I remember being at a deep inflection point in 2015. Years of leaving issues and questions unaddressed culminated in one of the most turbulent stretches of my life.
I was constantly worrying about one catastrophe putting me in financial ruin. I had about $15-20k of debt at the time and life wasn’t exactly going well. It looked like it, but nah, I was out of control.
I wish I could say I woke up one day and simply committed to being more intentional about my goals, but the truth is it was a long process.
Aspects of life got better as I ante’d up my focus, but life as a whole didn’t improve much.
The one thing that seemed to consistently go well was the podcast, which also happens to be the longest constant of anything in my life.
It’s funny to listen back and reflect on the growth in my voice. Not in a narcissistic “I’m gonna make a video of myself watching myself” way. I mean the evolution and growth in confidence.
That’s five years for this show, but I’ve been behind the microphone since 2013. That’s eight years of life. That’s over 2,900 days. A lot of peaks and a lot of valleys. A lot to learn from, but also a lot to be proud of.
My financial life took a turn in 2017. As bonuses and stock came in from work, I started throwing chunks at my debt. I picked up a zero interest credit card and moved about $4K there. The remaining balance was split between my bank’s personal credit card and another card that I shared with a partner (don’t do that). I hammered away at the highest interest rate card first, paid more than the minimum on the others and then worked my way down from one card to the next. I wanted to quickly put an end to paying over $100 in interest alone per month.
My debt dwindled along with that relationship and I found myself on the path to a better financial place. It was also around this time that I invested in a therapist to get myself together after the “it’s not you, it’s us.” That was August 2017. I’ve been seeing the same therapist weekly to this day.
And yes, it has been a cost, but the benefits? The ROI has been a trillion percent. I’ve identified destructive habits, triggers and a lot about how I tick and why. It hasn’t always been easy, but having a therapist has always been helpful.
In the last few years, I’ve lost a friend to suicide, lost an uncle to cancer, felt the force of a nasty legal battle, lived through a meltdown, endured in horror watching George Floyd lose his life, lost a family member to COVID, reported a potential mass shooting risk and oh so much more fun stuff.
And when going through all this, I did default to some of my old habits. The biggest difference was the awareness. It’s one thing to just sit and mindlessly drink, but it’s another to drink, know why you’re doing it, acknowledge that it’s not healthy and do it anyway. Apply that to anything and you’ll find you’re probably doing that somewhere in your life.
- What Alcohol Costs You: The Financial Reality of Drinking
- Break the Cycle, 7 Tips to Change Your Relationship with Alcohol
If you are, know that you’re gonna invest a lot of time and energy working through it, but the payoff is huge. The journey will include bumps, thuds, peaks, valleys and a helluva lot of consistency. And then there will still be a long way to go.
I can’t imagine where I’d be if I didn’t have this support structure to help me navigate some really difficult emotions, conversations and challenges. The results have shown up in my bank account — especially since July 1, 2020 when I made the decision to quit alcohol after quarantine secretly sent me down a path I didn’t like.
I’ve saved hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars since. I was already on a good path, having achieved debt freedom and 6 months of cash savings in case something goes awry, but this took me to the next level and the receipts show in my life and business. I’m living in a season of abundance and even being able to write this serves as a hint of progress.
But none of this happens without me investing in my mental health. It’s not the only part, but it’s a big part of my life portfolio. Without this, I likely don’t become aware of some of the changes and thought patterns I needed to address to achieve life goals. I don’t start putting my superpowers into practice, and I’m likely not doing this well.
And this well is far better than the old one.