Early Money Learning

Just to get things warmed up for next week’s teleclass about money and nonverbal communication, I thought I’d explore an aspect of that dynamic this week.  Rachel and I will be talking mostly about how nonverbal communication affects your conversations about money with clients, so let’s look at how it affects you personally.

Nonverbals encompass tone, stance, posture, breathing and gestures.  Watching how your parents were about money IS how you learned about money.  You actually learned about money before you learned to speak, before you learned language. You learned about it through your parent’s nonverbal communication.  What did you learn?  That money was somehow important.  That it happened every day.  That it created at least what we might call a complex emotional response.  Maybe that your parents fought about it.  And most importantly that you didn’t talk about it.  That it was Taboo! 

You learned all that and more about money based on, first, what you saw, and then what you decided those observations meant.  You couldn’t make leaps of understanding beyond what you had experienced.  You were stuck with what was available.

I once worked with a guy that came to me because he just couldn’t break through a certain money ceiling.  Over and over he’d get close to going beyond a certain dollar point and then some how sabotage himself.  The cause was rooted in his childhood.  When he was little, his dad worked in a factory.  Every Friday night his dad got paid and brought the pay envelope home.  His father would give some of the money to his mother and then he’d go to the pub.  He’d come home drunk much later and there was always a fight.  As the man got to this point of the story, he had a revelation.  He said “Money ruins families”.  That was the conclusion he had come to as a child based on what he saw.  It was a logical conclusion.  He knew something bad was happening.  He knew something caused it.  He knew it couldn’t be his mom or dad, because, when we are very little, our parents can do no wrong.  The only culprit left was money.  It must have been money’s fault. 

See how all those nonverbal cues lead him to that conclusion?  And see how, since the main nonverbal rule was “we don’t talk about money”, this conclusion never got reexamined or explored.  It continued to operate very effectively for years in the back of his brain.  All the way up until he and I talked about it and brought that childhood conclusion that he had come to into the present. 

That happens often as I work with people.  These really old nonverbal, un-talked about conclusions get reexamined, and come to the light of the present day.  What might you have tucked away in your head about money that isn’t serving you?  And what might nonverbal communication have to do with that? 

Come find out more about nonverbals and money as Rachel Beohm and I explore it together on June 10th.