Why Every Struggle You Overcome Is A Gift

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My family’s fate weighed heavily on my shoulders. Everything I knew - my identity, my values, my ideals for the future - crashed down around me.

I was working three jobs and charging my credit cards just to keep food on the table for my daughter and I.

I wanted a way out, I wanted something - anything - to hold onto. I wanted to catch my breath because I was suffocating from the disaster that was my life.

Related Content: What to do When You Can’t Hide Your Struggle Anymore

Then, I got an acceptance letter to the Master's degree of my choice. 

But there was a big part of me that was afraid of my good fortune.

Now, I was in a position to study with some of the best and brightest professors in the country. The other students in my cohort had already done work with some amazing companies. Many of them were coming straight from college and were 5 years younger than me.

I couldn't escape the feeling that I wouldn't fit in.

I wouldn't be smart enough.

At my age (which I thought was soooo old) I should have a great career already, right?

And I had a few more struggles than the average college student.

Related Content: 3 Tips to Keep You Going When You Feel Like Giving Up

I AM A PARENT

I had my daughter at 19. Here is what that means:

  • I don’t have many friends that are my age who have kids.

  • I’m usually the youngest parent in the room at school functions.

  • I often need help from family and friends

I grew up hearing that having a child when you are a teenager is a kiss of death. In my head, I was already a “statistic” and would very likely struggle to make something out of my life.

And I struggled without a doubt.

My daughter accompanied me through my early twenties and going forward. Together we went on a journey of self-discovery. From undergraduate school to graduate school and from unemployable babysitter to gainfully employed data analyst.

I DIDN’T HAVE A BACKGROUND IN MATH

When I entered my graduate program, I learned that the degree I was seeking had way more math than I was anticipating. The professors would zoom through advanced statistics concepts and excel formulas so fast it that made my head spin.

I was lost. And it was obvious.

So I started to make friends with fellow students who breezed through class.

I NEVER HAD A FANCY JOB

I met several students in grad school who were much younger than I was, and they would boast about working for Fortune 500 companies and their fancy job titles. I, on the other hand, was a babysitter, a waitress and a freelancer. #awkward

When people would ask me “what do you do?“ I would instantly shrink on the inside and immediately froze up while trying to squeak out a job title that didn’t make me sound like a #loser.

I went to grad school so paranoid that no employer would ever want me because my competition was so much smarter and so much more marketable than I was.

So….. I worked harder. I showed up early to career services and stayed late. I did extra mock interviews and got my presentation polished to perfection by working with several on-campus recruiters. I volunteered for consulting programs and I did additional research projects.

Related Content: How to Make sure Grad School is Worth your Time & Money

Looking back, I realize that everything I was able to accomplish was because of my weaknesses:

  1. As a young parent, my daughter helped keep me focused and grounded through school.

  2. Not understanding math (and being honest about it) helped me build connections with other people who had different strengths - and it helped me learn what my strengths were.

  3. The fact that I didn’t have a fancy job motivated me to work hard in grad school to ultimately land my dream job.

The things that I thought were my downfalls, were actually the things that lead me to success.

Every personal struggle that I had imagined would make me different in a negative way…..ended up doing the opposite.

My past made me a stronger advocate for myself, resilient in the face of tragedy, calm when everything came crashing down, and a very quick learner.

Without the struggles that I overcame, I would never have built the mental tools necessary to overcome extreme difficulty. I wouldn't be typing this from my desk at my dream company. I wouldn't have a message to share with the world. I wouldn’t have a road map to my personal success to inspire you. 

So, if you’re struggling today, or if you can remember a difficulty that you went through, take some time to appreciate that gift today.

Because the price that you paid to learn those lessons and build that resilience, will pay dividends for the rest of your life.

xoxo

Ready To Accomplish Your Greatest Goals?

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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.


How To Name Your Vision Board Party


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If you’ve ever hosted any event, then you know coming up with the perfect name is often difficult. Vision board parties are no different.

Giving your vision board party the right name will help to attract the right type of people to your event and help you communicate exactly what your event is about.

Given the nature of vision boards, you’ll obviously want to create a name that is inspiring and motivating. However, there are other things that you can do to make sure you’re getting your point across clearly.

CHOOSE A NAME BASED ON WHO THE EVENT IS FOR

Who would you like to attend your event? Are you specifically looking to target people in a particular industry? Is your event for business owners? Is your event specifically for students?

If you want to attract a specific person, then you should use that information to drive the name of your event.

If your event is targeting local creatives, then naming your event “A Colorful Future: The Vision Board Party For Creatives” will let people know that you are directly targeting them and that they can expect to meet other local creatives.

