The tens of millions of people who are interested in self-improvement have two different but related focuses: financial success and personal growth.

People who primarily are interested in financial success seek out products that promise to help them make more money and end up with more wealth. Such people are usually willing to pay more for their courses and webinars than for courses that only improve their emotional well-being.

People who primarily are interested in personal growth usually want to change their behavior, such as stop procrastinating, and their emotions, such as stop their anxiety and anger. People for whom this is the goal usually are willing to pay far less for such products. Some of these people, especially those who have a strong spiritual bent, even think that being spiritual precludes them from pursuing money.

So although sometimes there is an overlap between these two groups, people tend to have one focus or the other.

There is an inextricable connection

But even for the people who do pursue both goals, I’m not sure that many people interested in self improvement are aware that there is an inextricable connection between the two areas of life.

Although financial success can be affected by many different factors—including what product or service you are offering, the quality of the offering, to what market, competition, at what price, etc.—oneof the most critical factors that is often ignored but that significantly affects your financial success is your mental/emotional state.

Because my expertise is on how beliefs affect our lives, I’ll focus on the impact of beliefs, but whether the source of dysfunctional behavior and emotions are beliefs or anything else, the chance of achieving and enjoying financial success in today’s world is slim unless you are able to get rid of your dysfunctional behavior and emotions.

Let me explain why.

For many years, success in business depended on showing up every day and doing what you were told. If you did it well enough for long enough, you’d usually move up through the organization you worked for and end up with a nice pension.

Financial success requires personal growth

Today showing up and doing the “right” thing is no longer enough, whether you work for yourself or for others. More and more organizations are looking for creative, innovative, imaginative people who will figure out for themselves what needs to be done instead of waiting to be told. And if you work for yourself, then merely doing what others do, the way others do it, is unlikely to provide significant financial success.

Today the world is looking for the intellectually curious, the people who are willing to take risks, who, as Seth Godin puts it, are willing to “poke the box.”

If that is what financial success requires in today’s fast-changing world—where what worked yesterday is probably not what is going to work today and certainly won’t be what works tomorrow—than your behavior and emotional state are crucial.

Beliefs that hinder financial success

What is the chance of you being innovative, taking chances, doing what makes sense to you whether others approve or not, etc. if you have even just a few of the following beliefs?

  • I’m not good enough.
  • Mistakes and failure are bad.
  • If I make a mistake or fail I’ll be rejected.
  • I’m inadequate.
  • I’m not important.
  • What makes me good enough and important is having others think well of me.
  • I’m not capable.
  • I’m not competent.
  • I’m powerless.

And that list of self-esteem beliefs doesn’t even include specific beliefs about money, such as:

  • Money is hard to get.
  • Money is a struggle.
  • There’s never enough money.

In addition to the beliefs, what if also you have been conditioned to feel fear if you are rejected, if you are criticized or judged, or if you don’t live up to the expectations of others?

People with beliefs and conditionings like these will have a hard time doing what they need to do to achieve financial success. Yes, they can learn what to do from a lot of great books and courses, but it will still be difficult to implement that really useful advice.

A client buys the house of her dreams

My wife Shelly—who is a Certified Lefkoe Method Facilitator who helps over 25 clients a week get rid of limiting beliefs—told me the following story that illustrates this point. She had a client who eliminated a few negative self-esteem beliefs and other negative beliefs about achieving financial abundance. One day she got a call from this client who wanted to share some exciting news with her. The client and three of her friends had attended a T. Harv Eker workshop, after which she had bought the summer house of her dreams.

The client attributed her new possession to what she learned in the workshop. Shelly listened and then asked the client what her friends had purchased. The client responded that they hadn’t bought anything or done anything to improve their financial condition after the workshop.

At that point Shelly pulled out the client’s file and read her some of the beliefs she had eliminated before she attended the workshop: I’m not deserving, Money is scarce and hard to get, You should always save for a rainy day, I’ll never get what I want, and I’m not important.

Shelly then asked her, “Do you think you would have spent the money and bought the summer house of your dreams if you still had the beliefs you eliminated?” The stunned silence at the other end of the phone line was the answer.

Obviously merely getting rid of limiting beliefs and conditionings is not sufficient to insure financial abundance. You have to take action. But the ability to take the type of actions required for financial success in today’s world require the ability to not be stopped by your fear of making mistakes, by what you think others may think of your behavior, or by a lack of confidence.

So if financial success is your focus—and there is nothing wrong with that focus—make sure you handle your personal growth first. It probably will give you a better chance to achieve financial success and it certainly will enable you to enjoy it more.

What do you think about the relationship between personal growth and financial success? Please write your comments below.

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copyright ©2011 Morty Lefkoe