Cleona Lira FA: Let’s Talk About Conscious Money
This week, I would like to introduce you all to our new ethical finance columnist, Cleona Lira, FA, CFP. Cleona is a London-based financial adviser, and prides herself on offering a high degree of unbiased financial advise with warmth, integrity and transparency that promises to be jargon free. Cleona specialises in advising clients on – mortgages, investments and retirement planning with the focus on ethical funds. This week Cleona discusses the idea of becoming conscious with our money. That means taking charge of our money, cleaning up our bad habits and preparing for a positive, healthy, happy financial future. Read on to find out more.
A conscious, ethical relationship with money? What does that even mean? Let’s delve a little deeper with the intention of leading you towards exactly that – a more conscious, sustainable relationship with money. My invitation to you is to read this article on a conscious approach to money (bookmark it, come back to it if need be); use a journal to examine some of your judgments and happy thoughts around money. You could also find a friend or great listening partner to support you, or if you are within reach of me, you could come along to one of my money workshops fora deeper approach to your money and how you might like to change that. (Details at the end of this article).
Your Relationship with money
Your journey with money may have taught you some hard lessons; it may also have helped you create beautiful experiences (for example: a vacation with loved ones or an experience such as learning classical baking or going on a yoga retreat) that you value and cherish and will never forget.
Your relationship with money may also be any of the following: confusing, obsessive, seductive, unconscious, turbulent, harmonious, conscious, balanced, invigorating, icky, energising or draining (or another word I haven’t added yet). Think about it for a few minutes…what is the dominant mood present in your relationship to money? And more importantly, what would you like it to be?
Money Is Not the Root of All Evil
The widely used sentence ‘money is the root of all evil’ has certainly not helped. This highly over simplified statement has added to the confusion, taboos and demonization that already exist around money.
I will attempt to breakdown some of the key aspects, which I hope will help you reflect on your own relationship with money.
Delving deeply into the concept of financial integrity was incredibly powerful and liberating for me personally. I discovered a new, refreshing way of looking at money, relating it to my life energy. I don’t like the phrase ‘time is money’, because I found it kept me more bound to scarcity thinking. If unfamiliar with this concept of financial integrity, I invite you to read my comprehensive blog on this first here.
Get Familiar with your Shame Gremlins
Get really acquainted with them…if you listen carefully, you will hear that your gremlins are driven by some acquired shame and invite you to think small. They include some of the below:
- I am not good with money
- I don’t understand it (pensions or investments) so I just avoid it all
- I am not good at moths, so therefore it follows I cannot be good with money
Watch out for those Gremlins!
These money related shame gremlins need to be seen, empathised with and confronted with great compassion. The voice of the gremlin is trying perhaps to keep you safe or stop you from making mistakes. Go through those thoughts again and repeat often, ” I am telling myself….I am not good with money”, etc. This helps differentiate the thought or belief from your identity. Notice if any shift happens after adding these four words before your belief.
“Shame is the gremlin who says, ‘Uh, uh, you’re not good enough.’” – Brene Brown
Self-Empowerment Around Money
Unfortunately, unconfronted gremlins also keep you away from being in your full power around money. Here, the word power is used to reference your abilities and resources to get your needs met, whilst at the same time respecting the needs of the other people you are engaged with. Power is usually associated with domination and control; this is not what I mean here. We are focused on self-empowerment.
Financial Freedom and the Life You Want
Shame and guilt are very powerful; also often unconscious. Uncovering and freeing yourself of these core beliefs around money will help immensely. Its roots are often in the story of ‘I am not good enough’ or ‘I don’t deserve this’, which may have been holding you back from creating the life, freedom and earnings you want.
Working on core beliefs is deep work and you may need support with this; I found the work of Byron Katie and Robert Gonzales, NVC Academy trainer this highly useful in working with deep beliefs. I found the practice of non-violent communication also very useful in relating to my needs and feelings around money. Again, if you are within reach of me, I invite you to attend one of my workshops for deeper work.
What Influenced Your Money Story?
When I think of my influences around my own money story, I think of my childhood…my grandmother, my parents, my school, my first paid job, my first investment, my last job …little incidents that I remember associated with money…losing or earning it…all of this and more that influenced how I was conditioned to think about money.
Re-Training the Brain to Think Positively About Money
Although I have had largely positive experiences, freeing myself of some of the conditioning has not been easy. Witnessing from a young age, my mother’s fears about money (with her being a single parent) meant I absorbed some of this. I had to retrain my brain, some of the habitual patterns of thinking around money were draining me and I trained myself to think differently.
The Dot-Com Bubble
I also lost some money in the stock market in my 20’s by investing in dot com funds- remember those? Yes, it was painful! It was a small lesson to learn about my own greed and the importance of diversification. I had to forgive myself for these mistakes in order to really move towards what I wanted to create. Otherwise, the echo of past mistakes would most definitely hold me back.
I shared the above (although its a little personal) to spark thoughts about your own journey. I invite you to think of memories, people, phrases you heard that have influenced you, so you can get to know your own money story intimately. They may include phrases like ‘money doesn’t grow on trees’ or ‘money comes from blood, sweat and tears’ or ‘money is evil’, etc.
Be aware of the Meaning You Project onto the Word Money
Remember, money is really neutral. Money has no meaning on its own. If you stick a five-pound note in your hand, and ask it what does it mean? Notice the answer that comes back…the meaning may depend on who is holding the money or what it is exchanged for. In the absence of context, it is hard to work out what the meaning of money is…and so learning how we project meaning is key to bringing some consciousness to your relationship with it.
Meaning and life purpose
Are You in Alignment Here?
This is related again to financial integrity. Are your needs for meaning and life purpose met with how you earn money? Are you in alignment with your deeper values? Ask yourself: Am I making a living or dying for a living? Money is simply something you exchange your life energy for and you want to be able to trade it with purpose and integrity.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article on cultivating a conscious relationship with money. If you are in London, do attend one of my workshops for deeper work – Until next time Cleona.
Column By Cleona Lira FA. Edited By Alison Jane Reid
For more Information or to talk to Cleona Lira – www.cleonalira.co.uk