Money is Money

MoneyMoney is often a difficult conversation for a lot of people, myself included.

This week I got to see what a crazy amount of power it can hold over me and how much of it’s meaning is convoluted and untrue.

The last few weeks I’ve noticed myself feeling confused and being disempowered whenever I thought about my finances. I went from feeling great and secure to suddenly thinking things like “I need to make more”, “I should be doing more ”, “These are the years I should be at my best”, “I need to work harder”. All these thoughts and beliefs have been swimming around my head.

I knew on some level these conversations were not providing me with a lot of space or power and so decided to look into what was really going on.

I jumped on a call with great friend of mine and he asked me one question that rocked me. He wanted to know if I was relating to money as money or as something else?

I had to pause because at first I didn’t even understand the question.

Most of the time when I’m screwed up about something it’s usually because I am relating to it from a place that is filled with other stuff.

Think about it, you’ve a bad day at work in an office where you feel under-appreciated and you’re in traffic for hours and all of a sudden someone cuts you off. Your first reaction might be to swear, yell and think all sorts of bad things about the driver. You reaction to the driver is based on your day and so you make his bad driving mean all these other things about how inconsiderate, selfish and stupid people are.

You’ve stopped relating to something as the thing itself and have instead added some other meaning to what it is.

As humans we are very good at bringing and creating our own meaning to things. Another example that is easily seen is if your wife or partner does something hurtful to you or is complaining and you think they are a jerk or nag because of it, you start to react to them at all times as if they are a jerk and/or a nag. No matter what your wife or partner does, most times you will still relate to them as a constant complainer or inconsiderate jerk.

This is true for all personal relationships. (Just think about some of your family and you’ll easily see all the preset conversations and things about them, even if they are not doing it to you right now)

So when I was asked that question, I thought to myself, ‘what am I relating to money as, if I’m not relating to it as money?’

What I saw was that I relate to money as validation for the work I’m doing and thus validation of me. I saw that money was a source of freedom. Money is what gives me my value in the world.

WTF???

When I examined those in greater detail, I had a moment of clarity. I got to see just how full of shit those beliefs are. Money isn’t validation for the work I’m doing and it’s certainly not validation of me. The fact is I’ve helped thousands of people overcome many obstacles in their relationships and their lives and whether or not I’ve gotten paid for it makes no difference on the quality of work I’ve done with them and the difference they’ve seen in their lives.

If I charged $1 or $10000 the amount of money I’ve earned for the work I’ve done doesn’t change the fact that I’m proud of the work I’ve done and that my clients are happy with the results they’ve gotten. (Like these people)

As for money being freedom. Well as soon as that came out of my mouth I saw how bogus that was. I know people with a lot of money who are completely trapped in their life, and I also know people who are broke beyond measure that experience complete freedom. Now I’m not saying that being free means being broke. What I am saying, is that money itself is not a real freedom. Money might be access to more freedom but money doesn’t equal freedom. It is a subtle but powerful difference.

The people who associate money with being free are really only free to do the things that cost money, it’s not real freedom. Yet somehow, I allowed myself to believe that it was.

Having this conversation totally gave me space and freed me up. The cool thing about doing this work is that as I start to disassociate myself with all of my familiar patterns around finance, I’m noticing more and more increases in my income.

You can’t want to have this belief simply so you bring in more cash, like most things in life, you have to access the part of you that is not attached and can see money for what it is without the perceived power it holds. This is the only way to have more of IT, instead of IT having more of you.

Remember this if you are struggling with your own conversations about finances.  All money is…..is money.  Anything other than that is simply not true and is some meaning you’ve attached to it.

To your relationship success (with love and money),

Scott

Pushing My Edge

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It’s so easy in life to accept being comfortable. And when you settle for comfort, you stop pushing and striving for the things you want in life.

I just recently had a conversation with my wife about this and here’s what I saw out of it.

I found myself settling in to something comfortable rather than pushing my boundaries.

Now if there’s one thing that I’ve learned throughout all my years of learning and growing as a man, it’s this, I’m at my most alive when I’m out in the world pushing my boundaries. David Deida talks quite a bit about a man leaning beyond his edge. For those of you who don’t know what that means, it means not living life playing it safe, doing something that brings you out of your comfort zone, it might even mean doing something that scares the shit out of you or doing something that you aren’t sure you’re going to win at. For me, I had to confront that I stopped working on Men’s Relationship Coaching because I wasn’t sure I had what it takes to make it. That was a tough pill to swallow once I got present to that!

