I recently attended a workshop on Women and The Psychology of Money put on by Tracy Theemes, a financial advisor and author of “The Financially Empowered Woman”. This was not your regular run of the mill financial workshop in which women learned about investments, cash flow and how to advocate for themselves with bankers. This exploration of women and wealth was much deeper than that. The workshop was designed to get to the core of our financial fears, and shift the things that block us in order to open up space for women to acquire wealth, power and financial freedom. Once we open up that space and let go of the fears, then the practical information will become truly applicable rather than another task on the overwhelming “to do” list.
Now I am the first person to want practical information, and I often attend workshops and events seeking useful information and am disappointed when the material does not deliver. I like a ‘takeaway’, and I prefer information that I can apply to the real world. I also tend to be a bit wary of things that focus on gender rather than character. I was a little concerned that this workshop was not going to provide me with practical information, and would politicize money along gender lines. Although I like to see myself as grounded in common sense and quite comfortable talking about money, there were some real revelations that came to me through this experience. I came to understand that women collectively have a history of trauma when it comes to money and power, and that this history has resulted in a pervasive fear of money and power that still exists in women today. There are many women out there who have blocks that are unconscious, and therefore create limiting beliefs that are getting in the way of their financial success.
The reality is that most of the world’s wealth is still controlled by males. There is no need for me to provide a history of why or how this has occurred, but rather to point out that true economic equality is still a work in progress. We all have our conditioned beliefs about reality and life. When it comes to money there are fears that many generations of women are hanging onto. There is a long history of women holding the fort, while the men went out to earn the living. There is also a history of imbalances that lead to disempowerment and abuse.
There are many cultures today that still have systems that financially disempower women. Even in Canada the financial shift is still quite recent and a work in progress. Women finally got the vote in Canada in 1919, and many women could not get credit in Canada as recently as the 1970’s. Although there has been significant progress made we cannot ignore the historical legacy experienced by women in relation to wealth and financial expression. Some of this history has embedded itself in the common psyche of women and it is not unusual for very successful women to hold limiting beliefs. As a Therapist I have worked with many successful women who have the “fraud syndrome”, where they think they do not deserve the success they are experiencing and that somebody somehow will find out that they are faking it. I have also worked with many women who feel they do not have what it takes to be financially successful. There are also those who are suspicious of success and power.
Here are some of the common blocks and defeating thoughts that women commonly experience.
- I am not worthy of success and abundance.
- Wealth means power, and power is bad.
- I have to hang onto everything and prepare because something terrible might happen.
- Wealth is selfish.
- There is never going to be enough.
- I need more to be happy.
- I have to suffer to succeed.
- To enjoy wealth would be indulgent.
- I am too busy to spend time on financial matters.
- It is improper or rude to discuss wealth and finances.
Upon examining these beliefs I realized that I fall into the suffering category. Although I am a successful woman by many accounts I do have that voice at the back of my head telling me that wealth is indulgent, something bad might happen, and if I am going to earn money I better do it the hard way. These may be the voices of the generations before me, but nevertheless it has impacted my relationship with money and wealth.
I encourage women to examine their beliefs and replace these self-defeating thoughts with a different kind of thinking. Look to open the spaces that allow us to truly plant ideas and possibilities. Here are some new beliefs that can lead to true empowerment and success.
- Wealth creates freedom for me.
- Wealth and power are healthy for me.
- Wealth is meant to flow.
- Experiences flow from wealth.
- I am worthy and deserving.
- I can contribute to others through my wealth and financial knowledge.
To find out more about Tracy Theemes and her Wealth Academy for Women check out her website at http://www.raymondjames.com/sophiafinancial/tracy_theemes.htm.