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Are You Too Emotionally Attached to Your Money?

As an entrepreneur who grew my business from nothing to over $10 million in revenue, I’ve learned some really important lessons about money along the way.

One of the most important for me is the idea that money has any meaning you assign to it. So, first let’s think about how we experience money in our society today. Before the electronic age, people literally saw more of their money. Now, it’s very rare to see even a small percentage of our money—it’s become even more of an abstraction. Whether your money exists as coins clinking in your purse, bills crumpled in your pocket, wads folded neatly in your wallet, or bits and bytes traveling through the ether, it only has the value that our collective agreement assigns to it.

Along with this collective agreement of the value of money, people also assign tremendous meaning and emotion to money. To some, money is energy. To others, having more money means having more power. Some people feel that if someone else gives them money, then they owe the other person something. Some people feel wealthy living below the government-mandated poverty line—others, who have hundreds of thousands, even millions, in the bank, feel like they don’t have enough.

So, where do you stand? Here are two exercises that have helped me to understand that money takes on whatever meaning I assign to it. Once I really “got” this idea, I realized that the meanings I had assigned to money were controlling my emotional responses to it. Once I got a handle on my emotions associated with money, I got a handle on getting as much money as I needed to do whatever it was I wanted to do.

Exercise 1: What does money mean to you?
Make a list of what money means to you and be brutally honest with yourself. No political correctness here. How you feel about money is what drives your behavior, so if money represents evil, greed, and the worst of society, then you’re going to have a problem making it. Whereas, if money represents freedom, comfort, choice, security, and philanthropy, those are positive attitudes that can open up your own personal financial floodgates.

Exercise 2: How much do you want to make?
Write down how much money you make each month. Now double that amount. How do you feel? Keep doubling the amount until you feel like you’re making enough money for you. What does this final amount mean to you? How would you feel if you were making this amount of money every month right now?

Why perform this exercise?
You may never have stopped to figure out how much monthly income would make you feel like you were making enough. Or if you did, your internal voice may have said: “Be realistic! How are you ever going to achieve that?” This exercise is about thinking about how much money is really enough for you. It gives you a chance to see how you would feel with a truly abundant sum of money, whatever your definition of “abundant” and “enough” might be.

I first read about a variation of this exercise in a book called The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Making Money Through Intuition. I did every exercise in the book over a two-month period. At this time in my life, money was in short supply. To say that this book was timely is an understatement. Within a year, I went from having no cash, to seeing cash literally fly in the window from a whole variety of sources.

It’s not magic. Instead, it’s very transparent. It’s about getting in touch with how you perceive money. Once you know this, then your perceptions can drive your financial goals. Let money be your muse by understanding what ideas are standing in the way of your earning potential. Remove those barriers and the possibilities are endless. Go for it!

By Michelle LaBrosse. This content was adapted from the ebook, Spirtual Money, by Michelle LaBrosse. PMP is a registered trademark of the Project Management Institute.

Originally published on Young Money