It’s sometimes hard to see beyond your current situation.
Work, debt, family.
But what happened to my dreams?
What happened to the super fancy car I was destined to drive?
And what happened to my body?
These were all vows I’d take as a teen and a young adult that I’d never let myself fall into that trap of being overweight, broke, and scared.
But somehow I was facing all of these and even contemplating suicide.
A picture they say is worth a thousand words and that was true for me.
I’d just gotten back from a short trip with the family and began looking back on some of the pictures.
As I glanced at the picture my initial reaction was – “is that me? It’s got to be the shirt!”
For those that are unaware, moobs is short for Man Boobs.
My heart started to race, sweaty palms because this was completely against what I stood for.
Pulling the curtain back even further – my finances were a mess.
And my family life was even worse.
I’ll spare you from the family drama, but it was something I was dealing with daily.
Everyone has a picture in their minds of family and how it’s suppose to function.
The first thought for me is the Andy Griffith show.
Everyone says grace.
And everyone is at the table eating together.
And everyone shows respect for each other.
The fact is sadly this is not always reality.
Some of the most painful experiences in my life have come directly from the people that should love you the most.
The Big Decision…
That’s why my wife and I made a decision years ago to cut out the cancers in our lives.
I'm talking about all the people that are non-supportive.
The ones that keep something stirred up with nothing better to do and that take pride in your failures.
And as hard as it would be, remove all the negative people – family included.
At that point in the game which was somewhere around the year 2007, I topped the scales at 197 lbs.
My credit card debt exceeded $100,000.
More Trouble – This Time with the IRS
And in addition to being 6 figures in credit card debt, I was also being audited by the IRS.
I couldn’t even run around the block I was so bad out of shape.
All the negative people and my real estate investment business had officially kicked my ass.
Welcome to my own personal hell where I honestly wondered the meaning of life and my place on it and if I’d be better off ending it all.
It was dark.
And I feel it as I type this post.
3am mornings were the norm because I couldn't sleep because I had so much anxiety.
I’d been so beat up and bruised, I was scared to even face how much we owed.
But something changed once we eliminated all of the non-supportive, negative people out of our lives.
And it changed rather quickly.
For starters, I was a lot more level headed.
I could think.
I could focus.
And I could actually work.
Stop Being A Weak Ass…
So, the first course of action was to get out of this fetal, weak position, and starting making decisions instead of just letting life happen to us.
Never think for one moment that life just happens and that you’re a victim of circumstance.
We’ve all been dealt with a different hand – some are better than others but all you can control at the end of the day is what you do with what you’ve been given.
“Yeah but – this happened to me…”
If that’s your response, then I’d encourage you to began studying successful people.
Dig into their background.
Learn from them.
You’re going to find some pretty amazing stories of how people overcame obstacles to make a huge comeback.
You’ll also see people that were handed a silver spoon in their mouth.
And had an amazing life – but squandered it away.
The reason I bring this up is that having success has nothing to do with what’s happened to you.
If others have found a way to make it work, then you can too.
It’s all up to you to push forward.
If you’re not happy with your life – change the scenery.
Not happy with where you live?
It’s simple – buy a map and move instead of bitching.
I’d decided if I was going to go down – it wouldn’t be passively.
I’d never fold without a fight.
Instead, both fingers would be flying to the world.
And I told my wife that if we made it out in one piece…
This would make for a heckuva story…
And I thought about that – what it would be like once we were out of this disaster.
I focused on it.
The first course of action was to commit to being accountable.
And not just accountable for our actions, but also accountable for our money, and our health.
And accountable to each other.
I had to take a long look in the mirror to see all the areas I’d failed and take responsibility for everything.
That’s the only way I could grow – by taking responsibility.
Some of the things that happened were out of my control but you know what – I should have been better prepared.
I should have taken other steps to preparing for the moment.
See, that's the difference.
Instead of saying, this happened to me – I'm saying I should have been prepared.
I should have known.
There's power in that.
For me, that was bad business deals, not cutting out negative family members sooner, investments, poor eating habits, and failing to exercise
Stare The Number Down…
Secondly, we had to face the number and come up with a plan.
I had no idea how much we really owed.
For years, I’d ducked my head in the sand telling myself that I’d get to it someday.
No matter how uncomfortable you may be, realize that this is the worst day of your situation.
We’re all in this thing we call life which is a marathon.
Stop comparing yourself to your friends, the experts and start focusing on getting better every single day.
Here’s the payoff plan…
First, I stopped blowing money like I was a kid that just got his first allowance.
And we began by making a realistic plan.
Here’s how it would go…
Step # 1. Start chipping away and change your habits…
For every dollar I brought in, 10% would go into a can’t touch ‘savings’ account.
20% would go into a debt reduction mode that we’d use to pay off our debts.
And any left over would go to chunking down the lowest credit card balance.
This is key – getting that first card eliminated.
Once we’d pay one card off, they’d instantly send us a letter offering us 0% interest and we’d ask them to up our credit limit.
We’d then transfer the balance of the card with the highest interest to the 0% interest offer.
And we’d then continue to chunk down the debt on the remaining cards and do the process over and over again with 0% interest offers.
Also, I worked on projects I wasn’t willing to do beforehand to get my income up.
Step # 2 – Became Active and started exercising slowly
None of us are one dimensional, so at the same time I was getting my finances in order, I started walking.
Walking became very therapeutic.
At first, I struggled to even walk a mile.
It was rough.
But I kept pushing and eventually cut out sodas.
Just doing these two things eliminated 15 lbs in a matter of just a few months with no real “magic” diet or extreme exercise.
And some amazing things started taking place –
I started making more money than ever before.
And I was down to 182 lbs
In roughly two years, we were free of the 6 figures in credit cards and my weight was fluctuating around 180 lbs.
Step # 3 – Clean up my mess.
I had to clean up my messes.
This started with the IRS.
My taxes were a disaster.
So, we got everything to the accountant and with his help in 6 months we were able to clean up our taxes.
Step # 4 Trust In Yourself and Be Willing to Bet On Yourself Again.
Be willing to make mistakes again.
It took a while, but I had to learn to bet on myself again.
After getting the shit kicked out of me, it took a while before I began to be willing to really go for it.
Stop playing the ‘what if’ game in your head to the point of not doing anything.
The quicker you get back up, dust yourself off the better you’re going to be.
Be willing to make mistakes, forgive yourself and keep pushing forward.
In closing, I don’t have everything figured out and don’t have all the answers.
However, I’ve built an online business that’s having its best year to date – all from the comfort of my home, my finances are the best they’ve ever been, and I’m now in the best shape of my life at 165 lbs at roughly 12% bodyfat.
If you’ve been shoveled a pile of shit, keep digging because it’s going to make for a heckuva story.