As I do most Saturday nights, this past weekend I tuned into the Suze Orman show. While my finances are certainly not up to Suze’s standards yet, her show serves as a good reminder that I need to stay on top of my money so that I’m able to live a life of financial freedom.
At the end of Saturday’s episode, Suze discussed three things that stood in the way of creating personal wealth.
While many people would say that job prospects, education level, or financial literacy could make or break someone’s personal wealth, Suze listed three other—and more important—barriers to reaching the financial Promised Land.
So what were they?
In an interview with the site SelfGrowth.com Suze breaks it down even further:
“Fear, shame and anger are the three internal obstacles to wealth. Fear that you have credit card debt and you don’t know what you’re going to do. You get this paycheck that fear rises, and you rush out to buy something because you define yourself by the things that you are because you’re so afraid that somebody is going to find out that you have credit card debt. Shamed that you’re 45 years of age and don’t have a pot to pee in, and you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up so, you go out and spend money. Anger – because you’ve been in this marriage for 25 years and your husband just left you powerless, penniless; and you are going to get even at him. Emotions rule your actions when it comes to money.
“The problem is in the end when this is all over, there is not going to be one of us that is able to take a penny with us. We are all going to go out empty handed, including me. So, can somebody tell me what this is all about? True wealth is that which can never be diminished. To be truly wealthy, you not only have to understand what you have, but you have to understand who you are. When your self worth means equally as much to you as your net worth, then you have true financial freedom.”
I began thinking about Suze’s advice and how it can be applied to other areas of our lives.
I’ve written extensively about fear and how it keeps us trapped in lives we don’t particularly want to be in, but I have only briefly touched on shame, and haven’t even breached the subject of anger.
So let’s get into it, shall we?
Shame is defined as “a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.” And while it may seem like shame doesn’t play a part in pursuing our goals, it does.
I don’t know about you, but in the past I felt ashamed at letting key opportunities slip through my fingers, I felt embarrassed for not keeping up with people that could have possibly helped my career (or friends who always had my back), and I’ve felt humiliated because of mistakes that I felt I was too smart to make.
When I was 24 I got pregnant with my son. Despite being very grown and a semester away from finished grad school, I felt a deep sense of shame.
I wasn’t raised to get pregnant before I was married. I grew up being taught that having a baby came after the big white dress, and yet I found myself knocked up and scared. Instead of seeking support from my circle, I kept it to myself for months and failed to connect with people who could have actually helped me.
For a while my thesis advisor (the acclaimed novelist Sapphire) hated me because she thought I was flaky (it was morning sickness). My parents were worried because I dodged their calls, and my boyfriend and I fought about what we were going to do.
While I was able to muddle through, the shame of being a single mom followed me and informed my decisions for years. Instead of trying to find a career I LOVED, I picked something safe so that I could do the responsible thing and provide for my son. And it was this sense of obligation (tinged with shame) that nearly kept me in the classroom when all I really wanted to do was write.
Thankfully, I broke out of it, and was able to pursue my dream, but it took a lot of work. And therapy.
Anger is a tricky emotion. Sometimes it can spur one’s ability to go for a goal, but it’s born out of the wrong reasons: payback, revenge, or proving a point.
But anger can also keep us trapped in old habits and negative behaviors.
Iyanla Vanzant teaches that anger is a manifestation of fear, and we already know that fear is the enemy of success. While it’s ok to be afraid of some things, too often we let our fears stop us dead in our tracks and keep us from pursuing our goals.
The same goes for anger. When we are angry, we are typically so consumed with that emotion that it’s hard to see straight, let alone live our lives in a fearless way.
Perhaps we are bound by our past hurts, angry with our self for the mistakes we have made, or pissed off at others for hurting us. Whatever the case may be, being perpetually angry robs us of our choices, and in many cases, our dreams.
As Ms. Vanzant told me over the summer, the root of our success is not outside of us—it is within.
Once we shake off the negative emotions that impede our progress, get clear with on what we really want, and believe we can actually achieve it, then nothing will stop us from building the life we desire.
Have fear, shame, and anger stood in your way? Please leave a comment and let me know how you’ve overcome it (or are dealing with it).
*Want to join a supportive network of go-getters? Join us in the #GOALdiggers Facebook group.