By using the target audience directly in the name of the event, you are choosing a particular niche and it helps to drive the activities, setting, décor, and food. It will also help set expectations for the people attending.

Related Content: What Kind of Food Should You Have at A Vision Board Party


CHOOSE A NAME BASED ON THE EVENTS FOCUS

What problems are you trying to solve with your event? For example, are you helping moms get better balance in their life? Are you primarily focused on helping people pay off their debt and create a better financial situation for themselves? Do you want to create a vision board party to help others?

I’m sure you’d like your vision board party to help someone do something (even if it’s just to get a night out to socialize and to have some time to focus on their goals). You can build that information right into the name of the event.

For example, if your event will specifically speak to how to set and achieve goals, then a great name for your vision board party might be “The Goal Getter’s Vision Board Party.” This shows both who this event is for (anyone who wants to focus on their goals) and exactly what the main focus of he event will be (goal-getting).


CHOOSE A NAME BASED ON THE EVENT THEME

Maybe you just want to have a good time with this vision board party. Perhaps you don’t have a preference for a specific audience and you don’t really have one major goal in mind. Maybe your main goal is just to have fun! (That’s OK, too!)

In that case, you could name the vision board party according to the theme of the event. The first vision board party I attended was a potluck where family and friends gathered together. It was called ‘The Vision Lounge’ and it was appropriately named reflecting that we were there to drink wine, socialize, chat about life and have a great time. The name directly mirrored the way we felt at the vision board party.

When you’re hosting a vision board party, I would encourage you not to overthink about the name. The most important part about a vision board party is the experience. As you consider the name, think deeply about what type of experience you want people to have along the way. As long as those two things are aligned, you’ll be on the right track.

Related Content: Vision Board Party Marketing 101

xoxo

Want To Start Planning Your Vision Board Party?

  1. Download the FREE vision board party planning checklist.

  2. Check out our top resources for hosting a vision board party.

  3. Are you a coach or educator looking to host a profitable vision board party? Start the Sold Out Vision Board Parties Course.


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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 Sold Out Vision Board Parties, online course, helps success and mindfulness coaches host profitable, effective and transformative vision board parties.

Struggling To Get Out Of Debt? Try Minimalism

 
 

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


Growing up, my parents had a lot of stuff.

We had three cars, including a Mercedes Benz and Cadillac Escalade. I distinctly remember having a TV in each room with a stack of DVDs about as tall as my 4-foot 10-year-old body (and about four of me wide). My stepdad never left the house with out his signature chain and watch.

I just knew we were rich. How else could we afford all this stuff?

I always imagined my future would be the same: I'd have so many lavish things (the best TVs, movie collection, elaborate entertainment centers, etc.) that friends and family would always want to come to my house for social gatherings.

ALWAYS.

As an adult, I felt like I'd won at life when I got my first car: a new(ish) convertible mustang. She was my baby. Before the car note was paid off on her, I upgraded her to a Mercedes Benz truck. I was 24 and drowning in debt, but in my head I was #winning. 

I had a beautiful apartment in the best neighborhood (because my daughter just had to go to THE BEST schools). I "invested" in phones, cameras and computers.

I mean, I had to keep up with our way of life, right? 

Then, I found out about minimalism and I felt like a complete idiot. 

 

What is Minimalism?

Minimalism is the alignment of your spending with your values. This requires that you get crystal clear on what things you want in life and then consciously take things that do not align with your values out of your life.

You might think that minimalism means you can’t have nice things. In reality, you can have anything you want. The key to minimalism is only bringing things into your life that you have a strong feeling about. Things that align with your purpose and your passions.

Why Did I Start Minimizing My Life?

I didn’t intend to become a minimalist. In fact, I intended to be quite the opposite. I planned to have many lavish things.

However, there came a moment, somewhere between the fancy car and the nice apartment that I realized I couldn’t afford my lifestyle. I was constantly working just trying to keep up with all of the bills that this life required.

I was becoming tired, depressed and slightly suicidal just thinking about how much I had to work just to pay bills.

I couldn’t afford anything outside of my bills. No self care. No family vacations. No pie.

That’s when I decided I needed to get rid of my bills. Getting rid of my bills meant that I needed to get rid of my stuff.

I never wanted to get rid of my stuff.

I felt like I was losing. I was a failure because I couldn’t figure out how to afford the lifestyle that I wanted without selling my soul to work.

I minimized because I wanted my life back.

Let me break down what I saw before Minimalism (B.M.):

Fancy Car! = Travel in Style
Nice Apartment! = Best Education & Schools
Computers & iPads! = Newest and Fanciest Gadgets & Tools

I was successful even though I had to work three jobs just to live paycheck to paycheck and barely afford all of my things.

