The majority of us likely made the decision to become actors 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”, “Actors
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. What was said to us when we were young, often
stays with us when we are adults, so that even if our minds know differently, our hearts do
There is a question that I would like you to answer before you continue reading this
article: What conversations (either with someone else or in your head) have you had about
money in the last 24 hours?
Really take the time to think about this. Perhaps you complained to a friend about how
little you are earning at your job. Maybe you lay awake last night worried about how you
would afford the rent or your other bills this month. How many of us, looking back at the
last day or so, can honestly say we had an optimistic thought about money or our
particular financial situation?
The very first step to creating positive changes in your finances is developing a positive
Many of us want to ignore this step. We have a tendency to dismiss this type of thing as
fluff – just skip all the “psycho babble” and get to the real stuff. What do I do to make
more money? Unfortunately, it’s pretending that your mindset doesn’t matter, that will
keep you in a continuous, negative financial cycle.
Your financial psychology – how you talk and think about money – directly leads to the
actions you take, which directly leads to your results.
Consider the last time you booked an acting role. Now try to remember what your
mindset was as you prepared for that audition. The odds are that you were extremely
positive and energized. You probably felt, deep in your core, that you could do this, that
you deserved it and that, no matter what, you were going for it! How many of us really
believe that the results would have been the same had you gone into the process feeling
depressed and lethargic. What would have happened had your thoughts been filled with
all of the previous “failures” and worries about not being good enough?
I’m not suggesting that you ignore your bills or credit card debt, or pretend that you have
lots of money when you don’t. Still, if you want your financial situation to improve, you
have to start consciously shifting from simply complaining and being depressed about
these realities to developing powerful, positive statements about what you are going to do
to change things.
So, how do we begin changing some of these negative messages?
There is an exercise centered on money that we frequently ask participants to do during
our seminars (for more information, please visit AbundanceBound.com). 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”. Or “I will never get out from
under all of this debt” vs. “I have put a debt reduction plan in place and no longer have
stress or worry, because I know my debt is being taken care of”. After writing these
statements down, say them aloud. Then look in a mirror and say only the positive
statements. The positive statements may feel completely unnatural, and they may not even
be true at the present time, but say them anyway. Sometimes I put a rubber band around
my wrist and snap it when I find myself being negative. A couple of weeks (and a very
sore wrist) later, it is amazing how much more conscious I become about my mindset!
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
financial recordings you have in your mind.
We all have years of financial psychology to overcome, and there is no quick fix to it.
However, if it is not dealt with aggressively, this one thing will put a permanent hold on
your financial growth. Just like you cannot go to the gym for a month, and expect to be fit
for your entire life, so you cannot work for a day or a week on developing a positive
attitude about money, and hope that it will last. Growth is a daily thing, not a once thing,
so commit to doing something daily that will strengthen your financial mindset, and you
will be amazed by the results you will start to see in every area of your financial life.
Adam Martin is a successful Assistant Director (most recently on Transformers, due this summer), and the co-founder and director of Abundance Bound, Inc,(http://www.abundancebound.com) a financial education company for actors, artists and creative professionals.
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