your money relationship, how to have a better relationship with money, be a better lawyer, how to grow my law firm, how to grow a law firm, Dina Cataldo, best coach for lawyers

#302: Your Money Relationship

Your money relationship determines the pace at which you can grow.

Our relationship with money is only as strong as our relationship with ourselves and our ability to handle uncomfortable emotions.

After listening to this episode of Be a Better Lawyer, you'll know:

👉 why changing our relationship with money feels so hard

👉 how having a rocky relationship with money is negatively impacting your law practice

👉 what you need to do to heal your relationship with money

I'll also tell you more about a special Money Mindset Bonus I'm offering those who join me in my brand new course “Precision Planning for Law Firm Growth.”

Listen in to heal your relationship with money.


how to grow your law firm, how to grow a law firm, be a better lawyer

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Your Money Relationship

Our relationship with money is only as strong as our relationship with ourselves and our ability to handle uncomfortable emotions. Start healing that relationship in this episode.

Healing my relationship with money — and by extension myself — is some of the most powerful — and uncomfortable —  personal development work I’ve done and am still doing.

It’s allowed me to make decisions about my life like deciding to leave the law to develop a full-time coaching practice, it’s allowed me to think through and strategize my move to Sedona coming up in the next several months, it’s allowed me to problem-solve in my business to create more financial resources.

In my personal assessment of my relationship with money — and I’ll talk more about our money relationships in a minute — I’m not yet a master. But I’ve definitely come to a point where I see where my work is and can help my clients with their money mindset to help them get the clarity they need to make better decisions for themselves and their practices.

I’ve done several episodes on my history with money and some insights that you may find useful. If you want a list of them, you can download the Treasure Map I created that breaks down the best of episodes by topic at I’ve also listed some in the Show Notes for you.

What I want to do in this episode is help shine a light on your personal money relationship and help you evaluate the health of that relationship.

I’ve noticed that many of the lawyers I talk to have a great ability to make money, but that money isn’t harnessed in a way that makes financial sense.

  • They won’t want to make financial goals because they feel pressure when they think about it.
  • They may spend without thinking about the repercussions like giving large bonuses to staff because it feels good in the moment or thinking without looking at whether they have financial reserves.
  • They may make snap decisions to take money out of their business account to get something they want in their personal life instead of looking at the numbers to see if it’s wise to take an owner’s draw that month.
  • They’ll make emotional decisions whether they invest or spend their money without looking at the numbers to see the facts of their situation.
  • They don’t really have financial priorities because they’ve never thought about their values and what’s most important to them both short term and long term.

I have been guilty of some of these myself, but it’s important to know that if you recognize yourself in any of these, it’s not because you’re inherently bad with money or that you’re bad with math.

People don’t do these things because they’re inherently bad with money or at math. In fact, there’s no such thing as being inherently bad at anything.

They’re doing these things because their brain has a mindset — just like a computer has a program — that puts data in and gets a certain results.

For example, if you were to watch a horror movie, you’re putting a program into your brain. You can expect after watching it that you’ll feel scared. You may feel creeped out. Even after you watch the movie you may feel on edge — especially if you watch it late at night and go to bed with that program fresh in your head.

If you were to watch a romantic comedy, same thing. You can expect after watching it that you’ll feel light-hearted and you may have some unrealistic expectations about how your partner should be behaving in your relationship.

Money mindset is the same way. Our thoughts about money and how we relate to money make up our mindset. If we have certain thoughts in our brain, we can expect a certain result to come out of the actions we take.

Here’s two versions of a mindset program about your romantic partner to bring this program/mindset into the relationship realm.

In version one, if you’re thinking loving thoughts about your partner, you’re going to feel good. Then you’ll be kind and loving towards them, you’ll trust them, be open with them, and you’ll create the result of you being a loving partner.

In version two, if you’re thinking how your partner should be different and should be pulling their weight more, you’re going to feel annoyed. Then you won’t be so kind and loving to them, in fact you’ll probably give them the silent treatment or make passive aggressive remarks to them, you’ll avoid having a conversation with them about what’s wrong, you’ll snap at them, and then you’ll create the result of you NOT being a loving partner in the relationship.

Notice the results are always about YOU because we can only take personal responsibility of how WE show up. We can’t change others. That would be called manipulation, and we don’t teach that on this podcast.

