Money Mocha #4: What’s it really take to earn more money?

written by Bari Tessler October 22, 2018

If you’ve ever wanted to earn more money, this could change everything.

We all know that earning more money isn’t the end-all-be-all of financial happiness. True wealth is about a good life, aligned with our dreams and values — and what this looks like is absolutely personal and up to you.

That being said? Not having enough money to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle can create so much stress and suffering.

That’s why part of my life’s mission, around money, is helping people earn more money, jumping from a Basic Needs lifestyle level to a Comfortable one … or even Ultimate.

Of course, this looks different for everyone! And the journey there is as unique as your fingerprint.

But one thing’s for sure: earning more money — in a sustainable, good-feeling way — isn’t about quick fixes or get rich quick schemes. It takes an integrated approach.

Bask in the practical wisdom of 3 powerhouse money teachers and their best tips for earning more money.

You’ll hear clips from my interviews with 3 amazing Art of Money Guest Teachers: Fabeku Fatunmise, Barbara Stanny, and Mikelann Valterra … all woven together with helpful commentary from my smartypants husband, Forest.

Audio (this mocha is a longer one but it’s so worth it):


Before we dive into this episode, I want to mention that there’s some explicit language in this episode. If that bothers you or if you’re listening with little ones around, I wanted you to be aware that there’s a few swearwords in this episode.

One of the big challenges that people face when trying to make more money is something that most of us don’t often think about. It’s something that [inaudible 0:01:56.5] thinks about and adjusts daily. Fabaku (sp?) helps people build thriving businesses that are aligned with their super powers. One of the ways he’s built up his own successful business is by changing his financial identity. Here’s Bari and Fabaku talking about it.

From our last interview, you talked about financial identity and changing that on a daily basis. I loved it as a concept, so I want you to talk about that. I’ve always thought of it like every six months, every year. Talk about it as a concept and this daily thing and updating it.

Identity is one of the most important things to update and people don’t do that. That’s not an idea that we’re given. We’re given this idea that who we are is more of less static and we have little changes here and there. I don’t think that that’s the case. I think identity is one of the most fluid things that’s connected to any of us. We’re used to updating our phone every time there’s a new release or our browser, our computer. It’s the same thing with our identity. Everything we do changes who we are. If we’re not updating our own understanding of who we are and how we’re oriented to what we’re doing, at some point that’s going to become problematic. Identity is the way that we inhabit what we do.

If we’re working with an incoherent identity, trying to inhabit what we do from that place, it’s just not going to work. If we’re trying to inhabit a business that’s making a half a million dollars a year from the identity that we had when we were making $30,000 a year, all kinds of problems are going to happen because the $30,000 self doesn’t know what to do with half a million dollars. It doesn’t know what to do with it, it doesn’t know how to handle it, it doesn’t know how to invest it, it doesn’t know how to use it to build the business. I see that all the time.

I also think that’s one of the reasons why people make a bunch of money and then they lose the money really quickly. They’re trying to manage it from an outdated identity. I think that’s a major problem.

Let’s pause for a second and let that sink in. When I first heard this concept from Fabaku, I was like, “Whoa. That explains so much about why I used to have so much trouble increasing my revenue years ago.” My own identity was wrapped around being a wilderness survival guy, who lived in the mountains in a teepee and could survive on $7000 a year. That’s who I felt I was at an unconscious level. It was really hard to break out of that because my sense of self, my egoic identity was glued to that financial identity.

If you’re trying to increase your monthly or yearly income, what is your current financial identity. It’s so worth it to grab a journey and sit with that question for a little while.

There’s another way that this sense of identity can limit us as we’re trying to grow.

The other way I think that the financial identity is directly related to money is that our sense of possibility is directly connected to our sense of identity. If you’re looking at what’s possible for you and your work from an identity that’s not present time, that’s not coherent, you’re going to have a radically different sense of what you can do and what you can make than you would if you were looking at it from an identity that’s rooted in who you are now or that’s rooted in your super power or your bigness.

These concepts of your super powers and your bigness are central concepts in Fabaku’s work. We’re going to come back to them in a little bit. The reason that they’re important is:

Because years and years ago, when I started building my business, my top number that I can even conceive of making was $80,000 a year. That seemed like kind of an abstract number. But that was it. That was the thing. I’m so far past that number at this point and the first time it happened, it scared me to death. You would think it would have been a cool thing – it was cool for minute and then I had this holy shit moment of, “What does this mean now?”

Interestingly enough, I felt like the floor had dropped out from underneath me. That identity had no idea what to do with the amount of money that I had just made. I think this identity piece is one of the most important and least considered elements when it comes to money. It’s a big deal.

Did you catch that? When Fabaku made a sudden big leap in income, his older identity around money had no idea what to do with the amount of money that he had made. It was almost like the new, larger amount of money was blowing the circuits in his system.

Bari and I have both had similar moments like that when we reached new levels of income. I think it points to the importance of uncovering what your almost unconscious financial identity is and updating it as often as you feel necessary.

