Part 1 : Sustainable development and money: moving towards a fair AND abundant society
Solène: More and more of us wish to live in a sustainable society which is respectful of the planet. The ultra-capitalist economy which pollutes and disrespects the environment is being criticised from all angles with more force than ever before (even if some sceptics – such as a certain Mr Trump – are yet to be convinced).
However, even though this is a shared aspiration, the idea of making lifestyle changes and even limiting development in the name of nature is unappealing to most – but a practical AND abundant society is achievable, all we need to do is create one!
In my opinion, to really change our society we must stop pitting money and impact against each other. Having a positive impact (better quality of live, better salaries and respect for the environment) can go hand-in-hand with financial prosperity.
As someone who helps future entrepreneurs of change (who are addressing a problem within society or the environment with hybrid business models which are profitable and therefore are not dependent on subsidies), I would say that in practice, very few of them have a peaceful relationship with financial abundance.
Our education, our society, and the economy which has surrounded us from birth give the (false, we’ll see why in a minute) impression that having money is an injustice in the face of those who do not.
So, I decided to invite Marjorie Llombart to collaborate with me on this article, to shine a light on bringing together your relationship with money and your vision for a better world. Marjorie also accompanies entrepreneurs who wish to make a living from their passion, by creating a business in their own image in a way that makes sense for them. She has also given several conferences and webinars on relationships with money.
>> Marjorie, it is often said that money is an exchange of energy. Can you explain a bit more about this? Does it mean that our financial success can be unlimited without ‘taking’ from the world’s poorest or making them ‘lose out’?
Marjorie: Money is multi-faceted, and one of these facets is of course energy. In its origins, money was created to act as a practical intermediary between a buyer and a seller. In this sense, it seems quite neutral. However, as money is a fascinating thing, it is, in fact everything but neutral.
First of all, it is a means of expression, like a giant cinema screen onto which we can project anything we like (freedom, security, the good, the bad, justice, injustice, etc.).
These projections contain thoughts, beliefs and emotions, which all carry energy. Therefore, one part of the energy carried by money comes from human projection.
The other part of this energy is the money’s flow quality. Money is made to circulate. I repeat: money is made to circulate! (If money does not circulate, it becomes neutral and loses its energy).
Therefore money is unlimited because it is made of energy.
What I believe and what I defend in my profession and practice is that my financial success is linked to the value that I have created by using my talents and contributing to society.
If I try to apply this attitude to my everyday life, I will not be taking from anyone nor will I be harming the lives of the poorest. So, I allow myself to earn money doing what I love, bring more joy to the world and making it a better place. If more people enjoy themselves WHILST earning their living, they will become a positive example for others and will therefore do the same.
So, we can indeed use money in a mindful way to create a more positive environment, as many philanthropist entrepreneurs do, for example.
Solène: I completely agree with you, Marjorie, and I particularly like your point about the necessity of circulation.
In the end, when we associate injustice with money, we are actually speaking about money that is not circulating: either money which accumulates in the hands of few speculators, and hardly circulates for others (the fact that it is difficult to access a loan when ‘on the breadline’, for example).
In other words, in order to contribute more and build a better world, one has to allow herself to receive more as well. Considering that money is a bad thing in itself is blocking the energy.
As an ethical entrepreneur, the idea is not to earn an income to then accumulate money in your bank account (nor to buy unnecessary material goods), but rather to be able to invest in services which will increase your impact: external collaborators and tools to improve your performance, for example, which are both things which will raise the quality of your work and therefore your life.
It is this understanding which personally allowed me to get past the stage of ‘minimum income’ where I stagnated at the beginning of my entrepreneurship. I had to decide to leave this ‘comfort zone’ to unlock my true potential.
The eureka moment came the day I read in a study that female entrepreneurs pay themselves 20% less than their male counterparts! This difference, which we usually blame on the ‘unjust’ world of business, seems to have a stronger link to the relationship females have with money as an equally ‘unjust’ thing.
>> Marjorie, in your opinion, why do women pay themselves less than men?
