In this article I’ll share some practical tips for raising your financial vibration and expanding your financial comfort zone.
If you dislike the term vibration, don’t worry about it — it’s arbitrary anyway. Feel free to substitute other words like acuity, prowess, intelligence, or even results.
Over time we tend to fall into financial patterns that generate a fairly narrow range of results. We become comfortable with certain financial experiences; even if we don’t like those experiences, they’re familiar to us, so we gravitate back to them.
In order to raise your financial vibration (and improve your results), you have to shift your comfort zone. This normally requires pushing yourself through a period of discomfort. You must release the familiar to experience the unfamiliar.
Here are the basic steps to follow:
1. Assess your current financial comfort zone.
Answer the following questions as honestly as you can:
- What level (or range) of income feels comfortable and normal to you, neither being stressfully scarce or excitedly abundant? What’s the income level where you’d start to worry if you fell below it? What’s the income level where you’d start to get excited if you rose above it?
- What amount (or range) of cash feels comfortable and normal to you, neither being stressfully scarce or excitedly abundant? What’s the cash amount where you’d start to worry if you fell below it? What’s the cash amount where you’d start to get excited if you rose above it?
For example, you might define your income comfort zone as $30,000 to $50,000 per year. And perhaps your cash comfort zone is $2,000 to $8,000. Your own figures may vary wildly from these amounts. The only correct answer is whatever feels right to you.
Don’t worry about being super-precise here. Obviously there’s some guesstimation involved, but try to come up with specific figures to answer these questions. Your goal is simply to get a clearer picture of your current financial equilibrium.
You could have negative numbers here too if being in debt or experiencing a negative cash flow falls within your current comfort zone.
Your answers define your present financial equilibrium. You’ll tend to gravitate to this range whenever you step outside it. When you fall below each range, you’ll be driven to work harder to get back up again. If you start reaching the high end, you’ll be hitting the edge of your comfort zone and will tend to slide back down again (often via self-sabotage or slacking off).
2. Define your new financial comfort zone.
Review your answers to the questions in the previous section. Now realize that these figures are totally arbitrary. You probably fell into these patterns based on what you learned from other people. If you had wealthy mentors, your figures are probably higher than most people. If you surround yourself with people who are broke or in debt, your figures are probably on the low side.
Ultimately these amounts are under your control. You can change them if you want. You can choose to stop reinforcing the old comfort zone and push beyond it.
Now define a new equilibrium you’d like to reach. There’s no right or wrong answer, but I recommend doubling every number as a good step. When I want to reach a new level, I usually aim for a 3-5x increase because I like to push myself. If it takes me a few years to get there, I’m okay with that. It’s a fun challenge to tackle.
3. Clarify and accept the consequences of your new financial vibration.
Imagine what it would be like to be at your new levels, not in fantasy but in actual reality. How would this affect your lifestyle? What consequences and side effects can you imagine? Can you accept those consequences?
For example, will you need to start making new friends because you can see that some people will hold you back or react negatively if you starting doing better financially?
Erin and I lost a few friends as our finances improved. Some people started acting really weird around us, and it became obvious that they had major limiting beliefs about money, so we let them go. Then we attracted new friends who weren’t so blocked in this area. This isn’t a bad thing per se; it’s just a shift you’ll need to deal with.
It’s very important to spend some time visualizing what your lifestyle will be like after you shift your financial equilibrium. Imagine going through your daily routine in your new reality. You might be excited at first, but there are always trade-offs. Can you accept all the natural consequences? For example, can you handle paying a lot more taxes? If you double your income, your taxes may more than double. Do you anticipate any problems in your social network? Do you expect that a career change would be necessary, and can you handle that?
If you can’t accept the consequences and side effects of your new financial equilibrium, it’s extremely likely that you’ll make no progress in this area. The gravitational pull of your current comfort zone will be too strong.
For more on this topic, read the article Fear of Success: What Will Happen if You Succeed?
4. Break your old comfort zone, and build scaffolding to support your new equilibrium.
Now we’re getting into the action phase to initiate the shift.
A very effective way to escape your old comfort zone is to change the scaffolding of your life. This requires only a temporary burst of self-discipline instead of having to push yourself every day. If you have to push yourself hard every day, you’ll probably fail to complete the shift. A better approach is to make changes to your environment that break your old patterns and begin conditioning new ones.
If you detect that any parts of your reality would conflict with greater financial abundance, you must break them, drop them, or leave them behind. If you want to orbit a new financial planet, you must escape the gravity of your current planet. You can’t keep one foot on each planet.
You don’t have to get every detail perfect. You just have to achieve a tipping point where you stop resonating with the old levels and start resonating with the new ones.
This is where you start saying, “I quit” to anything that isn’t consistent with your new levels. If you’re in a dead-end job that can’t possibly help you reach your new equilibrium, set a deadline for quitting. If it’s clear that your job will only reinforce your old equilibrium, there’s no point in pretending you can stay. You don’t have to quit right away, but you do need to accept that you’ll eventually have to quit.
