First of all, nothing wrong if money comes up in a values conversation. You might, of course, call it “affluence” or “prosperity” or something slightly more refined-sounding, that’s OK). Take it a step further. What does it stand for, for you?
Money is an interesting one, I am always excited when that comes up in a coaching conversation. Why is that:
- Money in our society is often a shortcut to represent success (but is it really?) So there is a lot to unpack there
- Money can be a bit of a taboo, which means if people trust you enough to talk about it, you get to talk about stuff that really matters
- Money is usually not a thing in and of itself. It usually represents something deeper, and what that is is very individual (again, makes for really good substantial conversations about things people actually care about).
Some of the things money can represent:
For person A, it might be security. Comfort. Space. No middle seat on the plane. Better healthcare. A nice, safe place to live – no matter what goes on in the world.
For person B, it might be love and connection with other humans (there, I’ve said it). Being able to visit people you care about on a short notice no matter how far away they live. Setting up your children for a good start in life. Being able to help a relative, a sister, a friend in a much better way. More ways to contribute.
For person C, it might be quality and craftsmanship. The bespoke suit, the shoes. Hand-stitched. The touch. Archaic-seeming traditions of craftsmanship handed down over centuries. The respect and appreciation this commands and the ability to support that.
For person D, it might be freedom. Saying no. Doing your own thing in your way, at your own pace. Leave that job. Leave that relationship. Start afresh. Making art. Travel. Learning Italian in Italy. Learning Salsa in Cuba. Surf shop sunsets.
For person E, it might be a way to make big things happen that they care about. Start that business. See if that idea has legs. Supporting that organization, that group of people. Take something good and expand it. Making big dreams come true.
So, if money ranks high on your list of values:
1) Embrace it — AND then…
2) …ask yourself, what it means for you and your life. What does it give you, what side of you does it allow to flourish. You might also find you don’t need money to allow these sides of you to flourish more.
What does money represent for you?
(this blog was slightly updated in spring 2021)