How I slayed my limiting beliefs about money with this simple questioning tool

Photo by Eric Deeran on Unsplash

Photo by Eric Deeran on Unsplash

Beliefs. Words. Thoughts. I have believed awful things like I don’t deserve money and that people judge me because of money and because of lack of money - yup, I feel judged for being poor and judged for being rich! I must have said, I can’t afford it a million times over. I have caught myself thinking I must be financially cursed. All these bad thoughts, popping into my mind on repeat over time have become hard to shift boulder like beliefs. What. A. Mess.

I am challenging myself to tackle my deep rooted issues with money. My limiting thoughts and beliefs about money was the next exercise in Jen Sincero’s book, “You are a badass at making money”. Here’s her drill:

  • Become aware of what your limiting thoughts and beliefs are

  • Question and investigate them

  • Rewrite them

  • Say it loud and proud

Below you will find my very personal journey through this exercise. I became aware of, questioned and investigated a whopping 11 limiting beliefs about money! I encourage anyone who is interested in improving their financial mindset and situation to do this exercise like I did.

As a starting point, Jen asks you to list five main things you remember your parents telling you about money. I started here and then all kinds of other dark stuff came up! The book doesn’t give any more guidance on how to follow this questioning technique other than a few examples. Rather than fixate on if I was doing it right, I chose to go with my gut and not over think the process. You can do the same!

I became aware of, questioned and investigated a whopping 11 limiting beliefs about money!

  1. You can’t be rich and spiritual

  2. God will provide what you need

  3. Pay tithe then God will provide

  4. People judge you for being poor and being rich

  5. You don’t deserve money

  6. I can’t afford it

  7. You have to work hard to make money

  8. Money always runs out

  9. Conversations about money always go badly

  10. Money will change your marriage

  11. I’m too bad with numbers to make money

After questioning, investigating and rewriting these into more positive money mantras, I am building them into my ‘miracle morning’ routine, repeating them in my head as often as possible, feeling them in my bones and hammering myself with them until they sink in!

Here are the icky details, unpacked, investigated, questioned and rewritten into soul satisfying, life giving, money manifesting words and thoughts that will in time, with practice, replace my ugly default beliefs.

You can’t be rich and spiritual >>> Money enhances my spiritual growth

I grew up with a strong religious influence. Whilst I got lots of positives from this, I also heard many a skewed sermon about how money is evil. Like the one about how ‘It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God’ and ‘Money is the root of all evil’. Sadly, the seeds for the belief that money was bad were planted early.

Unhelpful thought: You can’t be rich and spiritual.

Question: What does ‘spiritual’ mean to you?
Answer: Constantly working on my appreciation and understanding of the things that light up my soul - God, the divine, higher power, the meaning of life….

Question: How do you do this?
Answer: The things that positively impact my spirituality are quiet time, books, courses, retreats and travel.

Question: Would you do more of these if you had more money?
Answer: Yes. I would buy more books, travel more and give myself experiences that enhance my spirituality like go on spiritual courses and retreats.

Question: Does having more money help you achieve these things?
Answer: Yes.

Rewritten thought: Money supports, enables and enhances my spiritual growth and development.

God will provide what you need >>> Claim your abundance

I have grown up with the words, “God will provide all your needs”. This is meant to be reassuring. But what if all my needs have not been provided for? Why has God not fully provided for me? Is there something wrong with me? Because there has been lack in my life, over the years I subconsciously concluded that I am not favoured, that I have been judged to be unworthy of full provision. The problem with the saying, “God will provide” is that it creates paralysis and the tendency for you to sit back and wait for this magical provision to come from God. But God is not some kind of genie or fairy godmother. We are to plant the seeds, use our talents, put the work in, be wise. We have the ingredients. The final outcome is ours to claim.

Unhelpful thought: God will provide what you need.

Question: Is it God’s will that you are poor?
Answer: No. God wants us to thrive.

Question: Is it God’s will that you are paralysed by lack, judgement, waiting helplessly?
Answer: No. God wants us to be abundant, free and powerful.

Question: Has God created you uniquely, with talents and abilities you need to thrive?
Answer: Yes.

Question: Has God created your mind, given you the ability to learn, the ability to master your emotions, thoughts, words and actions.
Answer: Yes.

