Stepping Outside the "Financial Box"

by Adam Martin - Date: 2007-01-21 - Word Count: 766 Share This!

The title of this article is significant for two reasons. Firstly, because it defines the type of box that so many of us find ourselves in, and second, because the idea of "stepping" demands action. Thinking outside of the "financial box" is simply not enough, although in the beginning it is probably precisely the thing to do. Sound confusing? It is really more straightforward than you might think.

First of all, what is the "financial box"? It is the financial stereotype that has surrounded the image of the artist/actor (and many other people) for decades. It is the line of thinking that brings about images of the starving artist or the actress working nights as a waitress to make ends meet. It is what keeps most of us struggling with money our entire lives.

Now, why isn't it enough simply to think outside of the "financial box"? Because you need to take action. Without that nothing will change, and no one else will do it for you. No matter how much help you receive from others, you are still the one who has to make final decisions, you are the one who needs to decide how to invest your money, and you are the one who needs to organize your business so that you come out on top.

However, as mentioned earlier, in order to step outside of the "financial box" you will most likely need to begin by thinking outside it. The majority of us likely made the decision to become artists when we were young, even when we were still children, and unless we were fortunate enough to have extremely supportive parents we were probably given very negative financial messages from the beginning around this choice. Messages like: "How will you support yourself", "Artists don't make any money" and the all time classic "You ought to get a good education and just find a real job".

The problem is that when children, or anyone for that matter, hear a message often enough, they begin to believe it is true. And, as children, we were hearing these messages from the authority figures in our lives. What our parents say to us often as children stays with us when we are adults, so that even if our minds know differently, our hearts do not.

This means that we need to begin by changing some of these negative messages. There is an exercise centered on money that we frequently ask participants do during our seminars. Here's how it goes: we have the participants call out any negative statements or messages they know of that center on money (and we never have any problem filling the page). These are messages such as: "Making money is hard", "We can't afford that", "Money doesn't grow on trees", and "People who focus on making money are greedy".

Next, we ask students to call out empowering, positive statements about money. There is always complete silence.

Now it is your turn. Whenever you remove a negative thought or message, you need to put something in its place. This week, try this exercise on your own. List five negative thoughts or statements you make or have internalized about money. Then list five empowering statements you could use in their place, e.g. "I have to work extremely hard if I want to make money," vs. "Money flows easily into my life". After writing these statements down, say them aloud. Then look in a mirror and say only the positive statements. Make the positive statements affirmations. The positive statements may feel completely unnatural, and they may not even be true at the present time, but say them anyway. Say them every day, and especially when you catch yourself making one of the negative statements. I find it useful to say: "That thought is trying to trick me, and make me unhappy. I dismiss it", and then instantly repeat the positive counter. (For more help on this, visit Abundance Bound - Financial Education and Planning for Actors and Artists.

Change begins with us, and it takes a conscious effort to make that change. When you start this exercise, remember that you are alone, and that there is no one watching you. You will still no doubt feel ridiculous but, if you persevere, you will slowly change the recordings you have in your mind from when you were a child. Once you begin to alter this internal programming, you will be able to take action and move from thinking outside the "financial box" to stepping outside it. Then you will begin to see major changes in your financial reality, and then you will start to be free.

Related Tags: money, finances, planning, business, career, artist, financial, creative, art, actress, actor, acting, artistic

Adam Martin is an active Assistant Director (most recently on "Transformers", to be released summer 07), Producer and Director based in Hollywood. He also started Abundance Bound, Inc, ( - Financial Education and Planning for Actors and Artists") and his mission is to develop a community of artists able to pursue their creative goals free from the crushing weight of financial stress. Adam and his wife, Miata, are coached by Loral Langmeier, author of the best-seller "The Millionaire Maker", and apply what they learn with her to their clients within the artistic community.

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