One of the things that happens for a lot of people when they do this process of updating their financial identity is that they start running into a lot of fears. If you think about it, that makes a lot of sense. If you’ve done any kind of personal growth or spiritual growth, you’ll be familiar with the kind of fears that can come up when deep-seeded aspects of our egoic identity is challenged. I think the same kind of processes are at work when we do money work. Fears come up when we’re growing.

In a conversation Bari was having with Mikelann Valterra, a money coach and founder of the personal finance software called Money Minder, Mikelann spoke to these fears that can come up when we’re working on increasing our income levels.

People say they want to earn more money, but then they “Yeah, but.” Yeah, but they consistently don’t take action or they sabotage themselves. It begs the question, when people are saying, “I’ve looked at my numbers. I’m really getting clear. I really want to earn more and here’s how much more. I want to move it to the next level. It’s not happening. What’s going on?”

What I think is interesting – and this backs us up a tiny bit – is what is the fear around moving to the next level? If we just push through it – “Just push through it. I’ve got to go, go, go. Move it to the next level!” – and you’re not looking at there’s a shadow here and there’s some fear here and it needs to be addressed. If we don’t address the fear, chances are you’ll hit the new level and then you’ll fall back. You’ll feel like, “Oh, my gosh. What’s wrong with me?”

What I find is there tends to be four or five really common fears that we can look at. “I’d love to make more money, but…” I have to say, one of the most common fears is, “I’d like to make more money, but if I’m really honest, I’m afraid it’s going to take too much time.” We need to look at that. There isn’t actually a huge correlation between earning more and putting in more time. But all of us have a natural knee-jerk reaction that that is true.

I know you’ve interviewed Barbara Stanni and she’s written a lot of books on earning issues. I remember years ago reading one of her books – I think it was Secrets of Six Figure Women – and I remember she looked at the fact that women that make over six figures, 40-50% of them actually work less than 40 hours a week. It was interesting because we have this opposite assumption. We just need to look at what is the fear if we take it to the next level. What is the fear? That we would give up something? Time? Is our fear that, “I’d love to make more money, but I’m afraid I can’t manage it.” Which is partly why what you’re doing with your community is amazing. The more people feel like they can manage their money, the more they feel like they can handle more flow coming into their life. That’s a big deal. That’s a huge deal.

It’s a whole moment. My folks talked about that. Some made more money a few months ago than the last few months and they’re like, “Oh, my God. It comes with more energy, it comes with feelings.”

Right. There’s a con to it. If you go back to the metaphysics, there is an energy of money. Money comes into our life, money goes out of our life. When we become great stewards of this great money resource, it opens up the pipe so that more money can come in. I think the other piece is really plugging our money leaks. When we leak out money – for example, not knowing where we spend it – it’s really hard for the universe to put more money in because it’s rather pointless. It just kind of leaks out. As you help people strengthen the sacred container and conduit in their life of money, their income does go up and that’s one of the reasons.

The other piece that keeps us from leaving our comforts and our status quo is that it’s so comfortable. I’m so comfortable where I am. For some of us, the fear is, “I don’t deserve to make more money.” For some of us the fear is, “If I made more money, it would just get taken away.”

I’m bringing up pretty deep things here. Where I want your listeners to go is just to simply journal. Invite them to journal or process this question in a way that works for them: I’d love to make more money, but I’m afraid that… What? Just really, really… You could write for five or 10 pages or talk to your best friend about it. That’s one of the things that’s keeps you from pushing against that income ceiling that you and I are talking about.

There’s a lot in what Mikelann just said. Fears around making more money, but wondering if you’d not be able to manage it or fears around making more money causing us to leave our comfort zone. Or not feeling like you deserve to make more money. All of that is directly related to this concept of financial identity or, as Barbara Stanni puts it, our self-image around money.

Barbara is one of the pioneers in the area of helping people overcome underearning. In a conversation Bari had with Barbara, Barbara told the story of a question that she got from someone in her community. The question was: What is your opinion of the following? Our personal economy is God’s economy. There is plenty of money.

Barbara said, “Yes.”

There’s plenty of money. The trouble is that it’s not evenly distributed. What I believe is that money will goes to those of the right mindset. I believe that when we shift our thinking, when we shift our self-image, we can shift our relationship with money. I’ve seen it happen. As you have, Bari. I’ve seen it happen with thousands of people.

This is not an area that we can just ignore or put to the side. It’s a life garden that needs our attention and our love and our care. Not too much, not too little.

I don’t know if there’s such a thing as too much. Becoming obsessed is not the same. You don’t want to become obsessed because it can become addictive.

Here’s the thing. I had my mentor – Karen McCall – who was the founder of It’s really an organization. She was a pioneer in underearning. She said to me, “You can never get enough of what you don’t really need.” That was profound for me. What we do is we overspend, we overeat, we over indulge in everything, trying to fill a hole in our soul. If we go straight and fill that whole… it’s much more than willpower to change our relationship with money.

From Barbara’s perspective, when we change our self-image – our identity as it relates to money – we can actually change our relationship to money itself. That right there is the core purpose of the work that members do in The Art of Money Program. At a fundamental level, they’re working on changing their relationship with money for the better.

