Do you ever make a financial decision in your business and it just feels OFF? Even though you’ve crunched the numbers and looked at it objectively there’s something that’s not right. It feels inauthentic.
If this sounds familiar than it may be time to examine your money values and if, and how, these show up in your business. Why? Because when we align our financial practices with our money values, we feel more grounded about our decisions, less wishy washy, and more sure and confident about the way we handle money.
I’m teaching you how to identify your money values and how to use these values in your business finances for more grounded and confident financial decision making.
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What are money values? (03:17)
Let’s break it down. What are values? Values are your deeply held beliefs that move you towards a fulfilling life. The more values we have in our personal lives, the happier and more fulfilled we become.
Money values are just that. They’re deeply held beliefs that move us toward a fulfilling relationship with money. If you’re upholding your values toward your money in your business, you’ll feel more fulfilled. If you‘re not upholding your money values in your business, you’ll feel a little bit off. You’ll feel uncertain and insecure.
Money values are really important in feeling a sense of grounded-ness around your money in your business. I want you to look at this from a business finance point of view because that’s how I’ll explain it.
You’ve probably had an experience where you’ve felt amazing about your money. There was a sense of calm and grounded-ness. That’s the feeling that you have when you uphold your money values in your life.
On the other side of the aisle, what does it feel like when you don’t uphold your money values?
We feel edgy, we feel overwhelmed, we feel frustrated, we feel angry, we feel worried, we feel guilty. Obviously, there are a lot of negative feelings about our money.
Take note. Money values really impact the way we feel about our money, but also the way we act with our money. Actions are just as impactful as feelings.
When you’re feeling unsure about anything in your financial life, checking in with your money values makes a huge difference. I know for myself as a self-employed entrepreneur, I’m constantly wondering about my decisions with my money.
Was that the right decision? Did I hire the right person? Was that the best use of these funds? Should I have tried to buy something from somebody else? Should I try to buy something else altogether?
These are real feelings that we as entrepreneurs and small business owners ask ourselves. Your money values will help you answer those questions. I want to reiterate, when we talk about money values, we’re going beyond the practical side of money. This is beyond the bookkeeping.
The goal here is to understand our emotional selves with our money. It’s really important for us to define our money values as small business owners. Then we can use our money values to help us make better financial decisions.
How to Identify Money Values (08:22)
Now for the fun stuff, which is identifying your money values!
First thing first, you DO have money values. A lot of people think, maybe I don’t have any values around money, but everyone has money values.
You DO have values around your money, but you might not know it. Oftentimes, we cling to our limiting beliefs about money and we think those are our values, but no, those are not our values. Remember, values are positive.
What you value moves you toward a fulfilling relationship with money. Therefore, your limiting beliefs are not your values. It’s hard for people to find their money values because they are so buried under limiting beliefs.
There are three steps I want you to take, so you can find your money values.
Exercise #1: Identify a Peak Money Experience
This is a time in your life where you have felt completely aligned with your money. A time when you felt grounded, where you felt abundance. There was enough where you didn’t feel worried. Everything just felt right.
That is a peak money experience. The thing about peak money experiences is they can be big or small.
When I tell people about this exercise, they want to focus on some major event that happened in their lives. However, it can be a tiny moment that felt really good.
Don’t get caught up in figuring out the most perfect moment. Your peak money experience can be a major milestone, or it can be a small win. The first one that comes to mind is the one that you should examine. I have a worksheet for you to use to help you reflect on your personal experience.
The idea behind reflecting is reliving that experience. I want you to remember it in great detail, and journal your thoughts. All of this will help you understand why that moment was a great experience for you.
Here are some questions you should answer when you’re journaling: When did this happen? Where were you? Think about the scene that you were in. Who were you with? Did that person say or do anything that impacted you in this peak money moment? What made this moment so special? What feelings or feeling stood out the most to you? What part of this experience do you want to bring into your life now?
Those are some ways that you can start to reflect. Next, look for the values that were upheld in this experience. Ask yourself, what impacted me in that moment? What feeling did I have that I really wish I could capture?
My peak money moment was a tiny moment in my life where I was going out to brunch with a very good friend of mine. We went to this queer-owned vegan brunch cafe. We got there. We were chatting while waiting in line to order our food.
In that moment, I decided I wanted to buy my friend brunch. It wasn’t planned. It wasn’t a special occasion. I just felt a deep sense of love for my friend, and I wanted to be generous. When it was time to pay, she pulled out her wallet, and I told her, “Brunch is on me today.” She was elated and felt special and loved and I felt the joy of being generous.
