Every so often I am asked some variation of the question, “Do you ever worry about money?” The truthful answer to that is, “Not anymore,” but getting free of the Money Dragon had little to do with earning more money and everything to do with challenging my belief system about money. Allowing the Money Dragon to rule your world is a surefire invitation to sleepless nights and perpetual poverty. Banishing that monster starts by answering some important questions.

Do you live in a world of scarcity or surplus? Las Vegas legend Wayne Newton lives on a 52-acre ranch where he raises prize-winning Arabian horses. He’s also signed a multimillion-dollar deal to continue performing. Things weren’t always so rosy. In 1991, he faced bankruptcy. Throughout the ordeal, he continued to remind himself that he had created his wealth and could create it again if he lost it. Four years later he was back on firm financial ground.

Many people create scarcity by focusing on everything they don’t have. Author Sondra Ray points out that if you have any money anywhere — even a few coins — you actually have a surplus. How many people give themselves credit for that?

Thinking abundantly comes from a healthy self-image, knowing you have options, and an understanding of the role that attitude plays in creating wealth. Most of us arrive at that state through conscious work, eliminating thoughts and words of poverty. Books such as Rich Dad, Poor Dad and Creating Money can help us get rid of our own blocks and limiting thoughts.

What has goal setting got to do with it? Although more people are coming to understand the importance of the goal-setting process, many fail to make the connection between setting goals and generating cash flow. “I’d like to travel,” they sigh, without giving any thought to making it happen.

A great way to build your goal-setting muscle is to invent a small project — one that really excites you — and create the funding for it in a totally new way. Then work up to a slightly larger project. Not only will you realize more of your dreams, you’ll build a larger Option Bank for yourself as well.

Is it a debt or is it an investment? The media love to remind us that credit card spending is out of control. Accumulated debts can lead to shame and take a toll on self-esteem, of course.

An entrepreneur needs to understand the difference between debt and investment. As Jerry Gilles points out in his classic book Moneylove, debt can be a sign of trust and belief in your dreams. The trick here is to know when spending is actually an investment in your future and when it’s just frivolous. Which leads us to the next question.

Is it ego or is it essential? People who leave corporate life often take with them a spendthrift attitude. Doing things to create a successful image may seem like a good idea, but you need to consider whether it’s the seductive siren song of your ego urging you to buy that luxury car or spend thousands for a fabulous brochure or whether it’s essential to running your business. Yes, it’s wonderful to have great toys and a successful image. It’s even better if you’ve earned them.

If it’s essential, it’s an investment; if it’s ego, it’s just debt.

Is it anybody’s business? Several months ago, I was introduced to a man who is working frenetically to launch a business that’s based on a terrific product he’s designed. At our first meeting — and in every conversation since — he’s told me, “I’m absolutely broke.” In fact, he seems to be wearing his impoverished state as a badge of honor.

Your finances are really not appropriate public knowledge. Besides your spouse and your accountant, nobody needs to know the contents of your bank account. This is also true, incidentally, when you’ve hit the jackpot.

What have you given lately? Financial guru Suze Orman tells the story about reaching the lowest point in her life after having her business wiped out by an unscrupulous partner. Orman spent weeks at home licking her wounds, not knowing how she’d recover. One day she turned on public television during their fund drive. Despite having limited funds herself, she decided to make a contribution. She credits that simple act of giving with turning her life around. Today, Orman’s seminars are often featured during fund drive week on public television.

Money is energy and needs to flow out as well as in. Make your own acts of generosity count by giving money to causes that you truly care about. Selfless giving benefits the giver by adding to feelings of abundance. Money Dragons can’t exist in that environment.

There’s more where this came from.
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