By Betty-Anne Howard & Diana Li
When it comes to your relationship with money, what do dragons and dance have to do with it? More than you might think!
You’ve heard of animals being used to describe the financial industry like bear, bull and stag not to mention other wildlife such as chickens, pigs and wolves. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), anyone? These animals are here to make the unfamiliar more familiar.
Now let me introduce you to a new type of animal, a mystical one. A dragon.
The Money Dragon
Imagine encountering a dragon in your life, big wings, sharp fangs and breathing fire. They look you in the eyes and see what you will do next. This sight triggers your flight or fight response instantly. Luckily, you’re not a trained medieval knight so running works for you.
Now, what if this dragon is real and it’s your money?
A money dragon? Yes.
What else could be more big, scary, and unpredictable, in your mind and based on your relationship with money? You cannot fight the money dragon because it is too big. But you also can’t run away because it will always be there. In times of crisis, this can be especially acute, so we end up making decisions driven by fear and anxiety.
Rather than fleeing or fighting there is another option. You can choose to dance! And doing so makes it much easier to take it one step at a time.
Understanding Your Relationship With Money
Let us make your relationship with the money dragon easier. We’ll start by understanding what dance you are currently engaged in. Next, we’ll discuss how to take the next steps to engage in a dance with ease and grace, providing you with some peace of mind.
The many dances include Tap, Polka, Foxtrot, Waltz, and Tango. Each with its own set of unique feelings, behaviors, and stories we tell ourselves.
Before we dive into the types of dance and your relationship with money, don’t miss this interview where I speak about my “dancing with the dragon” philosophy.
Tap is a solitary dance because the dancer is alone working to make sounds loud enough to make an impact.
Are you feeling alone in this when it comes to your finances? The pace gets fast and your feet are moving constantly in place. You are feeling fear and anxiety and therefore are stuck in one spot. Your story could be “Oh my God, I don’t know what to do or what I’m going to do.”
You are independently working hard and not missing a single beat. Yet you’re feeling as though you are getting nowhere in particular.
Polka is a lively couples dance with a basic pattern of hop-step-close-step and your partner is the money dragon.
You hold your partner at a distance while keeping up with the fast pace. Both of you are going somewhere by following the pattern step by step. Fairly fixed and simple. Your fear and anxiety have lessened somewhat due to heading to a destination not stuck in place. Your story is “I have little to no money coming in, but I can do something in the meantime like reducing my expenses.”
You have slowed down somewhat and are starting to think some things through.
Foxtrot is a couple’s dance with slow walking steps and quick running steps.
You’ve brought your money dragon partner in close enough to communicate better compared to Tap and Polka. Your pace has slowed down considerably. Taking much slower calculative steps reduces your fear and anxiety. You can start forming a plan and how to deal with this crisis. Your story is “I have gotten this far now, taken some significant steps to help out, however, I am not so sure about the future.”
You are up to date with your partner. You have a plan for the slower times but unsure when it comes to the upcoming faster, urgent steps required to plan for the future.
Waltz is a very composed and elegant couple’s dance. A dance full of beauty and grace. You make it look easy from the outside.
Your money dragon partner is remarkably close to you and you are definitely in sync with each other. You still feel some fear and anxiety. But you understand those feelings are a natural part of the dance and keep them under control so as not to show during the spins. Your story is “I know where I am and how to manage my feelings. I know where I’m going because I have a plan, including what to do if something goes wrong.”
You have a choreography made by you because you are the lead in this money dragon dance.
Tango is vibrant, playful, and full of improvisation. It can be a passionate couple’s dance due to the close connection between you and your partner.
For more on talking to your partner about money, have a look at this post.
In Tango, there is a ‘leader’ and ‘follower’ where the leader (you) offers an invitation to the follower (money dragon) for where and how to step. Both you and your partner maintain a connection and understanding throughout the dance. You have feelings of exhilaration and confidence because you are the leader and have mastered steps by the pace. Your story is, “I have both a plan and contingency plan in case something goes wrong. I look forward boldly at times of crisis and towards the future.”
Dancing, like financial planning, requires discipline no matter where you are. It demands patience to learn the steps and how to work together with your partner. To understand your relationship with money, start by mastering your relationship with the money dragon.
If you’d like to learn more about the money dragon, don’t miss this recent interview from the 2020 WEN Global Virtual Experience.
Have faith that you can do this! You can acquire the steps to move through the phases of the dances from Tap to Polka to FoxTrot to Waltz. And if you’re up for the challenge… learn how to do the Tango.
Learning the steps takes resilience and an open mind – they are simple and yet not easy to master.
You must have faith that you can learn the steps and do the dance.
Don’t fear the dragon, dance with it! Let us show you how. If you’d like to get in touch and figure out if we’d be a good fit for your financial planning needs, don’t hesitate to contact me today!
Are you interested in exploring your relationship with money further? Here are three more articles you might also enjoy: