Saturday, October 16, 2010
How I Became Financially Free: Introduction
"Lord, thank You for giving me the opportunity to achieve financial freedom. I am so looking forward to investing on my future. I can't believe it. My future...MY FUTURE! Before, I wouldn't even think nor dream of reaching my 20's, but now I am looking forward to reaching my 40's -- the time when I would become a millionaire and the time when I can finally fulfill my one unchanging dream: I can finally help others to receive the education they deserve by paying for their schooling! Not only that, but I can finally treat my parents and give back to them (in a way) what they have given me; something to show my gratitude and love for them. And most importantly, I can finally give myself what I truly deserve -- financial freedom!"
~excerpt, journal entry, 15 September 2010
Hi! My name is Joanne. I am 24 years old. March of this year, I received my Bachelor's Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management. Not many know this, but one of the biggest frustrations I have in life is my lack of goals and dreams. Yes, I have a general idea on what I want to achieve before I die: to fulfill my purpose in life. Problem lies with what exactly that purpose is. I guess before I continue, I could give you a short background about myself so you will know where I am coming from.
The Hate Within
For most of my life, I hated myself. My daily mantras were, (but not limited to):
"Stupid" ! "Worthless" ! "I do not deserve to be happy" ! "Nothing I do is ever good enough"
"I just want to die" ! "Lord, please kill me now" ! "I will die before I reach 21"
It is only by the grace of God that I am still here in this world, living and battling with my inner demons. So you see, I never really thought much about where I want to be and what I want to be in the future. For me, I only see my imminent death.
Starting Life All Over Again
Maybe that is why when I finally decided to "live my life" and start my life anew, I have been so obsessed with finding my purpose in life. I want to believe that I am not an accident, that God has been so patient with me because He has this specific mission for me. I want to know where I am supposed to be and what I am supposed to do.This is why I have never thought twice in spending money on self-help and inspirational books. I have immersed myself to the stories and teachings of the likes of Bo Sanchez, John Maxwell, Joel Osteen, Rhonda Byrne, Oprah, Jack Canfield, and others.
You might think that this desire in me to become a better person is a great thing, but I tell you that it is not all good. I was doing something wrong somehow. Between my inner demon whispering my past failures and my inner seeker obsessing about my future, it is so easy for me to not be in the moment and embrace where I am now. For four years, I have been in the wildest ride of my life. I feel like I am a bipolar person. One day, I am at my happiest, then something happens and I am back to being depressed. It is a vicious cycle, one that I felt I would not get out of. There had been days when I told myself, "What's the point? I should have just killed myself back then."
But you know what? The greatest miracle happened just this year. Before I graduated from college, I have no clue whatsoever on where I will apply and on what kind of job I prefer. (Remember, I have no goals in life. I do not have a 5-year or10-year plan.) But I do know one thing, I want to have a job as soon as possible. No breaks for me. Why? Because I have already "wasted" my time before. (You have to forgive me though because the story on how I "wasted" time before is for another day.)
How God Prepared My Way
So, did I follow through with this plan of mine? A big NO! You see, I have this thing wherein I "think too much" and I "over-analyze situations" that most of the time, I get stuck while the opportunity goes away. I'm just not an innate doer. I'm a thinker, that's my nature.
So while my batchmates were busy sending their resumes and applying for jobs, I am at home reflecting on what I really want in life. But I thank God because despite my laziness to apply, He still gave me an opportunity to earn money while I am getting my life back on track. And He really knows how to bait me.
While deciding on what I want, I have followed Bo's guidelines that if I want to succeed, my business or work should be connected to my life purpose and core gifts. But since I cannot answer my life purpose yet, I decided to determine my core gifts. I acknowledged that one of my core gifts is writing. So when I saw this ad looking for freelance writers, I grabbed the opportunity (after much-needed consideration of course) and applied even though I have no background on writing content articles. Amazingly enough, this stint lead me to my job now.
