Tag Archives: Personal Freedom

The Wrong Recipe for Success

I heard a speaker several years ago at a men’s retreat describing the mindset of different age groups. He stated that your twenties are full of dreams and idealism, believing that your dream is just around the corner.

As you get into your thirties, you realize you’re no closer to your dream than you were in your twenties and the idealism begins to fade, and the dreamer dies a little. What he said clicked with me.

I used to think that the recipe for success was “Work Hard + Wait for Permission = Success.”

You know the routine….just show up before everyone, work harder and longer than everyone, and eventually someone with authority will notice and they’ll give you permission to succeed, meaning an opportunity or promotion. This isn’t wrong, if your goal is to work up the corporate ladder.

However, it guarantees you will always be working for someone else’s dream and not your own. You also run the risk of climbing the ladder only to find that it was the wrong one.

I held fast to this mindset through my 20’s, thinking it was just a matter of time before someone recognized the gifting inside me and offered me an opportunity. But as I worked my way into my 30’s I discovered that the “waiting game” held no guarantees, and all of the “offers” were into things disconnected from my purpose and passions. In short, I realized that the only person responsible for fulfilling my purpose was me.

Stop Waiting For Permission

I’ve used this picture of the caged lion before…it resonates with me.  I usually use it to show the feeling of being trapped by debt, but that’s not why it resonates with me. I’m sure you’ve been to a zoo and had the experience of seeing these massively powerful creatures, but you can tell that something is missing. Their captivity has killed something inside; there’s no fight in them, no heart.

Do you ever feel like that? Like you know your life was meant to roar but all you can muster is a feeble cry? So you keep waiting. Waiting for someone to unlock the cage. People come and admire you, speak about your power and your beauty, but it’s with a sadness in their voice. Even though they can’t see the bars, they sense the cage. So they make some nice comments and walk on to the next exhibit.

Here’s what you have to understand about success…about fulfilling your potential. No one can do it for you. Not your parents, not your spouse, not even God. Oh, God is so ready to help you, but he won’t do it for you. But what he has done is given you permission. Now it’s up to you. Do you give yourself permission to succeed? I’m not talking yachts and Ferraris…I’m talking purpose and destiny. As Zig Ziglar said, you were “designed for accomplishment, engineered for success, and endowed with the  seeds of greatness.”

Believe me when I say this – the only limits to your success are the ones you place in front of you. Give yourself permission. Remove the limitations. The world needs what you have.

Committed to your success,

-Wesley

We respond to 100% of our comments! How have you limited your success in the past?

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How I Got Here From There (Beth’s Story)

I’m in my early thirties and have been out of college for 10 years. Wow, just writing that makes me realize how fast time flies. I grew up in a home where we were always on a pretty tight budget.

I didn’t know much about my parents’ finances as it wasn’t an open topic in my family, but I did gather that it was pretty tight for most of my childhood. I never lacked but also didn’t get everything I wanted either (which is probably why I turned out so good!). Finances were pretty hush hush so I grew up with the mindset of its better not to talk about them.

I remember opening my first checking account and receiving a checkbook in high school (wow…they didn’t even have debit cards back then) and the excitement that came with this newfound freedom. Quickly I realized that even with all my hard work, for some reason my checkbook would never balance at the end of every month. I honestly think I only got it to balance one time, which is what brought a lot of discouragement and fear of keeping track of my finances.

I continued on this path of worthless checkbook balancing until college, where I got a debit card instead. Having a debt card meant I didn’t have to keep track of my purchases, right? At least, that’s what it felt like. As long as I ‘felt’ like I was not overspending, it would work out ok. But, too bad your ‘feelings’ don’t keep you from over drafting. Over drafting was a word I became very familiar with as I nervously would check my bank statement to see how many I had each month. This is more than a word, it comes with interest behind it. I had more overdrafts than I would have liked. Mostly because the fear of knowing how much was in my checking account gripped me and I would rather live in the unknown, than the known. Somehow pushing off the reality felt better than living up to it, which usually meant giving up something I wanted.

