Let's face it, money is a toooouchy subject that most people steer as far clear from as possible.
Ironically enough, not talking about money is one of the main reasons that so many of us continue to struggle with it. I'm a huge advocate for being open about your personal failures to help others learn from your mistakes, and money is no exception.
Everyone makes mistakes with their money. But whether your mistakes are lessons you learn from and share with others, or lessons you let haunt you for the rest of your life is up to you.
I can't tell you the number of nights I remember crying, slumped over my math homework at the dining room table. My feelings on the subject were crystal clear: I hate math.
The truth? I wasn't good at math. But math is a skill that can be learned and developed over time. Overcoming the mindset of "I hate math" to get more involved in my personal finances proved to be much harder. Luckily, I found a community of women who were getting real about their personal experiences to learn about money and grow their wealth.
Clever Girl Finance, one of the top personal finance websites for women, offers online finance courses to help women pay off debt, save money and build real wealth.
CEO and Founder, Bola Sokunbi, has been praised by Glamour, Money, The Chicago Tribune, and many others for her approach to personal finance that actually makes sense.
Although I wasn't joining because I needed to pay off a mortgage faster or save for my future kids' college funds, I got the opportunity to read so many stories of how others struggled with these things. The most helpful resource for me? Getting to hear the mistakes others made and the things they wish they had known sooner.
I'll be honest, the "no-spend" challenges are tough! But I love that there's an entire community to help hold you accountable.
One of my favorite things is Bola's 26-week savings challenge, which helps you stash away over $1,000 without even realizing it. Since I started over the summer, I love that I'll have extra $ just in time for the holidays.
While I may hate math, your girl loooves to read. Bola's book recommendations and her podcast helped lead to my light-bulb moment: the reason I've always hated math is probably because I wasn't naturally good at it. Boom.
Now that you'll find books like Rich Dad, Poor Dad on my nightstand, I've completely changed the way that I think about math, money and business. While I'm sure my high school math teachers are reading this and struggling to picture me reading Real Estate Investing For Dummies in my free time, it's actually working.
The more I've read and listened and talked about money, the more confident I feel about my personal finance, business, and investing decisions. Shocker, right?
Let's all agree on something: we're not supposed to be experts at everything. But once you realize that there's something you're not naturally good at? Find someone else who is and let them be your guide.
But please don't stop there. Think about what you are naturally good at too - one day someone else will need your guidance.
It seems like we're flooded with more inspirational quotes than ever and I've noticed many of them have a common theme: pushing us to become the best versions of ourselves we can be.
One of my personal mantras is "stop half-assing it." Call me extreme, but I'm a firm believer that if you're doing something halfway it's almost not worth doing it at all.
Are you an investment banker because your dad was an investment banker and your grandpa was an investment banker and your great grandpa founded Wells Fargo? Or are you an investment banker because it truly sets your soul on fire?
I've lost a lot of loved ones in my life unexpectedly, from my older brother in his twenties to our family dog. Although working through so much loss has often felt like an uphill battle, there's one important life skill that I took away from it all: perspective.
Life can be so short. Life can be so unexpected. Life can be so freaking relentless. Are you going to waste decades of your life in a job where you want to cry in the bathroom every day? Please don't.
Are you going to waste decades of your life in relationships, friendships, or even business partnerships that are one-sided? That are manipulative? That are selfish? Please don't.
You deserve better. You deserve more than to just go through the motions day-to-day. You deserve a life where you wake up in the morning overwhelmed by how incredible it is.
The only person who is capable of making your life that incredible is you. No one else is going to call you one day and say "Hey, I figured out what you should do with your life!"
Stop waiting for the call and find your calling. What is it that sets your soul on fire? Once you find the answer, pursue it relentlessly.
But so many of us struggle with figuring out what our calling even IS, so I'm sharing a trick I came up with that helped me uncover mine.
What would you wake up at 4 AM on a cold Saturday morning to do for free?
My friends, it really is that simple. Think about what you would wake up at 4 AM on a Saturday to do for free. And the 'for free' part is crucial.
I absolutely love my job and the company I work for, but I don't know if I would wake up before the sunrise on the weekend to do it...
Reading and writing are two of my biggest passions, but I genuinely don't think I would get up that early to write a blog post or finish a book either.
I kept thinking about other things I do in my life and I finally found my answer.
While I might not be thrilled about the early wake up call, I would get up at an ungodly hour to mentor students who come from difficult life circumstances. To answer a call from a mentee who feels so lost and doesn't know what to do. To be who I needed when I was younger.
My life has, at times, been so crazy that I thought about pitching it as a show to Netflix (not kidding!). And I think about how differently I would've dealt with so many of my obstacles if I heard an honest voice with someone else's struggles.
Students don't need to hear "Well, I put my head down for 23 years and worked reeeeeally hard and that's why I'm a Senior Vice President with a company car and a billion dollars."
Students need to hear I know how stressed they are about exams because my grandmother died in the middle of studying for finals my junior year of college. They need to hear that you get their weight loss struggle because you struggled with that too in your early twenties!
They need to know that someone else has failed over and over and everything still turned out okay. They need to see the ugly behind-the-scenes footage of our struggles, not just the highlight reels of our success. They need tough love and sarcasm and someone who will not give up on them.
I realized that person is me.
So while I don't have plans to quit my incredible job or stop blogging, now that I know mentoring students is my true purpose I've made it a bigger part of my life.
I'm on the alumni council for my college and founded an alumni network with a mentorship program for my high school. My life-long dream is to launch my own scholarship and mentorship program for students in the county I grew up in.
Finding your true calling in life is hard. It may change along the way and it may take you years to figure out what it even is. While you're searching for answers, keep in mind that a passion is something you love to do, while your calling is what you were meant to do.
What are you meant to do?
I'm that person who takes her cart back at the grocery store.
I send flowers and Edible Arrangements on people's birthdays. I remember anniversaries and probably know your Starbucks order.
I'm the friend you text at 1 AM in the middle of a breakdown because you just can't hold it in anymore.
Some people ask me, "Why do you do these things for people when you know they wouldn't do the same for you?"
One of the biggest mistakes I've EVER made was expecting others to do things for me because I do things for them.
Expectations like: "Why don't I get flowers on my birthday? I sent her flowers last year..." and "How come no one thinks to bring me a Green Tea Lemonade on a busy day?"
One of the best lessons I've EVER learned is that when you genuinely do something out of kindness, it doesn't matter if the other person returns the favor.
No relationship is 50-50 and sometimes we give more than we take. Sometimes we take more than we give.
But most importantly, we shouldn't be keeping score. My new rule?
If I'm doing something with the expectation of getting it back? I don't do it at all.