Have you ever had that niggling thought that you don’t deserve to get paid more, or at all?

That sneaky imposter fear in the back of your mind ?

You may be suffering from what I call the “deservability” syndrome. The unconscious belief that you are not worthy of more money.

This may have entered your belief system by a clear singular event, a parent or teacher thoughtlessly told you, you would never amount to much because you were lazy or didn’t work hard enough or it may have more subtly crept into your psyche and gotten lodged there by life experiences that seemed to reinforce it as correct.

The results are the same however you started thinking it, if you don’t believe you deserve money you will find ways to sabotage your ability to have more.


The link between “deservability” and sacrifice


For those of us who do struggle with the deservability syndrome a common theme is that we believe we can’t get what we want without a sacrifice of something else. Career success may mean to us sacrificing family or we believe we  have to be good enough though exceptional achievement or exceptional giving to deserve to receive,

We’re afraid to ask for what we want because we fear what it will cost us and as a result we avoid trying to change the situation.

When we don’t feel deserving, we can’t imagine a situation where getting what we want doesn’t require a huge sacrifice.


The deservability persona


The constant anxiety and fear of being discovered as undeserving  leads us to adopt coping persona’s that are not supportive of opening up to money flows.

We struggle with a scarcity mindset, and feel we have to struggle for everything and being deserving is a competition we are always lose.

Our struggle leads us to sacrifice and  constantly give,  hoping the recipient will recognise our worth and reciprocate. When they don’t,  possibly because we are too afraid to lay out our expectations, we grow increasingly resentful.

We adopt self-criticism and perfectionism in measuring our worth and may feel we have to pretend to be someone else to deserving.

We may  give up all together and look for someone else to step into the money role, thereby giving away our money power.

Unless we break this cycle we will most likely continue the  self-defeating patterns, driven by our low self-esteem and low deservability.


The Path to deserving


The late Dr Wayne Dyer stated,  “I don’t deserve is an excuse” and it is an excuse that protects us from the pain of finding out that we are in fact undeserving”. As a result we don’t challenge the belief and use this excuse to keep ourselves discouraged, afraid and unable to take action.

The truth is we cannot earn worthiness because we already have it.  The key is to start accepting it and these are the steps to doing that.


Uncover the story


Start questioning the thoughts you have around deservability. Where do they come from?  They are likely to have rooted in a childhood event that impacted your self-esteem.

Work on releasing this by forgiving the cause and accepting the lesson.

This sounds so easy, and I personally know it isn’t as I struggle with my own deservability beliefs, but the alternative is to remain stuck and resentful, which for me is not an option.


Reframe the story 


When you have created the feeling and belief that you don’t deserve, this is coming from a place of extremely low self-esteem and is a self- fulfilling prophecy as what you believe you get  whether you wanted it or not.

Again, the genius Dr Dyer has advice for this, “change the way you look at things  and the things you look at will change”.

Reframe your story. Write out your accomplishments and what is uniquely special in you. If you get stuck, flex your bravery muscle and ask your friends and family to contribute. This is incredibly scary but is the quickest way to get a more positive insight into how others see you.


Build evidence


If you are anything like me your lack of deservability has attracted countless events that have given you evidence as to its truth. It reminds me of a cartoon I once saw. A person sitting on a bus is looking out one window and it is a bleak and depressing landscape. However, if she were to turn her head and look out all the other windows she would see a beautiful blue sky and sunny imagery.

Based on the story of achievements you have written above and the feedback from those close to you, start to gather evidence that supports a more positive view of yourself. It may be hard at first, but it’s likely to be the easiest part given that there is nothing to prove. You are deserving exactly as you are, this entire exercise is to simply get you to see that.


Take a chance

So, you’ve let your fear of deservability hold you back from asking for that raise, applying for that position or upping your charges. Start pushing the boundaries of your uncomfortable comfort zone and take chances. You may not have the result you desire, but you are guaranteed to have the result you need, an expansion in your comfort zone!


What are you going to do to challenge your deservability beliefs this week? Drop me an email and let me know !



A healthy money mindset is the foundation to financial health. Grab the Money Mindset Cheat sheet to see how to build one.

Hey there!

Michelle here,

You want to become financially independent and grow your wealth?

You are in the right place.

I help women build their financial intelligence. This means we talk money, earning it, saving it, investing it and growing it.


If you are ready to take action, download the Financial Intelligence Roadmap and sign up to the weekly emails full of financial tips and tools to support you in moving to your next level of wealth.



You have Successfully Subscribed!