Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Rewrite Your Money Story

I'm up early and it hurts. But, it's the best way to guarantee that I have a few hours a week to work on my book, The Naked Storyteller.

Like most artist-driven projects, I'm doing it on spec. It's not like my other writing work in which I know that I will be paid before I even sit down at the computer. This is why my spec work is relegated to the more painful hours of the day. And, since there is no guarantee I'm going to get any money for my book, it's almost impossible to get out of bed and work on it some days.

But this morning, as I've been sitting here gearing up to write, I noticed something. Some very successful people who are my Skype contacts are up too. That instantly changes the story I can tell myself. I'm no longer up at this hour because I'm struggling to find time to work on my spec project. I'm up because successful people get up early and work hard. Getting ahead of the day isn't project specific, it's a powerful self-narrative.

Here's another example of the power of personal narratives. Harry Tyke, the main character in my book, gave up his dream of becoming a journalist because his parents wanted him to buy their house (a house completely out of his league without his parents' financial support) on the condition that he get a job with a government pension. At the age of twenty, Harry dropped out of journalism and went into teaching.

Fast forward to middle age and he's been a grade six teacher for over twenty years. He's miserable but feels that he has set his course and is powerless to change it. As master narrator of Harry Tyke's life, I'm going to rewrite the way Harry thinks about himself. By the end of the book... You'll have to buy it if you want to know what happens to Harry, but you know what I mean. What we think about ourselves, the story we tell about our lives, the framing, matters.

This works for money too. How we spend, save, invest and share is dictated by the stories we tell ourselves like: Living in a big house makes me happy. Everybody owes me.  I'm sure I'll be able to pay off my credit card some day. I really need that new toy. I'm worth $45,000 a year. The money won't get to where it's really needed, so why bother donating? No one really understands the market, so why should I invest?
This is great. Be empowered. Every story you tell yourself about money can be changed, any time, even on the fly. Look at my story about getting up early. I get up early and write because I am a successful writer. Early is where I belong.

Copyright 2012. Laura Thomas. All Rights Reserved.
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