As a business leader and entrepreneur, do you believe that money is all about the dollar signs and the status it bestows? For example, do you believe that money is about your bank account and what your balance can buy? If you do, you are not alone.
The mistake that a vast number of people make is thinking that money is an end result. But that’s not true. Just as a lamp is simply a lamp, money is simply money — it’s a tool. But a tool to experience what exactly? The answer to that question determines how healthy of a relationship we have with our finances.
Growing up, I was taught that money was hard to make, and that I had to work long hours to make more of it. Because of that, I had mostly associated feelings of anxiety, stress and tiredness with money. Foolishly, I thought that the harder I worked and the more money I made, I would finally get to experience success, happiness and prosperity. But nothing was further from the truth. The more money I earned, the more I fretted about how to invest my funds for maximum benefits. It was a vicious cycle.
This is why I invite you to consider money in a totally different way — as a tool that assists you in experiencing a specific, warm feeling. Keeping in mind that money is a tool that helps us — not the be-all and end-all of happiness — how can we develop a healthy relationship with money? Easy. We pay attention to a few dos and don’ts of developing a healthy relationship with the dollars in our bank accounts:
What are some don’ts when it comes to how you think about money?
• Don’t make money a measure of success.
To experience success, one must be willing to feel it. Success is built on recognizing incremental achievements, so it is an ongoing process to feel positive about where you are at in your career and personal life. As business leaders and entrepreneurs, this means that every once in a while, you must stop climbing, turn around and simply enjoy the view. Notice how far you have come in such a short time. The ability to enjoy the view of your success thus far has nothing to do with money.
• Don’t make money an indicator of happiness.
For many of us, happiness is conditional; it is us saying, “I will be happy if …” or, “I will be happy when …” When we make our happiness conditional, it implies that we are relying on external factors to make us happy. Those external factors can be people, situations or other stuff such as money. But happiness is a state of mind, and the solution to any negative state of mind is to go within ourselves and rectify the situation. Asking yourself, “What do I need right now?” and fulfilling these needs from within is what makes us happy. Our happiness has nothing to do with the green stuff.
• Don’t make money a symbol of a healthy lifestyle.
I consider one’s “lifestyle” as a mindset of values that you believe will contribute to increasing your wellbeing. You might think that having money is the only indicator of being healthy, both mentally and physically. But even the most financially successful entrepreneurs can struggle.
This shows me that having money alone does not always create a healthy life. One must be emotionally grounded to experience a healthy lifestyle. Try meditating daily, journaling your feelings and emotions, taking long walks or even going barefoot on the grass. Nature adopts a healthy lifestyle naturally, and I believe we can do the same with a few proactive steps (and without letting money dictate our wellbeing).
In that case, what are some dos to developing a positive relationship with money?
• Do build deep, meaningful relationships based on feeling good enough.
When we feel good enough about ourselves, we understand that we are not our bank accounts or work accolades. Make a list of the traits you love about yourself. Put that list in your wallet, and reread it often. In my experience, feeling good enough can attract more opportunities for experiencing success. It is the warm feeling we get that fuels our business dreams into reality.
• Do embrace the gift of every situation.
For business leaders and entrepreneurs, it can be easy to feel anxious, stressed out and depleted, as many of us work long hours. When the going gets tough, ask yourself, “What can I be grateful for at this moment?” and allow yourself to feel it. As I have discovered for myself, this step is a game-changer. Happiness becomes a non-externally focused feeling as we embrace emotional balance within. I’ve found we often more deeply cherish what we have financially when we realize we might lose it.
• Do be inclusive.
Ask many CEOs how lonely they feel at the top. One of the reasons I’ve observed many CEOs can experience loneliness in their work is because they have made a demarcation between “I” and “we” based on job seniority and work responsibilities, among other things. To remedy this situation, look for what you have in common with every person around you — and positively reflect that. In my experience, this inclusiveness can lead to us feeling healthier in all areas of our lives. A healthy lifestyle promotes having a healthy relationship with money.
Remember: Just as a lamp is simply a lamp, money is simply money. Money is a tool to assist you to experience specific, warm feelings. You can bank on that.