This blog is based on a lecture I gave a few years back...but still is relevant to us every day. Thanks for reading.
What is Money?
Basically, money is a form of energy exchange. We have decided what is of value in our culture and we exchange our time and our energy in lesser or higher amounts to get what we need and want.
If we think about money as a form of qi, this may help us to revise our thinking and our relationship to this vital part of our life.
What do we know about diseases of the qi? There are two basic things that can go wrong in the body (or in the universe) with qi.
1. Not enough2. Not flowing freely (right amounts in the right direction at the right time)
So, with money too, if we remove all our value judgments about it, we need it in adequate amounts and we need to keep it flowing freely, as long as it is the basic form of human energy exchange that is currently in use.
However, if you have unnecessary internal “judgments” about money in your bodymind, it may be difficult to maintain #1 and 2 above. For example, if your money style is hoarding, it will be difficult to maintain the free flow of it in your life. If your money style is an avoider or a monk, it may be difficult to ever have enough money because the money makes the avoider nervous and it makes the monk feel guilty. (More about these later)
1. Undercapitalized start-up
2. Not charging enough for services
3. Not selling other products and services in your clinic
Why should your services be of less value than the practitioner down the street who does have enough?
Do you believe enough in yourself and your services to charge what you need to charge to be adequately prosperous and have enough patients who agree with you?
Are you grateful for prosperity and do you truly believe that you deserve it? Do you share your prosperity with others as you can?
Do you offer for sale good quality products to your patients in your clinic?
1. Money is like the water/fire phase dynamic in Chinese medicine:
-there has to be enough fire and enthusiasm generated by you as the practitioner to draw patients
-there has to be openness of heart and willingness to spend/share/prosper for the qi of money to move freely through your life.
- money is represented in Chinese feng shui by the water phase. It must flow freely for more of it to be generated. If you are not open to having as well as spending/using money, you will not be able to attract it to yourself
Complexity or Chaos Theory & $$$
Because money is an important (possibly too important) player in our overall culture, there are certain things about the larger picture that we obviously cannot control. Recessions come and go. The value of the dollar against other currencies goes up and down. These are
things we cannot control.
But we can have control over our conscious attitudes and behaviors concerning marketing ourselves, selling our services, and how we use money.
Looking at your relationship with $$$$ honestly
If you don’t have enough, can you analyze why?
Do you really feel open and willing to have and use money?
Are you willing to share prosperity with your staff, family, children, community?
Do you need to charge more for your services? Or do you need to connect better within your community? Do you need to move to a location where there are not a gazillion other practitioners? Or where you can offer slightly different or better services?
If you are unwilling to offer products for sale in your clinic, have you analyzed why that is repugnant to you? Are there any products that you could offer with a soft sell approach that you would feel comfortable about?
Family Money Traditions
Every person receives a whole variety of messages about money as children. This often unconscious “information” can cloud our vision where our finances are concerned and keep us from having a healthy relationship with the green stuff that we need to be emotionally healthy individuals.
We all received a variety of verbal messages about money. What did you hear as a child?
“money doesn’t grow on trees”
“money is the root of all evil”
“money makes the world go around”
“do you think I am made of money?”
“you have to work hard to have money”
“you need to marry a rich spouse to survive”
“a penny saved.....”
“our family doesn’t know how to deal with money”
“it’s impolite to talk about money”
“don’t spend money on foolish things”
“never buy things that aren’t on sale”
Because money is such a survival issue, these messages get imprinted deeply within us and can control us unconsciously all our lives, often to our detriment.
Each of your parents probably had a different money “style”. Each of these styles has good and bad points in how they handle money. How has this impacted your professional life and relationship with $$?
Were your parents:
Were there arguments about $$?
Was there enough to be comfortable?
Did anyone ever talk about money to you?
Did you receive any specific instructions about budgets, investing, money management, etc.?
Was the subject taboo?
My Relationship to Money
1. What messages about $$ did you receive as a child?
2. Did your family have traditions about $$, work, spending, saving, and/or investing that you are adhering to or departing from in your life and how well is that working for you?
3. How have those messages affected your relationship with $$ as a professional for better or worse?
4. What one thing would you like to change about your relationship with $$?
5. How would that one thing improve your professional life?
Take some time to think about the questions listed above. Write down your answers. Written messages to yourself have great power.
