“How do I help my client have a breakthrough with money in our final session?” she asked me.
A consultant had just told me about her amazing client, who had moved from feeling fragile and uncertain, to becoming known as a thought leader in her industry.
The problem, the consultant explained, was that she still struggled to make money.
They had a single consulting session left in their agreement and the consultant really, really wanted to help her client finally get past her money blocks. She asked if I could help.
And if you have money blocks—or your clients do—I can help you too…
Welcome to a Money Masterclass in six lessons:
Lesson 1: The secret to money
Lesson 2: Reframe your time frame
Lesson 3: Money is an infinite game
Lesson 4: You need a money library
Lesson 5: How to coach a client to a money breakthrough
Lesson 6: Six masteries of money
1. The secret to money
I was shocked the first time I met an unhappy millionaire. But I’ve met many unhappy millionaires, since. And I’ve met ultra high net worth individuals who were constantly scared of the money running out.
Money isn’t your identity. It’s an amplifier. Work on your character first. If you are not a kind and creative and generous person before you have a lot of money, you won’t be once you do.
Get clear on your values—and the values of your business. Live by and through your values and when you make money, those values will be amplified.
Money is only good for one thing—buying stuff. But you can’t buy happiness and you can’t buy love and you can’t buy great relationships.
Money isn’t your identity. It’s a tool. Once you have it, you can enhance your creativity and your generosity. And once you have it you can extend your service and impact far beyond your own presence.
2. Reframe your time frame
I acknowledged the consultant for her work in helping her client to become so widely known.
And then I asked her, “What’s the rush to help her make money?”
I’ve coached lots of clients who were “overnight successes” in their field. But I’ve never met an overnight success who didn’t take almost a decade to get there.
I knew that for this woman to be a thought leader in her industry she must have spent years studying, reading, researching, learning and teaching.
And if she was still struggling to make money, the clues were there. She hadn’t yet spent years studying, reading, researching, learning or teaching about money…
Mastering the money game is a long-term game.
But most people want to rush it.
Make seven figures in seven weeks. Build a million dollar net worth in a year. Be a digital nomad, making passive income, while working on your laptop on the beach. (If there were that many people making money from a laptop on the beach, Apple would have made iPads waterproof, by now!)
I said to the consultant, “You are wondering what needs to shift inside your client. What if nothing needs to shift? What if she just needs to make a commitment to be in it for the long haul?
One of my mentors dreamed for years of being a concert pianist. One day she fell in love with a man who happened to be a concert pianist.
When they started dating, she asked him to teach her to play the piano. He said, “Sure. You’ll need to begin by learning to play the scales.”
After 5 days, she’d quit.
She told me, “Maybe I’ll be a concert pianist in my next lifetime!”
I ended the conversation by telling the consultant two important principles about coaching and mastery:
- You can’t want a breakthrough more than your client.
- If a client, with a track record of success behind them, wants to finally master the money game, they need to commit to it the same way they became a leader in their field. Ask them: Would you be willing to commit the next ten years of your life to mastering money?
It is possible to master the money game in less than 10 years and without a commitment to years of studying, reading, researching, learning and teaching about money. But it’s your commitment to be in it for the long haul that makes the difference.
There are no such things as unrealistic goals. Just unrealistic time frames.
If 10 years sounds like a long time—and you are new to coaching, or you are coaching the founders of a startup—how about giving it 1,000 days?
3. Money is an infinite game
There’s a reason I refer to money as a game.
James Carse, in his fascinating book, Finite and Infinite Games, proposes that we live life through a series of two types of games.
Most games are finite. You play by the rules. There are winners and losers. There’s a beginning and an end. And there are consequences for breaking the rules. So you need to be trained, to play the game. Examples include: political elections, chess, martial arts tournaments, laws, road rules, school curriculum, building standards, and international agreements.
A handful of games are infinite. You make new rules as you play. There are no winners or losers. The purpose of the game is to keep playing. You don’t need to be trained, you do need to be educated, to prepare for uncertainty. Examples include: life (we all go out the same way, no matter how famous or wealthy you are), parenting (the best parenting advice I ever received was: “You can’t get it right!”), relationships and business.
The problem is that most people approach infinite games as if they were finite. They want to be perfect parents, with perfect kids. They want to have the same relationship ten years after marriage and kids as they had a decade earlier. They go to business school to learn the ‘rules’ and they read biographies of billionaires and are frustrated when what worked for others doesn’t work for them. Finite players make plans and set goals and try to avoid ever being surprised. Infinite players expect the unexpected and have fun in seeking it out.