These two separate programs lead to two separate results for us.

Because guess who’s going to have a better relationship with more open communication? Version 1 of the program or version two? Obviously version 1.

Just like we have a relationship with people, we have a relationship with money.

In fact, we have relationships with everything around us. Nature. Our bodies. Our work environment. Our home.

The quality of each relationship we have is determine by what we think of the partner in the relationship.

Let me repeat that: the quality of our relationships is determined by the quality of the thoughts we have about our partner.

What we think about money is the program determining the quality of our relationship with money.

But how do we go from having version 2 thoughts stuck in our head to getting to version 1 thoughts when it comes to money?

Version 2 is our current reality and it can feel like the only reality available to us in this moment.

But during this episode, I want to offer that just like you can heal a relationship with a person, you can heal a relationship with money.

FIRST, let’s start by taking a closer look at version 2 — the version of the program preventing us from having a healthier relationship with money.

When I’m talking to lawyers, here’s the different programs — the different thoughts — I see most often when it comes to how they think about money.

As I go through these, ask yourself which thought or thoughts you hear in your head the most often when it comes to thinking about money or your finances.

  • I’m a mess with money.
  • I should be better at this by now.
  • I’m so disorganized.
  • I should be making more money.
  • Doing the money stuff is hard.
  • I don’t know what I’m doing.
  • I don’t have time to think about money.
  • It’s going to take a long time to figure out my finances.
  • I don’t know where to start to clean up my finances.
  • This is a big job.
  • It shouldn’t be so hard.
  • I should have done this sooner.
  • I don’t need to think about this right now.

These programs create self-doubt, fear, shame, anxiety, pressure, overwhelm, and more feelings that feel horrible. Remember the horror movie analogy? After you watch a horror movie, you’re going to have horror movie emotions like fear, etc running through your body because you have that program in your head.

When you watch a horror movie, those feelings dissipate because you’re not always thinking about that movie. You can shake them off because you know it’s a movie.

But when you constantly think about money — which in the society we live in is really all the time — the feelings stick to you like gum at the bottom of your shoe UNLESS you stop to clean them up.

So any time you think about money — which is when you go to the grocery store, buy something online, pay a bill, bill a client, decide to invest or not to invest in a retirement account, donate money, give a bonus — these feelings can pop up and prevent you from making the best decisions for yourself and the future of your practice.

Instead of making calm conscious decisions like having a conversation that may feel uncomfortable, we shut down or give our friend the silent treatment.

Because if we sit down with our budget to look at the numbers before making decisions, we could feel something we don’t like.

It’s so fascinating that our brain does this, right? In its strange way it’s trying to protect us from harm — in this case a feeling that we may or may not have when we look at the numbers.

But if we stop being scared of our feelings and just begin feeling them, then we can overcome this default setting. That’s when we can create better habits that move ourselves forward.

If you’re having any of these thoughts or feelings, know that you’re normal. And it’s okay. You can create a better relationship with money. It takes paying attention to these thoughts and feelings and acknowledging them instead of ignoring them.

Just like creating a better relationship with your partner requires the same things.

NEXT, let’s talk about what your current relationship with money looks like based on the program we just talked about.

When we’re healing our relationship with money, we’re also healing the relationship we have with ourselves.

Changing these relationships takes time and attention. We can’t ignore them if we want the relationship to improve.

If you hit a rocky patch in a relationship with your partner, you can’t rebuild that relationship without time and attention. And you definitely can’t heal that relationship by bringing up the old worries and fears instead of forgiving yourself and the other person for the past.

Our relationship with money is no different.

If right now you find yourself doing any of the following, all that’s happening right now is that you’re working from the programming we just talked about.

Before I get into the list of things you may be doing, I want to emphasize the importance of not beating yourself up for any of these things. They’re just indicators that you’re working from old programming. Now you’ll have awareness and can start doing something different.

  • hiding from looking at your finances,
  • Beating yourself up for not starting a budget sooner or learning about finances sooner,
  • Spending more money than you’re making
  • Not planning for expenses
  • Buying things that you quickly discard or realize you don’t need or want
  • Not budgeting
  • Not looking at your bank accounts weekly or monthly
  • Constantly worrying about money
  • Not tracking expenses
  • Not reviewing expenses monthly to see if there’s anything that needs to be addressed
  • Abdicate all financial responsibility to an accountant or bookkeeper and don’t have any clue what the numbers are.
  • When someone talks to you about finances, you snap at them and wave them off, so you don’t have to admit you don’t know the numbers.

