Men and women are often conditioned to have opposing mindsets around money. As women, we’re told that it’s shameful to want it and that it makes us shallow. Sometimes we even lose friends when we start making more of it.
Generally, men are conditioned to find their worth from money, and women are taught that wanting it makes them greedy and shallow.
This community is full of amazing women who appreciate how open our conversations about money are, but some really don’t like it. They believe that talking so openly about money as women is distasteful and, frankly, unrealistic.
But women shouldn’t think twice when talking about their financial situations. Whether they’ve made their money investing, saving for retirement, or running a business, they should be proud of what they’ve achieved and confident enough to talk about their success with their friends and family.
In this episode, I’m sharing three powerful conversations I had about women and money as well as the most common beliefs around money I’ve seen in the women I coach. When we don’t have other inspiring examples of successful women, we will continue to believe that money isn’t for us. I believe we need to see more women being successful in life and in business and making lots of money because it shows others what is possible. We can all become examples of what’s possible.
Stay tuned until the end of the episode to listen to part of the first chapter of my new book, What’s Possible!
What you will discover
- How men typically feel about competition, money and worth.
- Why women often tear each other down in business.
- Some of the reasons women believe money isn’t for them.
- My mindset and beliefs around money and success.
- Why men who support women living their biggest lives are the strongest men.
- How money makes you more of who you are in the world.
Featured on the show
You are listening to The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo, episode number 324.
Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it’s all about real clients, real problems and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.
Hey, friends. I wanted to let you know that I have a book that I have been recording. And I’ve been feeding into Scholars through the private podcast. The book is called What’s Possible. I shared the introduction with you a couple of podcasts ago. And now, I’m going to share with you chapter one.
The reason why I want to share chapter one is that it applies, and is very logical to include with this podcast because it’s on money and talking about how we are taught to think about money. So, I’ve included it at the end of this podcast.
And the feedback that I’ve gotten on it is that everybody needs to have it. And so, I decided that I’m going to give it to at least all of you all and you can feel free to share this podcast episode with anyone that you think might benefit.
So, we’re going to talk about money, one of my favorite topics to talk about. And the reason I wanted to talk about it is because, in the past several weeks, I’ve had three really powerful conversations about money with my friends and my colleagues, my students, my clients.
And I’m going to tell you about all three of those conversations. And then, I’m going to tell you a lot about how I think about money and some mistakes I see people who come to me who want to create more money in their life are making.
So, let’s talk about the three conversations. The first conversation was with a friend of mine, Alex. He and his wife own a very successful multimillion-dollar business. And we often talk about business and geek out about marketing and sales and product delivery.
And one of the things that he said to me, I said, “Wait, stop talking, I want to talk about this more.” He said, you know, “Here’s the difference that I see a lot between men and women when it comes to business.” He said, “With men, what we do is we compete with each other. So, we’re always trying to one-up. We’re always trying to win. So, we make each other better through that competition because we keep an eye on each other’s businesses and we want to make sure that we’re keeping up. We want to make sure that we’re winning.”
He said, “I don’t see women doing that with each other. I see women tearing each other down. You guys do a lot of backstabbing, gossiping, social media kind of talking about each other and ridiculing each other and ripping each other’s work apart and telling each other how you do it wrong.”
And, of course, that’s his perception and that’s a generalization. But I have seen this throughout my life. I have seen this difference between us, men and women, and how we go about doing our work in the world and how we support each other.
And I’m so fascinated by it. I’m so curious about it. I’ve seen a lot of people that I believe are the most amazing people; people that are doing work in this world form a servant’s heart, from a focus on women. It’s women business owners serving businesswomen owners and making their lives better.
I’ve seen them torn apart publicly over the years and I’ve been very curious about it. I remember, it was a couple of years ago, there was a woman who is, like, the mindset, supportive, soft-spoken servant of women and had a successful business doing this and just got reamed for something that she had said online.