Here’s the thing. If you’re going to change your relationship to something, it’s helpful to know what that something is, right? What is this thing that we say we want more of? What is money? Answering that fully could lead us down a deep philosophical rabbit hole. While intellectually fascinating, going all the way down there probably won’t ultimately be super helpful for you if you’re looking to break through some money ceilings and bring more money into your life.

However, I think there are a couple definitions of money that can really help shift your attitudes towards it. Probably the most powerful definition of money is a metaphor that Fabaku uses. For years, he heard that:

Money is energy. I got it. It didn’t really do anything for me in a tangible way. My brain understood money equals energy, but it didn’t do anything to change my relationship with money. At one point, I was thinking about it and I came to this place of looking at money as fuel. In the same way that we put food in our body, we put gas in our cars. Money is not just energy, but more specifically, it’s a fuel that allows us to do what we need to do in our lives, but also it gives us the fuel to fuel things out in the world that mean a lot to us and that we care about.

To me, somehow looking at money as fuel really brought home the importance of really supporting people and charging what they should be charging and getting to the place where they can receive the appropriate fuel for what you need. It’s the same thing as if you don’t eat proper breakfast in the morning, you feel crappy during the day. If you don’t have enough fuel in your business, you feel crappy in your business. It’s the same thing. Same deal.

Can you just say a teeny bit about where you were in your 20s – or even younger – and what needed to shift inside of you for you to step into a place of money is fuel and this is how I see it and relate to it. Just a little bit about that shift.

For me, when I was in my 20s – my dad passed away when I was pretty young. I got a little bit of money from an inheritance, blew it in nine months’ time and had zero money. I had to move out of my duplex because I couldn’t pay the rent. I spent some time working in corporate jobs that I was really good at and hated like crazy and made next to no money doing. I really felt like in order to make money, it was kind of out of my hands. It always was in the hands of someone else.

All of a sudden, I realize that this isn’t true. I have the ability to fuel myself with money in the same way that I can fuel myself with every other part of my life. It was that moment of understanding that, but also taking responsibility for that that helped me move into a place where, now over the last seven or eight years, I’ve built a business that’s doing really, really well.

It started with just the idea that’s in my hands. Waiting for somebody else to do it or, worse, feeling like I’m at the mercy of other people, that’s the worst place to be.

Another metaphor, one that Fabaku alluded to when he spoke of the money is fuel metaphor, is the way that Mikelann views it. The way she sees money came out when Bari asked her this question:

How do you answer this question that’s come up through my community? I hear it lot. “If I make a lot of money, then somehow I’m taking away money from other people.” Or, “If I have a lot of money, then I will move into that greedy…”

If I have more, you’ll have less.

If I have more, you have less.

I know, obviously, that we keep saying that everything’s related. The first one, there’s a lot of ways to answer it. But since we’ve got a finite time, I’ll answer it this way:

Here’s one of the confusions that people fall into. I fell into this myself. Earth’s resources are finite. Money resources are unlimited. Part of the confusion comes from calling money a resource. It is a resource, but natural resources are finite. I doubt there’s anyone on the call that hasn’t heard that there’s a finite amount of oil in the earth. If this is the first time they’ve heard this, I’m sorry to share that news.

However, money is different. Money is energy. Money energy begets money energy. If you are a healer and you charge more money – just to give you an example – then you’ve got money to give to the merchants so that they have more money and then you’ve got money to hire a virtual assistant.

Then you give them more money.

Right. You’ve literally created a job. Money actually creates money. It is sacred. It is a sacred, sacred power. The more money I have made, the more jobs I’ve created for other people. It is amazingly wonderful. I have employed editors. Just like you, the more money you make, the more you’ve employed and you literally create money and gift employment into the world.

It’s one way to think about it. We have to move away from, “If I have more, you’ll have less.” The other way to throw it in, which is a little bit more metaphysical, but I know your people can roll with this. It’s an energy exchange. We need an equitable energy exchange. If I am giving a pretty intense hour of my time and people are not paying me enough money, it is an unequal energy exchange. “Eventually, I’m going to be depleted. I’m going to move into resentment.” It doesn’t feel good for people to be takers.

We’ve got to find the right vibration, the right energy exchange

Updating our financial identity to handle more amounts of money coming our way. Money is fuel. Money is energy. Finding the right level of energy exchange for the products and services that we put out into the world. All of those are part of this picture that we’re painting here.

How do we actually go about bringing more money in? For creative entrepreneurs that work with Fabaku, one of the first steps he leads people through is finding out what they’re superpowers are. Bari asked him to elaborate on this superpower concept and he said:

Yes. I think I always had some kind of sense of the superpower part since I was little. I didn’t have the language for it until several years ago. What was interesting for me is that the very things that have come together to allow me to create this thriving business are all of the things that are on the surface seem crazy. It made no sense. Not only that, but the things that people said, “Nobody is going to get this. Don’t talk about this. Don’t ever bring this into the mix. You should never try to build a business based on this stuff.” Every one of those things are the vital elements that have made my business what it is today.

