We sat down with intuitive award-winning author and conscious media personality Patrice Washington to talk about the key to financial wealth… and no, it’s not about creating a budget or any of the typical listicles you’d expect.
Patrice is the author of Redefine Wealth for Yourself and the leading voice and creator of The Redefining Wealth Podcast. In 2020, SUCCESS Magazine named Patrice one of 12 Inspiring Black Voices in Personal Development, and has been recently featured on Forbes.com as one of the “15 Inspiring Podcasts for Professionals of Every Stripe.”
Patrice is committed to teaching a holistic approach to life while redefining the term “wealth” back to its original meaning, “well-being” — and don’t worry, we unpack just what that means here.
Conscious Connection: What motivated you to redefine wealth? How did you come up with this empowering ideology?
Patrice Washington: I think like many of us, our purpose is really birthed out of a painful time. I didn’t realize I needed to redefine wealth until I had kind of crashed and burned with what I thought the original meaning of wealth is. Most people see [wealth] as money and material possessions, and in 2007, I had all that. I had started a business during my senior year in college and grew it to a seven figure business by 25-years-old.
I literally thought that I would ride off into the sunset with the house and the cars and the vacations and the ‘eating good’ and all of the things until the  recession hit. By 2008, I was scraping up change even though I had saved; I thought I had diversified. And then [I] find myself at this point… on the bathroom floor crying and snotting and bawling, ‘Why me?’
I thought I did everything right.
And [then] I found this scripture. It was Proverbs 17:16, and it said, ‘what good is money in the hands of a fool if they have no desire to seek wisdom?’
I was confusing knowledge for wisdom. Knowledge is information and education, but wisdom is the application of that information. And I had never known the difference until that point. So that began the journey of like, ‘okay, well, if I’m confusing words like knowledge and wisdom, maybe I was confusing what wealth really means.’ And it got me on this path of digging through the dictionary. So basic!
The 12th century original definition of wealth is the condition of well-being. It’s not money and material possessions, which obviously was added on, you know, as centuries have gone on. That was the beginning for me… but I didn’t start to share it publicly until 2017.
For many years I was on the Steve Harvey Show and Dr. Oz. It was just this consistent, constant request to talk about savings and to talk about debt elimination and to talk about investing. And I’m like, ‘But guys, we’re missing it!’ We are full human beings, right? We are having this full experience. We’re just missing the mark. And in all the work that [I‘ve] [done] with people one-on-one over the years, it was hardly about a budget. It was hardly about coupons.
We were talking about their spirits.
Just think of this last year we’ve been in… from that last recession… the pandemic — folks are broken in spirit. We have to be able to also speak to the spirit of a [human] versus, ‘Here’s how to check your credit report, how to download a budgeting app.’
We can say these things over and over again. And we have, but until we address how that connects with the spirit of the person and that brokenness they may be experiencing mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, relationally — they’re never going to actually follow through. [That] is why there can be millions of books on personal finance and people are still struggling. So much of that work is… ‘do this task, check [this] off.’
People can’t even get to the first one when they don’t feel worthy or when they are in beat up mode, when they are depressed, embarrassed, feeling guilty, feeling shame. So [if] we don’t deal with the spirit, how can you ever take the first step? Most people can’t or they take a step one step forward and [a few] steps back.
CC: I love that you said that. It’s so true.
PW: It’s so real. I feel like as a culture, we’re moving more towards conscious living, where there’s more conversation about approaching anything in life from a holistic perspective. Everything is integrated. I think that if we try to isolate that [perspective] we do the very people we say we want to serve a disservice because we’re making them feel like something’s wrong with them. It’s that constant, ‘Why can’t I just do this thing? This seems simple enough.’
I felt personally in my own practice that the only way I could help people get results was by adding these holistic components so that doing the thing they already knew [how] to do just felt like the natural next step, as opposed to it being this hard push.
CC: What is your daily routine? How does it further your conscious-driven career?
PW: My whole life is really set up by the [six] pillars. I talk about the Six Pillars of Wealth, but I [tell] my audience, I don’t just talk about it — I live it. The first thing I do in the morning either has to do with my fit pillar or my faith pillar. They flip flop depending on the day. On an average day though, I wake up around 5:00-5:15 AM, no alarm clock. I just get up when my body is like, ‘it’s time.’
CC: That’s amazing!
PW: I typically go in my prayer room, so I have a prayer room just off my master bedroom closet. And I usually will light a candle in there, dim the lights, and I’ll either read my Bible or read a spiritual type of book. I have affirmation cards in there. I usually journal, even if it’s just for five minutes, just kind of like a brain dump, ‘Hey, this is what’s on my heart right now. Let me just clear it out.’ That’s usually 40 minutes or so.
