So, over the past month or so, I have been looking (again) at my money mindset. What are my core beliefs (some subconscious) about money, making money, having money and “prosperity”? Last year, I even did a course about “spirituality” and money, acknowledging that somehow I had a core belief that you can’t be “spiritual” and be rich. I thought that was it – done.
But, as with all beliefs, there are layers and layers to be peeled back, just like an onion!
And then last week I read this tweet:
“there are 3 types of money in Panama: old money (from grandparents), corrupt (politicians and friends) and dirty (drugs, weapons, laundering, etc.)”
Basically, the premise of the comment was there was no one with money (lots of money, not just middle-class) that had earned it honestly! And more importantly, that it’s close to impossible to earn an honest living in Panama and get rich! And I know I’ve thought that! I’ve said it. I’ve repeated that to myself!
I was pleased to see a couple of attempts to discredit her comment, by others who said that there were entrepreneurs who were getting rich without fitting into any of these 3 categories – but I loved that when Ursula challenged “give me one that is RICH today, and not struggling” that no one came back with an answer. I felt vindicated.
And then I realised: I have fallen once more into my own trap of my money mindset!
- If I don’t believe that anyone else can do it, how can I do it?
- How do I expect myself to rise above, legitimately without corruption or dirty money, if I don’t believe that it can be done in Panama?
So, I want to share with you my three main “traps” with regard to my money mindset. Maybe you can relate to one or more of these. And maybe it will help you peel back a layer of your way of thinking about money and the opportunities that you have in your life.
As I said at the beginning, I delved last year into my beliefs about being “spiritual” and having money.
How many rich, spiritual people do you know that you don’t believe are con artists?
- I know a lot of spiritual people.
- I know a lot of rich people.
- I don’t know a lot of rich, spiritual people that I admire and respect!
But does that mean, in and of itself, that I cannot be rich and spiritual? No.
And in fact, I do know one that I admire and respect a lot! I do have an example of someone in my life that is using what they have to give back to others, while they continue to create for themselves.
I don’t know about you, but I had drummed into me as a kid the following verses from Matthew 19:
23 And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I say to you, 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.”
I admit, I have had a constant kind of fear about becoming “rich” and then failing to keep my eye on my spirituality. So, for me, the question has become:
“can I be spiritual and financially prosperous?”
When I focus on making or earning money, do lose sight of my connection to Source? This is harder question for me! Because it is so easy to get caught up in the “doing” that I lose sight of the “being”.
I’ve been there.
I’ve lost sight of the kingdom of heaven in search for material wealth.
I’ve felt empty and spent when I have realised “it’s all in vain”. “This is pointless”.
There are two things that have really helped me out recently with this quandary:
- My vision board and “passions” – remembering the “why” instead of the “what”. One of my “passions” is about building a legacy: it has many parts in the “what”, but if I am not conscious of the “why”, then there’s no point in doing all the things that I believe would make a great legacy.
- The second thing that has been an amazing help to me has been a study I did in February on “the Lord’s Prayer”, in which we looked each week at one line of the prayer, and when I had an complete “aha” moment with “Give us this day our daily bread“. When I started to differentiate the blessing of which “channel” my daily bread comes from, and recognising that all channels come from Divine Source. So, it doesn’t matter how I am earning my living (which over my life time may change as businesses come and go), as long as I recognise that it is the Divine Source that is ultimately responsible for all of my blessings.
So, to sum that up: why do I need money? (to be able to be more generous in my giving and building a legacy) and where does my money ultimately come from? (Divine Source).
While I can remember these two simple things, I can be spiritual and financially prosperous. And so, I can overcome my first obstacle and let go of a mindset that was holding me back.
I have to admit, this one completely blind-sided me! About a month ago, I was answering some questions about my beliefs and thoughts about money, and for some reason, just in the way that they question was worded, my journalling went off on a tangent about dirty money in Panama!
Wow! What a revelation.
I live in Panama.
My business is in Panama.
