Fear of the Unknown

Fear of the unknown. So many questions and not enough definitive answers. People are more divided than ever. Will we ever get back to “normal”? What does “normal” even mean anymore? Does it seem like there’s more fear than hope lately? 

You’re not alone. There are definitely so many questions that every person ponders on a daily basis. It’s scary and a lot to handle. I can’t say that I haven’t had my moments of uncertainty and fear. Those moments are to be expected as a human being. But I don’t set up camp and live there. 

“Normal” doesn’t exist. It never has. Life is always changing. Our individual circumstances are changing, our government officials change, jobs, amount of money, diseases to watch out for. Look back at when you were a kid. How much of life can you say has stayed exactly the same? Probably not much. But you’ve adapted. You’ve overcome the obstacles and you’re still here to read this email so you haven’t died. Bravo! You’ve made it through 100% of your trials, tribulations and bad days. Guess what? You’re going to make it through this too, the same way you did all the rest. The best part is, in 5 years, you’re going to look back and be truly astonished at how you’ve handled everything! Are the circumstances different? Yes. Is there still fear? Yes. Are there still unknowns? Yes. 

You’re not afraid of the unknown. You’re afraid of the belief you’ve created around the unknown. It’s human nature to automatically gravitate toward the negative instead of the positive. If it were the other way around, sales tactics, the media and the idea of what would happen if you missed curfew when you were in high school wouldn’t have worked as well. Fear is an emotion that was given to you to keep you safe. Anxiety is when that fear is amped up because you’re looking too far into the future without having all of the variables accounted for. It’s like trying to make a cake when you don’t know what temperature to set the oven for, how many eggs to use or if you need to use water or oil. You don’t have all the ingredients or a complete recipe. Sure, you can wing it. But what are the chances of it turning out great? You must wait for the rest of the information. Can you name one situation in your life where you got anxious and the resolution turned out worse than you imagined? Most likely not because we fear the worst. 

Can you prepare for the possibility of job loss? Sure. Cut back on what you can. Save money if possible. Pay off debts if possible. But until you know if that’s a for sure, stop worrying about it. What you focus on expands. If you’re focusing on the negative, you’re going to receive a lot more negative. Will you have enough money to live on if the job loss does happen? Yes! If you’re reading this email, you have a mindset that, even if it’s a small amount, wants to live your best life. Trust me when I say (because I’ve been there), that you are an intelligent human being! You have the capability to go get another job! Is it the job you want? Maybe not. But could it also be the job you’ve dreamed of your entire life and didn’t even know it was your calling because you’ve had blinders on with the current one? It’s a possibility! So you can focus on the idea of the future being awful or of the infinite possibilities, the choice is yours and will grow based on the decision you make. 

Many of you know that I also teach Kindergarten when I’m not coaching. I have taught four different grade levels in the last 5 1/2 years now and I’ve been in 3 different districts so I have a good outlook on a lot of different perspectives and experiences. Here’s what I can tell you. 

