I was in such a bad place when I showed up for one of James’ free talks. I had been told about them, but I had been hesitant about it. I kept pushing it off. I was constantly wondering, “Who is this guy? What’s so unique about him?” I was so skeptical about this free talk. I said I would give him 15 minutes. If what he says doesn’t make sense, I would leave. My colleague who had been constantly asking me to attend accompanied me for the talk.
When I sat down and began to listen to James speak. I couldn’t believe I took so long to attend one of his talks. He was speaking into what I was going through. I had worked in banking for 23 years and I was neck deep in debt. I. WAS.STUCK. When you work in banking interest rates are really low and there are always new loan packages, mortgage, construction, car loans. I had so much debt from these loans.
Bank work is pretty stressful; early mornings and late evenings Monday to Saturday. You don’t really have much time to do anything else. I didn’t have time to network. I wanted to step out of the work place and start my own business, but I was not ready for the outside world. After that free talk during the sign up opportunity for the HYB course. I made my deposit immediately.
Once I signed up for the class, before the course begins James normally interviews you to get to know more about your situation and where you are at. James wanted to know my immediate concerns, mine was simple – GET OUT OF DEBT. James told me to list all the debt that I had and my earthly possession on a page. As you probably guessed, the debt list was much longer than my possessions. But James’ response surprised me. He said I was very rich. I had made some good investments through good debt, but the hugest debt at the time I had was a mortgage.
There was also bad debt, I had what James calls “Mother Theresa”. I used to take loans for people because I would get emotionally entangled in their situation, and my sympathy caused me to make bad financial decisions.
THE REALITY CHECK
That imbalance I came to realize was purely fear. And one of those huge fears was to dispose of liabilities. That was a huge task for me because that meant a shift in my life style. That meant selling my Toyota Noah and buying a smaller car, Nissan March aka ‘Dudu’. This shift, first amazed me. From the sale of the vehicle I was able to pay my mortgage and also have enough to buy a car I fully owned. For the first time I fully owned a car – I had a log book. Even the Noah was owned by the bank I had no log book because I had it on loan. And this difficult decision was the beginning of a new found financial growth and freedom.
This was an upgrade, but those people who perceived it as a downgrade, smaller car, eating out less, those ‘friends’ fizzled away. I needed to change my lifestyle to accommodate my pocket. By spending less, I was saving more. And now that I was saving me, with my financial background I was now making prudent financial investments. I also keep record of my daily expenditure to keep track of my expenses, and see where there is bleeding of finances to quickly stop it.
BIG SHIFT TO REALITY
My personal image was hit hard with this change. I needed to be more thrift with my income. And that also meant still looking great without breaking the bank. The first habit to be pushed off the cliff was shoes. I used to own so many pairs of shoes, which I would go ages without wearing. I decided to have two pairs of shoes, one black, one brown. And wear them till its time to buy another pair. You’d rather have quality shoes over quantity; spend extra for shoes that last, comfortable, practical and still stylish, than have many pairs of shoes for the sake of having shoes. It made me understand that my self-esteem was not my wallet.
ACQUIRE NOT DISPOSE
I understood that to get out of debt the changes would be very deliberate and sometimes seem drastic. But it is for a season. By being more thoughtful and realistic in my expenses I saved more. By saving more I now had money I could invest and help yield a passive income. And with a passive income that meant more wealth generation. The tables slowly began to turn Week by week, month by month I slowly began the change. James taught me how to say no. I was constantly taking on charity cases which meant hurting my finances. I also learnt another two words from James, ‘So what?’ and this was a big one for me. ‘So what?’ was a statement of confidence, and assertion of myself. So what I drive a smaller car? Does that define me? No! So what I only have two pairs of shoes? Does that affect my image and sophistication? No.
I was a complainer at the beginning. I feel sorry for people who were associated with me before I met James. I was so negative, but now, there is nothing to complain about. HYB taught me how to be positive, seek solutions and now I see opportunities. I am open for these opportunities and I embrace them. I no longer let other people or events define who I am. I feel so alive and so confident now.