Article by: MaryEllen | Monday, April 2, 2018

By Barbara Huson

I remember the moment I had what seemed like a fabulous idea-write a book about women who make millions. I had just set a new goal for myself: “Make millions, help millions, give millions.”

Sure, the thought of making seven figures was a bit daunting. But I knew exactly what to do. I’d start by interviewing women who were making millions. That was how I, a chronic underearner, had finally made six figures, by interviewing high earners, then writing a book, Secrets of Six-Figure Women.

I plunged into the research, eager to discover the secrets of seven-figure women. Finding ultra-high earners was surprisingly easy. Interviewing them was fascinating. I was totally smitten with this project. I wrote a proposal, submitted it to publishers, and waited with eager anticipation for their replies. Every editor turned it down.

Devastated by the rejections, I admitted defeat. But the book wasn’t ready to give up on me. I kept feeling like something in those interviews needed to be shared, but either I wasn’t expressing it adequately or I’d missed it completely.

The Call to Greatness

My coach suggested I get away for a bit. “You’re too into doing, Barbara,” she said, “You need time for just being.”

I knew she was right. I made reservations for 4 days at a cozy lodge, a 2-hour drive from my home. I stayed in my room, curled up on the window seat, re-reading the transcripts of interviews, praying for guidance.

That’s when it hit me. I’d been so dazzled by these women’s outrageous financial success (and my eagerness to replicate it) that I’d failed to notice they were achieving it very differently than what the (male) world models.

For one thing, unlike men, they weren’t motivated by money. Sure, they damn well wanted to be well compensated. But what truly drove them, most often, was the opportunity to help others, to play a bigger, more meaningful game.

I called this new game Sacred Success. I define it as pursuing your Soul’s purpose for your own bliss and the benefit of others, while being richly rewarded. The goal isn’t to ‘finish rich’ -though that may be a desired outcome. The primary goal is to become the powerful force you were born to be.

I knew Sacred Success was the book I was meant to write. It had absolutely nothing to do with making millions. It wasn’t even about money, for that matter. At its very core, Sacred Success is a book about power.

Women and Power

Ever since I wrote my first book, Prince Charming Isn’t Coming, in 1995, I’ve suspected women’s difficulties with money has far less to do with the fundamentals of finance than with their fear of (or ambivalence about) power.

Phyllis Chesler said it this way in her groundbreaking book, Women, Money, and Power, “Money is a power sacred to most men and foreign to most women.” Though she wrote those words more than 40 years ago, they still ring true today.

My biggest challenge, as a coach and teacher, is getting women past their own, often fierce resistance to making, managing, or simply understanding money.

In speeches, I often ask women. “What’s the first thought that comes to mind when I say the word ‘power?” With notable exceptions, their responses aren’t pretty. Many associate power with control and domination, with backstabbing and battling for position, with acting like a bitch or becoming a male clone.

Not surprising then, that in a 2012 study, “Women and the Paradox of Power,” 38% of participants said they’d rather be well-liked than powerful. As if the two were mutually exclusive.

The problem, as I see it, is this: We’ve never been taught the secret wisdom of creating wealth and exercising power-as women. For centuries women have come together to trade recipes and remedies, share tips on attracting a man or raising a child. But there is little, if any, collective wisdom for wealth and power, success and ambition.

The word ‘power,’ which comes from the Latin word, potere (‘to be able’) means the “ability to act or produce an effect.” The definition applies to both genders.

But studies have proven that the sexes view power through very different lenses. Men see power in a hierarchical model-‘power over. Women see power in a collaborative model-‘power with.’

In that context, I much prefer to define power using the words of psychologist Eric Fromm: “The main task in life is to give birth to our self to become what we actually are.”

That task is the essence of power, the ultimate reason for creating wealth, the essential challenge facing women today.

Essentially, our fear of power is our fear of becoming who we really are. This fear keeps us settling for less instead of striving for more, shrinking to fit rather than playing full out, clinging to safety to avoid taking the leap.

The Feminine Face of Power

Money, itself, does not give us power. But it does give us choices. Our power comes from the choices we make, choices that reflect who we are, not what someone else wants; choices that result in our growth, not placating others. What we think we are-all the shoulds, oughts, musts-gets in the way of what we actually could be.

The women who made millions were telling me, ‘Yes, there is a better way,’ They were merging their desire for financial success with their yearning to follow a higher calling, playing the game according to their feminine nature, deepest truths, and personal missions.

I believe the planet desperately needs more financially empowered women. As the Dalai Lama famously observed, “The world will be saved by the Western woman. “Add to that Mother Theresa’s statement, “It takes a checkbook to change the world.”

I believe when enough powerful women (in partnership with enlightened men) come together, we’ll have the resources, values, vision, sensitivity and courage to heal this planet and change this world.

And it all starts with each one of us.

About the Author

Barbara Huson (previously known as Barbara Stanny), is the leading authority on women, wealth and power. As a bestselling author, teacher & wealth coach, Barbara has helped millions take charge of their finances and their lives. She has written six books and empowers women to live up to their financial and personal potential. Get her new paperback, Sacred Success: A Course in Financial Miracles and her bonus here.