How the story you tell yourself affects your finances

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I’ve not always told myself the best story about me. As a matter of fact, it was downright false.

If you happened to listen to episode #104 of ChooseFI with Doc G from DiversiFI, he talked about the story he told himself for years and how he felt a sense of purpose from it. Furthermore, he went onto to share as the story changed, he needed to change.

We always need to be evolving.

What is the story you tell yourself?

I personally believe the biggest battlefield we can face in life is in our minds.  I challenge you to think deep and hard on the story you tell yourself. As I’ve experienced in my life the story I tell myself affects my finances.

There are some steps to take in unraveling the story you tell yourself.  Sure you can simply work on your finances but if you want a lasting change, I think it’s prudent to work on the deeper issues at hand.

Protecting the mind

I’m a Christian and for me, that means I attempt to keep my thoughts captive to Christ and what He says about me. There are so many voices in this world vying for our attention. Be careful which ones you feed. The thoughts you feed will grow. 

I believe the way to protect our mind begins with our daily habits. My days start out with quiet bible study and prayer. It feeds my soul for the day. Additionally, I may do some writing in the morning.

Furthermore, exercise is shown to produce endorphins in your body. Endorphins have a positive effect on your brain’s chemistry.  In my series on brain health, I’ll be releasing an article this week on exercise and its effect on the brain.

We can all benefit from incorporating more exercise into our daily life.  I walk to work 5 days a week.  Furthermore, I get vigorous exercise 3-4 times a week.

Build healthy habits.

Changing Mindsets

There is such a thing as a poverty mindset. Sometimes these mindsets are passed down from generation to generation and are inherent in the situations to which we are born. I’m here to say this mindset can be broken.

If you are serious about breaking off the poverty mindset, I recommend this book:

The Profit Dare: Winning at Wealth Without Losing Your Soul

I was born into a family of wise financial stewards.  For many reasons, I was a rebellious child and did not pick up on this. I did understand the correlation between money and freedom. Although, I was fixated on short-term freedom which meant as soon as I started working I started spending. I wanted to escape so I bought things and/or experiences that allowed me to be someone else.

Upon getting sober in late 2009/early 2010, I set out on a journey to heal. This resulted in unearthing the lies I believed about myself. Furthermore, it involved identifying where these lies came in. Finally, it involved trading them in for truths.

Through a series of exercises in 12-step programs, I was able to change my mindsetIf I can do it, you can too.

When our mind is operating healthily, we can be intentional with our money choices. Why? Because if we win the battle in our mind and know who we are, we don’t need to buy stuff to feel complete. Furthermore, if we reduce stress with exercise, we also don’t need to buy things/experiences that we perceive as stress reducers.

Reconciling with the past

I talked about letting go of resentments in my article, Surprising Amends.  Resentments can keep us in a sick state mentally.

“Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heal that crushes it.” – Mark Twain

I’m not saying it’s easy to forgive. Nothing really worth going after is easy. Forgiveness is another example of something being simple but not easy.

When we are able to forgive (and receive forgiveness) we gain the capacity to allow for more love into our lives. Additionally, we create space in our minds for a new story to tell ourselves.

I understand that some people have had atrocious acts committed against themselves. These acts may seem unforgivable. I want to remind you that forgiving does not mean accepting unacceptable behavior. Abuse is never acceptable. If you are reading this and are currently in an abusive situation, please call 911. There are resources and services which can help you. If there is any way I can help, please send me a message.

Steps to take in letting go

If you have past resentments and are ready to let go, there are some steps you can take. I highly recommend you do this with an accountability partner. That could be a:

  • Pastor
  • Counselor
  • Sponsor in a 12 step program

A lot of times when we dredge up our past hurts we open the floodgates and it can be overwhelming. Having someone to walk with you through it is key. I also want to encourage you that it’s often darkest before the dawn. Walk through that valley and find your breakthrough!

Journal the following things:

  1. Who or what hurt you?
  2. How were you hurt (be specific)?
  3. How did this affect you?
  4. What role did you play (be specific)? Even when we are hurt and/or don’t deserve specific treatment, we play some type of reactionary role. Identify what that was.
  5. What were your character defects?
  6. Why lies did you believe about yourself if any?
  7. What is the truth?

