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Losing Money – From Financial Faceplants to Silver Linings

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Money. It’s a topic that can evoke a lot of emotions. Today, I want to delve into these: guilt, shame, embarrassment, and regret. And TeamConfessioners cry out with elation: “Yay, Mags, this is amazing! When I woke up this morning, I said to myself, ‘You know what I hope Mags talks about today? Guilt, shame, embarrassment, and regret.'” Well, Team, I’m here to serve you. Jokes aside, I don’t think I’m the only one here who feels those toxically charged emotions when it comes to losing money. And I don’t even think that it matters how we lost the money—an unfinished education, a misplaced wallet, or a bad investment. The emotional pain is rooted in the realization that our hard-earned money is now completely gone. I recently experienced a huge loss like this and I’d like to share how I was able to see that loss in a different way. So, buckle up, TeamConfessioners, because who needs a morning coffee when we can jolt ourselves awake with tales of financial faceplants and the silver linings they leave behind?

The Turning Point: Confronting Sunk Cost Bias

Back in August, in an attempt to broaden the reach of “Confessions,” I decided to seek professional marketing help. Spending significantly more money than I was accustomed to investing in myself, G Man and I committed to this endeavor, hopeful that it would lead to connecting to more people who could benefit from my content. Unfortunately, as you all might have guessed, the outcome was far from what I had hoped. About four months in, it became horribly clear that our paths were diverging. This realization led me to confront my sunk cost bias head-on. Sunk cost bias, in case you don’t know, is the tendency to continue investing in a project or decision based on the amount already spent, even when that project or decision no longer seems to be a good choice. In my case, as difficult as the decision was, with virtually nothing to show for the money I had spent, I had to walk away from the partnership.

Embracing Change: A New Perspective on Loss

Cue the “bad girl” chatter:
Guilt: “You did bad.”
Shame: “You are bad.”
Embarrassment: “How could you make such a stupid mistake?”
Team, even though these emotions were making a massive racket in my morose brain container, I chose to dig deep and listen to my heart. Did it completely suck that all that money was gone? Absolutely. Could I easily spend all day and all night thinking about that loss? Without a doubt. But when I’m making informed decisions using both my head and my heart, I need to do what it takes to move beyond regret-squawk. What would happen if I actively made a choice to focus on something that could actually help my situation and state of mind rather than tear me apart?

Beyond Money: Finding True Value in Ourselves

When I realized I was in the middle of a guilt-shame-embarrassment remorse-loop, I knew I had to work my way out. This wasn’t just a blogger/podcaster losing a bunch of hard-earned money, Team. I had to encourage myself to pan the camera back far enough to see the other movie that was unfolding. This story wasn’t about a bad financial decision; this was a woman believing in herself, investing in herself, and trusting herself. Here was a woman who wasn’t going to stay in a bad situation just because of money. Here was a person who immediately went into action to fix what was broken to connect herself with the people who could actually help her. This story isn’t about losing something; it’s about a woman finding love and respect for herself.

The Energy Exchange: Rethinking Financial Transactions

I was taught that money is just an exchange of energy. In the past, I assumed that exchange was equal: You give the cashier money; you take the merchandise in return. Now, I don’t see it that way at all. If I did, I’d feel empty having put so much out and receiving so little in return. Now I know I don’t always get something back from the exact source that I originally gave the energy to. Now, I look at the exchange as an ocean. The energy I put out may not be returned from the same place, but that doesn’t mean it’s “lost.” I trust that the energy will find its way back to me in another form—new collaborators, a new direction, a new outlook—all born as a direct result of one perceived loss.

Choosing Positivity: Overcoming Self-Criticism

Self-criticism is easily my least productive hobby. While I wish it were otherwise, the fact remains: my brain tends to want to visit that negative place. But another fact also remains: my brain doesn’t have to stay there. Quickly moving into action–looking past the loss to fixing the problem–has restored my faith that it was all happening for me and not to me (more on that topic next week). Yes, if I let myself go there, the loss can still kind of feel like Netflix deciding to cancel my favorite series that ended in a cliffhanger—so it’s just better for everyone that I not think about it. Here’s to taking away money’s power over us, Team! At any moment, I have the choice to shift my focus from the pain of my losses to the narratives that highlight the win. 

Join the Conversation: Share Your Story

Would you be open to sharing your own tale of financial faceplants and silver linings? I’d love to hear from you! Join the conversation, Team, in the comment section below, and let’s turn our setbacks into comebacks!

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  1. I can 100% relate to this financial faceplant not only once but multiple times. Each time though has been an opportunity to move through with more clarity and love for MYSELF. Most recently, though I have to say my awareness was so on point that I could see the misalignment so easily and I listened then acted. It was still not easy to navigate but once I trusted myself (as you so beautifully say) the victimhood morphed into a place of grace for myself.

    THANK YOU Mags for putting this all into your beautiful words so the shame and guilt can melt away.

    • I LOVE this: “Each time though has been an opportunity to move through with more clarity and love for MYSELF.”
      Thanks so much for sharing Christine…it always feels better to know I’m not the only one.
      I really appreciate you checking in!

  2. I spent a hunk of money on marketing/publicity help that has come to nothing. Your post reminded me to send a note to the company, although I have a strong feeling that this is leading nowhere and that I made a mistake. So I can relate. The idea of getting marketing help is in itself a good one. But not everything works out. I do think I made some errors, the greatest of which was not researching the people I hired. I did a little research. But later I learned that there were many out there who had gone public about their dissatisfaction with the company. As a female with few female business owner role models as I came of age, I still feel as if I’m making it up as I go along. And that is OK. I have learned from this. Next time I talk to three references! I’ve done that before and will do that always, going forward!

    • First off, let’s give a round of applause for the brave act of venturing into the wilderness of marketing and publicity help — truly, it’s like trying to tame a wild beast with nothing but optimism and a credit card.
      And I love your advice to talk to more references.
      I’m coming to understand that not all that glitters is gold, especially in the world of marketing.
      Right now I’m taking a class to try and learn the art of marketing myself, which is proving to be a challenge for me.
      It sounds like the ‘Figuring It Out As We Go Along Society’ is vast and inclusive.
      Your resilience and willingness to learn from the experience though is commendable.
      Here’s to your next adventure being smoother!
      And, cheers to your next chapter of well researched help — may it be filled with a marketing team as reliable as your favorite pair of jeans!

Welcome to my blog! Here you can read about what’s on my mind as I try my best to recover from screaming at my kids and nagging the bejesus out my husband.

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