In your mind, what is the picture of success? Every person has their own idea, while other times that picture is created for us by the company we keep.

When I first became a millionaire, I did everything I could to exemplify what I thought was the “picture of success.” I bought the cars, the expensive wardrobe and was living my life trying to prove I was successful by others’ standards. As if they wouldn’t know I was successful unless I had on the right clothes!

Have you noticed in today’s society people take this same outlook, even though they don’t make millions? They spend money they don’t have on brand names, cars or jewelry, just to try fit in to that picture of success?

Emily Stewart used to live that way! She was $120K in debt by the age of 25 because of her school loans and credit cards. As soon as she got to college, she felt the need to fit in with her med school peers and make them think she was just as successful as they were.

When I spoke with her last month on our daily show she explained, “I wanted to break out of what I grew up with and feeling like I always had less than everybody else and wanted to prove to everybody else around me that I was successful by looking like them and being like them. So I’d be the one buying dinners, paying for other people so others would look at me and see me as successful.”

She was actually going into debt, paying for other people, to prove to them she was successful! With credit cards! I asked how she felt about this situation: “Overwhelming. I actually ignored a lot of them, had a lot of late fees because organization is not one of my strong suits. I used that as an excuse to pile them under other things and would just let them sit there. I often didn’t pay them until I got the late notice, because I didn’t want to see how bad it really was. And the weight just stacked up.”

In less than a year, she’s now paid off $30K of debt! Working the same job, with the same friends. All she did was stop spending, start selling off her junk and stop trying to “pose” for the picture of success.

What does this change in her life feel like now? “Freeing, it’s a big weight lifted. There’s an answer and there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Emily used to spend $150 or more eating out, now she only spends $20 a month! The rest goes toward paying off her debt.

I asked her if she missed the spending and the eating out in her life. “No… quite the opposite. I eat a lot healthier and I’m much more picky when I’m eating out. Because if I’m going out, I want it to be something good, something worth the money. Sometimes I’ll combine a few months together so I can go out to eat at a place where I really want to go.”

Look, friend you don’t have to prove to, or pose for, anyone in order to be successful. It’s a lesson I learned the hard way many years ago and it’s a lesson our society is struggling to learn right now!

Stop posing and start working toward a less stressful, more financially sound life. Are you ready? Let me know in your comments below and remember to Like and Share with your circle of influence.

If you’re looking for more financial wisdom, tips and strategies try our live event, First Steps To Success, and join us for The Dani Johnson Show, where you can gain more inspiration to improve your everyday life. You can find the show on your TV and radio and please remember you can always stream today’s show right here on our website.

In great faith,

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