All the strategies, systems, programs, books you’ve invested in that haven’t shifted your prosperity or life experience may have missed one key point. You may not realize approval, rather than value-for-value, is your imprinted “currency” exchange.

Expectations and limiting beliefs introduced to us in early years become invisible residents in our non-physical “bones.” They also morph—change form and function—as we grow into adults.

When we’re children and we experience events we feel are unfair or limiting, we tell ourselves as soon as we’re adults we’ll never allow those things to happen again. Only, that isn’t what usually happens. What happens is we find subtle ways to repeat them—at least, the underlying theme of them. We are drawn to and draw to us people and situations that make sure these patterns are repeated. Because that’s exactly what they are—patterns. And, they are familiar.

“People-pleaser” is a term known by many, and lived by many. People-pleasers are not born, they are created. It’s natural to want approval; it’s the out-of-balance reason for wanting it—and needing it in an unhealthy quantity—that can turn life into a hamster-wheel experience rather than a joyful, fulfilling one.

If any aspect of your formative years imprinted you with the belief that you were not good enough as you are and as you were becoming, you may have chosen one of these two paths: a consistent exhausting, frustrating effort to win approval or you gave up trying and resolved to do only what you had to do to survive—you decided to settle for less in every area of your life. Maybe you even merged the two.

An out-of-balance need for approval can manifest as perfectionism, procrastination, lack of belief in self, self-sabotage, fear of following your dreams, and even fear of naming your dreams—especially if your dreams might not win approval you seek from one or more individuals. Add some of the negative prosperity beliefs such as some are lucky, some are not; the only way you can succeed is if you work really hard (ask any hard-working minimum wagers and struggling solo business people if this has proven true); you either have what it takes or you don’t . . . I’m sure you can add to this list.

Only you can know if you have a deep need for approval and how this impacts your life. If your primary need has been for approval, you’ve seen it affect the jobs and wages you’ve accepted; the relationships you’ve engaged in (likely, longer than you should have); lack of energy or self-confidence to go after what you really want in every area or several areas of your life; and, often, the various forms of abuses and self-abuse you’ve allowed.

If you’re a solo business person (or want to be), fear energy about charging a fair fee or price for what you provide, and getting it, may be present—you doubt your right and ability to be compensated appropriately. You may engage in lots of activity, but little productivity. You may search for ways to succeed rather than create them.

Approval seekers are often not connected to self-esteem, self-confidence, self-worth, and self-appreciation in ways that support them to feel how they wish to about themselves, or to make choices that help them create desired experiences and outcomes. Self-trust to know and act on what is appropriate for them (and what’s not) has not been developed as it might have been. Fear of making mistakes shadows them. They may not even ask what their desired experiences are—not with true clarity.

If what you need and want in order to have the life experience you desire comes last (or even second), your “currency” may be approval. You may want approval more than value-for-value in your personal and professional life. This is about proper self-respect, not improper selfishness.

When approval is your currency, your inner images are so entwined with this need you don’t even enter into the space where you envision people, who really feel you can make a difference, being happy to make a monetary exchange with you. You don’t envision being able to discern early on if a person is the right person for you to be in a relationship with—that the exchange and value in any experience is equal and in your best interest. You second-guess yourself on a consistent basis.

Take some time to sit with what you’ve read here. See if the out-of-balance need for approval has been a driving force in your life. Ask yourself how this has manifested in your experiences and how you feel about this.

Then, do a quick replay of your life and re-write the “film script.” Allow the image of receiving the approval you desired. Watch as you honor yourself by saying no to inappropriate personal and professional relationships when you said yes instead—making better choices on your behalf in certain moments.

Envision and feel the satisfaction of providing the service you’re passionate about to those you’d enjoy engaging with (even if what that is isn’t clear at this time). Let who, how, where, when, and for how much play out in your favor. Imagine the feeling of it—and you—as you truly desire. Allow yourself to feel this as true for you, even if that feeling is somewhat small right now. It can expand as you become gradually more comfortable with it. It may be unfamiliar, but it doesn’t need to stay that way.

Starting now, allow yourself to recognize when approval is your currency, as you consider important life choices. If it is, realize it’s you who will pay for the experiences and outcomes that result. This only empties the “well.” You want to fill it.

It’s time to shift this so that “give and receive” become the energy exchange they are meant to be and that feel good for you and others. It’s time to stop believing the stories you tell yourself, especially because a better story could have happened. It still can; but you need to begin to rewrite your story now and place your focus on it, and stop repeating the old ones.

It’s time to upgrade your “currency” exchange, and to understand it is your right to give and receive in equal measure.

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Is it time to learn how to more effortlessly have desired experiences in life and business? Start now to re-write your stories for a More Calm, Confident, Creative You with You Are More! Empowerment Coach and author Joyce Shafer—Sign up now for the 4-week Valentine’s Coaching Special (sign-up deadline is Feb. 14/program starts when you sign up) or let the e-book guide you. Fall in Love with Your Life! Details at