His bank account was overdrawn, all his bills were late, and there were no paychecks coming for weeks. As the clerk asked him questions, he realized how far he’d fallen.
Through some challenging circumstances at home, I was homeless at 17-years-old. To survive, I got three jobs and dropped out of high school to work towards getting off the streets. I had friends that would sneak me into their rooms and let me sleep on the floor, but there were times when I had to sleep on the streets. “Sleep” is not what happened. There were scary people at night that forced me to sleep with one eye open to ensure nothing crazy happened to me.
I met my wife at one of the jobs, and we got married the day after I turned 18. We got a place together and started an adult life. My wife worked as a manager at Burger King, and I got a job delivering pizzas. We didn’t have many bills, but we also didn’t make much money. We struggled to pay our bills.
We limped through our situation and got better jobs. We made more money, but I was a hot head who didn’t understand finances. I should have learned hard life lessons early on, but I didn’t. Instead, I carried these lessons into my bread business. For 12 years, I had a service business that paid well above six figures. But, I never got ahead financially.
The Loan That Changed Everything
One of the lowest days of my financial life was when I went into a PayDay loan store to get a loan to pay our bills. Our bank account was overdrawn by $568, and we weren’t getting paychecks for a week. I told my bride that getting one of these loans wasn’t a big deal. Back then, I didn’t think about or understand the crazy interest rate you pay on one of these loans. The typical interest rate on a two-week payday loan is between 391 to 521 percent.
As I sat at the counter as the person went through all my paperwork, it hit me how far I’d fallen. It was embarrassing to walk in there, and even more embarrassing to have someone ask you questions that pretty much pointed out why I was a failure in life. I got the loan. I vowed to pay it back ASAP and never take one out again.
I wish I could say I stuck to that vow. Over the next year, I took out several of those loans. I took out one loan that I kept “extending.” For a fee of $80, they would let you extend your loan another two weeks. Since I was reckless, I kept one two-week loan going for eight weeks. By the time I paid off the loan, a $400 load had ended up being $1,200.
You may not be taking out Payday loans, but there may be a stressful situation in your life that’s similar. It may be money problems, it may be the frustration of a job you hate, or it may be the frustration of building your dream. Whatever the circumstance is, it forces you into a place you don’t want to be in. I have been there many times.
I did pay off the Payday loan. I did quit a job I hated. I did pay off $180,000 in debt. I overcame those circumstances, and I’m confident you can too if you put a plan in place and take action. One of the most common things I see as a coach and observer of life is talking. Dreamers talk and talk about all the things they’ll eventually do.
Talking is a good start, but if you never act, nothing will ever change. Yes, “take action” is generic advice, but dreamers spend so much time looking for the “advanced strategies” that they waste the time they could be spending on what will help them. There are a lot of voices promising “secret cheat sheets” or “strategies for six-figures.” Nine times out of ten you will be disappointed.
The way that I overcame all of my difficult circumstances was by putting my feet to the ground and doing the work. Nothing fancy, just busting my butt, working hard, and focusing on what would help MY specific situation. I stopped chasing all the bright shiny objects and focused on what I needed. For me, that was building an audience. For me, that was getting smarter with money. For me, that was cutting back on getting “stuff.” For you, well, you have to figure that out.
It may be hard, but know that someone like you overcame what you may be going through right now. Focus. Action. Patience and even support. Don’t give up. Your dream and the kind of life you want to live are too important. Don’t let information overload or spammy hype from Internet “guru’s” take you down the wrong path.
This article originally appeared on KimanziConstable.com.
Have you ever had to do something you didn’t want to do?
Photo: Flickr/ Seth Anderson