Last month’s article touched on neural pathways and how they can adversely affect our progress toward our goals. This month, I’d like to share with you an ineffective pattern that was making it difficult for me to receive money and what I did to break free of it.
If you’re eager to see a jump in your income, I believe you’ll find my story both entertaining and instructive. Like many of us, when I first learned the steps involved in asking for and receiving money, my dance partners were my mom and dad. Here’s the sequence as I had erroneously learned it… Step One: I had to ask. Step Two would be my parents’ presentation that “this wasn’t a good time,” “there wasn’t any available,” “I’m always asking for money,” “they just gave me some two days ago,” etc. This was followed by Step Three: internal feelings of guilt, shame, embarrassment, self-criticism for being in the position of having to ask in the first place, and so forth. Typically, the next step — surprisingly enough — was that I’d actually be given the money. My mom would open up her purse (there’d be a five and some singles in there), and as she handed me the five dollar bill, she’d say, “Here! That’s my last five dollar bill!!” Because I wasn’t aware of bank accounts, investment portfolios, home equity, and the like, I really believed I was taking my mother’s last five dollars. So the final step, as I walked away with the money, was to feel like I just took advantage of someone.
As an adult, I spent seven years on Wall Street replaying that same pattern. At nineteen years old, I began calling up millionaires and asking them for money (Step One). They would then do their part and provide a gazillion reasons why they couldn’t give me any — “this wasn’t a good time,” “there wasn’t any available,” “brokers like me are ALWAYS asking for money,” “they just gave some to another broker two days ago” (Step Two). This was followed by an assortment of feelings (all of them bad) as I pressed forward in the conversation (Step Three). They’d suddenly surprise me by saying “OK, let’s do it,” which meant they were writing me a check (Step Four). And lastly, I’d walk away from the conversation feeling like I just took advantage of the ‘poor soul’ from whom I just received some money (Step Five).
This was an ineffective pattern. It made my job much harder than it needed to be. Because I hated running this pattern, I’d unconsciously seek to avoid it — often doing the bare minimum to advance myself as a broker.
I even carried this pattern into my first few years of being a Dream Fulfillment Coach. Finally, I woke up. Given the way my clients lives were changing, I could no longer believe in the validity of that final step because I knew that I wasn’t taking advantage of anyone and that the benefits of my services (what I was giving to them), were far outweighing the money I was charging (what they were giving to me). So I did some work, uncovered this pre-existing pattern, and created a new pattern that made receiving money easy.
I recalled as a child how I had absolutely no problem asking for (and receiving) money when I was playing the game of Monopoly. If I were sitting with a property that another player needed and they were sitting with a ton of cash, I reasoned, “Without my property they cannot make a monopoly and they cannot win the game by bankrupting the other players, so they need my property and I could certainly use some of their cash.”
Plus, if I was low on cash, it didn’t worry me that they might find out because everyone already knew how much money everyone else already had because it was laying right there on the table. While in the ‘real world’ I was sometimes concerned that by asking for money, it might be discovered that I didn’t have much myself. I didn’t want to look bad so this concern made it even harder for me to ask. Yet these concerns never occurred to me while playing Monopoly. The other players didn’t care about that. If I had a property they needed for a monopoly, they wanted to deal with me and they couldn’t care less about how much money I happened to have.
Armed with these references where asking for money was fun and easy, I created a new neural pattern. I began visualizing that each time I met a prospective client that I was bringing them some “intellectual property.” While engaging in the conversation, I would qualify them to see if they had the other two properties necessary to make a monopoly (in my personal case those would be “commitment” and “willingness”).I would then describe how it works (what you get, what it costs). As I did this I’d experience many wonderful feelings knowing that what I was offering them was worth infinitely more than the money I was asking in return. And finally the client would say “Let’s do it,” which didn’t surprise me at all because “Of course he’s going to do it! He has the other two properties and he wants a Monopoly!”
Then when I was actually with a prospective client, rather than having a great conversation for 30 minutes, then morphing them into my father, sheepishly asking for money, and walking away feeling bad — regardless of whether I received the money or not — I began to run my effective new pattern. And guess what? Today I have absolutely no problem asking for and receiving money. I even teach my business clients fun and exciting methods that make receiving money easy.
So what can you do with all of this? For starters, if you’ve been finding it difficult to ask for and receive money, you can adopt my pattern and use it as your own. If you don’t like the Monopoly pattern, or aren’t familiar with the game, you can create a fun new pattern, through visualization and “real life” practice, that makes it easy for you to ask for and receive money. Then, I imagine you’ll have to figure out what to do with all the money you’re about to receive. So go out and make money, but before you do, start by “going in” (by examining your internal programming) and make making money easy.