In this part of the interview, you’ll find out how Alan maximises fulfilment & integrity in his relationship with money, also using the lens of Nonviolent Communication. Here is part 3 of the interview; for part 1, click here and for part 2, click here
How does nonviolent communication affect how you view consume and spend money?
That’s a good question. My ‘off the top of my head’ answer is that I’ve installed NVC as part of my internal operating system that it’s running in the background unconsciously now so. How I view, earn and spend money- I think I’ve already answered this; I see money as a strategy that contributes to needs or not.
Sometimes after spending on a certain thing, I may say, oh Jeez, was that the most life-serving way of spending that money? I always look at it through the lens of needs. I’m able to feel my feelings, or my own life connected mourning around it and if needed beneficial regret. If I spend money on something that I later regret, I harvest the learning from it. For example, with my children, I’ve given in a couple of times when I’m with them in the car, and they’re just like (makes baby noises). Fine, I give in- we go to the drive through sandwich place. Afterwards, I think why did I get non-organic white bread, overly packaged food that is polluting. Then, I slow down, I give myself empathy, then I give them empathy, and then we do something that I’m not going to regret. That’s also modelling something more life serving for them.
You know the other way that it’s affected me that’s important is about eight or nine years ago I became a business coach. People started approaching me for business advice which was mind blowing to me because I didn’t see myself in that way. I’ve transformed how I see marketing. I see that there is life-disconnected, life-alienated marketing and there is life-serving, life-connected marketing. One of the ways I define marketing is that it’s an attempt to describe to people how their needs are likely to be fulfilled when they interact with whatever it is we are offering.
So regarding earning money, also having an NVC lens helps me connect with my audience at the level of deeper needs so that I can contribute to them
Do you have a particular Aha moment from a money workshop that you’d like to share?
I’m thinking of a close friend; I remember sitting at her kitchen table, and she was sharing in a matter of fact way some very explicit and personal sexual fantasies. I think everyone around the table was like wow! And she was just matter of fact- like, you know, yeah, I prefer almond butter rather than peanut butter on my sandwiches. But then when she started to talk about money she could barely speak, she was quivering and broke down crying.
The Aha moment was realising, wow! Money is such a loaded topic. A lot of people have much more ease talking about sex than talking about money. So yeah I mean I’ve had a lot of people have Aha moments about how they use money – to manipulate their children’s behaviour or how money was used in their lives as a reward or punishment which created a lot of pain around money and so on.
Where do you mainly see the dysfunction of money in our society?
I see it everywhere on every level – individuals, couples, families, absolutely everywhere. It goes back to this question of who are we as human beings? What constitutes the good life? What is our shared destiny on this planet? When you look at it at a government level, there are so many things we can change -systems and structures. Taxation is a very simple one where we can be taxing things that pollute, create illness and destroy the environment. We can use taxes to create incentives for things that are more life serving. So, taxation could be a way of stimulating or curtailing different things I can’t find anywhere in society where there isn’t dysfunction around money.
What are your thoughts on common themes you come across, like scarcity thinking or lack of financial literacy?
Probably the most common theme I come across is ‘money is bad’. Also, its opposite, ‘money is good’ like ‘money is my God.’ I see people spending decades chasing money because they think it will bring them happiness and they have a big house full of things but there’s a spiritual emptiness, a lack of meaning and purpose. I think those are our scarcest resources in this day and age -meaning and purpose.
In some ways, money tends to highlight who we are already. A kind person will probably use money to help others.
If I believe money is the best thing in the world, I end up chasing, chasing, chasing money and missing out on life. If money is bad or evil, and then I struggle, struggle, struggle, struggle, struggle, struggle, struggle because money wants nothing to do with me, money stays far away from me because I treat it like it’s evil. I have a very close friend who used to say to me,’ money isn’t important so I don’t think about it.’ And when we checked in with each other, he would share ‘oh I’m so stressed out, because I don’t know how I’m going to pay rent next month, I’m thinking of moving to another city because there’s more work,’ and he didn’t notice that money was running his life.
Yes, because money is a great recipient of all our unconscious projections because it’s so complex like you said and it is so deep that it is easy to put all the stuff that we don’t like on to money.
This is the last question Alan, in terms of your money related courses, what would you like people to know?
In terms of my money related courses, I would like people to know, I will be launching the very first version of a brand new program called ‘The Compass’ later this year.
It will be the most comprehensive program that is based on twenty-five plus years of research into best practices so it’s really a form of cross training for change agents, for people who want to leave the world a better place than they found it, and who are also devoted to their personal growth and development. There are eight curriculum areas, the eight directions of the compass and one of those happen to be the South, which is focused on money. Best to also head over to my website and check out the free resources.
Well, thank you so much, Alan. Is there anything that you would have liked me to ask you that I missed?
No. One thing I will add is that people misquote the Christian scriptures when they when they say ‘money is the root of all evil. ‘ It is ‘the love of money is the root of all evil.’ I’m pretty sure that what it’s referring to is an obsession over money. I mean, when I’m infatuated with money, that’s the root of all evil. So that’s one of the things that I’m pondering these days.
Thank you so much, Alan. I really appreciate your time. Fifty-five minutes and very, very precious.
Yeah, it was a pleasure and an honour. I appreciate it.
PS: I have no arrangements for money in exchange for any recommendations I make on my blog; I really only want to recommend people whom I believe in.