In your mind, what is the picture of success? Everyone has their own idea, while other times we allow the company we keep, to create that picture for us.

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 designer wardrobe and lived my life trying to “prove” I was successful by others’ standards… like they wouldn’t know I was successful, unless I had on the “right” clothes!

Have you noticed in today’s society, people adopt 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 into that picture of success?

Emily Stewart used to live that way! She was $120K in debt by the age of 25, thanks to 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 recently on our TV/radio show, she explained, “I wanted to break out of what I grew up with – feeling like I always had less than everybody else and wanting to prove to everybody else around me I was successful, by looking like them and being like them. So I’d be the one buying dinners, paying for other people, so they would look at me and see me as successful.”

She was actually going into debt, paying for other people, to prove she was successful! With credit cards! I asked how she felt about this situation: “Overwhelmed. I actually ignored a lot of the bills and 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 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 16 months, she paid off $75,000 of debt… working the same job, with the same friends! All she did was quit 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 – a big weight lifted. There’s an answer and light at the end of the tunnel.”

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

I asked her if she missed the spending and eating out in her life. “No… quite the opposite. I eat a lot healthier and I’m much more picky when 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 a lesson our society still struggles to learn right now!

Stop posing and start working toward a less stressful, more financially-sound life! Are you ready? What’s your goal? What is your plan? Let me know in your comments below! And don’t forget to share this message with your family, friends and coworkers!

Then, please join me today for The Dani Johnson Show to gain my personal insights and inspiration for your 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.

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In great faith,

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Categories: Budgeting   

Tags: article   college debt   debt solutions   The Daily Fix   

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