Homeschool or in school? What works best for YOUR family? There is no cookie cutter approach here. This is a whole new era of education, not only for your family but also for the teachers. “Normal” classrooms are not what is to come. Colorful walls, fun and interactive lessons are not what we get to do. Kids will not be socializing like they used to. The “fun” in our job and in your child’s learning has been removed by something we know just as much about as you do. We didn’t prepare for this. This is not what we went to college for. This is not what we signed up for when we got into teaching, just like we didn’t sign up for the possibility of being gunned down by a psychopath. But you know what? We adapt. Educators pay hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars out of their own already underpaid pockets every single year to give kids the best possible experience in learning. Educators didn’t choose to teach for the summers off or because it was the “easiest profession to choose from”. Yes, someone actually said that to me yesterday. Educators get paid for 180 days of teaching. That paycheck is then divided over 12 months. That’s what’s contracted. What’s not accounted for in the other 180 days is grading, planning, continuing education, planning for the next year, consoling parents who don’t “get” the homework, and the list goes on forever. Educators are constantly looking at what’s not working and changing it to be better. Even now, virtual learning was expected to be put into place in less than a week last spring. Was it a sh*t show? In some cases. But teachers know that! They’ve adapted and they’ve worked all summer to make this Fall an even better experience! They do this job to make sure that the future generations will be good, educated, contributing members of society. They do it because they love it. But you know what? Educators are only half of the team. Parents make up that other half and have a louder, stronger presence than the education system does. If you are discouraged with the way the education system is handling things, ask yourself if it’s because you’re not having your expectations met or if they’re really just not handling things well. Are your expectations reasonable? Could you do better? Have you ever been in their shoes? If not, check your mindset. Check what you’re saying out loud. Your thoughts and beliefs are being instilled into your child and I guarantee those thoughts and beliefs are being passed along to their teachers.  Teachers who are doing the best they can with what they’ve got, just like you are as a parent.

There is not one plan of action for your job, the education or your children, the way you hold social gatherings, or the way you get your groceries in the foreseeable future that is going to make everyone happy, going to fit everyone’s circumstances, going to work for everyone. Stop asking your neighbor what they’re going to do, what works for your friend, your pastor or the Amazon delivery driver. Their circumstances are not yours. 

Work with the ingredients you’ve been given. Really look at your expectations, your thoughts and your beliefs. SLOW. IT. DOWN. Y’all know I’m a big fan of the enneagram. Every number handles stress, conflict, and change differently. Nobody is right or wrong. Everyone has their own perspective, their own families with their own circumstances. Everyone gets to make a decision for themselves and shouldn’t have the added stress of judgement added to it. Try for the sake of your mental health and the sanity of those around you to focus on the good. Write out 10 things you’re grateful for every day. It’s one of the few things that I’ve done every day for the last year and a half and it’s what gets me through the hardships of situations like this. It’s physically impossible to be anxious and grateful at the same time. But in everything, remember that one thing that hasn’t changed is that you have the choice to focus on the negative or the positive. What you focus on grows. 



The 3 Things That Keep Us From Investing In Ourselves

Life is full of opportunities. Thomas Edison said that “opportunity is missed because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” I would add that many times it’s also because we know nothing about the opportunity being offered to us or we are quick to create a belief around that opportunity that holds us back. 

In coaching people, I use a tool that’s based on the bible verse Matthew 25:14-30. In this verse, a Master gives 3 men different amounts of money. To one, he gives 5 bags of gold to which that man multiplies into 10. To the second, he gives 2 bags of gold to which the man multiplies into 4. The last man gets 1 bag of gold and instead of taking risks with the money to multiply it, he buries it in a “safe place” until the Master wants it back. The Master is pleased with the 2 who multiplied the gold. Was it a risk? Absolutely but it paid double in what was invested. To the man who buried the gold out of fear, the Master is furious, coming back with “you wicked and slothful servant…”. 

You are not responsible for anything God hasn’t given to you. But what about the gifts He gave you? Are you keeping them for yourself or are you blessing others with your gifts and talents as God called you to do? Are you too fearful of judgment or other’s opinions? Or are you proud of yourself and the gifts that only you can do in the way you share them? 

This is quite common. It’s also the first thing that holds us back. Insecurity. We undervalue what we have been given. 
We let the thoughts and opinions of people who don’t pay our bills, don’t live our lives and have never walked the path we have dictate what we can or can’t, should or should not do. Nobody else has been given the same set of skills, gifts, talents, experiences or purpose that you have. They aren’t supposed to do what you are. They have their own path, as do you. Stay in your own lane and be proud of who you are and what you do. 