I was successful because my daughter could attend a nice school. I could drive around in a nice car. I could look like a success to others.


Here's what that looked like after Minimalism (A.M.)

I decided I’d only keep things in my life that I absolutely needed to survive. I took a look at everything I had in terms of how much it was costing me every month.

At a deeper level, I started to ask how much I’d have to work to be able to afford each one.

FANCY CAR

  • Monthly car payment: $650 / month

  • Car insurance: $250 / month

  • Weekly gas tank re-fill: $80 ($240 / month)

  • Quarterly maintenance: $900 (This is variable, but $900 was like the standard at the benz store. For example, replacing the windshield wipers cost me $250. I'll estimate $300 / month to make the math easy here.)

 

FANCY APARTMENT

  • Rent: $1600 / month

  • Utilities: $100 / month

  • Internet: $70 / month

 

MONTHLY OVERHEAD

My monthly overhead is the minimum amount of money I would have to make before I broke even.

That means, if I want to save any money, I would have to make at least that much money - and then I'd need to make more to be able to save anything. 

Note: This does not include any credit card bills, groceries or any entertainment. #facepalm

 

Overhead = Fancy Car Bills + Fancy Apartment Bills

($650+$250+$240+$300)+($1600+$100+$70)=$3,210

 

Minimalism and Debt

With this much overhead each month, I couldn't get out of debt, no matter how hard I worked! I kept thinking I needed to work more, work harder and increase my skills so I could make more money. 

In my head, I was living a normal life. Everyone wants cars and their own space... why can't I seem to afford... the basics?

Once I started to minimize my life, I noticed that I no longer need as much money to survive.

I did a voluntary repossession on my car and then no longer needed to pay a car note, car insurance or maintenance. I moved in with my mother and no longer needed to pay high rent every month.

Almost immediately, I stopped working three jobs and eventually got down to just one freelance client.

Because I didn’t need money to cover my excessive overhead, I could now pursue my Master’s Degree that I had been wanting to find time (and money) for. I could focus on finding a job that fit my personality and values. I could spend my time networking and making the right connections in order to help me move forward.

Related Content: How to Guarantee Grad School is Worth Your Time and Money

Freeing myself of the things allowed me to reduce my monthly debts and gain the freedom to choose how I wanted to spend my time. (Because for the first time, I had free time!)

Minimalism gave me my first taste of freedom… and I was never going back.

How To Minimize Your Life


DEFINE YOUR VALUES

The key to minimalism is defining what’s important to properly make decisions that align with what fills your soul and makes you happy.

In my life, I had to realize that my car and apartment weren’t making me happy. They were just taking up my time and energy.

RE-EVALUATE THE THINGS YOU ALREADY HAVE IN YOUR LIFE

Take a look at all of the things you currently have in your life and ask yourself whether each thing truly brings you joy or serves a practical purpose. If an item doesn’t do either of those things, then see if it’s possible to remove it from your life.

When I moved back in with my parents, I decided I’d only take things with me that aligned with my core identity. I got rid of a ton of things:

  • Arts and crafts materials that I hadn’t used in years

  • Books I never planned to read again (Ex. College Textbooks)

  • Wine glass sets I wouldn’t need at my parent’s house since I wouldn’t be entertaining there

  • Promotional items from a failed startup

  • Clothes in the back of my closet that I never wore

I started to equate getting rid of things with freedom. My stuff would no longer weigh me down or hold me back.

BE CAREFUL ABOUT WHAT YOU BRING INTO YOUR LIFE

Once you’ve purged all of the things that you don’t want in your life, your next job is to ensure you don’t over-complicate your life going forward by bringing in things you don’t need.

One of my favorite sayings is “If it’s not a HELL YES, it’s a HELL NO.”

That means if you’re not super excited and enthusiastic about something, than feel confident in saying no to bringing it into your life. This is true for friends, associates, colleagues, opportunities as well as material items.

Only bring things into your life that align with your values and what YOU want out of your life.

Minimalism allowed me to reduce the amount I was spending on things that I didn’t care about, and to start spending my money on the things that mattered the most. It gave me freedom. It gave me choices. And I’m forever grateful.

Do you have any examples of how minimalism improved your life? What’s the next step you are going to take?

Ready To Rise From Rock Bottom?

  1. Listen to my full debt story on the podcast that inspired this series. 

  2. Take a FREE personal development class on CreativeLive

  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. - Only $3.99 USD!

Ready To Create Your Five Year Vision?

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Download this FREE Five-Year Vision Workbook to design your future with happiness, purpose and intention.

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


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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.