THE BLOG

An Optimist Who Was Six Figures In Debt

02/27/2015 06:27 pm ET | Updated Apr 29, 2015

Being in debt is bad enough. Being six figures in debt puts a choke hold around your neck. How did I arrive at the astronomical number of being six figures in debt? Well, it was through a combination of good old denial and a lot of wishful thinking.

So, what do you do when you have the tendency to wear rose-colored glasses? Should you throw them away? Absolutely not!

I'll share with you how I went from making $20,000 a year to knocking off that debt in nine months (without robbing a bank!).

First, shift from being an optimist to become an optimistic-realist. Optimism is a gift if used with awareness. My optimism, unfortunately, included a lot of wishful thinking. I am an entrepreneur, which also makes me a dreamer. However, I couldn't become a successful business owner until I dug deep into reality and remained there.

Optimistic people don't like to remain in realities that feel overwhelming. But each year, around tax season, there was no avoidance. The facts were squarely presented to me; I was getting buried further and further in the debt.

After each tax season, I told myself I was going to change this by working harder and budgeting more strictly. And so I did. You know the drill; you stop clothes shopping, except for basics at Target. The rare chance we "splurged" by eating out at Panera or Noodles still meant telling the kids, "Sorry, no lemonade, just water." And even though I used these measures and put in more hours, the bottom line STILL did not change.

That was until I decided this debt absolutely MUST stop.

The question is what really changed, because I made a decision after each traumatic tax season that showed my accumulating debt to change. The real change was tapping into emotions in a powerful way. The first few times I saw the debt, I was extremely sad. How could this have happened to me? I questioned.

Thankfully, after years of feeling sad and nothing changing, I got angry. Anger is a great emotion when used in an empowered manner. My anger guided me to grow up and show up differently. Rather than whine or try to wishful think my way out of this problem, I started taking bold action. You see, when anger isn't used to blame others or your circumstances, it puts a fire in your belly that makes you push past your comfort zone.

The fire in my belly was determined to put an end to the debt for good. I gave myself one year to do it. You can imagine I was absolutely besides myself when the debt was gone in nine months.

You may have heard that change occurs when people make a decision. I used to think, I make decisions all the time and still, nothing changes. What is different is putting empowered emotion into that decision, while remaining in reality with an optimistic view of the future.

Teaching how to use our negative feelings as fuel to our thoughts and desires is an absolute vital aspect to creating positive and lasting change.

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