew to California for my grandson’s 6th birthday.  Yada, yada, yada…..

But you wanna know the real truth? I went oblivious to what I’d been blogging about—DISCIPLINE. I wasn’t making myself do what I needed to do, when I needed to do it….because I bought into my excuses. I actually believed them!!

Excuses are to discipline what cheating is to diets…a sure fire way to undermine your success by letting yourself off the hook.

And we all do it. We make a commitment. Stuff comes up. We get side tracked. It comes with the territory. Discipline isn’t about being perfect. It’s about being persistent.

As of today, I’m making it official. I’m getting back on the Discipline Train. And I’m inviting any of you who’ve fallen off (you know who you are!) to join me.

What that means to me is that I’m back to writing regular blogs. I’d love to hear what it means for you.

While we’re discussing my beliefs (see True Confessions), I’ll add another  to the pot.  This belief is a biggie for me, and growing stronger by the second…due to  recent events.

I believe our financial foundation is only as strong as our individual integrity.

I am convinced the economic meltdown was a direct result of a lack of integrity,  among consumers and institutions alike.  The same applies to all the problems we’re witnessing today. Think: Tiger, Toyota, BP…to name a few. They all are, in large part, crisis that occurred when people acted out of  integrity.

I believe that every crisis comes with critical lessons. So instead of reacting solely with fury, frustration or a deep sense of futility—which I tend to do—I remind myself to treat each crisis as a teacher.

Take the oil spill, for example. Maybe I can’t do anything personally to protect the pelicans, but I can learn (and share) the lesson this crisis is offering me. For me, it’s all about integrity.

The word integrity comes from the latin root, meaning wholeness or entirety. Integrity demands  that our words and deeds  consistently reflect our deepest truths, highest aspirations,  and most cherished values.

Now, more than ever,  I believe we all need to ask ourselves 2 questions, on a daily basis:

  • Where am I out of integrity?
  • How can I correct that?

None of us are too big to fail. Nor are we too small to soar.  The difference, I believe, rests largely on our level of integrity…and our courage to act on it.

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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It’s been several weeks since I asked for advice on the ‘right’ time to  share financial statements with my boyfriend.  Well you gave it to me!!  And as a result, I had three big “Aha’s.

  • 1st Aha:  Clearly this subject touched a nerve.  I was astounded by how many of you responded— by email, on my site,  and in Facebook.
  • 2nd Aha:  I’m still amazed at my reticence.  I  sent my boyfriend the blog, which stimulated an interesting discussion… but we have yet to “go all the way” (by sharing our statements).
  • 3rd Aha:  I’m noticing how easy (and apropos) it is to use sexual metaphors when describing money discussions between couples.   Hmmmmm… perhaps the subject for another blog?

As for your responses…

First, deep thanks to all who replied!! It was beyond fabulous to realize how many of you could relate to my dilemma.

What I found most fascinating, however, was the vast range of comments. They were all across the board— from one extreme; (“Say nothing!” and “It’s not his concern”), to the other; (“Never hold back anything” and “If you can’t come from a place of profound honesty, you’re not ready to make the commitment”).   Several of you suggested drawing up an agreement with our respective lawyers, kind of like a prenuptial for live-ins.  And quite a few of you remarked that the conversation about sharing expenses was far more important than sharing financial statements.

Without a doubt, the overwhelming majority were in the “full disclosure” camp, warning me that intimacy requires openness.

My favorite came from author Manisha Thakor, whose new book (due out this December) is aptly titled: Get Financially Naked: How to Talk Money with Your Honey. You gotta’ love that title!!!  And it’s hard to argue with her premise.

“If you’re willing to take your clothes off together one way,” Manisha wrote, “you should be prepared to take them off financially speaking as well.”  (This gives a lot of credence to my 3rd aha!)

Her advice:  “Go for it.  Do the thing that these days is even more intimate than sex — talk about money together.  Get the pink elephant of money out into the center of the room and demystify it.  Otherwise, like termites eating away at the foundation of your relationship, little nagging doubts or questions about each others finances could end up destroying what is currently a beautiful home life.”

I agree with every word she says.  Yet, I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t open up and spill the whole can of beans to my boyfriend.   Nor could he.  But we did take a few baby steps… and I’ll share some of them with you in my next post.

Maybe, by then, I’ll figure out why neither of us were willing to “go all the way” yet.

Barbara Stanny

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

Sign up for Barbara’s free newsletter at:

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Twitter Barbara at: http://twitter.com/barbarastanny