life goals

What To Do When You Can't Hide Your Struggle Anymore

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

 
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 I recently shared my super painful debt story on Chain of Wealth Podcast. That interview inspired me to create this series. Rise From Rock Bottom tells every story from my failure years - and how I overcame them.

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At the age of 23, I had a Mercedes Benz truck. My primary source of income was my babysitting job. (I know, don't judge.

I had a boyfriend who insisted I trade in my convertible (that I loved) for this truck, which he’d “help out” with. (read: he’d pay the bill) I didn’t know how much that truck cost until we broke up and I received the first bill.

All in, the car cost me nearly a GRAND per month.

That’s without any maintenance factored in. I went to get new brakes once and it cost me $850. Replacing the windshield wipers cost me $125. #FacePalm

I struggled to keep making my car payments. I took on additional jobs as a freelancer at night and a waitress on the weekends.

My life turned into a never-ending hamster wheel of making money, paying off debt, using credit cards to feed myself, and then making more money to pay the credit cards off.… Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. 

It wasn’t long before I maxed out all three of my credit cards and had nothing left to hold me afloat.

So I did the unthinkable… 

I called up my car loan company and requested a voluntary repossession of my car. 

My credit would tank but I had to take the hit because the bills were tanking my life

Give your self permission to fall apart

I gave back my car and bought a very cheap 1993 hooptie with a trunk that didn’t close all the way. The lid, held down by a bungee cord, would wobble up and down as I drove. #definitelynotabenz

Each time I sat in the car, which smelled like rust and old age, I would start crying thinking to myself “I used to ride around in style. I used to love my beautiful car. And look at my life now.” 

I'm a freakin' loser. 

Before downgrading my car, I could easily lie to myself. I convinced myself I’d figure out my financial problems quickly and easily. I’m a smart girl, nothing would hold me back.

I finally faced my truth sitting in my hooptie: I was struggling. I was in pain. I was suffering - alone. That change is here and I can’t outrun it. I have to deal with it.

Yes, that was the first moment I fell apart. (And there were many more moments to follow.)

Don't try to hold everything in. Be honest with yourself - your life sucks. It's okay to let that pain out and cry if you need to.

Give your family a chance to support you

My friends and family knew I was struggling with big life changes and finding my way. But I’d put on my "I'm a big girl, I’ll figure this out" smile.

It was a very convincing facade.

On the inside I was panicking, wondering how I could’ve shoveled myself so deep in a hole, how I could be so stupid, how I could put myself in this position.

Pulling up in my busted up car was the first visible indication anyone had that my life wasn’t as peachy keen as I pretended. I couldn’t hide the fact that I was struggling anymore.

The beautiful gift in not being able to hide your pain is finally being able to talk about it.

Once you’re able to speak your truth, your friends and family have the opportunity to support you… and it may surprise you just how much love and support you receive during your darkest time.

Accept Your Life As It Is

After about a month of driving that car, I completely forgot that I once was a luxury car owner.

I started to own the fact that I was now the owner of this crappy car that took me from point A to point B. Over time, this became my new normal. 

Accept where your life is right now and that it was YOUR life decisions that got you here. This acceptance allows you to stop lamenting on the past, brings you into the present, and allows you to start preparing for your future.

 

Start To Laugh At Everything. 

There were several times where the cord that held my trunk closed would break and I’d have to pull over to re-tie it. The first time it snapped, I rested my forehead on the steering wheel and cried until I mustered up enough energy to get out of the car.

I thought to myself “look at me…this is what my life has come to.”

After a while, I’d built a unique skill for driving just slow enough over bumps and dips in the road so those rope-snapping moments became less frequent.

When the rope would break on occasion, I’d giggle to myself and say "Of course the rope broke in the middle of the highway... why wouldn't it?"

Laughing can make all of your hard moments… bearable.

 

Remember your story is not finished

When you hit a life rut, it can feel like there's no way you're going to get out of this.

When I was obviously on the boarder of breaking down and couldn't take my life any longer I had a friend who would tell me "If you're going through hell, just keep going." 

It wasn't very helpful for him to say that. I was hoping for something like "your brighter days are ahead" but there's really no way to tell when those brighter days will come.