And I don’t see it as much because I don’t read a lot of online stuff, but I have seen this throughout even corporate America. And so, I started questioning, what is it that is happening here? What is this issue with our mindsets as women, our relationships to other women, and how we go about supporting or tearing each other down, and why?
And I’ve come up with a couple of conclusions. And I can, of course, only speak for myself. But here’s some of the feedback that I’ve received through emails and on my Slack channel through my students that I find fascinating.
So, remember, I have a business that serves mainly women, employs mainly women, and I’m a woman. And most of the emails, I would say 99.9% of the emails that are hating on me, quote unquote, or upset with me, are from women.
So, here’s an example of an email. And I’ve received this quite a bit, I would say, “I love the model. I love your work. It’s changed my life. My life is completely different because of it. But would you please stop talking about money all the time? Can you please just stick to the emotional work, the mental work? Why do you have to talk about how much money you make? Why do you have to talk about other people making money? It’s distasteful. Stop doing it.”
Another email that I’ve received quite a bit, from women, is, “Please stop telling women they can make a million dollars. That is not realistic. Do not tell them that that’s possible for them. You’re putting things in women’s minds that are going to be disappointing to them.” Like, what are you talking about, seriously?
Then another one, “Stop being so direct with women, it hurts their feelings…” stop being me, basically. Stop being direct. Stop saying it like it is. It’s uncomfortable.
And then, the last one is just some version of, “You’re a terrible person. You’re a terrible person because you make $35 million. You’re a terrible person because you talk about how much money you make. You’re a terrible person because you are working in mental health and making so much money.”
I often think about new coaches that are just on the scene that want to come in and create value for the world and create money for their families and for their communities and for themselves and them getting these kinds of emails from people around them.
Conversation number two was with a client of mine. I wasn’t even really coaching her. We were just having a discussion. And she said, “For every stage of success I’ve had, I’ve had to get all new friends.” I was like, “What?”
She was like, “Yeah, I have to create a new community of friends.” I said, “Why?” And she says, “We stop being able to relate to each other, so I have to start diluting myself and not sharing what’s true. And if they do find out what’s true or how much money I’m making, the relationship changes and sometimes they turn on me, or the expect me to pay for everything.”
And I thought a lot about this. I thought, wow. Now, listen, the model and the work that we do doesn’t blame. We’re not blaming people for this, right We want to be curious about it. Like, what is going on that, when a woman in our group of friends makes a lot of money or does really well, we aren’t celebrating that.
Why aren’t we celebrating that? Why are we begrudging her for that, or expecting her to then take care of us or expecting her to be different than she is? It’s curious. It’s interesting to me.
It was extremely painful for the client that I was talking to. And client after client that I have started having these conversations with have told me that they don’t want to be in the spotlight, they don’t want anyone to really know how successful they are.
And for me and the work that I do, and the work that I want to do with women and girls, I think this is such a shame because I think we need more examples of women and women of color and Black women sharing their success, so we can put them on our vision boards, so we can aspire to be more successful if that’s what we want, aspire to have more money if that’s what we want. And yet, there’s this dynamic that is happening.
Now, some of the work that I did, some of the study that I did that I thought was really interesting is that when we put other people down, when we gossip about them, when we make up stories about them to make them into greedy terrible people because they’re making money, we get a dopamine hit.
It’s almost like a drug. And it’s because of the way we evolved and the way that we evolved in groups and the desire to be part of that group and not be left on the outside. So, if you’re in that group and you’re criticizing or ridiculing someone who’s kind of on the outside, which they might be if they’re making a lot more money, then it’s a dopamine hit of, “I’m part of this group and that person isn’t. Thank goodness that isn’t me because that’s dangerous. So, as long as we keep the attention on that person and making that person bad or wrong or on the outside, then I will be safe.”
So, I think it’s actually, like, self preservation, “I want to be on the side of the good guys. I want to be on the side of the group that stays together. And that person who is now making a million dollars is now on the outside and we will ridicule them.”
