Of all the realms of business and personal management, money holds the greatest opportunity for change for a deceptively simple reason: because it’s easy. Money is easier than marketing, sales, operations, customer service–and it’s far easier than leadership and management.
In fact, if you completed eighth grade, you have all the math skills you need to manage money. You need only the barest critical thinking skills, and you don’t even need much time. Finance quite simply is one of the most rudimentary aspects of human existence.
Then why are we so bad at it?
40% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. The average American household carries over $16k in credit card debt. In January 2020, global debt grew to a record high of $253 trillion, bringing the global debt-to-GDP ratio to 322%. And that was before the pandemic surely made it worse.
This means that worldwide, for every dollar we own, we owe $3.22.
What explains our difficulty with money? If it’s true that an eighth-grader can do it, then what’s the problem? Is it because financial management is not taught in school?
That certainly doesn’t help, but it’s not a skill or knowledge issue, because it’s easy enough to learn, and most don’t. Why not?
Because it’s easy in content. In context, it can be extremely challenging. I’ll explain.
It's an Inside Job
I’ve worked with thousands of leaders and managers and I’ve seen firsthand what the problem is. It’s not your math skills, or your self-discipline, or detail-orientation. The problem is your largely unconscious psychospiritual relationship with money itself.
People have problems with money for the same reasons they have issues with God, sex, and power: they have distorted beliefs and assumptions that cause them to behave irrationally and immaturely.
Everyone starts with a messed up relationship with money. Everyone.
Money, in its most basic form, is a symbol of value and nothing else. It’s squeaky clean and far from being the root of any evil, but the wounded ego in us changes it. We project onto money our deepest insecurities and longings and make a mess of it.
We turn it into power, sex, security, prestige, safety, confidence, fun, freedom, etc. Money isn’t any of those things. But when you unconsciously project onto money, you change the way you relate to it, just like when you project onto a person. The result is dysfunction.
When you don’t see money for what it is, you can’t manage it well. It’s that simple.
I've Been There
In 2002, when I first trained to become a business coach, I experienced this for myself. I was in a training group, looking at my first profit and loss statement. The trainer explained how it worked and I was losing focus. I didn’t even realize it until she called my name and asked me what going on.
“I don’t know,” I said, “I’m feeling confused and a little anxious, and the numbers on the page are kind of blurry.”
“Does that remind you of any experience in your past?” she asked.
“Yeah, actually, this was how I felt studying math in school,” and a series of stressful memories passed before my mind’s eye.
“I see,” she said carefully, “And can you see that what you’re looking at is not math, but actually very basic arithmetic? See the difference.”
The page sharpened into focus. The haunting math memories faded into the background and disappeared. This wasn’t math. I wasn’t in school. I wanted to learn this. This was interesting and useful. That’s not how math ever was.
In a few months, I went from being clueless about financial management to being the person more experienced coaches asked for advice. And as I said, it was easier than all of the other training, but only because I saw it for what it was. Many other coaches never got through their blocks and still feared finance.
This is one of the dirty secrets in my industry. Few coaches actually work through their money issues because they often run deep.
Since that year, financial management remains one of my favorite things to teach because it’s so easy to blow people’s minds. It’s like removing twenty-pound ankle weights from people and getting to see them run for the first time. It’s a joy.
Financial management is joyful. I’m serious.
If you don’t enjoy, even love financial management, you’re a prisoner in this world, a prisoner of your own mind, and you have an immense psychospiritual opportunity to wake up and grow up. The only reason you wouldn’t enjoy it is that you have some story about money that isn’t true. Something like:
“I’m not good with numbers/money.”
“I’m not detail-oriented.”
“I don’t want to be a bean-counter.”
“If I work hard, the money takes care of itself.”
“If I were worthy of love, I’d have more money.”
“People who have a lot of money are greedy.”
“There will always be debt.”
“Money isn’t spiritual.”
“I deserve to spend money I don’t have.”
“I can’t improve my finances until I make more money.”
“Money management is hard and requires a degree.”
“Talking about money is bad.”
“Budgeting only makes sense for people with a lot of money.”
It's Not Your Fault
Your story is likely unconscious and it’s certainly not your fault. It is, however, your responsibility. To improve your money situation, you have to change the way you relate to it first. That’s what this course is about. I’ll help you make your unconscious story conscious so can transform.
The content of the course is practical, proven methods for managing money, which we will use to reveal your problematic relationships with it. In other words, I’ll give you things to do, and when you have trouble, we’ll find out what’s in the way on a psychospiritual level.
We’ll also address the spirituality of money, because there’s nothing “unspiritual” about it, and many conscious people have money issues because they can’t make the link between finance and ultimate nature of reality. The link is critical to make if you desire to awaken, or even if you just want to make peace with money.
The live course kicks off Clear and Open’s 2020 academic year on September 24, 2020 at 8:15 am Pacific Time for eleven weekly sessions. Recordings and assignments are stored online so this course is available forever, but to get individual feedback and support you’ll want to be in the live course.
Josef's Clear and Open approach shows top leaders and changemakers how to look continuously inward for the answers, and more importantly, how to apply what they’ve learned to improve every aspect of their lives and their business. Josef’s methodology includes deep coaching, radical introspection, meditation, and other tools that allow you to create meaningful change—from the inside out.