Many people find money & finances, particularly business finance a mystical and scary topic. It’s not surprising as our relationship with both numbers and money comes with a lot of baggage.
But here’s the thing… numbers just like words are simply a way of communicating and conveying information.
Numbers on letterboxes tell us if we’re at the right house.
Numbers on road-signs tell us how fast we should take a corner.
And numbers on a profit and loss report tell us whether all the hard work we put into our business is paying off.
If you want to beat your fear of numbers and feel confident about managing your finances, there are a few things you can do which will make a huge difference.
1. Understand where the fear comes from
Every one of us have attitudes and beliefs about numbers and money which have come from our experiences as children, and our subsequent experiences as adults.
Perhaps, as a child you were told you were hopeless at maths. Or maybe money was tight in your family growing up. And then someone made you feel stupid for asking how credit cards or mortgages work.
All of these experiences build layer upon layer to form the attitudes we have towards numbers, money and our finances. If those experiences were negative, then it can show up in our lives as fear and feelings of hopelessness.
I grew up with an uncle who was really negative about anyone (including my parents) who had more money than he did. I spent decades feeling really uncomfortable about owning anything that would make me appear to be wealthy.
You’ll have different fears – you might feel like you’re no good at managing money or that you have to work hard, or that it’s impossible to pay off debt, or that its’ not ok to make money out of your artistic talents.
2. Start telling yourself a new story
Having identified what your beliefs are and where they came from, consider whether you want to keep those beliefs. Or is it time to trade them in for something new?
Brene Brown suggests asking ourselves "what story am I telling myself?" This is such a simple strategy but it's power lies in getting us pause and then consider what messages we're choosing to listen to.
The good news is that we have the power to change our attitudes and beliefs. That’s because beliefs are simply thoughts that we have repeated over and over again and decided that they are true - EVEN If they aren't.
By choosing to change our thoughts, we can start to change our beliefs, which will then change the actions we take and ultimately change the outcomes in our lives.
3. Use affirmations to replace the old stories
Because beliefs are thoughts that we keep repeating, you can use affirmations or catch phrases to change your mindset and beliefs. Re-educating ourselves that money is safe can have a massive impact for those of us who are fearful of money.
Affirmations you could try are:
- I am getting to grips with numbers
- I am becoming more knowledgeable about finances
- I am capable of managing my finances
- It is safe for me to have wealth
- It is safe for me to look at my finances without fear
- It is safe for me to make money from my creativity
- It is safe for me to make important financial decisions
- It is safe for me to charge more for my products/services
4. Grow your confidence with a coach
You had someone to teach you how to interpret the numbers on road signs and now you know what speed you should be driving.
It’s just the same with interpreting your financial numbers. No one was born knowing how to read a profit and loss report.
Having someone to teach you how to read the numbers and put them into a format that makes sense to you can change the way you approach your business.
Instead of being scared of the numbers, you can begin to see them as story tellers and as signals which let you know what is happening in your business.
Feeling confident and in control of your business finances is possible, despite how you might feel right now. If you’d like help to understand the essentials when it comes to accounting and tax join our Love Your Numbers coaching programme.