And I think, for some, it’s not even conscious. It’s all of that internal belief system coming up and creating kind of an addiction. And if you’ve ever noticed this, if someone is like, “Ooh, did you hear? Did you hear what’s going on? I have something to tell you about a celebrity,” or, “I have something to tell you about, like, did you read in People Magazine? Did you hear the news? Did you hear the story?”
And so many times, all of those stories aren’t true or they’re misinterpreted or they’re just downright lies, is what I’ve heard. Many of these tabloid magazines are all just lies. And yet, your brain is still totally like, “Tell me what it is. I want to know.”
Have you noticed that little dopamine hit that happens? That is something that we all need to be super aware of because we want to make sure, if we’re part of tearing down someone else, we want to make sure at least we’re doing it consciously.
I personally can’t imagine spending any of my time tearing people down, or especially women, successful women in my space, in the world. But I do know that my brain is going to have a propensity to do that. I just would rather spend my time doing other things, honestly, serving my clients, working on my business, taking care of my employees and my family. But notice that. Maybe you’ll notice that in yourself.
OK, the third conversation that I had was with a client that I was coaching and she said, “I don’t want to make a lot of money.” Literally, she said this, OK, “I don’t want to make a lot of money. I’m afraid money will make me into a greedy capitalist.”
And what she meant by that, after we talked a little bit more is, like, “Literally, I think I’ll turn into a bad business owner who’s greedy and hurts people.” This is a real thing. This is not something that just this one client had. I have dealt with so many clients.
Now, it makes sense. This makes sense that we might feel this way. Because most of our examples of very uber-successful people are white males. If you look at the vast majority. And some of them do not do with their money what we would do with our money. Some of them do, but some of them don’t. And a lot of them are in it for reasons that we’re not in it for.
And so, when all of our examples are because of our history, because of our opportunities, because of how the world has evolved, we don’t have a lot of badass women on the frontend of this. That’s what I want to change. We have some great examples, but we don’t have enough of them.
And we have a lot of them that don’t want to talk about their money because of the reasons that I already talked about. And so, because of that, we confirm our bias that money isn’t for us, that money is for other people who are greedy and bad.
And if you think about that and if you think about if you have that lens on your life, you will literally turn away opportunities. And this client literally had people that wanted to coach with her and wanted to pay her and she wasn’t taking their money. She didn’t want to take their money because of her belief systems; her desire to be a good person and her belief that money could make her not a good person.
We talked about lots of examples of lots of women who have lots of money who are extraordinary examples to us and yet, her brain hadn’t spent much time thinking about that. This is a complete unwinding of a pattern of belief systems that we have in our minds.
I personally am very compelled to do this work on money with my clients right now especially. I asked my friends, my male colleagues and my male friends, I said, “OK, here’s what I want to talk about.”
I said, “I want to talk about what women believe. And I’m going to share that with you.” This was to my guy friends. I was like, “I want to tell you what some of us believe because I have a window into this because I do a lot of coaching and I understand my own brain. And then I want you to tell me what you think men believe.”
And these are successful men in a similar industry to us. Not coaching, but marketing. And here’s what I told them. I said, “Here’s some beliefs that I’ve pulled from women. If I make a lot of money, I won’t have any real friends. If I’m too rich, I won’t be able to find a man who will love me. My partner will be emasculated. If I try to make money, I won’t have time for my family. It’s either one or the other.”
And this is just a series of them that start with, “I don’t want people to think… I don’t want people to think I’m greedy. I don’t want people to think I’m a sellout. I don’t want people to think I’m shallow. I don’t want people to think I’m scammy. I don’t want people to think I’m different. I don’t want people to think I’m too big for my birches. I don’t want people to think I’m uncaring. I don’t want people to think I’m selfish. I don’t want people to think I don’t have my priorities straight. Money is for white men, large uncaring corporations, people who don’t care about more important things.” And the last one is, “It’s harder for me to make money as a woman.”
