I felt compelled today to take a deep dive into a resource I love, as I’ve been enjoying re-reading it with members of Powerhouse Program for the past couple of weeks.
If you haven’t read Worthy by Nancy Levin, by the end of this blog I hope you’ll pop over to my RESOURCES section and grab a copy.
I love the tag line of this book; “Boost your self-worth to grow your net worth”.
Worthy dives into all of our money junk. We love money, or we hate money. We want more of it, but we shouldn’t want more of it. We want to spend it when we have it, and wish we could hold onto it when we don’t.
Why does money have to be such a source of anxiety? Is it possible to find peace? Yes!
Nancy Levin is a master integrative coach, who helps us take the steps to creating financial freedom not by changing WHAT we do, but what we BELIEVE about money.
She makes the connection that our net worth is in many ways tied to our self-worth, and shows us how to do the internal work required to replace feelings of unworthiness with a solid sense of our own value.
The best part? There’s a 10-step plan with exercises that is so solidly based in Levin’s own experience as a life coach. These exercises are a gold-mine of ontological practice!
“Get real about the money issues we face every day.
Examine the excuses we use to avoid creating the life we really want.
Be willing to see ourselves as worthy of abundance in all its forms.
Take back our financial power – and watch amazing things start to happen.
Whether we’re looking for financial ease or a new relationship with money and ourselves, Worthy will give us the tools to clear the path for wholeness, fulfillment, and richness in all areas of our lives, not just in our bank accounts.”‘Worthy’ book synopsis – Amazon.com
As I read, I’m inspired to give my perspective on each exercise and how I’ve seen all of these steps and practices reflected in my own life or that of my clients!
Here are Levin’s 10 steps to becoming Worthy. (pg xxxiii-xxxiv)
Step One: Take Off the Blinders. In this step, you’ll get real about the money issues you face every day. What do you ignore? Where do you put your head in the sand?Worthy, pg. xxxiii
Our habits with money, and our relationship to money, are often riddled with resentment, guilt, and reactions to how our parents treated money.
The truth is most of us are hiding from something through our money. Whether that looks like overspending, never spending, ignoring patterns, denying ourselves, or delegating total responsibility to a financial advisor, spouse, or parent, we’ve all got ‘something’ with money. And that ‘something’ has deeply rooted beliefs about life underneath.
In my life, I grew up with the fear of not having enough tomorrow. We always, thankfully, had enough for today — to put good food on the table, to rent a movie from Blockbuster for family movie night, even to take road trips to visit distant family.
But we didn’t really vacation, we very rarely ate out at restaurants, and money management in my young eyes involved hours of spreadsheet calculations down to the last cent, and tense conversations between my parents about budgeting for divorce alimonies and trial lawyer debt.
It stands to reason, therefore, that my “money junk” is to endlessly save for when I “really need it”.
I would ruthlessly calculate everything I spent money on to make sure I saved as much as possible, so that I could make sure that I *knew* I had enough for tomorrow.
The blessing? I’m debt-free as an adult.
The curse? Money was like a calculus problem to solve, and I was terrified of failing the test.
So how does this connect to self-worth?
Here are some of my underlying stories that ruled my money mindset until I broke through them with a coach:
- I am the only one who can “take care of” me. I have to save and protect myself from worst case scenarios.
- I can’t mess up who I choose to marry, because choosing the wrong person can take away my safety net.
- As long as I have my savings as backup, I know how to get by on very little income.
- Money is math, nothing more.
- “Bad people” will do anything to get more money. “Good people” are grateful for what they have.
These are just a few of MANY money mindsets I used to carry — which were all connected to my conditional self-love, my perfectionism, my transactionality in relationship with others, and both my fears of success (having too much money) and of failure (losing what I have).
See how money isn’t just about money?
