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Extracts of a Life Coach: You’ve got to be ‘in it to win it’

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Emma Ranson Bellamy opens her eyes to innate behaviours and starts gambling away her fortune.


I’ve had a most fascinating weekend. I attended a workshop hosted by Coaching and Mentoring International (who I have trained with) about achieving your true wealth.

To be honest I was expecting an Anthony Robbins type of presentation, lots of visualisation and ra-ra, make me a gazillion dollars by lunch time type stuff but I should have known better as the facilitator of the workshop is a tremendous individual who mixes personal development with spiritual learning and commercial common sense.

After a brief talk and presentation to get our juices flowing about how we consider and perceive money and how Jim Carey wrote a cheque for himself for $5m and looked at it every day while visualising himself receiving it for a film (which he did only a few years later) we were introduced to the money exchange task.

We were instructed to bring money along to the game. Half of the group started at one end of the room, the other at the opposite end. We were then given 15 minutes in which to make exchanges as we crossed the room.

Examples of good and bad behaviour became visible during the course of the game and throughout the conversations which followed. Here are a few characters I met on the journey:

  • The gambler: She borrowed the £5 to participate in the game and during her journey across the room lost the lot twice. At one point she had £20 and lost that as well. She was near broke but building her self back up when the game ended.
  • The hooker: She started the game with £5 and ended the game with £20. She wavered between guilt and pleasure during the discussion time as she tried to tell herself that she gave the man who gave her the £20 a lovely smile that made his day and so ‘earned it’.
  • The beggar: Lost all the money about two minutes into the game and spent the rest of the time asking for donations.
  • The Judge: Had £10 and decided not to participate in the exchange but just to observe what everyone else was doing.
  • The pick pocket: Ran around the room taking the money from anyone who was irresponsible enough to be waiving it about. (I kid you not, and yes we were a room full of coaches!!!)
  • The poker player: Would not reveal their hand until a trade was agreed.
  • The generous man: Got so involved in the game and enjoyed giving so much that when he ‘lost’ his initial money he went back to his wallet and got more out.
  • The whiner: When the game was over he complained about losing money and about the facilitator. He then protested that the organisers did not care about the outcome of the game anyway and tried to kick-start a rebellion.
  • The protestor: She claimed a failure to understand the rules and protested about the ‘unfairness’ of it all proclaiming that she was actually good with money.
  • And me – the chancer: I began the game right in the thick of it without a clue as to what I was doing or where I would end up. I had a £2 coin. My first ‘deal’ was to change it to two, £1 coins. A lady (I think) then gave me 5p. I stopped and considered what I was doing, accessed my coaching skills and then decided I would complete the rest of the task making the money in my hand as flexible as I could, not asking for anything other than a fair trade. If along the way I could help others achieve their objective, more the better. I finished the game with £1.80 made up of all different coins, and I gave 20p to the beggar. When I reached the other side I tried to do business with some of the others who had reached the other side by telling them about my objective and asking if I could help them achieve theirs. To many this was the first time they had thought of an objective and until the end of the game I had a small orderly queue of people wanting to do business with me.

We had a few opportunities to discuss our learning outcomes from this exercise. It was amazing to see how some of the coaches who appeared on the surface to be very together (afterall these individuals are responsible for facilitating huge change within individuals) were actually underneath hiding a fear of money and the power associated with it.

At the end of the session we had to reverse the exercise, anyone who ‘lost’ money was to meet with those who made money and swap until everyone was even.

I got so much out of this exercise and it will resonate with me for some time to come. These are the key learning points:

  • 1. There are no rules, just as there are none in business. Yes, you can only decide to do business with people who are like you and whom share your values but we don’t always know for sure, and of course, the only thing we can be totally certain of is what our own thought process is, not anyone else’s, their agendas or the future.

  • 2. I did not once see who I exchanged with which meant for me I did not say thank you and make time after the deal was done.

  • 3. I only ‘played’ with what I was prepared to ‘lose’. Why didn’t I trust my own abilities to make more money? I actually got £20 out of my purse initially but changed my mind when I heard the chinking of small change in my pocket. Of course the money would have been returned to me, but I was not sure, this begs the question about my own self belief and my trust in the universal powers of ‘good will prevailing.’

  • 4. I am always learning and will be until the day I die. If I ever become arrogant enough to say: ‘There is nothing else for me to learn on this subject please shoot me.”

If you fancy really shaking things up at the office party or the next ‘bonding away day’ I can really recommend this exercise, however, be warned, things will never be the same again.

Emma can be contacted at [email protected]

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