Wealth Mindset?

Money Mindset Broken Board

In 2003, I was introduced to the world of personal development.

While I have learned many valuable lessons since then, and I have grown (i.e. “developed” I guess you could say), looking back I also believe that some of what was being shared was not what it appeared to be.

Much of my personal development journey centered on something referred to as a “money mindset.” I was taught that if I wasn’t as wealthy as I wanted to be, it was because I did not possess a wealth mindset. I was taught wealth affirmations. I went through experiential exercises that were supposed to transform my mindset. I was taught to live and spend “as if I were wealthy.”

The result of all of this mindset reprogramming was supposed to be financial freedom.

I would begin attracting great wealth. It would not be difficult. It would not require hard work. In fact, I still have a board that I broke with my hand (think karate chop) in an exercise at one of those wealth weekends on which I wrote on one side, “Being rich takes too much hard work” (my “poor” mindset) and on the other, “Earning passive income doesn’t take hard work” (the wealth mindset I was eager to adopt). Breaking the board was supposed to represent breaking the limiting belief… the mindset that had kept me working hard for my money all my life, and usher in an era of easy passive income and financial freedom.

It was a fun exercise. It did feel empowering. And, it did shift my mindset.

Just not in the ways I expected. Instead, over the next seven years and countless seminars and wealth mindset exercises, I went from being very comfortable financially, having a profitable business, a few solid investments, and a decent nest egg, to spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and going into debt chasing financial freedom. I wanted it so badly I was willing to do whatever it took to get there. By the way, that’s another tact used in many of these trainings… telling you if you’re not willing to do whatever it takes, then you don’t really want it. I disagree but that’s another blog post.

Turns out I wasn’t being taught a wealth mindset.

I may not be a wealth expert, but I’m pretty sure the way to financial freedom isn’t spending all you’re making or going into debt. I look back now and realize that I wasn’t being taught a wealth mindset… I was being taught a spending mindset. You see, a spending mindset that believes making millions is easy and available to anyone will keep investing more and more money to reach that goal (particularly when they’re being encouraged to do so by those who appear to have the wealth they’re seeking). They planted the seed—continuously—that if I wasn’t financially free and wanted to be, there was still something I needed to learn… more inner work to do… more steps to take. And, not surprisingly, they could teach me, for a price. I think what they were really doing was teaching me how to make them rich.

I do believe making a lot of money or becoming financially free does require a certain mindset.

There may be things you need to learn. And, yes, there will be times you need to invest. But I strongly disagree with the philosophy that you must spend as if you are wealthy (i.e. spend money you don’t have) in order to become wealthy. I believe that is irresponsible and extremely dangerous. It drove my successful business into the ground and put me in debt. And, I’ve watched it drive others out of business and into severe financial straits, and even bankruptcy.

I’m not against making money or striving for financial freedom.

But I believe too many people have been led astray. While the principles being taught may have begun with a seed of truth or good intentions, I believe somewhere along the way that shifted.

The bottom-line is this: If someone is advising you to pay them money in order for you to make money, you have to step back and recognize that it’s a business transaction. You owe it to yourself to do your homework and make sure—before you invest a dime—that what they’re recommending actually works. And, that they’re qualified to teach you.

You must also realize that no matter what you do, or what you think, there are no guarantees that any of us will become financially free.

Some of us may. Others may not. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. But try responsibly. Don’t spend money you don’t have on some pipe dream of financial freedom. Create a carefully researched plan. Invest only what you can afford to lose. And thoroughly check out those you are taking advice from.

The silver lining.

After seven years of chasing financial freedom and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to achieve it, I am happy to report I finally woke up. We are back on top of our financial situation. We are living within our means. I most certainly haven’t given up on financial freedom but I have a much clearer perspective on it now. And I am much more careful about who I listen to and what I invest in. And, maybe most important, I am happy where I am financially and with what I have. If I strike it rich, that will be awesome. But I’m certainly not waiting for that day to be happy, nor am I spending all my time, money and energy chasing it.


About Debbie

Debbie worked in marketing for 32 years and ran a successful coaching and consulting business for 19. She now teaches marketing and helps people find greater happiness and success by learning how to Follow Inspiration.

10 comments on “Wealth Mindset?

  1. Loved this blog post. It’s all true. The ‘gurus’ out there training people in wealth mindset aren’t charging 5-6 figures out of the kindness of their heart…it’s a BUSINESS transaction.
    I’m not a cynic. I do believe that you need to value what you sell. And I believe that there is a SUCCESS mindset, but you need to be smart about who you hire and remember that nothing is for sure. Take responsibility!
    Awesome truth, Debbie. Keep shining that light on the garbage being sold out there.

  2. Thanks for chiming in Kim. It was a bit scary publishing this post but I knew I had to. Thank you for supporting me.

  3. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Debbie!!
    I’m posting this everywhere because the photo industry is full of these “gurus” trying to sell newbie photogs things they don’t need. And when you tell them you can’t afford it they tell you how you’re not really interested in succeeding or you “just have to take a leap of faith”! Bite me!