Games are a powerful coaching tool. The 90 Day Money Game is one of my favorites. It’s set up as an infinite game:
- Instead of focusing on how much money you make in income, you focus on how much money you make in proposals.
- Instead of focusing on how many people say Yes to you, you focus on how many No’s you collect. And you celebrate them!
- Instead of focusing on how many clients you get, you focus on how many people you serve.
- Instead of focusing on how much success you have, you focus on how many times you screw up and make mistakes. And you learn to have fun laughing at yourself!
Money is an infinite game.
If you really want to succeed at it:
Don’t play by the rules, to win. Play with the rules, to have fun.
4. You need a money library
If you want to master money, you need to study it. Save yourself time by learning from people who have been studying it for years. Here’s a list of some of my favorite books on mastering the money game:
- How To Make One Hell Of A Profit and Still Get To Heaven, by John F. Demartini
- The Woman Who Attracted Money, by Steve Chandler
- How to Solve All Your Money Problems Forever, by Victor Boc
- 100 Ways to Create Wealth, by Steve Chandler
- The Trick to Money Is Having Some, by Stuart Wilde
- I Can Make You Rich, by Paul McKenna
- The Psychology of Money: Timeless lessons on wealth, greed, and happiness, by Morgan Housel
- Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending, by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton
- I Will Teach You To Be Rich, by Ramit Sethi
- Money: From Fear to Love: Using the Enneagram to Create Wealth, Prosperity, and Love, by Margaret H Smith
- Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes–and How to Correct Them, by Gary Belsky and Thomas Gilovich
- Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine, by Mike Michalowicz
- Company of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business, by Paul Jarvis
- The Richest Man in Babylon, by George S. Clason
- Smart Women Finish Rich, by David Bach
- How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling, by Frank Bettger
- The Go-Giver, by Bob Burg
- The Prosperous Coach, by Steve Chandler and Rich Litvin
Here’s the most important thing about every book on this list: they are all very readable but none of them are reading books.
They are action books.
You can read every book on this list and not a single thing may change for you around money.
But if you take just a single action from a single book and you apply it, your world could transform.
Pick one of these books. Read. Take one tiny step.
5. How to coach a client to a money breakthrough
When I was a kid we didn’t talk much about sex. If it looked like two people on the tv were about to make out, my dad would make a dad joke and change the channel! But here’s the thing, we talked about money less than sex…
In almost 20 years of schooling, I don’t recall a single lesson on how to make money, save money, or invest money. And I have a degree in Economics!
Most of us unconsciously picked up our thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors about money by observing our parents, or from the media or our cultural background.
If you want to help your client transform their relationship with money, you first need to surface all of their unconscious thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors about money.
Your Money Lineage
Ask your client these questions. Answer them yourself, too:
- What’s your dad’s story with money? (Did he make much? Did he lose it? Was he good at saving it, spending it, managing it, giving it, or investing it?
- What’s your mum’s story with money?
- If you can, ask your parents about your grandparents’ stories around money.
Your Money Thoughts
Read each of these sentence stems out loud—10 times—and ask your client to finish the sentence, each time. No pausing. Write down what they say.
- What I love about money is…
- The problem with money is…
- What I value more than money is…
- If I made more money, I’d…
- If I made less money, I’d…
Check in with them. What have they noticed?
There are often some powerful surprises when we say out loud, without thinking, the thoughts that are running us, under the surface.
Another powerful coaching tool is Gentle Reflection. Resist the urge to take their insight and turn it into a ten-step plan. Invite them to reflect on what they noticed during the session but do nothing about it. Have them stay in reflection mode until you meet next and see what occurs.
6. Six masteries of money
Most people want to get better and better at making money but don’t pay attention to the fact that money needs to flow out, as well as in, in a healthy way. There are 6 elements of money that are important to master:
- Managing (understanding taxes, retirement planning, etc)
- Investing (in anything from property to the stock market, so your money makes money for you)
- Earning Money
Making money—as a coach—requires two things: creating value and creating clients. That’s it.
Active income creation involves selling coaching to an individual or a group, that you’ll deliver in the future. Serve people so powerfully that they never forget your conversation for the rest of their life. Simple. But not easy.