I never went crazy; I wasn’t one of those people that would spend thousands at a time, or even hundreds. But what I did, was constantly live in a place where I was spending more than what I was making, where each month just a small amount (eating out or a new pair of shoes) had to go on the credit card. Those small, constant charges added up over time to create more than a larger debt, but a larger fear, a feeling of loss of control and no idea how to get out of it. Looking back, I see how it all started, and how I got to where I am today.

The home we grow up in and how our parents view finances has an effect on us. From there, we go through a life that creates either positive or negative experiences with our finances and therefore forms how we think, believe and act. I needed to be re-wired and have a fresh, new look on finances, and it has changed my life.

How have your experiences affected how you deal with and view money? We want to know – please leave us a comment below!

Committed to your success,

-Beth

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What Is The Opposite of Debt? (Hint: It’s not Wealth)

Now that you know our story (see our first two posts, Part 1 & Part 2), we want to share with you why Debt To Life exists, and specifically, who we had in mind when we created it.

Beth & I came to the realization that as long as we have debt, we are a slave to that debt (see Proverbs 22:7). While your lender can’t totally rule your life (at least not in our society), they do have some power over you as long as you owe them money.

The financial gurus like to talk about good debt versus bad debt, but when your a slave, it’s all bad. People often play this financial game with debt…”My money’s earning more in interest in a money market than I’m losing in interest on my loan, so I’m just going to keep the loan.”

While that may make some sense financially, when you realize you’re a slave, you no longer care about winning the game; all you want is out of the game. The bottom line for a slave isn’t winning, it’s freedom.

If your heart burns for freedom, you’re in the right place.

There’s a reason we named it “Debt To Life.” We could have easily named it “Debt To Wealth”, or “Debt to Not So Much Debt So You Can Have More Stuff.” But we didn’t, we named it Debt To Life. There’s a million websites and resources out there to help you build wealth if that’s your desire. We’re not against building wealth, however, if your primary goal in life is the accumulation of wealth or stuff, this is not the place for you.

Too many people trade happiness for wealth, thinking that their wealth will bring them happiness. At Debt To Life, we believe that fulfillment is found in living out one’s purpose, regardless of the income level associated with that purpose.

For Beth & I, a significant part of our purpose is found in helping people, both in our own backyard and around the world. When we were buried in debt, we literally felt trapped in our jobs, like we were years away from really living out our purpose on a more “full time” basis. Like the lion in the photo above, we felt caged, spending our energy fulfilling someone else’s dreams but not our own. In some twisted way, the cage represents security and familiarity, but it comes with a price…your purpose.

If your heart burns for purpose, you’re in the right place.

One of our goals in writing this post is to help define and connect with you, our target audience. We did a lot of research, and had some snazzy information to impress you with how much we know about the statistical metrics that define who we think you are. But at the end of the day, what defines the community we are aiming for isn’t so much a specific set of demographics, but rather an attitude of the heart.

Only you really know if you are hungry or not to take the steps necessary to get free of your debt. Only you really know if you’re tired of serving someone else’s purpose and are ready to discover your own.

Maybe you’re reading this and you’re not so sure about all this talk of freedom and purpose, you just know you’re tired of getting screwed by your credit card company. Wherever you find yourself, if this resonates with you, we encourage you to stay connected, and let us walk with you on your journey towards financial freedom.

If you haven’t already done so, sign up for our newsletter, and get our free special report about the “1st Step to Financial Freedom that No One Talks About.”

Committed to your success,

-Wesley

P.S. For us, the opposite of Debt is Freedom. What are your thoughts? We respond to 100% of our comments!

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Our Journey of Financial Freedom – Part 2

Hold Onto The “Somehow”

(Continued from Part One)

Despite our circumstances, somehow we still had vision (you may say it was tunnel vision, because all we were focused on was the light at the end of the tunnel). We knew God’s promise that “those who seek the Lord lack no good thing” (Psalm 34). My wife and I would seek the Lord together, and we knew that somehow we were going to find a way out of the hole we had dug ourselves into.