  4. You’re welcome Brian, and thanks for sharing it with others. We need to make people aware. Not that there aren’t valid teachers out there but the sales and marketing tactics have gotten out of hand. I have another post coming soon on THAT topic that I think you will appreciate. It was prompted by our recent email exchange… look for it later this week! 🙂

  5. Sanity, thy name is Debbie LaChusa! Yes, board breaking exercises feel great when you’re doing them, as I suppose walking over hot coals must also. But it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve “broken through” your limiting patterns and beliefs and POOF! all gone, never to return again. I’m still hearing high end coaches saying that the way to get more clients and build a 6 or 7 figure business is by paying top dollar for high-end coaching (and then charge top dollar, which I’m actually quite OK not feeling comfortable with!). Sounds exhausting to me, and keeps you in the wheel of spending (kind of like the Buddhist wheel of samsara or suffering). What you offer is a tribe I can really be comfortable in and grow with…great post!

  6. I concur that many programs out there are unproven. I have seen a few fail to get the results they advertise. Though there are often applications for these programs, they are not actually used to screen, mostly just to create the appearance of exclusivity. Basically, the program will take anyone, which often has unfortunate results. Too often they take people with under-developed businesses.

    One question I encourage folks to ask prospective coaches is, “How many of your past clients successfully reached their goals within your program time?” Also highly recommend asking for recommendations. It is not unreasonable, for the amount of money being spent, to spend 10 minutes on the phone with a past client of this coach, to ask the questions that are not covered in the shining testimonials.

    Thank you for speaking out about this, Debbie.

  7. Oh, how true!

    How I wish I had read this before I put myself in the same situation and now I’m in debt and still don’t have much of the financial freedom I was promised. I can’t wait to get a hold of your PackageU scholarship because it’s come at just the right time for me.

    At the end of it all, I’ve learned a valuable lesson. And I’m also learning just how resilient and strong I really am because I’m never giving up in the face of all the stupid mistakes I have made. I will squeeze every last drop of goodness I can by learning the (hard-earned) lessons I need to learn.

    Thanks Debbie.

  8. Thank you all for sharing and for your support.

    Sharon – yes, I have walked on hot coals, too! 🙂 Was it a valuable and empowering experience? Yes, but in reality it was just a metaphor. And in some ways I wonder if, like the board exercise, if it wasn’t there more to shift our mindset IN THE MOMENT so we’d be more pliable (we’d be more likely to keep buying into what was being sold). I hate to sound so cynical, but after all I’ve experienced, and all the research I’ve done, one just has to wonder what the true motivations are for the people using these techniques. Especially knowing in hindsight that many use stage hypnosis, NLP, and sleep deprivation (among other tactics) at their events.

    I will admit I learned a lot at these types of events. But I’m not sure it was worth the price I paid, both financially or emotionally. However, as I like to say, “It is what it is” and all we can do is move forward. And I hope this blog and my book will help others do exactly that.

  9. Daria, I agree… the application process is a ruse. It’s based on two sales concepts called takeaway selling and scarcity. You make people believe that not everyone will be accepted, because we tend to want more that which we can’t have. I’m ashamed to say that I even used it in the past. Because it worked. And I know that’s why others use it, too. For me however, it very quickly didn’t feel like it was in integrity, so I stopped. Did it cost me sales? Yes. But you know what, I can sleep at night knowing I am not using fear and scarcity to get clients. Ironically, two tactics that many coaches who preach abundance use – go figure!

    I also agree with your suggestion to ask for, and speak with, references. If the person selling the program won’t allow either, RUN AWAY FAST. Any solid coach or mentor with integrity will welcome these steps. Anyone else is probably trying to get you to make a quick, emotional decision (and they’ll tell you it’s in YOUR best interest – funny when they’re the ones getting the thousands of dollars!).

    Most people wouldn’t hire a babysitter or a plumber without references, yet for some reason we’ll shell out thousands of dollars to someone we don’t know without talking to anyone who has worked with them. We rely on testimonials and success panels at events, both of which are “created” by the seller to make them and their program look good. I’m not saying they’re untrue, but I know I’ve been asked to participate in both of these types of testimonials, and have been coached on what to say, and have later felt bad about having that testimonial out there.

    It’s not that we should never attend another event or hire another mentor or coach. We just need to be smart about it, and protect ourselves by doing our reseach.

  10. Trish, I’m so sorry you had to go into debt to learn the hard way, too. But trust me, I can relate (I share my entire expensive lesson in my book, “Breaking the Spell.”) But I’m glad you have realized it, and I do hope that Package U can help you get your business and finances back on track. You are exactly the reason I wanted to basically give it away for free. I’m also glad that through your challenges you have found your strength. I did, too. And in many ways it was worth it. I hope you feel the same. Best of luck to you!

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