Rewritten thought: God created me to thrive, be abundant, free and powerful. God created me with the talents and abilities I need to thrive and a mind that can learn what I need to know. So do not sit and wait. Get up and go. Take action and claim your abundance.

Pay tithe then God will provide >>> I am excited to be able to give away 10%+ of my income

This is another childhood challenge. Dictionary.com defines tithe as, “The giving of one tenth of your produce or earnings, formerly taken as a tax for the support of the Church and clergy.” I get the test of faith. I get the need for gratitude and that there is always someone else worse off than you that needs help.

But what about when you don’t have enough to pay for your basic living? Do you still pay tithe first? I have watched many people around me pay tithe and go into debt at the same time. This doesn’t sit well with me. And what about the irony of the ‘money is evil’ sermons and then the call for tithe and offering to support the church and the less fortunate in the next breath? To be honest, I haven’t yet fully resolved the tithing debate in my mind...

Unhelpful thought: Pay tithe and then God will provide.

Question: Are you automatically a bad person for not paying tithe?
Answer: Although it feels that way, no.

Question: Are there people who don’t pay tithe and get rich?
Answer: Yes.

Question: Do you want to give 10% of your income when you are able?
Answer: Yes and more!

Rewritten thought: I am excited to be able to give away 10%+ of my income. I am excited to give more and more freely as I become more financially stable.  

People judge you for being poor and being rich >>> I would rather be judged for being rich than judged for being poor

I fear rejection and not being enough, as confirmed by my Do It Scared report by Ruth Soukup. The problem is that when it comes to money, there is judgement, and therefore rejection, across the entire bandwidth. Poor people are judged for making bad decisions or choosing to be too ‘hippy’. Rich people are judged for being too ‘greedy’ and plundering society. People trying to be rich are judged for wanting to leave the circle of mediocrity and for working too hard.

Because I fear judgement and rejection of being poor and being rich I can see that life has literally given me both. My family straddles both worlds. Hubby is classed as a higher rate taxpayer whilst I am below the basic rate threshold, earning within my personal allowance. As a family appearances look good and we are doing ok. As an individual I am not.

Unhelpful belief: People judge you for being poor and being rich.

Question: Why do you fear judgement and rejection?
Answer: Because I am a people pleaser and I care what people think.

Question: Will you ever be able to please everyone?
Answer: No.

Question: Are you willing to let what others think stop you from achieving what is important to you and your family?
Answer: No.

Question: If some people will judge you anyway, which do you prefer, judgement for being poor and failing to be the best version of yourself or judgement for being rich?
Answer: Judgement for being rich.

Rewritten thought: There will always be some form of judgement and that is ok. I would rather be judged for being rich than judged for being poor.

You don’t deserve money >>> I deserve riches, success, respect and joy.

I wrote 15 reasons why I deserve money as part of another challenging task in Jen Sincero’s book, ‘You Are A Badass At Making Money’. Up until writing about it, I’d never thought of myself as being deserving of money.

Unhelpful thought: You don’t deserve money.

Question: Why do you feel you don’t deserve money?
Answer: Because I have never had enough money, I have come to believe that I am someone who does not deserve to have enough.

Question: Do you deserve to have enough money?
Answer: Yes.

Question: Do you deserve to earn lots of money?
Answer: Yes.

Question: Are you enough today?
Answer: Yes.

Question: Are you worthy today?
Answer: Yes.

Question: Do all kinds of people with all kinds of baggage and weirdness conquer their minds and earn lots of money?Answer: Yes.

Rewritten thought: I love and approve of myself. I deserve riches, success, respect and joy.

I can’t afford it >>> I can afford it because there is no limit to how much I can earn

In my childhood I became conscious of a commonly heard statement. “We can’t afford that”! I grew up and start throwing around the very same words all-the-time. It has been my reality. Sound familiar?

This negative language has screwed with my mind. I can’t afford it, is a statement that demands nothing from my brain and causes feelings of lack, frustration and helplessness. Now I am teaching myself that my current financial situation is not permanent. I can afford it, just not right now. Asking myself, “How can I afford it” is solution oriented, puts my brain to work and makes me excited about the future.

Unhelpful thought: I can’t afford it.

