The largest Powerball jackpot in history probably seems like old news today, but it led to a huge money mindset a-ha for me that I’d like to share with you today. Let’s journey back to a couple weeks ago: the record-breaking Powerball jackpot was the talk of the town. People daydreamed about what they would do if they won, while others scolded us for being stupid and wasting money on lottery tickets and false hopes. I generally don’t play the lottery and you can likely guess the couple times I did — when the jackpots were huge. I always bought my ticket with no expectation of winning and went merrily on my way when I didn’t. But this jackpot was different.
It was big. Massively big. So big that some places couldn’t even properly display the total amount on their billboard because the number was too high. This was a true game changer. At dinner with some friends, we fantasized about the possibilities, while making promises to share our good fortune with each other and so on. It was harmless fun. With the jackpot estimated over a billion dollars, I decided to set aside a couple of bucks for Wednesday’s drawing.
My Money Mindset Kept Me Out of the Game
Monday went by and I didn’t buy a Powerball ticket. Tuesday slipped away with no ticket tucked in my desk drawer for safe-keeping. Wednesday was here and it was now or never. Thoughts of “what if” kept distracting me, so eventually I left my apartment with the intent to buy groceries and a Powerball ticket. Even though the likelihood of winning was minuscule, I couldn’t let go of the thought — what if I held the winning ticket?
I went to the store, filled my basket and left the store without a Powerball ticket but a heavy heart instead.
You see, I didn’t buy a Powerball ticket because I decided not to play, which would have been a mindful and acceptable choice.
But I didn’t buy a lottery ticket because the idea of so much money and success scared me.
I thought my days of being scared of money were behind me. But truthfully, those fears have always lurked underneath my bravado. Without a doubt, I am more mindful of how I spend my money and make better and more joyful choices with how I use it, which is good.
But … I still fear it, including having too little and … too much.
3 Ways Money Fears Hold Us Prisoner
This realization that my money fears still had such a hold me was an unwelcome surprise. It also made me wonder how else they were affecting me. Fear held me back from buying a lottery ticket, which some would argue is a good thing, but how else might fear be influencing my money mindset?
#1. I Had Set a Limit on My Worth
The bottom line is that I didn’t feel worthy of having a billion dollars and not because I didn’t “earn” the money. Many of us have set a limit on how much we think we are worth, whether we realize it or not. The jackpot was so out of my realm that it actually stressed me out. And I realized there were many times that I undervalued myself and sought opportunities that fit my mental earnings and success range. I downplayed my worth and skill sets and let others take advantage of me or even worse, talked myself out of opportunities that went beyond what felt comfortable or right to me financially. I told myself it was “too much” or “who am I to have so much”. My money mindset wasn’t wired towards abundance, like I want it to be, and instead had set limitations.
#2. I Didn’t Trust Myself to Make Good Choices
Mixed in with all my wonderful daydreams of what I would do with my lottery winnings were lots of dark thoughts. Concerns that people would take advantage of me. Or I would make bad decisions and lose my new-found wealth before I could do any real good. All valid fears, but they were just costuming to mask the real truth: I didn’t trust myself.
We all have gut instinct. It’s not infallible but when finely tuned, it can steer you straight the majority of time. Me and gut instinct were out of tune, which I didn’t realize. My gut was tuned to fear, anxiety and doubt. This not only influences how I look at life in general but also how I look at opportunities and my abilities to achieve goals.
#3. I Let Emotion Overrule Logic
I work with a woman who is considered to be a money emotions expert, and I’m a bit of a mini-me (and not just because I’m a foot shorter) when it comes to following her. I know how powerful our emotions are and their ability to influence how we use money. As a recovering mindless spender, I have made great progress and thought my days of letting emotions control my money mindset were long gone, so I let down my guard.
I stopped being as vigilant or aware of my emotions and didn’t notice how fear or even success colored my logic. At that moment, there were so many wacky scenarios running through my mind, and instead of giving them control, I should have taken a deep breath and asked myself why I felt so anxious. I can never forget that my money mindset is a lot like Spock, both logical and emotional. I always need to pay attention to how my emotions are influencing my decisions.
I Didn’t Win a Billion Dollars but Still Won Something Priceless
Even though I was too much of a scaredy-cat to play the Powerball, I still won. I recognized how my money mindset was affecting me from how much I thought I was worth to influencing how I look at opportunities. Now I have the chance to recalibrate and rebalance to ensure that I don’t limit myself and see the world with abundant eyes. To remind myself that I don’t need to win the lottery to lead a “rich” life and can make one all by myself.
How do you gauge your money mindset? Have you ever been surprised by how it influences you? What tips do you have to manage it?