When Success Meets Self-Denial

December 5, 2023

In the world of finance and entrepreneurship, we often focus on the surface – the strategies, the numbers, the success. Yet, beneath this veneer lies a deeper, more personal narrative: our emotional relationship with money.

We all have subconscious patterns that run in the background. They may have been formed in childhood or young adulthood. They may come from our first interaction with money as a child, or from how we grew up with money relative to others in our hometown.

Our developing brain creates these patterns to keep us safe – but left unchecked, these patterns can often become the limitations that keep us from achieving success and true fulfillment.

Uncovering these subconscious beliefs that keep us stuck is the core of what we do in Unbreakable Wealth.

Because the fact is, there is a reason we don’t follow all of the good financial advice available to us. Most of us know what we should be doing – but our subconscious brain derails us at every turn.

I call these patterns our Money Stories.

Once we understand where our money stories come from, then we can start to repattern these beliefs. This is the true key to unlocking our wealth potential.

Want to see the power of unlocking our money stories firsthand?

Here are two examples of folks who were unknowingly stuck in patterns of self-sabotage:

Imagine building a business from the ground up, nurturing it into a 7-figure+ empire. Yet, when it comes to personal gain, limiting yourself to a meager $35,000 salary.

This was the reality for a client of mine – a brilliant businesswoman who believed in her company more than she believed in herself.

Every time the profit would start to stack, she would find a way to redeploy it – all in the name of growth, or so she thought. She would hire new employees, engage with new consultants, or purchase expensive software. But no matter how much money her business would make, she never took more than the minimum salary that she had been paying herself since her meager startup days.

As we peeled back the layers of her financial decisions, we uncovered a pattern rooted deep in her past.

As a teenager, she’d worked a good-paying job, but had always handed over her hard-earned money to her boyfriend, feeling his need was greater than hers. In her twenties, she was the landlord who never held her tenants accountable for paying their rent, absorbing their financial burdens as her own.

Her parents, affluent yet austere, had taught her a harsh lesson early on. Each Christmas, they asked her to list her heart’s desires, only to deliberately withhold them. “We don’t always get what we want,” they’d say, instilling in her a belief that, no matter her efforts or achievements, she was not meant to enjoy the fruits of her labor.

This belief was so ingrained that when she finally realized it, the impact was profound.

She realized that she had been a slave to her money story: “Money is not for me.”

Once aware of how this story had been driving her decisions, the shift was immediate and profound.

She began to pay herself what she truly deserved, breaking free from the shackles of her past. She went from paying herself $35,000 a year to $35,000 every single month. She was finally able to enjoy the fruits of her hard work.

The shift was more than financial; it was a deep emotional awakening to her own worth.

Another client, a successful entrepreneur, faced a similar internal struggle. Her business had just achieved a milestone – crossing the 7-figure mark. To celebrate, I encouraged her to award herself a $100,000 year-end bonus, more than she had ever taken out of her company.

The bonus came with one condition: she had to buy herself a gift worth over $1,000. This gift couldn’t be a vacation for her family or something others could enjoy – it had to be for her alone.

The very idea was alien to her. When we talked about buying herself something to celebrate her success, she told me that she actually felt physically ill.

She had never spent that kind of money on herself, and she wasn’t even sure if she could do it.

Growing up she witnessed a financial dynamic between her parents – her father holding the purse strings, her mother living on an allowance. But here’s an important point, and one sometimes we overlook: this wasn’t malicious.

Her father wasn’t controlling otherwise; he was kind and they have a great relationship to this day. This was just the way things were in their home, perhaps passed down from her father’s own childhood.

But witnessing this seemingly innocent dynamic, her child brain created a money story: “Women are irresponsible with money, and must receive permission to spend.”

From the outside, this story would be unbelievable. This is a powerful, confident entrepreneur; a person who is incredibly talented and renowned in her industry.

But as we dug deeper, we found that she had always outsourced her financial decisions to her CFO. She would ask permission to hire employees or invest in new initiatives, never truly trusting that she knew what was best for her business.

As we talked, she admitted that there was a ring that had captured her eye, a piece that not only resonated with her taste but also supported another woman-owned small business, a cause that was sacred to her.

However, the thought of buying it for herself felt like an act of betrayal – a betrayal of the lessons ingrained since childhood, that self-indulgence was selfish, almost sinful.

It took courage, but she eventually made the purchase. It was more than a transaction; it was a symbolic act of reclaiming her financial independence, an affirmation that she, too, was worthy of enjoying her success.

She had the back of the ring engraved with three simple words:

“Never Play Small.”

These stories are mirrors reflecting our own money narratives. They challenge us to confront the uncomfortable question: Do we subconsciously believe that “money is not for me”?

It’s a question that digs deep, probing into the emotional bedrock of our financial decisions.

I invite you to reflect: what are your money stories? How do they show up for you today?

Your journey to financial self-empowerment starts with a simple yet profound acknowledgment: You deserve the success you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

To never playing small,


Did you enjoy this article? There’s more where that came from. Sign up for our newsletter to get these hard-earned insights and more delivered straight to your inbox.