I wasn’t feeling abundant or creative for several months, up until a couple of weeks ago. I was stuck in a major rut. I was seriously stressed out about money, mainly because I had a renter who was two months behind in her rent and I had no idea where I was going to come up with the money to pay the bank.
To add to these money worries, my wife has been out of work and on unemployment for several months now. Our credit cards were maxed-out and $60,000 worth of my student loans just came due.
I was paralyzed by fear. I didn’t know how to deal with the situation. I spent many nights with very little sleep. My mind wouldn’t turn-off and I was constantly thinking about how we didn’t have any money and how was I going to take care of my family? I can honestly say that suicide crossed my mind a couple of times and if I didn’t have a wife and a little girl to take care of, I might have followed through with it.
It’s amazing how someone can enter your life at the right time and can change your perspective on life in one thirty-minute conversation. For me, that person’s name is Shell Mendelson.
Shell Mendelson is a career counselor who is an expert on “Career ADD.” I’ve been at the same job for nine years this month, but I’ve wanted to change careers at least once a month for as long as I can remember. I love my job, but I want to do something bigger, something more creative.
Besides being a career counselor, Shell created a franchise called KidzArt. KidzArt is in 27 states and 14 countries. Many years ago, Shell realized that art and creativity was being taken out of the school system. So she partnered with a friend who was an artist and they created this franchise to teach kids to be more creative.
I told Shell that for years, I wanted to live a life helping others figure out what they want to do with their lives and pursue their passions. It’s funny looking at it now, I was completely stuck in a dark place, not doing what I wanted to do, but I wanted to help others get out of the same kind of place I was in—the blind leading the blind.
One of the first things Shell told me was, “I’m a bit spiritual, is this going to scare you off?”
I went into my story of how I was raised Christian, then went to Chitzen-Itza in Mexico for my honeymoon to see the Mayan pyramids and had a religious epiphany.
The Mayan people were religious zealots and never even heard of Christ. They built these awesome pyramids that are considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World. These pyramids align perfectly with the equinox so that the sun’s shadow runs down these huge structures to snakes heads at the bottom of the pyramids. They did this with no modern tools.
The Mayans also played a game that lasted for days. Experts can never be sure, but they believe that the players had to throw a goat’s head through a hoop that is thirty feet in the air, then the winners were sacrificed to their gods. I thought, No wonder it took several days to play the game.
After spending the day at the pyramids and thinking about these religious zealots, I realized that the Mayans were all gone and what happened to the World? Nothing. It’s still here.
This made me realize that if the Mayans were wrong about their gods, I was probably wrong about mine.
Then I told Shell how I went through the all the stages of grief when I lost my God, and how at the beginning, I was very angry and felt that I was lied to, not on purpose, but still, I felt like I had lost something that was a major part of my life and it shook me to the core…“So no, I’m not really spiritual anymore.”
Shell said, “Well can you agree on this? Our thoughts create our reality.”
I’ve met enough crazy people working in jails for the last 11 years to know that I agree with that statement.
Then she said, “Ok, if you can agree to that, then I can work with you.”
She then said, “Right now you are focused on your lack of money, and if that’s all you focus on, that’s all you’re ever going to have. I don’t want to be part of your money problem.” (Her services aren’t free, but this call was.) “But if you want something bad enough, you will figure it out,” she said.
Within one day of talking to Shell, everything changed. Here is an excerpt of the email I sent to Shell two days after our conversation.
I just wanted to share this with you. I have had a huge weight on my shoulders from my debt and was wondering how I’m going to get out of it. After talking to you the other day, I had a couple of breakthroughs.
The first was understanding what you said about, “Our thoughts create our reality.” I’ve been so stuck lately focusing on this debt and the situation seemed hopeless. After you said that statement, I realized I didn’t have to stay in that place.
Yesterday, I called the credit card company and got the pay-off balances. Then I called my friend Ricky who’s been asking me if I want to do a re-fi on my house and save $110 a month. He came over and basically told me that besides saving $110.00 a month, I also won’t have to pay two months of mortgage payments and I should get my escrow back. It won’t be right away, but it should be around $3000.00 in total that I’m saving and getting back. (Once the papers were signed, we found out we were actually getting back $5000.00.)
I know that my credit cards are a lot more than that, but I do feel like a dam burst as far as, “being financially blocked,” goes…if that makes sense. I told my wife that I think it was from me talking to you.
She said something to the effect of, “I don’t know how you figured that, you talked to Ricky about this a few weeks ago.”
I told her, “But I didn’t take any action. I was so stuck in my mind that I couldn’t even get around to talking to him. And I didn’t really want to know how much we owe. Now I have a starting point of what we need to do to get out of it.”
So I called my wife’s dad, he came over and talked, and he decided that he’s going to loan us the money to pay off the cards. We still have to pay him back. But at least it’s not at 10% and 20% interest.
Anyway, that’s a long story just to say thank you; but thank you.
On a different note…It’s funny, when I was telling my wife about how I want to get coached from you, she was like, “How are we going to afford that?”
I said, “I don’t know, work overtime maybe? Who knows? Maybe it will appear out of thin air! We just got a bunch of money freed-up from the house deal, that was like a miracle to me.”
She said, “Oh, now you believe in miracles again?”
And I said, “I don’t know about miracles, but I’m leaving myself open for the possibility.”
Shell wrote me back and said, “This is my gift for today. I believe that every day, provides us with gifts. It is incredible how you were able to make this shift so quickly. As a result of shifting that money thought, you experienced the results almost immediately. Imagine if you applied this same process to every aspect of your life. No stopping you!!! The difference you experienced was inspired action v. going through the motions action – it came from a place of possibility and of being aligned with who you truly are.”
The next action I took was figuring out how to deal with my student loans. I called the representative for Salle Mae and told him I couldn’t afford to pay what I owed.
He asked me, “What can you afford right now?”
I said, “About $100.00 a month.”
He said, “No problem.” He typed a few things into his computer and said, “Ok, I’ve got you down for $96.00 a month. We will add what you owe to the backside of the loan and you’re good to go.”
Just with a telephone call and a few key strokes, my anxiety about my student loans were gone.
The next action I took was getting my renter out of my house, but that’s a story I’ll save for another post. For now I just want to say, if there’s something in your life that is worrying you, know that worrying about it is not going to solve the problem. You need to face the problem and then take action to solve it. Hopefully sharing this story with you will help inspire you to do that.