When I returned from Bali with my swollen, churning belly, I didn't have the energy for anything but reading; it so happened that the page I was up to in my Demartini book delivered some profound insights that stopped me in my tracks. (Synchronicity yet again!)
I shared these insights about how I was speaking the language of desperation ('have to', 'need to', 'must') in relation to my business in my previous blog, and that this emotional state of desperation had undermined my immune system. In the weeks since then, as I've continued to butt up against the issue of my apparent 'business failure', I've had more realisations that I hope will serve you as well.
Even though I've achieved some wonderful things and have transformed my relationship with my husband from being on the verge of separation to deeply back in love, my household from constantly squabbling children to a close-knit family, and my own life from giving up on my dreams to being an award-winning author with four published books to my name (one of which has been generating appreciative responses from readers all around the world and some pretty high-level endorsements), I was beginning to dismiss my successes and minimise them. I was thinking, 'Yeah, so what? I did that ages ago but now my business has plateaued and I'm still not generating a decent income, so actually I'm failing at this'.
To be honest, I was feeling pretty embarrassed and ashamed. After all, I'm the author of The Mastery Club. So where was my demonstration of mastery? (Those of you who attended my book launch of The Hidden Order will recognise this theme. When something is a core issue, we tend to spiral around it, chipping away at it in bits and pieces – like the person who seems to have their life humming but is significantly overweight, or the person whose work life is thriving but can't stay in relationship…)
While I recognised my achievements, I was becoming more and more embarrassed that my income wasn't increasing steadily in line with my affirmations as it 'should' have been! I began to fixate on my lacks: lack of income, lack of business acumen (clearly!), slow results on goals, etc..
It's very confronting to teach mastery and feel that one is not demonstrating it. It's an uncomfortable experience to teach about the importance of persistence when you feel like giving up. I had recognised some years ago that it was my own feelings of inadequacy and doubt that had inspired me to write The Mastery Club. Just as Norman Vincent Peale, the 'father of positive thinking', generated his approach because he was a terrible negative thinker (self-professed), I wrote The Mastery Club because I often felt like a victim. I was effectively coaching myself. Nina was my own disowned part. But even though I had recognised this, I kept pining for financial success and rejecting my current situation.
Appreciation is the attitude of gratitude, right? And we all know how important that is. It's interesting that the very word is used both in the feeling sense and in relation to money: things appreciate when they increase in value. Our net worth reflects our self-worth.
The more I dismissed my achievements and didn't value them, the less I appreciated myself, the more my self-worth was diminished and the less money I made. It's only last week that I registered the degree to which I was dismissing my achievements and not appreciating myself. I've begun to focus on this and slow down long enough to feel the gratitude rather than just skimming over the top of the achievement.
Dr Demartini teaches that our lives demonstrate our values. We might say that being wealthy is important to us, but if we aren't saving, attending wealth seminars or building property portfolios or investing or growing successful businesses, the chances are that wealth isn't actually that high on our values. We want it but we want it to happen to us rather than having to invest our energy in learning about it and achieving it ourselves. Instead, our lives will be full of family, fun, fitness, or whatever other things we value more highly. (I've been in this latter category, despite knowing better…)
Over the last few years various Demartini coaches have suggested that I link my highest values (of personal development, writing, family, health, etc.) to money and wealth. As a first step in this endeavour I was asked to write long lists of the benefits of being wealthy, but only lately realised that my lists were the lists a 'poor' person would write. They reflected the things I would like to consume (travel, dance lessons, massage, etc.), which is the marker of a poor person's thinking, rather than the ways I would build my wealth, which is the marker of a wealthy person's thinking.
Determined to understand, I began to research the habits of the wealthy. I came upon an interview with various wealthy CEOs whose parents had been wealthy CEOs, and was given quite a wake-up call.
One CEO commented that when she was ten years old and wanted a bike, her father insisted that she write a business plan. All of these adults remarked that conversations with their parents about setting goals were an endemic part of their childhoods. The comment was frequently made that they were 'pushed' to extend themselves and operate outside of their comfort zones. They were encouraged to do internships in the fields of their interest and, once employed, to volunteer for committees etc. so that they were continually extending themselves and developing their skills and thus their future employability at higher salaries. They were being coached to increase their worth and value in the marketplace (and in their own eyes).
I remember John Taylor Gatto, a radical American educator, remarking that the poor sent their children to schools where the preferred sports were team sports, thus educating them to be part of a team and follow directions, while the rich sent their children to private schools where the sports of preference required them to operate independently and rely on themselves, such as equestrian skills and athletics like high jump… preparing them for leadership roles as CEOs…
When I think back to my own childhood, I don't remember being advised to set goals or write business plans or extend myself (beyond doing well in my school subjects). In fact, the only adult life advice I seem to recall from mum was the joke that I find myself a millionaire husband… That might have been a joke but I think the seed was planted; as a young woman I was on a mission to find a husband, not to establish myself in a vocation that would deliver financial independence.
In addition to this, I had a fairly good dose of the 'wealth corrupts' belief system operating then too. And so I grew up with a fantasy about the wealthy which has persisted to this day. Not knowing much about how the rich live, I'd developed the idea that having more money would solve all my problems. After all, with cash you can delegate anything you don't want to do and pay for anything you do want. I conveniently ignored the downside of being wealthy.
Dr Demartini's work is all about waking up from our illusions. He explains that our one-sided views of life (illness is bad, kindness is good) are the source of our difficulties. Financial lack brings as many benefits and drawbacks as financial abundance; they are just in different forms. My task now is to balance my childish concept of money solving everything and really get the balanced picture about abundance and lack – how both help and how both hinder.
If you feel that you have a naive dream about being rescued by sudden financial improvement, make a comment below or send me a line and perhaps we can help each other wake up from the fairytale.