Every so often it’s great to take time out to pause and reflect on your progress. Now that the wedding is all over and done with, it’s time for me to take stock of where I am, where I am going and how I’m getting there. This time, I’m using a rap song called Blessings by Big Sean featuring Drake and Kanye West to help me along the way. I love these crazy posts. My husband is some where shaking his head with his hand over his face.
“Blessings on blessings on blessings. Look at my life man; that’s lessons on lessons on lessons.”
So, I took a few days to browse back through this blog to look at my ups and downs through the years as I struggled through my finances and guinea pigged my way to what I’m going to call financial enlightenment. Cue the church choir in the background. While going through it, I am the first to say that there were many times when I questioned my own sanity and my need to subject my finances to shameful public scrutiny. Actually, before I started this entire journey, I’m pretty sure that I am teetering on the edge of completely losing my sanity.
You’ve heard this story before: how I slept with large count Tums on my bed table because I had constant reflux from the stress; how I barely slept because the stress kept me wide awake and wired like a light pole; how I lived in fear of my bank account being garnished; how I felt like I was just a failure. It was the fear that my failure would affect everyone else in my family that kept me up the most at night. But I hear that there’s a saying – you have to go through it to get through it. I’m happy that I did just that. When you’re going through it the downs can feel so low, and the highs seem unattainable.
“No mistakes in life man, only lessons.”
Every Friday night, I live tweet my way through the new Shark Tank episodes. I like to call it entrepreneurship class. We, and by we, I mean all of us crazy people who watch Shark Tank and tweet about it, pretty much do a crazy tear down of the entrepreneur, their pitch, product, service, valuation and deal. Stay with me, I’m going somewhere with this.
I realized at some point that many people see just the successes, never understanding that there is often a mine field full of sacrifices and failures that goes into a successful product or pitch. The most successful entrepreneurs aren’t always the ones who walk away with a deal – they’re the ones who internalize criticism from the investors as well as their products’ appearance before millions of people to improve and then ultimately sell their products on their own; all the while they hold on to their business and are able to choose the path that their business will take.
This blog all started from a massive failure, but I’ve successfully pivoted to turn this blog into a business and I have also successfully been able to market myself as a personal finance expert. Along the way I’ve learned enough to purchased two investment properties; quadrupled my investment portfolio value in five years; increased my salary by 50% in as many years; built external income that successfully sustained my family while I took six glorious months to plot and plan my life; and spun a challenge that involved $500 of “play” money into $25,000 in sales.
All of these things were built on all of the failures, stop signs, mistakes, roadblocks and whatever else that popped up in my life. I learned to not just accept “no” and that ever closed door was an opportunity for you to open a different door, or, as I like to do, kick my way through it. Don’t look at your mistakes and failures are wide canyons that you can’t overcome. Your mistakes are learning lessons and every time you fail, you should get better at failing.
“It is what it is. Trust me you get what you give.”
I’m a first believer that the Universe or whatever spiritual deity you choose to follow, believes in rewarding good when you do good, but for the sake of being good. I also believe that you get back the same kind of energy that you put out into the world. I’ve been trying to think and move from a place of positivity so that we all lift each other up together. When you change your outlook from “I can’t” to “I can” or “I will” suddenly it appears as if things begin to happen for you. It’s not that things happen, but you make things happen. This is partially why I named my company Say Yes LLC. I’m constantly reminded all the time to stop jumping to “no” automatically and to find a way to say yes.
I did my first Periscope broadcast on Saturday while still recovering from a lung infection and I felt compelled to talk about how changing your mindset and the way that you view your relationship with money is the hardest but most effect change that you can make when trying to get out of debt. Changing your mindset sounds easy, but it is HARD and it was the hardest part about paying down $50,000. Once it clicked in my mind that my debt wasn’t hold me as a prisoner and that I didn’t have to slave for money and that credit cards are tools, paying down my debt got so much easier.
“I guess when your stars align you just do like the solar system and plan it out. So I’m going over time on the overtime. Yeah, I’m that invested but you can’t attest it. Million dollar goals man, it’s to manifest it.”
What are your goals and how hard are you willing to work towards it? Maybe I don’t have million dollar goals, but when I had a goal to hit $50,000 paid off within two years, I was laser beam focused and I was able to plan how much I needed to pay each month to hit the goal. When I laid things out using the S.M.A.R.T. technique – a real, structured plan – that’s when things really rolled full steam for me. If your plan is loosely held together, plan on your plan being no plan at all. You have to lay out solid, concrete goals otherwise, you’re kind of just going with the flow and you don’t know where it’ll take you.
Whatever plan you have, maybe buying a house; maybe a fabulous vacation; maybe swimming with sharks (I don’t know, I had to throw something wild and crazy out there), make a general first plan with milestones along the way of how to get there. Think of it as your treasure map with gold at the end.
“I’m way up I feel blessed.”
Whatever else is going on, I feel seriously blessed to be alive and kicking and in such a good head space. It’s taken me hitting my 37th year on Earth to comfortable with where I am in life and with the path that I am on. Maybe it’s the prospect of 40 fast approaching, but I have never been more comfortable in my skin, nor have I had such clarity and focus on my life. I truly feel like I’m incredibly blessed and have been blessed to share this with all of you. Wherever you are in your own journey, stop for one moment and take inventory of the positive things in your life and appreciate all that you have done. My spouse is constantly reminding me to do the same.
So, I’m including the rap video here, because, you know, I referenced it, but I’m warning you about the lyrics and that Kanye is at the end. You can just hit the stop button when you see Kanye. Don’t send me hate mail.