OK, so, these are really common. These are not, like, fringe thoughts. These are really common thoughts that women have. So, I read this to my friends. And they just stared at me. They’re like, “What in the actual heck? Is that really true? Is that what women believe?” And I said, “Yeah, so many of us believe this.”
And my friend was like, “I think men believe the complete opposite of all those thoughts; the complete opposite.” I’m like, “Really, so tell me, what?” And they said, “For us, we’re taught our whole life that money equals worth. That you better make money if you want to be worthy to your family, to your society, to your country. It’s your job to provide. Money isn’t optional.”
The more I have money, the better I can take care of my family. The opposite. So, we often think, women often think, “The more money we have, the less available we’ll be to our family.” And men think the opposite, the more money they have, the more they’ll be able to take care of their families.
The more money I have, the better chance I have of finding a partner. Remember, women think the opposite, that it’s going to be harder to find a partner. Money is for me. I’m responsible for making money. I should be earning the money, not the corporations. Money will help me gain respect with others.
Notice how, with women, a lot of us think we will lose respect from others if we make a lot of money. We’re talking, like, millions here, millions of dollars. They said, “If I have more money, I’ll have more time with my family.” We believe the opposite. “I’ll be able to take care of my kids. I’ll be able to take care of my parents. I’ll be able to solve any family problems. I’ll be able to provide for future generations. I’ll be able to leave a legacy. The worst thing is to have no money. The worst thing is not to earn a lot of money. Money is freedom, for me and for my family.”
That’s what these guys said that they believe about money. Now, when you think about the work that I’ve been doing in my own brain and uncovering all my own personal thoughts and my own personal biases, this I such an amazing example of that, of how men and women are literally believing different things, living in different worlds, literally, feeling differently, taking different actions based on those thoughts and then creating different results.
He said, you know, “Men would never be whispering about how much money they make.” Now, I want to be really clear, it’s not all men, not all women, of course. This is just a conversation that we had. And if you can take this example from my life and think about your life and maybe have conversations like this and see what you’re noticing.
Now, the colleagues that I asked are very successful men, entrepreneurs, so obviously, that’s going to be a different set of beliefs than other men. And they were really clear. They were like, “Not all men. Men in our circles,” basically.
And I was talking about really successful women that I know in my industry and some of the things that happened to them by other women and what to make of that has been really interesting, with a really curious and fascinated mind. Like, why is that happening, do you think? Why aren’t women building each other up more, is really interesting, to me, to explore.
So, I thought I would share with you some thoughts to consider. These are thoughts that I believe. These are thoughts that I often share with my clients. And they’re my thoughts. You can love them, hate them, utilize them, change them, of course, in any way that you want. But I thought it might be helpful for me to kind of share some of my money mindset on this.
Money is produced by creating value for people you care about. Now, if this is your first time listening to this podcast, I’ll just bring you up to date that we create money by creating value for people. And when those people value what you’ve created because it changes their life or makes their life better, they will be willing to pay you for it. And that will be a beautiful exchange. You will give them value and they will pay you money and you will keep creating more value and they will keep being willing to pay you for it.
When I create businesses or sell offers, I always want to make sure the value is more than the cost. So, I do a lot of work to make sure that I overdeliver on value. So, that one again is, money is produced by creating value for people you care about.
Women are the best at creating value. I do think this is true. I think, in general, as a complete generalization for us to understand each other, to understand other women, we are the best at creating value and knowing what they need and want and what could help them. I think I am really good at creating value for other women who have the same struggles that I do.
I will always support other women who believe in supporting other women. That is a tenet for me. If you’re a woman out there in the world, being an entrepreneur, in the arena, as Brené Brown would say, doing this work, I support you. Even when you make mistakes, even when you get it wrong, I’ve got your back. I will support you.
I do believe that we need to support each other. I will see hate and attacks with love and understanding, and then I will delete them. And when I say delete them, I want you to know what I mean by that. For me to spend time ruminating on what other people think of me, especially if it’s a negative, especially if it’s not constructive, especially if it’s gossip, any of that stuff.