Sure these last few months have been great. But if I look back on it, when I’m not working on my other projects, I’m living like my work is done for the day. I’m not saying that everyone should have more than 1 thing going at a time or that everyone should be up to multiple things in your life, but I know that there is so much more for me to give to the world no matter how exciting they are and the thing that had me stop working on them was a fear of failing, not because I was consciously choosing to.

As a result, when I gave into my fear, I subconsciously became smaller in my own mind and stunted my growth and expansion as a man. My wife noticed this and eventually talked to me about my lack of risk taking and choices to stay safe. I had to come face to face with the fact that I had gotten comfortable and allowed myself to coast. I had stopped pushing back on my fears and playing full out, all of which was hard for me to confront. In the end, I recognized that I wasn’t lit up by my life and wasn’t playing or living full out. And what better way to interrupt that then to face my fear and put this out there and confront my fear of failure for everyone to read.

If I am doing it, then I am sure some of you may be too. And if you aren’t bravo but still is there some new edge you can lean into?

Where in your life are you letting fear run the show and not pushing your comfort zone? Feel free to leave a comment about it!

To your relationship success,

Scott

How a sandwich solved conflict with my wife

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My wife and I often have arguments in our relationship. But I have found a sure-fire way to minimize them in a flash.

I know what you are thinking. What does a sandwich have to do with solving conflict in my relationship?

I learned very early on in my relationship that my wife didn’t do a great job of managing her hunger. Still to this day I have to make her breakfast every morning and sometimes lunch as well or else she won’t eat. And when my wife does not eat conflict and arguments are exponentially increased.

I discovered that when my wife is hungry she’s often irritable, impatient and easily annoyed. So I’ve learned that if I ever get the sense that she seems to be irrationally angry, the first thing I offer her is something to eat.

I am not the only one to realize this and in fact Karl Pillemer in his most recent book 30 Lessons for Loving: Advice from the Wisest Americans on Love, Relationships, and Marriage”  interviewed couples that had been married 50-70+ years on what the best advice are to have a happy lifelong marriage. One of the biggest tips that the research provided was to never argue on an empty stomach. That in fact sometimes a sandwich or granola bar is all you need to keep a fight from escalating.

I’ve especially learned this one while driving. In the early days of our relationship, I could never understand why she would get so angry while we were in the car. Our fights would sometimes get so out of control, I couldn’t understand why or what was causing them. It wasn’t until I looked for a pattern that I saw some of our biggest fights happened when she was hungry.

So I devised a plan. I basically told myself (and her) that I wouldn’t travel in the car with her unless she ate something. No matter how late we are, as I go to grab the keys I mentally check in or ask her when was the last time she ate and if it’s been more then 2 hrs I either ask her to grab a snack before we head out or pack an apple or handful of nuts in my pocket for her. This is something I still do today.

The results are amazing. Once she ate something, it was like magic happened. Our fights in the car either vanished or were wildly reduced. The things she would complain about with regards to my driving, didn’t happen anymore and the end result was a pleasurable ride for both of us.

I took this a tiny step further and have started to ensure that we have food with us wherever we go. So I started packing small things, like an apple or granola bar for either one of us to eat should we get hungry while we were away.

The result? All the little things that her and I would normally get irritated at would rarely, if at all, come up. She wouldn’t criticize my driving, I wouldn’t get triggered when she talked about my business and we actually had fun.

Now in no way is it my role to manage her anger or frustration, she and I are both clear that we are personally responsible for that ourselves, but this tiny trick has worked wonders on us in supporting each other in keeping the avoidable conflicts at a minimum and it takes away any extenuating circumstances that can act as a catalyst for conflict.

I’ve now got a fool proof plan for minimizing conflict in our relationship on a whole. I’ve started to implement this even at home. I’ll notice when my wife is feeling a little grumbly and ask her if she’s eaten anything. More often than not, the answer is no so that’s the first thing I’ll fix.

I’m also expanding it out so that when there’s a serious conversation for us to have, we have it on a full stomach so that any extra upset or irritation due to hunger doesn’t show it’s face in the conversation and throw things off.

I’ve found that by doing this, past issues don’t tend to creep in and we can focus on whatever’s not working for each of us in the moment, rather than smuggling in past hurts or upsets. The result is a cleaner conversation with a clear resolution and this has made both of our lives better by far.

So the next time you are in an argument with your partner, rather than engage in the argument, perhaps you should try offering them something to eat first. Make her a sandwich or offer her an apple, take it form me, you’ll be surprised at how effective that simple act can be.

Also, if you want more tips on conflict check out my program Passionate Partnerships. It’s chalk full of great tips and ways to minimize conflict in your relationship so you can focus on what’s important.

What are the things you do that are effective when it comes to dissolving conflict in your relationship? What conflict-hacks do you have with your partner?I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

To your relationship success,

Scott