But I somehow believe, the same way that Ursula expressed in her Tweet, that all money in Panama is somehow dirty money. When I moved to Panama in 1996, I remember one of my mentors saying that everyone that came to Panama came to “get rich quick” and they were either “carpetbaggers” or “pirates” and sometimes it was difficult to tell the difference between the two.
A carpetbagger is a pejorative term used to describe someone who is an opportunist that comes to play on the helpless and naive. Its origins are in the US, where northerners would come to the Southern states, which were in a chaotic state, and use unscrupulous business opportunities to make their money before hopping back north with all their profits. Some of these carpetbaggers were politicians that simply moved south for the sole purpose of getting elected into office, and then make their money off the aid given to the South. It is basically opportunism and exploitation by outsiders.
The pirates refers to Henry Morgan and the others who trolled the Caribbean seas, picking up the gold and spoils that the Spaniards were moving from Peru back to Spain through Panama. And, over the years of living and working in Panama, I have seen many an opportunist come to Panama, set up a project, sell to unsuspecting investors, deliver half of what they promised, and make off with the proceeds.
Then, of course, there are all the jokes and comments about lawyers – which is the profession that I practice. And in Panama, there is corruption of the law. There are the public officials that will do their job for a kick-back. There are courts that can be bought. There are files that are “mis-placed” if you fail to grease a palm.
So, I admit, I grew despondent.
I could list for you all the areas of law that I did not want to practice in because I didn’t want to face being asked for money under the table.
I grew tired of the system.
And I wanted to quit.
I just wanted out.
I did not want my income to depend in any way on Panama and being generated here, because that money is dirty and corrupt.
Of course, when Panama Papers blew up in 2016 and 2017 – more “corruption” and “dirty money”.
By that stage, I wanted out of law practice!
I almost wanted out of Panama altogether.
How can you practice law in Panama, honestly, without being involved in any corruption or dirty money, and actually make money?
Was it time for me to sit down and have a good hard look at my mindset?
Because my beliefs were crippling me and my business.
Until I openly admitted having those beliefs, I continually wondered why I felt so bad about doing well in law! And now, as I look to re-write those beliefs, including re-writing the type of practice I want to have and the kind of client that I want to represent, it suddenly becomes so easy to “ask for my daily bread”.
Because now I know what kind of work I want to do, how I want to be paid for it, and what kinds of client and reputation I want to keep.
But, it isn’t until you sit down and tackle those underlying beliefs that you don’t even admit you have, that you can do anything about it!
Little miss money baggs
This was possibly the harshest revelation of all! And it only happened about 10 days ago. So, I’ve been sitting stewing on it for that long.
“Little miss money baggs”. The same way that as a kid I was “black ant”, I was also at one time “Little miss money baggs”. It was almost a moniker equivalent to “scrooge“. As a kid, every allowance I would put my money away. I didn’t go to the shop to spend it. I didn’t buy the candy or soda pop. I saved it. And as far as I can remember, I didn’t save it for anything in particular. I simply saved it.
My memories of Little miss money baggs is dad asking me at the supermarket to borrow some money and that he would pay me back when we got home. I remember a certain apprehension that day, something not feeling right. I also remember later the shame of being “Little miss money baggs”, when this somehow came out at school. Wanting to be accepted, but not acting like other kids (who as soon as they got allowance went to the shop).
And I eventually forgot about “Little Miss Money Baggs” who always had money, because she was judicious and consciously saving.
When I remembered her last week, it was like a huge slap in the face!
Part of the “child within” that had been forgotten and now has been remembered.
And I’ve had 10 days sitting with her, holding her, and welcoming her back into my life: knowing that she has a role to play “in my money story”. Where I no longer take my allowance to the shop to spend it “like all the other kids”, but feel happy and content putting it away in my piggy bank, because I like being “Little Miss Money Baggs”.
So what’s your money story?
What are the thoughts and beliefs that you need to challenge about your relationship with money, whether it be how you earn it, whether or not you can save and invest it, or what it means to be “prosperous”?
My story is starting over. Where’s yours at?