(Over) spenders believe $= happiness, love
1. Buy things for themselves all the time
2. Hard time saving anything
3. Not into delayed gratification
4. Lots of credit cards and debt
5. Can’t cope with budgeting
7. Rarely have long term financial plans
Worriers $ = security, excessive responsibility
1. Spend lots of time thinking about $ and all the “what ifs” that go along with that
2. Balance and rebalance their checkbooks
3. Usually a pinch penny
4. Easily overwhelmed by $ responsibilities
Monks $= corruption, evil, dirty
1. Most comfortable when struggling w/ $
2. Lots of pro-bono or volunteer work
3. Few or only socially responsible investments
4. Shops only at garage sales/thrift shops
Gamblers $= Freedom, excitement, possibilities, entertainment
1. Believe great risk leads to greatest rewards
2. Easily seduced by the idea of getting something for nothing
Amassers $= power, self-worth
1. Tend to be workaholics
2. Believe lack of $=failure
3. Like to touch, count, “play” with their $
4. May also be spenders or hoarders
Avoiders $=too much responsibility, chaos, potential for failure, overwhelm
1. Never balance checkbook
2. “I’ll think about that tomorrow” attitude
3. Never know what they have or owe
4. Usually don’t invest
5. Difficulty keeping that part of their life together
Hoarders $= security
1. Planners; very orderly nature
2. Like creating budgets
3. Don’t buy, prefer to save
4. Classic “$ hidden in the mattress” type
5. Have difficulty enjoying their $
Hoarders (Money = Security)
1. Buy something for yourself at least once per month. It must cost, say, over $25. If you cannot buy for yourself, buy something for your practice or office that is not required (not needles, supplies, etc.) This might be a beautiful painting or photo, a carpet, a small fountain, a crystal, a new book etc.—something unnecessary but enhancing to your office.
2. Don’t look at your budget for at least one week...two weeks is better. And....
3. When the inevitable feelings of money insecurity arise, look at the feelings, write about them in a journal or a letter, or draw a picture about them, but don’t let them force you to rework your budget or live on rice and beans.
Spenders (Money = Pleasure/Freedom from boredom)
1. At least every other time you are ready to pull out your credit card, don’t do it.
2. Keep a log or journal about every item you did ..... and did not buy each week. At the end of end of each week, look at your purchases for the week and think about why you bought each one. Did you really feel any lasting pleasure from each purchase? Highlight one item on the list that you will not buy the next time.
3. Put the money you save from not buying frivolous things into marketing your practice! Create a plan and a marketing budget for using the money you will not spend on things that don’t help you meet long term goals.
Money Monk (Money = Evil/Corruption)
1. Once per month at least, spend some money on yourself that you have previously considered selfish or decadent. See if you can actually enjoy the experience.
2. Write a journal about what you would do if you had a full practice at $85 per treatment, 40 people per week and you were taking home $100,000 after taxes. How would you spend your money so that you don’t feel corrupted by it? In what way could you expand your own life and the lives of others?
Avoider (Money = Complexity/Creates feelings of inadequacy & overwhelm)
1. Once per week, make sure that you address one aspect of your professional or personal money life that you would usually avoid. (Add up the deposit slip from your clinic and take the money to the bank yourself....or, balance your clinic check book.)
2. Create a money schedule for yourself. (An example might be that every Monday you will look at the previous week’s clinic receipts and analyze how well the clinic is doing in terms of patient visits, office product sales, patient rebookings, etc. in comparison to the week before.)
3. Get a friend to come over and help you plan a 6-month marketing budget for your clinic or practice with both time and money expenditures listed. Create a calendar or time line for these expenses and activities. When the inevitable resistance to doing this arises, make sure your friend is there to help you with that resistance.
Amasser (Money = Self-worth or Power)
1. At least one day per week, don’t be involved with money at all. On a weekend or vacation, spend an entire day not thinking about your investments, budgets, or professional plans that involve money.
2. Write a list of goals and dreams that don’t require or involve money to accomplish and that might lead to other kinds of pleasure and emotional fulfillment than what money can bring. Take one action step toward achieving one of these goals.
3. Volunteer to do something in your community that has nothing to do with money. After this participation, write down your feelings about this. What did it feel like; did you like or dislike it? Or, volunteer to work with an organization as the person in charge of amassing money for them.
Worrier (Money = Security/responsibility)
1. Focus your worrying. For example, sit in your clinic at the end of the day and write down all your worries on paper. (I.e., What will happen if I don’t have 40 patients per week?.. what will happen if I spend $1000 on a fancy table that goes up and down?....what will happen if I get sued by a patient?)
2. Assign yourself “days off” from worrying, for example on Friday, Sat. and Sun. I will not worry about money.
3. Write an essay about the benefits of worrying about money. What bad things would happen if you did not worry? What would your professional life be like if you stopped worrying about money? What would you do with all the energy you don’t spend on worrying? Get your essay published in Acupuncture Today or the CJOM!
Assignments for all Money Types
1. Whatever your combination of money types, think about the ways in which our money life is out of balance, and come up with your own assignment combination. Write them down.
2.If your money imbalances are part of your Chinese medical pattern discrimination, why not use acupuncture, herbal medicine, qi gong, and/or feng shui to help you balance your financial life as well as the other parts of your life?
3. If money is another form of qi, create a visualization for having Sufficient Amounts of money in your life Flowing Freely in your life.
4. Qi is attracted by qi; take a $100 bill, put it in a clear plastic wallet-sized pouch and place it in your wallet. Write down some money goals and wrap them around the $100 bill. Don’t spend it unless you are able to replace it immediately. Notice how much security/power/pleasure/ it gives you to carry this around. (This one came directly from Marilyn Allen, for those of you who know her.)
5. Believe that the universe will support you!
Those are some ideas for working internally and externally with our various, inevitable money conditioning. Hope you found this interesting.
“We’re in the money,
Come on now honey,
Let’s spend it, lend it, send it rolling along!”