The following is an inspirational guest post from a reader and fellow blogger. Enjoy!
In August of 2011, I became homeless. I had no other choice but to move into a shelter.
I knew my finances were in bad shape, but I didn’t know how bad things were until I ordered a copy of my credit report. Unemployed, I still did my best to push through the pain and the feeling of failure in order to eventually overcome homelessness.
I took a deep breath and assessed my reality. Here’s what I found:
- I had $75,000+ in debt, most of it fraudulent but the other portion was still a pretty penny.
- I had no credit history or credit score because my late father financed both my house and car;
- I had to learn how to say no to family and friends. There would be no more giving my last to anyone. I had nothing left to give. I had to put myself first.
- I had to put the work for my non-profit organization on hold until I was able to get myself back on track.
- I needed a job… FAST!
Honestly, things could not have been worse. However, I had enough faith to know that all of my setbacks were setups for a greater purpose. I knew I needed to restore, rebuild, and renew my life before I could do the same for others.
The first thing I did was write a vision statement for my finances. I wanted to get clear on my vision. What did I want to see happen? What did I want to accomplish in the next year, three, and five years?
I didn’t care about strategy; I was only concerned with vision. Vision always comes first. Always. If you have a clear vision, you will eventually attract the right strategy. If you don’t have a clear vision, you will wander around without accomplishing your ultimate goal.
Through the years, I always concentrated on how I would accomplish my goals. My focus would be so much on the “how” that I never accomplished my heart’s desires. My vision included the finances and life in general.
If I thought about every obstacle that I faced and could potentially face, I may have never taken steps to rebuild my life. If I did not write a “scary” vision statement, I may not have overcome homelessness. I have the drive, but I ran out of gas. A part of me wanted to give up but my faith would not let me.
Instead, I developed a vision statement that I found inspiring. I gave myself permission to envision the perfect future. I gave myself permission to dream BIG, without doubt or fear. Here’s what I wrote down:
I am woman of purpose who has broken the generational curse of contentment to live in poverty but instead to live a life of wealth, great health and success.
Once I had this on paper, I began writing S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound) goals.
Every day I read through my vision statement. I prayed over every part. I asked God to guide me. Little by little, He has made provision for the vision.
Over the next 4 years, I had nearly $50,000 in fraudulent debt removed from my credit report. I paid off nearly $10,000. One of my greatest memories is writing a two-dollar check to send to a debt collector because I knew I had to start somewhere.
All of this happened because I had a clear vision of what I wanted to achieve. That’s where it started and that’s where you have to start if you want to experience a reality different from the one you have now. You have to get clear on what you want.
Here’s what I recommend:
- Sit alone with your journal and pen. If you can get away to a solitary place, do so.
- Turn off your cell phone, e-mail, television, etc.
- Close your eyes and pray. Ask God for inspiration and guidance.
- Write down your current reality—all the things that you don’t like. Be brutally honest. It’s difficult to change unless you find your current reality unacceptable.
- Now write down what you would like to see happen. Write it down in detail. Write it in the present, as though it has already happened.
- Share your vision with your accountability partner or support system. You do not need a Negative Nancy while you work your vision and your faith
- Commit to reading your vision daily. “Faith is the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). The more you can “see” this, the more likely it will come to pass.
Do you have a financial vision statement?
Brooks J. Young is the founder and executive director of Touching Heart. She is also the author of Where God Took My Soul, a memoir about healing and hope, domestic violence, and homelessness. Brooks became homeless in August 2011, living in shelters, on the streets, and between the homes of friends and relatives. While homeless, she continued her advocacy domestic violence awareness and the rights of those who were homeless. Since 2005, she has been traveling across America giving inspirational and motivational speeches at churches, conferences, colleges, beauty salons, women’s retreats, high schools and community events – any venue where she can raise her voice to educate society on the prevalence of domestic violence and homelessness. She is also an extreme couponer teaching women to save for success with her upcoming book, The Homeless Couponer.