I think that that’s a really important thing for people. It’s usually that thing that you’re scared to bring to the table or the thing that people have told you in no uncertain terms, “Never talk about this.” That’s the thing that’s the magnetic fuel that pulls the right people in and creates that resonance so that they say yes, they move into your orbit, they give you money and you build relationships and you support people and you can do the work in a way that’s totally true and coherent to who you are. That’s the thing. It’s not just about making money. It’s about making money in a way that’s energizing and supportive to who you really are at the deepest, most fundamental level.

Yeah. All those things that we thought were our challenges, our crazy bits, all your drumming, your relationship to music and rhythm, coherence and all that. For me, my sensitivity. That used to feel like this huge challenge. Instead, “No, this is how I sense people. This is how I know people, feel people.” Taking all of that and actually really fully stepping into that.

Superpowers. All the things about us that may seem crazy on the surface, things that other people tell us customers would never get, so leave it out of your business. What do these superpowers have to do with increasing our income? Fabaku says:

I have a lot of people end up in my world after they’ve run through all the blueprints. They’ve tried the blueprints, they’ve tried the formulas. Sometimes they work a minute, but most of the time they haven’t. In every case, they don’t feel good and they’re not sustainable. I’m about as anti-blueprint as it gets.

To me, the very first step in working with someone one on one is getting down to their superpower. There’s the thing that we do and then there’s this other thing behind the thing. There’s this bigger, deeper energy frequency force that shapes and fuels what we do. That’s the superpower. My superpower is unapologetic freedom, as an example. Anytime I work one-on-one with somebody, it’s helping them get down to their superpower. Then, from there, it’s about throwing every formula out the window and, instead, figuring out, “How do we build a business that revolves entirely around your superpower, from what you do, how you do it, who you work with, the value of that superpower, the rhythm of your work. Every bit of it.

Finally, at the end of it, we get into looking at money. Before that, there’s elements of identity work, there’s looking at money lineage and there’s all kinds of stuff. But by the time we finally get to the point of looking at money, all of the static has been removed from the line. There’s clarity about who you are. Then you can face forward and look at money in a clear, coherent way that’s not wrapped up in lineage stuff, it’s not based on comparing what other people charge. It’s based on, “This number feels right for who I am and what I do, given my work in the world.”

If you have a business or you’re thinking of starting one, Fabaku just dropped a gem in there. Find your superpowers and then build a business around them. In other words, build a business where what you sell causes you to be deeply engaged in your superpowers.

Bari went on to ask Fabaku to go deeper into this superpower uncovering process and, if you’re interested in finding out your own superpowers, pay attention to the end of this clip. There’s an important signpost that will let you know when you’re getting close to finding it.

Do you want to say more about how you work? Really getting in there and working with people about their uniqueness. You just get in there. Is an easy process? Is it a hard process? Is it layers of unraveling for folks, of really having them see who they truly are?

I always like to say, “Really know who you are and what you do well and really know what you suck at.” I think those are so important as we age and mature and we get to know and claim that more.

Yeah. I think that in terms of whether it’s easy or not, I think a lot of depends on where people are. One of the big elements that I think that every business should be considering is readiness when it comes to their audience. Thinking about what people are ready for. When I talk about readiness, what I mean is is there a capacity to conceive what it is that you’re offering. It’s a really high priority of mine to work with people who are ready. When they’re ready, that means they can get the most from my work. That’s my bottom line. I want what I do to be critically effective for the people that I work with.

But, readiness means that I can show up at 100%. I can go full velocity without wondering whether someone is really able to roll with it. That’s important. The idea of getting down to a superpower, it sounds like a fun thing. It is. I’ve got the process down. I can make it fun. I can get people there every single time. But some of the parts that are tricky, when you get down to this thing that’s so big, it can start to push the buttons of the parts of us that don’t feel so big. That feel small and feel scared and don’t feel worthy. It’s getting in the vicinity of that bigness kicks all of this other stuff up sometimes. In order to get there and to be able to work with it, people need to be able to get that and roll with that and move through that. It’s doable. It’s always doable.

But if someone’s not ready, what happens is you get to the bigness and it feels scary and you just throw it in reverse. That’s a problem.

When you get there, it’s like, “There’s going to be scariness, there’s going to be resistance, there’s going to be shut down. There’s going to be holy shit, can I do this. Can I step through this threshold.”

Every time. Every time I sit down to do the superpower thing with someone, I tell them up front, “I don’t care what your brain thinks about this because your brain is not going to get it. I don’t care what your smallness things because your smallness isn’t going to like it. The less you understand this and the more your smallness kicks and protests, the better off we are because that’s when I know we’re right in the vicinity of what this does.”

Finding your superpowers is another way of saying that you find what is valuable and worthy about yourself as you would define it. Barbara Stanni points out that there’s an interesting connection between finding your value and doing what you’re scared to do. Bari asked Barbara to:

Tell me about the deep inner work of cultivating a sense of value. How do you help women grow their sense of value, what worth means to them and all of that?

That’s a really good question. That is, as you know, Bari, really what’s at the bottom of this. There’s a total relationship with personal value and how much you make.