In an act mixed with faith and a little desperation, I called up one of the managers whom I had worked for as an adjuster, just to see if there was any work, anywhere. To my surprise we were given an opportunity….but there was a catch. This “opportunity” involved relocating to another state.

The decision was easy. It was either, “move and work,” or, “stay and drown.” We moved. With only a few hundred dollars (thanks to a gift from our friends!), we packed up and hit the road. Just like in Houston, we actually went further into debt the first two months as it took a while for the paychecks to start coming in. But we had been given a great opportunity, and  Beth and I worked our tails off, harder than we’ve ever worked in our lives.

“We’re Debt Free!”

After 18 months of 60-70 hour work weeks, we finished paying off our debt. At its highest, we over $119,000 in consumer debt. This included $44,638 on five credit cards, $30,243 on a home equity loan, $37,242 in school loans, and $7,000 on a car loan.There were many times we wanted to quit and move back home, but in our hearts we had a vision of what our life could be without debt, and we reminded each other daily of that vision.

Our journey isn’t simply one of working hard and paying off debt. We had to let go of the mindsets that kept us in debt. We had to sever the spending habits that kept us broke. We had to learn to have financial margin in our lives.

It’s now March, 2011, and in just a few months, we’re having our first child. I’m thankful that Beth and I were able to close the chapter of debt in our lives before writing our chapter on family.

Our goal in writing this is to inspire you to go for it. To help you see that that debt is imprisoning your purpose, but that freedom is possible. Your purpose is worth it. Your marriage is worth it. Your future is worth it. If we can do it with six figures of debt surely you can as well.

If you haven’t signed up for our newsletter, do so now. You’ll also receive our special report detailing the first step you need to take to get out of debt that no one talks about. Stay connected with us and let us walk (or run!) beside you in your journey of financial freedom.

Committed to your success,

-Wesley

PS: We’d love to hear from you! Please add a comment below. How is your story similar to ours?

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Our Journey of Financial Freedom – Part 1

“At its highest, we were $119,123 in consumer debt.”

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re buried in debt but not sure how  to get out. They say that “hope is not a strategy,” and while that’s true, sometimes what we need the most is hope. We need to know that there is a light burning bright and clear at the end of our tunnel.

My wife and I want to share our story with you. Why? Because the tunnel we were in was very long and dark, yet if we could make it out, we have faith that, equipped with the right behaviors and beliefs, you can too. Let’s begin.

The Debt Snowball

After graduating college in 2000 with over $10,000 in debt, I worked at a youth ministry in Texas for several years, where the job was amazing but the pay was…well…not so much.

In 2006, I bought a foreclosed home which involved a major remodel. I took on a car loan for $9,000, since I “needed” a truck for the remodel work, which, due to my lack of experience, went over budget by $15,000 – all on credit cards.

I married my beautiful wife Beth in 2007, and we paid for our honeymoon ($4200) on credit cards, which seemed small compared to the $33,000 school loan my wife brought to the marriage. We also bought about $3000 of new furniture for the house on credit.

Reality Check

2008 brought with it stress and frustration. My wife and I knew that there was a deeper purpose to our lives, yet we felt like we were slaves to our debt. While we both enjoyed our jobs (mostly), each paycheck brought frustration as we were barely making the minimum payments on our debt.

At our current income level, we knew we would be spending years of our future to pay for our past.

 

So in 2008, Beth and I took a huge calculated risk and quit our jobs to take an opportunity to work as insurance adjusters in Houston after Hurricane Ike. We actually went further in debt as a result, as I had to purchase several items which had been provided by my job (laptop, cell phone, printer, etc.) Since we didn’t have any savings, guess who paid for it? Papa Visa.

In 2009, we made ends meet for the first few months of the year, living mostly off of the money we made in Houston. Knowing that we would soon run out of savings, I took a job as a door-to-door roof salesman, working on 100% commission. My wife is a trooper, and we were committed to make something happen. However, after knocking on over a hundred doors with zero sales, we knew we were in trouble.

To be continued in Part Two…

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