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We are shaped by the spoken and unspoken agreements we make as a society. 

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Take money for example, these pieces of paper are apparently worth bucketloads! I can’t be the only person that questions how paper and numbers can be in control of so much of our lives.

But apart from choosing to not participate in these systems, how can we understand their influence, do something about it and have some of our own power back? How can we exist or work in a way that suits us?

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The impact society has on our financial capacity is the second theme we are exploring in the Financial Capacity series.

You can get the first article here, which explains my thoughts on the shortfalls of modern money advice and why understanding our financial capacity matters. 

And you can access the second article here, it includes an exercise to explore how generational differences and familial influences expand or constrict your financial capacity.

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Societal structures and systems act as scaffolding or architecture for humans to exist within. They are (apparently) creating order and reliability and ultimately a feeling of security in our communities. Yet upon reflection we are seeing without a shadow of doubt that these social constructs are only serving a few.

They’ve been used to control and have power over many aspects of our lives. Ultimately they are absorbed by us and we exist amongst this group consensus of arrangements that potentially disadvantages ourselves and others. It all seems a bit ridiculous when we pause and reflect, that we are abiding by these ‘rules’.

Today’s article is only one way to bring the impact of these societal agreements to our consciousness. It is a way to do a fearless self-inventory, you may feel a bit vulnerable doing this exercise, but it’s worth it.

So today, we’re exploring how social systems conditioning impact your own Financial Capacity.

This article took sometime to write, I wanted to provide all the many thoughts, conversations and experiences to explain the impact societal systems and conditioning has on us. But I realised the most useful thing you can walk away with after reading this, is identifying one or two key aspect that has constricted your own financial capacity.

So today’s article will not be an encyclopedia of knowledge, we all have information overload anyways. I’m also not going to dissect our political and economic environment, but instead give you a starting point, a place to explore for yourself and to work out- what is most impacting you capacity to be financially balanced and well?  

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For myself or my mentoring clients I organically go through three steps when looking at social influences.

So today I’m using myself as an example of how to start identifying how society is shaping our own behaviour and capacity when it comes to money. 

Step One: Let’s first start with our own societal identity. Who am I in this society? 

Play along… write out the equivalent for yourself.

I am a white, mid-30’s, female, middle class, mother, tertiary-educated, professional, eco-conscious, empathetic, creative, high-functioning, extrovert.

(So that’s not the whole me. But it’s a good roundup to start from. It’s just some of the surface level ‘label’s society has handed me that I’m aware of. )

And it gives me a beginning place to look at how is the societal system working for me or against me when it comes to my financial capacity. 

So if I were to break this down as positive (expanding) or negative (contracting) elements they may look like this…

Step Two: What parts of my societal identity or labels make having a larger financial capacity possible?

Play along… can you also categorise what parts of this social identity favour you earning more, having easier access to work or money, or mean that you can make, circulate or retain wealth?

(This isn’t about fairness, this is about what my culture and society have created as a system that favours these ‘traits’ or ‘identity labels’.) 

Can you see how these things make it easier on me? How did you go with your own list?

The point of understanding what is easier for you, helps with exploring and bringing to your awareness elements in step three. It also helps with then understanding:

How can I use what I have become aware of above and use it for good?

Do I feel compelled to change any of these systems?

Can my work dismantle any pieces of this that are not healthy for our community or those that do not have these privileges? 

Step Three: What social labels negatively affect my financial capacity:

(Either through systemic issues or conditioning of behaviours and expectations.) 

Ok, you get the idea.

Now it’s your turn, which parts of the conditioned social identity are working against you making, managing, circulating, retaining and dispersing money as you see fit?

What pieces of this puzzle, this environment are stopping you from financially thriving or even just being financially well?

What parts of your identity is positively or negatively impacted by your societal structure, influences or conditioning?

Awareness and bringing it to your consciousness is the first step of creating change.

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Here’s the summary of today’s exploration
  1. Write down your societal identity or labels, who are you in the eyes of your society?
  2. Write down parts that society reinforces or positively impacts your wealth or financial position. 
  3. Write down the hindrances that society has imposed on you. The aspects that constricts your financial capacity.

**You probably have a completely different list than me and that is totally ok and expected. 

I believe once we acknowledge a lot of these negative influences on our financial capacity, we then have a choice to do something about it.

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Here are some stories, fears, inner work and discussions I’ve been having about negative influences on my financial capacity. 

— I have assessed my role as a woman and mother in this world. I will no longer be polite, silent or unpaid or under-paid worker in this society. I specifically work on this one daily through discussion with other women and mothers in business and with coaching clients.

I refuse to allow capitalism to force downward pressure on pricing and efficiency metrics on small businesses. I specifically help small business owners increase prices to sustainable and profitable levels. I also work on this in my own business. I choose my values over ‘cheap’ prices. I also spend time researching more human and environment-centric economic models to hopefully help business owners move to better models that what we have now. 

I choose mothering and being a business owner. Not one or the other. Our societal pressure makes mothers currently ‘outsource’ childcare mostly or not work much or in leadership positions. This greatly impacts our relationships, health and community. We are burning out, identifying with martyring as being virtuous or the norm and are becoming co-dependant with companies for our food, health and safety. 

As we push women into a masculine way of working, our communities and health are being negatively impacted. So I choose both. I design business models and suites of offers or income streams for myself and clients that allow for both. I’m choosing to not allow the existing system to dictate every aspect of my family life and work life, we are at a point where we can choose both and have better solutions than what we have now. (If you’re stuck on this point, go back to the prior email about generational differences and see if there are any themes there are holding your stuck on this idea.)


That’s just three examples, now over to you.

How can you take this information you’ve explored and find new, innovative or just plain non-acceptance of these societal influences?

What can we do differently for a more expansive impact on our financial capacity?

Let me know your thoughts.

Next topic to explore: Understanding the Monetary and Business Environment and its effect on our financial capacity.

Just joining the series? Head back to the first article here.


Would you like help delving into this work? Would you like to create long-lasting change in your business finances? The group program Illuminate: A Money Program for Women in Business was created exactly for this reason, check out when it is being run next.

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I write emails about making and managing money in business when you’re a kind, considerate and empathetic business owner. I speak about our monetary behaviour and practical finance business advice. We look at money from all angles.

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