Rich people are bad…or how I discovered my money mindset story

June 22, 2016

“Rich people are bad…”
Consciously I wouldn’t think or say that rich people are bad.
But my subconscious has another opinion.

Money Mindset Emerges

I was in my first year of business and had made $55K in only 3 months.
After three 5 figure months I made only $1700 the next month.
I was in shock. What had just happened?
Why had my revenue dropped?
Partly the drop in revenue had very logical reasons.
I hadn’t really followed through on potential sales.
But why hadn’t I followed through?
That’s when I realised I had a Money Mindset issue.
My mindset was holding me back from making money.
It was as if I subconsciously didn’t want to make more money.
But consciously I of course wanted to continue having five figure months.
Tony Robbins says we don’t lack strategies in our life and business but we hold on to stories that don’t serve us. I wondered if I had a money mindset story that was holding me back.

“We all have stories—narratives we tell ourselves about why we can or cannot do or achieve something in our lives.” -Tony Robbins

First I was in denial that I had such a story.
Before I became an entrepreneur I had never had an issue with money. From the age of 10 I had earned my own money so I always knew you had to work for money. I never had a problem spending my money but also could save up whenever I wanted to e.g. to buy an apartment or a car. If anything I like to splurge but that wasn’t the problem here, the problem was that I suddenly was self-sabotaging my own success. Why would I do that?
Slowly but surely I accepted that I must have a money mindset story.
Once I accepted that I had a story these words started to pop up in my head: “Rich people are bad”. I was quite shocked at my own thoughts. Why would I think that? There was ample evidence in the world that rich people aren’t necessarily worse than others and many rich people use their wealth for good. There must be a story somewhere that made me create this belief.
Sure enough, within moments of my acceptance I had an epiphany.
The story was so clear to me that I was even surprised why I hadn’t seen it before.
My childhood experience and stories told of my grandfather had shaped some serious limiting beliefs. What had happened and why did my grandfather have that effect on me? Let me tell you the whole story.
[tweetshareinline tweet=”Accepting that you have a money mindset issue is the first step.” username=”sigruncom”]

My Money Mindset Story

Two years ago my grandfather on my father’s side died.
He was 90 years old and had lived a good life.
He had been healthy until shortly before.
I wasn’t sad when he died. I didn’t feel particularly close to him. He was more like an uncle. An uncle that you hear about but rarely see and doesn’t seem to care much about you. But it wasn’t always like that.

Sigrun Grandfather

A picture of my grandfather that I took in 2011 when he spent Christmas Day with us.

As a child I enjoyed visiting my grandparents. They lived a few streets away from my family and were building a huge new house also close by. Besides three bedrooms, walk-in-closet and double garage there was a bar area, fitness room and sauna. I thought my grandparents were rich! There was always lots of drinks and snacks and sweets for us. Christmas was the best, then the house was full of people and lots of presents. As I child I really enjoyed spending time there.
When I was 8 years old my grandparents divorced. This was back in the 70’s and it was very unusual for people to divorce, even in Iceland. I remember where I heard it first, I was sitting in the back of the car in the street where they lived. I couldn’t believe that people would divorce after 30 years of marriage. And I wanted to know why but never got a good answer. We helped my grandmother move to an apartment not far away from us and the contact to her increased while the contact to my grandfather decreased although she was the one leaving him – for no apparent reason.
My grandfather moved alone into the new big house. I loved playing there with my siblings and my nieces. There were so many hiding places that hide and seek became our favourite game. We also pretended to have a bar and would serve each other drinks which were of course just water or soda. But then we are not welcome there anymore…
Within a year my grandfather was living with another woman and they lived together for the next 30 years until she died, they never got married but he called her his wife. Instead of embracing my family and trying to get to know us, his new wife never showed any interest in us and even discouraged my grandfather from contacting us.
The contact to my grandfather got less and less and we went through birthdays and christmases without a message or presents from my grandfather. He did visit my parents at work and bring flowers for my mother but as a child I felt abandoned by my own grandfather.
5 years after my grandparents’ divorce I had my confirmation in our local church and afterwards there was a big celebration with at least 60 people at our home. My grandparents had avoided each other diligently for years but at this party they had to show up. I remember my grandfather and his wife staying only very briefly before they left. It was obviously the wife who wanted to leave and I felt sad that my grandfather couldn’t stay.
When I graduated from high school (gymnasium) there was another big celebration at our home but this time my grandfather didn’t show up and sent a telex instead. I remember how disappointed I was. Even distant relatives showed up with presents but not my grandfather. I guess this was the moment I realised that I didn’t have a grandfather anymore.
From the outside his wife looked harmless and nice but what she did to us and our relationship to my grandfather feels like something out of a movie called the Bad Step-Grandmother. I basically lost my grandfather 33 years before he died. That is why I wasn’t sad when he actually died.
As I became older I realised that my grandfather was maybe not rich but surely well off. I heard of him traveling on safari in Africa and going on a tour around the world with his wife. Stories emerged about how good he was with money but also how cheap he could be.