When I wrote Overcoming Underearning, what I did is I interviewed everybody who had gone through my Overcoming Underearning workshops. Many of the women had taken their workbooks home and given it to their boyfriends and their husbands, so I interviewed men for that one, too.

What was the question?

I’m excited that you also said men can also fit into this category of underearning. My question was how do you help women and men know a sense of value?

There’s two parts to that answer. One, what I realized is those who I interviewed who really had remarkable results, who really became significantly higher earners, had what they called “The Click.” Maybe it wasn’t in the workshop, but it was in some point later on that they realized, “I deserve to earn more for no other reason than I’m worth it.”

Those that didn’t overcome underearning, no matter how many ah-has they had, they stayed stuck at their earning level.

Then I went deeper. The way you get that click, the way you recognize your value – this is the key – is by doing what you’re scared to do. It’s by going out of your comfort zone. It’s what I call The Stretch. Success in everything – whether it’s losing weight or making more money – is always found in that discomfort zone. It’s always found just outside where you’re comfortable. It’s always found in the unpredictable and the unknown.

I’d ask underearners when the last time they did something they thought they couldn’t do. They scratched their heads. I’d ask higher earners and they’d say, “It’s a way of life.” I call it the higher earning slogan. If it’s not illegal or immoral, just say yes.

From finding your superpowers and building a business around that, we’re going to shift our focus a bit to the topic of overcoming underearning. I know that not everyone listening to this has an entrepreneurial drive. All this talk about superpowers and doing what you’re afraid of is incredible wisdom, but it’s a big more applicable to starting and running your own business.

Let’s take a broader perspective and see how Barbara and Mikelann define underearning.

So much of my community is wanting me to ask Barbara about overcoming underearning. Because it’s such a big issue and it means so many different things –

It is. It is huge.

When I first hear that, I’m like, “Oh, my God. That concept drives me crazy.” Yet, it’s very real and I think of it as over giving, over yes-ing, under no-ing, but I know you wrote an amazing book that’s helped so many people.

Underearning. It can be very deceptive. An underearner is anyone who earns less than she needs or desires, despite her attempts to do otherwise. You can be making six figures and still be an underearner. You can make far less and not be.

My daughters. I have a farmer, I have a journalist and I have a nursery school teacher. They’re all low earners, but they’re doing what they love because it meets their needs, it feeds their soul. They’re making enough to live on. They’re not going in debt.

Underearning is never a conscious choice. It never feeds your soul. It is always a condition of deprivation. Not just deprivation of money, but of time, of joy, of choices and, most of all, of self-esteem. Anyone who says, “I’d love to make more money, but…” and can’t and they’re frustrated, is an underearner.

For a similar perspective, Mikelann feels that:

Underearning is defined as the pattern of earning less money than you need. Do you know what’s interesting? There’s a couple of things in there. What I just said, “The pattern of earning less money than you need,” is a very old definition of underearning. It’s old style. That goes back in the literature 20+ years. It still makes me feel like, “Is it okay to thrive? Can I do more than just make what I need?” I think a better definition is that it’s the pattern of earning below your potential.
There’s two places to go with that. One is it is about a pattern. That’s what I think your listeners really want to think about for themselves. This is not about a one-time occurrence. Everybody’s income can get hit sometimes. It can be the economy, a bad boss, something happens. That happens.

What underearning is, is a pattern. When we look in our lives, do we see this pattern of consistently underselling ourselves, of consistently earning below our potential. That, I think, is the other direction to go. It’s about potential and that’s super person. It’s super personal.

Again, everything you’re saying, there’s layers on. There’s so much depth. One, you’re saying in life that life happens: divorces, death, babies and all of those things that can impact.

That doesn’t mean that you’re “an underearner.” The real questions is, “Is this something that when you look through your life, over the past five, 10, 20 years, does it keep happening? Do you keep earning below your potential?” That’s where you have to be like, “I’m going to have a lot of compassion for myself. I’m just open to looking at this and I’m curious. This seems to not be something that has only happened once.”

That tells me there’s something underneath it. That’s where you can explore it as a fairly deep personal growth piece to go into.

Sometimes when you’re working on uncovering those patterns, you might discover something unexpected. Bari feels that:

In my world, when we’re talking about underearning, I know people who have made well beyond six figures and are just working so many hours that they feel like – or I would put them in the category – of underearning because their time, their energy, their self-care is really being hit and really being impacted. They’re making a nice salary and, yet, the amount of hours to work for that. For me, that falls under this umbrella or under this definition.

I agree. How I think about it is, if we get into the metaphysics of energy, you really can’t divorce time from money from energy – which is what you’re saying. It’s time, money and energy. Time, money and energy.

The goal is not to make as much money as humanly possible and spend as much time pursuing money as humanly possible. There’s got to be a right balance for everyone in their life. I’m super about life balance and the relationship between time and money has to work for me, it has to work for my family. If I’m not taking care of myself, what is the point of this.

