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What New York taught me about money

Many years ago I was sitting comfortably aboard a plane on my way to New York City from London. The flight had been peaceful and relaxing so far, I had watched several films and had enough coffee to keep me awake for days and I was starting to get ready for our descent into the big apple. 

The lights had been switched on, so I picked up my handbag and headed towards the bathroom to change out of my leggings and into my regular clothes. I couldn’t wait to land and see this city as an adult, I’d been there once before as a teenager on a short trip but didn’t remember much since it had all been a bit rushed. 

I don’t know about you, but I love cities. I am instantly inspired by the people, the shops, restaurants, the architecture and everything a bustling city has to offer. However, a sense of dread had started to come over me. It was a slow build up but by the time I had got back to my seat and put my chair upright ready for landing I was noticing thoughts racing through my mind that weren’t there before. 


“I don’t feel like I have enough money for this trip”

“Can I afford the hotel?”

“Was I stupid for having come here?” 

“I should have stayed at home instead and saved”

“What if I don’t make any more money this year?”


All the thoughts were about money, and more to the point, about the lack of it.

It was like several tv channels about money scarcity had turned themselves on in my mind and I didn’t have the remote control to change the channels or turn the volume down.


What was going on?


Fast forward a few hours later, by which point I was fully convinced of my impending financial doom for the foreseeable future, and it became glaringly obvious that what was happening was that I was intensely aware of my surroundings. Those thoughts, feelings of doubt and fear were all the general vibe in NYC at the time that was ‘in the air’ or ‘on the land’ to be more precise.

The great recession was just starting and although I was personally ok financially it was hard to not sense the stress that was starting to build around the world. 

Let me explain.

Have you ever…

– walked into a room and known somebody’s mood even if they were hiding it very well?

– felt like you were misunderstanding someone because things felt ‘off’ when they were talking?

– thought you didn’t fit in because your mood or mindset didn’t match what was going on around you?

That’s your awareness, or even sensitivity, to your environment, and other people’s feelings and emotions. 

We can be extremely tuned into that awareness without even noticing it too much, it’s like a built-in gauge we have that can help us know what is going on around us. I have always personally been hyper aware of people’s energy, but I hadn’t quite made the jump to realise that it wasn’t limited to just individuals around me. It also extended to all the people in the room I was in, the conference I was attending, and in this case, the city I was visiting.

In the same way that the loudest person at a dinner party is the most dominant, and the one everyone listens to and has to agree with so as to not cause a stir… I was listening to the dominant energy regarding the financial climate at the time.

The dominant reality in NYC was that doom was on it’s way (and yes, to some extent it was), but did I need to buy into it and create it as my reality? No. 

To pull myself out I had to look to what was true for me, and allow that reality to become louder in my world. The same way in which during a dinner party, you might consciously choose to not engage with the loudest person who is talking negatively, and you might turn to the quiet person next to you and ask them questions about themselves. 

What we put our attention on is what ends up growing, so I chose to put my attention on my reality. 

I asked:

  • What’s true for me here?
  • Does this apply to me?
  • How do I get around this when it comes to my financial reality?
  • What do I need to be aware of here?
  • What is relevant for me amongst this information?

Bit by bit I was able to regain a sense of my own thoughts and financial reality, and it allowed me to continue to create my business, and even expand my sources of revenue at a time when most of the world was focusing on the loudest person at the dinner party. 

What if your financial reality could be created by what you choose to put your attention on? There is always another possibility available, we just have to be curious enough to ask what else is possible here?

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