Some days you just have to keep going.

As long as you don’t give up on yourself… as long as you’re still our here breathing… your story still has a chance at a happy ending.

 

Find The Tiniest Thing To Be Grateful For

Even though I was riding around in a hideous car that was forest green with a trunk that didn’t close, I no longer had to pay $1000 a month to maintain my car. I would never again have to worry about fixing breaks for $850 or windshield wipers for $125. 

Because I had reduced my spending by so much simply get getting rid of one large monthly expense, I was able to stop working as hard as I was.

Slowly, I started to regain my sanity, feel like myself and rebuild my life.

I was grateful for that opportunity… and my tribulation became my testimony.

xoxo

Are You Ready To Rise From Rock Bottom?

  1. Listen to my full debt story on the podcast that inspired the Rise From Rock Bottom series. 

  2. Build your skills and discover your passions with a FREE personal development class

  3. For more fun stories and tips on how to improve your life, grab my book Goal Doing: Practical Advice For Goal Setting, Action Planning and Achieving Your Dreams.


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About Chantl

Chantl founded Thrive Lounge to give women the kick in the pants they need (lovingly, of course) to uncomplicate their goals, stop making excuses, get productive and start living the life they always wanted. Her book, Goal Doing: Practical Advice For Goal Setting, Action Planning and Achieving Your Dreams, gives women a step-by-step guide to create, plan and achieve their grandest goals.

Eight Powerful Lessons You Gain When You Lose Everything

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

 
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I recently shared my super painful debt story on Chain of Wealth Podcast. This interview inspired me to create this series. Rise From Rock Bottom tells every story from my failure years - and how I overcame each one.


At the age of 25, I moved back home… into my mother's basement. I couldn't afford a bed so I bought a large blow-up mattress for $40.

Imagine a near-empty room, in a basement, no carpet, a blow up mattress and a computer desk.(Sounds, kinda jail-ish, doesn’t it?)  

I'm also a single mom so I shared that room with my daughter.

Just one year prior, I lived in a luxury (read:expensive) apartment in a great school district and riding around in my Mercedes Benz truck.

Talk about humbling...

I remember the first time I mustered up the courage to tell my friends that I would be getting rid of my fancy car. 

"But why!?" They asked.

"Are you sure?" They persisted.

I didn't have a choice. I could no longer afford my lifestyle.

First, I replaced the fancy car with a car that aligned with my income.

It was a ragged car and the trunk didn't close. A tiny string held the lid down just enough so that the truck appeared closed sometimes.

As I drove, the trunk would wobble up and down and other drivers would stop me to tell me that my trunk was open. Occasionally, the string would break in the middle of the street and I'd have to pull over to re-tie it.

Talk about humbling...

I eventually sold that car to help pay for school and began taking bus everywhere. (Also humbling.

I lived this lifestyle - in my mother's basement with my daughter - for nearly a year while I went to grad school.

That was the most transformative time in my life that gave me the skills, strength and flexibility to grow into the person I am today

These are the lessons I learned on that journey:

 

You can deflate your lifestyle and the world won’t fall apart

Lifestyle inflation hit me like a ton of bricks.

I didn't even realize that I was trying to keep up with social norms and expectations by moving to an expensive location (that I really couldn’t afford) so my daughter could attend "the good school."

I always thought that I was doing "the right thing" for my child, even if I was extending my finances too far.

When we did move out and she went to a school that didn't have a 9/10 rating on GreatSchools.org (that really means something to parents) SHE WAS FINE.

I realized that while looking for the “great school” and I completely discounted the work that I do at home as her parent. She still learns. She still gets a well rounded education. She’s still my brilliant little girl. She’s not defined by “the good school.”

 

Your Priorities

The quest to live on less to be able to discover my path meant that I would have to give up some things.

First, I gave up my car, then my apartment, then I gave up my outward appearance, then I gave up the obligations to others. Slowly, but surely, I realized that I had to de-prioritize things that didn’t matter to make myself a priority.

I felt more free every time I made the decision that something didn’t matter. For the first time in my life, my actions were matching up to my core values.

 

What you really need to be happy

You know, I really thought I needed that Benz to be happy.

