Before you dive into this article, here's a question for you: in what situations do you give away your power? Who are you with and what are you doing when your personal power starts to dissipate?
When I was in the early stages of my business, I did a ton of work to get crystal clear about what, exactly, my product was, who my target audience would be, and how I wanted to build the basic structure of my business.
This took a lot of focus, inner dialogue, and a good amount of journaling, but I ended up with a few pages that outlined my ambitions pretty specifically. When talking to my friends, most of whom had other occupations, about what I was doing, I could explain everything smoothly and with pride in my voice.
That is until people who I deemed financially successful asked me about how I was going to make enough money.
I somehow crumbled and started mumbling about how right now getting clients was my number one priority. Suddenly, my enthusiasm quieted and I was no longer beaming with pride.
In other words: I was giving away my power as soon as the unknown—namely, financial income—entered the conversation.
As long as I was in my comfort zone and able to present all my amazing ideas and plans, I was comfortable and in MY zone.
Then the conversation turned to money. The fact that I didn’t have the financial component to prove my success in black and white to those who did, somehow threw a shadow over all my hard work. I felt exposed, naked, and caught. See how I was crumbling?!
The thing is, asking someone who is starting a business about how they will make money is a completely justifiable question! The only thing wrong with this situation was my interpretation.
That person never said, "What a silly idea to think that you could make money with this!” or, "If you're not making any money now you'll never be successful!"
He simply asked me how I was going to make money, just like other people asked me what type of coaching I was offering.
The point is that I was giving my power away whenever I was not able to give a straightforward, and proven answer. I was not able to demonstrate a certain income or even a trend for how it had gone the year before.
It made me shrink to the size of a peanut.
What I had to do in order to keep my power AND, even more importantly, grow, was to accept this big scary unknown component.
As long as I was trying to eradicate and hide from what was true, my unconscious processes would find a way to interpret everything that had to do with the area of my discomfort in a threatening way.
I'd continue to throw up a wall and hand over all my power, pride, and excitement on a silver tray.
Perhaps you ditch your personal power a different way?
Maybe you crumble when someone asks you how much you're making (or would like to make)? Perhaps you promise yourself not to shop and then you return with shopping bags containing overpriced t-shirts? It doesn’t matter how your discomfort with money appears.
This is about remaining unconscious and inactive about your financial reactions and decisions instead of conscious and mindful.
To be honest, I am still not where I want to be financially. I still have one or two marathons to run, sweat, and learn from before I can say that I am where I want to be from a financial standpoint.
However, what I can say is that I LOVE what I do, I am fully engaged in my profession, my clients, and what I have to offer. I believe in the goodness my work can bring to so many people’s lives. AND the fact that I am not making investment-banker type of money right now is a reality that I cannot ignore.
Becoming comfortable with this has been a huge stepping-stone in speaking authentically, walking my own talk, and retaining my power. It's also allowed me to open up and ask for help where I need it most.
Here is a step-by-step guide for how you can gently awaken the money conversation with yourself:
1. Acknowledge and accept that you are giving away your power.
2. Be honest with yourself: How much money are you making? How much money would you like to make? How many clients would you need to make that much money? What would be an appropriate raise for the work you are doing?
3. Sit back and think about how you'd want the situations in which you currently surrender your power to go ideally. Visualize it in detail and familiarize yourself with how you would act as a conscious, proud person talking about a topic that is important for you.
4. Challenge yourself to express this ideal version of how you would speak and act in your real-life conversations. Maybe practice with someone who you feel comfortable with first.
5. Listen. No one expects you to know all the answers right away, so listen to those who have been there before you. Focus your attention on absorbing and learning instead of justifying, defending, and protecting.
6. Be nice and patient with yourself in the process.
I know you can do this, too!