Do you ever feel totally overwhelmed and weighed down by your debt? Have you ever let your debt, or the possibility of going into debt, hold you back from pursuing your dreams? Do you ever tell yourself that you'll do that thing your heart really yearns to do later, once you are out of debt?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, then this post is for you!
Again and again I see client's, friends, and other people I meet letting their debt prevent them from moving forward and pursuing what it is they really want.
Today is the day to STOP letting your debt weigh you down and control your decisions.
Today is the day to break free of debt and to start living the life you want to live right now.
A few years ago, I was considering attending a Master's program in Sweden, for which I would have to go into about $30,000 of debt. At the time, I dreaded the word DEBT, in fact, it might as well have been the word DEATH, for all of the freedom I imagined it would inevitably squander.
I remember talking to my coach about this one day, and mentioning that I really wanted to attend the Master's program, but I was being held back in my decision because of the fact that I would have to go into debt. She then asked me a couple of questions that I will never forget; one that has shifted my perspective on debt forever. She asked me, "What if debt isn't a bad thing that will hold you down? What if you decided to become friends with debt instead?".
I began to realize that DEBT did not have to equal DEATH, and that debt didn't have to be this awful, dreadful weight that would slow me down in life... debt could be my friend! My ally! My partner in becoming my greatest and best self!
It was this shift in perspective that allowed me to fully say YES! and commit to the Master's program I so badly wanted to attend. It was by being 100% committed and all in that I was able to apply with enthusiasm and be accepted into the program. I did not end up attending the program for other reasons, but this lesson I learned through the process about debt was invaluable.
Over the years since then, I have learned a lot more about debt, and I won't shy away from saying that right now I still have $20,000 of it from coaching school.
Have I let that hold me back from travelling the continent, starting my own business, hiring a business coach and living a life I truly love?
Not at all.
So I want to share with you some tips in the hopes of helping you, too, break free from your ugly debt story that is holding you back from shining in this world. Here they are:
Tip #1: Don't let debt be an excuse to NOT pursue your dreams in life.
I'm talking about your deep, heart-centered dreams here -- not your dream to go to the bar and buy everyone a round of free drinks. If you have debt, don't go buying things you don't really need (its helpful to be clear on what you actually need vs. what you want is too).
At the same time, if an opportunity arises for you to learn something that excites you, to meet people that inspire you, to achieve a goal you have, or to grow on a deep personal and spiritual level ... don't let your debt be an excuse to not do it!!
Money (including debt) is the NUMBER ONE EXCUSE people use to not get what they want in life. Don't let debt be your excuse to stay stuck in mediocrity!!!
I will NEVER forget when I was 15 years old, and I had saved up my dollars working at a job to buy my first acoustic guitar. When I went to the store, there was a shiny red guitar that I was really excited about, but it was $100 more than the more classic-looking guitars. My Dad said to me, "Rebecca, 5 years down the road, what are you going to remember -- the $100 you saved, or the shiny red guitar you passed up?". Needless to say, I spent the extra $100 and I am still in love with my shiny red guitar today.
Tip #2: You have enough -- so splurge a little every now and then.
Look back on your life... have you always had enough of what you needed? Enough food? Enough shelter & warmth? Enough clothing? I know this isn't the case for everyone, but for the majority of us in North America, our experience is one of enough. There is wealth and abundance all around us. If it's worked out for you up until now, it's not going to suddenly change. Loosen your belt and splurge a little every now and then! Breathe a sigh of relief and allow yourself to do this!
Whether it's on personal development, yoga classes, a concert, a book, a magazine subscription... whatever! Make it something meaningful to you, and make it guilt-free.
Tip #3: Have a plan.
This will help a lot with the guilt-free splurging. Keep track of how much money is coming in and how much is going out. My own personal system is to track my finances every week, and I have scheduled a time into my calendar to do this every Friday. I then have a simple system that helps me to make sure my debt is being paid off while I still allow myself to enjoy life. After adding up my totals for the month, I do as follows:
10% - Charity
10% - Savings
10% - Pay off student loans
10% - Treat myself
60% - Living expenses
Tip #4: Change your debt story.
What is your current story around your debt?
Mine used to be that debt is ugly, shameful, undesirable, and it will weigh you down and make your life miserable until you have paid it off. You aren't allowed to have any fun when you have debt, and you have to work as much as possible until it is ELIMINATED. And then you are to never think or speak about that awful time with debt again.
Am I ever glad I changed that story, or I would be in a hell of a lot of suffering right now!!
Write out your own current debt story. Then (you guessed it!!) write out a new one that actually makes you feel happy, and that you have control over your debt (rather than your debt having control over you). Having a plan helps with this BIG TIME.
One woman I recently took a course with shared an acronym she has come up with for debt, which was:
Having gratitude for your debt and the opportunities it has given you, tied into your new debt story, can be incredibly powerful and liberating.
Tip #5: Choose your words wisely.
I hear these phrases all the time, and I imagine you do too, because they are so crazy common:
"I'm broke.", "I don't have enough money!", "If it weren't for this damn debt..." "I wish I could just win the lottery. ", etc...
It is common knowledge that your thoughts become your words, but what is less commonly known is that your words become your thoughts also; and as Earl Nightingale has so famously said...
"You become what you think about most of the time. "
Do NOT make those above statements into your reality! Try these phrases instead:
"I love my debt for providing me with opportunities I wouldn't have had otherwise.", "I am grateful to have had access to the capital that has allowed me educate myself.", "Many people remain stuck where they are, but I am moving forward because of my debt. "
I encourage you to come up with some phrases that feel really good for you!
Here is to living freely & enjoying life and all its learnings -- with or without debt.