Part 2 : Female Entrepreneurs and Relationships with Money
Marjorie: What is more complex with regards to women than with men, and what the studies show is the difficulty to allow oneself to earn money.
In my own experience and from what I have been able to observe in my female clients, most women encounter difficulties in their relationship with money. They are okay in theory to have more money for doing things that are important to them, such as developing their business, sending their children to the best schools, going on holiday with their family, but they often find themselves obstructed when it comes to making money.
Women are also often uncomfortable when discussing money. This comes from the education they have received, their family and society particularly in countries where discussing money is taboo. There are therefore influences from upbringing, education and culture, and as we are taught to be good little girls who ‘ask for nothing’, we don’t! We never ask too high a price, add extras onto our quotes, or start a job late.
Many female entrepreneurs hesitate in front of potential clients when it comes to stating their rates or making a business proposition. Others have difficulties offering their services and finalising a sale. Although, they are all capable of apologising for their prices, offering discounts and over-delivering their services.
The reason that these situations are problematic is that if these women do not value themselves or are unsure of their power and legitimacy when it comes to money, they are not in a state to live the life they deserve or desire. They are therefore living well below their potential.
Part 3 : Actions & Solutions to Evolve Your Relationship with Money and lead a Successful and Sustainable Business
Solène: In other words, if you are a businesswoman who wants her business to align with her values AS WELL AS her world view, you must work on your relationship with money!
The first step is to accept this fact and consciously decide to change your mindset towards money. If you do not do this, no progress will be possible.
Something that helped me a lot was finding entrepreneurial ‘role models’ who had succeeded doing what I wanted to do myself. When it comes to relationships with money, it’s about finding examples, even in your own field of work, of entrepreneurs who have had large financial success whilst sticking to the same principles and values that you also hold.
It is a lot easier to set a goal for yourself once you are convinced – with tangible proofs – that it is indeed achievable!
Reading is also a very good way to change your view of money. I recommend Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill (who spent his life studying common traits of the richest men of his era, and made a clear link between state of mind and success).
He states the importance of never betraying your values, and insists that people become wealthy not despite of others, but thanks to the positive impact they have on the lives of others and on society.
>> What about you Marjorie, what are your advice?
Marjorie: I really like your suggestion. I was given the same advice when I started four years ago. The words are liberating female readers as they find at least one positive role model (and now they have us, too!).
Other simple yet effective suggestions are:
- Take stock of everything you own (not just documents and accounts, but furniture too for example, any collections you may have, books, etc.) and turn them into money. Wealth is often hidden in the objects we accumulate over the years.
- In the same way, make a record of everything that enters your life, day by day, and what makes you feel wealthy or privileged. For example, a friend offering you a coffee or being invited to a restaurant. This may seem silly but when it comes to money, everything counts. If you cannot appreciate the value of the good things which are already a part of your life, it will be incredibly difficult to make any significant gains in the future.
- Finally, you need to uncover the playful side of money. Money is a tool for creation, so its creative facet is incredibly important – you should therefore try to have a bit of fun with it. For example, by trying to write a very long number as a word, by listening to yourself say outrageous amounts out loud such as “I charge €10,000 per day” (even if you are just alone in front of the mirror!).
Basically, this comes down to being in control of your money and making a playmate of it rather than an enemy.
It is always lovely to invite your friends into your home, isn’t it?!
What has been your biggest ‘aha’ moment reading this article?
Let us know in the comments below !
This article is a written collaboration with:
Marjorie Llombart is a french entrepreneur and the founder of Dessine-Moi une Carrière
She helps female entrepreneurs who dream of making a living doing what they love, by drawing up a business plan in their image, which is based on a model that suits them. She loves unique ideas and particularly enjoys combining strategy AND intuition in her work.
Visit her website (in french) : dessinemoiunecarriere.com
Solène is the Chief Empowerment Officer of Creators for Good.
She developed a methodology that allows Global Citizen to start and grow their own impactful businesses from anywhere in the world – and with no need for investors or government support.