PlumbTalk, Inc. CEO Shelley Plumb talks through the experience of letting feelings dictate finances.
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a project in which we are exploring why many women lack confidence when discussing money. You can read the first installment of this series here.
It is a crisp, clear morning. I hear the birds singing as I gaze out the patio door, morning coffee in hand. The continuous chatter in my mind drowns out the sweet banter of outdoor excitement, however.
How could I be so stupid? It’s strong word, but to me, it fits.
My mind reflects back to the last sharp words I exchanged with a business contractor, a confident woman with strong references. I paid her up-front to complete an essential business task. Six months later, the project was “incompletely” complete, which cost our company valuable time and money. The experience left me insecure, furious and frightened for our financial future.
Why did I let this happen?
Reflecting on this thought, I step out onto the patio into a maze of spider webs. As I progress towards my chair, my intuition tells me to navigate the cobwebs by turning right. Then, in a last minute burst of self-doubt, I go left. I am instantly rewarded with the eerie crawl of webs on my face. In a wave of panic, I brush them off my skin.
A Web of Deceit
Like spiders, finances can be scary, especially for entrepreneurs. When building a business, there are many financial uncertainties – debt, funding, working capital. And fear of those uncertainties is a breeding ground for the sort of negativity that can have long-lasting effects.
Dr. Maggie Baker, author of “Crazy About Money: How Emotions Confuse Our Money Choices and What to Do About It,” agrees. “Research has found that negative emotions hit us with an intensity that’s two-and-a-half times as strong as positive emotions, because they are signaling a disturbance you should tend to,” she says.
Worries over finances always seem to rear their ugly heads at the most inopportune times, resulting in a flood of negative emotions.
Gazing over the back yard, I contemplate why I let the contractor’s actions get out of hand when I knew they were counterproductive. The answer is simple; I let my emotions get in the way of sound financial business decisions. Every negative comment from her made me question myself.
Am I good enough?
Will there be enough money?
What happens if the risk I take fails?
These powerful emotions can prove to be major obstacles that prevent us from getting to the next professional tier.
A Personal Matter
Then, I realize something — as I had with the cobwebs, I walked left with this woman instead of going in the direction I knew to be right. I was listening to her and second-guessing myself. The blame rests on my shoulders. And with blame comes another flood of destructive emotions.
Anger — which has a way of firmly binding our very core to the web of deceit. With anger comes judgment and retaliation.
Fear — if anger secures our core to the web, then fear takes our right hand and renders it equally useless. One self-serving comment from a hostile party can unearth hidden insecurity. What if she is right? What if I can’t do it?
Insecurity — compassion for others is a necessity in today’s world, but in this situation it served as a tool to firmly bind my last free hand to the proverbial webs.
Taking a deep breath, I catch a glimpse of blue sky. There has to be hope. How do we free ourselves from the web of emotions that sometimes ensnare us?
Fire the Undesirable
Lessen the impact of emotional finances by giving yourself permission to fire one who deserves to be let go. Thoughts and actions that assist in bringing our businesses to the next financial level should always be welcomed. Those that serve no productive purpose should be fired from here on out.
Plot a course
With regards to business finances, minimize emotional interference by plotting a course. Having detailed policies on how financial decisions are handled is essential.
Develop a solid support system
This is a necessity in removing emotions from financial planning. Establish this support system and fill it with people we know and trust; People who will assist us in keeping financial decisions fact based.
Untangling Myself From the Web
I am committed today; committed to being more inclined to listen to what I know to be intuitively true.
By firing the undesirable, plotting a course, and developing a solid support system, we can all overcome issues surrounding emotional finances. It is essential to put our emotions into perspective when negotiating the tangled web of the business world.
The next time I step out onto my patio I will go right instead of left. In life, I will not become tangled by my emotions. I will follow what I know to be intuitively true.
Today I am committed; I will address my anger, my fear and my insecurity. As I watch a dewdrop, full and firm, lengthen under the persuasive pull of gravity on the web, I realize that I will never forget about this contractor — a mistake is not truly a mistake if you learn from it.
And indeed, a valuable lesson has been learned; I will not let emotions get in the way of financial decisions again.
For all posts from this project, please click here.
Posted: October 2, 2014