When I visited my friend who lives in Bataan, I met her friend who is also a freelance writer. We just met that one short time the day we were leaving for Manila. I was so surprised to receive an invitation from him that his friend is looking for writers who can work full time or part time writing product descriptions, articles, blogs, and others. I started out as a part time writer for them, and now I am working full time as a virtual assistant (I just gave myself that title because I am not writing for them anymore, rather I am involved in numerous projects doing all sorts of things). And this job, together with the people I work with, is truly a gift from God.
Because of this job:
1. I now earn my own money. It may not be as big as compared to what my friends are earning now on their jobs in the Hospitality and Tourism industry, but it helps me pay our electricity bill. More importantly, I am now able to set aside money for tithes and for my future. Following Bo's advice on how to divide income, as soon as I receive my monthly salary, I set aside 10% for my Forever Fund (tithes), 20% for my Future Fund (investments), 50% for my Fixed Fund (electricity, internet, grocery), 10% for my Freedom Fund (savings), 5% for my Fun Fund (rewards for myself), and 5% for my Frivolous Fund (incidental or unplanned expenses).
2. I am better than ever. In the past 6 months, I had gone into a long phase of depression that has started while I was still in college. Now, I am back on my tracks and I am starting my life all over again. There are still the varying degrees of highs and lows, but I am happy to note that I am experiencing great days longer and I am able to pull myself out of the pits faster than before.
3. I am embracing the Now. Finally, I am able to leave my past behind and not worry too much on things that are yet to come. Of course there are still some days when I feel anxious, frustrated, doubtful, and dejected, but I am now able to feel those feelings while allowing God to work in me and believing that I will get over those feelings soon.
4. I am given an opportunity to gain financial freedom. The first paycheck I received, I immediately joined Bo Sanchez' TrulyRichClub. Because I have yet to discover what I really want to pursue in my career life, I thought that I could at least start learning on how to take charge of my financial life. I figured that if I invest on changing my wealth mentality, the physical manifestations of this wealth will follow. And amazingly enough, it does. With the amount I am earning for the past four months, I was still not able to save Php 5,000 to allow me to open an account in CitisecOnline (the top online broker in the country that offers an opportunity to invest on the stock market even with little time, knowledge and capital through their COL-EIP program). But then, when I celebrated my birthday last September, my father sent me Php 5,000.00 for my birthday gift! Without a doubt in my mind, I used this money to apply at CitisecOnline, and now I am a proud part-owner of three companies! The excerpt at the start of this blog entry was actually written right after I lodged my application.
5. I now have a mission. This thought just came to me this week. God is really such a great planner. There is a reason why I am so passionate about learning from the great people I have mentioned earlier, why there are no second-thoughts whenever I purchase their books (really, I hesitate in buying shoes that are over Php 500.00 but when I see a book I know will help me on my self-growth, even if it is Php 800.00, I will immediately buy it). There is a reason why I did not find joy in writing product descriptions and articles and blogs about lighting, christmas trees, and other stuff despite claiming that I have a gift for writing. There is a reason why I became familiar of Bo Sanchez because of Kerygma and why I have considered him as one of my mentors. And the reason, I believe, is because God wants me to share my stories and learnings in life through my writings.
When Lyf Throws U Lessons
This entry is just the introduction to my series, "How I Became Financially Free". No, I am not there yet. BUT, I am now on that journey. And I am declaring through this series, that I will achieve financial freedom in the near future. With this series, I want to share to you what I have learned from Bro. Bo through his TrulyRichClub, especially the benefits of investing (not merely saving) your money. I will share to you the steps I have taken, am taking, and will take as I continue this wonderful journey towards true financial freedom.
I hope that you take this journey with me, together with the others who have discovered this powerful blessing from God. It is about time for you to take charge of your financial life because you deserve to be financially free!
If you are taking charge of your financial life now and you want to share your own stories and life lessons, I would love to hear and learn from you as well. Or if you also want to change your financial life, I invite you to declare with me your own affirmations of being financially free.
Praying for your happiness!