You don’t have to stress yourself over the big changes right away. Start with the easy changes first, especially those that are low-risk. Don’t spend money you don’t have, but do be creative in altering your environment, especially your home and your social network. Start reinforcing the new equilibrium more than the old one.
This is a good time to clean house. Dump all the old junk that’s inconsistent with your new equilibrium.
Review your social network, and start unplugging yourself from relationships that you know will be unsupportive after your shift. Then start building bridges with people you expect will help support you after your shift. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to make wealthier friends. It just means you need to weaken the bonds with people who would resist your financial growth and strengthen the bonds with people who will support you.
Make a list of other changes you’ll implement as more money begins to flow into your life, such as upgrading your computer, overhauling your wardrobe, taking a nice vacation, or buying more organic produce. Imagine that those things are becoming part of your daily routine. Implement those changes when you can afford to.
As you make small shifts one by one, you’ll build momentum. The support structure for your old comfort zone will eventually crumble, and you’ll gradually create a scaffolding for your new comfort zone.
If you find it too difficult to implement real changes because of too little time or money, then make the changes symbolically. For example, you can draw or cut out pictures that represent your new equilibrium, and then post them on your walls. One time when I wanted to increase my income, I put a small fountain in my office and said to the universe, “This is my wealth fountain. It represents the flow of more money into my life in exchange for the flow of information and ideas I’m giving to others.” Then I put other objects around the fountain that represented abundance and growth to me, such as a couple of plants. My income shot up rapidly during that time. I encouraged Erin to try putting a wealth fountain in her office too. She did that and got excellent results as well.
By the time you’ve completed this step, you should feel that you’ve burned the ships behind you and that there’s no turning back. This doesn’t mean burning the food and supplies too! It simply means that you’re clearly committed to moving forward. There should definitely be some pain if you try to slink back to your old comfort zone. For example, you may endure some humiliation for begging your old friends to take you back after telling them you have to let them go.
5. Take inspired action.
As you continue to work on #4, your old comfort zone will begin to feel less and less comfortable. You’ll start feeling more congruent with your new equilibrium, even though you may not see any evidence of it in your reality yet. You might be making $50,000 per year, and even though you’ve been comfortable near that level for years, now it feels uncomfortably low to you. You start feeling a pressure to make more money. $100,000 per year seems like it would be a lot more comfortable to you.
When I experience this positive pressure, it feels similar to sexual arousal. It’s like I have this pent-up energy inside that needs to be released. It’s actually a good feeling, more like eustress than stress. The release of this energy is the eventual manifestation of my desires.
When the energy is strong enough, there’s a sense of inevitability about it. You can just feel you’re going to get there. It’s as if the manifestation is out of your hands now because the universe is working on it behind the scenes.
For example, I have this sense of inevitability that my book will be released on October 15th. It hasn’t happened yet, but I can trust that it can and will happen. I feel the presence of a lot of pressure that needs to be released. When my book finally comes out, I’ll probably feel relieved. The pent-up energy will finally flow into physical form.
This is how it feels right before you transition to a new financial equilibrium. There’s this build-up of pressure, and you sense it needs to be released. If you aren’t at this point, keep working on step 4 until you get there. You simply haven’t created enough arousal yet.
At this point you’re ready to take some inspired action. Generally the way this happens is that you’ll start noticing new opportunities that are consistent with your new equilibrium. Your new energy level will attract them into your life. You’ll notice new ways to earn more money.
You don’t have to take major risks. Just start acting on the opportunities that present themselves. Your intentions will manifest in the form of opportunities, but you need to actively seize those opportunities.
When it finally comes, your final shift can occur pretty rapidly. One week you’re feeling the positive pressure, and the next week the pressure has been released, and your equilibrium has already shifted.
Focus on the opportunities that allow you to create more value for others. Realize that making more money isn’t selfish. It’s actually incredibly generous, assuming that you earn income by contributing equal or greater value (as opposed to stealing or mooching off others).
If you double your income, it means you’re contributing twice as much value to others. The money you earn is an IOU from society. If you have a million dollars in the bank, it means you’ve given at least a million dollars more value than you received — that’s very generous. If you’re in debt, it means you’re taking more than you’re giving. The more value you contribute, the more society owes you in return. If you allow your income to stagnate, it means you’re holding back on the contribution side. That’s lazy and selfish. Focus on expanding your contribution, and you’ll find that society gives you a lot more IOUs.
6. Enjoy the results.
When you successfully alter your financial equilibrium, allow yourself to feel grateful for the shift. Embrace the new possibilities and lifestyle changes you can create. Genuine gratitude will help you lock in the changes and prevent you from backsliding.
It may take a while to become comfortable with your new financial position. Don’t panic! Just relax and enjoy the ride.