It is very, very, very personal. There’s an interesting thing, Bari, that’s kind of the flip side of what you were just talking about. Underearning is not about underworking either. There’s a lot of people that work extremely hard and put in a lot of hours and they’re not making as much money as it feels like they should. It’s also not about underachieving. I think that’s where it gets frustrating. There are people that are amazing. They just do stellar work and they really do amazing things for their clients. Everyone else thinks that they must likely be making more money than they really are.

It’s almost like the imposter syndrome with this. It’s not about underworking or overworking or underachieving or overachieving. It’s the right balance for you between time, money and energy where you’re working at your potential in a way that feels good for you.

This is good. We know that underearning is a pattern of earning below your potential, but what does it look like when we’re underearning? How do we actually bring this upon ourselves?

In Bari’s conversation with Mikelann about this, at one point, Mikelann said:

Are you okay if I give you five or six common examples that might be helpful?

I love what you’re doing. I love that you’re slowing me down. My community just did four months of money healing and we’re now in the practical. Now I’m a little bit like, “Go, go, go.” I love that you’re slowing us down and you’re actually naming everything that we’ve been through or that my folks will want to loop back to and do another layer of or that they’re still working on.

Just a quick bit of context here. When Bari’s talking about her community and the four months of money healing that they just went through, what she’s referring to is the hundreds of members inside the Art of Money program.

At the time that this conversation happened with Mikelann, the members of the program had just finished the first phase of the program, the Money Healing Phase. Bari was really glad that Mikelann was steering the direction of the conversation towards something that was perfect for the members of the program to hear right then, at the part of the year long journey that they were in.

I love where you’re taking us.

Oh, yeah. Your community is so fortunate to have you. It really is step one, step two.

If we look at, in terms of your community, at what’s happened, there are a lot of common ways that people underearn. You’ll hear me sometimes switching between the word “underearning” and sometimes “underselling.” They’re related.

The most common ways that people underearn is that they come into a job too low. They accepted the initial salary and they didn’t negotiate for more. The other thing that happens is people wait too long to ask for a raise. When they do ask for a raise, they don’t ask for enough.

If they’re self-employed, it looks like this. They come into the market, their initial fees are set too low – and there’s a lot of emotional stuff that goes into that that we can talk about. The other way that a lot of self-employed and creative people underearn is they don’t raise their fees often enough. A client comes in and they say, “Fifty dollars an hour.” It’s like there’s an unconscious contract that says, “I will never raise your fees ever.” Five years go by and they’re still paying them $50 an hour.

It’s very common that they don’t raise their fees often enough. Then when they do raise fees, people that struggle with earning issues won’t raise them by enough money.

Those are really common. Then, a couple of others to throw in is that underearners struggle with marketing themselves. It’s hard to make money – whether you’re self-employed or not – if no one knows that you’re there and what you’re doing.

You know what I’ve found a lot of times that happens is underearners stay too long. They stay in a job that’s comfortable or maybe they’re self-employed and it’s just been this way for so long. Certainly, they can’t command more money in their field because certain fields are structured differently, and they stay and they stay and they stay.

That’s why it can be a very tender issue. People have a lot of feelings around it. It can feel overwhelming to say, “I wish I would have moved or left my job five years ago, yet here I am five years later.” Sometimes underearners don’t have a career plan. It’s hard to make more money if you don’t have a plan.

I’ll tell you, there’s a lot of themes. A lot of times underearners are a little bit on the invisible side. They’re not asking for more money – whether they’re self-employed or not. I think it would be fun for us to talk about traits that people have, but one thing that I noticed is that underearners get angry that the world is so unfair. Honestly, we shouldn’t even have to have this conversation. Everyone should earn plenty of money. Everyone should be paid what they’re worth. Everyone should “no struggle” with this, so it can feel very frustrating in our universe that we actually have to stick up for ourselves and ask for what we’re worth and demand more money. It’s so frustrating for different personality types – some personality types more than others – that they have to step up and be super visible and ask. It can be so uncomfortable.

Yes. To be an advocate for selves. I wrote the word “visible.” It’s hard for some of us and we need to learn how to become more visible.

Okay. Great, you say. We know what underearning is and how it shows up. But how the heck do we overcome it?

Well, Barbara Stanni shared a great little exercise to help get the process started. She actually turned the tables on Bari and asked her to share the results of her doing the exercise, along with the listeners.

I’m wondering, in terms of the inner work, I have an exercise. It’s very short and very quick. Do you think your listeners would like to engage in this?


Okay. Bari, you can do this to, if you like. I want everyone listening, if you so desire, to close your eyes. I want you to take a deep breath and go back and imagine what is your first memory of money. Don’t try too hard. Just see what comes up. What is your earliest memory of money? Take a few minutes to see it.

If nothing comes up, it will come up later. Not to worry. When you’re taking a shower or driving to work.

Take that memory and freeze frame it like a photograph. In that moment that is now freeze framed in your memory, you made a decision about money. That decision is probably totally unconscious, but it is totally driving and shaping your relationship with money, whether you realize it or not. It’s usually a very irrational decision.

