Of all the different relationships we have in our lives, the most complex is the one we have with money. While it doesn’t buy or guarantee health or happiness, it appears to make the path easier to travel. According to Joyce Morningstar of Dynamic Wealth Advisors, “Talking about money is the last taboo. The subject of money is associated with strong emotions and value judgments. Many people are more comfortable talking about sex than they are talking about money.”
The need for money is factual, yet the desire for vast amounts of it is so intense it’s the dominant cause of conflict and inequity. Workshop attendees, and students in my psychology classes, were asked how many knew someone who currently was not speaking to someone else due to issues over money. Eighty percent of each group responded in substantiation of business or family feud.
Money really does make the world go around and it impacts life, relationships, and decision-making. In addition to those who work hard for whatever income they are able to earn, there are those who literally beg, borrow, steal, or commit suicide or homicide over money. Love, power, shame and fame all walk hand and hand with money.
You’re not alone if you ever wished money really did grow on trees. Apparently the desire for it to be true is so strong, the growers of a variety of plants commonly known as “money trees” hang tags on them stating, “This money tree does not grow actual spendable money.”
Understanding Relationships With Money Everyone develops their relationship with money based on their personal experiences. People are strongly influenced by stories they heard and observations they made while growing up. How money factors in is often a source of conflict between people. Based on the emotional context created around it, conflicts over money can lead to regrettable actions, causing additional stress.
Take a moment to think about the role of money in your life and relationships. What are your own ingrained thoughts, fears, and values about money? There are few opportunities in our culture when a sincere discussion about money is encouraged in spite of the central role it plays in multiple aspects of our daily experiences. Our own upbringing may have included hearing some of the following statements from friends and relatives.
The Language of Money – Personality Lingo One of the greatest roadblocks to resolving conflict is that people naturally presume the other party thinks like they do. By being able to understand and recognize that people have different values, motives, actions and reactions, you will be able to help them navigate through money matters much more effectively.
Studying behavior through communication and personality style assessments goes all the way back to Hippocrates and Carl Jung, giving unique insight into why people do what they do. How we behave under normal or challenging circumstances is influenced by multiple possibilities.
There are various systems for categorizing personality traits into meaningful patterns. These systems use special vocabularies such as letters, colors, or other terms to describe the same thing – personality temperament. The following vocabulary (Connectors, Thinkers, Planners and Movers) comes from Personality Lingo: Use the Power of Personality to Transform Relationships, Improve Communication and Reduce Stress by Mary Miscisin.
Positive Tendencies and Using Helper Strengths Each of us is a mix of all the styles, however we all have dominant and more natural tendencies. The following will help you identify your own personality styles first, giving an overview of how positive traits look when life is manageable, and where your strengths are. Those we find to be our strongest are part of our automatic response system. It’s beneficial to know your own strengths. The natural tendency is to speak and share information from your strengths. The challenge is that your clients will be receiving information, and behaving, from challenged stressors. Since the responsibility for communication is with the person with the best communication skills, understanding their receiving will give them confidence that you understand them. You can figure out your combination of positive helper styles by reading the following descriptions and deciding which ones are most like you, all the way to least like you.
THINKER – Thinkers are curious, questioning and complex. They have diverse interests and an insatiable appetite for knowledge. They are independent and able to work alone quite proficiently. They like to keep their personal life private. They value objectivity, intellect and problem solving. They are most comfortable thinking “outside the box”. They rely on their logic, having time to think, and investigation of the facts to help them make decisions. They can be a fountain of information as they generally know a little something about everything. Thinkers are knowledgeable, questioning, private, independent, analytical, innovative, strategic, abstract, tenacious and have a wry sense of humor.
CONNECTOR – Connectors are caring, kind, and cooperative. They have a positive attitude and like to bring out the best in others. They desire meaningful, personal connection and cherish friendships. They value diversity, teamwork and harmony. They abhor conflict and are most comfortable when everyone is getting along. They rely on their emotional wisdom and keen intuition to help make decisions that feel right. They have a creative imagination and enjoy self-expression. They are validating and affirming. They like to include others. Connectors are peacemakers who are supportive, thoughtful, empathetic, inspiring, accepting, passionate, creative, friendly, and helpful.
MOVER – Movers are daring, mischievous, and adventuresome. They crave excitement, especially a sudden adrenaline rush. They desire fun-loving, active relationships and like the freedom to be playful and engaging. They value the here and now, and are most comfortable when people welcome their flexible nature and spontaneity. They are excellent at critical incident triage and are able to rely on their instincts to decide in the moment which is the best action to take in any emergency situation. Competition drives them to win. They are direct and quick and want to charge ahead with decisiveness and confidence. Movers are spontaneous, innovative, expedient, risk-takers, negotiators, charismatic, straightforward, hands-on, tangible and physical.
PLANNER – Planners are structured, organized, and thorough. They have the ability and determination to complete their goals. They desire respectful, stable relationships and want people to follow the rules. They believe in loyalty and duty. They value commitment and completion. They are most comfortable with clearly defined roles and expectations. They rely on sound judgment of what is right and wrong to make decisions. They like to have a plan and stick to it. They work hard and derive great satisfaction from crossing items off their ‘to-do’ list. People can depend on them. Planners are respectful, organized, accountable, timely, consistent, traditional, law-abiding, hard working, responsible and loyal.
In Conclusion Personality Lingo is a tool for self-identification and self-awareness and for gaining insight into the strengths and challenges of others. Parts of our personality traits are inborn and others are influenced by the people and circumstances in our lives.
We’re all different. We are as unique as a fingerprint. Your personality, like a fingerprint, is unique to you although you may be very different from (or similar to), others you know.
Having the above information in your personal or professional toolbox is paramount to having a secret decoder on how to help others resolve issues, especially when money is involved. The benefit of being able to speak to a stressed person’s hearing leads to increased cooperation when they believe you understand their position.