Question: Is there a limit to what you can earn?
Answer: No.

Question: Is there enough money to go round?
Answer: Yes.

Question: Do you deserve money?
Answer: Yes.

Question: Can you figure out how to earn more money?
Answer: Yes.

Rewritten thought: I can afford it because there is no limit to how much I can earn.

You have to work hard to make money >>> Lots of money continuously flows to me with ease

I come from a hardworking family. I have been surrounded by hard working women. Both sides of my family have come on in leaps and bounds from one generation to the next.

My great grandparents lives were filled with incredible stories of business, ambition and grit. My parents and their siblings chose medicine, finance, IT and farming. Everything I have ever known has involved long hours and has been very firmly set in the exchange of time for money.

Now I’m teaching myself that you have to work smart (not hard) to make money and that I have powerful resources to create passive income through the information economy, technology and automation.

Unhelpful thought: You have to work hard to make money.

Question: Do long hours guarantee a high income?
Answer: No.

Question: Does everyone who earns significant income work hard?
Answer: Successful people put in the work. But some have designed their business so it pays them over and over. Think property, online courses, affiliate income and investments.

Question: Does money seem to flow to some people, repaying them over and over for the work they have put in?
Answer: Yes.

Question: Can you make changes in your mind and in the way that you do your work so that money flows to you over and over for the work you put in?
Answer: Yes.

Rewritten thought: I am designing my life and business so lots of money continuously flows to me with ease, rewarding me for the work I choose to do.

Money always runs out >>> I am a good caretaker of the unlimited supply of money I earn

I have had a wonderful childhood. But money was not plentiful. There was never enough and it always seemed to run out. There were seasons of feasting and more seasons of famine. In short, we got by through work, loans and gifts. Our income never felt consistent or secure.

Unhelpful thought: Money always runs out.

Question: Does your childhood experience of money running out have to dictate your reality today?
Answer: No.

Question: Why do you think you have seen this pattern in your adult life?
Answer: It’s related to not earning enough rather than my spending habits. Maybe I subconsciously choose not to earn enough because it will run out anyway?

Question: Can you change this pattern and this thinking?
Answer: Yes.

Question: Is money in limited supply?
Answer: No.

Question: Can you earn enough money to satisfy your needs and more?
Answer: Yes.

Question: Are you a good caretaker of money?
Answer: Yes.

Rewritten thought: There is always enough money because I am a good caretaker of the unlimited supply of money I can earn

Conversations about money always go badly >>> I can handle conversations about money

My memories of money talk are stressful! Conversations between my parents. Conversations between my parents and my grandparents. Conversations between my parents and their siblings. These conversations were all about not enough money, money running out, time running out, borrowing money and when things would change. They often involved raised voices, tears, judgement and general angst.

Now, I hate talking about money. I’d rather crawl under a rock than talk money with my husband. Money conversations have been the biggest source of strain on our marriage. Put his financial savviness and day to day senior role in managing multi million pound construction projects with my up and down self employed earnings, felt inadequacy and fear of rejection, and you have the potential for volcanic eruptions!

Now I am forcing myself to face money, research and write about money, talk about money and become completely comfortable with money.

Unhelpful thought: Conversations about money always go badly.

Question: Does every conversation about money have to be heated?
Answer: No.

Question: Do you believe you are improving your financial situation and equipping yourself with knowledge about money?Answer: Yes.

Question: When conversations about money begin, can you overcome the immediate negative and irrational feelings of judgement, rejection and inadequacy?
Answer: Yes.

Question: Are people who talk about money more likely to be financially stable?
Answer: Yes.

Question: Are you willing to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and get better at conversations about money - for your sake and the sake of your family?
Answer: Yes.

Rewritten thought: I can handle conversations about money because I am becoming more financially confident.

Money will change your marriage >>> Earning more money for myself will have a positive impact on our marriage

I think I might have earned more than hubby for one year of our 19 year relationship - and that was when I was working full time in Marks & Spencers while he jacked in his carpentry job to become a glorified photocopy master in the first year of his Quantity Surveyor trainee programme! As the years have rolled by the financial gap between us as become a rather large chasm.