So what money values were being upheld? For one, security. One of my money values is security. I didn’t really have to think twice about offering to pay for her brunch because I knew that I had enough for the meal.
Another value was generosity. I want to be able to share my money with others! It’s important to me to support the people I love. Being generous with my money helps me build community and sustainability which are also valuable things to me. That ties into social impact, another money value that is important to me, because I was supporting a small queer owned business.
Exercise #2: Valley Money Experience
We have our peaks, and we have our values when it comes to money. A valley money experience is the opposite of a peak money experience. This is when you feel out of alignment with money. Think of a time in your life when money did not feel good for you. Things felt off, and they were not great. I’m sure a lot of us have dwelled on those moments.
When was a time in your life when money felt HARD?
Here’s the thing, we’re not using this time to judge ourselves. That is not what this exercise is about. This is not about thinking about everything you should’ve done in that moment, and how you’re a failure because of it.
Instead, it’s about going back to that experience and understanding what was missing. The missing component is going to be your money values. When you reflect on this experience, you’re going to realize that you were missing x, y, and z.
Here is another example of mine. I used to be very poor in my early twenties because I had a lot of financial problems. I remember a day when I didn’t have enough money to buy an apple. I had been living off of my roommate’s ceral and so desperately wanted something fresh. I wanted it really badly. So badly that I could taste the apple. It made me feel hopeless.
I just felt so utterly hopeless that I couldn’t buy an apple for myself. I felt like a failure. I felt unsupported. I felt like there was no one I could turn to. I thought that there was no way I was ever going to get myself out of this situation.
Looking back on it now, I realized that I was missing self-care. I needed money to sustain my basic needs. Self-care was one value, and community was the other because that experience left me feeling lonely. Security was another value that was missing because I felt like I had nothing concrete to support me financially. And finally, I was missing faith in myself and something greater that this would not be forever.
Exercise #3: Identify Your Top 4 Values
Typically when I tell people about this exercise, they come up with eight money values. I don’t want you to feel overwhelmed by that, so I recommend identifying the top 4 to be your priority. You need to uphold those values in order to be fulfilled in your money life.
Here’s a metaphor: Imagine that you are climbing a mountain with a backpack. Your money peak is at the very top of the mountain. There is a steep incline toward the top of the mountain. The further you climb, the heavier the backpack becomes. The only way you can make it to the top is by unloading some of those money values from your backpack.
You have to take out a few values if you’re going to make it to the top. Which values are you willing to set aside? Which values will make it with you to the top of the peak? Which values will accompany you through the sweat and hard labor?
Ways to Use Money Values in Our Business (25:47)
Now that we’ve identified different money values, I want to talk about what to do with them. You want to use your money values in your business for financial decision making.
Anytime that you are unsure about anything financial in your business, you can check your money values. This process will help you see the bigger picture, and determine if a decision is either aligned or unaligned with your money.
You’ll eventually ask yourself, Am I upholding my money values if I make this decision?
Let’s talk more specifically about what you can use these values for. Well, you can use them for earning decisions, around how much you charge, and if you’re going to offer discounts. You can use them to decide which clients you’re going to work with, and how you’re going to set up boundaries.
I have a friend who was questioning whether or not she should still offer discounts on some of her products. After we talked about it, she decided that one of her top money values is generosity. She ended up sticking to the discount offers because they were aligned with her money values.
She made that connection with her core values and her money values, and realized that offering discounts was in complete alignment with her end goal. Can you see how this can help you make financial decisions in your own business?
Now you should be able to see how this can help you make a decision. It will also help you establish financial self-care. For example, if you value security, you make starting a savings account a top priority. That will affect your decisions on how you pay yourself.
Consult Your Values.
Anytime you’re making a major spending or earning decision, consult your money values.
Is your decision aligned with those top four money values?
Or is it completely unaligned? If it is, it’s probably not the right decision for you. Even if everyone else is telling you to do it, you won’t feel good about it. You’ll feel off and you won’t be able to pinpoint a practical reason why.
Anytime you’re making a money decision that you feel uncomfortable or uncertain about, check in with your money values as well. You can crunch the numbers and do all the practical stuff but your money values are your ultimate compass.
I use this system myself, and it’s tried and true. When I’m questioning a financial decision, I go back and look at my values of faith, generosity, community, and social justice.
Ready to find your money values? Download the free Money Values Worksheet, which walks you through my step by step process for identifying your money values!