Passive income creation involves selling a product, eg. a book or an online program, that you created in the past. Don’t create “content.” Make something truly great—a body of work that sticks around, and helps people year after year after year. Making great work takes a lot of work and a lot of time. Simple. But not easy.
Where are you creating value—and for who—right now?
- Saving Money
Sometimes the hardest thing about saving money is just getting started. There are—at least—7 areas for saving money:
(i) Do you have an Emergency Fund? An account where you save 3 to 6 months of living expenses, to cover financial surprises.
(ii) Do you have one or more Short Term Savings accounts? An account with a specific focus and target, eg. saving for a new sofa, a new car, a trip, or a coaching program.
(iii) Do you have one or more Long Term Savings accounts? An account with a specific long-term focus, such as saving for a new home, your kids’ college fund, or your retirement. Do you save at least 10% of your income—even 20% or more—for the future?
(iv) Do you have a Financial Freedom account? I set up this account a few years ago with a single parameter. We’re not allowed to take money OUT of it. We can only put money INTO it. One year, I really needed some cash, and I borrowed from this account—immediately re-paying it, first, as soon as I generated some income. Sometimes this is more traditionally called a retirement account.
(v) Do you have a Business Savings Account? An account where you save 10% of your profits, or more, to create a cushion of business savings.
(vi) Do you have a Tax Saving Account? An account where you put money aside for taxes AS SOON AS money comes into your account, so there’s no panic when taxes are due. It took me years to learn this one!
(vii) Do you have a Health Savings Account? Depending where you live in the world, this may or may not be necessary, based on your insurance or your healthcare system. This account is intended to help you cover out-of-pocket healthcare costs.
- Spending Money
I really appreciate Ramit Sethi’s definition of a “Rich Life.” Where most finance “experts” recommend skipping lattes and vacations,” Ramit teaches that giving up all your spending typically doesn’t work in the long run because it can be difficult to constantly say no.
He recommends, instead, that you identify your “Money Dials”—the things that you love to spend your money on.
If you look at your own spending, what gets you excited?
One of my Money Dials is learning. I spend $50K+ a year on coaches, teachers, courses, trainings and books.
One of my Money Dials is health. I have had a personal trainer for years. I invest in my trainer working with me every day that I’m running an Intensive, to keep me at the top of my game. I have a nutritionist. And I recently invested in a program that uses physicians, genomic scientists and cutting-edge technology to detect and help preempt future health risks such cancer, cardiac and neurodegenerative disease.
One of my Money Dials is travel and adventure. In 2020, I only traveled internationally once and I didn’t leave California once the pandemic began but I still managed to visit and stay in Palm Springs, Joshua Tree, Venice Beach and San Diego.
One of my guilty pleasures is that convenience is another of my Money Dials. When I made the decision to set up my office like a film studio, in preparation for my next Intensive, I had fun researching camera equipment, microphones, lighting, switchers and monitors. But I have a high value on ease and making life simple. So, I invested in an expert to set the entire system. Expensive. But worth it. For me.
Ramit says that the ten most common Money Dials are: Convenience, Travel, Health/fitness, Experiences, Freedom, Relationships, Generosity, Luxury, Social status, Self-improvement.
What are your Money Dials—the top 3 areas where you love to spend?
- Managing Money
I used to hide my head in the sand because I felt overwhelmed at the thought of even looking at the numbers. And believe it or not, I have a joint degree in Biology and Economics—I spent much of my undergraduate life studying statistics!
I never planned… In my 20s, I got really good at sweet-talking bank officials, if I accidentally went overdrawn, to get them to refund my bank charges. It almost always worked and I got away with not looking at the numbers.
I never budgeted… At 21, I received my first paycheck from my first official job. I immediately put a down payment on my first car. It was a tiny blue Austin Metro! Within weeks, I realized that I hated this job and I felt trapped by the years of payments I was now committed to make.
I never thought about the future… In my 20s and early 30s, I was an employee. So, I just assumed that money would keep coming into my account. And I paid almost no attention to managing my money.
When I became an entrepreneur, everything changed. When I got married, everything changed. When I became a parent, everything changed again. And as my business grew, everything continued to change.
I’ve made lots of money mistakes by being afraid of looking at the numbers. I’ve been $100,000 in debt (credit card debt, which is the worst). I’ve had to pay an unexpected $300,000 tax bill. And I still remember from years ago, the first time a client asked for a refund, the feeling of ice rushing into my veins at the fear of how I’d ever pay back the money I’d already spent.