Rich people are bad… poor people are nice

When my parents were 16, my mother got pregnant and my father asked my grandfather to support them while he would go to high school and learn to become a ship mechanic. My grandfather was already supporting my father’s sister and her husband so this was not an unusual request. But to my father’s surprise my grandfather said no. This meant that my parents both had to go to work at 16 years old to support themselves and their first-born, despite my father having parents who could easily have supported them.
My parents have told me this story many times and they seem to have forgiven my grandfather but I on the other hand get upset every time I hear or think about this story.
[tweetshareinline tweet=”A disempowering story is one of the things that controls people and makes them stuck in their beliefs.-Tony Robbins” username=”sigruncom”]

When my brother was born, my parents moved in with my mother’s parents who only had a one bedroom flat. The generosity of my mother’s parents was something I experienced throughout my childhood and teenage years. They took care of me and my sister while my mother was working and during the long Icelandic school holidays. My mother’s parents were definitely not rich although I did not experience them as poor, I only saw their kindness and generosity.
Slowly but surely my mindset story became clear.
It doesn’t take a psychologist to see the stark contrast I had with my two grandparents – one “rich” and the other one “poor” – and then how helpful vs. unhelpful they were towards their own children and grandchildren. It’s no wonder I developed the belief that “rich people are bad”.
The problem was that this belief was holding me back. It was making me stall my own business growth, it was making me not follow through, it was making me feel bad about about earning lots of money. And it was not serving my vision of helping people turn their passion into profits. If I had such an issue with a story from my childhood then my clients probably also have their own limiting beliefs that I need to help them uncover. I couldn’t let this story control my behaviour and limit my mission in life.
I felt relieved to know my money mindset story. Now it was up to me to change my story and create new beliefs. I cannot change what has happened in my life. What I can do is create a new and empowering story that serves me and my future.

Creating a New Money Mindset Story

I decided to think fondly of my grandfather. I don’t think he was a bad man. I think he was good with money but made bad choices when it came to taking care of his children and staying in touch with this grandchildren. I think he was lonely after the divorce with my grandmother and was very relieved to find a new wife. When she didn’t want him to have contact to his family he decided to accept that rather than lose her. I am sure he was sad about having to make that choice and I don’t agree with his choice but to him it seemed the better one out of two bad options. It does make me sad thinking about his dilemma.
To make the story fun instead of sad I think of my grandfather as Scrooge McDuck from the Donald Duck series.
Wikipedia describes him this way: “McDuck was initially characterized as a greedy miser and antihero (as Charles Dickens’ original Scrooge was), but in later appearances he was often portrayed as a charitable and thrifty hero, adventurer, explorer, and philanthropist”.
I want to think of my grandfather as someone who discovered too late what he really wanted in life. After his wife died he became much closer to my family and though it was never discussed I think he wished he had done things differently in his life.
My new Money Mindset Story is gradually being created with every step of my own journey.
I am now aware of the limiting beliefs we all have when it comes to money.
It doesn’t matter if you are earning $1000, $10K or $1M.
We all have some kind of limiting beliefs.
The key is to uncover them.
I invite you to discover your disempowering story and to create a new more empowering story.

P.s. Want to know what happened to my grandmother?
My grandmother was the one who initiated the divorce according to my parents. They think she regretted the whole thing shortly after without ever admitting it. She never remarried and I never saw her with another man. After being a housewife for many years she had to work again and took job in at a dry cleaner’s. She looked satisfied with her life from the eyes of a child but thinking about it now I am not so sure any more. She was 74 when she fell and hit her head on the ice and had to go to hospital, she never recovered and died a few months later.
I would love to hear you money mindset story. Add it in the comments below!

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