Despite common beliefs and an influential study from the past, recent research suggests that there is a strong link between income and wellbeing. A study at the University of Pennsylvania found no evidence for a ‘wellbeing plateau’ related to income. With other worlds, wellbeing keeps increasing with income!
Crucially however, research indicates that it’s not so much about how much we earn, but about how much we earn compared to those surrounding us, that affects our wellbeing. We are social animals and comparing ourselves to others is normal behaviour. However, an obsession with what others do and earn (or, as a fellow coach puts it, ‘comparisitis’) is not healthy and detrimental to our wellbeing.
I often find that conversations about money tend to centre around ‘how much’ and not enough around ‘what for?’ Studies have consistently found that buying experiences rather than things creates greater wellbeing. However, we often need things in order to create these experiences in the first place. While I love the experience of playing my keyboards, none of it would happen had I not been able to buy a good quality instrument in the first place!
Money also often creates time, and interestingly this also works vice versa. The greater the income, the more flexibility you have to do what you desire in your spare time. For us solopreneurs, extra income means that we can choose to create more time for ourselves, by working ‘smarter rather than harder’! And likewise, we can continue to increase our wealth exponentially if we decide to use that spare time to create more wealth (whether we want do to this, will of course depend on our values and our priorities in life).
What does all this mean for your and your business? It highlights the importance of giving money and income the place it deserves in your life. Be honest about it, and embrace money as your friend, rather than the source of evil, a personal obsession or an elusive entity you are constantly chasing! The following tips can help you to achieve this:
- Develop an abundance mindset: when you believe there is plenty for everyone out there and you act accordingly, then you will spot opportunities to ethically increase your wealth
- Detach yourself from negative emotions you have attached to money. Money is just an exchange of energy. Ask yourself more helpful questions, such as: ‘what does money really mean for me?’ Does it mean more freedom, more time to see friends and family, buying all the things you have dreamt of? Does it mean security such as having your own property, buying yourself memorable experiences, enhancing your social status?
- Increase awareness of your unconscious money beliefs, and what life events led to them (these are often hidden in your childhood). Be in control of your finances, and don’t let the thought of money control your life!
- Don’t waste your time constantly comparing your income with that of people around you. There will always be people who are wealthier, as well as poorer than you. Figure out what you need from life (and therefore from your income), rather than considering it as a contest with others!
- Use your income to do good. Being generous and helpful to others will reflect on you in your time of need. Giving money boosts happiness, and happy people give more! Giving creates a virtuous spiral of increasing benefits. My mum, who has always been generous and helpful with her clients in her business, was showered with gifts and presents during lockdown, and many of her clients pre-bought courses of treatments even when it was completely unclear when she would be able to re-open again!
Many small business owners have a ‘love-hate’ relationship with money. They know its benefits and value it, but at the same time they seem to be afraid or threatened by it. Creating a more detached and consciously aware relationship with money, will help you use it to your benefit so that you can create your own path to wealth and financial freedom.
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