I’ve learned (painfully slowly) to get better at managing my money and to not be afraid to look at the numbers. I have gradually learned about taxes, insurance, retirement planning, etc.
I now have a team of people to support me, including a bank manager, bookkeeper, accountant, tax specialist, insurance agent, corporate attorney, estate attorney, wealth manager and investment manager. The best investment I could make was to hire money experts to support me. Oh and to marry someone who is more proactive in thinking about our money than I am!
Our little boys each have 3 jars in their bedroom—labeled give, save, spend. We want to teach them from a very early age, the importance of giving, saving and spending.
How many finance people do you have on your team? And how many of the people on your finance team have you outgrown—and it’s actually time to hire someone new?
- Giving Money
Giving is counterintuitive. The more you give, the more you get in return.
In my early 20s, I spent two years teaching in a little rural village, in Botswana, in Southern Africa. I got back so much more than I gave. Six years ago, I took a group of coaches to Liberia in West Africa, to run an empowerment event for local teachers. We got back so much more than we gave. In the past few years, my business and my community have helped to build 5 schools in Africa. Four in Kenya and one in Liberia. It feels so good to give.
Over the years, I have quietly created many scholarships for people to attend my events or join my communities. Last year, during the pandemic, I gave more to charitable causes than I have in a long-time. I arranged for every member of 4PC to have a 6 month scholarship, to support them in uncertain times. And I created a program called The Kaleo Project, where we covered the $5K cost for each of the 30 members.
Altruism sounds all nice and rosy but truthfully you get so much back when you give to others.
You know, Charles Darwin was puzzled by altruism—the act of helping someone else, even if it comes at a steep personal cost—because it seemed to challenge his theory of natural selection. It turns out that kindness and generosity are actually winning life strategies.
Giving money allows energy to flow. And often giving your time is even more valuable than giving money. Where I’d like to give more is in volunteering in my local community. Since I have had kids, I’ve been tired! But I’d love to get back to volunteering.
Where do you love to give your money? How did you give your money (and time) last year? And how will you give your money (and time) in the year ahead?
- Investing Money
“Doing well with money isn’t necessarily about what you know. It’s about how you behave. And behavior is hard to teach, even to really smart people…”
These are the words of Morgan Housel, from his recently published book, The Psychology of Money. (I highly recommend it).
He notes that money is typically taught in a mathematical way, where data and formulas tell you precisely what to do.
However, “in the real world people don’t make financial decisions on a spreadsheet. They make them at the dinner table, or in a meeting room, where personal history, your own unique view of the world, ego, pride, marketing, and odd incentives are scrambled together…”
I read Robert Kiyosaki’s book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad years ago. It was the first time I was introduced to two powerful ideas.
(1) Rich people make money work for them.
(2) It’s not how much money you make that matters. It’s how much money you keep.
The Intelligent Investor, by Benjamin Graham, is reputed to be the definitive book on investing. According to Graham, to be a great investor, you must be patient, disciplined, and eager to learn new things. You must also be able to control your emotions and to think for yourself.
These are also essential skills to be a great entrepreneur and to be a great coach.
My biggest investments over the past 15 years have been in my own business. And that has paid dividends. And now I am exploring other ways to have my money make money for me but I’m patient, disciplined, and I’m always eager to learn new things…
Where are you investing your money now so that it can make money for you, in the future?
What’s your Money Mastery Score?
Where are you, on a scale of 1-10, in each of these areas? And where would you like to be in 3 years?
I recommend you resist the urge to make every one a 10/10 within 3 years. Mastering money is a long-term game. Don’t try and handle it all at once.
- Earning money – Now: ___ In 3 years: ___
- Saving money – Now: ___ In 3 years: ___
- Spending money – Now: ___ In 3 years: ___
- Managing money – Now: ___ In 3 years: ___
- Giving money – Now: ___ In 3 years: ___
- Investing money – Now: ___ In 3 years: ___
“Money is everywhere, it affects all of us, and confuses most of us…”
Morgan Housel wrote those words in The Psychology of Money. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
If you want to thrive as a coach, you’ll want to master money. It’s a lifelong game. But it will allow you to thrive as an entrepreneur, it will allow you to create a great lifestyle and it will allow you to give back—your money and your time. Plus, it will inspire your clients to thrive, to create a great life and to give back, themselves.
Now that’s a game worth playing.
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