Growth tends to occur in quantum leaps. It’s unusual to experience steady linear growth for an extended period of time. What seems like linear growth is often just a form of stagnation. For example, you may get an annual raise that barely compensates for inflation, tax increases, and other expenses, but your lifestyle remains relatively fixed because you didn’t increase your contribution. If you want to experience a new level, you must be the one to initiate and sustain the shift.
The point of hitting different financial tiers is to experience them fully and to learn and grow from your experiences. Once you’ve absorbed the key lessons of a certain level, you’re ready to progress to a new level. You’re in charge of the pacing.
A personal example
For me the major growth lessons haven’t been on the side of attracting and spending more money — or even embracing more abundance — they’ve been on the side of finding my true voice and learning to create and share more value. While I agree you can create shifts by focusing on the lifestyle gains, most of my personal breakthroughs have been on the side of creative self-expression. I had to tear down my old comfort zone of being at a certain level of contribution and pass through the uncomfortable zone of stepping up to a new level.
For example, I’m currently going through the shift from blogger to published author. I can’t really say how this will impact my income (it obviously can’t hurt), but the biggest part of this shift occurred in my sense of creative self-expression. I had to go through the steps above to create a sense of positive pressure to write a book. I didn’t have to do that. I could have stuck to my old comfort zone as a blogger.
For example, my comfort zone of writing was articles in the range of 1,000 to 8,000 words. My book is longer than 10x my longest article. But I also wanted to write a book that was more than a compilation of articles. I wanted to create something unified and coherent. I needed an idea that would fit the long form of a book. This was a big shift that took me well beyond my comfort zone. So that was steps 1 and 2.
For step 3 I had to ask myself, Do I really want to be an author? It was reasonable to assume that my book would get a lot of attention because of my blog. Did I really want that? How would my friends react if I became a published author? Would that bother anyone (such as people who talk about writing their book someday but never follow through on it)? Did I really want more email, more interview requests, and more scrutiny? It took me a while to reach the place where I was willing to accept the natural consequences of this shift.
For step 4 I made a number of small changes to shift my comfort zone. I gave myself permission to blog less often, so I could have more time for my book. I created a chapter outline on my office wall from about 200 colored sticky notes, so whenever I sat at my desk, I couldn’t help but notice the rainbow-colored wall in front of me, a constant reminder to work on my book. I told my friends I was writing a book, so they’d always ask me about it. I blogged about it too. That created more accountability and helped burn the bridge behind me. It would have been more uncomfortable not to write the book.
As I created this positive pressure to write my book, opportunities began coming to me. Eventually I got an offer from Hay House and negotiated a publishing deal with them. It all went pretty smoothly because I’d shifted my equilibrium. By the time they approached me, I was ready to become an author. The opportunities came to me, but I still had to act on them. That took a lot of work, but by this point there was no turning back. That was step 5.
Step 6 is still pending. The result that excites me the most is learning how people apply the book’s ideas to solve problems and make improvements in their lives. I’m not worried about whether or not everyone likes it; I accept that I can’t please everyone. But I can anticipate that these ideas will generate positive results for many people because that’s the effect I’ve experienced. Not a day goes by where I don’t consciously and deliberately apply the principles in the book.
So when you seek to raise your financial vibration, realize that it isn’t just about attracting more money and experiencing more abundance. Pay special attention to the contribution side as well. If you want to double your income, think about doubling your value output.
How can you increase your contribution? The simple answer is that you either need to serve more people, or you need to deliver more value to each person you serve — or both. Can you go deeper? Can you go broader?
For example, writing a book allows me to go deeper and broader. It goes much deeper than any article or series of articles I’ve written. There’s nothing on this site that compares to what I was able to convey in the book. Secondly, by expanding into an offline medium, I can get these ideas into the hands of a lot more people than I can reach with my blog. People who’ve never heard of my blog will be able to find the book in their local bookstores, including non-English translations in various countries.
You can create these kinds of shifts even if you work at a regular corporate job. You just have to think about putting yourself in a position where you can contribute more value to the people you serve (deeper), or where you have the leverage to positively impact more people (broader). This may be done by shifting to a more leveraged position within your current company, or it may require switching companies. You might even start your own business. You have many options, but you must be the one to initiate the shift beyond your current comfort zone.
The word comfort might sound… well… comforting. But too much comfort for too long is not a good thing. I encourage you to view comfort not as an accomplishment but rather as a state of decline. If you are too comfortable, you’re coasting downhill. You’re slowly dying on the inside, while something inside you longs to experience passion and excitement once again.
Instead of long-term comfort, aim for growth. Focus on increasing and expanding your contribution, and your rewards will naturally follow. When considered in isolation, a major financial gain isn’t a reward that’s worthy of you. It’s a hollow victory that can comfort your body, but it cannot stir your soul. The soul-stirring reward is looking back on your life with deep gratitude for all the growth experiences you enjoyed (as well as those you endured) and feeling lovingly connected to all the people whose lives were made a little bit better by your presence.