Five Relationship Assumptions to Avoid When Money Is Tight
by Noah St. John
Saying to an entrepreneur "don't let money affect your relationships" is like saying "don't let oxygen affect your breathing." Without one, it's awfully hard to have the other.
What I tell my coaching clients who come to me with money worries is that money doesn't CHANGE anything; it REVEALS everything. Money acts as a magnifying glass. If you're a poor jerk, you'll be a rich jerk -- only jerkier. If you're a broke nice person, you'll be a rich nice person -- only nicer. And if there are problems simmering beneath the surface in your relationship, those problems will only be exacerbated when money's tight.
So in these tough financial times, how can we make sure our relationships stay healthy (even if our 401K doesn't)?
Here are five relationships assumptions people need to avoid when money is tight:
1. Assuming money is everything.
It's true: the best things in life are free. But the mortgage, groceries and Internet service aren't. We're hearing stories everywhere about how people are cutting back on non-essentials; but why did it take a financial crisis to do that?
The fact is, if you have to spend money to enjoy each other - and indeed, life - you're actually facing a deeper issue. We've been indoctrinated to believe that "Things = Happiness" and therefore, "If you have more things, you'll be happier".
But study after study shows that there's a point where having more things creates an INVERSE relationship to happiness. That's why I counsel my clients to take Goal-Free Zones where you walk in nature or work in your garden, because this will help you focus on what you already have, instead of what you don't.
2. Assuming a change in your money situation won't affect the relationship.
This is the flip side of the first assumption. Remember: money doesn't CHANGE anything; it REVEALS everything. Be aware that when you experience a significant change in your money situation, your relationship's about to change in one way or another.
But the irony is, it will become more of what it already is. If you're close, you'll tend to get closer. If there's a distance, it will become more noticeable. The cure for this is to communicate openly and honestly about what's happening and what you can do about it.
3. Assuming things will turn around by themselves.
Also known as the Ostrich Syndrome. We've all been there: believing that "someone out there" will fix our problems. As FDR said, "When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on."
It's good to assume that things will be better in the future. The problem comes when we think they'll get better without us having to do anything.
$20 bills tend to NOT walk down the street, knock on your door and say, "Hey, can I come in?" If they do where you live, I'm moving to where you live! Because on the planet Earth, we have to do this annoying thing called work to get the things we want, like, oh I don't know... money.
If you know what to do, but just aren't doing what you know, you can break through that wall by enlisting support, creating an action plan, and taking one step at a time toward what you want. That's fastest way to overcome the Ostrich Syndrome.
4. Assuming you and your partner look at money the same way.
No assumption causes more arguments than this one. People tend to fall into four behavioral styles with regards to money: The Spender, The Saver, The Avoider and The Monk.
Imagine a Spender and a Saver living together. Now imagine their income just got cut in half. Insert argument here.
There's no "right or wrong" with regards to how you relate to money, although each style has its pros and cons. Just know what you are and what your partner is, and adjust accordingly.
5. Assuming things will be this way forever.
This is the "Why Bother?" Syndrome, the flip side of the Ostrich Syndrome. When you assume "why bother?", your actions will be half-hearted (or some other part of your anatomy), which will naturally lead to half-success, or less.
The key is to find the middle ground between the Ostrich Syndrome and the Why Bother Syndrome. This is where Afformations, or empowering questions, have helped many people make better assumptions about life and their relationship to it.
Asking Afformations like, "Why are things getting better?" and "Why did everything work out better than I thought it could?" focuses your mind on positive assumptions, rather than negative ones.
We all have to work to overturn our unconscious assumptions, especially negative ones about money and relationships. But do the work and you'll reap the rewards of healthier relationships with your partner, your money and yourself.
(c) 2010 Noah St. John, All rights reserved.
Noah St. John is the inventor of Afformations and bestselling author of The Secret Code of Success: 7 Hidden Steps to More Wealth and Happiness. Get the first 3 chapters FREE at Noah St. John. Stephen Covey says, "Noah's Secret Code of Success is about discovering within ourselves what we should have known all along - we are truly powerful beings with unlimited potential."
Noah coaches conscious entrepreneurs on how to DO LESS and HAVE MORE. He's appeared on CNN, ABC, NBC, in The Washington Post and PARADE Magazine. Get the first 3 chapters of Noah's Secret Code of Success FREE at Noah St. John.
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