Be proactive, you have no excuse.

I believe that every individual is responsible for the outcome of their lives.

The Past

The past is just that. Moments in time fade in the distance of memories that we can choose to drudge up frequently in order to handicap our lives. Memories have no hold over you in any physical time or place. They only create “knee-jerk” emotional reactions that are not true restraints but mental blocks. Although it is difficult, a mental block is the lightest block that you can throw overboard when you start to sink.

You control the ability to let it determine your future success.

Every excuse can be argued down. There is no reason that anyone should feel stuck. You must take action over the outcome of your own life, be proactive. The people who you see that are successful and happy aren’t just naturally better than you, they are intentional about their good choices. That is the only difference.

I know this because for many years I was not living intentionally or proactively. It was awful.

I would work a lot, yes, but I would just make enough money to survive and not really plan for my future. I was always able to save a little money here and there, but eventually a huge bill would come up or I would want to take a random trip and I would be back and square zero. I had a constant feeling that I wasn’t living up to my full potential and I knew that taking my situation for granted like that would eventually come back to bite me.

Living this way is survivable but stressful. It is easy to fall into this trap with minor success. Week after week my appointments would come in, business was steady and I never went without. I always had my bills paid and I had my own apartment with no help needed. The ease of floating through my career helped me develop some bad habits of pure laziness. I got behind on a few bills that you are sort of allowed to get behind on, like credit card debt and my taxes. I would pay the bare minimum and the numbers just kept climbing up. When I think of the amount of fees that I have paid over the years because I was lazy about money it makes me sick. But it was also my choice.

It was as if I had a mental block that didn’t allow me to get out of this cycle. This mental block stemmed from a failed marriage and made me believe that I did not deserve the feeling of freedom that becoming financially stable can give you. I never charged my worth for my services and my secret self-esteem issues always kept me just one step behind.

It was embarrassing.

Every year I would have to apologize to my accountant for being such an unorganized mess, and I constantly felt like I had nothing to show for the countless hours that I put into working. Sure I had a business with a good reputation, but every single dollar I made came out of my own two hands. I had no passive income, no investments, nothing long term to show for all the years of my hard work. I became complacent about my education as well. I didn’t read or search out ways to change any of it. I lived life letting things happen to me instead of making them happen myself.

Even though it was my career and my life’s work, I was always one step away from losing everything. That, to me, is taking what you have for granted. It is also very foolsih. If ever I got hurt or sick I was only a month or so away from having to close up shop if I couldn’t pay the bills. I was risking this little empire that I had built from nothing, all because I had no back up plan. I didn’t even buy health insurance to help me if I got injured and couldn’t work. I just put it off. If I really loved my shop so much then why was I so sloppy with my finances which put me at risk to lose it all? The mental blocks that I made up in my mind drove my every day decisions and they would continue to hinder me until I made the decision to change.

The Change

We hear this all the time that if you start to focus on yourself and forget about dating then that is when prince charming will show up. You have to get yourself right first and then you will meet “the one.”

This is total crap.

I was literally out with another guy that I had been dating for a few months who was a pretty bad influence on the lifestyle I just described when I ran into Jeff. It was 8 months after the infamous camping trip that Jeff and I went on with mutual friends. We hit it off on the trip but it didn’t really go anywhere after that. But something was different this night running into him again. Something clicked. I literally heard a voice in my head that said that he was it. I was not at all prepared for “the one”, but he popped up anyways. We became a couple that week.

My years of living selfishly and irresponsibly were wearing me down. I was approaching 30 and I had been feeling that it was time to make some changes for awhile. Jeff and I’s budding relationship was just the nudge I needed to really reflect on my situation and begin to take control. It was like putting a mirror in front of myself and really taking a good look at my life. He isn’t critical of me in any way and he pretty much lets me do whatever I want, but I had so much respect for him that I naturally wanted to get on his level and face the mental blocks that I had that might hurt our relationship in the future. Just dating someone who inspired inspired me changed everything. I was ready to grow up. Our relationship was my muse for it.

The Future

Over the last few years I have become a more proactive person. Every decision I make is intentional. My time is spent differently now and I invest in more meaningful endeavors. I feel confident and content. I got out of my debt and started saving. I’ve lost the feeling of stress that comes with playing catch up all the time with money. This freedom has given me a clear mind and the ability to explore other creative options that make me feel refreshed and in love with the life I live now.

The most important thing that I realized was that I didn’t need Jeff, or anyone, to push me to become this way. I could have done it myself at any time. I always had the tools to make changes, but I let the mental blocks become more powerful than my day to day decisions that would have changed my situation. I just had to own up to my mistakes and let go of the power that I let them have over me.

I like to use my finances as an example because I believe that money can be an easy barometer of how we calculate our mental status. Of course money does not equal happiness and blah blah blah, but when I am feeling more confident and in control of my life I am better with my money. I treat it with more respect because I feel like I deserve this freedom. Money is just one of many things that I struggled to get a hold of in life. It is only one subject that I needed to become proactive about, but there are many out there that I could write about (and plan to!).

This is my message:

You don’t have to wait for anyone to give you the green light to get a hold of your life. It’s there already. You just have to identify what is holding you back. Be honest.

Put that mirror in front of you life and start making the decision to be proactive about each decision you make. If you are like me you will wish you did it a long time ago, but it’s never too late. Identify where you feel stuck and start making lists of how to get unstuck. It’s as easy as that. But you can’t just sit around and wait for the perfect person or job to come around. The years click by quickly and nothing will change if you don’t intentionally change it. You have no excuse.

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