I’ve never been a particularly competitive person. I never participated in group sports. I wasn’t on the girls’ softball team or the swim team. I liked to play tennis, but I wasn’t on the team at school. Same with basketball. I was always the last girl chosen to be on the team. I didn’t care, although I was really good at making baskets, because we had a hoop over our garage at home and I had a system of learning how to make a basket from almost any angle. I competed against myself to see if I could outdo the number of baskets I had made the day before. I’ve never been an aggressive competitor though. I wasn’t on the debate team in high school or college. I never felt compelled to win at any cost. I always figured there’s enough for everyone, and that I didn’t so much need to compete for my share, as simply to accept it was there and act accordingly. In retrospect, I wish I would have been more competitive in some areas and pushed myself forward a little bit more, but I can’t change the past, only the present.
I remember several years ago when Charlie Sheen was having a breakdown of some kind and kept posting videos about “WINNING”. That seemed so absurd to me. They were “Must-see TV” as we all viewed his unfolding meltdown on YouTube or wherever. I hope he’s doing well these days. I always liked him to tell you the truth. I always liked his TV shows too. Watching those videos though, was kind of like rubbernecking an accident you happen upon when you’re out on the highway. You don’t want to see it, but you do want to, so you slow down and look. “Move along people, there’s nothing to see here!” Well OK, there is, but you really don’t want to see it and you’re holding up traffic.
I’m convinced that a lot of this competition and winning thing is personality based. Some people I know are fierce competitors and will do anything it takes to win at any cost. Those are the kind of people you want on your high school basketball team, I guess. People willing to push and shove anyone who gets between them and the hoop. I’ve always been much too polite for that. I’ve always been the type that lets other people go ahead of me in line at the grocery store, because I know that I’ll get up there soon enough anyway and some people may be in a bigger hurry than I am. Most people are these days, it seems. I also routinely let people in ahead of me when I’m driving. If I can see they have their blinker on and want to come over, I wave them in ahead of me. It really doesn’t matter if they are in front of me or behind me. We’ll both make our destinations soon enough. That kind of race is like trying to be the first one to the mortuary. When you’re the one in the box.
That said, I’m all about competition with myself, especially goal setting and achievement. This is how I managed to overcome some of the MOST difficult periods of my life, during the years when I was re-building it after moving to Colorado. In fact, I would say I wasn’t as much RE-building, as building a life for the first time. Bear in mind, I was already in my mid-30’s and had not had a stellar early adulthood so far. So, I started out small. I needed to get a full-time job. Check. I needed to get an apartment. Check. I needed to get a set of bunk beds for my kids to sleep on. Check. And so, it went. Simple goals that I was able to meet within a reasonable timeframe. This was not rocket science and there was nothing complicated about it. It did require focus and perseverance. As I met my goals, my sense of achievement and self-confidence grew. I began to feel excited about what I might be able to do next. I felt hope again. I felt grateful. And yes, I even felt like God was on my side. I felt like I was Divinely guided and protected in some way, mostly because I was willing to do whatever it took to make things happen as I wanted them to. I had set my intentions. I had only the best and healthiest outcomes in mind for myself and my daughters. I knew my intentions were blessed and I couldn’t lose. I acted accordingly, although I had some VERY tough moments as other things played out which I’ll reveal later. It wasn’t by any means easy to keep a positive attitude during those difficult times.
So, after meeting success with personal goal setting and achievement, I was ready several years later when I wanted to pay off my debt and become debt free. The truth is you don’t need to go through hell like I did to be able to achieve this goal. You can do it at any time in which you set your mind to do it.
I know this plan works. I’ve worked it. If followed, it will allow you to meet your personal and budgetary goals, while eating the elephant in your life, one bite at a time. (Nothing against elephants, they’re one of my favorite animals!)
At some point in everyone’s life, they must go through the crucible. You find a way through it, and you think Whew! Glad that’s over! Now I’ve got the world by the tail, and I can go through life as the winner I am! And then, something else happens and you find yourself going through something else that once again, tests your mettle. Be grateful when that happens because it means that you aren’t finished with this life yet. You’re not in the box, racing to get to the mortuary ahead of your friends. Be gentle with yourself. As I sometimes say about my hiking and photo explorations, “I go slow, but I go.”
Yes, it’s better to go slow than not to go at all. I’ve fallen off a few cliffs, literally and figuratively, but I keep going. Some people are stronger than I am physically at this point, and they can go places I can’t go and do things I can’t do right now. But I know that if I keep working at it, I’ll get stronger and faster. Same is true with finances. It’s important to learn some basic principles, and then flex your money managing muscles to achieve your goals. That’s what this book study I’m offering will allow you to do. We’ll do it together.
I’ll soon have a link where you can sign up for what I believe will be about a 12-week study group. We’ll build a community of like-minded friends we can study and work with on this goal, which is something I didn’t have when I first set out on my goal-setting adventures.
In the meantime, I would like to invite you to follow my blog and receive these short stories by having them delivered directly into your email inbox. There is a link on my page to do this. For today, it will take an extra click, but in the future, it’ll be automatic, which is so much easier.
Journey in Joy