To start healing that relationship requires us to look at our prior relationship with money and at how we’ve behaved and stop judging it. It’s in the past. We can’t move forward if we’re constantly reminding ourselves of the past.

So for example, our brain may want to tell us, “I should be better at this by now,” but we have to interrupt that program and start a new conversation. One where we can acknowledge what’s happened in the past without letting it dictate our future.

We have to say, “Okay, so the past is in the past. Now we just look at how I can make small changes in the direction I want to go. What’s ONE small step I can take right now?”

Or if our brain tells us, “Doing the money stuff is hard,” we have to come in and remind ourselves that new things always feel hard at first. We just need to do one small thing to get started and then another and another.

Examples of small ways to get started:

  • pull out or print out bank statements
  • List expenses in a spreadsheet for last month
  • Put an hour on the calendar once a month to track expenses and incoming revenue
  • Put an hour on the calendar to look at older bills that haven’t been sent out
  • Saying no to beating yourself up for anything that’s happened in the past

I’m creating a Money Mindset Bonus as part of my new course Precision Planning for Law Firm Growth, so you’ll have everything you need to help you create this new conversation with yourself and beginning to change how you think about your finances there.

THIRD, we’ve got to give up the idea of perfection.

We’ve got to allow ourselves to make mistakes without making it mean that we’re never going to understand how to have a better relationship with money.

We’ve got to allow ourselves to have the uncomfortable conversations with ourselves and do the uncomfortable things like budgeting and working with our numbers, so it becomes easier over time.

Even if you’re listening to this thinking there’s no way it’s ever going to be easier, I promise you it does.

And the good news is, creating a better relationship with money doesn’t require perfection.

Think about your friends. The best friends don’t require perfection. They just ask that you try.

It’s up to us to look after our part in the relationship, knowing that we can only be responsible for our part.

We need to trust money will do its part if we do our part.

FINALLY, it’s important we connect with money and appreciate it.

Think about the relationship you have with a loved one. If they never said thank you or appreciated all you did for them, how would you feel?

So many of us take our relationship with money for granted.

And when we don’t appreciate money, we also don’t appreciate the things that we purchase with money.

We take our life and all the things in it for granted.

But when we pause to recognize how fortunate we are that we have a career that allows us to bring in the financial abundance to help us put a rood over our heads, to put healthy foods on our table, to provide for our families, to help us pay for medical care and all the fun things we get to do in this lifetime, how beautiful is that?

We begin seeing how money flows into our life and how it flows out too. It’s an ever-flowing river. And when we appreciate money, then we can look at the numbers, and remind ourselves we’re also in charge of taking care of money. Of putting money aside for our future. For putting money aside for the things we want to prioritize.

It’s so important that we create a values system around money. What do you value most? Do you prioritize it? Where you spend your money will show you if you’re truly prioritizing that.

I’ll be covering more of that in the Money Mindset Bonus inside the program, but I wanted to help you get started here.

Let’s do a quick recap of what we’ve covered.

Each of us has a relationship with money and the quality of that relationship is dependent on how we think about money and our ability to work with money.

The first thing we must do to improve the quality of that relationship is notice how we think and feel about money and our ability to work with money.

Then we need to stop judging ourselves for the way we’ve behaved in the past and start being kinder to ourselves. Start redirecting your brain consciously to help you identity small actions to create a better relationship

These small steps help us gain confidence around money just like starting an uncomfortable conversation with a partner and having that conversation can build trust over time.

But we’ve got to release perfectionism that can make it difficult to take small steps. Don’t let your brain tell you that it’s not enough. Even if you only have 20 minutes, put that time on the calendar to connect with your finances.

And be sure you are present with money and appreciating all the things it’s helping you create in your life. Just like you’d want to be appreciated for what you do in your relationship with your loved ones.

And if after listening to this episode, you realize your money relationship isn’t where you want it to be, I want to encourage you to sign up for the waitlist for Precision Planning for Law Firm Growth.

I’ll be telling those who sign up more about the money mindset bonus and know your numbers training in the upcoming weeks.

You can join the waitlist at that’s

And remember:

What you want matters, and the only opinion you need to listen to is your own.

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