He might feel a slave to it but his hard work has paid off with a successful and well paid career. On the other hand, even hubby would agree that things didn’t fall right for me after university. But we have disagreed on many of the decisions I’ve taken in my very bumpy self employed journey.

The truth is that whilst I have contributed something financially throughout our relationship and marriage, and in many many other non financial ways, ultimately, hubby has always been my provider. Holidays, cars, property renovations - he’s been the money man. We make a formidable team but the pennies to do what we have done together have come from him. He has always had the final final decision because he holds the purse strings. There are things I haven’t done in our home, for our son, for us or for myself because he has different priorities or because they are just not his kind of thing. We both have strong personalities but due to my feelings of inadequacy, and him ultimately holding those purse strings our joint decision making process is skewed, often leaving me frustrated but understanding where he is coming from.

We both want me to earn more. But what will happen when I can earn enough to make a final final decision and when I can make a purchase that he does not fully agree with? This will very much be new territory for us.

Unhelpful thought: Money will change your marriage.

Question: Does hubby support you and want you to earn more money, even more than him?
Answer: Yes. I don’t quite believe him but he often says he will gladly run Daddy Daycare while I bring in all the pennies!

Question: Will you earning more have a positive impact on your marriage?
Answer: Yes.

Question: How will you earning more have a positive impact on your marriage?
Answer: It will reduce the financial burden on hubby, enable us to achieve our goals faster and allow us to enjoy life more.

Question: So earning more money has many benefits that bring relief, happiness and joy?
Answer: Yes.

Question: As a couple can you navigate change together?
Answer: Yes. We have had to evolve and navigate change in a nearly 20 year relationship. We can do it again.

Rewritten thought: Earning more money for myself will have a positive impact on our marriage by reducing our financial burden, enabling us to achieve our goals faster and allowing us to enjoy life together more.

I’m too bad with numbers to make money >>> I am learning everything I need to know about money

I struggled with math from an early age. Conversation with lots of numbers can easily baffle and overwhelm me. I quickly get embarrassed about my confusion and the need to ask questions. Adding to this, over the years people have ‘joked’ that I am not very logical and that I don’t have common sense.

Unhelpful thought: I’m too illogical, clueless and bad with numbers to make money.

Question: Is everyone who has money brilliantly brainy and good with numbers?
Answer: No.

Question: Can you learn how to be better with money and numbers?
Answer: Yes.

Question: Can you employ people to help you with money?
Answer: Yes.

Rewritten thought: I am learning everything I need to know about money and there are many resources to help me manage lots of money.

And that was the ugly 11, remastered into more positive, serving and money manifesting ways of thinking.

  1. You can’t be rich and spiritual >>> money enhances my spiritual growth

  2. God will provide what you need >>> Claim your abundance

  3. Pay tithe then God will provide >>> I am excited to be able to give away 10%+ of my income

  4. People judge you for being poor and being rich >>> I would rather be judged for being rich than judged for being poor

  5. You don’t deserve money >>> I deserve riches, success, respect and joy.

  6. I can’t afford it >>> I can afford it because there is no limit to how much I can earn

  7. You have to work hard to make money >>> Lots of money continuously flows to me with ease

  8. Money always runs out >>> I am a good caretaker of the unlimited supply of money I earn

  9. Conversations about money always go badly >>> I can handle conversations about money

  10. Money will change your marriage >>> Earning more money for myself will have a positive impact on our marriage

  11. I’m too bad with numbers to make money >>> I am learning everything I need to know about money

Use the questioning tool to slay your limiting money beliefs

If you want to change the ugly unserving thoughts inside you to positive money beliefs, you will need:

  1. Quiet uninterrupted time

  2. An open mind

  3. To ask yourself what you remember your parents telling you about money (I did this and also expanded my delving to other experiences and memories)

  4. A willingness not to judge the thoughts that come to mind - both the limiting beliefs that surface and the positive rewritten replacements.

  5. Say the new statements over and over to help them sink in.

Once upon a time the ugly beliefs you have ingrained in your mind were not ingrained. They are not true but they stuck. It will take a lot of work to replace lifelong beliefs but I’ll leave you with this encouraging quote from Jen.

“If you can make yourself believe the thoughts that are screwing up your financial life, you can make yourself unbelieve them too.”