Step 2: Admit Who Holds the Purse Strings. Next, you’ll think about who or what actually holds the purse strings in your life.Worthy, pg. xxxiii
Given my propensity to obsess over saving “enough,” I can say who held the purse strings was me — which left me the blame and the credit for whatever happened.
Control and safety, however, were what was holding the purse strings in my life.
The consequence of this looked like avoiding risks (ie. ultra safe investing, hemming and hawing over every purchase decision), avoiding debt (ie. pursuing school scholarships and covering the rest from savings, keeping spreadsheets with roommates and romantic partners so things were perfectly fair), and avoiding my highest income potential (ie. self-sabotaging success, accepting/pursuing work that undervalued me).
In order for me to truly take back hold on the purse strings, I would have to change my relationship to not only money, but discern what safety truly is and what it would take for me to trust myself and others.
Step 3: Take Inventory of Your Beliefs. This step really gets to the heart of the matter. You’ll discover your limiting beliefs about money and your own self-worth.Worthy, pg. xxxiv
I’ve already shared some of my old beliefs and stories about money, but here are more just to share the depth and complexity of our worthiness.
- I don’t sing for the money, which is noble and good.
- I’m not worth much to opera houses as a young artist.
- I must fend for myself and not allow the industry to control me.
- Entrepreneurship gives me full control over how little or how much I earn – which is better than someone else controlling my money.
- Money and favors exchanged between friends or partners should be fair and equal down to the dollar, so no one is getting screwed.
- Debt is dangerous and scary.
- Sell/give more, more, more (of my time, my energy, my value), and I’ll be successful in business and singing.
- The number for “enough” rises with every new chapter I start. There is never really enough.
- Self-care is an expense to be avoided, and gift-giving is where I should be extra generous.
I could write dozens more, but hopefully it’s clear that money has more to do with what we choose in life and how we treat ourselves and others than it has to do with dollars in the bank.
Like health, there are symptoms and causes… and the symptoms of our money habits are always part of a deeper cause within our belief system.
Step 4: Tally the Cost of Your Excuses. What excuses do you use to avoid creating the life you really want? Once you know, it will be harder to let them hold you back.Worthy, pg. xxxiv
I made a LOT of excuses to continue living this way with money, frankly, because there was a lot I gained from it.
The simple truth that I carry no student or personal debt alone is a blessing that came from years and years of saving. I also got a lot out of skimping on the little day-to-day things that afforded me the ability to travel the world during college, grad school, and throughout my twenties while many of my peers could not.
The costs, however, were significant in many ways.
I missed out on many little moments of celebration, fun, and joy in the present.
During grad school, I shopped for groceries at the dollar store. Meanwhile, I saw doctors left and right about my severe gastritis and acid reflux that was making my masters in vocal performance a living hell.
My money stuff was costing me my health, due to poor nutrition in the food I was putting in my body, the severe stress I put myself through, and the very little self-care I invested in.
My money stuff also cost me relationships. Roommates, friends, and boyfriends didn’t take to my “spreadsheets” very warmly – despite my best efforts to demonstrate that I was being fair and equal.
Ultimately, this desire to prove I was a good and fair person and to make sure no one got screwed (remember, this was my fear from childhood) ended up becoming the very thing that drove people away. The wounds from these broken friendships cost me dearly.
Step 5: Uncover Your Underlying Commitments. This step will show you how you’re always getting exactly what you’re committed to. It’s just that your commitments may not be what you think!Worthy, pg. xxxiv
My underlying commitment when it came to money was to use it to protect and fortify myself against life’s dangers – whether that danger was a person, a circumstance, or even myself.
Money was a buffer between me and the world, and the more buffer I had, the “safer” I thought I’d be… but what it actually did put my heart and my dreams MORE at risk of being broken.
Just to offer some different perspectives, here are some examples from clients:
- One client spent money almost as soon as it came in. The more she made, the more she spent. Her underlying commitment was to prove she was smart enough to make the kind of money she’s making – so every time she grew her income, she invested into more education. By shifting her commitment, she was finally able to realize her profit and use it for travel, self-care, and whatever she desired!