I literally have boundaries in my mind against it. I do not want it. And when people come to me and say, “Hey, do you know this person is saying this or that?” I’m like, “No. Assume it’s all true.” That’s what I always say, “Whatever is being said, assume it’s all true, even if it’s not, and then let it go.” Spend your time on something much more important, which is your life, your business, your mind.
My work is too important to give into fear. This is super-important, I think, for many of my clients who are hiding and are afraid. Your work is too important You have the tools to manage your own fear, to put yourself out there. You can do this.
The bigger your life, the more people will have an opinion about it. It’s OK. You’re showing enough for people to care what you’re doing, That’s a beautiful thing. We need more amazing, caring women to earn more money. I always say, we need more money in the hands of the good guys, the good women of this world.
And if you know in your heart that you’re amazing, caring women, I almost feel like if you have the desire to make more money, it’s your responsibility to do so, so you can do good, so you can have businesses and employees and clients and charities and contributions that add to what our foremothers created the opportunity for us to do. They did a lot of work for us to have this, and I, for one, don’t want to imagine myself telling them, “Hey thanks, but I’m really too scared.”
Women who make lots of money have more money to care for their families and future generations. I think that is the most beautiful thing; the most beautiful thing. And I want to make a note that men who support women who live their biggest lives are the strongest men.
Thank goodness for my husband Chris, who is not afraid of me being successful, who is not afraid of supporting me and just always wanted whatever I wanted for my life, wasn’t intimidated by it, never told me to hold back, never told me not to get too big.
Those men are in the world and those men are strong. They are not threatened. Money isn’t bad or good. Money is just a playground. You’ve heard me say before, money will make you more of who you are in the world. It will make it easier for you to express your values in the world. If you’re a great person, that will show up.
One of the things that a client said to me recently when she was experiencing some haters, she wanted some help with it, she came back to me and said – I said, “How are you doing?” And she said, “You know what, haters aren’t paying my bills. They have no say in my destiny. I’m not going to change my life because someone doesn’t like my work, especially if that person isn’t doing their own work.” It was so inspiring to me.
They’re not in my house paying my bills. They’re not taking care of future generations of my family. They’re not doing my work in my business. In fact, they’re out trying to hurt me. That’s what they’re spending their time doing. Consider the source and listen to constructive criticism. Pay attention to the people who care about you and who want to offer you insight that you may not have. That is important.
But people just trying to tear you down, those are not people you want to listen to. I often say, like, “Listen, if you want to tear me down, you’re going to have to get up a lot earlier in the morning because I’ve been tearing myself down my whole life. You are not as good at it as I am. I’m much better at it.”
And it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt sometimes, when especially friends, people you care about try and hurt you. Like, of course it does. And, also, I will not have that in my life. I won’t. I’m done doing that to myself. And as soon as I’m done doing it to myself, it’s much harder for other people to do it to me.
Many women went before us to make it possible. Let’s honor their fight by being brave and supporting each other. Let’s do that for each other, for ourselves as woman.
Now, if you’re a man listening to this – I have some men that listen to me – I just want to say, it’s important for you also to look at your own thoughts about your own money making, for sure. But also, see if, inside your brain, you have any thoughts about women making money. The way you were raised, is the way you’re thinking about money affected by that? And are you having thoughts about that that maybe you don’t want to have, that maybe you want to change?
Especially when it comes to the women that you love in your life that are trying to make money, what thoughts come up for you when you think about a partner who makes money or your wife that makes money or other women that make money or your employees? Do you have any biases that you might want to look at? I highly encourage you to do that because you may have thoughts that are holding you back that you don’t even realize that you had.
I believe this is true for a lot of women with money and how they relate to other women with money. That dynamic, notice that in your own brain. When you think about – and this is for men and women – when you think about very successful women who make lots of money, do you immediately discredit them unknowingly?
