In 2007 I left a 6-figure job in the mortgage industry to start over in personal finance. Then 2008 happened. For those who are unaware, that was a very bad time economically speaking. I had been doing well, but in the dog-eat-dog world of finance I was not coming close to sustaining the lifestyle I had grown accustomed to. Then one day, I vividly remember sitting at the kitchen table, feeling sorry for myself. I was crying in my hands about how hard it was and how afraid I was.
They say it’s important to “know your audience.”
At the time my future wife, Lisa, worked for a medical practice in an office with no windows for a very small hourly wage. She did get a small periodic bonus, but often her boss would forget to pay it. There was no opportunity for advancement or more money. It was a dead-end job. She had worked two jobs for years before we moved in together, supporting herself and squireling away as much money as she could, some of which she was now spending as she disproportionately contributed to our household expenses. I was so self-absorbed with my own issues that I had no idea before that evening of the sacrifices that she was making for me. Her willingness to see the good in me and what I might one day become, is still a gift I may never be able to repay.
When I was crying in my hands and feeling helpless, Lisa gently took my arms and pulled my hands from my face. She then said something that changed the very core of my being. “You can get up every day and walk out that door and have an opportunity to change your life. Why are you crying.” Notice that this is a statement not a question.
She was so right that I don’t think I even replied.
And so, the next day I got out of bed, and I did as she told me.
Not too long after that, Lisa got me into crossword puzzles. Things were improving with my practice, but we still didn’t have much money and crossword puzzles were an interesting thing that we could do together during the long New York winter. From there she got me into books, and one of the first books I read was Own Your Dream, by John Maxwell. The book left an impression on me. I had been living someone else’s dream my whole life. From which I had inherited weaknesses, limitations, and insecurities.