The second thing that holds us back is fear. I see this one more than any of them. Fear comes when we overvalue what we could lose. We hold ourselves back from moving forward because we tell ourselves that “we can’t afford it” and the next week we spend three times the amount on a random Amazon order. So was it that we couldn’t afford it or did we create a belief that we wouldn’t find success in whatever opportunity was presented in the first place?
I remember the first coaching course I ever invested in. Moe and I were so incredibly broke. I didn’t have tangible money in the bank and I had an incredible insecurity in myself. I wasn’t confident in my coaching abilities just yet. I also knew that I’d be paying a rather large amount for a series of courses but knew I wasn’t getting anything tangible in return. I wasn’t going to be able to show people a thing that I’d purchased or point to something that my money had gone toward. I was overwhelmed with fear but in the back of my mind, I kept thinking “what if”. What if this was the one thing that would propel my business forward? What if this one series of courses would help me get more clients? What if this opportunity was being presented to me because I was meant to take the risk? So I did. You know what? It’s paid me back at least 10 fold what I invested in the first place! Worth it doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface! But what if I hadn’t? What if I would’ve let my fear keep me paralyzed? 

Well friend, that leads me to the third thing that keeps us from investing. Misperception. We misvalue who God is. We try to control everything in life and leave little to no room for God’s hand in our success. Honey, the reality is that the only reason you have the success you do, the opportunities you do or the blessings you do is because of GOD! Your’e co-creating a life with God. He gives you opportunities and also the free will to choose what you do with those opportunities. You just have to be smart enough to see an opportunity as such when it slaps you in the face. So it comes down to this- Do you believe God has your best in mind? Do you think He would give you the opportunity of a lifetime so you could fail? Do you think He would give you all these gifts and talents to put out into the world for you to be laughed at or ridiculed by people who actually matter? Do you think He would give you opportunities to rise to your fullest potential for you to be paralyzed by fear and turn away from the opportunity to stay stuck at the same level you’re at now? 

We are the hands and feet of Jesus. So if we don’t live to our fullest potential, our ripple effect doesn’t ever expand. Therefore, it’s not just us that we’re holding back. We’re stunting the growth of the entire Kingdom and keeping the Kingdom from rising to it’s fullest potential. 

Stop holding yourself back. Let go of the insecurity, fear and misperceptions. See opportunities for what they are so you can grow yourself and the Kingdom. Easier said than done, of course. But I can honestly say that nothing that has ever been presented as a true opportunity has kept me stagnant. I’ve always grown and become better in some shape or form. So the investment always been worth it. 



6 Tips to Help You Save a Ton of Money

Last week I talked to you about how 8 years ago, I had zero savings, was constantly overdrawn in my account and didn’t have enough money to pay bills. Here’s how I created a savings, increased my credit 300 points and got my financial life together. 

People say things like “there will always be debt”, “money doesn’t grow on trees”, or “there’s never enough money.” Bull. These beliefs makeup your money mindset. When your money mindset is trash, so is your bank account. It’s hard to hear but it’s the truth and the sooner you accept it and change your mindset, the sooner you can start building real wealth. What you focus on grows. 

1. Start budgeting. 
Bleck. I know. The thought of it makes people want to throw up. But I’m here to tell you, though it’s the hardest to start, it’s also the most crucial. We started with pencil and paper but it wasn’t as easy as digital and things kept getting left off. Now, my husband and I have a google excel sheet that we share so it’s on our phones, laptops, etc. Always at our fingertips. Easy access sets you up for success. We have 4 sections. The first section is monthly bills (mortgage/rent, electricity, groceries, etc). Things like groceries and gas get a number at the beginning of the month. So let’s say $150 for gas. There are simple formulas you can input to subtract 150- (total of each fill up) so you always know what you have left to get you through the rest of the month.The second section is all debt (credit cards, medical bills, etc). In each section make sure you the name of the bill, the amount due, the date due, and whether it comes out automatically or if you have to pay it. We also include login info as well (again for easy access). The third section is for extras (eating out, amazon orders, random things like car maintenance or oil changes). The fourth section is GOALS. All of our debt is listed in this section from highest interest rate to lowest. We’ve calculated what we can pay off every 90 days and that’s what we focus on. Again, what you focus on grows so when you’re laser focused on paying 3 to 4 things off every 90 days, you get through that list speedy quick. What you were paying on those 3-4 now goes to the next 3-4 you’re focused on. A debt avalanche. Everything is color coded. Pink items get paid at the beginning of the month, blue items get paid with the mid month checks. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. 