I see it with people all the time saying stuff to me, “Oh, well you got started early. You’re attractive, it makes it easier. You have an outgoing personality. You’re smarter. Instead of using it as an example for all women for all humanity, this is what’s possible in the world right now. We discredit it without even realizing it.
When I look at other successful women, I’m like, “Dang, look at what is possible for us. Look at what we can do in the world.” And by celebrating their success, by being excited for their success, by even diving in and rooting or them when they make mistakes, we generate that power within ourselves, that positivity within ourselves to create more of that for not just ourselves, but for our students and clients and friends and people in our lives.
I think that being inspired and inspiring other people is one of the most fun playgrounds. It is the purpose of my life, to be an example of what is possible. And, of course, that includes all my failings and all my winnings that I share.
But what I want to most be an example of when it comes to women and money, especially right now for you because so many of you are bringing this up to me, is that it’s OK, you are safe to do it alone, no matter what anyone thinks about you.
My favorite quote that I’ve been thinking so often lately, by Andrew deMello is – it’s actually not a quote. It’s a question. I think I’ve already put it on the podcast, but I’ll offer it again because I’m using it a lot – is, “Would you rather be in prison with company or free to walk the Earth alone?”
And if we stay in groups of people that are putting down other groups of people or trying to hurt them, especially as it applies to money, we will not be able to find the new frontiers of our own internal lives and create new opportunities in our external lives.
I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m not saying that everybody wants to make this choice. But many of you come to work with me because you do want to make this choice. Look at how you’re spending your mental energy. Look at how you’re spending your time. Is it going into the result that you most want to create? And maybe it’s not supporting other women. Maybe it’s not supporting groups of people. But is it constructive in supporting yourself?
Are you putting yourself on a path of thought, feelings, and actions that’s going to create a result that you most want? And maybe for some of you, that desire has remained hidden because you’re afraid to tell anyone that you want to be successful in terms of money. Maybe you don’t want anyone to know that.
I know that that’s true because many of you say that the first time you’ve ever talked about wanting to make money is to me. It’s the first time you’ve ever admitted out loud that you want to be able to support yourself, your family, and create a lot of money, and you see that that opportunity is available to you, but you’re afraid.
Are you contributing to that fear with your own thinking and feeling and action and how you’re showing up? Or are you contributing to the strength of women to be able to do this work? The way that you can contribute to it is by honoring yourself and showing up as the woman that you want to be. And if you want to be caring, if you want to be kind, and you want to be loving, that’s important to you as a woman, are you doing that? Is that how you’re showing up for yourself, for your family, for your communities?
Money will never change that. If that’s how you want to be, money will just make it easier to reach more people, to be kind to more people, to help more people. I promise you that, I will never, ever, ever apologize for who I am or the money I make or the business I’ve created.
The opposite is true. I’m so proud. And I’m so proud of all of the women, the badass women in my organization who work with me as employees, and the men too, and the badass women who have studied my work and gone on to create the lives of their dreams. That is what I want to focus on. That’s what I want to think about. And that’s how I’m going to manage my mind.
And I want to encourage any of you who may have forgotten that that’s available to you and that you can do that, that you sit back down, empty out that brain, and have a look. Do you like what you see? Do you like what you’re thinking, feeling, and doing?
And if you don’t, let’s change it. It’s just a playground. It’s just a reflection of what you think. And it’s hard. And it’s harder – some of us have harder situations. Some of us are starting at different places, some of us have different thoughts. It’s OK, we’re going to work on all of it.
I think it’s the most important work that we can do right now is understanding what is going on in our brains that we’re unaware of and changing it in order to make our dreams come true. Making your dreams come true matters a lot. So I’m here to support you in any way I can in getting that done. Have a beautiful week everyone. I’ll talk to you soon.
We’re going to go ahead and move into part one of the book, What’s Possible, and this section is called What Extraordinarily Successful Women Know. And it’s broken up into 10 different sections, and it’s based on things that we know are true and we believe are true.
