Each of us have felt the sting (That JOLT to the very core of your being) that causes one to rethink all we previously took for-granted as FACT. For me, this happened in rapid succession, from 2007 to 2012; and like most Americans, I didn’t feel the economic burn until financial irritations became gaping wounds in my wallet.
Along with Identity Theft, Major Surgery, An Auto Wreck and World Wide Economic Downturn, there was also my deadly (Unrealistic) mind-set that kept me trudging along, hoping things would somehow change for the better. I didn’t realize that the only true change was needed in my thinking and course of action.
You see, there’s and old saying:
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Albert EinsteinThat was me. I was behaving insanely, like millions of others, and didn’t know it. Because what I’d been doing had worked so well in the past, I wasn’t diligently seeking a new way. Trying to maintain became spinning my wheels. Spinning my wheels turned into drowning in debt. Debt evolved into a toxic entity that took on a life of it’s own and started eroding all I’d worked for, whipping out my accomplishments and sources of joy.
Debt, with it’s insidious attributes, ate away my confidence, savings, relationships and my health. The stress was overwhelming. Not just the collection calls and endless letters, but the way people treated me (Total lack of respect) not to mention the constant effort to merely survive.
When more money is going out than coming in the break-point is inevitable and looming very near. So it was for me during those years of continuous economic decline. Simple things like food, utilities and cleaning supplies became scarce. And as Pride goeth before the fall, I kept my situation private, refusing to ask for help.
Mind you; I knew there were many facing the same dilemma, so I didn’t feel singled out. But my concern was with the woman reflected in the mirror. The woman I saw wasn’t the smart chick I’d grown to know, but some half-wit, trying to shore up a dam with a wad of gum. I couldn’t believe it had all come to this.
Over and over, I heard my Dad’s voice: “You can be too good for your own good.” When he was alive and spoke these word, I didn’t understand the meaning. I thought he meant that I shouldn’t be so charitable. But that wasn’t what he was talking about at all.
Dad was saying read the fine print twice and never make a deal on a handshake. He was instructing me to be more prudent in business, judgmental in finances and to understand that every offer is made for the benefit of the one making the offer – not the receiver. Dad wasn’t telling me “Not to be nice”, he was simply saying, “Don’t take any wooden nickels!”
And in a world where there is a scam around every corner, that’s really sound advice.
Dad would often say: “Hope for the best…Plan for the worst.”
This too was advice I’d failed to take heed of. I didn’t foresee the worst until it was nearly too late. I was on the brink of filing bankruptcy before the true culprit was revealed. Only after learning that most of my financial issues weren’t lack of income (I was making good money) but my credit score was damaged by persons using my personal information to no good end. I’d had no idea the amount of falsified debt that was looming against me and how this was effecting my ability to gain the working capital I desperately needed to grow my business at the most critical growth point. Everywhere I turned, there were doors closed in my face and I had no concept of the real reason why.
As the DIVINE order of God’s Mercy prevailed, I met a man who was a credit counselor, through a mutual friend. I took his class and learned to read and monitor my Credit Report.
This marked the beginning of a new era for me and my business. It was a long road to financial recovery because the damage was so widespread. But the journey has been a Blessing, indeed. Not only have all my genuine accounts been verified, the discrepancies cleared, and my good name restored; my credit is now in good standing and my score has risen substantially.
It was a tremendous blow to learn that I’d been victimized, but the lessons and restoration that resulted is nothing short of a miraculous gift from God above.
And to quote my Dad…
“I’m living bout like I wanna.”