- One client was in so much debt that she didn’t know how much debt she had, and she avoided looking at her bank accounts or credit care statements while continuing to charge purchases. Her underlying commitment was to let others take care of her and bail her out when she needed it (and she did the same in return for them) because saving and needing saving felt like love. By shifting her commitment to how she actually wanted to express and receive love, she got honest with her money, took care of her financial needs, and developed healthier relationships.
Step 6: Become Willing to be Worthy. Now that you have a good idea of the deeper issues that have been in your way, you can boost your self-worth and let yourself have more of the “good stuff”.Worthy, pg. xxxiv
Whether you’re like me with hoarding money, my client who spent everything she had, or my other client who spent what she didn’t have, all of us have the same inner work to do.
We all must learn to unconditionally love ourselves so that we stop using money to hide from our mistakes, flaws, or fears.
This is much easier said than done, and it’s one of my coaching superpowers now because of doing my own inner work.
Step 7: Take Back Your Financial Power. In this step, you’ll empower yourself to take responsibility for your financial life and make sure you’re the one in the driver’s seat.Worthy, pg. xxxiv
For me, the name of the game in reclaiming financial power was to prioritize partnership and trust above my need to be right (like dividing everything exactly 50%), my childhood wounds, and my aversion to great financial success and even failure.
I shared the load of financial decisions and budgeting with my then-boyfriend, now-husband.
I stopped tracking spreadsheets to monitor and control every penny, and stopped weaponizing spending as a bad thing.
I tallied “kind gestures” rather than dollars and cents with friends.
I trusted Matt and did my work of allowing things to be done differently or even mistakes being made without extreme emotional stakes.
And now… years after doing this work… I run a team with empowered compensation plans and trusting relationships with me. My husband’s and my income afford us a lifestyle I never imagined possible for myself. Our money math makes sense, and it also flows to and from things that bring us joy.
We have enough for tomorrow, enough for today, and we trust in ourselves to take bold risks.
It truly is all possible.
Step 8: Make One Powerful Financial Decision. All you have to do to start is make one change. Alter the course of just one of your patterns around money, and you’re on your way.Worthy, pg. xxxiv
For me, the first step looked like closing the spreadsheet and instead scheduling “money meetings” weekly with my partner.
For my aforementioned client, the first step looked like saying no to the next 3 courses or books that interested her to allow her money to stay in her account longer and longer.
For my other client, that looked like adding it all up to know exactly how much debt she had, and doing the math to see how much she had spent vs. earned over the last 3 months.
Whether it’s getting more hands-on or less hands-on, one step is all it takes to begin.
Step 9: Uncover Your Desires-Financial & Otherwise. It’s great to feel more worthy, but what do you really want? This step will help you not only get in touch with your desires but help you expand what you believe is possible for you, financially and in other areas of your life, too.Worthy, pg. xxxiv
This is my favorite part of the coaching process around money… and one that opens up new worlds of possibility, luxury, and pleasure around money.
When we allow ourselves to visualize unspoken dreams and things that bring us joy, AND we allow ourselves to be worthy of having them all… then we have everything we need for a breakthrough!
Step 10: Get Ready to Do the Impossible. When you dismantle long-held beliefs and patterns about your worth, amazing things begin to happen-even what you once thought was impossible.Worthy, pg. xxxv
I never thought I would have two homes, multiple successful businesses, the space to make music and creative projects, monthly travel all around the country and world, AND an emotionally safe and loving home for my own family all in one life.
My client never thought she could experience such freedom to travel and live her dream lifestyle, growth in her team so she didn’t need to learn it all, and have savings for the future all as a new business owner.
My other client never thought she would be debt free, feel confident in managing her money, build her dream career, and create a healthy, interdependent romantic relationship in her 20s.
The work works.
Have I convinced you to pick up Worthy yet?