And because we believe these things are true, we have extraordinary success. And so I need to offer these insights and thoughts to think before we get into the possibility formula, before we dive into the actual nitty gritty of it because if you don’t believe these things, you’re constantly going to be sabotaging yourself and holding yourself back. So here are the 10 things we know.
Part one, What Extraordinarily Successful Women Know. It’s not what you know about your past that creates success. It’s what you know about your future. One, we know we have to teach ourselves what is possible. What is possible for your life? How do you know?
My guess is that you don’t. Not because you aren’t intelligent or capable, but just because none of us are taught to think about life in a way that increases possibility. Our education system is completely based on what has already happened, been created, or already exists.
When we sit down with a counselor to discuss our future, they ask us what we have already done, what we are good at, and then they show us a list of possible options based on what is already in the world being done. You can become a doctor or a lawyer. You can be a writer or an engineer. Here’s what these jobs pay, here is what’s possible for your income.
We listen to the authority figures tell us what is true, we take notes, and we go home and make decisions based on a very limited idea of life. Go to college or not, accept the job or not, go back to school to make more money or not.
But what if that meeting were different? What if when you went into the small room on campus to talk about possibility, the career counselor asked you first about money? How much money would you like to make? And what if you could answer with any number that delighted you?
What if you didn’t limit yourself to current salaries or current possibilities? What if that counselor told you that it was possible to make one million dollars a year and you could say, “Oh yes, that sound wonderful, I choose that.”
What if instead of knowing your vocation, you knew your number, the amount of money you wanted to have yearly to live the life of your dreams? Immediately, you would have to give up the idea that a job was something that was given to you by someone else for the amount they think you should earn, and instead, you would be thinking in terms of value you would need to create in order to collect your yearly number.
What can I do to make one million dollars a year? Unfortunately, this is a question most of us will never ask ourselves. It won’t be an option. Our brains are too filled with questions about getting into college and getting jobs and creating a perfect résumé. But all of that is contrived and made up by people who went before us. It’s how our current society has gotten here. But it’s not how it will grow into where it can be.
I asked one of my most successful students what she was told as a young woman about what was possible. Her name is Corinne. Picture short blonde hair, beautiful blue eyes, and the best kind of Southern accent and hilarious commentary. More on that later.
No college degree. Current revenue: five million. Husband just retired from his 10-year engineering high-paid management job to work with her. Here’s what she says about the message she got growing up.
“My mom told me thousands of times that she didn’t want me to end up like her, which was no degree and barely getting by. College would be the answer to it all. The normal path for me was just not to have to be broke and to do something that afforded me to pay my bills without worry. That was about it. I was never taught that I could dream big, expect big, or be big in life. It wasn’t an option until I started learning from you.”
When I read this, I try not to get upset, but it makes me sad for that little girl. I imagine going back in time when she was in first grade and sharing with her all the possibilities that are available in her life. I want her to know that the opportunity she had should be considered very deeply because it was very hard won.
Her opportunity to be whoever she wants and to make as much money as she wants is not an opportunity that has been given so easily to women who came before us. I want everyone to know this. I want you to know it.
I want you to know that the opportunity you have laid out before you is limitless. You don’t have to ask permission or follow a path that requires you to compromise. You can simply skip that part and start doing exactly what you dream of doing.
I didn’t have that chance with my students when they were in grade school, but I had it when they were adults. When they came to my school, I insisted they considered themselves, their thoughts, and their lives in a completely different way. I often raised my voice with them to drown out the messages that they can’t do it or that they don’t know how, or that they don’t have the right.
I insisted that they did, and fortunately, many of my students have courageously believed me. They decided to test out the theory and in doing so, they have blown their own damn minds. They have created extraordinary success, success that defies the rules and expectations of most women today.
But imagine if they had gotten started earlier. Imagine if when girls were little, we told them this. Be an example of something new and different and extraordinary. Make as much money as you want, be amazing mothers or not. Work for yourself or work for a company that recognizes your greatness.
