In the opening parable of Barbara Stanny’s Overcoming Underearning, the fairy godmother says, “When you learn to face what makes you fearful, it need never control you again.” I cannot think of a more liberating opening.
the voice of experience
Stanny states, “if you don’t deal with your money, your money will deal with you…often in ways you’d never expect.” She experienced this maxim first hand when her husband lost “a substantial portion of [her] inheritance”. She blatantly says that “staying stupid was not an option”, but when confronted by her financial counselor about being an underearner, she insisted she was not. She ignored her financial counselor’s advice until she “research[ed] financially savvy women” and interviewed “154 high-earners, several of whom were writers” she discovered to be “supremely confident.” She shattered her mental block holding her back, that people who make a lot of money are “cold, aloof, designer-dressed snobs.” Her pivotal confession was that “they didn’t let self-doubt stop them” like she did. Then Stanny miraculously earned six figures. “Without even realizing it, I had seamlessly incorporated their strategies into my life, which I’ll share with you throughout this book.”
planning the life you want
The purpose of this book is to help you achieve financial independence. This process begins with one simple question: What do you want? Stanny asks, if you had only six months to live:
- “What would you be doing?”
- “Where would you be living?”
- “Who would you be with?”
- “What would you change? What would you add? What would you eliminate?”
Based on your answers to these questions, you can formulate plans for how to change your life. “Make your plans as fantastic as you like, because twenty-five years from now they will seem mediocre. You will wonder why you didn’t make them 50 times as great.”
the psychology of underearning
Stanny explains, “The problem we’re dealing with isn’t really about money at all. Money is simply a metaphor. In fact, the problem isn’t even about overcoming underearning. Underearning is merely a symptom. Lasting change never occurs by treating the symptom. My belief is that you’ve kept yourself an underearner for a reason. Bottom line: Underearning is a condition of low self-esteem. Inside every underearner lies some degree of hopelessness or helplessness brought on by a perceived lack of self-worth or absence of self-love.” Stanny follows this insight with a Self Esteem Inventory designed to help readers identify their self-esteem roadblocks.
Stanny now counteracts the voices in our heads that tell us we cannot be anything. “Those voices may never shut up. Mine haven’t.” She talks about how she has learned to ignore them. “So should you. Just because you hear voices in your head doesn’t mean you have to listen to them.” Defiantly she encourages us to “Start replacing the voices with different, more positive statements, a personal mantra or affirmation.”
Section Two: Taking the Steps
The second portion of the book outlines the steps you can take to begin changing your financial state and achieving success. This begins with a five-part plan, each step of which contains detailed plans and exercises:
- Step 1: Tell the Truth-The Defining Truth: No one is doing this to me. I am doing this to myself. Therefore, I have the ability to change it.
- Step 2: Make a Decision-profit motive. THE GRAND CONUNDRUM: You get what you really want, not what you ask for.
- Step 3: Stretch: Your biggest barrier is fear. And it’s usually that which we’re most afraid to let go of that is the very thing we need to release.
- Step 4: Create Community-who are your true believers, confidants, way showers, messengers, and naysayers?
- Step 5: Respect and Appreciate Money-The Big Must for Overcoming Underearning: Stop Debting Now!
This book can be placed on hold from the East Baton Rouge Parish Library website.
Written by Andre de la Fuente