I thought that having a luxury car (even though I had zero dollars in my bank account) meant that I was one of the elite. People looked at me differently when I pulled up in a Benz.

I was fancy. And I liked that feeling.

When I got rid of all of my car, I realized I love the feeling of not having a car. I love walking around in the summer and the cold breeze on my face in the winter. I feel refreshed and free.

You haven't lost anything

The second you start to give up on the "nice-to-haves" you start to realize that you can really live without them. 

The only things I gave up by not having a car were my car note, car insurance, regular maintenance and the occasional speeding ticket. To be honest, losing those things contributed more to my life because I was more care-free than ever before!

 

Your "real" friends

Some of your friends will start to remove themselves from your life (you know, the ones that only show up when it’s time to party). Once you stop spending money on things that aren't necessities, you may realize that you don't have as much in common with some folks. 

And that's OK.

You’ll also notice that there are your other friends. The ones that cheer you on as you start to pay off your debt. The ones that sit alongside you and study with you for the GRE. The ones that support you by showing up and being present in your darkest hour.

Your rock bottom is only the beginning for your strongest friendships.

 

You can rebuild your life the way you want

The most beautiful things about rock bottom is that you have nothing to lose.

You've likely suffered a fair amount of embarrassment. You've probably done all of the things you said you'd never do (like move back in with your parents). You may even have given up more times than you’d like to admit.

With nothing left anchoring you to who you were, you have the flexibility and opportunity to build the person you want to be. 

 

You won't do it alone

Poverty has a way of making you feel like you're the only one suffering. However, everyone's been through some sort of pain and suffering at some point. In fact, no matter how bad you feel there's always someone out there who has it ten times worse. 

Here's what will surprise you: Your friends and family will rally around you to lift you higher. (That's assuming you're a half way decent person and, therefore, have at least 1 friend.) 

 

You'll Learn To Love It

It can be difficult to make the transition to having a lot to having nothing. Change is hard.  

Maybe you feel bad for your predicament in the first week. But after a while, you'll start to notice a shift. You'll start to feel like yourself again. You'll realize that you can now move forward as who you want to be. 

You'll see that you're free to become you.

 xoxo

 

Ready To Accomplish Your Greatest Goals? 

  1. Start planning out your largest goals with the FREE Goal Planning Worksheet.

  2. Take a FREE personal development class on CreativeLive.

  3. Do you struggle with finishing the goals you start? Get clarity on your goals and the strategies to reach them with the ebook Goal Doing: Practical Advice For Goal Setting, Action Planning and Achieving Your Dreams.


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About Chantl

Chantl founded Thrive Lounge to give women the kick in the pants they need (lovingly, of course) to uncomplicate their goals, stop making excuses, get productive and start living the life they always wanted. Her book, Goal Doing: Practical Advice For Goal Setting, Action Planning and Achieving Your Dreams, gives women a step-by-step guide to create, plan and achieve their grandest goals.

Four Ways Adults Can Create A Meaningful Social Circle

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

 
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Get Crystal Clear On Your Grandest Goals

Download the FREE Goal Setting Clarity checklist and set goals that will create MIRACULOUS change in your life.

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There is something about adulthood that makes it incredibly difficult to make new friends.

In elementary, middle and high school, you’re forced to see a particular cohort of folks a few times a week, forced to do activities and projects with them. Inevitably, some of those people you’re forced to interact with become friends.

I wasn’t always the best at making new friends. In fact, I was always the lonely-looking girl standing awkwardly by the punch bowl at every conference or event. I didn’t know what to say so usually, I said nothing.

Even when someone would come up to me (you know, after you accidentally make eye contact for 5 seconds or more) and start small talk. They’d ask me about my day and on the inside I’d start to panic.

I wanted to be the person that always said the right thing… the cool thing… the witty thing. I wanted so desperately to make a connection that I often said nothing.

Through sheer stubbornness and persistence, I kept putting myself in these awkward situations (re: punch bowl, eye contact) until they started to feel normal and I mustered up the courage to start makin’ some friends.

The followings tips come from lessons I learned on my journey and some of the best practices I’ve ever received to build deeper, more intimate relationships with other women as an adult.

