Power & Earning Power

The Work - valuable tools in coaching
Byron Katie - Wikimedia Commons

Today I´d like to share a recent experience with a client: she just came back from a course around finances – a little out-of-the-ordinary finance course, not purely rational: it sounded like finances with a touch of psychology.


Psychology and finances – what do they have in common?

Well, it is in childhood that a lot of beliefs and convictions are formed and remain hidden, unconscious, unless we go and dig for them. For example, also the beliefs around money. So one question during the course was – What messages did you hear about money when you grew up? What were the feelings and values around “being rich” vs. “being poor”? Did you consider your family “rich” or “poor”?


Well, this lady came from a well-off family, working parents in leading positions. Some people considered them „rich“, the family mantra was „we are doing well“.


My client always had her own bank account since she was a girl, how to manage money was a skill transmitted young. And this account seemed to always be full. Who filled it? (And this is interesting) In her memory, it was her father. He was the main breadwinner, and the mother´s contribution was insubstantial – her very words.

The wife´s earning power was insubstantial.


Let´s take a brief look at the reality back then: my client´s mother actually ran a local business, as the business owner was a mom of 4 who looked after her family. This kind of managerial position - part time! - for a woman was rare in the 60ies – she surely was a role model for my client and an example to women today.

Yet still – my client´s (subconscious) belief was: the wife´s earning power is insubstantial.


Fast forward some years and you see her with her own partner: she kind of repeated the pattern: a husband 10 years her senior with a high income and her own starting-out income was (to her) „insubstantial“ to the family well-being.


Isn´t this interesting? You may find belief held in childhood in your own family pattern in your life. Considering my client is self-employed – such a belief around her earning power is very hindering. Which is why we worked through it in our session:

  • My earning power is insubstantial“ - Is this true?

    • A clear... „Yea... no“. Let´s get this really clear:

  • My earning power is insubstantial“ - Is this at anytime and always true?

    • "No."

  • What kind of picture does this evoke, if your earning power was insubstantial?

    • "Feels small. Small, grey and kind of... insignificant."

  • What if this was not true – what kind of picture is that?

    • "Oh! That would be wonderful. As if the sun broke through the clouds and I start smiling."

  • Well, keep that feeling and let´s turn the sentence around: what´s the opposite of „My earning power is insubstantial“?:

    • My earning weakness is insubstantial .“

    • My earning power is substantial .“- My earning power is enormous !“ (Yes, this feels good).

  • So, can you give me examples why this statement of your earning power being enormous is true?

    • "Well, after a 6 year family career break I returned to the workplace without issues. I secured a leadership position as if I´d never stayed home."

    • "During my following career I got regularly promoted and consequently, my salary got raised as well."

    • "I managed to finance my latest move and further professional training completely out of my own funds."

    • "This really is good proof to me, that „my earning power is enormous“!"


(These questions – answers are inspired by „the work“ by Byron Katie – should you want to know more, you find her books on Amazon.)


This little episode may have inspired you to look at you own held beliefs around money and earning power. Feel free to share it on my facebook page!


To me, my earning power is closely connected to other areas of power: my assertiveness, my leadership, the clarity and power of my words.


As a teacher of mine put it: „power is power“.

Kommentare: 1 (Diskussion geschlossen)
  • #1

    Nancy L. Neff (Mittwoch, 12 März 2014 16:29)

    Wiebke, great article. Just the recognition of the belief ("my earning power as a woman is limited", or "I'm too old to make much money", or whatever it is), then the questioning of that, is essential. Accepting the way it's always been without searching for other paths leads to a dead-end life! Good work, my friend.