For example, I was standing on these little stairs brushing my teeth. I must have been three or four years old. I turned to my mother and I asked her how much allowance she got. She gave me this look. She didn’t say a word. She just gave me this look like, “You don’t talk about money.” I made a decision that you do not talk about money.

When I was going through all of my crap with my money, with all those tax bills, with all of my husband’s gambling. I was in therapy and I never talked – I talked about my sex life, but I never talked about money to anyone.

Bari, do you want to share what you’ve got?

Oh, man. Okay. Wow. Sure. It wasn’t probably my earliest, but it was actually when I was maybe 15 years. I got a few images of me spending money on clothes and wanting candy and all that as a kid. But, really, the image that stuck was my father asking me to go apply for jobs and then come back and report to him how they went. I had to go seek out a certain amount of jobs.

This was at 15 or 16 years old. I was asked, in my middle-class family, to go get a job.

How did you feel about that, Bari?

I was both mad about it, scared about it and, eventually, empowered by it.

But at that moment, you made a decision. You made a decision about work. What was it?

You can hear my voice. I’m a little shaky. It was more like, “Here we go. I am not going to depend on a man for money. I am going to make my own.” How do you like that?

This is beautiful. These memories can be very helpful if they serve you. But there can be some part of that memory that interferes with your relationships with men and drives you passed where you want to be driven.

Yes. Luckily, I’ve been working on that for years. It’s very true.

That’s why you are so good at helping others, my darling.

Very true. Yes, that certainly played out. That’s why I didn’t even want to get married. I met my husband at 32, got married at 35. I wasn’t interested. I was very independent. Then, finally turned all that up on its head. I could just be me and my husband could be him and all that.

You know, I’m glad that she made that decision about not wanting to depend on a man to make money for her. When Bari and I first met, I was not very good at earning money. She wasn’t either, but slowly – side by side – we both got better and better at it and eventually merged our finances. A handful of years after that, we started working together in the same business, working together to not only overcome our underearning, but also to go beyond that and build a lifestyle that we’ve both dreamed of.

But back when we first got together, for both Bari and I – like most folks who are overcoming underearning – they were reasons that we were stuck in that cycle. Bari was talking with Mikelann about this and told her:

You talk about reasons you may not be earning at your potential and reasons you say you’re not really clear about how much money you should be making. Meaning, you haven’t sat down – this seems obvious and simple, but it’s not. Do you want to talk about that sitting down and really understanding what you or your family needs, wants and desires at this time?

Right. That’s a great place to go. It does sound obvious, yet you and I know in this field that it’s not. Many people are not clear how much money they actually need to earn and they’re not clear how much they want to earn. They can be two different numbers.

Either way, there’s this feeling sometimes of, “Oh, my gosh. I’m not making enough. I’m not making enough. I’m not making enough. I just want to make more. I just want to make more.” Yet, again, if you go into, for example, the whole law of attraction. You would never call up a catalog company and say, “Send me a shirt.” That’s like when you put out to the universe, “I need to make more money.” No, “Send me a red blouse, sized medium.” Then I can fulfill that order, right?

When you really get into looking at money and really trying to earn more money because you’re frustrated about not earning enough, one of the first places to go is, “Okay, how much money do I need to earn to have a satisfying, balanced lifestyle? What is that number?” That’s where like in your community, where people are getting in touch with their numbers. Getting in touch with what they are spending their money on and what is the lifestyle they want to craft, what is the lifestyle that they want to create? What are the numbers that they put around that? It’s so different for all of us with different family sizes, where we live. It’s a very personal number. But not the less, there’s a number.

Four you, the listener, where you’re spending your money. The flip side of that is, “How much money do you need to earn to live that lifestyle that you’re looking at right now?”

You and I share this, of course. People call it a budget. I would call it a money map. I get people to map out what your basic needs, lifestyle – that’s the need. The want is more what’s your comfortable lifestyle and the desire is more of your ultimate lifestyle. Those are the names that I’m currently using.

Right. Needs, wants and desires.

Exactly. We haven’t gotten to that yet in our journey. That’s the final phase. But some folks are already starting to look at their numbers and set up a system and start to review from the past what they’ve spent.

Okay. Let me unpack that last bit a little for you. It’s a key point in the process of overcoming underearning. Mikelann spoke about getting clear about what your number is, about how much money you actually want to make. Bari takes it a step further and breaks it out into three tiers of lifestyles.

In the yearlong program, she goes into great depth on this topic, but just to get a quick overview of her thoughts on this right here, here’s how to turn this into a little exercise.

To get really clear on these numbers, it’s super clear if you’ve been tracking your income and spending. That will give you a stake in the sand, so to speak, that allows you to say, “This is how much I’m earning and spending now, and it’s giving me this particular level of lifestyle.” Then, you map out how you define three different levels of lifestyle and you write out how much you would be earning and spending on each level.

The bottom level is basic needs. This is the bare minimum, just getting by level of lifestyle. The next one up is the comfortable level. You’re doing better than just getting by at this level. You’re comfortable, but things could get better.

Which leads us to the next tier on the map, the ultimate lifestyle. Here, you’re living out your dream level in every facet of your life, however you define it.