Then when you’ve done this for every resentment, share with your accountability partner.

Sure my story is extreme in that my life and sobriety depended on taking the steps I listed above. However, I believe that anyone can benefit from such a healing journey. I’d be hard pressed to find someone without any resentments or past hurts.

Through working steps and learning to identify patterns, I found the ability to let go, forgive and be forgiven.

The story I tell myself changed to include the truth that I’m worthy of giving and receiving love. Isn’t that what it’s all about anyway?

Clean up debt

Once you’ve reconciled with your past, established healthy habits, and learned how to guard your mind, I think you are ready to clean up your debt. This is the order in which I did things.

If you do indeed have debt I recommend the following articles I’ve written on the subject of debt:

  1. A Roadmap out of Debt
  2. Lay the Groundwork First, Then Weild Your Superpowers

I followed the Dave Ramsey debt snowball method to get out of debt. It worked for me. However, there are other methods, like the debt avalanche.

Choose one that works for you.

All I know is that when I completed my debt payoff, I took on a prosperity mindset. Something changed in me during the slow process. I became more aware of what monies were coming in a going out.  As a result, I’ve learned to grow my income and reduce my expenses.  

It’s a new life for me…Deanna 2.0.

As a result of getting out of debt, the story I tell myself evolved to include the truth that I am capable of doing hard things

Building Wealth

Are you at the stage where you are ready to focus on building wealth? I have several reading recommendations for you:

  1. So You Want to Be an Investor by me
  2. The Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins
  3. The Millionaire Nextdoor by Thomas J. Stanley

Building wealth creates capacity in our lives for the following:

  • Retirement
  • Generous giving
  • Travel
  • Mission work
  • Service

Furthermore, building wealth creates additional space to tell yourself a new story. Again I believe our purposes continually evolve. Keep up or get left behind. Being above the line, I now get to work on my wealth snowball.

On this side of the equation, the story I tell myself includes the truth that I have the ability to prosper.

Closing Thoughts

In reflecting back on my journey to this point, I’m overwhelmed at the evolution. I’m truly excited to see where God will take me next and how the story will continue to unfold.

No doubt, life happens and storms will come. Don’t give up or give in. I say, learn to weather the storm.

This life is essentially full of different seasons and we need to be able to adapt to each one.

So what is the story you tell yourself? Do you want to change it? Because it’s totally possible…start dreaming.





21 thoughts on “How the story you tell yourself affects your finances”

  1. The battle of the mind is fierce and it’s a daily fight. Renewing the mind and taking thoughts captive requires time and discipline. As the great wisdom writer stated, “as as think in our heart, so are we.”
    Great post, Deanna!

  2. I love the inter-connecting relevance of mindset to the other aspects of our lives — money, health, confidence, stress, relationships — pretty much everything that matters. So once we can improve ourselves from within, it will expand to everything else around us. And I also love that Mark Twain quote, which I’d never heard before. Writing it down!

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  6. Hi Deanna,
    I recently read an article that said all children are operating at a genius level through ~age 4. After that, experiences and attitudes influence who we are and what we become, which is mostly “small” because we believe the story we’re told and we reinforce it internally. As you state, it’s simple to change our story but it isn’t easy. I love how you touch on all the elements to help us break our old story and to once again operate at our genius level. Love it! Thanks.

    1. Hello Kristen! Will you cite me the source of that article? It sounds fascinating. I just love how you say we can, once again, operate at our genius level. Thank you for sharing.

      1. Hi Deanna, I have searched to the point of frustration and cannot find the source for that article. It was a sponsored post on my personal facebook page that I clicked on. I can’t even remember the title or anything else. What I remember is that he stated this comment and led into how we too easily let others influence how we envision ourselves. In essence, outside influencers modify how we think and feel about ourselves and as a result we operate based on what those influences tell us about us. It takes A LOT of hard work to break free from that and rediscover our genius level!

        1. Thank you, Kristen, and I’m sorry the search caused frustration!

          You explained the gist of it and that is what matters. I just love how you say the hard work frees us to again operate at our genius level! It’s just further proof that it’s worth it to work hard for these good things. 🙂

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