Send Handwritten Notes... for any reason.

I met a young lady at a networking event and she asked to follow up with me on a call later that week. We talked about her business and what she could do to grow. At the end of the call she asked for my address. I gave it to her and completely forgot about the ask, since no one ever really sends anything in the mail.

A week later, I got a postcard thanking me for my help. I couldn't believe it! I honestly felt warm on the inside.

She immediately set herself apart from anyone else I've ever met in my entire life. To this day, we've done two partnerships and we've become great friends. 

I started to send handwritten notes to friends and family at least once a year. I notice they’re always just as surprised as I was to receive that first note.

Handwritten notes are cool because you can be authentic, personal and long-winded (if that’s your thing). It’s also a keepsake that they could hold onto for years.

Call, Don't Text

I know, no one uses the phone anymore… and that’s exactly why you should be! Instead of sending a text to check up on friends, call them up. Listen to their problems and be fully present in the activity of catching up.

When Facebook sends that daily email letting you know it's someone's birthday, call them instead of writing on their FB wall. They'll remember that phone call for the same reason that people remember a letter. Most people aren't doing it.

You can call for any reason:

  • Birthday

  • Promotion

  • Life event (wedding, family death, kid’s baseball game, etc.)

  • Invite them out for drinks/coffee/lunch/dinner/hangout session of some sort

  • Just to say hi! (gasp!)

Calls are highly underused these days. That’s why you should be using them to deepen your relationships.

Join Social Groups (where people meet in person) 

If you have a hobby, try to find groups of people that enjoy that same hobby.

When I was transitioning into analytics, I joined every meetup group on meetup.com that talked about the topic. I eventually found 2 groups that I liked and started going to the meetings every month. After about 3 weeks of seeing the same faces, I started to make friends. 

It doesn’t matter what your hobby is, there are usually people nearby that enjoy doing the same thing. When you meet up based on a common hobby, you already have things to talk about and a basis to connect on.

Meet the people you talk to online in person 

I spend a ton of time on the internet (mostly Facebook) talking to the people I meet in groups. If you're in a large group, it could be helpful to announce "Hey guys! I'm in DC, would anyone want to meet up in person for coffee?" You'd be surprised how many people say yes! 

The one common theme I think in all of these is to make an effort to get away from the digital world and talk to folks in more personal ways. The more people you talk to, the more chances you have to find and build a great circle of friends. 

Keep “putting yourself out there”

The phrase “putting yourself out there” typically means taking risks - and that’s what you’ll need to do if you want to make some real friends.

Even if you’re uncomfortable, you’ll have to start talking to people. That’s the only way they’ll get to know you and your personality.

Related Content: How to Push Yourself Out of Your Comfort Zone

You’ll have to ask them to meet up in a social setting. If you want intimate relationships, you must create a space for intimacy.

Finally, you’ll have to keep trying. Sometimes you’ll find someone you think is cool, but they decline every invitation no matter how many times you invite them out. Don’t take this personally. They could have a million reasons (that have nothing to do with you) for why they can’t hang out.

In that case, let them tell you when they’re free (which might never happen) and find someone who does have the time, interest and capacity to spend time with you… because you’re worth it.

I hope the future leads to some amazing friendships for you! (And if you're in the DC or NY area, we should totally grab a drink!) 

Ready To Accomplish Your Greatest Goals? 

  1. Start planning out your largest goals with the FREE Goal Planning Worksheet.

  2. Take a FREE personal development class on CreativeLive

  3. Do you struggle with finishing the goals you start? Get clarity on your goals and the strategies to reach them with the ebook Goal Doing: Practical Advice For Goal Setting, Action Planning and Achieving Your Dreams.

 

Ready To Make Your Dream Goal A Reality?

Map out your dream goals and create your action plan with this FREE one-page dream goal planning worksheet.

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About Chantl

Chantl founded Thrive Lounge to give women the kick in the pants they need (lovingly, of course) to uncomplicate their goals, stop making excuses, get productive and start living the life they always wanted. Her book, Goal Doing: Practical Advice For Goal Setting, Action Planning and Achieving Your Dreams, gives women a step-by-step guide to create, plan and achieve their grandest goals.