What Mikelann and Bari were just talking about is to get super clear on your desired numbers for each level of lifestyle. By doing this, by getting that clear, you’ll help yourself overcome underearning. In this process, you’ll hopefully get really clear on how much money you want to make in this coming year. Even then, you might be aiming too low. Which means that maybe, just maybe, you’re still a bit tangled around money.

What happens when you get untangled? Bari asked this of Fabaku and, head’s up, here comes a couple of F-bombs.

What is the one thing that you see shift in people when they get, as you say, “Unfucked” around money?”

I think that they have a wide-open sense of possibility. It’s interesting to me the way that things change when I start working with people. There’s a client of mine that I worked with for years. At the start of the year, I said, “Tell me how much money you want to make this year.” She told me and I said, “That number doesn’t make any sense. That number seems so low and not coherent with who you are. How about we double that number?” She was like, “Holy shit. Okay.”

She’s made triple that number this year. She gets it. She gets why because she’s open and available to that possibility. It’s been updating identity, it’s been doing coherent work, it’s been building a business structure that’s based on her superpower and it’s being available to the possibility of more. That, ultimately at the end of the day, is what my work is about: making people available to the possibility of more. When you get unfucked around all this stuff around money, all of a sudden, my $80,000 that I could never see going past, that number doesn’t even make sense anymore around that.

In order to create something bigger and newer, you have to be available to the possibility. That’s the first step. You can’t build a business or the life, or the bank account or the relationship or whatever it is if that possibility isn’t accessible to you. But when you plug into it and when you plug into your superpower, not only are you open to a new set of possibilities, but you plug into a new set of capabilities that allow you to do exactly that. That’s the thing. That’s the thing.

Man, that makes me want to go put on a superhero suit – like an Iron Man suit – and go make all kinds of awesome happen around the world. In a way, that’s what we try to help the members of our Art of Money program do. Put on their superhero suits and make life a whole lot better as a result of changing their relationship to money.

Speaking of the Art of Money program, if you like the conversations and teachings in this episode of the podcast, you’ll love the Art of Money program. It’s this kind of learning, plus direct live support and handholding from Bari, coaching calls and support from five transformational assistants and Bari in a private discussion forum for the whole year.

Why would you want to join this program? Well, see, your relationship to money has everything to do with everything: your family, your career, your spirituality, your body, your life dreams and goals, your unique way of seeing and being in the world. When you bring healing and humanity and smarts to your money relationship, the benefits ripple out to every area of your life.

If you’re interested in this program, you can go to – again, that’s Bari, spelled B-a-r-I – to learn more about the program and join us for this next journey. Until next time, I hope all is well.

Hear us discuss:

  • The top subconscious fears that sabotage people’s earning
  • Why wanting to “earn more” isn’t enough — and what to do instead
  • One simple practice to uncover the roots of your under-earning (and see what’s really been holding you back)
  • The “click” high earners all share — and how to get there
  • The un-blueprint method for building a thriving business that includes your “crazy bits”
  • Fabeku’s crazy-inspiring teachings on “money as fuel” and what can happen when you get “un-f*&@d” around money.

Transforming your money relationship takes a village.

I learned long ago that money is so multi-faceted, touching so many different areas of our lives, that I couldn’t possibly be an expert on ALL aspects of it.

But I could teach what I teach — and then connect you, my dear community, to the absolute best and brightest money experts out there for all the rest.

That’s why I’ve invited an incredible lineup of Guest Teachers to be an integral part of my year-long money school, The Art of Money — now open for earlybird registration.

Art of Money 2019

Get money wisdom from 30 amazing Guest Teachers (plus me!) in The Art of Money 2019.

If you liked hearing these practical-and-profound perspectives from Fabeku, Mikelann, and Barbara, you’ll love the high-caliber teachings from all the eclectic Guest Teachers in my year-long money school, The Art of Money.

From how to feel safe in your body around money … to better money conversations with your sweetie … to consolidating student loans … to earning more money doing what you love … to teaching your kids about money … to ritual and lineage and the Enneagram and more, you’ll hear my conversations with incredible Guest Teachers from all walks of life.

(And, of course, you’ll get the FULL conversations this mini-class was curated from.)

We officially start the Art of Money 2019 in January. But you can start your journey now.

Our doors are open now for a short, earlybird registration. If you’re already a YES to transforming your money relationship in 2019, you can sign up now to receive a boatload of earlybird gifts and goodies — including a live Kickstarter class with me on October 28th.

What if you devoted a year to transforming your relationship with money? There’s a whole village ready to cheer you on.

Join the Art of Money 2019 here.

P.S. What’s a Money Mocha?

It’s a mini-jolt of financial clarity. A drop of money wisdom. A morsel of financial peace and joy.

And it’s a sneak peek of the kinds of teachings you’ll find in my year-long money school: The Art of Money, now open for early registration (for a very short time). We kick off a fresh year in January, but if you sign up now during our earlybird shindig, you’ll get a boatload of e-prezzies from me, so you can start tasting the money joy right away.

Learn about The Art of Money 2019 and snag your earlybird gifts right here.

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