And then I head to the gym with my husband [on] Monday, Wednesday, Friday. We take a HIIT class together. I come back [home]. I usually spend a little time in the morning with my family — that’s a part of people pillar for me. And then I start work around 9:30-10:00 AM. I work usually till about 4:30 or 5:00 PM. My daughter gets home from school around 4:45 PM, so I usually try to be done with calls so I can listen to all the eighth grade drama. When she’s doing her homework… that’s when I usually do my mindless scrolling on social media. I have dinner with my family in the evenings. I usually call my mom or get on the phone with a girlfriend. I try to do like people pillar stuff in the evening again, and then [I] start winding down around 9:30-10:00 PM. That’s like an average day.
And then during the work day, I try to work in my 30 minute blocks. If I’m not careful, I’ll sit here all day. For the week, I have a money day. I have [a] date with my husband on Monday mornings from 9:00 AM to 10:30 PM, we discuss all things money, business and goals, individual and collective. So we’re just constantly keeping each other accountable to what we said we were working on for the family.
So actually on Wednesdays, I don’t work at all. My Tuesdays and Thursdays are usually stacked because I had to learn to build rest and recovery. I don’t always wake up at five-something on Wednesdays. I give my body a chance to just wake up when [I] get up. So sometimes I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m sleeping in!’ And it’s like 6:15 AM. I have a couple of girlfriends I pray with [in the morning]. I usually have therapy. And other than that, I do nothing.
I build in time to just do nothing — let my brain rest and let myself be refreshed, rejuvenated. I usually give myself a facial on those days. Or condition my hair or steam my hair. Just anything that has like nothing to do with other people. It’s all about restoring and refilling me. I do that on Wednesdays and then weekends, I don’t work. It’s all family.
Sometimes it blows my mind that I’m living this because I wrote it way before I started to live it. But I did this breakdown of like, ‘what does my ideal day really look like? What does my ideal week really look like?’ ‘If I didn’t have any outside interference, what would I want it to look like?’
Checking in every so often gives me the ability to reinforce my boundaries. We can put things on the calendar, right? But they don’t have to happen. I’ve learned [that] when I have the schedule and I stick to that, it even helps me with my people pillar, with my relationships. My husband and my daughter are not trying to get my attention all day. I’m getting my MBA right now, so they know Friday nights I’m studying. It helps having a schedule versus just kinda going with the wind because if you’re like that, then people don’t have a problem interrupting your day.
CC: That’s that is so brilliant. Wow! Let’s say someone is going through a tough time and they finally figured out what their passion is, what do you think the first step for them achieving their dream would be?
PW: I like to remind people that passion and purpose are not the same. So just because you’re passionate about something doesn’t necessarily mean you’re proficient in it. And it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s your purpose. It might just be a hobby or something you like to do, which is fine.
I believe that passion is for you. It energizes and excites you, but purpose is for other people. So a lot of times when you’re feeling the resistance with something, it could be because you haven’t chosen to embrace your actual purpose, which is not just about you, but about others. So, so that’s one thing.
What I find in my work with women is often they have ideas about what they would like to do, and then they get really interested. So there’s a lot of research and there’s a lot of talking about it. And there’s just a lot of journaling and brainstorming and taking notes, but there’s no commitment to action. You may get down the road and be like, ‘well, that wasn’t the thing. But I learned some great lessons along the way.’
Make a decision and be committed, not interested.
So commitment looks like, for [example] — if you commit to doing Facebook lives, talking about whatever it is you feel purpose to talk about, you can’t give up because only three people came. An audience of one is still an audience. And if you’re in it for not just what excites you, but what you can do for others, then you keep showing up because with the mentality that someone needs this, [you’re] going to keep doing it.
And what I usually find is that people just give up way too soon. They don’t even give it a chance to actually blossom into bigger possibility. I was that person. When I started blogging in 2009, the only people reading [were] my mom and my husband. And then I realized they weren’t reading! [So] I quit for several weeks. And then this man reached out to me. To this day, I consider him to be an angel. He reached out and he’s like, ‘Hey, I was enjoying your blog. Haven’t posted in a while. I hope you’re okay.’
You just keep going and you stay committed, not interested.
I had no idea, I was brand new to the online world. I didn’t understand analytics. And then I… saw that people have been reading and I had comments. I didn’t know. I had to go in and approve them. I didn’t know!
It really saved my career. I don’t know if it would’ve kept nagging at me to still try to do something, but I know in that moment I felt defeated. Like, ‘if my family isn’t into it, why would anyone else be?’ But the truth was my family wasn’t my audience. My audience was my audience.
When I got that message from that man, it was the day I made a decision that an audience of one is an audience. And if I’m doing something that’s going to bless one person, I’m going to keep going. And a lot of the things I say now, I was saying when there were only 10 people commenting. When I get my Facebook memories, sometimes I read things and I’m like, ‘Oh, I said this in 2012?! Now you can get a thousand likes, [but] back then it was 30 likes.