How to get in touch with your 'core' money story

This year I found the road that leads to financial freedom and on the journey I have made some crucial insights.

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I have learnt that the road to financial freedom begins in an entirely different place to where I first imagined.

I have learnt that it is not all about putting external things into place such as making a plan to become financially independent, spending less than you earn and investing the rest etc.

The road to financial freedom begins from within.

The road to financial freedom starts with some inward reflection

We each have a different relationship with money and how we perceive our financial stability. A unique story that we have been telling ourselves all of our life, one that runs in the background of our consciousness, one that has been shaped by our experiences growing up.

I have learnt that to find the road to financial freedom we must first become fully aware of and understand our own core story and our ‘wanting mind’.

Understanding your core story about money

For as long as I can remember, my core story about money used to be (I’m pleased to find myself writing ‘used to and not ‘is’ here): “I haven’t got enough money.”

When I was a young girl, whenever my sister and I wanted something, I would often hear my mother say: “No, we can’t afford it, we haven’t got enough money.”

When we hear a message often enough at a young age, it gets programmed into our brain and becomes an ingrained story we hold to be true and buy into. And with time, often years and decades, this story runs in the background of our mind unconsciously and determines our views and behaviour.

By rewriting and updating my core story, I have fundamentally changed how I relate to money.

Exercise: What’s your core story?

Think about the time when you were young and remember the messages you heard from your parents and grandparents around money. What did you hear that you still now believe to be true about money? Whatever it is, it’s your core story. Write it down and read it back to yourself. How do you feel when you hear your story?

Our core story about money shapes our relationship to money, how we deal with money and how we feel about money.

Now ask yourself: Is my story about money still true?

Often we find that’s it’s not true any more, that our story is outdated.

Next ask yourself: What is my actual story about money today? What relationship with money do I want?

Write it down and check what it feels like. Bring your new story or belief about money to mind often so that it can overwrite your old story.

My new story goes like this: “I have enough money and I want to live a decent, simple and abundant life.” Write your new story onto a piece of paper (I wrote mine on a green piece of paper as I love the colour green and cut it out into the shape of a heart and stuck it onto my desk lamp so I can see it every day).

By rewriting and updating my core story, I have fundamentally changed how I relate to money. I no longer feel anxious about money. Instead, I feel at peace with knowing that I do have enough money for how I want to live my life. This has brought me a huge sense of financial freedom.

Becoming aware of and understanding your ‘wanting mind’

As creatures of habit, the more humans behave or think in a certain way, the more we tend to behave or think in the same way in the future.

In other words, our mind constantly tries to bridge the gap between what we have now, and what we want/desire to have. We believe that if we could only have that, we’ll be happy.

When we do something that gives us pleasure and enjoyment, rather than enjoying this moment, our mind already worries about the pleasure ceasing and thinks about the next thing to want and have.

The truth is that the more we want now, the more we’ll want in the future.

The good news is that we can change our habitual ways of thinking and behaving.

Exercise: Become aware of your wanting impulses by tracking them

Every day (ideally in morning), set an intention to observe your wanting impulses throughout the day and then write them down in the moment or at the end of the day. Here are just a few of my recurrent wanting impulses:

- a bag of crisps (ideally every day
- a holiday
- more time
- a massage every week
- something sweet (every day after lunch)
- books! (I have more and keeping buying more than I will ever be able to read)

When you become aware of wanting something (as in craving something), just notice it and let it go. Notice how this feels. Can you say how you feel when you do this or how others have felt when they do this?

Let me know what your core story around money isa and / or if you have any questions.

PS. I can highly recommend the book: It’s not About the Money by Brent Kessel from which I have drawn some of the ideas I share in this blog.

Karen Liebenguth

Life Coach and Mindfulness Trainer, Green Space Coaching

Karen Liebenguth is an experienced life coach, MBTI facilitator, accredited mindfulness teacher and certified Focusing practitioner. She offers coaching while walking in London’s parks and green space tapping into the benefits nature has on our psychological, emotional and physical well-being. She believes that it is in nature where reflection, insight and change can happen most naturally. Karen helps people deal better with stress and anxiety, find direction, feel more in charge of and confident about their life so that they can make long-lasting change and spend more time doing what most matters to them. Karen offers 1:1 mindfulness training as well as tailored mindfulness workshops and courses for the workplace to help staff better deal with stress and anxiety and to boost wellbeing. She uses Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Mindful Coaching, the Natural Learning Cycle, Compassionate Communication and Focusing. She is a member of the Association for Coaching, an accredited mindfulness teacher with and a qualified Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) facilitator.