I write about and teach finance to make a living, but I’m not a number. In fact, the numbers and I have had a difficult relationship for decades.
It all started when I was eight years old and got a C in a maths exercise. It was the first time I received less than an A in anything. That’s when I realized math wasn’t my strong subject. That’s when I gave up my maths studies.
Yes, I gave up math at the age of eight. While I can continue on how to improve the education system so that this does not happen to other eight-year-olds, I will refrain. Instead, I want to focus on how I overcome my fear of numbers and then the fear of managing money.
I don’t have a choice.
Sometimes, the only way to overcome fear is when you don’t really have a choice. That’s exactly what happened to me.
I graduated from college in 2010 in a downward economy. At the time, my hometown had an unemployment rate of 13%, higher than the national average. I went six months without a job, took a year without a full-time job, moved home to my birth parents. Oh, and I broke my faith because I wasted everything I earned while I was at work and at school.
Most people will raise their hands in the air and give up or complain. I’ve been doing both for a while. Very good, but not very helpful. Fortunately, I got out of it. I realized I needed to learn about money because we needed money just to survive. That’s when I bought my first personal finance book.
I started focusing on my beliefs about money.
At the end of 2011, I found the work of Gabby Bernstein. I happened to be watching one of her YouTube videos, where she was discussing how our thoughts affect our behavior and reality.
My mind was blown away. This is the first time I’ve heard such a thing and for some reason it makes sense to me.
After watching her other YouTube videos and watching the full lecture she had taught about money, I decided to try it out.
From that point forward, I began to pay attention to how I thought and how I felt regarding money. I quickly realized that I had learned some pretty messy things and that I had carried with me the absurd fear of numbers since I was 8 years old.
Just identifying it helped me start changing my behavior. It wasn’t easy at first, but I gradually started to face my fears. I started asking for more money. I started investing in myself and my business. I keep put money in the IRA even if I feel frustrated. I started to trust myself to find this money.
I asked for help.
The key to my success is asking for help. I make friends with people who tend to understand the numbers more naturally and I ask them for help when needed.
My accountant and I are also friends and I always ask him for help.
This gave me a huge education because it involved numbers and money. An education that I certainly never had in school.
Although I am not a natural number, I have learned to love managing my money. If a completely right-brained creator who hates math from this third grade can do it, then you can do it too.