What if we told them we didn’t know the paths available to them or what they were good at, but they did and they could find out all of their answers by taking action and failing? What if we told them that failing was not bad but part of the process and part of ultimately succeeding? What if we told them they could dream of having houses on the beach and flying private planes and donating millions of dollars to charity?
What if we gave them bigger what ifs? I often imagine talking to one of my students, Rachel, who has come to me and become a coach and a master coach and is now currently in my Millionaire Mastermind. She feels so strongly about sexism and being a feminist, and I want to tell her that being a feminist is about what you do with your life and not what you say about men.
I want to encourage her to make this life her statement about everything that isn’t right in the world. I want to encourage her to earn more and hire women and land on the cover of Forbes. I want her to imagine the interviews she will have with the editor and what she’ll be able to say about women and opportunity and equality, just by describing what she’s done and what she’s created.
What if we told little girls this? Earn lots of money and be rich. Being rich is awesome. It’s virtuous, responsible, noble, and an important goal. Being rich makes it easy to say no to a boss who won’t pay you well, to a husband who isn’t kind to you, to a problem you don’t have time to deal with and money will solve.
It’s fun to have your own money and to spend it on whatever you want. It makes it easier to help people, pay for good help, and eat healthy food. It’s not normal to earn less than you want, less than you’re capable of earning. It’s normal to be wealthy and free.
It’s an honor to use your opportunities and privileges fought hard for you by those who came before. They are never for you to feel guilty about but rather to feel thankful and grateful and motivated by. The ability to make money, as much of it as you want, the freedom to spend it on whatever you want and the opportunity to fail is a gift, not a burden. Not something to be ashamed of but something to be excited about.
The last thing our foremothers would ever want is for us to play it safe. What if we told those little girls, you don’t have to get married or have children if you don’t want, you don’t have to go to college to be successful, grades and test scores don’t determine who you are, you can create a business or a product or a job and do whatever you want, making as much money as you can imagine?
The truth is money does grow on trees, and they just keep making more of it. So you either claim it or you don’t. You can be a good and moral and smart and loving and very, very rich woman. The chances of you selling yourself out for money is much higher when you don’t have any. Money gives you the freedom to make choices that align with who you most want to be.
I recognize that my students come to me with very limited beliefs about themselves and possibility. I will most likely be the first person in their lives who tells them they can double or triple their income. I might be the first person who has ever believed they can grow their company into something big enough to not only support their family and retire their husband, but something that could literally change the world.
I often hear myself repeating, “You can and should think even bigger.” I once offered one of my employees a bonus for some excellent work she had done. When I told her the amount I was going to pay her, she just stared at me. Her eyes were darting back and forth, her mouth was hanging slightly open.
I asked her if she was OK and she told me that she didn’t know. She didn’t know it was possible for her to make this much money. Oh dear, it is possible. And let me apologize on behalf of all adults that we didn’t tell you sooner.
The world might try to pull you into some version of realistic thinking so you don’t get your hopes up and you remember what really matters. Don’t fall for any of this. You have to know that you are the creator of your life and your own possibility.
You don’t have to ask anyone for permission to be more successful. It’s allowed. I’ve already asked everyone who’s in charge, the imaginary adults running the world, and they said yup, this life is yours for the taking, see what you can do with it.
For the sake of this book, I want you to start with success and money. I will explain more in the following sections as to why, but it’s a great place to start playing with what’s possible for your life. It’s a great way to question what you’ve always been told and always believed, and get the practice of changing something so engrained to create new possibilities, growth, earning, and having in your life.
The gift of knowing that all possibility exists in the future is that there isn’t any limitation on it. No one can point to evidence in the future that something is impossible. Our minds get to decide and work towards what has been created with our imagination.
And isn’t it true that all the things that were impossible with no evidence before became possible by someone doing them? Yes. That’s how it works. It’s how it’s always worked in the world and it’s exactly how it will work in your life. What’s possible? You get to decide.
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