2. Pay yourself first. 
Every wealthy person in history will tell you to always pay yourself first. This was tough when we started and another thing that was hard and made us want to puke. But this is what started our savings. 10% of every single check or cash payment coming in goes straight to your savings account. You live on what’s left over. Not enough? Start cutting. I promise, you can do hard things! Trust me on this. 

3. Record it. 
On that spreadsheet, we record every single penny that’s spent (including cash) every month. Every cent is accounted for. At the end of each week, we look at it and discuss what we need to reign in and what’s coming up. The first time we had $800 leftover at the end of the month, my husband and I got into a huge argument that “something didn’t get paid! There’s no way this is right!” It was. It just hadn’t ever happened to us before. So whatever is left goes to debt. Pay all of that off as fast as possible. This increases your credit significantly and helps you meet your goals faster. A few months we halved what was left over and put part in savings and part toward debt. Either way works as long as you get an emergency fund set up and debt paid off. Your definition of “emergency” changes when you have a fund for it. 

4. Unpopular Opinion
Interest will kick you in the teeth every single month. This is a super unpopular opinion but has saved us a TON over the last year. Open a 0 interest credit card that will let you transfer balances. We did this with our largest credit card that was charging us almost $100 a month in interest. That move right there saved us over a grand last year alone and increased my credit score by almost 50 points!

5. Start reading and Stop Listening
Pay attention to what you’re listening to and looking at. If you’re listening to people that are always broke, you’re probably going to be as well. Surround yourself with people who push you up, teach you things and help you become better. I believe with all my heart and soul that you become like the top 5 people you hang around with most. Read books like Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eckert, anything by David Bach, Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kyosaki, Tony Robbins has some good ones. Here’s why I’m not a huge Dave Ramsey fan. He says things like – if you owe any debt, you should not be eating out. No. Sometimes you need to enjoy a family dinner out to celebrate or save your ever loving sanity! Family morale means a lot! Does it dent your budget a little more than eating at home, yes. But the fear inducing mindset that statements like that promote are far more damaging than 1-2 meals out a month. 

6. Same ole, same ole
Cut what you can. We haven’t had cable in probably 10 years. How many channels do you really watch on your TV? Can you get those same channels with a Roku or an Amazon Firestick, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime? 

Shop at places like Aldi. I kid you not, their produce is WAY more fresh than places like Walmart and they have more organic options too. 

Do what you have to do for a short amount of time- teach English to Chinese kids online, sell essential oils, sell signs or paintings or clothes, substitute teach, all things I did for a couple years just to have extra funds to help get us ahead. My husband stayed in airport lounges instead of hotels and flew pipeline 5-6 days a week just to save. It wasn’t fun or pretty and our marriage struggled on the daily with all the stress but the payoff was incredible. 

These are all the things that you already know. I wanted to help you with things that you may not know or may not do. Everyone hears how they need to budget and many will ignore that advice but that was one of the best things we did for ourselves. 

I hope this helped and wish you the best of luck! When your financial life is in order, everything else feels so much better! Nobody will ever have their entire life completely together. That doesn’t exist. But having your finances in order sure does make a huge difference and significantly boosts your confidence! 



How I Changed My Life…

Some of you know my story. Some of you don’t but 8 years ago this week my life looked drastically different than it does now.

