In this interview, you’ll learn about Peter Koenig, specifically with the viewpoint of 'Money Work'.Peter Koenig, has been researching money and teaching seminars on a system he calls ‘Money Work’ for over 30 years. Based in Zurich, Switzerland, Peter is also the author of the book ‘30 Lies About Money’. Reading the book had many ‘Aha’ moments for me, and I highly recommend reading it - specifically if you are open to gentle challenges about your assumptions around money. The book certainly helped bust my long-held & unquestioned assumption that 'Money is Freedom'. Luckily for me, Peter agreed to be interviewed and here is the interview below:
What got you into money work?
In my mid-thirties, I was working with top executive teams, on vision, values, communication and organisational transformation processes in 2-day off sites of the kind that are common today but at that time, the mid. The 1980s was a pioneering time for this work. My American partners and I almost always felt happy with the deep process work we introduced, but after two or three years I saw few concrete results regarding these processes taking root. I began to suspect that this might have something to do with the relation to money because I'd noticed so often that when we brought the subject of money into the exchanges, through the door as it were, it would seem as if visions and values would fly out through the window! The energy in the discussions would instantly change. Today I can say that my early suspicions were entirely confirmed.
In the consultancy, I was part of (but not the founder of) there seemed to be a chronic shortage of money, which I didn't understand. It didn't affect me directly as I had enough personal wealth from previous savings, but despite my MBA background, I felt I lacked a framework to investigate what was happening properly.
I was curious to investigate deeper my patterns with money.
What are the repetitive patterns of thinking that you see in your money work with individuals that you would most like to see transformed?
Let me just choose one. It is the conditioning that work must involve some kind of sacrifice, suffering or damage to oneself, for which money is then the compensation. In my world, I'd like to see those that suffer in their work get no money at all, and those who have the most pleasure and inspiration get paid the most!
What is your vision behind doing this work? You have stated you would like it to spread across the world. Why is this important to you?
The vision as a young businessman, who through serendipity awoke to a particular consciousness, was to 'create love in business'. This has remained stable as a vision and purpose for more than 30 years. The transformation of the relation to money is central to the realisation of this. Early on, I foresaw that business would at a certain point likely call the shots over politics. But top executives are generally speaking, not free people and business is unable to transform and live out its proper purpose unless and until the relation to money is consciously put into the same pot with purpose, vision, values, ethics, and everything else that is popularly given focus by evolutionists today.
Love finds solutions where they may otherwise seem impossible. Business and money are global, the US dollar understood in the same way the world over. 'Love in business' represents for me a very concrete and universal application of principles to respond in an inspiring way to challenges we face today.
If you ask me why this is important, I must answer it's a very personal thing and beyond words.
What is your relationship with money and how conscious would you say it is now. In other words, could you offer us a comparison regarding some daily habits of spending or earning to see the shift possible?
Researching the relationship to money for over 30 years and giving seminars on the subject for over 20 I think my relationship with money is now relatively conscious and healthy - thanks to all the people who've taken part in my seminars during this time and the thousands of personal stories I've been privileged to hear. Each time someone in a seminar has come with a situation or a question which I've noticed would be difficult for me to handle I've always recognised I can't respond until I've first done some inner work on myself, to free myself - the system I now call 'the moneywork'. So I've personally worked with hundreds of themes. Nowadays few new ones crop up, but you never know - because what you are unconscious of, you are unconscious of!
Before getting into this work, my pattern was to work hard, save a lot and spend next to nothing. In fact, spending was virtually impossible, even painful. Nowadays: I've still no problem in being frugal where it's called for, I'm well trained there from childhood, but can now spend easily too, with pleasure. This is just one example.
You knew Marshall for 19 years. Could you explain more about the influence of NVC in your work, if at all? Also, what are your thoughts on Marshall’s views on money as a request? Do you think it is do-able as a system in the world?
I initially took a one-day seminar with Marshall in Basel and understood it so deeply that I felt it was all I needed. I organised a weekend seminar for my business network with him at a hotel in nature not far away, which perchance became his home and global training centre for 19 years. And which my partner Barbara later came to run and we co-owned. The ‘moneywork’ was not built upon the NVC method, rather researched and developed empirically with small groups from scratch. However, it turns out to have a universality such that people working with different developmental models, spiritual or religious disciplines seem to have easy access to it. So also therefore with those who work with NVC? For NVC trainers and practitioners knowledge of the process at the heart of the moneywork often seems to help them accelerate their processes, by offering a short-circuit system to recognise and resolve the needs beneath the feelings.
The 'money as a request' method ala Marshall Rosenberg? I'm for trying everything, but not getting stuck in a particular rote with just one method. This cannot and will not eventually work well. The more conscious you become, the more competent you become to adapt to a variety of responses to the specifics of each situation.
What is your favourite book on money?
One of my first major influences: Jacob Needleman's 'Money and Meaning of Life.'
I'd also like to mention another significant influence, English accountant Lionel Fifield, who founded The Relaxation Centre in Brisbane, Australia in the late 1970s and still runs it. In the 1980s Lionel was giving hilarious talks, internationally, on money and prosperity, living 'by donation'. I tried living by donation too, and my savings ran out! - Not what I imagined or wanted to happen, but one of the most valuable experiences of my life. (Lionel has written a couple of books but on more general subjects).
If someone did want to have a better relationship with money, what would you tell them to do?
The starting point is always to look at the question "What is money for you?" and check the deeper truth of your answer.
However, the hereditary conditioning passed down over generations is so deeply ingrained in the cells of most peoples' bodies that intellectual understanding alone is usually insufficient to dislodge behaviour patterns. I therefore often recommend a 'seminar' from one of our practitioners where bodywork reintegration plays a central role. Or a coaching, though I find a seminar more efficient.
What are the shifts possible when people uncover these unconscious thoughts with ‘money work’? Could you share a couple of stories without names to inspire others?
The ‘moneywork’ was developed empirically step by step over many years. I've never claimed it to be a panacea, nor myself to be a psychologist, therapist, wisdom teacher or anything similar. I am just a simple businessman practicing trial and error - but from feedback from therapist experts, coaches and the like it seems that I stumbled by chance to the deepest universal point where change happens - a cellular, bodywork change related to the development of individual identity. One could call it 'identity work', whereby nothing is taken away from an individual. He or she simply reintegrates and reconnects with parts of him- or herself, one part after the other that had been previously denied/disconnected and projected externally. In so doing becoming a 'bigger person', with the ability to peacefully and competently handle a wider and wider range of circumstances in everyday life. Personal growth is pure.
The work happens at a level below belief. We do not seek to change any beliefs but deal directly with who the person sees they are in the sense of self-referential statements of 'I am...' (Rather than 'I believe I am'). However, it's entirely possible that the person with the extended identity ('I feel like a new person' - which always happens when a coach or therapist has been successful) will automatically alter their beliefs.
I hope you enjoyed reading this interview. If you are curious and want to learn more about 'money work' seminars, click here.