1. List the most frequent points of contention that recur in relationship after relationship.
2. Name the biggest fear women have about their future.
3. Guess the secret we hold dearest, beyond even our most intimate relations.
If you answered …
1. Communication, sex, and MONEY
2. Losing control of their physical or mental facilities, or being on the street because they don’t have any MONEY
3. The amount of MONEY we owe
… You are right.
According to a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, anxiety about money is the principal source of stress for 73% of Americans. Everybody, it seems, has money issues, but sadly, hardly anybody genuinely talks about it. Money is our secret, both in private and in public. Sometimes we do not even acknowledge our worries to ourselves.
Like most secret fears, anxieties about money spread like the common cold until they have infected our attitude and behavior, and smothered any sense of well-being. Because we do not talk about these anxieties, we’re held back from doing anything helpful about them.
So how might your hidden money challenges show up at your office?
1. You (or team members) may care more about the heart-to-heart connections than about making money, so you or they may shrug off basic financial topics in the practice.
2. You (or team members) wish you and they did not have to think about making or managing their own money. Therefor you all do not give a darn about hygiene, office, and/or doctor production.
3. You (or team members) avoid facing money situations, hoping things will improve, and rarely talk to patients about finances or fees. Their explanation? “It’s not my job.”
4. You (or team members) are extremely frugal and careful to live below your means, so you and they become defenders of other people’s money (spending), and may be selective with treatment discussions.
5. You (or team members) may think that there is an unequal balance of wealth in the world, and thus deduce the office is actually making enough money.
6. You (or team members) find that asking what you or they are worth requires every ounce of courage you possess.
Can you see how uncovering the hidden challenges you and your team members face about money would increase team communication, understanding, enrollment conversations, and case acceptance? It is often the early messages we received about money that influence our current beliefs. That relentless, looping tape recorder in our minds picks up and continues to play old ideas that are sometimes so subtle we don’t even realize they’re present.
Action step: One of the first steps in dealing with money issues is to consider early beliefs that still have a grip on your attitudes and choices. Make notes about these old messages. Write a “money biography” — the history of your relationship with money from childhood to present. Also, list your fears about money, no matter how silly or contrived they might seem.
Our unspoken attitudes and ideas about money may be getting in the way of a sense of well-being and financial stability in your practice. In fact, you may not even know these issues exist. In addition, like finding your way through a dark room when things are going bump in the night, it always helps to turn on the lights.
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