My best friend had just passed away unexpectedly at 8 months pregnant. 
My husband and I were having the same exact argument every 90 days with no change. We were beyond broke. Like so broke I couldn’t afford gas to drive the 4 hour trip to go home for the weekend, couldn’t buy new clothes, credit cards were all maxed out and I came home to no electricity more than a couple times. I filed for divorce, moved out on my own for the first time and had developed the belief that living by myself with a 2 year old was not safe. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t but not because of people, because it was so janky the floor may have fallen through at any moment and I’m pretty sure there was tetanus in every inch of the staircase outside that lead to the only laundry unit. I was a full-time college student, trying to get another degree because I couldn’t be a single mom on a teacher’s salary. (another limiting belief) I was working 3 part time jobs to make ends meet and vividly remember opening the door to the refrigerator one night only to discover a small jar of pickles and one slice of cheese. We had put everything in my name and when I got divorced, my ex-husband decided he didn’t need to help pay child support, or his half of the $40,000 in debt we’d accumulated over the 5 years we were married. I weighed 260 lbs and ate all my feelings. All. The. Feelings. The picture above is a before (top) and after (bottom). I’m about 90% sure that’s the only picture from around that time because of the pure embarrassment I had with looking at myself in the mirror. 

You can imagine at this point I was pretty low. Depressed and had debilitating anxiety. I watched reruns of One Tree Hill night after night because the anxiety was too bad to sleep. Hot Mess Express doesn’t even begin to cover it. 

I had to get it together, for myself and for my son. I started with what I knew. I knew my basic needs had to be met which meant food and sleep. I swallowed my pride and the limiting beliefs that I was a piece of crap if I got on food stamps. That’s what it’s there for. People who need temporary help, that was me. I had my cousin send me a bottle of lavender essential oil and a blend she made up for anxiety. I used these religiously and my anxiety got a little better, enough to at least sleep through the night. I finished school and with bribing Mason at 2 and a half to be SUPER quiet for 15 minutes while we sat in a Walgreen’s parking lot, I interviewed for a job in Dallas and got it. We moved 6 days later with a lot of help! I knew one person but I also knew deep down this job would propel me forward. It did. It helped me get back on my feet and introduced me to some of the greatest friends and mentors I still have today. 

I got off food stamps when I moved and I called a lady I knew from when I was married that’s a financial planner. She did my financial needs analysis for free, as she does all families and I followed it to the letter. I never had extra money to do a lot of trips or anything more than hitting the zoo once every few months but I paid that $40,000 debt off in 4 years. I still got no help with child support so I did that all on my own too. I didn’t have cable or anything that wasn’t necessary. I got real good at finding free entertainment for Mason and I to enjoy and still use that little trick to this day! 

Time management, grit, determination and a lot of swallowing my pride and asking for help made a huge difference in my success. I made a plan and I stuck to it. When I felt like I had kind of gotten a hold of my life, I borrowed the P90X program from a friend and I lost 30 lbs. with it. Shortly after, I met Moe which is a whole different story for another day.

But if I could give you any advice at all, I’d say- Have Persistence. Was it all easy? No. It was hard as hell! But I believed in myself and I believed that the steps I was taking, no matter how small, were still steps forward and would eventually pay off. 

8 years later, I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I’ll be completely debt free except for my student loans by 2021. I’m having another baby (something I never thought would be in my cards again), happily married and truly thriving. A lot of that growth came from taking a hard look in the mirror, getting rid of the limiting beliefs and reading…so much reading. I read on everything I needed help with, success stories I could learn from, parenting hacks, anything that could possibly get me where I wanted to go. It took working hard and smart. It took doing what wasn’t always popular and not always what I wanted but what I needed. Lastly, it took having a circle of people I wanted to be like, people who were smarter than me, more financially independent than me, people I could learn from to help me grow instead of people who only held me back. 

If you or someone you know is in this same situation, just know that like those food stamps, it’s temporary if you want it to be. It’s 100% possible to claw your way out of any hole you’re in. Just keep moving in the right direction.