Is your money identity holding you back?

I recently read the Seth Godin book “This Is Marketing”. On the back cover, and throughout the book, is the phrase “People like us do things like this.” At first I thought this might have been some weird marketing cult phrase, but it turns out that it’s a reflection of identity.

When we see the person in the commercial selling the cleaning products, do we identify with the person? If so we’ll be more likely to identify with the product.

Do you go to Starbucks, the hip indie barista place down the street, or the corner shop that sells coffee out of a single urn? Well, who are the people who go to those places? Which type of person do you most identify with? Because that’s where you’re likely to go.

And so too with money.

What you believe

Do you believe you are good with money? Do you believe you are a “poor person”? Do you believe you don’t deserve to make a lot of money?

These ideas and those like them are your money identity. It’s what you believe to be true about yourself.

And it is these beliefs that I believe are reinforcing.

First, let me clarify. I’m not a particularly woo person. I find the idea of “putting your intentions out into the universe” to be a little questionable. Faith is nice, but it won’t pay the bills.

But that said, I believe there are ways in which asserting our identity can make it true.

What you see

You are less likely to notice opportunities that might contradict your identity.

For example, let’s say that your money identity is that you don’t deserve to make a lot of money. That is your truth.

Maybe you’ll be less likely to push yourself to find a higher paying job. Maybe you’ll be more likely to settle. Maybe you won’t even see a possibility.

It may not be a conscious thought process. But when you see a job opportunity that is in a different realm, income-wise, you might not give it a second thought, because that doesn’t feel like you.

Why? Because, just like Seth Godin said, “people like us do things like this.” If something isn’t like you, it’s not something you do.

It’s the lack of conscious thought that makes money identity so insidious. Because it’s almost like you aren’t being given a choice.

What you choose

But you do have a choice.

The first step involves figuring out what your money identity is. What you believe about yourself.

  • Could you make $200,000 in a year? Why or why not?
  • Could you go into business for yourself? Why or why not?
  • If you’re not rich, is it that you’re just not there yet, or is there some other reason for it?

The next step is asking yourself, am I satisfied with what my money identity is?

Or is there a difference between what you believe about yourself and what you wish you believed about yourself?

Because therein lies the opportunity.

Our identity can change. Think about what you believed in ten or twenty years ago. Think of what you believed in as a teenager. Some aspects of your belief system might be the same, but I bet that you’ve done some serious evolution.

That may have been forced on you by circumstance. But you don’t have to wait for that.

When you see the gap between where you are and where you want to be, when it’s made conscious, you can bridge that gap over time. You can change your beliefs.

If your money identity is holding you back from greater financial success, and there’s a good chance it probably is, know that it doesn’t need to be that way. We can change our minds. People like us do things like that too.

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