True freedom start with getting honest with yourself.
Transparency is not easy, and admitting that I was my biggest obstacle is very painful. It has taken time, thought, and the willingness to challenge myself in order to break free and truly excel. Only recently have I been able to appreciate my successes, learn from my failures, and not make myself feel like crap.
2013 was a huge year for my wife and I financially. We were able to save over $15 thousand dollars in a 6-7 month period. Sound financial decisions were paying off and I should have felt great. Together, we were experiencing the exhilaration of financial independence. The numerous years apart (I often worked away from home internationally for months at a time) were paying off. On the outside, everything seemed great, but on the inside, I was fighting a battle. A battle that robbed me of the joy, exhilaration and inspiration of our accomplishments. I should have been happy, grateful, and thriving. Instead, I was worried about losing it all, about messing it up, and disappointing my wife.
Mentally, I lived paycheck-to-paycheck. Worried about what might happen, I deprived myself of things I wanted. Unless of course, I could prove to myself they were necessary for career progression. Providing La Shawn, my wife, with what she wanted was easy but I was depriving myself. Occasionally, I splurged on myself and it was always followed by thoughts of impending financial ruin. During those times I would berate myself for wanting nice things.
It got to the point where I would purchase what I wanted and lie about it. At my worst, my thoughts immobilized me, and I made decisions out of fear. Deep down I knew I was becoming my own worst enemy. During moments of clarity, I began to see and understand patterns in my behavior. These patterns always ended in rash financial decisions made out of fear and my lack of self-confidence. By 2013, it was clear I needed to make a change and I hired a coach to help hasten my improvement.
Soon, it became very clear that I was the barrier to my own success. Our sessions were painful because he required me to look within and confront the skeletons in my closet. Often times, I felt embarrassed and I even avoided certain topics. By the summer of 2014, it was clear my mindset was changing. I was able to celebrate our financial achievements, trust myself to make sound financial decisions, and just be grateful.
There are five essential principles that made my transformation possible.
- Mindset. If we want to make progress, we have to change our thoughts. Thoughts lead to beliefs, beliefs generate emotions, and emotions lead to action. I allowed previous failures and other people to define my thoughts regarding money and success. Before I could change my behavior, I had to understand I was the single greatest barrier to my success.
- Self-awareness. Over the years we learn to believe certain things about ourselves. They become ingrained at a subconscious level and they form the basis for our emotions and actions. Each day I remained unaware, change eluded me. It was business as usual and I could never understand why. Self-awareness cast a spotlight on the self-limiting beliefs that stood between success, fulfillment, and me.
- Making mistakes does not make you less of man. We are all fallible human beings. Mistakes and failures are part of who we are. I allowed my failures to define me and enslave me. Shame, guilt, and pride were the walls that stood between me and accessing my enormous potential.
- Self-regulation. Once I became aware of my thoughts, my emotions, and my actions, I was in a place to start making big changes. Now I was able to challenge the self-limiting beliefs that caused me to doubt myself and prevented me from pursuing my dreams.
Developing my self-awareness and fine-tuning my ability to challenge self-limiting thoughts has been refreshing. It has renewed my mindset and allowed me to help my family achieve our financial dreams. More importantly, it has helped me become a better husband, friend, and lover to my beautiful wife. For the first time in my life, I am thriving and enjoying life.
There have been some mistakes along the way. In late 2014, I doubted myself and mistakenly acted upon the advice of a financial advisor. Instead of feeling like beating myself up, I used the situation as a learning experience and adjusted our goals for New Year. Life is still awesome on so many levels!
Are you your own worst enemy? What changes will you make so you can start living your extraordinary life.
Flickr/ Josef Grunig